Monday, January 11, 2010

On the strategic value, or lack thereof, of drone strikes 

Counterinsurgency blogger (and actual expert) Andrew Exum worries that we are substituting drone strikes for strategy, or at least not combining them with one. The problem, he says, is not necessarily the fact of civilian casualties, but the perception of them in the absence of an effective strategic communications program.

Our great communicator of a president had -- and still has -- a huge opportunity to improve on the quality of our messaging war in the Islamic world. His predecessor's team completely sucked -- anybody remember the ridiculous assignment of Karen Hughes to lead that effort? -- but President Obama does not seem to have given it any more thought. Since he understands the importance of imagery and propaganda and Democrats purport to know all about counterinsurgency, I trust it is because he is more interested in other matters.

Read the whole thing.


By Anonymous JC, at Tue Jan 12, 02:20:00 AM:

I've been wondering when someone would ask this question.

Bush largely supplied the default position of most people at the outset.. an incoherent view that that the terrorists were at war with the world. However, when he invaded Iraq he gave coherence to those who were antiwar or against invading a sovereign country.

Obama's initial clarity on Iraq and Afghanistan were largely the default position of the Left rather than any form of strategy.

Since taking over he has been unable to develop a realistic strategy based on history, studies of Islam and the 1000 odd years of interactions between Islam and other religions and cultures. he's like Hamlet, brilliant, verbose but ultimately overcome by his own deficiencies.

In rugby football we have a term called the "Maori Sidestep", ie, straight over the top of the opposition and head for the goal line.. thats Bush, but for Obama the sidestep *is* the strategy (done of course with style).

I know which I prefer.


By Anonymous Robinsolana, at Tue Jan 12, 07:10:00 AM:

'Maori Sidestep', you have to love that.
I give Bush, and his advisers, tremendous credit for coming up with a Terror War strategy within days that kept us safe for 7 years. Do not underestimate the drag of the perfidious and corrupt Europeans, the sluggish security bureaucracy and the snakepit that is Beltway DC. Bush carried us to victory in Iraq, almost alone.
The history of Osama type Islamic extremists is that they fail, after spilling much blood. They burn out. Bush seemed to understand that, and forced the battle to be inside the Middle East not in NYT.

Now, Obama/'change' has arrived; words like 'War on Terror' and 'win' are forbidden, replaced by 'man caused disaster' and 'overseas contingency operation'. Clarity and focus are gone, replace by dithering and nuance and deadly political correctness.
Now, Americans are starting to die. First at Ft Hood and then almost 300 lived only by luck at Detroit.
Connect the dots.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Tue Jan 12, 11:41:00 AM:

This current crop of Democrats simply doesn't do military or geopolitical strategy. If something doesn't provide (perceived, but not necessarily genuine) domestic political advantage it will be ignored.  

By Anonymous Robinsolana, at Tue Jan 12, 10:36:00 PM:

I am fine with whack-a-mole, as long as we are good at whacking. Al Qaeda has lost what 2/3 of their leadership killed? I hunted gophers as a kid (200+) and eventually the orchard was pretty level.
Our weakness is not our military, it is the fickle and dithering political class and media.
Whack on sez I.  

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