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War in Afghanistan

post #1 of 212
Thread Starter 
I was listening to a piece NPR ran yesterday comparing Afghanistan to Vietnam and McChristyol's (I'm sure I'm spelling that wrong) request for more troops to the area turning the matter into a quagmire. What I don't get is: what's the endgame? We aren't deposing a dictator this time around (if anything, it appears much of the latest election wasn't on the up and up) and military powers have had no success in this country for all of modern history. What do you think Obama should do (or ultimately will do)?
post #2 of 212
The endgame is: Stay as long as it takes to get that huge oil pipeline built, then leave with some contractors staying behind guarding the thing.
post #3 of 212
Obama seems to be "re_imagining" the Endgame as "Kill Osama and get out"

In the election campaign and until recently, his position was "let's Nation Build so Al Queda will never come back here again.
post #4 of 212
Yeah they keep moving the goal posts until even the most patient audience forgot what game they were originally attending.

Instead of all this BS political maneuvering, they should start a serious discussion wether modern military strategy works at all in these giant urban zones like Bagdad or Kabul.
In my opinion, if you don't want to go in guns and bombs blazing its a ridiculous goal to try to pacify a region with millions o people with just a fraction of soldiers. It doesn't work. Not in the slightest.
It didn't work in Mogadischu, not in Bagdad and not in Kabul.
post #5 of 212
But you guys arent losing the Afghanistan War in urban zones. Whats breaking your neck in the end, apparently, is the same that has happened to every single damn attempt in the history of the country to invade, occupy and control it: The country is just a nightmare to navigate, its riddled with caves, holes and natural hideouts, and its populace is hardy, relatively uncooperative and most importantly incredibly divided into small tribes, whose politics a non-native will likely never understand.

Every so often, apparently, somebody in the history of mankind thought that now its time to take Afghanistan. They all think that with their current military technology, their numbers or whatever new idea they come up with, they can somehow control this maze of canyons, caves and rugged mountains, AND fight a war against half the populace all over again.

This is not a war you can win with technology or by throwing people at it. Actually, at no point do I believe it was actually possible to "win" this war. But now Obama has the shit sandwich of having to get out of there, graciously, without making matters worse than before. The Bush administration did a great job linking the country to certain political and religious movements, when that connection has always been a tenuos one at best.
Obama has to somehow get people to realize that Afghanistan isnt the enemy, that not half the populace has "Occupation:Terrorist" written in their passport, and that no matter how hard you stomp down on them, you are just going to lose more people.

Kill Osama and get out is as much an illusion as everything else at this point. We, as in all the countries fighting that conflict, had lost the day we went in thinking somehow this time its all gonna be different.
post #6 of 212
Well said.
post #7 of 212
If Obama could just declare a clear goal that the American public could get behind, and that could be as simple as keeping a minor presence to combat utter lawlessness in regards to the drug trade and terrorism, people may get behind it if it's in the country's/people's best interest. Personally, I don't think the answer is more troops (ask LBJ how that turned out) but the current state of the "war" is unacceptable. Why we're there either has to be clearly defined, or we should begin to withdraw. Our dudes and ladies have suffered enough over there on behalf of politics.
post #8 of 212
If we can't get Iran, China, Russia, India, and Pakistan to get involved with this with the US to protect their own interests in the region, All of these countries would have urgent issues with a resurgent Taliban and/or Al-Qaida, so they need to put some skin into dealing with this issue.

Failing that, I say we find the best way to get out and quarantine the place.

Every time some guy puts up monkey bars for a new terrorist training camp, we let him stock it with new recruits and fiery new commanders.

Then take it out with a Predator.

It's the only way to be sure.
post #9 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khaunshar View Post
But you guys arent losing the Afghanistan War in urban zones. Whats breaking your neck in the end, apparently, is the same that has happened to every single damn attempt in the history of the country to invade, occupy and control it: The country is just a nightmare to navigate, its riddled with caves, holes and natural hideouts, and its populace is hardy, relatively uncooperative and most importantly incredibly divided into small tribes, whose politics a non-native will likely never understand.

