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Thread: A'stan: More Troops Needed

  1. #21
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Clinchy View Post
    Another agreement! How about that!

    An unstable or Taliban-controlled A'stan, with AQ busy there, and P'stan with nuclear capability ... so A'stan is important. If the previous administration erred in not continuing its A'stan initiative, then the present resurgence of the T'ban could be a clue that such strategy was faulty. We need to come up with a better answer.



    Absolutely! A friend in the Marines was involved in the pacification objectives later in the Vietnam conflict. They were actually making some headway, when the pullout came. But the corrupt S Vietnamese govt was definitely a detriment. Hah! We should talk, look at our own guys in DC

    From what coverage there is in the media, the only positive thing is that the US doesn't seem to be trying to conceal the dubious election results, as was done in Iran. Maybe there is a ray of hope?

    I'm sure there are people in the military and state departments who are old enough to remember these errors of the past, but will they have a voice?

    As Dave mentions, long-term history is important here. A'stan will not succumb to frontal assault. McChrystal's report mentioned not distancing the Americans from the people. That is a different approach than frontal assault. It may take more troops to work that strategy, but it is a different strategy than what has failed for others who have tried to subjugate A'stan. Subjugation is not the answer. And it should not be. It should be more about allowing the Afghanis have a better life for their children & themselves and, thus, having something they want to defend & preserve for themselves.

    McC also advocated tactical measures to minimize civilian casualties. That would be an important factor in engendering grassroots support. He sounds like a straight-shooter to me.
    Agreed. But there still needs to be a full discussion because if we buy into McChrystal's recommendations we are probably looking at major military involvement lasting another 3-4 years. That shouldn't be done without some bi-partisan consensus. Our soldiers and taxpayers deserve that and so do the Afghans.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    Agreed. But there still needs to be a full discussion because if we buy into McChrystal's recommendations we are probably looking at major military involvement lasting another 3-4 years. That shouldn't be done without some bi-partisan consensus. Our soldiers and taxpayers deserve that and so do the Afghans.
    Did I imply that discussion wasn't needed? If, so, didn't mean to. Just expressing a personal opinion on my impression of what we know of McC's report ... and agreeing with you that A'stan does have importance due to the nuclear capability of Pakistan.

    I cannot see how one could possibly imagine bridging the cultural gap that exists in A'stan in less than 3-4 years ... undoubtedly would take more time than that. The hope would be, though, that if we take the right approach, there will be more emphasis on education, stable food and water supplies, medical care, etc. that will make the populace partners in bettering their situation in terms of daily necessities. I think that this kind of approach takes time. Maybe more time, but fewer body bags? Sounds like a fair trade if it can work out well for the Afghanis in the long run.

    If Americans have a flaw, it is impatience. It's cultural. We are Type A personalities , and many other cultures are not. We can have a hard time in understanding that & acting accordingly.
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
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  3. #23
    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    I like the "Two Cups of Tea" approach. We have no beef with the nomadic Afghans. A bullet war in their backyard will be prolonged and likely will generate one or two Taliban sympathizers for every one we kill. From the Romans to the Russians, do we need to learn our lesson the hard way? Pakistan is not totally lost due in large part to the building of schools, educating the kids, providing medical facilities, and helping them learn how to better themselves in their own way, at their own pace. Gerry's right...that takes time, something we're not good at with continuous election cycles driving policy.
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

  4. #24
    Senior Member road kill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    I like the "Two Cups of Tea" approach. We have no beef with the nomadic Afghans. A bullet war in their backyard will be prolonged and likely will generate one or two Taliban sympathizers for every one we kill. From the Romans to the Russians, do we need to learn our lesson the hard way? Pakistan is not totally lost due in large part to the building of schools, educating the kids, providing medical facilities, and helping them learn how to better themselves in their own way, at their own pace. Gerry's right...that takes time, something we're not good at with continuous election cycles driving policy.
    "Gerry's right...that takes time, something we're not good at with continuous POLLING cycles driving policy."

    Fixed.....
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  5. #25
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    But there still needs to be a full discussion because if we buy into McChrystal's recommendations we are probably looking at major military involvement lasting another 3-4 years. That shouldn't be done without some bi-partisan consensus. Our soldiers and taxpayers deserve that and so do the Afghans.
    The decision making process you're promoting is part of the reason the public has a general mistrust of liberals when it comes to the defense of this country. As a president you don't fight wars and direct foreign policy by licking your finger and sticking it up in the wind. You don't let 535 folks monkey eff a football by fobbing off your responsibilities on Congress. You consider the advice of the experts around you and you make what you think is the correct decision. That's called leadership. That's why we elected him as the head decider. Now it's time for him to get decidin'.
    I'll take the river down to still water and ride a pack of dogs.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Matt McKenzie's Avatar
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    John,
    I agree. It is Congress' job to declare war. It is the Commander in Chief's job to prosecute the war. Nobody in Congress is qualified to make tactical or strategic military decisions and their opinions are to varying degrees biased and political. The President should consult the experts that he has chosen and then make an informed decision. That's what we're paying him for.
    Matt McKenzie

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  7. #27
    Senior Member Goose's Avatar
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    Our Commander in Chief has more in common with Al Qaeda than he does the United States Marine Corps. Hell, he probably has relatives fighting for the Taliban! Dear Leader can't be trusted because I'm not sure who he's rooting for.

