- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Frontline,” the PBS documentary series, has consistently done great work on our post-9/11 wars. In a new one, they tackle the issue of whether counterinsurgency doctrine can work in Afghanistan. They’ve already posted the first part of the show, due to air as a whole on Oct. 13. One thing this segment made me think about was the danger of under-resourced COIN. The worst thing you can do is tell people you are going to protect them when you can’t. All you are doing is putting them on the golf tee so Taliban can come by that night, or next week, with a big nine iron.
This piece on Small Wars Journal is also worth reading. But I am not sure it really is an “alternative” to what McChrystal is proposing. Rather, I think it outlines the plan pretty well. McChrystal is not asking for enough to protect all the people of Afghanistan, and the proof of that is the plan to “triage” out of certain areas, like Nuristan.
Also check out Abu Mook getting Washington right, even at the expense of embarrassing his long-suffering mother. I read the same line in the Washington Post this morning and had a similar but more obscene thought about the administration official.
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Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.| Passport |