Lieutenant colonel breaks ranks: Afghanistan is a disaster, claims report

posted at 8:53 pm on February 6, 2012 by Allahpundit

Read it if you haven’t already followed the link from Drudge. His complaint is that military leaders from Petraeus on down aren’t leveling with the public about how bad things are on the ground, but this feels like a strange debate to have when the die on withdrawal has apparently already been cast. The White House claimed last week that Panetta’s comments about ending combat operations a year early were misunderstood, but here’s the NYT with a new report today about drawing down regular combat troops and offsetting their loss with a stronger presence of special forces to target Taliban units as circumstances require. The era of counterinsurgency is over, in other words, which means this report is less relevant as a catalyst for a change in policy than in the extent to which Obama will be able to spin the war as a victory when the withdrawals begin in earnest.

I saw the incredible difficulties any military force would have to pacify even a single area of any of those provinces; I heard many stories of how insurgents controlled virtually every piece of land beyond eyeshot of a U.S. or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) base.

I saw little to no evidence the local governments were able to provide for the basic needs of the people. Some of the Afghan civilians I talked with said the people didn’t want to be connected to a predatory or incapable local government.

From time to time, I observed Afghan Security forces collude with the insurgency…

In all of the places I visited, the tactical situation was bad to abysmal. If the events I have described — and many, many more I could mention — had been in the first year of war, or even the third or fourth, one might be willing to believe that Afghanistan was just a hard fight, and we should stick it out. Yet these incidents all happened in the 10th year of war.

As the numbers depicting casualties and enemy violence indicate the absence of progress, so too did my observations of the tactical situation all over Afghanistan.

Plenty of anecdotes about Afghan troops’ haplessness and/or corruption at the link. The thing is, I’ve been reading news stories in that vein sporadically for years now. Davis would presumably say that that’s the point, that as the years roll on the same problems recur, but you don’t need his report to realize that. Look no further than the new NIE on Afghanistan, which the LA Times summarizes as warning that “security gains from an increase in American troops have been undercut by pervasive corruption, incompetent governance and Taliban fighters operating from neighboring Pakistan”. Or consider the bombshell NATO report based on detainee interrogations that was leaked just a few weeks ago describing “widespread collaboration between the insurgents and Afghan police and military,” in the BBC’s words, and concluding that the Taliban think they’ll be back in control of the country after the U.S. leaves. Davis’s claims are, unfortunately, old news. And while it’s true that 55 percent think things in Afghanistan were going very or fairly well as of last month, 56 percent nonetheless wanted the troops pulled ASAP rather than kept in place until the country has stabilized. What his report adds is a public note of dissent from within the ranks, but if you’ve been following the news, I don’t know how much extra weight that adds to the scale by now.


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Sorry. Was looking at another article already.

Yeah, I read it, but I missed the part about tactical nuclear weapons. That made me think you had posted something else.

Of course, you made it sound like Panetta was advocating them. he wasn’t.

Thank God.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 12:37 AM

Sounds like you were referring to the entire list of quotes I gave.

My question to you is this. If it were determined by the SECDEF that we were indeed able to destroy their facilities to a significant extent, should we?

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 12:00 AM

First of all, could you

provide a link or links to all that

.

Why would I need a link or “links” to only one quote out of the comment? And how could you have missed the most important consideration of the entire article which was that they speculated on the effectiveness of a nuclear strike. You were making your whole argument with CW on that article. Wasn’t it important enough to read the whole thing? I mean, assuming you did get past the title.

While you’re thinking about that, I’ve considered the earlier exchange and still agree I could have used a better word. But I’d have to say you actually took my context wrong there. If I were going to correct my own comment, I guess I’d rephase it to state “I didn’t assume we could.” Instead of infer. I never meant to imply that you thought I was implying the mission could be executed using only planes. And although a joke to begin with, I did say probably. Small point. But you are a smart guy and I hate to sound like I’m winging it when I exchange with you.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 12:43 AM

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 12:38 AM

Yes, diplomacy worked real well with North Korea. Worked so good that now anything (sink a ship, shell a town) is open to then and unless we want to hit them with nukes we cant do a thing.

They haven’t used nukes or started a war yet. Two cheers for diplomacy, if not a full three.

Also once they have a nuke do you really think the DHS would be up to the task of stopping one from being smuggled in to the country or even fired off a container ship.You like to complain about money, what would be the cost if something like that happend?

