Interview: Michael Yon, live from Afghanistan

posted at 8:48 am on September 3, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Just a few minutes ago, I spoke with Michael Yon, who called from somewhere in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to speak to Michael since the George Will column demanding a withdrawal from the Af-Pak theater, and Michael disagreed with Will’s analysis — especially with the idea that we could switch tactics to long-range attacks on terrorist camps and have that be sufficient. Michael doesn’t blame the American people for losing patience, but says that’s exactly what we need, and that we can still win in the long term.

I also asked Michael about his disembed order from the British Ministry of Defense, and he’s as mystified as the rest of us. We talked about the Pentagon scandal of screening embed reporters for pro-military bent, and the enduring impulse of CYA. Be sure to watch it all.

Don’t forget to hit Michael’s tip jar, either. Michael operates as an independent reporter, which means his mission depends on reader contributions. Let’s keep this independent voice operating for our benefit in Afghanistan.

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Michael Yon’s accounts from our troops are the best. Glad to know he’s safe and well. Our prayers are with our troops, God bless them!

While Obama’s contemplating what his generals are telling him, what commitments to make in Afghanistan, HIS WAR, he’s plotting his eventual withdrawal.

How will Obama get out of Afghanistan? Cede the battle to Russia that wants it back. “We want to be inside” Obama’s @ss. God knows, Obama doesn’t know how to allow our military to win, refusing to observe his own advice to “Just be quiet and get out of the way.” But Obama knows well how to serve Marxism; that is ALL he knows: Sabotage our Constitutional Government, defeat our own military from Washington, sell us all down the river.

By James G. Neuger, Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) —

Russia is seeking a role in planning NATO’s war in Afghanistan two decades after Soviet forces were ejected from the country.

As East-West ties improve under President Obama, Russia wants to be involved in setting the political, military and intelligence strategy for the war against the Taliban, said Dmitry Rogozin, Russian ambassador to the alliance.

“We want to be inside,” Rogozin said, in English, in an interview in Brussels today. He spoke for the rest of the hour- long session through a Russian translator.

Obama’s already given everything from NASA to Russia, forfeiting America’s presence on the moon by prohibiting NASA from returning for the next 20 years, AS IF the moon isn’t the most important landing site and satellite defense center just outside our atmosphere that would provide for our own nation’s interest and security vs. nuclear blast EMP; AND Obama prohibits treaty-contracted US missile defense in Poland while tolerating-ignoring Russian missiles in Cuba and Venezuela from the Atlantic and Gulf and in the guise of defense vs. N.Korea, more Russian missiles set and prepared to take down Japan and Alaska from the far North Pacific and Bering Sea.

/Yes, I’m biased in favor of our national security.

maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 9:00 AM

At the rate Obama Inc. is moving, Micheal, there won’t be any long term anything- except totalitarianism. In the meantime, stay safe.

Fletch54 on September 3, 2009 at 9:19 AM

Micheal Yon is indispensable concerning reporting on what really is going on in the War on Terror.

To retreat in Afghanistan would be a huge victory for the jihadist, who all ready smell fear from the Obama administration:


New On MEMRI TV: Taliban Commander in Paktika Province Maulvi Sangin: America Seeks Escape Route From Afghanistan



“Allah willing, the Americans will certainly be defeated”

“They are already seeking an escape route
because the ground has begun to burn under their feet”

The weakness and policies of capitulation appear to be giving the jihadist in Iraq hope that they can continue their reign of terror after being all but struck down by the Bush administration:


Government Says August Was Bloodiest Month for Iraqis in Past Year
– [VOA]

http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-09-01-voa31.cfm

Iraqi government figures indicate August was the bloodiest month in the last 13 for Iraqi citizens. More than 450 Iraqi people were killed and more than 1,500 were wounded, giving rise to fresh worries over the security situation.

The Jihadist see the Obama administration for the paper tiger that Osama claimed we were years ago.

