Skip to comments.How to Lose in Afghanistan
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...
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...
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...
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 ...
Without that will, there is no hope of anything. Let's not lose just because we blinked first.
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.
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.
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.
OK. If Obama is going to use the troops as political pawns, then its time to bring them home.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Our brilliant (/s) Commander of Chief will certainly find the alternate path!
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!!!
zero in charge
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
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.
TWO WORDS- BARACKA OBAMA!
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.
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!