George Will: Hey, let’s pull out of Afghanistan

posted at 7:48 pm on August 31, 2009 by Allahpundit

Won’t matter a whit to the conservative base, which is The One’s only reliable constituency on Afghanistan, but insofar as it gives the media an irresistible peg on which to hang the withdrawal meme — “even George Will says…” — it’s big news.

“[F]orces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent special forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters,” Will writes in the column, scheduled for publication later this week…

The columnist’s startling recommendation surfaced on the same day that Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, sent an assessment up his chain of command recommending what he called “a revised implementation strategy.” In a statement, McChrystal also called for “commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort.”

In the column, Will warns that any nation-building strategy could be impossible to execute given the Taliban’s ability to seemingly disappear into the rugged mountain terrain and the lack of economic development in the war-plagued nation.

I can’t find the column anywhere but The Corner is all over it, starting with a post by Fred Kagan describing Will’s various factual errors (and his sneering at the British contribution, which involved six dead in one day earlier this summer, as “risible”) and concluding with this excellent quick take by Lowry about Will’s grand strategic mistake. This sounds like the old Baker/Hamilton plan for Iraq by another name, i.e. redeploy to get the troops safely out of harm’s way and then use precision strikes to take out terrorists while the country falls to pieces. I never understood how that was supposed to work with Iraq — how would you get the intel for the strikes? what if some areas held by jihadists are too dangerous to penetrate? what about the morality of leaving civilians at the mercy of armed fascists? — but I really don’t understand it in the Afghan context. The whole point of pressuring Pakistan into getting aggressive with the Taliban on their side of the border is to leave Al Qaeda squeezed in the middle; if you pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, you give them a place to run to — a mirror image of what happened in 2001 when Osama and company escaped to Waziristan. Anthony Cordesman, who’s always been a straight shooter in his assessments of Iraq, warns today in WaPo that unless we put some more boots on the ground to clear and hold territory, the country’s finished and we’ll face “an enduring regional mess and sanctuary for extremism” going forward. I’m curious to read Will’s theory for why that won’t happen if we don’t take his advice.

Either way, The One seems serious about not pulling out — yet. Why, his mouthpiece is even using verboten, cowboy, Bush-era terminology!


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Call me a conservative heretic but I agree with Will.

I’m no military strategist. But I worry that Afghanistan simply isn’t worth this much blood and treasure. Iraq is in the heart of the middle east, is of tremendous strategic importance, sits atop vast oil reserves, has a large professional and educated class, has a history of modern government, has institutions of civil society, and the Hussein regime had to be removed. Pakistan has nuclear weapons and is really the home of the Taliban and Al Qaeda more than Afghanistan at this point. Fighting the hardcore Taliban (as distinguished from the illiterate tribesmen they employ/recruit) and Al Qaeda is important. And preventing Pakistan from becoming the next Iran is important. But I am increasingly leaning toward the belief that Afghanistan (an impoverished, landlocked, fractured country) will be in the stone age for decades to come.

Please know that I am not a pacifist. I’m not in favor of withdrawal from the region. I just think this should be a special forces/intelligence agency war. I’m not interested in spending tens of billions of dollars and tons of buckets of American blood on what is essentially a nation of rocks and ruins.

I hope I’m wrong but this is seeming more and more like the next Vietnam every day. Are these really reprisals against the Taliban and their collaborators or reprisals against those from other tribes? Against those who won’t pay tribute or protection. Against those who work for THIS drug kingpin/warlord instead of THAT drug kingpin/warlord?

I get the impression that it is warlords, heroin producers/traffickers, and ethnic/tribal leaders who are really running Afghanistan. And their constantly shifting alliances mixed with ethnic hatreds and billions in drug money make Afghanistan not really a country or nation state but just a geographical region marked by an almost martian landscape and near lawlessness. How many of our bravest, our boldest, our finest, should die fighting for a country that produces most of the world’s heroin (and not much else) and where Christian converts must fear for their lives?

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 7:54 PM

Given George Wills impressive military service and counter-terrorism expertise, we should listen to him.

/sarc

ThePrez on August 31, 2009 at 7:55 PM

I’m confused. I’ve never heard the President speak forcefully and clearly about his plan for Afghanistan. I want to support him, but he better come up with a plan for winning, or else it just looks like a quagmire.

JiangxiDad on August 31, 2009 at 7:55 PM

I think we will soon be hearing the time tested “Peace with honor” slogan.

Cindy Munford on August 31, 2009 at 7:56 PM

We went into Afghanistan and introduced these people to democracy. We cannot pull out and let it die on the vine. It is irresponsible of George Will to be flapping his yap about pulling out at such a fragile time. America has alot of blood,treasure, & future tied up with the Afghans. We cannot leave now. I envisioned the US to be permanently stationed there anyway so what’s the point George Will?

portlandon on August 31, 2009 at 7:56 PM

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 7:54 PM

So we should just let the Taliban take over the country again and stone women to death?

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 7:56 PM

how would you get the intel for the strikes?

Exactly.

