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How to Lose in Afghanistan
Washington Post ^ | August 31, 2009 | Anthony H. Cordesman

Posted on 08/31/2009 8:53:40 PM PDT by neverdem

The United States cannot win the war in Afghanistan in the next three months -- any form of even limited victory will take years of further effort. It can, however, easily lose the war. I did not see any simple paths to victory while serving on the assessment group that advised the new U.S. commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, on strategy, but I did see all too clearly why the war is being lost...

--snip--

The appointments this summer of Karl Eikenberry as ambassador to Afghanistan and McChrystal as commander of U.S. and allied forces have created a team that can reverse this situation. In fact, given the rising unpopularity of the war and Taliban successes, they are our last hope of victory. Yet they can win only if they are allowed to manage both the civil and military sides of the conflict without constant micromanagement from Washington or traveling envoys...

--snip--

Unfortunately, strong elements in the White House, State Department and other agencies seem determined to ignore these realities. They are pressuring the president to direct Eikenberry and McChrystal to come to Washington to present a broad set of strategic concepts rather than specific requests for troops, more civilians, money and an integrated civil-military plan for action. They are pushing to prevent a fully integrated civil-military effort, and to avoid giving Eikenberry and McChrystal all the authority they need to try to force more unity of effort from allied forces and the U.N.-led...

--snip--

This would only trade one set of political problems for a far worse set in the future and leave us with an enduring regional mess and sanctuary for extremism. We have a reasonable chance of victory if we properly outfit and empower our new team in Afghanistan; we face certain defeat if we do not.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; eikenberry; mcchrystal; obama; taliban

1 posted on 08/31/2009 8:53:40 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
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.

2 posted on 08/31/2009 9:03:01 PM PDT by squidly
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To: neverdem

Thanks. George Bush had the strength and courage to let the generals be the generals. “Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip....” I fear the fools in Washington now... I’ll just stop there: I fear the fools in Washington now! Shucks.


3 posted on 08/31/2009 9:07:37 PM PDT by JohnQ1 ("Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever." Oscar Wilde)
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To: neverdem

So, Cordesman explains that it’s all Bush’s fault? Things were going badly under Bush, but could go better now? I don’t think so.

Things are already deteriorating. The enemy is becoming more confident, seeing Obama as someone who is weak and feckless. And Obama has changed the rules of engagement, making it much more difficult for our troops to defend themselves, let alone go on the offensive.


4 posted on 08/31/2009 9:12:02 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: neverdem
Just get out of Iraq & Afghanistan now. I despise 0bozo with a passion, and at this time, I don't want to lose any more troops, killed or injured, for that commie pig usurper-in-chief. 0bozo is a traitor, he is not constitutionally qualified to be pres____ent, and it is an absolute tragedy & outrage that our troops are putting their lives on the line for this commie pig bastard. The only way we will get rid of the usurper 0bozo is for officers & soldiers to refuse to carry out illegitimate orders from on-high that originated with 0bozo. He despises our military anyway.

If Afghanistan or Iraq revert back to their terrorist ways, then we should just turn the desert sand into a sea of shining glass....if you follow my drift.

5 posted on 08/31/2009 9:14:02 PM PDT by rcrngroup
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To: neverdem

OK. If Obama is going to use the troops as political pawns, then its time to bring them home.


6 posted on 08/31/2009 9:18:04 PM PDT by GeronL (http://libertyfic.proboards.com)
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To: JohnQ1

True.... however GW Bush also allowed our soldiers to be hauled before trumped up politically motivated monkey trials for scapegoating purposes. As CIC, he should have intervened in the very first political witch hunt (Abu-graib- spelling ?), but as is typical for GW Bush, he just let the prosecutions proceed instead of declaring that we are NOT going to press forward with monkey trials & politically correct witchhunts of our own military.


7 posted on 08/31/2009 9:19:23 PM PDT by rcrngroup
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To: neverdem

You have to remember that the left does not want to win wars, that they would rather lose a war than lose a political point. At least with Bush in the White House. Now they are eating their young over what to do and it delights me to see it happen, except that our heroic young soldiers and Marines are dying while these jerks fiddle in DC.


8 posted on 08/31/2009 9:20:59 PM PDT by Bulldawg Fan (Victory is the last thing Murtha and his fellow Defeatists want.)
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To: neverdem

True and honest warfare ended when battlefield Commanders were no longer able to say “Tell them that their msg was garbled. Ask them to re-transmit, but do it tomorrow.”


