Accession Number : ADA625706


Title :   Obama in Afghanistan: Strategy as Critical Discourse in America's Longest War


Descriptive Note : Doctoral thesis


Corporate Author : AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIR AND SPACE STUDIES


Personal Author(s) : Sholtis, Tadd


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a625706.pdf


Report Date : Jan 2011


Pagination or Media Count : 393


Abstract : As military strategy changes over the course of a prolonged conflict, the validity of the strategy (the appropriateness of ends and logic of means) becomes a subject of increasing debate and doubt. As leaders try to sustain the political legitimacy of their strategy, other elites may place greater emphasis on an often neglected aspect of strategic discourse: the equity of the process of making strategy, defined as its relative public transparency and the inclusion of autonomous participants in debate and decision-making. It therefore may be useful to consider strategy in a prolonged war of change as a critical discourse in which a growing number of elites demand a more thorough and open discussion of the strategy in order to support it. The idea of strategy as critical discourse is used to explain the struggles of the Obama administration to change the strategy in Afghanistan and perceptions of that strategy at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. Separate chapters describe elite treatment of the dominant forms of discourse at each level: a Cabinet-level internal policy debate at the strategic level, counterinsurgency doctrine at the operational level, and war stories at the tactical level. In each case, the dominant form of discourse operated in a way that obscured or avoided basic questions of validity while foreclosing opportunities for greater equity. Although this approach to discourse has the virtues of political expediency, the Afghanistan case suggests that sustaining long wars may require an approach to strategic decision-making and communication that is more transparent and inclusive.


Descriptors :   *AFGHANISTAN CONFLICT , *MILITARY STRATEGY , *PRESIDENT(UNITED STATES) , COUNTERINSURGENCY , DECISION MAKING , LEADERSHIP , MILITARY DOCTRINE , MILITARY HISTORY , POLICIES , THESES


Subject Categories : Government and Political Science
      Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE