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Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

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Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:30 pm

Reading Newsweek's package on Afghanistan this week (especially the interviews with Talib fighters) made me realize that I don't know what to think of this war.

American policy toward Afghanistan has reached a turning point. The situation has deteriorated since Obama campaigned on a vow of winning this war. He has already ordered 21,000 more American troops into the country and exhorted our allies to do the same, while the commander (McChrystal) is rumored to want 40,000 more.

The Taliban regrouped and gained the initiative while our attention was focused on Iraq. The corrupt Karzai government -- key to our strategy of building up an indigenous defense force -- is deeply unpopular. McChrystal says that we are currently on a path to defeat. He favors a classic anti-insurgent strategy of protecting the populace, securing their territory, and buying their support with infrastructure and economic aid, all while building up a native police/army force. An opposing school of thought, championed by Joe Biden, says that we should focus on rooting out our real enemies, al Qaeda, who are mainly in Pakistan. Although it's left unsaid, this basically means conceding most of Afghanistan to the Taliban...and presumably negotiating an eventual cease-fire and withdrawal. Obama is listening to both sides and hasn't tipped his hand yet.

Some pundits say that Obama is facing the same situation that confronted LBJ when he lost much of his Great Society agenda to the escalating war in Vietnam -- that if he takes McChrystal's advice, the 9-year-old war could drag on much longer, and become much more costly.

What do you think? Can we defeat the Taliban? Are they our enemy? Should we cut our losses or escalate? The Afghan tribal areas have never bowed to any central authority, foreign or domestic...should we try to change that, or court their support? The Taliban have no particular love for al Qaeda -- would Afghanistan again become a terrorist homeland if the Islamists regained control? Is this war really more about opposing Islamic fundamentalism than fighting terrorists? As repugnant as we find their attitude toward secularism and their treatment of women, are the Taliban necessarily our enemy?

What's the smart approach to Afghanistan?

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by pengo » Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:41 pm

If the Taliban don't like Al Qaeda, then why did they let them set up shop in their land (ie their training camps)?

Also I think the Taliban are an enemy to the US since they are an enemy of liberty. If the US lose in Afghanistan that will just empower the islamists, as then they will have beaten two super powers....

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Isgrimnur » Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:45 pm

Ironrod wrote:McChrystal says that we are currently on a path to defeat. He favors a classic anti-insurgent strategy of protecting the populace, securing their territory, and buying their support with infrastructure and economic aid, all while building up a native police/army force.
This sounds suspiciously like the tactic that the French attempted in Indochina after WWII. And we all know how that worked out for them.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by dbt1949 » Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:37 pm

My wife signed me up to be a pen pal to random GI in the mid east. Who did I get? McChrystal. :?
Me and him are buds.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:57 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:
Ironrod wrote:McChrystal says that we are currently on a path to defeat. He favors a classic anti-insurgent strategy of protecting the populace, securing their territory, and buying their support with infrastructure and economic aid, all while building up a native police/army force.
This sounds suspiciously like the tactic that the French attempted in Indochina after WWII. And we all know how that worked out for them.
He does not believe that we can kill our way to victory. "If you encounter 10 Taliban members and kill two, he says, you don't have eight remaining enemies. You have more like 20: the friends and relatives of the two you killed." Rather remarkable attitude coming from a theater commander.
pengo wrote:If the Taliban don't like Al Qaeda, then why did they let them set up shop in their land (ie their training camps)?

Also I think the Taliban are an enemy to the US since they are an enemy of liberty. If the US lose in Afghanistan that will just empower the islamists, as then they will have beaten two super powers....
I don't know how they hooked up originally; probably the Talib can no more control the frontiers than can anyone else. According to one of the Taliban that Newsweek interviewed, they were horrified by 9/11 because they knew that the Americans would come after them in revenge. Given the chance to do it over, would they tolerate al Qaeda again? I don't know.

The Taliban are fighting to liberate their country from foreign occupiers and a corrupt puppet government. Must we crush everyone whose notion of "liberty" is different from ours?

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Flatlander » Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:30 pm

We could leave now while they're a bunch of savages who hate us and will have the Taliban running things as soon as we leave.

Or we could stay there for another 10 years and they'll still be a bunch of savages who hate us and will have the Taliban running things as soon as we leave.


The only difference is that we'll have lost thousands more lives and pissed away billions more dollars which we don't have.

Whatever infrastructure we build will either be destroyed by the Taliban because it's an offense to their god, or destroyed by us in airstrikes to deny it's use by muslim extremists.


We should pull out, take our lumps when Al-Queda and Rush Limbaugh revel in what they declare to be a defeat for the US, and consider ourselves lucky we didn't stay bogged down in this piss-pot country any longer than we did.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by pengo » Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:49 pm

Interesting Ironrod, but I read reports that the Taliban when they invade a town and take it over they go first for the scholars, doctors and anyone educated; when i so go for i mean lop of their head! How can this be an act of a just movement? I can appreciate the reason for this "tactic" tho, but still I don't see the usa engaging in such practices against civilians or even enemy combatants (even if the us army/cia torture).

Also how is oppressing women a good thing? Also that full body headress the women have to wear is dodgy. I appreciate I'm applying my western ideals and culture to a foreign culture, but it just seems backwards. There are modern islamic countries and they don't force their women to be covered head to toe nor don't give the the right to vote or even go to school.

They are totally extreme I am lead to believe in their practice of islam. Like I even read one report if you are a male of sufficient age and don't grow a beard you get in some serious trouble, to the point of being physically harmed.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:14 pm

I don't mean to respect that behavior in the name of cultural relativism. I do question whether it is our place to beat it out of them, in Afghanistan or anywhere else, if their conduct poses no threat to American interests. We are not crusading against fundamentalism and Afghanistan has no oil.

The question is to what degree the Taliban are really our enemies, and how best to deal with them.

Do you advocate escalating the war, pengo? If so, with what objective?

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by pengo » Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:25 pm

I'm pro afghan war, definately escelate it. But use the strategy to secure towns and provide security. Also if TPTB can work towards a non corrupt Afghan govt then the towns are less like to tolerate the taliban.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by GreenGoo » Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:50 pm

pengo wrote:I'm pro afghan war, definately escelate it. But use the strategy to secure towns and provide security. Also if TPTB can work towards a non corrupt Afghan govt then the towns are less like to tolerate the taliban.
I think Ironrod's question is "why?"

If these aren't the guys flying planes into buildings, and they have no oil, thus require no stability in the area from a US geo-political position, why burn American money and lives there? There are plenty of places in the world that need help. The US can't, shouldn't and won't be world police, so why Afghanistan?

At this point I'm not sure why my own country's troops are over there now. Originally it was for the terrorists, but they aren't there any more. Apparently.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by pengo » Sat Oct 03, 2009 10:27 pm

Yeah the terrorists are in the mountains in that border region between pakistan and afghanistan.

If anything its just Tribal feuds now? And the Taliban vying for control.

I wouldn't pull out now as like I said before it'll embolden the fantics that much more and if anything make life that much more difficult elsewhere (e.g. Iraq).

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by El Guapo » Sat Oct 03, 2009 11:08 pm

One danger in leaving Afghanistan to the Taliban is with Pakistan. Pakistan's already having trouble with fundamentalist Islamic militias. If the Taliban are seen as defeating the U.S., that not only emboldens the militias in Pakistan, it also gives the Pakistani militias a natural ally across the border. So the militias get sanctuaries, funds, some weapons, etc. And it's a huge shitstorm if fundamentalists get control of Pakistan.

Also, while it's not strictly our business, I do believe that it's basically the right thing to do to help countries resist totalitarianism in its many forms.

So I'm basically for escalating the war, as long as victory is realistic. I'm not in a great position to judge. I mean, it seems bad, but Iraq seemed utterly hopeless for a long time; it's not perfect now, but it seems like a reasonable outcome is within reach.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by GreenGoo » Sat Oct 03, 2009 11:21 pm

a) You've just burned billions upon billions of dollars in Iraq, with, in my opinion, questionable results. Hell, you've lost (literally, like poof, gone) more money over there than our yearly budget (Hah, I have no idea, just throwing it out there)

b) You are facing a MONSTROUS new budget

c) Economy is still not great, despite the end of the universe not happening.

d) Whatever happens with Health Care, it is going to cost you a friggin' mint.

e) I'm not sure what the objectives for Afghanistan are, or what a Victory would be, or how you leave there and have it NOT be perceived as the Taliban being victorious over the US. Hell, they crush anyone with any intelligence or education and control the media. Whatever happens they can just pull an Iraqi Minister of Information and lie through their teeth and have the people believe them.

I'm probably more altruistic than most people, but I try to be a realist too. I'd like the world to be a better place, but I realize you have to pick your battles. I don't see the benefits being worth the cost, not at this stage, not in this economic environment.

