Michael's Dispatches

America’s Dumbest War, Ever

46 Comments

26 September 2012

police-1000Afghan Police in Zhari District, 2011.

Yesterday a concerned father forwarded to me a letter from his son in Afghanistan. I confirmed authenticity, and republish with permission:

Dad,

I am fed up. I cannot believe the lack of attention the recent changes in this war is receiving by the media or the country. I think I saw one thing on CNN about the following subject, but I had to dig extensively to find it. The purpose of this letter is to let you know of the garbage that our soldiers are going through right now. With this knowledge, I hope that you take action by writing your congressmen.

First, because of the recent green on blue incidents or "insider threats" as the new buzz phrase dictates, all coalition forces in Afghanistan have completely stopped partnering with the ANA, AUP, and ALP in order to prevent the death of anymore CF casualties by ANSF or Taliban disguised as them. This is also greatly spurred by President Karzi's indifferent attitude and lack of action to take measures to prevent further insider attacks.

patch-1000

Second, because of this massive change in policy (and complete change in mission) all U.S. forces are forbidden to actively patrol their AO and are to remain on their respective COPs/FOBs. There are only a few exceptions to this rule and they all pertain to "hardening" highway 1 in our AO. We have received orders that clearly state that all CF will no longer be allowed to drop air to ground munitions within the country of Afghanistan. This preempts Karzi's announcement that will be made shortly that states the above mentioned order, making it a tactical directive that he is ordering.

To the first point: Our mission in Afghanistan is to partner with the ANSF on all levels. Now the policy makers are telling us that we are not allowed to do that and further more we are to take immediate measures to secure ourselves from the ANSF that are co-located with us. So the question now becomes, what is our mission? Furthermore, the implication is that we have absolutely no reason to still be in this country if we are not partnering with the ANSF. So why are we here?

To the second point: I don't think that the American citizens would be happy if they knew that their soldiers were being prohibited from defending themselves in any way because of politically driven orders, but that is precisely what is happening in this war right now even as I write this letter. The soldiers of the U.S. never engage the enemy unless we know that we have will always have the tactical advantage in defending ourselves, that advantage is the use of close air support and air weapons team. To take those weapons away from us is to level the playing field for the enemy and thus exposing our soldiers to more danger. In the school house they teach us that the minimum ratio that we are to engage the enemy with, is a 3:1 ratio. In other words, we have the highest probability of winning because we don’t fight fair. The sound tactical principles behind this teaching have saved lives. The very presence of aircraft over our foot patrols has also saved lives and now our chain of command is being told by our political leadership that this is now not allowed.  If we are not partnering with the ANSF and we are not actively patrolling to prevent our enemies from massing their attacks on our COP and we can’t drop a bomb on the enemy that we have positively identified, than what the hell are we doing here?

Give us a mission or send us home. I honestly have no preference on what the politicians decide, as long as they just make a decision. Of course this will be a terrible inconvenience on the current elections so I am sure we will be forgotten, which really does not seem to be too different for how things have been going for the last eleven years.

foot-1000Policeman's foot, Zhari District, Kandahar Province 2011.

Do not buy into what the some media outlets have already said about this. Casually saying that this is a frequent occurrence is false, and is an attempt to downplay the major ramifications for these decisions. We have never been so restricted in defending ourselves as we have now. This is not just a stand down. The other implication of this decision is that we will perhaps never regain our relationship with the ANA after we have executed these measures to protect ourselves from them.  Essentially, we have left them to die as we watch from our high-tech cameras and UAVs. They will not forget this and I fear the relationship will never be the same.

I love you very much Dad and I don’t want you to worry about me any more than you already are, but I also know that this has to be brought up, someone has to say something about this. It is wrong to keep this hidden away while American soldiers are under constant threat of death and dying.  I don’t care if you send this letter directly, this needs to be known.

Your son,

[In Afghanistan]

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pat · 6 years ago
    I can totally believe what this soldier has written. Too much cautious micromanagement like Vietnam.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      okiquit · 6 years ago
      [quote name="Pat"]Too much cautious micromanagement like Vietnam.[/quote]

      Lewis Sorley argues convincingly in "Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam" that the opposite is true. He writes that the Army was given a free hand WITHIN SOUTH VIETNAM and the Joint Chiefs rubberstamped anything Westmoreland wanted to do.

      Unfortunately, what he wanted to do is ignore COIN and re-fight WWII in Southeast Asia. We all know how that turned out.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Herschel Smith · 6 years ago
        Ridiculous assertions, okiquit (I note that you used the same fake name on comments on my own web site). Gian Gentile demolishes Sorley's arguments for what Westmoreland did or didn't do in S.V. COIN had nothing to do with anything, just as in Afghanistan.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Gump · 6 years ago
    IIRC, you wrote a few years back that the most important thing to the Afghan people was to see Americans building permanent structures. That would give them the feeling that we were there to stay and cared about them. Now we are leaving. They know this. They knew it would happen. It's been happening there since Alexander the Great.

    Frankly, there is nothing in Afghanistan for us. We have achieved our objective and it's time for us to go home. The secondary objective of trying to bring democracy to a country still wrapped in the turmoil of tribal loyalties and theocratic regimes is not possible. The people of Afghanistan need to change if they want to a better life.

    Democracy is a dish best earned, not served.

    So for the Afghan people,

    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,Nothing is going to get better. It's not."
    -Dr Seuss
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Charles, Bath · 6 years ago
    Michael

    Your last 2 posts are amongst the best you have ever made.

    However, obviously America and Britain are now deeply caught up in this war. We will pay a terrible price if we are seen to be defeated. Countries do not emerge stronger from defeats. China and others will be emboldened by our defeat.

    It must be possible for a rich nation of 350 million to subdue just one part of a dirt-poor nation of around 30 million.

    Wars do not always have clear ends. In Northern Ireland we fought a grinding war of attrition for 30 years. We could never stop all IRA attacks, merely minimise their capability until they gave up and chose exclusively political means.

    Please tell us how you think we can win Michael.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      okiquit · 6 years ago
      [quote name="Charles, Bath"]Countries do not emerge stronger from defeats.[/quote]

      (A) If we leave Afghanistan and things get better for Afghans, the world will truly see that as a defeat for America.

      (B) But if we leave Afghanistan and the place goes to hell under the warlords and Taliban, the world will see that NOT as an American defeat, but as a lost opportunity for Afghanistan.

      I expect (B) to happen.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Charles, Bath · 6 years ago
        Hmmm, I'd like to agree, but I don't.

        I think that any perception that America (and Britain) have been forced out or are giving up will be seen by radical Islamists and other enemies as evidence of weakness and defeat.

        It was previous Western retreats (such as after the Beirut barracks bombing) that encouraged people like Bin Laden to keep attacking America.

        Southern Vietnam pretty much went to hell after the Northern takeover, but I don't think that changed anyone's perception that it was an American defeat (and a completely needless one a that).

        I am very tired of hearing this simplistic view that withdrawal is some sort of cost-free option. It certainly isn't. You might well end up losing more lives in future than you are now.

