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The current commander in chief campaigned for two years on Afghanistan war good -Iraq bad --and stated time after time he would have left Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq {basically continueing the failed "containment" policies of the past --cycles of UN inept often corrupt {oil for food} } stumbling about --the starvation and death by related diseases of nearly half million Iraqis from said UN sanctions -- 100,000 no fly zone missions and periodic bombing {as Clinton did as he was under investigation for perjury and as vote in the congress was about to occur } .

 

What would the continuation of these failed policies have wrought ? The continued despotic rule of Hussein funding terrorism regionaly in the ME ? --Not 100.000 no fly zone missions and periodic bombingh of Iraq but decades more of it --perhaps 500,0000 more missions flown ? The costs over decades more of it in human lives wasted to keep a despot and murderous regime in place ? the trillions of dollars wasted over decades more of it?

 

What effects would there have been if AQ made Afghanistan it central front on its declared war on us ?

 

Obama now recognises this as any rational person might yet it has taken him nearly a year in office {after endless politiicalization of war and promising to take desisive action in Afghanistan for 2 years previous }{ to fullfill his promise ?

 

I can't help wonder if he acted within months of taking office rather than dithering with half measures for nearly a yeat if the major conflict might now be over and we would be withdrawing troops rather than sending more in .

 

http://www.julescrittenden.com/2009/12/05/hammer-meet-anvil/

 

“Marja is that last major sanctuary in Helmand province, the last place where the enemy has freedom of movement,” said Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. “We’re going to take that away from him.”

 

Nicholson compared the prospective battle in Marja to the fight in late 2004 to clear barricaded insurgents from the Iraqi city of Fallouja.

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"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure"..............

Complete Genocide via nuclear weapons?

 

 

I like it......But what about the poor chinese "rag" makers if they have no more heads to wrap?

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"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure"..............

 

Nukes are not the end-all be-all for destruction we tend to

think them to be. A hell of a lot of people tend to start

surviving them just 6 miles out. That's in the flat. Add mountains

and there will be many shadows inside of that. We only

have about 5 -6 thousand nukes on hand, and the place

is like 400,000 square miles.

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"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure"..............

 

Nukes are not the end-all be-all for destruction we tend to

think them to be. A hell of a lot of people tend to start

surviving them just 6 miles out. That's in the flat. Add mountains

and there will be many shadows inside of that. We only

have about 5 -6 thousand nukes on hand, and the place

is like 400,000 square miles.

 

Dude! I was pretty much joking with a cheesy sci-fi flick (Aliens) quote.....

 

Someone hit the nail on the head up above regarding the reference to the Soviet experience in

Afghanistan.

 

The fact that we are deluding ourselves into thinking we can "win" there is plain scary....

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"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure"..............

 

Nukes are not the end-all be-all for destruction we tend to

think them to be. A hell of a lot of people tend to start

surviving them just 6 miles out. That's in the flat. Add mountains

and there will be many shadows inside of that. We only

have about 5 -6 thousand nukes on hand, and the place

is like 400,000 square miles.

 

Dude! I was pretty much joking with a cheesy sci-fi flick (Aliens) quote.....

 

Someone hit the nail on the head up above regarding the reference to the Soviet experience in

Afghanistan.

 

The fact that we are deluding ourselves into thinking we can "win" there is plain scary....

 

I was joking too.

 

All depends on what we define "win" as.

The Soviet notion, I quite agree.

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All depends on what we define "win" as.

The Soviet notion, I quite agree.

 

 

Yup. I'll go so far as to suggest that the concepts of "win" or "lose" are essentially meaningless in that conflict. There is no "win"; that's an overly simplistic metric for those who can't think beyond sports metaphors. Our goals in Afghanistan and the entire Middle East cannot be distilled into that single word, nor can we achieve them by military means alone. I, for one, am encouraged that this administration's deliberative approach to military and foreign policy seems to acknowledge that reality.

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All depends on what we define "win" as.

The Soviet notion, I quite agree.

 

 

Yup. I'll go so far as to suggest that the concepts of "win" or "lose" are essentially meaningless in that conflict. There is no "win"; that's an overly simplistic metric for those who can't think beyond sports metaphors. Our goals in Afghanistan and the entire Middle East cannot be distilled into that single word, nor can we achieve them by military means alone. I, for one, am encouraged that this administration's deliberative approach to military and foreign policy seems to acknowledge that reality.

 

Well, quite obviously you have never had the privileged of carrying a pack and a rifle into combat. Because if you had you would realize just how insultingly cavalier your statement is to those of us who have. When bullets are flying there is a very clear winner and loser, and it's no f-ing metaphor. If you think for one minute that shit hole country is worth any US lives you are on crack, sorry but this whole thing has gone way too far.