As happy as I was to see a joint US-Canada-everyone else operation in Afghanistan after 9/11, I think anything productive in that area has already been accomplished. I don't see much, if any, headway being made these days, but people are still dying and money is still being burnt. If you guys pull out then chances are pretty good that our boys will come home too, or at least shift to another part of the world.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:28 am

pengo wrote: I wouldn't pull out now as like I said before it'll embolden the fantics that much more and if anything make life that much more difficult elsewhere (e.g. Iraq).
Will occupying their country indefinitely while taking them on directly un-embolden them?

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:45 am

El Guapo wrote:One danger in leaving Afghanistan to the Taliban is with Pakistan.
I think the Biden faction's position is not that we should leave Afghanistan, but that we should abandon nation-building and use it as a base against actual terror cells. We have no stake in a stable Afghanistan and almost certainly can't bring one about. The Taliban are fighting for their homeland, not for al Qaeda.

I hope I'm not coming off as a Taliban apologist. I'm talking about realpolitik. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and al Qaeda could be the Taliban's enemy, too. As I understand it there is no love lost between them, so driving a wedge there could be the smartest strategy.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Trappin » Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:06 pm

The West cannot achieve anything close to what we would consider as victory in Afghanistan without expending vast sums of treasure and blood. Military supply lines into Afghanistan are constantly attacked in Pakistani ports or the area's leading to and from the Khyber Pass.The prospects there are pretty grim. Afghanistan has no infrastructure as we know it and no western-styled governance outside of Kabul. The best we can hope for is containment of The Crazy.

Islamabad, and by extension, the ISI, are playing a dangerous game, they set the Taliban against tribal factions within their own country or play them against India, the US and NATO.

Iran is having a grand old time using AQ and QODS forces as proxies against western interests in Iraq, Lebanon, Somali and Afghanistan - to name but a few.

Double down in Iraq - we cannot fail there now after all that has been achieved. The Obama timeline for withdrawl in Iraq is just a slightly modified version of the one presented to Congress by Gen. Petraeus in 2007.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by pengo » Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:33 pm

Ironrod wrote:
pengo wrote: I wouldn't pull out now as like I said before it'll embolden the fantics that much more and if anything make life that much more difficult elsewhere (e.g. Iraq).
Will occupying their country indefinitely while taking them on directly un-embolden them?
Don't know? Can't be any worse than leaving which will justify what they are doing and reinforce their belief that they can win. Coz well they have.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by GreenGoo » Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:28 pm

pengo wrote:
Ironrod wrote:
pengo wrote: I wouldn't pull out now as like I said before it'll embolden the fantics that much more and if anything make life that much more difficult elsewhere (e.g. Iraq).
Will occupying their country indefinitely while taking them on directly un-embolden them?
Don't know? Can't be any worse than leaving which will justify what they are doing and reinforce their belief that they can win. Coz well they have.
Wait, so if western forces pull out the other guys win? So how do our guys win?

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by dbt1949 » Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:07 pm

I've always thought it was the guy who dies with the most toys wins.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:52 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
pengo wrote:
Ironrod wrote:
pengo wrote: I wouldn't pull out now as like I said before it'll embolden the fantics that much more and if anything make life that much more difficult elsewhere (e.g. Iraq).
Will occupying their country indefinitely while taking them on directly un-embolden them?
Don't know? Can't be any worse than leaving which will justify what they are doing and reinforce their belief that they can win. Coz well they have.
Wait, so if western forces pull out the other guys win? So how do our guys win?
If I may invoke RM9...everybody dies.

I ask again: What is our objective in Afghanistan? That's the question Obama is certainly wrestling with right now. When we define the objective, the strategy will present itself.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Victoria Raverna » Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:06 am

I think US objective should be to destroy Al Qaeda powerbase there. Now to do that maybe it is better to try to make peace with Taliban and make it clear that US will leave Afghanistan alone if Al Qaeda don't hide there.

The alternative is to just stay there, kill more Taliban, suffer more casualties until in the future an US president will have to accept defeat and withdraw.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by pengo » Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:22 am

GreenGoo wrote:
pengo wrote:
Ironrod wrote:
pengo wrote: I wouldn't pull out now as like I said before it'll embolden the fantics that much more and if anything make life that much more difficult elsewhere (e.g. Iraq).
Will occupying their country indefinitely while taking them on directly un-embolden them?
Don't know? Can't be any worse than leaving which will justify what they are doing and reinforce their belief that they can win. Coz well they have.
Wait, so if western forces pull out the other guys win? So how do our guys win?
They become a secular democracy kinda like Turkey.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:50 am

pengo wrote:They become a secular democracy kinda like Turkey.
Oh. Do our guys know that's what they are supposed to be doing over there? Because I don't get that feeling.

