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Thread: US troops coming home? Obama to say on Wednesday

  1. #211
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    Re: President Obama To Announce Details of Afghanistan Strategy On Wednesday

    Quote Originally Posted by gunner View Post
    In terms of Afghanistan IMO it was initially a totally justified conflict. The trouble came once the coalition took their eye off the ball and invaded Iraq. Much like what happened after the initial phase where we thought the job was done will happen again to some degree. Afghanistan being a 'Tribal' society does not allow for a conventional comparative study, the study would simply draw out all that is so dissimilar-so a pointless exercise. We can hope that a corrupt Karzai administration will be able, and strong enough, to hold the desired amount of provinces to keep a semblance of order, Afghans order not a Westernised version. My inclination is it will hold together for however long the Afghan people are tired of his particular regime then the cycle repeats.

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    How did they take their eye off the ball?

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    Re: President Obama To Announce Details of Afghanistan Strategy On Wednesday

    They pulled troops out of tora bora. I know a guy who was there. He said jaws dropped when they got the order to pack and go to Iraq . They were literally on bin ladens ass and they had to let him go. That is fact, well documented. Bush fucjed up and he even admits it. It's history now but we definitely took our eyes off the ball.

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    Re: President Obama To Announce Details of Afghanistan Strategy On Wednesday

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    How did they take their eye off the ball?
    By making some disastrous policy decisions. For one, believing the Northern Alliance were going to be some-kind of 'unifying' force. Not having a clear objective once the Taliban were ousted. Leaving far, far to few troops to have any sway or impact on the power vacuum post invasion [Rumsfeld's light footprint policy].

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    Re: President Obama To Announce Details of Afghanistan Strategy On Wednesday

    Quote Originally Posted by gunner View Post
    By making some disastrous policy decisions. For one, believing the Northern Alliance were going to be some-kind of 'unifying' force. Not having a clear objective once the Taliban were ousted. Leaving far, far to few troops to have any sway or impact on the power vacuum post invasion [Rumsfeld's light footprint policy].

    Paul
    Really?..............

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    Re: President Obama To Announce Details of Afghanistan Strategy On Wednesday

    Quote Originally Posted by dontworrybehappy View Post
    They pulled troops out of tora bora. I know a guy who was there. He said jaws dropped when they got the order to pack and go to Iraq . They were literally on bin ladens ass and they had to let him go. That is fact, well documented. Bush fucjed up and he even admits it. It's history now but we definitely took our eyes off the ball.
    I think sometimes we are in danger of to easily conducting retrospective analysis and maintaining the high ground. But, in this instance looking at the shambolic policy apparatus [one organ of government at odds with another] we are justified in taking the retrospective high ground.

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    Re: President Obama To Announce Details of Afghanistan Strategy On Wednesday

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    Really?..............
    Really what?

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    Re: President Obama To Announce Details of Afghanistan Strategy On Wednesday

    Quote Originally Posted by Gargantuan View Post
    I've actually never heard it in the media... I heard it from an IEA years ago who was a sergeant in the army. I think an E-7 is an SFC though so I guess that's how they distinguish it. My experience they just say sergeant to all E-5 up till warrants/commissioned officers but again that experience is limited.
    in the Marines you go by your rank. The "everyone is a Sergeant" thing... I came up in the grunts. If you called your Staff Sergeant "Sarge", your Corporal would have punched you in the gut. That started changing as I came up, though, and it was already weakened when I came in. If it's anything like the command/support fields are now.. perhaps they would take you aside, cuddle you, ask if they can get you a warm milk, and then explain how when you call people by the wrong name you hurt their feelings.

    I guess for something like that if you really were in violation it would be marine CID not NCIS that would investigate that. In my opinion the whole military criminal investigative division of our government is ridiculously unorganized and wasteful...
    a Government Agency?!? surely you jest!

