Rethinking Afghanistan

/you would think

TMundo's picture

You would think the key would be to concentrate those troops on intelligence and infrastructure of the afgani and pakistani mountains.  that should have been the idea from the beginning.  or even better, to actually sit down and talk to Al Qaeda and find out why they have such hatred. Iraq was a sever waste of time. Pull troops from Iraq, work on intelligence and mountain surveillance.  Forget population control.  Or forget it all period and concentrate on homeland security, as that doesnt hurt people.

Canada certainly supports that view

RidingFool's picture

Why Canada is in Afghanistan

FearlessFreep's picture

Back in 2003 (the Liberals were in power then, not Harper's Conservatives), the Canadian government sent troops into Afghanistan to appease Washington because they were staying out of Iraq.  Typical Liberal difference-splitting.


We can never defeat the violent Islamists?

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Sure we can.  The day the radical Islamists give up their inferiority complex (when they compare themselves to the west), there will be peace.  It would also help if the Pentagon would give up its idea that it runs the world.  Both sides need to reevaluate their mistaken world views.

Pakistan's intelligence agency has said recently that the CIA has been somewhat successful in targeting al Qaeda in western Pakistan with its drone plane attacks.  Al Qaeda has been forced to split its forces into smaller groups and concentrate more on attacking Pakistan instead of going after targets in the west.  This is a partial victory for the USA in its war with the Islamic radicals.  It may also force Pakistan to get serious about shutting down the radical Islamists on its own territory.

We can't ignore the spread of radical Islamic terrorism the way Ronald Reagan did.

{;-) Dan in Miami

You sound like a Fox/CNN pep rally news broadcast.

RidingFool's picture


Obama is rethinking Afghanistan

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

"I'm not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan or saving face," Obama told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

"Fifty-seven percent of independents and nearly three-quarters of Democrats oppose the war. Seven in 10 Republicans support what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Democrats mildly opposed the war in April while independents and Republicans favored it. But opposition has grown 18 points among Democrats and 10 points among independents."

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  The Karzai government in Afghanistan is corrupt and inept.  Unless that problem can be corrected it is hard to see how Afghanistan can be stabilized.  The new general in charge of Afghanistan is basically proposing that the USA and NATO become the new government in southern Afghanistan.  This is the area where the Pashtuns live and the Taliban is strongest.  But at what cost?  And for how long? 

PPS:  Al Qaeda is our real enemy.  The Taliban support them but do not attack us in the USA.


It's a dumb stupid war

Rajah's picture

All Al Qaeda has to do is go back into Pakistan were we can't get at them. Let them have their Taliban government if the Afghans aren't willing to fight for their own freedom. This is back to nation building. Afghanistan has never had a stable government, it's always been ruled by warlords. Alexander the Great gave up on it and so has many conquerers since.

Not the "Clone Wars" but the Drone Wars

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

US officials stated in March 2009 that the Predator [drone] strikes had killed nine of al-Qaeda's 20 top commanders. The officials added that many top Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders, as a result of the strikes, had fled to Quetta or even further to Karachi.

In May 2009 it was reported that the USA was sharing drone intelligence with Pakistan.  [Head of CIA] Leon Panetta reiterated on May 19, 2009 that the US intended to continue the Drone attacks.

On July 20, 2009, the Brookings Institution released a report stating that ten civilians died in the drone attacks for every militant killed. It suggested the real answer to halting al-Qaeda's activity in Pakistan will be long-term support of Pakistan's counterinsurgency efforts.  In July 2009 it was reported that (according to US officials) Osama Bin Laden's son Saad bin Laden was believed to have been killed in a drone attack earlier in the year.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  How many of those civilians are relatives of al Qaeda terrorists?  If the terrorists keep their family near them it is inevitable that some will be killed.

Remember the Nazis?

FearlessFreep's picture

Goering said he'd rather kill 20 innocent people than let one enemy escape.  Oh well, the US ratio is only 10 to 1, so quit yer griping!


Taliban responsible for most deaths in Aghanistan

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

U.N. report: Taliban responsible for majority of killings last year in Afghanistan

By Keith B. Richburg and Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, January 13, 2010; 4:38 PM


KABUL -- Last year was the deadliest for Afghan civilians since the U.S.-led war began here in 2001, according to a United Nations report released Wednesday. But in a shift from 2008 when the United States and its allies were deemed responsible for nearly half of all civilian deaths, the survey blamed the Taliban for the vast majority of the killings last year.

The survey, by the U.N.'s human rights office in Afghanistan, said the new American commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, had largely succeeded in his goal of reducing Afghan civilian deaths by sharply restricting the use of airstrikes.

But at the same time, the report said, the Taliban has stepped up efforts at intimidation through mass-casualty suicide attacks, the use of more powerful roadside bombs and executions of suspected informants.

The report said 2,412 Afghan civilians were killed in 2009, a 14 percent increase from 2008, and that the Taliban was responsible for two-thirds of those deaths. American-led coalition forces, the report said, were responsible for a quarter of the deaths, with responsibility for the remaining civilian deaths impossible to determine.

According to the figures, civilian deaths inflicted by the Taliban and other insurgents in 2009 -- some 1,630 -- represented a 40 percent increase over the previous year. Deaths caused by the United States and its allies dropped by nearly a third.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  So there all you Canuck peaceniks.  The Taliban kills innocents on purpose.  The USA and its allies by accident.  Can't you see the difference?

Dan, Dan,

RidingFool's picture

You're in Pakistan.

You're shootin' 'em up in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, by cracky, you're boilin' 'em with oil prophets.

Yemen will be next with American men.

Where will the adventures end?

Fool Fool

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

What would you do to reduce terrorism?  Some concrete ideas please.

{;-) Dan_in_Miami

Pandora's box is open

gamerarocks's picture

To be honest there's nothing you can do to stop terrorism.  Someone is always going to be upset with the way things are run, and some of those someone's will resort to terrorism.  The best you can do is make your country/the world a better place for everyone.  Reducing it?  Well find ways to give them fewer reasons and less incentive to want to conduct terrorist activities.  The problem currently is honestly based in religious beliefs.  Christianity Islam and Judism are all at their hearts peaceful religions.  When believers don't get what they want they find ways to justify violent actions against others within their religious beliefs.  As a wise priest whose name I don't remember once said, "the bible is just like a person; if you torture it long enough you can make it say anything."  The koran is no different.  So it boils down to what can you do to reduce people's belief that their religion is under attack?  A concrete idea for that?  Well, personally I'd start by finding a homeland for the palestinians.  Be it the Siani, Jordan, Saudi, Syria, or part of current Israel who knows, but finding a permenant homeland and making it stick would show muslims that America cares about someone besides Israel.  In other words, Ms. Clinton should set up shop in the region.  Let it be known the intentions.  Let the arab world know that aside from the dissolution of Israel or the threatening of Israeli security the US is doing all it can.  Find ways to make other arab states take responsibility for giving territory.  Anyone who throws out the 'it was called Palestine' card gets shown the card that "that was created by europeans for their own geographical benefit.  you want to live by christian standards?"  Again it's a matter of taking positive initiatives and making them stick, and not doing so via the Carl Rove method and slinging until something sticks a little.  Have a gameplan and get busy.

But that's me. 

Impeach Jim Gibbons!


Well, Dan...

