Third Party & Independents Archives

September 01, 2009

Afghanistan: Stay or Leave?

Public sentiment is souring on the war in Afghanistan. Al-Queda has operations in many other countries, predominantly in Southern Asia. The Afghan people have never been ruled by a centralized government. The only thing historically that has ever united the Afghan people is an occupying force from without. Is there anything to be gained, anymore, by war in Afghanistan?

Some argue we must keep al-Queda from a home base in Afghanistan. But, with larger al-Queda operations elsewhere, like Indonesia, and al-Queda and bin Laden absent from Afghanistan, this argument is weak, unless one also advocates occupying those Southern Asian nations and Pakistan, where al-Queda is present as well. Then, the argument goes from weak to ridiculous.

Some argue we can keep the Taliban in check from off shore. With our unmanned war toys guided by joy sticks and electronics, we can guide a missile through the window of any structure in Afghanistan. Opponents to this line of reasoning argue that while we can put a missile through a front room window, we cannot determine accurately who is in that front room. al-Queda and Taliban are residents of the villages in Afghanistan, living among innocent men, women, and children who are simply trying to eek out a living in that most difficult and poverty stricken land. Taking out innocents indiscriminately to get at the Taliban and few remaining al-Queda military advisers, is not the way to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.

The more I wrestle with the Afghanistan situation, the more I feel like it is another Viet Nam, in which there is no possible end game to the war which permits security, victory, and honor upon departure. Like the South Viet Nam government, the Afghan governments (federal and local) are corrupt, bought and sold by the highest bidders or the most intimidating black mailers.

This war has been engaged for 8 years now, by America, and we are no further ahead than when we started Operation Enduring Freedom, a misnomer, if there ever was one in hindsight. And our Generals and other experts are saying it may take another 5 to 10 years to make any significant progress in Afghanistan, now.

At a time when our government's spending and revenues are creating massive deficits and national debt, does it make any sense to pursue this extremely costly war with rising American body counts with no foreseeable gains to be had for the next 5 to 10 years? No one knows why, but our U.S. Army suicide rate has doubled what it was in 2004.

The poppy crops in Afghanistan are both our ally and enemy. They keep the afghan economy going without which, our spending there would have to triple or more. Yet, the poppy profits fund those killing our soldiers. America's newest strategy in Afghanistan is to divorce the poppy trade from the Taliban. Have we not been trying to divorce the illegal drug trade from the criminal element in our own country for 100 years now, with no success in the war on drugs, whatsoever? This is not strategy! This is lunacy. The previous policy of poppy eradication, which failed, made more sense.

Is there any winning scenario in Afghanistan? I can't seem to find one. And so far, it would seem, neither can our Pentagon or White House of the past administration or current.

I think it is time to withdraw from Afghanistan leaving only a security force to protect the federal government and rapid strike forces off shore to be used as warranted against Taliban targets as they become known, and which serve to prevent a takeover of the Afghanistan government, corrupt as it is, by the Taliban.

Posted by David R. Remer at September 1, 2009 06:25 PM
Comments
Comment #287275

Will be tough if we have to do it on our own or with a few token EU troops. The economy must be capable of supporting a standing army and police force. We should befriend the army and have them knock off corrupt politicians where possible. Give the army predators and firepower to do a scorched earth effort against any enemy. Set up eeducational centers for young men and women, provide healthcare for the population for a few years to get them on their feet and thinking. Force the planting of food crops and provide the John Deeres required to make it happen. 10 to 20 for groowing poppy. Embed with Afghan military and teach them the killing rules with a take no prisoner approach. Provide intel for them and then let the Afghani’s lead with firepower. Lot’s of it and often. Public executions in villages of more than ten people.
Something closer to a war than a police action for four or five years and then start pulling out. If Kharzi complains have one or two of his generals take a walk in the olive garden with him. I should get an oak crest for that one David.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 1, 2009 08:16 PM
Comment #287276

David,

I agree with your analysis, until the last line. You cannot defend the federal government with a small force.

I watched a film recently by a journalist who was captured by Taliban along with his Afghan fixer and their driver. The Italian journalist ransom was paid, and Taliban prisoners released by Karzai,and he was released but no ransom was paid for the Afghans. They were beheaded.

The father of the fixer made a poignant argument that these are foreigners fighting in Afghanistan. The Taliban are not Afghans, nor Muslims, the Americans are not Afghans, The Russians aren’t Afghans. He didn’t know what they want with Afghanistan, but it is the Afghans suffering.

Karzai is not a legitimate government, it is corrupt, much like Diem. This is a proxy war with Pakistan and Russia over oil and gas lines. An attempt by Bush to look effective.

Poppy plants and Al Qaeda are side issues. Al Qaeda is not the huge monster that Bush made it. Drones are an effective tool against it, but politically, terrorist weapons in themselves.

While I agree that withdrawal makes sense, politically it’s a non-starter. The case needs to be made that Pakistan is a terrorist state in conflict with India. A strategy surrounding that idea needs to be looked at. Sadly, this may be a world war starter with nukes. That’s the Indian Elephant in the room.

Posted by: gergle at September 1, 2009 08:20 PM
Comment #287278

David,

I think the question should be whether Afghanistan wants to be a democracy or not.

If they choose yes, I think we should help all we can.
If they choose no, we should be out of there tomorrow.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at September 1, 2009 08:29 PM
Comment #287279

nix that predator thing and take one of my leaf’s, thank you.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 1, 2009 08:32 PM
Comment #287282

Guys

If only. We could easily terrorize the whole country with the rules of engagement you mention. But aren’t you the guys who deplore the poor treatment KSM and his buddies got? Don’t you think dealing out fiery death to all who dare oppose us is sort of worse than waterboarding or blowing smoke in the faces of a half dozen bona-fide terrorists?

You know that we have the military power to seize AND hold most of the oil fields in the Middle East. We CAN destroy any enemy we choose. But we are held back by our fundamental commitment to civilization and the knowledge that to do the things above would be an overreach of monumental proportions. When did you guys become such hawks?

Posted by: Christine at September 1, 2009 09:44 PM
Comment #287283

Well, you have two choices. Either fight a war or stay the hell out. There ain’t no sane middle. If you don’t want to fight then talk your head off at the UN. Little lol!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 1, 2009 10:00 PM
Comment #287284

Look what pacification got us in Iraq. Over 4000 killed and we still had to go in and kick ass. And, I haven’t given up on my conspiracytheory that the reason Rumsfeld sat out for longer than WWII lasted was to give time and protection to the oil companies in dicing up the oil fields and getting contracts in order.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 1, 2009 10:05 PM
Comment #287285

David, Thanks for the thoughtful article, but you’re succumbing to the news cycle here.
Roy, That’s just too much psycho nastiness; back the generals; scorched Earth; public executions (They beat the Russians and their farm tractors)? We’re trying to bring them into the twenty first century, not step back into the twentieth ourselves. Anyway.

Our changes in strategy and tactics have barely had time to take effect and their effects are under reported. Please visit http://www.longwarjournal.org/, which chronicles just about every bullet fired and every body bag zipped up in this mess. If others can whine about no good news being reported out of Iraq then so can I.

I point this out because all should know that life for the Taliban and Al Qaeda is not easy these days. Just skim the archives on Pakistan or Afghanistan and you’ll see that a hell of a lot of them are dying every day. I read one of these articles a couple months ago that told of a Taliban commander killed early in the morning by a predator drone along with some of his men. Later in the day dozens of Taliban commanders went to his funeral and they were all slaughtered by another predator drone attack (Afterward, several full trucks where also struck as they fled the funeral). This is a result of Obama vastly increasing these strikes once in office and there are plenty more stories of their effect as well as their increase since January, but this is only part of the changes.