        It should be easily possible for the West to maintain - indefinitely - a presence which makes any Taliban claim to victory impossible.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Suzanne · 6 years ago
          So why don't we just drop an atomic bomb or two as we did in WWII in Japan? Death and destruction is all the Muslims seem to understand. Surely that might subdue them and let them know that we won.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        George · 6 years ago
        I served as a combat soldier for a long time, and played a role in various theaters of war, most of which were never given the title of "war", such as Northern Ireland and the Falklands, since our government preferred the 'softer' term, "conflict".
        Whatever, we prefer to call them, these conflicts, along with the Gulf War, are all still undecided, so there comes a time when you must just leave a nation/colony to their own devices and accept the outcome.
        I agree that the likely outcome in Afghanistan is (B), but I have no doubt that if that came about, the next US President and UK Prime Minister would get their heads together to form a coalition force to go back in and sort it out, with a similar stand off subsequently occurring!
        I just feel that if it wasn't for the potential political gains of many individuals, we would never have got ourselves into such a mess in the first place!
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Seadragonconquerer · 6 years ago
      Michael cannot tell us that. No one can. The British Empire could not defeat Afghanistan. The Russian Empire could not defeat Afghanistan. And the American Empire cannot defeat Afghanistan. Time to give up the Empire, and go back to the Republic.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Langford · 6 years ago
        We didn't come to Afghanistan to beat it. We came here to;
        A: Defeat the Taliban GOVERNMENT
        B: Eliminate the safe haven for organization like Al-Queda found here in Afghanistan
        C:Help establish a stable government.

        The only reason C will fail is because the people here don't want it. Not out in the remote regions anyway. In Kabul, Jalalabad, etc, government will work. But not out in the Kunar, or in the Tangi Valley. Government has existed as the most base level there for thousands of years and it will not change.

        So yes, we did defeat Afghanistan as a nation when we entered it. But we did not come here to conquer it, as did the Greeks, Russians, and British. Big difference.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          RVN SF VET · 6 years ago
          Lamgford - perfect answer. Hopefully, readers will now understand.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          T2 · 6 years ago
          ;- The US DoD did conquer Afghanistan but only for a short while.
          We have learned who the Taliban really are, not the CNN or Fox new version but the real breathing humans.
          Item A has the USA becoming the evil empire because until we talk with the Pashtu Taliban, item C will never happen.
          The smart US Marine officer has read the writings of Alex Strick van Linschoten at AfghanWire.com. Or Ahmed Rashid's the Taliban. How frustrating! We act like mule headed fools. Its a weak link to 911 and the opium crop has ballooned.
          Some have grained a great deal of money on this venture, yet still never do we mention the country of origin of the majority of hijackers on 911, SA.
          Yet all I hear is that we will be attacking Iran soon. WTF!
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Kermit · 6 years ago
        Incorrect. The Brits, as others before them, defeated and held "Afghanistan" many times then turned it over to local rule. It has been the biggest doormat in the region since Alexander.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Allan · 6 years ago
    Terrible waste of our fine men. This has trully become a forgotten war.

    Bring our guys and gals home ASAP!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve Bramblet · 6 years ago
    Thanks for sharing this. I forwarded it with a few kind words to my Senators/Congressman...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Heywood Jablomi · 6 years ago
    The administration is focused to the exclusion of all else on reelection, so they issue a stand-down order. Got to preempt any negative headlines.

    Our pathetic, politicized, craven military leadership genuflects and obeys. Regardless of the fact that it is wrong on so many levels. They already dropped the ball pushing the formation of Afghan forces faster than was wise or practical. Now they freeze in place. Jackasses.

    Our politicians do not deserve the Army that they have. Our generals have long lost all moral authority. As long as they can pay the tuition for their kids in elite schools, as long as they can pay the mortgages on their summer cottages, as long as they can afford their little sailboats at Annapolis, their world will continue to turn. Just wait until they can claim their directorships on the boards of American corporations. Slimeballs.

    May God bless our soldiers. They are hamstrung with a bureaucratized and parochial command authority that does not prioritize their welfare. What is important is image, and headlines, and the election.

    At what point, does their leadership become so self-focused that they can be described as traitors?

    May God save the Republic.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Seadragonconquerer · 6 years ago
      The Republic is long gone. Lost when the politicians established the FedReserve, and so gave over control of America's money supply to the Rothschilds. It'll take Civil War II to get it back.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Rick · 6 years ago
        Thank you Seadragon for saying it like it is.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rich · 6 years ago
    Bring em home.

    Yesterday.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mary Dixon · 6 years ago
    What is our military doing in that country? Get them the heck out of there, pronto!! Let our military do what they can do in another deserving place! To leave them there will lower the morale and have any reason to 'serve' their country.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Larry · 6 years ago
    All these politicians who simply don't have a clue are continuously putting our men and women in danger with their politically correct crap. Time to send them all packing.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    RVN SF VET · 6 years ago
    "I don't think that the American citizens would be happy if they knew that their soldiers were being prohibited from defending themselves in any way because of politically driven orders,"

    How does a "soldier" know the origin of his orders. How does a soldier know what is policy driven? Why does he use the word "political"? This letter may have elements of fact in it, but otherwise his analysis is crap and above his pay grade.

    Judging by an absence of news, you have to wonder if the war has stopped. We know we are no longer training these jerks. It is dangerous to stop unilateral paroling around our bases. Have we done that?

    I believe that this "letter" is a thinly veiled political ploy by someone who is not privy to the motivation behind ISAF orders or their "political" origins. When you figure out how a soldier knows why a 4 star issues an order, let me know,
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John-Capt in ANG · 6 years ago
    Ok, huge misrepresentations are being thrown out in this letter. First off, all partnering has not stopped. The irony is I was working out with Afghans for a couple of days after the policies were tweaked.

    Second, policies were temporarily tweaked. Depending on the level of engagement (battalion, brigade, or company) partnering has only temporarily changed. We're not going to pull anchor and go solo. If you're not sure why, google "Obama says surge troops are gone." They can't do it alone, and we don't have the numbers here to do it solo anymore either. You hear that silence? That's the lack of AQ, HiG and TB being able to do much due to our security. Yes, there are more green on blue but any student of war history knows it comes with the territory. Every death is tragic but no reason to get into a panic. If anything, I'm glad our doctrine, tactics and rules of engagement aren't being yanked around like some previous battles (I'm staring at the guy in the corner, just waiting to scream, "VIETTNAAAAAMMM!!!!" Every time something goes wrong).

    Finally, stating a 12 year war is dumb because of a policy change near the practical end is less than disingenuous.

    I'd go into more detail to make my point but for OPSEC reasons I won't .
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Herschel Smith · 6 years ago
      But what isn't disingenuous is saying that we fought the war wrong from the earliest stages, which is what I assert. Population-centric COIN and state-building has been a complete failure in Afghanistan, and it will be written down in the textbooks that way. And we are near the end of the campaign not because we are ending our mission, but because we lost.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      RVN SF VET · 6 years ago
      Yesterday, in Marja, Helmand Province, the USMC with their Afghan counterparts fought a two phase battle against a large Taliban ambush. In this fight, they called for and received Marine air support. A video of the fight was on tonight's NBC Nightly News. The letter writer is full of crap.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      RVN Advisor · 6 years ago
      [quote name="John-Capt in ANG"]Ok, huge misrepresentations are being thrown out in this letter. First off, all partnering has not stopped. The irony is I was working out with Afghans for a couple of days after the policies were tweaked.

