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Thread: U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

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    Re: U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

    Quote Originally Posted by WillRockwell View Post
    I suspect that "exhaustive examination" is BS. If the Bush administration had time to figure out exactly what was needed in Afghanistan, why didn't they implement it? Sounds like another "secret memo" that exonerates all their incompetence.
    I agree with this to a degree. The Bush Administration knew what would end the conflict. They just had no idea how to get there. Without economic development, we will never, ever, ever win. Bush likely knew this. The problem is how to get there. Bush never addressed this for 7 years because there isn't an obvious choice. What the partisan hacks here are refusing to acknowledge is that Obama faces the same stark problem. Hypocrisy yes, but that is an over abundant resource here.
    "If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him." - Sun Tzu

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    Re: U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    It's not our primary mission to insure that Afghanistan has a flawless government.
    I see you did not learn a thing from Vietnam eh?

    Without a reasonably efficient and clean government coupled with economic development, we will never leave Afghanistan. It is in our best interest to promote a reasonably efficient and clean government. Military only solutions will not work. If that was the case, the French would still be in control of IndoChina and the Russians in control of Afghanistan.

    Our primary mission is to destroy the Taliban's will and ability to wage war, thereby sending a signal to any other agresser that if they **** with the United States, we will rain down the same amount of death and destruction on them, as well.
    Lockheed Martin must love you. Endless conflict with that view.

    Bkhad has proven beyond a doubt he understands successful COIN. You have not.
    "If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him." - Sun Tzu

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    Re: U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

    Sorry I am late to the party. I just found this thread after posting another one on the same article.

    I am all about COIN. It is better to protect the local population than to fight the enemy head on. When the enemy IS the local population, why then you have a serious problem.

    I thought this paragraph from the OP's article was particularly illuminating and I didn't see it quoted.
    Hoh's doubts increased with Afghanistan's Aug. 20 presidential election, marked by low turnout and widespread fraud. He concluded, he said in his resignation letter, that the war "has violently and savagely pitted the urban, secular, educated and modern of Afghanistan against the rural, religious, illiterate and traditional. It is this latter group that composes and supports the Pashtun insurgency."

    With "multiple, seemingly infinite, local groups," he wrote, the insurgency "is fed by what is perceived by the Pashtun people as a continued and sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies. The U.S. and Nato presence in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non-Pashtun soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified."
    How do you solve that perception problem? If we cannot, we ought to get the hell out, because military force isn't going to cut it.

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    Re: U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

    Here's the Christian Science Monitor's take on this story:

    Matthew Hoh: new poster boy for critics of Afghanistan war
    Matthew Hoh, a former Marine officer, resigned from his current State Department post in Afghanistan, saying he no longer believes the war is worth American lives.
    By Mark Sappenfield | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
    from the October 27, 2009 edition



    Matthew Hoh, perhaps unintentionally and unavoidably, has instantly made himself the poster boy for Vice President Joe Biden, liberal Democrats, and every American who looks at a troop surge in Afghanistan with deep skepticism.

    Mr. Hoh, a respected retired marine captain, resigned his post as a Foreign Service officer in Afghanistan last week, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

    The reason: "I fail to see the value or the worth in continued US casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year-old civil war," he said in his resignation letter.

    Hoh is perhaps the highest profile official with a military background to question the wisdom of the war in Afghanistan. With President Obama nearing a decision on a new Afghan strategy, Hoh's words come at a crucial time.

    So far, the US military has spoken with resounding unanimity. Overwhelmingly, generals have backed the prescription of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan. McChrystal says American security would be best served by sending 44,000 more troops to stabilize Afghanistan.

    Though Hoh makes pains to underscore the difficulty of his decision, he has chosen to respectfully – and publicly – disagree.

    He is already scheduled to meet with the foreign policy adviser for Mr. Biden – the most vocal proponent of a more limited military presence in Afghanistan. Biden advocates a "counterterrorism" strategy that relies more on Predator drone strikes against Al Qaeda targets – a strategy that has shown some success in Pakistan's tribal territories. McChrystal pointedly dismissed such an idea.

    But Hoh now gives this argument a degree of military credibility. Hoh says that the was is not truly a pan-Afghan insurgency, but rather a hundred different wars with variables unique to each valley. In many cases, "holy war" is virtually a cottage industry for local power-brokers – and the US is merely providing a convenient enemy.

    Moreover, he echoes a key Obama administration concern: Corruption in the Afghan government makes it an unreliable partner.

    In his letter, he calls Afghan President Hamid Karzai "a president whose confidants and chief advisers comprise drug lords and war crimes villains, who mock our own rule of law and counternarcotics efforts."

    The report comes on the heels of Sen. John Kerry's comments Monday that McChrystal's plan "reaches too far, too fast."

    Senator Kerry has emerged as one of Mr. Obama's key point men on Afghanistan. It was Kerry who was in Afghanistan to persuade Mr. Karzai to accept a Nov. 7 runoff after investigations found massive fraud in his favor.

    Kerry said three conditions must be met before Afghanistan would be ready for a troop surge: more capable Afghan troops, less corruption, and enough development capacity to build upon military gains.

