Michael's Dispatches

Our Must-Win War

20 March 2009

By now, President Barack Obama must be acutely aware of the spiraling AfPak situation.  Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman have penned a very smart piece about the tough road ahead.  There is a subtly to this piece insofar is it might indicate the Obama Administration is quietly bucking what is likely a very expensive and exhausting plan from the Pentagon.  Active duty Generals cannot make such public declarations as seen coming from Senators McCain and Lieberman, but military leadership can get its message out in other ways.

At least part of the problem is obvious: we have half-stepped on AfPak for more than half-a-decade.  At the current rate, we likely will see endless war until we wash our hands and come home.  Anything short of severe effort is likely destined to fail.  Therefore, this writer will be watching closely, and if President Obama is ready to take the hard decisions that will be required to win, then I am one man who will support him from the ground in Afghanistan.  But if it looks like he is blinking at this moment of truth, or not heeding the advice of his Generals, this writer would sadly recommend that we cut losses and abandon Afghanistan.  This is it.  The first moment of truth and war for President Obama.  The stakes are high.

Our Must-Win War

The 'Minimalist' Path Is Wrong for Afghanistan

By John McCain and Joseph Lieberman
Thursday, March 19, 2009; Page A15


Later this month, the Obama administration will unveil a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan. This comes as most important indicators in Afghanistan are pointing in the wrong direction. President Obama's decision last month to deploy an additional 17,000 U.S. troops was an important step in the right direction, but a comprehensive overhaul of our war plan is needed, and quickly.



 

Comments   

 
# Tim Sumner 2009-03-20 13:16
Ralph Peters says we need to take a lesson from the British getting pushed out of Afghanistan before: every now and then, in Afghanistan, we need to, "Kill the guilty and then leave."

I'm not sold, one way or the other, on what America should do in the region. Nor am I an armchair quarterback trying to call plays without my butt on that bloody field to take the hits (while guys like Michael Yon risk all to inform us).

For what it is worth, here is, in brief, how I feel. That part of America that seems to care has paid with blood for whatever ground and progress weƒ??ve made there, and leaving would return a sanctuary to al Qaedaƒ??s and Talibanƒ??s butchers. Leaving them alone the last time cost America dearly.

The leaves me asking myself two questions. If not in Afghanistan now, then where and when should we fight and defeat those enemies? Does it make sense to just say that weƒ??ve punished them enough for now, withdraw, and plan to go back to kill more later, after they come and kill more of us?

The answer I keep coming up with is we should be all in to win there.

But we should get the hell out, now, if all Obama wants to do is waste precious American lives to gain a better negotiating position. Negotiating accurately signals to the enemy that they winning.
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# John Williams 2009-03-20 15:41
If the USSR did not have the political will to win in Afghanistan. Why anyone believe That The USA under President Obama's leadership could muster the will.
Either win quick or don't fight it at all. Our political will is less than one year.
Obama will withdraw and blame Bush for a failed s"Stratagery.
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# Darrell Mitchell 2009-03-20 16:44
I believe that character is a key ingredient to successfully shepard the kind of positive outcome in Afghanistan that we seek. What we have seen from this People magazine type President is an opportunist with either the poorest judgemental skills, as evidenced by his Cabiinet choices that have gone down in flames, or he is the front man for a cabal that is driven by an agenda that has nothing to do with advancing America's interests. I submit that when a character based decision is required, he will fold like Omar the tent maker. This would be tough to take on it's own, however my son will be doing his third tour in Afghanistan this summer and the thought of his life being jeopardized even more by these sophmoric politicos is nearly unbearable
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# NRHI 2009-03-20 18:24
In my opinion He (the "great one") won't even blink - he is a pascifist and has a soft spot for (fellow?) Muslims. He may twitter there a bit, waste our young men and women and valuable military resources (ala Pres. Johnson in Viet Nam), will discourage us from defending ourselves in "wars we cannot win", but won't make the commitment to win. It might be the plan to waste there, to change public opinion against a strong military. Moreover, he has given rhetoric that he will gut the military (ala Pres. Carter) and leave us at the mercy of terrorists as he builds a "civilian corps" (ala SS?) to control the domestic population. I pray we have another free election, although Acorn and the like will get billions of taxpayer dollars to assure every socialist, other liberals, aliens, those on the dole, and communist gets out to vote. Pres. Reagan warned us what would happen when the masses learn they can vote themselves endless feeding at the public troughs.
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# Stevend 2009-03-20 20:09
If we leave or take a minimalist approach, we are essentially abandoning those who risked everything to achieve a self-governing ideal. These folks are our allies!

