Michael's Dispatches

Time to Leave Afghanistan

21 January 2012

This war is going to turn out badly. We are wasting lives and resources while the United States decays and other threats emerge.  We led the horse to water.

Importantly, there is no value in pretending that Pakistan is an ally. We should wish the best of luck to the Afghans, and the many peaceful Pakistanis, and accelerate our withdrawal of our main battle force. The US never has been serious about Afghanistan. Under General Petraeus we were starting to gain ground, but the current trajectory will land us in the mud.

The enemies will never beat us in Afghanistan.  Force on force, the Taliban are weak by comparison.  Yet this is their home.  There is only so much we can do at this extreme cost for the many good Afghan people.  We must reduce our main effort and concentrate on other matters.  Time to come home.


Michael Yon


+2 # marineDannyh 2012-01-21 15:01
Well said Michael! I concur

Keep up the good work brother

Semper Fi
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+12 # SSG, US Armyjredman 2012-01-21 21:42
Maybe someone should ask the Afghan people wwhat they want. I leave in Feb. for Afghanistan to save lives, not just American lives, I fly Medevac and want to believe that what I risk my life for is for good cause, not based on someone's tired opinion who can't or wont feel what those people have gone thru. Ask the Afghan people if the government they have is worth dying for, if not, then we owe them the power to change it, after all, we took out the last one for them, and gave them the one they have now. We are not there to give them the life we enjoy and take advantage of, we are there to give them a chance at a life they know how to live, in peace. We stayed there to do something right, what kind of people are we if we walk away again. From a soldiers point of view, we need to finish what we started.
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# RE: SSG, US ArmyFThomas 2012-01-25 03:43
Insightful from the perspective of a MedeVac Crew Member headed to the battlefield. I'm a former MedeVac Pilot, but did not fly in combat, but did serve in a MAST Unit with the same conviction that you have - I was there to save lives.

Regardless of the bigger picture you will make a difference in the lives of all that you come into contact with in the line of duty. It has to start somewhere and starting with just one Afghan person that you are able to save will influence their life and hopefully the lives of those around them.

Thank you for your service! Be safe and know that there are many people praying for your safety and that of all of our soldiers serving today. Remember that these people have not lived with a true government and society as we know it, but lived in a world of tribes continually fighting amongst themselves. No foreign military has every been able to concur and take over Afghanistan as a whole throughout history let alone establish a democracy of the people. I believe that it is a foreign concept to them and not one they readily understand or even want.
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# RE: SSG, US Armydgriego 2012-02-01 06:22
jredman, when you go you go with our prayers before you, and our strong belief in you and what you will accomplish. As the mother of a combat soldier, I confess that I want this war to end, and I grow tired and disillusioned with it all, having seen far too many of our nations finest give their lives, and countless others their limbs. I fear for my son as any mother would...but never once have I wavered in my support of those of you who go, nor will I. May God bless and keep you safe, and thank you so much for what you do. My own son will be there at the same time as you. God speed to you and to him.
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+5 # The American people agreeokiquit 2012-01-21 15:05
Americans turned against the Afghan war years ago because of the high cost and slow progress. We had a chance to make a difference in Afghanistan ... back in 2002-2004, but we gave up the opportunity and sent our resources to Iraq. It's time for the politicians and military brass to admit we gave it a shot, but obstruction from Pakistan and the inertia of an ancient society make further progress too costly.
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+2 # RE: The American people agreejt 2012-01-22 15:20
Well said. Our chance to really make a difference was after 2001, when international goodwill and Afghan appreciation was at its highest. Instead, we took our eye off the ball and invaded Iraq and the Afghan effort never truly recovered. I find this very sad and I hope that the Afghans can summon up what is needed to bring peace. Otherwise, I fear another civil war is in the offing as the Tajiks will never let the Taliban come to power again.
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+4 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanDavid Quin 2012-01-21 15:09
As much as I hate to do so, I agree. We have spent billions there, have lost some mighty good people and there is no end in sight.

Those countries we are in now (Pakistan and Afghanistan) sure want our monies but are unwilling to do what needs to be done to fight terrorism.

Hate to leave those native people who have helped/depended on us in a lurch, but their respective governments have not been of much help.
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+9 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanRex Thornhill 2012-01-21 15:14
I agree Michael. The cost is too great and the benefits are uncertain. I'm tired of seeing our boys come home with missing limbs. I say this as a veteran of the 566th medical detachment, Landstuhl, Germany.

Dr. Rex T.
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+17 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanJimR 2012-01-21 15:21
We should have left immediately after the punitive expedition phase, but before the meals-on-wheels phase. So called "nation building" without the sort of severe national defeat of the level administered to Japan and Germany in WWII, and without a commitment to sit on a country and completely re-work its mores over a period of at least a generation, is a non-starter.
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+2 # Reputation is damagedDavid Parsons 2012-01-21 19:04
Exactly right. We should never have flooded Afghanistan with American soldiers. The light footprint, heavy air bombardment was the perfect solution for that place. After sending so many soldiers for so many years, we've lost some of the fear factor that said "don't mess with the Americans"
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+1 # American Public and Conflics Todayyy5Jack E. Hammond 2012-01-26 07:22
Quoting David Parsons:
Exactly right. We should never have flooded Afghanistan with American soldiers. The light footprint, heavy air bombardment was the perfect solution for that place. After sending so many soldiers for so many years, we've lost some of the fear factor that said "don't mess with the Americans"

Dear David,

Actually we should have done the opposite in 2001/2002 when there was a short time span window to destroy both the Afghan-Taliban Leaderships (ie above all to kill Mullah Omar who had put on Mohammedan's cloak in Kabul in 2000 making him in the people's eyes Allah's viceroy in Afghanistan) and al-Qeada. Operation Anaconda was the most critical time period (read NOT A GOOD DAY TO DIE!). But Rumsfeld kept interfering, not releasing that on Ranger battalion stationed north of Afghanistan as asked for by the CIA and not allowing the 101st to bring its artillery. And as a result they escaped giving the Muslim World the impression that Allah was on their side. In counter insurgency if you hear "To little, to late." it is always a bad sign.

Also the American pubic needs to remember two sayings from Asia:

* "In war take the last step before taking the first step."

* "To kill is easy. To unkill is impossible."

Last the American people need to grow up when it comes to war. Bumper stickers and flags taped in windows are no enough. Anyone after 9/11 that tried to warn them and asked them to just look at a map and do some reading on Afghanistan and Muslims were condemned as defeatists and lacking in patriotism. And no war taxes I knew would come back to haunt us just as it did in the War of 1812.

Jack E. Hammond
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# Fighting Islamists' GameDavid Parsons 2012-01-26 07:57
9/11 taught Islamists that America was vulnerable and could be attacked. The effective response was to kill Taliban & Al Qaeda effortlessly (seemingly) by bringing death from the air, where American power is untouchable and unseen (terrifying). But by trying to chase Bin Laden's gang in their own neighborhood, and by showing our fear to cross the Pakistan border, we looked impotent, and were, and are.

