The policy being Empire. The need for Empire has to do with funneling most of the money of the Treasury into the perpetual motion war machine and the banks that profit from it.
Bob Herbert just does not get it.
...We’ve been in Afghanistan for nearly a decade already. It’s one of the most corrupt places on the planet and the epicenter of global opium production. Our ostensible ally, President Hamid Karzai, is convinced that the U.S. cannot prevail in the war and is in hot pursuit of his own deal with the enemy Taliban. The American public gave up on the war long ago, and it is not at all clear that President Obama’s heart is really in it.
For us to even consider several more years of fighting and dying in Afghanistan — at a cost of heaven knows how many more billions of American taxpayer dollars — is demented.
Those who are so fascinated with counterinsurgency, from its chief advocate, Gen. David Petraeus, all the way down to the cocktail-hour kibitzers inside the Beltway, seem to have lost sight of a fundamental aspect of warfare: You don’t go to war half-stepping. You go to war to crush the enemy. You do this ferociously and as quickly as possible. If you don’t want to do it, if you have qualms about it, or don’t know how to do it, don’t go to war.
The men who stormed the beaches at Normandy weren’t trying to win the hearts and minds of anyone.
In Afghanistan, we are playing a dangerous, half-hearted game in which President Obama tells the America people that this is a war of necessity and that he will do whatever is necessary to succeed. Then, with the very next breath, he soothingly assures us that the withdrawal of U.S. troops will begin on schedule, like a Greyhound leaving the terminal, a year from now.
Both cannot be true.
What is true is that we aren’t even fighting as hard as we can right now. The counterinsurgency crowd doesn’t want to whack the enemy too hard because of an understandable fear that too many civilian casualties will undermine the “hearts and minds” and nation-building components of the strategy. Among the downsides of this battlefield caution is a disturbing unwillingness to give our own combat troops the supportive airstrikes and artillery cover that they feel is needed.
In an article this week, The Times quoted a U.S. Army sergeant in southern Afghanistan who was unhappy with the real-world effects of counterinsurgency. “I wish we had generals who remembered what it was like when they were down in a platoon,” he said. “Either they never have been in real fighting, or they forgot what it’s like.”
In the Rolling Stone article that led to General McChrystal’s ouster, reporter Michael Hastings wrote about the backlash that counterinsurgency restraints had provoked among the general’s own troops. Many feel that “being told to hold their fire” increases their vulnerability. A former Special Forces operator, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, said of General McChrystal, according to Mr. Hastings, “His rules of engagement put soldiers’ lives in even greater danger. Every real soldier will tell you the same thing.”
We are sinking more and more deeply into the fetid quagmire of Afghanistan and neither the president nor General Petraeus nor anyone else has the slightest clue about how to get out. The counterinsurgency zealots in the military want more troops sent to Afghanistan, and they want the president to completely scrap his already shaky July 2011 timetable for the beginning of a withdrawal...
That's because Mr. Herbert is in deep denial the goal is exploitation not extirpation. The Powell Doctrine is so 20th century even Powell himself discarded it. If he could get back into the Game he'd be COINing the war on Terra, too.