Melt COIN and Mint a New Sobieski

Diana West has written a pellucid analysis (updating a blog from 2011) that debunks, irrefragably, the entire delusive Petraeus-McChrystal et al COIN “calculus” in Afghanistan.

Between 1940 and 1945, 128 known air raids were carried out by Allied forces on German-occupied Rotterdam  in the Netherlands, killing 884 civilians  and wounding 631.

Referring to the photograph just below, of Dutch citizens celebrating their liberation by the Allies, she notes:

I first posted this heart-warming April 1945 photograph of Canadian-liberated Zwolle, Netherlands last year. I’m posting it again because the point I raised then is at least as relevant today, particularly in light of the tragic and completely aberrational incident in which an Army Staff Sergeant apparently walked off base and shot and killed t6 Afghan civilians.

West continues:

I mention this wondering whether Admiral Mullen ever ponders just why it was that Allied Forces in Europe were greeted as liberators in a war that caused millions of civilian casualties…Just to underscore: that figure includes millions of civilian casualties caused  by Allied Forces. How do Bush and Obama and Mullen and Kilcullen and Petraeus and McChrystal and now John R. Allen, the current commanding general in Afghanistan, explain the welcome Allied forces received across Europe in 1945 despite the massive suffering and death the Allies, too, inflicted? The answer is that the liberated peoples rejected the Nazis and their ideology. So why doesn’t the same logic work on “liberated” Afghans? Maybe they don’t reject either the Taliban or their ideology. Maybe there’s just way too much overlap on both counts…Nah, say our COIN strategists. The problem is too many civilian casualties. So goes the COIN mantra of at least the past three years in Afghanistan since Gen. McChrystal came on the scene openly promoting “population protection” over “force protection.”

Overlap indeed—say since Mahmud of Ghazni in the 11th century, or perhaps 150 years earlier, when the jihad conquests extirpated Hinduism from Afghanistan?

Citing an ISAF report, she observes,

93 percent of the civilians casualties are caused by the Taliban et al, and 7 percent are caused by pro-government forces.  If COIN theory were correct with numbers like these, we would be seeing scenes like that of the Netherlands photo above. 

Which leads to West’s impeccably logical conclusion, whose truth should be self-evident, notwithstanding our frighteningly delusional and cynical age:

[I]f Afghans were with us, if they were actually against the true butchers, the Taliban, if they were concerned about which side had innocent blood on its hands, and which side did everything humanly possible to prevent such violence even at the expense of its own people, Afghan hearts and minds would have been “won” long ago. But that will never be. In fact, guess what happens if ISAF gets to its goal of zero civilian casualties Nothing.

Theodore Roosevelt offered this frank historical perspective in 1916 on the consequences for Western civilization of succeeding, or failing to destroy jihadist enemies:

The civilization of Europe, America, and Australia exists today at all only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization…[including] those of Charles Martel in the 8th century [over Arab jihadists] and those of John Sobieski in the 17th century [over Ottoman Turkish jihadists]. During the thousand years that included the careers of the Frankish soldier [Martel] and the Polish king [Sobieski], the Christians of Asia and Africa proved unable to wage successful war with the Moslem conquerors; and in consequence Christianity practically vanished from the two continents; and today nobody can find in them any ‘social values’ whatever, in the sense in which we use the words, so far as the sphere of Mohammedan influence [is]…concerned…There are such “social values” today in Europe, America, and Australia only because during those thousand years the Christians of Europe possessed the warlike power to do what the Christians of Asia and Africa had failed to do—that is, beat back the Moslem invader. It is of course worthwhile for sociologists to discuss the effect of this European militarism on “social values” but only if they first clearly realize and formulate the fact that if European militarism had not been able to defend itself against and to overcome the militarism of Asia and Africa, there would have been no “social values” of any kind in our world today, and no sociologists to discuss them.

Regarding Sobieski (portrait above), Bruce Boswell’s 1933 review of J.B. Morton’s 1933 biography, Sobieski, King of Poland, highlights these attributes of the great Polish leader who crushed the Ottoman jihadists besieging Vienna in 1683:

But the real reason for Sobieski’s unexpected appearance in an age of decline is that he was the last of a great school of soldiers. Besides his great qualities of generalship—a bold offensive strategy, brave leadership and quick decision on the field of battle—Sobieski, like many of his predecessors, had to recruit and supply his own infantry and persuade them to follow him when the official leaders were against him…His personal wealth, his organizing ability, his close knowledge of the country and military systems of his enemies combined with his military genius to make possible [his] victories..

In our current “age of decline”—epitomized by COIN and its avatars—we desperately need US military leaders possessed of Sobieski’s courage, wisdom, and skill.

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