Patterico's Pontifications

8/31/2009

Pentagon Worried About Afghanistan

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 9:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama’s commander in Afghanistan, Army General Stanley McChrystal, has filed a report assessing progress in Afghanistan that he described as “serious” but in which “success is achievable.”

Meanwhile, a McClatchy report says this is the 5th assessment Obama has ordered since he was inaugurated. It also notes McChrystal is expected to request that 21,000 to 45,000 more troops be sent to Afghanistan. Pentagon officials are said to be worried that President Obama won’t authorize those additional troops … in part, because of the polls:

“However, administration officials said that amid rising violence and casualties, polls that show a majority of Americans now think the war in Afghanistan isn’t worth fighting. With tough battles ahead on health care, the budget and other issues, Vice President Joe Biden and other officials are increasingly anxious about how the American public would respond to sending additional troops.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to the media, said Biden has argued that without sustained support from the American people, the U.S. can’t make the long-term commitment that would be needed to stabilize Afghanistan and dismantle al Qaida. Biden’s office declined to comment.

“I think they (the Obama administration) thought this would be more popular and easier,” a senior Pentagon official said. “We are not getting a Bush-like commitment to this war.”

Is politics playing a role? McChrystal’s current assessment was to have included troop recommendations but political concerns intervened:

Monday’s assessment initially was to include troop recommendations, but political concerns prompted White House and Pentagon officials to agree that those recommendations would come later, advisers to McChrystal said. Although the White House took a hands-off approach toward Afghanistan earlier this summer, Pentagon officials said they’re now getting more questions about how many troops might be needed and for how long.”

One of the polls the Obama Administration may be worried about is this Washington Post/ABC News poll that shows 70% of Republicans support the war in Afghanistan while 70% of Democrats oppose it. However, as this 8/19/09 Hot Air post notes, Democrats opposed the war in July 2008, too.

— DRJ

76 Responses to “Pentagon Worried About Afghanistan”

  1. Those poor guys out there. Anyone reading Yon knows that it’s really a desperate situation. God bless our guys and gals who don’t care what the hell the polls say.

    I would much rather Obama just pull them out now if he’s not going to commit to this fight. This half ass thing just encourages the Taliban to make things messy until we slink away.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  2. Agree completely with #1. If they’re not fully committed to winning, pull out. Obama would be taking an enormous risk sending in more troops. He likes people to like him. They are liking him less and less.

    I can’t remember where I read this but it seems appropriate in light of this post.

    “Here is the question- if we are going to make our guys always carry 70+ (often up to 100) lbs of stuff all the time (as if there is no chance of chopper resupply of anything), and they have to use a Rule of Engagement sheet that runs over a page single-space last time I heard, and they have to worry about what some lawyer back at battalion will do to them if he even thinks they may have violated the ROE, and best of all, now the bad guys can fire at will from villages or buildings where there just may be civilians and we cannot fire back, and we can’t really just use our masters of the night aircraft to kill anyone they see coming across the border into Afghanistan so that the people in the Pakistan bases of the Taliban finally figure out that to even start that journey is to die…. then have we put ourselves again in a situation where as long as the other guys are determined enough to stretch this out long enough, eventually enough people at home and in Congress will decide they don’t want to play this game anymore and we bring our guys home and everything they have fought, suffered, and died for goes to hell anyhow?

    Three simple rules:

    1- do not send Americans to fight somewhere unless you have a clear and reasonably simple goal of what it is you want to get done

    2- do not send Americans to go into that fight unless you have a pretty good idea of what it will take to win not just the battles, but the whole war

    3- do not sent Americans to go and fight and die in that war unless you are fully prepared to do whatever it really takes to win it

    If that means using napalm sometimes, laying down minefields sometimes, using herbicides to kill foliage or crops sometimes, (none of which are now allowed to us) and accepting the sad fact that when the enemy deliberately hides among and uses the local population as a major tactic, collateral damage is utterly unavoidable if you are to really fight them, then those are the things you should be doing.