    Bring them home!

  8. #28
    Senior Member luvalab's Avatar
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    They keep talking of the Taliban "insurgency" and Afghan "civilians."

    What if--and maybe I'm just feeling a little down, to think a whole country could be dominated by such misery, but anyway--what if the Taliban ARE the civilians? What if that's the norm there in the year 2009?

    Who are we to do anything about it?

    Let's get out. Let a REAL insurgency develop--against the Taliban. If people are inherently good, which I sincerely hope, then that's what will someday happen.

    If they are ever strong enough that with a little help we can push them into power and majority, then we can go back. Then we'd be heroes. As it is, we're putting our own in harm's way with no clear agenda, killing lots of folks we don't know in the process and strengthening the resistance to our efforts.

    Out. Now.
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  9. #29
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    I don't think Newsweek would be considered a right-leaning media outlet. This is their headline: Is It Amateur Hour in the White House?
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/215991/page/1

    There is quite a lot of detail in this article that I hadn't seen before. Newsweek is covering much the same ground that has been discussed on this thread. These are some highlights:

    In office, Obama ordered up a new Afghanistan strategy, and announced this on March 27 as the product of what he called "a careful policy review." Shorn of rhetoric, the new strategy actually accepted all the Bush administration's goals in Afghanistan—defeating the insurgents; preventing Al Qaeda from reestablishing a sanctuary there; working to set up a democratic and effective government; training Afghan forces to take over from U.S. troops; coaxing the international community to give more help. The review even added a new goal: saving Pakistan—or, as the review put it, "assisting efforts to enhance civilian control and stable constitutional government in Pakistan and a vibrant economy that provides opportunities for the people of Pakistan. And to accomplish this breath-taking set of objectives? Obama had already agreed to send another 17,000 troops to Afghanistan to safeguard polling in the Afghan presidential election in August. Now, as part of his new strategy, he agreed to send an additional 4,000 troops to train Afghanistan's own forces.
    COIN: counter-insurgency. That means protecting the Afghan population from the Taliban and their allies so they can then be wooed into supporting the government and then, hopefully, turning in the insurgents. Whether counter-insurgency is a plausible strategy in Afghanistan is much debated within the military. But that's the strategy Obama adopted in March. What was always clear was that COIN would need thousands more troops. The mystery is whether Obama realized this.
    Now Obama's new handpicked commander, Gen Stanley McChrystal, has concluded that he will need another 45,000 troops to carry out Obama's strategy. Plus, by the way, a vastly expanded, better organized, and costly effort to carry out the civic improvement projects that are an essential part of COIN strategy.
    Specifically, he charged, the resources U.S. commanders needed "have been denied." "Now, that will change," he said. As late as last month, Obama was declaring the struggle in Afghanistan "a war of necessity" where victory was "fundamental to the defense of our people."
    The administration spin is that the debacle of the Afghan presidential elections, which President Hamid Karzai appears to have won by industrial-strength vote-rigging, has altered the situation. That's nonsense. Everyone knew Karzai would do whatever it took to win. (The U.S. in practice settled for that months ago, having tried but failed to find a plausible competitor to Karzai.) If the U.S. does have vital national interests at stake in the region, those remain, no matter how disputed the Afghan government is (or however ineffective the government in Pakistan). Lousy local governments just make the job tougher.
    The administration has been trying to prevent Gen. McChrystal from coming back to give Congress his views. That was always short-sighted; now that his assessment has leaked, it's untenable.
    Comparisons with Vietnam may be overblown, and are certainly misguided in detail. But the political parallel seems ever more appropriate. Like Lyndon Johnson, Obama has inherited from his predecessor a messy war with only indirect connections to vital U.S. national interests. LBJ had a soaring domestic agenda, but he didn't know how to handle Vietnam. Obama, with comparable domestic ambitions, appears not to know how to handle Afghanistan. Vietnam sank LBJ's presidency in his first term. Afghanistan could do the same to Obama.
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
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  10. #30
    Senior Member TXduckdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    I agree with your three items. But if we don't have a good answer to my question, then the answer to yours is "get the hell out"! And the three items become moot. If we have good reason to be there, then we need to take your three items into consideration and act definitively.

    Bush is gone (as RK likes to mention) so I won't address his policies, other than to say initially he made it very clear we were after the SOBs who hit our WTC, and disable their terror-making network. We didn't accomplish that goal, or more precisely, we let our gains backslide to where we are now by all but abandoning Afghanistan in lieu of Iraq. So, back to the future....what is our goal now? Disabling terror networks in rugged terrain such as A-stan and P-stan are probably best done by disrupting communication and financial routings, not military occupance.

    During the Russian invasion, Chernenko was warned that he would require 650,000 troops to secure Afghanistan by military force. He instead dedicated 115,000. Those who study or are old enough to remember history , know what happened.

    Obama had better get on the ball with this. He's losing support from all directions. If he's for the war, he needs to explain why and dedicate the necessary resources to accomplish his yet unstated goals. If he's against the war, which was implicit in his campaign, then get the hell out, and explain why.

    Given the near collapse of our financial system he had to deal with, he's been given some slack. But with lives in harm's way, he needs to move now in one direction or another.

    Agreed.

    Very interesting Newsweek comments. They are dead on....for once.
    Train the dog, the ribbons will take care of themselves.

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