Obama and his democratic supporters bragged for months and months about their “smart power” and doing things their way.
As usual with liberals, the rhetoric does not match the results.

Obama has had “his plan” in place and people since January:


Military Ready To Implement Obama’s Plans

Joint Chiefs Chairman Says Forces Are Ready To Shift From Iraq To Afghanistan
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/18/iraq/main4615328.shtml?source=related_story

Obama, who has called Afghanistan an “urgent crisis,” said in a speech Oct. 22 that “it’s time to heed the call” from U.S. Gen. David McKiernan, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, for more U.S. troops.

urgent crises Obama says.
Yet he has almost ignored Afghanistan with his passing of 800 billion dollar pay for play bill,wasteful budget,taking over banks and businesses,and trying to take over health care.
Obama never speaks of victory in Afghanistan and rarely mentions the “good war”.

That’s not the sign of someone who considers Afghanistan an “urgent crises”.

Let’s remember on the campaign trail Obama was Mr. War Hawk and nothing was going to stop him from getting Osama and taking on the Jihadist in the “real war” instead of the “distraction” of Iraq:

(via mudvillegazette)

The rest: 100% pure Obama, distilled to its Afghan essence, the foundation of the official policy of the United States of America.
Enjoy.

http://www.mudvillegazette.com/032531.html

Al Qaeda is resurgent, stronger now than at any time since 2001. We took our eye off the ball. …they are more powerful now than at any time since we began the war in Afghanistan. That’s going to change when I’m president of the United States.
We will kill bin Laden; we will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority.


Whoa!!! Obama the War Hawk!!!!

…every intelligence agency will acknowledge that al Qaeda is the greatest threat against the United States and that Secretary of Defense Gates acknowledged the central front

– that the place where we have to deal with these folks is going to be in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.
They are plotting to kill Americans right now. As Secretary Gates, the defense secretary, said, the war against terrorism began in that region and that’s where it will end.


Obama sees how serious the threat is and realizes that it has to be dealt with when he was running for president.

You don’t muddle through the central front on terror and you don’t muddle through going after bin Laden. You don’t muddle through stamping out the Taliban. I think that is something we have to take seriously. And when I’m president, I will.


I guess that depends on what your definition of “muddle” is Obama.
Your own Generals state that a massive amount of resources and many more troops are needed.
Is Obama going to commit to winning like he stated on the campaign trail or “muddle” through and look for a way out to please the left.

No. 3, we’ve got to deal with Pakistan, because al Qaeda and the Taliban have safe havens in Pakistan, across the border in the northwest regions, and although, you know, under George Bush, with the support of Senator McCain, we’ve been giving them $10 billion over the last seven years, they have not done what needs to be done to get rid of those safe havens.


And until we do, Americans here at home are not going to be safe.

Obama knows that Pakistan has to be dealt with by destroying their support and camps for terrorism.

Obama states plain as day that if we do not achieve victory in the Afghanistan/Pakistan theater,Americans at home will not be safe.

Obama campaigned on it,repeated over and over,stated he could do it better and smarter.

Now that he has been elected, this is what we get from the Hustler and Chief:

Obama Administration Searching for an Exit Strategy in Afghanistan

BY Herschel Smith
5 days, 13 hours ago
http://www.captainsjournal.com/2009/07/15/obama-administration-searching-for-an-exit-strategy-in-afghanistan/

The president said he is looking for an exit strategy where the Afghan security forces, courts and government take more responsibility for the country’s security. That would enable U.S. and other international military forces to play a smaller role.

Whoa!!! what happened to Mr. war hawk!!!

We have to win!!!
We have to get Osama!!!
America won’t be safe if we don’t!!!

…..gets elected President….

We have to look for an exit strategy!!!!

“Hope and Change!!!….Hope and Change!!!!

Baxter Greene on September 3, 2009 at 9:31 AM

Dam#, sorry about the double post, the first one did not go through.

Baxter Greene on September 3, 2009 at 9:32 AM

Michael Yon, “Bad Medicine”–next read for us all. A direct link to it would be helpful, Ed.

