Messages to the Enemy

It looks like the Obama administration is casting about for some excuse to do the wrong thing in Afghanistan:

Before President Obama commits additional troops to Afghanistan, the United States needs assurances that Afghan leaders preside over a stable government that is seen as legitimate in the eyes of its citizens, top Democratic officials said in TV appearances on Sunday.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, said the overriding question facing the Obama administration is whether it has “a credible Afghan partner for this process that can provide the security and the type of services that the Afghan people need.”

Stabilizing the region is not a prerequisite for our mission in Afghanistan; it is the mission. Our own military decisions should not be contingent upon the emergence of a strong and uncontested government, there; it should be seen as a temporary base on which such a thing can be built. The United States has now signaled to its enemies that increasing efforts toward destabilization — or even just giving the impression thereof — will be rewarded.
And should this be evidence of the administration’s intention to extricate from a difficult problem, no amount of Obamanian rhetoric is going to change the conclusion that actions will have proven: That the American president is not willing to make the difficult calls that are necessary during war. The fact that this particular rhetoric apparently entered the public sphere without the knowledge of key military and security strategists suggests that President Barack has little concept of the lives that such slips can cost.

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Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

Can we add one to the list too?
“Hey Palestinians, if you attack Israel just one more time, we’re not going to support Israel any more. Got it?”
There, that should scare the Palestinians into leaving Israel alone now.
It seems that having “The Rock Obama” might even be a better presidential choice.
http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/clips/the-rock-obama/1167716/

Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
11 years ago

The USA should stop this nonsense about exporting democracy at the end of a bayonet. You aren’t going to turn Afghanistan into Kansas no matter how many elections you hold or how many troops you send. The strongman tradition is tied to the Afghan tribe structure. The tribes only respect and will make a leader out of only a strong man who is violent, brutal, corrupt in a way which benfits the tribe, and unforgiving of other tribes. It aint never gonna be the guy with the most votes. Rather than try to get the Afghans to ditch their entire tribe-based political thinking, the USA has got to work within that detestible way of thinking and create stability the way the Romans were able to do for hundred and hundreds of years: i.e. find out which men hold the true power, make allies of them via feeding their corrupt tendencies, burden these men with keeping the peace at the price of losing their bribes and “Roman” backing, and use other strongman contenders as possible replacements when a strongman either fails to follow the “Roman” line or starts to lose control over his tribe. Its an amoral way of thinking, but the USA’s morals-based foreign policy has caused more unrest, violence and misery than any so-called “amoral” policy would.

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

Stabilizing the region is the mission!? I thought the mission was to disrupt al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan that could be used to plan attacks on the US (long since accomplished). Hell, why not throw in ending poppy production while we’re at it? Classic mission creep with predictable results.
See Winning the Battles; Losing the War.

Tim
Tim
11 years ago

Russ the great irony is that ending poppy production would be the most effective way to achieve the goal we seek. Could be easily done and with very little man power. Satellites ID the fields and covert ops/long range missles take ’em out. You cut off the poppy production, you cut off a huge profit source for the bad guys and severely weaken them.

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

Plan Afghanistan? The drug war is going so well in this hemisphere, why not export that too?
But seriously, the corrupt occupation regime has no real interest in reining in their primary source of income. Karzai could start by arresting his half brother (don’t hold your breath).
The irony is that the Talliban did a pretty good job of eliminating poppy production. It’s the occupation that caused the problem we’re now so convinced we can solve. I don’t know why he swallowed a fly…

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

Htere is a problem with exporting democracy to those who cannot comrehend it. And it probably the case that we are trying to create a “good war”. Nonetheless, we are there to kill people and break things. Particularly the Taliban and Al Queda when we can find them. But, the Taliban are querrillas and we have to deal with that. Querilla war is only effective when they have the support of the populace. You can not “build up” for a massive strike when the “build up” itself is telegraphed to the guerrillas. They take the hint and leave. A thing to remember with guerrillas, is that they do not “give battle”. They anmbush and leave. Theirs is a war of constant hostility, not decisive battles. As opposed to drones and high tech, the proven effective means is rather low tech except for communications. The proven method is to determine the guerrilla locations, or probable locations, inside a workable area. That area is then “gridded” into areas of about 1 square mile. Each sq. mile is has a platoon sized group inserted, with “rapid response” from a larger group. This creates a net where the guerrillas can be squeezed and destroyed. Escape possibilities are minimized, escape is a guerrilla’s first thought. Although they look good on TV, drones and bombing are no where near as effective as people imagine. It is effective against “established emplacements”. Add to this the fact that few guerrillas are stupid enough to spend more than one night in the same place. Artillery is much more effective, you can “walk it”. “In the entire history of warfare, no one has ever surrendered to an airplane”. “Collateral damage” gains sympathy for the guerrillas. It is usually regarded as essential to create “secure villages” where the population cna go… Read more »

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

“Here is a problem with exporting democracy to those who cannot comrehend it.”
Ah, the white man’s burden!
Take up the White Man’s burden–
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

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