It would be enormous. But what proof exactly do you have that they be willing to commit suicide by lighting off a nuke on US soil?

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 12:44 AM

Why would I need a link or “links” to only one quote out of the comment? And how could you have missed the most important consideration of the entire article which was that they speculated on the effectiveness of a nuclear strike. You were making your whole argument with CW on that article. Wasn’t it important enough to read the whole thing? I mean, assuming you did get past the title.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 12:43 AM

As I said, I missed the part about tactical nukes. Once you threw that in there, and made it sound like Panetta had argued for a first strike, I thought you had provided something, or some things completely different, and asked for a link, or links, so I could read them in context.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 12:48 AM

It is a critical part of MAD doctrine. The alternative is you allow for the possibility of a nuclear first strike, and then try to contain the escalation. But every time theorists game this out, it always ends up with global escalation.

If we ditch that doctrine, even over the Middle East, it will severely and negatively impact our nuclear calculus vs both Russia and China. They will see that, despite all of our claims, we are willing to engage in nuclear first strikes, and they will adjust their doctrine accordingly.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 12:41 AM

One little problem with MAD……those folks RUNNING Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, they don’t seem to have a problem with it. The destruction part.

MAD only works if both parties actually fear what happens if nukes are broken out. Similar to those Geneva Conventions concerning the Red Cross and the Taliban not being signatories to it and the Army going “But we NEEDZ the Red Cross (aka a GIANT FREAKING TARGET) on our MEDEVAC/CASEVAC birds”

For more on the 2nd issue: http://www.michaelyon-online.com/red-air-americas-medevac-failure.htm

SgtSVJones on February 7, 2012 at 12:50 AM

Lesson learned…. If you decide you have to go to war… kick the living sh#t out of your enemy and don’t think about nation building until you have done so.

iceman1960 on February 6, 2012 at 10:45 PM

The problem isn’t that the US didn’t want to kick ass, but that it was engaged in another war that drained many of its best military assets out of the country, giving the Taliban time to regroup.

Is the lesson here that the US needed a clearly defined military mission to rapidly subjugate the entire country with military force, followed by a transfer of ‘nation building’ responsibilities to the UN and neighboring countries other than Pakistan? It seems obvious in hindsight that the US increased its chances of failure by not attaining a more decisive military victory over the entire Afghanistan nation.

It’s hard to see how another decade of occupation is going to turn this backward hole into a civilized member of the world community.

bayam on February 7, 2012 at 12:52 AM

It would be enormous. But what proof exactly do you have that they be willing to commit suicide by lighting off a nuke on US soil?

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 12:44 AM

What proof do you have that they wont? What proof that they wouldnt use a cats paw?

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 12:57 AM

As I said, I missed the part about tactical nukes. Once you threw that in there, and made it sound like Panetta had argued for a first strike, I thought you had provided something, or some things completely different, and asked for a link, or links, so I could read them in context.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 12:48 AM

Why did you want “links” to one comment? How did you miss the most serious discussion point in the entire article? And where did I say Panetta was advocating it?

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 12:59 AM

BS, then you most certainly didnt live through the late 60′s to the fall of the USSR. We told the USSR we would use tacs if they invaded Europe.

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 12:42 AM

I said my adult life. Didn’t NATO ditch flexible response after the breakup of the Warsaw pact?

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:02 AM

I for one really enjoy it whenever the Troll-o-dytes stop by to give us lessons in semantics (some antics). Really, I do.

ghostwalker1 on February 7, 2012 at 1:03 AM

Here is the article you based your entire argument with CW over. Your assertion sounding only, really, like the title.

You say you missed the part about the use of nuclear weapons. John, it’s in the very beginning of the article.

Late last year, Bloomberg reported that the U.S. Air Force received new 15-ton bombs capable of destroying deep underground bunkers, ahead of a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear plants.

The bombs, designed to be delivered by B-2 stealth bombers and called Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOP), “will meet requirements for the current operational need,” U.S. Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jack Miller said in a statement in November.

However, speaking to the Wall Street Journal on Friday, U.S. officials estimated that even the 15-ton bombs would not be powerful to put a full stop to Iran’s nuclear program, either because of some of the facilities’ depth or their newly added fortifications.