      Second, policies were temporarily tweaked. Depending on the level of engagement (battalion, brigade, or company) partnering has only temporarily changed. We're not going to pull anchor and go solo. If you're not sure why, google "Obama says surge troops are gone." They can't do it alone, and we don't have the numbers here to do it solo anymore either. You hear that silence? That's the lack of AQ, HiG and TB being able to do much due to our security. Yes, there are more green on blue but any student of war history knows it comes with the territory. Every death is tragic but no reason to get into a panic. If anything, I'm glad our doctrine, tactics and rules of engagement aren't being yanked around like some previous battles (I'm staring at the guy in the corner, just waiting to scream, "VIETTNAAAAAMMM!!!!" Every time something goes wrong).

      Finally, stating a 12 year war is dumb because of a policy change near the practical end is less than disingenuous.

      I'd go into more detail to make my point but for OPSEC reasons I won't .[/quote]

      Prior to going to Vietnam, I received extensive training in the language and culture. Shortly after arrival, I was assigned as advisor to a gunboat out of Nam Can, a small riverine base on the Cua Lon river. I fully accepted the crew and they, me. The only problem I ever had was with the SNA Nam Can who did something unbelievably stupid. He had no understaning of the language and culture, lived in a separate compound from his counterpart, refused to eat any vietnamese food and was rude to his counterpart. I learned what worked as an advisor and what didn't.

      Flash forward. After 11 years and a rise in green on blue iincidents, itappears that Gen. Dempsy gets it and is having a cultural standdown. Great but too little too late. I have seen a number of videos of so-called advisors interfacing with afghans. I was stunned by their arrogance and disdain for their trainees. No understanding of their language or culture. Simply an attitude of do it my way, you dumbass. I have heard that the Marines are better at doing this job. I believe that, were a study done, it would show that training I received is the way to go. I fear that this lesson learned will be again lost and we will repeat our failuresin the future.

      I would be interested in hearing from John-Capt in ANG on this.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        John-Capt in ANG · 6 years ago
        I came back to this dispatch to mention today's suicide bomber hit a partnered patrol which the letter writer said didn't exist, but I seeRVN SF Vet beat me to it with another appropriate reference.

        Back in 2010, I was at the HQ and IJC more often, so I was much more plugged in at the strategic levels. Nowadays, I'm very buried deep, 'in the weeds," so I'm not really at a point of view where I can objectively form an opinion of it, "Gen Dempsey gets it." There are things I've seen him, and his 3*, do that I agree and some I don't but these are very specific issues and I won't go into them here because a) they're trivial in a grand scheme b) opsec.

        Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand, and are not in any shortage, any where. It's not just the US Marines, or the US Army, or the US, or North America exclusive. For conventional forces that stay behind the wire, don't partner, and have limited maturity, you will find higher levels GENERALLY than others here. I've met some very plugged in Marines to respond to the question about their mentoring.

        Since it seems appropriate for the topic, I'd say mentoring and small force lay down is the SOF forte. Hence, as the Big Army and all its European friends pull out, the SOF (NATO SOF) architecture takes the forefront. Small teams, embedded with Afghans, and building those relationships are where we've ramped up, are today, and will build more in future. This is why I laughed when I read and wrote my original reply, because I literally had just worked out and talked with several Afghans. Heck one even corrected me when I mistakenly said Oakland was in LA (LA Raiders came to mind), which is funny given I am from/live in Souther Cali.

        So to your overarching, I believe, point, "are we learning lessons?" Yes and no. One of the tools I work with is a USMC lessons learned tool which has great information on local, regional, cultural and other background topics, so you understand your Afghan counterpart. Just like an operator, you're only as good as your understanding of your tools and discipline. Some who never goes to the range will usually suck as a shooter. Most NATO people (Turks, Belgians, Italians, US, Brits, etc) are hooked in, engaged, and positive/respectful/professional. On the "No" side, you only occasional run into the idiot, and sometimes receive negative effects of their stupidity (e.g. Florida preacher burns Koran and I can't fly commercial into theater from riots, idiot makes YouTube video and now equally-ignorant Afghans think all US think this way).

        Will this end in failure? I can only say this: If you don't try, you will certainly fail.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          John-Capt in ANG · 6 years ago
          Apologies for the atrocious typos/grammar. I've got people popping into my office often, and/or iPad/Safari spell check often changes what I've typed without realizing it. I wish this blog had a "preview." Albeit, I'm usually really busy so half that time I just say, "eff it, they get the idea."
        • This commment is unpublished.
          John-Capt in ANG · 6 years ago
          I also would like to apologize for the constant OPSEC references. First, it is genuine. I have zero intent to ever allow the enemy to do battle damage assessment, exploit weaknesses or gain understanding of our capabilities from any non-open source information I mention. Second, I hate this part of working for NATO, but nearly 100% of what I write is classified and does not break out (U) vs (S) information. So, I can quickly and easily give direct observations, 2nd hand reports, and verifiable numbers, but when I can't differentiate between what is and isn't releasable, I often don't say anything at all, or paraphrase what can be "Googled," so you can infer the intel supports it and it's likely correct.

          So, why do I mention this? I've reading a "J7" Lessons Learned on this very topic of Green on Blue, but since it's marked classified overall, but no paragraph references, I can't/won't be able to support, defend or even play devils advocate and provide points of view that call my own judgements into question (and then allow you to form your own, informed opinion).

          Since Taliban sends Michael emails, "Hello! Khubus Ti! And, be seeing you soon " (joking).
          Since ISAF J2 has Michael's sites on their list of sites to keep an eye on (at least back in 2010), "Hello! Bon Jour! Please start marking your paragraphs that are unclass. Thanks!"
  • This commment is unpublished.
    leyla · 6 years ago
    God bless this soldier. I pray for his safe return and all other soldiers safe return. Let's bring them home!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jeff · 6 years ago
    A lot of "temporarily tweaked" in the Capt's comment. I read that to mean "until the election".
    • This commment is unpublished.
      John-Capt in ANG · 6 years ago
      If anything, there's absolutely no political play here. It's a war, ran by Generals and governed by the SecDef. Actually, even the SecDef has been pretty much hands off when it comes to tactics. I'm sure the 4* and the SecDef talk often, but in the 14 months I've been here, it's been steady.

      The "Temporary," is because they are concerned but there's no knee jerking going on. There's always armed overwatch, and troops are going to get additional training. It's like everything else, when something pops up, you slow down, figure out what the intel is telling you, and adjust fire. This is nothing new. Actually, if you look at it from a purely statistical point of view, the G on B incidents are down. It's just A) there are more ANA, AUP, ALP, etc so the overall number looks bigger B) media is playing the TB/AQ propaganda game. They'll get distracted by pretty numbers again in no time and you'll get to read about Linsay Lohan drinking and driving again in no time.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MacvTm18 · 6 years ago
    Michael, I would like to publish this letter in (the Discussion) in military.com with your permission. I think everyone that has served in combat or even just served in the military should know what is going on with this administration.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      RVN SF VET · 6 years ago
      [quote name="MacvTm18"]Michael, I would like to publish this letter in (the Discussion) in military.com with your permission. I think everyone that has served in combat or even just served in the military should know what is going on with this administration.[/quote]

      Michael, are you really so gullible that you did not see that this is a partisan political effort. You may have established its authenticity, by as an ex-SF Sergeant, you should know that a soldier cannot know what motivates a 4 star to issue an order, temporary or not. I have always assumed that you are non-partisan, but not blind.

