31 August 2012

Another "Report from Afghanistan" from Pat Proctor

The next installment in Pat Proctor's series, "Special Report from Afghanistan," called "The Battle for Kunar," is up at ArmchairGeneral.com. To see the article, click here. Here is an excerpt:

More than any place in eastern Afghanistan, Kunar province illustrates the difficulty of handing the fight over to Afghan national security forces while the war still rages. Across the province, a patchwork of U.S. and Afghan security forces are serving: Task Force Mountain Warrior (4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division), security force assistance advisor teams (SFAATs) from Strike Brigade (2d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division), two battalions of 2d Brigade, 201st Afghan National Army (ANA) Corps, three battalions of the Afghan Border Patrol, and hundreds of Afghan uniformed police. They struggle to hold the cities and villages along the narrow Kunar River valley against the constant pressure of Afghan and Pakistani Taliban insurgents who flow back and forth across the porous border with Pakistan through countless mountain passes along Kunar’s eastern border.

Pat Proctor has been deployed to eastern Afghanistan with the US 1st Infantry Division since April 2012. Before he left, he agreed to write a series of articles for Armchair General magazine. You can see other articles in this series here.


  1. Hi, Pat, had a yes-no question for you to ponder, if you could, and a book recommendation that hopefully would pique your interest.

    First, the question: Do you feel a theoretically high probability of US/World media bias (which has been discussed as possibly evident in relation to the recent Mohammed Movie situation and the ongoing violent backlashes against the US, its foreign policy, and personnel) require a re-thinking and re-working of the recommended model you put forth in "Media Warfare"?

    Secondly, the book-recommendation: Christoph Zurcher's "The Post-Soviet Wars".


    "The Post-Soviet Wars is a comparative account of the organized violence in the Caucusus region, looking at four key areas: Chechnya, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Dagestan. ZürcherÕs goal is to understand the origin and nature of the violence in these regions, the response and suppression from the post-Soviet regime and the resulting outcomes, all with an eye toward understanding why some conflicts turned violent, whereas others not. Notably, in Dagestan actual violent conflict has not erupted, an exception of political stability for the region. The book provides a brief history of the region, particularly the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting changes that took place in the wake of this toppling. Zürcher carefully looks at the conditions within each region -- economic, ethnic, religious, and political -- to make sense of why some turned to violent conflict and some did not and what the future of the region might portend."

    This book, while I was reading it, brought my thoughts to Lebanon and Afghanistan, and their essentially multi-ethnic societies. The level of ethnic homogenity in a geographical area was one of the key factors, in Zurcher's view, as to the probability of 'internal conflicts' breaking out, or not. The sections Zurcher wrote on the Ajaria & Dagestan 'cases' were of particular interest, and very enlightening due to the history that I had hitherto been unaware of.

    To you and your soldiers in the Kunar, and US servicemen/women elsewhere, Be well,

    D. Heiden

  2. The media environment is so segmented and the news media consumers so powerful (i.e., able to select what they do and do not consume from media sources) that I think the supposedly monolithic left-wing media bias of past ages is gone forever. In the internet age, people consume the news that matches their own political biases.

    I would make the argument (as I do in "Media War") that only uniform, consistent media bias is the bias toward the sensational. This is the foundation of the model I posit for "Media War"...the reporter and news outlet is going to cover the sensational, a military organization can either facilitate that in exchange for the opportunity to provide context, or let the reporter/media outlet get the story on their own and figure out their own context. Either way, they are going to get the story.

    Thanks for the book recommendation...I will definitely check it out!