    Yeah that's good for you. I mean I'm almost out - another 6 years is all I can do in terms of being an actual GS1811 special agent who carries and investigates crime. I can either retire and get out or (more likely) take a supervisory job somewhere for DHS which I'd rather do. They don't let you work past 56 as an 1811.
    No way I'm doing 20. I might could get talked into 12, depending on duty station after this tour - and I might go with Reserves or cross-deck to the NG to finish up with, but 20 years Active isn't for me or my family.

    Yeah I was waiting for something about that... I know the brits have very elite units/equipment. They better get their **** together with those units, because from what you've said as well as general readings, their regular land army isn't too hot.
    and the Brits (again) are the best of the lot. NATO has now become a military alliance with nations who don't have militaries and don't want to be allied to us.

    Right, but in the end, if we can get our NATO allies better on their feet, and not in a role where they have to take areas/deal with locals, it could be possible to have lower numbers of US forces in the area.
    We can't get them "better on their feet", because their leadership doesn't want their feet going outside the wire any more than absolutely necessary. They also aren't going to maintain levels while we are withdrawing - they will want to beat us out the gate. Unless we want to ally with the Chinese, the possibility of a foreign military actually doing much is roughly nil.

    Absolutely. In most cases civilians are the first line of defense. The amount of Muslims who have given tips regarding islamic radicals, or the amount of people who have reported white supremacists, etc, is amazing. The amount of people going into and out of the javits building whenever I go there reporting tips is huge. That is all really interesting though, especially the point about your gunny noticing that. I've known of agents who have been sent over there for various purposes, and have reported similar things.
    precisely. now imagine trying to run a Homeland Security campaign where part of your deal with those people was that you would give them money and protect them.... for 18 months. At which point you would turn them over to the people they had informed on. That's the effect of imposing an artificial withdrawal date.

    Never been there myself though, too old, lol.
    it's hot as all get out and the people don't speak English. so maybe it depends where on the Border you did your time.

    So in your assessment, I know you aren't a commander or anything, but how long do you think it would take to fully and totally be able to withdraw the large amounts of forces we have in Afghanistan, and replace them with small security detachments at embassies who continue to train but generally don't do counterinsurgency?
    with all the caveats about being completely unit and locality dependent, etc;

    I would want 4 total fighting seasons. One to clear Taliban out with US troops in the lead. One to hold them out and secure the area with US troops in the lead while training locals. One to hold them out and secure the area with US and Afghan troops co-located and working in tandem; with US forces gradually ceding the lead, and one for Afghan forces to take the fight over while US forces sit back as a reserve in case things start to go wrong.

    We've already generally accomplished Step one, and are halfway through step two and edging into step three (again, area dependent). So, two and a half more fighting seasons as a general note; with allowances for specific areas that may go faster or slower. We found in Iraq that success built on success and we were able to turn over at a faster rate than we had anticipated - but you can't depend on that in scheduling. But we have to make it clear to the people in that locality that we are there until the job is done; else they have no reason to side with us and the job will never get done.

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    Re: President Obama To Announce Details of Afghanistan Strategy On Wednesday

    I know, I actually have heard that exact thing about calling someone "sarge". I used to work in Washington and lived in Fairfax and I had to go to Quantico once in a while and one time I called a master sergeant "sergeant" and they all looked at me like I was insane... no corporal there would've gotten away with slamming a federal agent in the stomach though without having his ass kicked and probably put in the brig for a month lol.. Marines are very respectful though. They call you sir, stand at attention, etc, even though ICE doesn't have the authority to enforce the UCMJ like the military investigators do.

    No way I'm doing 20. I might could get talked into 12, depending on duty station after this tour - and I might go with Reserves or cross-deck to the NG to finish up with, but 20 years Active isn't for me or my family.
    Yeah I don't blame you. I have some buddies who have made life time careers out of the Coast Guard but as enlisted military seems like a tough life, especially since you have a family. Wouldn't that be just great if you went to the NG then got deployed to Afghanistan... You're stationed in Japan right now though? Just basing that on your profile thing.

    it's hot as all get out and the people don't speak English. so maybe it depends where on the Border you did your time.
    Maybe experiences were not too different then :d

    with all the caveats about being completely unit and locality dependent, etc;

    I would want 4 total fighting seasons. One to clear Taliban out with US troops in the lead. One to hold them out and secure the area with US troops in the lead while training locals. One to hold them out and secure the area with US and Afghan troops co-located and working in tandem; with US forces gradually ceding the lead, and one for Afghan forces to take the fight over while US forces sit back as a reserve in case things start to go wrong.