      The war is dumb and should have stopped after Tora Bora. You cannot transplant democracy - certainly not into a barely Medieval land. With resistance from the military hierarchy,we continue to pull out. You want someone to blame for this mess? Blame the previous NCA and the current generals. The President listened to the generals for too long.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      okiquit · 6 years ago
      You're wanna publish a discussion about an anonymous letter from a guy who clearly sees only the situation in his unit/AO? Furthermore he's a guy who is able to "dig extensively" on CNN and do Internet searches? He doesn't sound like a ground pounder to me ... more like a guy behind the Hescoes with an axe to grind.

      I think this letter is an excellent way to start/continue a discussion about the war, but don't see any good to come from wide dissemination.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    George B · 6 years ago
    We have to either let our soldiers fight to win or get them out. Regarding not dropping bombs on the enemy, can we use the non-explosive GPS guided kinetic energy weapons? If so, start Operation Road Runner and make it rain heavy objects.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Victoria · 6 years ago
    Whether this is the overall policy or not our soldiers there obviously feel in danger. I don't believe this war was a waste but this Afghan country is unable to create its own strong government so its time to pull our soldiers out of this God forsaken place. (And don't worry soldier, most of us don't believe anything the MSM says anymore.)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    okiquit · 6 years ago
    There's considerable danger in taking one data point (this letter), assuming it's gospel and extrapolating the writer's point of view to an entire country. We may accept and agree with some of the writer's statements, but does he really speak for ALL men in ALL units in ALL provinces? What have we got left now in Afghanistan? 68,000 pairs of boots on the ground? We obviously can't do everything the same way it was done at the peak of the surge.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Publius Hamilton · 6 years ago
    "We have received orders that clearly state that all CF will no longer be allowed to drop air to ground munitions within the country of Afghanistan." Can anyone verify that the ROE has indeed been changed to ban CAS? If it has, its even worse than the failure to let the USMC protect a Consulate housing our Ambassador in Libya. "the shores of Tripoli" have been removed from the reach of the Corps by Obama and Hillary's State Department and now its claimed that we won't protect the guys in the shit with CAS. Why am I not surprised?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Karen Jouren · 6 years ago
    :-? You know what I wouldn't mind having our troops back home but not probable. Is that the picture of the person that supposedly wrote the letter? The thing that bothers me is he is too young to know what has been going on over there for 11 years unless he has people there that has been there for 11 years.
    However,Hillary decided to not give bullets to those inside the compound in Libya. So if this is what is going on I would not be surprise. It's not like our troops hands haven't been tied before.
    I'm not saying Nae or yea but just cautious.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      RVN SF VET · 6 years ago
      The Marines in Cairo carried loaded weapons. The USMC confirmed that to Congress yesterday. That and the Rules of Engagement are determined by the Ambassador and are enforced by the Embassy Security Officer, a State Department Officer.

      There were no Marines assigned to the embassy in Tripoli, Libya or the mission in Benghazi. That sounds stupid to me, but it's a State Department matter.

      This is all available in the online version of numerous newspapers including some good articles in British papers.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Charles, Bath · 6 years ago
    Michael

    We have heard a lot about how we are bound to lose in Afghanistan.

    Can you give us any idea of how you think we ought to be doing things in Afghanistan? In order to win that is.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      RVN Advisor · 6 years ago
      [quote name="Charles, Bath"]Michael

      We have heard a lot about how we are bound to lose in Afghanistan.

      Can you give us any idea of how you think we ought to be doing things in Afghanistan? In order to win that is.[/quote]

      Define "Win"
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Charles, Bath · 6 years ago
    Northern Ireland was a long, dirty, confusing, messy war of attrition.

    It holds some clues to how we might win in Afghanistan.

    In Northern Ireland the British were never able to totally suppress the IRA. They could only smother it in a thick blanket of observation posts, spies, surveillance, special forces and a huge military and police presence. The British were able to force the war to a stalemate after about 30 years, although it is not fully over even now.

    The British were also never able to improve relations with Catholic enclaves in Northern Ireland. Hearts and minds in places like Londonderry or Crossmaglen were hopeless. Relations probably ended worse than at the beginning of the war.

    But the British were simply not prepared to accept Northern Irish republicans pursuing both the ballot box and the armed struggle. Now, nearly all Irish Replicans have chosen only the ballot box.

    If we really want to win in Afghanistan this is what we may face. A long grinding low level war.

    The question is, does America really want to win any more?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      okiquit · 6 years ago
      There is ZERO comparison b/w Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. Start with the enormous size of Afghanistan compared with Northern Ireland. Add the very short supply lines from Britain to NI and for good measure throw in 400 years of Ireland belonging to the British crown. I could go on and on about how irrelevant NI is to to the situation in Afghanistan.
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        Charles, Bath · 6 years ago
        Rubbish - Northern Ireland is very relevant to Afghanistan. I suspect you don't know much about Northern Ireland.

        Firstly, you have extremely hostile local populations. And those that aren't hostile are being intimidated into helping the insurgents.

        Secondly, it is politically impossible to totally suppress the enemy using military force because of the risk of collateral damage.

        Thirdly, as you should know, the size of the whole of Afghanistan is not relevant as the main fighting is taking place only in a small part of Afghanistan. The river valley around places like Sangin is pretty small.

        I am not sure what to make of your comment about Ireland belonging to the British crown. The Republic of Ireland was long since independent of the UK when the latest troubles began in 1969. So the IRA had a safe haven in the South.
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          RVN SF VET · 6 years ago
          For someone who clearly explains the sutuation in Northern Ireland (NI); you certainly do not understand Afghanistan nor the fundamentals of insurgency. The factions (essentially two) in NI vlearly belong to a nation with schools, police, fire, and medicak services. They have a a regional and national government in place. The people are literate with employment available.

          The nation of the Republic of Ireland does not supply, train, and equip guerrillas to fight in NI. The border between the Republic and NI is not a bunch of mountain passes and the SBS and the SAS have lain in wait along that border and killed or captured infiltrators with increasing efficiency over the years. The British troops speak the same language (almost) as the population. There is really only one government and one Army in NI. The intelligence work to include assassination has been extensive and effective. Many in the IRA lived in fear of informers inside their organixation. The local population has not been the source of the military troops; rather they come from the parent government and they do not have to do nation building in any way except to keep the piece and kill the IRA. The IRA executed some significant ambushes, by rarely showed-up in any one place in great numbers. A great deal of the conflict was in urban areas. Helicopter-borne raids to kill or capture individuals in rural areas is one si,ilarity. Otherwise, there are no parallels.

          The presence of a strong government with its own army and judiciary is enough of a major distinction. Add to that the IRA hid in largely Catholic areas and could not train openly in the Reoublic of Irekand and you have enough to tip the scales in Britain's favor. The military wing of the IRA were dealt with as terrorists and not as a guerrilla army. BTW, no airstrikes or artillery were required in NI.
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            Charles, Bath · 6 years ago
            You are missing my point.

