Decision Time on Afghanistan – by Jacob Laksin


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If there were doubts about President Obama’s commitment to the war in Afghanistan, this week’s events have been nowhere near as clarifying as the White House may have hoped.

In a meeting with Congressional leaders earlier this week, the president firmly insisted that he would not approve a “dramatic reduction” of American forces. Nor would the U.S. mission change from pacifying the country to a more limited counterterrorist action aimed at the Taliban insurgency. At the same time, Obama signaled that he was not ready to side with his generals in the field, most notably NATO commander Stanley McChrystal, in supporting the buildup of 30,000 to 40,000 troops that they consider necessary for the success of the current mission.

The president, in short, is decidedly undecided.

Obama’s ambivalence reflects the growing rift within his own administration – and within the Democratic Party more broadly. Obama entered office with a professed commitment to the war in Afghanistan, reproaching the outgoing Bush administration for what he called its lack of “focus” on that crucial theater.

But the president’s early enthusiasm has not proved contagious. According to the Washington Post, senior White House officials are “building a case internally for a narrower counterterrorism strategy in Afghanistan that would maintain roughly the current troop level and rely on expedited training of Afghan troops, stepped-up Predator drone strikes against al-Qaeda operatives and support for Pakistan’s government in its fight against the Taliban.”

This curtailed strategy reportedly finds its most senior supporter in Vice President Joe Biden. Despite a dubious background in foreign policy strategizing – in 2007, the then-senator notoriously endorsed splitting Iraq along ethnic and religious lines, an idea that has not aged well – Biden has called on the president to scale back the military presence in Afghanistan. Instead of working to win civilian cooperation and providing protection against Taliban terrorists, Biden wants a less comprehensive campaign that would target the Taliban and stand up Afghan forces. This strategy has won Biden plaudits from disaffected Democrats, many of whom see Afghanistan as a lost cause. But it also has some highly significant detractors: the generals overseeing the Afghan campaign.

Chief among them is General McChrystal. In contrast to the backroom intrigue of Washington politics, there has never been any doubt about the general’s preferred strategy. In a compact counterinsurgency guide released this August, McChrystal wrote that the first priority of U.S. troops in Afghanistan – and the most crucial to defeating the Taliban insurgency – should be protecting Afghan civilians.

McChrystal’s guide serves as a trenchant rejoinder to the narrow-war theme gaining traction among Democrats. Anticipating the Biden strategy of search-and-destroy combat, McChrystal warned that victory in Afghanistan would not be achieved solely from superior firepower. “We will not win simply by killing insurgents,” the general wrote. Instead of conventional military tactics, McChrystal pushed for troops to conduct community meetings, local projects, and work programs that could win Afghans to their side and undermine the influence of the Taliban and affiliated jihadists. “Earn the support of the people and the war is won, regardless of how many militants are killed or captured,” McChrystal explained.

As a corollary, McChrystal noted that American troops would not stabilize the country merely by rushing Afghan troops into battle. A different kind of relationship was required, one in which American troops would not simply train Afghan forces, but also “partner” with them by living and training together and integrating their command structure.

If all this sounds familiar, it’s because it is a version of the “clear, hold and build” strategy that has worked such wonders in Iraq. It’s no surprise that the architect of that earlier strategy, General David Pertaeus, now the head of the U.S. Central Command, has tacitly offered his support for McChrystal’s plan, asserting that Afghanistan requires a “sustained and substantial commitment” – a subtle but unmistakable rebuff of the lighter footprint alternative.

Yet President Obama remains noncommittal. That was not always the case. It was as recently as August 2007, just prior to the Iraq troop surge, that a prominent Democratic politician was making a provocative appeal for the U.S. to abandon its limited counter-terror tactics in Afghanistan in favor of a broader campaign to secure the country. “We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there,” the politician declared. That politician, of course, was Barack Obama.

What has changed? The politics, for one thing. According to recent polls, Afghanistan is an unpopular war, with just 40 percent of the public backing the war effort. Another source of concern for the administration is the defection of fellow Democrats. John Kerry, the current chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, spoke for many in his party when he insisted this week that “it would be irresponsible” to send more troops to Afghanistan until it becomes clear “what is possible in Afghanistan.” (How this could be assessed unless commanders are given full resources to carry out their mission, including the required troops, Kerry did not bother to explain.)