One unnamed officials said Pentagon analysts estimated that currently held conventional bombs would not be effective against Iran’s enrichment plant in Fordo, adding that a tactical nuclear would be the only option if Washington sought to destroy the facility.

“Once things go into the mountain, then really you have to have something that takes the mountain off,” the official told the Wall Street Journal.

Speaking of the uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, one official indicated that the U.S.’ MOPs could suffice, adding, however, that “even that is guesswork.”

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, the U.S. defense secretary referred to the need to develop bombs potent enough to pierce Iran’s defenses, saying: “We’re still trying to develop them,” Mr. Panetta said.

Should Washington decide to use the MOP anyway, Panetta added, it could cause “a lot of damage” to Iran’s hidden facilities, adding, however, that the bunker busters wouldn’t necessarily destroy them outright.

“We’re developing it. I think we’re pretty close, let’s put it that way. But we’re still working at it because these things are not easy to be able to make sure that they will do what we want them to,” Panetta added, saying: “But I’m confident, frankly, that we’re going to have that capability and have it soon.”

Despite questions regarding the MOP’s ability permanently damage Iran’ nuclear facilities, one U.S. security official speaking to the Wall Street Journal said that “the Massive Ordnance Penetrators are by no means the only capability at our disposal to deal with potential nuclear threats in Iran.”

Another official said that the U.S. make up for the MOPs’ current inability by using them in tandem with other guided weapons against a bunker’s entry and exit points—provided, however, that U.S. intelligence is aware of the position of those openings.

New reports about the current American inability to end Iran’s nuclear ambitions with a conventional strike came after, earlier Friday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the world must quickly stop Iran from reaching the point where even a “surgical” military strike could not block it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Amid fears that Israel is nearing a decision to attack Iran’s nuclear program, Barak said tougher international sanctions are needed against Tehran’s oil and banks so that “we all will know early enough whether the Iranians are ready to give up their nuclear weapons program.”

Iran insists its atomic program is only aimed at producing energy and research, but has repeatedly refused to consider giving up its ability to enrich uranium.

“We are determined to prevent Iran from turning nuclear. And even the American president and opinion leaders have said that no option should be removed from the table and Iran should be blocked from turning nuclear,” Barak old reporters during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

“It seems to us to be urgent, because the Iranians are deliberately drifting into what we call an immunity zone where practically no surgical operation could block them,” he said.

Barak called it “a challenge for the whole world” to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran but stopped short of confirming any action that could further stoke Washington’s concern about a possible Israeli military strike.

I might add that looking at the rest of the article, if you’d care too, your own referenced link refutes most of what you asserted Panetta was saying.

In summary. A named source thinks the bombs will work. An unnamed source and Panetta thinks they’ll have only limited effect. Sources also say that they can be used in tandem to get the desired effect. Should I go on or do you think you should just apologize to CW and concede the article said nothing like what you implied?

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:08 AM

Why did you want “links” to one comment? How did you miss the most serious discussion point in the entire article? And where did I say Panetta was advocating it?

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 12:59 AM

I didn’t bother with the other quotes after that one, as I said it was a long post. I thought it was something altogether different.

And the tactical nukes wasn’t the most important part of the article. The most important part of the article was that for at least one, and maybe multiple facilities, the conventional arms we have simply are not sufficient. And from what it sounds like, within the time frame of Iran developing capability, we won’t have them.

And it sounds like they’re willing to use a Nuke there.

This is you, making it sound like SecDef advocated the possible use of nuclear weapons. And upon reading it (on the second time through), no it does not. It sounds like he is saying we can’t do this, because all we have to do it with are nukes.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:09 AM

I might add that looking at the rest of the article, if you’d care too, your own referenced link refutes most of what you asserted Panetta was saying.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:08 AM

Absolute nonsense. You have one guy, in one report, saying they will meet operational needs. Sorry, but I sat through this movie before.

You have multiple officials, including SecDef, saying that they aren’t sufficient in some cases, and in other cases we can’t be sure.

Sorry. Can’t be sure isn’t good enough when talking possible nuclear war.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:15 AM

What proof do you have that they wont? What proof that they wouldnt use a cats paw?

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 12:57 AM

I have the opinion of a former IDF chief, and a former Mossad head, saying that a nuclear Iran is a problem to be dealt with, not an existential threat.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:17 AM

I didn’t bother with the other quotes after that one, as I said it was a long post. I thought it was something altogether different.

It was half way through my comment John. But then you skipped the rest of my comment and didn’t go back. Is that the way you read the article, if at all? Shaky ground here.

And the tactical nukes wasn’t the most important part of the article. The most important part of the article was that for at least one, and maybe multiple facilities, the conventional arms we have simply are not sufficient. And from what it sounds like, within the time frame of Iran developing capability, we won’t have them.

I’ll concede the discussion of other effective weapons we had were discussed, but your argument to CW was that Panetta said we didn’t have the capability. Can you still say you had a complete understanding of the article you yourself linked to?

And it sounds like they’re willing to use a Nuke there.

This is you, making it sound like SecDef advocated the possible use of nuclear weapons. And upon reading it (on the second time through), no it does not. It sounds like he is saying we can’t do this, because all we have to do it with are nukes.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:09 AM

You wouldn’t make that assumption having read the article knowing the “they’re” discussing nukes were unnamed. If Panetta was the one who said it, I would have quoted him. He didn’t. I didn’t. You somehow assumed. I never said Panetta with reference to nukes.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:22 AM

Absolute nonsense. You have one guy, in one report, saying they will meet operational needs. Sorry, but I sat through this movie before.

You have multiple officials, including SecDef, saying that they aren’t sufficient in some cases, and in other cases we can’t be sure.

Sorry. Can’t be sure isn’t good enough when talking possible nuclear war.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:15 AM

Wrong again. The entire article discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the MOP and the work-arounds to increasing it’s effectiveness. More than one guy discussed it in exactly that manner. I posted the entire article for you and you still hang on to your pride. My God man. It’s easy to admit when you’re wrong. Just do it. You saw the title, you linked it for your exchange with CW and you never read it.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:27 AM

I said my adult life. Didn’t NATO ditch flexible response after the breakup of the Warsaw pact?

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:02 AM

I dont know when you became an adult. I never heard of them getting rid of it although I dont remember it being called that in the 80′s and mid 90′s. Bush II also had a first strike plan that congress saw but evidently wasnt released as a public document, but the way it sounds is thats about strats.

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 1:30 AM

I’ll concede the discussion of other effective weapons we had were discussed, but your argument to CW was that Panetta said we didn’t have the capability. Can you still say you had a complete understanding of the article you yourself linked to?

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:22 AM

No, my argument with CW was that it was a matter of more than just will.

It’s not just will. It is military capability, combined with uncertainty, combined with nuclear politics. There is no room for “maybe”, or “can’t be sure” with this one. We bomb them, it has to be 100%, or they build a nuke and we started a war.

But bombing won’t be 100% certain. You know that. Even our top conventional bombs haven’t been battle tested before, and something tells me the ones that were battle tested in Iraq… they didn’t work as well as expected. Maybe I’m wrong about that. But something in my gut tells me I’m not.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:34 AM

I dont know when you became an adult. I never heard of them getting rid of it although I dont remember it being called that in the 80′s and mid 90′s. Bush II also had a first strike plan that congress saw but evidently wasnt released as a public document, but the way it sounds is thats about strats.

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 1:30 AM

I was but a young adult when Warsaw Pact broke up. I thought that marked the end of it.

Bush II had a doctrine, in 2002, I thnk, that included use of any WMD (which I agree with BTW). But that’s hardly applicable here. Was there a different one he showed to Congress later?

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:38 AM

I have the opinion of a former IDF chief, and a former Mossad head, saying that a nuclear Iran is a problem to be dealt with, not an existential threat.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:17 AM

Thats nice. And if they are wrong? Just because we wouldnt do it doesnt mean someone else wont, that someone else wouldnt think that they could pull it off. You look through alot of the soviet papers (the stuff that has been published) from intelligence after the fall of Russia and there was a few times durring the late 60′s and 70′s where they (intelligence) thought they were close a point where they could pull off a first strike with acceptible losses. Different people, different views. But if the guys at the top thought the intel people were right?

Its always best to prepare for the worst. In this case we can stop it before it gets out of hand. Not clean, not cheap but much better than what could happen.

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 1:41 AM

Weekend Reflections ~ Islamic Pedophile Mass Wedding For 450 Couples Courtesy Of Hamas In Gaza!

Sick Muslim bastards. This goes on in Afghanistan too while our personnel stand by. They often use American money to buy their victims too and that means aiding and abetting. God wil

RasThavas on February 7, 2012 at 1:41 AM

No, my argument with CW was that it was a matter of more than just will.

Really?

CW on February 6, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Once again, sir… your evidence that we have bombs capable of destroying Iranian underground facilities, if you please?

Because I have the SecDef saying we do not.

JohnGalt23 on February 6, 2012 at 11:40 PM

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:34 AM

So, you can’t even muster the nads to answer my question about the article you linked to because you know it refutes your point? Your entire argument to CW? So, in other words. No, you obviously didn’t have a clear understanding of what the article was that you linked to.

I’m embarrassed for you, Dude. Just stop. And I’ll stop for you. I’m going to bed and praying for you CW doesn’t come back and read all this.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:43 AM

I was but a young adult when Warsaw Pact broke up. I thought that marked the end of it.

Bush II had a doctrine, in 2002, I thnk, that included use of any WMD (which I agree with BTW). But that’s hardly applicable here. Was there a different one he showed to Congress later?

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:38 AM

The one I’m talking about was first strike VS Iran, Korea, China, Russia. It wasnt released to the public but there was a bunch of bitching about the China/Russia part and as I said it didnt sound tactical but without the doc being released maybe it could have been. Maybe they did take the tacs off sometime after the fall of the USSR and this was puting it back.

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 1:48 AM

F Afghanistan and F Muslims. Let those bloody bastards kill each other off.

RasThavas on February 7, 2012 at 1:49 AM

Thats nice. And if they are wrong? Just because we wouldnt do it doesnt mean someone else wont, that someone else wouldnt think that they could pull it off. You look through alot of the soviet papers (the stuff that has been published) from intelligence after the fall of Russia and there was a few times durring the late 60′s and 70′s where they (intelligence) thought they were close a point where they could pull off a first strike with acceptible losses. Different people, different views. But if the guys at the top thought the intel people were right?

Its always best to prepare for the worst. In this case we can stop it before it gets out of hand. Not clean, not cheap but much better than what could happen.

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 1:41 AM

Yeah.

That’s the point where I have nothing but an incredibly ugly answer to give.

If they are wrong, and Iran lights off a nuke in Israel or in the US, then 5000 years of Persian history become a rumor; a warning, if you will to anyone else who would think about it. And if they struck first, Russia and China wouldn’t stop us. Hell, they might take care of the problem for us.

I work under the assumption that the entirety of the Iranian political and military leadership knows it. I also work under the assumption, 12th imam talk notwithstanding, that they are not suicidal. Someone (maybe hawkdriver?), earlier today stated it fine. They want global domination. To which I say, well, first they have to achieve regional hegemony, something the Saudis and Turks aren’t going to just sit by and watch. But beyond that, global domination and being blown away by US and Israeli warheads are, by definition, incompatible.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:51 AM

So, you can’t even muster the nads to answer my question about the article you linked to because you know it refutes your point?

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:43 AM

uh huh. Refutes my point, when in black and white, SecDef is admitting we don’t have the weapons necessary.

Right you are hd. Time to go to bed.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:54 AM

That was too strongly worded John. I beg your pardon for that. I’m getting as bad as you guys. It’s not right when any of us do it. Off to bed here.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:56 AM

I was but a young adult when Warsaw Pact broke up. I thought that marked the end of it.

Bush II had a doctrine, in 2002, I thnk, that included use of any WMD (which I agree with BTW). But that’s hardly applicable here. Was there a different one he showed to Congress later?

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:38 AM

The one im thinking about put a first strike on the table vs Iran, N Korea, China, Russia. I dont think it was a response to WMD if they included china and russia but I dont know if it was Strategic or tactical. Maybe they did stop the tac first strike sometime after the fall of the USSR and this was just putting it back or maybe not. With Bush who knows.

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 1:57 AM

That was too strongly worded John. I beg your pardon for that. I’m getting as bad as you guys. It’s not right when any of us do it. Off to bed here.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:56 AM

Fair enough. I’m going over the line myself. I apologize.

But I’m hungry, so no bedtime for me.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:57 AM

uh huh. Refutes my point, when in black and white, SecDef is admitting we don’t have the weapons necessary.

Right you are hd. Time to go to bed.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:54 AM

Well, glad I posted that one last olive branch in time to see you make one more pathetic attempt at either changing what you were claiming to have said or rewriting what the article contained.