9 posted on 08/31/2009 9:27:20 PM PDT by Rembrandt
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To: rcrngroup

You want these ragheads to claim that they defeated the Great Satan?

We are not using nukes on any one until we get hit with nukes. We still get attacked and have to defend ourselves for Hiroshima and Nagasaki because we were supposedly white racists killing oriental civilians.


10 posted on 08/31/2009 9:28:31 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: rcrngroup

You’re right, and I don’t defend George’s failings, but I do claim that we’ve gone from a basically good man to a traitor both weak and twisted, bent on destroying America.


11 posted on 08/31/2009 9:36:02 PM PDT by JohnQ1 ("Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever." Oscar Wilde)
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To: Cicero
So, Cordesman explains that it’s all Bush’s fault?

That wasn't all that he wrote, but GWB and Rumsfeld were happy to hand off to NATO, and treated Afghanistan as an economy of force mission. NATO has since embarrassed itself.

12 posted on 08/31/2009 9:36:35 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem
"We have a reasonable chance of victory if we properly outfit and empower our new team in Afghanistan; we face certain defeat if we do not."

Our brilliant (/s) Commander of Chief will certainly find the alternate path!

13 posted on 08/31/2009 9:41:14 PM PDT by matthew fuller (Coming to America- All the Glory and Beauty of Zimbabwe!)
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To: neverdem
these a$$holes democrats nitwits in Washington is doing EXACTLY what was done to LOSE the war in Vietnam.

Wars should never be waged by politicians but by competent generals. The politicians may start it and make sure that the troops gets whatever they need to win and simply get out of the effing way and not stand in the way of victory.

Howbeit with these children running the show in D.C. I fear we'll be see much more body bags that we'd like; that's why ZERO is already blaming Bush for his own failure in Afganistan!!!

14 posted on 08/31/2009 9:53:45 PM PDT by prophetic (God, let 0Bama and his evil plans for this country fail & let him be utterly disgraced like HAMAN!!)
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To: neverdem

zero in charge


15 posted on 08/31/2009 10:06:23 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: rcrngroup
Just get out of Iraq & Afghanistan now. I despise 0bozo with a passion, and at this time, I don't want to lose any more troops, killed or injured, for that commie pig usurper-in-chief.

It's not for him. It's in spite of him.

Unless you like the idea of Washington, New York, Houston, Dallas, or any of a number of other cities, temporarily assuming the temperature of the surface of the sun, and then ascending skyward, only to fall and irradiate the countryside for hundreds of miles, or more

16 posted on 08/31/2009 10:42:25 PM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: neverdem

The success of counterinsurgency is built on:

a. first - willing to outlast the insurgents, no matter how long it takes (you CANNOT win otherwise, because the insurgent IS THAT COMMITTED), together with

b. digging in locally to build as much HUMINT as possible, and

b. commanders whose greatest assets are high intelligence and high military intuition who can continually learn on the job, adapt resources to needs, always finding and making changes to accept what works and discard what doesn’t.

Political and bureaucratic time-plans, time-centered goal measures, broad generalities about “success” nit-picked into micro-details, demanded and sold as military policy, does not win, never has won against a major local insurgency.

Does that mean that the U.S. will always have to carry the major load, all the way to “the end”? No.

As I said in another response on this thread. One hope would be to have an Afghanistan as capable, on its own, of fending off the Taliban just as the Israelis are at fending off their terrorists, even though, like the Israelis, they may have to do that for decades into the future.


17 posted on 08/31/2009 10:48:53 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: neverdem

TWO WORDS- BARACKA OBAMA!


18 posted on 08/31/2009 11:17:13 PM PDT by crazydad
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To: squidly; neverdem

Let’s give the Democrats a chance. I mean, they did so well with Vietnam. Maybe we could send Carter. Iran is a free country, no? He knows a clean election when he sees one.

A friend of mine served in Afghanistan helping them rewrite their laws, a very interesting process. His hatred for the State Department knows no bounds. At every turn they undermined the American effort there and took actions that were in his opinion obviously treasonous and at the least incompetently counterproductive.

At the same time, his impression of the US military was of a very efficient bureaucracy that empowered its people with the authority to take action, particularly in civilian affairs that forwarded the broad goals and best interests of the United States and the people of Afghanistan. His respect for them only grew with time.


19 posted on 08/31/2009 11:24:02 PM PDT by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: Wuli
Political and bureaucratic time-plans, time-centered goal measures, broad generalities about “success” nit-picked into micro-details, demanded and sold as military policy, does not win, never has won against a major local insurgency.