RidingFool's picture

It's not what I need to do to reduce "terrorism" (which is an abstract, I might add). It's what America needs to do. A little navel-gazing wouldn't hurt. A dialogue wouldn't hurt either, but that's not going to happen, since "talking to terrorists" is an absolute sign of weakness to all the "cowboy way" Americans out there. How successful was that for your King George?

Where would you like to reduce "terrorism"? Abroad? At home? Where do you begin?

Why are those "terrorists" targeting America? Is it because Americans are "free"? Are they jealous of all of America's freedoms? Do they envy the American way of life? Do they all want to come to America and live the good life?

One has to realize that there's a problem - and I'm not talking about a "terrorism problem". A little news wouldn't hurt, but you won't get actual news in America. The media is too busy with parrots and tell-all books written by liars.

The wogs are fed up, and they're not going to take it any more. The cat is out of the bag, and it isn't going to crawl back in, in your lifetime. Get used to it, unless you can figure out a way to dialogue and attempt to begin understanding just why it is the way it is. Until you start to do that, "reducing terrorism" isn't going to happen.


Dialog with terrorists is important

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

That is already going on.  The US generals are trying to convince low level Taliban soldiers to switch sides.  If they pay more than the Taliban they will probably succeed.  There have also been periodic reports of negotiations going on between various political leaders around the world and the leaders of terrorist movements.  Unfortunately this has resulted in false "truces" that only allowed the Taliban to rebuild in Pakistan.  Perhaps these negotiations will be more successful in the future.

The US demolished the Taliban in Afghanistan when we invaded after 9/11.  They were routed and barely escaped to Pakistan.  But then Bush took his eye off the ball.  He made the stupid decision to invade Iraq.  Probably to enrich his oil buddies.  Well recently Iraq has renegotiated those oil contracts.  US companies no longer are winning contract bids in Iraq.  During the Iraq adventure the Taliban slowly rebuilt itself in Pakistan.  Today they have very good funding and plenty of territory in North West Pakistan to hide in.

Mr. Fool you are talking to a Libertarian.  I want the USA to shut down the vast majority of its hundreds of foreign military bases.  Frankly we can't afford them anymore.  The federal government is going bankrupt.  Unfortunately the fools in Washington can't seem to see that.  Trying to get Congress to cut a spending program is like trying to get an addict to quit heroin.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  Negotiations by themselves will not be enough.  Got any other ideas Mr. Fool?

I dunno, how about actually fighting AL-QAEDA?

FearlessFreep's picture

Instead of invading Afghanistan and Iraq.


Yeah, destroying a village just to get a few Al-Qaeda

Rajah's picture

Surely there are smarter ways of fighing this war. I seem to remember several presidents stating this is an unconventional war and we need to fight it in unconventional ways. But they seem to be using the same old conventional tactics. This should be a fight using exclusively special forces.

When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

TheWreck's picture

The thing is, we have the biggest, baddest conventional military forces in the world.  So that's what we use, and that's how we use it.

We forgot that just because *we* succeeded when we turned our revolt into a "conventional" European-style war, that doesn't mean everyone else will succeed as well.  For that matter, we also seem to think that if you lose, you stop fighting and go to the sidelines, huddle up, then come out again later.



Al Qaeda and the Talliban are one

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

After 9/11 the Talliban could have given up bin Laden and they probably would not have been invaded.  They chose not to do so.

Today the links between the two organizations are probably even stronger.  Got to kill one if you want to kill the other.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  Invading Iraq was stupid.  This is probably the 100th time I have posted this in these forums.  If you count Cranky 1.0 and Cranky2.0.



A weakened Karzai government gives Obama the jitters

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

The UN watchdog for the elections in Afghanistan has brought forward allegations of cheating.  Karzai was weak before.  If there are allegations of fraud it is hard to see how he can ever be more than the mayor of Kabul.   This means that the USA and NATO would become the government in the Pashtun south and east.  The problem with that is that there is no reason to think that the Afghans will ever develop a central government.

Obama is now in the process of rethinking the entire effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  From today's NY Times:

Mr. Obama met in the Situation Room with his top advisers on Sept. 13 to begin chewing over the problem, said officials involved in the debate. Among those on hand were Mr. Biden; Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; James L. Jones, the national security adviser; and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

They reached no consensus, so three or four more such meetings are being scheduled. “There are a lot of competing views,” said one official who, like others in this article, requested anonymity to discuss internal administration deliberations.

Among the alternatives being presented to Mr. Obama is Mr. Biden’s suggestion to revamp the strategy altogether. Instead of increasing troops, officials said, Mr. Biden proposed scaling back the overall American military presence. Rather than trying to protect the Afghan population from the Taliban, American forces would concentrate on strikes against Qaeda cells, primarily in Pakistan, using special forces, Predator missile attacks and other surgical tactics.

The Americans would accelerate training of Afghan forces and provide support as they took the lead against the Taliban. But the emphasis would shift to Pakistan. Mr. Biden has often said that the United States spends something like $30 in Afghanistan for every $1 in Pakistan, even though in his view the main threat to American national security interests is in Pakistan.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  Mr. Freep:  war is hell and we didn't start this fire.  Al Qaeda can lay down their arms and get a job at the local convenience store any time they want to.


Let's bribe our way to victory in Afghanistan

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

The entire "country" is a backward collection of tribes.  They have no history of a strong central government.  The Taliban is winning because the average Afghan distrusts the Karzai government.  But what if the US bribed the tribal leaders to do the right things and rebuild the country?  It worked to some extent in Iraq.

For more please read this article from

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  The main lesson from Vietnam is that you can't "win" (or achieve your objectives) if the local government does not have the confidence of the people.


Let's help them sell their opium!

Rajah's picture

Get them a better price and they'll love us for it

Opium funds terrorists

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

From CNN:

It is unclear exactly who is responsible for this but there's growing evidence, according to the U.N., that the Taliban are becoming increasingly involved in the industry and could be sitting on huge stockpiles of opium to use as credit for financing their activities.

Hakan Demirbuken, a research expert on the U.N.'s Afghan Opium Trade Program, said Taliban involvement in the drugs trade is not limited to taxing Afghan opium farmers and traders in return for their "protection."

He told CNN: "Last year we estimated that Afghan poppy farmers earned around $730 million, while traders who take the product on to the border earned around $3.4 billion."

"From this lucrative business the Taliban took around $125 million in tax.

"But according to U.N. figures they need around $800 million per year for their operational needs."

However, most of the trade is controlled by organized criminal groups from outside Afghanistan. Therefore Demirbuken believes groups such as the Taliban and al Qaeda will be forging links with criminal gangs in order to become more involved in the production and trafficking stages.

As a result NATO combat forces have now been actively attacking militants, drug laboratories and buildings connected to insurgents with ties to drug lords for the first time since the start of the Afghan conflict in 2001.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  Legalize drugs and the Taliban loses its funding.


Why not have the pharmacutical companies by the opium?

TMundo's picture

...that's where morphine and a large variety of other painkillers come from, get the drug companies to offer them more money.

That would only work if big pharma sold heroin to addicts

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Which I might be in favor of if it was controlled and perhaps combined with free drug rehab clinics.  The point is, you have to cut the big illegal drug cartels out of the picture if you want to reduce funding to the Taliban.  But we still have plenty of Dem and GOP politicians who think that prohibition works.  Of course anyone who knows history can tell you it doesn't.  Unless you want to take the extreme measure of just executing all the drug addicts.