The same mindset in Britain offended by Michael Yon’s dispatch, boycotting him via giving him the boot from his embed status, would be the same powers-that-be who’ve banned Dr. Michael Savage from Britain.

(Debate @ Cambridge in Britain requires entry, so how does that work? Cambridge Debate Team to defend the ban vs. free speech, Savage to defend free speech. At what point will HotAir/Malkin defend Savage’s position, regardless of his habitual self-defensive mannerisms? Don’t tell me HotAir is rooting vs. Savage because he’s rude. If rude were such an issue, Allahpundit would never have connected with Malkin. Give it a thread, Ed. Savage asked for advice last night. Give him your best effort. Mine would be for Savage to connect ASAP with Gingrich; get the hang of intelligent confrontation w/o option of hanging up on the opponent, and have the benefit of connecting with someone with connections. Savage has disparaged networking with politicians to date, being a purist. Don’t hold it against him for going it alone to date. There’s no need to kick a dog when he’s down, most particularly if it’s a great guard dog with a true heart behind that intelligently delivered ferocious bite to protect conservatism from Marxist aggressors. In the world of talk radio, Michael Savage is a patriotic warrior who deserves our well wishes, even if feelings have been injured. We can be bigger than small minded. If “tolerance” is ever to be rationed, start with granting Savage a portion.)

Our best wishes are directed to Michael Yon who’s been very savvy with networking, and gone out of his way to be fair minded with all things to consider. Keep real JOURNALISM alive with Michael Yon’s work.

maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Baxter, good link to Hirshell.

Obama made his remarks after an Oval Office meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. Talks between the two leaders included discussion of the Netherlands’ help with the U.S.-led effort to defeat Taliban and al-Qaida forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Dutch combat troops have been a mainstay among the allied forces fighting in the volatile southern reaches of Afghanistan.

IF ONLY Obama would take the cue from the Netherlands re: immigrants. Holland gave the official boot to an influential jihadist Islamic professor whom Bush banned from America, BUT Obama specifically welcomes into our university system to educate Americans in the ways of Islamic Jihad. Obama’s made clear his “righteous” interpretation of Jihad, to purify us all via the vengeful wrath of “mercy”. Obama affects America suffering FURTHER devastation from Islamofascist terrorists, compounded by importing the same enemy combatants from GITMO into our overcrowded prison systems already rioting pre-terrorist implants.

Impeach Obama

maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Russia is seeking a role in planning NATO’s war in Afghanistan two decades after Soviet forces were ejected from the country.

It’s beginning.

“Charlie Wilson’s War” – in REVERSE

jake-the-goose on September 3, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Michael Yon, Bad Medicine

maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 10:03 AM

So what gives to HotAir not accepting links to Michael Yon’s articles from his Online Magazine? Protecting Yon’s copyright includes not sharing online link?

maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 10:06 AM

So link up from right margin of HotAir homepage.

maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 10:07 AM

” But Obama knows well how to serve Marxism; that is ALL he knows: Sabotage our Constitutional Government, defeat our own military from Washington, sell us all down the river.
maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Dead on Maverick.

I like this point of the article also:

President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia is prepared to cooperate with the U.S. to bring order to Afghanistan, though officials have made clear that Russia won’t commit troops.

Basically NATO wants in on the goods without spilling any of it’s own blood.

Mr. Hope and Change that was supposed to make the world love us again is merely the guy you bring along because he is buying the beer.Nobody respects him or cares what he has to say.Obama has not been able to get any real international help, just photo ops.

Just what we need is for Russia to come in to Afghanistan and help it develop a nuclear arsenal like it helped Iran.

“smart power” indeed.

Baxter Greene on September 3, 2009 at 10:18 AM

while i don’t pretend to know/understand military or geo/political strategy, this one kernel of truth stands out, even to me.

we are not committed. fish or cut bait. our soldiers deserve that from their CinC.

kelley in virginia on September 3, 2009 at 10:21 AM

BUT Obama specifically welcomes into our university system to educate Americans in the ways of Islamic Jihad.
maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Obama and his liberal supporters strongly believe that capitulation to jihadist will diffuse their hate and make them love us.

Muslims violently detest homosexuality,killing people for it in many of their countries.

liberals have no problem with it.

Muslims defy any women’s rights what so ever.Having laws that allow them to be raped or murdered it they step out of line.

liberals have no problem with it.

Muslims want a country run like a theocracy.

liberals have no problem with it.

They give the muslim population a total pass on this while they try to crucify Miss. California because she doesn’t believe in gay marriage.

Kind of like watching all the bogus women’s rights groups
that loved and supported Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy.

Everything’s okay as long as it advances their liberal agenda.

Obama is using this same tactic with Ahmadinejad.There is no telling what Obama is going to give up in pursuit of some faux agreement that will make him look like some great peaceful negotiator but in reality make the jihadist stronger and deadlier.

Surrender in Afghanistan will only make this worse as America will look weak and incapable of fighting terrorism. Ahmadinejad will surely give up nothing to the weak,paper tiger Obama administration.

Throw in an internal war against our intelligence agencies that will freeze up much of the intel we used to get and you can bet that Obama is going to get a lot of people killed with his narcissistic policies of appeasement.

Baxter Greene on September 3, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Did anyone listen to Yon? He said that Afghan tribesmen have no sense of an Afghanistan nationstate, which means that we are trying to impose that concept upon tribes in a geograpic area shown on our maps, not theirs. That will take us 20 years minimum. He also said “If we were not already in Afghanistan, it would be crazy to go there with a plan to create an Afghan state.” He also said he does not believe in being there to stop Al Queda since Al Queda can set up anywhere. So the clear fact remains that we are intentionally escalating troops and mission there for a sure defeat. Now why would a conservative, pro-victory American favor that? Only an anti-war and anti-victory Progressive who wants to see us defeated and demoralised and forever distrusting the American Military’s power and usefulness would favor staying to be targets in this Afghan Ambush Training Center for Jihadists all for NO necessary reason.

jimw on September 3, 2009 at 10:39 AM

we are not committed. fish or cut bait. our soldiers deserve that from their CinC.

kelley in virginia on September 3, 2009 at 10:21 AM

That is why I am really paying attention to what our Vietnam Vets have to say about this.

Bush made mistakes like all Presidents do in war(FDR’s mistakes accounted for thousands and thousands of deaths)
but our armed forces knew that he was committed to victory and giving the commanding officers what they wanted.

Obama campaigns that he wants to win and if we don’t
“America will not be safe”.

But now that he has won the election and his domestic policies are blowing up in his face,he is looking for an exit strategy.
A slow bleed of resources to keep the press off his back and lessen the political fallout of capitulation in Afghanistan will mirror Vietnam in many ways.
We can’t let this President play politics with the lives of our Soldiers.
If he is not committed to winning,don’t sacrifice our Soldiers for his political games,pull out and suffer the consequences.
Obama will not be able to blame it on Bush when reams and reams of video are running showing the Taliban and Al-qaeda dancing in the streets claiming victory.
It will be on Mr. “smart power’s” watch.

Baxter Greene on September 3, 2009 at 10:46 AM

First of all Thank you for the article Ed!
Michael as a Nam Vet(69-70) with an active duty son now serving in Afghanistan I want to thank you for your outstanding reports from downrange. It’s good to hear from qualified people with actual boots on the ground!Thank you for your service sir, God Bless and stay safe as possible!

Eagles Dominion on September 3, 2009 at 10:48 AM

Lengthy comments and comments with links will get held in moderation. Please don’t double-post, and please don’t assume we have some dark agenda against the person I’m interviewing and plugging in this post. Just wait patiently until AllahP or I get a chance to approve it.

Ed Morrissey on September 3, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Please don’t double-post,
Ed Morrissey on September 3, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Sorry about that Captain.

