How To Measure Success In Afghanistan?

Independent 04 Sep 2009

Is it when our Prime Minister gives us all another big speech restating his commitment to the mission in Afghanistan?

This comes after a ministerial aide, resigned over the governments ‘strategy’, or lack of it to be precise.

Falkirk West MP Eric Joyce said the UK could no longer justify the growing casualties in Afghanistan by saying the war would prevent terrorism back home.

Joyce a 21 year army veteran, held the rank of major before leaving in 1999.

In his resignation letter, Joyce questioned public support for the mission in Afghanistan and the government’s arguments for the presence of troops there.

While the reaction to Joyce’s resignation has been some what mixed, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has defended American military plans in Afghanistan, but warned that there is now “limited time” to show success.

There certainly were more successes to be had today for the US led invaders, as it was reported that NATO forces killed more than 90 civilians after an air strike blew up two fuel tankers supposedly ‘hijacked by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan’.

These ‘Succeses’ will be measured against ’50 Metrics’ a set of 50 measurements, which would gauge US progress in the Afghan-Pak war zone.

Currently under ‘test run’ by the White House, the metrics to assess war success would be presented before the Congress on September 24, as the Washington Post points out.

Whatever numbers come out of the Afghan election, it is the numbers about the Afghan war that the US/UK public is most concerned about.

As the coalition of the willing enter their ninth year on the ground in Afghanistan, public opinion is wary about the effectiveness of the military campaign, particularly as the death toll mounts.

Duking the stats is the answer to boost support for a war of choice to a populace that no longer has the appetite to see their sons return home in wooden boxes.

I said in an earlier post that in these wars of choice, the aggressor cannot summon the political will and military strategy for outright victory, however that is defined.

The indigenous population knows that their job is not to defeat the great superpowers to their every last man, but merely to prolong the war and to break the will of their oppressors through resistance.

Using measuring sticks to show progress and success in that country, by way of powerpoint presentatations and excel spreadsheets does not define success to me.

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Filed under Afghanistan, British Soldiers, Great Britain, Media Unspeak, War, War Crimes, Western Hypocrisy

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