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Lara M. Dadkhah On CAS = FAIL

Lara M. Dadkhah, once a graduate student in Security Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, has written the most brain-dead op-ed I’ve read on the war in Afghanistan in years. It’s an infantile perspective on a complex dynamic. Lots of cheerleading, no insight.

There’s not much to it:

So in a modern refashioning of the obvious — that war is harmful to civilian populations — the United States military has begun basing doctrine on the premise that dead civilians are harmful to the conduct of war. The trouble is, no past war has ever supplied compelling proof of that claim.

Or this one:

Logic dictates that no well-ordered army would give up its advantages and expect to win, and the United States military, which does not have the manpower in Afghanistan to fight the insurgents one-on-one, is no exception.

Her point is much like Zen’s anecdote of the drunk guy looking for his keys under the streetlamp rather than where he lost them, because that’s where he can see. She’s saying CAS sorties haven’t kept pace with the increase in US operations. No shit. There’s lots of material available to her if she wants to come out of the scorched earth school of thought and understand even the basics of what it takes to win the kind of war we’re fighting.

What even more bizarre about this nonsense, is the vagueness of Dadkhah’s background and current employer. Why is she shilling for the air power folks? Does she work for Boeing – in marketing? Is she just an incompetent self-declared ‘intelligence analyst’?

Jumping into what is available on Dadkhah, she:

has worked as an open source analyst covering biodefense issues in Iran and Afghanistan, and as a data analyst for current coalition information operations in Afghanistan.

The first fluff sounds like an internship or research assistantship of some kind. The second… none of the IO operators I know would be remotely interested in publishing an op-ed in one of the most widely read newspapers in the world calling for more civilian deaths in Afghanistan. In fact, this is precisely the kind of thing they work hard to mitigate and counter.



-Shlok
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28 Comments
  • Eric Vincent
    Feb 18, 2010

    I found this article, because I just finished reading that piece in the NYT, and I immediately Googled the name Lara M. Dadkhah to find out who this idiot was. I’m happy to see S. Vaidya is in concurrence with my assessment.

    Salon armchair generals such as Lara M. Dadkhah do not see enough actual combat to appreciate the fact that you cannot differentiate between friend and foe at 20,000 feet.

    -Eric Vincent

    Reply
  • zenpundit
    Feb 18, 2010

    “Is she shilling for the air power folks because she works for Boeing – in marketing? Is she just an incompetent self-declared ‘intelligence analyst’?”

    These are not mutually exclusive possibilities. The second helps expedite the first.

    If Lara worked for General Dynamics she’d be advocating a greater role in Afghanistan for submarines.

    Reply
  • Heh. Agreed.

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  • trey_trey
    Feb 18, 2010

    I think you are all missing the point of this article entirely! Due to the lack of actual combat training and/or experience,I’m sure. You cant cant see or hear the truth with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears. But it sure has’nt stopped your kind from spewing B.S. from your mouths.

    Reply
  • LOL. Alright stud.

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  • thirteenburn
    Feb 18, 2010

    Absolutely agreed!! I just started to read Dadkhah’s ‘Op-Ed’ piece in the NY Times, (which incidentally has ANOTHER plaguristic “journalist” amongst their ranks, say nothing of the oxymoron of combining Dadkhah’s name and the word “intelligence”) and it was obvious that she let those pesky little things called “facts” get in the way of her abject hatred for all things America/American.

    Even the most anti-America/American news organization – NBC – is now “admitting” that things are finally progressing in Afghanistan and the latest “surge” that Herr Pelosi and Herr Reid fought against has the Taliban on the ropes in their LAST refuge, no less.

    But this imbecilic dolt of a child can only focus on minor problems and issues, all the while – and with a straight face no less – that we’re actually LOSING the war. But what else would one expect from the Times, where evidently lies, stolen articles and a “journalist” staff suffering from a debilitating case of ‘White Guilt’ is to expected and encouraged and any singular, original thought is forbidden.

