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Old 09-21-2009, 11:33 AM  
Direckshun Direckshun is online now
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Andrew Sullivan: Gulliver in Afghanistan.

Seriously, what the **** do we do now.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.co...ghanistan.html



General McChrystal is to be congratulated, it seems to me, for the candor and seriousness of his report to the president on what has gone so wrong in Afghanistan and what can be done to set it right. McChrystal's role is to find a way to win: he's a soldier fighting a war. And yet this hardest of hard-nosed military men essentially concedes that this is a political problem at its heart. You cannot fight a counter-insurgency on behalf of a government that is as corrupt as Karzai's. And you cannot fight a counter-insurgency without vast numbers of troops to protect a population in an extremely remote and ungovernable region. And you cannot fight either without tackling the real source of the terror - in Pakistan.

So we are left with this dire set of alternatives. We either pack up and go home. Or we double-down for a couple of decades to try to stabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan, knowing that, even then, we cannot prevent any single Jihadist plot or attack coming from that region. The latest terror case reveals the threat:

Quote:
What has troubled federal prosecutors and the F.B.I. is the belief that Mr. Zazi embodies what concerns them most: a Westernized militant, trained by Al Qaeda in Pakistan, whose experience and legal resident status in the United States give him the freedom to operate freely, yet attract little attention.
How would doubling down in Afghanistan affect this kind of activity?

From the Woodward leak:

Quote:
While the insurgency is predominantly Afghan, McChrystal writes that it "is clearly supported from Pakistan. Senior leaders of the major Afghan insurgent groups are based in Pakistan, are linked with al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups, and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI," which is its intelligence service. Al-Qaeda and other extremist movements "based in Pakistan channel foreign fighters, suicide bombers, and technical assistance into Afghanistan, and offer ideological motivation, training, and financial support."
Al Qaeda operates with impunity in Pakistan:

Quote:
McChrystal identifies three main insurgent groups "in order of their threat to the mission" and provides significant details about their command structures and objectives. The first is the Quetta Shura Taliban (QST) headed by Mullah Omar, who fled Afghanistan after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and operates from the Pakistani city of Quetta. "At the operational level, the Quetta Shura conducts a formal campaign review each winter, after which Mullah Omar announces his guidance and intent for the coming year," according to the assessment.
How do you win a war when it is being led and conducted in a country you are not at war with?

It seems to me we are at another turning point in the road, and one of the few moments when American enmeshment in Afghanistan might be turned back. We have to weigh the chances of serious terror groups re-grouping and operating even more freely throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan against the risks of more money, more troops, more casualties and more blowback. And let's not fool ourselves: neither of these is a good option. That's the Bush legacy.

But if McChrystal is right, he is strategizing Afghanistan as a semi-permanent protectorate for the US. This is empire in the 21st century sense: occupying failed states indefinitely to prevent even more chaos spinning out of them. And it has the embedded logic of all empires: if it doesn't keep expanding, it will collapse. The logic of McChrystal is that the US should be occupying Pakistan as well. And Somalia. And anywhere al Qaeda make seek refuge.

In the end, Gulliver cannot move. And his pockets are empty. Whom does that deter?
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:43 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
How do you win a war when it is being led and conducted in a country you are not at war with?

It seems to me we are at another turning point in the road, and one of the few moments when American enmeshment in Afghanistan might be turned back. We have to weigh the chances of serious terror groups re-grouping and operating even more freely throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan against the risks of more money, more troops, more casualties and more blowback. And let's not fool ourselves: neither of these is a good option. That's the Bush legacy.

But if McChrystal is right, he is strategizing Afghanistan as a semi-permanent protectorate for the US. This is empire in the 21st century sense: occupying failed states indefinitely to prevent even more chaos spinning out of them. And it has the embedded logic of all empires: if it doesn't keep expanding, it will collapse. The logic of McChrystal is that the US should be occupying Pakistan as well. And Somalia. And anywhere al Qaeda make seek refuge.

In the end, Gulliver cannot move. And his pockets are empty. Whom does that deter?
Don't try to blame this on Bush, Direckshun. This is Obama's war now. It's the good war, remember?

Elect me and I'll just send a few more troops over there and sort this out lickety split! - Obama, Campaign 2008 (paraphrased)
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:46 AM   #3
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Thanks for Vietnam II, George W. Bush.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:47 AM   #4
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Or is it III by now?
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:59 AM   #5
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Vietnam IV if you count the Balkans. Next stop former soviet republics and Africa....afterall we're making over the world so there will never be another war because all these pre-emptive ones are putting them under one power.
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:02 PM   #6
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We're about to find out whether Obama has more LBJ/McNamara/Nixon in him or more Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney. Or maybe he'll just take a page from 1940-era Philippe Pétain.
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:47 PM   #7
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Bottom line is you can't win in Afghanistan unless you wipe out the whole country and 1/2 of Pakistan. The Soviet Union found out so since this isn't going to happen ( blowing up the country ) , basically, we are doomed while we are there.
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:04 PM   #8
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So I'm asking everybody here, what the **** do we do now?

Pat? TJ? ROYC75? What do we do now?
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:04 PM   #9
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Don't worry, Obama is going to fulfill his campaign promise and go over to the Cave in which Bin Laden resides in Pakistan and pull him out by the whiskers.
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Don't try to blame this on Bush, Direckshun.
A large part of this is on Bush -- he passed off this underfunded, undermanned quagmire to his successor and diverted most of his resources to an unjustified war two houses over.

A large part of it is on Pakistan, for being so single-mindedly focused on India to appease their constituents, they're willing to live with Al Qaeda in the tribal regions.

A large part of it is on Afghanistan in general for being an ungovernable place to be.

Whatever move Obama makes next needs to be very, very aggressive. My first priority would be drastically cutting any funding to Pakistan in hopes that to earn it back, they will defend their west flank. I'd also be willing to send in more troops. But I know at least a couple in this thread would like to just see us leave.
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
So I'm asking everybody here, what the **** do we do now?

Pat? TJ? ROYC75? What do we do now?
Obama said he was gonna go after Al Qaeda? what happened? I thought he said it would be easy? lol..it's all Bush's fault..great leadership! just point the finger! what a leader!
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
So I'm asking everybody here, what the **** do we do now?

Pat? TJ? ROYC75? What do we do now?
My position all along was I would tell Pakistan they have x number of days to get to work or we are going to come do it for them.

And yes I would add more troops as the General has suggested.
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowanian View Post
Don't worry, Obama is going to fulfill his campaign promise and go over to the Cave in which Bin Laden resides in Pakistan and pull him out by the whiskers.
What do we do now, Iowanian?
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:09 PM   #14
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use bigger bombs.
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:10 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by dirk digler View Post
My position all along was I would tell Pakistan they have x number of days to get to work or we are going to come do it for them.

And yes I would add more troops as the General has suggested.
So you'd invade Pakistan.
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