Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Obama's War" in Afghanistan

PBS Frontline has an online video that is a preview of a full piece airing later this month, Obama's War. The preview is gritty, with graphic imagery and graphic language. As I watched it, it became obvious that the similarities between the Vietnam War and the Afghan War are striking.

The Viet Cong (VC) were insurgents. The Taliban are insurgents. Eventually the Vietnam War turned to "winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese". General Petraeus very recently announced his "Full Spectrum Operation", which is focused on doing the same thing relative to the Afghans. The VC largely avoided major frontal engagements with the US military; instead, they utilized sniping, ambushes, land mines, etc. The Taliban are (for the most part) doing the same thing. In Vietnam, General Westmoreland kept calling for more and more troops. The same thing (with a different General) is happening regarding Afghanistan. In Vietnam, the VC terrorized the local villagers; in Afghanistan, the Taliban are doing the same thing. The Vietnam War was long and grueling; the Afghan War is entering its NINTH year. Eventually, public opinion in the USA turned against the Vietnam War. Public opinion is finally beginning to turn against the Afghan War as well. Quite rightly, people are beginning to ask, "What is our purpose there?".

The Generals and other officers interviewed on the Frontline piece stated that our purpose in Afghanistan is now to "protect the People from the Taliban". According to those officers, that is our primary purpose. If that's the case, does anyone see this war ever ending? Another legitimate question would be: what happens when we leave the country? Or better yet, does anyone see us ever leaving Afghanistan? If we did, would not the Taliban (who unquestionably are fanatics) simply continue on in our absence?

It is my belief that the next troop increase will be substantially more than the last increase, and that the increases will continue. Essentially, we will become the Afghan Police Force, with no end in sight. On second thought, apparently we are already the Afghan Police Force.

It is long past time to get out of both Iraq AND Afghanistan. It makes no sense to believe that we can be the Police Force of the world. Even if we wanted to do that, we can't afford it.


lise said...

we cannot leave at this time but we can win this war,start with only the first of so many issues given to the president is enouph to turn things around,make a chain with the first link well secure and solid and go to the second link ecetera,a logic way to win any war i say,thank you for the oportunity to ezpress my simple logic.

Scott Haley said...

You're welcome, and thanks for your input.

Query: What do you mean by "win this war"? In other words, what (in your mind) would constitute a victory?

lise said...

hi Scot a win for me would be more positive news all over the media that they found the right instrument to neutralyze those roadside bombs that would realy make our ennemies mad,this would be the first link to the chain.we have horses too,ilove them.

Scott Haley said...

That would be a good step, but it would not end the war.

Because of the nature of the enemy, we will never have a "victory" that ends it all. These fanatics-in-rags will simply fade into the woodwork...and then reappear, ad infinitum. Therefore, these wars should not NOW be fought with conventional soldiers who are expected to be policemen. Instead, it should be fought with Letters of Marque, covertly.
How many "leaders"/organizers are there in all the various terrorist groups---100? 200? 500? 800? Put a bounty of 1 or 2 or 5 million $ on each one, issue Letters of Marque, and watch how fast they disappear. As new ones appear, issue new Letters of Marque. That, too, will never end...but the cost to us in blood and treasure will probably be one one-thousandth of what it is with conventional soldiers. That won't totally eliminate the problem, but should make it more than manageable. [The Fed Govt is still authorized by the U. S. Constitution to issue Letters of Marque.]

Simply stated, we cannot realistically and indefinitely be the police force of the world with conventional, uniformed soldiers. Just as important, we cannot afford it financially.

lise said...

you should be there to advise the President i like the bounty idea,letter of mark is not familiar for me,i never heard those words before,i put it together as i was reading, i agree that the cost of this war is so great,a super power like USA even cannot afford indefenite war,but they are there now,so not policing but sending drones seems the right beginning of killing a good bunch and escalating to spliting their mountain with our explosifs carried on a plane suiteble for that operation,on a time table of 6 months,,while the tool is made to neutralyze the roadside bombs on the ground.soldiers are not police you are right...the Fallclors are spectacular now.

scottfree12 said...

Thanks again for your thoughts.

lise said...

you are welcome it is the first time i interact with some one on my comment it was gracious of you thank you.

lise said...

hi scott,i thought you would like to know,the first link of my chain has happen from britain,uk a group of special soldiers left to go to afghanistan to deal with roadside bombs,they specialist on land and sea,they will locate and explode those bombs ahead of the soldiers and show them also their expertise,it was on bbc news,lise houssen new email.

Scott Haley said...

Thanks for the info. I'm very happy to hear that fewer soldiers will be maimed or killed.

In my opinion, already expressed, now we should begin a complete withdrawal of conventional soldiers from Afghanistan. The best way to fight terrorists is through a covert war.

The NSA was tracking some of the 9-11 terrorists for three years PRIOR to that attack, but failed to inform the FBI or CIA of their actions. Had they done so, it is my belief that 9-11 could have been prevented. The best way to prevent future attacks is through proper management of intelligence info, sharing that info with the proper authorities, and relying on covert actions aimed at terrorists.

Invading other countries with conventional soldiers serves only to encourage fanatics. If another country invaded our land because of some small group of fanatics here, those fanatics would just get more pissed off. So would their sons and daughters...and then THEIR sons and daughters. The fanaticism would never end.

Just my opinion. :)

lise said...

i agree on your last opinion, i suppose that they have an unfinish jb to do before they leave,they have to give the ennemys the same food as they gave to ours soldiers,this is now a war of revenge to my mind.thank you lise houssen.

Freeland said...

I love how they've switched the rhetoric from "protecting the United States" to "protecting the Afghans." Funny thing, though: our occupation of Afghanistan has accomplished neither.

lise said...

it is very strange that a 8th year war did not achive any results and getting worse on blood and treasure,hope the president is coming with the right strategy but like anybody he doesnt know the future and also the law of inpredicteble.thank you.