            I never said that Northern Ireland and Afghanistan were the same.

            All I said was that Northern Ireland may provide clues on to how to 'win' in Afghanistan. That's all.

            So, again, how did the British 'win' in Northern Ireland?

            They first accepted that a clean 100% end to IRA violence / IRA surrender was never going to happen and it hasn't.

            They also accepted that in places like Crossmaglen, British troops or police would never be safe or welcomed.

            Thirdly they committed to a war of attrition - slowly suffocating over 30 years the IRA insurgency with spies, surveillance, special forces and lots of police and army.

            Winning has been defined as forcing the bulk of the IRA to commit to the political process rather than both politics and the gun. This has been achieved.

            Don't you think I realise many of the differences that you mention???
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              RVN SF VET · 6 years ago
              No matter how articulate you are, you cannot see the crippling differences that make you reasonable suggestions impossible. You even asked Michael how to win. We are not going to stay for 30 years! The existence of a national government that provides services is both fundamental and absent in Afghanistan. NI did not have 3rd parties helping the insurgents (misguided American funding and an abortive communist attempt not withstanding)like Pakistan and Iran. There was no Al Qaeda.

              Although we should have stopped after Tora Bora, the years following were wasted by sending untrained troops into a hopeless situation. If this were a business, we would look at what we have done in Afghanistan as "sunk costs." Read and respect what some who have been there are saying here. Even with language and cultural training, the structural problems still exist - a lousy government and a porous border with Pakistan.

              Since you are smart; why not read the new book "Little America." That would help anyone understand how we have NEVER understood Afghanistan and have never succeeded in nation-building.
              You see, you leave the necessity for nation-building out of your NI analysis. NI did not require nation-building! We do the killing part very well; but that does not win this kind of "war."

              We made two strategic mistakes: remaining in Afghanistan and going into Iraq. Some idiots thought that the mission was the same in both countries - transplant democracy. This nation's politicians made the strategic mistake of picking the wrong places to fight wars. This insanity began with Vietnam. South Vietnam presented the exact same obstacles that Afghanistan does; except the Vietnamese were literate, revered education, and had rich land which they farmed. Still, a lousty government, a porous border, and an external hostile nation made success impossible there too. The biggest difference is that we wasted 60,000 lives there. We almost lost that many killed in the Battle of the Bulge, but those lives were not wasted - they preserved our way of life.
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                Charles, Bath · 6 years ago
                America (and us British) will pay a terrible price some day for being seen to lose in Afghanistan. Never forget that 9/11 was inspired in part by perceived American retreats in Lebanon and Somalia.

                American can 'win'. But it might take 30 years. The West has been there 11 years already. There's no law that says we couldn't stay another 20 if necessary.

                I remember hearing about Giap being asked about whether North Vietnam would win. He banged his fist on the table and loudly stated 'We WILL win'. Total commitment and determination. America certainly used to have that determination.

                And you ask me to respect the views of those that have been there - that is exactly why I asked Michael for his views on how we could win.

                And I did not say that 'winning' has to include nation building. Winning might only involve, say, grinding the insurgency down to 10% of its current level. Or winning might simply involve staying until radical Islam is no longer a major threat in the world. In the 1980s it seemed unthinkable that the IRA would abandon the armed struggle. There seemed to be an endless supply of young IRA recruits, weapons, hate and anger. But give it up they (largely) did.

                I think that Northern Ireland was just as difficult as Afghanistan in its own way. Yes, it was far more developed. But with that came lawyers, TV crews and American politicians. British troops were very restricted in what they could do. The IRA was almost certainly the best insurgent group in the last 100 years, apart from the Viet Cong.

                By the way, the American involvement in Vietnam remains one of the noblest, bravest and correct things that America ever did. It was entirely right to try to prevent the North Vietnamese invading the South, which the people of the South most certainly did not want.
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    Charles, Bath · 6 years ago
    Patton: "That's why America will never lose a war, because the very idea of losing is hateful to Americans."

    Is that still true? Doesn't look like it.
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    IVCorpRiverRat · 6 years ago
    By his callous disregard for the murders of the ambassador to Libya, his senior staffer and two former SEALs, I am not surprised that these order came from the White House. We had so-called 'free fire zones' in RVN as well as those so-called 'truces' where we would not fire unless fired upon. Fortunately, I served under three patrol officers who, in his AARs alwsys made sure that the words "returned fire" was always in those reports when we saw blatant movement!
    Stay safe warriors and TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!
    Another letter to my congressman is forthcoming...the two senatoresses in this state are anti-military and obama fans and could care less!
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    Calvin H. · 6 years ago
    Why are we fighting the Taliban? Did they cause 9-11? :cry:

    Everytime we kill an Al-Qaeda member it's in Pakistan.

    Bring the troops home! :lol:
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    Skierski, Mike · 6 years ago
    I'm former military embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan and I made a post about this situation a couple months back on a BBS. Its good to see the troops speaking up and their words getting more visibility as I cannot without fear of retribution.
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      Skierski, Mike · 6 years ago
      Something else I'd like to go ahead and add... the media keeps reporting the end of 2014 as the magic date for troop withdrawal. That's no longer correct... Obama made a visit here back in May and signed an agreement with Karzi committing U.S. support for both air and ground operations until 2024. The Air Force with be providing the air support and Special Forces will be providing the ground support. So who do you think will be supporting them? 'Combat' troops may not be on the front lines but someone should start reporting on what our foot print will look like between the years 2014 and 2024.
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    Gerri · 6 years ago
    What a load of Tea Party bigoted lies! After Obama killed Osama and that Texass rodeo clown did NOTHING to hunt down our greatest foe???? What hatefilled garbage! Obama's diplomacy and military strategy is closing the book on a spite filled adventure that we brought upon ourselves. A better nation would be more greatful. God bless Obama and Godspeed his re-election!
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      Hercdriver · 6 years ago
      You really have a rage problem there. Maybe some anger management therapy is in your future...
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      pac · 6 years ago
      You're an idiot Gerri. The operation to "get" OBL was initiated by Bush. First of al Obama didn't kill OBL. Navy SEALS did on an operation initiated by Bush when the Rangers dropped into Afghanistan. Obama's diplomacy has gotten an ambassador killed and insured the takeover of the ME by the Muslim Brotherhood. His diplomacy has encouraged rioting on the streets and further intransigency of Iran. Unfortunately obama will likely win the election because there are idiots like you all too ready to vote for someone who would see this nation reduced to a fascist haven run by the UN. You're sickening.

