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Thread: American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains

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    Re: American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    Then there are geopolitical threats: Iraq influenced its region.
    I agree, which makes the war even more perplexing.
    How's is that perplexing? I must have missed something.

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    A perpetual threat to Iran it helped militarize Iran's foreign policy.
    The real enemy, IMO
    Indeed, but we couldn't very well make a case to pre-emptively attack Iran, could we? Plus, Iran has a real military and bad terrain for armor - we don't want a shooting war with Iran. Therefore, we attack Iran non-militarily. See next point...

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    But more than anything, Iraq was an opportunity for transformation that would impact the region, beyond it being a geopolitical threat.
    If that's what the goal was, then why didn't we say that?
    We did. They did. They claimed the objective was to create a democracy that would help transform the region. Now we have Iran with a Shiite dominated democracy on its border. Everyone is always worried about what Iran is doing to influence events in Iraq. Nobody seems to ask what Iraq is doing to influence Iran. There are a number of Iraqi clerics visiting and consulting in Qom, Iran - their holy city.

    There are two schools of political theory in the Twelver sect of Shia Islam. The Twelver sect is the dominant sect in Iraq and Iran (and other countries in the Gulf). One of these political schools is in power in Iran and is the Khomenist School. This school believes that the government is run by the clerics and so the clerics have executive power in Iran. The other school is the Quietist School headed by Ali Sistani of Iraq. This school thinks that the jurisprudence of a government should be run by the Clerics, or at least that the Quran is a leading text of jurisprudence, but that the executive is a secular function.

    Since the invasion and introduction of democracy in a Quietist fashion in Iraq, there has been a lot of clerical travels between Najaf, Iraq and Qom, Iran. Qom is the spiritual center of Iran. The Quietist school has been gaining significant ground against the Khomenist School in Qom and the real struggle in Iran is between groups of clerics over who will run the government.

    This is a non-trivial result of the invasion of Iraq, and it's true long-term objective, IMHO.

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    Most of those examples are not applicable. Iraq is unique because we pre-emptively invaded another soveriegn nation. The commercialism link I don't get.
    Well, we preemptively invaded Mexico starting the Mexican-American War, but that wasn't on my list. My list was for occupations for the purpose of spreading democracy. They were interventionist, even if we had to wait for a precipitating event.


    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    Men have been going to war for these reasons with honor.
    I'm glad you can speak on their behalf
    Well, my opinion. Let me put it another way: Those were honorable wars. So is the war in Iraq.
    Last edited by reefedjib; 10-17-09 at 03:56 PM.

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    Re: American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    Indeed, but we couldn't very well make a case to pre-emptively attack Iran, could we? Plus, Iran has a real military and bad terrain for armor - we don't want a shooting war with Iran. Therefore, we attack Iran non-militarily.
    I think a shooting war with Iran is OK...we can win that. It's the staying and democracy imposing that I'm opposed to; that's when Americans start really dying. We can also strategically bomb the nuclear sites, as well.

    We did. They did. They claimed the objective was to create a democracy that would help transform the region. Now we have Iran with a Shiite dominated democracy on its border. Everyone is always worried about what Iran is doing to influence events in Iraq. Nobody seems to ask what Iraq is doing to influence Iran. There are a number of Iraqi clerics visiting and consulting in Qom, Iran - their holy city.
    Iran is in charge. Iraq is not. Iran showed that by decimating Americans with EFPs by way of Iranian agents in Shia militias. Trust me, they suck. The Iraqi clerics going to Qom are getting their marching orders. Wait until we leave.

    There are two schools of political theory in the Twelver sect of Shia Islam. The Twelver sect is the dominant sect in Iraq and Iran (and other countries in the Gulf). One of these political schools is in power in Iran and is the Khomenist School. This school believes that the government is run by the clerics and so the clerics have executive power in Iran. The other school is the Quietist School headed by Ali Sistani of Iraq. This school thinks that the jurisprudence of a government should be run by the Clerics, or at least that the Quran is a leading text of jurisprudence, but that the executive is a secular function.
    Ahmedinejad takes orders from Khomeni. He may act rogue sometimes, but the Ayatollah is behind the curtain...I don't care what the twelver doctrine says.

