COIN is dead and our soldiers are dying with it

Yes I think it is safe to assume that the practice of COIN doctrine in Afghanistan is officially dead. It did not produce the results that everyone hoped for  (remember HOPE is not a method), and if anything it may have cost a few more lives.

I remember when the Petraeus took over CENTCOM and there was talk of trying to implement the same Anbar Awakening concept that was successful in Iraq, over in Afghanistan. I expressed serious doubts then that it would work. I have said time and time again that Afghanistan is not Iraq and never would be. I have given that line in presentations, interviews and on this blog and other blogs. The people of Afghanistan are nowhere near what the people of Iraq are like.

I have word now that the famed COIN Academy in Kabul is now shutting down in about 5 months. So does that mean that everyone has learned and mastered it? Or does it mean they realize it isn’t making a difference. I think it is the latter.

I also feel that the rash of murders of our soldiers by our friends and allies, the Afghans, has put the final nail in the coffin of COIN. Our soldiers look at every Afghan now with a more suspicious eye than ever before. There are bases in Afghanistan that used to not allow soldiers to walk about with a loaded magazine in their weapon, telling soldiers to have a full loaded mag all the time. It is truly going to hell in a handbasket and over there and soldiers all over are talking about “what if” and different contingencies if the Afghans were to turn on them.

Of course this makes for a very dangerous situation, because a benign action or movement on part of afghan could result in a soldier shooting and killing them  because of nervousness. I am not saying that is a bad thing, I am just saying that could result in increased violence, especially off base and feed the enemies I/O machine.

Our soldiers are dying, they are dying at the hands of our “friends” faster than at the hands of our enemies over the last week (I heard that from a friend today). Two more soldiers were killed yesterday ( and there are reports of more attacks on US Soldiers today.

It is done people, we may be there through 2014 (or maybe just 2013 from some reports I have heard), but I can tell you the ability to effectively mentor and train these security forces is pretty much finished. The attacks over the last week are in the heads of every soldier over there and those on the way over there. It will take more time than we are planned to be there to erase those memories and allow US soldiers to have the trust they once had.

In the words of H.L. Mencken “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”

I think that is what some of our soldiers are feeling right now.

6 thoughts on “COIN is dead and our soldiers are dying with it”

  1. The above cannot be more true. Although I am no longer a ground Soldier, I am the PSG for the most active Blackhawk unit in RC East. It has been my opinion there were two ways to “win” this war. Through Education of the common local nation at least teaching them to read their own language so they can read the Quran on their own instead of letting some power drunk IMAM tell them what it says.. OR.. Win it their way.. through straight up warefare.. The only language this culture has known for centuries. In my humble, non official opinion, we have failed at both. I cannot look at a local national Here on base without wondering what the heck he is doing to sabotage or murder my Soldiers. Just my two cents and they do not reflect the official opinions of the United States or the Department of Defense ( had to throw that in there)

    1. John,

      Thank you for your continued service and friendship. It has been a long time since we served together but I still feel like I know you as well today as back then. Please stay safe and if you or your soldiers need anything, please hit me up offline. I have an army of supporters ready, willing and able to send care packages, etc. They are always biting at the bit of who to support next.

      Stay safe and Geronimo

  2. Observing the last week; the rioting over the justified burning of the koran, made it clear to me that it’s time to bring our troops home. That country is not worth one more life of our soldiers.
    That society is hopelessly stuck in the stone age; let them be. It’s obvious that there’s no gratitude for the assistance our troops in anyway, shape, form or fashion. They turn on them, killing them without mercy.
    Our leadership in DC is more concerned about ‘the noble people of Afghanistan’ than the sacrifice ofour troops.The groveling and, bowingas well as a 3-page letter by the president was appalling. So,enough is enough.
    Let them stew in their pervert ideology; let them kill each other as they have always done.
    There is nothing ‘noble’ about these people.
    Leadership has neutered our military enough and, obstructed what the troops do best – decimate the enemy while the leadership is talking appeasement with the enemy.What a joke!

    What a spectable, once again troops are either villified and slandered,but most of all disrespected in the most degrading way.

    I want to take this opportunity and thank all of you, your patriotism and sacrifice; never complaining. Your example is stellar and, we will always support you!

  3. Bouhammer, per my email to you a couple of days ago, I’ve spoken with a friend of mine who is still at the COIN Training Center, and I’ve learned that the CTC is not being shut down. It’s being transferred to Afghan authority. The CTC was always intended to be taken over by the Afghans and incorporated into the Afghan Defense University. The CTC had an Afghan co-director during my entire tenure there in 2009-2010. I think that the timeline has been accelerated, but the CTC is not being disbanded. The transfer to Afghan ownership will be completed by the end of September and then it will be their baby.



    1. I got your message, and thanks for commenting here. I have just been busy and did not get a chance to reply. I am sure it is being turned over to the Afghans. The Afghans practicing COIN is like the Afghans running a battered women’s shelter. These people would not and never will understand the meaning of COIN. They are inept at even beginning to realize what COIN is about. They know one thing, the same thing most of the mid-east knows, ruling with an iron fist, through intimidation and through fear. That is the way of pretty much every middle-eastern country. That is their culture.

      In fact everything will eventually turn over to the Afghans, but that doesn’t mean they are going to keep it going.

      You should know better than most that Afghans pretty much don’t give a crap about human rights or freedoms.

      1. actually they do give a crap about Human rights.. but only as it pertains to how it can be used to turn the Westerners people against their own military… but other than that.. yeah.. i totally agree..

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