Fighting on the ground by the Geneva Convention rulebook in Afgh/Pak is a sucker's game.
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# Nam VetPhil Dickey 2012-02-02 16:23
"But Rumsfeld kept interfering..."

In our day we had Robert McNamara who micromanaged the war from DC. He later admitted his philosophy was all wrong.
So far Rumsfeld has had no such ephipany.

While it is true that the SecDef is a civilian and the military is under civilian authority they should LISTEN TO THE COMMANDERS on the ground. I hate to think of the numbers of us who have died while "big brains" in DC dithered over minutia of diplomacy. By then it's too f'ing late. War is the failure of diplomacy - so get out of the way and let us soldiers do our job!
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+2 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanA&N 2012-01-21 15:30
We've let a lot of horses to water and it is a true saying...you cannot make them drink.
Something definitely stinks and it isn't in Denmark...nor is it cheese...unless you want to consider the big cheese.
Thanks again Mike...and thanks to our great Military men.
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+5 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanOld Av8tor 2012-01-21 15:30
About time you came to the realization! Enough of our kids blood & our treasure. It was never about our national security after Tora Bora. It is now the kind of war Smedley Butler used to write about. Enough ego, enough altruism, we can come home winners by leaving now.
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+2 # withdrawalThe Alchemist 2012-01-21 15:34
I have to be honest, I never thought you'd advocate for withdrawal, Michael, although I completely understand.

Even a year ago you were a lot more positive and hopeful for our work in Afghanistan.

What changed your mind the most?
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+4 # http://atlantarofters.blogspot.comThe Sanity Inspector 2012-01-21 15:43
There's only so much democracy, liberty, and modernity that you can stomp into a country.
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+8 # Can't believe it's come to this...GOPsithlord 2012-01-21 15:45
Michael, given your reporting recently, particularly over the complete lack of regard for the safety of medvacs, I can completely sympathize with this view. I don't know what we're trying to accomplish any more. It has become clear we simply don't have the will any more to fight this conflict in a fashion that will ensure the future stability of Afghanistan. If we are to withdraw however, I hope there's at least some responsibility and foresight taken in how we do it.
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+4 # God SpeeMichael I 2012-01-21 15:45
God Speed brother, and thanks for everything.
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+2 # Vietnam VetClaude Pelanne 2012-01-21 15:46
There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.
Sun Tzu

Michael - Thoughtful insight and I just feel for the young men and women who served selflessly.
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+5 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanMark Sussman 2012-01-21 15:53
I’ve enjoyed and respected your many postings from Iraq and Afghanistan as honest and insightful. But I feel your present message leaves much untold and I would like to hear your deeper thoughts; e.g.:
(1) You say: The war will “turn out badly”; General Petraeus started well, but the “current trajectory will land us in the mud”.

(2)You say: “best of luck to the Afghans, and the many peaceful Pakistanis”. I ask you straight, (and I believe the sincerity of your words of sympathy re the Afghans and Pakistanis):

Michael, let’s hear a little more, in depth, based on your informed, from-the-field, views.
MarkS Bvue
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+2 # On the border of Iranpeter 2012-01-21 15:53
AFGHANISTAN is not the Problem. It is Iran on the WEST and Pakistan on the EAST. Michaeel, YOU should know THAT!!
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+7 # Karzai corruption is sickeningHeywood Jablomi 2012-01-21 15:55
The Karzai crime family and its cronies are laughing at us all the way to the bank.

If the USA had a spine, we would seize all of them, dump them in Guantanamo with fresh copies of the Koran and new prayer mats, and seize all of the money that they have stolen from us that is now squirreled away in Dubai. We should repeat that process with the thousands of corrupt warlords with whom the spooks have made "alliances of convenience." And then they should be prosecuted for idiocy. If idiocy is not a crime, make it so.

We should napalm every inch of Afghanistan where poppies grow. We should return to do it season after season until the country grows something else. Opium funds the Taliban. A cancer of global magnitude, opium is killing thousands of young Russians, and it has subverted the international banking system for decades. Time to break the needle.
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# RE: Karzai corruption is sickeningadama 2012-02-01 04:35
Don't we have ant Agenr Orage left over from the Vietnam era?
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+4 # Sad but trueCory Strike 2012-01-21 15:56
I sadly agree with you. I do not see a successful future in Afghanistan. Let's get our men and women out of that archaic country as safely and quickly as possible. Thank you to all of our Military and civilians for their sacrifices.
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+1 # (Continued)Heywood Jablomi 2012-01-21 15:56
We have no allies in that region. The government of Afghanistan is a kleptocracy. The Pakistani military is in bed with the Haqqanis. If the USA had a spine, we would strike Haqqani targets throughout Pakistan, daring the Pakistanis to resist.

We should saturate Quetta with our assets and kill the Quetta Shura. Everybody knows that they are there. The Pakistanis pretend that they cannot be located, and due to our impotent protestations, nothing happens.

We should show no respect for Pakistani territorial integrity or for their hurt feelings or for their insecurities as a nation or for their oh-so-delicate sovereignty.

We should demolish the ability of Iran to wage war and to threaten its neighbors, and then turn our focus to our own Southern border. It goes without saying that the US needs to purge itself of its own corrupt government, with its racist, lying Attorney General, and the worst president in our history. He should go back to "community organizing" with his communist friends in Chicago.

May God Bless America. We need it more than ever.
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+6 # AlchemistMichael Yon Author 2012-01-21 15:57
Dear Alchemist,

I had been considering this since at least McChrystal's days but needed to be very sure of my position before saying it. There has been (and continues to be) progress on many fronts. General Petraeus came in and there was definite progress. Yet today we ARE already pulling out. France is about to pull back (looks like) and we already have downsized a force that was never sufficient to begin with. I first wrote in 12 dispatches in 2006 that we were losing in Afghanistan. Many people said I was crazy, of course. (That's what they normally say.) Since that time, I've seen a lot more, and studied much more, and talked with far more Afghans, US, British, etc., and our top leadership here and there. The general trajectory is plain to see and even the best case (that I can see) scenario in Afghanistan is not worth it to us. We will not lose the war as the Soviets did. Afghanistan is what it is. I wish the Afghans great success. I like the Afghan people and do not want to abandon them, and withdrawing our main force is not abandonment. We need to bring our people home. We can continue to work there, but we need to dramatically scale back. We are at the whims of Pakistan, and the northern routes, and a horse that doesn't drink much water.
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+4 # PrivateAlexandr Solovetskiy 2012-01-22 15:25
Sorry, Mike, we (USSR) did not lose this war! Yes, we lost 15000 good guys in this 10-year campaign. But we did not have the equipment and weapons, as you have. Furthermore it is no secret that the U.S. government (CIA) secretly funded the Mujahideen. American instructors taught them to fight. Against us, in fact, fought the whole world.

The Afghans are grateful shuravi (Soviet people) who have built up new houses, schools, hospitals (United States did not build anything similar). Soviet army may thanks to stupid politics of Soviet government as a result we had a falling out with the Afghan government and have lost so many soldiers. But we do not consider ourselves to be lost!