    Since the invasion and introduction of democracy in a Quietist fashion in Iraq, there has been a lot of clerical travels between Najaf, Iraq and Qom, Iran. Qom is the spiritual center of Iran. The Quietist school has been gaining significant ground against the Khomenist School in Qom and the real struggle in Iran is between groups of clerics over who will run the government. This is a non-trivial result of the invasion of Iraq, and it's true long-term objective, IMHO.
    Thanks for reading the Shia Revival by Vali Nasr. Still doesn't justify our invasion and 4K soldiers being dead. For what?

    Well, we preemptively invaded Mexico starting the Mexican-American War, but that wasn't on my list. My list was for occupations for the purpose of spreading democracy. They were interventionist, even if we had to wait for a precipitating event.
    The military isn't a democracy spreading machine. We aren't good at it and that's not what we are designed for.

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    Re: American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    I think a shooting war with Iran is OK...we can win that. It's the staying and democracy imposing that I'm opposed to; that's when Americans start really dying. We can also strategically bomb the nuclear sites, as well.
    We could win at great cost, especially if we are sending in ground forces. It would be a hard slog because it is all mountainous. And to what end? Something will have to replace the current Iranian regime.

    I am totally for promoting regime change and doing nation building. We should be in the business of democracy promotion/imposing. It is the second half of war. We keep focusing on that first half. Petraeus focused on the second half and Marines are known for their small wars.

    However, we have to be very selective about who we do this with. It should only be strategically important countries that could support a democracy. Iraq is at the center of a much larger picture, whereas Iran is a great regional power on the periphery. Iraq is at the faultlines of Sunni-Shia, Arab-Persian, Arab-Kurd, and is an OPEC country. It is impacting the whole region: Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey directly. Iran doesn't have that kind of impact.


    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    Iran is in charge. Iraq is not. Iran showed that by decimating Americans with EFPs by way of Iranian agents in Shia militias. Trust me, they suck. The Iraqi clerics going to Qom are getting their marching orders. Wait until we leave.
    I totally believe EFPs completely suck. Iran is fighting back hard because they see what is happening and the risk they run. Certainly there are some clerics in the pay of Iran, but there are a lot of clerics influencing thought in Iran. Trust me. Haven't you seen the news about the demonstrations in Iran? That is only the surface. The real struggle has been between Rafsanjani and Khomeine.


    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    Ahmedinejad takes orders from Khomeni. He may act rogue sometimes, but the Ayatollah is behind the curtain...I don't care what the twelver doctrine says.
    That underscores my point. Ahmedinejad, as the President of Iran, holds executive power, but is formally beholden to the Ayatollah. It is the cleric which holds real executive power.


    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    Thanks for reading the Shia Revival by Vali Nasr.
    I have not heard of it before. Is it good?

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    Still doesn't justify our invasion and 4K soldiers being dead. For what?
    It does in my book. The promotion of a democracy in the middle east will secure the political situation and protect the oil industry. Strategic geopolitical interest.

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    The military isn't a democracy spreading machine. We aren't good at it and that's not what we are designed for.
    It is. See the list of wars I mentioned. We are actually pretty darn good at it. Iraq has gone well, once we admitted there was an insurgency and fought a counterinsurgency war. Perceive reality correctly to set a realistic objective.
    Last edited by reefedjib; 10-17-09 at 04:52 PM.

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    Re: American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains

    "President Barack Obama does not intend to decide about sending additional troops to Afghanistan until he is satisfied that the Kabul government can work effectively with the U.S., a top White House aide said Sunday.

    "It would be reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop levels if in fact you haven't done a thorough analysis of whether in fact there's an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that U.S. troops would create and become a true partner in governing," said the president's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel."