    The most moral thing you do in any war is fight hard, as hard as you can, to smash the enemy and get it over with. A short nasty and intense war with mistakes and some tragic collateral damage is infinitely better than the long drawn out “let’s be nice and careful and not upset anyone in the international community” attempt at war that ends in failure anyhow. That seems to be a lesson that has been utterly lost in America today.

    Dana (863a65)

  3. I’ve noticed that casualties in Afghanistan have gone way, way up…but the media doesn’t have much to say about ops in Afghanistan or “grim milestones”

    What’s up with that? They were blathering about what a disaster Iraq was 24/7 when Bush was prez.

    Dave Surls (6941f8)

  4. America chose defeat when they elected Obama. Our boys are being used for Obama’s chickenhawk fantasies at the current time. He will abandon the battle, as I’ve said all along. How many of our kids do we want to sacrifice for Obama’s amusment?

    j curtis (baef6f)

  5. As everyone is aware by now, my daughter is in the US Army and spent 15 months in Iraq. What she said about Iraq obviously does not jive with leftist, state-run media distortions. Since she is in the Army, I have been to two different Army installations twice each. And, coincidentally, I flew in once each. As such, I have had an opportunity unavailable to large portions of civilians: That of talking to numerous members of the military who have actually been there. Without exception, all their stories have been the same: State-run media is lying.

    In a recent convo with my daughter, she let it be known that members of the US Army fully understand Obama has zero respect for our military, and they resent it. But Democrat disrespect for the military is historic in nature. Hard left disrespect for the military is far more amplified.

    And leftist command of military actions are historic examples of planned failures, dating back to Korea and beyond. Remember, the infamous “peace in our time” declaration came from a peacenik. We all know how that came out.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  6. “One of the polls the Obama Administration may be worried about is this Washington Post/ABC News poll that shows 70% of Republicans support the war in Afghanistan while 70% of Democrats oppose it.”

    I’d love to know what the alternative is. Our country is repeatedly attacked by terrorists based in Afghanistan, with the last attack killing 3,000 of our guys (including foreign guests), and people don’t think we should fight???

    What other choice do we have?

    Dave Surls (6941f8)

  7. …21,000 to 45,000…

    What kind of request is that? The upper-range is twice that of the lower-range.

    Does anyone understand the rational behind these numbers?

    Perhaps they are conditional numbers, but I have to wonder if there is some politics behind them already.

    Pons Asinorum (39c941)

  8. They are now claiming that it is “Bush’s war” again.

    hazy (4e0dda)

  9. I love that argument, “Bush’s War.” Liberals overall cannot stand the light of truth. Those pesky facts always get in the way of their agenda. It would be disheartening if word got out that one of their own, a self-described liberal, spoke out against their lies about Iraq and suchlike. It would hurt their cause regarding Afghanistan and other hot-spots. I’m sure they’re glad Love My Rifle More Than You is no longer in print and any new buyers have to buy used copies of that book, written by a liberal woman who served in the US Army in Iraq.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  10. Will Wolf Blizter resume his meme …
    insert topic here … how is this bad for the President ?

    Neo (7830e6)

  11. You know I really hate to say it, but I think Ron Paul or a Libertarian Republican like Gary Johnson could have a shot at 2012. I mean just think about it Iraq and Afghanistan and look how on the economy there becoming more and more popular. People want to get rid of the Federal Reserve and there sick of the debt. Now if there willing to say we’ll increase border security and keep foreign policy similar.

    charles (eb6028)

  12. Our quarrel was with Al Qaeda. Our fight wasn’t with the Taliban per se, Bush went after them because they hosted Al Qaeda (imagine how things would have been different if the Taliban had said they were ‘shocked, shocked’ that terrorists were operating in their territory and promised to take action?) Put another way, the Taliban can brutalize their own country (the way the Saudis do, so long as they don’t take action against our interests). This contrasts with Iraq where our fight was with the regime itself for actions it was taking.