{;-) Dan in Miami


Confused about the Afghan elections?

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Try reading this article.  Karzai is the problem now.

{;-) Dan in Miami

Simply put, Karzai screwed his people and he screwed us.

Coaster's picture

Now we're obligated to support is illegitimate government with the blood of our troops and those of the U.N. 

Too bad Moon lacked a set. 

All you crybaby pacifists consider this:

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Suicide bomber kills 5 at UN office in Pakistan 

By ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writer –

1 hr 46 mins ago

Islamist militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq seeking to attack high-profile Western targets have shown no hesitation in targeting foreign humanitarian agencies, including the United Nations, regardless of the work they are doing in relieving the suffering in the countries.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  Perhaps al Qaeda and Taliban members are not man enough to attack soldiers?


Taliban cowards acknowledge killing UN charity workers

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

By MUNIR AHMAD, Associated Press Writer  – 6 mins ago

ISLAMABAD – Taliban militants claimed responsibility Tuesday for the deadly suicide bombing at the U.N. food agency's heavily fortified compound in Islamabad, saying international relief work in Pakistan was not in "the interest of Muslims."

Pakistani religious scholar Mufti Muneebur Rehman disputed the Taliban claim that international aid work was against Islam.

"Helping somebody in need is one of the best traits of Islam," he said. "A good Muslim would be the first to help any non-Muslim in trouble."

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  The good news is that the army of Pakistan may soon invade South Waziristan and kill these insane murderers. 



America is wasting valuable resources in Afghanistan,

RidingFool's picture

just as she is doing in Iraq.

Boots on the ground are meaningless when all you need is a bomb and a rock to put it under. When the remote-controlled bomb goes off, there's no one to shoot the shit out of - which shoots (if you'll pardon the pun) troop morale all to hell. Try it some time.

On the other hand, having the Pakis do their own dirty work is probably one of the better solutions. Now all you have to do is convince them that they should do it every day. Good luck with that.

Oil in Iraq, drugs in Afghanistan. Some things just never change over time.

General McChrystal agrees with me

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

From Faux News dot Com:

WASHINGTON -- Rampant government corruption might derail the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan even if as many as 80,000 additional U.S. troops were sent to the war, the top military commander there has concluded, according to U.S. officials briefed on his recommendations.

The conclusion by Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal is part of a still-secret document that requests more troops even as he warns that they ultimately may not prevent terrorists from turning Afghanistan back into a haven.

{;-) Dan in Miami

McChrystal's angle

FearlessFreep's picture

Sounds like he's expecting the operation to fail and setting things up so Washington will get the blame for not giving it enough support.


A stable government in Afghanistan is a pipe dream

Rajah's picture

Even the locals won't fight the Taliban. I say fuck 'em, we can't fight their civil war for them. Afghanistan is a meat grinder and always has been. Learn from history for once.

Not if the government

gamerarocks's picture

controls and profits from the drug trade. 

Impeach Jim Gibbons!


Crusade proposed

RidingFool's picture

to rescue newly-discovered Crusader-era murals that depict heaven and hell in Syria.

Those oily Syrians are next - which leads me to wonder what artifcts will be discovered in the far distant future that will encourage archaeologists to dig out remnants of the present crusades.

Pakistan is not attacking the Afghan Taliban

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

There are different Taliban groups.  Pakistan is now invading South Waziristan.  They are only going after the Taliban group that is a threat to Pakistan.  They are not going after the Taliban group that threatens Afghanistan like the USA would like them to do.  This is despite the fact that the Afghan Taliban are right there in Waziristan.

For more please check out this article from the McClatchy Newspapers:



Why order from Afgahnistan? Order from some video on youtube...

TMundo's picture

...make a floral arangement with the stems they don't send you, unless you want them to.

Pakistan cuts deal with anti-American militants

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

By ISHTIAQ MAHSUD and NAHAL TOOSI, Associated Press Writers, 1 hr 19 mins ago

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – Pakistan's army, in the midst of a major new offensive against Taliban militants, has struck deals to keep two powerful, anti-U.S. tribal chiefs from joining the battle against the government, officials said Monday.

The deals increase the chances of an army victory against Pakistan's enemy No. 1, but indicate that the 3-day-old assault into the Taliban's strongholds in South Waziristan may have less effect than the U.S. wants on a spreading insurgency across the border in Afghanistan.

Under the terms agreed to about three weeks ago, Taliban renegades Maulvi Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadur will stay out of the current fight in parts of South Waziristan controlled by the Pakistani Taliban. They will also allow the army to move through their own lands unimpeded, giving the military additional fronts from which to attack the Taliban.

{;-) Dan in Miami


General McChrystal wants us to stay 5 more years in Afghanistan

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

The following are some paragraphs from a 13 page article in the NY Times.  If you think Afghanistan is worth saving, the article does a good job of persuading you that General McChrystal can do it.  If you think it is worth the blood and treasure. 

LATER THAT DAY, during a drive through Kabul, McChrystal told me that he had decided to drastically restrict the circumstances under which airstrikes would be permitted: for all practical purposes, he was banning bombs and missiles in populated areas unless his men were in danger of being overrun.

“Even if it means we are going to step away from a firefight and fight them another day, that’s O.K.,” McChrystal told me.

At the heart of McChrystal’s strategy are three principles: protect the Afghan people, build an Afghan state and make friends with whomever you can, including insurgents. Killing the Taliban is now among the least important things that are expected of NATO soldiers.

One big question hovering over McChrystal is whether his experience in Iraq truly prepares him for the multiheaded challenge that faces him now. For nearly five years, McChrystal served as chief of the Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees the military’s commando units, including the Army Delta Force and the Navy Seals. (Until recently, the Pentagon refused to acknowledge that the command even existed.)

McChrystal said that as early as the fall of 2006 — when Al Qaeda [in Iraq] was at its murderous peak — it looked like the group was coming apart. “We sensed that Al Qaeda was going to implode,” he said. “We could just feel it. We were watching it and feeling it and seeing it.” In addition to driving the civil war, Al Qaeda gunmen were seen as a main obstacle to Iraq’s Sunnis’ reconciling with the Americans and the Iraqi government. By degrading Al Qaeda, McChrystal and others say, they helped significantly reduce the civil war, and by so doing created a space that allowed a broader movement of reconciliation — the Sunni Awakening — to succeed.

“It feels like Iraq in 2004,” said Michael Flynn, McChrystal’s deputy. “Part of it is that the insurgency [in Afghanistan] is stronger — we didn’t realize how strong it was. What we are trying to do is make sure everyone understands what it is we are facing — a much stronger insurgency, certainly much more capable. Their capacity to lay I.E.D.’s on the battlefield, for instance — it’s just stunning.”

“The insurgency has to have access to the people,” McChrystal told me. “So we literally want to go in there and squat among the people. We want to make the insurgents come to us. Make them be the aggressors. What I want to do is get on the inside, looking out — instead of being on the outside looking in.”

“There will be a lot of fighting,” McChrystal added. “If we do this right, the insurgents will have to fight us. They will have no choice.”

And that’s the rub: the population-focused strategy requires more troops — as many as 40,000 more. This is the decision that confronts President Obama and his advisers now.

