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View Full Version : Obama to announce Afghanistan policy in speech Tuesday 12/01/09


BrainGlutton
11-30-2009, 10:00 PM
The New York Times says: (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/world/asia/30policy.html)

WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to lay out a time frame for winding down the American involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision this week to send more forces, senior administration officials said Sunday.

Although the speech was still in draft form, the officials said the president wanted to use the address at the United States Military Academy at West Point on Tuesday night not only to announce the immediate order to deploy roughly 30,000 more troops, but also to convey how he intends to turn the fight over to the Kabul government.

“It’s accurate to say that he will be more explicit about both goals and time frame than has been the case before and than has been part of the public discussion,” said a senior official, who requested anonymity to discuss the speech before it is delivered. “He wants to give a clear sense of both the time frame for action and how the war will eventually wind down.”

*sigh* Well, he didn't run on a promise to pull out . . . :(

But will there be any surprises?

mswas
11-30-2009, 10:01 PM
I'd be surprised if he were able to elucidate a win condition.

Obtainable, definable goals might be nice.

If we're waiting for their 90% illiteracy to change into 90% literacy, then we'd better get used to being there til the middle of the century.

Marley23
11-30-2009, 10:05 PM
*sigh* Well, he didn't run on a promise to pull out . . . :(
In fact he ran on a promise to pay attention to the war and handle it properly so it could be resolved. Whether that can be done or not, I don't know. I wouldn't expect any big surprises, or else they would already be out there as trial balloons.

mswas
11-30-2009, 10:07 PM
I wish I knew what 'resolved' means in this context. Maybe someone can come along and cite the dictionary for me. ;p

Seriously, WTF is the win condition?

BrainGlutton
11-30-2009, 10:08 PM
If we're waiting for their 90% illiteracy to change into 90% literacy, then we'd better get used to being there til the middle of the century.

Illiterates can't be peaceful?!

mswas
11-30-2009, 10:09 PM
Illiterates can't be peaceful?!

Peace is not a win-condition.

And no, not Pashto illiterates.

gonzomax
11-30-2009, 10:12 PM
It takes an incredible amount of guts to stand up to the military when they want to have more troops. The assumption is that they are experts, yet they always want more troops and more weapons. If they ever said, nope, we have all the troops we need, they might have an argument. Then you might listen to them. Forget it. We are wasting American tax payers money at an enormous rate to allow generals to get more power .He should have canned McChrystal. He should have put a reasonable man in charge. Contractors and defense contractors should be eliminated. They eat tax money and never have enough. Get off the defense contractors money treadmill.

mswas
11-30-2009, 10:24 PM
It takes an incredible amount of guts to stand up to the military when they want to have more troops. The assumption is that they are experts, yet they always want more troops and more weapons. If they ever said, nope, we have all the troops we need, they might have an argument. Then you might listen to them. Forget it. We are wasting American tax payers money at an enormous rate to allow generals to get more power .He should have canned McChrystal. He should have put a reasonable man in charge. Contractors and defense contractors should be eliminated. They eat tax money and never have enough. Get off the defense contractors money treadmill.

That would be possible if the Bush admin hadn't gutted a lot of the programs that the contractors now fulfill. The military needs to have the infrastructure ready to go to handle those jobs. As it is now, they are not setup to handle the functions that the military contractors provide, they are setup to deal with the military contractors.

BrainGlutton
11-30-2009, 10:26 PM
Peace is not a win-condition.

:confused: Why not?!

mswas
11-30-2009, 10:33 PM
:confused: Why not?!

Because it is an idealized state that occurs AFTER you win a war. Win conditions are strategic objectives. Things like:

1) "Setup functioning Democracy", which is no possible in Afghanistan at this point in time.
2) "Achieve 30% Literacy Rate", which is difficult to measure due to the lack of literacy required to get a reliable census going.
3) "Secure the Khyber Pass for trade", not an objective we are working toward, just an example of a possible win condition.

That and peace is a very relative term. Would regular infighting like occurs in Mexico be considered a state of peace? How do you define peace? Peace is the lack of fighting right? So what level of fighting is acceptable? There is ethnic conflict going on in the United States of America right now between African Americans and Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles. So if the complete lack of ethnic conflict is how you define peace then the United States does not fit that definition. So you need to set a stable win condition, like, "Confine ethnic conflict to X region."

Iraq is a much, much more advanced country than Afghanistan, higher literacy rates, people who are experienced at running a functioning civil service.

So if 'Peace' is your win condition, then resign yourself to having about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan for the rest of your life.

flickster
11-30-2009, 10:40 PM
I didn't have the opportunity to listen to the address, but if the Rules of Engagement aren't being changed, I don't agree with sending any additional troops, nor keeping the existing ones in theater. You're just sending 30K more targets

BrainGlutton
11-30-2009, 10:51 PM
I didn't have the opportunity to listen to the address . . .

Obama won't be giving it until tomorrow night.

BrainGlutton
11-30-2009, 10:55 PM
Because it is an idealized state that occurs AFTER you win a war. Win conditions are strategic objectives. Things like:

1) "Setup functioning Democracy", which is no possible in Afghanistan at this point in time.
2) "Achieve 30% Literacy Rate", which is difficult to measure due to the lack of literacy required to get a reliable census going.
3) "Secure the Khyber Pass for trade", not an objective we are working toward, just an example of a possible win condition.

The original purpose of invading Afghanistan was simply to stop it from being a safe base of operations for al-Qaeda; which probably means making sure the Taliban or something like it never comes back to power there, but does not necessarily require "functioning democracy".

flickster
11-30-2009, 11:01 PM
Obama won't be giving it until tomorrow night.
Ahhh, got confused. Saw all the news releases (or leaks) regarding 30-35K more troops and thought he had already given it.

mswas
11-30-2009, 11:03 PM
The original purpose of invading Afghanistan was simply to stop it from being a safe base of operations for al-Qaeda; which probably means making sure the Taliban or something like it never comes back to power there, but does not necessarily require "functioning democracy".

Ok, so how is that accomplished? How do we keep the majority tribal population from gaining power in Afghanistan?

A much simpler method would be to say, "We're watching you, and if you harbor these terrorists we're going to come back in and fuck shit up, and we won't fund ANY UN aid.", in otherwords cut a deal with the Islamic Nationalists to sell out the Jihadist Internationalists, and come in and break shit when they fail. It's much cheaper, and doesn't require an occupation force.

But better yet, it's something that we CAN do, unlike keeping the Taliban from gaining power. The Taliban gained power as a direct result of our actions in the 80s. We supported the Mujahideen at the behest of the ISI, rather than letting the expat royalist faction who wouldn't get their hands dirty come back from their Parisian salons to take control of the country.

The Taliban are the hard right of a highly conservative Islamic tribe that happens to be the largest ethnicity within the population.

We have too many paradoxical goals. We want to take a group of violent Islamic fundamentalists who have been living in a traditional tribal warrior culture for centuries, who have lost their intellectual class completely in the form of the purges of the educated socialists, and the educated Monarchists (of whom Karzai is from) and comprises about 40% of the population, change their religious stance, AND eradicate their most successful cash crop.

Tell me where you see a recipe for peace in that mix. Because I can't see it.

BTW, we already ended Al-Qaeda functionality in Afghanistan.

gravitycrash
11-30-2009, 11:12 PM
I didn't have the opportunity to listen to the address, but if the Rules of Engagement aren't being changed, I don't agree with sending any additional troops, nor keeping the existing ones in theater. You're just sending 30K more targets

The rules of engagement can't be changed because OMG some civilians may get killed. But don't the Taliban hide amongst the civilians you ask? Why yes, yes they do. It's okay though, lets throw 30,000 more troops into the meat grinder and make sure to tell them to play nice. Fuck.

mswas
11-30-2009, 11:13 PM
The rules of engagement can't be changed because OMG some civilians may get killed. But don't the Taliban hide amongst the civilians you ask? Why yes, yes they do. It's okay though, lets throw 30,000 more troops into the meat grinder and make sure to tell them to play nice. Fuck.

The Taliban don't hide amongst civilians. The Taliban ARE the civilians.

Dinsdale
12-01-2009, 10:40 AM
A much simpler method would be to say, "We're watching you, and if you harbor these terrorists we're going to come back in and fuck shit up, and we won't fund ANY UN aid.", in otherwords cut a deal with the Islamic Nationalists to sell out the Jihadist Internationalists, and come in and break shit when they fail. It's much cheaper, and doesn't require an occupation force.


I agree entirely. Well said. It truly disappoints me that someone I thought as intelligent as Obama would see any upside to tossing thousands more bodies into Afghanistan's meat-grinder.

Marley23
12-01-2009, 01:40 PM
BTW, we already ended Al-Qaeda functionality in Afghanistan.
The problem being that they could come back. I don't know if AQ is ever going to become as centralized as it was 10 years ago, and I don't know if it's really possible to prevent it from returning, but the goal is to stop it from reconstituting there with state support.

mswas
12-01-2009, 01:50 PM
The problem being that they could come back. I don't know if AQ is ever going to become as centralized as it was 10 years ago, and I don't know if it's really possible to prevent it from returning, but the goal is to stop it from reconstituting there with state support.

Of course they could. Any group of disaffected Pushtun teenagers could start blowing shit up and calling themselves, "Al Qaeda". Al Qaeda is a rallying cry, not an organization. Al Qaeda is a syndicate that basically pulled off one major heist and then went away as anything more than a vague notion of Jihadist political Islam.

Afghanistan is an Islamic fundamentalist third world shithole. It has no shortage of disaffected impoverished youth who are willing to imbibe radical extremism and as such will always attract bourgeois Arabs who want to come and teach them how to turn themselves into a bomb.

Al Qaeda doesn't need Afghanistan to operate. Al Qaeda exists anywhere that groups cohere around global jihad and want to look to inspiration in the past successes of their philosophical antecedents.

Dinsdale
12-01-2009, 02:59 PM
Afghanistan is an Islamic fundamentalist third world shithole.

Gonna go out on a limb and wager these exact words do not make it into Big O's speech tonight! ;)

mswas
12-01-2009, 03:00 PM
Gonna go out on a limb and wager these exact words do not make it into Big O's speech tonight! ;)

Likely not.