Every so often, apparently, somebody in the history of mankind thought that now its time to take Afghanistan. They all think that with their current military technology, their numbers or whatever new idea they come up with, they can somehow control this maze of canyons, caves and rugged mountains, AND fight a war against half the populace all over again.

This is not a war you can win with technology or by throwing people at it. Actually, at no point do I believe it was actually possible to "win" this war. But now Obama has the shit sandwich of having to get out of there, graciously, without making matters worse than before. The Bush administration did a great job linking the country to certain political and religious movements, when that connection has always been a tenuos one at best.
Obama has to somehow get people to realize that Afghanistan isnt the enemy, that not half the populace has "Occupation:Terrorist" written in their passport, and that no matter how hard you stomp down on them, you are just going to lose more people.

Kill Osama and get out is as much an illusion as everything else at this point. We, as in all the countries fighting that conflict, had lost the day we went in thinking somehow this time its all gonna be different.
Well said indeed. I heard some analyst sataing: well, Aleander The Great conquered Afghanistan, so the US can do it too.

What the idiot didn't say is that after Alexander altered his forces to fight gerrila warfare, fought for 3 years, butchered a lot of civilians and enemy tribes. He "won". How? He bought the allegiances of the tribes. That's how.

Money.
post #10 of 212
There is only one way to win in Afghanistan. You pick a few favorites at random, you commit genocide against everyone else and you give their land and property to your "allies". A more extreme version of Alexander's eventual strategy in Afghanistan which only managed to pacify the area for a few years.

Since western democracies are, as they should be, fundamentally opposed to such actions Afghanistan is unwinnable.

(Damn me for not refreshing before posting.)
post #11 of 212
There was never a plan to "win" in afganistan from day one, why should we start now? The decision to go into Afganistan, and Iraq for that matter, were both made for short term political gain. Mission Accomplished.

Retcon all you want. there is no chance for a successful endgame here whatsoever.
post #12 of 212
We should definitely purchase the opium crops rather than destroy them. Convert as much as necessary to morphine to stop the shortage and stockpile or destroy the remainder. It'll probably cost less then the current occupation, it would endear us to the opium farmers, and it would remove a source of financing for the Taliban.

A blogger says it all better here.
post #13 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by nekkerbee View Post
We should definitely purchase the opium crops rather than destroy them. Convert as much as necessary to morphine to stop the shortage and stockpile or destroy the remainder. It'll probably cost less then the current occupation, it would endear us to the opium farmers, and it would remove a source of financing for the Taliban.
This can't happen. We'd have to be pragmatic and logical in order to try it instead of dogmatic "Drugs are bad, m'kay?" idiots.
post #14 of 212
The reason we will lose is because there is no set plan. The troops there have no clue what the ultimate goal is supposed to be or any idea when we are supposed to get there.

Quote:
American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains

American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are depressed and deeply disillusioned, according to the chaplains of two US battalions that have spent nine months on the front line in the war against the Taleban.

Many feel that they are risking their lives — and that colleagues have died — for a futile mission and an Afghan population that does nothing to help them, the chaplains told The Times in their makeshift chapel on this fortress-like base in a dusty, brown valley southwest of Kabul.

“The many soldiers who come to see us have a sense of futility and anger about being here. They are really in a state of depression and despair and just want to get back to their families,” said Captain Jeff Masengale, of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion.

“They feel they are risking their lives for progress that’s hard to discern,” said Captain Sam Rico, of the Division’s 4-25 Field Artillery Battalion. “They are tired, strained, confused and just want to get through.” The chaplains said that they were speaking out because the men could not.

The base is not, it has to be said, obviously downcast, and many troops do not share the chaplains’ assessment. The soldiers are, by nature and training, upbeat, driven by a strong sense of duty, and they do their jobs as best they can. Re-enlistment rates are surprisingly good for the 2-87, though poor for the 4-25. Several men approached by The Times, however, readily admitted that their morale had slumped.

“We’re lost — that’s how I feel. I’m not exactly sure why we’re here,” said Specialist Raquime Mercer, 20, whose closest friend was shot dead by a renegade Afghan policeman last Friday. “I need a clear-cut purpose if I’m going to get hurt out here or if I’m going to die.”

