According to the way the Kandahar Offensive was sold in the spring it would be a lot like the Marjah Operation, but bigger and better. Now its the middle of August and according to the International Herald Tribune the military is no longer allowed to use the phrase "Kandahar Offensive." Military and civilian spokesmen have walked the whole thing back and are portraying the operation as largely a "civilian surge" with reconstruction taking a front seat to combat operations. An unnamed civilian official was quoted as saying, "...it's not going to be an aggressive military campaign. They've looked at it and realized it wouldn't work." General McChrystal was still in charge when this was said; is he the "they?" Is it President Obama? President Karzai?
Based on recent statements by General Petraeus regarding sitting down with the Taliban, it seems everyone believes a military solution is no longer the solution. Instead of spending so much time writing a new COIN manual perhaps General Petraeus should closely study Sri Lanka's dismantling of the Tamil Tigers. What was the point of going ahead with the Bush Administration's intention to send a surge into Afghanistan? I thought the point was to try to repeat the success seen in Iraq, but if the extra troops are not going to be used to shred the hardcore Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters the whole things takes on aimless quality that feeds into the "we're out of here in 2011" message the Americans and Afghans have been getting from the Obama administration.