Marley23
12-01-2009, 03:07 PM
Any group of disaffected Pushtun teenagers could start blowing shit up and calling themselves, "Al Qaeda".
Which isn't what I was talking about.

Al Qaeda is a rallying cry, not an organization. Al Qaeda is a syndicate that basically pulled off one major heist and then went away as anything more than a vague notion of Jihadist political Islam.
That's a good point and I've said the same thing in the past. So I probably came at this from the wrong angle. But I think this point remains: the goal is preventing the country from once again becoming a terrorist haven and sponsor. AQ does not function there now, but is it going to function there again? Can that be stopped? That's the issue.

mswas
12-01-2009, 05:06 PM
No, I don't think it can be stopped. I think that Afghanistan would have to go through a whole series of levels of growth civilizationally for us to be able to rely upon them to stop Al Qaeda from operating there. I don't think that this is the sort of thing that can be done in the short term.

What's stopping Al Qaeda from operating out of Paraguay like Hezbollah supposedly does? What stops them from operating out of the Sudan or Somalia?

Basically, I don't think this is a reasonable strategy for stopping global Jihadi militancy.

BrainGlutton
12-01-2009, 05:29 PM
No, I don't think it can be stopped. I think that Afghanistan would have to go through a whole series of levels of growth civilizationally for us to be able to rely upon them to stop Al Qaeda from operating there. I don't think that this is the sort of thing that can be done in the short term.

What's stopping Al Qaeda from operating out of Paraguay like Hezbollah supposedly does? What stops them from operating out of the Sudan or Somalia?

Basically, I don't think this is a reasonable strategy for stopping global Jihadi militancy.

You got a better idea?

mswas
12-01-2009, 05:41 PM
You got a better idea?

Yes, actually. A rapid strike force that can be deployed or re-deployed within a short period of time. Rather than occupy Afghanistan have the ability to reoccupy it for short tours like a month or two at a time. The same force can be deployed to Somalia, Sudan, or wherever the threat might actually exist. Work through diplomatic channels as much as possible. Tell the Taliban that they either give up Al Qaeda or we come back.

It would be much cheaper in terms of money, damage, and human life than an extended occupation. And the strikeforce can be much more nimble.

Supply them with weapons like these (http://www.autoblog.com/gallery/amatoya-reconnaissance-and-suppression-vehicle/#2). Setup a mobile forward base that can be setup and taken down and moved around the country as needed.

Marley23
12-01-2009, 05:43 PM
So, Team America: World Police, then.

mswas
12-01-2009, 05:44 PM
So, Team America: World Police, then.

I was thinking GI Joe, but yeah.

BrainGlutton
12-01-2009, 06:00 PM
Yes, actually. A rapid strike force that can be deployed or re-deployed within a short period of time. Rather than occupy Afghanistan have the ability to reoccupy it for short tours like a month or two at a time. The same force can be deployed to Somalia, Sudan, or wherever the threat might actually exist. Work through diplomatic channels as much as possible. Tell the Taliban that they either give up Al Qaeda or we come back.

It would be much cheaper in terms of money, damage, and human life than an extended occupation. And the strikeforce can be much more nimble.

Supply them with weapons like these (http://www.autoblog.com/gallery/amatoya-reconnaissance-and-suppression-vehicle/#2). Setup a mobile forward base that can be setup and taken down and moved around the country as needed.

Nah! Supply them with weapons like these! (http://davidszondy.com/future/war/sky_cavlary.htm) :D

(See Rule of Cool. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfCool))

mswas
12-01-2009, 06:07 PM
BrainGlutton The marines already have helicopters. ;)

alphaboi867
12-01-2009, 08:20 PM
Ok, so how is that accomplished? How do we keep the majority tribal population from gaining power in Afghanistan?...

Genocide.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-01-2009, 08:25 PM
I think he's knocking this out of the park so far. I'm glad he made the point about never having ben asked to send additional troops before 2010, refuting the bullshit meme that he was dragging his feet or denying resources.

XT
12-01-2009, 08:35 PM
Who is Ben?

-XT

Magiver
12-01-2009, 08:37 PM
It takes an incredible amount of guts to stand up to the military when they want to have more troops. The word you're looking for is "hubris". It takes a lot of hubris to use a military setting to announce something he supported as a candidate but took 4 months to approve as a President.

Moe
12-01-2009, 08:38 PM
Very well done, as always.

Magiver
12-01-2009, 08:48 PM
I think he's knocking this out of the park so far. I'm glad he made the point about never having ben asked to send additional troops before 2010, refuting the bullshit meme that he was dragging his feet or denying resources. You must have missed the 2008 election where he pledged (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/15/barackobama.usa1) he would increase troop strength in Afghanistan.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-01-2009, 08:52 PM
He already has increased troop strength in Afghanistan. McChrystal (a grandstanding asshole who needs to learn his fucking place) wanted a further increase.

Fiddle Peghead
12-01-2009, 08:52 PM
You must have missed the 2008 election where he pledged (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/15/barackobama.usa1) he would increase troop strength in Afghanistan.

A pledge that he is keeping with this speech tonight. So what's your problem?

elucidator
12-01-2009, 08:54 PM
You must have missed the part where he said ten thousand, roughly a third of this commitment. Somewhat different.

AuntiePam
12-01-2009, 08:55 PM
He had me at, well, not "Good evening," but when he reminded me that Pakistan has nukes.

The goals and objectives made sense to me. I just hope we have competent and capable strategists and commanders and diplomats and translators and suppliers and soldiers, etc. to help carry out those goals.

Does everybody know their job?

Diogenes the Cynic
12-01-2009, 08:55 PM
He sent 17,000 in February.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-01-2009, 08:59 PM
Fox News is predictably pissing all over it. Their talking point from GOP headquarters appears to be to say that it "wasn't the kind of speech Churchill would have given" (how many of those did Bush give?), and to whine and carp that he set up a timetable.

John Mace
12-01-2009, 09:03 PM
Fox News is predictably pissing all over it.

I'm watching MSNBC and they're pissing all over it. Predictably?

I'm underwhelmed. Good luck in getting anything done in 18 months. I'm left wondering what took him so long to make this decision.

Magiver
12-01-2009, 09:05 PM
A pledge that he is keeping with this speech tonight. So what's your problem? It took him 4 months to make a decision. He can fly to DEN to sign legislation nobody read but he can't listen to the people he hired to do the job correctly.

elucidator
12-01-2009, 09:06 PM
...Good luck in getting anything done in 18 months. I'm left wondering what took him so long to make this decision.

So you think its a bad decision, but you wish he had made it sooner?

John Mace
12-01-2009, 09:07 PM
So you think its a bad decision, but you wish he had made it sooner?

Where did I say I wished he made it sooner?

Diogenes the Cynic
12-01-2009, 09:08 PM
Maybe he actually wanted to make sure he knew what he was doing? Three months is not a long time to make a decision like this, especially since he already sent 17,000 troops earlier this year, and since there was no request for any more troops to be sent before next year.

We've seen what happens when brain pickled cowboys make decisions from the "gut." There's nothing wrong with a President actually trying to take the time to understand what the fuck he's doing.

John Mace
12-01-2009, 09:12 PM
Maybe he actually wanted to make sure he knew what he was doing? Three months is not a long time to make a decision like this, especially since he already sent 17,000 troops earlier this year, and since there was no request for any more troops to be sent before next year.

We've seen what happens when brain pickled cowboys make decisions from the "gut." There's nothing wrong with a President actually trying to take the time to understand what the fuck he's doing.

False dichotomy. I don't see anything creative in this decision. McKristal asks for 40k and he gives him 30k. Brilliant!! This is what most people have been predicting for months.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-01-2009, 09:17 PM
What does "creative" have to do with anything? The issue isn't being "creative, the issue is making a decision between A, B and C, and, more importantly, making sure the decision is correct. That's not something that can be determined without a lot of research, discussion and thought.

John Mace
12-01-2009, 09:22 PM
If he had come up with something creative, I could understand why it took so long. This is management 101-- give your people a little less than what they ask for since you know they sandbagged a bit in their request. I'm underwhelmed.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-01-2009, 09:28 PM
Once again, why is "creativity" a criterion? It wasn't a fucking art project. He wasn't asked to create anything. It was basically a yes or no decision, and it wasn't a decision to be made lightly. He wasn't ordering salad dressing. It required some extremely complex analysis.

cn8of10
12-01-2009, 09:37 PM
I think this could work on the timetable set if the objective was only a section of Afghanistan. The speech was pitch perfect, as usual. I think he said all the things that needed to be said.

I'm glad he made the point of the fiscal impact of this endeavour. A trillion dollars already spent and now another 30 billion per year. Wars are expensive.

elucidator
12-01-2009, 09:40 PM
I'm just sort of middling whelmed, if that. And I cannot depend on judging just how much of that is a deep-seated bias against war as a solution. But just for starters, I much prefer to hear such news in tones of gravity and somber necessity, without the traditional trumpets and drums. I'm sick to death of hearing those goddam! drums....

And I don't wonder what took so long, I figure he was thinking. A refreshing change.

John Mace
12-01-2009, 09:41 PM
Once again, why is "creativity" a criterion? It wasn't a fucking art project. He wasn't asked to create anything. It was basically a yes or no decision, and it wasn't a decision to be made lightly. He wasn't ordering salad dressing. It required some extremely complex analysis.

You're right. It took a lot of extremely complex analysis to make the decision everyone knew he would make from day 1.

I want creativity from my president. I want him to think outside the box. And I don't know why you're cheering this, since you didn't even want to invade Afghanistan in the first place.

BrainGlutton
12-01-2009, 09:43 PM
I want creativity from my president. I want him to think outside the box.

:rolleyes: Didn't we have more than enough of that from BushCo?