In the ninth year of the war, Afghan forces are neither large nor able enough to take over for NATO. The Afghan Army has about 85,000 soldiers, and the police force has about 80,000 men. McChrystal wants to boost the size of the army to about 240,000 and the police to 160,000. “I think we can do it,” he told me.;s%20...

{;-) Dan in Miami

There's much to be said in

Shakesmear's picture

There's much to be said in this thread.  Fearless freep is misguided . The Canadian government responded to a call for NATO response which they were bound by treaty to carry out. He is correct that we were conned. The fact is than any response that turned this into a war scenario was designed to allow the US to continue its conquest of the Middle east muslim nations. No wonder they hate you. The present Canadian government has continued our propping up of an American holding operation in Afghanistan.  We should have moved out the moment the American forces began an illegal war in Iraq and diverted its forces to that catastrophe.

To continue in Afghanistan will be to replicate the disasters of other countries attempts to play the 'Great Game" Afghanistan is the home field for guerrilla warfare and has proved it time after time.  Even the Americans with their proven ability to obliterate cities with nuclear bombs and defoliate landscapes with firebombing and agent orange will never prevail there.

But you will have to deal with your own internal discontent ere long. you have a populace of stupid people and a MSM and political establishment of crooks.

Oh give us *some* credit

Coaster's picture

We have some kickass roller coasters here. 


Good to see you, Shakes.

Afghanistan was the fight we should have been in all along.

TheWreck's picture

Frankly, if The Chimp had kept his eye on the ball in Afghanistan instead of getting lost in Iraq, we might have actually wrapped things up (as much as they can get wrapped up in Afghanistan) and have been out by now.

I never had a problem with the fight in Afghanistan.  The Taliban sheltered Al-Qaida before, during and after 9/11.  Both of those groups of people deserve whatever hurt we can lay on them.  And I see no good coming from letting first the one, then the other, back into control of Afghanistan.  I agree that we need to talk with people, that we need to provide them with a route to prosperity and dignity.  But there are some people who only understand a two-by-four upside the head.  And if you don't apply it to them, they will be happy to apply it to you.


The Iraqis want the US out. The Afghans want the US in.

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

The Afghans have been devastated by 30 years of war.  They are the fifth poorest country on Earth.  The median age of the population is 17 years.  They have no oil or any other valuable natural resources.  The Taliban are brutal.  The Afghans need help and they know it.  The question is whether the coalition wants to commit to a long effort.  5 years of US involvement would be the minimum.

{;-) Dan in Miami

They have opium

Rajah's picture

If this war was winable Bush pulling out troops surely lost that chance. Obama is doing the right thing in asking just what the fuck we're doing there. Must we lose more troops just to get back where we started? Then there's the added threat of an unstable Pakistan with their nukes. How to handle this I haven't a clue. Diplomacy maybe the way who knows. If anything, history has taught us there's not a military solution. Russian didn't do so well with their puppet government and military action either.

The godless Soviets were unpopular in Afghanistan

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

From an article in The New Republic:

Most polls since the fall of the Taliban have found that a majority of Afghans hold a favorable view of the international presence in their country. Nationwide surveys conducted earlier this year showed that 62 percent of Afghans view the United States favorably and 63 percent support the U.S. military. By contrast, the Taliban's favorable ratings are consistently below 10 percent. In counterinsurgency theory, the center of gravity of the conflict is the population. The fact that the Afghan people remain both overwhelmingly opposed to the Taliban and also quite supportive of us--even after all of the mistakes we have made over the past eight years--should tell us that securing the country is not an impossible task.

The flawed election of Hamid Karzai and the pervasive corruption of his government, to be sure, raise a serious question connected to another key aspect of counterinsurgency doctrine: Is there a legitimate government to support? But Afghans, who have not had much functional government in their lives, actually want something much simpler than that: They want security. That is why many of them at first embraced the Taliban in the mid-1990s--because it at least delivered this paramount public good. In the short term, it is probably impossible to significantly reform the Afghan government. But security is something that international forces can provide. And, once there is security, perhaps over the long term there will be openings for political change as well.,4 

{;-) Dan in Miami


PS:  Al Qaeda has been based in the Af-Pak area for decades now.  It won't be easy or quick, but maybe it's time to drive them out.  Please discuss.



So we must stay there forever to provide security?

Rajah's picture

When are we going to stop enabling these countries? They need to stand on their own feet and run their own country. So we are to stay there until they evolve into a civilized country? Look how long we've been at it and I still wouldn't call America civilized. For the most part the last 8 years we've shown the morals of a third world banana republic. How are we to teach another countries how to act when we continue the same dumb policies. Obama talks good but now he needs to act differently. Stopping torture is good but we need to try the crimes of the past to show people we are serious.

Afghanistan is not Iraq

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Afghanistan has no resources to draw on.  They can't stand on their own.  90% of the men recruited to be police in Afghanistan are illiterate.  They can't even write up a police report.

Al Qaeda have become very comfortable in the Af-Pak area.  Osama bin Laden has lived almost all of his adult life there.  Kicking them out of that part of the world would be a major accomplishment.

{;-) Dan in Miami


The high cost of more troops in Afghanistan

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

From today's Washington Post newspaper:

Each of the four options that were presented to Obama on Wednesday [yesterday] were accompanied by troop figures and the estimated annual costs of the additional deployments, roughly calculated as $1 billion per thousand troops. All would draw the United States deeper into the war at a time of economic hardship and rising fiscal concerns at home.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have backed a major increase in U.S. forces to drive the Taliban from populated areas and provide Afghan security forces and the government the space to snuff out corruption and undertake development projects. They have argued that only a large-scale counterinsurgency effort can produce a strong Afghan government capable of preventing the country from once again become an al-Qaeda haven.

[Ambassador to Afghanistan] Eikenberry also has expressed frustration with the relative paucity of funds set aside for spending on development and reconstruction this year in Afghanistan, a country wrecked by three decades of war. Earlier this summer, he asked for $2.5 billion in nonmilitary spending for 2010, a 60 percent increase over what Obama had requested from Congress, but the request has languished even as the administration has debated spending billions of dollars on new troops.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  It's easy to understand why Obama wouldn't want to give more development money to the corrupt Karzai.  But why not do the development thru the US military?

PPS:  After the US military takes over development projects they should also build a high power radio station capable of broadcasting all over Afghanistan and western Pakistan.  That way they could let the people know about the development projects that the US taxpayer is paying for.


I'm glad Obama is "dithering" over Afghanistan

Rajah's picture

It's about fucking time someone applied a thought process to this 8 year war. Obama can take all the time he needs to come up with a solution, an actual plan. And it's his decision to make not the military advisors who's only solution for everything is to throw  more troops at it.

Re: Obama can take all the time he needs

FearlessFreep's picture

Another eight years?


Dingbat Somali pirates attack Maersk Alabama... again!!!

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture


Published: November 18, 2009

LONDON — As piracy intensifies in the Indian Ocean, seaborne raiders tried again on Wednesday to commandeer the Maersk Alabama, the first American-flag ship seized by pirates last April, the United States Navy said.

