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Knowing When To Cut Forces In Afghanistan
IBD Editorials ^ | August 31, 2009 | GEORGE F. WILL

Posted on 08/31/2009 6:27:33 PM PDT by Kaslin

"Yesterday," reads the e-mail from Allen, a Marine in Afghanistan, "I gave blood because a Marine, while out on patrol, stepped on a (mine's) pressure plate and lost both legs." Then "another Marine with a bullet wound to the head was brought in. Both Marines died this morning."

"I'm sorry about the drama," writes Allen, an enthusiastic infantryman willing to die "so that each of you may grow old." He says: "I put everything in God's hands." And: "Semper Fi!"

Allen and others of America's finest are also in Washington's hands. This city should keep faith with them by rapidly reversing the trajectory of America's involvement in Afghanistan, where, says the Dutch commander of coalition forces in a southern province, walking through the region is "like walking through the Old Testament."

U.S. strategy — protecting the population — is increasingly troop-intensive while Americans are increasingly impatient about "deteriorating" (says Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) conditions.

The war already is nearly 50% longer than the combined U.S. involvements in two world wars, and NATO assistance is reluctant and often risible.

U.S. strategy is "clear, hold and build." Clear? Taliban forces can evaporate and then return, confident that U.S. forces will forever be too few to hold gains. Hence nation-building would be impossible even if we knew how, and even if Afghanistan were not the second-worst place to try: The Brookings Institution ranks Somalia as the only nation with a weaker state.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: cutnrunwill

1 posted on 08/31/2009 6:27:33 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: bareford101; BerniesFriend; blaveda; Bookwoman; Celeste732; dsc; FrdmLvr; FreedomPoster; ...

2 posted on 08/31/2009 6:29:05 PM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for 0bama: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: Kaslin

We should not be engaged in nation-building in Afghanistan.
We should be engaged in nation-breaking.

Not that it is much of a nation. And that is just the point.
Afghanistan is completely useless to civilized people. That is why there are none there, never have been any there, and never will be any there, short of the uniformed soldiers of the latest invading military. The only people interested in building a life in Afghanistan are outlaws and exiles.

A country like Afghanistan cannot be governed long-term.
It can only be policed short-term. But the outlaws can always outlast an occupying force.

The best we can do is make life even more difficult in Afghanistan. Destroy the camps and what little infrastructure exists, burn the poppy fields. Make communication and travel to and from Afghanistan near impossible. All of this can be done from 10,000 feet, and it can be done every so many years, as needed.

3 posted on 08/31/2009 6:46:03 PM PDT by counterpunch (In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.)
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To: Kaslin
U.S. forces will forever be too few to hold gains.

Thats why you have to build an Afghan Army.

It has to be an Afghan-led war, with US providing stiffening, air support, and intel.

We beat the Taliban in the first place by providing support to anti-Taliban Afghans. We beat the insurgency in Iraq by building an Iraqi Army, and by supporting anti-insurgent insurgents.

Its funny that everyone on our side keeps repeating that we can never win this war, but the Talibs never sit around saying they can never win. You have to change that dynamic. We can do whatever we determine to do. And we can make being a Taliban commander an even shorter career than it already is. Those guys don't live long now. We have to keep clipping the weeds as long as the weeds keep growing, while training Afghans to trim their own weeds.

The writer says that there is no central government, but that doesn't mean that there is no government. The warlords are the real government. You have to find a way to fold the real government into the government-on-paper that they are trying to build. Reality always gets a vote, and the reality is that your real local governor is the warlord. Until you've built a new Army large enough to displace the warlords, thats the raw material you have to work with in Afganistan.

What we can't do is leave a Somalia with nuclear weapons.

4 posted on 08/31/2009 7:02:57 PM PDT by marron
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To: Kaslin

Forget George Will.

5 posted on 08/31/2009 7:20:19 PM PDT by InterceptPoint
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To: Kaslin
6 posted on 08/31/2009 7:43:48 PM PDT by jongaltsr (Hope to See ya in Galt's Gulch.)
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To: marron

The Afghan army is a joke. Go to youtube and look at the videos of our soldiers commenting on these clowns. They say that all they do is sit around and smoke dope all day. The Afghan “soldiers” are completely untrustworthy.

If somebody doesn’t come up with a clear objective soon, then all we are doing is wasting our troops and our money.

7 posted on 08/31/2009 8:09:36 PM PDT by Pining_4_TX
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To: Pining_4_TX

Given Obama’s ‘strategy’ on the economy, one should be wary that he has no regard for our forces in harm’s way. And yes, I have a dog in the fight. He’s right in the thick of it.

8 posted on 08/31/2009 8:53:21 PM PDT by CT (
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To: Kaslin
Fully half the battle (and probably more) in a drawn out counterinsurgency like this is simply having the will to stick it out when it looks like it's going nowhere. It's hard to be patient when good people are getting blown up, but that (among other things) is what is required. This will must be present even in the face of a far distant, uncertain outcome. Maintaining that kind of will in Iraq has paid off. It mattered not that the majority of Americans lacked the will, because the Americans who mattered didn't lack it.