Diogenes the Cynic
12-01-2009, 09:43 PM
It's not like it would be an immediate, instant withdrawal in 18 months, by the way. Just the beginning of a graduated draw down that would be spaced (if I recall correctly) over another 5 years.

marshmallow
12-01-2009, 09:45 PM
Killing foreigners: IOKIYAD

Ooh, does this mean we get to flip it all around? When do we get to start calling people chickenhawks and keyboard warriors again? Why doesn't Obama send his two daughters over there? etc. I'm so excited.

flickster
12-01-2009, 09:47 PM
Are the rules of engagement being modified, or are we just sending 30,000 more targets?

PrettyVacant
12-01-2009, 09:52 PM
So what's the betting on when McChrystal comes back asking for the next 30-40,000, next summer?

Magiver
12-01-2009, 09:53 PM
Are the rules of engagement being modified, or are we just sending 30,000 more targets? We now have to marandize them before shooting.

John Mace
12-01-2009, 09:53 PM
:rolleyes: Didn't we have more than enough of that from BushCo?

So, a president should be non-creative, and just do what any mainstream person would do? You can take your rolleyes and shove it.

Look, there's good outside the box thinking and bad outside the box thinking.

CoolHandCox
12-01-2009, 09:54 PM
He seemed very comfortable, knowledgeable, and in total control of his decision/plan and why he thought it was necessary. If it takes a few months to understand that yourself, believe it, and convey all that information to me in 30mins(?) where I'm able to believe your truly making it with American and foreign interests, then it's worth the wait.

Are the rules of engagement being modified, or are we just sending 30,000 more targets?

I thought we had already done that, somewhat. The whole "winning the hearts and minds." An emphasis on less civilian casualties (at the likely inevitable expense of more American casualties).

To be more precise, for example, the ROE are you can no longer call in an air strike on a building from which you are taking fire because it risks civilian casualties.

flickster
12-01-2009, 09:57 PM
I thought we had already done that, somewhat. The whole "winning the hearts and minds." An emphasis on less civilian casualties (at the likely inevitable expense of more American casualties).

To be more precise, for example, the ROE are you can no longer call in an air strike on a building from which you are taking fire because it risks civilian casualties.

Which is precisely one of the reasons I referred to them as 30,000 targets

Magiver
12-01-2009, 10:00 PM
He seemed very comfortable, knowledgeable, and in total control of his decision/plan and why he thought it was necessary. If it takes a few months to understand that yourself, believe it, and convey all that information to me in 30mins(?) where I'm able to believe your truly making it with American and foreign interests, then it's worth the wait. Waiting 4 months to make support decisions in the middle of a war is the polar opposite of helpful when viewed by other nations who have already dedicated support for the operation. Even more so when asking for additional foreign support.

John Mace
12-01-2009, 10:01 PM
:rolleyes: Didn't we have more than enough of that from BushCo?

Not to mention, Obama's decision is pretty much exactly the same decision Bush would have made, based on what he did in Iraq.

elucidator
12-01-2009, 10:02 PM
So, a president should be non-creative, and just do what any mainstream person would do? You can take your rolleyes and shove it.

Look, there's good outside the box thinking and bad outside the box thinking.

If we had had the uncommon good fortune and wisdom to elect John Mace instead of this lightweight, your plan would have been....?

John Mace
12-01-2009, 10:08 PM
If we had had the uncommon good fortune and wisdom to elect John Mace instead of this lightweight, your plan would have been....?

I don't think he's a lightweight. I think he punted on this, and did the politically expedient thing. I'm a little disappointed, but not too much.

As for what I would have done... I would have figured out some way to just get us out of there. Not that I ever said I was smarter or better suited to the presidency than Obama is. Expecting more doesn't mean that one could deliver more oneself. I expect a great concert when I go to see The Stones. If they deliver a mediocre performance, that doesn't mean I could have done better.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-01-2009, 10:09 PM
You're right. It took a lot of extremely complex analysis to make the decision everyone knew he would make from day 1.
I don't think everybody did know it, and yes it required complex analysis, whether you want to admit it or not. It was a decision which would have consequences either way.
I want creativity from my president.
What does that even mean? What would be your idea of a "creative" decision? You think he should attack with flying monkeys? Isn't it better to go with the best decision than the most creative? This isn't Top Chef.
And I don't know why you're cheering this, since you didn't even want to invade Afghanistan in the first place.
I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq, not Afghanistan (maybe a little ambivalent at times, never outright opposed), and I'm not cheering. I'd have rather he said we were going to piss on the fire and call in the dogs, but I understand that political reality could never let him do that, and I'm at least heartened that he set a time table. That's more than I was expecting

Squink
12-01-2009, 10:12 PM
Not to mention, Obama's decision is pretty much exactly the same decision Bush would have made, based on what he did in Iraq.No, Bush had plenty of opportunity to make this decision, and he never did.
There's no reason to think that yet another year of rolling disaster in Afghanistan would have moved him even a millimeter off his dead, do nothing ass.

elucidator
12-01-2009, 10:15 PM
I was opposed to the invasion, started a thread on the subject. Suffice to say it was not warmly received.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-01-2009, 10:15 PM
Waiting 4 months to make support decisions in the middle of a war is the polar opposite of helpful when viewed by other nations who have already dedicated support for the operation.
So have we. Obama alredy sent 17.000 troops earlier this year. He took 4 months to make a decision about what to do NEXT year. The fact that he thought it through will not be viewed as a bad thing by anyone but those on the right who view any kind of thinking, discussion, research and analysis, or informed decisions as anathema.[/quote]

CoolHandCox
12-01-2009, 10:16 PM
Which is precisely one of the reasons I referred to them as 30,000 targets

Yea I picked up on that. And I believe you do have legit point.

I also believe the "hard" combat approach wasn't working. We switched to a "softer" approach in Iraq and are doing it in Afghanistan, too. I just don't think you can win by killing all the enemies. You might be able to win by simply making less enemies, even friends, and then transition out of the country.

Or just pull out entirely which both administrations don't feel is a option.

flickster
12-01-2009, 10:44 PM
So have we. Obama alredy sent 17.000 troops earlier this year. He took 4 months to make a decision about what to do NEXT year.

Personally, under the current rules of engagement I don't think either troop commitment should have been made. That said, as for Obama's decision, since when did battlefield decision become events ruled by the calendar year?

Magiver
12-01-2009, 10:51 PM
So have we. Obama alredy sent 17.000 troops earlier this year. He took 4 months to make a decision about what to do NEXT year. :rolleyes: NEXT year is 30 days from now which is about how long it will take to move them all over there. He has effectively delayed troop deployment by 4 months. The delay in support left world leaders wondering WTF was going on. Asking for additional troops from them after denying his own commanders what they asked for is just stupid.

Qin Shi Huangdi
12-01-2009, 10:56 PM
I think we should stay in Afghanistan as long as needed like Germany, Japan, and Korea.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-01-2009, 11:14 PM
:rolleyes: NEXT year is 30 days from now which is about how long it will take to move them all over there. He has effectively delayed troop deployment by 4 months. The delay in support left world leaders wondering WTF was going on. Asking for additional troops from them after denying his own commanders what they asked for is just stupid.Nothing has been delayed. That's baloney. He's not sending anything any later than it was requested, and he didn't have to honor the request at all.

Knorf
12-02-2009, 12:08 AM
You're right. It took a lot of extremely complex analysis to make the decision everyone knew he would make from day 1.
I think what took the time is forming a clear exit strategy. I'm glad the president is really getting his shit together before committing (more) troops. How refreshing compared to a previous administration!

Magiver
12-02-2009, 12:40 AM
Nothing has been delayed. That's baloney. He's not sending anything any later than it was requested, and he didn't have to honor the request at all. His decision was delayed by 4 months. Are you suggesting that the request for more troops was to begin at 1am on January the 1st 2010 and trickle through the year? Do you think the amount of troops he left out is basically the same he's asking from NATO is going to strike a friendly cord after the delay?

elucidator
12-02-2009, 12:42 AM
...Do you think the amount of troops he left out is basically the same he's asking from NATO is going to strike a friendly cord after the delay?

Your Composition 101 teacher saw this sentence, and is standing on a window ledge threatening to jump.

John Mace
12-02-2009, 12:45 AM
I think what took the time is forming a clear exit strategy.
Yeah, I can see why it took 4 months to just declare that we'd leave in 18 months. That's just a random date thrown out there. As soon as we leave, the Taliban will just filter back in. In 2,000 years there has never been a central gov't in Afghanistan. We're not going to create one in 18 months.

flickster
12-02-2009, 12:45 AM
I think what took the time is forming a clear exit strategy.

I'm not sure how clear the exit strategy is, having a goal is nice but what happens if that goal is not met by 7/2011?

Having a clear mission would be nice as well. I'm still in the "WTF are we still there" boat.

Marley23
12-02-2009, 12:50 AM
In 2,000 years there has never been a central gov't in Afghanistan. We're not going to create one in 18 months.
Right. Jon Stewart and J. Wellington Friedman ('for a hamburger today I will gladly repay you in the next six months will be critical') discussed this on the Daily Show tonight and Stewart kept framing this in terms of rebuilding the country. That would be hard enough, but it's not rebuilding. I don't know what could be done that would rise into positive action, rather than just delaying a more or less inevitable outcome. And then you get into how this might affect Pakistan. That's not a heartening prospect either.

Not only does Obama not have to accept whatever advice the generals give him, he should not accept it. Generals are always going to think the military can handle everything, which is what you'd expect them to think. The president is expected to have a broader perspective, and this is not just a military matter. And yes, this is the road everybody expected him to go. I don't mind that he took his time thinking about it. We've seen what happens when you do the opposite and figure everything will go the way you want it to and the details will take care of themselves.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-02-2009, 12:54 AM
His decision was delayed by 4 months. Are you suggesting that the request for more troops was to begin at 1am on January the 1st 2010 and trickle through the year? Do you think the amount of troops he left out is basically the same he's asking from NATO is going to strike a friendly cord after the delay?
His decision was delayed? What does that mean? He had no deadline to make a decison. He's the boss here, not the employee. There wasn't any due date. The decision took as long as it took to get it right. Any talk of "delay" is just partisan demagoguery. McChrystal was not entitled to an instant decision. He's Obama's bitch, Obama's not his.

