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PeterSibley
10-12-2009, 07:44 PM
Can anyone suggest a good reason or two why our efforts are going to be any more successful than the Soviet attempt was ?

Milo Christensen
10-12-2009, 08:09 PM
Sure. But it's a joke you've probably heard before, but think about it for a second, o.k.?

A western female journalist was traveling in Afghanistan reporting on the new freedoms women enjoyed after the overthrow of the Taliban. But she kept witnessing women whom she'd just interviewed as being ecstatic with the new freedoms walk away from the interview the traditional 20 feet behind their men. Finally she called after one group of women and asked why, with their new freedoms, they were walking 20 feet behind their men. The Afghan women rolled the eyes and simply said: "Land mines."

PeterSibley
10-12-2009, 09:06 PM
A good joke , but not quite what I was looking for , it seems to me that we are doing pretty well exactly what the Soviets were doing .A pet regime, dodgy elections , lots of armed advisers to support the "democratically elected " government .
It would be funny if it wasn't so sad .

LeeG
10-12-2009, 10:02 PM
Can anyone suggest a good reason or two why our efforts are going to be any more successful than the Soviet attempt was ?

The Taliban is more diversified now.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/26/AR2009092602707.html


http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/afghanistan/091002/us-military-funding-both-sides-afghan-war

PeterSibley
10-13-2009, 12:23 AM
So less successful ?

C. Ross
10-13-2009, 12:53 AM
We, and previously the Soviets, are just trying to live up to the British example.

PeterSibley
10-13-2009, 12:56 AM
That is a very high standard .One survivor !

seanz
10-13-2009, 01:46 AM
Can anyone suggest a good reason or two why our efforts are going to be any more successful than the Soviet attempt was ?

One good reason, a superpower is not on the sidelines providing training and support.

PeterSibley
10-13-2009, 02:42 AM
They don't need it , the support has already been supplied ,oh yeah ,there was this brilliant training exercise in Chechnya and another one in Iraq .

skuthorp
10-13-2009, 07:11 AM
I note that the new Japanese govt states that the logistical (refuelling) facilities they offer at sea to support the Afghanistan campaign will cease when the agreement runs out in January. The sorry affair may suffer it's demise 'by a thousand cuts' as the world runs out of patience, money or lives. Of course that will solve nothing, nor will it help the people, though they may feel that they have been 'helped' quite enough.

TomF
10-13-2009, 07:26 AM
To try to take the question seriously ... of course we won't be any more successful than "they" were. Insert your "they" of choice.

Our intervention was wrongheaded - we should have done a get in-get out "police" operation, seeking to capture or prove the death of OBL. Then leave without attempting to take sides in a civil war, or install a puppet. For a variety of tired reasons we didn't do that - and we've been stuck ever since.

Clausewitz always maintained that defence was stronger than offence; seems to me that's especially true in asymmetrical warfare against a guerilla opponent. I understand the strategic reasons for wanting a "friendly" Afghanistan, especially with a nuclear Pakistan teetering on the brink of religious totalitarianism itself.

I've felt for a long time that "you broke it- you bought it" applies. I wish to hell that our countries - including Canada of course - hadn't broken it. I feel that we've got a moral obligation to try and put it back together, and have hence supported keeping troops there in some role. Our own military brass opine that the way Canada's tried to prosecute the war has been more successful in the "hearts and minds" stuff than some other of our allies, but who knows how much of that's spin. We're still dying, and we're still killing.

And were the situations reversed and an Afghani occupying force was trying to change integral aspects of my culture at the point of a gun. Albeit (according to their own lights) with the best of intentions ... I'd be sorely tempted to violently resist. Especially after 7 years of seeing family members killed by both sides ... either as collatoral casualties, or as "encouragement" for me to take a particular side.

Helluva mess; I don't know what the ethical thing to do is now.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-13-2009, 07:51 AM
C. Ross:

We, and previously the Soviets, are just trying to live up to the British example.


That is a very high standard .One survivor !


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6d/Remnants_of_an_army2.jpg

TomF
10-13-2009, 08:08 AM
Do tell. I thought Kipling's "The Man who Would Be King," where only one soldier emerged from Kafiristan was ...er, deeply allegorical, but fictional.

Sasha taught it last year to her students ... wonderful rich story.

skuthorp
10-13-2009, 08:10 AM
I understand he was permitted to return, as a warning against future interference maybe?

The Simla Manifesto has an ironic referece to the present situation,
"The Simla Manifesto stated that the welfare of India required that the British have on their western frontier a trustworthy ally. The British pretense that their troops were merely supporting the tiny force of Shuja in retaking what was once his throne fooled no one. Although the Simla Manifesto asserted that British troops would be withdrawn as soon as Shuja was installed in Kabul, Shuja's rule depended entirely on British arms to suppress rebellion and on British funds to pay tribal chiefs for their support. Like other interventions in modern times, the British denied that they were invading Afghanistan but claimed they were merely supporting its legitimate government (Shuja) "against foreign interference and factious opposition."
http://www.gl.iit.edu/govdocs/afghanistan/FirstAnglo-AfghanWar.html

Nothing much changes there.

TomF
10-13-2009, 08:20 AM
I understand he was permitted to return, as a warning against future interference maybe?In Kipling's story it was something like that. Carnehan was crucified between 2 pine trees, and when he survived for a day it was seen as a miracle so he was allowed to leave. Though the odds were far against surviving the journey, so I dunno about the warning against further interference bit.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-13-2009, 08:27 AM
The causes of the First Afghan War were complex; the Emir of Afghanistan had lost Peshawar to the Sikhs and asked for British help against the Sikhs, which was refused; he then sought Russian support but the Russians seem to have fallen out with him as well, leading to their allies, the Iranians, attacking Afghanistan from the West.

This led the Governor-General of India, Lord Auckland, to conclude that it was essential to have someone friendly to Britain on the throne of Afghanistan.

So he invaded.

After occupying Kabul and sending Dost Mohammed as a prisoner to India and installing Shah Suja in his place, the British garrisoned Kabul with 4,000 men led by an elderly and incompetent verteran of the Peninsular War...

Syed
10-13-2009, 08:33 AM
Remnants (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_Elphinstone's_Army) of an army by Elizabeth Butler.

skuthorp
10-13-2009, 08:40 AM
G'day Syed, seen Donn's cricket thread?

I don't think the history of campaigns in Afghanistan and the sub continent are taught at military academys much. Not even the latest Russian one I'll bet.

George.
10-13-2009, 08:54 AM
The question is not what the West can do about Afghanistan. The question is what can be done in general about stateless territories. They exist in large swaths of Africa and Asia, but they also exist in the urban slums of the West, in the favelas of Rio, along the US-Mexican border, in the Parisian banlieus, and anywhere where the state is absent and agents of the state are not welcome.

Any stateless territory is adequate habitat for a terrorist organization. Pakistan, for instance, has lots of stateless territories within its borders, not only along the Northwest frontier but also in the popular districts of its sprawling cities, and is currently finding out to its chagrin - to the dismay of all of us - that the terrorists can organize and operate in any ungoverned space, not only on remote mountain valleys.