Baxter Greene on September 3, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Bad Medicine on Pharmacy Road

great read

gotta love that dog

The friendly attack dog. A dog handler recently told me he was urinating when an Afghan soldier tried to grab his willy. The handler said the dog bit the Afghan soldier who needed a few stitches.

It’s as if governments involved in the Afghan war deny that opium has anything to do with it. Any reference whatsoever to the substance will get you banned, not to mention painting a realistic picture for everyone back home to envision. Governments want the public to stay out of everything, “to just be quiet and get out of the way” as Obama puts it, and leave politics to the politicians.

Parallels above reiterate again the topic correlation between Yon the journalist and Savage the talk show host, for having addressed topics motivating bans from the thin skinned current British government, Yon for having painted the reality vision for the reader to experience.

Well done, Yon.

maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 10:51 AM

forgive the off topoic post but
Olympia snowejob needs to be stopped !
Call her office and say you are from Maine and represent a group of seniors against obamacare. It doesn’t matter if you don’t live in Maine. Find a zip code and town name off the net and call her now. Or say you are a moderate dem who voted for her, and you are against obamacare or any public option. We need to burn her local Maine offices as well as Washington. Call her now before she caves to the libs. Call her now!!!!

texaninfidel on September 3, 2009 at 10:51 AM

…don’t assume we have some dark agenda–Ed.

Didn’t. Simply curious why Yon links, regardless of brevity, don’t link as others do on HotAir, as I’ve tried of previous days as well. I assumed it had something to do with software and Yon’s protection of his own copyright material. Hardly a dark agenda vs. a Hot Link ally being interviewed, headlining thread. What on earth motivated a charge of assuming a conspiracy theory from this end? Nada.

Yon’s premise that Afghanistan’s emergence from 3rd world status will take a century of committed aid is understood. Who will commit to such lengths? (Russia)

maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 11:02 AM

Ed – how about a downloadable MP3 link? I can’t listen at the office and it would make a great listen on the commute home.

Grantman on September 3, 2009 at 11:03 AM

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/03/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Thunder_Run on September 3, 2009 at 11:10 AM

jimw on September 3, 2009 at 10:39 AM

There could be another way. Don’t ask me what exactly. But Yon also made the point that from our PREVIOUS stint in Afghanistan, their population in general have a positive rather than negative impression of Americans. Afghanistan also knows from our previous departure that though we may have “good intentions”, America is as fickle as elections turn the tables. I think if Americans would accept the Afghan Tribal Culture rather than attempting to homogenize the tribes into a national identity as occurred in Iraq, that in this instance, our good intentions would have better affect with greater endurance in effect. And whatever American participation to conjoin with Afghan tribes to empower beyond opium for existence above the status quo modus operandi, whatever that participation would be, should be the focus of conservatives to discover and empower, not necessarily “by the sword” of military intervention, but not necessarily banning military action. It’s not so much nation building that needs to occur in Afghanistan’s Tribal Culture, but literate education beyond Islamic scripture that they already know by heart accompanied by their own mercantile mercantile industry, fabricating clothing and homeware. They seem to have the clay down pat with fortressed walls for insulated homes and schools. America’s “green” builders could benefit from such attention. But given earthquakes, they could stand more structural concrete/metal framing.

Yon made the point that an American citizen can travel “safer” from attack than a member of a foreign military unit, though certainly not any safer from booby traps.

I suppose it boils down to volunteerism, NOT as Christian or Muslim religious order missionaries, but as American service working volunteers similar to JFK’s Peace Corp.

Perhaps Obama may actually send his organizing American volunteers to replace his troops to work as teachers with Afghan tribes when he eventually pulls out. Too bad whatever Obama does is meant to enhance global Marxism.

maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Great interview. Thank you very much for that

jdmccomb on September 3, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Michael doesn’t blame the American people for losing patience, but says that’s exactly what we need, and that we can still win in the long term.

