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David Reidy

Entries by David Reidy

How Much Influence Does the U.S. Have in Afghanistan?

(1) Comments | Posted July 26, 2010 | 2:00 PM

The always-superb Rajiv Chandrasekaran has a story in the Washington Post about progress in Afghanistan, comparing the lack of it in Marja (a "bleeding ulcer," as General McChrystal famously said) with the relative tranquility and prosperity of Nawa. Both hamlets are similar demographically and geographically, but while Marja...

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McChrystal's Mistake: Too Much COIN

(11) Comments | Posted June 25, 2010 | 2:45 PM

I'm a bit late to the pundit party, but I have a few thoughts about "The Runaway General" controversy that have been overlooked. General McChrystal crossed a line, and left the President with no choice but to relieve him of his command. This much is sure. It is a huge...

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Historical Fallacies in Afghanistan

(12) Comments | Posted May 10, 2010 | 3:39 PM

Originally Published at Demagogues and Dictators

William Dalrymple is one of my favorite writers. City of Djinns, The Last Mughal, and White Mughals are among the finest sources available on the history of India, and From the Holy Mountain is...

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Wikileaks Video Shows Fog and Friction

(6) Comments | Posted April 7, 2010 | 10:11 AM

Originally Published on Demagogues and Dictators

The video released by Wikileaks early this week has incited a firestorm of controversy.

However, despite the shocking footage, we need to understand this incident in the larger context.

Without knowing the ROEs and situation, it's difficult to...

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Want to Buy Some Opium?

(17) Comments | Posted March 24, 2010 | 3:32 PM

Originally Published At Demagogues and Dictators

The focus of the U.S. Military in Afghanistan has apparently shifted towards Kandahar. General McChrystal recently declared that the operation has already begun. But what about Marjah? Only recently it was the primary theater for U.S. forces, and,...

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How the U.S. Got Played

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2010 | 4:25 PM

This Item Originally Appeared on

The AP is reporting that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's second-in-command who was captured by the ISI with U.S. support several weeks ago, was deep in secret negotiations with the Afghan government. At the time of his arrest, the...

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Building a House in Afghanistan

(2) Comments | Posted February 25, 2010 | 8:57 AM

I want to avoid being a one-issue blogger, but I have received several requests for more details about my pessimism in Marjah, and Afghanistan more generally.

Let's say you want to build a house. You have the funds to hire everyone you need, and you're a lucky person, because you...

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Questioning Marjah

(13) Comments | Posted February 19, 2010 | 4:10 PM

I hate to be a cynic. I really do. I want Operation Mushtarak in Marjah to succeed, and for the stable and accountable local government that follows to be replicated across Afghanistan, marginalizing the Taliban and bringing peace. Unfortunately, I just can't see it working.

To begin with, Marjah is...

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