Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast


On April 13, 2017 the U.S. dropped a 30-foot-long, 21,600-pound, GPS-guided GBU-43/B bomb onto a cave complex in Achin district of Nangahar province Afghanistan to kill 36 members of the violent extremist organization the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  Below are my tweets on this action.  Separately, as I have been a guest speaker on how culture effects strategy, I have attached my one-page lesson handout that I use at those events for anyone who wants to download it.  I hope you find it to be of use.


And here with go with a few thoughts on today’s drop in Afghanistan…

Today we are over 15 years into some form of man / train / equip program in Afghanistan.

Apparently the Afghanistan security forces in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province let ISIS establish a foothold

Said foothold was significant enough that a 30-foot-long, 21,600-pound, GPS-guided GBU-43/B was required.

What was neglected in the Achin district of Nangahar province that enabled ISIS to establish such a foothold?

Again I ask — What was neglected in the Achin district of Nangahar province that enabled ISIS to establish such a foothold?

What was neglected was the U.S. taking culture into account with our entire Afghanistan policy.

“A centralized government is great in the U.S., surely it will work in Afghanistan!”

Not necessarily…

“In the U.S. our people have this, & that, & the other! Surely everyone in Afghanistan wants it too & when they get it life will be good!”

Not necessarily…

Maybe the U.S. shouldn’t mirror-image & think that the rest of the world is the same as us or values the same things or thinks the same way.

Maybe in Afghanistan if the U.S. focused on interests instead of symbolism things would have been different.

Maybe go into Afghanistan in September 2001 & reinforce what was already there?

“Hi Tribal Leader X. You like being in charge? Cool. Keep being in charge. If you let AQ come in here we’ll kill you. You feel me?”

Maybe do that a 2-3 dozen times, U.S. supporting existing culturally accepted social structures in order to deny safe haven to AQ.

Nah! Forget that. Let’s up end everything. Let’s create jobs in districts, increase DoD budgets, & get everyone promoted & awarded!

Let’s build a central government & train it’s military to defend against a major ground war with Pakistan even though it is highly unlikely.

Let’s remove the Toyotas with stick shifts that can be easily repaired & replace them with automatic transmission Fords from America! Yay!

Forget those AK47s they know how to use! Let’s buy M16s & M4s & re-train EVERYONE!

Why do “by, with, & through” when we can make them all dependent upon us! It’s like drugs, “The first taste is free!”

Well I think that is enough ranting… Back to legitimate thought.

In 1968 the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, while a tactical failure, which destroyed the Viet Cong as a fighting force, was a strategic victory.

The U.S news media & the Americans watching on TV wondered…

“If this far into the war the enemy can generate this much combat power, what are we doing?”

I view this MOAB event as the same thing…

If in April 2017, after so long building capacity & capability, the U.S. must employ a MOAB, what is going on?

End of tweet series…

Categories: National Security, Quick Thoughts
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