I’m confident – for now – that President Obama won’t bail, if only for political reasons. He can’t get out of Iraq too quickly, lest he be seen as losing a war that Bush had all but (thankfully and ultimately) won. And Afghanistan is really the only part of his foreign policy that doesn’t come across as a joke to a sizeable chunk of the electorate.

BadgerHawk on August 31, 2009 at 7:57 PM

Will we hear put out now , Obama like you father should have . I hope so . I think I might be able to enjoy the wit of the remark now that it is not directed at my CIC Richard Nixon .

borntoraisehogs on August 31, 2009 at 7:58 PM

i think that obama is incapable of winning a war. he’ll either pull out, screw it up real bad, or keep fudging on it until our new republican president in ’12 does what needs to be done.

homesickamerican on August 31, 2009 at 7:58 PM

if OUR President has the stones to step up the war in Afghanistahn, he actually could be credited for eliminating the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

The Bush team has essentially “loosened the tight jar lid” and Obama can crow about opening it…

George Will should stick to chess and baseball….

originalpechanga on August 31, 2009 at 7:58 PM

I spent 2 1/2 years there as a contractor working with the USAF. Pulling out would be a huge mistake. George Will has lost my readership. I have helped send, and seen too many flag draped coffins to have him say it’s a good idea to be offshore.

ATC Guy on August 31, 2009 at 7:58 PM

Cindy Munford on August 31, 2009 at 7:56 PM

Bingo!

catmman on August 31, 2009 at 7:58 PM

Given how feckless and incompetent our current CIC is, and how he’s gutting our intelligence services, I reluctantly agree with Will.

theCork on August 31, 2009 at 7:58 PM

Isn’t this basically John Murtha’s “over the horizon” strategy that everyone was laughing at a couple of years ago?

clearbluesky on August 31, 2009 at 7:59 PM

Maybe he`s pissed that Obama wore jeans in public.

ThePrez on August 31, 2009 at 7:59 PM

AQ & the Taliban are evil. We should not let such evil alone to fester and grown. And we are not going to be 100% effective in keeping those terrorists out of this country if we left them alone. Fight them over there and not here.

rbj on August 31, 2009 at 7:59 PM

When the going gets tough…

catmman on August 31, 2009 at 7:59 PM

Pakistan has nuclear weapons and is really the home of the Taliban and Al Qaeda more than Afghanistan at this point.

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 7:54 PM

But it wasn’t the home of the Taliban until after we invaded Afghanistan. Leave and they just go back to repressive the civilian population at North Korean type levels and plotting terrorist attacks – the exact same situation prior to 9/11.

That’s the ultimate flaw in your logic. You may not think it’s worth the blood and treasure, but the other option is worse.

BadgerHawk on August 31, 2009 at 7:59 PM

I’m in favor of pulling out conventional Infantry and then make this the playground for Special Operations Forces. How about WE play the insurgent game? SF kicked major ass when the war started in ’01. They could hammer the Taliban for years until the Taliban are no longer a viable force. Let’s not surrender, let’s restructure.

Mojave Mark on August 31, 2009 at 8:00 PM

Whatever happened to The Precedent’s declaration that he would go stomping all over Pakistan, killing jihadis left and right and snatching the nukes? That was the only policy of his that I ever agreed with, though I knew from the start that he was just lying, anyway. Afghanistan is the platform for Pakistan, and as such, is an exceedingly important area to remain in. We need to stay there until we get the guts to either clean up Pakistan’s nukes – which will have to be done at some point in the near-mid future. Afghanistan is also a buffer needed for Iran until their nukes are taken out and that nation is defanged.

If The Precedent and Traitor-in-Chief will not allow our soldiers to fight in a way that gives them the advantages they need, then he needs to be brought up on charges. Pulling out of Afghanistan is not a reasonable option – not even taking into account the effect on giving a huge win to the arab/persian/muslim world.

progressoverpeace on August 31, 2009 at 8:01 PM

So we should just let the Taliban take over the country again and stone women to death?

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 7:56 PM

I think we should keep our base in Bagram and use our military presence there as a justification for providing foreign aid to the government in Kabul in the form of a lease for the land we use. I think we should encourage our NATO allies and various NGO’s to do what they can to build schools, hospitals, and promote civil society in Kabul. And otherwise we should be focused on Pakistan. It’s not like Iraq. The country has ALREADY fallen apart. It’s a wasteland.

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:01 PM

I want to remind that fuck head, Will, about Uncle Jimbo’s video about war; and how you either win or loose. You don’t half ass it.

liquidflorian on August 31, 2009 at 8:01 PM

Mojave Mark on August 31, 2009 at 8:00 PM

i like it.

homesickamerican on August 31, 2009 at 8:01 PM

There are only two ways to fight a war:

1. Go b*lls-to-the-wall, with no restrictions. Pour in the necessary force, use your available tools and assets, and get ‘er done;

2. Lose.

Bush, like his daddy, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Truman and — to some extent — FDR before him, tried another way. After initial success, the whole thing got bogged down, every time.

Osama Obama won’t do that well. He has no feel for defending the country, and would rather send as many Americans as it takes off to die so the rest of the world will love his pathetic, totalitarian a$$.

Will is just having one of his increasing number of Senior Moments, I’d guess. I’d have some respect if he called for getting serious or getting out.

MrScribbler on August 31, 2009 at 8:01 PM

So we should just let the Taliban take over the country again and stone women to death?

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 7:56 PM

Yes because this war is just a distraction from the real war in Iraq…wait…

Weight of Glory on August 31, 2009 at 8:01 PM

MrScribbler on August 31, 2009 at 8:01 PM

Hear, hear!

progressoverpeace on August 31, 2009 at 8:03 PM

“WarOnTerror”, Sparky? “Do Us Harm”?

Jaibones on August 31, 2009 at 8:03 PM

But it wasn’t the home of the Taliban until after we invaded Afghanistan. Leave and they just go back to repressive the civilian population at North Korean type levels and plotting terrorist attacks – the exact same situation prior to 9/11.

BadgerHawk on August 31, 2009 at 7:59 PM

Didn’t we handle that problem with air strikes, special forces, and intelligence personnel? And pretty quickly at relatively little cost?

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:04 PM

Mike Yon said trust nothing coming out of Washington.

Case in point.

Christien on August 31, 2009 at 8:04 PM

Afghanistan was pointless. The Taliban is still there, and even the American-approved government is a corrupt Shari regime that imposes strict islamic codes. Basically, Taliban-lite.

So what was the point? To get Bin Laden? He went to Pakistan where he was under Pakistan protection, along with Omar. You remember Pakistan, right? Our stalwart ally in the war on terror?

The only way to be sure, is to nuke it from orbit. It’s cheaper too.

keep the change on August 31, 2009 at 8:04 PM

Maybe we should fight the war like we are going to win!
However that would mean we would actually have to call our enemy by name!

400lb Gorilla on August 31, 2009 at 8:06 PM

You do the opposite and treat it like the 51st state, 58th if you are getting technical (ha ha). You get grass roots on there asses.

tomas on August 31, 2009 at 8:06 PM

There are only two ways out of a war. Either you win, or you lose, which happens when one side no longer has the will (no pun intended) to fight. “Peace with honor” is losing with dishonor. Cease-fires prolong the conflict just as much as low-level continuing conflict.

There’s no question that the stakes in Afghanistan are high. That applies to both winning and losing; it’s not for nothing that Afghanistan has the reputation as the graveyard of empires. But we’re there now. Whether we should or shouldn’t be there is no longer a meaningful question.

So George Will has tired of war (again). He is a summer soldier and a fair-weather patriot. Sadly, that’s more patriotism than our President can claim.

NeighborhoodCatLady on August 31, 2009 at 8:06 PM

I’m in favor of pulling out conventional Infantry and then make this the playground for Special Operations Forces. How about WE play the insurgent game? SF kicked major ass when the war started in ‘01. They could hammer the Taliban for years until the Taliban are no longer a viable force. Let’s not surrender, let’s restructure.

Mojave Mark on August 31, 2009 at 8:00 PM

But that would further America’s traditional interests. What are Obama’s real interests. How is the Taliban something he finds abhorent? Is Obama a Shi’a or Sunni sympathizer? He seems to have an affinity for Iran as well. Let’s not assume that Obama backs the Karzai regime, or our original goals re. Afghan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

JiangxiDad on August 31, 2009 at 8:06 PM

I’m no military strategist.

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 7:54 PM

Nothing more needs to be said. I’ll leave such decisions to the generals and the troops on the ground.

Richard Romano on August 31, 2009 at 8:07 PM

This sounds like the old Baker/Hamilton plan for Iraq by another name, i.e. redeploy to get the troops safely out of harm’s way and then use precision strikes to take out terrorists while the country falls to pieces.

Maybe we could find a Chinese embassy or two to take out, while we’re at it. Seems like ol’ George went to a double header on Sunday and used his head to catch a foul tip.

By the way, if you take out a Chinese embassy, do you get egg roll with that?

VoyskaPVO on August 31, 2009 at 8:08 PM

Mike Yon said trust nothing coming out of Washington.

Case in point.

Christien on August 31, 2009 at 8:04 PM

Neither in foreign nor domestic policy.

JiangxiDad on August 31, 2009 at 8:08 PM

i think that obama is incapable of winning a war. he’ll either pull out, screw it up real bad, or keep fudging on it until our new republican president in ‘12 does what needs to be done.

homesickamerican on August 31, 2009 at 7:58 PM

I agree.
Obama will do whatever the democrats want him to do in this war. That is why 2012 is so important. We need a strong person to win this election.

cubachi on August 31, 2009 at 8:09 PM

nothing startlingJohn Derbyshire ain’t no pinko, but his attitude has always been “to Hell with it” towards Afghanistan

corona on August 31, 2009 at 8:09 PM

As for cut-and-run being advocated by some here, I hope hawkdriver doesn’t see this.