 

We should be long gone from both Afghanistan and Iraq. If those people choose to live like animals, so be it. Let them.

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All depends on what we define "win" as.

The Soviet notion, I quite agree.

 

 

Yup. I'll go so far as to suggest that the concepts of "win" or "lose" are essentially meaningless in that conflict. There is no "win"; that's an overly simplistic metric for those who can't think beyond sports metaphors. Our goals in Afghanistan and the entire Middle East cannot be distilled into that single word, nor can we achieve them by military means alone. I, for one, am encouraged that this administration's deliberative approach to military and foreign policy seems to acknowledge that reality.

 

Well, quite obviously you have never had the privileged of carrying a pack and a rifle into combat. Because if you had you would realize just how insultingly cavalier your statement is to those of us who have. When bullets are flying there is a very clear winner and loser, and it's no f-ing metaphor. If you think for one minute that shit hole country is worth any US lives you are on crack, sorry but this whole thing has gone way too far.

 

We should be long gone from both Afghanistan and Iraq. If those people choose to live like animals, so be it. Let them.

 

Excellent job of entirely missing yet illustrating my point.

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All depends on what we define "win" as.

The Soviet notion, I quite agree.

 

 

Yup. I'll go so far as to suggest that the concepts of "win" or "lose" are essentially meaningless in that conflict. There is no "win"; that's an overly simplistic metric for those who can't think beyond sports metaphors. Our goals in Afghanistan and the entire Middle East cannot be distilled into that single word, nor can we achieve them by military means alone. I, for one, am encouraged that this administration's deliberative approach to military and foreign policy seems to acknowledge that reality.

 

Big ol' six pager on the process in the sunday NY Times

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All depends on what we define "win" as.

The Soviet notion, I quite agree.

 

 

Yup. I'll go so far as to suggest that the concepts of "win" or "lose" are essentially meaningless in that conflict. There is no "win"; that's an overly simplistic metric for those who can't think beyond sports metaphors. Our goals in Afghanistan and the entire Middle East cannot be distilled into that single word, nor can we achieve them by military means alone. I, for one, am encouraged that this administration's deliberative approach to military and foreign policy seems to acknowledge that reality.

 

Well, quite obviously you have never had the privileged of carrying a pack and a rifle into combat. Because if you had you would realize just how insultingly cavalier your statement is to those of us who have. When bullets are flying there is a very clear winner and loser, and it's no f-ing metaphor. If you think for one minute that shit hole country is worth any US lives you are on crack, sorry but this whole thing has gone way too far.

 

We should be long gone from both Afghanistan and Iraq. If those people choose to live like animals, so be it. Let them.

 

Excellent job of entirely missing yet illustrating my point.

 

No I most certainly did not miss your point. The problem is that you're perspective is completely naive with respect to what goes on on the battlefield, and that you're buying into the idea that warfighting is something that can or should be "deliberative".

 

That half baked notion is how Kennedy, Johnson and McNamara got us screwed in SE Asia, how Bush et al got us screwed in Iraq and how Obama will get us screwed in Afghanistan.

 

I suggest you get a little more background by reading a book called About Face by one Col Hackworth. It does a great job in pointing out the folly of politics integrated with the battlefield.

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All depends on what we define "win" as.

The Soviet notion, I quite agree.

 

 

Yup. I'll go so far as to suggest that the concepts of "win" or "lose" are essentially meaningless in that conflict. There is no "win"; that's an overly simplistic metric for those who can't think beyond sports metaphors. Our goals in Afghanistan and the entire Middle East cannot be distilled into that single word, nor can we achieve them by military means alone. I, for one, am encouraged that this administration's deliberative approach to military and foreign policy seems to acknowledge that reality.

 

Well, quite obviously you have never had the privileged of carrying a pack and a rifle into combat. Because if you had you would realize just how insultingly cavalier your statement is to those of us who have. When bullets are flying there is a very clear winner and loser, and it's no f-ing metaphor. If you think for one minute that shit hole country is worth any US lives you are on crack, sorry but this whole thing has gone way too far.

 

We should be long gone from both Afghanistan and Iraq. If those people choose to live like animals, so be it. Let them.

 

Excellent job of entirely missing yet illustrating my point.

 

No I most certainly did not miss your point. The problem is that you're perspective is completely naive with respect to what goes on on the battlefield, and that you're buying into the idea that warfighting is something that can or should be "deliberative".

 

That half baked notion is how Kennedy, Johnson and McNamara got us screwed in SE Asia, how Bush et al got us screwed in Iraq and how Obama will get us screwed in Afghanistan.

 

I suggest you get a little more background by reading a book called About Face by one Col Hackworth. It does a great job in pointing out the folly of politics integrated with the battlefield.