Disregard.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:58 AM

The one im thinking about put a first strike on the table vs Iran, N Korea, China, Russia. I dont think it was a response to WMD if they included china and russia but I dont know if it was Strategic or tactical. Maybe they did stop the tac first strike sometime after the fall of the USSR and this was just putting it back or maybe not. With Bush who knows.

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 1:57 AM

I seem to remember a big deal about us renouncing it in the face of Russia’s pullback, and I remember it being a big deal when Bush included chem and bio weapons. Which once again, I had always thought it had, even during the Cold War.

But the political reality is, from everything everyone I trust to tell me such things, when these things are gamed out in the WH, or in State, or at the NSC, POTUS always says: Give me another option.

As I say, we engage in first use, China and Russia will never look at us the same way again.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 2:05 AM

Yeah.

That’s the point where I have nothing but an incredibly ugly answer to give.

If they are wrong, and Iran lights off a nuke in Israel or in the US, then 5000 years of Persian history become a rumor; a warning, if you will to anyone else who would think about it. And if they struck first, Russia and China wouldn’t stop us. Hell, they might take care of the problem for us.

I work under the assumption that the entirety of the Iranian political and military leadership knows it. I also work under the assumption, 12th imam talk notwithstanding, that they are not suicidal. Someone (maybe hawkdriver?), earlier today stated it fine. They want global domination. To which I say, well, first they have to achieve regional hegemony, something the Saudis and Turks aren’t going to just sit by and watch. But beyond that, global domination and being blown away by US and Israeli warheads are, by definition, incompatible.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 1:51 AM

The thing is I dont want to take the chance on them striking here with one. I didnt like MAD, i think its morally bankrupt to make hostages of civilians. A soldier’s duty is to protect them, so are the president and the other elected officials in DC. Because of McNamara we stood with a gun to the heads of the civilian population of the USSR and we let them stand with one at the heads of ours. Through luck nothing ever happened and at the least the guns are lowered now (sort of). Now someone else wants to pick up a gun? I say shoot them because I don’t want us having to threaten civilians and having ours threatened. We have the power to stop it from happening, problem is we have never been good at playing the long game.

And with that I am off.

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 2:16 AM

The thing is I dont want to take the chance on them striking here with one. I didnt like MAD, i think its morally bankrupt to make hostages of civilians. A soldier’s duty is to protect them, so are the president and the other elected officials in DC. Because of McNamara we stood with a gun to the heads of the civilian population of the USSR and we let them stand with one at the heads of ours. Through luck nothing ever happened and at the least the guns are lowered now (sort of). Now someone else wants to pick up a gun? I say shoot them because I don’t want us having to threaten civilians and having ours threatened. We have the power to stop it from happening, problem is we have never been good at playing the long game.

And with that I am off.

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 2:16 AM

Fair enough. I can’t say I blame ya for not liking MAD; it’s ugly. Nuclear politics always is.

I suppose, in the final analysis, my concern is we really don’t have the power to stop it. Going in there and kicking their ass and making sure all those plants are dismantled isn’t a problem for us, militarily. The problem is bigger than “we can’t afford it”. The problem is the cost could crash the dollar and the economy.

And I don’t see how bombing doesn’t eventually lead to invasion. It is heading down a road upon which it is mighty difficult to turn around.

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 2:36 AM

LTC Daniel L. Davis is an honest man and a patriot. Clearly he will never be promoted again in today’s army.

RasThavas on February 7, 2012 at 3:10 AM

Even if those troops are dispatched on a hare-brained scheme by a crazed Oligarchy, you MUST support their mission! Because, after all, you must support the troops.

Right?

RasThavas on February 7, 2012 at 3:13 AM

The rules of engagement do not come from the pentagon, they come from the state dept. and go through the pentagon and are not informed by any proven ideas about how to conduct military operations, There is only one way to deal with these kind of people and that is kill enough of them that they are afraid to ever challenge us again. They mocked us when we demanded that they turn over Bin laden and they are still mocking us. If they had turned over Bin laden he would have been tried in court and the result would make no difference at all whether he was found guilty or innocent. He was just another terrorist. The pattern or paradigm is from the effort to eliminate Israel. They can and will keep up the small scale attacks forever because their population growth is greater than the casualties. All the liberals plans are based on unproven theories and always fail but they make small changes and try the same thing again safe in their Washington offices or university chair.

dunce on February 7, 2012 at 3:52 AM

If I may add a couple of comments about “nation building” – it didn’t work in Afghanistan early on, because we did not bother to do it, until very recently. We are still in Afghanistan ten years later because we did not do jack for the first eight (except to spin our wheels and watch the Taliban regroup).

