Once again, media portrayal of the war in Afghanistan has lazily fallen back on false historical analogies and predictions of doom. After a protracted suicide bomb campaign and the fierce back and forth battle over the Panjwayi and Zharey districts west of Kandahar, the Taliban are “ resurgent” ; it is Vietnam all over again and the United States and NATO are “ losing”  the war.1 Certain senior NATO commanders, seeking to draw attention to the need for more resources, have also engaged in hyperbole, thus fueling misperceptions that imminent failure is on the horizon.2 Alternately, we see a continuing absence of logic in the bombardment of criticism that the international effort is too focused on military operations and not enough on “ reconstruction” , and this is the root cause of our “ failure.”All is not well: there are significant problems and the enemy is succeeding in critical areas, particularly in information operations. The Taliban and its allies have also improved operationally, though not as dramatically as depicted in the media. There is, however, little or no American coverage of what is going on in southern Afghanistan, particularly the operations of the lead nation in southern Afghanistan, Canada, and the other nations engaged in this fight. Totally overlooked by American and British professional military commentators, and generally ignored by American and British media outlets who are focused on their own national problems in-theatre, the combination of neglect has resulted in a distorted impression of exactly what is going on in southern Afghanistan and why.

Originally published in Defense and Security Analysis