    Supposedly Bush’s strategy was nation-build Afghanistan to keep the Taliban out which in turn would deny Al Qaeda a place to operate. The success of this depends on (1) it being possible to nation build Afghanistan (which George Will, among others, doubts is possible), (2) the non-Taliban government dedicated and able to keep Al Qaeda out, and (3) Al Qaeda not being able to easily pack up and operate elsewhere. I believe all three all long shots.

    There are two categories of Al Qaeda. One is the illiterate foot soldier as found in Iraq and Afghanistan, the other is the type that can pull off a 9-11 and which isn’t found running in the mountains of Afghanistan or Pakistan. The former is a threat to us only in limited situation, such as attacking our overseas bases. The latter is much more dangerous and, critically, isn’t going to be affected by whatever is going on in Afghanistan. Neither will this affect control and financial support for both groups, as the leadership, like water, will move to wherever they can find even temporary sanctuary… and we have nowhere near enough troops to shut down the entire globe.

    If our goal is to keep us safe, then killing terrorists has to be job 1, with the emphasis on detecting and preventing the 9-11 type of attack and less emphasis on going after some terrorists who pose much less of a threat to America. Efforts and resources spent on tangential activities can only take away from that primary goal. We don’t have to build schools in Afghanistan to kill terrorists; Predator strikes into Pakistan is proof that we can kill terrorists from a distance.

    This isn’t a liberal-v-conservative argument, it is strictly a question of how do we best kill those who would kill us? By building schools? Or by killing terrorists in their sleep? I prefer the latter.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  13. Foreign policy and war making by popularity poll: Hope and Change! [pardon me while I become violently sick]

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  14. I would advise anyone who wants to understand what is going on there to read Accidental Guerilla. What we are doing is similar to Viet Nam. The enemy has a refuge in Pakistan and we are very reluctant to follow them there. There are predator strikes but those are difficult. I would also recommend reading Michael Yon. Houses in Afghanistan are fortresses with walls 15 feet thick. The chances for nation building are nil. These people are little different from the time of Alexander the Great. The only industry is the poppy to make heroin. I’ve thought for years that we should just buy the entire crop every year. It’s cheaper than the war.

    I don’t think it’s winnable without the cooperation of Pakistan and that is the crux of the problem. I doubt Obama has the stomach to stay there. He’d rather fight Honduras.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  15. It is pretty infuriating that the Democrats claim that Afghanistan is “Bush’s War” since they campaigned on the idea that they would better prosecute it in preference to Iraq.

    But then, party over country seems to be their only principle.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  16. George Will agrees that it is time to move out. Obama is where Lyndon Johnson was in 1968.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  17. I reluctantly agree that if he’s going to continue in this fashion (like so many of his breathen), then let’s pull every soldier out of that country, immediately. Let no additional lives be lost because of a commander’s weakness and fecklessness. Let Obama take the blame, no matter that he’ll claim it was all “Bush’s War.” Leave him to explain to the public why he will not attempt a victory, only accept defeat. Let the country judge him on account of a POTUS that only cares whether European elites approve of his every action. Clinton got incredibly lucky with his indecisiveness regarding the Balkans war – this time, as in most wars, not so much.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  18. Obama is simply The Empty Suit(tm). And we as a country really can’t afford an empty suit right now. It is going to be a challenging 4 years until we can replace Jimmy the Second with a competent president.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  19. “Monday’s assessment initially was to include troop recommendations, but political concerns prompted White House and Pentagon officials to agree that those recommendations would come later

    Oh boy, this’ll end well.

    tim maguire (4a98f0)

  20. Obama should remember that there is a big difference between Iraq and Afghanistan. While the former was unjustified, the latter is. Pulling out is not an option. And he should not play politics with national security. He must commit to finishing that war; knowing there is a moral justification behind it. The guys behind 9/11 attacked from there. He has criticized Bush for taking his eyes off the ball in Afghanistan, and focusing on Iraq. A country that had nothing to do with 9/11. Losing out in Afghanistan will be his water-loo.

    The Emperor (0c8c2c)

  21. Exactly, Tim. This is the party that claimed, largely falsely, that the Bush administration overrode military advice for political reasons.

