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18 Years of Lies About Afghanistan


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I guess we didn't learn a stinking thing from Vietnam. $2 trillion bucks would have repaired and built a lot of roads and bridges, bought a lot of things we deprived ourselves of having because we listened to these fools. The best payback I can think of is starving the Pentagon for the next 18 fucking years.

WASHINGTON — Thousands of pages of documents detailing the war in Afghanistan released by The Washington Post on Monday paint a stark picture of missteps and failures — and those assessments were delivered by prominent American officials, many of whom had publicly said the mission was succeeding.

The United States military achieved a quick but short-term victory over the Taliban and Al Qaeda in early 2002, and the Pentagon’s focus then shifted toward Iraq. The Afghan conflict became a secondary effort, a hazy spectacle of nation building, with intermittent troop increases to conduct high-intensity counterinsurgency offensives — but, overall, with a small number of troops carrying out an unclear mission.

Even as the Taliban returned in greater numbers and troops on the ground voiced concerns about the American strategy’s growing shortcomings, senior American officials almost always said that progress was being made.

The documents obtained by The Post show otherwise.“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” said Douglas Lute, a retired three-star Army general who helped the White House oversee the war in Afghanistan in the Bush and Obama administrations.

“What are we trying to do here?” he told government interviewers in 2015. “We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

afghanistan-war-cost-and-waste-promo-1562043797392-articleLarge-v2.png

The 2,000 pages of interviews were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and years of legal back-and-forth with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, according to The Post. Formed in 2008, the office has served as a government watchdog for the war in Afghanistan, releasing reports quarterly on the conflict’s progress, many of which publicly depicted the shortcomings of the effort.

In one interview obtained by The Post, a person identified only as a senior National Security Council official said that the Obama White House, along with the Pentagon, pushed for data that showed President Barack Obama’s announced surge in 2009 was succeeding.

“It was impossible to create good metrics. We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory, and none of it painted an accurate picture,” the official told interviewers in 2016, according to The Post. “The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war.”

 
In 2010 this pressure trickled down to troops on the ground, as they answered to commanders eager to show progress to senior leaders, including Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, then the commander of all American troops in Afghanistan. But the facts were that the fledgling Afghan military performed poorly in the field and that the American “clear, hold, build” counterinsurgency strategy had little hope of succeeding.

“Afghans knew we were there temporarily, and that affected what we could do,” Marc Chretien, who served as the senior State Department adviser to the Marines in Helmand Province, said in one interview. “An elder in Helmand once told me as much, saying: ‘Your Marines live in tents. That’s how I know you won’t be here long.’”

The tension between rosy public statements and the reality on the ground has been one of the enduring elements of the war. Now, 18 years in, the American-led mission in Afghanistan has all but cut off outside access to United States troops on the ground in an attempt to execute their mission in near-secrecy.

Much more at the link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/09/world/asia/afghanistan-war-documents.html#commentsContainer

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we were done with the mission in Afganistan 3 weeks after we arrived and should have left and never have gone into Iraq biggest waste of human life and our tax dollars in my lifetime by far

I'm just glad we finally have a leader willing to take the political hit for doing the right thing. Might be too late with the country split in half but it's a start. 

Afghanistan has embarrassed world powers for 100+ years. Not just the US but England and Russia got their butts kicked by trying to make control that region. This is a tribal society that defies weste

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Afghanistan has embarrassed world powers for 100+ years. Not just the US but England and Russia got their butts kicked by trying to make control that region. This is a tribal society that defies western attempts to organize it into a country.  We need to acknowledge this and then move on.  

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15 minutes ago, Rum Runner said:

Afghanistan has embarrassed world powers for 100+ years. Not just the US but England and Russia got their butts kicked by trying to make control that region. This is a tribal society that defies western attempts to organize it into a country.  We need to acknowledge this and then move on.  

Yes, and then we need to see peace for a change. We have spent more money than even our great-grandchildren will be able to repay on this debt in their lifetimes. We should all be ashamed.

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Running away has been suggested for about 16 of those 18 years.    We kept being told we shouldn’t leave just as we were starting to make progress.   I seem to remember a lot of opposition here when Trump proposed the same strategy.    

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20 minutes ago, Lark said:

Running away has been suggested for about 16 of those 18 years.    We kept being told we shouldn’t leave just as we were starting to make progress.   I seem to remember a lot of opposition here when Trump proposed the same strategy.    

Without wars it’s hard for people in the Military to get promoted.  It’s the reason the military lies about war.

Americans lap it up because...

PATRIOTISM!

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2 hours ago, badlatitude said:

WASHINGTON — Thousands of pages of documents detailing the war in Afghanistan released by The Washington Post on Monday paint a stark picture of missteps and failures — and those assessments were delivered by prominent American officials, many of whom had publicly said the mission was succeeding.

I posted about this in what seemed the relevant thread. I hope we learn the names of the "prominent American officials" at the very least.

8 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

The Afghanistan Papers
 

The behavior has been the same through three administrations now: painting a rosy picture of a futile waste. Glad to see Bezo$'  pet pre$$ corporation $peaking out about it.

It hasn't been easy. They had to sue a couple of times to get FOIA release of the documents, but without names.

 

I hope Judge Jackson makes them name names but if she decides otherwise she has earned enough credibility that I would not be inclined to question the decision.