Christien on August 31, 2009 at 8:10 PM

So George Will has tired of war (again). He is a summer soldier and a fair-weather patriot. Sadly, that’s more patriotism than our President can claim.

NeighborhoodCatLady on August 31, 2009 at 8:06 PM

I know some of the commenters here like to knock Obama at every chance they get but POTUS is not the one advocating we leave Afghanistan here. George Will is.

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 8:10 PM

Seriously,if the phrase is,’getting worse’,is it by
design,or is the `rules of engagement for the theatre
of Afghanistan the same as Team Obama`s screw-ups of
the economy,clunkers cash and HealthCare debacles!!

I know one thing,if this was an all our war,like WW2,
and nobody was concerned about collateral damage,and
the full-might of the US Military was un-leashed,Jihadys
would think twice before sticking their heads out of their
caves!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just for once,I would love to see the US Military be allowed
to end this WAR,at all costs,and ordanance,like carpet bomb
ing runs as an example!!!!!

canopfor on August 31, 2009 at 8:11 PM

If BO has lost George Will then what?/s

d1carter on August 31, 2009 at 8:11 PM

Didn’t we handle that problem with air strikes, special forces, and intelligence personnel? And pretty quickly at relatively little cost?

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:04 PM

Who do we bomb? The Taliban will surround themselves with a civilian populace and every time you spot a target it will come with collateral damage.

Or we could do the difficult thing – expand our presence at a critical juncture – and gain (and hold) the initiative. More drones, more special forces, more snipers and more marines and infantry.

BadgerHawk on August 31, 2009 at 8:12 PM

This calls for solving two problems at once!

1. Redeploy the military to clear and secure sections of Afghanistan. Get the allies involved, even if only in defensive measures.

2. Start raiding businesses known to repeatedly hire illegal workers and instead of just tossing them back over the border sentence them to “community service” in Afghanistan rebuilding that pile of rocks. (Ever been by a Home Depot? Who’s there ready to help pour your concrete for a few dollars under the table?)

Soon there will be an experienced third world pool of cheap labor to rebuild and a seriously steep drop in illegal border crossings in the southwest.

Win / Win!

Browncoatone on August 31, 2009 at 8:12 PM

Nothing more needs to be said. I’ll leave such decisions to the generals and the troops on the ground.

Richard Romano on August 31, 2009 at 8:07 PM

Richard, do you really think we’ve been fighting this war the way the professionals in uniform wanted to?

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:12 PM

Yes, Let’s pull out and let the Talibam take over and we can have more 9/11′s. Lots of them.

Isn’t that why we went in there in the first place?

Hey Will, when venturing out of the your role as ABC’s token wet noodle republican…. stick to baseball.

katy on August 31, 2009 at 8:13 PM

Obama used Afghanistan to pummel Bush on Iraq and let people know he’s still reasonable on foreign policy. Honestly, I don’t think he’ll be able to pull out of Afghanistan before he pulls out of Iraq, so that’s a long way off. Right now, that’s a debate between people who took Obama at his word and want a troop increase(not happening) and peaceniks who want to pull out of everywhere and anywhere(also not happening).

promachus on August 31, 2009 at 8:13 PM

As for cut-and-run being advocated by some here, I hope hawkdriver doesn’t see this.

Christien on August 31, 2009 at 8:10 PM

Christien: Ya no kidding,its de-moralizing!:)

canopfor on August 31, 2009 at 8:13 PM

Who do we bomb? The Taliban will surround themselves with a civilian populace and every time you spot a target it will come with collateral damage.

Or we could do the difficult thing – expand our presence at a critical juncture – and gain (and hold) the initiative. More drones, more special forces, more snipers and more marines and infantry.

BadgerHawk on August 31, 2009 at 8:12 PM

Two questions:

1) Where do we get the money?
2) Do you believe Obama will do what is necessary to win and make sure the additional sacrifices of our troops will not be in vain?

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:14 PM

If McCain or Bush was president, I would stay and win…with this bozo I say pull out. Obama doesn’t have what it takes to win a war…it is long, costly, bloody, messy, and he isn’t man enough to lead the military.

right2bright on August 31, 2009 at 8:15 PM

Congressional liberal COWARDS sold us and our ally, The Republic of Vietnam down the river in 1975. We saw how that “peace” turned out. They’re back at it again.

WARNING TO ANY AND EVERY FOREIGN NATION THAT THINKS THE UNITED STATES IS A “FRIEND” or “ALLY”. WE CANNOT BE TRUSTED FOR ANYTHING. YOU CANNOT DEPEND UPON US FOR ANY SUPPORT WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH. WE’VE EVOLVED INTO A NATION OF SNIVELING COWARDS WHO DON’T HAVE THE BACKBONE TO HONOR OUR COMMITMENTS. Uhhh …. but we’re “green”, and “we tweet”.

