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14 June 2009


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Agree,this country does not want extended military conflicts.If WWII had drug on and on there probably would have been a different ending than unconditional surrender.

Cloned Poster

Given the millions of investment in Gitmo, surely they missed that opportunity

FB Ali

Richard Sale's gloomy assessment does not surprise me at all. This is generals marching to the edge of the cliff, eyes wide shut. They may well take Obama over with them, just as they took Lyndon Johnson the last time. (Of course, they don't go over the edge; it's those below them, especially the lower ranks. For generals the reward of folly is extra stars!).

Obama (or someone around him) should read Tuchman's "The March of Folly". Soon!


"It appears that it is once again 1963."

I'm sure McChrystal has read the relevant York Harding.


On the assumption that there is a "Domino Theory II", could someone explain to me what it is?

Or, more generally, explain why we are at war in Afghanistan? Is it Afghanistan's relentless quest for nuclear weapons? Is it to seek Osama bin Laden?

I don't understand.


Colonel Lang,

Interesting picture. Is the man on the left carrying a K
gun? SOG? PRU? Is there a story?

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96

Duncan Kinder

Yet Teresita Schaffer said: “We are weak in the knowledge of the tribes, we lack linguists, and we lack knowledge of the culture.”Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid has written that when the United States first deployed forces to Afghanistan in 2002, U.S. forces possessed hardly specialists who spoke Pashtu or Dari, the two major languages,

Given the high-tech orientation of the US military, perhaps it should seek to develop the universal translators that we see on Star Trek.

This would be particularly useful consider that - given the ten year lead time Col. Lang is suggesting - things are at to be hopping in West Africa, where there are all sorts of other nifty languages, once this Afghan thing gets wrapped up.

That is, assuming that our Chinese creditor will continue to be willing/able to fund our various foreign adventures.

Patrick Lang


SOG recon team. The guys in the front rank are montagnards. pl


If fifty billion dollars a year won't buy basic information about Afghanistan's languages or cultures, what is it paying for?

"...they knew so little about the region they had to resort to reading the Encyclopedia Britannica to gain knowledge of the area."

I'll do that for thirty billion a year, and save the country some money.


This is a complete indictment of the already discredited idea that Republicans are better at national defense than Democrats. Eight years of conservative republican leadership and the US still does not have adequate language capabilities in its armed forces that are currently engaged in combat, for the eighth straight year, against an enemy still not defeated. I'm sure we'll hear the bloating herd of pundits blaming Obama and the liberals until the next Republican is elected.

"U.S. confidence in current president Hamid Karzai is at an all-time low" This is rather beside the point when the Afghan confidence in Hamid Karzai is non existent.


As for the nifty star trek translators, they're called iphones and ipods. Yes, the Army has figured out how to use these as the next generation of translators:


While I won't disagree about the need for cultural awareness, what this article glosses over is the lack of support for training not the Afghan National Army but the Police at all levels. Police that are well PAID, trained, equipped and manned. Until we get that part straight, every soldier we send to Afghanistan could be a chai drinking Dari/Pashto speaker but will be of little use. The locals need to feel confident that the local police are not corrupt and are more than capable of protecting them. The point of COIN, in the Galula sense, is to both physically separate the population from the insurgent (local police/security) and then beat the insurgent politically by either making his argument worthless or convinving him it's time to put down the weapons and come join the rest of society.

William R. Cumming

Somewhere between 600 and 900 language blocks in Sub-Saharan Africa---Time for Rosetta Stone?

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