Still, there are indications that the president is not yet willing to yield to the increasingly hostile political climate. In a speech earlier this week, he promised that “we are developing the capacity and the cooperation to deny a safe haven to any who threaten America and its allies.” That goal that would seem to have more in common with General McChrystal’s strategy than with Biden’s. Encouragingly, Obama also said that he continues to support McChrystal. “I’m the one who hired him,” he reportedly said. “I put him there to give me a frank assessment.”

The general has now delivered a strategy that he believes can turn the tide of a faltering military campaign. The president should have the courage to heed his counsel.

  • ApolloSpeaks

    RUSSIA'S COLLUSION WITH IRAN ON ITS NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM.

    In 1962 Nikita Krushchev recklessly moved nuclear missiles into Cuba and nearly plunged the superpowers into a nuclear war. In the 21st century Vladimir Putin has recklessly allowed Russian nuclear scientists and technicians into Iran to assist its terrorist regime in developing deliverable nuclear bombs.

    Google ApolloSpeaks (one word) and read about this frightful development reminiscent of the dangerous Cuban Missile Crisis.

  • MaryAnn

    I would be pleased and very surprised if Obama took the advice of his commanders. He is a moral and political coward; he's also a liar. I do not believe anything the man says; he says one thing on Monday, and the opposite on Tuesday. He has the same contempt for the military that he holds for the American people. God save us from all ploiticians. where are the true statesmen?

  • FriendForLife

    Other ways to ask your lead question:

    Will the President of our nation that says it is the most peace loving in the world listen to any other authorities on achieving peace than the military?

    Will the President finally make a stand against an infinite, never ending, civilian and soldier blood sucking, economy devastating war in Afghanistan ?

  • MaryAnn

    What would you have America do? Pack up and leave Afganistan? Let the Taliban run the country and continue its alliance with terrorists? Are we so friendly towards life that we have no concern for how the Taliban treat women? Genital mutilation, death for adultry, no education? As for Obama, I believe he will sustain the number of soldiers in Afganistan rather than either pull out or increase the numbers that will allow American victory. That, to me, is immoral. But, so his is recent statement that he is not interested in victory. How, I wondered at the time, does that make our soldiers feel about the mission he said was the “right” one? How do the families feel about that? And how do the families of our fallen soldiers feel about that? Obama is a coward. If he wants to leave Afganistan, he should. If he wants to win, he should listen to his commanders. What he should not do is abandoned our soldiers to inevitable loss and death so he looks good(he thinks) politically. Again, Obama is a coward, morally and politically.

  • Timmy

    It is a total horrendous waste to spend any more time trying to win the hearts and minds of the civilians. Here is the acid test – give all of the civilians weapons and see which side they fight on! No one would be willing to try that because they know the result. If we stayed there 1000 years in the end we would still be filthy infidels who the Muslims ultimately must defeat in Jihad. The problem is not just political or overzealous insurgents, the problem is that Islam requires certain things and NOTHING, repeat NOTHING we do can or will change that (until at some distant time in the future we confront the ideology of Islam directly). Remove all troops now and fight the war from the air and with small tactical groups that go in to complete targeted missions and get out. Zero effort must be directed to changing to doing anything with the civilians. It is absolutely a lost cause and one that we are absolute fools to waste another penny or another life or limb on.

  • FriendForLife

    Obviously, “Pack up and leave Afghanistan?” is not an option. We are there, illegally, but we are there. We have done the damage we have done and we are responsible for it.

    We are “so friendly toward life” that we have killed women and children, their family member, neighbors or friends and created more enemies than we had before. This we call “collateral damage” by having someone sitting at an antiseptic computer screen in Colorado sending in “drones” to do our blood spilling of whoever happens to be in our way so we don't have to claim it or see it.

    There ARE other options. We ARE obligated to stay there for our soldiers' sake and for the sake of many others who most of us will never know, much less care about.

    “As for Obama”, he is trying to find a workable answer that does not create a worse problem than was created by the Cheney/Bush priorities of “eye for an eye” short sightedness. They, as so many of us, were focused on “victory” rather than resolution of the conflict. “That, to me, is immoral.”

    We might wonder also how those increasing numbers of soldier feel who have now gone AWOL, lost limbs for life, been tried for torture, murder or rape of civilians they were ordered to eliminate, or those who have committed suicide because they cannot live with the disgrace of having to do the blood work most of us will never know and many of us hail them for doing our killing for us.

    My son is one of those and I can tell you how his family feels about that if you care to listen. I doubt you do.

