Mortenson, the military’s fallen guru

Diana West treats the revelations about best selling author and Afghan school builder Greg Mortenson as a metaphor for the U.S. military’s delusory “hearts and minds” Afghanistan strategy. Fair point. But I’m not sure that West satisfactorily demonstrates her main point. The fact that Mortenson engaged in massive financial fraud, and that many of his schools are non-existent, does not prove that his educational ideas and strategies are wrong. As Nicholas Kristof points out in Mortenson’s defense (see next entry), many of Mortenson’s schools do exist and function, after all.

West concludes her column thus:

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been had. But not by Mortenson. The military culture that grabbed Mortenson’s three cups and didn’t let go was already lost, already in thrall to the Lefty theories and see-no-Islam strategies that have turned U.S. foreign policy into the Great Society with guns.

Independently, Mortenson dressed it all up with a heady mix of popular appeal and ever-so-high purpose. Education, not terrorism; plowshares, not swords; love, not war. Clear, hold and build, build, build!

From COIN to “Three Cups,” it’s a perfectly irresistible way to avoid the facts and features of jihad culture where such institutional naivete leads to stratospheric waste, fraud and mounting casualties.
Anything to keep the teacups from getting chipped.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 30, 2011 08:47 AM | Send

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