And yes, we had more rights (then USA) to invade Afghanistan. Afghanistan at the time was a contiguous state with the Soviet Union (it has a common border with Tajikistan.) And the flow of heroin from this country in the late 1970s was very high. Moreover, in the northern provinces of Afghanistan gained power radical Islamic (terrorist) movements (not without the help of the CIA), which threatened the security of our southern repuplics.

This was a game ahead of the curve. If it had not entered it, we (the USSR), would include you (the U.S.). And this, if you remember, was a difficult time for us - Cold War apogee.

I respect the work that make your ordinary boys and girls in Afghanistan. I hate corrupt politicians. That corruption is often the reason that soldiers are dying. And the same shit is happening now in Russia, in Chechnya, where also there is a struggle against terrorism.

Sincerely yours, Alexander.
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+6 # I agree.James F. McClellan 2012-01-21 16:05
You're right Michael. America has actually already withdrawn, at least the citizens have. There is very little awareness of the war back home and, as you said, the current leadership doesn't have a forward plan.
A local family has lost two of their three sons there and such heartache should end as soon as possible.
Thanks to you and to our fine armed forces personnel.
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# RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanMichelle 2012-01-21 16:05
I agree!
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+5 # Sad but trueUSN vet 2012-01-21 16:08
Agree with Mike on this one. It is impossible to change this backward culture that is happy living in the 7th Century and engaging in tribal wars (when no outsiders are around to fight), and enjoy the benefits of their chosen religion.
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-1 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanGeorge N 2012-01-21 16:19
I find it highly ironic that the promise of freedom for the people of Afghanistan was sacrificed on the alter of the neocon push for Israeli security. They were doomed from the moment the US shifted it's attention and, basically, abandoned the Afghani's for the second time. Although there are extenuating circumstances we are now looking down the road to the third act of this play. The theatre will be opened up to a period of chaos wherein India and Pakistan will struggle for dominance. There is a good chance that a nuclear duel will be performed as a US withdrawal opens up a vacuum of power entangling all surrounding states.
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-3 # Piss be with youDavid Parsons 2012-01-21 19:08
I find it highly ironic that anti-semites always disguise their fear of Muslims in anti-semitic rhetoric.
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+5 # RE: Piss be with youGeorge N 2012-01-21 19:29
So any criticism of the neocons is antisemitism? Your's is the kind of response that will shed more American blood.
Fear of Muslims? Hardly. Your's is the fear of truth however. Your comment is pure projection.
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# RE: RE: Piss be with youDavid Parsons 2012-01-21 20:17
I might have visited psychiatrists offices in my time, but at least I admit to myself that Islamists are our (Western Civilization) mortal enemy. The fact that Islamists and most Muslims hate Jews, hate Israel, and hate anyone who might be friendly with Jews or Israel, is no reason to cower and blame the victim for being attacked by Muslims.
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+2 # RE: RE: RE: Piss be with youGeorge N 2012-01-21 20:30
Go see your shrink about what "projection" means.
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+3 # Abandon Afghans?Michael Yon Author 2012-01-21 16:25
Any suggestion that we are abandoning Afghanistan splats like a raw egg on a hard floor. We've put unknown billions into Afghanistan and years of effort and over 2,000 total lives (and approaching that number just in US servicemembers) . The opportunity was afforded to Afghanistan and many Afghans GREATLY appreciate it. Yet we have seen unmitigated theft by government officials and a drug trade in that region unknown to history. Pulling out our main battleforce does not equate to abandonment. It equates to dramatic reduction.
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+2 # RE: Abandon Afghans?A&N 2012-01-21 22:56
I'm sorry...I misunderstood. I thought we went into Afghanistan because they allowed an evil, vile bunch or Islamist terrorists to attack America in an act of war. It was never my thought nor was it our first goal to build a thriving country out of a dung hill. We lost sight of that and wrongly suppossed that we could kiss thie rears, pump billions of $ in there and teach them to be civilized...Oh the foolishness of winning hearts and minds. Our country has long forgotten how to fight a war and win. That's the bottom line. I've lost dear friends there who thought they were fighting for our Nations...good men. But that isn't the case...they are nothing but pawns in the hands of corrupt politicians...w ho are no better than terrorists themselves...tr aitors to our own country. Why can't anyone just say it...Why do you tip toe around. Can nobody get to the bottom line anymore? What do you say Mr. Yon. Would you have pity on the wretches who have chosen that life of servitude and barbarionism and sacrifice your own country for it?....or would you really start looking at the facts concerning the whole situation...Loo k at the whole world Mr. Yon and readers...what do you see? Do you really see the solution is in withdrawing or not withdrawing? Do you see the solutions coming from our lying kpoliticians mouths? I think not. If you have real pity...sympathy for human souls including our military the WAKE UP!!!
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-1 # COINJohn_G 2012-01-21 16:43
With Afghanistan as with Iraq, the military did what it was supposed to do within the first few months. We wrapped up most of the Taliban bigwigs early and that really only stopped when the war effort shifted to Iraq (and also with the later defanging of interrogation practices).

The whole COIN strategy is a variation of the Pacification of Algiers, but that would have required us to (intend to) stay indefinitely and we never really bothered to do the things required to make a COIN strategy work (control the borders, have adequate troops in place to make it work, control the movements of the population till the bad guys could be ferretted out, etc).

I wonder if it's just mistaken hubris. "Other guys made it work, but we can make it work with less of everything!" or something.
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# RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanCHJohn 2012-01-21 17:05
Our military has served above and beyond the call of duty. I cannot say the same of many of our spineless civilian politicians. Time to cut our losses. Nation-building worked during WWII after beating the enemy into submission first and destroying our enemy homelands. We have never been committed to that goal since WWII--not in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq. This was at a great cost in blood and treasure.
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+2 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanRComped 2012-01-21 17:14
Afghanistan and actually the entire Middle East is content to wage war and live off stipends from Iran, China, Russia, USA. The war will last forever whether we are there or not. I vote for "not".
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# Sad, but truePhil Strick 2012-01-21 17:16
The real threat, and danger, is if the “bad” guys get a hold of the Paki Nukes. With us gone, that
ends up being a real possibility. And that threat is more costly and scary than the money we are
pouring down the drain hole with and lack of support for our troops from up high. But then, the
American public doesn’t understand, or want to understand, the long range threat - they live for
today, not for tomorrow (look at our deficit).
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-2 # Are we ready then...Ted Thomas 2012-01-21 17:21
for nuclear war? Oh, my gosh, that will never happen!! ... until the terrorists gain enough power in Pak. to funnel dirty bomb material to their allies, who kill 5K to 10K in a western city while attempting to make it look like Pakistan did it.

They won't be our allies then, will they?