Win what? Oh, that’s right, just win. I won! I won! I won! What did you win? I don’t know, but I won! Maybe it was just a Mullah’s Hemorrhoid, and it cost me an arm and a leg and a small fortune, but I won!

How long is “in the long term”? It has already been 8 years so “in the long term” would have to be a lot longer than that, so I guess about another 8 years? Another 16 years?

We are now at the point in Afghanistan that we were in Vietnam in 1964 (that’s as good a guess as any) when LBJ decided that the way to go was persist and escalate. How did that work out?

Hubris. Hubris. Hubris.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
- George Santayana

MB4 on September 3, 2009 at 12:53 PM

Imagine that Obama’s speech to congress somehow is a big success and his ObamaCare passes.

Now fast forward 8 years and, well, things ain’t going so well. Big and escalating costs. Doctors leaving practice. Rationing. How many folks will respond well to, “This is vital. We need to be patient. We will win this thing if we just persevere long enough”?

How about if Obama’s energy plans pass?

Again, fast forward 8 years and, well, things ain’t going so well. Big and escalating cost. Brownouts. Blackouts. Long gas lines. How many folks will respond well to, “This is so vital. We need to be patient. We will win this thing if we just persevere long enough”?

MB4 on September 3, 2009 at 1:19 PM

According to multiple (angry) sources, McChrystal — our top soldier on the ground — intended to ask for 28,000 more US troops. A presidential hatchet man directed the general not to make the request: Troop increases would be “addressed separately.”

Worried about his poll numbers, our president’s making a bad situation worse. He’s given McChrystal the impossible mission of turning Afghan Flintstones into Jetsons, while starving him of means.

This violates a fundamental principle of the American way of war: Once the president assigns the mission, the commander must receive due consideration when he asks for the necessary resources.

Obama’s message to McChrystal was “Just don’t ask.”

I don’t believe the general’s correct, but he has a right to be heard. Any decision about troop levels should be made based upon the facts on the ground, not politics. By playing along with White House censorship, McChrystal’s allowing himself to be used as a political tool. That’s not a proper role for any general.

When the military fails to speak the truth in wartime, the republic suffers. And the republic is more important than any floundering presidential administration.

As Post readers know, I believe that our present approach to Afghanistan is wrongheaded. And more troops aren’t the answer — we should maintain a smaller, ruthless force on the ground that concentrates strictly on killing our enemies.

Instead, we’re squandering blood and treasure to prop up a fantastically corrupt government in Kabul that’s despised by the population. We’ve allowed the Taliban to dominate the information war by bowing to their exaggerated or fabricated claims — seconded by the unscrupulous Karzai government — about civilian casualties from our air attacks.

The Taliban wants to deny us the use of our airpower — and we fell for it. Unable to think beyond the last century’s counterinsurgency theories, McChrystal severely restricted air and indirect fire support to our troops.

But the “no rounds on civilian compounds” rule has been a vain attempt to win hearts and minds: We’re still not liked by the locals, but restrictions on supporting fires squander American lives.

The administration preferred a politically expedient blah-blah “report” that grants the White House a time-out. But there’s no time-out for our soldiers and Marines (our enemies won’t listen to the ref). Guess who pays the price while Obama plays Hamlet?

Yet Afghanistan is worthless. Worthless. Repairing Afghan irrigation ditches has zero effect on al Qaeda’s will to win. Killing terrorists is the only thing that works. And there isn’t a single al Qaeda terrorist left in Afghanistan.

As for all those dire warnings that we mustn’t allow Afghanistan to become a terrorist haven again, that’s why we should maintain a compact, lethal force on the ground that backs our national interests — not a predatory Afghan government that’s turned out to be the Taliban’s best friend.

But American lives are cheap to American ideologues (on both political extremes). So we’ve got a president terrified of taking a stand, a muzzled general, a muddled policy, and our magnificent troops employed as political pawns. In comparison, Vietnam was a model of clarity and purpose.