    The suit might be full … of hypocrisy.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  22. I know it’s a little too simplistic, but ‘Rubble don’t make trouble’ appeals to me more and more when thinking about Obama’s misadventures in Afghanistan.

    Just blow up every freakin’ thing and every al-qaeda/taliban doofus, declare victory, then monitor it from afar. Obama just isn’t cut out to fight a COIN type of war. Dude doesn’t have the intellectual capacity, the courage or the backing from his party. McChrystal should recommend vaporizing any terrorist he can find, then go home.

    It’s frustrating to say that, but Obama gives me no confidence that he can figure out how to get to victory. The only thing I believe in is in lour troops ability to win despite Obama’s nonsensical leadership.

    KingShamus (fb8597)

  23. Obama should remember that there is a big difference between Iraq and Afghanistan. While the former was justified, the latter is not worth it.

    Fixed that for you Emp.

    Iraq had the potential to be a viable state and was central in the middle east. We were trapped in a no-win situation trying to keep Saddam in a box while the French and Russians made billions helping him evade sanctions. The al-Qeada strikes against us were motivated by our presence in Saudi Arabia and association with the regime.

    Our options were to leave SA and leave Saddam in power, a huge loss of face with Arabs and Islamists that would have invigorated the jihadis, or to take out Saddam and then leave SA. We chose the latter.

    I think there are valid arguments about the nation building and occupation and about our presence there at all, in other words the first Gulf War. There was no reasonable alternative to the invasion given the circumstances in 2003.

    That will be the verdict of history.

    Afghanistan, once we had punished the Taliban for harboring al Qeada, our justification for trying to build a modern nation there is pretty weak. As usual, the lefties get it backwards.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  24. Evidently, Obama ordering up multiple assessments of Afghanistan is his quivalent to constantly consulting a Magic 8 Ball to get the answer he wants.

    PCD (02f8c1)

  25. They have no EXIT STRATEGY and no plan to WIN the war. Or something like that. If they plan on quitting, and walking away, I wish they would just go ahead and do it, get it over with. I suspect we will see some mythical declaration of victory, and they will do everything they can to minimize our involvement. I hope I am wrong.

    JD (b8fcee)

  26. What can we expect from an administration that governs according to the polls? He was all for a public option in health care until the polls shot that down. Now he might be able to live without the public option. Unfortunately, fighting a war by sending up trial balloons is a good way to get a bunch of innocent soldiers killed. Obama needs to pull us out of Afghanistan if he doesn’t have the stomach to fight and win.

    rochf (ae9c58)

  27. I think there are valid arguments about the nation building and occupation and about our presence there at all, in other words the first Gulf War. There was no reasonable alternative to the invasion given the circumstances in 2003.

    What would have been wrong with taking down Saddam, and then going home and declaring victory.

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  28. What would have been wrong with taking down Saddam, and then going home and declaring victory.

    Comment by Michael Ejercito

    Oh, I think that was an alternative and what Tommy Franks wanted to do. Rumsfeld wanted to turn it over to the exiles and that was also an option. Bremer screwed that up.

    rochf, I only wish this administration governed by polls. If they did, we would have seen the last of Obamacare. They govern by ideology that has little to do with reality.

    I think Bush may have been too sanguine about making Iraq a democracy but that was minor compared to the delusional state on the left.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  29. What would have been wrong with taking down Saddam, and then going home and declaring victory?

    Other than the requirement to return every 15 years to take down the next violent tyrant that popped up? To hunt down and eliminate the terrorists/jihadists/wahhabists/all other-ists that flourish where states fail?

    I see a tendency to focus on the symptoms and not the disease these days.

    RWL (4400c6)

  30. All we hear about from the Left is “not another Vietnam!” But in displaying such an inherent sense of weakness and indecision, they always fall into the trap they’ve laid for themselves. Projection becomes reality regarding conflicts and wars.