Next we have McChrystal, the man who took out Zarqawi, coming in with several successful ideas. No more random tours! Soldiers and their leaders will take R&R and then return to the exact same area of operation and the same locals they knew. He is also focusing on just that, the locals, the people are to be protected above all. These changes have barely had time to take effect at all (the elections rushed judgment on what hasn’t begun yet). And I think you would all be amazed by what 4,000 Marines can do for an area even as big as Helmand, but if not, don’t worry, more will join them soon if we just ignore this media cycle surrounding the Afghanistan strategic review.

Lastly, Pakistan just joined the fight. The Pakistani army just got down and dirty in Swat and is now beginning a push into the Pakistani Taliban’s strong holds. Now is the worst time to give up. We would be dropping the anvil out from under the hammer, Bush already did that at Tora Bora! This time there isn’t a jungle to disappear into, there isn’t a Soviet Union providing endless money and advanced weaponry. This isn’t Vietnam unless we want to make it into one.

The recent upswing in attacks was pronounced earlier in the year by the Taliban’s leaders and is a deliberate campaign to make a media splash. At this point they know they are providing a tet-like media offensive to meet the US troop build up and do so because our culture no longer wants to hear about body counts, ours or theirs (Yes, these guys know about tet and want to do it to you again).

It would be great if we could pull out, but we can’t do that just yet. This war has been going for eight years, but it was ignored for seven of them.

We’re suffering from the Bush administration’s inept prosecution of the “war on terror” as well as its very conception of it. Our war was and is against Al Qaeda. The first seven years of our efforts in Afghanistan worked negatively towards our goals there while we put our ground force capability through a grinder for the same amount of time in Iraq.

This can be seen as a reason to give up and accept what will be rightly considered defeat or we can make up for the mistakes that all Americans have to live with, finish pulling out of Iraq (good luck to them, sorry for ripping your country a new one for no reason) and finish shifting our focus to a winning strategy in Afghanistan.

All the talk of not giving up and fighting to the end in Iraq is actually necessary now in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda can be laid low if we don’t take our eyes off the ball like we did in April of 2003. If these changes in strategy and tactics as well as Pakistan’s aggressiveness don’t produce results in 24 months, then fine. We should leave, but with a more developed Afghan army, which will be possible in 24 months.

Don’t pull the rug out from under this war now. It would be the worst timing possible and the second time we did this to the Afghan people.

Fighting terrorist cells around the world is a separate ongoing theater of war that should have been our most aggressive focus since 1993.

Posted by: Fred at September 1, 2009 11:32 PM
Comment #287287

Messed up the Long War Journal link. Here it is again

http://www.longwarjournal.org/

Posted by: Fred at September 1, 2009 11:38 PM
Comment #287292

Fred, changing tactics, doesn’t change the no exit long term prospect. Three times our current compliment of soldiers and body bags, would be wholly insufficient to protect and barricade the Afghans from the Taliban and their al-Queda military advisers, and trainers.

You miss the central parallel to Viet Nam. The enemy is embedded in the population we are trying to protect. Which is why minimizing collateral damage is now the central focus of our Central Command. They know they are losing the people as a result. But, expanding our military manpower in Afghanistan creates expanded target for our enemies. This war cannot and will not be won in 5 years, but, our losses will continue to increase as more and more American soldiers are put in there.

Which in turn makes the poll I link to incredibly relevant. If public support is waning now, what can be expected when our body bag count and Afghan collateral damage reports increase in the years to come? This is, in some very fundamental ways, an instant replay of the Viet Nam War.

We are again faced with the opportunity to withdraw and cut our losses, while reserving the capacity to re-invade if conditions in Afghanistan pose a potential threat to U.S. by virtue of Afghanistan becoming a safe launching haven for al-Queda once again.

Or, alternatively, walk that path that leads to an American no confidence dissent against this war and their government, as this war goes on well beyond a decade with mounting losses in both fiscal terms and military personnel and their mental states.

I am going to side with our soldiers desire to either win or, not engage at all. Winning is not in the cards for a minimum of 5 more years. Afghanistan is a war whose fulcrum is nation building, and nation building is not what our military was designed nor trained to accomplish with any proficiency at all.

If Iraq has taught us nothing, it is this. The nation of Iraq does not resemble anything that we wanted in the form of a just, stable, and allied democracy in our own image. It is corrupt from the top down, its internal factions will continue to threaten its stability for decades to come, and their laws and punishments are barbaric compared to ours. That is, at the very best, the outcome we have to look forward to in Afghanistan after years more American blood and treasure have been spent there.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 12:07 AM
Comment #287293

George Will agrees with David

Posted by: gergle at September 2, 2009 12:08 AM
Comment #287295

gergle said: “I agree with your analysis, until the last line. You cannot defend the federal government with a small force.”

I think we can if their federal government occupies a small footprint in Kabul and they have a large enough military force. That would be an accomplishable objective for our American military and dollars, with a time line of perhaps 2 years, providing an exit strategy in which we leave successful in our objective.

That is the ultimate objective of any war, if we are not to waste our military personnel and tax dollars, after all. To set realistic goals, achieve them, and depart wasting as little as possible of our own resources in getting there. At least, that should be our ultimate objective if we learned anything from our experience in Viet Nam and Iraq.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 12:17 AM
Comment #287296

Christine said: “But we are held back by our fundamental commitment to civilization and the knowledge that to do the things above would be an overreach of monumental proportions.”

Nice to be on the same side of an argument, again, Christine. Well said.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 12:18 AM
Comment #287297

This Iraq you speak of is quite the same as the one that was there before. This is the region, you can’t find any government in the middle east that’s different. Even the Israeli leadership is under indictment for corruption.

The point here is that this is the wrong time for withdrawal. Like I said, if we see no difference in 24 months from these changes, then I agree with you completely. I would agree with your assessment of the situation in the villages with the people and the Taliban being interwoven if they still are after 24 months.

Things change fast these days and we are in uncharted territory. Trying to fit Afghanistan into a Vietnam sized box to justify a complete logistical about face into a hasty vacuum creating withdrawal is only fool hardy at this point. We have chosen to finally, for the first time in eight years, protect these people and build their country. It’s not like we’ve been nation building for eight years, we’ve done nothing there so far. Nonmilitary personnel are just beginning to take on this nonmilitary task alongside our soldiers.

On all fronts it would be a mistake to prematurely withdraw from Afghanistan. I think we could work a withdrawal into the end of the next two years and possibly try some parts of your plan then, but doing it right now would be a wasted opportunity to destroy the rest of the Haqqani mujaheddin network that we created almost thirty years ago. We need to kill the monster we created, we owe it to the world.

Obama needs to stick to his guns for a little longer before we start shaking in our boots about another ten years of war in Afghanistan. It’s not a forgone conclusion yet, so calling this war Vietnam (and listening to George Will for that matter) can be a bit of a short cut to thinking.

Posted by: Fred at September 2, 2009 12:40 AM
Comment #287298

David,
Why America had the right to go into to Afgan under President Bush, I do believe President Obama and the American People need to be properly educated with what is going on in that country.

For why I know that the people have been at war in one fashion or another for 30-40 years, I have not heard a single boy or girl hopes and dreams put above the Elders and Piowers-that-Be of Greed and Ignorance. So unless the civil leaders of their society are willing to move forward and begin dealing with building a Peaceful Nation than I guess we will be forced to reduce our troop size. Since I doubt you could sell Americans into invading the country again.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 2, 2009 12:41 AM
Comment #287299


The most like scenario for Iraq without American troops is civil war. I doubt seriously that we will be pulling them out by 2011 and I expect the Administration to sign a long term deal with the Iraqi government.