Sergeant Christopher Hughes, 37, from Detroit, has lost six colleagues and survived two roadside bombs. Asked if the mission was worthwhile, he replied: “If I knew exactly what the mission was, probably so, but I don’t.”

The only soldiers who thought it was going well “work in an office, not on the ground”. In his opinion “the whole country is going to s***”.

The battalion’s 1,500 soldiers are nine months in to a year-long deployment that has proved extraordinarily tough. Their goal was to secure the mountainous Wardak province and then to win the people’s allegiance through development and good governance. They have, instead, found themselves locked in an increasingly vicious battle with the Taleban.

They have been targeted by at least 300 roadside bombs, about 180 of which have exploded. Nineteen men have been killed in action, with another committing suicide. About a hundred have been flown home with amputations, severe burns and other injuries likely to cause permanent disability, and many of those have not been replaced. More than two dozen mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) have been knocked out of action.

Living conditions are good — abundant food, air-conditioned tents, hot water, free internet — but most of the men are on their second, third or fourth tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, with barely a year between each. Staff Sergeant Erika Cheney, Airborne’s mental health specialist, expressed concern about their mental state — especially those in scattered outposts — and believes that many have mild post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “They’re tired, frustrated, scared. A lot of them are afraid to go out but will still go,” she said.

Lieutenant Peter Hjelmstad, 2-87’s Medical Platoon Leader, said sleeplessness and anger attacks were common.

A dozen men have been confined to desk jobs because they can no longer handle missions outside the base. One long-serving officer who has lost three friends this tour said he sometimes returned to his room at night and cried, or played war games on his laptop. “It’s a release. It’s a method of coping.” He has nightmares and sleeps little, and it does not help that the base is frequently shaken by outgoing artillery fire. He was briefly overcome as he recalled how, when a lorry backfired during his most recent home leave, he grabbed his young son and dived between two parked cars.

The chaplains said soldiers were seeking their help in unprecedented numbers. “Everyone you meet is just down, and you meet them everywhere — in the weight room, dining facility, getting mail,” said Captain Rico. Even “hard men” were coming to their tent chapel and breaking down.

The men are frustrated by the lack of obvious purpose or progress. “The soldiers’ biggest question is: what can we do to make this war stop. Catch one person? Assault one objective? Soldiers want definite answers, other than to stop the Taleban, because that almost seems impossible. It’s hard to catch someone you can’t see,” said Specialist Mercer.

“It’s a very frustrating mission,” said Lieutenant Hjelmstad. “The average soldier sees a friend blown up and his instinct is to retaliate or believe it’s for something [worthwhile], but it’s not like other wars where your buddy died but they took the hill. There’s no tangible reward for the sacrifice. It’s hard to say Wardak is better than when we got here.”

Captain Masengale, a soldier for 12 years before he became a chaplain, said: “We want to believe in a cause but we don’t know what that cause is.”

The soldiers are angry that colleagues are losing their lives while trying to help a population that will not help them. “You give them all the humanitarian assistance that they want and they’re still going to lie to you. They’ll tell you there’s no Taleban anywhere in the area and as soon as you roll away, ten feet from their house, you get shot at again,” said Specialist Eric Petty, from Georgia.

Captain Rico told of the disgust of a medic who was asked to treat an insurgent shortly after pulling a colleague’s charred corpse from a bombed vehicle.

The soldiers complain that rules of engagement designed to minimise civilian casualties mean that they fight with one arm tied behind their backs. “They’re a joke,” said one. “You get shot at but can do nothing about it. You have to see the person with the weapon. It’s not enough to know which house the shooting’s coming from.”

The soldiers joke that their Isaf arm badges stand not for International Security Assistance Force but “I Suck At Fighting” or “I Support Afghan Farmers”.

To compound matters, soldiers are mainly being killed not in combat but on routine journeys, by roadside bombs planted by an invisible enemy. “That’s very demoralising,” said Captain Masengale.

The constant deployments are, meanwhile, playing havoc with the soldiers’ private lives. “They’re killing families,” he said. “Divorces are skyrocketing. PTSD is off the scale. There have been hundreds of injuries that send soldiers home and affect families for the rest of their lives.”

