I really hope this guy is right: the war in Afghanistan can be won if we change our strategy. I wonder a little about stuff like this:
The risk of the counterinsurgency approach—which helps to explain why it has not been adopted in Afghanistan until now or in Iraq until 2007—is that, in the short term, it will result in more casualties for coalition forces. Placing troops among the people and limiting their expenditure of firepower makes them more vulnerable at first than if they were sequestered on heavily fortified bases and ventured out only in heavily armored convoys. But in the long term, as the experience of Iraq shows, getting troops off their massive bases is the surest way to pacify the country and bring down casualties, both for civilians and security forces.
Limiting their expenditure of firepower? Carried too far, this kinda sounds like asking soldiers not to fight. To do a lot of subtle and nuanced stuff that they may not be all that good at. But maybe this is true:
Perhaps, despite everything, the skeptics are right—maybe it is impossible to deploy a successful counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. But it is hard to know why Afghanistan would be uniquely resistant to methods and tactics that have worked in countries as disparate as Malaya, El Salvador, and Iraq. Indeed, after a study of 66 20th-century insurgencies in which a foreign power committed significant resources to the fight, political scientists Andrew J. Enterline and Joseph Magagnoli found that population-centric strategies succeeded 75 percent of the time (66 percent in the post-1945 period). The odds are that such a strategy would work in Afghanistan, too, but we won’t know for sure until we try—and we haven’t tried yet.
Regarding his examples, I’ll look at Malaya and El Salvador when I get a chance. I’m not convinced Iraq is in the bag yet.