Conflict & Justice

Petraeus takes over U.S. central command

MW says Afghanistan is a tougher case than Iraq: the heart of Petraeus's success in Iraq was not really the surge itself but rather how he reached out to traditional leaders and told them it was in their interest to cooperate with the U.S. They received incentives for cooperation. But in Afghanistan it's going to be harder to find that same traditional leadership. The Taliban is not a single group like Al Qaeda or even Al Qaeda in Iraq, but rather is a network of people who have grievances against the Afghan government. (So the Awakening Councils, the Sunni Sheikhs, they are being paid by the U.S. if money talks in Iraq, why wouldn't it talk in Afghanistan?) Money does talk but at this stage when things have deteriorated to such a stage, there's something for them that's more important than money, and that's who is going to be around in the future. They're doing well monetarily anyway because they have drug money from opium. (So today, Petraeus is now the head of Cent Com and next week he'll know who his Commander in Chief will be. Will it make a difference to him?) I don't think so. He's made it clear he doesn't want his military command politicized.

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