The problem is so much larger than Afghanistan, so much more terrible than that, that I start to think that the West's focus on Afghanistan is much like France's focus on the Maginot Line.

Syed
10-13-2009, 09:12 AM
G'day Syed, seen Donn's cricket thread?

I don't think the history of campaigns in Afghanistan and the sub continent are taught at military academys much. Not even the latest Russian one I'll bet.

G'day/night. :)



Didn't miss that cricket thread.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-13-2009, 09:19 AM
G'day Syed, seen Donn's cricket thread?

I don't think the history of campaigns in Afghanistan and the sub continent are taught at military academys much. Not even the latest Russian one I'll bet.

I can most definitely assure you they are taught at at Abbotabad, at Sandhurst, and at Dehradun.

You will have missed the enthusiasm with which British officers posted to Afghanistan make a point of visiting every site of every campaign.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-13-2009, 09:22 AM
The question is not what the West can do about Afghanistan. The question is what can be done in general about stateless territories. They exist in large swaths of Africa and Asia, but they also exist in the urban slums of the West, in the favelas of Rio, along the US-Mexican border, in the Parisian banlieus, and anywhere where the state is absent and agents of the state are not welcome.

Any stateless territory is adequate habitat for a terrorist organization. Pakistan, for instance, has lots of stateless territories within its borders, not only along the Northwest frontier but also in the popular districts of its sprawling cities, and is currently finding out to its chagrin - to the dismay of all of us - that the terrorists can organize and operate in any ungoverned space, not only on remote mountain valleys.

The problem is so much larger than Afghanistan, so much more terrible than that, that I start to think that the West's focus on Afghanistan is much like France's focus on the Maginot Line.

Very well put, George, and of course absolutely right.

Well, you know the cure!

What you are describing, George, is the normal state of the world, before the Pax Romana and the Pax Brittanica respectively (oh, and I might add the Gong Zhongguo!)

Shang
10-13-2009, 09:43 AM
Do you suppose that the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline has anything to do with it?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-13-2009, 10:00 AM
When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

LeeG
10-13-2009, 10:02 AM
The problem is so much larger than Afghanistan, so much more terrible than that, that I start to think that the West's focus on Afghanistan is much like France's focus on the Maginot Line.

you big picture thinker you. It's like we're expecting to herd cats into a corral on the open plains.

TomF
10-13-2009, 10:19 AM
...I start to think that the West's focus on Afghanistan is much like France's focus on the Maginot Line.Another +1 for this comment from me.

ACB says that we already know what should be done. To be honest, I don't.

JimD
10-13-2009, 10:25 AM
You guys are making this all too complicated. What is required is a pithy simple minded battle cry. One of my favourites is 'We have to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here. Of course this doesn't answer the question of whether we will succeed but it does make it clear that we must succeed, or at least continue to fail until our objectives have been redefined to match the realities on the ground.

George Roberts
10-13-2009, 10:25 AM
Can anyone suggest a good reason or two why our efforts are going to be any more successful than the Soviet attempt was ?

Your question is phrased to disallow any answer but the one you want. Seems to be unfair.

Success might simply be to get rid of Al quada or the Taliban. The US could do either. The problem is that the US would like to leave with the general population liking the US. Those are conflicting goals.

I would suggest a strategy of killing all the bad guys - ignoring collateral damage, and then leaving. At one time carpet bombing the mountains with nukes would have accomplished that goal.

John of Phoenix
10-13-2009, 10:27 AM
Look at a map - Iraq to west, Afghanistan to the east, what's in the middle? Remember what rummy said about Iraq? "Six weeks, maybe six months." Both were to be staging areas for Iran.
Remember that cheney put this cluster fu<& together and we know what he thinks about "creating reality".

Speaking of reality...

http://d.yimg.com/a/p/uc/20091011/largeimagedb091011.gif

LeeG
10-13-2009, 10:40 AM
Look at a map - Iraq to west, Afghanistan to the east, what's in the middle? Remember what rummy said about Iraq? "Six weeks, maybe six months." Both were to be staging areas for Iran.
Remember that cheney put this cluster fu<& together and we know what he thinks about "creating reality".

Speaking of reality...

http://d.yimg.com/a/p/uc/20091011/largeimagedb091011.gif

see, if we just had a 6.8mm round

mobjack68
10-13-2009, 11:13 AM
the Russians couldn't win because we were arming and training the Taliban...Hhhmmmm...I have no claims on smartz, seems to me that this lesson would have been learned a long time ago

JimD
10-13-2009, 11:18 AM
the Russians couldn't win because we were arming and training the Taliban...Hhhmmmm...I have no claims on smartz, seems to me that this lesson would have been learned a long time ago

Ensuring a steady stream of future enemies is not something to be left to chance.

George.
10-13-2009, 11:29 AM
Afghanistan sheltered a nest of wasps. A wasp flew out and stung America in the eye. Blinded by pain and fury, caught at a moment of cerebral dormancy, America went at the wasps' nest with a bat.

Now a few of the wasps are still clustering around the shattered nest, looking for someone to sting. Most have scattered, and a bunch are building another nest somewhere else. If that one gets whacked they'll scatter again and build yet another. Wasps are like that.

The question is, how long should America hang around the site of original nest, now reduced to whacking the rearguard wasps one by one with the bat? Will that keep it safe from being stung again?

Kaa
10-13-2009, 11:32 AM
The question is, how long should America hang around the site of original nest, now reduced to whacking the rearguard wasps one by one with the bat? Will that keep it safe from being stung again?

I am afraid America is fixated on a different question: should it get a bigger bat and if so, how big.

You know that bigger is always better, right? :D

Kaa

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-13-2009, 11:32 AM
Extremely well put.

John of Phoenix
10-13-2009, 11:50 AM
I am afraid America is fixated on a different question: should it get a bigger bat and if so, how big.

You know that bigger is always better, right? :D

KaaThat was certainly true with cheney at the helm. We'll soon see if it still holds true.

George.
10-13-2009, 11:51 AM
The fact that they could have gotten all or most of the wasps had they gone in with a spray can and a lighter, rather than a bat, doesn't mean that they can still remedy the situation now.

But if you ask Batman to find a solution all you get is requests for a bigger bat.

Kaa
10-13-2009, 11:52 AM
That was certainly true with cheney at the helm. We'll soon see if it still holds true.

So, Obama has been at the helm for nine months already and even got a Nobel Peace Prize -- and you STILL don't know whether it holds true? :D

Kaa

John of Phoenix
10-13-2009, 12:04 PM
So, Obama has been at the helm for nine months already and even got a Nobel Peace Prize -- and you STILL don't know whether it holds true? :D

Kaa
He had a general telling the world that Obama needs to send more troops, tens of thousand more troops, and send them quickly. What did the general get? An ass chewing.

The VP sends up a trial balloon that amounts to, "Maybe Afghanistan isn't such a good idea after all."

There's change in the wind. ;)

Kaa
10-13-2009, 12:11 PM
There's change in the wind. ;)

As far as I remember a major theme of Obama's campaign was that Iraq is a waste of lives, time, and money, but Afghanistan -- oooh, the US military should really focus on it, we need to prosecute the war in Afghanistan actively, strongly, more bombs, more forces, more, more, more...

