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Thread: Man Versus Afghanistan By Robert D. Kaplan

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default Man Versus Afghanistan By Robert D. Kaplan

    A long review article in April 2010 Atlantic Magazine, which moves from the tactical to the strategic and has some choice quotes within. Too many issues for me in one place.

    Divided by geography, cursed by corruption, stunted by poverty, staggered by a growing insurgency—Afghanistan seems beyond salvation. Is it? From Somalia and the Balkans to Iraq, the U.S. military has been embroiled in conflicts that reflect an age-old debate: Can individual agency triumph over deep-seated historical, cultural, ethnic, and economic forces? Drawing on his experiences in Iraq, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, has his own answer to that question.

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    Council Member S-2's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Bend, Oregon

    Default davidbfpro Reply

    A remarkable rendering by Kaplan. As a disillusioned neo-con, I suppose my inclination is to lean towards the deterministic nature of this struggle and maybe recognize the immutable power of time-honored forces against whom we fight.

    As I read, I imagined the belt-way around Afghanistan and drew an imaginary line extending 35 miles in either direction paralleling the hard-surfaced road. Inside of those boundaries I wrote "65% of Afghanistan's population".

    I don't know if that's accurate but I've no reason to doubt these men. They are, without question, serious students of this battlefield and I couldn't help but be impressed by their acumen and vigor.

    This is a well-constructed, serious read into the practical realities faced at all levels of command with both the tactical and strategic implications clearly expressed. As with most complex issues, all is neither lost nor won with certainty. Neither shall outcomes be complete in any form.

    I liked Flynn's description of Omar's gaining wisdom with time. Like Omar and Flynn, we're all ten years older in this conflict and there's, indeed, much to reflect upon.

    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski, a.k.a. "The Dude"

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