The chaplains said that many soldiers had lost their desire to help Afghanistan. “All they want to do is make it home alive and go back to their wives and children and visit the families who have lost husbands and fathers over here. It comes down to just surviving,” said Captain Masengale.

“If we make it back with ten toes and ten fingers the mission is successful,” Sergeant Hughes said.

“You carry on for the guys to your left or right,” added Specialist Mercer.

The chaplains have themselves struggled to cope with so much distress. “We have to encourage them, strengthen them and send them out again. No one comes in and says, ‘I’ve had a great day on a mission’. It’s all pain,” said Captain Masengale. “The only way we’ve been able to make it is having each other.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Kimo Gallahue, 2-87’s commanding officer, denied that his men were demoralised, and insisted they had achieved a great deal over the past nine months. A triathlete and former rugby player, he admitted pushing his men hard, but argued that taking the fight to the enemy was the best form of defence.

He said the security situation had worsened because the insurgents had chosen to fight in Wardak province, not abandon it. He said, however, that the situation would have been catastrophic without his men. They had managed to keep open the key Kabul-to-Kandahar highway which dissects Wardak, and prevent the province becoming a launch pad for attacks on the capital, which is barely 20 miles from its border. Above all, Colonel Gallahue argued that counter-insurgency — winning the allegiance of the indigenous population through security, development and good governance — was a long and laborious process that could not be completed in a year. “These 12 months have been, for me, laying the groundwork for future success,” he said.

At morning service on Sunday, the two chaplains sought to boost the spirits of their flock with uplifting hymns, accompanied by video footage of beautiful lakes, oceans and rivers.

Captain Rico offered a particularly apposite reading from Corinthians: “We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle6865359.ece
post #15 of 212
Shh! You guys! Stop badmouthing Alexander the Great! You'll make Princess Kate cry!
post #16 of 212
Concentrate on building up the Afghan army and police force in Kandahar to support the Afghan government's ability to control that area. Kandahar is the heart of the Taliban and if the Afghan government is able to control it by themselves, foreign troops can leave.

The stability of Afghanistan and it's three other largest cities, Kabul, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif, will only be threatened if Kandahar falls under Taliban control. Most of the Taliban supporters will fade away when foreign troops leave as long as the government can control those four cities.
post #17 of 212
We need to GTFO of Afghanistan. We need to negotiate with the Taliban, give aid for schools and hospitals and creating jobs and alternatives to heroin through the state dept. and pull all troops out now. That's my opinion. I really hope Obama doesn't get cornered into sending more bodies into this death pit.
post #18 of 212
Thread Starter 
I'm reminded of this quote from "The 20th Century" by Zinn. The quote comes from Robert Bowman, former Vietnam fighter pilot turned Bishop:

"We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism...Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children...In short, we should do good instead of evil. Who would try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want to bomb us? That is the truth the American people need to hear."
post #19 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rando View Post
I'm reminded of this quote from "The 20th Century" by Zinn. The quote comes from Robert Bowman, former Vietnam fighter pilot turned Bishop:

"We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism...Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children...In short, we should do good instead of evil. Who would try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want to bomb us? That is the truth the American people need to hear."
So true. That quote nails it so succinctly and poignantly.

Thom Hartmann brought this book to my attention: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It's about Mortensen's mission to build schools in remote, poverty-stricken towns in Afghanistan. His efforts have evidently led to those communities kicking the Taliban out.
post #20 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rando View Post
I'm reminded of this quote from "The 20th Century" by Zinn. The quote comes from Robert Bowman, former Vietnam fighter pilot turned Bishop:

"We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism...Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children...In short, we should do good instead of evil. Who would try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want to bomb us? That is the truth the American people need to hear."
That argument is simply far too sensible to be put to the American people by those with the power to enact it.
post #21 of 212
And its not really true. There are a lot of different interests working together to wage war. Some are profit-oriented, some political, some fanatic, and some all three. If the politicians, the rich elite and a lot of loud zealots of any given country form up behind a common cause, I dont think much would stop them anywhere on the world.

Power, Money, Zeal, just too potent a combo.

