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September 22, 2009

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He's stuck, though; we can't leave.

Obama has no focus in Afghanistan. I think he hoped to capture bin Laden and destroy the infrastructure of the leadership enough with Predators to announce a 'Peace with Honor' and withdrawal. He has almost no chance of appearing heroic in history compared to Bush and the left and the Afghani women's rights have taken an awful powder.
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Ranger

So, Obama personally chose Gen. McChrystal and gave him the missio of putting together a plan to execute the strategy Obama said he wanted to follow, and now Obama isn't sure he wants to actually do it.

No wonder McChrystal is ready to resign if he doesn't get the troops.

gmax

All Sham, No Wow.

Charlie (Colorado)

No wonder McChrystal is ready to resign if he doesn't get the troops.

Well, my first temptation is to offer popcorn, but this is more serious than that. O's in a tough position: he has to make a decision, and someone will be mad at him for it. If he says "yes" the lefties will go bats. If he says "no" and McChrystal resigns, that will look Really Really Bad.

matt

I wrote it up on the blog. WE didn't have a chance in Afghanistan starting November 4 last year. The same leftist 1960's scum who were trying to bring us down are now in power and drunk on it.

The plan was in place in the counterinsurgency manual directed and edited by Petraeus, and incorporated the best thinking on the subject in 60 years.Clear, hold, build.

The administration knew it needed the troops and fired Gen McKiernan for asking. Now McChrystal has taken the ultimate risk of threatening resignation. It can't get much worse, frankly, and yet our casualties are still far below Iraq.

The military battle is eminently winnable. But we have to win the COIN, and that is what will take decades.LUN

Thomas Collins

Jones's comments indicate that the Obama Administration is not prepared to do the necessary in Afghanistan. Jones sounds somewhat like Patty Murray when she reduced the war on terror to which side could build the most day care centers.

PD

O's in a tough position: he has to make a decision, and someone will be mad at him for it.

It's not such a tough decision if your objective is to choose in favor of U.S. interests. Obama finds himself in a dilemma only because he is burdened with no such interests.

Jack is Back!

Don't reject the nation building concept echoed by Jones so easily. He is throwing a bone to our Nato partners that don't want to be armed and dangerous but rather build roads, water systems and school-houses. Look, the real fighting in Afghanistan is us, the Brits and the Aussies but it is basically US. Even the Brits need our choppers and logistics. The Aussies depend on our G2 and predators. As my Belgian father in law constantly reminds me "Nato is America, no one else".

MayBee

O's in a tough position: he has to make a decision,

We'll have to take bets on what the first actual decision he ever makes will be.

glasater

Jones sounds somewhat like Patty Murray when she reduced the war on terror to which side could build the most day care centers.

TC-

There you go--bringing up the name of an embarrassment of a senator from my state once again:)

Thomas Collins

I hope you're right, Jack is Back, that Jones is simply recognizing Euro sensibilities. I suppose that if the non-Brit Euros really do commit to the infrastructure activities, that's the most for which we can hope from them. I am concerned, however, that we have as our Commander in Chief a Euro at heart who would like some other country to take on the heavy lifting of military operations (unfortunately, the Israelis are otherwise occupied).

Appalled

I agree Obama's position is a very difficult one, given that withdrawal is an obvious flip flop that will look like caving to Nancy P and staying will make him unpopular amongst the Huffing Kossacks. It's defensible to withdraw, though, if Al Qaeda can still be defeated if Afganistan falls to the Taliban. (Do I believe that is really the case? I'd like to be convinced, but I don't think anyone has really done that.)

The thing is, that position may not look that difficult to Obama, if he feels he can spin the withdrawal as not really harming the war on Al Qaeda, and helping America pay for healthcare. Obama gives every evidence of someone who thinks they can speechify themselves out of every tight situation.

Original MikeS

Mullah Omar and the Taliban reveal the strategy they think will work when they keep repeating that they are prepared for a "long war."

The threat of a "long war" works on liberals in the NATO countries. It also works on Afghan civilians who must consider what will happen when NATO departs. Afghan civilians who are presently anti-Taliban can't expect to be treated well if the Taliban retakes control of their region or even just their town.

The counter to the Taliban's psychological strategy is obviously a long term commitment. Plans for surges or a short term goal of eradicating of the Taliban and al Qaeda aren't reassuring to me. I imagine they are even less so to people who will suffer and die if there is ever a resurgence of the Taliban.

The question becomes, what kind of long term commitment can the West make in Afghanistan?
Above all, any plan must have a chance of success if it is to win support in the West. Recent success in Iraq would help sell the idea of strengthening the Afghan army and police forces so they can ultimately replace the warlord system in the country.

Aside from training and supporting Afghan government forces, I could support a long term strategy that emphasizes the use of our technological superiority to make the Taliban pay a high price for attempts to attack the Afghans. That kind of goal presents an opportunity for repeated success.

matt

clear, hold, build specifically includes infrastructure. We are basically not rebuilding, but building what was never there in Afghanistan. Roads, highways, schools, water treatment, electrical generation.

And in the face of this we have warlords, bandits, drug lords, and the government is utterly corrupt.But somehow we need to eliminate the warlords and drug barons (usually the same people). It will take 30 years, but if we can teach a generation or two "Western Values", may be we can leave behind a better place.

In the meantime we Agent Orange the poppy fields. Starve them of the money and the Taliban will find it difficult to buy weaponry. Most of the people hate them anyway.One way or the other, we screw em.....

Remember, the Taliban rule through fear.remove the fear, and the Taliban will lose most of their effectiveness.

bishop

This proves he either didn't read "Ghost Wars" or he didn't understand it.That was Coll's premise, that abandoning Afghanistan gave us the Taliban and lead to the AQ sanctuary

Nomad's Land.

That's why we must remain, bishop; it's an isolated place, a breeding ground for danger.
==============================

clarice

Scrap the agent orange, please..I've a friend dying as a result of it and it's been a long painful process.

I have a notorious brown thumb. I'll cvolunteer to be sent there and take over the Ministry of Agriculture with special attention to the poppies.

MayBee

It's defensible to withdraw, though, if Al Qaeda can still be defeated if Afganistan falls to the Taliban.

Possibly.

But what will the American public learn about listening to politicians with no actual responsibility who gain popularity by telling us the other guy is doing everything wrong?

Ignatz

--It's defensible to withdraw, though, if Al Qaeda can still be defeated if Afganistan falls to the Taliban. (Do I believe that is really the case? I'd like to be convinced, but I don't think anyone has really done that.)--

Appalled,

Why would you even hold out the possibility you could be convinced of something that unlikely?
By what conceivable method could we defeat AQ if we hand it back the sanctuary it launched 9/11 from?
Lobbing the occasional Hellfire?

Appalled

Ignatz:

I'd like to be convinced, because I see little evidence of the sort of "awakening" that would create a functioning state in Afghanistan. There's not a promising path to victory there. We're talking a 50 year committment, with very lttle in it for the USA.

That's why.

That said, beating Al Qaeda is an effort we can't abandon, because if we simply give up because things are too hard, another 9-11 will happen. So, I'd like to think that the Taliban has divorced Al Q, and would simply be satisfied with afflicting it's own part of the world and leaving mine alone. Problem with politcal movements gone mad is that they can't be satisfied with their one country -- they have to go and spread their madness elsewhere, too.

bgates

O's in a tough position: he has to make a decision, and someone will be mad at him for it.

The poor dear. We should send him a care package with some cookies.

Original MikeS

I only glanced at McChrystal's report, but I think it said that the Taliban were dependent of "foreign fighters" for finacial and technical support.

In the past Al Qaeda absorbed, trained, or collaborated with other terrorist groups and foreign fighters. I doubt that there are clear distinctions between these groups and Al Qaeda.

Thomas Collins

I know, glasater, I shouldn't bring up Patty Murray, especially given the politicians who reside in Massachusetts. I can certainly be accused of throwing stones in my glass house!

Ranger

We're talking a 50 year committment, with very lttle in it for the USA.

What we get is denial of critical terrain to the enemy. That may not seem like a lot, until we get hit by another 9/11 scale attack that shuts down our economy for a week and wreaks havoc on it for a year or two.

Ignatz

--I'd like to be convinced, because I see little evidence of the sort of "awakening" that would create a functioning state in Afghanistan.--

Appalled,

There is probably considerably less chance of such an event occurring in Afghanistan than there was in Iraq simply because Afghanistan has never had the centralized state Iraq did.
But our national interest may require us to stay there even if we can't build a nation out of it. The probable long term consequences for Pakistan if we leave and allow the Taliban and AQ to incubate across the border are too large to ignore.

--Problem with politcal movements gone mad is that they can't be satisfied with their one country -- they have to go and spread their madness elsewhere, too.--

Islam itself is inherently mad; it is by nature expansionist. The only time it has not destabilized its neighbors is when it has been put on its back by them.
Either we keep it on defense over there or they play offense over here.

clarice

Mike S, I perfectly agree. I regard AQ as a bunch of foot soldiers available for work with any foreign intel operation who needs cut outs for false flag ops...As 9/11 almost certainly was.

Pagar

"We're talking a 50 year committment,"

We've been in a lot of places more than 50 years. Just because it needs a long term commitment doesn't mean it is not worth holding, IMO.

Original MikeS

Yes Clarice, and a future attack on the U.S. could be by a group with any name, Even though they were stewed in the same pot as Al Qaeda.

On the bright side failure of the Taliban will be regarded as a failure for the movement which includes Al Qaeda.

JM Hanes

Critical terrain is right, Ranger, and the enemy is not just the al Qaeda Taliban.

All those anti-Bush handwringers who were so sure that GWB wanted to run a pipeline through Afghanistan were worried about the wrong kind of pipelines. We need to be giving serious thought to bookending a nuclear Iran, not to mention disrupting traffic and trafficking between Iran, Russia, and a demonstrably corruptible Pakistan -- among others! The increase in pressure on India from unrestrained, nuked up empire builders on all sides will increase, perhaps catastrophically, right when its most logical ally of first & last resort is busily disarming itself.

Afghanistan is a geographical crossroads -- one at which its tribal (dis)organization and its inability to coalesce into a sovereign territorial nation is a feature not a bug, and an invitation to international thugocracies of every ilk.

Ranger

Hot Air headlines links to Ace, who has this quote from a lefty blogger:

Escalation is a bad idea. The Democrats backed themselves into defending the idea of Afghanistan being The Good War because they felt they needed to prove their macho bonafides they called for withdrawal from Iraq. Nobody asked too many questions sat the time, including me. http://minx.cc/?post=292652>But none of us should forget that it was a political strategy, not a serious foreign policy.

There have been many campaign promises "adjusted" since the election. There is no reason that the administration should feel any more bound to what they said about this than all the other committments [sic] it has blithely turned aside in the interest of "pragmatism."

clarice

Democrats , the "Over there" party--deploy over the horizon , fellows.

Charlie (Colorado)

There is probably considerably less chance of such an event occurring in Afghanistan than there was in Iraq simply because Afghanistan has never had the centralized state Iraq did.

Actually, Afghanistan had a functioning government for at least as long as Iraq. Longer, if you don't count fascist police states.

daddy

Top of the hour news had a Hillary sound-bite saying that McChrystal was wrong, and what with her experience dodging bullets on the tarmac at Bosnia and all, I think we should give her opinions all the credence she deserves as a combat veteran.

bishop

How do these memes get spread, with a butter knife I suspect, yes Afghanistan had a government for some 50 years, they chose
not to deal with some of the tribal areas.

sbw

So what ever happened to Colin Powell's sage advice when asked how he was going to pursue the Iraqi army? We are going to cut off its head and kill it.

bishop

Once they crossed north of Safwan, that became 'inoperative'

sbw

Dang! We don't cut of the head and kill anything anymore. I thought it was the liberal thing to do.

daddy

Speaking of cutting off heads,

I see where actress Julia Robert's has incensed Hindu's by commandeering their Temple on the first day of some Indian religious festival, and locking them out so that she can do a movie shoot. Julia">http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/6218851/Julia-Roberts-angers-Hindus-as-worshippers-are-banned-from-their-temple.html">Julia Roberts angers Hindus as worshippers are banned from their temple.

Wonder how that'd go over in a Taliban mosque.

daddy

Don't want you to miss this part of the story about socially conscious and compassionate actress Julia Robert's:

In "Eat, Pray, Love", the screen adaptation of the best-selling memoir by Elzabeth Gilbert, she plays the writer on her spiritual quest to find herself..."

"Villagers hoping to celebrate the beginning of Navratri, nine days of worship of their Goddess Durga at Ashram Hari Mandir, close to Delhi, found their temple sealed by Roberts's vast security team of 350 guards, bulletproof cars and a helicopter."

"Roberts, who is staying at Pataudi Palace...is also being protected by 40 gunmen."

Kumbaya!

Ignatz

--Actually, Afghanistan had a functioning government for at least as long as Iraq. Longer, if you don't count fascist police states.--

Yes Charlie, Afghanistan had a weak central government that was itself substantially a vestige of british rule. As bishop pointed out they did not interfere in most of the tribal areas.
Iraq on the other hand has had a strong centrlized government for many years including a much stronger British one due to the importance of its oil.
That's why I said:
--Afghanistan has never had the centralized state Iraq did--

I didn't say Iraq is older than Afghanistan or that Afghanistan has never had a government. I was contrasting Afghanistan's long history of decentralized and tenuous government to Iraq's history of dictators and more recent and more concentrated colonialism.

Charlie (Colorado)

es Charlie, Afghanistan had a weak central government that was itself substantially a vestige of british rule.

Shame you didn't read the link.

Charlie (Colorado)

Don't want you to miss this part of the story about socially conscious and compassionate actress Julia Robert's:

You know, each of those temples has a priest or priests who are in charge. I'll bet $100 that the priests got paid for renting the temple.

rdmntfrd

Jack is back,
You're thick as two morceaux de bois. Check icasualties.org to see who is really doing the lifting in Afghanistan, not the pretty little SMH Aussie accents. Seperate the "alliance managers" from the allies and devote some real thought to the whole problem. Sheesh! Wadda maroon the US is!

sbw

Hey, rdmntfrd, explain for us once more what is worth standing up for and why. Some Americans keep forgetting.

Ignatz

Old business, but this is a little too rich to let slide:

--Shame you didn't read the link.--

I did read your link, and had previously read it along with a great deal more, but the real shame is you seem to think a couple of paragraphs of Wikipedia gives one some insight.

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