The Seth Jones Experience

in imperial watch| potpurri

Seth G. Jones, the author of “In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan,” is a civilian adviser to the American military.

One of the brains behind President Obama’s Afghanistan policy Seth G. Jones, of RAND & McCrystal has a particularly unhinged op-ed in today’s NYT: Take the War to Pakistan.

The United States and Pakistan must target Taliban leaders in Baluchistan. There are several ways to do it, and none requires military forces.

The first is to conduct raids to capture Taliban leaders in Baluchistan. Most Taliban are in or near Baluchi cities like Quetta. These should be police and intelligence operations, much like American-Pakistani efforts to capture Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other Qaeda operatives after 9/11. The second is to hit Taliban leaders with drone strikes, as the United States and Pakistan have done so effectively in the tribal areas.

The moral bankruptcy apparent in the contrast between two sentences (“none requires military forces”) and (“to hit the Taliban with drone strikes”) is breath-taking. “Baluchi cities” like Quetta only have a million or so people, after all. Our precision strikes are surely only to singe a few curled mustaches. Right, Jones? But, yeah, I know. Crying about civilian casualties from non-military force is a luxury that only the un-informed and un-educated can afford. There are hard choices to make for real wars to end. And harder sells to make, as Nathan Hodge demonstrates in regards to Jones’ colleagues, the Kagans. In any case, Seth G. Jones is so much “civilian” cover for a war that has already spilled into Baluchistan. And WITH ONLY 20 CASUALTIES! Hallelujah.

Since Jones has never shown a predilection to history (or even an understanding of what “past” means. You can see some frank assessments of his earlier works, here and here), so here be a crude lesson about what the U.S. is getting into in Baluchistan: an existing war since 2004.

Seth G. Jones comes from the University of Chicago’s political science program and is an advisee of John Mearsheimer. His dissertation, The rise of Europe: Security cooperation and the balance of power, deals with the EU and intra-country security apparatus. He has no access to any relevant language, or historical archive. All of which, of course, makes him the perfect man to construct and explain this. [pdf]

I am too tired even to complain.

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