Is that the change you're talking about..?

Kaa

TomF
10-13-2009, 12:14 PM
Not what I read into his words, Kaa. More like "Maybe blowing Afghanistan to smithereens isn't really gonna achieve what I think our objective oughta be. Time to look for a more effective way... "

John of Phoenix
10-13-2009, 12:15 PM
Kaa:
Is that the change you're talking about..?Exactly. You get new facts and act accordingly. Helluva a concept, eh?

Kaa
10-13-2009, 12:22 PM
Exactly. You get new facts and act accordingly. Helluva a concept, eh?

Which exactly facts are "new"? And where is acting accordingly? Last I heard, more troops were being sent to Afghanistan.

Kaa

bobbys
10-13-2009, 12:29 PM
Look at a map - Iraq to west, Afghanistan to the east, what's in the middle? Remember what rummy said about Iraq? "Six weeks, maybe six months." Both were to be staging areas for Iran.
Remember that cheney put this cluster fu<& together and we know what he thinks about "creating reality".

Speaking of reality...

http://d.yimg.com/a/p/uc/20091011/largeimagedb091011.gif.

Cheney has no say right now in bringing more troops in or taking them out, Obama is sending 15000 more quietly as of today, Did he consult with Dick or Joe? Maybe you have a cartoon for that?

John of Phoenix
10-13-2009, 12:33 PM
Which exactly facts are "new"?
If I told you, I'd have to...

In all probability, none. Just the realization that conventional warfare won't do what needs to be done.

The reds have been doing the same thing for eight years with the same devastating results and you're complaining about nine months? You know what they say about turning a battleship around.

peb
10-13-2009, 12:39 PM
The fact that they could have gotten all or most of the wasps had they gone in with a spray can and a lighter, rather than a bat, doesn't mean that they can still remedy the situation now.

But if you ask Batman to find a solution all you get is requests for a bigger bat.

I find this rather humorous. I think you have the same memory loss as Biden does about now. Everyone is wanting America to run a war with sugical strikes, be it with pilotless drones, precision air strikes, or special forces. Go in an hit who you need to, when the need arises. Could be right, not my point.
But, I remember back in 2002 Joe Biden screaming and yelling at Rumsfeld because this is precisely what Rumsfeld wanted to do and he was called an idiot. Rumsfeld wanted to reshape American's military for just these types of missions. I think I remember Biden telling Runsfeld in a committee hearing one time "you don't know what the hell you are talking about" on precisely this topic.

John of Phoenix
10-13-2009, 12:44 PM
Let's try this again boobys.

Look at a map - Iraq to west, Afghanistan to the east, what's in the middle? Remember what rummy said about Iraq? "Six weeks, maybe six months." Both were to be staging areas for Iran.
Remember that cheney put this cluster fu<& together and we know what he thinks about "creating reality".
This is cheney's screwup. It never should have been started in the first place because it never could have been won. Anyone with a casual knowledge of that part of the world would know that.

Now Obama has to clean it up. Afghanistan was so badly neglected that in order just to stabilize it we have to send more troops so you don't see it fall in front of our eyes with our troops still there.

Kaa
10-13-2009, 12:51 PM
...and you're complaining about nine months? You know what they say about turning a battleship around.

Turning..?

The orders from the bridge seem to be "Hold the course! More coal into the boilers!"

Kaa

BrianW
10-13-2009, 01:07 PM
13,000 more troops...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20091013/wl_afp/usafghanistanmilitarytroops_20091013051645


The troop increase approved by Obama brought the level of US forces deployed in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters to a total greater than during the peak of the surge in Iraq in late 2007 and early 2008.

John of Phoenix
10-13-2009, 01:10 PM
I'm not sure about "Stay the course" but I can see where it could appear that way. Personally, I think it's "Man the pumps".

He was handed an impossible mess. Let's see what happens.

stevebaby
10-13-2009, 01:18 PM
Turning..?

The orders from the bridge seem to be "Hold the course! More coal into the boilers!"

KaaErm...boilers are usually filled with water (and steam). :)

George.
10-13-2009, 01:18 PM
I find this rather humorous. I think you have the same memory loss as Biden does about now. Everyone is wanting America to run a war with sugical strikes, be it with pilotless drones, precision air strikes, or special forces. Go in an hit who you need to, when the need arises.

That is not my point at all, although "surgical strikes," or volleys of cruise missiles, might from time to time be needed, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

My point is that I am starting to think that even if the US "wins" in Afghanistan, all it will have accomplished is the establishment of a stable, anti-terrorist government. With a lot of luck, it may on occasion display the trappings of democracy. In other words, be sort of like Pakistan. And just like Pakistan - and many other countries - there will be areas within its borders that it does not control. How exactly will that solve the problem that led to the invasion in the first place?

Kaa
10-13-2009, 01:32 PM
Erm...boilers are usually filled with water (and steam). :)

Technically, yes, you're right. Practically, it's common to call the whole unit, comprising of the furnace(s) and the boiler(s) proper, "the boiler". People speak -- well, used to speak :-) -- of stokers shoveling coal into the boilers all the time.

Kaa

peb
10-13-2009, 02:17 PM
That is not my point at all, although "surgical strikes," or volleys of cruise missiles, might from time to time be needed, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

My point is that I am starting to think that even if the US "wins" in Afghanistan, all it will have accomplished is the establishment of a stable, anti-terrorist government. With a lot of luck, it may on occasion display the trappings of democracy. In other words, be sort of like Pakistan. And just like Pakistan - and many other countries - there will be areas within its borders that it does not control. How exactly will that solve the problem that led to the invasion in the first place?

Well, I thought you were singing Biden's tune with the bit about how we should have been using spray can or lighter as opposed to a bat. Anyway...

Well, if we achieved what you say, then it does not 100% solve the problem that led to the invasion in the first place. It is probably impossible to keep terrorists out of every remote area of the world, but we will have made it much more difficult for them compared to the late 90s thru 2001 when the government of Afghanistan pretty much opened the country up for their bases.

Of course, I will be the first to admit that I have no idea if this is doable. I am taking the same approach on this one as I did with Bosnia in the mid-90s and Iraq in 2002, simply admitting I don't know what is right, but we elected someone (in whom I admittedly have very little confidence) to decide and thats what I will live with. A couple of years from now, with 20-20 hindsight, I will judge how he did, but I won't be overlly critical on this issue.

I did support the initial invasion of Afghanistan and still say it was justified and necessary at the time.

George.
10-13-2009, 02:42 PM
The latest member of al-Qaeda to be arrested by the West was working as a particle physicist at the Large Hadron Collider - not hiding in a remote mountain village.

LeeG
10-13-2009, 03:36 PM
The latest member of al-Qaeda to be arrested by the West was working as a particle physicist at the Large Hadron Collider - not hiding in a remote mountain village.

for real or did he have links?


Reading in the NYT there's an article saying the Higgs Boson may be undiscoverable

seanz
10-13-2009, 03:40 PM
It's in Osama's hat.

peb
10-13-2009, 04:01 PM
The latest member of al-Qaeda to be arrested by the West was working as a particle physicist at the Large Hadron Collider - not hiding in a remote mountain village.