    Dmac (a93b13)

  31. I’m bracing for my first deployment to Afghanistan sometime next year. I wouldn’t mind having a clear mission and the secure feeling of knowing my CIC has my back.

    SPC Jack Klompus (c1922b)

  32. I think you need to lower those expectations a bit, PFC…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  33. I’m bracing for my first deployment to Afghanistan sometime next year. I wouldn’t mind having a clear mission and the secure feeling of knowing my CIC has my back.

    Godspeed, Specialist. I hope you’re an unparalleled hunter of terrorists.

    The mission also comes with a reality Gen. Wesley Clark says commanders concede:

    It’s not about body count. You can’t just win by killing Taliban. You’ve got to provide hope. You’ve got to provide a rationale for the Karzai government or for some other democratic government. You’ve got to provide economic development.

    The one thing you must answer is what’s the defeat mechanism of the Taliban? And how does it actually work, because our real enemy is al Qaeda, and they’re in Pakistan. And unless we can do something about al Qaeda in Pakistan, the efforts in Afghanistan are going to be incredibly long and tough and frustrating. We’re undermanned given the scale of the country and the range of the difficulties. President Obama may ask for more troops. Of course, when you put more troops in, you take more casualties and the clock ticks faster, ending the sustainability of the mission. We still have to define the defeat mechanism…and that’s al Qaeda.

    steve (fdabf6)

  34. I see Wesley Clark is still as incoherent as ever. To defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, we have to defeat Al Queda in Pakistan ?

    Now this might make real sense if he linked it in the form of how Al Queda and Taliban mutually support each other or some other mechanism.

    Nope, he doesn’t. He just introduces the non sequitur that Al Queda is our “real” enemy.

    Incoherent.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  35. SPQR – That is likely why small s steve quoted him. They speak the same language. Capital S Steve is a far more rational human.

    JD (ce9ac3)

  36. SPQR (2:35 pm), not just incoherent, but probably designed to bring about the end of our engagement in Afghanistan by presenting an alternative strategy that is unlikely to succeed. I seriously doubt if General Clark advocates sending troops into Pakistan, so he must envision the U.S. using “soft power” to. . . to. . . I don’t know, coax al Qaeda out of Pakistan through community outreach, or blanket Pakistan in foreign aid in order turn Islamists away from extremist ideologies, or whatever trendy foreign policy prescriptions are floating about the left these days. It’s the same old wishful thinking from the Clark/Dean/Kerry wing of the party circa 2004.

    JVW (d1215a)

  37. Afghanistan was founded by mutineers from Alexander the Great’s army. They made him retreat from the Indus and he died of a broken heart. If he could not discipline them, we cannot discipline their descendants either. On the other hand, we should not ignore their potential for another 9/11.

    BTW, did you know that gambling is forbidden in Islam, same like alcohol? Just found out, today.

    nk (ce533b)

  38. Notice how things like goals, timetables, and costs are not routinely discussed by the Left and their friends in the MSM any longer?

    JD (ce9ac3)

  39. Indeed, JVW, I keep hearing from Wesley Clark fans how smart he is, but his career shows that he was a good politician and a lousy general. I can’t remember him saying anything enlightening at any time.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  40. It’s not a non-sequitur to say al Qaeda is our real enemy.

    Clark said the defeat of the Taliban is less about body count than winning hearts and minds. Gen. McChrystal makes essentially the same proposition:

    Chasing and killing members of the Taliban would come second to protecting Afghan citizens if he gets his way. For the time being, it looks as though he will. But as he well knows, security cannot hold without political consensus, no matter how many reinforcements he manages to summon.

    steve (fdabf6)

  41. Wesley Clark was a hell of politician. He was dead-ended at one point in his army career and he came back. Too bad (for him) he decided to wag the dog for Clinton in Kosovo, and lost all credibility. I would not want him as a CinC but the way he and Albright got NATO behind that SNAFU was a beautiful thing.

    nk (ce533b)

  42. steve, it is indeed a non sequitur to say that Al Queda is our enemy when the discussion is how to win in Afghanistan.

    Pay attention, steve. You’ve quoted Clark’s incoherent drivel.