I think there is little we can acomplish in Afganistan and advisable that we begin withdrawing.

We are apparently not very good at nation building. All we have been doing is replacing corruption with more corruption at our taxpayers expense.

I still remember those American cargo planes landing in Iraq loaded down with pallets stacked high with millions of U.S. hundred dollar bills.
Every a city, town and village in America could use and would love to have gotten one of those plane loads.

Posted by: jlw at September 2, 2009 12:51 AM
Comment #287304

jlw said: “The most like scenario for Iraq without American troops is civil war.”

Which if true, makes Bush’s decision to invade that nation all the more damning. However, it will be their civil war, and not ours. Superpower is not synonymous with SuperHuman. There are limits to America’s resources and capacity to SuperCop the world. We knew that before Bush was elected, and are paying for the subsequent ignorance and hubris afterward.

The Middle East has been a tumultuous region of the world for centuries and centuries. Oil in the region only exacerbates the situation. Which means, investing in energy independence is all the more crucial for America’s future. Will you back Obama’s call for energy independence and investments to that end? I certainly will as an investment in my daughter’s future in America.

Obama said he would not be pulling out of Iraq entirely on the campaign trail, and yes, a long term security agreement is in our and the Iraqi’s interests. I also believe that Iraq’ s internal struggles, at least under Obama, will remain Iraqi domestic issues and not cause for American military re-intervention, unless perhaps, toppling the democratic elected regime, appears imminent.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 01:16 AM
Comment #287308

Afganistan or Coney Island won’t make one whit f difference if the CIA is gutted again by Holder.

At perhaps the most crucial time in Afganistan, when the USA is ramping up with more troops, Barry and Eric want to politicize the one agency that has been killing the bad guys.

Afganistan needs to be disarmed first. Any guy with a beard, turban and a gun that’s not fighting the Taliban needs to be disarmed or shot.

These people are animals still stuck in the Dark Ages. I say the boot on the neck approach is all they understand.

The touchy feely approach will never work.

Get a mid level offer corps developed by the Afhgans first, then build their army. Give them really big bombs too.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 2, 2009 06:27 AM
Comment #287310

Agree sicilianeagle, shoot them all and let God sort them out! Well, that’s mainly for Christine’s interest.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 2, 2009 08:14 AM
Comment #287318
Obama said he would not be pulling out of Iraq entirely on the campaign trail, and yes, a long term security agreement is in our and the Iraqi’s interests.

Even if we are there 100 years?

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 2, 2009 10:48 AM
Comment #287321

“Any guy with a beard, turban and a gun that’s not fighting the Taliban needs to be disarmed or shot. These people are animals still stuck in the Dark Ages. I say the boot on the neck approach is all they understand.” Aequilus Advocatus Sicilianus Vivens

There was a complaint upthread about “succumbing to the news cycle”, but this issue is actually of great concern. The POTUS has decided that he has to get tough somewhere, and Afghanistan is apparently that place. It’s literally at the other end of the world. Although the poppy fields do matter, we don’t need to be doing this. War actually doesn’t accomplish what it advocates would like, unless they just like making a really big mess of things. I thought this President was supposed to be the smart one.

Posted by: ohrealy at September 2, 2009 11:22 AM
Comment #287322

Obama, Jim Jones, and Gates put their heads together for one more shot at winning Afghanistan. I do believe this President is the smart one and I don’t think he’s doing this just to look tough.

I believe that if his efforts at turning the war around don’t work in the near future, he will come to the same conclusion and leave. I don’t think it can be a Vietnam simply because Obama is smart enough to take a shot at winning and if then it is still unwinnable, then he will take us out. He won’t, however, leave Afghanistan without trying for the first time in eight years.

Posted by: Fred at September 2, 2009 11:42 AM
Comment #287324

Voltaire 1769:
So long as the whim of a few men causes thousands of our brothers to be honourably butchered, the portion of mankind devoted to heroism will be the most frightful thing in the whole of nature. What becomes of and what do I care about humanity, benevolence, modesty, temperance, tenderness, wisdom, piety, when half a pound of lead shot from 600 paces shatters my body, and I die at the age of twenty in agony beyond words, in the midst of five or six thousand dying men, while my eyes, opening for the last time, see the town in which I was born destroyed by sword and fire, and the last sounds I hear are the cries of women and children expiring under the ruins, all for the alleged benefit of a man I do not know?

Posted by: ohrealy at September 2, 2009 11:54 AM
Comment #287325

Fred said: “I think we could work a withdrawal into the end of the next two years and possibly try some parts of your plan then, but doing it right now would be a wasted opportunity to destroy the rest of the Haqqani mujaheddin network that we created almost thirty years ago.”

I appreciate your point about killing the monster we helped create there, but, your position reads exactly like the incremental mission creep and rationalization of failures in Viet Nam and Iraq. The next thing, yes, the next thing we are going to try will be the magic bullet that saves our and their bacon. We have been there 8 years and accomplished NOTHING!

There is an infinite number of “let’s try this next” ideas, but each soldier only has one life, and each tax payer is going to have to pony up more of what they earn for each one of those ‘next things to try’ atop enormous debt and deficits created by severe needs here at home.

It really takes a sucker to keep coming back for a fleecing time and again, you know. And the American people are no longer willing to be played for suckers on wars that don’t produce the intended results because of limited resource application. And our resources are NOW very limited and stretched.

That is a reality TODAY that America MUST DEAL WITH and make a top priority. We can’t afford to make Afghanistan our top priority again. This is 2009, not 2001 before our national debt had doubled. Nothing about the Afghanistan history says we will be victorious there and achieve our objectives, if you can even nail a politician down on what those are anymore.

My view is, it is time NOW, to face realities and respond to them like grown ups and not wishful Santa Clause believing children. Not in 2 more years, or 5 more years, or 10 more years. The realities are now.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 12:45 PM
Comment #287326

SicEagle said: “Afganistan or Coney Island won’t make one whit f difference if the CIA is gutted again by Holder.”

Then you are admitting to believing the majority of the CIA committed crimes and violated our laws and treaties? That would have to be the case for Holder to “gut” the CIA as you put it.

I personally think we are talking about only a handful of people. Do you have evidence, of a much larger number? Otherwise, your statement is hyperbolic and representative of so much scare and fear mongering taking place from the conservative Right in our country.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 12:49 PM
Comment #287327

Rhinehold said: “Even if we are there 100 years?”

I don’t think Obama will be president for 100 years, do you? Didn’t think you thought so highly of him. :-)

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 12:51 PM
Comment #287328

ohrealy said: “I thought this President was supposed to be the smart one. “

The smartest people in the world cannot solve no-win scenarios defined by others. The best they can do is avoid walking into those no-win scenarios in the first place, and advocate that others do the same. Afghanistan is a no-win situation, complicated by political, economic, and human tragedy consequences as a result of ANY decision that is made regarding the occupation of that country.

I cannot envision any policy position or decision Obama could possibly make that would meet with overwhelming support by the American people and the world community. Can you?

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 12:57 PM
Comment #287330

Sicilian Eagle,

Why does Gonzales agree with Holder’s inquiry? Is he for gutting the CIA as well?

Posted by: gergle at September 2, 2009 01:08 PM
Comment #287332

ohrealy, Voltaire was a contemporary of Adam Smith, perhaps? I see some of Adam Smith’s philosophy in Voltaire’s words. Enlightened self-interest would not lead one to war except to defend one’s family, home, and what is most dearest.