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Fakenews said:

Without wars it’s hard for people in the Military to get promoted.  It’s the reason the military lies about war.

Americans lap it up because...

PATRIOTISM!

It's mostly about money, promotion is important, but not the driving motive.

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31 minutes ago, Lark said:

Running away has been suggested for about 16 of those 18 years.    We kept being told we shouldn’t leave just as we were starting to make progress.   I seem to remember a lot of opposition here when Trump proposed the same strategy.    

The "immediate" (non) withdrawal from Syria damn near caused a bipartisan PANIC.

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1 minute ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

The "immediate" (non) withdrawal from Syria damn near caused a bipartisan PANIC.

Fortunately for bipartisan relations we compromised and decided to protect foreign oil wells instead of human allies.   

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W had already screwed the pooch in Afghanistan. But this was my big beef with Obama. I'll grant that he did chase down OBL and I can never quite separate Afghanistan and OBL. So Obama was just sloppy seconds after W. There was NEVER going to be any win there. We just spent a lot of money, trillions, killed a lot of people, lost a few ourselves and created more blowback.

What a stupid waste.

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8 hours ago, badlatitude said:

The best payback I can think of is starving the Pentagon for the next 18 fucking years.

The last 18 years wasn't the pentagon's fault.  Last I checked, the nation's policy was run by civilians and fed by congress.  

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1 hour ago, Shootist Jeff said:

The last 18 years wasn't the pentagon's fault.  Last I checked, the nation's policy was run by civilians and fed by congress.  

You poor naive little snowflake. Don't you realize that the Pentagon and the military Industrial Complex has been methodically controlling how we view coming wars, the need for advanced weaponry, the need to advance our interests worldwide, the need to start wars, skirmishes, invent yellow cake, develop technology, develop drones, the CIA, DIA, and 15 other agencies all with their own agenda? You of all people should be wise to this, why aren't you?

Yes, Congress and civilians bear a large responsibility, but not solely.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_model

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_military_analyst_program

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationale_for_the_Iraq_War

https://pastebin.com/88Em6DsB

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/us/20generals.html

 

 

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Actually, I would say the voting public and the media bear most of the blame for this.  We keep voting in people who think the AUMF should last forever, or who are too gutless to challenge it for fear of reprisals at the polls.  And the media is more focused on what a celeb wore to dinner or who is fucking around on whom rather than doing the hard reporting needed to get the American public on side and against the war. 

And Nancy could have pulled the plug on funding the war$ at any time $he was SOTH.  

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Dick Cheney,

Such a altruistic individual, country first....right?

Oh I forgot he's a republican............. so its ok to make.......... personally pocket......US $35 million of a war.........

Have to say the media was a little late to that party, were they even invited?.

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We have a military much like our healthcare system; the most expensive in the world which does some things exceptionally well but overall is a failure. Can anybody think of a war (not a conflict but a commitment of enough duration to warrant the label) that we've won since WWII? Korea was a tie (and viewed as a loss in Asia), Viet Nam was a loss, Bosnia? (I don't know enough about this conflict), Afghanistan and Iraq are losses (Gulf War 1 doesn't count as 96 hours is a battle rather than a war) with the wins small; Panama, Grenada, Gulf 1 etc. 

It's beginning to look like the point of the conflict is conflict rather than resolution with the involved parties (on our side) in the game for political, promotion and monetary advancement.  At best, it's obvious, and has been for some time, that the lessons learned (other than "control the press" and "don't draft") from Viet Nam have been ignored.

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30 minutes ago, learningJ24 said:

We have a military much like our healthcare system; the most expensive in the world which does some things exceptionally well but overall is a failure. Can anybody think of a war (not a conflict but a commitment of enough duration to warrant the label) that we've won since WWII? Korea was a tie (and viewed as a loss in Asia), Viet Nam was a loss, Bosnia? (I don't know enough about this conflict), Afghanistan and Iraq are losses (Gulf War 1 doesn't count as 96 hours is a battle rather than a war) with the wins small; Panama, Grenada, Gulf 1 etc. 

It's beginning to look like the point of the conflict is conflict rather than resolution with the involved parties (on our side) in the game for political, promotion and monetary advancement.  At best, it's obvious, and has been for some time, that the lessons learned (other than "control the press" and "don't draft") from Viet Nam have been ignored.

I understand your perspective, but, have to take issue w/your assertion that the political outcomes we've seen in recent conflicts are military failures - I disagree emphatically with that, and would suggest instead that our National issue is a mis-alignment of political and military priorities.   We have deployed our military prematurely, w/out a clear, end-game objective and realistic exit strategy.  We need to realize and accept BEFORE committing troops that boots on the ground is a long-term obligation, and that w/out a plan and objective exit strategy, that our situational awareness is too immature to act upon. 

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40 minutes ago, learningJ24 said:

We have a military much like our healthcare system; the most expensive in the world which does some things exceptionally well but overall is a failure. Can anybody think of a war (not a conflict but a commitment of enough duration to warrant the label) that we've won since WWII? Korea was a tie (and viewed as a loss in Asia), Viet Nam was a loss, Bosnia? (I don't know enough about this conflict), Afghanistan and Iraq are losses (Gulf War 1 doesn't count as 96 hours is a battle rather than a war) with the wins small; Panama, Grenada, Gulf 1 etc. 

