Anti-war folks...thoughts on Afghanistan?

I haven’t seen a thread on the offensive going on by NATO in southern Afghanistan, and thought I’d frame the debate in terms of how the anti-war 'dopers feel about it. Recently I’ve heard a couple of references (to paraphrase) concerning ‘Obama cranking back up the War Machine’, and I wanted to know how folks with an anti-war bent are reacting to the continuing war in Afghanistan, to this offensive, how it’s going, and the perceived escalation of the conflict.


I was lukewarm with the initial entry into Afghanistan - not at all what I would have done, but a somewhat understandable response to Taliban hosting of Al Qaeda. But fuck’s sake, 9/11 was just under 9 years ago. WWII was only 6 years long, you know. So yeah, I think the coalition should have pulled out long ago, this offensive is just more of the same and it’s never going to get any better than it was just after the initial invasion, IMO.

Pretty much my opinion. How long are we willing to stay there? I don’t see any reason to think that we’ll have the political will to stay there indefinitely, and what are we accomplishing in the meantime?

Agreed. However admirable our intentions, it’s like playing whack-a-mole. I don’t feel like wasting our soldiers’ lives. We’ll achieve much more through the gentle forces of education and trade.

President Obama supports it. Therefore, it must be good.

Previously, George Bush supported it. At that time, it was bad.

Did you read the previous posts in the thread?

WW-I was a whack-a-mole war in the sense that we “conquered” our enemies and went home. The underlying problems were never resolved and the result was WW-II (it all popped up again).

If we treat Afghanistan as an isolated conquest the same thing will happen. However, if the country is brought into the fold as a friendly nation with commerce and trade and they can establish a real government capable of educating it’s populous then the ignorance that drives the Taliban will fade over time.

IIRC, the last time we had one of these major operations in Helmund (the British then) it was to support the great national election campaign and help make sure it was (a) free, and (b) fair.

That was before the UN pulled out of Kabul and the coalition added another 50,000 troops.

So these things obviously work on a number of levels.

I just can’t accept that all we need is to crank up the war effort for a year or so, “defeat” the Taliban, and then we can get out of there. There isn’t the infrastructure or civil society in place to ensure that the “defeated” Taliban don’t come back as soon we leave. That could take decades to get in place. Decades.

I think the main problem is that war is an “export business” for the US. The vast majority of Americans are thousands of miles away from the war, so it’s easy to be all hoorah about it. When it’s your neighborhood being blown up, your children killed or your wife raped, it probably puts a different perspective on it.

I’m not anti-war but I am anti-this war.
It is not winnable and by not winnable I mean no clear objectives. If you want to list clear objectives as regional stability, then like John Mace above me it will take too long for too little reward. Our focus should be at home not out policing the world. Let the UN (as toothless as they have become do the job they were designed to do)

I am, generally, anti war. But I support the efforts of Canadian Forces to bring stability to Afghanistan. I think they are doing a difficult job, making headway and sincerely motivated by the best interests of the citizens.

I don’t feel qualified to speak to the motives of America which never seem to be easily read.

I generally concur with Kearsen. This conflict has ill-defined goals leading to the the defeat of an ill-defined enemy which is designated not by national or group afilliation as much as by ideology. I don’t see the value in trying to defeat an ideology by force, especially when aggressive actions tend to reinforce the negative view of Americans held by many.

The initial invasion of Afghanistan was predicated on the shaky connection of radical Islam=Al-Qaeda=Taliban=Afghanistan.

There was nothing shaky about it at all. The Taliban openly supported OBL and refused to give him up.

America is in another undeveloped country ,with no navy or airforce ,and fighting their kind of war on their turf. The Afghanis have been fighting for decades. What makes you think we can clean it out? Their soldiers are trained to fight from pre -teen age years. They fight their whole lives . They get pretty good at it. They have refuges honeycombed throughout the mountains. It is another colossal waste of lives and treasure. They can wait us out.
Then we are fighting for a corrupt government that shifts our aid money to Swiss bank accounts. The Afghanis don’t want our corrupt, American chosen government over their own corrupt Afghani chosen government. Wouldn’t you resent a huge powerful government sticking its nose in your country?

I agree. The 055 Brigade being a great example. A lot of the original captured detainees came from this group.

You make it sound like the typical Afghan (note spelling) is as warlike as a barbarian, as xenophobic as a Tea Bagger, and as optimistic as a junkie.

There are recent polls of Afghans which paint a different picture. While they are not satisfied with the ongoing war and the quality of their government, there is also optimism that the country is starting to head in the right direction, very little support for the Taliban, and a substantial majority that continues to support the presence of NATO troops.

Of course, I do not labor for one second under the impression that you will accept these polls at face value. I am interested why you will dismiss the data, however… perhaps there will be discussion of how the BBC (which sponsors these polls) is a tool of the British imperialist armies and cannot be trusted, or something like that.

I think it’s a just war, I don’t know that it’s being executed well. I also think Canada should withdraw its support of the US on account of it sending one of our citizens off to be tortured. Thank you, allies!

The current operation is just Kabuki theatre. We’re going to declare the operation a big success, just like the four previous times we’ve cleared the same region since 2001, which paves the way for us drawing down troops during 2012 so Afghanistan isn’t an election issue. Obama gets to avoid looking like a weenie. He sent extra troops, he surged, he “won” a couple of carefully staged things like the current operation. That’s what this is part of. It’s a shame he’s such a weak leader and can’t just pull out, he’s scared of what the even weaker (stay the course gop dickheads) will say about him during the 2012 election campaign if he does. It won’t have any chance of real improvement there till we get out, then maybe they can negotiate some sort of ower-sharing deal. While we’re there, forget it. Maybe we can have a token base or two but no actual troops out and about or there’ll be endless resistance to them.

[Snotty, pedantic snort of derision]

There were no “underlying causes” in the ordinary sense. As Barbara Tuchman so famously demonstrated in her masterwork The Guns of August, WWI was a huge, catclysmic blunder on all parts, the nations had constructed a machinery that, once set in motion, could not be controlled. The very fact of preparation for war made the war almost inevitable. In all the capitals, sensible men looked at the monstrous machine lumbering towards doom, all of them clamored for reason and good sense to prevail, but none could stand in the way of the juggernaut of timetables and strategic plans.

WWI was pointless, futile, and catastrophic. The only underlying problem to be resolved was human stupidity. And, of course, it was not.