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Thread: Senator says Afghan forces, not US, key to success

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    Senator says Afghan forces, not US, key to success

    Senator says Afghan forces, not US, key to success - Yahoo! News

    Associated Press- 1 hr 16 mins ago

    Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that more Afghan army and police are central to succeeding in the 8-year-old war and more U.S. trainers and equipment can help meet that goal. But it's unclear, Levin said, what role tens of thousands additional combat troops will play and Obama has to make a compelling case during a national address he's scheduled to give Tuesday night from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

    "The key here is an Afghan surge, not an American surge," said Levin, D-Mich. "We cannot, by ourselves, win (the) war."

    Obama is going to have a hard time selling his plan to even his own party, which is not good news for him. Levin does raise a fair point though, as Afghanistan at some point does need to do the majority of the heavy lifting there.

    Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has introduced legislation to impose a war surtax beginning in 2011. The bill would exempt service members and their families.

    "If this war is important enough to engage in the long term, it's important enough to pay for," Obey said.
    I am split on this, but overall agree that it is probably a good idea. If we want to go to war, we should pay for it. A good argument could be made that it is a bad time to add taxes(it is), but once you start allowing for that excuse, then we are never going to pay for anything, and end up with a deficit exactly like we have now.

    With Obama's Afghanistan speech coming as the Senate takes up the debate over the health care overhaul, Lugar recommended that Congress postpone the health care effort until next year so lawmakers can concentrate on how to finance the war.

    "The war is terribly important," Lugar said. "I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year ... and talk now about the essentials: the war and money."
    Where was he the last 7 years when this "terribly important" was was on the back burner?
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    Re: Senator says Afghan forces, not US, key to success

    We need to help build a better infrastructure over there, on top of getting Afghan's to shoulder a greater load for their own prosperity and freedom. Afghanistan is not like Iraq. It is much more tribal and less developed making it harder for there to be centralized control.
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    Re: Senator says Afghan forces, not US, key to success

    "The key here is an Afghan surge, not an American surge," said Levin, D-Mich. "We cannot, by ourselves, win (the) war."
    I hope this isn't PBO's grand stategy.
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    Re: Senator says Afghan forces, not US, key to success

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    I hope this isn't PBO's grand stategy.
    I hope the Afghans have 30K extra troops for that surge. Oh I get it, the Americans will be disguised in Afghan uniforms. Shhhhhhhh....mums the word.
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    Re: Senator says Afghan forces, not US, key to success

    The President will have a tough sell on anything he decides to do in Afghanistan from all sides. I agree with Sen. Levin that US troops are not the long term solution to the problem, that the Afghan people themselves will have to manage this situation. Contrary to popular worldwide beliefs we are not there as conquerors or empire building, Afghanistan really has nothing that is in our national interests other than an inability or refusal to police its own population.

    The Taliban refused to police them so we used that as an excuse to take them out of power. Whether this was a good/moral/greedy/stupid/etc decision in the first place is not applicable to this discussion. The facts are that the Taliban refused to aid in punishing al Queda so we did it for them.

    The current government is unable to punish the Taliban or al Queda. The Afghan culture does not really have a national identity. This makes dealing with the nation a real problem. Our only hope is to damage the Taliban/al Queda infrastructure sufficiently that their power is broken in the region. We did that seven years ago, but then got distracted with Iraq (again a totally different discussion) and 'coasted' in Afghanistan. The techniques that were developed in Iraq have helped improve the situation in Afghanistan, but more troops are wanted by the commanders so that more comprehensive sweeps can be made and a wider area covered. Local troops are not going to be able to do that, they are neither trained, equipped, or led well enough for that.

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    Re: Senator says Afghan forces, not US, key to success

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    I hope the Afghans have 30K extra troops for that surge. Oh I get it, the Americans will be disguised in Afghan uniforms. Shhhhhhhh....mums the word.
    As usual, you should read the source material.

    . He wants an overall Afghan security force of 400,000 240,000 soldiers and 160,000 police officers by October 2013.
    Further, Europe has promised 5k additional troops. Not much, but still over 10 % of the additional troops we are sending.
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    Re: Senator says Afghan forces, not US, key to success

    Quote Originally Posted by WI Crippler View Post
    We need to help build a better infrastructure over there, on top of getting Afghan's to shoulder a greater load for their own prosperity and freedom. Afghanistan is not like Iraq. It is much more tribal and less developed making it harder for there to be centralized control.
    We may face strong difficulty if we push the Democracy issue. There is no majority in Afghanistan, and tribes are only willing to tolerate the United States because it's much less of an evil than the Taliban.