Without that will, there is no hope of anything. Let's not lose just because we blinked first.

9 posted on 08/31/2009 9:04:51 PM PDT by squidly
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To: squidly

You said:
Without that will, there is no hope of anything. Let’s not lose just because we blinked first.


You tell this to my son in law who is sitting behind an empty Howitzer because he has nothing to fire out of it while rockets are being lobbed overhead at said Howitzer!

You think you might “blink”??!! You have no clue what’s going on in that dirty, filthy godforsaken country that has no appreciation for the presence of the US or allied forces.
We are the invaders, to be used for whatever we can supply to them at the moment.... medical care, food, protection for a small “village”, target practice! There are no thanks given; no heartfelt thanks, anyway! Why should they thank us? We are rich, they are poor ... we can afford to give and we should give it to them! Sound familiar?! Like every other US hating country on this planet! Propaganda against our country can’t be swayed by 0bama sitting with world leaders and having tea!

This is a war that should be fought from the air, but the 44th president of the US won’t allow carpet bombing of the poppy fields, he won’t allow surgical strikes, he won’t allow defensive fire. What kind of a strategy is that? I’ll tell you! A purposefully losing one!

He’s queasy about killing the taliban, but not about killing the unborn!

10 posted on 08/31/2009 9:49:01 PM PDT by kimla
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To: Kaslin
[G. Will Article] U.S. strategy — protecting the population — is increasingly troop-intensive while Americans are increasingly impatient about "deteriorating" (says Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) conditions.

Wasn't Mullen the admiral who was kicked upstairs to get him out of Gen. Petraeus's hair in Iraq?

11 posted on 09/01/2009 2:19:23 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: Kaslin
George Will's punchline should have been included in the epitome, or rather it should have been the epitome. Here is the money passage:

U.S. forces are being increased by 21,000 to 68,000, bringing the coalition total to 110,000. About 9,000 are from Britain, where support for the war is waning. Counterinsurgency theory concerning the time and the ratio of forces required to protect the population indicates that, nationwide, Afghanistan would need hundreds of thousands of coalition troops, perhaps for a decade or more. That is inconceivable.

So, instead, forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent special forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.
(Emphasis supplied.)

Thus the armchair general of northern Virginia.

Of course, Afghanistan is a landlocked central Asian principality, access to which we have only by the sufferance of other regional powers, and that by reason of our status as a bona fide belligerent. Walk out and you concede the war. Concede the war, and you suffer the consequences due a two-time loser. (You're only as good as your last war.)

So, how do we keep air access to Afghanistan and Paki, if we quit, throw in the sponge, cry uncle ...... and leave Osama Bin Laden laughing in his cave, up in the mountains where he always said he could beat us?

What happens when Osama Bin Laden publishes his claim, walking openly around the re-Talibanized streets of Kabul, to have defeated both the Soviets and the United States using Gen 4 War?

How about that, Mr. Will? Got a quick answer to that one?

12 posted on 09/01/2009 2:42:40 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: kimla

How about the 43rd President of the United States? What was he doing that was so different from Obama?

13 posted on 09/01/2009 5:19:34 AM PDT by steven33442
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To: kimla
I was in Afghanistan from Feb. 06 to Feb. 07, and like your son-in-law, I know what it's like having enemy rocket and mortar rounds flying around while I have no capability to shoot back.

But that isn't the point. Or maybe it sort of is the point.... the point being.... that things are bad. That's a given. It's war. It looks bleak, it's a grind, good people get killed and maimed, and it's hard to maintain hope on a daily basis. These things are common to all wars. Yet they don't constitute valid reasons, in and of themselves, for withdrawal. Sometimes time takes time. Persistence certainly pays off, most especially against guerrilla enemies. Will it pay off in the long run? I don't know, and neither does anyone else. It most certainly won't pay off if we decide to withdraw just because we're not willing to tolerate wartime conditions while we fight a war.

14 posted on 09/01/2009 6:47:53 AM PDT by squidly
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To: squidly

I think the problem is that it isn’t clear what our objectives are in Afghanistan and what US interests are being served by our continued presence there.

I agree that casualties and a bleak outlook for victory are not valid reasons to withdraw, but I also think that not wanting to “lose” isn’t a valid reason to stay in and of itself if there’s no ultimate purpose to our efforts there.

I think it’s perfectly legitimate for us to re-evaluate our objectives and ask three important questions. 1)What US interests are being served by our operations in Afghanistan? 2)Is this the best way to serve those interests? and 3) Are the interests being served worth the expenditure being made?

If we can’t answer those questions to our satisfaction, then there’s no disgrace withdrawing from an irrational war effort.

15 posted on 09/01/2009 1:05:38 PM PDT by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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