Battleland

A Misdirected Surge?

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That was the headline, minus the question mark, atop Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s story on the front page of Sunday’s Washington Post. It dealt with the U.S. military’s focus on Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan in recent years instead of the more vital Kandahar Province next door.

The story comes from Chandrasekaran’s new book: Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan, out Tuesday. A Post reporter and author of the highly-regarded Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone, Chandrasekaran’s reporting chops are top-notch.

It sure was startling to read how then-General James Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, placed restrictions on where his Marines would go and how they would fight. As commandant, his role is supposed to be limited to training troops and outfitting them for war.

Beyond that, Battleland’s only concern is the notion permeating the piece that swapping priorities in southern Afghanistan would have made a real difference in the long run.

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