Well, that may be evidence that the past policy in Afghanistan paid off. Certainly before 2001, they were in a remote country, but often their camps were out in the open, not in a remote village. People who are now saying it was such a mistake in late 2001/early 2002 were most likely not saying that then.

seanz
10-13-2009, 04:41 PM
Well, that may be evidence that the past policy in Afghanistan paid off. Certainly before 2001, they were in a remote country, but often their camps were out in the open, not in a remote village. People who are now saying it was such a mistake in late 2001/early 2002 were most likely not saying that then.

.:confused:.

PeterSibley
10-13-2009, 05:14 PM
The latest member of al-Qaeda to be arrested by the West was working as a particle physicist at the Large Hadron Collider - not hiding in a remote mountain village.

He was arrested for having communication with members of a known terrorist organisation ...which is not quite the same as being a member of AQ :rolleyes:.At the moment it's a beat up .

LeeG
10-13-2009, 06:38 PM
aha!! links

George.
10-14-2009, 07:38 AM
Reading in the NYT there's an article saying the Higgs Boson may be undiscoverable

Round up some quarks and apply some 'enhanced' interrogation to them - dunk them into a tub full of neutrinos a few times - and in no time you'll have all the strange spin you want on this Higgs fellow. ;)

norseman
10-14-2009, 03:51 PM
Yo answer your first question,no. I am ashamed to be a Norwegian. Nobel to Obama?
Norway took part in the invasion,that has got to have something to do with it. Corrupt.

LeeG
10-14-2009, 06:40 PM
Obama? Down the hall for awards and prizes this is Afghanistan misc.

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
10-14-2009, 11:17 PM
Obama was handed a bad hand. So let's see what to do going forward. Let's flow chart this a bit:

Do the people of Afghanistan (non-bad guys) want the USA there, either to protect them, or provide aid, or anything?

YES >>> Fine. We'll stay and fight. But you have to show the same courage and fight along side us to defend yourselves. I don't mean the Afghan military, I mean every able-bodied adult. If you are not willing to do this, and only willing to cower and let us fight the battle for your freedoms, we will not protect you nor care about you, but we will still go after Osama Bin Laden. Stay out of our way.

NO >>> Fine. We'll leave, we won't care about your freedoms or nation building or helping you with food or digging wells for clean water, but we will still go after Osama Bin Laden. Stay out of our way.

I'm not being rhetorical. This actually needs to be asked and answered by the Afghan populace.

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
10-14-2009, 11:27 PM
I would suggest a strategy of killing all the bad guys - ignoring collateral damage, and then leaving. At one time carpet bombing the mountains with nukes would have accomplished that goal.

Ya know, my dad said the same thing in the winter following 9/11, and I said, no, Dick Cheney is a pretty smart guy, after all he did well as Sec Def in gulf war 1, if he chose to pursue the current strategy, he has good reason. Well I was pretty wrong. My dad may have been right. Populations have, in the past, paid for supporting aggressive governments, there used to not be surgical strikes. So, perhaps carpet bombing is it. This also would have been more effective immediately after 9/11/01, as then that attack would be fresh in the mind of the world and the Afghans would get less sympathy, although it will never be like WWII again where the press in controlled. Of course, that also implies that they would be justified in the same strategy against us, for electing Bush and Cheney. In for a penny, in for a pound.

What would Al Gore have done?

seanz
10-14-2009, 11:36 PM
This actually needs to be asked and answered by the Afghan populace.


Last Presidential election turnout* was somewhere between 35 to 50%, not bad considering that the Taliban were actively campaiging against voting. I believe their slogan was "No you can't"

* The fact that nobody can agree on a figure is a bit of a worry but even 35% is impressive from an corrupt, occupied, 3rd World country that has ongoing civil war.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_presidential_election,_2009#Low_voter_turno ut

ShagRock
10-14-2009, 11:51 PM
Can anyone suggest a good reason or two why our efforts are going to be any more successful than the Soviet attempt was ?

Really Peter, I don't get the question? Why did you exclude the Afghan people in "our" efforts? Are you still really 'hung up' on the guilt of imperial 'we the power'?

BrianW
10-15-2009, 12:02 AM
Really Peter, I don't get the question? Why did you exclude the Afghan people in "our" efforts? Are you still really 'hung up' on the guilt of imperial 'we the power'?

"spew" :D

ShagRock
10-15-2009, 12:09 AM
The father of the victim spat at the ....

PeterSibley
10-15-2009, 02:34 AM
Really Peter, I don't get the question? Why did you exclude the Afghan people in "our" efforts? Are you still really 'hung up' on the guilt of imperial 'we the power'?

Because the West only has the support of a very small number of Afghaniis ,the Kharzi faction is crocked to it's roots ,the place runs on narco dollars and the "coalition" is a mess .It is shaping up to follow the Soviet path quite closely .

I really think sending young soldiers to die for old mens plans is a horrible ,horrible mess .

skuthorp
10-15-2009, 02:41 AM
"I really think sending young soldiers to die for old mens plans is a horrible ,horrible mess"

Yeah, but it keeps the military supply plants busy.

PeterSibley
10-15-2009, 03:20 AM
Indeed , and young men seem consistently stupid enough to join up and die for those badly made plans .

TomF
10-15-2009, 07:54 AM
What would Al Gore have done?We really don't know.

But I think he might have paid more attention to the Clinton administration's briefing about the potential danger of a terrorist attack by Al Quaeda.

Captain Blight
10-15-2009, 09:41 AM
Indeed , and young men seem consistently stupid enough to join up and die for those badly made plans .
Meanwhile, those with a more finely tuned bull**** detector are shouted down for being "unamerican." Or "Elites."

[/bitter]

George.
10-15-2009, 10:01 AM
Warfare has promoted elitization and survival of the smartest ever since the leaders stopped leading from the front.

Kaa
10-15-2009, 10:03 AM
Warfare has promoted elitization and survival of the smartest ever since the leaders stopped leading from the front.

Just speeding up a bit the natural selection, eh? :D

Kaa

martin schulz
10-15-2009, 10:18 AM
Perhaps this doesn't appear to fit into this discussion, but I find myself rethinking my position about Turkey's entry in the EU.

Right now some countries in the EU are playing games with Turkey which I find uncorrect. As example all countries in the EU have agreed to start negotiating talks with Turkey, thereby making Turkey an official applicant. Now France, or better Sarkozy is displaying strong rejection towards the country (which is probably because of the large Armenian population in France, who do excessive Lobbywork). Another thing is obviously that with Turkey's enztry into the EU France as country with the 2nd larges population will loose lots of influence, because Turkey has about 20million more inhabitants.

Well so much about dirty politics and the danger that lies in Lobbyism.

I thought about Turkey's request lately and talked with some turkish friends and now have changed my mind - saying that I am now in favour to let them in.
All those classic hinderances correct elections, corruption, state defizits...also apply to some countries we have just recently accepted without making a fuss (Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania).