It's beginning to look like the point of the conflict is conflict rather than resolution with the involved parties (on our side) in the game for political, promotion and monetary advancement.  At best, it's obvious, and has been for some time, that the lessons learned (other than "control the press" and "don't draft") from Viet Nam have been ignored.

Bosnia worked out, but that was hardly a war. Gulf 1 was very much a war and worked great because we were removing an invading army from a country that *wanted them removed* and then went home when finished.

 

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46 minutes ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

I understand your perspective, but, have to take issue w/your assertion that the political outcomes we've seen in recent conflicts are military failures - I disagree emphatically with that, and would suggest instead that our National issue is a mis-alignment of political and military priorities.   We have deployed our military prematurely, w/out a clear, end-game objective and realistic exit strategy.  We need to realize and accept BEFORE committing troops that boots on the ground is a long-term obligation, and that w/out a plan and objective exit strategy, that our situational awareness is too immature to act upon. 

But war IS politics by violence; it's the job of the general staff corps to determine the desired political outcome and work toward that.  In that sense, the last great general we had was Marshall. IF there is a misalignment of military and political priorities then is is incumbent upon the general staff corps to scream loudly about it to prevent a bunch of kids from getting killed (on both sides)for little or no purpose. Instead, we get careerists like Mattis who quit and cash in when they can't swallow it anymore. We're trying to fight 21st century conflicts with 18th century mindsets (is there much difference between us training the Afghan army and Britain training Indians in the 18th century? Including the East India Company/Military contractors?). It's not working. Except for the careerists, military industrialists an PMC's. 

Ref

The Generals by Thomas Ricks

The New Rules of Warfare by Sean McFate

 

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1 minute ago, learningJ24 said:

But war IS politics by violence; it's the job of the general staff corps to determine the desired political outcome and work toward that.  In that sense, the last great general we had was Marshall. IF there is a misalignment of military and political priorities then is is incumbent upon the general staff corps to scream loudly about it to prevent a bunch of kids from getting killed (on both sides)for little or no purpose. Instead, we get careerists like Mattis who quit and cash in when they can't swallow it anymore. We're trying to fight 21st century conflicts with 18th century mindsets (is there much difference between us training the Afghan army and Britain training Indians in the 18th century? Including the East India Company/Military contractors?). It's not working. Except for the careerists, military industrialists an PMC's. 

Ref

The Generals by Thomas Ricks

The New Rules of Warfare by Sean McFate

 

How is that the responsibility of the military generals?  They don't get to make the decisions about committing troops - only how to deploy them once the Congress/President have made that decision.  That's where I see the disconnect - our political leaders have been quick to commit w/out clearly articulating a MILITARY objective for that commitment, and without the political stamina necessary to see that commitment thru to its conclusion.  

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1 hour ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Bosnia worked out, but that was hardly a war. Gulf 1 was very much a war and worked great because we were removing an invading army from a country that *wanted them removed* and then went home when finished.

 

We'll have to disagree, 96 hours regardless of the outcome doesn't have the duration to justify being called a war in my opinion.  I would also argue that by leaving the no fly zones in place we watered the seeds of 9/11 and GW 2. 

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6 minutes ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

How is that the responsibility of the military generals?  They don't get to make the decisions about committing troops - only how to deploy them once the Congress/President have made that decision.  That's where I see the disconnect - our political leaders have been quick to commit w/out clearly articulating a MILITARY objective for that commitment, and without the political stamina necessary to see that commitment thru to its conclusion.  

The what IS their responsibility? According to Gen. William DuPuy, the questions the general corps has to think about is "Who are we? What are we trying to do? How are we to do it-that is how should we fight?"  If the demand is outside of the capabilities of the military, then they have a responsibility to say so. The tragedy of Viet Nam came out of the General's unwillingness to tell the Executive that the political objectives the war was supposed to achieve were impossible. How is that NOT their responsibility? It's their profession.  "Burn the Bitch Down" is rarely a solution although  it may scrape off the problem for a later solution. In the same way the line commanders are supposed to disobey illegal orders, so to the Generals should be expected to scream about misuse of the military. 

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Just now, learningJ24 said:

The what IS their responsibility? According to Gen. William DuPuy, the questions the general corps has to think about is "Who are we? What are we trying to do? How are we to do it-that is how should we fight?"  If the demand is outside of the capabilities of the military, then they have a responsibility to say so. The tragedy of Viet Nam came out of the General's unwillingness to tell the Executive that the political objectives the war was supposed to achieve were impossible. How is that NOT their responsibility? It's their profession.  "Burn the Bitch Down" is rarely a solution although  it may scrape off the problem for a later solution. In the same way the line commanders are supposed to disobey illegal orders, so to the Generals should be expected to scream about misuse of the military. 

That part is absolutely right - and they can express their opinion w/r/t the strategic and tactical considerations - but, *they don't get to choose when and where they're told to go".   I think I understand what you mean w/the rest, and those discussions DO happen - but, the Generals still don't have any authority to not accept orders to deploy.  The people we need to blame for what you lament are the people we've voted into office - not the uniformed members of the military.  

 

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1 hour ago, learningJ24 said:

You paint an exceedingly grim picture of today's military as, instead of "protectors of America's freedom", simple executors of a single elected Executive's orders.  That hints at a closer step to banana republic than I thought we had come.