Sadly, we have failed, and we will pay a heavy price.
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+4 # Lt Col; RetWarren Eaton 2012-01-21 17:34
Once again the weenies in the State Dept have provided ill advice to a Presient with no knowledge of how to lead, except backwards. Thanks Mike for your always lucid views in theater. :sad:
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# Not SmartHarry Letaw 2012-01-21 17:45
As a WW-2 Vet, I know that I am not with the program, but lining up in company front and trekking off to the other world ain't no way to run a railroad, IMHO. The world knows that South Asia is a dangerous mess. Enemies know and fear that just as friends, if we have any in that neck of the woods. Folks, we have to line up everyone with fears and interests there -- Iran, Pakistan, India, Central Asians & Russians, Oilstan and NATO and say, maybe 1000 times, let's come to our senses before Ted Thomas' dirty bombs starting start going off. The South Asia Disease is worse than Streptococcus Aureus as it will eat us dead, not alive. Best to All, Billy Hawkfinder; http://Hawkfinder.blogspot.com
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+3 # Sad reportJon 5051 2012-01-21 17:56
Mike, Historically the UK lost 2 full armies in Afghan. The Russians lost, the best we can hope for is leaving a structure that will somehow survive when we all wthdraw. The UK have a date for leaving, yesterday the French threatened to leave. I thought the US mision was to remove AQ from Afghan, kill Bin Lardin and overthrow the Taliban. That has been sucessful. Sadly we have not been able to change the mindset of the 3m supporters of the Taliban in Pakistan. Perhaps the time is right for withdrawl? As always the bravery of the soldiers is never in doubt and they must all be remembered and those injured MUST be supported-forev er.
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+3 # RE: Sad reportDavid Parsons 2012-01-21 19:14
The UK fought in Afghan to protect their trade routes. The USSR fought in afghan for God knows why - getting closer to a warm-water port? Whatever. The U.S. fought in Afghan to "help" the population. How sickening - sacrificing American lives for a fxxing Nation Building project.
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+4 # nonelily trueblue 2012-01-22 02:10
Hold on there. DP!! I am stunned by your statements -positing them as facts- are you? And what pray tell did you use as your historical [or practical] reference for these mind farts?
My husbands been all over the middle east.SINCE 2004!!!! and guess what?? WE ARE LITERALLY PROTECTING THE TREATIED "RESOURCES" and thats our ONLY "military interest!" We are there to protect mega conglomerate interests in RARE EARTH AND OIL-PERIOD!!!! I can tell you personally and directly, my husband IS GRATEFUL he gets to help SOME...But he absolutely despises the arrogant whiney PRO WAR ignorance expressed so eagerly by folks like you -especially the armchair QBs! PLease explain to me why you think we should remain in this Lie of a Forever War! As a wife and mother with both son and husband "walking the talk" I can say THIS WAR WAS PERPETRATED ON LIES & PROFITS the few!! The criminal and despicable actions were initiated by Congress and the White House -and revenge obsessed American public! Who by the way can sit and claim they support but dont lift a finger! How many care packages have you sent ? PTSD suicide prevention? Nah! Didnt think so!
Shame that all of you who spew "lets kill em all!" arent mustered in and drafted! I wished someone would grow some gonads and institute a full on draft! THEN we'd see a different picture! NO BODY Most especially those frakking carpetbaggers in Congress would be spewing pro war sentiment then I'll wager!
My husband gets searched, patted down and dosed with excess radiation everytime he comes home by the TSA! He is treated like a criminal in his own country! Yet over there? They are still "TSA tyranny free" -so please tell me again- what and WHO are THE US soldiers fighting for? BRING THEM ALL HOME! NOW!! PLEASE! So we can fix our own VERY BROKEN house!
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+3 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanYousef Teclab 2012-01-21 17:57
I wouldn't mind you detailing your reasons behind why you think we should leave Afghanistan, Mr Yon. I mean I remember during your embeds in Zhari and Kandahar you were quite positive that progress was being made.

However, I am 100% appreciate your work and the dangers that you go through, sir.
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# RE: RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanDavid Parsons 2012-01-21 19:18
Good question. I would also like to hear why knowledgeable people thought it was justified to fight in a country of War Lords funded by an untouchable (Pakistan)sourc e of money and weapons (Pakistan)
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+4 # You have it rightFTM29 2012-01-21 18:25
I went to Iraq and I am still proud of that mission and what we accomplished but I did not go to the Ghan. Had some opportunities but sat it out. Glad I did. Kudos to those who went but after SFOR and OIF I have had enough war.
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# RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanFrank 2012-01-21 18:53
First of all keep the politicians and the Elite News media out of the wars. Let the US Military brass run the war. Use all the force required to eliminate the threat. Get in and get out.

We should have taken care of the Al-Qaeda Training camps,left Recon troops on the ground with Intel aircraft. Iraqi was a bigger mistake. Lets just rebuild every dam country we go to war with. No wonder the USA is in debt. Tell the Packys were are reducing their funding. Lives lost for what? The sXXXheads are coming in from every border to set-up Jidhist training camps here. By the way our asses in Washington don't care. Its been illegal aliens, drug cartels and now terrorists with help from the drug cartels.
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+2 # RE: Time to Leave Afghanistanmajrod 2012-01-21 19:08
Reminds me of Walter Cronkite's famous quote right after TET.
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+1 # Worried...Cary 2012-01-21 19:14
My 20 yr old son is being deployed in July...WTH is our government doing?
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# RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanEllie 2012-01-21 19:29
Agreed. We are paying our enemies to kill our guys.
We can leave the Stan but the enemy will not stop. Until Americans and the politicians that are making financial gain stop supporting Islam nothing will change. Americans will die.
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+1 # RE: Time to Leave Afghanistanbarbara spalding 2012-01-21 19:40
Thanks for the honest feedback Mike.
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+9 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanGator 2012-01-21 19:43
A few years back a neighbor and I were talking over a cup of coffee. He had been back from Afghanistan about 6 months where he had been building a high voltage power line into Kabul. The main contractor
was from India. One day a Indian Electrical Engineer came up to him and asked him this question, If the
19 Hi-jackers were Saudi and financed by the Wahabi Saudi and Osama was a Wahabi then why did you
people invade Afghanistan. I told him the Saudi are our friends,wink,wi nk
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+3 # WrongCharles, Bath 2012-01-21 20:18
Don't kid yourselves that leaving Afghanistan will be cost free. You will be perceived as having been defeated - and there is a price that comes with that. Your enemies will see you as weak and will be encouraged to take you on.

America has lost around 1,886 soldiers in Afghanistan - you lost nearly that many in 1 day on Omaha beach. You didn't quit then and you should not quit now. To be blunt you lose more people per month on US roads than from 10 years of Afghan war. Armies must fight to stay strong.

And America is not in decay. America will surprise with its strength in the future. America had what most countries don't - a young, growing population, plenty of land, water and natural resources, law and order and unequalled business skills.
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# RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanAnni Golden 2012-01-21 21:13
A powerful majority of our Government ditched our Troops.

But we need them here. Oil/energy has been the root cause of war since I. This time it's the dope trade with a country that has beaten its population like dogs whenever the occasion calls for it (?)

Mexico has been 'surging' in all respects e.g. drugs, illegal aliens, murder. Our Government is out of control with respect to managing these matters and all the laws associated with them. Our United States may not remain united at the rate they're going.