The United States Navy Central Command said four suspected pirates in a skiff came within 300 yards of the Maersk Alabama at 6.30 a.m. Wednesday about 600 miles off the northeast coast of Somalia as it headed for the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

But a security team on board the Maersk Alabama responded with small-arms fire, long-range acoustical devices painful to the human ear and evasive maneuvers to thwart the attack, the navy said in a statement.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  This is exactly what I said should be done.  Put security details on the ships  If you see pirates, fire some warning shots and then shoot the bastards if they keep attacking.  Problem solved.

PPS:  Find the right strategy and you can beat the terrorists.  In Sri Lanka they defeated the Tamil Tigers.  The world can do the same in the AF/Pak war.


Didn't mean that and ya know it

Rajah's picture

At least Obama is considering the exit strategy too. From what I've heard from some military leaders it sounded like they'd never leave. Maybe this would have all been over if Bush hadn't pulled away troops and resources to go after the Iraq mess. Continuing to to go without a plan is foolish.

Keith Olbermann : Special Comment on Afghanistan

Rajah's picture

he's making the same mistake Johnson did


FearlessFreep's picture



David Bromwich    The Afghanistan Parenthesis

An unusually reflective lawyer once advised a purchaser of a house that a contract should not be signed or money paid before the seller made all the final repairs and improvements. "Do it straight and plain -- you don't want the tail in the door." Something about President Obama's West Point Speech on Afghanistan brought to mind that suspicious proverb.

To take a country farther into a questionable war ought to be harder than opening a parenthesis and saying you know where you will close it. Yet Obama's decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan had all the composed clarity of a logical proposition. Throughout the speech -- which sought to justify the most important act of his presidency -- Obama was poised and moderate-sounding. His idea of what his escalation would do seemed moderate, too, and definite: self-contained and self-terminating. The 30,000 troops will go into Afghanistan quickly, he said, so that the last arrive within six months. They will commence their departure a year later, in July 2011. It was a gratifying picture and an orderly one; and yet it raised a question. Can you turn up the violence of a war and then turn it down? Will it stop, like that, when you tell it to?

President Obama justified the intensification of his commitment in Afghanistan by the fact that we are still fighting Al Qaeda. It was Al Qaeda that attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, he said, and the organization now operates in the border-region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We therefore have a double reason for scouring the country of the remnants of the fanatical sect. For Pakistan has nuclear weapons, Al Qaeda wants to obtain such a weapon, and if it had one it would use it against the United States. Yet here occurred the first of several noticeable omissions. According to the president's national security adviser, James Jones, Al Qaeda's members now number as few as 100. The president also asserted -- on what evidence he did not say -- that Al Qaeda is locked in a stable alliance with the Taliban forces. Yet James Jones in the same remarks concluded that he does not "foresee the return of the Taliban" to power. Obama, then, was playing up the links between Al Qaeda and the Taliban in much the way his predecessor played up the supposed links between Al Qaeda and the Baath Party of Iraq; but, with Afghanistan today, as with Iraq in 2004, it is easy to put oneself in possession of facts that refute the claim.

We know now that the effect of the American bombings and invasion was initially to put to rout and scatter the group and then, with the stimulant of the Iraq war, to multiply it into a score of sects and cells in whose names we barely know -- in North Africa, Indonesia, and elsewhere. Yet the president spoke as if Al Qaeda were the name of a distinct, finite, searchable entity that can be subdued by an intensification (lasting exactly 18 months) of American fighting in the country that was once its camp. As for the Taliban, whatever else they may be, they are native to Afghanistan. This cannot be said of Al Qaeda, but it cannot be said, either, of the soldiers, trainers, advisers, and contractors sent by the United States.

There is a curious air of exactness in the idea of a renewed and extended war that closes at 18 months because that "benchmark" was settled in advance. How can anyone be sure that the scale of so entangling a mission, with so many pitfalls, will fit neatly into the shape of a year and a half? From another point of view, the case for the urgency of the mission -- that the protection of American lives in the U.S. depends on it -- really proves too much. If the enemy is so potent and has so long and sure a reach -- if the surviving 100 members of Al Qaeda are among the greatest dangers the U.S. faces in the world -- we should be willing to stay and fight for fifty years or a hundred, and to colonize the country if need be, with a million settlers acting as our sentinels.

The truth is that half of the president's logic believes in the urgency of this mission and half perceives no urgency at all. Since people who fear for their lives tend to err on the side of self-protection, we may infer that something other than the imperative of national self-preservation drove the West Point speech and is driving the new policy. Several possibilities are obvious and have been much discussed: President Obama's cautious relationship to the military; his wariness of the ambitious general, David Petraeus, and the commander of forces in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, who is an emanation of Petraeus. By leaking the high-end figure for the numbers of troops he would have liked, McChrystal threatened to outflank the president, and that threat has been quelled only for the moment. Meanwhile, Obama's fear of being called weak on defense by Republicans, and thus seeing his stature in foreign affairs diminished for the rest of his term, was doubtless a motive as well. A president needs a war, or so they say. Having a war did not protect Lyndon Johnson from an insurgent movement in his own party's primaries that denied him a second term, nor did it save Richard Nixon from being driven out of office in disgrace, but the superstition remains: it never harms a president to have a war in his pocket.

President Obama's assurance about the neatness of the solution extends beyond the violence of the war to the resolution of Afghanistan into a better political society under American guidance. He told his West Point audience that the Karzai government may have proved itself corrupt, but we expect the new money being sent to be placed in the hands of the uncorrupt, and we will expect all the corrupt to be "held accountable." But how? By what species of oversight, given the scarcity of competent civilians and Americans on the ground who even speak the language? At this point, one is struck, not for the first time, by a psychological oddity in Obama's makeup. He is almost convinced of the omnipotence of words. When once he has persuaded himself of a thing -- that it is true, or that it is plausible and might become true -- the words that embody his conviction have for him the quality of deeds already done. It did not work so happily with his spoken wish for a freeze of Israeli settlements; and he has seen the word falter on the brink of the deed, once more, in the wish for a comprehensive health care bill before the summer or before Thanksgiving. Still, his sense of the omnipotence of words was at work in his declared belief regarding the utility of an 18-month extension of the war.

Obama dealt with the Vietnam analogy in passing, in an attempt to dispel the fears that a similar entanglement is on the brink of recurring. Yet he argued the point in a way that could only remind his older listeners that the president was very young during the Vietnam War. His study of it has been abstract and conventional. He said the analogy did not hold because in Vietnam we had no allies. In fact, Australia and Canada both gave limited but real assistance in the form of ground forces, and other allies of the time gave less direct assistance. The number of troops supplied by our European allies in Afghanistan has been similarly small thus far, despite the ostensibly greater danger to them by the proximity of Al Qaeda to Europe. The president also noted that Vietnam had never attacked the United States, whereas Al Qaeda did attack us. But that contrast loses its force under two legitimate questions: who exactly are Al Qaeda now, and where are they located? In many ways the Vietnam War, though of an atrociousness that Afghanistan War has not yet approached, was pursued by the U.S. obedient to a much sounder theory than any offered for the present war. The theory was that World Communism was all one thing and its spread to a single country would lead inevitably to its spread to a continent. The theory turned out to be false; and its falseness was perceived as early as 1964 by critics of the war such as Hans J. Morgenthau. But what are we doing in Afghanistan but following an inferior and less persuasive version of a similar theory: namely that World Terrorism is all one thing, that its heart is in Afghanistan (because that is where we found it), and that if we don't "defeat" it soon by "completing the mission," the terror will stay and spread.

