Obama to announce Afghanistan policy in speech Tuesday 12/01/09

The New York Times says:

sigh Well, he didn’t run on a promise to pull out . . . :frowning:

But will there be any surprises?

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.

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.

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?

Illiterates can’t be peaceful?!

Peace is not a win-condition.

And no, not Pashto illiterates.

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.

: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.

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

Obama won’t be giving it until tomorrow night.

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”.

Ahhh, got confused. Saw all the news releases (or leaks) regarding 30-35K more troops and thought he had already given it.

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.

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.

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.

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.