    You are absolutely right. We should not abandon our soldiers. What we should do is give them honorable work to do in nations, WHEN WE ARE INVITED TO BE THERE, as many of our military do on a regular basis. That would be like delivering supplies for refugees of a tsunami; building water supply systems in remote areas, or creating better living conditions for so many who have needs we cannot fathom.

    The Taliban, bin Ladin, or whoever cannot compete with this kind of effort that only the richest nation in the world can provide. THIS is the way to defeat any effort by terrorists and enable those who are threatened by them to know who will support them with real benefits rather than threaten them.

    It will take time no doubt. What would be wrong with trying and giving other options a chance to work, expecially since the past 100 years has provided us with plenty of wars and still we have the same results, which is little or no relief from the evil that some men do?

  • Timmy

    Trying to “win the war” in Afghanistan is like a doctor who is faced with a patient with lung cancer and who does everything under the sun to cure the patient except get them to stop smoking. In fact, the very subject of smoking never comes up, it is entirely out of the realm of issues that are dealt with in trying to cure the lung cancer. They even go so far as to deal with how the patient walks to the corner store to “make purchases” but that they are buying cigarettes is omitted. Is there something about how he walks to the store, perhaps he should take the bus! Or better yet, get one of those Chinese pull carts and take him to store that way. But still don't do anything to get him to stop using cigarettes. For those who still don't get it, in Afghanistan and Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, and all of the other member states of the OIC, the problem is Islam and nothing will cure the patient until that is dealt with directly, head on.

  • Timmy

    Do you know that Islam is a doctrine that requires perpetual war until the entire world is under Islam? Given that fact do you think that those nations that have not “yet” fallen to Islam should fight back or should they just peacefully succumb sort of like that saying regarding rape where the victim is told to just quit fighting, relax and try to enjoy it since it is going to happen anyway? If the West figures out what Islam is all about before it is too late it will have to fight back in many ways in order to preserve Western civilization and the so-called “freedoms” that we have come to take for granted. In fact, in order to preserve a tolerant society with religious freedom we will ironically have to be intolerant to Islam. The fight will be within out own nations trying to come to grips with Islam ideologically. Fighting with bombs in countries that have already fallen to Islam is really only a small part of the overall battle.

  • coyote3

    I am certainly glad to hear from someone who has such a great grasp of the tactical aspects of this conflict. Tell us, is your degree from Sandhurst, St. Cyr, or West Point? I am not qualified to advise on how to conduct this war, and neither are you. However, neither is President Obama, although he is commander in chief.

    That said, I will agree with you that anyone, I mean anyone, who wants to go to war in Afghanistan, better think long and hard about it. Calling it is “country” is stretching the definition beyond its limit. Two of the major industries have been dope smuggling, and slave trading for long, long time. That should tell people something about what they are dealing with. Other posters have made much of the fact that we have had many wars, with the same result. I submit we haven't had a “serious” war since WWII, and even that was hampered by politics, and correctness, although to a much lesser extent than today.

    I was afflicted with a war that, for all objective purposes, we won, but were not allowed to conduct properly. Wars are not supposed to be fought for anything less than a clear goal. Now, that goal doesn't have to be anything noble, or altruistric, but the military needs to know what the objective is. Conducting wars under “rules of engagement” or with anything less in mind than total victory, just cost more lives and drag out longer. We can, and have, won wars despite our reluctance to be totally involved, but it comes at too high a price. I do not pretend to tell the military “how” to do this, but our “leaders” need to tell them what they need to do, and let the military do “whatever” (I mean that literally) it takes to do it. As a troop I wanted to know, besides my 13 months in country, what we needed to do to go home. That condition needs to be something tangible, and I agree with you it shouldn't be nation building. The military kills people and breaks things, it is not a social service agency. If killing “all” the people and breaking “all” the things is the event that takes everyone back to the world, then so be it, but the goal need to be put to the troops.

  • Timmy

    The personal swipe was not necessary, in fact, it would seem that the more “education” one has the more detached from the reality of the problem we are facing one becomes. The general failed to account for Islam in his report to Obama. Read Diana West on that topic. Whatever “tactics” he comes up with are destined to failure since he is failing to deal with the central core issue of Islam. And given that his analysis is therefore so faulty I condemn him for requesting more soldiers. That is, yes, even though I do not have a degree in military studies, I do have a brain and I can conclude that we would be fools to continue to “fight” in the manner we have been “fighting” in Afghanistan. A DRASTIC change is needed. I spelled out my plans and reasons in other posts in this thread. Try to address those exactly rather than just dismiss my views since I don't have enough brainwashing in current politically correct military tactics.