    Pathetic. Sad. But oh so very, VERY true…

    “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” – Joseph Goebbles, SOCIALIST NAZI Propaganda Minister; 1939

    “A man who reads nothing is far smarter than a man who reads nothing but newspapers.” – T. Jefferson; 1789

    Reply
  • Amazing. I Googled her for exactly the same reason as you lot. How did this article get published?

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  • Major Maven
    Feb 18, 2010

    Finally someone’ s saying “the Emperor” has no clothes although General McChrystal seems to be well supplied. And plenty of ribbons. But, if you look closely you’ll see his infantry badge has nothing to do with combat. He’s an “expert” which means he’s had plenty of training. And his Bronze Star, usually given for bravery in combat also has nothing to with danger. He’s an office General, a smart politician soon to have a hundred thousand young Americans under him placed in greater danger than necessary to advance political objectives. And, what happened to the investigation of those errant missiles that had nothing to do with an airstrike ? Oops. Sorry ! It was only 300 meteres off target. Well, we’ll just give the family some money.

    Reply
  • Larry Dunbar
    Feb 18, 2010

    “has worked as an open source analyst covering biodefense issues in Iran and Afghanistan, and as a data analyst for current coalition information operations in Afghanistan”, is code for CIA?

    Reply
  • Larry – I really, really, really doubt it.

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  • Larry Dunbar
    Feb 18, 2010

    Do you mean CIA doesn’t employ open-source tactics that is common to Mil-intel? Because she does have a point. Historically, the civilian death count didn’t have much, if any, effect on the War effort during WWII. The Nazis killed millions as did the Allies during carpet bombing, but it didn’t slow the German war effort much, and it wasn’t until after the War and attention was drawn to those still in the death camps that America understood what was really going on. As for the A-bomb, the Japanese probably surrendered as much because they could no longer protect their leader, as anything to do with the civilian deaths. I am not saying that civilian deaths didn’t, or don’t, matter; it just doesn’t seem to matter during war, historically.

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  • Nah, meant Dadkhah didn’t work for the CIA.

    Not sure on that. Killing civilians is inefficient – waste of resources, time, humans, allies, etc. That’s played a role in the outcome of every war, ever.

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  • LARA M. DADKHAH is one sick lady. The New York Times has no shame! Gee MS Dadkhan remember how killing civilians in Afghanistan worked so well for the Russians.

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  • TfOkeefe
    Feb 18, 2010

    I couldn’t agree more with the original author about how this Op-Ed is one of the most brain-dead Op-Ed’s I’ve ever read. Granted, you read plenty of stupid ones, but usually they are written by idiots who at the very least held some sort of important position in government or academia at one point in their lives. She’s just a graduate student!

    She obviously has no understanding of the basic tenants of counterinsurgency, and may have been absence for most of her history classes. She states that “the United States military has begun basing doctrine on the premise that dead civilians are harmful to the conduct of war. The trouble is, no past war has ever supplied compelling proof of that claim.” Have you ever heard of Vietnam Ms. Dadkhah? Not to mention the fact that successful air campaigns generally work against traditional armies with traditional targets.

    Her argument also ignores the fact that we live in a completely different media age than we did during previous conflicts. Technological advances in media production and distribution make it much easier and quicker for an insurgency to produce video that could easily undermine the U.S. and NATO in Afghanistan. Especially if civilian casualties are high. The evolution that has taken place in Arab media (internet & satellite news) means that if the U.S. and NATO forces are lax in preventing civilian deaths, than they will clearly not succeed because they will lose any support within the Middle East or South Asia. We all know that there already isn’t too much support. Large amounts of civilian deaths would also only reinforce negative stereotypes of the U.S. and the West in the Muslim world. A place we very much need to improve our image.

    Besides these strategic arguments, there is just a very basic humanitarian argument that one should at all costs avoid the death of innocent civilians.

