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An Afghanistan Consensus, Sort Of


Although Obama's top advisers disagree over whether to adopt a counterterrorism strategy or a counterinsurgency approach in Afghanistan, they have generally reached a consensus on other matters, officials said. That consensus emphasizes the importance of training Afghan security and police forces, as well as improving efforts to build effective government institutions.

I'm not the world's top expert on counterinsurgency. But it does seem to me that training security forces is likely to fall under that category; it's not something separate and different. One lesson from Iraq, as I understand it, was that the most effective training didn't really happen until U.S. troops were patrolling--and even cohabitating--with Iraqi forces. Here's how one Marine Corps colonel recently put it:

“If you’re not not sleeping with them, eating with them and crapping in same bucket as them, you’re not partnered with them,” Alford said.

If true, I don't see how you're doing that but not doing something most people would call counterinsurgency.