John Mace
12-02-2009, 12:56 AM
I'm not sure how clear the exit strategy is, having a goal is nice but what happens if that goal is not met by 7/2011?
It's a complete sham. He put lipstick on a pig by saying we're sending in a bunch of troops, but not to worry, we're exiting in 18 months. Everything will be just fine in 18 months. After 18 months, the Taliban will never come back. It's self evident.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-02-2009, 12:57 AM
Yeah, I can see why it took 4 months to just declare that we'd leave in 18 months. That's just a random date thrown out there. As soon as we leave, the Taliban will just filter back in. In 2,000 years there has never been a central gov't in Afghanistan. We're not going to create one in 18 months.
Leaving the timeline open is not a viable option. We can't afford to stay there forever. I mean, we literally can't financially afford it. We'll give it a shot. if it doesn't work, at least we tried, but there comes a time when you have to cut bait.

Marley23
12-02-2009, 12:59 AM
I'm left wondering (not for the first time) if Afghanistan has already been botched beyond repair due to neglect from 2002 onward. I'm not sure anything can fix that. Of course that doesn't mean the goals there are not legit, but they may be out of reach regardless.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-02-2009, 12:59 AM
It's a complete sham. He put lipstick on a pig by saying we're sending in a bunch of troops, but not to worry, we're exiting in 18 months. Everything will be just fine in 18 months. After 18 months, the Taliban will never come back. It's self evident.
He didn't say that.

DoctorJ
12-02-2009, 01:11 AM
I doubt very seriously if the only component of this decision was how many troops to send in next year. They also had to consider how and where those troops were to be deployed. I'm guessing that there was more than one opinion among Obama's military advisors as to where those additional troops would go, so you have a lot of scenarios to consider already.

And you can't just settle on a number and consider strategies with that many. Could we get the same result with 25,000 more troops? Would we be better off with 35,000? Could we get by with fewer if we used more technology?

Obama was not just picking a number of troops to hand to the commanders and say "Here, go nuts". This was a whole specific strategy to put together, most of which we'll never hear about since it's, you know, military strategy. I don't have any problem with that taking four months; hell, it took me two weeks to pick out a dishwasher.

John Mace
12-02-2009, 01:12 AM
He didn't say that.

Bull shit.

We'll give it a shot. if it doesn't work, at least we tried, but there comes a time when you have to cut bait.
You think he said that? It it weren't so tragic, I would say it is to laugh.

John Mace
12-02-2009, 01:15 AM
Not only does Obama not have to accept whatever advice the generals give him, he should not accept it. Generals are always going to think the military can handle everything, which is what you'd expect them to think. The president is expected to have a broader perspective, and this is not just a military matter. And yes, this is the road everybody expected him to go. I don't mind that he took his time thinking about it. We've seen what happens when you do the opposite and figure everything will go the way you want it to and the details will take care of themselves.

Exactly. A military guy is always going to say he can succeed. A true leader will cut thru all the BS and think about what we actually can or cannot do, and what is really in the best interest of the country. Not just thinking about how to "win" militarily.

flickster
12-02-2009, 01:18 AM
I doubt very seriously if the only component of this decision was how many troops to send in next year. They also had to consider how and where those troops were to be deployed. I'm guessing that there was more than one opinion among Obama's military advisors as to where those additional troops would go, so you have a lot of scenarios to consider already.

And you can't just settle on a number and consider strategies with that many. Could we get the same result with 25,000 more troops? Would we be better off with 35,000? Could we get by with fewer if we used more technology?

Obama was not just picking a number of troops to hand to the commanders and say "Here, go nuts". This was a whole specific strategy to put together, most of which we'll never hear about since it's, you know, military strategy. I don't have any problem with that taking four months; hell, it took me two weeks to pick out a dishwasher.

Sorry, the image of Obama standing over a large Afghanistan map pushing troops around with a pointer like he was in a WWII movie is just not coming into focus

XT
12-02-2009, 01:20 AM
I have to say I'm not very sanguine about this. It seems the worst of both worlds...a split between business as usual and doing nothing. The president wants to wind down the war in Afghanistan...by deploying 30k more troops (less than his military advisers recommended)? And yet, he wants to have most of the combat forces out of Afghanistan by...August 2011? Less than 2 years? Seriously? That doesn't sound very realistic to me, given the current situation there. Hell, I'm doubtful we'll be able to get the troops out of Iraq in that time frame, and compared to Afghanistan, Iraq is the model of stability and strength wrt their army.

To me, this smacks of a middle of the road approach to this mess. Granted, I'm normally all about a middle of the road approach to things, but in a war it's a good way to get hit by traffic coming from both directions. I think I'd have been happier with either a more committed military strategy (with a realistic long term view of this fucked up situation) along with some serious political muscle behind the creation of a real, viable government in Afghanistan, or a strategy that has us essentially letting the country go tits up, as it seems to be headed, and getting the majority of our regular forces out of there.

I'm left wondering (not for the first time) if Afghanistan has already been botched beyond repair due to neglect from 2002 onward. I'm not sure anything can fix that. Of course that doesn't mean the goals there are not legit, but they may be out of reach regardless.

I'm starting to wonder if there was anything we every could have done, save completely destroy the country and rebuild it from the ground up. Definitely as fucked up as Bush et al left it, I don't know that anything could be done to save the situation at this point. I think John Mace is on the right track...I think what we needed wasn't more of the same (to me, this is exactly what Bush would have done had he still been president), but something...outside the box.

(And just to anticipate 'luci's asking me what XT, God Emperor of the kingdom of America would do, I'd get us the fuck out of there, and Iraq too...but then, I'd be more interested is lounging on a beach, having scantily clad love muffins peeling me grapes and such, than foreign adventures in the ME or anywhere else).

-XT

Diogenes the Cynic
12-02-2009, 01:24 AM
Bull shit.
Show me the part where he said everything would be fine in 18 months, or that the Taliban would would never return. Hell, he didn't even say we would leave. The 18 months is the timeline for the temporary escalation (or "surge" as Rove re-labeled troop escalations), and the beginning of the draw down, not a drop dead date for leaving.
You think he said that?
No, I said that.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-02-2009, 01:25 AM
Exactly. A military guy is always going to say he can succeed. A true leader will cut thru all the BS and think about what we actually can or cannot do, and what is really in the best interest of the country. Not just thinking about how to "win" militarily.
And in your opinion, that would be what?

XT
12-02-2009, 01:26 AM
And in your opinion, that would be what?

A political solution, at a guess. Military people see all problems as nails, and all solutions would then involve hammers...

-XT

Marley23
12-02-2009, 01:29 AM
I'm starting to wonder if there was anything we every could have done, save completely destroy the country and rebuild it from the ground up.
"It was like that when I got there." Seriously, though, destroy it, after what the country had already been through? How would you know which parts you'd destroyed?

I don't know if anything was ever going to make a difference either, in terms of preventing it from becoming a terrorist zone again. When the war started, I was opposed to it because I thought it looked like a rash overreaction to September 11th. I don't think that anymore but I don't know if the goal can be achieved. And meanwhile stability in the region is definitely worse than it was a decade ago because now, you have weak governments and competing factions in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

XT
12-02-2009, 01:34 AM
"It was like that when I got there." Seriously, though, destroy it, after what the country had already been through? How would you know which parts you'd destroyed?

The political parts are what I was talking about....there was really not much left to destroy, otherwise. Most of the infrastructure, such as it was, was already pretty much toast.

Essentially, we (the various allies involved in this mess) needed to commit much heavier forces, and much more funding in the post-conquest phase...and we needed to impose some kind of medium term government on them. Something like the occupation governments in Germany or Japan post war.

Or we needed to stay out, and just bomb the shit out of AQ from the air, possibly send in SF teams, etc, etc. Take your pick...there are no right answers (or easy ones) in this game. What I can say though is that what Bush et al did, while initially militarily sound, was, in the long term, totally fucked up...and I don't believe that the course Obama is setting atm is much better. Guess we'll see.

-XT

furt
12-02-2009, 01:39 AM
Not only does Obama not have to accept whatever advice the generals give him, he should not accept it. Generals are always going to think the military can handle everything, which is what you'd expect them to think. I don't think that's true at all; I think when you task them with delivering a military strategy, they'll give you one. McChrystal's orders, AFICT, were to tell Obama how to achieve success in Afghanistan, not to rethink the entire geopolitical equation and decide whether we should stay there or bug out.

Marley23
12-02-2009, 01:55 AM
I think when you task them with delivering a military strategy, they'll give you one.
I'm sure, and I'm not faulting them for that. If you asked them to deliver a strategy for routing Al Qaeda and giving every person in Afghanistan breakfast in bed, they would probably tell you they can do it and come up with the steps they would take to do it. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea. There are other elements to this aside from just the military strategy. The Afghan government needs to work somehow, for one thing, and the military isn't going to make that happen.

I probably should have said "he should not accept that advice at face value."

elucidator
12-02-2009, 01:59 AM
I noticed how little mention was made of Karzai and the "central government" in general. I think that's subtly significant. We mean to connect with local tribal governments, with an eye to enabling them to resist Taliban coercion. At the very least, convince them that we are not their enemy. Narrow the territory.

As well, by increasing local security, offer a lure for current Taliban, an alternative. A home worth going back to. A glimmer of a future. Just put down the gun, and go home. Screw martyrdom, get a wife, make babies, herd goats or raise saffron.

Finally, when that is accomplished, and the troops are in place, conduct a pincer operation with Pakistan, they push from their side, we catch on "ours". Victory. Temporary? Well, aren't they all?

But I'm not sold. If anyone might have sold me, it would be him. I take his points well, I see why he believes what he does. As a pessimist, nothing makes me happier than being wrong. I seldom am.

This thing could work, but everything will have to click neatly into place. I trust this man's integrity, and I trust his intelligence. But one of us is wrong, and I sure hope its me.

furt
12-02-2009, 02:03 AM
I'm sure, and I'm not faulting them for that. If you asked them to deliver a strategy for routing Al Qaeda and giving every person in Afghanistan breakfast in bed, they would probably tell you they can do it and come up with the steps they would take to do it. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea. There are other elements to this aside from just the military strategy. The Afghan government needs to work somehow, for one thing, and the military isn't going to make that happen.On, that I agree completely. They can help, as they did in Iraq, but Afghanistan is miles behind Iraq in terms of civic infrastructure. 18 years might not be enough.