      [quote name="Gerri"]What a load of Tea Party bigoted lies! After Obama killed Osama and that Texass rodeo clown did NOTHING to hunt down our greatest foe???? What hatefilled garbage! Obama's diplomacy and military strategy is closing the book on a spite filled adventure that we brought upon ourselves. A better nation would be more greatful. God bless Obama and Godspeed his re-election![/quote]
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        okiquit · 6 years ago
        [quote name="pac"]The operation to "get" OBL was initiated by Bush.[/quote]

        July 4, 2006
        C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden
        http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/04/washington/04intel.html
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    Heath · 6 years ago
    Google Obama Afghanistan 2024

    Time to get Hilary Clinton & Hussien Obama out of office this November. :-x
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    Heath · 6 years ago
    On one hand, we should help the people of Afghanistan be free from evil men & we need to be free to help the Afghanis with the strongest capabilities. I don't think it is right when people say " Get out of Afghanistan " there are honest hard working Afghani soldiers and policemen fighting evil men and they need help. Sept. 11th happened for a good reason. Until the U.S. politicians & U.S. Military and the American people are on the same page as these honest hard working Afghani soldiers & policemen. I think this should open the eyes of U.S. politicians how their policies affect allied countries and U.S. Troops fighting islamic terrorism.
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      RVN SF VET · 6 years ago
      Please furnish a list of same to General Allen at ISAF immediately. We have been waiting for this list.
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    Brad · 6 years ago
    A friend of mine posted this article on facebook and this is my reply:

    I find this letter suspect. First, the writer states that there isn't enough media attention then he later blames the media for "casually saying that this is a frequent occurrence" and "is an attempt to downplay the major ramifications for these decisions (to stop training the Afghans due to Blue on Green incidents)." I say that is hogwash! The incidents started skyrocketing last year while I was there and our unit's mission was advising Afghan training at the Kabul Military Training Center. And these incidents have continued to climb through this year, surpassing last year's number of incidents already. Either this guy has no clue of the facts, is intentionally lying about the facts or it's a made-up piece of propaganda (hence the parts where the writer says, "because of politically driven orders" and "of course this will be a terrible inconvenience on the current elections").

    On another note, when President Obama announced his "surge" speech at West Point in late 2009, I was waiting to hear that we were going to be more involved on the ground in Pakistan, namely Waziristan. But of course that wasn't the case. If we're not going to fully commit against the enemy in Pakistan, then nothing we do now and since that speech will make a difference for the withdrawal in 2014. I also understand how precarious doing such actions in Pakistan is surely to be, but Afghan figures have no interest in peace. They are only interested in who is the highest bidder.
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      RVN SF VET · 6 years ago
      Agreed, Brad. I cannot understand why Michael did not see through this as I have always regarded him as non-partisan. Maybe he read it in Norwegian?

      Overt ground operations in Pakistan were never going to happen. It is my impression that there have been a very few such operations involving special units. In regard to Pakistan, we need to unass the area yesterday. Screw how it looks.
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    Kathy Ulrich · 6 years ago
    I don't know if the situation in Afghanistan is as the letter states or not. But I do question how legitimate the letter is. When I communicate with my son who is with the Army in South Korea, he is very cautious about policies or maneuvers. I find the same in talking with a friend in Afghanistan. It just seemed surprising that the censors allowed this letter to be mailed as is. Maybe there are no censors in Afghanistan? I don't know. Also, I have noticed that posts such as mine, questioning the validity of this letter, are given negative ratings. I honestly don't understand that, so I hope someone can explain it. Thanks!
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    RVN SF VET · 6 years ago
    Pacman, you are very silly. President began the hunt for UBL and that began 10 years of work by thye CIA in and the intel community. Under President Bush, Delta was dispatched to get UBL and they pursued him and almost killed him at Tora Bora. After that, it was an intel pursuit and maybe a few near misses.

    President Obama continued what President Bush began. Which is why Obama invited Bush to join him for the announcement of the successful operation by Navy SEALs. President Bush decline as he had decided to remain out of the spotlight as he has for the past 4 years.

    President Obama's announcement is on YouTube. He recounts the events leading to killing UBL. He gives credit where credit is due. You won't see that, but he is outlining to an ignorant public what normally takes place in the steps leading to such an operation,
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    Bernie · 6 years ago
    In the long run, when fighting a war, it is better to be feared then loved
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    Jason A · 6 years ago
    Regardless of what happens, this war like the Iraq war has been a waste of good men and women, not to mention treasure. During my time in Iraq we didn't fight for the flag, apple pie or the bill of rights. We fought for each other because the rest were lies.
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    judyavelsor · 6 years ago
    Bring our soldiers home . No, ifs ands or buts.Hooah
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    SHEILA SIMMONS · 6 years ago
    ... Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances. ... What I am opposed to is a dumb war. ... That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. ... Barack Obama, January 20, 2009
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      Brad · 6 years ago
      excuse me while I vomit due to your obama-worship. We are Soldiers, we execute our orders despite politics. all we ask is that when our nation asks us to put our lives on the line we be allowed to fight, win, and come home... Obama has taken the middle road on Afghanistan because he can't pull us out because that would make him look weak and hurt his reelecction, and he can't fight to win because that make his base upset. He is the ultimate Politician.

      You want to know why military people hate politicians? It is because we think very simply. Most believe there is right and wrong, people say what they mean and mean what they say, people do what what they say they are going to do. we are outcomes focused/results oriented and we don't care about people's feelings to the detriment of the mission... because I'd rather hurt a whole lot of feelings if that = less dead Soldiers.

      Give us the tools and show us the will to fight to win... or send us home. Everything else is just noise from dudes trying to get elected.
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        RVN SF VET · 6 years ago
        You are excused. You are not simple, but are you thinking in depth? Define win. I don't use the word win for FID. I make the goal "success." You should appreciate that success is impossible. To succeed, we would have to be able to leave behind a competent government providing services to its people. To succeed, the people living within the borders of the place we call Afghanistan would have to recognize it as there country instead of just a location. They do not. We would have to leave behind a reliable Army and National Police who serve the people. They do and will not. Finally, to succeed, we would have to seal the border with Pakistan and they would have to stop sponsoring elements of the Taliban with refuge, training, and supplies. We cannot.

        This was a strategic mistake just like Vietnam and Iraq. Please look just at the timeline for Vietnam and you will see a mirror image of what has and will take place in Afghanistan. We should have left Afghanistan after Tora Bora with the Northern Alliance holding Kabul and one end of the country. Let the Pashtuns be Pashtuns and if terrorists come back in that area, we will kill them. The Taliban will/have come back and I do not care. What we have achieved will be gone in years except for the Northern Alliance which we should continue to support.

        Therefore, getting out ASAP is the right thing to do. If you want to blame someone for staing too long, just look to the 4 stars. They are the ones who have led 2 Presidents around by the nose until the confrontation over the surge. You have to ask yourself why the top echelons of the military have wanted to remain in Afghanistan wasting lives and billions of dollars. Only part of the reason is because they are ignorant.
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          Brad in A-stan · 6 years ago
          [quote name="RVN SF VET"]Define win... You should appreciate that success is impossible.[/quote]

          1. By Win, I would mean a government that rejects the Taliban and a Taliban that cannot return to power (ie no safe haven for terroist training). I could give a crap about bringing democracy and western values to these people. There is not one mm of daylight between the ideology of the Taliban and AlQaida and therefor the Taliban must be destroyed.