There are a lot of very bright Harvard grads with little real world experience, now running DC who know you are wrong. They know it, OK!

20 posted on 08/31/2009 11:29:39 PM PDT by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: neverdem
[Article]

Unfortunately, strong elements in the White House, State Department and other agencies seem determined to ignore these realities. They are pressuring the president to direct Eikenberry and McChrystal to come to Washington to present a broad set of strategic concepts rather than specific requests ....They are pushing to prevent a fully integrated civil-military effort, and to avoid giving Eikenberry and McChrystal all the authority they need ...

This is the kind of crap Clark Clifford pulled when he was appointed Snake-in-the-Grass/DoD and began undercutting the Army and the war effort in Vietnam, to (literally) throw the war.

So let's name names. Who is "pushing"? The 'Rats want to criminalize policy differences -- fine. We can play that game. We can make lists of names, too.

The lefty 'Rats, the (Stalinist front) Lawyers Guild and Kunstler Foundation Reds, want to send Bush and Cheney to The Hague to face an international Communist show trial. Their allies are agitating to throw the war in Afghanistan. Fine, we'll let all these leftist 'Rats face a People's court and try them for their lives. Charge: Treason, as defined in Article III.

21 posted on 09/01/2009 2:08:50 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: 1010RD
There are a lot of very bright Harvard grads with little real world experience, now running DC who know you are wrong

That's right. They had all the Harvard seminar-level courses on policymaking. They're qualified. You're not, you're only The People.

22 posted on 09/01/2009 2:10:55 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: neverdem

Things were going comparatively well in Afghanistan, until the socialist in our White House kept his promise: "CHANGE".
23 posted on 09/01/2009 2:38:41 AM PDT by TurtleUp (flag@whitehouse.gov <------- So this is how liberty dies - to thunderous applause!)
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To: squidly

You are right. The mention of war weariness seems to be only in the press and in the minds of the peace at any price anti war moonbats.

as to a winning strategy, that is another matter. The war was begun to eliminate a stronghold for Al Qaeda. That has been accomplished. The killing now is attributed to Taliban, an integral part of the national population.

It boils down to the other part of the population. Do they want us to rid them of the Taliban and what are they prepared to contribute. Do they want an end to a theothugocracy?


24 posted on 09/01/2009 4:43:47 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . fasl el-khital)
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To: neverdem

The United States does not need enemies like the NVA, Al Quaeda, and the Taliban. We have the Democrat Party, who are far more capable of inflicting a defeat on the United States than any band of armed foreigners.

I favor moving all of the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution to Topeka, KS, so that when the nuke goes off in Washington, D.C., nothing of value will be lost.


25 posted on 09/01/2009 6:40:33 AM PDT by centurion316
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To: AdmSmith; Berosus; bigheadfred; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fred Nerks; ...
The appointments this summer of Karl Eikenberry as ambassador to Afghanistan and McChrystal as commander of U.S. and allied forces have created a team that can reverse this situation. In fact, given the rising unpopularity of the war and Taliban successes, they are our last hope of victory. Yet they can win only if they are allowed to manage both the civil and military sides of the conflict without constant micromanagement from Washington or traveling envoys...
Thanks neverdem.
26 posted on 09/01/2009 4:48:05 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: lentulusgracchus
So let's name names. Who is "pushing"? The 'Rats want to criminalize policy differences -- fine. We can play that game. We can make lists of names, too.

The lefty 'Rats, the (Stalinist front) Lawyers Guild and Kunstler Foundation Reds, want to send Bush and Cheney to The Hague to face an international Communist show trial. Their allies are agitating to throw the war in Afghanistan. Fine, we'll let all these leftist 'Rats face a People's court and try them for their lives. Charge: Treason, as defined in Article III.

If the rats pull that crap, then I can see dispensing with those formalities. That's crossing the Rubicon.

That link was found accidentally. It's not a good omen....interesting times, indeed...

27 posted on 09/02/2009 10:33:25 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem
I found your "Crossing the Rubicon" "Troofer" link to be highly objectionable and manifestly untrue.

As someone who watched the World Trade Center fall on live TV, I know very goddamn good and well who dropped them --

AND IT WAS NOT DICK CHENEY!

Don't bother posting crap like that to me again.

"Oil wars" -- BS, I'm a geologist, and I know my own industry. "Oil wars" -- cock and bull story!!! <snort!>

28 posted on 09/02/2009 7:10:39 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: lentulusgracchus
I found your "Crossing the Rubicon" "Troofer" link to be highly objectionable and manifestly untrue.