May as well shoot for the stars if you're going to aim high I guess.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Trappin » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:52 am

GreenGoo wrote:
pengo wrote:They become a secular democracy kinda like Turkey.
Oh. Do our guys know that's what they are supposed to be doing over there? Because I don't get that feeling.

May as well shoot for the stars if you're going to aim high I guess.

Our soldiers know what they are doing in Afghanistan. Do our politicians?


http://www.michaelyon-online.com/" target="_blank
On Sept. 11 in Kandahar, a South African civilian working without security was visibly upset - not at the Taliban but at the police. The 16-year police veteran recounted seeing Afghan police speeding through crowded streets and hitting a bicycle. The rider gymnastically avoided impact while the bicycle was tossed down the road.

The South African, with whom I spent a week in Helmand and Kandahar provinces, said the police never slowed down. "That's part of the reason the Taliban are gaining ground," he said. "The police are out there recruiting Taliban."

We are losing popular support. Confidence in the Afghan and coalition governments is plummeting. Loss of human terrain is evident. Conditions are building for an avalanche. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the military commander in Afghanistan, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates are aware of the rumbling, and so today we are bound by rules of engagement that appear insensible.


http://www.longwarjournal.org/" target="_blank

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Victoria Raverna » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:19 am

I think if they want to defeat Taliban, then they need to look at what caused Taliban to gain power. From what I can find on the internet (maybe not accurate), Taliban gained power because the warlords that ruled Afghanistans were corrupt and bad people. Crimes, rapes of girls, etc. were common. Then Taliban came to stop those and gain acceptance. Before Taliban, Afghanistan was a lawless and chaos country and after that during the Taliban era, while it was oppressive to female citizens, Afghanistan was no longer lawless. Taliban was very strict in punishing crime and keeping order.

If US want to win against Taliban then they have to be able to do what Taliban did for the people there. This means that US supported government can't just hide in safe zone in Kabul. If the current government can't do it then maybe US need to find a better partner. Maybe try to turn the Taliban around so that they'll work with US to keep peace. That is if it is not too late to do that. Maybe Gitmo, torture and other abuse by Bush administration made it impossible to work with Taliban and if so then it is probably impossible to win.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:58 am

Trappin wrote: Our soldiers know what they are doing in Afghanistan. Do our politicians?
Er, the military is an extension of your political reach. If your politicians don't know what they are doing in Afghanistan, how can your soldiers? Are they operating autonomously?

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by El Guapo » Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:37 am

Ironrod wrote:
El Guapo wrote:One danger in leaving Afghanistan to the Taliban is with Pakistan.
I think the Biden faction's position is not that we should leave Afghanistan, but that we should abandon nation-building and use it as a base against actual terror cells. We have no stake in a stable Afghanistan and almost certainly can't bring one about. The Taliban are fighting for their homeland, not for al Qaeda.

I hope I'm not coming off as a Taliban apologist. I'm talking about realpolitik. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and al Qaeda could be the Taliban's enemy, too. As I understand it there is no love lost between them, so driving a wedge there could be the smartest strategy.
Don't worry, you don't come off as loving the Taliban by any means. I have many of these questions myself.

I don't think the Biden position is all that practical - it seems like it's trying to have it both ways, in terms of avoiding the huge cost of committing to Afghanistan while trying to avoid the huge costs of retreating altogether. The problem with a pure "counter-terror" policy is that people generally expect that, if the U.S. were to withdraw, the current Afghan government would collapse and the Taliban would take over (or possibly a general civil war). Under those circumstances we wouldn't have a government there willing to provide us with military bases and assistance in rooting out Al Qaeda and other terrorists. Plus we most likely wouldn't have sufficient intelligence to go after terrorists in Afghanistan - again, no friendly government, plus we wouldn't have much capacity to protect Afghans on the ground who would like to help us, and therefore we wouldn't get much help from them.