 

Not talking about the fighting, talking about whether or not to engage

and why. Deserves careful deliberation.

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I said it before

 

I will say it again

 

Did we learn nothing from watching Russia get their ass kicked over there?

 

This will not end well for anyone...

 

 

 

The situations aren't remotely similar.

 

The Soviets came in, to prop up a faltering regime about to be toppled by a popular, widespread insurgency. We came in to take out a pretty unpopular regime; and the regime we're propping up, might not be perfect, but it's a hell of a lot more popular than that Communist regime was in '79.

 

Some perspective: the Communist Kabul government executed 27k people in Pul-i-Charki Prison, in less than two years, before the Soviet Invasion. Karzai's lot may be crooked, but they aren't slaughtering people wholesale.

 

In the ten years the Soviets were there, they lost 15 thousand soldiers. We've been there eight years, lost 15 hundred Coalition soldiers. In the Soviet war, a million Afghans died. The top estimate for direct and indirect deaths from this conflict is 30 thousand.

 

We aren't acting anything like the Russians, and we aren't being greeted anything like the Russians.

 

Comparing the two wars to each other, is ridiculous.

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For others who are annoyed by their registration requirement and don't yet know:

 

http://www.bugmenot.com/view/nytimes.com

 

Always has a currently working fake username and password for the NY Times.

 

For those whose computers have enough electrons running around to put the whole darn article on a single web page (resulting in far fewer ad loads and thus less ad revenue for the Times), there's a link for that.

 

For those who see no need to subsidize the Times by looking at any of their ads at all, and whose computers are able to handle an entire article in one page instead of 6, there is also a link for that.

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All depends on what we define "win" as.

The Soviet notion, I quite agree.

 

 

Yup. I'll go so far as to suggest that the concepts of "win" or "lose" are essentially meaningless in that conflict. There is no "win"; that's an overly simplistic metric for those who can't think beyond sports metaphors. Our goals in Afghanistan and the entire Middle East cannot be distilled into that single word, nor can we achieve them by military means alone. I, for one, am encouraged that this administration's deliberative approach to military and foreign policy seems to acknowledge that reality.

 

Well, quite obviously you have never had the privileged of carrying a pack and a rifle into combat. Because if you had you would realize just how insultingly cavalier your statement is to those of us who have. When bullets are flying there is a very clear winner and loser, and it's no f-ing metaphor. If you think for one minute that shit hole country is worth any US lives you are on crack, sorry but this whole thing has gone way too far.

 

We should be long gone from both Afghanistan and Iraq. If those people choose to live like animals, so be it. Let them.

 

Excellent job of entirely missing yet illustrating my point.

 

No I most certainly did not miss your point. The problem is that you're perspective is completely naive with respect to what goes on on the battlefield, and that you're buying into the idea that warfighting is something that can or should be "deliberative".

 

That half baked notion is how Kennedy, Johnson and McNamara got us screwed in SE Asia, how Bush et al got us screwed in Iraq and how Obama will get us screwed in Afghanistan.

 

I suggest you get a little more background by reading a book called About Face by one Col Hackworth. It does a great job in pointing out the folly of politics integrated with the battlefield.

 

Not talking about the fighting, talking about whether or not to engage

and why. Deserves careful deliberation.

 

Well of course deliberation before the fact is appropriate... but we are speaking about Afghanistan, and unfortunately we are already engaged.....once the gloves come off we would do well to heed the lessons learned in numerous previous experiences, and as a nation we just seem incapable of doing so. Do you recall the mission of the Marine Corps rifle squad Mark? That mission statement is how wars are fought that are won.

 

Aside from that, remaining in Afghanistan, or Iraq for that matter, is a colossal mistake.

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No I most certainly did not miss your point. The problem is that you're perspective is completely naive with respect to what goes on on the battlefield, and that you're buying into the idea that warfighting is something that can or should be "deliberative".

 

That half baked notion is how Kennedy, Johnson and McNamara got us screwed in SE Asia, how Bush et al got us screwed in Iraq and how Obama will get us screwed in Afghanistan.

 

I suggest you get a little more background by reading a book called About Face by one Col Hackworth. It does a great job in pointing out the folly of politics integrated with the battlefield.

 

What you seem incapable of understanding is that my experience on a battlefield is irrelevent to the comprehensive politics of the region. Do you seriously believe that being shot at on some hill in Kandahar is a prerequisite for understanding the interrelationship of the Afghan tribes and the foreign policy of the United States? If so, any infantryman is qualified to be Secretary of State.

 

On an individual level, when the bullets are flying, it's time to duck and shoot back; but the mission of that one soldier, his unit, his batallion, and his nation must be determined through careful thought, deliberation, and strategic planning as to how the risk of that man's life serves the betterment of USA policies and the security of the populace. If you think politics and deliberation are folly and irrelevent, you're part of the problem, not the solution. We can't kill everyone who wants to kill us. Part of the solution has to be giving enough of them a reason not to.

