"Winning" is not an appropriate term, not to mention that it sounds ugly, triumphalist -- even passé. So, let's employ more meaningful parlance and ways of measuring success by asking such rudimentary questions as, "Are we achieving our security objectives?"
Exactly what is COIN? Simply put, it is the theory and practice of suppressing insurgencies that mix violent and non-violence methods to topple existing governments and to seize power. Indeed, COIN is a growth industry.
We are already making smart development investments in Pakistan in energy and agriculture, but until we make credible game-changing investments in basic education, we can expect those gains to be unsustainable in the long-term.
Instead of focusing on metrics that matter, U.S. officials have decided to trumpet enemy body count. Apparently, the number of dead insurgents, not civilians, is now the barometer for determining the campaign's efficacy.
The latest Petraeus/Gates media tour is under way in preparation for the general's testimony to Congress next week, and they're trotting out the same, tired spin they've been using since McChrystal was replaced in disgrace last year.
Obama would be wise to ignore Klein and decide not to play chicken with the numbers. Afghanistan will not magically right itself, particularly now as Petraeus can inflame the violence as much as he pleases.
We've been making progress for nine-plus years now, progress into the deadliest year for U.S. troops since the war began, progress into record levels of suicide terrorism directed at Americans. No more progress, please.