    He says that defeating the Taliban is about winning hearts and minds but does not explain his non sequitur about Al Queda in Pakistan.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  43. The other huge issue about Afghanistan is logistics. The access is very limited and the Russians are trying to get their hands around our windpipe in the northern republics that abut Afghanistan. We may not be able to rely on Pakistan although they seem to have rebounded from the terrible decisions they made last spring with the Swat Valley. I was afraid the country was going to collapse, which would be no surprise with “Mr 10%” in command. Maybe the army is getting with the program.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  44. The “win hearts and minds” meme is so self-evidently silly that one wonders where to begin in deconstructing it. It’s as if building a school somehow overcomes a generation of brainwashing about the Great Satan. Look at our own left wing. All of the money spent on welfare, medicare and medicaid, unemployment, and other social policies, coupled with the advances in minority right, women’s rights, gay rights, etc., yet they still think America is a fundamentally mean and unfair place. If we can’t win their hearts and minds, how in the world will we will over those of the radical Islamists?

    JVW (d1215a)

  45. steve, it is indeed a non sequitur to say that Al Queda is our enemy when the discussion is how to win in Afghanistan.

    I’m sorry this is so abstract. The terrorists we chased out of Afghanistan live just across a frontier. The Taliban threaten the democracy we hoped would stand and fight them. No rational discussion of our role there can avoid the confederacy that produced 9/11. To a large extent, Afghanistan’s central government is unable to deliver services and control regional provinces. McChrystal wants a new push that involves shoring up those political and economic lifelines.

    I seriously doubt if General Clark advocates sending troops into Pakistan

    Some in the chain of command advocate it?

    Occupying northwest Pakistan along the Afghan border would vastly expand the theater of operations. We’d need a long supply chain. I’m not sure making fresh antagonists out of 165 million people and a government with a nuclear arsenal lowers our terror risk.

    steve (fdabf6)

  46. Now it is just being transparently mendoucheous. Barcky wanted to bomb Pawkeestawn, steve.

    JD (16fd4f)

  47. “Chasing and killing members of the Taliban would come second to protecting Afghan citizens…”

    Good plan…if you’re planning on NOT winning.

    Dave Surls (aec47b)

  48. Is there an exit plan out of Afghanistan? Does anyone know what it is?

    The Emperor (0c8c2c)

  49. Are there really any good options for the US in Afghanistan? I’d love to hear one. Right now we seem to be spinning our wheels. We’re damnd if we stay or leave.

    JEA (fc9cd1)

  50. I think there are a pile of less than good options, but that is fairly irrelevant. Since Barcky and the Dems declared Iraq to be nothing other than a distraction, they have positioned themselves as the ones best qualified to prosecute the war in Afghanistan. Now that they control all the levers of power, simply whining that it is hard is fucking pathetic. Right now, they are simply trying to find a way to quit that entails them to continue to be politically viable.

    JD (8541bc)

  51. I think Obama will do what he is doing in Iraq. Create some kind of picture of political stability and democracy. Achieve some kind of truce with the Taliban. Set a date to pull out, and then pull out. The question will be, what will he be leaving behind?

    The Emperor (0c8c2c)

  52. steve, its not abstract. Its incoherent. That you repeat it, does not add to its coherence. The non sequitur from Taliban / hearts and minds to Al Queda is not bridged.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  53. The Emperor, when did Obama create political stability and democracy in Iraq, picture or otherwise? Now you are giving Obama credit for Bush’s work. That’s typical of your bizarre, and irrational, rapture for Obama.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  54. jea, Obama promised us he was up to this task. He said he could fix the economy, give us all ‘free’ stuff and lower the deficit.

    I agree, it’s hard to see how to accomplish all the stuff Obama said he knew exactly how to accomplish.

    In reality, there’s no quick fix to Afghanistan. It needs a lot of time. A heavy commitment of manpower. I am not sure it’s possible to civilize a place like that without imperialism. Like, colonizing and profiteering. Iraq already had oil and some education. Afghanistan has rubble and mountains.