Now what is still debated is Turkey's largely islamic population. All other problems (diplomatic issues with Cyprus, Greece and even Armenia) have been solved.

I think that if Turkey (with its Islamic background) accepts the EU charter and its implication (separation of state & church, no death penalty, democracy...) it could well set an example that the "West" and Islamic nation can work together. So far the main argument of religious fanatics is that the "West" is morally corrupt and therefore unacceptable.

Just imagine pointing to Turkey when such accusations come up.

pefjr
10-15-2009, 10:31 AM
http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/marrakech-wasp-catchers

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-15-2009, 11:09 AM
Perhaps this doesn't appear to fit into this discussion, but I find myself rethinking my position about Turkey's entry in the EU.

Right now some countries in the EU are playing games with Turkey which I find uncorrect. As example all countries in the EU have agreed to start negotiating talks with Turkey, thereby making Turkey an official applicant. Now France, or better Sarkozy is displaying strong rejection towards the country (which is probably because of the large Armenian population in France, who do excessive Lobbywork). Another thing is, obviously, that with Turkey's entry into the EU, France, as the country with the 2nd largest population, will lose lots of influence, because Turkey has about 20 million more inhabitants.

Well so much about dirty politics and the danger that lies in Lobbyism.

I thought about Turkey's request lately and talked with some turkish friends and now have changed my mind - saying that I am now in favour to let them in.
All those classic hinderances correct elections, corruption, state defizits...also apply to some countries we have just recently accepted without making a fuss (Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania).

Now what is still debated is Turkey's largely islamic population. All other problems (diplomatic issues with Cyprus, Greece and even Armenia) have been solved.

I think that if Turkey (with its Islamic background) accepts the EU charter and its implication (separation of state & church, no death penalty, democracy...) it could well set an example that the "West" and Islamic nation can work together. So far the main argument of religious fanatics is that the "West" is morally corrupt and therefore unacceptable.

Just imagine pointing to Turkey when such accusations come up.

Well, that is impressive, Martin!

Possibly one of the very, very few cases of any contributor to the Bilge ever changing his or her mind about something!

I am actually delighted, because the position that you set out in your post accords with my own position, and indeed with what I understand to be the British Government's position.

(I have to declare an interest - for reasons of old family history I am quite pro-Turkish, as came out on a recent thread about Gallipoli.

The recent rectification of relations between Turkey and Armenia has removed another obstacle.

Turkey is a large and important country; it should be in the EU.

Keith Wilson
10-15-2009, 11:53 AM
Excellent points about Turkey.

There was an interesting article on Afghanistan (http://www.tnr.com/article/world/stalemate)in The New Republic. It's a couple of pages, here's the beginning. I think it's worth reading.
The situation in Afghanistan increasingly looks like Iraq did not too long ago. Not the actual political or military circumstances, of course, but the analysis and commentary. Phrases like "Weíre entering a decisive period" and "Itís now or never" are being tossed around ominously as the debate over troop increases rages. One can hardly read an op-ed without being told that the situation is dire and that this is a critical time, perhaps even our Last Chance to Get It Right. Most notably, the report produced by General Stanley McChrystal announced that "the short-term fight will be decisive."

There is not a single Afghanistan myth more prevalent or more specious than this one. To be at a "critical juncture" implies that one side or the other is poised to decisively gain the upper hand and therefore to win. But the situation in Afghanistan is almost the exact opposite of that. I will likely have my pundit card revoked for saying so--nothing diverts attention like saying that a situation isnít at a critical turning point--but itís true. After eight years of fighting, two things seem clear: First, the insurgency does not have the capability to defeat U.S. forces or depose Afghanistanís central government; and, second, U.S. forces do not have the ability to vanquish the insurgency. Itís true that the Taliban has gained ground in recent months, but, absent a full and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops, it cannot retake sovereign control. This is not to say that Afghanistan isnít unstable; it clearly is. That has been the case for eight years, however, and, in the absence of some shocking, unforeseen development, it could be true for another eight or 18 or 80 years. An increase of tens of thousands of troops will not change that fact, nor will subtle tactical changes. Rather than teetering on the edge of some imagined precipice, the situation in Afghanistan is at a virtual stalemate. Only by appropriately characterizing the current situation in Afghanistan can we begin to determine the best way to achieve our stated goals there.

oznabrag
10-15-2009, 12:41 PM
...

What would Al Gore have done?

Al Gore? Not so much. He doesn't know from peace.

What would Willie do?

John of Phoenix
10-15-2009, 01:45 PM
General Petraeus’s own "Counterinsurgency Field Manual," while noting that force size calculations depend on the situation, acknowledges that "[t]wenty counterinsurgents per 1000 residents is often considered the minimum troop density required for effective [counterinsurgency] operations." Afghanistan, with a population estimated at 28.4 million, would require 568,000 troops under that model. Even more modest estimates suggest that a force sufficient to defeat the insurgency would require hundreds of thousands of troops. Retired General Dan McNeill, former U.S. commander in Afghanistan, recently suggested (http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1009/p02s01-usmi.html) that Afghanistan would need a force of at least 400,000 to win. The idea that adding 40,000 troops to the roughly 100,000 American and NATO troops there now will produce a military victory over the insurgency is simply delusional, and does not reflect classic counterinsurgency doctrine.
400,000 more troops. Now were talking SURGE! cheney and rummy would be orgasmic. Do you know what that would mean to KBR? Billions!
And then we'd win, right? BTW, what would we actually "win"?

I can understand Biden's misgivings.

LeeG
10-15-2009, 01:50 PM
Winning hearts and minds after the trigger is pulled.

seanz
10-15-2009, 04:16 PM
400,000 more troops. Now were talking SURGE! cheney and rummy would be orgasmic. Do you know what that would mean to KBR? Billions!
And then we'd win, right? BTW, what would we actually "win"?

I can understand Biden's misgivings.

Well, umm, errrr.........not quite. :)

Those figures don't need to apply to the total population, they can just be applied to the population of a province, say, Nangarhar.

40,000 more troops in the right place in Afghanistan might make a huge difference.

PeterSibley
10-15-2009, 04:53 PM
Well since the Taliban is strong in 40% of the country Sean ,200,000 is closer to the mark ...then of course they would move to the unreinforced areas wouldn't they .The Taliban as I understand it can actually speak to the local population !

PeterSibley
10-15-2009, 04:56 PM
Well argued Martin ,any organisation that has the stomach accept Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania ,can easily accomodate Turkey !

seanz
10-15-2009, 05:28 PM
to do what, take up residence?

Well, there is a certain stark beauty to Afghanistan.:rolleyes::)

How about the troops provide more stability and security to the border with Pakistan. You know Pakistan, that's the country suffering most from attacks by the Taliban at the moment, the country that was left in the lurch when the bushies invaded Iraq and took the focus and resources away from its neighbor Afghanistan.

seanz
10-15-2009, 05:36 PM
so the US should help define Pakistan and Afghanistans borders when neither country controls those areas?

The US? Just the US is it?

It might be helpful to both countries to have a secure border.

PeterSibley
10-15-2009, 05:43 PM
A border ?? It's just a gradual cultural melding , not a border .

seanz
10-15-2009, 05:58 PM
For those of us not girt by sea that's usually what a border is like.