“BACKBONE” IS A TERM LONG GONE FROM THE U.S. LEXICON.

bannedbyhuffpo on August 31, 2009 at 8:15 PM

Perhaps Will thinks Obama cannot/will not prosecute this war effectively and will only increase U.S. casualties? Lose now, rather than dragging it out and losing later? It’s the only reasoning that makes any sense. Except the senility thing…

ROCnPhilly on August 31, 2009 at 8:15 PM

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:12 PM

Do you really think your “withdraw now” proposal will be tolerated by men in uniform?

promachus on August 31, 2009 at 8:16 PM

Yes, Let’s pull out and let the Talibam take over and we can have more 9/11’s. Lots of them.

Isn’t that why we went in there in the first place?

Hey Will, when venturing out of the your role as ABC’s token wet noodle republican…. stick to baseball.

katy on August 31, 2009 at 8:13 PM

katy: According to Team Hopey,forget about Iraq,the ‘REAL
WAR’ was Afghanistan,as Obama has repeatedly said!!:)

canopfor on August 31, 2009 at 8:16 PM

If we are going to stay in Afghanistan I want us to be in it to win it, and I don’t get that from Obama. He’s not fond of the word “victory” after all.

American blood is too precious to be spilt with only a lukewarm commitment to success.

Either let our fine men and women of the Armed Forces do what they are so capable of doing or bring them home. One or the other.

Niere on August 31, 2009 at 8:16 PM

Break out the napalm, load up the jets, napalm the poppy fields and come home. Done Deal! Repeat yearly as necessary.

Wade on August 31, 2009 at 8:17 PM

Maybe George Will was finally convinced by “The One”…..

……… No, not that “One”, this “One”.

Seven Percent Solution on August 31, 2009 at 8:17 PM

I know some of the commenters here like to knock Obama at every chance they get but POTUS is not the one advocating we leave Afghanistan here. George Will is.

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 8:10 PM

Obama NEVER does anything himself. He always has someone else do it for him. In this case, grimma wormtongue whispering in someone’s ear.

Skandia Recluse on August 31, 2009 at 8:17 PM

Do you really think your “withdraw now” proposal will be tolerated by men in uniform?

promachus on August 31, 2009 at 8:16 PM

Based on my conversations with folks who have recently served I doubt that those currently in uniform trust the current government to fully back them and do what it takes to win.

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:18 PM

Win / Win!

Browncoatone on August 31, 2009 at 8:12 PM

Me likey…!

:O)

Seven Percent Solution on August 31, 2009 at 8:19 PM

Obama NEVER does anything himself. He always has someone else do it for him. In this case, grimma wormtongue whispering in someone’s ear.

Skandia Recluse on August 31, 2009 at 8:17 PM

If this is so why did President Obama just send more troops to Afghanistan if his ultimate plan is to cut and run? I don’t get it.

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 8:20 PM

Perhaps Will thinks Obama cannot/will not prosecute this war effectively and will only increase U.S. casualties? Lose now, rather than dragging it out and losing later? It’s the only reasoning that makes any sense. Except the senility thing…

ROCnPhilly on August 31, 2009 at 8:15 PM

ROCnPhilly:Oh Obama will prosecute the war alright,each and
every soldier will get the CIA interrogation and
lawyer opinion scrutiny treatment!!(Sarc):)

canopfor on August 31, 2009 at 8:20 PM

Christien: Ya no kidding,its de-moralizing!:)

canopfor on August 31, 2009 at 8:13 PM

No, a smart military man knows when to pull back…when faced with insurmountable odds, in this case incompetent leadership, you don’t risk your most valuable asset in an almost sure loss.
There is no regret in living another day, to fight the good battle…and a dead hero does no one any good.
Margaret Thatcher said that the hardest thing a leader does, is choose the battles that can be won, and not to enter the battles that will be lost…your job as a leader is to protect your interest first. Your interest and another countries interest do not always coincide.
In this case, our interest, our leadership, does not compute to a win…
So I will ask what was asked of Bush…Where is the exit strategy?

right2bright on August 31, 2009 at 8:20 PM

1) Where do we get the money?
2) Do you believe Obama will do what is necessary to win and make sure the additional sacrifices of our troops will not be in vain?

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:14 PM

Valid questions:

1) China. Wars are one of the few things where it’s ok for the government to spend money it doesn’t have.

2) Read my first comment in the thread. The left will not abandon him over Afghanistan. He has much more to lose from getting out than he has to gain. So while I don’t think he personally has what it takes, politically I’m more comfortable with him on this issue.

BadgerHawk on August 31, 2009 at 8:20 PM

Based on my conversations with folks who have recently served I doubt that those currently in uniform trust the current government to fully back them and do what it takes to win.

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:18 PM

Same, there is a difference as to being led by a “Carter” or a Bush…A Teddy Roosevelt, or Obama…the military know it.
Kennedy, what did he do with our military? Hang them out to dry at the Bay of Pigs…that what poor leadership does.

right2bright on August 31, 2009 at 8:22 PM

Hussein has never tossed an ounce of love towards our Military, if they must stay in Afganastan, let him have no knowledge of what they are doing, hussein doesn’t want America to win at anything.

christene on August 31, 2009 at 8:24 PM

1) China. Wars are one of the few things where it’s ok for the government to spend money it doesn’t have.