    I think taking the land and giving it to corporations for mass agriculture and industrialization might do something. Our guys shooting the bad guys as they travel around doesn’t seem like it’s going to work.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  55. I have a comment caught in the filter. I may have cussed.

    JD (8541bc)

  56. Comment by SPQR — 9/1/2009 @ 6:28 pm
    Read my comment again, SPQR and then make an informed response.

    The Emperor (0c8c2c)

  57. Nonsense, Juan, the Democrats know exactly how to “fix” Afghanistan, Iraq and cure cancer. All they have to do is the exact opposite of the evil Bush.

    They know that it is true …

    SPQR (26be8b)

  58. TheEmperor, I read your comment. I repeat mine.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  59. What has Teh One done in Iraq, lovie? Not a damn thing, that is what.

    Create a picture of stability? So, whether or not there is actually stability is irrelevant to you and yours. You just want to be able to create a Narrative that paints his actions as a success.

    It is a pile of BS.

    JD (8541bc)

  60. #58.
    I don’t believe you did. If so, you would have noticed my use of the word “picture.”. Meaning, an appearance. Unless you are trying to say that Iraq is a complete success.

    The Emperor (0c8c2c)

  61. I have not tried to defend Obama or anyone, JD. Just speculating on what might be his exit strategy. Just my two cents.

    The Emperor (0c8c2c)

  62. Would you want your children to fight in a war with Obama as CIC? There’s no way he will see this through.

    Terry Gain (f3f8a5)

  63. […] rating on the war in Afghanistan reportedly fell 18 points since March. That could explain his advisers’ willingness to consider getting America out of Afghanistan, a war that Obama promised to […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Obama’s Poll Numbers Keep Going Down (e4ab32)

  64. One word for those anti-war types who voted for Obama… SUPRISE! The Obama rules of engagement are such our troops are really behind the eight ball.

    Duke Nukem (d9d8ce)

  65. 7 in 10 Democrats believe the war in Afghanistan is not worth the cost? Then I googled up this gem…

    “Democrats in America are evenly divided on the question of whether George W. Bushknew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. Thirty-five percent (35%) of Democrats believe he did know, 39% say he did not know, and 26% are not sure.”

    What the hell is wrong with the Democratic Party? Why are they the home party of crazies, creeps and crooks?

    Brad (daf01c)

  66. #51 — Comment by The Emperor — 9/1/2009 @ 6:20 pm

    The question will be, what will he be leaving behind?

    If he fails, he will provide a victory for an enemy who will likely use it to further its radical goals and establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in the Muslim world.

    If he succeeds, then he will leave behind Afghanistan villages and khels that are enabled and confident to expel radicalism when it appears; and Afghanistan cities that desire commerce with the modern world.

    I see no evidence whosoever that President Obama has the skill, intelligence, desire, commitment, leadership, experience, or courage to make any of those things happen. Nor has he picked skilled and knowledgeable advisers that possess these capabilities with regard to that region of the world (however, they are highly skilled at American politics, character attacks against US citizens, and retarding our nation’s intelligence capabilities).

    This is a COIN campaign and it is doubtful if President Obama has the slightest idea what that means, how to address it, and the extraordinary (more than ordinary) need for leadership from the CNC.

    Pons Asinorum (39c941)

  67. #49 — Comment by JEA — 9/1/2009 @ 6:00 pm

    Are there really any good options for the US in Afghanistan? I’d love to hear one. Right now we seem to be spinning our wheels. We’re damnd if we stay or leave.

    This is from a couple of US Army majors, but what do they know (PDF, go to Appendix E for quick example).

    Pons Asinorum (39c941)

  68. #55 — Comment by JD — 9/1/2009 @ 6:32 pm

    I have a comment caught in the filter. I may have cussed.

    (shocka — lol)

    Pons Asinorum (39c941)

  69. #65 — Comment by Brad — 9/1/2009 @ 11:56 pm

    What the hell is wrong with the Democratic Party? Why are they the home party of crazies, creeps and crooks?