We are still all going to lose, yet again, in Afghanistan, and history will repeat itself. More conflict, more instability, and the "graveyard of empires" will perhaps have another tombstone in it. At this point, any military solution is pretty much doomed to fail as I grasp it.
post #22 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rando View Post
I'm reminded of this quote from "The 20th Century" by Zinn. The quote comes from Robert Bowman, former Vietnam fighter pilot turned Bishop:

"We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism...Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children...In short, we should do good instead of evil. Who would try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want to bomb us? That is the truth the American people need to hear."
We do both. Aid workers and schools are targeted by extremists in Afghanistan as much as soldiers. Pakistan is one of the most anti-american countries in the world even after the immense amount of aid we sent them after their devasting earthquakes just four years ago.
post #23 of 212
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khaunshar View Post
And its not really true. There are a lot of different interests working together to wage war. Some are profit-oriented, some political, some fanatic, and some all three. If the politicians, the rich elite and a lot of loud zealots of any given country form up behind a common cause, I dont think much would stop them anywhere on the world.
One could argue that the large multinational corporations proxy-run the government. They exert their influence over the decision makers (who they fund), who in turn whip up the fanatics in their base to support the war effort.

I don't know what Obama will do, but I think sending more troops is a recipe for disastercake. He's fucked either way: if he sends more and it continues on its way to Iraq 2.0 he'll get killed by the Republicans, if he doesn't and the Taliban remains in power he'll get killed for that too.

By the way, the quote I posted was pre 9/11 (fwiw).
post #24 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahtheStud View Post
We do both. Aid workers and schools are targeted by extremists in Afghanistan as much as soldiers. Pakistan is one of the most anti-american countries in the world even after the immense amount of aid we sent them after their devasting earthquakes just four years ago.
Strangely, if you give someone a loaf of bread and then shoot them, it doesn't seem to balance out in terms of people's attitude remaining neutral. Mostly they focus on the "shooting you" part. I think that's why Bowman said "instead of" and not "as well as".
post #25 of 212
Meanwhile, in Iraq...

We have to get out of these places. C'mon, Obama.
post #26 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Prankster View Post
Strangely, if you give someone a loaf of bread and then shoot them, it doesn't seem to balance out in terms of people's attitude remaining neutral. Mostly they focus on the "shooting you" part. I think that's why Bowman said "instead of" and not "as well as".
We build schools for the Afghans civilians and try to shoot the extremists who burn the schools and throw acid in the faces of girls who try to attend. Balance that out.
post #27 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahtheStud View Post
We build schools for the Afghans civilians and try to shoot the extremists who burn the schools and throw acid in the faces of girls who try to attend.
And when you can't find the extremists you bomb the schools anyway. Because in the end, it's more work for the USA! USA! USA!

Seriously, you just won't ever get it, do you? These guys will hate your guts because even if you kill all the talibans, which you can't, you'll have so many collateral casualties that it's was pointless from the day you started.

EDIT: Quite the grammatical error there....
post #28 of 212
My problem with Noahs thesis lies rather in the very narrow determination of what constitutes success.

In the big picture the situation itself in Afghanistan does not take forefront to succeed in this war. Looking at the detoriating situation in Pakistan, the rise of Al Quadia and Taliban in Waziristan and the utter lack of any coherent strategy for the whole reason invalidate more than any shouting match about USA! vs. building schools.
And the West once again made a great case of its own hypocracy when it comes to the "elections" in Afghanistan. We cheer for Karzai, because he is our bastard to allude to Kissinger, despite massive election fraud that puts the one in Iran to shame. I haven´t heard anybody stepping up to this betrayal like everyone felt called upon a year ago when shit hit the fan in Iran.
post #29 of 212
Well, cynical as that may be, one could argue that if these wars provide ample opportunity for success for many US companies, its still accomplishing SOMETHING, that being to create work which the US needs badly right now.

Obviously at a hefty cost.

A friend of mine who emigrated from Afghanistan about a year after 9/11 and moved here with his whole family often talks and analyzes the current situation.