  • FriendForLife

    Thanks for your thoughts Timmy.

    As with many religions, Islam has 'doctrines' that have developed over time that demand or 'require' certain things according to some writers, clerics and power brokers. Fortunately, these apply to only those who accept the leadership of those, who usually are extremists. One can find in the Old and New Testaments many references to similar doctrines, according to the writer of that book.

    So, “that fact” is not applicable to all or most Muslims. The “fight” you assume is inevitable does not have to be based on weapons as we normally think of them, manufacture and act as the leading supplier of them to the rest of the world. There are plenty of ways to wage battle without killing or maiming others, yet get our point across in no uncertain terms. We just do not hear about them much, are not taught how to use them and so they are not thought of as useful or effective.

    There are many good and even wonderful things religions provide humans. There are also extreme examples of horrendous wrongs committed upon humans in the name of religion. We can look at ANY nation, including our own to find examples of each.

    It is our job to make sure 'the so-called freedoms' we have are protected not only from outsiders, but those insiders who also need to be controlled. We know there are humans who lose sight of others in the interest of their own power, control or amassing wealth for themselves in ANY society and nation. It is our responsibility to make certain those who make the rules for us, also abide by them.

    Fighting with bombs would not solve our problems here in this country to deal with those who ignore or intentionally break our laws. Neither does it work in any other nation. And when used, they are not “a small part of the overall battle” to those whose family members, neighbors or friends have been killed by them. Those persons are affected just as you or I would be if a bomb were dropped in our neighborhood.

    Thanks again for giving it some thought.

  • coyote3

    If you actually “read” what I said, you will see that I am not advocating fight a “politically correct” conflict, either. As for the personal swipe, although I believe the civilian government needs to set up a tangible goal for the military, and get out of the way, I am not going to tell them what to do after that. I have been in a combat zone, and my education and rank would not qualify me to manage beyond the squad level. I know my limitations, and when I hear people pontificate about tactics, and find out they have never even been at the squad level, I am amused. Actually, I agree with you, to the extent that I believe that when we fight a war, any war, we fight with not only the smarts, but with all the fury the nation can muster, or we don't fight at all.

  • Timmy

    “As with many religions, Islam has 'doctrines' that have developed over time that demand or 'require' certain things according to some writers, clerics and power brokers. Fortunately, these apply to only those who accept the leadership of those, who usually are extremists. One can find in the Old and New Testaments many references to similar doctrines, according to the writer of that book.”

    There are many problems with this paragraph. As always happens when attempting to discuss Islam with people in the West they project their own Western experience onto Islam causing all of the analyses to fail since they are built on false premises. Islam is absolutely unique – any comparisons to other religions only causes confusion and dangerous misunderstandings. Islam believes that the Koran was dictated word for word from Allah via an angel and therefore is perfect and cannot be changed. The verses are black and white making “interpreting” them away impossible. The commands are eternal for all time unlike many verses people like to find in the bible which when violent were for just that moment in time not for all time. At this point the discussion could go on for books and books, that is how far off your first paragraph is.

    “So, “that fact” is not applicable to all or most Muslims. The “fight” you assume is inevitable does not have to be based on weapons as we normally think of them, manufacture and act as the leading supplier of them to the rest of the world. There are plenty of ways to wage battle without killing or maiming others, yet get our point across in no uncertain terms. We just do not hear about them much, are not taught how to use them and so they are not thought of as useful or effective.”

    Not sure what you are saying here but the premise fails given you continue from the last paragraph – it is a cold hard fact that Islam requires eternal war – but you are correct that it is not always a hot bullets flying war – in fact – the West is waiving the white flag and allowing Islam to spread in the West without a fight. But the fact of Islam remains and we should fight back so that the West does not become Islamic and lose our freedoms.

    “There are many good and even wonderful things religions provide humans. There are also extreme examples of horrendous wrongs committed upon humans in the name of religion. We can look at ANY nation, including our own to find examples of each.”

    Sorry but that is just a meaningless generalization. Islam destroys civilizations, people, souls. That some people may still seem “nice” to you and be “Muslim” through no choice of their own is beside the point.