Omitted is the fact that Afghanistan is not our country. Admittedly, this is a truth that comes hard to Americans. "The very idea of the fabrication of a new government," wrote Edmund Burke, "is enough to fill us with disgust and horror." But David Brooks disagrees: "aside from killing bad guys," he wrote in the spring, American troops are "also trying to figure out how to reweave Afghan society." By what right do we engage in the reweaving and refabrication of a society that has thrown out conquerors for thousands of years? The effect of the self-conceit can only be to unite the society in hostility against us. For America to look on the native resistance to an occupying army as proof of terrorism will surely increase the obduracy of the resistance itself, and serve to recruit more terrorists.

Our war in the border regions is being fought by drone assassinations. A man at the control sits in front of a screen in Las Vegas, and fires when he has a certain shot. To a primitive mind (but not only to a primitive mind), this experiment on a country not our own has the trappings a video game played in hell. But the procedure was here embraced by the president in the antiseptic idiom of a practiced technocrat. He gave no sign of the effects of such killings by a foreign power out of reach in the sky. To assassinate one major operative, Baitullah Mehsud, as Jane Mayer showed in a recent article in the New Yorker, 16 strikes were necessary, over 14 months, killing a total of as many as 538 persons, of whom 200-300 were bystanders. What comes of the reputation of policemen in a crime-ridden neighborhood when they conduct themselves like that? And what makes anyone suppose the reaction will be less extreme when the policeman comes from another country? And yet, from the president's West Point speech, one would not guess that he has reflected what our mere presence in West Asia does to increase the enchantment of violent resistance and to heat the anger that turns into terrorists people who have lost parents, children, cousins, clansmen, and friends to the Americans. The total number of Muslims killed by Americans in revenge for the attacks of September 11th now numbers in the hundreds of thousands. Of those, few were members of Al Qaeda, and few harbored any intention, for good or ill, toward the United States before we crossed the ocean as an occupying power.

President Obama closed his speech by offering his large American audience a warm bath of self-love about the American way of life. The rest of the world will want to "access opportunity" and resemble us as soon as they learn what we are really like, he said. This long peroration was ordinary and at the same time reminiscent of the war speeches of George W. Bush. By contrast Obama did not talk about the abstract issue that would have taken some courage to broach: the danger that war is becoming an integrated part of the American way of life. George W. Casey, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, has spoken in several recent speeches about the present as "an era of persistent conflict." So deeply has the Cheney Axiom of Endless War has taken hold of the minds of officials and policy-makers. Yet nowhere in his speech did the president address the risk of this view for democracy, or separate himself from the doctrine itself. Indeed, he has gone some way to embrace it and join the pattern of "persistence" -- with the reservation that he thinks by setting limits he can remove its sting.

Hans Morgenthau, in one of the articles he published against the escalation in Vietnam, paraphrased the lines of Goethe's Faust on the fatality of every choice: take a first step and you are a free man, take the second and you become the slave of your choice. For Obama, giving the command of Afghanistan to General McChrystal was the first step, and a step he must have taken knowingly. Then came the leaked memo from the ambassador in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, urging Obama to send no more troops -- and with that letter, an almost miraculous chance of a reprieve. Nobody could have said those words with more effect, since Eikenberry is a military man, and one whom both Petraeus and McChrystal had looked up to. He was throwing Obama a lifeline; but the miracle was unorthodox, and Obama has the caution of the orthodox. He acted as if the memo had never been received. The new shipment of troops to Afghanistan is his second step.

Barack Obama is the most convincing person he knows. He can convince himself of a proposition, "A," and a second proposition, "Not A," and come to believe that the two may be combined. At West Point, he seemed to want to declare a policy and take it back in a single breath. But there are circles that can't be squared; and it is with war as with other fatal commitments: the way in is not the way out.




RidingFool's picture

Canada was in Viet Nam? Could have fooled me. Canadians were in Viet Nam, that's for certain. But Canada wasn't. Australia most certainly was. And Frence was there all by itself for years. How did that go?

But, bugger that. Was there some point to this rambling diatribe? He sounds a tad confused. "The way in is not the way out".

Media pencil pushers have such a hard time getting it right.

TYT : Did Obama lie about Troop withdrawl in Afghanistan?

Rajah's picture

Who the fuck did I vote for?

Dear God what a waste of

daz's picture

Dear God what a waste of video.

I mean, he has a point. One point.

Then he says it again, his one point.

After which, he expresses his annoyane, and if you've forgotten what he's annoyed about, he reiterates his point.

Now he's worked up about how annoyed he is about his point, which he has to make again.

for (int 1 = 0; i < 1; i++)





I want to take a nice, small, concise dictionary and bash him over the head with it.


I think "terrorism" will become like it was portrayed in "Brazil

Rajah's picture

A bomb will go off in a restaurant and people won't even look up from their dinner. It's been going on for sometime and it will continue. There will always be some nut with an axe to grind be it homegrown or foreign. I waiting for these teabaggers to go to the obvious next step. If not assassination they'll probably start blowing up federal buildings. There's no keeping ahead of it either. They will find a new method once you squash the one they were using. I think the next trend in bombs will be the suppository bomb or the booger bomb.

Karzai to meet with Saudi king about Taliban peace talks

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Afghanistan Sun
Tuesday 2nd February, 2010  

Afghan President Hamid Karzai left for Saudi Arabia Tuesday to discuss his new reintegration plan aimed at luring Taliban away from violence.

The president is scheduled to visit religious sites before meeting King Abdullah, Karzai's office said in a statement.

Karzai is expected to ask the Saudi ruler to play a role in guiding the peace process, it said.

Under a new peace scheme, which was supported by the Western countries in London last week, the government would provide protection, jobs and vocational training for Taliban fighters in return for their renunciation of violence.

Karzai's government also showed readiness to initiate peace negotiation with Taliban leaders who have severed ties with the Al Qaeda network.

{;-) Dan in Miami

British Trojan tank smashes IED bombs in Afghanistan

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

The Swiss Army Knife of battle tanks:

A plough protects the crew as it clears a path through a minefield. It can rip devices out the ground.

Explosions bounce off the Trojan's 65-ton bulk. It also carries thermal imaging kit, low-light vision cameras, long-range magnifying devices, a remote-control machine gun and anti-tank weapons.

The Trojan does in seconds what may take the Counter-IED Taskforce days - at huge risk. The impact of such an awesome vehicle is obvious.

{;-) Dan in Miami


Pakistan sends 100,000 troops to fight Taliban

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

 This is very big news.  US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke is saying that the Pakistan army has finally realized that the Taliban are a much bigger threat to Pakistan than India is.  In the past the army has exaggerated the threat from India in order to boost itself to get more funding from the taxpayers.


 From the Afghanistan Sun newspaper: 

'Well, I want to stress that they have moved over 100,000 troops from their eastern border against their giant neighbor to the western border to fight,' Holbrooke said when asked if Pakistan was really willing to take the battle to the heart of the enemy's camp.

The relationship between the United States and Pakistan has seen a 'significant improvement' under the Obama administration, Holbrooke said. 'No government on earth has received more high level attention,' he said citing the dozens of visits by top US officials to their counterparts in Pakistan. 

{;-) Dan in Miami


PS:  This is big.  This is a sea change in attitudes in Pakistan.  The Taliban cannot be defeated without the cooperation of Pakistan and its army.