Right now, he considers the main problem that somehow, the West, with the USA in particular, seem to really believe that the people of Afghanistan want their democracy, their peace, and the taliban gone.
The problem is, these people are not stupid. They do know damn well, and from just recent experience too, that once its "Mission Accomplished", the troops, the protection, the attention of the West is gone overnight, but the Warlords are still there, the fundamentalists are still there, the tribal differences are still there.
Whoever collaborates with the West right now will within a decade have to watch their backs again for the wrath of the guys currently chased out of power is sure to return.

I suppose if you look at it from that angle, from the perspective of someone intending to live out another 3 or 4 decades of normal life in Afghanistan, there really is no way for the US invasion to ever really look like a good idea. Sure, it was bad before, but its going to be worse afterwards.
post #30 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan View Post
And the West once again made a great case of its own hypocracy when it comes to the "elections" in Afghanistan. We cheer for Karzai, because he is our bastard to allude to Kissinger, despite massive election fraud that puts the one in Iran to shame. I haven´t heard anybody stepping up to this betrayal like everyone felt called upon a year ago when shit hit the fan in Iran.
I think there hasn't been the big outrage because Karzai allowed an international investigation into the elections which is forcing a run-off election. It's hard to be too angry when the problem is actually trying to be solved. Where is the hypocrisy? It was the US and the West pushing Karzi to accept the UN investigation and play fair.

It is the complete opposite situation in Iran where police and militias beat, shot, and arrested those trying to get another election. If Iran had allowed an investigation like Afghanistan, there would be cheering and Green flags waving in the streets of Iran as the protesters celebrated. Instead, they are in jail or staying quiet out of fear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahtheStud
Concentrate on building up the Afghan army and police force in Kandahar to support the Afghan government's ability to control that area. Kandahar is the heart of the Taliban and if the Afghan government is able to control it by themselves, foreign troops can leave.

The stability of Afghanistan and it's three other largest cities, Kabul, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif, will only be threatened if Kandahar falls under Taliban control. Most of the Taliban supporters will fade away when foreign troops leave as long as the government can control those four cities.
According to today's New York Times article, U.S. to Protect Populous Afghan Areas, Officials Say , the strategy I mentioned earlier in the thread is looking like the one that will be followed.

Quote:
Mr. Obama has yet to make a decision, but as officials described it, the debate is no longer over whether to send additional troops but how many more will be needed to guard the most vital parts of the country. The question of how much of the country should fall under direct protection of American and NATO forces will be central to deciding how many troops Mr. Obama will dispatch.

At the moment, the administration is looking at protecting Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz, Herat, Jalalabad and a few other village clusters, officials said. The first of any new troops sent to Afghanistan would be assigned to secure Kandahar, the spiritual capital of the Taliban, which is seen as a center of gravity in pushing back insurgent advances.
post #31 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khaunshar View Post
A friend of mine who emigrated from Afghanistan about a year after 9/11 and moved here with his whole family often talks and analyzes the current situation.

Right now, he considers the main problem that somehow, the West, with the USA in particular, seem to really believe that the people of Afghanistan want their democracy, their peace, and the taliban gone. The problem is, these people are not stupid. They do know damn well, and from just recent experience too, that once its "Mission Accomplished", the troops, the protection, the attention of the West is gone overnight, but the Warlords are still there, the fundamentalists are still there, the tribal differences are still there.

Whoever collaborates with the West right now will within a decade have to watch their backs again for the wrath of the guys currently chased out of power is sure to return.
That is why we can't finish the mission until the Afghan government is strong enough to govern their own cities. You right that it would be stupid for Afghans to stand up to extremists if the people who are trying to help, abandon them so easily when the going gets tough.

I have a problem with the opinion of a person who flees to a democracy and then "claims" his countryman back home might not want the democracy that he desires. Sounds fishy to me, especially since poll after poll in Afghanistan has stated they don't want the Taliban back in power.
post #32 of 212
His point is they do not desire the democracy the West is offering them, realistically, at this point. I bet a lot would like the theoretical principle of democracy just fine.

The democracy we are offerring them is just an idea, and it isnt very warlord-proof at all. Do you know how many democracies on this world do not work? How much corruption, how much disinterest or outright abuse? I would guess you have a rough idea actually, since this forum is usually filled with people knowledgable about such things.
Now, how many of the "imposed" democracies, of countries "led to" democracy by the west, work. How many of these are able to stay in charge by democracy instead of a show of force and a carefully manipulated system.
And really, even with a strong afghan government, take a look at the map: One freshly elected government is supposed to stand up THAT amount of surrounding anti-democratic influence?