    “It is our job to make sure 'the so-called freedoms' we have are protected not only from outsiders, but those insiders who also need to be controlled. We know there are humans who lose sight of others in the interest of their own power, control or amassing wealth for themselves in ANY society and nation. It is our responsibility to make certain those who make the rules for us, also abide by them.”

    No other power represents the threat to freedom that Islam does. No other power represents the threat to freedom that Islam does. Comparing it to any other threat merely diminishes the scope of the threat of Islam by making naive people think it is less than it really is. Until one understands the gargantuan immense unique monstrosity of a threat that Islam is, that nothing else even begins to compare to it, one is in grave danger.

    “Fighting with bombs would not solve our problems here in this country to deal with those who ignore or intentionally break our laws. Neither does it work in any other nation. And when used, they are not “a small part of the overall battle” to those whose family members, neighbors or friends have been killed by them. Those persons are affected just as you or I would be if a bomb were dropped in our neighborhood.”

    We must bomb any Islamic regime that causes any trouble to the West. We must also eliminate any further spread of Islam in the West.

  • Timmy

    There are actually TWO distinct tracks on which one has to analyze the current situation. The first one is from the standpoint of the armed services already there – they must come to some sort of reasonable conclusion. IF their GOAL is correct, and it is NOT, then let them choose the tactics. But the general wants to do the impossible – win the hearts and minds of the civilian Muslim population. For that I condemn him and whatever tactics evolve out of that goal. And he wants 40,000 more men for that fools errand?!? The goal must be established first and then tactics devised. The general is merely trying to do “something” “anything” and that is not good enough. We could send 1,000,000 more men and spend 1 trillion more dollars, and build modern cities all over Afghanistan and even absurdly do the work that Al Qaeda wants and kill millions of OUR OWN citizens just as a sign of “good will” to them – and at the end of it all they would still hate us to the very core of our infidel beings and wish that we would die right there on the spot. The second track is what Western civilization is going to do about Islam going forward. Boots on the ground is never going to work. We should separate ourselves from them entirely and destroy problem regimes from the air and never build up any Islamic country at all ever never.

  • coyote3

    This is another example of why amateurs, you and I included, should not be doing this. The military doesn't set overall goals. Winning the hearts and minds is not a “goal”, it is a tactic, which is meant, successful or not, to achieve an overall goal, i.e., strategy. Again, I am not so presumptuous as to say what that goal would be, but then that is not for me to say. That, is up to the civilian administration, and I have not heard them articulate a concrete one yet. The military can do a lot of things, but they can't do things they were never meant to do. The “goal” is not good or bad. Adolf Hitler had goals which were, in fact, achievable. However, as an equivalent to an E-4 he was not qualified to formulate the tactics to achieve those goals. While he didn't hamper his military “like” we do, he did so, in another way, by believing he was qualified to “run” a war, and thereby interfered with his military to the point where he not only decided “who” was the enemy, but when and how the war would be prosecuted. He probably did as much to lose the war for Germany, as the did the allies. It was probably lucky for us he was as wacky as he was. In our country, the civilian government determines “if” we get into a conflict, and what we are supposed to accomplish in that conflict. I would agree that the military's input in necessary, to aid the civilian government in determining if what they want to accomplish is achievable militarily. Beyond that, however, when you have the unqualified micromanaging, deciding the “how”, e.g. whether or not stealing the women and raping the cattle is the best way to accomplish what you want to accomplish, you have a recipe for disaster.

  • Timmy

    You seem to be dealing in generalizations. Nothing you have said is news to me. I understand the civilian and military roles. But you serve as a good example of what happens, the military is over there trying to do something, anything, but even they don't know what the real goal is. But they can “occupy” themselves with endless scenarios and strategies nevertheless.

    See http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/colum

    “To win what McChrystal describes not as a battle in the war on global jihad (fireable offense No. 3), but rather as “the struggle to gain the support of the [Afghan] people,” (fireable offense No. 4), he writes that we must “connect with the people” – the same “people,” he acknowledges, who “can often change sides and provide tacit or real support to the insurgents” (fireable offense No. 5).”

    The goal of the general would seem to be winning the hearts and minds of the Afghans. If he has any comprehension of the larger goal of saving the West from the Islamic Jihad, or beating back Islam and containing it within certain geographic borders, then he sure is remaining awfully secretive about that.

