Monday, November 30, 2009

Quagmire redux?

President Obama will speak to the nation tomorrow night about his decisions regarding the ongoing conduct of the war in Afghanistan. According to an Associated Press report, the president is expected to commit to an escalation of the war that will involved perhaps 35,000 more U.S. servicemen and women. That, the AP said, would take the number of troops in Afghanistan to more than 100,000, at an annual price tag of $75 billion. I've made clear in the past my disgust over the war in Iraq, and the toll it took on our efforts in Afghanistan. Admittedly, I bashed Bush over his war decisions, and if Obama is going down the same path, committing who knows how many American lives and billions of our tax dollars to a military engagement with a highly uncertain outcome, I won't hesitate to criticism him. What I'd like to know from you folks is how you feel about a massive troop buildup and what you might do differently.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sure hope he knows what he's doing. One thing that's somewhat reassuring is there seems to be a timeline attached, so the commitment won't be open-ended.

--Brad Hundt

November 30, 2009 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Scott Snyder said...

I say All-in or All-out. He is apparently not going to give the commanders on the ground what they asked for. If that's the case, I fear you're right...quagmire...just like Viet Nam.

I think we need to take care of business in Afghanistan. We cannot continue to back actions and then back out. But, if we're not going to commit to get the job done then let's get out.

I fear this is really hurting our relations with our allies.

November 30, 2009 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Actually, from what I'm reading, Obama IS pretty much giving the commanders what they asked for. As I understand it, Gen. McChrystal submitted a request with a range of options that would involve troop increases ranging from 10,000 to close to 40,000. If Obama is giving him 35,000 additional troops, that's pretty close to the maximum the general preferred. Generals always want the most troops they can get. That's not always going to be the optimum approach. A problem such as international terrorism can't be solved by simply throwing tens of thousands of additional troops into Afghanistan. It goes well beyond that. And it won't be won or lost because of a difference of a couple of thousand troops. Bottom line, Obama IS committing to this fight. One of my concerns is the long-term effect this is having on our military people, some of whom have been thrown into this mess time and time and time again.

November 30, 2009 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

More boots on the ground won't make a bit of difference as long as Karzai and the Afghan government remain corrupt. It's a lost cause. The Afghan people and military (much like the Iraqis) won't stand up on their own, and 35k more troops won't change that inconvenient fact.

November 30, 2009 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I'll be eager to read your comments in the coming weeks because this Afghanistan situation is going to be as big of a clusterf**k as the Iraq war is.

I wish I had a solution. I hope that if nothing else, there is an exit strategy. Sadly, no matter what Bush did or what Obama or even the next ten presidents do, there will ALWAYS be fighting in the Middle East. "Fighting in the Middle East" is as redundant as saying "it's hot in the Middle East."

November 30, 2009 at 2:05 PM  
Anonymous x anonymous said...

Terrorism is a world wide problem. Not just the United States problem. As the leading force in Afghanistan, we have failed to win the hearts and minds of the locals.

It's like the war on drugs, it's a money pit. War on terrorism, hunger, and aids are all designed to fail. Cause we can't fix it.

Every time they hit us, we should never put a large force into a nation that has a group that fight like cowards. We should just run bombing missions. Have strike teams at ready along with intel. You kill 3000 of us, we kill 3,000,000 of yours. You do the body count. We will win.

So until the world is ready to kill these scum, I kinda like my idea.

The true quagmire is Eric Holder!

November 30, 2009 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I definitely lean more toward your approach, X. Tactical strikes in Afghanistan (or any other country in which terrorists are congregating), coupled with improved intelligence operations, is more palatable to me than just throwing our young soldiers into a place where they become targets for people who have no respect for human life.

November 30, 2009 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger Scott Snyder said...

Of course the tactical approach may give some of those terrorists a bruise or bloody lip...I don't think we're allowed to do that any more...or is that just the SEALs?

If we are giving the commanders what they say they needed, I say let's see...I agree it's not all boots on the ground that counts...its also rules of engagement, intel etc.

I also agree with will always be a mess over therre.

November 30, 2009 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

He has to make some kind of big move to get ClimateGate off the front page of the news.

November 30, 2009 at 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall that the British said during the Revolutionary War that American colonists "fought like cowards" because they shot at British troops from behind trees and used other guerilla tactics. Despite superior forces, the British lost. Why? Because the Americans were fighting for something they believed in. But did the US learn from this? After Vietnam and Iraq, how can the US still have the quaint notion that there are "rules of war?"

How long will it take until we realize that we can never defeat "terrorism" because it has no home country and it regenerates fanatics with each new death of a "true believer." We'll be stuck in Afghanistan and the Middle East until some crazy bastard sets off a nuclear bomb in Washington, DC.

November 30, 2009 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I don't know what newspaper you're reading, but I sure haven't seen any "Climategate" dominating the front pages. Now, what's your opinion on Afghanistan?

December 1, 2009 at 5:52 AM  
Anonymous weiverp said...

Yeah, the lame stream media kinda gave Climategate a pass. When it comes right down to it. Al WHORE should be in jail.

December 1, 2009 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger MJ said...

@ X anonymous...

Carpet bombing terrorists will only create more of them. How many of the so-called insurgents/terrorists in Iraq were actually Iraqis? They weren't violent before we invaded in 2003, but they sure turned against us afterwards. So are they terrorists, or just defending their country against a foreign invader?

The point is that bombing the population to kill a few terrorists will only serve as a potent recruiter against the U.S.

