7,586. 8/19/2010

On August 19, 2010, after embedding with troops in Afghanistan, journalist Bing West wrote a list of observations in a memo to General James Mattis, the head of Central Command. One note read: ” ‘Defeating an insurgency requires three tasks: 1) destroy the insurgent forces; 2) win over the people to the side of a decent government; 3) train an indigenous force. Re #1, we cannot defeat the Taliban. They are too elusive and have a vast sanctuary. Re #2, we don’t have the time to build a nation when its top leaders are feckless. Re #3–training and instilling confidence in the Afghan forces should be the first priority at this juncture. This war turns on whether the Afghan forces show they can beat the Taliban. Only then will the Pashtun khans begin to cooperate.’ ”

 – Bing West, The Wrong War, Page 280

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