Summary: After years of conditioning, advocates of the Af-Pak can trot out the most shoddy reasoning without fear of ridicule. When reading these things we should chant the mantra of the 21st century American: Say it now and say it loud — we are sheep and we’re proud!
There are three forms of reasoning used to support the Af-Pak war:
- deduction: from general premises to a specific conclusion
- induction: from specific facts to a general conclusion
- repetition: repeat the assertion loudly and with conviction
As their arguments have been exploded — examined only after 7 years of war — they increasingly resort to the third method, relying on their almost total control of the mainstream media. Here’s today’s example, from “Counterintuitive counterinsurgency“, Richard Fontaine and John Nagl, op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, 12 October 2009 — “An illegitimate election in Afghanistan does not mean legitimate American military and political goals can’t be met.” Excerpt:
As the Obama administration debates whether to stick with the counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan, opponents point to that nation’s flawed presidential election as a reason why this approach cannot work. Counterinsurgency is premised, they argue, on the presence of a legitimate national government that can win allegiance from local populations. Given credible allegations of rampant abuse in Afghanistan’s August election, President Hamid Karzai’s newly illegitimate government cannot play this role. As a result, the United States has little choice but to change strategies.
This argument is badly flawed. …
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus’ counterinsurgency strategy aimed to arrest this process by using American troops to protect the population — predicting, correctly, that until basic security was restored in key neighborhoods and communities, extremists on both sides of the sectarian divide would continue to inflame the situation. With U.S. forces clearing and holding territory and demonstrating to the Sunnis that they had a reasonable alternative to Al Qaeda and its sectarian warfare, the extremists were sidelined. Security began to improve, and the political space necessary for reconciliation began to open.
… Ironically, the greatest effect of Afghanistan’s botched election may be felt outside the country — reinforcing doubts in the United States and Europe about whether a corrupt Afghan government really deserves our help. But this misses the point. We are in Afghanistan because its takeover by the Taliban would be catastrophic for American national interests.
The description of the “surge” in Iraq is pure myth (a gentle way to say this).
- The US watched ethnic cleansing proceed until a new point of stability was reached — one way of restoring basic security to key neighborhoods, but the opposite of “protecting the population.”
- We bought the support of the Sunni Arabs, after they had already decided that the “al Qaeda” shock troops were more trouble than their worth (and this al Qaeda is only loosely connected to Bin Laden’s al Qaeda).
- There has been little or no reconciliation to date.
But the next paragraph is the rich part: “Afghanistan because its takeover by the Taliban would be catastrophic for American national interests.” It’s become true in American’s minds by repitition, although the reasons given (rarely, when the advocates are pressed) are of the flimsiest nature.
Using the megaphone of the mainstream media, the equivalent of tinpot nations’ vans driving down the with bullhorns blaring government propaganda, they establish reality for the sheep-like citizens of America.
Say it now and say it loud — we are sheep and we’re proud!
(a) To read other works of John Nagl see The Essential 4GW reading list: John Nagl.
(b) Somewhere on the Internet I read this about the 3 forms of reasoning, lost my note and cannot find it on the Internet. If anyone has the cite, I’ll add it to this post.
(c) The saying in red is paraphrased from the account of Bromosel’s dream given in that great work, Bored of the Rings.
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To read other articles about these things, see the following:
- About Iraq & Sub-continent Wars – my articles
- About Information and Disinformation
- About America – how can we reform it? – esp section 8, about solutions
Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.
Some posts about the Af-Pak War:
- The Big Lie at work in Afghanistan – an open discussion, 23 June 2009
- You can end our war in Afghanistan, 20 August 2009
- Another attempt to justify our Af-Pak war, and show the path to victory, 31 August 2009
- The advocates for the Af-pak war demonstrate their bankruptcy. Will the American public notice?, 1 September 2009
- How many troops would it take to win in Afghanistan?, 15 September 2009
- Let’s blow the fog away and see what General McChrystal really said, 23 September 2009
- About those large and growing Afghanistan security forces…, 26 September 2009
- A General explains how the Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics will bring us victory in Afganistan, 27 September 2009
- DoD did not consider troop levels when devising our latest “>Af-Pak war plans, more evidence that their OODA loop is broken, 8 October 2009
- Stop and reflect on this key moment in US history, 12 October 2009
Some posts about the mainstream media:
- The media discover info ops, with outrage!, 22 April 2008
- “Elegy for a rubber stamp”, by Lewis Lapham, 26 August 2008
- “The Death of Deep Throat and the Crisis of Journalism”, 23 December 2008
- The media doing what it does best these days, feeding us disinformation, 18 February 2009
- The media rolls over and plays dead for Obama, as it does for all new Presidents, 19 February 2009
- The magic of the mainstream media changes even the plainest words into face powder, 24 April 2009
- The media – a broken component of America’s machinery to observe and understand the world, 2 June 2009
- We’re ignorant about the world because we rely on our media for information, 3 June 2009
- The perfidy of ABC News (tentative conclusion on a breaking story), 18 June 2009
- Are we blind, or just incurious about important news?, 6 July 2009
- We know nothing because we read newspapers, 12 October 2009
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