2) Read my first comment in the thread. The left will not abandon him over Afghanistan. He has much more to lose from getting out than he has to gain. So while I don’t think he personally has what it takes, politically I’m more comfortable with him on this issue.

BadgerHawk on August 31, 2009 at 8:20 PM

You make a good case on point 2. I don’t share your confidence but I’ll concede that it’s arguable. But on point 1….I don’t see the expense being justified for anything beyond what needs to be done to target the Al Qaeda forces along the border and in Pakistan.

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:24 PM

In WW2 we effected the popular collapse of German Nazism, Italian Fascism, and Japanese militarism by waging total war until a mechanized society was crippled and respectively 11%, 8% and 6% of the general public was dead and something like 1/3 military-age males.

In Afghanistan we’re not only avoiding those sorts of casualty figures, we’re not only repeating the “safe-haven” failure of Nam-Cambodia-Laos-China, we’re going one step further into failure and PLANNING for the Taliban to remain within Afghanistan as a coherent political movement. Even in Nam we were fighting to draw a line on the map and all the jerks would be on the wrong side of it if we won. We are PLANNING for the Taliban to be inside democratic Afghanistan.

In war there are no unplanned-for victories.

The Afghan people who will not fight the Taliban are our enemy, just as the German worker was our enemy, and the Japanese peasant was our enemy, and the Vietnamese farmer was our enemy. We treated the first two as our enemy and won. We tried to excuse the third and lost. We are going to lose Afghanistan through “mercy”, and the result will not only be the second Taliban massacre of millions of Afghans over another decade-long civil war, but wars elsewhere when it becomes clear America won’t win, even if New York City is hit.

Chris_Balsz on August 31, 2009 at 8:27 PM

So while I don’t think he personally has what it takes, politically I’m more comfortable with him on this issue.

BadgerHawk on August 31, 2009 at 8:20 PM

I know you don’t mean this…but it seems like you are saying that you are willing to have our men be lead by weak leadership, because politically you are comfortable.
Military objective and political objective have to be in sync…we should all know that by now.
Iraq was a military war, driven for a political purpose, the freedom of a country…I am not sure we know what the political goal is, to save a political party embarrassment? And led by a CINC that has no experience, no knowledge of military?

right2bright on August 31, 2009 at 8:27 PM

If this is so why did President Obama just send more troops to Afghanistan if his ultimate plan is to cut and run? I don’t get it.

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 8:20 PM

Unfortunately, politics plays a big role in war in this day and age. Obama has to look tough on terror and terrorists. My big issue is the fact that he made much political hay on Afghanistan, particularly with charges of lack of strategy. He still has formed no strategy or objectives. He has compounded the problems of strategy and favorable objectives by instituting new rules of engagement and the ongoing battle with the CIA. Both of these will hamper strategy and objectives.

ICBM on August 31, 2009 at 8:29 PM

Based on my conversations with folks who have recently served I doubt that those currently in uniform trust the current government to fully back them and do what it takes to win.

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:18 PM

I hear the same shinny. Troops moral at Clinton era lows and headed lower. Can’t imagine the intelligence agency’s any better. The re-up numbers will tell us more.

Wade on August 31, 2009 at 8:29 PM

If this is so why did President Obama just send more troops to Afghanistan if his ultimate plan is to cut and run? I don’t get it.

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 8:20 PM

Hey terryannonline! Here’s your answer:

each and every soldier will get the CIA interrogation and lawyer opinion scrutiny treatment!!(Sarc):)

canopfor on August 31, 2009 at 8:20 PM

Obama hates the military, too.

ROCnPhilly on August 31, 2009 at 8:30 PM

Ok for those of you saying Obama wants us to lose in Afghanistan…

How does it help troop morale by saying their Commander in Chief wants them to lose? I don’t see how that helps anybody.

I find it unseemly that some commenter will say that Obama wants us to lose in Afghanistan. This is a very difficult time in Afghanistan. The Left is not morally supporting the Commander in Chief….maybe conservatives should step and offer some moral support….not knock Obama.

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 8:31 PM

Will has read his history and is dead right on this one. Get out; now and permanently. Leave tomorrow. We don’t need body bags of our children courtesy of Obama’s failed policy. The bad guys left for Somalia and Yemen, and that’s where the fight must be taken. CTF151 is on station and ready.

MarkT on August 31, 2009 at 8:31 PM

Leaving wars that a Republican administration will have to fight along with losing many more US lives lost.

Hening on August 31, 2009 at 8:32 PM

If this is so why did President Obama just send more troops to Afghanistan if his ultimate plan is to cut and run? I don’t get it.

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 8:20 PM

Weren’t those the Marines out of Iraq? Troop movements set up by the evil warmongering BUSH? Before Obama was even president? Obama did nothing, in fact the message from Obama was “don’t even think about asking for more troops” (Do I have to look up the story in the ‘Post?)

Skandia Recluse on August 31, 2009 at 8:33 PM

But on point 1….I don’t see the expense being justified for anything beyond what needs to be done to target the Al Qaeda forces along the border and in Pakistan.