    "Infrastructure" is a good term whenever you are on the positive side. Others might just call it "warlordism". Kabul and the United States rolls into your village, builds a few buildings and roads, and then levies a tax to support the "Afghanistan Government".

    Unless there is a strong revisit of how to get the Kabul Government legitimate (possibly declaring most of the country in resemblance to the British Mandated "F.A.T.A") and playing a Pakistani/ISI role in respect to the early stages of the FATA and Paki relationship (funneling money, aid, some kick-backs for the Kabul Government, but largely keeping the region autonomous), then we can expect "sectarian" trouble like we've never seen.
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    Re: Senator says Afghan forces, not US, key to success

    Quote Originally Posted by carlkay58 View Post
    The President will have a tough sell on anything he decides to do in Afghanistan from all sides. I agree with Sen. Levin that US troops are not the long term solution to the problem, that the Afghan people themselves will have to manage this situation. Contrary to popular worldwide beliefs we are not there as conquerors or empire building, Afghanistan really has nothing that is in our national interests other than an inability or refusal to police its own population.

    The Taliban refused to police them so we used that as an excuse to take them out of power. Whether this was a good/moral/greedy/stupid/etc decision in the first place is not applicable to this discussion. The facts are that the Taliban refused to aid in punishing al Queda so we did it for them.

    The current government is unable to punish the Taliban or al Queda. The Afghan culture does not really have a national identity. This makes dealing with the nation a real problem. Our only hope is to damage the Taliban/al Queda infrastructure sufficiently that their power is broken in the region. We did that seven years ago, but then got distracted with Iraq (again a totally different discussion) and 'coasted' in Afghanistan. The techniques that were developed in Iraq have helped improve the situation in Afghanistan, but more troops are wanted by the commanders so that more comprehensive sweeps can be made and a wider area covered. Local troops are not going to be able to do that, they are neither trained, equipped, or led well enough for that.
    Why is that the problem of 100,000 American kids whose lives are about to be put in danger by Obama? I am not sure why you are saying we " got distracted. We are told that there are less than 100 Al- Queda in Afgan and we have 60K troops, why do we need any trrops. There are probably more terrorists in France, should we invade there next.

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    Re: Senator says Afghan forces, not US, key to success

    IMO, placing emphasis on working with the tribal leaders rather than the inept, corrupt, and among many Afghans, illegitimate, government in Kabul will be key. Reliance on Kabul will likely lead to unsatisfactory outcomes. A more robust counterinsurgency strategy will probably fare little better. Unfortunately, from scraps of information that have been made public, it appears that the new strategy will remain Kabul-centric.

    Afghanistan is not a "nation" in the true sense of the word. It is comprised of largely autonomous areas, each with its own leaders, traditions, cultures, and needs. A functional military strategy has to be built on the structure that exists in Afghanistan, not one that might be preferable but is not present. A Kabul-centric strategy will likely leave things pretty much as they currently stand, with swaths of territory held by the Taliban and Taliban attacks continuing.

    In such circumstances, one can expect numerous excuses from those who engaged in the military planning. The reality will be, as it is now, poor military planning that did not take into consideration the historic experience in Afghanistan (British and Soviet) nor the structure of Afghan society did much to shape the outcome. By then, American strategic interests will have been further damaged.

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    Re: Senator says Afghan forces, not US, key to success

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    IMO, placing emphasis on working with the tribal leaders rather than the inept, corrupt, and among many Afghans, illegitimate, government in Kabul will be key. Reliance on Kabul will likely lead to unsatisfactory outcomes. A more robust counterinsurgency strategy will probably fare little better. Unfortunately, from scraps of information that have been made public, it appears that the new strategy will remain Kabul-centric.

    Afghanistan is not a "nation" in the true sense of the word. It is comprised of largely autonomous areas, each with its own leaders, traditions, cultures, and needs. A functional military strategy has to be built on the structure that exists in Afghanistan, not one that might be preferable but is not present. A Kabul-centric strategy will likely leave things pretty much as they currently stand, with swaths of territory held by the Taliban and Taliban attacks continuing.

    In such circumstances, one can expect numerous excuses from those who engaged in the military planning. The reality will be, as it is now, poor military planning that did not take into consideration the historic experience in Afghanistan (British and Soviet) nor the structure of Afghan society did much to shape the outcome. By then, American strategic interests will have been further damaged.
    Prehaps a restructuring of "states" or provinces with an emphasis on key infrastructure improvements within each province would be the key. If these people truly value the autonomy of their regions, then working with them to make improvments within their provinces would give them something they might feel is worth defending, rather than some vauge nationalistic programs they likely won't respect.
    "Loyalty only matters when there's a hundred reasons not to be-" Gen. Mattis

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