    We've already generally accomplished Step one, and are halfway through step two and edging into step three (again, area dependent). So, two and a half more fighting seasons as a general note; with allowances for specific areas that may go faster or slower. We found in Iraq that success built on success and we were able to turn over at a faster rate than we had anticipated - but you can't depend on that in scheduling. But we have to make it clear to the people in that locality that we are there until the job is done; else they have no reason to side with us and the job will never get done.
    I have a good feeling we are going to see those 4 fighting seasons. If this current withdrawl plan was really that bad and was going to be that horrible for security I have a feeling we'd have seen a major dissent amongst military leaders and some resignations in the civilian side. I know a military leader can't just take off his uniform when he disagrees with the President and go home, but if it was that bad I'd bet for example the guy appointed to be joint chiefs chair wouldn't have stuck around. I thin we are going to see exactly what you said or something similar, but the military leaders are going to be able to handle it with that many troops the President has given the OK to. The withdrawl plan I think is stupid though you are right about that - one thing I noticed though is that 2014 isn't when we agree to leave, it's when we agree to put Afghanistan in full charge (we as in ISAF, not the us specfically)
    Last edited by Gargantuan; 06-24-11 at 11:05 PM.

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    Re: President Obama To Announce Details of Afghanistan Strategy On Wednesday

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    this is incorrect. the endstate in Afghanistan is simple to state and merely complicated to accomplish - an Afghan state chosen by it's people capable of defending itself against Islamist attacks from the Taliban and like/allied elements, such as the Haqqani Network.
    And why is that an essential goal for the United States? With Osama Bin Laden dead, fewer than 100 Al-Qaeda fighters left in Afghanistan, and fewer than 300 Al-Qaeda fighters left in Pakistan (these are CIA estimates), the terrorist group is pretty much defunct. The Taliban without Al-Qaeda is merely an unpleasant group. There are plenty of those all over the world, some with a lot more power and influence than the Taliban has.

    this is also incorrect. the situation on the ground is entirely dependent on locality - in the areas' where we have applied a proven counterinsurgency strategy (commonly called "the Surge", after the manpower it requires), the turnarounds have been dramatic in some areas, and amazing in others.
    Yep, it's the whack-a-mole approach. Of course they disappear when US troops roll in, and pop up somewhere else. But even with the surge we don't have the manpower to police every single part of the country indefinitely.

    on the contrary, trend analysis, local measurements of state improvement, and step/tests for military and police professionalization all provide strong metrics that indicate nearness to the goal.
    And more important metrics (e.g. the number of casualties - military and civilian) point toward the opposite conclusion. One can always find individual encouraging trends, but looking at the "big picture" it's difficult to make the case that Afghanistan is more secure today than it was a few years ago.

    again, it depends on where you are. It also depends when you are - this foolish withdraw plan that has us pulling troops out in the middle of the fighting season literally forces the enemy to accept victory.
    From what I understand the troops won't start withdrawing until late fall.

    as for the facts on the ground, however, they do not indicate at large an insurgency in its' death throes - though in some places that is an accurate depiction. However, when we are speaking of the areas into which the Taliban ran free and into which we surged, we can speak of a general tipping point that has been passed wherein the insurgency is losing. Losing freedom of movement, losing his ability to conduct effective M&I campaigns, etc.
    Again, the whack-a-mole approach. And I'm still not seeing why this entire strategy is even necessary for the United States. Let's suppose that we withdrew from Afghanistan tomorrow, and the Taliban overran the country and set up their own government again. (I think this is far from the most likely outcome, but for the sake of argument suppose that it happened). Is that outcome so geopolitically horrible that it's worth the exorbitant cost ($427 billion so far)? I think not. Afghanistan isn't the center of the universe and there are other, far more important problems to address than a nasty rebel group in a mountainous country on the other side of the world.