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:24 PM

What did 9/11 cost economically? The war in Afghanistan is pennies on the dollar compared to a repeat of that. But your point is also arguable. I’d prefer a two or so year push to take control of the country, followed by a primarily SF/drone based plan.

but it seems like you are saying that you are willing to have our men be lead by weak leadership, because politically you are comfortable.

right2bright on August 31, 2009 at 8:27 PM

I don’t make the statement callously. I have skin in the game, and I’m personally comfortable that President Obama has the political cover/ concerns to override his personal squeamish/ outright disdain for American military action.

BadgerHawk on August 31, 2009 at 8:36 PM

I’m all for pulling out now. Let them fight among themselves for a while.

China and Russia have a lot at stake in that region. Let them work it for a while. Actually, I think China could have it pretty much in hand after a year.

jaime on August 31, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Is George Will purposely screwing with liberal minds? “OMG! George Will says we should get out! That means we gotta stay! Er…wait a minute, it’s a trick, or is it?”

“Obamassiah, help us!”

On the other hand, I guess Will has never realized that you win a war by giving up ground. Pretty hard to ‘win hearts and minds’ when you leave those people to a bunch of thugs. Thugs who really do know how to TORTURE.

GarandFan on August 31, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Alas, George Will.

Seems to have caught State Department Syndrome….

What a shame.

Mew

acat on August 31, 2009 at 8:38 PM

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said any recommendation for more forces would have to address his concerns that the foreign military presence in Afghanistan could become too large and be seen by Afghans as a hostile occupying force.

“Clearly, I want to address those issues and we will have to look at the availability of forces, we’ll have to look at costs. There are a lot of different things that we’ll have to look at,” he told reporters.

“While there’s a lot of gloom and doom going around … I think we have some assets in place and some developments that hold promise,” Gates said on a visit to a Lockheed Martin factory building F-35 fighter jets in Fort Worth, Texas.

They slaughtered 3800 Americans on American soil– we ARE a hostile force, and we’re there to CONQUER! Supposedly.

Chris_Balsz on August 31, 2009 at 8:38 PM

I’m not sure there’s any way for the Americans to pacify Afghanistan without first destroying the wealthy muslim powers and taking what’s left of their wealth. Without wealthy patrons, many muslims will still be hideous, but it’s likely they will much more closely approximate harmlessness.

At any rate, I don’t see why the Americans of the right should refrain from profiting from the defeat of their enemies. Consider that the American left-”liberals” are quite willing to profit from the defeat of their enemies. It seems that’s why they fought, and fought to win, and did win.

Kralizec on August 31, 2009 at 8:39 PM

I’d prefer a two or so year push to take control of the country, followed by a primarily SF/drone based plan.

BadgerHawk on August 31, 2009 at 8:36 PM

My understanding is that they are talking about A LOT MORE than two years. And they are not talking about a push to secure the country but rather a sustained effort to engage in nation building.

D0WNT0WN on August 31, 2009 at 8:40 PM

On another post, I perdicted that this would happen if the situation in Afghanistan worsened which apparently it is doing. From many of the posts here, I can see already that many are loosing confidence that we can beat the Taliban. Unfortunately if we fold now, in a few years we will have to start all over again. Muslim terrorism is not going to go away all by itself.

docdave on August 31, 2009 at 8:41 PM

Ok for those of you saying Obama wants us to lose in Afghanistan…

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 8:31 PM

Actually, I don’t think Obama wants to lose in Afghanistan. But only because it’s his war now. Our loyal men and women in the U.S. armed forces don’t need to read HotAir comments to know how Obama feels about the military. He’s releasing our enemies and trying to prosecute our intelligence operatives. What could be clearer than that?

ROCnPhilly on August 31, 2009 at 8:42 PM

How about we stop dicking around and go after the Taliban and Al-Qaeda where they live in the Tribal areas of Pakistan. Cut off their supplies and routes of escape then crush them once and for all.

Hellrider on August 31, 2009 at 8:44 PM

I’m not sure there’s any way for the Americans to pacify Afghanistan without first destroying the wealthy muslim powers and taking what’s left of their wealth. Without wealthy patrons, many muslims will still be hideous, but it’s likely they will much more closely approximate harmlessness.

Kralizec on August 31, 2009 at 8:39 PM

Yep. I like to say that the arab/persian/muslim war against us starts and stops with control of the gulf oil fields. I’m not sure if you meant that, exactly, but that’s how I see it.

progressoverpeace on August 31, 2009 at 8:45 PM

From many of the posts here, I can see already that many are loosing confidence that we can beat the Taliban.

docdave on August 31, 2009 at 8:41 PM

I don’t think anyone has lost confidence that we can whip the Taliban. The question is whether The Precedent will let us, or will set our soldiers up as targets, and he clearly prefers the latter. The fact that he hasn’t reacted to the increasing casualties says all anyone needs to know about his attitude. I just hope that ground commanders take enough leeway in the execution of their orders. But we’re already Mirandizing detainees on foreign soil, so it’s a tough position to start from.

progressoverpeace on August 31, 2009 at 8:49 PM

Yep. I like to say that the arab/persian/muslim war against us starts and stops with control of the gulf oil fields. I’m not sure if you meant that, exactly, but that’s how I see it.

progressoverpeace on August 31, 2009 at 8:45 PM

And… We should expand U.S. drilling now and drive oil prices so low they can’t make a profit selling the stuff. Keeps ‘em quiet.