I think that you're still a bit confused about which group has which authority, and while the way the Executive and Congress have decided to wield that authority seems a bit different than the historical picture I think you have in your mind's eye, I haven't seen any big changes in the authority structure since I put on the suit in '83. 

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The whole point of the Constitution is that the military does NOT decide on their own what their job is and how to do it. Civilian leadership tells them that.

People I know that served in Vietnam were basically very frustrated. Defeating North Vietnam was almost trivially easy, but the actions to do so were not on the table. Some bombing of their ports, dredging barges, airports, and a few other things would have cut them off pretty well from munitions to continue fighting. For various reasons that was NOT on the table. Bridges were supposed to be bombed, but you had to fly perpendicular to the bridge instead of lining up with it to prevent random people living near the bridge from being blown up. That makes the job 20 times harder. South Vietnam was supposedly who we were fighting for, but their government was pretty much useless and corrupt.

So you had the lower levels in the field fighting for someone not really worth fighting for and against someone who was eternally exempt from a decisive blow. You were NOT going to succeed and you knew it, but the higher ranks had all kinds of bullshit metrics (aka body counts) to satisfy and pretend they were doing something :rolleyes:

Any of this sound familiar?

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The report is as good a reason as any to join Vets For Peace. 

Stop drinking the militarist Koo Aid 

(This confirms my earlier impromptu research - I never met one single returning Afghanistan or Iraq vet 

who thought that either one was a good mission) 

Maybe its time to try something else. 

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4 hours ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

I understand your perspective, but, have to take issue w/your assertion that the political outcomes we've seen in recent conflicts are military failures - I disagree emphatically with that, and would suggest instead that our National issue is a mis-alignment of political and military priorities.   We have deployed our military prematurely, w/out a clear, end-game objective and realistic exit strategy.  We need to realize and accept BEFORE committing troops that boots on the ground is a long-term obligation, and that w/out a plan and objective exit strategy, that our situational awareness is too immature to act upon. 

I would take that one step further and say that we've won every military conflict we've fought.  I would even dare to put Vietnam in that column too, because the civilian leaders would not let the military try to win until Nixon unleashed the dogs and brought the North to the table. 

It's just that our political leaders have had zero idea of what to do with what comes next.  Our military was not built, equipped or trained for being a 20 year occupying force. 

As such, I do not completely subscribe to Powell's "Pottery Barn" mindset.  Sometimes the right thing to do is go in and break some dishes, kick over a few tables - then GTFO and tell them if there's any more trouble we'll be back and next time it will be much worse.  So get your shit together.  

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13 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

The whole point of the Constitution is that the military does NOT decide on their own what their job is and how to do it. Civilian leadership tells them that.

People I know that served in Vietnam were basically very frustrated. Defeating North Vietnam was almost trivially easy, but the actions to do so were not on the table. Some bombing of their ports, dredging barges, airports, and a few other things would have cut them off pretty well from munitions to continue fighting. For various reasons that was NOT on the table. Bridges were supposed to be bombed, but you had to fly perpendicular to the bridge instead of lining up with it to prevent random people living near the bridge from being blown up. That makes the job 20 times harder. South Vietnam was supposedly who we were fighting for, but their government was pretty much useless and corrupt.

So you had the lower levels in the field fighting for someone not really worth fighting for and against someone who was eternally exempt from a decisive blow. You were NOT going to succeed and you knew it, but the higher ranks had all kinds of bullshit metrics (aka body counts) to satisfy and pretend they were doing something :rolleyes:

Any of this sound familiar?

Just to nitpik a bit - easy to defeat NV? And then what? The Vietnamese have been fighting for independence forever starting way back from China. We easily won in Iraq and Afghanistan and now own it because we broke it. 

Sort of like that Hotel CA song - You can win it but you can never leave.     And just read Jeff's post and give thanks he is not in charge of anything.

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5 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Sometimes the right thing to do is go in and break some dishes, kick over a few tables - then GTFO and tell them if there's any more trouble we'll be back 

it's worked great throughout the rest of the middle east and all of central and south america, right?

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Well sure "winning" in Vietnam was almost as useless as losing. I think I mentioned the South Vietnamese government was useless and corrupt. Making the North Vietnamese give up would have just put off the endgame awhile, sooner or later they would have been back at it anyway.

"Stabbed in the back" was a real thing. Here is your job, but we made sure there is no way you can actually do it, but you are in trouble if you don't.

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Just to add another point - the US was very adverse to becoming involved in nation building prior to WWII - the resulting devastation and then successful rebuilding of Germany and Japan gave a false sense of what could be done while ignoring the causes of subsequent warfare.  Defeating aggressors is much different than becoming involved in internal struggles - add to that the attitude of American Exceptionalism in bringing our democracy to the world has had some less than desirable results.  Results we will be paying for longer than most of us can comprehend.  The "you broke it you own it" results in no possible good ending. Last month was the burial ceremony for my AF pilot cousin who was MIA since 1969 in Laos.  Well, the good is a bunch of folks became very wealthy just not those who had to pay the ultimate price.

 

 

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1 minute ago, d'ranger said:

Just to add another point - the US was very adverse to becoming involved in nation building prior to WWII - the resulting devastation and then successful rebuilding of Germany and Japan gave a false sense of what could be done while ignoring the causes of subsequent warfare.  Defeating aggressors is much different than becoming involved in internal struggles - add to that the attitude of American Exceptionalism in bringing our democracy to the world has had some less than desirable results.  Results we will be paying for longer than most of us can comprehend.  The "you broke it you own it" results in no possible good ending. Last month was the burial ceremony for my AF pilot cousin who was MIA since 1969 in Laos.  Well, the good is a bunch of folks became very wealthy just not those who had to pay the ultimate price.