    the only thing he's not losing is he's not losing the populace's active advantage to the Americans. Because we have a commander in chief stupid enough to put out a withdrawal date. Which means that every Afghan Peasant knows that if he sides with the Americans, in two years, they will abandon him and he will be murdered along with his family by an enemy that the American President was too weak to defeat. In order to win active support of the populace (which is the final Big Piece in a counterinsurgency campaign), you have to convince them that you are the winning side. We have the ability to do that, and we did that in Iraq. But apparently we don't want to do that in Afghanistan, because that might piss off our liberal base, and so instead we will take a course that guarantees that the Afghan civilian populace will largely try to sit this one out. They don't wish to side with the Taliban; not just because they are wildly unpopular, but because wherever Americans are, we are winning - and they don't want to side with Americans, because the Americans have already announced that they intend to lose.
    And everything in this paragraph is predicated on the assumption that we should A) care who they side with, and B) that we should care SO much that it's worth the $427 billion price tag.

    invading Afghanistan will only prove to have been a mistake if we decide to lose.
    Even if the goal you set forth in the first sentence was accomplished tomorrow, Afghanistan will still prove to be a horrid mistake...because that goal doesn't begin to justify the costs.

    quite the contrary, we owe them quite a bit. that they cannot personally receive does not make our debt any less.
    Yes it does. Sending more people to their deaths and spending hundreds of billions of dollars because we don't want to admit we've made a mistake is a tragic waste of resources and lives.

    we do here as well. the American decision to lose in Vietnam immeasurably harmed this nation
    How so? 15 years later the Cold War ended, Vietnam is a rapidly developing nation today, and we have a good relationship with them on both the government and business side.

    the decision on our part to withdraw will be a decision to leave an entire populace to the tender mercies of hyper-violent, xenophobic, murderous Islamist Fundamentalists. We will be choosing to abandon the innocent to the murderer and rapist. We will be choosing to let pscyhos pour acid on little girls faces for the crime of wishing to know how to read, or listen to music. We owe it to posterity not to be the kind of people who would do that.
    This is an emotional appeal that fails to acknowledge the fact that we can't have everything we want. There are lots of brutal regimes, and lots of people living in nasty conditions (even aside from the human rights violations). How about we take the money we're spending on Afghanistan and use it to fight AIDS or malaria in Africa then? We'll save a lot more lives, we'll improve the standard of living a lot more than we would fighting the Taliban, and we won't make as many enemies in the process.

    well, if its not on CNN who cares, right? ****it!
    We can care about it as human beings without caring about it from the strategic perspective of the US government. And yes, if it's not on CNN there's a pretty good chance it isn't relevant to the US.

    awesome idea. and how do you plan to pull this off when the doctors you send are kidnapped and have their throats slit by a pscyhotic paranoid Islamist government?
    A couple possibilities:
    1) Send them in anyway, and accept the fact that a few of them will probably die. Far better than the thousands of casualties occurring today, especially when you factor in the lives they save.
    2) Send them somewhere other than Afghanistan, with better security but equally severe health problems.

    Healthcare, sanitation, better farming methodology, education; all these are important - and all of them are part of our long term strategy. But Security Comes First Or The Rest Will Come Not At All.
    Actually, those things would improve security. One reason the Afghan people don't especially trust the US is because many of them see us as just another military faction that has been dropping bombs on them and shooting them. They've dealt with that for decades. If we approached it from a more humanitarian perspective, people would naturally trust us more than if they only know that we're killing them. And who can blame them?
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  10. #220
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    Re: President Obama To Announce Details of Afghanistan Strategy On Wednesday

    The writing is on the wall.....

    1 The Taliban are winning politically

    2 The Taliban will step up their attacks and, the US suffer more (the Afghan gov will weaken as we pullout and fall not too long after)

    End result - Taliban victory

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