According to Michele Norris on Thursday's ATC, NPR was "curious about John McCain's premise that applying the lessons of Iraq could lead to victory in Afghanistan." Opening the report, Norris says, "McCain asserts that the best way to turn around the situation in Afghanistan is by using the experience in Iraq as a blueprint." This is followed by McCain's voice asserting "...it is precisely the success of the surge in Iraq that shows us the way to succeed in Afghanistan; it's by applying the tried and true principles of counterinsurgency used in the surge - which Senator Obama opposed - that we will win in Afghanistan."
What NPR should be curious about is whether the very premise of McCain's claim is true. Has the Surge has been a "success?" Unfortunately, as anyone who follows NPR knows, NPR has simply accepted that the Surge has succeeded.
In the report Norris talks to Nathaniel C. Fick, counterinsurgency advocate and fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Fick is all for using the "lessons learned" in Iraq, Vietnam, Malaya, etc. (NPR has a long history of promoting US/British counterinsurgency) as the US seeks "victory" in Afghanistan. If you listen to the report you won't hear anything about these lessons from the Surge: rearming parties to an unresolved sectarian conflict, that the US may be helping Maliki crush political opponents, that a lot of the "peace" of the surge is from cantonization of Baghdad and ethnic cleansing.
What NPR should be doing is acknowledging that the Surge has been a smashing success if its goal is to reduce immediate violence and postpone the final horrors of the Iraq War until Bush leaves office. If they were reporting truthfully on the failures of the Surge, then McCain's wish to apply the Surge wouldn't even merit serious consideration, but would reveal itself as the self-evident folly that it is.