Amazingly obvious point #1 – nation building does not work if you don’t do it.

Here in Helmand Province, Afghanistan where I am currently stationed, the local political leadership had to survive by cutting deals with their local Taliban, and the TB waited and strengthened themselves until they were strong enough to challenge us again. If we had done a proper clear here in Helmand after the Taliban Government in Kabul was overthrown, the USMC would not have had to do the rather bloody operations of the past couple of years.

Many comments advance the theory that we should just have invaded, then left. From the perspective of 90+% of the Afghan population, that is exactly what we did. We did not put enough effort into building something sustainable back then, so it is no surprise that the TB bounced back (they would have bounced back even quicker, if we had done a complete and total pullout in 2002.) The collapse of the TB government in Kabul in 2001/2002 gave us a limited window of opportunity to consolidate the victory, but we blew it.

Now we are stuck doing the stuff that we should have been doing 10 years ago, it is now more difficult because the delays have put us behind the eight ball.

(By the way, without getting into classified details, Helmand Province is a totally changed place – dramatically improved from just 2 years ago.)

SubmarineDoc on February 7, 2012 at 4:42 AM

Gee, what a slap to the ANP that have died fighting alongside our troops for their country…

NHElle on February 7, 2012 at 6:34 AM

SubmarineDoc on February 7, 2012 at 4:42 AM

I had to read your comment twice. Didn’t make any more sense the second time than it did the first. You ignore quite a bit of operational history to make that assessment.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 7:36 AM

I wonder if the reason it’s a complete disaster is because the Karzai government is completely corrupt/

Who wants to bet me when we pull our troops out of Afghanistan that Karzai flees to Europe? He won’t stick around after we leave because he knows what the Taliban has planned for him – it involves a rope. Exit question, how much of our money does Karzai have squirreled away for his eventual exile?

Dr Evil on February 7, 2012 at 8:04 AM

SubmarineDoc on February 7, 2012 at 4:42 AM

We cleared the Taliban out in 2005. The problem was we handed off to NATO, and their rules of engagement did nothing but get their troops killed.

The Taliban are mainly Pashtun they are Afghans, and when we are gone the corrupt Karzai government are going to be in a world of hurt. Not Karzai, the Mayor of Kabul will bug out.

We have been spending 128 Billion dollars a year for a country with a GDP of $17.9 billion (2011 est.)

Most of that GDP comes in the form of International Aid, it’s not as if Afghanistan is producing anything the rest of the international community can’t get enough of.

The reasoning for propping up the Afghan government is to keep Al Qeada from reestablishing bases in Afghanistan. With the death of OBL, the Taliban has no loyalty to the Terror Org.

As far as Nuclear Pakistan is concerned our ally India shares a border with Pakistan.

It would have made more sense for us to keep troops in Iraq (Oil Reserves) for stability, and our national security than it would in Afghanistan. Which is nothing but a bunch of primitives, that are content with the way they live, and resent foreigners presence in their country – such as it is a collection of tribes.

Dr Evil on February 7, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Dr Evil on February 7, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Interesting article. And interesting insight DrEvil.

I have my own theories of course, but the LtCol is right, start with the Truth, then formulate a Strategy based on the Goals.

So far, we have a vague goal, ‘contain terrorism’, and/or prevent AQ from establishing bases in Afghanistan. And no strategy.

Its also telling the Future Combat Systems eliminated troops for tech, but we got no better for it. There are a number of very serious structural flaws in our way of life here, the USA is falling apart.

Anyone spending $128B a year on a $18B country needs to be shot.

orbitalair on February 7, 2012 at 9:00 AM

The weight this adds is to the valid perception that neither Team Obama nor the MSM is giving us a truthful view of what’s going on out there.

A number of serious commentators pointed out back in 2009 that Obama’s dilution of the McChrystal plan was an ineffective strategy. It wasn’t going to work. It wouldn’t leave Afghanistan in shape to govern itself effectively. It amounted to using Afghanistan as a sniper perch for head-hunting terrorists, and would — besides perpetuating turmoil — give the Taliban and all the region’s worst actors the leeway to consolidate power bases and oppress the people.

