Steven Pressfield Blog
I was in Frankfurt a couple of summers ago and there was a young man at the hotel named Kaitet Olla Kishau. He was a Masai from Kenya. Kaitet is a big, tall, good-looking guy; he speaks English and German; he’s married to a European lady; he’s a writer and filmmaker. He also goes home to Masai Land two or three times a year, or whenever his father gets word to him that he’s needed. Kaitet dons the robes, tends the cattle, lives the full-on Masai life. He says he feels sorry for his European friends, who don’t have the…
I like very much Gen. McChrystal’s idea for a new Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell (cited in Max Boot’s article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal). This entity would be an ongoing “corps of roughly 400 officers who will spend years working on Afghanistan,” even when they are not actually in-country.
This blog has been up now for a little more than a week. Many thanks to all who have contributed comments–and to all who will do so in the coming weeks. Now seems as good a time as any to pause for breath and ask, “What have we been trying to say here? What exactly is the thesis of these videos?”
Today marks the release of the final video in the “It’s the Tribes, Stupid” series. Believe me, I’m aware of the presumption of titling any discourse, “How to Win in Afghanistan. ” Even Alexander the Great would balk at treading that ground. So, as I say in the video, the thoughts therein are offered not with presumption but, as Rod Serling used to say on the old Twilight Zone show, “submitted for your approval.” That said, I’d like to stick a toe into those waters by touching on a recent (last week) excellent white paper from the Center for a…
I blew it on Wednesday, posting this extremely interesting article by David Ronfeldt of the Rand Corporation so late in the day that it was only “onscreen” for a few hours before being shuffled downpage into the archives. So here’s a re-post that I’ll leave up in the featured position all weekend. The piece ran originally as an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on December 12, 2004. It’s terrific. On Monday I want to share a brand-new (June ’09) White Paper from the Center For A New American Security titled, “Triage: The Next Twelve Months in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”…
Below is a terrific mini-bibliography from guest blogger Jeremy Ward that takes us back to the genesis of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. In 2001, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, an extremely lean contingent of American forces–mostly CIA, SF and other special operators and intelligence specialists, backed up by U.S. air power–made their way into the country and hooked up with the indigenous forces that became known as the Northern Alliance. Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? The object was to destroy the Taliban as payback for their harboring Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda and permitting him to…
The following is an op-ed piece by David Ronfeldt, a senior political scientist at the Rand Corporation. I’m a big fan of his work and will be citing more of it here in the future. Mr. Ronfeldt has given permission to reprint this article in its entirety. Thanks, David! 21st Century Tribes
Yesterday we talked about the idea that the real enemy in AfPak today is not militant Islam or jihadism or terrorism. It’s tribalism and the tribal mindset. Now: how did this thesis evolve? What’s the source? Upon what authority do I put this idea forward?
I’m posting the first two of five video op-ed pieces on the subject of Afghanistan, U.S. troop involvement, and the nature of the enemy. #3 will be posted on Wednesday, #4 on Friday. #5 will wrap it up next Monday. Why am I doing this? Not for money. I’ve got no book coming out, no tour, nothing. I just want this information to get out there. We did these videos—I and a group of smart and dedicated young filmmakers—just as concerned citizens, the way one might write an op-ed piece and submit it to a newspaper.
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