Our homeland and our fellow Americans were attacked and killed by occupants receiving safe haven in Afghanistan. That fact justified the invasion of, and war with, Afghanistan and those who supported directly, or indirectly, those attacks on the U.S.

However, except for the first six months of the invasion, our government did not pursue victory in Afghanistan, choosing instead, to simply maintain occupancy status on the cheap, in order to pursue victory in another nation that did not pose a threat to our homeland. We had a window of opportunity to pursue victory in Afghanistan, and our leaders failed both the American people and the Afghan people, by not stepping through that window when our national debt was only 5.65 trillion. Today our national debt is over 11 trillion and climbing in unprecedented fashion.

The window of opportunity to pursue victory and stability in Afghanistan is now closed to the United States. Killing our soldiers and indebting our nation further in pursuit of that lost opportunity, is the greatest offense we could now perpetrate upon our military personnel who will have to sacrifice their lives, limbs, and psychological well being in that elusive pursuit.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 01:12 PM
Comment #287334

geez…all I do is fly by to see what David is up to, and all hell breaks loose.

On the CIA:

Obama is the chief law enforcement officer. He said that he wanted to put this behind him.

Looks like he is now trying to put it up Cheney’s behind.

The last time the Dems tinkered with the CIA, it led to 9/11. They are incaple of anything. Nothing. Zero. Nilch. Nada.

Say what you want about George (gosh,I miss that guy), but a LOT of bad guys were killed in Iraq and Afganistan. They hated him. They now love Barry. On his watch, they grow stronger, not on George’s.

Plus, the number zero will always be on George’s stat sheet. Zero attacks after 9/11 on his watch.

Think that was a coincidence?

Think the CIA had anything to do with that?

Afganastan:

Today, a security chief was assassinated (again) over there.

That means one thing: the Afghan miliraty sucks and needs to be re-trained. Everyone back to square one and get vetted.

Again, talking with these monsters will do nothing. Remember Chamberlain? Same thing will happen.

However, in another year or so, after Barry’s numbers further nosedive, maybe a few seats in the Huouse will be re-captured. By 2012, who knows?

Barry needs to stick in Afganastan until a new administration comes in in 2012. Then he can stand back and see how the varsity does it.

ah….that felt very good. Nice to be back home!

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 2, 2009 01:36 PM
Comment #287337

Sic. Eagle said: “geez…all I do is fly by to see what David is up to, and all hell breaks loose. “

False! You dropped by to leave your two cents for others to respond to, which is precisely what occurred, nothing more, nor less. Hyperbolic representations seem to be a forte’ of your comments.

SE said: “Obama is the chief law enforcement officer. He said that he wanted to put this behind him. Looks like he is now trying to put it up Cheney’s behind.”

Holder is acting independently of the WH, as is called for by his position, not like Gonzalez who was carrying out political orders, and now realizes the error of his ways and supports Holder’s obligation to investigate. Your conflating Obama’s intentions with Holder’s legal obligations is just more right wing hyperbolic misrepresentation. And so obvious, I might add.

The rest of your partisan B.S., (beligerant sophistry) requires no more response. Thanks, though, for another opportunity to define wingnut hyperbole for what it is, though. It’s fun, and oh so easy. Perhaps some new and more creative tactics would help?

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 02:08 PM
Comment #287339

DRR,
You win by KO over the eagle (maybe he is out of practice) but I would have to say Fred edged you out on points.

Posted by: Schwamp at September 2, 2009 02:21 PM
Comment #287341

David

“Criticize the message, not the messenger”

Even if you or the rest of the middle of the roaders don’t want to admit it, my “partisian hyperbole” is darn near what MOST of America thinks.

Barry won the election because of the undecides and independants..two groups now swinging back my way after they have seen what Barry and the Socialistic Party have in store for America.

Sorry David. Guys like me won’t go away….and we will fight you and the others tooth and nail every inch of the way down.

Still, you shouldn’t get personal with me. I never did with you.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 2, 2009 02:30 PM
Comment #287344


“The last time the Dems tinkered with the CIA, it led to 911.”

That is a lie. First, 911 is more a fault of the FBi than the CIA. The CIA informed the Bush Administration that terrorists were planning to attack us using planes no less. The Bush Administration ignored the information because it was to busy planning the invasion of Iraq and proposing tax breaks for the wealthy.

Throughout history George Bush will always be known as the 911 President.

The main reason we have not had other attacks on America is because we got stung badly and as a result, law enforcement agencies all across America have heightened their awareness. I would give local law enforcement agencies and the FBI more credit for this than the CIA.

Posted by: jlw at September 2, 2009 02:36 PM
Comment #287345

jlw

The Church Committee evicerated the CIA. It took them two decades to recover.

Bush was on the job nine months befor 9/11.

Meanwhile, Clinton was playing with cigars and getting impeached. What do you think Bin Laden was doing then?

Do you think 9/11 was slapped together in nine months?

By the way, Iraq is a LOT better today than in 2003 and 2004.

Of course, no one in the middle column or the left column will admit to that.

Let’s see now what Barry can do.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 2, 2009 02:41 PM
Comment #287348

“8 years and accomplished NOTHING!”

Not exactly, we’ve taught them some of the usual lessons about relying on the US, where changes in elections should affect changes in policy. The Afghan people didn’t attack us on 9/11. They were mostly Saudi Arabians, one of whom was being hunted down years before we went in there to rattle our sabers and throw money around, in order to make fools out of ourselves.

Posted by: ohrealy at September 2, 2009 02:43 PM
Comment #287354

ohrealy

Wait a minute….OBL was in Afganistan. The Taliban were protecting him. We were trying to kill him.

Those are the facts. Everything else is history written by the (Democrats) victors.

The Taliban were (are) the bad guys here./

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 2, 2009 03:07 PM
Comment #287357
The Bush Administration ignored the information

Tell me, jlw, what SHOULD Bush have done with the information he was provided that he didn’t do?

And, by your logic, shouldn’t Clinton be responsible for the first WTC bombing AND letting the people who planned it (and the UN bombings and the COLE bombings) remain free to continue doing those things?

Or is this another ‘double standard’ the left is so fond of?

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 2, 2009 03:30 PM
Comment #287359

“We were trying to kill him.”

And our best chance to do that was when he was visiting with one of the UAE sheiks or whatever they’re called. So who was protecting him?

Posted by: ohrealy at September 2, 2009 03:53 PM
Comment #287360

The Bush administrations should have looked at the 9/11 damage and realized they needed to tighten up on security a tad. Open Southern border, hijackers carrying multiple drivers licenses, entry visa checks but no exit visa checks. Did anybody every go home? Who knows or knew, who cared? Just a little security would have done the job. But, Bush saw a chance for an oil grad and he and the oil patch gang got together in the WH to figure out who was going to get what and when and then set in motion the ‘shock and awe’. If we had our money back, that ain’t even been spent yet, for that war there would have been no recession, college education could have been free to all above ten years old, etc. ad infinitum.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 2, 2009 04:07 PM
Comment #287362

Roy Ellis

I agree that Bush had a slip shod view of border security.

Big Fence, Big Gate is my view.

However you are right about the border issue. Trouble is, Barry is doing less than George.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 2, 2009 04:15 PM
Comment #287363

Rhinehold asked: “Tell me, jlw, what SHOULD Bush have done with the information he was provided that he didn’t do?”

That is a great question. Of course, in hindsight, there are many options he could have taken that he didn’t, but, most would probably have appeared extreme, prior to 9/11, to the general public, such as cordoning off air space around governmental infrastructure, or putting our national defense on high alert instead of permitting planned, and delayed, training exercises to continue.