  • Timmy

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/colum

    second try on link for article

    you can also google Diana West general and find it

    Diana West: McChrystal's strategy won't win Afghanistan

  • coyote3

    No, I was very specific, although there is a little extrapolation involved. I don't necessarily disagree with you, but you are being very loose with your terms. I don't think winning the hearts and minds is the “goal”. That is the problem, there is no goal, and it is not up to the military to set goals. So far, no one has given them a goal, and that is an even bigger problem. His winning the hearts and minds would seem to be part of a strategy, good, bad, indifferent, but it is kinda of hard to have any idea, if we don't know what the goal is. Likewise, we could say that the “how” you win the hearts and minds is a tactic, e.g. the stealing the women and raping the cattle, whether it would work or not, again, we don't know the goal, and that is the most dangerous part. Winning the hearts and minds, may or may not be possible. I tend to agree with you that it is not possible with these people, because they don't appear to be “wired” like we are, but that is really irrelevant. If we don't know what goal they want to accomplish by winning the hearts and minds, we remain clueless as to whether it would work or not. Kind of like asking “Is this a good tool?” Well, the obvious answer, is “that depends on what you want to do with it.” I believe that previous administration did the right thing by going to Afghanistan, and the stated goal was Al Queda, and getting UBL. Well, fine partially successful, but Taliban got in the way. No problem fighting them, either, for that purpose, but I believe we lost sight of what we went there for. In all fairness, this happened under the previous administration, although they got off to a good start. Another factor was that the previous administration did not really prepare the American people. After the attacks, they could have easily whipped the American people into screaming for blood in the streets, and at the same time educating them about the realities of a war. It would have worked under those circumstances. Now, this outfit has no goals, and is just as clueless, if not more so, than the previous bunch.

  • Timmy

    I would have to say that I have stated what our goals should be and that to the extent that the goals are anything other than that we are wasting our time money and men on whatever strategies or tactics are employed.

    People who have the unfortunate circumstance of living under Islam are not actually wired differently but the oppressiveness of Islam forces them to act in certain ways. If the Afghans were Christian or Hindu or anything other than Muslim it would be an entirely different ballgame but then in that case we wouldn't be there in the first place.

  • Timmy

    Consider that it is possible to judge a strategy or tactic wrong without even knowing what the goal is. In other words, some things that someone or some entity or group could do are so wrong that one doesn't even have to know what they are trying to do in order to condemn it as a failure. One doesn't need to come up some bizarre example where doing something outrageous is in fact good when seen in context of the goal – such as the hiker who cut off his own arm trapped by a boulder in order to save himself. In the case of our dealings in Afghanistan there simply is nothing that can be done with boots on the ground at this point that makes sense. Whether we stay or leave, spend a trillion more or zero more, it just won't make a difference in the end. Why delay the reality another few years at the risk of 40,000 more lives. And it isn't about “losing” the war, there is nothing to win. Until we decide to confront Islam per se we are just wasting time money and men.

  • airconditioningtx

    thanks for nice post

  • josephwiess

    In my opinion, President Obama and the Democrats are political and moral cowards. They need to start thinking about what might happen if the Taliban and Al-Queda take over both pakistan and Afghanistan.

    I can't help but wonder what would have happened if this bunch of spineless pollsitters had been in control during World War II. Would they have denied weapons and supplies to England, or refused to send help to the French underground, or would they have said, “We can keep sending bomber raids and wear them down.” or would they have worshiped at the feet of Hitler and Mousalini?

    I honestly don't think they ever want us to win at anything again, ever, and it's starting to really tick me off.

  • coyote3

    I don't quite know what you mean, when you say consider that a tactic might be so wrong. Are talking about morally wrong or incorrect? There is a big difference. The assumption that others share our morals and will respond favorably if we abide by them, have cost us too many lives already, and almost caused us to lose a couple of wars, and that was fighting people with whom we did share some values. Maybe we do need to confront Islam. You seem to articulate some answers, so “how” would “you” confront Islam?

  • USMCSniper

    If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win with a minimum of bloodshed and loss of wealth; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of victory. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, and only a small chance of survival.