The true storm will start AFTER they get their government. What Afghanistan and its fledgling democracy, or rather, attempts at democracy, are enduring now is going to pale to the constant pressure and onslaught in that part of the world once the handholding is over, and it has to stand on its own feet.

Its easy to want democracy, especially if a couple guys in high-tech military gear, a big fucking tank and a BigMac in their pocket are asking you on a street in a city not recently bombarded. Its an entirely different thing to then defend that way of life for at least a few decades and maintain it before outward aggression and attempts at undermining it cool down.

You can ask me any day of the week whether I think we should kill all evil warlords in Africa. I ll say yes, I ll say I am all for it, but I am never going to get my gear, mount up and shoot the bastards myself.

Likewise with democracy in Afghanistan, I believe.
post #33 of 212
post #34 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Savage View Post
Well said indeed. I heard some analyst sataing: well, Aleander The Great conquered Afghanistan, so the US can do it too.

What the idiot didn't say is that after Alexander altered his forces to fight gerrila warfare, fought for 3 years, butchered a lot of civilians and enemy tribes. He "won". How? He bought the allegiances of the tribes. That's how.

Money.
Alexander did not just buy them. He also married the daughter of the most powerful warlord, and promised to make that warlord de facto ruler of Afghanistan in exchange for Alexander holding title of king and his troops and supplies having freedom of movement. So, for us to win we'd need Obama to marry into the Taliban... so, yeah, victory is impossible.
post #35 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Prankster View Post
Shh! You guys! Stop badmouthing Alexander the Great! You'll make Princess Kate cry!
Well, they were being pretty accurate when it comes to his Afgan campaign. I did correct or clarify a few points made by the esteemed Martin Savage though
post #36 of 212
This book is fantastic for getting a feel of what Alexander III of Macedon's Afghan war was like. And why we should get out as fast as we can:
post #37 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess Kate View Post
Well, they were being pretty accurate when it comes to his Afgan campaign. I did correct or clarify a few points made by the esteemed Martin Savage though
No you didn't you ignorant buffoon. First and foremost, he bought them. It's money that worked. The title was a bonus.

And shame on you for dragging the most excellent Pressfield into this.
post #38 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Savage View Post
No you didn't you ignorant buffoon. First and foremost, he bought them. It's money that worked. The title was a bonus.

And shame on you for dragging the most excellent Pressfield into this.
Martin, I did just refered to you as "the esteemed Martin Savage" in my previous post. In exchange, you might want to retract your ignorant buffoon remark. You may not know, but Alexander lore is something I'm a bit of an expert in. I've even read the entire Romance of Alexander* so if you want info on Sekander's undersea adventures with mermaids, I'm your girl. On that note, he bought peace by marrying Roxana, daughter of the warlord Oxyartes. Plenty of money changed hands, but it was the marriage that formed the basis for the deal struck. The money that he paid the Afghans off with was her dowry.

*An ancient account of murky origins that chronicles Alexanders adventures. It's also completely fucking looney. He fights monsters and stuff and at one point learns how to fly.

PS: Martin, I also am not "dragging" Pressfield into anything. He wrote a rather spectacular work of historical fiction, and I don't think it's out of place to suggest it as reading for anyone interested in this topic.
post #39 of 212
http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?o...74&jumival=460

This is the best speech on the subject of the American Empire aka new Rome, reasons for war in Iraq and Afghanistan and fiscal debt I've ever heard.
This man speaks pure truth...he was former chief of staff for Colin Powell.
Too bad you can only find this on therealnews, not the real news...
post #40 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blueharvester View Post
http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?o...74&jumival=460

This is the best speech on the subject of the American Empire aka new Rome, reasons for war in Iraq and Afghanistan and fiscal debt I've ever heard.
This man speaks pure truth...he was former chief of staff for Colin Powell.
Too bad you can only find this on therealnews, not the real news...
I only managed to get through the first part so far, going to listen to the rest, but this is amazing stuff. Not just for US citizens, but for anyone interested in what has changed on a geopolitical scale in the last decade. Thanks a lot for the links.
post #41 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khaunshar View Post
His point is they do not desire the democracy the West is offering them, realistically, at this point. I bet a lot would like the theoretical principle of democracy just fine.