Given the somewhat specific nature of the intelligence report given to Bush by Clinton, it does, however, seem that some more readiness and vigilance was warranted. By asking myself what I would have done had I been Bush and received such a warning, I would have taken at least some measures to train and heighten readiness for potentialities coming from air planes.

I assume most level headed people would have done the same, if they read that intelligence as a new president. Which begs the question whether Bush ever bothered to read anything coming from Clinton, if one considers Bush level headed? And he didn’t, he was at the very least, derelict in his duty and irresponsible regarding the nation’s protection.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 04:16 PM
Comment #287366

David,

Agreed, but what was the specificity of the information? Did they mention hijacking commercial airliners or using private planes for this purpose? If it was for private planes, perhaps they did up the security there but didn’t on the commercial side because it would already be harder to do at the time.

I guess it really depends upon the specific intelligence, how credible it was, etc. Just because the single memo (in a large group of others) had the title that it did doesn’t necessarily mean that Bush didn’t act, didn’t act enough or ignored it completely. I would like to see what the recommendations at the time were from the documentation…

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 2, 2009 04:39 PM
Comment #287376

Rhinehold asked: “but what was the specificity of the information?”

Not very specific. Here is the quote from the report on this topic:

18 December 2000.

Report Says Terrorists Will Try to Attack U.S. Symbols by Jacquelyn S. Porth
Washington File Security Affairs Writer

On the subject of anti-U.S. terrorism, the report says most of it will be based on “perceived ethnic, religious or cultural grievances” with terrorists trying to find ways to continue attacking U.S. military and diplomatic institutions and private symbols of America. Terrorist tactics will become more sophisticated and lethal, according to the analysts. However, international cooperation will likely be effective in countering terrorism.

Alone, it is hard to make a case for inaction by Bush. However, combined with Richard Clarke’s warning a week before 9/11, which reinforced the Clinton Memo, and raised the alert to ‘urgent’ to use Clark’s word, I can find no documented evidence that Bush acted on this intelligence in the intervening week, and in fact, Clark testified that the Bush administration’s approach to al-Queda attacks lacked any hint of urgency.

Then there was the cover-up by Rice and others regarding the false claim that Bush called for a briefing which the CIA testified never took place. People don’t try to lie about and cover up actions that were appropriate, Rhinehold.

I can only speak for myself. If I were in Bush’s shoes, I would have acted upon these reports with deliberate facility and urgency in as many ways as our laws would permit. It is hard for me to imagine anything that would command my greater attention as President than warnings of possible attack upon our homeland, by air, by al-Queda, and upon private structures which are symbols of strength in America. I think that would have been specific enough to have taken more deliberate measures including Air Power Interception readiness instead of a national stand down for training exercises, even if those exercises had been delayed before.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 07:53 PM
Comment #287379

SicEagle, is spreading falsehoods again, saying: “However you are right about the border issue. Trouble is, Barry is doing less than George.”

Patently false. That border barrier is progressing quite rapidly as stimulus funding was allocated to create jobs to complete it. I understand a person wishing their speculations were true, but, isn’t it embarassing to keep getting caught in public with one’s research down or never implemented?

Here are the reported FACTS: (April 2009) “construction is beginning on two new sections of the fence, one through the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, Texas, and another in the Otay Mountain Wilderness in California’s San Diego County.”

May 2009, Napolitano is reviewing plans for construction not already contracted for, for possible revisions which would achieve equal or, better border security for less tax dollars. The Obama administration’s tentative plans call for the remaining 1300 miles to be secured by high technology detection devices and interdiction teams at an estimated cost of 7 billion dollars.

Given the deficits of this years budget, it was no surprise that Obama’s budget did not call for new construction spending along that border this year, given that construction would continue under previously signed contracts.

So, tell me, Sic.Eagle, are you really advocating that Obama should have jacked the deficit up even higher by making the border fence the first and foremost priority in May’s budget, even above stimulating the economy and saving the banking sector from collapse, and protecting our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 2, 2009 08:22 PM
Comment #287390

Reinhold:

I have no problem with spliting the responsibility for 911 between Clinton and Bush.

The CIA learned of a possible plot by alqueda to attact the U. S. involving the use of planes. As far as I know, the types of plane or planes was unknown.

The CIA informed the Clinton Administration. The Clinton Administration has offered no information that they did anything to act on the threat other than telling the CIA to keep them informed and telling the Bush Administration.

The Bush Administration has offered no evidence that they did anything to act on the information.

IMO, something else deserves a healthy dose of the responsibility and that is the working agreement between the CIA and the FBI, you don’t tell us anything and we won’t tell you anything. Perhaps this is fallout from when the CIA was busted.

FBI agents in the field had identified many of the 911 perpetrators as being in the U.S. and that some of them were attending commercial air flight training schools. The agents informed their superiors but nothing was done. It is as if the FBI didn’t know about the CIA’s information.

The CIA had the plot. The FBI knew the perpetrators.

I think the Bush Administration realized that had they brought the CIA and FBI together on the plot, something they improved after the fact, they may have had an excellent opportunity to pervent the attack.

Posted by: jlw at September 2, 2009 09:37 PM
Comment #287392


I think we all know why our southern border wasn’t secured. When our quota of illegal workers is achieved the border will be closed. All access will be challenged except uninterupted tractor-trailer transportation.

Posted by: jlw at September 2, 2009 09:52 PM
Comment #287394

David,

I’m not falling into mission creep or one more after one more after one more thing to try with people’s lives. Your putting words into my mouth. I listed specifics that need to be given a little time.

Once those specifics actually fail in reality, then fine, let’s run with our tails between our legs, it will actually be the smart thing to do.

The are a finite number of things that deserve to be seen through for the near future and after that … I don’t advocate something new, I don’t advocate anything else if these previously mentioned factors don’t pan out, THEN WE LEAVE. I have no intentions of putzing around the country for years and years, but reversing the current recommendations of the leaders on the ground is wrong.

Posted by: Fred at September 2, 2009 10:06 PM
Comment #287395

So, Napolitano wants the last 1300 miles enforced with hi-tech sensors. Wasn’t that a Bush plan a while back. Didn’t he drop a billion or so sensors that didn’t work out very well? Yes, I’m sure she is going to ‘cheapen’ up securing the area. I hope the citizens will deliver an ultimatum this coming election, ‘build the fence’.
jlw, I believe you are right re the unimpeded crossings for the tractor trailers carrying the cartels drugs and probably carrying the money out on the return leg. As to some quota having been met, I don’t think so. If you can get wages down to $8/hr with 20M illegals you should be able to get wages down to $4/hr with 40M illegals. I would expect, as our security perimeter is moved to the Souther border of Mexico, we will see a new onslaught of immigrants coming in from LA. Many will have the high-tech skills Bill Gates is looking for. dontcha think?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 2, 2009 10:12 PM
Comment #287399


Roy, The government is protecting many of those jobs so Bill Gates and many others are making plans to take those jobs to where the high-tech low wage workers are.

Posted by: jlw at September 2, 2009 10:44 PM
Comment #287400

The story about that memo has been pretty exhaustively reported on and the explanations seem extremely likely. We know for a fact that our intelligence services failed and the 9-11 Commission, along with many others, have gone extensively into all the reasons why, including the most obvious ones. Namely the intertia, turf-protecting, and red tape of these big government agencies.

You’ve got to remember that the President gets a national security briefing every morning. Obama, for instance, probably hears about dozens of threats, rumors of threats, and potential security vulnerabilites on a regular basis. Things have to rise to a certain level of specificity, however, before he throws all the power of his office into addressing a problem in days or weeks instead of months or years. It’s been said that digesting the information that comes into the White House is like trying to drink water from a fire hose.