As someone who watched the World Trade Center fall on live TV, I know very goddamn good and well who dropped them

That's why I wrote: "That link was found accidentally. It's not a good omen....interesting times, indeed..."

I didn't need TV to see the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. I could see it from the Bronx.

I wanted to check my recollection for the meaning of "crossing the Rubicon" on Yahoo. The result is the 5th link on the first page. It sort of lept out.

I'm no truther. I didn't mean to offend. I just found it weird that truthers used the same phrase that I used for starting a civil war with Eric Holder's and the left's current antics, i.e. investigating the former administration and possibly prosecuting them.

29 posted on 09/02/2009 8:54:46 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

Obama is determined to make America bow down to the world. He’s said it publicly both here and abroad and made it policy. He’s acting on it now. The whole Afghanistan being “the right war” schtick was campaign rhetoric against being in Iraq to sell to Americans while quelling his leftist base. Obama wants us humiliated in Afghanistan and he’s setting the conditions now to do just that. Eikenberry and McChrystal are his cover. He has nothing to lose politically by creating a defeatist environment that he will ultimately blame on Bush (already doing it) and everything to gain- namely, fresh support from the leftists and some re-capture of independents for withdrawing in time for the 2010 elections. Our troops in theater are now at risk more from Obama than the Taliban.


30 posted on 09/02/2009 9:16:45 PM PDT by TADSLOS (Proud FR Mobster)
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To: neverdem
I'm no truther. I didn't mean to offend.

Oh, sorry. Man, for a while there I was ready to load you up on the old trebuchet and catapult you back to Rense.com, lol ..... I was a little bit torqued, guess I didn't see the alternative meaning in there.

Yes, "crossing the Rubicon" has been a very loaded phrase for ages. As it turned out for Caesar, it was a very slow-motion way of killing himself. No way would those senators have let him live -- if not Cassius's group, then another centered on Sextus Pompeius, or Cicero, or the defeated remains of the Cornelii Lentuli and Claudii Marcelli, would have coalesced to do the necessary, by way of relieving the senatorial class of its bugbear of some 17 years' standing, going back even before the Catilinarian Conspiracy in 63. It was always Caesar and his friends who threatened individual senators, tried to take over the streets of Rome at night (they had bands of ex-gladiators at their beck and call), and tried to tie up the government at every opportunity, just like Alinskyites do now.

31 posted on 09/03/2009 3:03:43 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: neverdem
Eric Holder's and the left's current antics, i.e. investigating the former administration and possibly prosecuting them

Well, as long as we are talking about Caesars .... we might as well quote another one, and a rotten little one at that, about Holder et al. As Gaius Caligula, in I, Claudius, said to his uncles Tiberius and Claudius, "First we'll need a list. A long, long list ....."

And speaking of lists, when it came Gaius's turn to get bumped off, his assassins displayed the opposite mistake to the one the Liberators made when they assassinated Caesar in the lobby of the Theater of Pompey.

The Liberators (the Cassian conspirators) hadn't made a long enough list and failed to decapitate the Caesarian party. They also needed to take out Antony, Octavian, and probably Antony's buddies Caelius and Curtius, in order to get the likely leadership.

Marcus Agrippa, friend of Octavian (I don't know when they founded their relationship, although I ought to, having read Ronald Syme's compendious treatment of the subject, The Roman Revolution), was a great lieutenant but always a lieutenant, and in the case of the deceasement of all the principals named above, he would probably have become a leader of the populares, but as a novus homo or new face in town without powerful friends and patrons (Cicero, the most famous novus homo, had had a similar but somewhat better web of connections to start with) it's doubtful he'd ever have been able to put together a combination like Caesar and Octavian did, that would stably (or at least metastably) overthrow the Republic.

With Antony and Octavian dead and the armies paid off, most likely the Republic would have continued for generations, perhaps centuries, more.

The conspiracy around Cassius Chaerea that assassinated Gaius Caligula went too far, and while they meant to decapitate the imperial family (missing Claudius, who hid), they went too far and alienated the public when they killed Caligula's wife and infant child, and for that (or so he said) Claudius condemned them to death.

Their bigger mistake was the same mistake the Liberators had made, missing Claudius, since he became the peg on which the Praetorian Guard hung their institutional hope of continued easy employment in and around the capital. That was quite a muff, since the Praetorians were under the command of Chaerea himself, their prefect, and their instantaneous defection from their own commander to Claudius was an instance of leaderly "epic fail" on Chaerea's part.

32 posted on 09/03/2009 3:42:14 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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