CIIDG, on Afghanistan

Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group a question was asked to my response on the war in Afghanistan. I felt the response should be shared here.  I hope they don’t mind. I visit there often. 

This is not a simple and easy issue and deserves many minds thinking and putting ideas and thoughts out there.  

Power Line – Is It Time to Get Out of Afghanistan?

Wars can be won or lost. If we quit, we lose. It took from 1975 to 1991 to get over losing the last war we lost.

How do we unass Afghanistan without it looking like we were run out?

How do we achieve Obama’s version of Peace With Honor without psychologically damaging the men and women America sent to Afghanistan and denigrating the heroism of those who did not come back?

Leave in good order, at our own pace, with enough wailing widows and smoking villages in our wake to preclude much Taliban triumphalism.

JB

2011/04/03 at 18:43

We won in 2002. What we are in now is neither war nor peace.

Reply

· clip_image001Cannoneer No. 4

2011/04/03 at 20:51

What exactly did we win in 2002, JB, and why, having won, did we stick around?

I think we lost at Tora Bora in 2002 and haven’t been able to admit that failure, and stay primarily because we haven’t been defeated militarily, yet.

o clip_image002JB

2011/04/05 at 11:37

We removed the Taliban from government for their support of Al-Qaeda; we installed a government (not necessarily a good one). We stayed to build the national government. To install a national army in a place that has never successfully known such a thing. It was a noble idea yet we put very little effort into it as we had another war to fight at the same time. We let the gains we made slip away and only years later did we realize we let the wolf back in.

If our goal is a democratic Afghanistan that supports the same basic ideas of the US we may never leave the place. This is where solid goals are important. A definition of victory needs to be addressed before we commit. How do we know if we’re done if we continually change the goals? Someone tell me how we will know when we’ve won?

Currently I have seen little evidence that the people of Afghanistan expect us to stay and as a result they are hedging their bets.

I’m not against continuing the fight necessarily but I don’t want to see our officials’ apologizing for being American. I don’t want to hear our leaders commit to leaving in the middle of a fight. Are leaders have encouraged the enemy with talk of departure dates. In this kind of environment I don’t see victory but prolonged frustration for those that fight the fight.

A appreciate the opinions of those that find progress in this fight. On the battlefield we are unbeatable. The Marines (as an Army alumni hate to admit) have been doing an amazing job. But politically we haven’t committed to winning.

The spring offensive is beginning, what will happen in July when we begin the drawdown? Even if we don’t pull any combat troops out (which appears we will do) this has already been a victory for the enemy. Yet we are asking our troops to continue the fight? Again to what end?

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4 thoughts on “CIIDG, on Afghanistan

  1. Good Article JB. My opinion is that WW1 and WW2 were Wars , In those wars there was an end. Today the World is in a different light. Iraq and Afghanistan are not Wars like yesteryear’s but Conflicts with World Extremist. Pulling out of Stan would not denote a Victory or Loss. Pulling out would save Soldiers lives. The soldiers the hero’s will never be forgotten and will not have died in vane but will have died for Our Freedom just as all other soldiers have done in our past. Until this part of the World wants to live like human beings and not like the barbarians that some are then the world should leave well enough alone for we will never be able to help those that do not want to help themselves.

    11th

  2. So removing the Taliban from power in Kabul was the prize we won? Some prize.

    We went there to get bin Laden.

    We failed. We stayed to have bases from which to continue the hunt. Strategic lilypads at Bagram and Kandahar were good clue bats with which to whomp Islamabad, Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, New Delhi, Bishkek, Tashkent and Dushanbe up side the head. Maintaining these two super FOB thumbs in the eye of the regional powers was the mission after Tora Bora. They made great places to run the Special Forces Olympics out of. Beijing and Moscow saw our clue bats and raised us a Shanghai Cooperation Organization, outbribing us with Karimov, losing Karshi-Khanabad Air Base which put all our logistical eggs in Musharraf’s basket. He actually did an adequate job of keeping the LOC open, long enough for us to become dependent upon the Karachi-Islamabad-Khyber-Jalabad route.
    Mr. Ten Percent isn’t earning his bribes, so now we bare our necks for Putin, Karimov and Bakiyev to slit at their convenience.

    Saddam’s misfortune was that bin Laden got away, and we could logistically support major operations in Mesopotamia. When we invaded Iraq, Afghanistan became the Good War to Democrats and Euroweenies.

    John Kerry made a big deal in 2004 about the war in Afghanistan being “underresourced” but all sideshows are. OEF was an Economy of Force operation for militarily sound strategic and logistic reasons. We should have wound down Operation Enduring Freedom when Karimov kicked us out of K2.

    Orderly retrograde is a most difficult operation. Pull out too soon, leave too small a rear guard, it gets massacred. A bunch of Taliban, Haqqani, HiG , al Qaeda and “innocent civilians” who support them will have to be killed in sufficient numbers to make the point that messing with us on our way out is a bad idea.

  3. “How do we unass Afghanistan without it looking like we were run out?”

    This is precisely what rainmaker Petraeus does best –and is doing. It’s what we oft refer to as ‘IO on self’.

  4. It has been said, since Vietnam, that the US is a weak nation full of weak people that are too impatient to hang in for a long war.

    It was said after we bailed on Somalia that we were just paper tigers.

    For some of us, they nailed it square on both counts.

    It aint easy. No quick fix. No simple direct glide path to a gentle landing. Therefore it’s all crap. Can’t be won.

    Heard the same weak sauce just as Iraq was turning around too.

    For those interested in reality. One of the huge and primary reasons the Afghanistan AO has been soooo horribly slow to develop is because we gave way way way too much slack to allies who, as often as not, turned out to be worse than worthless.

    Germany, France, Spain, Italy. For the first several years, what did they accomplish other than sucking up limited logistics, establishing their own petty fiefdoms, go their own way, do their own thing with little to no coordination, etc and so on.

    Our continental EU allies did everything they possibly could get away with to give up all possible momentum to the enemy. Not their enemy, of course. Just the mean ol’ bully US’s enemy.

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