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2009-02-09 Afghanistan
B.O. puts brake on troops surge in Afghanistan
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Posted by Fred 2009-02-09 00:00|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [336083 views ]  Top
 File under: Taliban 

#1 As predicted here on the Burg, it didn't take him long to start backing away from the "real war" as he and the dems called it. I thought the "strategy" along along was defeating the Taliban and helping President Hamid Karzai establish democracy. Knowing the Euros are not going to pony up more military assistance, it appears he's about to execure his, we cannot go it alone exit strategy. The GWOT and things of an international nature are simply a bothersome inconvenience for this fellow. His real aims are redistribution of US domestic wealth and midnight basketball.
Posted by Besoeker 2009-02-09 06:52||   2009-02-09 06:52|| Front Page Top

#2 For once though, I agree with him. Sending 10,000 more - never mind 30,000 - into A'stan is a mistake unless there is a clear plan and will to win. I don't know about a plan, I seriously doubt the will, and without addressing the problems in Pakistan, I am very concerned about the logistical means. Better to leave A'stan (except for a small force (long-distance air-sustainable) to run intel and Predator ops. Take Pakistan's lever against us (logistics) away. Then maybe we can push harder on OUR lever (India) to encourage P'stan to get serious about what is now as big a problem for them as for us - their Taliban tools have gotten too big for their britches.
Posted by Glenmore">Glenmore  2009-02-09 07:34||   2009-02-09 07:34|| Front Page Top

#3 Scary -- I also agree, at least to an extent.

What was the original mission in A'stan? To break the Taliban, destroy al-Qaeda and render the place unsuitable for use by any global terrorist group bent on Dire Revenge.

Mission accomplished as of mid 2002.

Unfortunately we bought into the Pottery Barn theory: we 'broke' A'stan so we had to 'fix' it.

But unlike Iraq, we didn't break A'stan. It was broken and had been for a long time before we arrived. There was precious little to fix, certainly with the crazy Pashtuns around.

It would be great if A'stan would join the 21st century. Hell, joining the 16th century would be an improvement. But we're not obligated to force them to do so, all we're required to do is to make sure terrorists can't use the place as a launching pad for attacks against us.

Partition the place. Fred has noted this before. Let the north and west move into the modern world. Provide some minimal security for them, train them to defend themselves against the Pashtuns, and otherwise get out of the way.
Posted by Steve White 2009-02-09 09:30||   2009-02-09 09:30|| Front Page Top

#4 I respectfully disagree that we are there on the Pottery Barn motivation.

If you look at a map you'll see that occupying and changing Iraq and Afghanistan breaks up what would otherwise have been a deeply consolidating center of Islamicism, nuclear enabled and sponsoring terror with deep territorial immunity. Had the Taliban not sheltered bin Laden we would not have moved in. But given that they DID, and that this area became the sanctuary of choice for jihadi training camps, our presence there is more than a reflection of white guilt or compulsive cleanliness. It reflects the need to keep smashing these alliances and eroding their capabilities while attempting to confine the nuclear activities of Iran and Pakistan.

Hence the willingness to strike across the border into Pakistan, along with our rapprochement with India, which distrupts the arc from Indonesia to Pakistan to the Middle East. For instance, Jema'ah Islamiyah in Indonesia has sought closer working relationships with al Qaeda and has sent some trainees to the camps in Afghan / on the Pak border. Our presence there is intended to disrupt those accelerating working alliances, among other objectives.
Posted by lotp 2009-02-09 09:47||   2009-02-09 09:47|| Front Page Top

#5 It reflects the need to keep smashing these alliances and eroding their capabilities while attempting to confine the nuclear activities of Iran and Pakistan.

Except the new national policy is to tell Iran how horrid we are and how wonderful they are, and to tell India they need to roll over for Pakistan. I don't think the occasional predator drone launched missile is changing the equation; Pakistan senses weakness on our part now, and they want to go for the jugular.

Bush wasn't doing too good a job here, IMHO, but the Smart People felt the main problem was that we weren't considerate enough of all these countries like Iran and Pakistan and elected a president accordingly. As a result they're going to lose their logistics line to their so-called 'good war.'
Posted by Thing From Snowy Mountain 2009-02-09 10:03||   2009-02-09 10:03|| Front Page Top

#6 1) Just two days ago Biden was pressing the Europeans for more support in Afghanistan. Now Obama announces that he's not sure about his own strategy and goals. The Euros now have a great excuse to put us off.

2) Obama has signalled that he is reaching his limit on the war. If I were the Taliban I would be smelling blood.
Posted by DoDo 2009-02-09 11:06||   2009-02-09 11:06|| Front Page Top

#7 The Light Bringer, is a light weight. He is going to be used like a punching bag by all the world despots.
Posted by Trader_DFW 2009-02-09 11:18||   2009-02-09 11:18|| Front Page Top

#8 If what is reported is accurate, I agree with O on this. There has to be an endgame. We've been going in circles for years there with little to show for it. How will we know when its finished?
Posted by Yosemite Sam 2009-02-09 11:54||   2009-02-09 11:54|| Front Page Top

#9 But unlike Iraq, we didn't break A'stan.

Steve, you must have slipped here. We didn't "break" Iraq either, in any meaningful sense of the word. The place was "broken" - if that means a nightmarish hellhole for its own people, a menace to its neighbors, and a very real threat to the wider world (insane reckelessness, WMD activity, deep involvement in int. terrorism, incl. direct long-standing ties to global jihad players like Egyptian IJ).

Your overall comment is right on - and I don't dispute that someone, somewhere, bought into the Pottery Barn nonsense (isn't this idiotic phrase yet another legacy of Colin Powell's time way, way above his pay grade?), in either A'stan or Iraq.

And I think lotp and Snowy are both right - there is a strategic value to both wars as offensive thrusts against our enemies' centers of gravity, such as they are in this sort of conflict. Yet the new administration's lack of will - hell, the collapse of will or distraction that his very existence represents - is the key now, and sort of moots almost every other consideration.
Posted by Verlaine 2009-02-09 12:01||   2009-02-09 12:01|| Front Page Top

#10 1) Afghanistan could become a death trap for coalition forces whose logistaical lines are at the mercy of Pakistan.

2) At the same time guerrilla and Jihad in particular nourishes on success. Give the Jihadis a second "helicopters over the American embassy in Saigon" moment and they will multiply one hundred times so we can't let Afghanistan go don the tubes. But we can, we must get rid of Karzai who, before 9/11 was never that distant from Taliban, and have never given the impression he had any of the qualities of competency, commitment to modernizing Afghanistan, honesty, loyalty either to America or Afghanistan.

Anyway difficult choices. And the one in charge of making them is the Zero. God help us.
Posted by JFM">JFM  2009-02-09 12:17||   2009-02-09 12:17|| Front Page Top

#11 I don't know if getting rid of Karzai is the answer.

But I did have an idea...
Posted by Thing From Snowy Mountain 2009-02-09 12:42||   2009-02-09 12:42|| Front Page Top

#12 I have an idea too, Snowy. Let's get Obama elected president of Afghanistan.
Posted by Glenmore">Glenmore  2009-02-09 13:12||   2009-02-09 13:12|| Front Page Top

#13 I don't like giving the terrs a victory either, but continuing on in Afghanistan is only going to get our guys killed, waste a bunch of money and get nothing to change. The place is a hell hole and always will be a hell hole. Leave it to those who relish living in hell holes. If anything wicked this way comes from said hell hole, send in a whole bunch of B-1's and B-52's and level the place. Doing that on an annual or semi-annual basis is a whole lot cheaper than what we are doing now and would likely yield the same result.
Posted by remoteman 2009-02-09 13:27||   2009-02-09 13:27|| Front Page Top

#14 I think he should not ask the question at all.
It's not up to the military to define an exit strategy. it's his (Obama's) job. He himself has to set direction, goal and exit. This is a job for a leader.
Posted by wonderer 2009-02-09 13:57||   2009-02-09 13:57|| Front Page Top

#15 Exactly correct Wanderer.
Posted by Besoeker 2009-02-09 14:00||   2009-02-09 14:00|| Front Page Top

#16 add me to the 'lets just give partition a chance' chorus

only use US troops to defend areas that have a decent government and end all Islamic coercion (e.g. sharia).
Posted by mhw 2009-02-09 15:50||   2009-02-09 15:50|| Front Page Top

#17 If we leave, we shoudl make it very clear that if we return, we will not be landing at all, just dropping lots and lots of bombs on every power station, bridge, road nexus and building in the area that supports whoever it is that brought us back there.

No liberation, only utter destruction.

They want to live in the 6th century? So be it.
Posted by OldSpook 2009-02-09 22:30||   2009-02-09 22:30|| Front Page Top

#18 Too bad the ZERO doesn't think like lotp.

"Obama is exactly right. Before he agrees to send 30,000 troops, he wants to know what the mission and the endgame is."

Okay, so WHY IN THE H*LL was he blabbing all about it all during his campaign. What an ass. He didn't know what he was talking about then and he doesn't know now.

"The US has been pushing Britain to send several thousand more troops but there is just as much disagreement and confusion among British defence chiefs over the long-term aim."

The long-term aim . . . for ZERO, the long-term aim was to get people to believe that Pres. Bush had been wrong, and the he, The Anointed One, knew how to take care of bidness, and dos nasty Talibunnies.

Posted by ex-lib 2009-02-09 23:02||   2009-02-09 23:02|| Front Page Top

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