And shock, shock, that’s exactly what happened. But as LTC Davis says, you wouldn’t know it from the official communications of the DOD or DOS. And you certainly wouldn’t know it from the MSM. They have been ignoring the reality of conditions in Afghanistan for at least two years now. They give us almost no check at all on the selectively silent spin coming from Team O.

Remember this pattern from Team Obama and the MSM. They have handled every facet of US power overseas in the same manner. They will again. Think real hard about whether these are the people you want conducting air strikes on Iran.

J.E. Dyer on February 7, 2012 at 11:25 AM

@dunce

I’m sorry to say that you are incorrect:

The Taliban tried to hand Bin Laden over to the U.S. before and after 9/11. The Taliban had killed Bin Laden’s body Guards and arrested Bin Laden before 9/11. They even offered to pay for the U.S. to conduct a missile strike on the prisoner location of bin laden before 9/11.

In 1999, the Taliban sent a group of 10 officers to replace bin Laden’s own bodyguards, touching off an exchange of gunfire, according to a New York Times story of Mar. 4, 1999. Three days later, bodyguards working for Taliban intelligence and the Foreign Affairs Ministry personnel took control of bin Laden’s compound near Kandahar and took away his satellite telephone, according to the U.S. and Taliban sources cited by the Times.

Taliban official Abdul Hakeem Mujahid, who was then in the Taliban Embassy in Pakistan, confirmed that the 10 Taliban bodyguards had been provided to bin Laden to “supervise him and observe that he will not contact any foreigner or use any communication system in Afghanistan,” according to the Times story. The Taliban was working with the U.S. in hopes that the U.S. would take Bin Laden off their hands.

The pressure on bin Laden by the Taliban in 1999 also extended to threats to eliminate al Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan. An e-mail from two leading Arab jihadists in Afghanistan to bin Laden in July 1999, later found on a laptop previously belonging to al Qaeda in and purchased by the Wall Street Journal , referred to “problems between you and the Leader of the Faithful (Mullah Omar) ” as a “crisis”.

The e-mail, published in an article by Alan Cullison in the September 2004 issue of The Atlantic, said, “Talk about closing down the camps has spread.” The message even suggested that the jihadists feared the Taliban regime could go so far as to “kick them out” of Afghanistan.

After having Bin Laden arrested and his bodyguards killed Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, entered a phone conversation between a State Department official and one of his aides, and told the U.S. official he was unaware of any evidence that bin Laden “had engaged in or planned terrorist acts while on Afghan soil”. The Taliban leader said he was “open to dialogue” with the United States and asked for evidence of bin Laden’s involvement, according to the State Department cable reporting the conversation. Omar asked the U.S. for help in eliminating his Bin laden problem and even gave the coordinates to the U.S. for a missile strike. The Taliban had even offered to pay for the missile strike.

November 2000: Taliban Again Offered to Hand bin Laden to US Officials

Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil says in the meeting, “You can have him whenever the Americans are ready. Name us a country and we will extradite him.” Robert Grenier, the CIA station chief in Pakistan at the time of 9/11, confirmed that such proposals had been made to US officials. But a “political decision” was made by US officials not to continue the negotiations.
September 16, 2001: Taliban Said to Agree to All US Demands

A meeting takes place between Taliban and US government representatives in the city of Quetta, Pakistan. Afghan-American businessman Kabir Mohabbat serves as a middleman. Mohabbat explains that the Taliban offered to hand over bin Laden, extradite foreign members of al-Qaeda who are wanted in their home countries, and shut down bin Laden’s bases and camps. However, some days later he is told the US position has changed and the Taliban must surrender or be killed. Later in the month, the Taliban again agrees to hand over bin Laden unconditionally, but the US replies that “the train had moved.” [CBS News, 9/25/2001

"President George Bush rejected as "non-negotiable" an offer by the Taliban to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden" [Guardian 10/2001]

November 19, 2001: Rumsfeld Says US Does Not Want Taliban to Surrender, Does Not Want to Directly Take Prisoners [US Department of Defense, 11/19/2001; London Times, 11/20/2001]

JustTheFacts on February 13, 2012 at 8:26 PM

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