Putting our troops at the border and as many points of entry as feasible is a bill I'd foot.
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+2 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanHarry Letaw 2012-01-21 21:24
We are all Americans here and we all want what is best for America. I find some of the vitriol spilled in these comments to be distressing. I am an old man, so I know what it is to shoot off my mouth and regret it later. Let's cool it folks. Bily Hawkfinder
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# RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanMichael G 2012-01-21 21:49
Well put Michael! The only progress made is showing how incapable we are and how entrenched in mindless tactics and manipulation our military leaders are! They censor the media and they have launched a year long campaign now to obstruct oversight agencies from reporting on how disjointed and wasteful their efforts are! If they only paid as much attention to contractors pilfering the taxpayers and the Taliban, this "war" would have been over.
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# RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanPencil Neck 2012-01-21 21:56
Yo "One Punch"!

I lived in Pakistan for a couple of years. They have never been an ally. Regarding Afghanistan, the Romans got their ass kicked. The Britts got their ass kicked. The Russians got their ass kicked. As far as I know, no country has gone from tribal to democracy without a dictator in between. We should have left there in 2002.
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+4 # What?Charles, Bath 2012-01-21 22:07
The Romans got their asses kicked in Afghanistan?

That would have been news to them. The Roman Empire never got anywhere near Afghanistan.
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# RE: What?Janice Stroud 2012-01-22 04:07
I think he might be making a historical reference to the Atilla the Hun or Genghis Khan or whatever his name was that kind of pushed the Crusades back (Rome?)...Been many years since I had a history lesson, but I think the writer was basically reminding us who was the last nation that conquered Afghanistan? And the last time that region/culture decided to expand their borders they did alot of conquering...
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# Attila the Hun versus the Crusades?Charles, Bath 2012-01-22 09:57
Hmmm....Attila or Genghis Khan versus the Crusades? That's another interesting one.

I think that basically the OP did not know what he was talking about in terms of the history of Afghanistan.
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+3 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanJoseph Spooner 2012-01-21 23:14
Recently, I met a Vietnamese physician in LA who was still in vietnam in 69-70 when I was there as an Army officer. We had a lot to talk about but in essence I apologized for our country's betrayal of their country and its people--most particularly the egregious behavior of the Democratic Congress that refused to support the South Vietnamese with ammo etc in 1975 when the Communists invaded from the North (read American Amnesia, the book). We are doing it again in Iraq and Afghanistan and this generation of Marines, soldiers, airman and sailors will have their own apologies to make someday on behalf of our country. And, of course, it is a Democrat who will screw those folks--who else?
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+1 # RE: RE: Time to Leave Afghanistanokiquit 2012-01-22 03:51
The South Vietnamese betrayed themselves by running a completely corrupt government and a military led by men who didn't give a damn for their country as long as they could steal, steal, steal.

We gave the South Vietnamese 12 years, 58,000 lives, 300,000 wounded and hundreds of billions of dollars. But clowns like you say, "If only!"

If only we had spent another 10,000 lives ... another five years ... another $100 billion ... THEN we would have seen democracy and capitalism replace tyranny and corruption in South Vietnam!
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+4 # RE: RE: RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanJoseph Spooner 2012-01-23 00:28
Quoting okiquit:
The South Vietnamese betrayed themselves by running a completely corrupt government and a military led by men who didn't give a damn for their country as long as they could steal, steal, steal.

We gave the South Vietnamese 12 years, 58,000 lives, 300,000 wounded and hundreds of billions of dollars. But clowns like you say, "If only!"

If only we had spent another 10,000 lives ... another five years ... another $100 billion ... THEN we would have seen democracy and capitalism replace tyranny and corruption in South Vietnam!

Are you ok okiquit? Your numbers mean absolutely nothing to me and mean nothing with respect to freedom. You knew Vietnamese during the War did you? YOu slept in their villages, did you, as I did, protected by them? You spoke with Vietnamese citizens and found out why they fled North Vietnam did you, as I did? You spoke Vietnamese, as I did, did you? You taught English to the Vietnamese in Hue City in 1970, did you, as I did? You served with the 3rd Marines, 101st ABN and 1st of the 5th ID, as I did, did you? You are not a clown, okiquit, just an angry ignorant bitter man...I suppose you would not have gone to Korea for the South Koreans, would you?
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+2 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanSerge 2012-01-22 00:43
Time to go home!! ;-)
You're gonna be missed, clowns.
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-2 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanDan Floyd 2012-01-22 00:57
I am curious about how the varius different Muslim beliefs (Shia, Sunni, other) will mix in our absence. Are they potentially at least a nuisance threat to Iran? Is there a way to exit so that the future will be more difficult for our real enemy, Iran? Let's leave as miserable a situation for Iran as is possible.
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+1 # Mix?Larry 2012-01-22 14:58
You should know how they'll "mix". They will keep on doing what they've been doing for centuries, killing each other.
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+1 # RE: Time to Leave Afghanistan. 2012-01-22 01:55
Totally agree, our only objective there should have been to KILL Al Quida and oust the Taliban from power to give the Afgans a CHANCE to live in freedom, But that is not an open ended one sided commitment if the tribes there allow their country to slip back into a muslim dictatorship F em they deserve it.
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+1 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanRichard M 2012-01-22 02:34
Everything in war is now politics. Our military is cannon fodder for ambitious politicians. Look at the conflicts since WW2. Korean vets were lucky to make it home.Then came Vietnam and when it was possible to achieve our stated objectives, politics made it impossible. Now, our guys are
sent here and there to sacrifice and die
yet there is no stated objective in terms of winning. The only way US troops should be used is as a last resort but saying that, when they are used go after the enemy, kill him, full steam ahead. If we commit troops, go in there with overwhelming force, and demolish whoever and whatever. Otherwise, don't send them
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+1 # time to go long overdueBill Hickman 2012-01-22 02:42
My son was SPEC OPS in 03 and 04 chasing high value taliban targets in the Hindu Kush . Opinion was that it was a no win situation.
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+1 # MrCJ 2012-01-22 04:47
If everyone had read two time Congressional Medal of Honor winner Gen. Smedley Butler's book "War Is A Racket", the American people would not allow our unconstitutiona l imperialism.
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+3 # Last Commissary Officer at Bad ToelzKeith Barnwell 2012-01-22 05:10
It has been many years since Bad Toelz, Germany when we first met for this old Vietnam Veteran. It is true that history repeats itself. I agree with CHJohn in what he said, "We have never been committed to that goal since WWII--not in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq. This was at a great cost in blood and treasure." The American public tends to lose interest when these wars are prolonged like the war in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Then the American public wants us to pull tail and run when we are winning.
CHJohn is correct when he stated, “Our military has served above and beyond the call of duty. I cannot say the same of many of our spineless civilian politicians.”
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+4 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanJBD 2012-01-22 05:43
We've accomplished our primary objective. Osama bin Laden is dead. We've also slapped down a lot of the Taliban leadership. And we've proven there is no way on Earth to civilize the ideological barbarians of Afghanistan (or Iraq).