 

One of the reasons we got screwed in SE Asia was because of the paradigm that somebody had to "win". So instead of more careful analysis and deliberation of realistic goals in the region, we got measurement by body count as to who was "winning". It was bullshit then and it's bullshit now.

 

How are we going to "win" in Afghanistan? By killing every Afghan or Pakistani that looks at us funny? Who's going to formally surrender? How will we know when we've "won"? When there are no terrorist attacks from the region for a year? Five years? Ten years?

 

On the whole, I think I'm more in agreement than disagreement with you in that I want our troops home; but the Shrub royally fucked it up over there with his unconscionable neglect of the Afghan conflict. He left office with the Taliban resurgent and al Queda stonger than before 9/11. Even a bleeding heart liberal like me realizes we can't just pack up and leave the region in its present state without the end result being worse and more threatening to US security than it was when W got us into it. Thanks a pantload, George.

 

So again, I am encouraged that the present administration has looked at the various end games and departure scenarios by which we can achieve a goal of US security without another Vietnam-like protraction. I share your opinion that we should get out, but I trust this guy to do it right. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail; but BHO appears capable of using other tools. We'll see.

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No I most certainly did not miss your point. The problem is that you're perspective is completely naive with respect to what goes on on the battlefield, and that you're buying into the idea that warfighting is something that can or should be "deliberative".

 

That half baked notion is how Kennedy, Johnson and McNamara got us screwed in SE Asia, how Bush et al got us screwed in Iraq and how Obama will get us screwed in Afghanistan.

 

I suggest you get a little more background by reading a book called About Face by one Col Hackworth. It does a great job in pointing out the folly of politics integrated with the battlefield.

 

What you seem incapable of understanding is that my experience on a battlefield is irrelevent to the comprehensive politics of the region. Do you seriously believe that being shot at on some hill in Kandahar is a prerequisite for understanding the interrelationship of the Afghan tribes and the foreign policy of the United States? If so, any infantryman is qualified to be Secretary of State.

 

On an individual level, when the bullets are flying, it's time to duck and shoot back; but the mission of that one soldier, his unit, his batallion, and his nation must be determined through careful thought, deliberation, and strategic planning as to how the risk of that man's life serves the betterment of USA policies and the security of the populace. If you think politics and deliberation are folly and irrelevent, you're part of the problem, not the solution. We can't kill everyone who wants to kill us. Part of the solution has to be giving enough of them a reason not to.

 

One of the reasons we got screwed in SE Asia was because of the paradigm that somebody had to "win". So instead of more careful analysis and deliberation of realistic goals in the region, we got measurement by body count as to who was "winning". It was bullshit then and it's bullshit now.

 

How are we going to "win" in Afghanistan? By killing every Afghan or Pakistani that looks at us funny? Who's going to formally surrender? How will we know when we've "won"? When there are no terrorist attacks from the region for a year? Five years? Ten years?

 

On the whole, I think I'm more in agreement than disagreement with you in that I want our troops home; but the Shrub royally fucked it up over there with his unconscionable neglect of the Afghan conflict. He left office with the Taliban resurgent and al Queda stonger than before 9/11. Even a bleeding heart liberal like me realizes we can't just pack up and leave the region in its present state without the end result being worse and more threatening to US security than it was when W got us into it. Thanks a pantload, George.

 

So again, I am encouraged that the present administration has looked at the various end games and departure scenarios by which we can achieve a goal of US security without another Vietnam-like protraction. I share your opinion that we should get out, but I trust this guy to do it right. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail; but BHO appears capable of using other tools. We'll see.

 

Where we fundamentally differ (and where the hubris of this and previous administrations results in their ultimate demise) is the idea that you have that you can have a "clean" war where you only get the really bad guys and everyone else goes about their business, or that you can "control" the developments on a battlefield such as Afghanistan. That idea ignores thousands of years of history and some of the very basic principles of warfighting. Really that is/was my whole point regarding the folly of politics integrated with the battlefield..and make no mistake it is folly. You really should take the time to read Hackworth's book.

 

Additionally, I would ask you to prove (or at least give some type of cogent reasoning) why, if we left tomorrow our security would degrade? Based on what? Are there any natural resources in Afghanistan we want? Are there any other redeeming qualities to that region? Do you really think that what we do in Afghanistan is going to improve the situation in Paki!?!? And you do realize that our presence in Afghanistan takes a huge load off the Iranians (who in fact do present serious security issues), who prior to our arrival had resources tied up on that border fending off the Taliban.