I know it happened in Vietnam; I know it happened to Poland in WWII; I know it almost happened in Iraq; and I know it's happened many other times in history, but I can't imagine America abondoning our allies.
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# Howard E. Morseburg 2009-03-20 20:36
Remember that just a few years ago there were 3 million Afghans living high in the mountains, suffering, on the Pakistan side of the border, costing the UN millions a month.
Those 3 million returned to Kabul and home freely, voluntarily, when the UN drove the terrorists and communists oot of Kabul, THE LARGEST VOLUNTARY REPATRIATION IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

THINK, 3 MILLION REFUGEES NO LONGER COLD AND STARVING UP THERE ON THE BORDER. It was a testimony in their faith in the UN and the US. They voted for us with their feet, by returning home.

They want us to win! They want freedom. They want security. They want al Queda men dead. 3 million people do not return unless they have confidence that you will SAVE them. At no other time in history did this happen.

Pres. Obama needs to support the people of Afghanistan otherwise other countriies in the region will lose faith in America, and the UN. Tough as it is, we must stay and finish the job. We took it on; we must see it through.
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# Seven degrees 2009-03-20 20:45
This is now Obama's War. He called it the 'right war' in contrast to Iraq. He claimed he would seek and find Bin Laden. It is his war to win or lose.

And if he loses and betrays our soldiers and those Afghans who stuck out their necks (literally), he should be impeached.
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# woodNfish 2009-03-20 21:12
We should withdraw from Afghanistan. There is nothing there that we need and they are not worth a single American life. Obama is not a leader, he is an imbecile. He proves it more and more everyday. He had no qualifications to be President and it shows.
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# Bob Murphy 2009-03-20 22:14
It would be plain stupid for us to leave Afghanistan and leave it out of control again. Look what happened last time.
But before we escalate we have to secure supply lines.
I am not yet aware of any secure supply lines to Afghanistan.
That is priority number 1.
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# Sheryll Sanderson 2009-03-20 23:57
I'm sorry to say I do not trust the fate of our beloved Country or the lives of our soldiers/Marine s to the man we must call President. I realize the severity of the AfPak situation and know that it is something that must be faced. I just pray that the Commander in Chief, and I use that term lightly, will listen to his more experienced advisors and generals.
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# Tim Roesch 2009-03-21 12:29
As former military, the uncle of an Afghan bound nephew, I feel I have very little say for or against Afghanistan. I no longer trust the media to make any sense of any issue more complex than the exact length of Jessica Simpson's cut off shorts. Even then I think they use the new math.
What I do know, from personal experience, is that Mike may be doing his reports from the Hills of Kentucky or the deserts of Ca, or the fens of Boston.

I think it's goint to be a long, hot summer, people.
Will be have time to sweep someone else's porch when ours is about to become very dirty?
Pray for the innocent while you can.
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# Thomas Semesky 2009-03-21 13:47
Rather than taking on our nations problems and "his" involment in them (example: Obama's AIG campaign bonus), Obama the Celebrity is too busy appearing on television like THE TONIGHT SHOW and insulting the Special Olympics. We need a leader, not someone who panders to his pop culture followers that elected him.
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# DagneyT 2009-03-21 20:49
It should be interesting to see the new administration will listen to the generals, or to their anti-war base. It's a scary time, Michael. Watch your back. As the Chinese & Russian governments build UP their military, BO is scaling down ours. So far, the only cuts are in the military budget, but ACORN is getting billions of our tax dollars.

