What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Key metrics for sh*t-hot COIN-watchers

I have my concerns about the ongoing operations in Helmand just as Joshua Foust does. In fact, ever since I have read about 200 pages of Stephen Grey's Operation Snakebite in one proverbial breath, I have those concerns in even more dimensions.
Anyway, so there was recently a debate, influenced by input from Abu CNAS et al., about what the key metrics should be to measure progress in Afghanistan. Jari, one of the world's wisest Wordpress bloggers around ;-), already gave a very basic, critical reflection on this that's worth keeping in mind.
And now I'd like to offer a short excerpt from Grey's book that you will surely find very relevant here (from page 68 - the part in italics is added by me for necessary context, loyally to how that context is outlined in the book).
"At FOB Arnhem, Bell figured they had already got this lesson. That morning at dawn, as he looked out from the base across the green zone, he could see a stirring. Smoke from cooking pots began to rise from the adobe compounds, and then their creaky metal doors began to open, and turbaned farmers began their daily trudge to their fields, some accompanied by young children with wheelbarrows to clear up rocks or herding out flocks of goats with wooden sticks. As his company prepared to leave this base, he could see the 'daily commute' from the desert mud huts (the routine of coming to the green zone only after morning prayers, to do some work, and leaving before dusk, to avoid the frequent fighting) was over, at least for now."
In case this got you interested in Grey's book, I will provide a link to its page on Amazon (UK). And here is the cover image as well, for visual effect.

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