    Feel free to join my “Lara M. Dadkhah is a complete idiot” Facebook group:
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=344284916070

    Reply
  • Nicolo Machiavelli
    Feb 19, 2010

    The recent Op-Ed article in The New York Times “Empty Skies over Afghanistan”, by intelligence analyst Lara M. Dadkhah contained misleading statements and false information regarding a Sept. 8 battle in Afghanistan that killed five U.S. troops and nine Afghan soldiers. The author tries to support his thesis that more air power is needed to win the war in Afghanistan, but contrary to what the graduate student in Security Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service wrote in his Op-Ed article, the real reason for the deaths of five U.S. Marines and nine Afghan soldiers was not due to a lack of air power, but rather due to absence of experienced senior leaders and inadequate action by officers in a tactical operations center responsible for the area that was under attack. While this cannot be summed up in a nice little Op-Ed title like “Empty Skies over Afghanistan”, the flawed analysis by Mr. Dadkhah in his article should have been called “An Empty Suit Analysis of how to fight a Counter Insurgency War”.

    http://pinione.blogspot.com/2010/02/empty-suit-analysis-of-how-to-fight.html

    Reply
  • Wendy Williams
    Feb 19, 2010

    I think Lara Dadkhah is a data analyst like Sarah Palin is a news analyst.

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  • Just when I thought I was quick on the draw, I discover that someone has already set up a “Lara M. Dadkhah is a complete idiot” Facebook group:
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=344284916070

    Reply
  • Larry Dunbar
    Feb 19, 2010

    “Not sure on that. Killing civilians is inefficient – waste of resources, time, humans, allies, etc. That’s played a role in the outcome of every war, ever.”

    Yeah, you’re right. Besides, tactics win battles, but strategy wins wars, it is just kinda hard on the ones in battle.

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  • LOL. That Facebook group is hilarious.

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  • John Hammer
    Feb 21, 2010

    How the hell did this get printed in the NYT? This person has no background whatsoever to speak of. Someone is high on something. Advocating over
    riding the counter-insurgency manual? Based on what? Some pathetic grad school logic.

    Reply
  • Torkham
    Feb 21, 2010

    I know Ms. Dadkhah personally. Although I definitely disagreed with her article as well, I would like to set a few things straight.

    1) She is no longer a graduate student at Georgetown, she graduated awhile ago.
    2) She does not work for the CIA or any other government agency — at least not directly.
    3) Although I personally disagreed with the article, she is far from a “brain dead” person.
    4) She has no vested interest — monetary or otherwise — in this issue whatsoever.

    Reply
  • ishumar
    Feb 24, 2010

    @Torkham:
    How do you know she doesn’t work for the CIA?

    Reply
  • Kris Merschrod
    Feb 24, 2010

    I wrote similar comments about the lack if depth in that article. Booze Allen Hamilton does classified intelligence analysis and other work for the US armed forces. Ms. Dadkhan may know some things that the rest of us do not know, but the article did not show brillance, that is for sure.

    It is amazing how much work is farmed out to the consulting firms. It is a same because then the “institutional memories” of the public institutions does become “brain dead” and the problem if “stove piping” is exacerbated because altough, technically, government information, it takes on a Proprietory nature in the hands of the consulting firms.

    Could that be why the “underwear bomber” information was not crossed? I do not know, but in the effort to shrink the government payroll, the wizards are crippling the government’s ability to play its role.

    Reply
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  • I actually applaud NYT for publishing this Op-Ed. It is important to expose the war profiteering fanatics like Dadkhah. People like her have no understanding of the policies and positions they advocate and are far more dangerous when left to peddle their agendas in the shadows of government. I’m happy that NYT published this and exposed her simple minded and uneducated views for the rest of the logical world to publicly discredit.

    Reply
  • larsvanness
    Mar 2, 2010

    Thank you Shlok. You took the words right out of my mouth.

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  • What a shame!!
    My last name is also “Dadkhah”, and today I was searching about my name in the internet when I landed in this page and another similar page. “Dadkhah” is a no so common Persian last name. It means “Justice Seeker”. Here in case of this lady, she acted totally against the meaning of her name!!!
    I am ashamed that when people search for my name, they got to see such garbage of this lady!!

    Reply
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