Back in Business

Well, that was a busy week. Glad it’s over. We now return to the expected blogging.

And what better way to get started than with the new issue of Parameters? In the Spring issue, Sean M. Maloney takes a look at how we’re doing in Afghanistan. What would victory there look like? An awful lot like things look right now:

On the surface, and to media observers, all operations conducted in Afghanistan since January 2002 look the same. ISAF patrols Kabul alongside
the police forces and exerts control over the Kabul International Airport. OEF
airmobile light infantry, working with special operations forces and indigenous
allied forces, hunt any al Qaeda that have slipped through the net and the
remnants of the Taliban regime who are conducting an insurgency along the
southeastern border of Afghanistan. When one examines these operations in
detail, however, it is clear that the geographical area (and the population that
inhabits it) influenced by the Taliban is steadily decreasing, that the number of American troops on the ground has decreased since January 2002, and that the
ability of the Taliban to launch sizable military actions has substantially decreased from company-sized operations (the size of the forces encountered
during Operation Anaconda in spring 2002) to roughly platoon-sized operations
or smaller. In many cases, mines are emplaced and individual rocket attacks
are conducted, along with the odd ambush, but the intensity and scale of activity have noticeably decreased over time. As far as can be determined, no
man-portable, surface-to-air missiles have been successfully deployed against
OEF aircraft. There has been no equivalent repeat of