John Mace
12-02-2009, 09:10 AM
I noticed how little mention was made of Karzai and the "central government" in general. I think that's subtly significant. We mean to connect with local tribal governments, with an eye to enabling them to resist Taliban coercion. At the very least, convince them that we are not their enemy. Narrow the territory.

As well, by increasing local security, offer a lure for current Taliban, an alternative. A home worth going back to. A glimmer of a future. Just put down the gun, and go home. Screw martyrdom, get a wife, make babies, herd goats or raise saffron.

Finally, when that is accomplished, and the troops are in place, conduct a pincer operation with Pakistan, they push from their side, we catch on "ours". Victory. Temporary? Well, aren't they all?

But I'm not sold. If anyone might have sold me, it would be him. I take his points well, I see why he believes what he does. As a pessimist, nothing makes me happier than being wrong. I seldom am.

This thing could work, but everything will have to click neatly into place. I trust this man's integrity, and I trust his intelligence. But one of us is wrong, and I sure hope its me.

I'm not sold, either. Even if we are successful with that strategy, without a strong central government, the Taliban will waltz back in as soon as we leave. Which Obama has already told everyone will do fairly soon.

Dinsdale
12-02-2009, 09:15 AM
Historically a big Obama fan here, but very disappointed at this decision. My choice would have been pull them all home tomorrow. I strongly favor the type of intervention mswas describes, than largescale boots-on-the-ground nation building.

independentminded
12-02-2009, 09:20 AM
It takes an incredible amount of guts to stand up to the military when they want to have more troops. The assumption is that they are experts, yet they always want more troops and more weapons. If they ever said, nope, we have all the troops we need, they might have an argument. Then you might listen to them. Forget it. We are wasting American tax payers money at an enormous rate to allow generals to get more power .He should have canned McChrystal. He should have put a reasonable man in charge. Contractors and defense contractors should be eliminated. They eat tax money and never have enough. Get off the defense contractors money treadmill.

I agree with much of what you're saying here, gonzomax. However, Obama got himself into this mess by appointing McChrystal, a known war criminal, to head this whole Afghanistan "mission" up, not to mention his other appointees. To be truthful, I did a write-in vote at the polls a year ago last month, because I knew, at a gut level, that no matter which of the two parties were elected, we'd continue to get screwed...big time, and I'm not wrong. It was clear to me, pretty much from the get-go, when Obama voted as he did on the FISA Bill, and his war votes, even after having gone on record as opposing our war on Iraq, and the FISA Bill, that Obama would be little or no better than G. W. Bush was.

John Mace
12-02-2009, 09:28 AM
I think Feingold summed it up better than I could've:

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., called the plan "an expensive gamble to undertake armed nation-building on behalf of a corrupt government of questionable legitimacy." (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091202/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_us_afghanistan)

Dinsdale
12-02-2009, 09:39 AM
I think Feingold summed it up better than I could've:


Yep - pretty much my thoughts as well.
Not the type of decision I had hoped for from the man.

mswas
12-02-2009, 10:27 AM
What does that even mean? What would be your idea of a "creative" decision? You think he should attack with flying monkeys? Isn't it better to go with the best decision than the most creative? This isn't Top Chef.

I felt like he could've done something to bring out the heat. The heat was there, but I felt it kind of disappeared into the rest of the dish.

I thought it was very pedestrian.

gonzomax
12-02-2009, 10:59 AM
I agree with much of what you're saying here, gonzomax. However, Obama got himself into this mess by appointing McChrystal, a known war criminal, to head this whole Afghanistan "mission" up, not to mention his other appointees. To be truthful, I did a write-in vote at the polls a year ago last month, because I knew, at a gut level, that no matter which of the two parties were elected, we'd continue to get screwed...big time, and I'm not wrong. It was clear to me, pretty much from the get-go, when Obama voted as he did on the FISA Bill, and his war votes, even after having gone on record as opposing our war on Iraq, and the FISA Bill, that Obama would be little or no better than G. W. Bush was.

He is far better domestically and there are quiet background moves that indicate he may be even better than he shown so far. But huge forces move the US. Big money and big army. Who can stand up to the huge political forces that feed off the Financial Institutions or the war contractors?Someday Obama may stand up to them. But he missed this chance. If he would have given up on Afghanistan, the Fox news and other conservative forces would have made very loud angry noises drowning out any peace lovers. We go broke and they still want more wars.
McChrystal never explained his part in the Pat Tillman fiasco. I am waiting for that.

BrainGlutton
12-02-2009, 11:04 AM
Genocide.

:eek: But then where would we get our heroin?!

gonzomax
12-02-2009, 11:45 AM
Last night, Obama became just another president. History gives presidents a chance but they rarely take advantage. They never have the guts to stand up to the big powers in America.

Sinaijon
12-02-2009, 12:00 PM
Show me the part where he said everything would be fine in 18 months, or that the Taliban would would never return. Hell, he didn't even say we would leave.

It takes a little critical thinking of what he said. Do you believe he will leave Afghanistan if things are a mess? If he would leave when things are a mess, then now would be the ideal time to leave. If you believe he won't leave things in a mess (I believe he won't), then given that he provided a time frame, the logical conclusion is that he thinks everything in Afghanistan is going to be fine within that time frame. If he didn't think everything would be fine in 18 months AND he won't leave Afghanistan when things are mess, then he wouldn't have given the timeframe.

Given the history of Afghansistan, it would be incredible naive of Obama to believe everything will be fine there in under 18 months. So that leaves us with the final scenario: Obama believes Afghanistan will be a mess and he won't pull the troops out, but for political expediency, he says otherwise

BrainGlutton
12-02-2009, 12:02 PM
N.B.: Obama is not promising to pull out of Afghanistan in 18 months, but to start drawing down U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 18 months -- the start of a very gradual process that will still leave some troop presence there for years to come.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-02-2009, 12:02 PM
He didn't say he would leave. He said he would start drawing down. The plan still calls for a 5 year draw down after this new escalation, so waving around the "18 months" is kind of a red herring.

Squink
12-02-2009, 12:05 PM
:eek: But then where would we get our heroin?!Halliburton is building an army of robot poppy-farmers at their secret island base. They'll be available to the US under a no-bid contract.
Last night, Obama became just another president. It's not as if Bush and friends left the poor bastard with any decent choices here. I'd've preferred a total pullout by 2012, but I can see why Obama's taking a gamble on Karzai. If it even kinda works it'll do wonders for Liberal foreign policy cred; not that the right has anything to talk to mom about in that department these days.

elucidator
12-02-2009, 12:23 PM
OK. We got (A) Obama's plan, we got (B) "give up and go home". What's Plan C?

Sam Stone
12-02-2009, 12:23 PM
I don't know why anyone is really surprised by the decision. Obama campaigned on the notion that Afghanistan was the real war of necessity and that it needed to be given more focus and effort. Did you think he was lying?

He probably made the right decision, although coupling it with a 'timetable' is not strategically smart.

Look, Afghanistan is a really tough problem. I'm skeptical of the possibility of turning it into a stable, well-governed country that defends its borders from infiltration by militants. I don't know that that is possible in any timeframe short of decades.

But I also know that an immediate withdrawal would send signals that would embolden terrorists around the world and damage the U.S.

I also think that occupation of Afghanistan can be defended on humanitarian grounds - specifically, the treatment of women. One thing that the NATO occupation has done for Afghan women so far is that it has given them 8 years of having the ability to go to school. That's not a trivial thing. Perhaps building up an educated female class is one of the changes Afghanistan needs to turn a corner and start plodding slowly towards modernity.

One thing different about Afghanistan in terms of domestic politics is that this is a bipartisan war. There are opponents and supporters of it throughout the left and right. Hopefully, this means we can have a rational discussion about it.

Also, unlike Iraq, this is not just an American war. Canada has had as many casualties there as a percentage of the population as has the U.S., and Canada has taken on leadership roles in that war as well - especially when the U.S. was pre-occupied with Iraq. We're having our own debate about the future role of Canada in the war, as are all the other NATO countries.

Hopefully, all this means we can have a reasonable, substantive discussion of the Afghanistan conflict, as devoid of partisanship as possible.

Dinsdale
12-02-2009, 12:31 PM
OK. We got (A) Obama's plan, we got (B) "give up and go home". What's Plan C?

Well, "alternatives" he suggested last night included (C) ramping up with no timetable, and (D) continuing to muddle on with existing troop levels. I think something along the lines of the "RDF" mswas suggests may well be yet another option.

Tom Scud
12-02-2009, 12:35 PM
I don't know why anyone is really surprised by the decision. Obama campaigned on the notion that Afghanistan was the real war of necessity and that it needed to be given more focus and effort. Did you think he was lying?

He probably made the right decision, although coupling it with a 'timetable' is not strategically smart.

Eh. It's a giant bureaucratic government decision, as approved by the senior bureaucrats of America's biggest, most bloated bureaucracy. Does anyone seriously expect that the timetable will be met?

ElvisL1ves
12-02-2009, 12:42 PM
OK. We got (A) Obama's plan, we got (B) "give up and go home". What's Plan C?
Crush them.

gonzomax
12-02-2009, 12:53 PM
Third option , quit supporting Karzai. How is he part of the solution?

elucidator
12-02-2009, 01:08 PM
I see the emphasis on local tribal units as aimed in that direction. Let Karzai remain Mayor of Kabul and the surrounding suburbs, talk directly with local leaders.

An errant thought: what happens if its the wussy liberal guy who brings home Osama's head on a pike? Ouside of me dying of laughter, of course....

Sinaijon
12-02-2009, 01:09 PM
The plan still calls for a 5 year draw down after this new escalation.

Do you think he's going to 'draw down' the troops if Afghanistan is still a mess in 18 months? If Afghanistan is still a mess after the next 18 months, what will have changed, so that Obama would start drawing down troops then, whereas now (with Afghanistan being a mess) he is increasing them?

