Macgregor on Afghanistan

Retired Army COL Doug Macgregor’s latest take on what we should do in Afghanistan (500 KB PPT):

The best we can do is withdraw our forces with the publicly stated understanding that how the Afghans govern themselves is their business.

However, if the Afghans harbor anyone—al Qaeda or anyone else who threatens the United States and its allies—we must state clearly we will annihilate those who threaten us without concern for the welfare of those Afghans who harbor them.

Compare with Strategic Game, Chart 57:

With respect to others (i.e., the uncommitted or potential adversaries) we should:

Respect their culture and achievements, show them we bear them no harm and help them adjust to an unfolding world, as well as provide additional benefits and more favorable treatment for those who support our philosophy and way of doing things;


Demonstrate that we neither tolerate nor support those ideas and interactions that undermine or work against our culture and our philosophy hence our interests and fitness to cope with a changing world.

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Filed in Uncategorized | 4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Macgregor on Afghanistan”

  1. Polarbear1605on 14 Oct 2009 at 2:44 pm 1

    I don’t buy everything that Douglas is selling…question: On the fourth slide – “Buying off the Pashtun Tribes with hard cash as Petraeus did in Iraq won’t work. Incentive structure does not exist.” … ? Didn’t the CIA do that in 2001??? Any chance he could explain the “Incentive structure” comment further?? Polarbear

    [CR: A quick check of the calendar shows that this isn’t 2001. Back then, we were allied with the Northern Alliance to drive out the Taliban government in Kabul. We paid non-ideological warlords to change sides or abstain. It isn’t clear today that there are many such warlords left.]

  2. dkenbluon 16 Oct 2009 at 10:31 am 2

    On Macgregor’s blog ( is one of the most ruthless skewerings of our Iraq and Afghanistan “strategy” that I’ve seen; it includes this gem:

    “…we must stop wasting lives and money on these culturally dysfunctional societies. We cannot drag them through the renaissance, the reformation, the enlightenment, the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. They will have to do these things themselves.”

    You may think from this excerpt that he’s got a bit of hubris himself by saying “dysfunctional” and meaning “different from us,” but he was just on a roll. He gets that part of it…

    -Dan K

  3. Maxon 29 Oct 2009 at 11:23 am 3

    When we once had Bin Laden pinned down to a 10 square mile
    area, which has been publisied as we did at one time, we shoulda, coulda, woulda, treated the area (a waistland anyway)
    to a cobalt radiation treatment.

    End of story, see you at the bar.


  4. Rob Pon 30 Oct 2009 at 4:58 am 4

    Agree with Polarbear, I don’t buy everything Mr MacGregor is selling. Anyone can find failing military officers relegated to non-important billets or billets that are important but they are doing it so badly that no one wants them around and confuse personal issues with strategic issues, especially in the Middle East where personal relationships count a lot more than long term US relationships.

    Since he calls out Iraq MTTs in his brief, I’ll focus there. In the Middle East, like anywhere, cultural understanding plays second fiddle to attempts to communicate in the local language, but if you learn the second you’ll pick up a lot of the first. Also getting rid of US military arrogance would help, especially in MTTs. I’ve personally encountered behavior towards the IA that border on racism from MTT personnel. In short, don’t say “pull out” simply b/c you parade the military’s sub-standard performers in front of Congress. Maybe better screen and train MTTs to work in a foreign land. In other words, course correct, not retreat.

    This is relevant to the overall idea of using selected information to mis-diagnose a problem or, worse, push a political agenda in the guise of national security.

    [CR: Thanks – all good points.

    Of course, this does assume that folks in foreign lands — with different languages, customs, and religions — want to be liberated / educated by Americans, i.e., that there is a right way to do occupations.]