Friday, October 16, 2009

More Debate on Afghanistan

From the continuing debate on what to do in Afghanistan from America's Debate.

We are spending lots of money in Pakistan that is getting diverted to Punjabi militant groups, and in some Taliban groups. Anyone...think that's a good plan?

Obvious dodging occurs when one fails to confront to oft cited fact that we are not capable of 'going after them wherever they are' to a successful degree, when we are fully committed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The only other theater we are engaged in is the Philippines, and are woefully understaffed there. How does a supporter of some sort of Afghan surge strategize multiple and concurrent military operations over the span of at least one hemisphere, to the degree where impact will be felt by terror groups????

Once you parse out the political and ideological implications in much of the opinion of the career warmakers, there is very little logic left. Why don't people educate themselves on the logic of professional military and political advisors who support the opposing strategy? For example, noted Counter-Terrorism expert Paul Pillar [huh...wonder why he hasn't been on the liberal media?] in his testimony to the US House yesterday:

Considerable discussion has addressed whether a re-establishment by the Taliban of control over portions of Afghanistan also would mean re-establishment of an al-Qa’ida haven there. The connection is not as simple and automatic as is commonly postulated. The Taliban and al-Qa’ida unquestionably still are ideological soul mates, and probably would still find old reasons, and maybe some new ones as well, for continuing or reviving their alliance. But it was al-Qa’ida’s transnational terrorist activity that leddirectly to the most calamitous loss the Taliban have ever suffered—an end to their rule over most of Afghanistan, from a U.S.-led military intervention. And now the Taliban see a United States whose demonstrated willingness to use military force in Afghanistan in a reprisal mode is far greater (and still would be greater even without a counterinsurgency) than it was prior to 9/11. None of this implies that an open break between the Taliban and al-Qa’ida would be likely, but it does at least mean that the conditions of any al-Qa’ida return to Taliban-controlled territory would be a source of strain between the groups. This in turn would affect al-Qa’ida’s perceptions of the
relative attractiveness of Afghanistan and the current haven in northwest Pakistan. It is hard to discern much that the former would offer over the latter.

Regardless of whether a renewed haven inside Afghanistan were attractive and useful to al-Qa’ida or any other terrorist group, there is the question of whether a counterinsurgency would preclude it. A haven would not require a patron with control over all of Afghanistan, which has an area of 647,000 square kilometers, but instead only a small slice of it. As described in General McChrystal’s assessment, a “properly resourced” strategy would leave substantial portions of the country—those portions not deemed essential to the survival of the Afghan government—outside the control of that
government or of U.S. forces. In short, even a counterinsurgency that was successful, in the sense of accomplishing the mission of bolstering the government in Kabul and stabilizing the portions of the country where most Afghans live, still would leave ample room for a terrorist haven inside Afghanistan should a group seek to establish one.


I recommend reading the testimony in full for insight on the Taliban and Pakistan.

Or read David Rothkopf at that liberal bastion, Foreign Policy

Does that make Afghanistan important? Only if we can use it as a base from which we can contain the threats posed from within Pakistan. But the reality is given the terrain in the mountains on the border, we have spent eight years proving that we can't really do that. And our friends in Kabul are running such a bogus government that it is unlikely they will prove to be a useful aid in such matters anytime in the foreseeable future. Thus, if Afghanistan is only relevant as far as it can help deal with threats in Pakistan and it can't really help very much with those, it is actually not that important.

What's the conclusion? View all our actions in Afghanistan relative to our real interests in the region, which are for the most part in Pakistan. To the extent we can position ourselves in Afghanistan in ways supporting cross-border activities into Pakistan and that gives a rapid deployment capability should the worst happen there, fine. Give them aid. Encourage them to stabilize. But recognize that we shouldn't have an extended military presence in a place that is not actually that important to us -- especially if most experts think our likelihood of success with regard to military objectives in the country is in the slim to none range.

The McChrystal tactic of consolidating in the urban areas [such as they are] is exactly what the Soviets did. Read up a bit on Soviet-Afghan operations and tell me where we are diverging from their failure.

Really.....if someone is going to support an issue so important, so would think that they would school themselves on all of the implications and history of the subject.

So what we have is a perpetual military occupation and nation-building exercise in a nation that by itself doesn't represent a national security threat to the US; contains virtually no Al Qaeda terrorists; with a Taliban regime represents no national security threat to the US; as an Al Qaeda safe haven represents no ore of a national security threat than they currently do; ties down our military and prevents a smart, flexible and responsive force to respond to intelligence and terrorist acts; and all for the low, low price of 3.6 Billion dollars a month.

So do continue with the attacks on ACORN and other sundry partisan tabloid issues. Those issues are really important compared to the degradation of the military, depletion of the Treasury and the lives of your countrymen.......

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