 

 

Japan and Germany had the following characteristics:

1. They both had a national identity, not a regional or tribal one.

2. They both had a tradition of a central governing authority.

3. They both had Russia looking at them like a wolf looks at a fat slow sheep covered in barbecue sauce.

4. They both were utterly destroyed.

5. In the case of Japan they literally had a divine being telling them to get their shit together and go along with the occupation.

We have not had ANYTHING like that since to "nation build" on.

 

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“You fool!  You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is to never get involved in a land war in Asia.”

The Princess Bride
 

My 18 year old daughter knows this. Why don't US politicians and generals?

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56 minutes ago, Mismoyled Jiblet. said:

The “stab in the back” of inter war  German myth was not a real thing.

 Germany didn’t then and often still don’t have a national identity - every state has its own ideas; there wasn’t a united Germany until 1918. Berliners think bavarians are uncultured Hicks to this day.

High brow and Lowenbrau?  

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1 hour ago, Mismoyled Jiblet. said:

The “stab in the back” of inter war  German myth was not a real thing.

 Germany didn’t then and often still don’t have a national identity - every state has its own ideas; there wasn’t a united Germany until 1918. Berliners think bavarians are uncultured Hicks to this day.

I was talking about Vietnam, not Germany.

 

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The English Experience, told by an Englishman.  In this book you will learn that GW et al acted like an English Liberal in his adventure in Afghanistan.  Folly in the Middle East is not hard to learn- one just has to pick up a book and read, but.....hey, Alexander the Great couldn’t pull it off.  The only one who could was Genghis Khan.  Really!  And you’ll never guess why.  Anyway, China has a border with Afghanistan, which really shows how cynical the Taliban is....

https://www.amazon.com/Great-Game-Struggle-Central-Kodansha/dp/1568360223

 

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5 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

I would take that one step further and say that we've won every military conflict we've fought.  I would even dare to put Vietnam in that column too, because the civilian leaders would not let the military try to win until Nixon unleashed the dogs and brought the North to the table. 

It's just that our political leaders have had zero idea of what to do with what comes next.  Our military was not built, equipped or trained for being a 20 year occupying force. 

As such, I do not completely subscribe to Powell's "Pottery Barn" mindset.  Sometimes the right thing to do is go in and break some dishes, kick over a few tables - then GTFO and tell them if there's any more trouble we'll be back and next time it will be much worse.  So get your shit together.  

How can you claim this?    Iraq II is a victory if the only goal was to destroy imaginary WMD, or to kill the despot in charge.    If we wanted to kill one man and a few thousand dead Americans and hundreds of thousands of collateral casualties didn’t matter, even General Arnold could have done it.   Iraq I could have been a victory, except President Bush the Lessor decided it was a failure and asked for a rematch.    Panama was the only clear victory of my lifetime.   Anything else would have been incredibly incompetent.    I’ve posted before that I’ve met a South Vietnamese colonel tortured for years after we ran away.    I see no way to call that a victory.   His daughter, growing up:as the daughter of a ‘traitor’ she didn’t know, undergoing ‘reeducation’, would agree with me.   Korea was a tie, but any nuclear victory would have been more costly then defeat.   Presidents Truman and Eisenhower bare no shame.

 I completely agree with your last paragraph and wish we used it in Afghanistan.    Give the failed government  one week to produce the heads the CIA identified, or invade.   Disrupt.   Kill some people.   Leave.    Promise we will wipe out a couple so called cities Dresden style if we have to come back.   

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1 hour ago, Lark said:

How can you claim this?    Iraq II is a victory if the only goal was to destroy imaginary WMD, or to kill the despot in charge.    If we wanted to kill one man and a few thousand dead Americans and hundreds of thousands of collateral casualties didn’t matter, even General Arnold could have done it.   Iraq I could have been a victory, except President Bush the Lessor decided it was a failure and asked for a rematch.    Panama was the only clear victory of my lifetime.   Anything else would have been incredibly incompetent.    I’ve posted before that I’ve met a South Vietnamese colonel tortured for years after we ran away.    I see no way to call that a victory.   His daughter, growing up:as the daughter of a ‘traitor’ she didn’t know, undergoing ‘reeducation’, would agree with me.   Korea was a tie, but any nuclear victory would have been more costly then defeat.   Presidents Truman and Eisenhower bare no shame.

 I completely agree with your last paragraph and wish we used it in Afghanistan.    Give the failed government  one week to produce the heads the CIA identified, or invade.   Disrupt.   Kill some people.   Leave.    Promise we will wipe out a couple so called cities Dresden style if we have to come back.   

That only works if the country isn't a shithole that hasn't been bombed into the pre-stone age already by Russia :rolleyes:

* bombing them INTO the stone age would be an improvement!

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8 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

That only works if the country isn't a shithole that hasn't been bombed into the pre-stone age already by Russia :rolleyes:

* bombing them INTO the stone age would be an improvement!

I think you forget the ability of the military to Pompeii people.    

