Tuesday, April 6, 2010

PSYOPing Karzai With Grass Roots Politics

It’s now (April 2010) clearer than ever that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is not the right man for the job and it is our duty as champions of democracy to help the people of Afghanistan replace him and his cronies with a leader and a government that will govern for the benefit of the people and not personal fortunes or ego.

Even the charismatic and charming President Obama has failed with Karzai. Karzai’s denouncements of the West – read that the US – are yet one more slap in the face. While I don’t generally quote Ralph Peters as a good source, I’m afraid I have to mostly agree with his April 6, 2010 article in the NY Post: “Karzai’s new low – We’re stuck with no Plan B” (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/karzai_new_low_JfRxe6UV6zXCjdEalGAsLM)

As it turns out, I have a plan B and a Plan C. Plan B is develop bottom up public support for a coalition government that will oust Karzai and replace him with someone is perhaps less corrupt and who can serve as a catalyst security and economic self-sufficiency from the village up. Of course this plan would require resources and assistance from the US and other sources – we know that and according to Peters, we have invested: “A thousand dead Americans and billions of dollars poured into a cesspool?”

Plan C is build an enduring self-sufficiency from the village level up.
This crossroads presents a unique opportunity for Secretary Hillary Clinton to engage the DOD to help her further the goals of the President and actually establish a foundation that would facilitate a withdrawal of US troops sooner rather than later. To do this a holistic information influence strategy would need to be developed that would combine direct and indirect communications channels and would (perhaps covertly) support appropriate Karzai opposition. In parallel, my Plan C calls for local campaigns to strengthen the local leadership so that they can govern in the absence of a competent national government.

Plan C is a good one because it builds from the nature of the Afghan people and their history. It also appeals to the independent nature of the local villages and, at the same time can negate some of the influence of the Taliban. This plan would require tight coordination through ISAF and implies an ISAF level task force that has situational awareness down to the village level and that has the authority to divert resources and concentrate efforts where they are likely to do the most good.

Peters’ assumption about our counter insurgency doctrine assuming a friendly competent government also seems unfortunately on the mark. Doctrine writers on all levels are on notice that they need to change the rules of the game so that we can as Clint Eastwood once said “Improvise, adapt and overcome” (attributed to his role as Gunny Highway in Heartbreak Ridge)

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