However, if you're fighting insurgents (on both sides of it no less) border security might just help a bit.

skuthorp
10-15-2009, 06:11 PM
Considering the 'border' is one of those imaginary lines on a map drawn probably by the British Colonial Office, and without any knowledge or reference to the tribal and local structures, it's no wonder there are problems. The locals are, and always have been, fiercely independent. Whatever the 'solution' is, it's not more of what we are doing now. But it seems that it is all we know. It's just a matter of how many more will die on all 'sides' before we eventually leave, and what a mess will remain to be cleaned up afterwards. If precedent is any guide landmines, ruined social structures, starvation and even more refugees will be the result. And 'we' will not want to know having gotten sick of the whole disgusting affair.
(And dont quote 9/11 to me, they were Saudis)

seanz
10-15-2009, 06:24 PM
Stay or go....it won't be pretty. I think if we go it will be worse for the region as a whole.
But you have brought up one good point...unlike the Soviets, the coalition forces aren't dusting the landscape with anti-personel mines.
See, could be worse..........

PeterSibley
10-15-2009, 06:48 PM
Considering the 'border' is one of those imaginary lines on a map drawn probably by the British Colonial Office, and without any knowledge or reference to the tribal and local structures, it's no wonder there are problems. The locals are, and always have been, fiercely independent. Whatever the 'solution' is, it's not more of what we are doing now. But it seems that it is all we know. It's just a matter of how many more will die on all 'sides' before we eventually leave, and what a mess will remain to be cleaned up afterwards. If precedent is any guide landmines, ruined social structures, starvation and even more refugees will be the result. And 'we' will not want to know having gotten sick of the whole disgusting affair.
(And dont quote 9/11 to me, they were Saudis)

Actually I strongly suspect the Colonial Office knew exactly what they were doing ...divide and rule .Create an admisterative state with warring factions and play one against the other .Sudan comes to mind .

I think the Colonial Office had VERY good intelligent regarding the loyalities of HM subjects .

Captain Blight
10-15-2009, 07:12 PM
Considering the 'border' is one of those imaginary lines on a map drawn probably by the British Colonial Office, and without any knowledge or reference to the tribal and local structures, it's no wonder there are problems. The locals are, and always have been, fiercely independent. Whatever the 'solution' is, it's not more of what we are doing now. But it seems that it is all we know. It's just a matter of how many more will die on all 'sides' before we eventually leave, and what a mess will remain to be cleaned up afterwards. If precedent is any guide landmines, ruined social structures, starvation and even more refugees will be the result. And 'we' will not want to know having gotten sick of the whole disgusting affair.
(And dont quote 9/11 to me, they were Saudis)Once more, with feeling:


As I've talked about before, my Old Man was career Army Intelligence; the Army Security Agency, to be precise. After Basic, Signal school, DLI for Farsi, he was sent to Afghanistan for a few years; right hard up on the Soviet border. He was a "Weatherman," whose job it was to send balloons up to a hundred thousand feet and see what could be seen from up there. You get the picture.

Good Lloyd, I wish he were still around! Really miss him sometimes, especially when I have a question about the region...

He told me a story about how he'd been sent into town to get supplies or whatever. Oh, in town, it was cups of tea and flowery language and compliments and blessings and praises. But when he got the truck back to wherever, as far up the hill it could go, there were a group of men of indeterminate ages waiting to act as porters. All with the jezzails and the T-sectioned Khyber swords; all smoking through cupped hands, that the tobacco not touch their lips as decreed by Allah and the Prophet. As he would portion each man out his load, they would greet him simply and (he said) kindly: "May you never know thirst."

And up the hills in that thin dry air they would go. For what was for them a respectable wage, doing back-breaking work.


He said that in the little village, they would gather around the well on moonlit nights for tea and stories. He would sometimes join them, spinning American folk yarns for them as best he could (Paul Bunyan, etc.). He asked one of the village elders, once, if they feared the Soviet.

"No," the man laughed. "Why would they want our tea and moonlight?"

Well, they tried, and they got their asses handed to them. When you have a population willing to fight and fight and fight and fight and keep fighting-- 31 years and counting, at this point-- willing to fight for tea and moonlight, how can you defeat an enemy like that?

No. Far better to make friends, and keep them close. We can kick the Taliban in the rocks again and again, but unless and until we can get good diplomats on the ground, spread widely enough to actually talk to enough people, we are doomed to fail.

Over tea and moonlight.

PeterSibley
10-15-2009, 08:12 PM
Thank you Mr Blight .

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-16-2009, 04:05 AM
Considering the 'border' is one of those imaginary lines on a map drawn probably by the British Colonial Office, and without any knowledge or reference to the tribal and local structures, it's no wonder there are problems.

I'm sorry, Jeff, but I don't think that is quite right!

It really would not take more than a very few minutes use of Google and Wikipedia to establish the background to where the borders are and why.

Start with the First Afghan War and the First Sikh War.

Firstly, the Colonial Office never drew any borders in the Indian subcontinent; any border drawing in India would have been a matter for the Indian Government in, sucessively, Calcutta and Delhi. The border between Afghanistan and Russia was eventually (1907!) drawn by the Foreign Office as the result of a treaty, which in effect put an end to the Great Game, but that was a boundary drawn by international treaty, not a matter for the Colonial Office.

Second, borders were not "drawn" by the British in India. The whole trick was to respect the existing borders. And to suggest that the British in India were ever "without any knowledge or reference to the tribal and local structures" is utter nonsense.

The HEIC acquired its Indian empire precisely because it understood local structures very well indeed - Robert Clive was the arch-exponent of playing one off against another and his sucessors continued it.

You can accuse the British in India of playing "divide and rule", but you cannot conceivably accuse them of lacking local political and ethnic and religious knowledge.

The British certainly did "divide and Rule" - they recruited Sikhs into the Indian Army after the Second Sikh War; the Sikh units did not join the Mutiny, a verty few years later, but remained loyal to the HEIC, precisely because they hated the Hindu and Moslem units who had recently conquered them... the defeat of the Mutiny allowed them their revenge - and their loyalty was rewarded with a British enthusiasm for employing Sikhs which lasted a very long time.

The borders got re-drawn, not by the British, but by local potentates, fighting local wars, with their own armies.

Look at the origins of the First Afghan War - the worst disaster of British rule in India -and see what caused it: The Sikhs, under Maharajah Ranjit Singh, captured Peshawar from Afghanistan. The ruler of Afghanistan Dost Mohammed, sought British help to recapture Peshawar, but because the British were on friendly terms with ranjit Singh, this help was refused, so Dost Mohammed applied to the Russians for help. The British did not want the Russians in Afghanistan, so...

The end of the First Afghan War was followed by the death of Ranjit Singh and the collapse of the Sikh kingdom into a sort of religious military democracy, rather like the Rule of the Major-Generals in 1650s Britain, and this in turn triggered HEIC intervention in the Punjab. Local politics was what set up the train of events; not some lines being drawn on a map by an Englishman who did not speak the language or understand the culture - the local Englishmen did speak the languages and understand the cultures; usually very well!