So it's time to pull out and prepare for the very likely inevitable fight to the death that is staring at us in the face with extremist Muslims taking over nation after nation. Further waste of manpower and wealth at this time is unwise.

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+1 # The Best Statement on Americans and WarsJack E. Hammond 2012-01-22 10:07
"To be willing to give their support [ie for wars and conflicts], Americans
must be confident that the results are commensurate with the involvement.
They have a natural preference for involvements that are minor and for a
shorter terms. But they will sustain a major involvement over a short term,
or a minor involvement over a longer term, if convinced that the results are
demonstrably worth the effort. What pragmatic Americans cannot support is a
major involvement over a long term whose results can not be shown."

(LOST VICTORY by William Colby page 367)
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# Bring our Soldiers homeLinda Osburn 2012-01-22 13:33
I totally agree - lets bring our soldiers home and get on with our lives in the USA. When the soldiers get back they will need all of our help so they can put their lives back together.
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# Time to Leave AfghanistanGreg 2012-01-22 16:02
Michael, thank you for continually placing yourself in danger so that you could provide first hand objective reports from Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention Thailand and Nepal). Since you have witnessed first hand what is happening and have never indicated an ideoligical bias I respect your views. My concern is that with all that is occurring in the middle east and southeast asia I view removing our military as a bad move. American politicians at least since the ending of the Viet Nam war are adept at only missing golden opportunities to not "Nation Build" but to guide nations in their development. I refer to pulling out of Afghanistan after the Soviets left, missing the opportunity to influence Russia after the collapse of the USSR and other minor places. Since the early 1900's the safety of America starts overseas. True the US only has a finite amount of resources, unless you are a politician backed by some corporate entities (such as GE) that require endless spending on domestic entitlements programs. The only silver lining I can see to this developing dark cloud is that perhaps some of our returning veterans that have helped Iraq and Afghanistan start on the right path will return and if not replace some of our worst brain dead politicians and business leaders at a minimum influence the trajectory of this magnificent country that we have.
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+1 # Great to have you come homeLeyla Najma 2012-01-22 16:30
You did amazing things with your photos and your words. We all saw war from a different perspective, one that will change us all forever because of you. It will be great to have you come home!!

Hugs and Blessings,

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+4 # Disgraceful defeatismCharles, Bath 2012-01-22 19:01
The defeatism on this board is disgraceful.

You think all will be well if you retreat home and pull the covers over your head?

Defeats come with a price. It will encourage your many enemies to attack you in future. Americans in future will die because of that.

Don't forget that Bin Laden was motivated in part by perceived US weakness - when you got hit, you retreated. Don't make the same mistake again.
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+1 # RE: Disgraceful defeatismKen Royall 2012-01-23 05:53
Occupying Iraq and Afghanistan isn't making us safer. 19 guys boarded planes on 9/11, most were from Saudi Arabia and the entire operation might have cost them 500 grand tops. An attack like that can be planned from anywhere, even within our own country.

We should continue to go after terrorists but we should not be getting sucked into occupations of indefinite length trying to change the culture of places were Islam has been entrenched for 100's of years. It is not our fault this failed, it is the fault of the people in those countries that just don't see things like we do.
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+2 # Quick withdrawl will not make you saferCharles, Bath 2012-01-26 19:12
If the US quickly withdraws from Afghanistan it will be seen as having been defeated. That will deeply weaken America.

You also owe it to the millions of Afghans who are depending on you not to let them down. You will lose future potential allies if you treat the Afghans like that.
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-2 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanFrederick 2012-01-22 22:48
We took our eyes off the ball and went to Iraq, therefore we lost the war!

We should have maintained a small footprint, but did not, therefore we lost the war!

This is madness!
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# RE: RE: Time to Leave Afghanistanryp74 2012-01-26 16:39
We lost nothing but lives my friend.
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+1 # You have not lost the warCharles, Bath 2012-01-26 19:10
The US has not lost the war.

The Taliban could never military defeat the US.
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+2 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanKen Royall 2012-01-23 05:49
We can't change Islamic culture. In retrospect we were naive for ever believing we could. And I was guilty of believing it myself. The strategy doesn't matter, we just can't change who those people are. The bad people at the top were a reflection of the society at large.

We all get the leaders we deserve. If the people of Iraq or Afghanistan truly wanted a democratic republic, they would have fought for it long ago. They are going to be oppressive places operating under Sharia Law for years to come and we have no business risking the lives of our men and women in the military to enable them to maintain that.

We should learn from this and just forget about invading and occupying Islamic nations. Should Iran need to be dealt with at some point, anything we do should never involve long-term occupation and nation building. It is all downside for us. There are too many hellholes around the world, we can clean them all up.
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+1 # the reason for being in Afghanistan was not to fo goodjohnx 2012-01-23 05:51
We invaded Afghanistan to deny Al Queda a home base in which to comfortable plan further atrocities after 911. Or anyhow thats what I read in the papers. I know the author knows that. My question would be is if we leave does Al Queda come back and would it represent a threat to the US. If the answer were yes maybe we need a cheaper way of insuring that doesnt happen?

I know that reeks of someone who doesnt know what he is saying. But as a civililian I really hope the Militaries oblkigation is to make sure I dont look out my office window and see a big airplane coming at me. Yes. I still recall sept 11. I missed work. It interfered with my little life and I'd prefer no further scary interferences occur.
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# RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanKurtis Fechtmeyer 2012-01-23 05:55
Interesting to see yet another vindication of the Bush foreign policy. GWB sensed Afghanistan was not a war to win in a conventional sense, and so he dialed back our effort to basic interdiction. Obama -- trapped by his campaign team's spin about the "good war" that "Bush dropped the ball on" __ decided to up the ante and then (also for political reasons) defeated their own efforts in advance by announcing a draw down date. This gave the Taliban precisely what they wanted -- more Americans to kill and time frame to wait it out on. This is to take absolutely nothing away from the US Military, which is the most virtuous and amazing military force in the history of the world.
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-2 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanAsif Ali 2012-01-23 07:23
Pullout is defeat, you say the Taliban are no match for the US troops, but this was your game plan and its time to confess that your chivalry maybe worked on women and children and not on men.

The Brits learned the hard way in 1843, when they were super power and the Russians in 1979-1988.
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+4 # Stop Talking Trash AsifMichael Yon Author 2012-01-23 08:06
The Muj did not single handedly beat the Soviets. The Muj were being monkey-stomped and had run off to Pakistan. The US, Saudis, and Pakistanis then aided the Mujahadin with BILLIONs of dollars in aid, with training, and with intelligence. And today, if the Taliban dare strike us at home, I should say that you will see the sound and the fury of the United States like you never have seen it before. You will run and hide again in Pakistan, where Taliban leadership hides (among other places) today. Don't get too confident. You can be put into the grave.
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# Asif is talking rubbishCharles, Bath 2012-01-26 19:09

You seem to be forgetting that the British experience in Afghanistan was far from all disaster. Britain fought at least 3 times in Afghanistan and won two of these wars.
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+1 # AMEN!!!Doer of Good 2012-01-23 07:28
Amen! So be it! Let' come home and stop fighting the Federal Reserves wars.
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# What are you on about?Charles, Bath 2012-01-26 19:08
Please explain exactly how this is a war for the Federal Reserve.
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+2 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanReagan Fan 2012-01-23 10:30
As someone who was never for invading Afghanistan, I have serious reservations about just walking away now that we are in. The response to the position that 'it was a mistake to go in' is not to assert that we must leave with all due haste. Actions have consequences and if we pull out with any semblance of defeat, the consequences will be dire. The mid east is not the far east and if we turn tail and run like we did in Vietnam, we will have a much higher price to pay.