    Partially From Churchill……

  • Timmy

    I mean the tactic is wrong from the standpoint of what we want to be the outcome. It isn't about what is morally right or wrong. And I'm not particularly concerned about anything we do “to” the Muslims if you are implying that I think anything we might have to do would be morally wrong. As far as I am concerned this is a fight for the literal survival of Western Civilization and therefore nothing is off the table. But at this point what we should do to confront Islam is first state the truth about it, make it a propaganda war to expose Islam for what it is, quit all the PC crap and tell the truth and history for what it is. Instigate them to go crazy by showing cartoons etc., let them riot, let them burn down their own cities. End all expansion of Islam in the West, end all immigration. Close any mosque that calls for Sharia. Deport anyone that calls for Sharia. So there is stage one, an endless propaganda war that we must win. As for actual war, bomb and destroy any troublesome regime, spend ZERO effort rebuilding any Islamic country. Let them suffer and stew in their own miserable societies. Do nothing to help them or prop them up. Support any non-Muslims in any land where they are being subjugated or attacked by Muslims. In other words make it clear who and what the enemy is and which side we are on. As it stands we are sick fools for creating Islamic states in Iraq and Afghanistan. Everlasting shame on the United States for that!

  • LucyQ

    “We will not win simply by killing insurgents,” the general wrote. Instead of conventional military tactics, McChrystal pushed for troops to conduct community meetings, local projects, and work programs that could win Afghans to their side and undermine the influence of the Taliban and affiliated jihadists. “Earn the support of the people and the war is won, regardless of how many militants are killed or captured,” McChrystal explained.”

    Nevermind that our purpose in Afghanistan was to kill or capture al qaeda. General McChrystal wants our young soldiers to be social workers. The pro-war people are becoming more and more like Muslims–they enjoy killing their young, in this case our young soldiers.

    If we're no longer interested in killing or capturing bin laden, then why are we nation-building in Afghanistan? McChrystal is just plain wrong about “earning the support of the people.” If we were invaded by foreigners, no matter the reason, would we end up supporting them?

  • LucyQ

    And if nation-building is this week's goal, we should invade Mexico, make it like us, a democracy, and not leave until we've “earned the support of the people.”

  • LenPowder

    The only way to win the hearts and minds of the Afghani Muslims – we must remember they are Muslims – is to give them cash, no different than what Democrats do here to win votes. Let's include them in the new Obamacare health program, build subsidized housing, issue food stamps, create non-profit organizations, build schools teaching science and technology instead of Muslim dogma – you get the point. Simply not 'killing' them won't improve their quality of life.

    What's really tragic is that you can never establish a free-market enterprise system there because their backward tribal and Islamic cultures make that impossible. When the Jihadists invaded Afghanistan centuries ago they predestined their history to the end of time, as they did in any country or region they invaded.

    Our response to 911 should not have been to invade Iraq & Afghanistan but to enforce the strictest security possible so that no terrorist could ever penetrate that security to replicate 911 again. Unwilling or unable to erect such security we were left with no choice but to take the fight to the terrorists. Unfortunately there are too many of them in too many places in the world for us to ever defeat them. In any case, the Islamists are not unlike the Japanese in WWII. They have enough kamikaze fighters to penetrate our defenses. Securing our borders was the answer, but we didn't have the will to enact this policy.

  • MaryAnn

    Any war needs to be fought with a clear knowledge of who the enemy is, and a clear goal of victory. If you don't know who you're fighting, or are afraid to name your enemy (as is the case with Islam), victory will remain elusive.
    There are no compassionate wars; people die. If a nation is not prepared to accept this, it should not go to war. There are ways to fight wars, in addition to taking up arms. For those means to be effective, the enemy must be known, understood and clearly named. America is losing the ideological battle against radical Islam because we are afraid to call it what it is. Until we do, we will lose any war against it.

  • coyote3

    We did, but we left, even though we were asked to stay. At conclusion of the Mexican War, the U.S. controlled vast areas of Northern Mexico. Admittedly, not all, but many Mexicans wanted us to stay and continue going south to Guatemala.

  • USMCSniper

    Ahh yes… Mandela the communist terrorist who kills Boer farmers and his tire-necklacing wife Winnie, Arafat the baby killing terrorist and school bus bomber, the anti-semite Carter for his efforts in establishing the Jihadist terrorist state of Iran and a nuclear armed North Korea, and the crackpot certifiable nutcase Al Gore for his achievements in anti science. Obama is in good company and I guess Nobel Peace Prize will encentivize him to withdraw from Afghanistan immediately, and to abandon Israel and support the nuclear ambitions of Iran to complete Hilter's final solution. For sure – no more troops to Afghanistan and massive funds into the IMF!

  • brimp

    Committing to not winning a war will get you a peace prize.

  • http://twurl.nl/puknuv Rhea Aiola

    Nice read, thx for the post.