    It’s strange because the party or JFK does not even resemble the party of his recently deceased brother. Politically, they would have held adversarial positions in many areas.

    (btw: I think both parties have plenty of crooks, it’s just the repubs typically get punished more so than the dems.)

    Pons Asinorum (39c941)

  70. The democrats realized a long time ago how much easier it was to gain power by demonizing the ‘enemy’ than by offering realistic solutions.

    ‘The negros need to be kept off our water fountains’ transformed into ‘a latina is wiser than a white man’, and along the way there have been many non racial examples, such as Bush pushing granny in a wheelchair down a social security reform chart/staircase. Or ‘reagan’s a dumbass who will get us nuked’ or Bush is a liar and a draft dodger. There are people who are programs to believe that Republican presidents are basically demonic in nature.

    the GOP is also laregly defined nowadays as opposition to the democrats. I don’t see nearly the disconnection, but the tone isn’t much better. I loath Obama for what he’s done, which is better than loathing bush for fake things, but not all that great.

    The GOP needs to come out and make a better case. They can’t point to their fiscal stewardship except to note they were merely reckless and not suicidal like Obama. I think it’s really tempting for the GOP to base its message on how idiotic the dems are being, but then we risk missing the important solutions to the problems.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  71. “In reality, there’s no quick fix to Afghanistan. It needs a lot of time. A heavy commitment of manpower. I am not sure it’s possible to civilize a place like that without imperialism. Like, colonizing and profiteering.”

    The Afghans – including the ones allied with us – would turn on us and fight us if we did that, just like they did to the British and Soviets.

    JEA (0ccd61)

  72. I agree with JEA. We would need to kill every male between the ages of 12 and 65. And there is no profiteering in Afghanistan. The country only grows big rocks, little rocks and poppies.

    nk (ce533b)

  73. There is a way forward in Afghanistan – see empirical evidence noted in the dissertation linked @67.

    Blowing-up stuff and killing large numbers of people will not work in this type of war (COIN warfare). Such tactics are effective in conventional war but will backfire in Afghanistan, as its history can attest.

    Russians, British, Mongolians (under Genghis Khan), Macedonians (under Alexander the Great) had limited and short-term success. All these powers tried varying degrees of large scale warfare (some tried genocidal tactics). All eventually were defeated. There are regions in Afghanistan that are completely unconquerable (other regions can be allied with or temporarily conquered).

    What can work (and has) is in the dissertation. In short, using conventional forces to carry-out conventional tactics (blowing-up stuff and killing large numbers of people) will fail. Using conventional forces to conduct COIN warfare operations may work if resource-intensive effort is supportable over a relatively long time interval (out of the question for President Obama).

    The best solution is to use conventional forces in support of Special Forces (SF) that are tasked with carrying-out COIN warfare. Indeed, that is precisely what US Army Special Forces is trained to do and why they were created in the first place. Let them do what they are trained and capable of doing (in the early stages of the war in Afghanistan, SF was the lead military organization and had spectacular successes – SF is no longer the lead organization and our successes are being reversed).

    I don’t know if these distinctions even register with President Obama, and as I mentioned before, IMO he does not have the skillsets or experience to lead in this endeavor. It appears defeat is President Obama’s best option (as he is incapable of the leadership necessary for any other viable option).

    Pons Asinorum (39c941)

  74. […] was to include McChrystal’s troop recommendations but, at the time, it was reported that political concerns prompted White House and Pentagon officials to agree to delay the release of the troop requests. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » McChrystal Report: More Troops or Fail (Updated) (e4ab32)

  75. […] hesitation is compounded by reports that, for political reasons, he delayed the release of McChrystal’s report for over a month. (And for those who doubt […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Obama Receives McChrystal’s Troop Request (e4ab32)

  76. […] report requesting 40,000+ more troops was in the Pentagon August 30, 2009 but transmittal to the President was reportedly delayed for political reasons. That’s three […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Obama Again Delays Afghanistan Troop Decision (e4ab32)


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