 

Really, the time has long since passed to walk away from both shit-holes. Our money and our people resources would be far better spent focused on resolving border issues in this country and getting some life pumped back into the economy. If it's that big of deal to get Afghanistan stabilized (and I would argue that we really should give a shit about what happens there) let the immediate neighborhood worry about it instead of letting the Chinese, Iranians, Paki's, Indian's, etc. ride on the backs of the US taxpayers again.

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Where we fundamentally differ (and where the hubris of this and previous administrations results in their ultimate demise) is the idea that you have that you can have a "clean" war where you only get the really bad guys and everyone else goes about their business, or that you can "control" the developments on a battlefield such as Afghanistan. That idea ignores thousands of years of history and some of the very basic principles of warfighting. Really that is/was my whole point regarding the folly of politics integrated with the battlefield..and make no mistake it is folly. You really should take the time to read Hackworth's book.

In that case, we don't differ much at all. I have no illusions that a clean war is possible; or in this case, that the concept of "bad guys" is even clearly defined. From what little I know of Afghanistan, allegiances among the individuals and tribes are impossibly fluid depending on immediate circumstances. A friend one day is a bad guy the next. There's no way to fight such a conflict conventionally. All we should do IMO is get the frack out as soon as possible; but in a way that minimzes casualties to our men and women and maximizes our long-term security. I don't know what that is, so I have to trust (or not) the CIC and other people with a ton more knowledge than me.

 

I'll keep Hackworth's book in mind if I get the time.

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No I most certainly did not miss your point. The problem is that you're perspective is completely naive with respect to what goes on on the battlefield, and that you're buying into the idea that warfighting is something that can or should be "deliberative".

 

That half baked notion is how Kennedy, Johnson and McNamara got us screwed in SE Asia, how Bush et al got us screwed in Iraq and how Obama will get us screwed in Afghanistan.

 

I suggest you get a little more background by reading a book called About Face by one Col Hackworth. It does a great job in pointing out the folly of politics integrated with the battlefield.

 

What you seem incapable of understanding is that my experience on a battlefield is irrelevent to the comprehensive politics of the region. Do you seriously believe that being shot at on some hill in Kandahar is a prerequisite for understanding the interrelationship of the Afghan tribes and the foreign policy of the United States? If so, any infantryman is qualified to be Secretary of State.

 

On an individual level, when the bullets are flying, it's time to duck and shoot back; but the mission of that one soldier, his unit, his batallion, and his nation must be determined through careful thought, deliberation, and strategic planning as to how the risk of that man's life serves the betterment of USA policies and the security of the populace. If you think politics and deliberation are folly and irrelevent, you're part of the problem, not the solution. We can't kill everyone who wants to kill us. Part of the solution has to be giving enough of them a reason not to.

 

One of the reasons we got screwed in SE Asia was because of the paradigm that somebody had to "win". So instead of more careful analysis and deliberation of realistic goals in the region, we got measurement by body count as to who was "winning". It was bullshit then and it's bullshit now.

 

How are we going to "win" in Afghanistan? By killing every Afghan or Pakistani that looks at us funny? Who's going to formally surrender? How will we know when we've "won"? When there are no terrorist attacks from the region for a year? Five years? Ten years?

 

On the whole, I think I'm more in agreement than disagreement with you in that I want our troops home; but the Shrub royally fucked it up over there with his unconscionable neglect of the Afghan conflict. He left office with the Taliban resurgent and al Queda stonger than before 9/11. Even a bleeding heart liberal like me realizes we can't just pack up and leave the region in its present state without the end result being worse and more threatening to US security than it was when W got us into it. Thanks a pantload, George.

 

So again, I am encouraged that the present administration has looked at the various end games and departure scenarios by which we can achieve a goal of US security without another Vietnam-like protraction. I share your opinion that we should get out, but I trust this guy to do it right. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail; but BHO appears capable of using other tools. We'll see.

 

Where we fundamentally differ (and where the hubris of this and previous administrations results in their ultimate demise) is the idea that you have that you can have a "clean" war where you only get the really bad guys and everyone else goes about their business, or that you can "control" the developments on a battlefield such as Afghanistan. That idea ignores thousands of years of history and some of the very basic principles of warfighting. Really that is/was my whole point regarding the folly of politics integrated with the battlefield..and make no mistake it is folly. You really should take the time to read Hackworth's book.

 

Additionally, I would ask you to prove (or at least give some type of cogent reasoning) why, if we left tomorrow our security would degrade? Based on what? Are there any natural resources in Afghanistan we want? Are there any other redeeming qualities to that region? Do you really think that what we do in Afghanistan is going to improve the situation in Paki!?!? And you do realize that our presence in Afghanistan takes a huge load off the Iranians (who in fact do present serious security issues), who prior to our arrival had resources tied up on that border fending off the Taliban.