    The Associated Press: Emanuel: Can Afghan govt be effective US partner?

    I don't know if you all read this in today's news.

    Selfishly, I'm glad Obama is taking his time and making the wisest decision he can (I recognize this is selfish, because if my son were already over there, I would want Obama to hurry up and send more troops as soon as possible).

    On the other hand, if I had no horse in this race, no personal stake in this game... I think I would still want Obama to take his time and make the wisest decision possible.
    Either way, it's obviously going to cost lives. There are troops over there now in isolated rural outposts, without enough backup to call on when militants attack. it's awful.
    But that's war.

    If Obama sends more troops before determining the right course for this operation to take, it could unnecessarily cost thousands and thousands of additional American lives, for no tangible gain.

    We need to be clear about our objective over there first, and we need to determine whether the current Afghan government is going to be able to partner with us in achieving that objective. And if not, we need to replace them with one that will.

    It truly is another Vietnam, if we simply hurl more bodies at an unwinnable war without a clear objective.
    I can't support that. I'm glad Obama can't, either.
    I wish we didn't already have troops there.
    It tears at my heart to think about our brave soldiers over there in danger and without a clear objective.
    I wish with all my heart that they can be safe while we figure out what to do.
    Last edited by 1069; 10-18-09 at 11:29 AM.

  5. #115
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    Re: American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains

    Quote Originally Posted by 1069 View Post
    [COLOR="DarkRed"]We need to be clear about our objective over there first, and we need to determine whether the current Afghan government is going to be able to partner with us in achieving that objective. And if not, we need to replace them with one that will.
    This is what made the counterinsurgency a success in Iraq, by comparison. They identified the correct achievable objectives.

    Afghanistan is tricky however. The largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns, are not favorably inclinated toward Kabul's government and the coalition forces. There are few dedicated indiginous partners. At least that is my impression for here.

    Afghanistan is a mess - we should get out.

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    Re: American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    Afghanistan is a mess - we should get out.
    That's the million dollar question. It really is difficult to see what can be done for the best. If we continue in an ad hoc manner the situation on the ground is unlikely to improve. Unfortunately we have to go in big, on all fronts, by that i mean militarily, humanitarian and economically. We cannot afford to neglect any part of the jigsaw.

    Alternatively pull out. The one certainty from that, the country ploughing into disarray and chaos....and not doubt become a safe haven all over again.

    Paul
    RIP THE EUROPEAN FORUM 2016

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    Re: American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    I find this pretty amusing coming from a truck driver and a leg (I'm assuming)
    A, "leg"? uh, no. An airborne, air assault, pathfinder qualified, EIB/CIB totin' infantry soldier, yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    A, "leg"? uh, no. An airborne, air assault, pathfinder qualified, EIB/CIB totin' infantry soldier, yes.
    Really? Well, my apologies. I'm all the above except EIB/CIB...being a cannoncocker and all. Although I did serve with an INF company in Iraq as the FSO.

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    Re: American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    Really? Well, my apologies. I'm all the above except EIB/CIB...being a cannoncocker and all. Although I did serve with an INF company in Iraq as the FSO.
    What does INF and FSO mean?

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    Re: American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    Really? Well, my apologies. I'm all the above except EIB/CIB...being a cannoncocker and all. Although I did serve with an INF company in Iraq as the FSO.
    I've always felt like CIB's shouldn't be restricted to infantry MOS's. I think that FSO's, medic, TAC-P type personel should be awarded the CIB if they are directly attached to an infantry unit in combat.

    What does INF and FSO mean?
    INF = infantry

    FSO = fire support officer. The FSO leads the FIST, the fire and indirect support team. The FIST guys are the ones that communicate between the infantry unit and the artillery unit. The infantry unit commander tells the FIST where he wants fire to impact, the FIST figures out the coordinance and identifies what type of target it is--troops, tanks, trucks, buildings, etc.--and sends that info the artillery battery(s).
    Last edited by apdst; 10-19-09 at 08:56 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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