“A Different Kind of War”

That’s the name of a new report, written by a team of historians at the US Army’s Combat Studies Institute, which covers the early years (Oct. 2001 – Sept. 2005) of our flailing war in Afghanistan. Clocking in at over 400 pages, the report reveals that aside from knocking the Taliban out of power with super neato laser-guided missiles, the Army — as mandated by the Bush Administration’s desire to “get in and out quickly” –basically screwed the pooch big time by eschewing the counterinsurgency/nation-building strategies we’re playing catch-up to now.

In fact, things were so bad that Maj. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry called the Afghani solider training program a veritable “Valley Forge.” How thoughtful. [More spoiler alerts after the jump!]

The siphoning of attention, manpower and resources from Afghanistan into Iraq generated the most problems, says the report. The net effect forced generals to either [1] get creative with limited provisions and soliders or [2] drown in sand and blood:

In one telling anecdote from 2004, the history describes how soldiers under General Barno had so little experience in counterinsurgency that one lieutenant colonel bought books about the strategy over the Internet and distributed them to his company commanders and platoon leaders.

In another case, a civil affairs commander in charge of small-scale reconstruction projects told the historians that he had been given $1 million in cash to house and equip his soldiers but that bureaucratic obstacles prevented him from spending a penny on projects. It took months to reduce the red tape, the historians say. [NYT]

In related news, up to 8 Americans were killed in a suicide bombing in eastern Afghanistan earlier today. And so it goes…

One Comment

  1. SSG. Joe Meek
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Okay! Sooo maybe I am a war lover, so what?
    When I am done kicking ass in Iraq… I’ll go to the Stan’ and start kicking ass there!
    I’m on fire folks, I’ve got the fever now and theres no way to stop this forward momentum.
    Just pass the ammo… and stay the hell outta my way.