Gangster Octopus
12-02-2009, 01:16 PM
Last night, Obama became just another president. History gives presidents a chance but they rarely take advantage. They never have the guts to stand up to the big powers in America.

What a crock of BS.

Kearsen
12-02-2009, 01:21 PM
I'm sure, and I'm not faulting them for that. If you asked them to deliver a strategy for routing Al Qaeda and giving every person in Afghanistan breakfast in bed, they would probably tell you they can do it and come up with the steps they would take to do it. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea. There are other elements to this aside from just the military strategy. The Afghan government needs to work somehow, for one thing, and the military isn't going to make that happen.

I probably should have said "he should not accept that advice at face value."


How about he shouldn't have even asked the question in the first place?

Kearsen
12-02-2009, 01:24 PM
Crush them.

I agree. In a war, you should have no ROE. The objective should be to pacify the uprising at the least cost to your own forces. Once that is done, you leave.
American Imperialism has gotten us whacked in the hand a few times and it is time we discontinue the process.

Marley23
12-02-2009, 01:29 PM
How about he shouldn't have even asked the question in the first place?
Shouldn't have asked what question? "What's the best way to deal with this situation?"

marshmallow
12-02-2009, 01:38 PM
:eek: But then where would we get our heroin?!

Nah, we're fine. The U.S. gets most of its heroin from Colombia and Mexico.

Kearsen
12-02-2009, 01:48 PM
Shouldn't have asked what question? "What's the best way to deal with this situation?"

You can't have it both ways Marley, either the question has been asked to the military personnel capable of answering the question (in military terms) or the POTUS decides to go another route.

If everyone already knew what he was going to do given the circumstances, why did it take him so long to decide? Surely he was adamant about it in his campaign, why now does he waffle?

Diogenes the Cynic
12-02-2009, 01:55 PM
Do you think he's going to 'draw down' the troops if Afghanistan is still a mess in 18 months? If Afghanistan is still a mess after the next 18 months, what will have changed, so that Obama would start drawing down troops then, whereas now (with Afghanistan being a mess) he is increasing them?
It was enough in Iraq. What's the alternative? To just leave now? Ramping up without a time table isn't an option.

Squink
12-02-2009, 02:04 PM
You can't have it both ways Marley, either the question has been asked to the military personnel capable of answering the question (in military terms) or the POTUS decides to go another route.

If everyone already knew what he was going to do given the circumstances, why did it take him so long to decide? Surely he was adamant about it in his campaign, why now does he waffle?The answer to the question in military terms is NOT the only answer to the question. It also takes time for people (besides the military) to decide what they think the best way forward is, and it takes time to make one's goals known to the military and engage in a constructive conversation about how to best reach both political and military goals.
It's not as if Obama can get away with hanging up a mission accomplished banner, or just do whatever Dick Cheney sez. Both of those have been tried and found wanting. So this time the commander in chief appears to have actually taken some time to find the best way forward himself.
I expect the results will suck, but that's not due to any failure on the part of the president. Sometimes the hole you inherit is just too big to climb out of.

Marley23
12-02-2009, 02:07 PM
You can't have it both ways Marley, either the question has been asked to the military personnel capable of answering the question (in military terms) or the POTUS decides to go another route.
So in other words, he can't ask the military personnel what they think and THEN decide to go another route? Either we're miscommunicating or you're making some demands that don't make sense.

If everyone already knew what he was going to do given the circumstances, why did it take him so long to decide?
Beats me. But I think he was considering this plan the whole way through rather than just thinking about how many people he should send.

Surely he was adamant about it in his campaign, why now does he waffle?
He was never adamant about sending a specific number of people. That would be ridiculous. He was adamant about trying to fix what is happening over there, and to the extent he spent a long time on it, I think he wanted to make sure he had a solution that would work.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-02-2009, 02:13 PM
You can't have it both ways Marley, either the question has been asked to the military personnel capable of answering the question (in military terms) or the POTUS decides to go another route.

If everyone already knew what he was going to do given the circumstances, why did it take him so long to decide? Surely he was adamant about it in his campaign, why now does he waffle?
He didn't waffle. He already sent 17,000 more troops in February, a month after taking office. He took the necessary time to consider a request to send more next year. There was no delay, no "waffling," no denial of resources. All of that stuff is just Fox News/talk radio hokum.

RedFury
12-02-2009, 02:32 PM
The "18 months begin exist strategy" is one of the dumbest partisan appeasement lines Obama has ever said. Simply incoherent within the context of his speech, in which he -- much like his predecessor -- tried to make the case that the Afghan war if of vital interest not just for America but for the Free World as a whole. If he truly believes it is, he can't very well put a time table on it until the actual "threat" is no longer. However vague that notion is for I don't think the mandate given eight years ago holds up to scrutiny today as AQ is largely irrelevant as an operating force in Afghanistan. Which, IMHO, makes current operations there fall under the "preemptive-war" doctrine.

OTOH, I thought it interesting what was left unsaid, namely that it is actually Pakistan that is the source of the biggest fears due to their flailing political climate with growing anti-American feelings especially along the very Afghan border where many AQ elements have found safe haven -- not to mention numerous Taliban factions/tribes. And of course, the most powerful reason of all: the fear that some of their nuclear weapons could find their way into the midst of those radical factions.

The Surge likely means increased fighting along said border -- as has been the case since Obama took office -- and the more civilians that get caught in the cross fire, the higher the odds it'll strengthen the resistance on both sides. There goes your exit strategy.

At that time I certainly hope we won't be summited to another USS Abraham Lincoln moment...in whatever guise and garb Mr Obama choses to do it. For that matter I can't say I liked yesterday's chosen scenario...brought back many an unpleasant memory.

Of course, I could be wrong. In fact I certainly hope I am.

John Mace
12-02-2009, 02:58 PM
Yes, the elephant in the room is Pakistan. We can do whatever we want in Afghanistan, and that doesn't change things one bit Pakistan. And that's the real source of trouble. If we remember our history, it was Pakistan that enabled the Taliban to take over in Afghanistan in the first place.

So, how do we solve a problem like Pakistan? That's the REAL question. As for an answer... sure beats me. I haven't a clue.

gonzomax
12-02-2009, 03:38 PM
What a crock of BS.

It is not even new. In grants biography he discusses not going into Mexico which he thought was an unjustified war.
But he said"once initiated few public men would have the courage to oppose it.
Experience proves that the man who obstructs a war his nation is engaged in, no matter right or wrong, occupies no enviable place in life or history. Better for him to advocate war, pestilence and famine than to act as an obstructionist once a war has already begun. The most favorable posthumous history for the stay at home traitor can hope for is...oblivion"
Standing for peace is a very bad political move. Fighting the generals who we all accept as experts, no matter how often they are wrong, has huge political consequences. Truman had the guts, Obama does not. Politicians pay a huge price when they try to stop wars.

Lakai
12-02-2009, 03:44 PM
I think sending more troops was the best option Obama had. I was not surprised by this decision at all. If Obama said during the campaign that stabilizing Afghanistan was not in our interests then I would have voted for Hillary during the primaries (it wouldn't be enough to get me to vote for McCain though.)

Here are the reasons way all his options were bad:

Pull Out - The Taliban and Al Qaeda are both threats to the US. The Taliban provides funding and support for Al Qaeda and I don't see how they can be allowed to control an entire country. And from the political side, if Obama ordered troops out and the US got attacked, all hell would break loose. The Democrats could forget about winning a majority in any branch of government for a long time if that happened.

Stay the Course - Not an option because things were getting worst. At least according to Martha Raddatz of ABC News. The Taliban is gaining momentum in Afghanistan, so if Obama kept the troop levels the same then it would only increase the chance of a Taliban victory.

More Troops - The only realistic option IMHO that protects US interests and isn't a political embolism is to give McCrystal the resources he says he need to win the war. If we are going to fight this, then we can't make a half-assed attempt at it.

Now I know concerns remain. The Afghan government is deeply corrupt and I have very little faith that they can handle the country. Pakistan is not dealing with the Taliban as well as we might like. From my perspective this seems like a tough war to win, but that doesn't mean we should leave because the war is too hard. I define a win in Afghanistan as the point where the country can run with being a safe haven for the Taliban. That seems to me the way Obama defines a win too. Creating a "good enough" government in Afghanistan that can keep the Taliban out is not impossible.

I wish Obama could have explained how he thinks he can fix a hopelessly corrupt government, but I realize that would involve getting pretty technical for a decent explanation. I will just have to get the details from other sources to see if I agree if his strategy will work or not.

Kearsen
12-02-2009, 03:46 PM
The answer to the question in military terms is NOT the only answer to the question. It also takes time for people (besides the military) to decide what they think the best way forward is, and it takes time to make one's goals known to the military and engage in a constructive conversation about how to best reach both political and military goals.
It's not as if Obama can get away with hanging up a mission accomplished banner, or just do whatever Dick Cheney sez. Both of those have been tried and found wanting. So this time the commander in chief appears to have actually taken some time to find the best way forward himself.
I expect the results will suck, but that's not due to any failure on the part of the president. Sometimes the hole you inherit is just too big to climb out of.

I understand that. But to answer the question you want answered (again, in military terms) and then waffle on answering the public. I guess I consider it waffling because I feel like he knew he was going to commit more troops. This whole 'decision making process' of his reeks of political maneuvering and that is why I feel disappointed.

I don't mind him committing more troops, but I do mind him doing something half assed. He is changing an assessment by his generals and turning it on tail. Is he also going to take the fall when the troop count gets added to again at a later date?

Someone upthread mentioned something about being 'all in or all out' and that is exactly how I feel. You don't nickel and dime when it comes to people's lives.

Marley23
12-02-2009, 03:52 PM
Truman had the guts, Obama does not. Politicians pay a huge price when they try to stop wars.
Wait, what? Truman dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan and got the U.S. involved in the Korean War. He did make the military industrial complex comments during his farewell address, when he was leaving office, but I don't see that as trying to stop wars.

RedFury
12-02-2009, 03:58 PM
Wait, what? Truman dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan and got the U.S. involved in the Korean War. He did make the military industrial complex comments during his farewell address, when he was leaving office, but I don't see that as trying to stop wars.