ROCnPhilly on August 31, 2009 at 8:50 PM

Hears a novel idea .How about these air heads so called conservative pundits and the know nothing politicians shut the hell up get out of the military’s way and let them win this war.

thmcbb on August 31, 2009 at 8:54 PM

Wonder why AP isn’t posting this ad by a wonderful rural republican

Afrolib on August 31, 2009 at 8:59 PM

Ok for those of you saying Obama wants us to lose in Afghanistan…

How does it help troop morale by saying their Commander in Chief wants them to lose? I don’t see how that helps anybody.

I find it unseemly that some commenter will say that Obama wants us to lose in Afghanistan. This is a very difficult time in Afghanistan. The Left is not morally supporting the Commander in Chief….maybe conservatives should step and offer some moral support….not knock Obama.

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 8:31 PM

Secy. Gates and Adm. Mullen and NATO and Pres. Karzai are not planning on winning this war, and the best we on the Home Front can do for the military is express our extreme discontent with that fact.

When we are committing to destroying our enemy until he begs off suicidal holy war, as we did in WW2, then troop morale will follow.

I don’t pretend the military can be gung-ho for a war to a cease-fire, and I think they’ll be the first to tell.

Chris_Balsz on August 31, 2009 at 9:00 PM

From Reuters:

TROOP INCREASE DIFFICULT

A further increase could be politically difficult for Obama, with members of his Democratic Party increasingly uneasy about the war and congressional elections due next year.

The White House sought on Monday to pin the blame for the grave state of the war in Afghanistan on the Bush administration, which made Iraq its top military priority.

“This was underresourced, underfunded, undermanned and ignored for years,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

“The president is focused on ensuring that we meet
measurable benchmarks. … It’s going to take some doing.”
____________________________________

My question: What and where are the benchmarks?

ICBM on August 31, 2009 at 9:03 PM

I am not surprised by Will’s current error-ridden piece on Afghanistan. He would have lost the Iraq War.

As much as Will writes well about such domestic issues as limited government and financial sanity, he writes idiotic drivel concerning foreign policy.

Phil Byler on August 31, 2009 at 9:05 PM

As an army veteran, I’m certainly no pacifist, but if we aren’t going to “fight to win” I don’t think we should be fighting at all. Ever since ‘Nam – when politicians took total control of the execution of the war – we’ve lost sight of the fact that wars cost lives – American lives and those American lives are NOT pawns to be moved about the battlefield with “acceptable loses” being absorbed on a daily basis. That’s more or less what’s been happening ever since the Johnson debacle in Vietnam – with the lone exception of the ’91 Gulf War.

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf had a plan, executed the plan almost perfectly and it was over and done with in record breaking time.

I fully understand the complexity of fighting a guerrilla style enemy; an enemy that wears no uniform, hides behind the skirts of its women and uses children and hospitals as shields. It’s not an easy task. But, what we’re doing in Afghanistan just doesn’t seem to have a real plan. And, even if we DID have a plan to “win” against the Taliban and AQ, we’d have to spend considerable time fighting inside of Pakistan’s borders.

Today, I don’t agree with Will. But, I’d really like to see some “military types” making the critical decisions in that region…rather than turning our kids into political pawns in yet another of the world’s hell-holes.

GoldenEagle4444 on August 31, 2009 at 9:08 PM

ROCnPhilly on August 31, 2009 at 8:50 PM

Indeed. An aggressive energy policy is the only way to go. For the good of security, economics, and our monetary situation. Unfortunately, the left wants us to feel the pain of the third world. It’s their dream. And they like to argue for their policies holding the lottery ticket of free, clean energy. They get to float above the clouds, high on their childish fantasies, as they set us all on the path to servitude to the state, pain, and stagnation.

progressoverpeace on August 31, 2009 at 9:08 PM

I suppose it depends on how many Afghanis are Taliban or Taliban Sympathizers. You can kill Taliban but how do you change imbedded Islamic extremism? Are most Afghanis like Mullah Omar or like Hamid Karai? If most are like Mullah Omar we need to withdraw and come home.

Dennis D on August 31, 2009 at 9:09 PM

How does it help troop morale by saying their Commander in Chief wants them to lose? I don’t see how that helps anybody.

terryannonline on August 31, 2009 at 8:31 PM

Would you rather we lied to them? We are reaching a point where the commanders had better pay attention to Osama Obama’s lunacy and start making contingency plans to protect the troops….

Our military can defeat any enemy on the globe. Untie their freekin’ hands and they can make short work of the Taliban. Or Iran. It is only when our “leaders” play their namby-pamby State Department games that we sacrifice people and resources needlessly.

MrScribbler on August 31, 2009 at 9:10 PM

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