MB4 on September 3, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Well, if the neophyte in chief won’t listen to the generals then the war is lost.

Maybe he is like Hitler after all?

Cr4sh Dummy on September 3, 2009 at 3:41 PM

There is a way in the long run to “win” in Afghanistan – but what is the long run and how much are we willing to pay to achieve that “win?” I would argue that the long run is 20 – 30 years and the price is not worth it. As a country we cannot continue to spend our blood and treasure to grow democracy in infertile soil. I would argue we are better off allowing Afghanistan to descend back into a bloody civil war and into an environment that cannot prevent AQ or the Taliban from growing and doing bad things. We can monitor and watch what goes on and spend less money in the long run by going in as often as necessary to cripple the capability of the bad guys.

King of the Britons on September 3, 2009 at 3:51 PM

There is a way in the long run to “win” in Afghanistan – but what is the long run and how much are we willing to pay to achieve that “win?” I would argue that the long run is 20 – 30 years and the price is not worth it. As a country we cannot continue to spend our blood and treasure to grow democracy in infertile soil. I would argue we are better off allowing Afghanistan to descend back into a bloody civil war and into an environment that cannot prevent AQ or the Taliban from growing and doing bad things. We can monitor and watch what goes on and spend less money in the long run by going in as often as necessary to cripple the capability of the bad guys.

King of the Britons on September 3, 2009 at 3:51 PM

Aside from being immoral, there are a lot of things wrong with that. First, we essentially did that after Operation Cyclone. The end result was the Taliban. Second, if we yield it would be a tremendous propaganda coup for the Taliban and Al Qaeda, who are currently in a state of disarray. Third we need to prove that Afghanistan isn’t the “grave yard of Empires;” if we can’t win there what makes you think we’ll be able to fight an asymmetric war in some other third world country? Finally, there is no “win,” if we win it will be a total victory in the end (like Iraq). We would have dismantle the Taliban and established a legitimate government in the middle east, how would that not be a victory?

Cr4sh Dummy on September 3, 2009 at 4:03 PM

King of the Britons on September 3, 2009 at 3:51 PM

Hey Sir, good to see you but I think except for the change in ROE and the CinC being clueless, we’re still doing very well. My little detachment had two very successful VI patrols with three very strong hits to include taking some pretty big fish alive. We are not losing Helmant. And I don’t think we can logistically accomplish containment because once we leave, we lose our HUMIT.

hawkdriver on September 3, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Helmand…

hawkdriver on September 3, 2009 at 4:05 PM

damn, HUMINT….

You know what I mean.

hawkdriver on September 3, 2009 at 4:06 PM

hawkdriver on September 3, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Hey hawkdriver – good to see you again too. Are you home now? I hope things are working out for you.

King of the Britons on September 3, 2009 at 4:53 PM

King of the Britons on September 3, 2009 at 4:53 PM

Nope, I’m only 4 months into my tour and about half of my missions are in the Helmand.

Kicking ass.

hawkdriver on September 3, 2009 at 5:01 PM

Cr4sh Dummy on September 3, 2009 at 4:03 PM

What exactly is immoral about using force in response to an attack? And what exactly would be immoral about using force to prevent another attack?

I am not sure I would term the current insurgency within Afghanistan as being “in a state of disarray.” That insurgency is growing in strength and efficacy. We are trying to build a country in Afghanistan. We are trying to build a western style democracy within a country that is largely uneducated, illiterate, unemployed, and wretchedly poor. The country has no infrastructure, nothing upon which to build an economy, no professional class or capable administrators to run a government. It has been in a perpetual state of war for over 30 years and about 85% of the population is 25 or younger. Just how long do you think we should spend trying to “win” there and what does winning look like to you? A strong, viable central government where none has ever existed nor has ever been wanted?

what makes you think we’ll be able to fight an asymmetric war in some other third world country?

Nothing makes me think that. It is a exponentially complex and difficult task to do what we are trying to do right now. The best bet is to not get in the business of doing it in the first place. I wouldn’t count Iraq as a victory until history proves that it is so.