          2. Unfortunately I will have to agree with you. To do so, we would have to prove to the people we are here to stay and prove we can improve their lives. We would also have to start at least some operations in Pakistan and do something really drastic to stop both Iran and Pakistan (esp the ISI) from supporting the Taliban. We could do it... though it may be painful. Which is why we choose not to... kinda like how we can't balance our budget (it's the spending stupid). I just have a sinking feeling that we will be back here before my lifetime ends...
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          Brad in A-stan · 6 years ago
          this goes to my original point: Fight to Win... or don't fight. If we cannot win/succeed, Why am I here? When Gen Petraeus was here, we were fighting to win. He was removed, in my opinion, because he was an obstacle to withdrawl. How could Obama have started this stupid method of draw-down (ie blanket ever reducing "Force Cap" rather than withdrawing whole units as we transition) when you know that it would have leaked out that Petraeus did not think that those troop levels were conducive to mission completion? I can't even tell you how many problems our "Force-Cap" is causing.

          Fight to Win or LEAVE NOW... everyone, everything, every dime of American money!

          Obama (as all politicians usually do) wants it both ways (all good of both sides, none of the bad or, as a friend of mine used to say "He wants only the front end of the puppy"). Unfortunately for those of us here on the ground, we don't get that luxury.
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            RVN SF VET · 6 years ago
            Come on Brad, any President turns to his military leadership and says execute the agreed upon drawdown. It is the military which decides how that drawdown is performed. My God, do you think Bush or Obama know what a "Force Cap" is? I am personnally upset that aany of our troops are there on the ground. I am tired of jerks like Romney talking about winning and increasing troop levels. His genius Republican predecessors were the folks he should have talked to. They are the ones who stripped Afghanistan of the resources we needed to catch UBL at Tora Bora. Key assets were withdrawn prior to Tora Bora and it wasn't for Iraq! They were just incredibly dumb. SOF was running that war on the ground with the CIA. Bush and company should have given them whatever they asked for. Where was Romney to tell Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld not to drawdown. You keep your head down and watch each other's 6 till we get you home. Kill the Taliban and watch our "friends" 24/7. Oh, and don't touch their fuckin left hands. I want the folks on this blog who are gung ho to win to go to Afghanistan and hold the Afghans left hands as they walk into the sunset together. You go and win, baby! And take Romney and his 5 sons with you.
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              Brad · 6 years ago
              FYI: This Brad is a different Brad from the original Brad post, "I disagree with this 'letter.'"

              What I disagree with on Brad's comments is the assumption that Obama is undercutting the mission for political gain. If it was all about re-election for the President, we would have left already. Nearly 60% of Americans were ready for immediate withdrawal and disapproved of furthering the war in Afghanistan at the time that Obama announced the Afghanistan surge at West Point. By April of this year, disapproval on Afghanistan and support for withdrawal was up to 80%. Obama has not been politically expedient on this issue. Don't let your hate get in the way of facts, Brad in A-stan.
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            Brad · 6 years ago
            "He was removed, in my opinion, because he was an obstacle to withdrawl."

            I don't mind differences of opinions, I just mind stupid opinions --- General Petraeus is now the director of the CIA. Do you think for a second that the CIA is not part of the strategic involvement in Afghanistan? If Petraeus was removed for political reasons, then what's the conspiracy-theory dujour on how he was appointed by the same President to be the CIA Director?
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              John-Capt in ANG · 6 years ago
              Having been here years, attended the AoC for Petraeus, and now under Gen Allen, I am not following. Petraeus was brought in because McCrystal was losing focus (e.g. Rolling Stone interview in a Paris club while his staff drinker), and COIN needed tweaking (no, NOT a political reference). This is exactly what he did. His time was up, and as appropriately mentioned, he's in charge of the CIA. If you think the CIA isn't DEEP in Afghan, you're not paying attention, or not here.
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              Brad in A-stan · 6 years ago
              Sorry, I will keep my stupid opinions to myself after this:

              Making him director of the CIA basically sidelined Petraeus for anything that would have been threatening politically. He promoted him to a position where he could not challenge him at all. No politicians asking him in public sessions of congress what his position is, no retirement where he can run for political office.

              Petraeus was probably the one person who could have made a difference here... but I question if it would have been enough... because as Mr. Yon has said, fixing this place would have be a decades (pleural) long process.
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            John-Capt in ANG · 6 years ago
            [quote name="Brad in A-stan"]this goes to my original point: Fight to Win... or don't fight. If we cannot win/succeed, Why am I here? When Gen Petraeus was here, we were fighting to win. He was removed, in my opinion, because he was an obstacle to withdrawl. How could Obama have started this stupid method of draw-down (ie blanket ever reducing "Force Cap" rather than withdrawing whole units as we transition) when you know that it would have leaked out that Petraeus did not think that those troop levels were conducive to mission completion? I can't even tell you how many problems our "Force-Cap" is causing.

            Fight to Win or LEAVE NOW... everyone, everything, every dime of American money!

            Obama (as all politicians usually do) wants it both ways (all good of both sides, none of the bad or, as a friend of mine used to say "He wants only the front end of the puppy"). Unfortunately for those of us here on the ground, we don't get that luxury.[/quote]
            Brad in A-stan, I'm here with you. I've been here since Jan of 10, with a short break in 11. Help me out. What's your current spot? Not specific, but are you at a FOB, J3, etc? I can give some high-level and low-level perspectives that might help. I've shaken Petraeus' hand (as ISAF 4*), and worked with QRFs at FOBs, so I've got perspectives that not everyone gets.

            If you want some insight, read Bath Charles (above). I think he's got some good points. This war needs to transition. Conventional forces have done their job. The Taliban is no longer in power. It's now time for Afghans to self-govern. We can't force it but we can guide it. LEO is training their LEO. SOF is training their SOF. Governors are training their governors. As Charles rightly pointed out, the hot spots are very concentrated. I won't go into detail via unsecure means, but you're seeing the TB __HAS__ to change tactics and is. If you don't understand, look at the stats. How many ISAF are injured for every IED, versus, how many locals are killed? I can't quote them, but if you look, you'll see what I'm saying. So, you enable them with the tools required, and like good leaders, you get out of the way. Afghans need to police, enforce, govern, and patrol Afghans.
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              Brad in A-stan · 6 years ago
              [quote name="John-Capt in ANG"]
              ... What's your current spot? Not specific?...
              Afghans need to police, enforce, govern, and patrol Afghans.[/quote]

              1. FOB and I travel.

              2. which will fail... because centralized government has failed here every time it has been tried. People have owned it (Alexander the Great, Gengis Kahn, British) until they tried to actually settle down and govern it. They have zero sense of nationalism and no real respect for a central government.

              I'm just fed up with this whole situation. We are damned if we do, damned if we don't. I am afraid that Taliban will regain power here and all we have fought for will be lost... but I also don't feel like we are accomplishing anything by being here. I am frustrated on so many levels. I have so many examples of why I think this is all bullcrap... but I'm not going to say them on here because I forget what I read where and I'm not sure the source/classificaiton of things I have been told in conversations.

              I hate to lose, but I don't really feel like we lost, but just that we kinda stumbled our way to where we are now... looked ahead and said "Wow, that looks hard. I'll pass".
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      pc25 · 6 years ago
      Shelia,
      did you forget? This is Obama's war, the good war, the just war, the moral war.
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    Charles, Bath, UK · 6 years ago
    As a British person I have seen at first hand the very sad decline of Britain. Let me tell you it has been painful.

    I think that somewhere between 1914 and 1975 the spirit of the British people was broken. They accepted decline and even began to believe that it was inevitable.