Here for example is the Wikipedia entry for one such - a man who advised against the actions that led to the First Afghan War, and who was murdered in the course of it:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1c/Sir_Alexander_Burnes.jpg/450px-Sir_Alexander_Burnes.jpg


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Burnes

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-16-2009, 04:22 AM
"You all tell yourselves all sorts of fairy stories Ė you are here to sell us your wonderful British goods, you want to set us free, you want us to grow up, you want to educate us and make us worship three gods instead of forty thousandÖ but when you are old and tired and sleeping in a thousand years' time, you will start to realise that you came here and took possession of what was not yours for one reason. To surrender it, to give it up. That is the only reason."

Mohan Lal (try Google) to Alexander Burnes (above), around 1830.

Delete "British" and "three gods"; insert "free market capitalism" and "democracy"...:rolleyes:

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
10-16-2009, 04:45 AM
Last Presidential election turnout* was somewhere between 35 to 50%, not bad considering that the Taliban were actively campaiging against voting. I believe their slogan was "No you can't"

* The fact that nobody can agree on a figure is a bit of a worry but even 35% is impressive from an corrupt, occupied, 3rd World country that has ongoing civil war.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_presidential_election,_2009#Low_voter_turno ut

The election didn't answer whether or not they are willing to risk their own lives to continue an elected government, and not just expect the US to do so.

Let's review: The first goal was to bring Osama Bin Laden and others responsible for 9/11 to justice. It was thought that nation-building in Afghanistan would help accomplish this. Based on time, I have my doubts. What is the end game? Will our nation-building, even if successful, prevent a few dozen bad guys from still wreaking havoc and death on troops with roadside bombs? Pakistan does not need nation building, their government is already friendly to us. What has that gotten us? There are still many hostile forces in the north of that country. An argument can be made at this point to forget nation building and focus on going after those who have specifically commited crimes against us, and forgetting the rest. I am open to an opposing viewpoint, so let's hear it.

PeterSibley
10-16-2009, 05:01 AM
Considering the 'border' is one of those imaginary lines on a map drawn probably by the British Colonial Office, and without any knowledge or reference to the tribal and local structures, it's no wonder there are problems. The locals are, and always have been, fiercely independent. Whatever the 'solution' is, it's not more of what we are doing now. But it seems that it is all we know. It's just a matter of how many more will die on all 'sides' before we eventually leave, and what a mess will remain to be cleaned up afterwards. If precedent is any guide landmines, ruined social structures, starvation and even more refugees will be the result. And 'we' will not want to know having gotten sick of the whole disgusting affair.
(And dont quote 9/11 to me, they were Saudis)

Jeff, I recommend "The Great Game " and a book about an American , Joshua or Joshia Harlan ,whose adventures were the basis for Kipling's "The Man Who Would be King ".I can't remember the title .Excellent .

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-16-2009, 07:02 AM
Josiah Harlan:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josiah_Harlan

George.
10-16-2009, 09:16 AM
You know, we have states in northern Brazil where democracy is disfunctional. Their economies are disastrous, their poverty rates are African, their social services are all federally funded, they consume subsidies and export migrant workers. In most cases there is one dominant political group, often ruled by one man, winning most elections and operating like a criminal mafia - not unlike Karzai and gang, or indeed most Asian despots.

Now here's the thing: Brazil, which actually has sovereignty over these states, cannot force them to get their act together. We cannot force them to have truly fair elections, although they follow the letter of the federal election law; we cannot force their rulers to be less corrupt, although federal law enforcement keeps trying; we cannot lift them up through education and public works, although the productive parts of the country pay murderous federal taxes to subsidize universal public education and infrastructure projects in states that cannot afford them.

These are Brazilian states. They speak our language. They are willingly subject to our laws. They go wild during the World Cup. They dance to the same music, have the same idols and villains as we do, see their future as part of Brazil all the way. And still we cannot do much to improve them. Why would the West manage to improve Afghanistan?

A hard lesson of working with development is when you realize that most people - even most poor people - don't want to be modernized and led forward. They'll take handouts, but mostly want to be left alone. And they'll accept all sorts of abuse from the local lords, but blindly resent even well-meaning interference from outsiders

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-16-2009, 09:25 AM
"So perverse is mankind that every nationality prefers to be misgoverned by its own people than to be well ruled by another".

General Sir Charles James Napier, who, accompanied by that staunch British Imperialist, the first Aga Khan, conquered the province of Sindh for the East India Company in 1843.

Keith Wilson
10-16-2009, 10:01 AM
A hard lesson of working with development is when you realize that most people - even most poor people - don't want to be modernized and led forward. They'll take handouts, but mostly want to be left alone. And they'll accept all sorts of abuse from the local lords, but blindly resent even well-meaning interference from outsiders And then you have people like the South Koreans or Japanese. Odd world, isn't it?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-16-2009, 10:13 AM
I know precisely when I knew, for sure, that China would inevitably become an economic and military superpower.

It was the 2nd December 1995; I had just arrived in Beijing and was being shown to my apartment in the then danwei barracks by a junior colleague - the lock on the grille stuck - "Sorry," he said "It's a Chinese lock".

martin schulz
10-19-2009, 01:54 AM
And they'll accept all sorts of abuse from the local lords, but blindly resent even well-meaning interference from outsiders

Well of course this is quite typical for our kind.
We will always stick to our "family" no matter how corrupt or bad - just because its our "pack". After the close family, there is the extended family, tribe, village, city, state, country...we feel we are responsible for.

And outsiders can't be trusted.

Since we (in the "west") have a larger, more enlightened comprehension of the world we are able to see/accept a bigger definition of "family" - the USA, or EU as example. The average Afghan citizen will not be able to see much further than the close family and the clan/tribe, so why should he trust politicians from the US/EU?

Education is the solution to this and thats exactly why every restrictive regime in the world is highly critical about education (and that applies as well to our "democracies").

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-19-2009, 05:49 AM
We may notice that the Russian regime is currently busily engaged in rewriting the history textbooks back to the old style.

PeterSibley
10-19-2009, 06:16 AM
Here is a link to a documentary I just watched on our ABC network .Worth viewing IMO .

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2009/s2714822.htm

George.
10-19-2009, 06:23 AM
Yes, a lot of textbooks are being re-written these days. Some of it is good, some of it is scary.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-19-2009, 06:54 AM
China and Korea always weigh in on Japanese textbook revision - in part, undoubtedly, because they share the idiogrammatic script and can in part read kanji.

But I think the Russian thing is more alarming.

I am also quite concerned that there really do seem to be people who think that NATO's presence in Afghanistan is just the latest step in the Crusades.

Pope Urban II would be terribly impressed to know that the movement he started at the Council of Piacenza in March 1095 is still going strong 910 years after his death.

PeterSibley
10-19-2009, 07:05 AM
Are you quoting GWBush Andrew ?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-19-2009, 07:11 AM
BBC World Service account of interviews with Afghan children.

PeterSibley
10-19-2009, 07:17 AM
An interesting bit of propaganda , but probaby pretty general throughout the Islamic world .