Scary indeed.
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# Ryan S 2009-03-22 11:40
I have plenty of respect for Michael and what he's done, but even he's talking about quitting? We (NATO, not even the U.S.) lose 300 guys in one year and suddenly it's time to seriously contemplate humiliating ourselves and letting the Taliban back into Afghanistan for the old status quo? You have got to be kidding me.
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# Max L Perry 2009-03-22 17:48
Thanks Michael for pointing out political directions in the U.S. we can get nowhere in the msm, we rely on you for what is occuring in our current White House Administration.
I have a 1st Lt. Marine son in Okinawa, who is training 90+ marines to embed Af. in May, so my interest is heightened significantly, my son and his marines are dependending on a Commander in Chief who will do everything to help them succeed.
Keep us informed Michael.

Thanks,

M.L.Perry, Bellingham, WA
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# Mary W 2009-03-22 23:32
If we are not going to fight to win, then we are just letting our entire military be slowly weakened and picked off. That would be the global jihadist goal and it is interesting to see who is supporting and/or standing by and letting that happen.

Global jihadists set up their Muslim kingdoms in oil/diamond/etc . rich countries in Africa, wiping out the native/Christia n peoples in their way while we do nothing, while our military is slowly dying in the Vietnam of the Middle East. Our soldiers even "patrol" past the poppy fields (in effect protecting them), even as the drug profits support the jihadists who kill them off patrol by patrol by patrol. Meanwhile the place is becoming a breeding ground for future suicide bombers, already sick/dying from the constant radiation left behind from ignited DU (.5 micron-sized ignited DU isotopes that last for centuries and imped in the lungs and other organs are NOT like naturally occuring Uranium and do cause constant radiation damage in the tissues). So in a few more years, when our military is weakened and the jihadists have united and gotten stronger, the fighting will be brought here at home. What kind of resistence will we have left then?
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# Mary W 2009-03-22 23:35
If we are not going to fight to win, then we are just letting our entire military be slowly weakened and picked off. That would be the global jihadist goal and it is interesting to see who is supporting and/or standing by and letting that happen.

Global jihadists set up their Muslim kingdoms in oil/diamond/etc . rich countries in Africa, wiping out the native/Christia n peoples in their way while we do nothing, while our military is slowly dying in the Vietnam of the Middle East. Our soldiers even "patrol" past the poppy fields (in effect protecting them), even as the drug profits support the jihadists who kill them off patrol by patrol by patrol. Meanwhile the place is becoming a breeding ground for future suicide bombers, already sick/dying from the constant radiation left behind from ignited DU (.5 micron-sized ignited DU isotopes that last for centuries and imped in the lungs and other organs are NOT like naturally occuring Uranium and do cause constant radiation damage in the tissues). So in a few more years, when our military is weakened and the jihadists have united and gotten stronger, the fighting will be brought here at home. What kind of resistence will we have left then?
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# OldSoldier54 2009-03-23 15:21
What strikes me as totally bizarre is the fact that we have to have the SAME conversation we just had about Iraq . With the same bozos. It is like they are bereft of any common sense or foresight. Fools and Ideologues are running the country, who care for nothing but themselves and their power. God help us.
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# Scott Dudley, CDR, USN ret 2009-03-24 16:53
IMHO, there is no "win" in Afghanistan. It is a country, much like early America, where tribes banded together when in mutual interest and fought one another when interests collided. So it is with the "Taliban". The central government (an oxymoron) is corrupt and does not extend beyond Kabul. Karzai has obstructed our efforts there by pandering to small groups in condemning our actions. He felt comfortable that he could get away with it as we would not be leaving. He just got a wakeup call when the President spoke of an exit strategy. Karzai knows if we leave, the central government will become headless, likely literally. Our objectives going in were to drive Al Qaeda out and kill OBL. Pretty good success in the former and failure in the latter. Nothing of value to keep us there except our troops. The 17,000 going in are doing so to brunt the coming spring-summer offensives. When the weather again turns bad, time to bail. Some things can be done to prevent AQ from regaining a foothold but they are primarily of Afghan nature. Enough blood and treasure has been poured down that drain. If we can learn anything from history, we should know that Afghanistan has ground up nations.
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