    Now, Democrats in Congress have another voice suggesting that Afghanistan is not worth American blood and treasure. Hoh tells the Post that the US should decrease its combat forces in Afghanistan, if not remove them entirely.

    Hoh's military credentials are impressive. He served twice in Iraq with distinction, mastering the difficult tasks that today's insurgencies demand of warriors – knowing when to fight and when to act as scholars, peace-brokers, or aid workers to rebuild shattered communities, according to the Post account.

    After leaving the Marines as a captain, he became a Foreign Service officer in Afghanistan's Zabul Province – a wild and forbidding land near the epicenter of the Afghan insurgency.

    There, he became convinced that the US presence merely provided "an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified."
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1027/p02s09-usmi.html

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    Re: U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    I am all about COIN. It is better to protect the local population than to fight the enemy head on. When the enemy IS the local population, why then you have a serious problem.
    Agreed, brother. But, we've got to take a realist approach and know when we can be successful in COIN ops and not successful. I happen to believe that the COIN effort in Iraq will be infinetely easier than if we choose this endevour in AFG. It's so much more difficult for so many reasons; despite the obvious: it's bigger, worse terrain, worse weather, no infastructure, more multi-ethnic, etc. Plus I'd argue the Taliban is a much more organized and ferocious enemy than anyone in Iraq. I also feel that the Iraqis may have been more easier to "convince" to allow us to secure them than the Afghans will be. Iraqis had access to media (sat. TV, internet, etc). Not the case in AFG. A full on COIN strategy in AFG will require more than what McChrystal is asking for, IMO.

    I thought this paragraph from the OP's article was particularly illuminating and I didn't see it quoted.
    Well, the intent was the everyone read the linked article and resignation before commenting, which I'm sure didn't happen. I didn't want to put the entire article in quotes. Thanks for highlighting it though.

    How do you solve that perception problem? If we cannot, we ought to get the hell out, because military force isn't going to cut it.
    Agreed. The military isn't going to get the help from the civilian organizations that it requires, either.

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    Re: U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Gonzo View Post
    Fine dissection of my post, KsWhig.
    Thanks.

    I am quite certain I was oversimplifying, and we both agree an exit strategy needs to be well thought out.
    Well, as I said, "exit plans" aren't really applicable in a full on COIN strategy.

    But you didn't answer my question.

    What IS the motivation? There is at least an oil reserve under Iraq. Motive.
    Oil was hardly the motive in Iraq, since we didn't take any. Motive in AFG? National security.

    But how deep are we cutting into this fat? Afghanistan is a failed effort, perpetuated by a man who proclaimed 'Change'.
    I wouldn't call AFG a failure, because to fail, you must have clearly defined goals that aren't met. We haven't done that. If you think about it, Obama didn't have much of a choice but to jump on the AFG bandwagon. He was so anti-Iraq that to also be anti-AFG would have hurt him politically. I think the "change" part in AFG was to set goals and implement a strategy, which we are still waiting on...

    And for the record, I did listen to him on the campaign trail, but you can't always put stock in that, of course.
    No, but on something as critical as AFG, you don't expect to intentions to change so quickly.

    I assumed he, like many liberals, was illustrating the fact that Afghan, Al-Qaeda (Saudis), should have been the target
    I don't know any prominent liberal who called for targeting Saudis.

    not Iraq, whose leader was a secular despot - less of a threat than an ideologically driven society out to destroy the infidels.
    I agree with you there. But don't forget that the majority of Democrats voted for War in Iraq, something they seem to forget sometimes.

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    Re: U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib
    How do you solve that perception problem? If we cannot, we ought to get the hell out, because military force isn't going to cut it.
    Agreed. The military isn't going to get the help from the civilian organizations that it requires, either.
    I reread the quote and it occured to me that this isn't merely a perception problem. That was a bad choice of words. It is a cultural problem: rural vs urban, traditional vs modern, etc.

    That lack of PRT or whatever is serious as well, as you pointed out.

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    Re: U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

    Quote Originally Posted by kansaswhig View Post
    What BN were you in?

    Things may have changed now, but I was in 584th Maint. Co.


    j-mac
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    Re: U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

    Quote Originally Posted by j-mac View Post
    Things may have changed now, but I was in 584th Maint. Co.
    Nope they are still there. Everything has been streamlined into Brigades (now there are four) as I'm sure you know.

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    Re: U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

    Quote Originally Posted by WillRockwell View Post
    I suspect that "exhaustive examination" is BS. If the Bush administration had time to figure out exactly what was needed in Afghanistan, why didn't they implement it? Sounds like another "secret memo" that exonerates all their incompetence.

    Not at all, and if you had been paying attention to the news the past several days you would have heard that this examination of Afghanistan was done by the Bush Administration about 2 months before transition over to our current communist occupying the WH.

    It was then handed over to Barry, with Barry's request that Bush keep it quiet, and they did, while Barry and team proceeded to implement many of the suggestions in the report and take credit for coming up with them. Now, he want's ..... Well, I don't know what he wants but it ain't victory pal. More Clintonian than anything.


    j-mac
    Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.

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