Monday, March 12, 2012

AFGHANISTAN

It maybe that the time has come for the West to pull the plug on Afghanistan, to cut their losses and get out.     Yes, such a move is fraught with danger.     That sad country may become even more so a haven for terrorists and a safe base from which they can launch attacks on all of us.

But the war was only going to be won if the Western allies could convince the local population they were offering something better than the Taliban remembering too they (the allies) were starting from behind the 8 ball having to counter the perception they were infidel invaders in a long line of infidel invaders stretching back to the 19th century.      In short, the war was never going to won unless we first won the hearts and minds of Mr and Mrs average Afghani.

It might be argued that the Americans have only ever paid lip service to this truism.    Cutting through all the bullshit it appears the (in)famous quote of LBJ which had it "grab em by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow" still holds true.

Certainly the recent burning of the Qu'rans, however that event is rationalised, and now the mass murder of 16 innocents by a rogue soldier represents a major and perhaps fatal set back in the fight to establish a true and functioning democracy if indeed that were ever possible.

It gives me no great pleasure to say this but maybe, just maybe, we will need to accept that Afghanistan is a lost cause.

18 comments:

Andrei said...

The West is in full retreat, they cannot fight wars anymore.

The military has been transformed from being a fighting force to an instrument of implementing social policies from Women's rights to Gay rights etc


And instead of building men building pcified wimps

No red blooded Boy in his right mind would consider the military they would probably make him do PT in a pregnancy empathy belt as happened to some GI's in Afghanistan last week.

Judge Holden said...

A big strong macho man like you or Sarah Palin should be in charge Andrei. You'd fuck 'em. Rights? Respect? They're for little girls. What's needed is hard arsed mofo's like you, who shoot first and aren't articulate enough to ask questions later.

JC said...

"It gives me no great pleasure to say this but maybe, just maybe, we will need to accept that Afghanistan is a lost cause."

It always was, and George Bush recognised this by committing only about 18,000 US troops during his tenure. Obama committed many more without understanding the history of the place.

Bush knew he couldn't win in Afghanistan as did his allies.. all they could do was hold some ground and allow the Afghanis time to make changes.. they didn't because Nato didn't kill the millions that would force change.

Its really simple.. primitives and religious don't change unless their very existence is threatened, and even then such a change is temporary if the victors cannot impose their own deeply held religious beliefs.

Afghanistan was always a symbolic response to 911.. a place where ridiculously tiny Western forces "strut and fret their hour upon the stage, and then are heard no more".

So they have done their hour and its time to depart.. stage left, because their leaders never had the sense of destiny to impose any sense of enlightenment to the dollar a day tribesmen.

JC

The Veteran said...

Andrei ... I must of course bow to your far superior knowledge of why we are loosing the war in Afghanistan.

Silly me thinking that the failure of the US military to understand and embrace the concept of asymmetric warfare was at the heart of the problem.

Richard said...

I think you are right.
See the attached
http://www.behaviouralconflict.com/ and read the reviews on the net But too late for this conflict
Also
http://www.da.mod.uk/colleges/arag/document-listings/monographs/091216%20FINAL.pdf/view
Some very smart thinking

Andrei said...

To win a war you need the will to win.

Asymmetric warfare works by undermining the will of the stronger side to win - which is not hard if it is not really there in the first place.

The Veteran said...

Andrei ... well that certainly is a new take on asymmetric warfare that I haven't seen anywhere else.

Of course there has to be the will to win but in order to win you need to understand the nature of the conflict.

In Afghanistan the 'WHAM' is just as important (and perhaps more so) as the use of blunt military force.

Psycho Milt said...

To win a war you need the will to win.

To win what? ...is the question the Bush and Obama administrations haven't been able to answer. "You need the will to win a vague, unrealistic policy goal that changes every year" isn't exactly a rousing speech for the troops. The only options from the start have been subjugate the place Roman-style or settle in as a permanent security force for corrupt local officials, but neither administration's been willing to face the fact. Their soldiers are behaving accordingly.

The Veteran said...

PM ... different song book, same tune.

Andrei said...

Ok Veteran - so what is the objective in Afghanistan?

How is moving towards achieving this objective, whatever it is, enhanced by Obama apologizing for the burning of Korans that had actually been desecrated by Taliban prisoners writing in them?

Paulus said...

When you look not too far back to 1930 's and after WW2 you will see that with regard to Afghanistan and Iraq the USA is now reaping what they sowed then.
They decided that they would control the Oil, in reneging on UK, France and other countries agreements (par for the course), as result they have only themselves to blame.
Another War (incursion) the USA has lost - like Vietnam.

WAKE UP said...

The Veteran said...

"Silly me thinking that the failure of the US military to understand and embrace the concept of asymmetric warfare was at the heart of the problem"

Vet, it has nothing to do with matters miltary - the heart of the problem is Afghan "culture" (if I can dignify it by such a word). Nothing WE do can alter that. Give them a couple hundred years and maybe they'll evolve.

The Veteran said...

Andrei ... it is not a matter of apologising or anything like that.

Afghanistan is a fundamentalist Islamic, feudal society full of shifting alliances and with a long history of fighting attempts by foreign military forces to impose their will on the Afghani people.

If the 'war' was ever going to succeed then it was by a combination of military and civic action (I use the term asymmetric warfare, you call it what you will) designed to swing the populace to our side (if that were ever possible).

The jury is probably still out on who is winning the war militarily but I am of the view we have lost the battle winning over the hearts and minds of the people and that in my book = defeat however you want to portray it.

We could of course reach back in history and adopt the tactics of General Curtis LeMay and 'bomb them back into the stone age' ... worked well for him in Vietnam didn't it?

Andrei said...

I know all this Veteran

Vietnam was lost in 1968 during the Tet Offensive when the media promoted the this war is unwinnable narrative, particularly Walter Cronkite's famous broadcast from Vietnam. Johnson panicked - while the North Vietnamese who were considering surrender took heart and realized they just had to keep in the News to eventually win. It was a loss of nerve.

Of course with Afghanistan the media began the this war is unwinnable from the get go - which is why the enemy can make use of trivia over Korans to damage NATOs cause.

Do you think for a nano second if the Russians burnt Chechen prisoners' Korans the Caucasus would erupt?

The fact that the Koran burners are on the mat for doing their job is a morale killer, you can't fight with your hands tied behind your back.

Whether or not Afghanistan was winnable will be forever an unknown but what we do know is that modern NATO forces are sub standard, below par who, for example, fled in the face of a poorly armed militia at Srebeneca and partied up large in Zagreb when the people they were tasked to defend were being massacred.

This is the modern US Marine Corps

Is it any wonder they are loosing?

Psycho Milt said...

Andrei, are you really trying to lecture the author of this post on the Vietnam War?

Andrei said...

Andrei, are you really trying to lecture the author of this post on the Vietnam War?

Well Milt I am responding to his last throwaway line: of General Curtis LeMay and 'bomb them back into the stone age' ... worked well for him in Vietnam didn't it? When of course as students of history know the bombing campaigns actually forced the North Vietnamese to the negotiating table and were very effective.

They were of course bitterly opposed by the usual suspects in the NYT

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Of course Sludge Holden would have been still 'negotiating' with Hitler as the Wehrmacht marched up Pall Mall.

Judge Holden said...

You're a retired insurance salesman and full-time fuckwit who calls himself "Adolf" guy. Not a military strategist. Stick to telling "jokes" about dead little girls you class act.