Someone has their Presidents mixed-up.

Eisenhower warns us of the military industrial complex (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY)

Lobohan
12-02-2009, 04:06 PM
The thing that amazes me is how utterly simple the right seems to think this is.

They had ten meetings. What do you think they did at those meetings? Argued? They ordered intelligence assessments, talked to experts and ran through the outcomes of possible options. They might have had specific questions that could only be answered by sending intelligence operations into new areas. They may have had analysts crunching numbers and listening to radio traffic.

Anyone who says that the decision should have been made in a day is stupid and thinks life is a Chuck Norris movie.

Not that I don't see the attraction to sending Chuck over there with a flying motorcycle and a tea-stained flag and seeing how long he lasts. :D

Squink
12-02-2009, 04:11 PM
I guess I consider it waffling because I feel like he knew he was going to commit more troops. This whole 'decision making process' of his reeks of political maneuvering and that is why I feel disappointed.Seemed more genuine to me than say Bush's solonic pondering over limiting stem cell research. That was a foregone conclusion. Obama has always seemed a little more analytical to me.
Spock agrees: (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5go20xcTPrEZXBJ1DYpDGT_ogBjTwD9CAA6Q80)"I guess it's somewhat unusual for a politician to be so precise, logical, in his thought process," actor Leonard Nimoy, who has portrayed Spock for more than 40 years, told The Associated Press in an e-mail interview. "The comparison to Spock is, in my opinion, a compliment to him and to the character."

Marley23
12-02-2009, 04:18 PM
Someone has their Presidents mixed-up.

Eisenhower warns us of the military industrial complex (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY)
My mistake. So noting Truman's involvement in two wars, gonzomax, when did he stand up for peace?

Diogenes the Cynic
12-02-2009, 04:52 PM
I don't mind him committing more troops, but I do mind him doing something half assed. He is changing an assessment by his generals and turning it on tail. Is he also going to take the fall when the troop count gets added to again at a later date?

Someone upthread mentioned something about being 'all in or all out' and that is exactly how I feel. You don't nickel and dime when it comes to people's lives.
This is a fraudulent characterization of the decision. Just because he didn't give McChrystal everything he asked for doesn't mean he's taking a half-measure or that he's not all in. McChrystal was asking for too much. Generals always ask for more than they think they can get. Calling the escalation "half-assed" or "nickle and dime" is nonsense and is based on a purely specious presumption that only sending exactly as many as McChrystal asked for would constitute a full measure. That's partisan demamgoguery and nothing more.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-02-2009, 04:54 PM
Seemed more genuine to me than say Bush's solonic pondering over limiting stem cell research. That was a foregone conclusion. Obama has always seemed a little more analytical to me.
Spock agrees: (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5go20xcTPrEZXBJ1DYpDGT_ogBjTwD9CAA6Q80)
Well, Obama does have those ears. Could there be a Vulcan birth certificate floating around somewhere. It would make a lot of sense.

Knorf
12-02-2009, 06:55 PM
OK. We got (A) Obama's plan, we got (B) "give up and go home". What's Plan C?

Nuke the site from orbit; it's the only way to be sure?

Knorf
12-02-2009, 06:57 PM
Yes, the elephant in the room is Pakistan. We can do whatever we want in Afghanistan, and that doesn't change things one bit Pakistan. And that's the real source of trouble. If we remember our history, it was Pakistan that enabled the Taliban to take over in Afghanistan in the first place.

So, how do we solve a problem like Pakistan? That's the REAL question. As for an answer... sure beats me. I haven't a clue.

And here we have it, in a nutshell. I assume Obama and his cabinet have included Pakistan in their discussions; but what their diplomatic angle is in terms of how it affects the mission in Afghanistan has not been disclosed. I can't imagine thy're ignoring it.

John Mace
12-02-2009, 07:08 PM
And here we have it, in a nutshell. I assume Obama and his cabinet have included Pakistan in their discussions; but what their diplomatic angle is in terms of how it affects the mission in Afghanistan has not been disclosed. I can't imagine thy're ignoring it.

I can't imagine they're ignoring it, either. But I also can't imagine that they have any realistic options of doing much about it.

gonzomax
12-02-2009, 10:30 PM
Someone has their Presidents mixed-up.

Eisenhower warns us of the military industrial complex (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY)

Nope he fired MacArthur. He stood up to the military and it was a t great political risk.
http://www.usnews.com/articles/opinion/2009/04/09/truman-firing-of-macarthur-hurt-approval-rating-but-saved-war-with-red-china.html Who has the guts to stand up to the generals as they push for endless war.

Knorf
12-02-2009, 11:25 PM
Hopefully, all this means we can have a reasonable, substantive discussion of the Afghanistan conflict, as devoid of partisanship as possible.

Hear, hear. Too many (including our elected leaders) are trying to use this issue as a means to score points against one side or the other. I hate that.

Squink
12-02-2009, 11:36 PM
President McCain Speaks: (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,578807,00.html)We can succeed if we base our conditions for withdrawal on when we win.

RedFury
12-02-2009, 11:42 PM
I can't imagine they're ignoring it, either. But I also can't imagine that they have any realistic options of doing much about it.


Greetings, John, long time no talk. Trust all is well by you.

As to the issue at hand, almost needless to say it is quite complicated -- though we seem to agree that Pakistan's involvement is of the essense.

Bone-tired as I feel after so many years making my case agaisnt the existing status quo vis-a-vis US policy in the ME, we seem to agree that Pakistan, not Afghanistan, is the turning point of the current pitch -- and like you, I have no definitive answers to give.

That said I am not onboard with Obama's undertaking for as you well note -- not sure in which thread as there are a number of them on this topic -- The Taliban is by and large is driven by ideology/religious fanatism, not reason. Thus you both
have/will be fighting on faith not facts; hard to impossible to "win" with such nebulous guidelines in place. While I am totally against indoctrination, in my opinion that is precisely what drives this war on all sides side by side with their quest for power. Because The Taliban are not the only ones guilty of acting that way.

If interested, you might want to read the following take from an Indian newspaper:

Obama's silence on Pak disappoints (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Obamas-silence-on-Pak-disappoints/articleshow/5294281.cms)

Except:

While US government background information says that the past three months’ review has focused on Pakistan, the speech was remarkable for its gloss over the fundamental fact that the extremist “cancer” as Obama calls it, originates in Pakistan, not Afghanistan (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Obamas-silence-on-Pak-disappoints/articleshow/5294281.cms).-- my bolding.

Nota bene, it's not that I agree with their predictions but rather that I find them more realistic than the ongoing (dual and fruitless -- at the very least cost-wise,never mind what's happened to the real victims, mentally or physically. Someties it is hard to tell the difference as to whom is worse off) occupation.

So yes, I am totally on board with you that there needs to be some serious "outside the box" thinking as to what should be done there and how. Not holding my breath though for obvious reasons.

---

It almost feels like I need to put in a disclaimer. I still think Obama was the right choice for the US. But he's your POTUS, not my Mesiah by a longshot nor a figure of unconditional support. Doubt any polititian will ever be; or anyone else for that matter.

Then again, perhaps it's genetic as I seem to be devoid of the Cult Of Personality trait.

Marley23
12-02-2009, 11:43 PM
Nope he fired MacArthur. He stood up to the military and it was a t great political risk.
Ah, so he had the guts to prevent one war. He started another and dropped two nuclear bombs, so that looks like a draw at best to me. Maybe we can give Obama credit for not starting wars with all the non-Iraq and -Afghanistan countries.

Now that I think of it Truman started one more war than Obama and nuked one more country, so I'm not sure how much more courage Truman had on this point.

gonzomax
12-02-2009, 11:46 PM
My mistake. So noting Truman's involvement in two wars, gonzomax, when did he stand up for peace?

He put the breaks on Macarthur who became a rogue general. Macarthur was a hero as any general who is still standing after a war ends. Truman was not for peace as such. That is not the American way. But he made it clear he was in charge and the military would take his orders. That has been reversed for some time now.

Knorf
12-02-2009, 11:49 PM
Mustn't offend our erstwhile allies. Wouldn't be prudent.

Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia annoy the crap out of me.

I guess the U.S. is showing probably the proper amount of deference to them, consider the strategic importance, but fuck is it irritating.

And as the discussion has noted, Pakistan is critical to any assessment of a future for Afghanistan. But since Pakistan is supposedly our ally in the "War on Terror," and since it is a nuclear power after all, all diplomacy with them has to be delicately handled indeed.

What would you folks have liked Obama to say about Pakistan in his speech last night?

John Mace
12-03-2009, 12:02 AM
Greetings, John, long time no talk. Trust all is well by you.

As to the issue at hand, almost needless to say it is quite complicated -- though we seem to agree that Pakistan's involvement is of the essense.

Bone-tired as I feel after so many years making my case agaisnt the existing status quo vis-a-vis US policy in the ME, we seem to agree that Pakistan, not Afghanistan, is the turning point of the current pitch -- and like you, I have no definitive answers to give.

That said I am not onboard with Obama's undertaking for as you well note -- not sure in which thread as there are a number of them on this topic -- The Taliban is by and large is driven by ideology/religious fanatism, not reason. Thus you both
have/will be fighting on faith not facts; hard to impossible to "win" with such nebulous guidelines in place. While I am totally against indoctrination, in my opinion that is precisely what drives this war on all sides side by side with their quest for power. Because The Taliban are not the only ones guilty of acting that way.

If interested, you might want to read the following take from an Indian newspaper:

Obama's silence on Pak disappoints (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Obamas-silence-on-Pak-disappoints/articleshow/5294281.cms)

Except:

While US government background information says that the past three months’ review has focused on Pakistan, the speech was remarkable for its gloss over the fundamental fact that the extremist “cancer” as Obama calls it, originates in Pakistan, not Afghanistan (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Obamas-silence-on-Pak-disappoints/articleshow/5294281.cms).-- my bolding.

Nota bene, it's not that I agree with their predictions but rather that I find them more realistic than the ongoing (dual and fruitless -- at the very least cost-wise,never mind what's happened to the real victims, mentally or physically. Someties it is hard to tell the difference as to whom is worse off) occupation.