As for a solution, I don't have one. No one does, and that seems like a clear indication it's time to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

December 1, 2009 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous x anonymous said...

The point is that bombing the population to kill a few terrorists will only serve as a potent recruiter against the U.S.

If you harbor a fugitive, you will become a wanted man also. G.W. did say "either you are with us, or you are against us". If your village harbors the fugitives, and you don't run them off. Well in my eyes you are no better then the terrorist.

I hear what you are saying about creating more of them, but to do nothing is not the answer. To use our troops as targets isn't the answer. So I stick to my answer. Kill 3000 of us, we will kill 3,000,000 of yours. We didn't ask for 9/11 to happen, but it did.

For the person that made the British statement... didn't we fight them? Didn't our rag tag army square off with them? Sure we used tactics the indians used, but we didn't use civilians as sheilds.

December 1, 2009 at 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, carpetbombing civilians is much more moral than using them as shields. Apparently "taking the high ground" in war means offing people from 30,000 feet. But before we kill all 3 million of them, why not grab every Afghan we can, torture them until they convert to Christianity, THEN kill them? The Inquisition had real good results from that. No more Middle East wars, I betcha.

December 1, 2009 at 1:49 PM  
Anonymous x anonymous said...

you call it what you want. Religous war or high road.

I didn't ask for terrorist to strike our innocent civilians on 9/11. They didn't care who they killed.

Either you get it or you don't.

Please remember the victims of 93 world trade, uss cole....the train in russia... the train in spain!the subway in japan, hotel their a hotel here.

it's a world problem... they kill the whole worlds innocent. gotta learn when to protect your own! It is what it is. we didn't ask for it.

December 1, 2009 at 2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How 'bout we call it genocide? Or does it have to reach 6 million to level up?

December 1, 2009 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

"If you harbor a fugitive..."

I believe the U.S. Army for years harbored a terrorist by the name of Nidal Malik Hasan. What should we do with the Army for forcing him to stay despite warning signs?

And if we kill all 3 million of "them," then we are also terrorists. Inflicting terror on a population is the definition of terrorism. No wonder they hate us.

December 1, 2009 at 3:41 PM  
Anonymous x anonymous said...

while you want to debate if we want to win a war, our soldiers are taking rounds. the decision to fight has already been made. we can't make them hand over the bad guys that live among them, shouldn't we force them?

December 1, 2009 at 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point is, I don't think they can be forced to hand over anyone. It took two nukes to convince Japan to quit in WWII. But I doubt that even three nukes would have an effect on the type of fanatics we're dealing with here. There isn't one central country called "Terror" run by one madman that can be assassinated or made to see the light. The leaders don't care how many civilians are killed because there are centuries old conflicts among sects. The leaders don't even care if the leaders are killed. It's a holy war. Carpetbomb? How do you make an impression by leveling a country that is basically made of mudhuts already?

In my view, we should just get the hell out, now. Don't try to play an "endgame," don't wait to see what happens. Just leave. And don't go back. Worked for Russia.

What if we do "win?" What if Al Queda gives up, we wait a few years, then withdraw, and Al Queda or whatever they will then call themselves in this new incarnation comes back? Bin Laden wanted to bring down the US economically, and he so far has come very close to succeeding by bleeding us dry to finance these ridiculous wars.

December 1, 2009 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

Our soldiers and Marines are not taking rounds, they're absorbing IEDs. How do we ask our military to fight an enemy that refuses to show itself?

And asking the Afghan population to hand over the "evil-doers" would be akin to asking every resident of WashPA to hand over each drug dealer and murderer in the city. It is unfair to punish those who want peace, but don't have the ability to weed out the lawbreakers. The Taliban has made it clear that if you work with the Americans, you and your family will pay. So, X, would you cooperate?

December 1, 2009 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

I say that The "Terrorist" are fighting a Holy War meant to rid the world of infidels and that is their God Given mission. We are fighting the "Terrorist" cause they killed "us". We are not fighting the same war with each other. We want results like we are playing a game of "Battleship" They are ridding the world of infidels and that mission will never end until the world fries from Global Warming.

December 1, 2009 at 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why Climategate isn't front-page news? Could it be because it blows the whole man-made global warming farce out of the water? Cooking the numbers.

As for Afghanistan, I support increasing the number of boots on the ground. I just wonder how it will play with the anti-war crowd that helped elect Barry. Obviously Mr. Hundt is already sold. Then again, this is a Democrat doing it, so it must be right.

December 2, 2009 at 12:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I voted for Obama, but I don't agree with this strategy any more than I agreed with Bush's. I can't see the value in ramping up for 18 months, then bolting. Do we think that when we leave, Al Queda and their ilk won't just waltz back in? Nor can I See our being there for more than a decade, as the president alluded to last night. I thought Obama presented a well-reasoned case, and I think he believes this is the correct course, but I don't agree that this isn't another Vietnam and that Al Queda isn't a "popular movement.

December 2, 2009 at 2:49 PM  
Anonymous x said...

So, X, would you cooperate?

There are certain type of people that would.

December 3, 2009 at 11:07 PM  
Anonymous x anonymous said...

Well, he made his mind up! Now do you agree?

what did you think about the chris matthews statement of being in the camp!!

the cadets looking bored out of their minds... zombies.


December 5, 2009 at 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you know any college kids who don't looked bored out of their minds when forced to listen to speech at 8 p.m. after a long day st school? It could've been Jesus saying, "I'm back, and I'm takin' names and kickin' butt." and they would've looked bored.

December 6, 2009 at 3:57 PM  

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