WX
10-19-2009, 07:17 AM
The war is lost.

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2009/s2714822.htm

skuthorp
10-19-2009, 07:19 AM
Our news is reporting 'fierce fighting' between the Taliban and the Pakistani army in border provinces tonight. I wonder if Pakistan's government considers them a real threat?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-19-2009, 09:21 AM
A complicated question; the best man to answer that here would be Syed, but he may not like to do so.

I think that the Pakistani military has been re-evaluating its position for some time; most senior officers may now conclude that they had been nursing a viper in their bosom.

John of Phoenix
10-19-2009, 02:39 PM
There it is, just below the headline.
A Taliban victory would have devastating consequences for U.S. interests. But to avoid disaster, America must beware the Soviet Union’s mistakes -- and learn from its own three decades of failure in South Asia.
That still hasn't happened. This should be tattooed on the forehead of every flag officer in the services, - "We can't win an unconventional war with conventional tactics. If I suggest otherwise, kick me in the ass."

WX
10-19-2009, 04:38 PM
now a percentage of NGO and US gov't aid gets creamed off for the Taliban.
The way I see it is it's not the Taliban but the members of the Afghan government who are doing the creaming. Not one of the 600+ schools claimed to have been built have been finished or started. School girls sit outside in freezing temperatures. While government ministers and officials build themselves $500,000 and $1,000,000 mansions and drive around in SUVs paid for with foreign aid money.

PeterSibley
10-19-2009, 05:20 PM
A very large number of Afghanis are going to be reasonably happy when the Taliban wins and the pigs at the trough get a bullet in the back of the head .That program was not encouraging .If that is the Afghani government the West is fighting to maintain we should down tools and walk away NOW and not see another soldier ,of either side, die .

jbelow
10-19-2009, 09:47 PM
Can anyone suggest a good reason or two why our efforts are going to be any more successful than the Soviet attempt was ?

Because BO is in charge. Take a look at his accomplishments . He won the Nobel Peace prize. That fixs everything.

PeterSibley
10-19-2009, 10:10 PM
I think your problem should be the Nobel Peace Prize selection committee rather than the person in receipt of said Prize .

You may have other problems as well .

jbelow
10-19-2009, 10:30 PM
He's from Texas, their production peaked in 1972.

Maybe but we are still producing. BO cut us back on our offshore drilling.

paladin
10-20-2009, 12:03 AM
We had "Unofficially" about 2 dozen "advisors in Afghanastan during the Russian days. We outfitted them with shoulder launched missiles, and some .318 rifles.....with leatherwood scopes. A single man, actually 2 with light equipment, constantly moving can really raise a little hell. Take said rifle, dig a hole below the crest of a hill, back down into it...it's cool......a few feet away dig another one. You crap in the plastic bags and put it in the other hole, a little dirt on top...same with c-rats refuse....water stays in your hole.the canvas has a nap on it, that will hold dirt/gravel for camouflage. You are above, slightly, a place in the rod where as a vehicle makes a turn you have a straight shot through his viewing hole, about 3 inches by6 inches. Wait for the last vehicle and put a soft round military ball through the slot....with a silencer, and the end of the weapon over the ground, there will be no sound, no dust to fly away from the muzzle, no flash seen....crawl back in your hole. When they leave the area.....get the hell away....later in nthe evening or tomorrow they'll bomb the crap out of it but no one will be home.
Position yourself onthe end of the runway so that you can clearly see the aft end of the planes as the take off in formation. Using an AP round, wait until they are near lift off speed, as as the wheels come up put the round right up the tailpipe...if you hit the burn barrel the plane comes apart and takes out his partner...one shot. Leave the area.......The Afghans learned the game too, and now use the same techniques against the Americans, these are the same guys we were training......they learned the cell phone trick........I have a cure for it...no cell activated IED will go off within 150 yards of my shirtpocket toy.....Fellow told me $8500 each was a bit high...I told him to ask his dead soldiers if it was too high. They want them at half price, I told him we could leave out half the electronics which half does he feel he doesn't need.....these guys are not dealing with reality.

Captain Blight
10-20-2009, 01:40 AM
There it is, just below the headline.
That still hasn't happened. This should be tattooed on the forehead of every flag officer in the services, - "We can't win an unconventional war with conventional tactics. If I suggest otherwise, kick me in the ass."

Al Pacino had a great line in Wag the Dog: He's talking to some CIA upper-echelon functionary, being taken to task for what he's doing, and just goes off on this guy. Tells him he's all tooled up to fight a two-ocean war against an enemy who just isn't there any more. That if the threat is irrelevant, than he's irrelevant.

No one inside the Beltway wants to be named as irrelevant. So reasons are found to continue fighting a conventional war, in the toughest terrain the world has to offer; fought with stretched supply lines and exhausted troops and (I use the word with intent) irrelevant motives.

And still we will not learn.

Scew this, I'm moving to New Zealand.

Captain Blight
10-20-2009, 01:44 AM
Because BO is in charge. Take a look at his accomplishments . He won the Nobel Peace prize. That fixs everything.
Understood that the ethical decision would have been for him to politely decline; would you have gained respect for him had he done this? Or would you have seen this as evidence that he didn't want the USA to gain accolades and world standing?

You don't get to have it both ways.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
10-20-2009, 02:24 AM
This stupid morass, and the recent western responses to it, are beginning to resemble a really bad demonstration of the three laws of thermodynamics.

Rule 1 :- You Can't Win.
Rule 2 :- You Can't Break Even.
Rule 3 :- You Are Not Allowed To Leave The Game.

seanz
10-20-2009, 02:50 AM
Scew this, I'm moving to New Zealand.

Kia-ora Bro' ;):)


Ummmm.....there's no escaping the mighty suck that is the Afghanistan campaign......the NZ army is still there.
Recently people have been heard to say "Wha?"
:rolleyes:

George.
10-20-2009, 05:38 AM
Number One Rule for dealing with military services: if you scratch off the guns and uniforms you'll find a government agency like any other.

George.
10-20-2009, 05:47 AM
Well, the good news is that Karzai seems about to agree to a runoff, after the UN declared a huge number of ballots invalid.

(pause to consider how many Americans think the UN is a useless, hateful thing - it just saved their asses from having to swallow Karzai and fund his mafia)

The bad news? Watch him win the runoff too. :rolleyes: :(

PeterSibley
10-20-2009, 06:19 AM
Number One Rule for dealing with military services: if you scratch off the guns and uniforms you'll find a government agency like any other.

An interesting observation .

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-20-2009, 08:10 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Spencer_Chapman

George.
10-20-2009, 10:17 AM
Does my solution of having a professional Navy and Marines in limited numbers to protect trade and a Army and air force consisting of very few professionals backed up by militias sound good now?

That's what the founders wanted for good reason.

That's because they had not yet met Napoleon.

Kaa
10-20-2009, 10:34 AM
Does my solution of having a professional Navy and Marines in limited numbers to protect trade and a Army and air force consisting of very few professionals backed up by militias sound good now?

Ah, the good old Middle Ages :-)

Have the professional knights in limited numbers backed up by masses of peasants in case cannon fodder is needed... :D

Kaa