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, and a President is always going to end up the hot seat if anything at all goes wrong, and Murphy’s Law as well as the simple laws of probablity tell us that something eventually will. The President could do an excellent job of protecting us from 999 threats, some obvious and some not so obvious, and most people won’t even know enough to thank him. It’s the one that slips through the cracks though that ends up burning him.

Posted by: Paul at September 2, 2009 11:17 PM
Comment #287401

David wrote: “Given the deficits of this years budget, it was no surprise that Obama’s budget did not call for new construction spending along that border this year, given that construction would continue under previously signed contracts”.

Didn’t we just borrow some trillions of dolarrs from China to do make work projects around the country. But, perhaps the border fence project isn’t ‘shovel ready’ just yet.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 2, 2009 11:42 PM
Comment #287407

“So, tell me, Sic.Eagle, are you really advocating that Obama should have jacked the deficit up even higher by making the border fence the first and foremost priority in May’s budget, even above stimulating the economy and saving the banking sector from collapse, and protecting our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan?”

The border IS a security issue,David and should be treated as such.

The health care debate ,now lasting two months, has ripped this country apart and has isolated now followers int o two camps at opposite poles.

Instead on focusing on the war, security and the economy, he is now in the middle of a tong-war that will ultimately change the political landscape BACK to the Republicans despite the fact that they are leaderless and like wise have no clue.

As far as the “bailout”, what bailout? Here in Massachusetts, they say we have a 9% unemployment rate. Add in those who have dropped off the radar screen and it is much higher. Double didgets,for sure.

Right now, Barry’s has experienced the worst drop in the polls EVER for a sitting president in office 8 months. (Rasmussen)

Why? Well for starters the independents are crapping their pants that they voted for the guy. As a group, independants are a much more conservative lot that the left, which is now a full blown Socialist pary.

As for the “bailout”, I believe in the free market system. Thirteen trillion dollars (source WSJ) is on the sidelines. Enough to re-boot AIG had it fallen down. However, Wall Streeet and the gluttons there are neither conservative or socialistic. They are prostitutes, greedy men.

There is a tax that I am in favor of, by the way. A tax that wil strike directly at the heart of computer block trading and could raise maybe 100 billion annually and could have been an alternative to the government bailout not to mention eliminating those scandalous bonuses: a .05% tax on every day trade.

Barry has alkso surrounded himself with many people that will hurt him in 16 months: all the so-called czars that Glen Beck is talking about every day.

Nearly three million people are watching that guy every day. Conservative authors are writing books that are selling like the wind.

While you and others mourn the loss of the Liberal Lion (read: complete joke), slowly conservative America is re-energizing itself.

Say what you want; ridicule away. However, where I come from, the screw surely turns.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 3, 2009 05:06 AM
Comment #287418

‘Secure Border Initiative: Observations on Selected Aspects of
SBInet Program’ :
http://www.gao.gov/htext/d08131t.html

and Boeing’s page on SBI:

http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/sbinet/index.html

Posted by: ohrealy at September 3, 2009 10:54 AM
Comment #287423

US, Afghan forces strike Haqqani Network bases
By Bill Roggio August 30, 2009 11:40 AM

Afghan and US forces killed scores of Haqqani Network fighters during assaults on two bases in the mountains in eastern Afghanistan.

The first attack took place on Aug. 28 when a joint US and Afghan force assaulted a fortified Haqqani Network base located in the mountains of the Urgun District in Paktika province along the Pakistani border. The US military said “a large number of hostile militants” were killed during a daylong assault on what the US military described as a “logistics base and safe haven for foreign fighters.”

US and Afghan forces called in air support to help defeat enemy counterattacks. The joint forces found a series of bunkers, buildings, and weapons caches, which included anti-aircraft artillery pieces and other heavy weapons, in the mountain hideout.

The second attack took place late at night on Aug. 29 in the Sapera district in Khost province. The joint US and Afghan force killed 35 Haqqani Network fighters during the assault on a hideout in the district, the Khost provincial police chief told Xinhua. Security forces also found weapons and food caches at the hideout.

The weekend raids occurred just days after a controversial strike on a clinic in Paktia province. On Aug. 27, US and Afghan troops killed 12 Haqqani fighters and captured seven more during a battle in the Sar Hawza district in Paktia province. One US soldier was also killed during the fighting.

The Haqqani fighters were in a clinic as their commander, Mullah Muslim, was being treated for battle wounds received during fighting on Afghanistan’s Election Day. Muslim and six of his fighters were captured during the clash. US forces called in an Apache helicopter gunship strike on the medical clinic to kill the remaining Taliban fighters after confirming that no civilians were in the building.

Operations against the Haqqanis have intensified over the past two months

The US military has heavily targeted the Haqqani Network since late May. US and Afghan forces have conducted raids against the Haqqani Network on a near-daily basis over

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/08/us_afghan_forces_str_1.php#ixzz0Q3fnZOQK

Why would we stop our soldiers from doing what we’ve all been waiting to see for eight years. We are actually applying the necessary focus. This just happened last Sunday night, did anyone hear a thing about it.
No, we heard an American opinion poll, so what.
The numbers just began to go down. Obama admin admits they only have 12 months to show progress and then Senator Graham said “Some people on the right think Afghanistan is hopeless, some people think this is Obama’s war and want to do to Obama the same thing the left did to Bush with Iraq,”( http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/03/world/asia/03policy.html?_r=1&hp ).

Posted by: Fred at September 3, 2009 11:42 AM
Comment #287440

Roy said: “Didn’t we just borrow some trillions of dolarrs from China to do make work projects around the country. But, perhaps the border fence project isn’t ‘shovel ready’ just yet.”

High tech border protection systems DO NOT create pick and shovel jobs, Roy! Napolitano and Obama are reviewing lower cost, more effective, high tech surveillance detection barriers backed by interdiction of the Border Patrol, along those areas of our border that are currently extremely remote and very difficult to access form the Mexican side of the border.

Shovel ready projects involve putting people to work on machinery and labor projects producing large numbers of discretionary consumers for our economy. Not purchasing and installing seismic detectors and infra red cameras in remote areas where little to no illegal trafficking is taking place, anyway.

Napolitano is also conferring with the many groups along the American side of the border who have concerns about the impact of a physical border barrier being erected in their communities or across their private land. Several of these groups are here in Texas, around Houston and the S. Central Texas border area. And they are at least now getting a hearing regarding their concerns, though I doubt many of their concerns will be addressed as they would hope.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 3, 2009 01:41 PM
Comment #287441

Fred said: “Once those specifics actually fail in reality,… “

Once those specifics fail, the Pentagon will have come up with another set of specifics with, in their estimation, a far better chance of succeeding than the previous set of specifics which they came up with. That is the mechanics of mission creep, Fred. That is how Viet Nam continued to rack up 52 thousand dead American soldiers. That is how the War in Iraq was pursued without ever being able to establish an exit strategy which accomplished the original objectives.

If the greatest military power on earth cannot resolve a war lasting 8 years in one of the poorest and most under resourced nations on the planet, then no amount of new and great ideas will produce a different result. To continue is insane. If there were a path to victory in Afghanistan, our nation would have exercised it by now. We haven’t, because there isn’t a path to victory in Afghanistan that leaves our integrity intact and Afghanistan as a democratic security ally to the U.S.

Your argument rests on doing the same things over and over again, and expecting a different result. We simply don’t have the manpower or the deficit borrowing capacity anymore to do what is required in Afghanistan to eradicate the Taliban, the poppy economic base, and the corruption. That is the reality. Ignoring that reality will not change a thing.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 3, 2009 01:50 PM
Comment #287457

Are you reading my comments fully? My argument doesn’t rest on doing things over and over again. I have clearly stated to try these new things and then leave if they fail.