 

Really, the time has long since passed to walk away from both shit-holes. Our money and our people resources would be far better spent focused on resolving border issues in this country and getting some life pumped back into the economy. If it's that big of deal to get Afghanistan stabilized (and I would argue that we really should give a shit about what happens there) let the immediate neighborhood worry about it instead of letting the Chinese, Iranians, Paki's, Indian's, etc. ride on the backs of the US taxpayers again.

 

 

I quite agree it's probably a waste of time, but the book you need to

read about this, if we must stick to the Vietnam anology ( a bad idea)

is Bernard Falls. The threat posed by the ability of the NVA to field

large formations just doesn't exist in Afghanistan.

 

The problem is not killing the enemy, it's finding the enemy. Thinking

that McCrystal and Petreaus are simply letting politics create

some sort of kinder gentler war is fundimentally wrong. Check

out McCrystals record in Iraq. The man is a killer.

 

Edit: On second thought, skip the Fall stuff. Here

is everything he said in an entire book in just 45 pages specific

to Afghanistan. Don't let the length daunt you, the last 20 of

it is but tech details.

 

If you have ever wondered how it was some villagers

beat the USSR, it's there. But more importantly is

tells the tale of the place and it's people. Take particular

note that Pashtunwali trumps everything, even Islam, to those folks.

 

They CAN find the enemy.

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No I most certainly did not miss your point. The problem is that you're perspective is completely naive with respect to what goes on on the battlefield, and that you're buying into the idea that warfighting is something that can or should be "deliberative".

 

That half baked notion is how Kennedy, Johnson and McNamara got us screwed in SE Asia, how Bush et al got us screwed in Iraq and how Obama will get us screwed in Afghanistan.

 

I suggest you get a little more background by reading a book called About Face by one Col Hackworth. It does a great job in pointing out the folly of politics integrated with the battlefield.

 

What you seem incapable of understanding is that my experience on a battlefield is irrelevent to the comprehensive politics of the region. Do you seriously believe that being shot at on some hill in Kandahar is a prerequisite for understanding the interrelationship of the Afghan tribes and the foreign policy of the United States? If so, any infantryman is qualified to be Secretary of State.

 

On an individual level, when the bullets are flying, it's time to duck and shoot back; but the mission of that one soldier, his unit, his batallion, and his nation must be determined through careful thought, deliberation, and strategic planning as to how the risk of that man's life serves the betterment of USA policies and the security of the populace. If you think politics and deliberation are folly and irrelevent, you're part of the problem, not the solution. We can't kill everyone who wants to kill us. Part of the solution has to be giving enough of them a reason not to.

 

One of the reasons we got screwed in SE Asia was because of the paradigm that somebody had to "win". So instead of more careful analysis and deliberation of realistic goals in the region, we got measurement by body count as to who was "winning". It was bullshit then and it's bullshit now.

 

How are we going to "win" in Afghanistan? By killing every Afghan or Pakistani that looks at us funny? Who's going to formally surrender? How will we know when we've "won"? When there are no terrorist attacks from the region for a year? Five years? Ten years?

 

On the whole, I think I'm more in agreement than disagreement with you in that I want our troops home; but the Shrub royally fucked it up over there with his unconscionable neglect of the Afghan conflict. He left office with the Taliban resurgent and al Queda stonger than before 9/11. Even a bleeding heart liberal like me realizes we can't just pack up and leave the region in its present state without the end result being worse and more threatening to US security than it was when W got us into it. Thanks a pantload, George.

 

So again, I am encouraged that the present administration has looked at the various end games and departure scenarios by which we can achieve a goal of US security without another Vietnam-like protraction. I share your opinion that we should get out, but I trust this guy to do it right. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail; but BHO appears capable of using other tools. We'll see.

 

Where we fundamentally differ (and where the hubris of this and previous administrations results in their ultimate demise) is the idea that you have that you can have a "clean" war where you only get the really bad guys and everyone else goes about their business, or that you can "control" the developments on a battlefield such as Afghanistan. That idea ignores thousands of years of history and some of the very basic principles of warfighting. Really that is/was my whole point regarding the folly of politics integrated with the battlefield..and make no mistake it is folly. You really should take the time to read Hackworth's book.

 

Additionally, I would ask you to prove (or at least give some type of cogent reasoning) why, if we left tomorrow our security would degrade? Based on what? Are there any natural resources in Afghanistan we want? Are there any other redeeming qualities to that region? Do you really think that what we do in Afghanistan is going to improve the situation in Paki!?!? And you do realize that our presence in Afghanistan takes a huge load off the Iranians (who in fact do present serious security issues), who prior to our arrival had resources tied up on that border fending off the Taliban.

 

Really, the time has long since passed to walk away from both shit-holes. Our money and our people resources would be far better spent focused on resolving border issues in this country and getting some life pumped back into the economy. If it's that big of deal to get Afghanistan stabilized (and I would argue that we really should give a shit about what happens there) let the immediate neighborhood worry about it instead of letting the Chinese, Iranians, Paki's, Indian's, etc. ride on the backs of the US taxpayers again.

 

 

I quite agree it's probably a waste of time, but the book you need to

read about this, if we must stick to the Vietnam anology ( a bad idea)

is Bernard Falls. The threat posed by the ability of the NVA to field

large formations just doesn't exist in Afghanistan.

 

The problem is not killing the enemy, it's finding the enemy. Thinking

that McCrystal and Petreaus are simply letting politics create

some sort of kinder gentler war is fundimentally wrong. Check

out McCrystals record in Iraq. The man is a killer.

 

Edit: On second thought, skip the Fall stuff. Here

is everything he said in an entire book in just 45 pages specific

to Afghanistan. Don't let the length daunt you, the last 20 of

it is but tech details.

 

If you have ever wondered how it was some villagers

beat the USSR, it's there. But more importantly is

tells the tale of the place and it's people. Take particular

note that Pashtunwali trumps everything, even Islam, to those folks.

 

They CAN find the enemy.

 

I have read Street without Joy, but it has been awhile. I'll check out the other pdf you referenced.

 

I don't doubt the veracity of the current ground commander, but I note with interest that he did not get what he requested from the President in terms of troop numbers. Why? politics, plain and simple. And this is where it goes int the ditch. Unfortunately this President made the same mistake as the previous one. It was a simple binary decision, 1 = give the ground commander what he wants and get the fuck out of the way or 0 = shut it down and pull everyone home.

 

Will have to see what happens but I'd be willing to bet a not insignificant sum of money that this extension of the deployment will fail, and we will be right back where we started in 12-18 months...You simply can't shoe-horn stability into an inherently fractious and unstable region, I'd have thought we would have learned that lesson by now.....

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I have read Street without Joy, but it has been awhile. I'll check out the other pdf you referenced.

 

I don't doubt the veracity of the current ground commander, but I note with interest that he did not get what he requested from the President in terms of troop numbers. Why? politics, plain and simple. And this is where it goes int the ditch. Unfortunately this President made the same mistake as the previous one. It was a simple binary decision, 1 = give the ground commander what he wants and get the fuck out of the way or 0 = shut it down and pull everyone home.

 

Will have to see what happens but I'd be willing to bet a not insignificant sum of money that this extension of the deployment will fail, and we will be right back where we started in 12-18 months...You simply can't shoe-horn stability into an inherently fractious and unstable region, I'd have thought we would have learned that lesson by now.....

 

McCrystal offered a range of options. There is legitimate debate

within the defense community as to the best way to proceed.

Bear in mind that his options are predicated on a mission

statement by Petreaus that Obama signed off on in March,

where he asked for and got another 17,000. He found

that things were not working as he thought they would

and himself asked for a re-thinking of this, but his options

were still based on that paper.

 

Out system of government has civilian control of the military

for a lot of very good reasons. Perhaps one of the most important

is that Congress pays the bills, and can yank support at

any time. In a republic, political considerations factor

very deep in war, as we found out in Vietnam.

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Edit: On second thought, skip the Fall stuff. Here

is everything he said in an entire book in just 45 pages specific

to Afghanistan. Don't let the length daunt you, the last 20 of

it is but tech details.

 

Interesting reading. I wonder what that guy thinks when he hears that we're leaving in a couple of years because Karzai or someone will be running a functioning central government that will control the country.

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I have read Street without Joy, but it has been awhile. I'll check out the other pdf you referenced.

 

I don't doubt the veracity of the current ground commander, but I note with interest that he did not get what he requested from the President in terms of troop numbers. Why? politics, plain and simple. And this is where it goes int the ditch. Unfortunately this President made the same mistake as the previous one. It was a simple binary decision, 1 = give the ground commander what he wants and get the fuck out of the way or 0 = shut it down and pull everyone home.

 

Will have to see what happens but I'd be willing to bet a not insignificant sum of money that this extension of the deployment will fail, and we will be right back where we started in 12-18 months...You simply can't shoe-horn stability into an inherently fractious and unstable region, I'd have thought we would have learned that lesson by now.....

 

McCrystal offered a range of options. There is legitimate debate

within the defense community as to the best way to proceed.

Bear in mind that his options are predicated on a mission

statement by Petreaus that Obama signed off on in March,

where he asked for and got another 17,000. He found

that things were not working as he thought they would

and himself asked for a re-thinking of this, but his options

were still based on that paper.