209E4944-09F1-4FF2-81FC-D2EB1378D608.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Lark said:

 I completely agree with your last paragraph and wish we used it in Afghanistan.    Give the failed government  one week to produce the heads the CIA identified, or invade.   Disrupt.   Kill some people.   Leave.    Promise we will wipe out a couple so called cities Dresden style if we have to come back.   

The "failed" government (ie. the one which is currently still in control of the country, despite nearly 20 years of war aimed at removing them) indicated they were quite happy to extradite Bin Laden - america couldn't be bothered to provide evidence or attempt any sort of legal process.

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10 minutes ago, Mismoyled Jiblet. said:

You need the rubble piles that still exist outside of the cities to really make the point.

Schuttberg, Teufelsberg.    Great terms for ugly events.  

0F8B718D-7867-446E-BC97-E2BD8C407B5B.jpeg

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4 minutes ago, Battlecheese said:

The "failed" government (ie. the one which is currently still in control of the country, despite nearly 20 years of war aimed at removing them) indicated they were quite happy to extradite Bin Laden - america couldn't be bothered to provide evidence or attempt any sort of legal process.

No disagreement here.

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4 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

Yeah but don't we wanna win their hearts & minds?

- DSK

That’s not what the military is designed to do.    That’s why we need a State Department.   

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2 minutes ago, Lark said:
6 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

Yeah but don't we wanna win their hearts & minds?

 

That’s not what he military is designed to do.    That’s why we need a State Department.   

 

Oh come on. After we rain down death and desolation on their families, they will LOVE us!

You were just saying that is how to get the cooperation of those grubby little furriners. And JBSF was complaining that military has actually WON all the time, it just somehow got cheated out of credit for it, or something.

Wait, wasn't there a question in there about how to actually reach the goal of "winning?"

Anyone?

Bueller?

- DSK

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8 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

 

Oh come on. After we rain down death and desolation on their families, they will LOVE us!

You were just saying that is how to get the cooperation of those grubby little furriners. And JBSF was complaining that military has actually WON all the time, it just somehow got cheated out of credit for it, or something.

Wait, wasn't there a question in there about how to actually reach the goal of "winning?"

Anyone?

Bueller?

- DSK

I gotta say that you're confusing different goals.  A military victory means that thru application of.force, and instilling fear of.future application of.force, you establish obeisance.  A political victory, a victory of hearts and minds, is a.very different thing

 

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What the militarist Reich does not want you to grasp: 

that if we didn't shove such a huge chunk of our wealth down their gaping maw, 

we could turn the entire planet into a veritable Garden of Eden 

Seriously - look at the numbers . . 

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3 minutes ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

I gotta say that you're confusing different goals.  A military victory means that thru application of.force, and instilling fear of.future application of.force, you establish obeisance.  A political victory, a victory of hearts and minds, is a.very different thing

 

No, I think that you're confusing the successful application of force with defeating an enemy.

 

Same mistake JBSF was making in claiming "we won" (which Nixon also claimed BTW) Viet Nam. Sure we successfully applied force much more than the other guys. We killed a shitload more of them. But at the end of the day, they had not surrendered. We did not impose even a slight amount of our national will on them. They achieved their goals... the "unification" of a country that historically had been 2 or 3 seperate countries, not one. Now they're struggling against China and would actually make pretty good allies.

When you defeat an enemy, they surrender. You impose your will on them. Of course the best way, historically, to prove you WON is to take everything worth having and fuck all their women. That's proof you won. Last two hundred years or so we may possibly have "advanced" beyond this but it's still shaky through much of the world.

If it's possible to exterminate an enemy group of people, that might be another form of victory but it has not worked, that I know of, ever. There are always survivors and they always work really really hard to play mean tricks on you. And recruit more friends to help play more mean tricks.

This is why blowing shit up in Afghanistan will not work to give us "victory." In 2001 they were already in the stage of rebuilding, as survivors, and waiting patiently for the chance to play mean tricks. We've tried to help them but they know they can wait us out. Killing more of them won't change that.

- DSK

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13 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

No, I think that you're confusing the successful application of force with defeating an enemy.

 

Same mistake JBSF was making in claiming "we won" (which Nixon also claimed BTW) Viet Nam. Sure we successfully applied force much more than the other guys. We killed a shitload more of them. But at the end of the day, they had not surrendered. We did not impose even a slight amount of our national will on them. They achieved their goals... the "unification" of a country that historically had been 2 or 3 seperate countries, not one. Now they're struggling against China and would actually make pretty good allies.

When you defeat an enemy, they surrender. You impose your will on them. Of course the best way, historically, to prove you WON is to take everything worth having and fuck all their women. That's proof you won. Last two hundred years or so we may possibly have "advanced" beyond this but it's still shaky through much of the world.

If it's possible to exterminate an enemy group of people, that might be another form of victory but it has not worked, that I know of, ever. There are always survivors and they always work really really hard to play mean tricks on you. And recruit more friends to help play more mean tricks.

This is why blowing shit up in Afghanistan will not work to give us "victory." In 2001 they were already in the stage of rebuilding, as survivors, and waiting patiently for the chance to play mean tricks. We've tried to help them but they know they can wait us out. Killing more of them won't change that.

- DSK

Sorry brudda - but you're making my point - military victory != political victory.  A military victory can, but isnt guaranteed to induce a political victory.  

