The Dow just dropped something like 600 points on account of the bailout not passing. So now seems like a good time for your attention to focus on a really long piece about counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. Just out from the Washington Independent, part nine of "The Rise Of The Counterinsurgents":

While there may be a debate within the Army as to the proper role of counterinsurgency, in Zormat, the question is settled. Collins — like most of his soldiers, a veteran of the Iraq war — is a counterinsurgency true believer. The captain is more likely to beam with pride over plans to improve the district’s infrastructure than over the number of enemy fighters killed. “It’s a doctrinal shift,” Collins said.

Asked to envision a successful end-state to his cavalry troop’s mission, Collins — a tall, broad-shouldered man from Pryor, Okla., with a law degree — immediately speaks in the language of counterinsurgency — a method of warfare that emphasizes economy of force, intimate knowledge of host populations and politico-economic incentives to win that population’s allegiance.

“It’s not that I’ve rid this land of enemy fighters, though that’s a small fraction of what we do,” he said. “It’s that I’ve empowered indigenous forces to stand and fight on their own against enemy forces.”

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman