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October 02, 2012

Comments

jimmyk

kaka, we agree with you that Obama is an utter failure and nincompoop for thinking his surge would be a success in Afghanistan.

Ranger

I don't think getting the video out tonight is about getting to voters directly, I think it is about throwing Obama off his game before the debate.

Kathy Kattenburg

jimmyk,

And I'm glad you agree that the surge hasn't worked and can't work and was never going to work. Where we apparently disagree is that you think we should stay in Afghanistan forever, or indefinitely, despite the fact the war is a failure, and I think Obama should have begun the withdrawal as soon as he took office.

Ignatz Ratzkiwatzki

I can't disagree with much of anything Kathy has said explicitly. She acknowledges the surge worked militarily in Iraq and I also agree with her that as it was put in motion by Obama against the advice of his generals it was doomed to failure in Afghanistan.
I wish she would explicitly acknowledge that DoT's perfectly sensible assertion is correct, that whatever good the surge could have done as implemented was doomed to failure the minute he telegraphed how long our enemies would have to hunker down.
Kathy, the point isn't that you don't provide an end date because you intend to stay forever; you don' give one so the enemy doesn't know what you're plans are.
Having said that she is correct that the wretched place is unfixable. It should have been smashed and abandoned until it needed smashing again.

Annoying Old Guy

Kathy, if the surge wasn't going to work and never could work, was Obama too stupid to realize that, or too indifferent to casualties to immediately end our presence in Afghanistan? Why did Obama act in a way to get the worst of both alternatives - additional casualties and mission failure?

narciso

The US Military, is as Bing West put it. the Strongest Tribe, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, with an undersourced operation, a contemptuous attitude toward the ally govt, a premature withdrawal date, and admittedly the corruption that was cultivated therein, it was much harder to carry of

Kathy Kattenburg

"If the surge wasn't going to work and never could work, was Obama too stupid to realize that, or too indifferent to casualties to immediately end our presence in Afghanistan?"

Indifferent to casualties is more likely. Or allowing himself to heed bad advice. Or just plain thinking with blinders on. Whatever his motivation was, he was wrong. He absolutely should have ended our presence immediately after taking office.

jimmyk

Where we apparently disagree is that you think we should stay in Afghanistan forever, or indefinitely

How the $%&#! do you know what I think? Other than what I said, which was that Obama is an utter failure and nincompoop in the policy that he chose?

Kathy Kattenburg

"I wish she would explicitly acknowledge that DoT's perfectly sensible assertion is correct, that whatever good the surge could have done as implemented was doomed to failure the minute he telegraphed how long our enemies would have to hunker down."

Ignatz, The reason I don't explicitly acknowledge that is because it's a ridiculous notion. If you believe that we failed in Afghanistan because after 11 years of war, Pres. Obama announced a withdrawal plan, you'll believe anything.

narciso

The struggle against Deobandism, in the region, from Charles Allen's 'Warriors of God' has been long and arduous, and often not as continuous as our recent expeditionary force, the three Afghan
Wars, the Black mountain, Tirah, and Malakand operation, over the period of a hundred years.

Ignatz Ratzkiwatzki

--If you believe that we failed in Afghanistan because after 11 years of war, Pres. Obama announced a withdrawal plan, you'll believe anything.

Posted by: Kathy Kattenburg | October 02, 2012 at 11:50 PM--

Do you believe the Japanese would have stopped fighting had Truman, rather than bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, announced we would build up our forces on Okinawa for a period of one year and then gradually withdraw across the Pacific back to Pearl Harbor?

You are correct we should have withdrawn but if you're going to announce a withdrawal date you damn well better insure the deaths that occur between the announcement and the withdrawal are not just to make you look good.
There is no plausible alternate explanation for Obama's behavior.
Bush, whatever his faults, at least believed in what he was doing and didn't intentionally send men to their deaths to help his electoral chances.

Kathy Kattenburg

"You are correct we should have withdrawn but if you're going to announce a withdrawal date you damn well better insure the deaths that occur between the announcement and the withdrawal are not just to make you look good."

So tell me how we withdraw from Afghanistan without telling anyone the date for withdrawal. We withdraw all the troops secretly in the middle of the night, and nobody knows they're coming home until they emerge from the plane in the U.S.?

Annoying Old Guy

You minimize the time between the announcement and the withdrawal (a few weeks instead of a couple of years) and you hunker down until the actual withdrawal (stop patrols, increase security on bases, etc.).

Kathy Kattenburg

And the enemy won't notice that you're doing that? And when the withdrawal date arrives, you'll be able to get all the troops and their support personnel and all the military equipment out of Afghanistan in one day?

Annoying Old Guy

Yes, they will notice. No, you won't be able to get everything out in one day. Therefore ...? Did you have point?

On the off chance you're not being deliberately obtuse, the issue the number of casualties between the time the withdrawal is announced and the time the withdrawal is finished. The plan I outlined minimizes that number by both reducing the amount of time troops are exposed to the enemy and the amount of exposure.

Kathy Kattenburg

"The plan I outlined minimizes that number by both reducing the amount of time troops are exposed to the enemy and the amount of exposure."

Are you saying that troops are more exposed to the enemy now than they were before Obama announced troops would leave at the end of 2014? And if Obama had not announced a withdrawal time line, our troops would not be exposed to the enemy?

Annoying Old Guy
Are you saying that troops are more exposed to the enemy now than they were before Obama announced troops would leave at the end of 2014?

Yes. The withdrawal announcement would encourage the enemy while no pull back from exposure was done leaving a net effect of "more exposed". One need merely look at the casualty rates to see this - almost 3 times as many troops killed in Obama's 3.5 years than 8 years under Bush. That is a casualty rate almost 6 times greater.

if Obama had not announced a withdrawal time line, our troops would not be exposed to the enemy?

How did you go from "more" to "none" between those two questions? Did you know the opposite of "more" is actually "less"?

Kathy Kattenburg

"One need merely look at the casualty rates to see this - almost 3 times as many troops killed in Obama's 3.5 years than 8 years under Bush. That is a casualty rate almost 6 times greater."

And the reason for that has to be the withdrawal plan? There is no other possible reason, or reasons, for more casualties? How exactly do you justify this ironclad linkage?

Also, how do you reconcile your belief that the Taliban are trying to kill as many US troops as they can before Obama's announced withdrawal date with the belief I've seen readers express here that announcing a date for withdrawal of US troops encourages the Taliban to wait us out? Are they killing more Americans because we're leaving by the end of 2014, or are they laying low until we leave? Which is it?


"How did you go from "more" to "none" between those two questions? Did you know the opposite of "more" is actually "less"?"

I have no idea what your point is here.

Annoying Old Guy
And the reason for that has to be the withdrawal plan?

No, it doesn't. But it seems the most likely explanation. Do you have a different one? You seem to have a very flexible requirement for accuracy, where my statements must be "ironclad" but your counter-claims require no evidence at all. Have you noticed that?

how do you reconcile your belief that the Taliban are trying to kill as many US troops as they can before Obama's announced withdrawal date

I have no need to reconcile beliefs I don't have. But I will ask how to "wait us out" is inconsistent with "kill as many US troops as possible". The "wait" part is about sections giving up, coming to terms with the government, or going hunting in other locations. It's easier to motivate people and attacks if you know the enemy has only a limited time to get back at you.

I have no idea what your point is here.

I am sure you don't. Let's look at the question again

if Obama had not announced a withdrawal time line, our troops would not be exposed to the enemy?

Note the lack of any qualifier in that description - "not be exposed". Not "less exposed" or "not as exposed" but flat out "not be exposed". From whence comes that absoluteness? The question was asked in contrast to one with a qualifier of "more" ("more exposed") which would normally lead to the qualifier "less" as that's the opposite. In essence you are asking "more exposed or not exposed at all?" which is a false dichotomy, a strawman question. I wanted to know why you resorted to such a disingenuous rhetorical technique.

Ignatz Ratzkiwatzki

Kathy is like Afghanistan, AOG.
Hit her with the facts once and then it's "sayonara". You're trying to nation build her noggin. Can't be done.
She's ineducable; witness her complete incomprehension that withdrawing troops need not be accompanied by a trumpet fanfare addressed to your enemy announcing the date.

Annoying Old Guy

Ignatz;

Admit it, Kathy is like our own little Althouse, although she's no Sylvia.

Kathy Kattenburg

The "wait" part is about sections giving up, coming to terms with the government, or going hunting in other locations."

Oh. so then that's what the Taliban are doing, right? Their sections are giving up and coming to terms with the government, and they're hunting in other locations?

"It's easier to motivate people and attacks if you know the enemy has only a limited time to get back at you."

Speaking of absolutist statements.... What makes you think you know what motivates all people and all attacks and all enemies in the world? What motivates Americans to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq is not necessarily the same as what motivated insurgents in Iraq to fight Americans or what motivates Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. U.S. troops in Vietnam were not motivated by the same things that motivated the Vietcong. That's a big part of why the U.S. has failed so badly in Afghanistan, and why that war is so completely unwinnable. We may have the most powerful and the most technologically sophisticated military and the most disciplined and capable troops, but we know next to nothing about the country we're fighting in, and of course that's because we have no interest in understanding the people or the countries we fight. We think that military might is all we need to win any war, but guess what? It's not going to do anything for us in Afghanistan.

"Note the lack of any qualifier in that description - "not be exposed". Not "less exposed" or "not as exposed" but flat out "not be exposed". From whence comes that absoluteness? The question was asked in contrast to one with a qualifier of "more" ("more exposed") which would normally lead to the qualifier "less" as that's the opposite. In essence you are asking "more exposed or not exposed at all?" which is a false dichotomy, a strawman question. I wanted to know why you resorted to such a disingenuous rhetorical technique."

Actually, if you're using the qualifier "more" in the phrase "more troops," the opposite would be "fewer" not "less." If you were using the qualifier "more" in the phrase "that recipe needs more sugar," THEN the opposite would be "no, that recipe needs less sugar."

Annoying Old Guy
so then that's what the Taliban are doing, right?

No, because we're going to withdraw.

hat makes you think you know what motivates all people and all attacks and all enemies in the world?

Nothing. You might note my use of a qualifier, "easier", precisely to avoid making an absolute statement or attempt to exhaustively list motivations. You might also consider the possibility that I have studied the Taliban and that it might well be possible to speak of their motivations without ascribing those motivations to "all people and all attacks and all enemies in the world".

I think I begin to see a pattern, that you have some difficulty in conceptualizing non-absolutes and that is both why you use them and repeatedly and inaccurately interpret my comments in that way.

if you're using the qualifier "more" in the phrase "more troops," the opposite would be "fewer" not "less."

Quite so. Happily for me you did not use it in the phrase "more troops" which I am sure is simply a fortuitous coincidence and not at all related to my close reading of your text. That's your good luck, otherwise you might be tempted to do the same thing to me. Imagine that! Surely I would be crushed by your superior logic rather than being able to weasel out because you failed to actually address what I wrote.

I do note that in all of your examples the opposite is still a qualifier, leaving unanswered the question of why you didn't use one in the situation in question. So, why did you use a disingenuous rhetorical technique?

Kathy Kattenburg

"...witness her complete incomprehension that withdrawing troops need not be accompanied by a trumpet fanfare addressed to your enemy announcing the date."

1. You cannot withdraw troops or end a war without a withdrawal plan.

2. A plan with no date for completion is not a plan.

3. A withdrawal plan that is secret with an end date that is secret is not a withdrawal plan at all. It doesn't exist in any practical sense. If the plan and the end date are known to no one, then there is no accountability. If only the president and a few generals in the Pentagon know that the plan for withdrawal even exists, then it might as well not exist and in fact it doesn't exist. I mean, that's so obvious that it shouldn't need stating. If I have a project and I say there's a deadline for completion, but only I know what's the deadline is, then there's no deadline!

Kathy Kattenburg

"No because we're going to withdraw."

But you told me that this is what the enemy does when the enemy is told a specific date for withdrawal! You told me that's what is meant by saying that announcing a withdrawal date in advance the enemy will incentivize the enemy to wait for us out! So that must be what the Taliban are doing right now!

Kathy Kattenburg

"So, why did you use a disingenuous rhetorical technique?"

So why did you say less instead of fewer?

Annoying Old Guy
you told me that this is what the enemy does when the enemy is told a specific date for withdrawal!

Huh. I went back and double checked my statement and you're correct, it makes no sense. That's what I would expect without a stated time of withdrawal. With a stated time of withdrawal, that is a fixed time for a Taliban victory, I would expect basically what is happening now, which is a higher risk for our troops than the indefinite stay condition.

So why did you say less instead of fewer?

Because "less" as the correct form in that instance, with the adjective "exposed" and my intent is to be clear and precise.

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