That mistake is the source of a lotta contention and confusion.  Ya don't get hearts and minds bu kickin' the stink outta someone - but by kickin the stink outta someone, followed with appropriate diplomacy, you CAN change minds.  We agree if you suggest that premature deployment of our military is an ineefective means to achieve those changed minds. 

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1 minute ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

Sorry brudda - but you're making my point - military victory != political victory.  A military victory can, but isnt guaranteed to induce a political victory.  

That mistake is the source of a lotta contention and confusion.  Ya don't get hearts and minds bu kickin' the stink outta someone - but by kickin the stink outta someone, followed with appropriate diplomacy, you CAN change minds.  We agree if you suggest that premature deployment of our military is an ineefective means to achieve those changed minds. 

I think we have different points. There is no such thing as a "military victory." Is that like second place, where you blow up more shit than the other team but they still eat your lunch?

We do seem to be in agreement that premature deployment... or for that matter any ineffective application of violence... will not change any minds. Nor will premature withdrawal.

I haven't studied the situation in Afghanistan in any detail for the last 4 or 5 years. OTOH I know a couple of State Dept guys who did tours there. What seemed to be happening then (and agrees with the State Dept guys private assessment) is that we've basically become another warring tribe in the perpetual play of Aghani realpolitik. Except that all the tribes hate us more than they hate the others. They just use us to increase the power of their current alliance or faction.

- DSK

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10 hours ago, d'ranger said:

Just to add another point - the US was very adverse to becoming involved in nation building prior to WWII - the resulting devastation and then successful rebuilding of Germany and Japan gave a false sense of what could be done while ignoring the causes of subsequent warfare.  Defeating aggressors is much different than becoming involved in internal struggles - add to that the attitude of American Exceptionalism in bringing our democracy to the world has had some less than desirable results.  Results we will be paying for longer than most of us can comprehend.  The "you broke it you own it" results in no possible good ending. Last month was the burial ceremony for my AF pilot cousin who was MIA since 1969 in Laos.  Well, the good is a bunch of folks became very wealthy just not those who had to pay the ultimate price.

 

 

It's interesting you write that immediately after slamming me for not agreeing with the "you broke it, you bought it".  You just literally agreed ^^ with exactly what I said.  YCMTSU!

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15 hours ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

I understand your perspective, but, have to take issue w/your assertion that the political outcomes we've seen in recent conflicts are military failures - I disagree emphatically with that, and would suggest instead that our National issue is a mis-alignment of political and military priorities.   We have deployed our military prematurely, w/out a clear, end-game objective and realistic exit strategy.  We need to realize and accept BEFORE committing troops that boots on the ground is a long-term obligation, and that w/out a plan and objective exit strategy, that our situational awareness is too immature to act upon. 

A massive military begs itself to be used, justifying itself and further increases to the massive military.

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2 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

Same mistake JBSF was making in claiming "we won" (which Nixon also claimed BTW) Viet Nam. Sure we successfully applied force much more than the other guys. We killed a shitload more of them. But at the end of the day, they had not surrendered.

Fuck off.  I never once said we "won".  I said that after fucking around for a decade in VN, Nixon took the gloves off and forced the North back to the table so we could GTFO.  Had we done that in the beginning, the end result would have likely been far different.  That's pure speculation of course.  But we wasted a lot of blood and $$ for nothing.  The fact is we should never have been there in the first place, but that's a whole 'nother discussion.

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12 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

I would take that one step further and say that we've won every military conflict we've fought.  I would even dare to put Vietnam in that column too, because the civilian leaders would not let the military try to win until Nixon unleashed the dogs and brought the North to the table. 

Except here.

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7 minutes ago, Zonker said:
12 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

I would take that one step further and say that we've won every military conflict we've fought.  I would even dare to put Vietnam in that column too, because the civilian leaders would not let the military try to win until Nixon unleashed the dogs and brought the North to the table. 

Except here.

Except I didn't.  I speculated that we likely could have won it had we not been so handcuffed by the politicians.  Its an unknown.  I worded it poorly and should have said "Might even dare....."  <shrug>

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2 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Except I didn't.  I speculated that we likely could have won it had we not been so handcuffed by the politicians.  Its an unknown.  I worded it poorly and should have said "Might even dare....."  <shrug>

Handcuffs occur when people are worried about publicity, rather than survival. The fact that these handcuffs exist is evidence that the war should not have happened.

Note: This would include your entire career.

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On 12/10/2019 at 9:14 AM, Rum Runner said:

Afghanistan has embarrassed world powers for 100+ years. Not just the US but England and Russia got their butts kicked by trying to make control that region. This is a tribal society that defies western attempts to organize it into a country.  We need to acknowledge this and then move on.  

 Russia got their butts kicked when the US started arming the Saudi fundaMentalists to fight them.

Before the Saudi camel jockeys brought their influence to Afghanistan it was a bit more progressive compared to today they even filmed a James Bond movie there.

