President Donald Trump may have gotten a few things very right regarding the on-going war in Afghanistan if reports are accurate. President Trump has apparently called the military to task in Afghanistan and threatened to clean house. President Trump suggested he would fire the top general in charge of US troops in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson and accused the military of giving up ground to the Taliban. “We aren’t winning,” the president reportedly said. “We are losing.” Further, the President demanded better strategies after rejecting that status quo the Pentagon tried to sell him.
Coming out of this meeting, the message should be clear to the military’s top brass. President Trump is not happy with the military’s lack of progress and won’t accept defeat. He is demanding a new strategy and has correctly recognized high-priced consultants and insiders are charlatans that don’t have the right answers. He needs to look beyond the “Swamp” for a new strategy. Fortunately, if President Trump and his NSC are receptive, there are a number of very good strategies that could still win the war that don’t require massive troop surges or total annihilation of the country.
President Trump need not look further than one of the single best research documents compiled to date on defeating insurgencies. The research, conducted by Jonathan Owen, a former military officer, is available in book form under the title #Fail: Why the US Lost the War in Afghanistan. Owen’s research analyzes 100 years of named insurgencies in a way no single think tank or intelligence agency has remotely approached. Owen’s book destroys the commonly held myths related to counterinsurgency and proves why the senior military establishment has been derelict in their duties. It demonstrates through overwhelming evidence that the “strategy” of training and advising never achieves decisive wins and only correlates with the defeat of the counterinsurgent. Contrary to a failed training and advising strategy, the study provides irrefutable evidence that identifies the single greatest factor in defeating an insurgency is denial of sanctuary, which in Afghanistan, translates to border security. Not satisfied with simply identifying the problems with the current US military strategy, Owen’s research lays out an actual clear cut plan for decisive victory that could be implemented today. In short, if President Trump wants a real plan to win in Afghanistan, he should make the study mandatory reading for the military just after firing his top generals. The point would be made and the war would be won.
By Guiles Hendrik
August 9, 2017