Douglas Wissing http://douglaswissing.com Journalist • Author • Independent Scholar Wed, 23 May 2018 20:35:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tough Love: Retrograde Afghanistan http://douglaswissing.com/2013/02/tough-love-retrograde-afghanistan/ http://douglaswissing.com/2013/02/tough-love-retrograde-afghanistan/#comments Fri, 01 Feb 2013 12:22:54 +0000 http://douglaswissing.com/?p=3183 Forward Operating Base Salerno, Khost Province, Afghanistan AS PRESIDENTS OBAMA AND KARZAI PARRY over troop levels and assistance, “retrograde” is the operant word I am hearing from US commanders in Afghanistan. A nuanced military term for withdrawal, retrograde defines operations in this insurgency-plagued land. After more than a decade of US-led warfare, American commanders are […]

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Registering in Afghanistan http://douglaswissing.com/2013/01/registering-in-afghanistan/ http://douglaswissing.com/2013/01/registering-in-afghanistan/#comments Sun, 27 Jan 2013 17:28:58 +0000 http://douglaswissing.com/?p=3179 Reporting in Afghanistan is complicated. Of course, there’s the challenge of operating in an insurgency-wracked land, where every decision has to be weighed for risk. Is that a secure location to meet? Is that person trustworthy? Is that boy hurrying through the bazaar with the pressure cooker in his wheelbarrow a suicide bomber or just […]

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The Campaign: The Shunned War http://douglaswissing.com/2012/11/the-campaign-the-shunned-war/ http://douglaswissing.com/2012/11/the-campaign-the-shunned-war/#respond Fri, 23 Nov 2012 19:57:00 +0000 http://douglaswissing.com/?p=3134 PRESIDENT OBAMA BOLDLY HAILED AFGHANISTAN as “the necessary war” in 2009.[i] Based on his recent comments, or lack of them, it now appears Afghanistan is the shunned war—an elision followed by Republican challenger Mitt Romney and other U.S. political leaders. At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, President Obama’s acceptance speech was notable for his fleeting […]

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General Malaise http://douglaswissing.com/2012/11/general-malaise/ http://douglaswissing.com/2012/11/general-malaise/#respond Fri, 23 Nov 2012 19:50:14 +0000 http://douglaswissing.com/?p=3128 WHEN I WAS EMBEDDED with US troops in insurgency-wracked eastern Afghanistan, a smart tactical commander told me the American people, cognizant of war’s fog and friction, don’t expect the military to be efficient. “But,” he said emphatically, “they do expect us to be effective.” I thought about his comment as the media frantically investigates the […]

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Osama bin Laden’s Tragic Legacy http://douglaswissing.com/2012/11/osama-bin-ladens-tragic-legacy/ http://douglaswissing.com/2012/11/osama-bin-ladens-tragic-legacy/#comments Fri, 23 Nov 2012 19:34:36 +0000 http://douglaswissing.com/?p=3122 ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF OSAMA BIN LADEN’S DEATH, his strategy continues to work like a charm in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden explained his plan in 2004: “All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order […]

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Concept and Reality in Afghanistan http://douglaswissing.com/2012/11/concept-and-reality-in-afghanistan/ http://douglaswissing.com/2012/11/concept-and-reality-in-afghanistan/#respond Fri, 23 Nov 2012 19:24:45 +0000 http://douglaswissing.com/?p=3116 AN OLD AFGHANISTAN HAND TOLD me about a buzzword now popular among US policy wonks in Kabul and Washington: “reify.” Ruefully laughing, he said “reify” refers to a concept being confused with reality. In the eleventh year of a failing war in Afghanistan, it’s about as good a word as any to use to describe […]

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Juice Ain’t Worth the Squeeze http://douglaswissing.com/2012/11/juice-aint-worth-the-squeeze/ http://douglaswissing.com/2012/11/juice-aint-worth-the-squeeze/#respond Fri, 23 Nov 2012 19:13:59 +0000 http://douglaswissing.com/?p=3112 PUBLIC STATEMENTS MADE FROM PODIUMS in Washington have little correlation with the on-the-ground reality in Afghanistan. Veteran officer Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis learned that last year when he traveled over 9,000 miles across Afghanistan, spending most of his time in the insurgency-enflamed provinces in the east and south. He was shaken to discover the […]

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Tax Day Meditation, 2012 http://douglaswissing.com/2012/11/tax-day-meditation-2012/ http://douglaswissing.com/2012/11/tax-day-meditation-2012/#respond Fri, 23 Nov 2012 19:10:42 +0000 http://douglaswissing.com/?p=3108 AS AMERICAN TAXPAYERS REEL from the twin blows of Tax Day and the coordinated insurgent attacks in Afghanistan, do they know their taxes are helping to bankroll the Taliban? When I was embedded with American troops in insurgency-wracked eastern Afghanistan, soldiers began telling me that the U.S. government wastes tens of billions of taxpayer dollars […]

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Koran-burning and the Failure of Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan http://douglaswissing.com/2012/02/koran-burning-and-the-failure-of-counterinsurgency-in-afghanistan/ http://douglaswissing.com/2012/02/koran-burning-and-the-failure-of-counterinsurgency-in-afghanistan/#comments Wed, 29 Feb 2012 18:32:26 +0000 http://douglaswissing.com/?p=3040 Anti-American violence has been wracking Afghanistan since Afghans discovered U.S. personnel burning Korans at Bagram Air Base. Grotesquely sacrilegious in this conservative Islamic society, the Koran-burning by Americans illustrates the divergence between the counterinsurgency policies grandly proclaimed in Washington and the on-the-ground reality in Afghanistan. Former Centcom commander and commander in both Iraq and Afghanistan, […]

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The Passing of Farmer Holbrooke http://douglaswissing.com/2010/12/the-passing-of-farmer-holbrooke/ http://douglaswissing.com/2010/12/the-passing-of-farmer-holbrooke/#respond Wed, 15 Dec 2010 20:52:59 +0000 http://douglaswissing.com/?p=2970 Re-posted from The Huffington Post The death of Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, has left a giant vacuum in Afghanistan policy circles — particularly in regards to the agricultural development policy that Holbrooke championed as an essential counterinsurgency tool. He often termed agriculture “our number-one ‘non-security’ priority in Afghanistan” — […]

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