So yes, I am totally on board with you that there needs to be some serious "outside the box" thinking as to what should be done there and how. Not holding my breath though for obvious reasons.

---

It almost feels like I need to put in a disclaimer. I still think Obama was the right choice for the US. But he's your POTUS, not my Mesiah by a longshot nor a figure of unconditional support. Doubt any polititian will ever be; or anyone else for that matter.

Then again, perhaps it's genetic as I seem to be devoid of the Cult Of Personality trait.
I hate to grade on a curve, but I'm much, much more comfortable with Obama at the helm than Bush. There are no good decisions in this mess, but I would have hoped (perhaps beyond hope) that Obama would rise above politics and just get us the hell out of there.

For those on the left who are, even reluctantly, supporting Obama on this... how many civilians are you willing to see die in pursuit of this new strategy? Surely you know that civilian deaths are going to increase as we send in more troops.

elucidator
12-03-2009, 12:12 AM
No, Shirley, I don't. A lack of "boots on the ground" is largely what makes air strikes necessary, and such strikes are notoriously sloppy. A soldier can at least aim his weapon at the man holding a gun, shrapnel is much less discerning.

Honesty
12-03-2009, 08:28 AM
If Obama was able to secure 25,000 - 30,000 troops from Europe (e.g. France, Britain, Germany) I might have been convinced that staying in Afghanistan would be worth it. Neither European or the Canadian government seem particularly concerned about Afghanistan nor do they see a need to increase their own involvement in that country. Clearly they know something we don't. We should have pulled out while we had a chance and used that $30 billion to build a freeway, a few state-of-the-art schools, maybe a mass transit system for the MidWest, or a juicy stimulus check. Ahh well.

- Honesty

Marley23
12-03-2009, 10:28 AM
If Obama was able to secure 25,000 - 30,000 troops from Europe (e.g. France, Britain, Germany) I might have been convinced that staying in Afghanistan would be worth it. Neither European or the Canadian government seem particularly concerned about Afghanistan nor do they see a need to increase their own involvement in that country. Clearly they know something we don't.
No, I think it's a lot simpler than that: somebody else is already doing it, so why should they? Aside from that it wouldn't exactly be a popular move.

Qin Shi Huangdi
12-03-2009, 10:14 PM
Hopefully our European and Canadian "allies" who probably spend more money on the Department of Politicial Correctness than on the military will be reliable enough to fulfill their quotas for the Afghan War. But now I'm really thinking we should give up on expecting much help from Europe and focus on asking for troops from India, Korea, Australia, Brazil, and maybe even Iraq. Anyways this is one areas where I wish the La Belle Epoque spirit of ultra-militarism was still present in Europe when almost all countries had million-men armies.

Also to all those who advocated "withdrawal" from Afghanistan: what do you propose we do?

Diogenes the Cynic
12-03-2009, 10:49 PM
Withdraw from Afghanistan. It's kind of self-explanatory.

Qin Shi Huangdi
12-03-2009, 11:23 PM
Withdraw from Afghanistan. It's kind of self-explanatory.

And let Afghanistan fall into chaos? Let the terrorists a new base to launch more attacks?

Squink
12-03-2009, 11:31 PM
Let the terrorists a new base to launch more attacks?It won't be a new base, even if we repaint and put up new curtains, the terrorists will still figure out that it's an old base.

Diogenes the Cynic
12-03-2009, 11:36 PM
And let Afghanistan fall into chaos? Let the terrorists a new base to launch more attacks?
Fine by me. I don't give a fuck. I'm not Afghanistan's keeper, and "the terrorists" can set up a base anywhere they want.

elucidator
12-04-2009, 12:22 AM
I'm not so sure this whole "base" thing is as big a deal as it is presented. What is a "base", anyway? "A place to plan evil attacks!" OK, where can't you do that? What is so good about the godforsaken mountains of Afghanistan as a plotting locale?

And any "base" bigger than half a dozen tents is a targeting opportunity. Even if you have ultra-tight security, what good is a base that you can't tell anyone about? If only ten people can know about it, only ten people can go there, might as well be an apartment in Hamburg.

RedFury
12-04-2009, 03:39 AM
Adding to 'luc's comment it's also worth pointing out that 9/11 wasn't the result of any kind of "base," but rather a plan that unfolded over a number of years in different countries with AQ cells in them -- most crucially inside the very US, where the terrorists earned their wings.

As for The Taliban proper presenting any sort of real threat to the US and/or NATO countries, please, that's even more ludicrous than trying to paint Saddam and his rag-tag military as potential world conquerers.

Fear remains the name of the game.

PrettyVacant
12-04-2009, 10:44 AM
It's interesting how the US government has managed to define this as a two-nation problem, especially when we all know these people have little interest in how the west defines their territories. Even if the impossible was achieved in Pakistan and Afghanistan, take your pick of the unmapped, unknown, road-less regions to the north of those two countries - it's about 'Afghanistan' x 10.

Regional map (http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=map+afghanistan&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=Afghanistan&gl=uk&ei=Wy0ZS8GqCZKhjAfH_OHxAg&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CAwQ8gEwAA)

Dinsdale
12-04-2009, 11:30 AM
And any "base" bigger than half a dozen tents is a targeting opportunity. Even if you have ultra-tight security, what good is a base that you can't tell anyone about? If only ten people can know about it, only ten people can go there, might as well be an apartment in Hamburg.

This well sums up what I've long thought. Unless they are constructing hardened, underground sites a la Iran's nukes, they sound like fine targets for air strikes. I'd far prefer to beef up intelligence, interrupt their supply/information/support systems, work on building ties with other nations, and build up a quick strike force, than the extremely costly and unpredicable strategy of boots-on-the-ground.

Bottom line, if bad guys choose to situate themselves in civilian areas, I'm far less concerned with collateral damage to those civilians than I am with US troops.

gonzomax
12-06-2009, 02:58 PM
Hopefully our European and Canadian "allies" who probably spend more money on the Department of Politicial Correctness than on the military will be reliable enough to fulfill their quotas for the Afghan War. But now I'm really thinking we should give up on expecting much help from Europe and focus on asking for troops from India, Korea, Australia, Brazil, and maybe even Iraq. Anyways this is one areas where I wish the La Belle Epoque spirit of ultra-militarism was still present in Europe when almost all countries had million-men armies.

Also to all those who advocated "withdrawal" from Afghanistan: what do you propose we do?

Get the hell out. What kind of threat is a backward country run by war lords to us? The Taliban is not Al Queada. They are in Pakistan, Somalia, North Africa and parts of the Indonesia. Our military has said there might be 1000 Al Queada in Afghanistan. There might not be any at all. We need to have intelligence operations to find them. Blowing a trillion dollars in Afghanistan will solve nothing. Unless putting an oil pipe line through it qualifies as a worthy aim.?
Since they are in Pakistan ,is that the next country you want to attack? They are financed by Saudi Arabians. Does that put them on your list too?

Qin Shi Huangdi
12-06-2009, 08:15 PM
Get the hell out. What kind of threat is a backward country run by war lords to us? The Taliban is not Al Queada. They are in Pakistan, Somalia, North Africa and parts of the Indonesia. Our military has said there might be 1000 Al Queada in Afghanistan. There might not be any at all. We need to have intelligence operations to find them. Blowing a trillion dollars in Afghanistan will solve nothing. Unless putting an oil pipe line through it qualifies as a worthy aim.?
Since they are in Pakistan ,is that the next country you want to attack? They are financed by Saudi Arabians. Does that put them on your list too?

No we have a moral duty to protect Afghanistan, and I don't want them taken over by the batshit insane Taliban. As for Pakistan we have launched military strikes and the Pakistani army has finally made efforts. As for the Saudi bastards I suggest we fight an economic war by drilling in the US (which you liberals oppose) offshore and at ANWR and build more nuclear power plants.

gonzomax
12-06-2009, 11:43 PM
We don''t have enough oil to make any difference whatsoever.
Where the hell did we get a moral obligation toward Afghanistan. Better yet how can we protect them from themselves. The Taliban controls the country, according to our slanted estimates they control 85 percent and are circling the capital. Yet how is the Taliban a threat toward America? They seek traditional backward Muslim states. They would be happy if we just went away. They are no threat to us.
The Pakistani army is not making headway. they are just promising their asses off to keep our tax money flowing into their corrupt coffers. They are protecting and training Al Quada. They are harboring them. But due to the mountainous terrain, nobody can root them out.

tagos
12-07-2009, 05:16 AM
Hopefully our European and Canadian "allies" who probably spend more money on the Department of Politicial Correctness than on the military will be reliable enough to fulfill their quotas for the Afghan War.

Cite please. This being GD and not the 'Lunatic Right-tard Hyperbole Wot I Read'. So cite please.

Digital Stimulus
12-07-2009, 07:09 AM
An interesting, fairly long NYTimes article (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/world/asia/06reconstruct.html) was published this weekend that attempts to trace Obama's decision making on Afghanistan over the past few months. From the first page:
The three-month review that led to the escalate-then-exit strategy is a case study in decision making in the Obama White House — intense, methodical, rigorous, earnest and at times deeply frustrating for nearly all involved....
Worth reading, I think.

The Tooth
12-07-2009, 08:27 AM
Hopefully our European and Canadian "allies" who probably spend more money on the Department of Politicial Correctness than on the military will be reliable enough to fulfill their quotas for the Afghan War.

No, we should withdraw all our soldiers, turn off the oil, and expel your ambassador until the US makes amends. You've sent one Canadian off to Cuba to be tortured and handed another over to Syria. We shouldn't help you.

ralph124c
12-07-2009, 08:54 AM
In the Orwellian world of Obama, victory is defeat, and escalation is withdrawal.
Obama announces 30,000 more soldiers-but most won't arrive tillthe end of 2010. meanwhile, he promises withdrawl in 2011.
If you dissect the speeche, he is satisfying Gen. McCrystal, yet (simultaneously) promising to end the war.
Frankly, i wish he's just admit teh whole thing was a mistake, ad get the hell out.