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Thread: A'stan: More Troops Needed

  1. #41
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    I'm sure it wasn't intended, but you perhaps give the impression that before McCrystal came along that the US was wily-nily killing civilians, and the notion of minimizing civilian casualites is some sort of novel approach.

    You're correct, Hew, I did not mean to give the impression that the US was unduly killing civilians. Indeed, however, I'm sure many of the other invaders were not careful on that score, and inflamed the populace by that kind of disregard for civilians.

    From the CBS article that Stan linked to above:


    The obligatory and obvious disclaimer: it sucks that we inadvertently kill any innocent civilians. But 256? In one year? That's insanely lower than I would have guessed, and in the grand scheme of things (i.e. ummm, this is a WAR), seems pretty praiseworthy that it's already that low.

    Considering the terrain situation in A'stan, and the use of air power, it is almost surprising that the numbers are not higher. OTOH, I seem to recall one incident were there were multiple civilians killed, and there was some controversy about the circumstances.

    If McChrystal believes civilian casualties are the main reason that we're not winning, and that the main thrust of his strategy is to lower that number (likely at the expense of killing fewer bad guys and thus increasing the danger to our people),

    I can understand the importance of civilian protection being a key factor in COIN ... because it is the Americans who are "outsiders". Likely the Taliban are cut some slack because they are "their own". I think that it is natural to emphasize the faults of the "outsider".

    then I'm not too confident that we're going to eventually win. For the love of Pete, the Taliban and al Qaeda INTENTIONALLY kill more civilians than that in a given week or month with IEDs and assassination, and we're supposed to believe that Afghanis find that acceptable and our accidents are atrocities?!?

    In the end, if the "outsiders" do provide the emphasis on improved life, and respect for the people, I do believe that will carry weight. And it takes longer than taking less care for the civilians. Essentially, it becomes a matter of giving the civilians something they are motivated to protect themselves; and empower them to protect it.

    They're either an incredibly stupid people or we have the absolute worst propoganda/public relations program in the history of warfare. Or McChrystal has completely misread the situation.
    I think the key to COIN is getting the people on your side. For an "outsider" it is more difficult. The difference is that, it appears, that none of the previous outsiders who have had tried to militarily "conquer" A-stan have not even attempted the COIN approach.
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
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  2. #42
    Senior Member gman0046's Avatar
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    dnf777 please say it isn't true that you are a Texas Aggie. What year? Many Reveille's must be turning over in their graves at Kyle Field knowing your an Aggie with such far left views. Thats enough of an excuse to become a Teasip fan. Every time I hear the Aggie War Hymn I will cringe knowing you have degraded Aggies everywhere. It's bad enough Robert Gates is a member of Obongolo's team.

    GIG EM AGGIES!

  3. #43
    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gman0046 View Post
    dnf777 please say it isn't true that you are a Texas Aggie. What year? Many Reveille's must be turning over in their graves at Kyle Field knowing your an Aggie with such far left views. Thats enough of an excuse to become a Teasip fan. Every time I hear the Aggie War Hymn I will cringe knowing you have degraded Aggies everywhere. It's bad enough Robert Gates is a member of Obongolo's team.

    GIG EM AGGIES!
    Sorry, but if demanding my CIC spells out goals and justifications for sending our troops into harms way, that's not degrading, nor will I apologize for that 'far left view'. Whether it's Mr. Bush or Mr. Obama, same criteria apply. There's another far left habit I was taught at Aggieland, respect for the POTUS and referring to them as Mr. or President, followed by their correct last name.

    I also happen to think that Sec. Gates has shown himself to be a patriot and an honorable man, giving up a PRIMO job at the University to serve his country, not under one, but two presidents of different parties, with a seamless transition. He has reflected nothing but honor and dignity on Texas A&M.

    I can tell you're not an Aggie, as you capitalized 'tea-sip'.
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

  4. #44
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Gerry,

    I am questioning McChyrstal making the reduction of civilian casualties (which are already very low to begin with) the lynchpin of his plan. War, conflict, death and destruction has been pretty constant for multiple generations of many Afghanis. Life is CHEAP there. I hardly see them getting upset over civilian casualites to the extent that it has ruined 8 years of our previous efforts or is the main reason we're losing ground there now. The whole notion seems simplistic and doesn't make logical sense; particularly in light of the fact of all the civilians that are intentionally targeted by the Taliban. As you noted, the Taliban probably gets more of the benefit of the doubt than we do, but in the end, Afghanis know the Taliban is propped up by Arab money and it ranks are comprised of many Arab and foreign jihadists, who to a proud Afghani, aren't much higher up on the pecking order than an American soldier.

