So What Does My Book Say About Afghanistan?

Tank park of Soviet tanks near Kunduz, 4 May 2008. These were left over ordnance from the previous war. (photo by William A. Lawrence II).

Now that America has lost another war, what does my book say about Afghanistan?

In 2015 my book, America’s Modern Wars, was published. It took a while to line up a publisher. I ended up having to give it a complete re-working. I do have a chapter on Afghanistan. This book came about as a result of work we were doing in 2004-2005 on providing a duration and casualty estimate for Iraq. This happened to unfortunately, be correct. See: Forecasting the Iraqi Insurgency | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Then we were contracted to expand our databases and conducted analysis on insurgencies in general. This produced some 16 reports. See I-3 through 14, MISS-1 through 5 and OSD-1 and OTI-1: TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications

As people outside of DOD heard of our work, we were asked to provide briefings to the U.S. Intelligence community. We ended up with a contract with them (this is OTI-1). At no point in the process we were specifically tasked to look at Afghanistan, although it was one of the 109 cases in our database. Finally, we were asked by the National Intelligence Council to brief on Afghanistan, which we had never done any in-depth analysis of. The briefing was called “Iraq, Data, Hypotheses and Afghanistan (5 December 2008)” This briefing kind of mutated into Chapter 21 of my book “Relating a Force Ratio Model to Afghanistan.” I also will be presenting this briefing “as is” at a conference next September (more on that in January).

All of our work on insurgencies ended in 2009. Apparently, the DOD felt they had a grasp of the issue and did not need our support anymore. So we ceased doing any work on insurgencies after 2009. My book was written 2013-2014 and I did take a moment to update and re-examine a few issues; but, the book is primarily a snap-shot of our analysis and thinking up through 2009. The databases we were using have not been updated since 2008. I have tried to get contracts just to update the databases, but again no interest from DOD. What I would really like to do is update the databases, add in a few more cases, and then update our analysis. Again, not something I am going to do without budget.

So, anyhow, what did my book say about Afghanistan?

First I started the chapter with a quote (see page 253), which is probably a good place to end this particular post:

People often ask me, “How long will this last?” It may happen tomorrow, it may happen a month from now, it may take a year or two, but we will prevail.

–President George W. Bush, 2001, in response to questions in his first news conference 96 hours after the war in Afghanistan had begun.

 

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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