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January 05, 2010

Major General Michael Flynn: CIA clueless in Afghanistan

Don't really want to crap on the ONT so early, but this seemed like a pretty dramatic statement worthy of note.

The U.S. military's intelligence chief in Afghanistan has sharply criticized the work of U.S. spy agencies there, calling them ignorant and out of touch with the Afghan people.

In a report issued by the Center for New American Security think tank, Major General Michael Flynn, deputy chief of staff for intelligence in Afghanistan for the U.S. military and its NATO allies, offered a bleak assessment of the intelligence community's role in the eight-year-old war.

He described U.S. intelligence officials there as "ignorant of local economics and landowners, hazy about who the powerbrokers are and how they might be influenced...and disengaged from people in the best position to find answers."...

At least one data point tends to support the general's contention -- the woman running the CIA station was in a position to be blown up by the splodydope. Anyone with the slightest clue about Arab or Afghan culture would realize having the woman even present would reduce respect and make them view us as weak. That's simply the way Islam is designed. It sounds like the CIA ignored the reality on the Islamic street here in at least that regard.

This is NOT to say you can't have a woman running the show effectively. She could put on an act, maybe behave like a subservient maid or orderly when locals were present. That certainly could work with a bit of effort with everyone acting their parts accordingly.

It sounds like much of CIA's problem goes back to techniques described in Maj. Gant's proposal. You need to understand and integrate with the local culture. If the General's criticisms are in fact correct, this is not happening.


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posted by Purp at 11:13 PM

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