The sovereign can no longer say, "You shall think as I do on pain of death;" but he says, "You are free to think differently from me, and to retain your life, your property, and all that you possess; but if such be your determination, you are henceforth an alien among your people."

(Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835)

Friday, 9 April 2010

The Afghan patient

"Rather than describing Afghanistan with the language of war and battles, we have come to think of the country as an ailing patient - in many ways analogous to a weakened person under attack by an aggressive infection."

General Caldwell, commander of the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, and Captain Hagerott make novel use of medical terminology to describe the current situation in Afghanistan.

In a nutshell, the doctor (ie. the international community) misdiagnosed the patient, didn't administer strong enough medicine, the infection grew stronger and now we need to administer a very strong dose of medicine to combat the infection and allow the patient's immune system to build up its strength.

Full article in Foreign Policy.

NB: Interesting to see another NATO and/or US official going outside the official channels for an on-the-record statement about the war in Afghanistan. This article can't be compared with Maj-Gen Flynn's CNAS report on intelligence failures in terms of content and repercussions... but is this now a recurring pattern/tactic in the war for public opinion?

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