Pics showing Afghanistan in the 60s and 70s

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=afghanistan+in+the+1960s&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjSvr-pyK3mAhXW_XMBHerXCrkQ_AUoAXoECBEQAw&biw=1093&bih=502#imgrc=O9NotSX1nAbrlM:

Take note of how the women aren't wearing that letterbox headwear.

https://www.google.com.au/search?biw=1093&bih=502&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=0NzwXa2wHP6a4-EP6caouAc&q=afghanistan+in+the+1960s+and+70s&oq=afghanistan+in+the+1960s&gs_l=img.1.1.0i67j0j0i5i30.0.0..237608...0.0..0.166.311.0j2......0......gws-wiz-img.......0i7i30.XSmsmgc3hbA

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6 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Except I didn't.  I speculated that we likely could have won it had we not been so handcuffed by the politicians.  Its an unknown.  I worded it poorly and should have said "Might even dare....."  <shrug>

When people misinterpret what you've said, the intelligent and constructive reply is something to the effect of: "Here's what I really meant, I'll try to be more clear in the future."

Not "Fuck you stupid asshole if you can't understand what I MEANT to say rather than what I really typed"

Generally I read stuff two or three times... force myself to read my posts at least 4 or 5 times before hitting SEND and boy does that save more embarrassment than gets thru... and I can see a slight ambiguity now, in your earlier writing, but it certainly seems like you're putting Viet Nam in the "win" column for Team USA.

Side note- one of the ironies of Viet Nam is that it was never a unified country before the French arrived. It was 2 or 3 separate kingdoms, someties more. It was not a 'war of independence' after we left, and it certainly was not a 'war of reunification.'

- DSK

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Given the power of our military and overwhelming resources combined with Proper understanding & application of John Boyd’s OODA loop, America can quickly reduce any standing army to isolated and demoralized units unable to sustain operational effectiveness.

Has that become our weakness?

Unable to see beyond the glory of violent mayhem, we misunderstand The true nature of victory and have failed to adequately fund those organs of our government which can create conditions in the countries whose politics we seek to change.

Wake up, Republicans. I am talking to you.

You have led our country to a state of perpetual warfare while simultaneously sabotaging our ability to succeed in such efforts.

Firing Yovanovitch, enriching the MIC at the expense of the State Department and NGOs are a recipe continued failure.

I blame Obama for not breaking this loop, but question how much freedom of movement he had, given systemic resistance to change.

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It is the "Blob" that got us into Afghanistan, and kept us there. 

And now it is getting us sucked into Ukraine 

Ukraine in NATO makes as much sense as . . 

Mexico forming a military alliance with Roosia 

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10 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:
10 hours ago, Zonker said:
23 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

I would take that one step further and say that we've won every military conflict we've fought.  I would even dare to put Vietnam in that column too, because the civilian leaders would not let the military try to win until Nixon unleashed the dogs and brought the North to the table. 

Except here.

Except I didn't.  I speculated that we likely could have won it had we not been so handcuffed by the politicians.  Its an unknown.  I worded it poorly and should have said "Might even dare....."  <shrug>

Perfect - just fuckin' perfect.

Nearly 1/2 century later the moran is still spouting the old right wing bullshit

"We coulda won it but those leftie fuckers stabbed us in the back".

Yeah - you won in Korea.

You won in Vietnam.

You won in A'Stan,

You won in Iraq.

Aren't you tired of winning yet?

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23 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

I would take that one step further and say that we've won every military conflict we've fought.  I would even dare to put Vietnam in that column too, because the civilian leaders would not let the military try to win until Nixon unleashed the dogs and brought the North to the table. 

Lies of the Reich. 

Even the flawed Ken Burns Vietnam doco shows how Nixon sabotaged LBJ's negotiations with the Viets so that Nixon could gain an electoral benefit. 

Remind you of anyone? 

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6 minutes ago, AJ Oliver said:

Lies of the Reich. 

Even the flawed Ken Burns Vietnam doco shows how Nixon sabotaged LBJ's negotiations with the Viets so that Nixon could gain an electoral benefit. 

Remind you of anyone? 

Nixon was a shit but LBJ was a shit for lying us into that war with his Tonkin ‘crisis’.

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4 hours ago, phillysailor said:

Given the power of our military and overwhelming resources combined with Proper understanding & application of John Boyd’s OODA loop, America can quickly reduce any standing army to isolated and demoralized units unable to sustain operational effectiveness.

Has that become our weakness?

Unable to see beyond the glory of violent mayhem, we misunderstand The true nature of victory and have failed to adequately fund those organs of our government which can create conditions in the countries whose politics we seek to change.

Wake up, Republicans. I am talking to you.

You have led our country to a state of perpetual warfare while simultaneously sabotaging our ability to succeed in such efforts.

Firing Yovanovitch, enriching the MIC at the expense of the State Department and NGOs are a recipe continued failure.

I blame Obama for not breaking this loop, but question how much freedom of movement he had, given systemic resistance to change.

The bold part of your comment is a good observation, but you weaken it in your attempt to assign responsibility for this phenomenon with only one side.   

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On 12/10/2019 at 8:03 PM, Shootist Jeff said:

I would take that one step further and say that we've won every military conflict we've fought.  I would even dare to put Vietnam in that column too, because the civilian leaders would not let the military try to win until Nixon unleashed the dogs and brought the North to the table.

ROTFL. The US havn't won anything since WW2 and even there it can be argued that the true victors were the Russians.

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On 12/11/2019 at 5:03 AM, Shootist Jeff said:

I would take that one step further and say that we've won every military conflict we've fought.

 

20 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Except I didn't.  I speculated that we likely could have won it had we not been so handcuffed by the politicians.  Its an unknown.  I worded it poorly and should have said "Might even dare....."  <shrug>

<