 

Out system of government has civilian control of the military

for a lot of very good reasons. Perhaps one of the most important

is that Congress pays the bills, and can yank support at

any time. In a republic, political considerations factor

very deep in war, as we found out in Vietnam.

 

The defense community is arguably dysfunctional at this point. They've been at this expedition now for damn close to ten years and I would assert that they can't see the forest for the trees. They are loathe to admit publicly that this is a no-win game at this point regardless of how much they know deep down that they are ham-strung by political bull shit, and have exhausted the troops both mentally and physically. This is not like WWII where you can rally around the idea of defeating a known enemy via a stand-up fight. Our primary GCE's are il-suited to this type of conflict plain and simple. Quite frankly I'm more than a little pissed that the CG's haven't made a much more bold statement about the need for this to stop. They are wasting lives at this point for no real end-game.

 

Don't even get me started on Congress. Those clowns could (and probably do) fuck up a wet dream. Having any expectation that they would step in and stop this debacle via the funding process has a probability at or very near 0.

 

Our company XO from Saudi is still on active duty (O6 now), and was on staff at Nato and Cent Com. Haven't heard the latest from him, gonna ping him and see what (if anything) he can or is willing to tell me about moral, etc in Afghanistan right now..

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Don't even get me started on Congress. Those clowns could (and probably do) fuck up a wet dream. Having any expectation that they would step in and stop this debacle via the funding process has a probability at or very near 0.

 

If you see a supplemental appropriation for troops in the field coming along, you can commit political suicide by opposing it or you can tack on some pork for the home district. A war has to be REALLY unpopular before it can go any other way in Congress.

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I have read Street without Joy, but it has been awhile. I'll check out the other pdf you referenced.

 

I don't doubt the veracity of the current ground commander, but I note with interest that he did not get what he requested from the President in terms of troop numbers. Why? politics, plain and simple. And this is where it goes int the ditch. Unfortunately this President made the same mistake as the previous one. It was a simple binary decision, 1 = give the ground commander what he wants and get the fuck out of the way or 0 = shut it down and pull everyone home.

 

Will have to see what happens but I'd be willing to bet a not insignificant sum of money that this extension of the deployment will fail, and we will be right back where we started in 12-18 months...You simply can't shoe-horn stability into an inherently fractious and unstable region, I'd have thought we would have learned that lesson by now.....

 

McCrystal offered a range of options. There is legitimate debate

within the defense community as to the best way to proceed.

Bear in mind that his options are predicated on a mission

statement by Petreaus that Obama signed off on in March,

where he asked for and got another 17,000. He found

that things were not working as he thought they would

and himself asked for a re-thinking of this, but his options

were still based on that paper.

 

Out system of government has civilian control of the military

for a lot of very good reasons. Perhaps one of the most important

is that Congress pays the bills, and can yank support at

any time. In a republic, political considerations factor

very deep in war, as we found out in Vietnam.

 

The defense community is arguably dysfunctional at this point. They've been at this expedition now for damn close to ten years and I would assert that they can't see the forest for the trees. They are loathe to admit publicly that this is a no-win game at this point regardless of how much they know deep down that they are ham-strung by political bull shit, and have exhausted the troops both mentally and physically. This is not like WWII where you can rally around the idea of defeating a known enemy via a stand-up fight. Our primary GCE's are il-suited to this type of conflict plain and simple. Quite frankly I'm more than a little pissed that the CG's haven't made a much more bold statement about the need for this to stop. They are wasting lives at this point for no real end-game.

 

Don't even get me started on Congress. Those clowns could (and probably do) fuck up a wet dream. Having any expectation that they would step in and stop this debacle via the funding process has a probability at or very near 0.

 

Our company XO from Saudi is still on active duty (O6 now), and was on staff at Nato and Cent Com. Haven't heard the latest from him, gonna ping him and see what (if anything) he can or is willing to tell me about moral, etc in Afghanistan right now..

 

That our GCE's are very ill-suited for this type of work I whole-heartedly

agree with.

 

Congress absolutely will slam the door at some point though.

Whateverthehell the brass is thinking they can accomplish

in there, they better know that for a fact. Only a matter of

time before people start feeling their needs are being put

aside to satisfy some generals career ambitions and some

social scientist's curiousity and that's that for the funding.

 

About half way there or better already, I reckon.

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I don't doubt the veracity of the current ground commander, but I note with interest that he did not get what he requested from the President in terms of troop numbers. Why? politics, plain and simple. And this is where it goes int the ditch. Unfortunately this President made the same mistake as the previous one. It was a simple binary decision, 1 = give the ground commander what he wants and get the fuck out of the way or 0 = shut it down and pull everyone home.

 

You sure it was politics, and not logistics? Or is that just a SWAG?

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