Dan, when they send your own troops for you on home ground

RidingFool's picture

you won't even get an opportunity to listen to your Miranda rights.


Mr Fool please elaborate

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

 I have adjusted my tin-foil hat but your transmissions are still not getting through to me.

{;-) Dan_in_Miami


War is Hell, chapter 378

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

From the NY Times:

General McChrystal has made reducing civilian casualties a cornerstone of his new counterinsurgency strategy, and his campaign has had some success: last year, civilian deaths attributed to the United States military were cut by 28 percent, although there were 596 civilian deaths attributed to coalition forces, according toUnited Nations figures.  Afghan and United Nations officials blame Special Operations troops for most of those deaths.

“In most of the cases of civilian casualties, special forces are involved,” said Mohammed Iqbal Safi, head of the defense committee in the Afghan Parliament, who participated in joint United States-Afghan investigations of civilian casualties last year. “We’re always finding out they are not obeying the rules that other forces have to in Afghanistan.”

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  The article goes on to detail some incidents where civilians were killed by US and Afghan special forces.  Violent death is common in a country like Afghanistan.  The country has been at war for decades.  In my opinion the best hope for relative peace and stability there is from the armed forces of NATO and the USA.

PPS:  General McCrystal has said he will take direct command of US special forces in Afghanistan.  



President Karzai of Afghanistan threatens to join Taliban!

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Wow!  If this is true the guy is losing his mind.  Which would make it even more difficult to stabilize Afghanistan.  If he is serious it might be time to consider ending or at least reducing the amount of foreign aid to Afghanistan's central government.  Afghanistan has never had an effective central government in its history anyway.  Send the money to the local governors and tribal leaders instead.

{;-) Dan in Miami

I'm thinking that no one

RidingFool's picture

except America cares whether he joins the Taliban or not.

Why not just bring all of your troops home and let the Afghanis determine if there's a problem. Or not.

Self government may be impossible for some "nations"

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Haiti, Afghanistan, Sudan and Yemen come to mind.  This may sound like some recycled version of "the white man's burden" but you have to wonder if some of these countries can get it together without some kind of intervention from the outside world.  Personally I would prefer to see the UN do the nation building.  Clearly it is not up to the task in Afghanistan.  The UN can be part of the solution there, but the USA will have to do the heavy lifting with its military.

With Karzai becoming ever more eratic it remains to be seen if even the US Marines can stabilize Afghanistan.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  Many Afghanis felt the USA abandoned them after the Soviets were driven out.  They are correct.  We did.

If some nations find it impossible to be self-governing,

RidingFool's picture

what concern is it for anyone but the citizens of that country? Barring catastrophies, no nation should be inserting themselves into another country's affairs á la the United States.

There will be no imposed Afghan solution. The only solution is to leave them alone and let them sort it out for themselves. How are you making out with an imposed solution so far? In Iraq? How's that solution coming along for you?

America's adventurers are missing out on Africa. China is gaining ground there. You'd better get some troops on the continent to kick some black ass into shape.

Barring catastrophies?

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

What do you call over 30 years of constant warfare, civil war etc in Afghanistan?  Your solution would be a return to tribal warfare in a lawless part of the world.  At great expense, the world has begun to reign in the warlords of Afghanistan.  They would certainly like to see the west leave so they can return to full scale raping and pillaging. Al Qaeda is on the run.  Right now they can't plan any major attacks on the west.

You're welcome Canada.

{;-) Dan in Miami



I have no solution. Neither does your country.

RidingFool's picture

And I'm not thanking you, so you're not welcome. You see your country as some sort of great policeman traveling the world to snuff out something - I'm not sure what - that is only determined by America. You've only succeeded in sucking other countries into your own quagmires. Thankfully, most of Europe has avoided your recent wars. Unfortunately, other countries aren't so fortunate.


What do you call over 30 years of constant warfare, civil war etc in Afghanistan?  Your solution would be a return to tribal warfare in a lawless part of the world.

I don't care one whit about Afghanistan, other than the fact that America is butchering its citizens because of some "role" it must play in the world it sees as an arena. The fact that Russia was there butchering, and now America is there butchering is two sides to the same stick.

Tribal warfare? Yes. So what? Why does it matter whether they revert to doing something that they've been doing since the dawn of time? I've seen it first hand, and I wish you good luck changing that.

Whether Afghanistan's meaningless little pile of rock is lawless or not, is not my concern. Nor should it be America's. At most, it's a regional concern, within Pakistan, China and India's sphere of influence. It certainly shouldn't be America's concern, nor Europe's.

America could do the world a huge favor and choose a foreign policy based on renewable resources rather than oil, and to a lesser extent, drugs. It's laughable that the 20th century giant is reduced to flailing its useless tail about the world like a Japanese movie monster reject in the 21st century.

Your smartest move, as you should have done in Iraq, is declare victory, call the troops home, and have a huge march down 5th Avenue in New York. The world would breathe a huge sigh of relief, and you would be satisfied you had done your duty to god and country for a good war won.

Or something.

The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, England, the Greeks, the Romans all had empires. Where are they now?

See? It doesn't matter one little bit. Ever.


The USA won the war against communism

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

We are sending the terrorists into hiding.  They are living under trees and in caves in Pakistan.  The leading terrorists are crazy and you can't appease them.

You seem to think you can just ignore the problem and it will go away.  Reagan tried that and it didn't work.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  Even the generals in Afghanistan admit all their efforts may be for nothing if there is no legitimate government in Afghanistan.  We still have to try. For now.

Thats rather simplistic don't you think?

gamerarocks's picture

All of Alma Cogan is dead, but only some of the class of dead people are Alma Cogan.   The USA and others brought about the downfall of Soviet Russia, but all communism did not die.

Since US foreign policy of late is focused more on shoot first ask questions later, I fail to see the moral judgements and justification to the sabre rattling that have been made in cases like South Ossetia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, and others.

Afganistan is a mess.  At least three current and former world powers have been directly involved.  Total accomplishments..........?  Until you give the people of Afganistan a reason to have a coherant government, as well as Iran, Pakistan, the three mini-stans to the north, and China (yes Virginia, China does border Afganistan) a reason to care about involvement in Afganistan's stability, zippo nada nil is going to change.

Oh, by the way, Reagan tried astrology too.  Doing something for the sake of being active isn't automatically a positive.

One out of four people is freakishly stupid. If three of your friends are normal, then it's you.


Yes it was simplistic

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture


Intentionally so.  Please remember that I am arguing with a Canadian.

  I certainly respect the libertarian argument that we should mind our own business internationally. When we are attacked that is not an option. 

{;-) Dan in Miami 

PS:  Maybe you Canucks can come up with a reason why you can't send humanitarian aid and/or non-combat support troops to Afghanistan?   

PPS:  Your basic argument Mr. Fool seems to be:  this is hard and we're all gonna die some day anyway, so let's not even try.  Waaaaaaa!



Fair enough

gamerarocks's picture

I want Lockport, New York bombed by a flight of B2's.  Now.  All of it.  Wiped off the frigging map.  They attacked.  Bomb 'em back to the stone age.  Obliterate it.   

One out of four people is freakishly stupid. If three of your friends are normal, then it's you.


