Just last week, NBC Nightly News dubbed Garmsir "a model of counterinsurgency success." In November, the Marine Corps Web site said it was beginning to be "a model of economic progress." In September, a Marine battalion commander took a visiting British general to the central bazaar for ice cream. And why not? Garmsir, first in U.S. hands, then British, and now U.S. hands again, was more than a Taliban battleground. It was a proving ground for the infidel-Islamic "interaction" strategy of giving away stuff.British gifts to Garmsir include new roads, wells, ditches, pumps and a 70-ton bridge (built in body armor and helmets) across the main canal. If I'm not mistaken, this same bridge gave rioters easy access to the central bazaar -- the same bazaar where last year, the New York Times Magazine reports, McChrystal asked every Afghan he met: "What do you need?"
His subordinates followed up -- "unfailingly polite, even deferential" -- at a district council meeting where the agenda "was to decide on a list of development projects, which the Americans would pay for."
First choice (since they already had a bridge)? Repairs to the irrigation system "built by American aid workers in the 1950s (that) were badly in need of repair." Yes, as readers of this column know, we are on our second prolonged stint of nation-building in Afghanistan, and no, the first one didn't work, either.
They still like our stuff. But somehow it doesn't fortify local yokels -- even U.S.-secured ones -- against a call to "jihad" over a simplistic lie about Koran abuse.
Why? You won't get an answer from on high where Islam is verboten in formulating policy.
Maybe a new recreation center for Garmsir would do the trick -- eh, General?