    Likewise, the COIN program is nothing new, either. McChrystal can slap whatever acronym he wants on it, but we've been doing that since we arrived in A-Stan...perhaps not to the extent that McChrystal wants or the situation requires, but it was/is being done. There are two critiques of our strategy in A-Stan that I have seen/read about and that a relative who served there confirmed that will hopefully be addressed by the fancy "new" COIN program: 1) the lack of training of Afghani military and police and 2) insufficient manpower/willpower to provide a sustained presence/protection out in the hinterland villages.

    I hope that in McChrytal's mind, he thinks that with enough men he can do what he needs to do to win/accomplish his mission, and his fancy 60+ page report full of slick acronyms and "new" strategies that really aren't so new was just a necessary means to get the men he needs. Because to me, that report just seems like a bunch of smoke and mirrors.
    I'll take the river down to still water and ride a pack of dogs.

  5. #45
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    I also happen to think that Sec. Gates has shown himself to be a patriot and an honorable man, giving up a PRIMO job at the University to serve his country, not under one, but two presidents of different parties, with a seamless transition. He has reflected nothing but honor and dignity on Texas A&M.
    Isn't that special. Dick Cheney gave up an even more "primo" job making more money than most people could imagine in their wildest dreams to serve his country for eight years and you make wild (and false) accusations about him and label him a war profiteer.
    I'll take the river down to still water and ride a pack of dogs.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Hew, I don't think that COIN is "new" in and of itself, but it would be a strategy that is new to the approach of dealing with A'stan by an "outsider".

    I've mentioned that this type of appraoch was begun in Nam, but too late in that conflict to see what it might ultimately accomplish. There is was called (I think) "pacification".

    History tells us that plain old frontal military strategy does not work in A'stan. If A'stan is key to our goals of neutralizing AQ and Taliban, then a different approach from those known to fail would be appropriate.

    I'm not a military person, but it does seem logical to me ... there are those who will tell you that my logic sometimes defies understanding ... that it would take more manpower to protect civilian safety while pursuing the other goals of deterring T military moves and also trying to build schools, hospitals and other infrastructure.

    Further, while we have an impression that "life is cheap" in A'stan, it is hard to find any country where a mother or father is not heart-wrenched over watching their children maimed and killed. No effort can prevent this from happening entirely, but that does not invalidate the need to make the effort.

    One thing the Afghanis certainly understand is determination to succeed in the face of adverse odds. That is how they have deterred those who would thought they could overcome them by brute force.

    My sense is that COIN is really about "self-preservation". Meaning that the Afghanis see the efforts of COIN as allowing them to gain "self-preservation," and ultimately have a better situation than they may have presently. Previous outsiders did not offer them that.

    I think McC has shown courage in not sugar-coating his report. Surely he could have anticipated that it would cause the controversy that is under way now. I would imagine that in the military, alone, there are conflicting opinions about a COIN approach v. traditional military approaches. And if his C in C lacks the fortitude to make the hard decision of the commitment that McC is recommending ... then McC is out of a job pretty much right away. How refreshing in comparison to our Congress ... who seem like they will tell you anything they think you want to hear to keep their jobs, whether it's the truth or not.

    60 pages to comprehensively evaluate the A'stan situation seems remarkably concise when compared to 1,500 pages of hot air in the original medical reform proposal by our Congress

    In terms of time frame, I also think of how long it took Russia and China to realize how a taste of capitalism is changing their citizenry. It has taken 30 years in Iran for the populace to question their tyranical leaders and the corruption of what was supposed to be a democratic election. And they have put their lives on the line as a result. The populace really had to figure it out on their own, without much help from any outsiders. With some help, the A'stan people might be able to cut that time by a lot of years ... but likely NOT just 3 or 4 years.