That does not mean that I advocate an endless engagement with vague, dubious goals. Indeed, I have a son in the Corps and I would not want to see him deployed there with the current mindset. However, if we are going to alter course--be it withdrawal or a new direction, we will need better political leadership than we have in place now.
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# RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanPorkov 2012-01-23 12:49
You may well be right. Query - is there any way to accomplish withdrawal without having it perceived in the same light as the Soviet withdrawal of 1988-89 or the rout of the British in 1842? Will an embassy be feasible in the absence of significant military support? Does the U.S. State Dept. have a clue?
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# RE: Time to Leave Afghanistanlahlon 2012-01-23 13:00
As the father of a son who has already done one tour to Afghanistan, and is scheduled to go back later this year I agree with Micheal!! I have read and seen the reports and more importantly have listen to what my son told me - 11 Bravo serving with an airborne infantry unit - they don't won't us there the society is broken and is not worth our blood and treasure to try and fix. Bring them home all of them
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+1 # What about your Allies?Charles, Bath 2012-01-26 19:01
You seem to forget that the US and its allies have employed hundreds of thousands of people to fight with you, and enabled millions to live a life better than if the Taliban were back in power.

Are you simply willing to abandon them to their deaths and suffering?

What do you think that future potential allies of the US will make of this?
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# RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanGreg 2012-01-23 13:35
Having grown up in a tough area there was nothing more important than having a friend that you could count on to back you no matter how tough it was. The best friend was one that having escaped the battle looked back saw that his buddy wasn't going to make it out and went back in to either get out together or go down together. The American politicians are so weak and dishonest. Look how they all ran when Iraq got tough. Failure or imminent failure is a despicalbe orphan. Who would want to ally themselves with American politicians? An aquaintence that was discussing this very thing with Afghan tribal elders was asked why should they side with the Americans when the pull out date was already announced? I hate seeing the best of our society being killed and maimed but what will be the outcome when once again American is seen as having no staying power? The ending to WW2 was affected by the public war weariness.
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+1 # Mr.BaghdadBob 2012-01-23 17:38
Mr. Yon, Please tell us what you think should be the US strategy for the Af/Pak region and the fight against Al Qaeda after we withdraw from Afghanistan. Simply throwing your hands up in the air and saying "We should leave" doesn't help much.
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# Don't You People Understand?David Parsons 2012-01-23 18:53
Don't You People Understand that Afghanistanis aren't the problem. Pakistan is the problem. It is reckless for politicians to send soldiers to Afgha to endlessly mop up trouble pouring in from Pak. The 2001 light-footprint operations wer the correct strategy for the Afgha/Pak problem.
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+3 # formerArmyamauboussin 2012-01-23 19:18
It saddens and angers me to hear people say we could never succeed in Afghanistan or anywhere else. BS! We've fought fanatical enemies before. We whipped the axis forces on three continents in WWII! The problem is the failed, post WWII "limited war" concept. Crushing defeat must be brought to this type of enemey in every corner they live. Then, and only then, do you engage in nation building. These half hearted wars spill our most precious soldiers blood without achieving the victory they've fought so hard for. Shameful. God bless Michael and the troops.
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# Time to gomatt 2012-01-23 19:38
When the president of the United States draws down the surge despite the best recommendations of his senior officer in theater, and that the results of the sure were working to help create an environment in which perhaps Afghan nationhood could be built, it is time to call it a day.

The president was cornered into sending in the additional troops and is much more comfortable, like Clinton, with using stand off weapons to pin prick the enemy.

OBL is dead, as is Al-Awlaki, but fundamentally, Afghanistan has less hope today than in 2005 for sustained national unity.

The war has been underfunded and shoestringed from the outset, and despite the good intentions of our military and our people, the people in charge have never had the commitment to "win" this, whatever that may mean. Without this, the lives lost have been lost in vain and the thousands of wounded troopers, Marines, and Navy have left a part of themselves in a godforsaken, corrupt, 15th Century shithole.

I wish those Afghans who want to truly change their society well, but until they own their own mistakes and future, we cannot hand them anything and expect it to flourish whether a dictatorship, monarchy, or democracy.

Afghanistan is the ultimate coulda, woulda, should war.
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+2 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanKeith 2012-01-24 01:05
Whether its worth it or not, I do not see us being there as useless at all. The Afghan government will soon have almost 200,000 troops under its command and these troops do seem to be getting more proficient. And let's face it, they only have to be good enough to beat 35,000(?) Taliban, who themselves are not very good, or at times, even dismal fighters.

The Taliban are now beginning to show that they are becoming disillusioned with the war. More and more are surrendering--a long with their leaders--after huge percentages of their fighters die every year or are lingering in captivity. At least before they could console themselves with waiting it out until NATO leaves. But now the rank-and-file (many of whom are in it only for the drug money) have to be convinced to carry on with a new war against 200,000 plus Afghan soldiers.

Maybe its true that Afghans have an endless tolerance for living in a state of war, but all of this reminds me of the Atlantic war in the early Spring of 1943 when shipping losses to U-boats were remaining stubbornly high and people were beginning to talk of losing the Atlantic. This just before all the elements of the anti-U-boat war came into play and by Summer of that same year, the U-boats had effectively been defeated.

We, just like the allies of the time, have little idea what the condition, morale and intra-politics of the enemy are.
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# Quite rightCharles, Bath 2012-01-26 18:58
Excellent comment.

There is far to little thought given here to how tough things must be for the Taliban. They may well be on their last legs.

Just think - they have no air power, no armoured vehicles, little artillery, no medical care if wounded.

We should be increasing our efforts, not decreasing them.
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+4 # education successysc 2012-01-24 06:28
Greg Mortenson of "Three Cups of Tea" said in 2010: "Ten years ago at the height of the Taliban, there were 800,000 children in school in Afghanistan. Today that figure is 9.2 million with 2.8 million of them female. This is the greatest increase in school enrollment in any country in modern history."

Who else to credit for this than the US-allied coalition? They should be extremely proud of this accomplishment alone. Bravo!
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+1 # YSC: Amen!ryp74 2012-01-26 16:35
Finally some kind words that actually consider the good things we are doing here. I've been to Iraq 3 times, Kuwait for 6 months and now Afghanistan. The good things we do here are always pushed aside by the news agencies to sell more papers. My unit sponsors a school here, think the news will care?
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+1 # Excellent commentCharles, Bath 2012-01-26 18:53
That is an excellent comment.

