Turns out that Wednesday's story features Kilcullen playing a bit of Jekyll and Hyde - something that Siegel completely misses (no surprise there). As the kindly Dr. Jekyll, he tells Siegel:
"The accidental guerrilla is a person fighting us not because they hate the West - but because they've been co-opted by a very small clique of radicals in their area, and/or because we just turned up in their valley with a brigade, shot their cousin you know, dispossessed their land and so on - and it's a backlash against our presence. "To deal with this he suggests that the US-NATO forces need to
"...focus a little less on full-time main-force guerrilla columns...and focus more on protecting people where they live. That is building relationships with people in local villages, in valleys, major towns and so-on....partnering with local communities to make them self-defending."Sounds downright hunky-dory. But when Siegel asks how long "we" will be in Afghanistan Mr. Hyde reveals:
"I would say that we have three to five years of major engagement with Afghanistan and of that a substantial amount will be heavy combat in the next year or two. If that goes well - and that's a big if - then we will probably find ourselves in a situation where we need to support the Afghans from perhaps one step back if you like, as they handle the problem for another five or ten years or so - and then after that they will handle the problem."A year or two of "heavy combat"? You'd think Siegel would ask his esteemed expert how the US and NATO are going to engage in heavy combat without slaughtering more civilians and how that won't create more "accidental guerrillas"? Apparently the thought never entered Siegel's mind.
Back to being the gentle Jekyll, Kilcullen claims that "....the way they [counterinsurgencies] end is you drive the threat down to the level at which the locals can handle it, and then they just handle it." As is always the case on NPR, there is no reality check on the atrocities and carnage that have been the hallmarks of the counterinsurgencies that Nagl and Kilcullen are so enamored of.
Lastly, something worth reading is a telling (and very defensive) reaction from Kilcullen to a review by Andrew Bacevich of Kilcullen's Accidental Guerrilla book.