I also said the Obama admin itself knows they have 12 months to produce before we have to leave the country. Who gives a damn about the pentagon and mission creep and any save alls they come up with in two years, this isn’t the era of McNamara. Obama will drop our involvement after he attempts to do something first.

Our efforts in Afghanistan ended in the middle of 2002 when we started gearing up for the Iraq war. Afghanistan has had the focus of the greatest military on Earth from the fall of 2001 to the fall of 2002. Then we focused 90% of our military efforts in Iraq until 2009 when we began the a build up in Afghanistan.

So they’ve had our full attention for two years and now this administration is going to make an honest effort at destroying the animal we unleashed on the world for one more year, then BHO and the US will leave this region to the long and lonely process of dealing with inherent corruption like the rest of the Middle East.

You may argue for a withdrawal now, but you understand what that would look like in reality, right? I believe we should stay there in force until the end of next years fighting season and then withdraw over winter 2010/ spring 2011.

The interesting thing is that any kind of withdrawal you demand right now will, in reality, water down to the exact same thing as what I think will happen.
US boots on the ground will leave the Afghan war by the end of 2011.

Posted by: Fred at September 3, 2009 05:29 PM
Comment #287463

Fred, I am reading your comments loud and clear, the way I read Bush’s and the Pentagon’s comments loud and clear, on Shock & Awe, Ooops, that didn’t work, CounterInsurgency, that’s the ticket, Ooops, that didn’t work either, then bribery of local Chieftans as in Fallujah, Ooops, that didn’t last, to embedded American advisers in Iraqi Units, OK, but, the violence continues and the factions remain, as does the corruption, as do the foreign elements involved.

Your logic is that your proposal, and NO OTHERS, has merit, and ONLY IF YOUR proposal does not work, should all subsequent proposals be rejected. The logic is completely invalid. Those who come forth with a plan after yours fails, if it does, will make your argument all over again, that we HAVE TO TRY THIS, and if that doesn’t work, then we can pull out, ad infinitum.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 3, 2009 07:15 PM
Comment #287468

These aren’t things I made up, these are new policy moves by a new administration that are halfway implemented. It is wrong for this administration to reverse itself in the middle of these new policies it has committed to trying.

If you refuse to believe the words I write then I don’t know where the discussion can even go from here. I advocate following through with the first time we’ve tried anything in this country and then leaving.

Your looking for a conspiracy theory in my opinion of getting out in the near future and not right now. Getting out RIGHT NOW is logistically impossible BTW.

Pakistan would be abandoned just as they fight to their border and the Taliban would then start hiding grouping on the Afghan side where there are no Americans anymore.

Are you trying to pave them a new Ho Chi Minh trail just as Pakistan is destroying the one they have now? Is that what your Vietnam lens is showing you?

Either way you don’t seem to believe it’s possible to get out next year because it will lead to a decade long slippery slope of a war. Are you actually saying we must get out now or will we never get out?

Posted by: Fred at September 3, 2009 08:21 PM
Comment #287488

david

i heard on the news yesterday that obama is going to increase the tours from 12 to 15 months. pretty big news. i noticed this morning it’s not getting any coverage. i wonder why?

Posted by: dbs at September 4, 2009 09:39 AM
Comment #287491

dbs, Also, in yesterday’s news is a story about the W.H. debating the prospects for remaining in Afghanistan given the extremely high costs and long time line before significant gains might be achieved.

Extensions of service can be a substitute for sending increased forces in. I suspect Obama is reconsidering the entire Afghanistan equation. Which he should, now that he is privy to more information about the situation than any other person on earth, which was not the case as candidate running for office.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 4, 2009 09:54 AM
Comment #287492

Fred said: “These aren’t things I made up, these are new policy moves by a new administration that are halfway implemented. It is wrong for this administration to reverse itself in the middle of these new policies it has committed to trying.”

That is ONLY your opinion. No one earth has better or more complete information on the situation in Afghanistan, than Pres. Obama. He was elected to manage that war. Those are facts.

If the equation has changed there, then the policy must change with it, otherwise we fight the wrong war in the wrong way, which is what happened to Bush in both Iraq and Afghanistan following the wrong advice from the wrong advisers.

May I remind you that it can take many months for a new president to determine which of his Pentagon and Cabinet adviser’s opinions are to be treated with the greatest respect and which with skepticism, given that a president even attempts such discernment. The prospects for a desirable outcome in Afghanistan have dimmed over the 8 years of occupation and propaganda campaigns which have taken place among the people there.

NO ONE, not even the most hardened, will remain ardent about a war that has lasted 8 years with no tangible change for the better in sight all those years, except those whose way of life and homeland are being occupied by foreigners.

Some try to make the case that the Taliban are foreigners. But, I ask you. Who would appear more foreign to the Afghan people, the Taliban living among them, or the American and other foreign national soldiers shooting and killing in their homeland? Perception cannot be discounted in such circumstances.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 4, 2009 10:07 AM
Comment #287494

Fred, you asked: “Are you actually saying we must get out now or will we never get out?”

I am saying we need an exit strategy. Without it, there IS no exit, but shame, defeat, and humiliation for our own nation. That is the lesson of Iraq and Viet Nam. Our nation inflicts great harm upon itself when it engages the greatest military in the world and fails to achieve its stated objectives at the outset.

It became impossible to achieve our stated objectives in Viet Nam. It became impossible to achieve most of our stated objectives in Iraq. We must not allow the same course of events to now occur in Afghanistan. The situation has been changed by the last 8 years of failure to accomplish anything worthwhile and lasting there.

We must reassess the potential for benefit and damage in pursuing the war there, and if necessary, based on that reassessment, redefine our objectives, and our exit strategy in light of those objectives. To do otherwise is the height of folly and foolishness. There is nothing noble about being stubborn in the pursuit of the impossible. It is stupid. Nothing more, with all due apologies to the Man of La Mancha.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 4, 2009 10:16 AM
Comment #287497

David

Only you can tie Vietnam and Iraq together.

That is patently false and misleading. It sounds like Pelosi, Kennedy, Murtha, and Ried all rolled up into one.

Last I looked, there is a democracy in Iraq…you know…elected folk and the like.

Democracy.

Like we used to have.

We won in Iraq David. Just like we will win in Afganistan.

I’d be happy to debate you on this on a seperate post.

As a matter of fact, I challenge you to a debate on this topic.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 4, 2009 10:28 AM
Comment #287500

Sic.Eagle,

That is your opinion. Of course, since it was YOUR party’s leadership that invaded Iraq for all the wrong reasons and intelligence, and bungled it horribly failing even its own stated goals and objectives, I can understand where your opinion is coming from.

You are entitled to your own opinion, just not your own facts. The facts remain stubbornly in the history of the actual events.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 4, 2009 10:35 AM
Comment #287507

” Without it, there IS no exit, but shame, defeat, and humiliation for our own nation. That is the lesson of Iraq and Viet Nam.”

That is YOUR fact, david and it is just plain wrong.

You said “defecat” in the context of Iraq.

Now, you backpeddle.

The facts, David say that Iraq is a free Democratic country where 4500 brave Americans died.

Ask those souls if they lost.

Only you, Murtha, and Reid said that.

My mom always said you can judge a person by the company he keeps.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 4, 2009 11:14 AM
Comment #287508

Sic.Eagle,

It is a matter of historical record, the goals and promises made by GW Bush regarding the invasion of Iraq. Almost NONE of them were ever achieved or kept.

