In his blog Defence of the Realm, Richard North questions (not for the first time the tactics of NATO and the British Government in Afghanistan.
And not for the first time I wonder if he wants his cake and eat it.
He writes, “The inevitable consequence of this is that, no sooner does the Army manage to suppress activity in one area, the enemy will re-appear elsewhere, its aim as always to kill and injure coalition soldiers with a view to weakening the resolve of the home front.”
This is the modern equivalent of the line of trenches from the Swiss frontier to the English Channel. I can only repeat my contention that this war has as its greatest parallel WW1. That war unearthed a whole new set of problems that the military of all nations found hugely difficult to solve.
He suggests, “Thus, while the Army sees “boots on the ground” as its greatest asset, the Taliban see not soldiers but targets. Still, though, the British high command is wedded to the idea of sending more troops to theatre”
Again to continue my analogy, this is the philosophy of Lloyd George. Quite how you hope to provide the resources to defeat the Taliban without enough troops is a mystery to me. Indeed its hard to see how the army, and NATO, can hold the initiative (which is what you ae essentially asking for) without more numbers and more equipment.
The will of the nation can withstand the losses – the anger of the nation lies in soldiers dying for poorly argued aims and due to totally under resourced equipment. The military for sure though need to show the same initiative and response that their forefathers did on the western front. It does seem from his post that they are indeed making some strides to doing just that. How very Lloyd George of him to ignore that.