Indeed, the incoming Obama administration might want to think carefully before attempting to export "the surge" to Afghanistan. As McKelvey notes, when explaining the reduction in violence in Iraq:
"Nearly everyone gives credit to the Anbar Awakening...and to a pullback by the militia led by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. These disparate elements, some coordinated by the military and some coincidental, have come together and tamped down the bloodshed."Want to know what I left out with those ellipses? Here's a key point to keep in mind. There's a huge payoff tied to US counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq:
the U.S. is paying approximately 100,000 individuals known as the Sons of Iraq about $300 a month to keep the peace, and Sunni tribal sheikhs make millions more through U.S. contractsThat $30 million monthly to the Sons of Iraq apparently buys a lot of order.
It's not at all clear that similar payoffs could be effective in Afghanistan.
Consider what columnist Eric Margolis wrote in 2002, "Karzai's `election' has cost Washington $5 billion in bribes and payoffs to Afghan warlords." How has that turned out?
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