The democracy we are offerring them is just an idea, and it isnt very warlord-proof at all. Do you know how many democracies on this world do not work? How much corruption, how much disinterest or outright abuse? I would guess you have a rough idea actually, since this forum is usually filled with people knowledgable about such things.
Now, how many of the "imposed" democracies, of countries "led to" democracy by the west, work. How many of these are able to stay in charge by democracy instead of a show of force and a carefully manipulated system.
And really, even with a strong afghan government, take a look at the map: One freshly elected government is supposed to stand up THAT amount of surrounding anti-democratic influence?

The true storm will start AFTER they get their government. What Afghanistan and its fledgling democracy, or rather, attempts at democracy, are enduring now is going to pale to the constant pressure and onslaught in that part of the world once the handholding is over, and it has to stand on its own feet.
I don't expect a perfect democracy in Afghanistan. Most people know a strong rule of law is necessary for a strong democracy. Afghanistan is still too illiterite and tribal for that to occur.

I just thing change will occur quicker under a corrupt democracy that tolerates warlords than under the iron-fist of the Taliban that keeps it's women locked in the house, destroys whatever art and culture it can find in the country, and tries to keep it's citizens in the dark ages.

We just have to leave the Afghan government with enough power to keep control with a centralized army and police. Then let them slowly grow stronger and fair institutions on their own over the long term.

I think it was stupid for Abdullah to boycott the run-off election. If he thinks Karzai was just going to cheat, he should of forced Karzai to have to cheat and then document the infractions. Instead, he just hands Karzai an easy victory. Personally, I think Abdullah probably realized he would not win enough votes even with a fair vote and decided to boycott to save face.
post #42 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahtheStud View Post
Afghanistan is still too illiterite and tribal for that to occur.
thumbs up bro
post #43 of 212
From Huffpo:

Quote:
U.S. Seeks To Limit Warlords In Karzai Cabinet

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/world/&cp
Oh goody, I'm glad we're going to limit the number of war lords in power there! Now our involvement makes perfect sense. USA USA USA! Go freedom!

Seriously, can we GTFO already?
post #44 of 212
Thread Starter 
40 thousand more troops Mr. President? Ug.
post #45 of 212
Afghanistan...it'll look something more like this.

http://www.obleek.com/iraq/
post #46 of 212
And another free tip. If we in the west ever want these forays to pay off we need to stop supporting people like these.
post #47 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreary louse View Post
Afghanistan...it'll look something more like this.

http://www.obleek.com/iraq/
I wonder why that map stops in October 2007, right at the peak of the Iraq Surge offensive and doesn't track the huge drop in fatalities after it's success. Did the ones who created it lose interest after Iraq started to turn around?

If a surge in troops to Afghanistan has the same effect, it will be a great success.
post #48 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahtheStud View Post
I wonder why that map stops in October 2007, right at the peak of the Iraq Surge offensive and doesn't track the huge drop in fatalities after it's success. Did the ones who created it lose interest after Iraq started to turn around?

If a surge in troops to Afghanistan has the same effect, it will be a great success.
You clearly lack any sort of historical knowledge, do you?
post #49 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Savage View Post
You clearly lack any sort of historical knowledge, do you?
Actually, thats probably the correct assumption made about almost anyone in favor of any further MILITARY involvement in Afghanistan since... well, since Alexander the Great or so.

As if Afghanistan was a matter of throwing armed bodies at it... yeah right, cause that works soooo well.

The USA and its allies (read: we) have lost this war. We actually have lost it quite a while back. It may take another couple hundred dead soldiers and billions of spending, and it may make another two or three contractor companies rich, but this thing is over. We just refuse to accept it.
post #50 of 212
To paraphrase Clarke,

All these countries are yours, except Afganistan. Attempt no landings there.

Until the people there want to join the rest of us in the 21st century, quarantine the place. No poppy products or neoterrorists out.
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