Quote: Maybe you Canucks

RidingFool's picture


Maybe you Canucks can come up with a reason why you can't send humanitarian aid and/or non-combat support troops to Afghanistan?

Canadian peaceniks would never contribute troops to Afghanistan. No way. Never. Humanitarian aid? What's that? We enjoy too much America's attempt to be the cops and robbers of the world, and would rather bask in the glory of you protecting us for all those years with your nuclear umbrella. How did spending all that money on that work for you?

I already know your tried and true answer to that. "It kept the world safe for democracy and from those heathen commies." If you believe it, then it is so.

I'm not arguing. I'm asking you to justify U.S. hegemony around the world. Afghanistan is just the tip of the iceberg. Why do you see yourself as a policeman? What gives you the right? You're in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and a multitude of other places, pretending to bring truth, justice and the America's bullshit way to all of those people who you see as "needing" it. What a crock of shit. No one "needs" you to be marching through their country.

You were attacked. Boo-hoo. So jump right into Iraq then. Dumbasses. Oh, wait, it's Afghanistan where you need to be. So you march over there. Now it's Yemen. Walk on water to get there. Iran threatens middle east peace, but no more than you do. Where next? What next? Who next? Why next?

And how do you expect to pay for it all? That's the bottom line, Dano - how will you fund it? You're definitely going to see the bottom line, and it won't be pretty.

For some strange reason I like to argue with Canadians

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Even though Mr. Fool listens to me about as often as George Bush was able to get out a coherent sentence.

As I have posted many times:  I am in favor of shutting down the vast majority of US military bases outside of the USA.  Europe, Japan etc can defend themselves.  Turn over those US bases to the countries they are located in. 

I was strongly opposed to the USA invading Iraq.  I want us out of there as soon as we can do it with some expectation the place will not revert to civil war.

I lean libertarian and would prefer to stop meddling in the affairs of other countries.  Afghanistan has never really been a nation.  Over the last 30 years the Afghanis have not been able to stop the violence.  The responsible members of the international community are trying their best to establish at least some kind of order and peace in Afghanistan.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  Mr. Fool you can't see the moral difference between the Taliban who torture and murder innocents and the USA that kills innocents by mistake?




You won a war against communism?

RidingFool's picture

Good luck with that. They went broke, as you will do. Sooner, rather than later.

Next on the horizon? Communist China. Now there's a tiger-by-the-tail image I'd just love to sit back and watch. Hopefully, I'll live long enough to see it.

Watch it now..........

gamerarocks's picture

some of those rejects made for fine fodder in my movies. 

One out of four people is freakishly stupid. If three of your friends are normal, then it's you.


Without our aid to Karzai their drug industry would collapse

Rajah's picture

You expect farmers to go back to growing food and stuff?

Iraq was for oil, this one is for opium

TYT : Wikileaks Iraq Shooting Video Analysis

Rajah's picture

Note the comments of the assholes up in the Apache helicopter

UN envoy says Karzai may be high

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Well this would certainly explain things, if true.  Keep in mind that without the US and the international communities support, Karzai probably would have been assassinated by now.  He's going to join the Taliban?  The Taliban would like to turn him into a pinata.

{;-) Dan in Miami

Our policies are creating more terrorists just like Bush did

Rajah's picture

Wiping out a whole village to get a few terrorists ain't winning the hearts and minds of the locals.

We are about to "leave" Iraq, if you call leaving 50,000 troops leaving, and what are we leaving behind? A barely functioning government and a people who have no idea what democracy is, not that we have any idea what it is either.

Right now Karzai is president of Kabul and that's it. There's no centralized government. We can't "fix" Afghanistan, that's up to its people. They need a few centuries of evolving before they're anywhere near a democracy.

Another thing is we can't afford to do this shit anymore. What are they going to pay us back with, drug money? We're still waiting for all that oil money from Iraq. What we should do in the future is give a country an estatement up front what it would cost to bomb, rape and kill their citizens before we invade then maybe they wouldn't invite us. Oh yeah that's another thing, WE WEREN'T INVITED!

Maybe the attack on 9/11 was considered an invitation but that doesn't give us the right to shoot up the whole country going after a few terrorists.These things are best left to special forces that can get in and out without all this collateral damage.

Obama says he won't stay in Afghanistan

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

I agree with that.  He's going to try a surge.  His administration has said we should know by the end of 2010 if the new counterinsugency strategy/tactics are working.  Sometime next year we can begin the withdrawal.

If counterinsurgency doesn't work I would be in favor of switching to something similar to what Rajah and Vice President Biden have advocated.  We would remove most of our troops and use drones and special forces to go after al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  We could still continue with humanitarian aid, training the Afghan police and Army, providing non-combat support troops etc.

For at least the next 5 years I think we should try to stabilize Afghanistan.  Not necessarily with our military.  We were responsible for destabilizing Afghanistan when we funded the Mujaheddin and their fight to drive out the Soviets.  The Afghans, of course, are ultimately responsible for running their own "nation".

{;-) Dan in Miami


Read it and weep.

RidingFool's picture

Your US spy seems to favor proportional response

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

OK I get that. 

We may not like the fact that Iran supports terrorists but at least Iran is a nation with someone in charge.  Afghanistan is nothing like the modern concept of a nation.  It was serving as a free zone for al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that had explicitly threatened jihad or war against the USA.  To my knowledge near Eastern terrorist organizations have not done that.  They seem to be more interested in bringing down Israel and killing US forces in their area instead of attacking the US homeland.

Your spy says:

"I speak from a point of view of knowing the organization that runs Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. I understand the IRGC and its bloody-mindedness. They will take radical measures. They are not afraid of taking on the United States. They've taken it on and won before.

"They attacked the marines in Beirut and they got away with it. The United States decided to look the other way. They attacked the US embassy, they attacked Argentina and there was no retribution and this was imprinted in their minds. They believe that they are an expansive power and that we are a paper tiger. I don't think that we're a paper tiger but they're liable to make that mistake."

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  I do disagree with your spy's final conclusion about al Qaeda not being a serious threat to the USA and the west.  If I can believe what I read in the news media, al Qaeda would like to use weapons of mass destruction against the west.  Therefor they must be wiped out.  If the army of Pakistan cooperates they can be.

PPS:  Interesting article.  Thanks for posting that.

Please, master, might we have more American freedom

RidingFool's picture

in Afghanistan?

Once again, the joke is on most MSM, as they call the troops "NATO troops". Way to go, you losers.

But- but that was friendly fire!

Rajah's picture

I've heard it doesn't hurt as much when you die from friendly fire as opposed to enemy fire. America says oops! sorry about that!

Speaking of friendly fire,

RidingFool's picture

I read somewhere that the proud tea partying residents of Oklahoma would like to create a new volunteer militia to help protect against... umm, something or other.

I wonder if Coaster will join.

To paraphrase the great philosopher ...

Coaster's picture

"I wouldn't be a part of any militia that would have me."
--(Thank you Groucho)


Sounds like an accident

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

On the other hand General McChrystal says he doesn't think it was likely the bus would have been suicide bombers.  So maybe the soldiers were trigger happy.  I don't excuse it.  There should be an investigation with Nato, US and Afghan officials involved.  These checkpoint shootings must be reduced.

The checkpoints should be turned over to the Afghan army as soon as possible.  Like tomorrow.

{;-) Dan in Miami

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