Delude away. But, failing to achieve one’s publicly stated objectives is defeat, and attended by shame and humiliation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 4, 2009 11:22 AM
Comment #287513

David

Your history is the balony of the left that you have swallowed hook line and sinker.

The only delusion is yours. Keep telling yourself that we lost though. Maybe someone else will believe it, but not those with a sincintilla of a brain.

Again I challenge you to a debate on the merits…just you and I.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 4, 2009 01:45 PM
Comment #287515

Right, Sic.Eagle, it’s that liberal media revisionist history that has the majority of Americans duped. Right! Keep deluding those comments, and keep pace with your Party which had it all and lost it all on the basis of such delusions.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 4, 2009 02:29 PM
Comment #287518

David

The single biggest issue in the ‘06 Congressional election was corruption, not the war in Iraq,

Again, don’t let the facts get in the way, David.

You and the lefties were swallowing Murtha’s crap.

Barry won the last election because of independents. They swung his way.

Now, they are swinging back. Again, those are facts.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 4, 2009 06:42 PM
Comment #287521

This may be hard to believe, especially with my above comments in mind, but I am pretty thoroughly non-interventionist.

I specifically see Afghanistan as a separate and special case and will not defend anything having to do with the Iraq war. I support putting down the monsters we created to defeat the Russians in the 80s and consider it our most important responsibility to the rest of the world at this time. The Iraq war is the single greatest factor in our lack of any substantial progress in Afghanistan (David refuses to mention or respond to this )and the biggest military blunder in United States History.

Talk all you want, S Eagle, about democracy in Iraq, but if Bush tried to sell the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to the American people because Democracy had to be spread, the war never would’ve happened.

I’m proposing an exit strategy that utilizes our forces on the ground while they are still there and while Pakistan is continuing the offensive in their country to wipe out the original Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership from the 80s and 90s and prepare the Afghan army to stand on it’s own two feet in 12 months.

I have already said that we can take David’s plan to fruition and it would look like this once the commanders on the ground have their say, which they should have. Any campaign to stop the war immediately will be compromised in order to prevent the collapse of the Afghan army and this would mean US troops in next years fighting season and possibly standing by off shore by the winter of 2010/spring of 2011.

Any way you cut it, we aren’t pulling out in the next 6 to 12 months even if everyone agreed they wanted to. I’m furious that we had to send troops anywhere and still pretty sure this isn’t going to end well, but this is how I think it will end.

Posted by: Fred at September 4, 2009 07:30 PM
Comment #287529

Sic.Eagle said, “The single biggest issue in the ‘06 Congressional election was corruption, not the war in Iraq”.

Thank you for making my argument. Another delusion of the Republican Party that they had good honest candidates in office. Corruption, yes. And it just keeps on coming, with the VP and and others in the Bush administration about to be investigated. As deluded as Democrats with Jefferson and Rangel. But, you know, Jefferson and Rangel didn’t kill thousands using lies to hide behind. That’s a form of corruption in a class all its own.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 4, 2009 10:28 PM
Comment #287531

Fred said: “The Iraq war is the single greatest factor in our lack of any substantial progress in Afghanistan (David refuses to mention or respond to this )”

I will be happy to respond to this. I agree, entirely that the Iraq War prevented the U.S. from taking care of the Afghanistan as it should have been. But, as I argued above, that window of opportunity is now closing, our national debt has doubled, our troops are still stretched with the suicide rate in the Army twice what it was in 2004. Bush wasted the opportunity to take care of Afghanistan. We can’t afford to remain and start that campaign all over from scratch for another 5 years at 4 billion dollars per month, and 51 American deaths per month, as was the case last month.

The situation is not what it was in 2001, Fred.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 4, 2009 10:33 PM
Comment #287536


The NewsHour had a piece on Afganistan tonight. How are the Taliban being funded. Well they get about 200 million from USAID each year.

The Taliban force contractors to pay protection money. The U.S. adds 20% to each contract so that the contractors can pay the protection money.

Posted by: jlw at September 4, 2009 11:39 PM
Comment #287601

Conservative authors are writing books that are selling like the wind.

That line made me LOL!!! Got wind for sale? I’ll even bet they are breaking wind records!

Posted by: gergle at September 6, 2009 04:21 PM
Comment #287625

jlw, that is consistent with what I have read about the corruption in Afghanistan, and adds to the argument there is no winning exit strategy in Afghanistan, anymore. The time to have eradicated the corruption was in the first two years of the Karzai government establishment.

That window of opportunity is now closed by the enormous cost that would now be required to eradicate it, along similar lines as the boxcars of U.S. dollars handed out in Iraq to get Iraqi’s to play nice on our side. With a rapidly approaching 12 trillion dollar national debt en route to 16 to 20 trillion over the next 10 years, we can no longer afford such extravagant expenditures for failed policy overseas.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 6, 2009 09:34 PM
Comment #287658

And the results from “Vietnam” that haven’t exactly gone away:

http://miss-landmine.org/cambodia/

Posted by: ohrealy at September 7, 2009 04:16 PM
Comment #287707


David, our Afgan policy along with most of our other policies has to be viewed thru our primary policy of Globalization.

Globalization has many objectives. Exportation of jobs and importation of low wage workers are a couple of those objectives.

There are also military objectives. Iraq was one. While Afganistan was not a short term objective, eventually we would have to tame that country. Perhaps from a Globalization policy point of view it may make sense to stick it out in Afganistan and in ten or fifteen years the Afgans will be a source of low wage workers for our corporations because by then the Chinese and Indian workers wages may be considered excessive.

Perhaps our policy makers have decided that doubling our national debt every decade for several decades is necessary to support our globalization policy.

Posted by: jlw at September 8, 2009 12:16 AM
Comment #287731

jlw, you are right, but oversimplified a tad.

Great numbers of our people and some in government do not favor exporting jobs and importing low wage labor. Our capitalists are the primary one’s supporting such policies which are highly profitable to them. Our capitalists also make up a very large sector of the lobbyists on K Street, hence, policy tends to move in their favored direction.

Our policy makers are acutely aware that we are rapidly approaching our debt carrying capacity, especially in the absence of a 5% GDP growth economy. But, they craft policy and vote in accordance with the needs of the next reelection cycle, not the longer term health and well being of the nation. That is the enormous liability and weakness of democratic elections.

Our partnership between government and the private sector has evolved into a partisan war. The rational cooperative partnership is being lost to the lobbyists and corporatists because of the ideological war being fought between the so-called ‘socialists’ and ‘capitalists’, with the capitalists making out like bandits and the rest of the society suffering the costs of their banditry.

Oh, surprise, for some, but, yes, democratic elections have their vulnerabilities. Though it remains on paper, still, the best system of hiring and firing elected representatives, despite such a system being virtually broken in our 2 party U.S. political structure.

The more parties (within reason) represented in the Congress or Parliament or Politburo, the more consistency and constancy a nation’s policies will have to persist and actually solve long term policies. One party alone, in such systems, cannot reverse the previous party’s solutions, especially, if they make sense to sizable portions of the other multiple parties.

Our two party system is rapidly turning into an all or none system, in which long term solutions are scrapped with the overturn of one party by the other every 8 to 16 years. Hence, we end up with intractable problems like SS and Medicare where they have to constitute a national emergency before consensus can be achieved by both parties, and then of course, the enormous damage has already been done from decades of absence of consistently applied solutions.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 8, 2009 05:21 PM
Comment #287876

Sic Eagle,

While we argued once about Murtha’s position on Iraq war criminals, and I still think he owes no one an apology on that, I agree it’s time for Murtha to go, he has become corrupted by money.

Posted by: gergle at September 10, 2009 04:58 PM
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