In a news briefing on Thursday, Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of US Central Command, told reporters that the strategy review on the Afghan War is already ongoing. He insisted, however, that the review was not likely to mean any substantial changes to war strategy.
Votel downplayed the review, which previous reports suggested were a response to the Trump Administration’s growing concerns about the war’s failure. He said it was only considering minor adjustments, and insisted that the war is “showing progress.”
This has been a growing disconnect between the US military and politicians, as the military has stuck to 17 years of narrative that the Afghan War is making progress, while metrics showing shrinking territory under government control have political officials fearing the war is on the cusp of being lost.
Yet Gen. Votel is likely right in one regard: the strategy review is unlikely to produce any major changes. Over 17 years of war, the US has repeatedly escalated the conflict, and having found that failing to produce victory, they review. This generally leads them to double down on the same strategy, while trying to spin it as an improvement of the existing one.
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