How much money should a bankrupt country that is trillions of dollars in debt spend to build a democracy in a failed/destroyed state?

King of the Britons on September 3, 2009 at 5:28 PM

How much money should a bankrupt country that is trillions of dollars in debt spend to build a democracy in a failed/destroyed state?

King of the Britons on September 3, 2009 at 5:28 PM

Before putting a dollar limit on self defense, we’d do well to rescind the Stimulus and all the lousy bail-outs that are only lining political pockets and enabling MORE bail-outs and stimulus taxes.

9/11 approaches, again. WHY we committed to war needs yet to be completed. We did not commit to war in either Afghanistan or Iraq to nation build, but to strike back at Islamofascist terrorists.

The point was to kill Osama bin Laden and his followers, not to import them into US universities as faculty and students with visas, liberty and prestige.


If we’re able to benefit the people of Afghanistan, that’s swell.

What Bush required of our finest men and women in Iraq was actually too much to ask; but they pulled through with flying colors. Yet in Iraq, the people are literate with an established professional class of citizenry, and there has already been a centralized government for the 20th century (though superimposed upon a patchwork cultures initially by Britain).

Obama has taken what Bush required of our troops in Iraq, and cubed the responsibilities in Afghanistan, including farming along with all the other responsibilities he expects from our troops in their relationship building 1:1 with the native population.

maverick muse on September 3, 2009 at 6:58 PM

Couldn’t hear it.

mixplix on September 3, 2009 at 8:57 PM

What exactly is immoral about using force in response to an attack? And what exactly would be immoral about using force to prevent another attack?

King of the Britons on September 3, 2009 at 5:28 PM

There’s nothing immoral about using force. You misread my comment. I’m saying cutting and running is immoral and should be completely off the table.

I am not sure I would term the current insurgency within Afghanistan as being “in a state of disarray.” That insurgency is growing in strength and efficacy.

Facts are stubborn things. There’s a reason why Afghanistan and Pakistan haven’t completely collapsed yet. Remember when they were encroaching on the capital of Pakistan?

Moreover, AQ has almost been nearly completely dismantled worldwide (which is why we haven’t been attacked in 8 years). Our theater of operations against then has been pretty extensive. Aside from Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve had engagements in Yemen, ongoing operations in Pakistan and the Philippines. And of course Somalia.

Just how long do you think we should spend trying to “win” there and what does winning look like to you? A strong, viable central government where none has ever existed nor has ever been wanted?

Ostensibly, winning will look a lot like what happened in Iraq. When the Tribal leaders get their heads out of their assess figure out that we aren’t the bad guys (something like the Sunni Awakening) and start to fight for us, that will be a sign. To do that we need to deploy more troops to the country and get our guys of the FOBs (again, like Iraq). This war is completely winnable.

I wouldn’t count Iraq as a victory until history proves that it is so.

I beg to differ.

How much money should a bankrupt country that is trillions of dollars in debt spend to build a democracy in a failed/destroyed state?

If President Bush was still in office would you be saying that? Let me reiterate again, cutting and running should be completely off the table.

Cr4sh Dummy on September 3, 2009 at 11:05 PM

There’s nothing immoral about using force. You misread my comment. I’m saying cutting and running is immoral and should be completely off the table.

Cr4sh Dummy on September 3, 2009 at 11:05 PM

“Cutting and running” is a pejorative sound bite, rather like racist has become, although to an even greater degree. That’s about it. American troops being sent to die for hubris, political expediency and inertia is what is immoral.

MB4 on September 4, 2009 at 3:20 AM

Obama will allow Afghanistan to slide into quagmire because it will benefit his agenda. It will reenergize the left. Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates are put in place to take the blame. It will give Obama an excuse to purge the moderates from his administration (sometime after the 2010 midterm elections that he’ll rig) and gut the military, Pentagon and CIA, to fund his domestic programs.

modifiedcontent on September 4, 2009 at 9:20 AM