There really isn't an easy answer. Yesterday my wife found out that a guy she knew during high school, who was by all reports an all around great guy, was killed in Afghanistan. So that just reminded me of the human cost of committing to Afghanistan, which I'm really not all that exposed to since I don't have a lot of friends and family in the military.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:38 pm

El Guapo wrote: Yesterday my wife found out that a guy she knew during high school, who was by all reports an all around great guy, was killed in Afghanistan. So that just reminded me of the human cost of committing to Afghanistan, which I'm really not all that exposed to since I don't have a lot of friends and family in the military.
This brings to mind the "war weariness" question. We've been fighting in Afghanistan since what, '01? and in Iraq for nearly as long. Most Americans are insulated from the wars, particularly the smaller one in Afghanistan; only the warrior class is really involved. But if Obama's thinking of escalating, the public is going to start paying attention. Are we really going to tolerate being in Afghanistan for 12 years, or 15, or longer?

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Little Raven » Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:48 pm

Ironrod wrote:Are we really going to tolerate being in Afghanistan for 12 years, or 15, or longer?
No. But not because some people get killed occasionally. 8 soldiers killed...big freakin' deal. We lose 8 soldiers to car accidents every day. In terms of (our) human life, this war is cheap.

But we can't afford it. We're going to run a trillion dollar deficit this year, and things are only going to get worse. Social Security is likely to start running deficits next year, and Medicare is going to be even worse. And that's to say nothing of whatever costs health care reform will end up bringing. And what if we end up needing another financial bailout?

We just can't keep footing the bill for backwater nowheres like Afghanistan, when we have real oil deposits like Iraq to protect. So either we try to do war on the cheap, in which case the costs to human life will go up, or we declare victory and focus on other problems. The latter is preferable to the former for me.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Smoove_B » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:57 pm

Little Raven wrote:
But we can't afford it. We're going to run a trillion dollar deficit this year, and things are only going to get worse. Social Security is likely to start running deficits next year, and Medicare is going to be even worse. And that's to say nothing of whatever costs health care reform will end up bringing. And what if we end up needing another financial bailout?

We just can't keep footing the bill for backwater nowheres like Afghanistan, when we have real oil deposits like Iraq to protect. So either we try to do war on the cheap, in which case the costs to human life will go up, or we declare victory and focus on other problems. The latter is preferable to the former for me.
To this end I started watching a two-part show last night on the National Geographic channel that was covering the early days of the invasion in Afghanistan and the pursuit of Bin Laden. Apparently right before our bombing campaign started there were about 100 CIA agents and 200 Special forces troops that were in the area surrounding Kabul, Kandahar and where ever else the bombings began. Of course those ~300 people were working with the Northern Alliance to gain intelligence, but in terms of the manpower needed on the ground to start an invasion? I was stunned.

But yeah, the actual $$$ to have the tech necessary to find, target and eliminate those bunkers and cave complexes is astounding. But the military personnel being interviewed strongly believed the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces were expecting a ground-force invasion, not precise aerial strikes from miles and miles away.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by msduncan » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:29 pm

Maybe we should buy the Taliban.

Basically subcontract them to take out al Qaeda and run the country in exchange for no-interference guarantee and financial aid.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by El Guapo » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:56 pm

Ironrod wrote:
El Guapo wrote: Yesterday my wife found out that a guy she knew during high school, who was by all reports an all around great guy, was killed in Afghanistan. So that just reminded me of the human cost of committing to Afghanistan, which I'm really not all that exposed to since I don't have a lot of friends and family in the military.
This brings to mind the "war weariness" question. We've been fighting in Afghanistan since what, '01? and in Iraq for nearly as long. Most Americans are insulated from the wars, particularly the smaller one in Afghanistan; only the warrior class is really involved. But if Obama's thinking of escalating, the public is going to start paying attention. Are we really going to tolerate being in Afghanistan for 12 years, or 15, or longer?
Turns out the guy's death has been covered in a New Hampshire paper and picked up by The New Republic. While on his first tour in the army he worked to provide clean water to villages in Uganda, and subsequently started a non-profit to continue the work. My wife met him during a jewish camp or something like that in high school.

Sounds like he was quite a good guy.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Smoove_B » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:52 pm

msduncan wrote:Maybe we should buy the Taliban.

Basically subcontract them to take out al Qaeda and run the country in exchange for no-interference guarantee and financial aid.
That was part of the problem, actually, in the show I was watching last night. I don't know how much money they said was paid in total (if they ever did say), but the CIA officials commented about showing up with $500,000 to give to the Northern Alliance as "good faith" money during early October of 2001. Half a million just to sit down and talk.