There are millions of Afghans depending on us not to leave and who will be killed or suffer terribly if we leave too early.
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+3 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanKeith 2012-01-24 23:37
One more thing, the point of fighting in Afghanistan is not to necessarily nation build. We are there to bolster the forces of the native Afghans to be able to fight our mutual enemy--al Qaeda and the Taliban--for us.

Let's not confuse that with being there for solely humanitarian purposes or to support a quasi-democrati cally elected government. Once the Afghans are strong enough, they will occupy and bleed our enemy in--most likely--a prolonged hot and cold war.
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# CorrectCharles, Bath 2012-01-26 18:55
Yes, we are not only there for humanitarian reasons but also to do as much damage as possible to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

In that, US forces have been very successful. I do not believe that that role is yet over.
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# Time to Leave AfgGW 2012-01-25 03:09
Mike, I work with a gold star father. His young Marine son died last year in Afg - IED. I showed him your dispatches and he happened to read this one before I had a chance.

It is pretty tough for our Goldstars to hear this kind of talk.

He just hnded me back my iPad and said, "I've read enough."

I pretty much still feel like crap.
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+1 # GW -- Sad news indeedMichael Yon Author 2012-01-25 03:17
This does not change the fact that we can see the trajectory. It may be politically and psychologically expedient to keep throwing young people and treasure into a hole so that others will have company, but I won't be part of it. Not when the trajectory is this clear and our people are in combat today. If we were sticking it out, I would say stick it out. (After all, I was nearly alone saying we needed more troops years ago.) But we are NOT going to stick it out. Our troops already are coming home. Pakistan has cut off our supply routes and nothing stops the same from happening to the north. We have other issues at home and abroad that are far more important to us. I feel terribly for those who have suffered and those we have lost, yet I will not get caught up in bad advice for the sake of sentiment. No way.

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# You should be making the argument to stayCharles, Bath 2012-01-26 18:56

You should be making the argument as to why the US and its allies should stay in Afghanistan and should highlight those undermining the chances of victory, notably Obama.
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+2 # RE: GW -- Sad news indeedKeith 2012-01-26 23:28
In order to ensure the perception of a US defeat, the MSM has defined success as nothing short of complete annihilation of the Taliban and a fully functioning, democratically elected Afghanistan, with human rights on par with the west. This is essentially undoable--by anyone. And falling into the trap of considering success as such can only lead to disappoint.

But this is a disappointment that we choose. Why are we in Afghanistan? To decrease the likelihood the US experiences another 9/!1. How do we realistically do that? By setting up the conditions whereby the Taliban are kept busy spending their blood and treasure fighting a war that THEY can never win. We are probably within a year or two of pulling out and having the Afghans take over this war.

Remember, they live there. They are the ones who would have to live under the Taliban. And after spending so much time in Afghanistan, the US is just about poised to leave with an Afghanistan ready to--perhaps not control every square mile of its territory--but to maintain sway over the majority of the country while delegating the Taliban to a side show of bomb throwing rabble locked in eternal deadly struggle with their most bitter enemy: the majority of Afghans who remember the dower life and bloody rule under the Taliban. These Afghani people are not ready to roll over. Especially not after knowing first hand what the Taliban are all about.

In the end, those fighting for the zealots will inevitably see the futility of the cause, and the movement will slowly die out like the great majority of the world's insurgencies.

Have just a little more patience and don't fall into that "all or nothing, total victory or defeat" trap laid by our anti-American media. And once we're out, we can settle the score with Pakistan through political and economic means.
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-1 # RE: RE: GW -- Sad news indeedokiquit 2012-01-27 01:51
Can you provide a link or point me to a MSM article defining success in Afghanistan as "complete annihilation of the Taliban and a fully functioning, democratically elected Afghanistan, with human rights on par with the west."

... or are you just lying for effect?
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# RE: RE: RE: GW -- Sad news indeedKeith 2012-01-27 03:03
Unfortunately when joining in a discussion, we have this phenomenon of people who pop in, make an extreme accusation, and then leave. The remarks are strikingly similar, with nothing but dim witted catch phrases heard from even dumber celebrities. There is no depth or breadth to the knowledge, only a religious zeal that only comes from the divine simplicity shared by neophytes and one-issue people.

What planet are you from? I don't even know where to begin. Maybe do some reading outside your liberal bubble from time to time. After a few years, get back to me.

I have neither the time nor the interest in getting you up to speed with the opinion of half the country's population. Try Pajama's Media or Townhall. Even the Wall Street Journal could be quite enlightening on the subject.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: GW -- Sad news indeedLawrence 2012-02-02 06:04
You shouldn't make this about being liberal or conservative.

I'm a liberal, and I agree with your thoughts on Afghanistan.

The Karzai Govt. may be corrupt, but it is going to be gone in 2014. Meanwhile, the Afghan National security forces have shown impressive growth both in terms of quality and quantity and are set to improve even further in the next couple of years. As long as they continue to receive proper funding from the international community, they'll likely give the Taliban and other extremists quite a spanking.

We should all thank Lt. Gen. Caldwell for the excellent two years of work that he did in setting up Nato Training Mission - Afghanistan. If we had done something akin to this from the onset, then we likely wouldn't even have anymore troops in Afghanistan.

A gradual withdrawal will give the young generation of Afghanistan a fighting chance, while an immediate withdrawal would be an unmitigated disaster.
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# RE: RE: GW -- Sad news indeedMark Sussman 2012-01-27 05:51
Congratulations on a series of rational and high-quality-co ntent comments on this overall "time to leave Afghanistan" point asserted by Michael. I can understand Michael's position up to a point. But Michael's argument seems to be that without a stronger commitment by our current Administration - - continued loss of American life is too high a price to pay. While I concede that view has substance, it leaves me with the dissatisfaction of worrying that we're turning our backs not only on the Afghans, but also on ourselves - - not a good long term strategy. Perhaps a better answer: stick with the fight abroad - - but rally together at home around the idea that, at bottom line - - this IS our fight too.
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# RE: RE: GW -- Sad news indeedPorkov 2012-01-28 04:58
Thought you might enjoy this:
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+2 # RE: Time to Leave AfghanistanKeith 2012-01-27 23:17
Thanks very much, Mark. Funny this entire subject should come up now. Read this breaking article that just came out today at Reuters:


This is a whole new attitude by the Taliban we haven't seen before. Note the Taliban negotiator saying we wouldn't have to worry about lower lever Taliban foot soldiers ready to call it quits if their leaders tell them to.

This can't really surprise us too much. We've been killing so many thousands of them for so many years, they would truely have to be non-human not to eventually blink. We've had intercepted messages between Taliban tactical leadership indicating they are exhausted and that so many of their fighters are now either dead, captured or either physically or emotionally crippled.

I never could come to a conclusion as to whether this sort of thing was anecdotal or not, but now its beginning to look like it may have been an accurate representation.

The summer or '43 might just be right around the corner after all.
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