    If the previous 8 years in A'stan included some of the aspects of COIN, but did not place emphasis on those aspects, then the "good" things were overshadowed by the more negative aspects of being at war. It is not illogical (to me anyway) for the outsiders to have been blamed for at least some of the bad things done by the T ... if the T had the propaganda machine at the grass roots level to make it appear so. I would be very surprised if the T did not use such an approach.
    Last edited by Gerry Clinchy; 09-26-2009 at 09:25 AM.
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
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  7. #47
    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    Isn't that special. Dick Cheney gave up an even more "primo" job making more money than most people could imagine in their wildest dreams to serve his country for eight years and you make wild (and false) accusations about him and label him a war profiteer.
    Somehow I doubt that little bonus pay at the end of his Haliburton tenure was for a "job well done"!

    We may disagree on this, but I'd take being President of TAMU over being a CEO for a defense contractor ANYDAY of the week, and on Sunday!! Obviously wouldn't make as much money, but living in the president's house in Aggieland!?

    And no, you've shown me the light on Cheney. I now believe he is an honest boy scout, who in NO WAY profited from the war he helped shape and start. Where can I send my disposable income and first born child? I also now realize the his top secret, closed door meeting with energy companies was truly to help keep energy and gas prices low for you and me, the American consumer. And shame on our troops, who committed torture sololy on their own, with no direction or approval of upper level officials. I'm sure Cheney just took some heat to show support for the troops. That was so noble of him. Poor guy just couldn't for the life of him join and serve himself! Damn deferrments that were forced upon him buy some liberal recruiter! I'm going home right now, and carving a statue of Mr. Cheney in my front yard to commerate a true, honest, virtuous American Hero!

    And I'll never stand up for a bum like Gates again, sorry.
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

  8. #48
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    Somehow I doubt that little bonus pay at the end of his Haliburton tenure was for a "job well done"!
    1) He didn't receive bonus pay. He received stock options. Surely you understand the difference.
    2) The stock options, when exercised, will go to charity.
    3) You keep repeating the same bullsh!t over and over about the money Cheney has supposedly received since he left Halliburton; despite the fact that you've been shown that you're wrong on numerous occasions by myself, factcheck.org, and even Yardley. You're bordering on pathological at this point.
    I'll take the river down to still water and ride a pack of dogs.

  9. #49
    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    1) He didn't receive bonus pay. He received stock options. Surely you understand the difference.
    2) The stock options, when exercised, will go to charity.
    3) You keep repeating the same bullsh!t over and over about the money Cheney has supposedly received since he left Halliburton; despite the fact that you've been shown that you're wrong on numerous occasions by myself, factcheck.org, and even Yardley. You're bordering on pathological at this point.
    1) No, I don't understand the difference between stock options in one's name worth millions when cashed, and bonus pay! I'm not as savvy at word games and double-speak as you and the neocons.

    2) Charity? What charity, and just because Mr. Cheney says something, I don't assume its true. Talk about pathologic. But I assume since he's claiming to give this to charity, there IS something worth a bundle we're talking about, right?

    3) no response regarding Mr. Cheney's dumping blame for torture on "a few bad apples" (ie our troops)after being involved in it's authorization, or his multiple deferrments. (was it seven? I'm not sure, lost count)

    And by the way, why do YOU keep bringing up Cheney. I haven't mentioned him in a long while. As someone pointed out, HE'S NOT VICE-PRESIDENT ANYMORE. I was standing by Mr. Gates, who has done an honorable job in my view. YOU keep bringing up your hero Cheney.

    Give it up Hew, you're never gonna convince me that Mr. Cheney is a little angel who deserves a kiss on the cheek from me! Out of respect for his office, I will refrain from saying what I really think of him. Notice I didn't even resort to name calling!
    Last edited by dnf777; 09-26-2009 at 09:17 PM.
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

  10. #50
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Clinchy View Post
    In terms of time frame, I also think of how long it took Russia and China to realize how a taste of capitalism is changing their citizenry. It has taken 30 years in Iran for the populace to question their tyranical leaders and the corruption of what was supposed to be a democratic election. And they have put their lives on the line as a result. The populace really had to figure it out on their own, without much help from any outsiders. With some help, the A'stan people might be able to cut that time by a lot of years ... but likely NOT just 3 or 4 years.
    I agree. I'm not advocating quiting. My support for our efforts in A-Stan haven't changed just because there's a different Commander-in-Chief sitting behind the desk.
    I'll take the river down to still water and ride a pack of dogs.

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