Eventually the Northern Alliance helped the CIA and Special Forces track Bin Laden to the mountains in Tora Bora but when we had him located they pulled their guns on the American soldiers and allowed him to escape. Apparently they had negotiated some type of cease-fire with Bin Laden / al-Qaeda. While we were eventually able to convince them to re-join our side, the CIA official that was providing the running commentary for the show indicated that for all the money we paid them, their inter-tribal alliances were stronger -- and the delay it caused contributed to his ultimate escape.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by pengo » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:49 pm

msduncan wrote:Maybe we should buy the Taliban.

Basically subcontract them to take out al Qaeda and run the country in exchange for no-interference guarantee and financial aid.
How has that worked for the US in South America? And SmooveB's post shows you can't make deals with the devil. They can't be trusted.

In a movie Andy Garcia said something along the lines of "Nature has a way of correcting itself", which as much as the movie is a work of fiction I wonder if the phrase holds true in reality. So maybe the the coalition should leave afghanistan and concentrate on iraq ? Let the civil war happen in Afghanistan and let "nature" correct itself.

Maybe intervening in Afghanistan is like not letting the bush burn naturally during the fire season? By not letting it naturually sort itself out, it causes a massive inferno during the fire season.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by dbt1949 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:07 pm

This shit doesn't have the intensness of Viet Nam but it still lasting about as long and will probably last longer. War weariness is definitely a villain of a democracy. ( I learned that from Civ 3) And these poor GIs who have to go, come back, go, come back, etc. is really the shits. At least in Viet Nam we just had to go once. (altho it was probably more exciting)
In my weekly sessions at the VA there are vets from Korea, Viet Nam and Iraq/Afghanistan who are fucked up. I'm really tired of the US playing World Police.
I think we need to pull back to the ship and nuke em from orbit. It's the only way.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kelric » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:29 am

I vote for anarchy. Pull the fuck out of both theaters and let them sort themselves out.

Note: This is probably not a good idea.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by pengo » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:45 am

I fear that pulling out of afghanistan would be worse than pulling out of iraq, as it'll have a domino affect on causing the radicals to takeover pakistan. Then there is the doomsday scenario of the radicals toppling the Pakistani government and taking over control of the country and then the nuclear facilities. That can't be good for anyone, tho I would think China would not want that to happen as it would impact the US and trade with the US? And well I'm sure China doesn't want a radical nuclear power in their neighborhood. So maybe pulling out of afghanistan might not be so bad as China would have a somewhat vested interest in the region.

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by dbt1949 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:42 am

Plus the fact that China has it's own problem with the Uyghurs in western China. They certainly don't want to see more fanaticals coming into that region.
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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Arcanis » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:08 am

Well this could work out if we could get China involved in it. They have a severe overpopulation problem and wouldn't mind the losses as much, on a country level certainly the families of the fallen would mind quite a bit. Let them fight the war to kick out the insurgents.

The US needs to clearly define goals and objectives in Afg. They haven't done so thus far. The US military isn't designed to 'police' or hold off a force indefinitely, see Vietnam, but when given a real objective no man made force can really stop them. So the question that has been asked already becomes the most important, What should our objective be? Right now it is don't let the Taliban take over and that is a piss poor objective that has not true resolution aside from failure.

IMHO our objective should be to convince China to take the lead, Russia wouldn't go to Afg. if we were paying them to, and offer our support in getting the Taliban removed. This support would come in the form of special forces groups working within the country, they are far more effective in this type of combat than standard troops anyway, to find and capture/kill insurgent leaders. China would have a vested interest in making sure that these groups don't get nukes from Pakistan because they are the closest large power to be threatened by it. We also need to get Pakistan's help in rooting out the hide outs along their border. Here is where Obama's legendary silver tongue could be put to good use, we need to convince 2 countries that don't hate us but don't really like us that much either to put resources into a difficult war. Many people tout that Obama is a great orator and are convinced he could sell a big screen tv to a man with no eyes, it is time for him to show us if they are right and get some other countries involved in this.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."--George Orwell

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Re: Win, Lose, or Draw in Afghanistan?

Post by Kraken » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:08 pm

Afghanistan exit not on the table
WASHINGTON - President Obama won’t walk away from the flagging war in Afghanistan, the White House declared yesterday as Obama faced tough decisions - and intense administration debate - over choices that could help define his presidency in his first year as commander in chief.

...

Obama may take weeks to decide whether to add more troops, but the idea of pulling out isn’t on the table as a way to deal with a war nearing its ninth year, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.
It seems that the only question is to escalate, or not.

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