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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Colossal U.S. Failure in Afghanistan

Today's NYTimes online quotes U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan Richard C. Holbrooke saying that the U.S. has "wasted hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars" on a failed program to eradicate the cultivation of the poppy crop in that country and that the program was being discontinued in favor of planned efforts to stop shipments of heroin out of the country and to encourage farmers to grow alternative crops.

Question: Umm, after say $1 million was wasted, why didn't the planners stop the program then? Or after the essentially colossal sum of $10 million was wasted? Or $50 million. It took the loss of the incomprehensible amount of "hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars" for the architects of this policy to determine that their program wasn't working?

What kind of management system is that? Who was running the program, the Three Stooges? A deeply dysfunctional feedback system was in play. What does this suggest about other U.S. foreign policy initiatives? A defective policy presupposes defective thinking.

Who's in charge?

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