    When I see many of the comments here I see the same thing happening to the American people. The assumption that victory is impossible. The lack of real determination to win. The lack of thought.

    When I contrast these comments with the spirit and determination contained in a speech like the one given by Washington "these are the times that try mens souls", I feel afraid for America.

    Half of the success of America is confidence and determination. When that goes, America really will be on the downward slope.
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      Heath · 6 years ago
      [quote name="Charles, Bath, UK"]As a British person I have seen at first hand the very sad decline of Britain. Let me tell you it has been painful.

      I think that somewhere between 1914 and 1975 the spirit of the British people was broken. They accepted decline and even began to believe that it was inevitable.

      When I see many of the comments here I see the same thing happening to the American people. The assumption that victory is impossible. The lack of real determination to win. The lack of thought.

      When I contrast these comments with the spirit and determination contained in a speech like the one given by Washington "these are the times that try mens souls", I feel afraid for America.

      Half of the success of America is confidence and determination. When that goes, America really will be on the downward slope.[/quote]

      Charles you are 100% spot on. Let's hope there is a revival for America & Britain.
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    FreedomFyter · 6 years ago
    Perhaps you are all insane?

    There is no win/lose in war, everyone loses. The only path to victory is love and respect for each and every human being.

    ONE LOVE
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      Brad in A-stan · 6 years ago
      [quote name="FreedomFyter"]Perhaps you are all insane?

      There is no win/lose in war, everyone loses. The only path to victory is love and respect for each and every human being.

      ONE LOVE[/quote]

      We should drop you off in the middle of A-stan for a little treking. Let me know how that "love and respect" works out for you...

      You live in the world we HAVE... not the world you WANT. In this world, it is better to be feared/respected than loved, the only way to not get in a fight is to be the biggest and baddest guy on the block, and people like you depend on people like me... so you can say stupid stuff like that.
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    Steve Bridgers · 6 years ago
    1. If 'The Politicians' and leaders are mucking up the mission, CHANGE them. Throw the bums out!

    2. If we give up on Afghanistan, the Terrorists WIN, re-establish their 'Training Camps' and Logistical Base, and the 'next round of bombings' will be more sophisticated and much worse than 911! After thousands of years, do you think your enemy is going to give up bombing us at home if we cut and run? Think again.

    3. The issue is politically - motivated hand-wringing and gutlessness in leadership - at home and in the field. When our ARMED FORCES are committed, it's an indication that 'Soft Approaches' aren't enough. WE CAN 'walk and chew gum' at the same time: We can Walk Our Posts in a MILITARY manner, and still hand-out chewing gum , hersey bars, and show the WORLD we are a 'Ready FORCE for Peace' - NO one does a better job, under fire, building schools, roads, hospitals or setting up local Police or trains them BETTER than U.S. Army Engineers, NAVY SEA BEES, Air Force 'Rapid Deployment' /MASH units, The U.S. Special Forces or the United States MARINES.

    4. Korea, that other 'forgotten war', was also [and in many ways still is ...] a BRUTAL conflict. Brrrrr. Soldiers froze to death, Thousands of 'Chinese Regulars' stormed into the conflicy - Mac Arthur threatened to nuke 'em - and the conflict is still ongoing with North Korea at the North's insistence - and yet WE prevailed, and no ally is more dedicated to America than South Korea. We have tens of thousands of soldiers still on post there, but South Korea is one of our greatest trading partners, and certainly one of our most loyal and strongest allies in the WORLD. Ask a MARINE.
    5. What IS missing - and leads to this 'Soldiers Complaint' - is long range vision - othertwise known as 'Committment'. We have been committed in Afghanistan since 911 - we don't need to cut and run - and we shouldn't. What we SHOULD do is STAND BEHIND our friends, throughout the world, AND our lads and lasses who made THE committment when they put their hands up and Volunteered to do the work of BUILDING a safe and SECURE 'Post', in a 'military manner', as set forth in the General )rders of a Sentry since forever and ago - and make damned sure our POLITICIANS and POLITICS at home reflects our NATIONAL WILL - to preserve and protect our freedoms, and those of the tyrannized, at home - and ABROAD - with whatever it takes. Anything less is perilous for free peoples everywhere. If you need an example of what this kind of success is - what can come good of a 'forgotten, hellish war', ask a Marine - a KOREAN 'Marine'. Toughen up, America. Vote for Romney. Call Congress. Don't cut and run like the Russians OR any other 'Red Coats'. Buck up. Back our troops, and our friends . Vanquish the enemy with whatever it takes - because if WE don't, 'THEY' will see us dead in our own homes and here in our cities. Fool me once - ?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Brad · 6 years ago
      You have no idea how badly corrupt the Afghan government AND military are. You can't effect change of that scale.

      My unit advised an Afghan Army training unit, training new recruits. Their commander mocked my battalion commander and told him that his job was to get them whatever they wanted.

      You can't work with these people!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    IAMPCBOB · 6 years ago
    "Why impose peace on folks that's aggravated?" Dave Gardner

    These are exactly the people he was referring to, way back in the 60's. By the same token, you can't impose democracy on folks that's aggravated. Soemtimes it might be best if we just minded our own business. Just sayin...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brad in A-stan · 6 years ago
    I wasn't aware there was a specified time limit on Petreaus being in charge. from what I recall it was very short compared to other commanders... but I have been either OCONUS or pre-deployment training for the past years.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    David Kaelin · 6 years ago
    I was a mentor for the Afghan Army and the Afghan Police. Spent five years in this mission.

    There were many times wherein we were locked down on base for a week or more at a time. My last mission ended April 2012.

    The Afghans made fun of us for our political cowardice. It was amazing that we were held back from doing our mission even when we knew the dangers weren't as great on the ground in our specific area.

    The military command seems to want to treat all areas as the same. The dangers are different in each area. A bomb goes off in Kabul. That does not mean that a bomb is going to go off on every corner of the country. The command was and apparently still is paranoid.

    Couple that with the political cowardice of Obama and you have a climate in Afghanistan that spells the end of progress. Not that there was any hope for progress from the beginning.

    Our political and military leaders have lost in Afghanistan from the beginning.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Cathy · 6 years ago
    I just want it over so husband's father's and son's all our family's can get home safe. Seem's like a lot of know it all but know nothing. If you think it's so dumb then why not put your money were you mouth is. David K are you there right now NO your not. I want it to end to but if any is going to talk about it better right in the middle of it with the rest of our guys. Going there and coming back cowered guys are there with real bad wound's and not going home. What did you do
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jay · 6 years ago
    I am currently based in Kandahar Province as well. I totally and whole heartedly agree with everything written and must say that this is the absolute truth. For the longest time, we were not allowed to partner with the ANSF. There is one problem with that. I am an advisor to an ANSF unit, so we are basically being told that we can't do our jobs AT ALL. And its only second handedly coming from Karzai. It is 1005 coming from our own Generals and Politicians. As soon as we received the FRAGO limiting movement, as the Ops Guy for my team, I gelt inclined to state that we must remember that this is an election year and the President and Congress will have no one dying while the candidates are campaigning.
  • This commment is unpublished.
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  • This commment is unpublished.
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  • This commment is unpublished.
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