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clevercloggs
Clevercloggs  (Level: 27.4 - Posts: 1246)
Thu, 1st Oct '09 4:14 PM

GENERAL STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/Afghanistan/article6857069.ece
...........I can't ever remember writing this about a US general before, but this guy's speech quite impressed me. In my opinion we should just accept that the whole Afghanistan debacle is doomed to failure, and just get out now. That isn't going to happen of course, but at least this guy seems to have a handle on what is required if we must stay. Gone was the gung-ho rhetoric of Bush's day, and in was a far more humble approach. He understands that just trying bomb Afghanistan into sumbission generates more "terrorists" / Taliban than it kills.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Thu, 1st Oct '09 5:41 PM

Getting completely out isn't the answer.

Limited objectives with limited forces is.

bigmama60
Bigmama60  (Level: 95.2 - Posts: 6648)
Thu, 1st Oct '09 10:22 PM


bigmama60
Bigmama60  (Level: 95.2 - Posts: 6648)
Thu, 1st Oct '09 10:30 PM

What is there to win? Americans need jobs, education, housing, and infrastructure to. President Obama, IMO, should not listen to the egos of his generals. Since Genghis Khan no country has been able to defeat Afghanistan. I prefer Joe Biden's approach.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 2:31 AM

Why did he send more troops in the first place, Beverly?

bigmama60
Bigmama60  (Level: 95.2 - Posts: 6648)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 2:52 AM

To catch Bin Laden and fulfill his campaign promise.



collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 3:40 AM

They haven't been seeking ObL, Beverly.

Obama claimed to have a strategy at the time but obviously he didn't.

We'll finally be getting a strategy in a few weeks - focused on Al Qaeda and not on the Taliban.

clevercloggs
Clevercloggs  (Level: 27.4 - Posts: 1246)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 5:22 AM

Collioure
Getting completely out isn't the answer.
Limited objectives with limited forces is.
.......And these "limited objectives" would be what exactly ? I take it we'd cut out out all the BS, and stop pretending it had anything to do with the well being of the Afghan people. Would we actually start talking about gas pipe lines then ?

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 5:29 AM

The limited objective is to keep Al Qaeda from setting up there again. Possibly the search for ObL can be aided by operations in Afghanistan.

Otherwise the Taliban is always going to control the countryside, and there is never going to be a strong central govt, an effective national army or police force.

clevercloggs
Clevercloggs  (Level: 27.4 - Posts: 1246)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 5:39 AM

Our differences apart Coolio, i really don't think you are that stupid. Obama is almost certainly dead, either that or on dialysis somewhere other than in an Afghan cave. Why would anyone believe that AQ, if we must persist with this, is restricted to using Afghanistan ?

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 6:05 AM

Excuse me, Dave, but I was content with a smaller defensive force there.

It is Obama who wanted to send more troops there, to catch ObL.

I agree that he is pretty well shut down while holed up in those remote mountains.

Afghanistan, however, is a perfect place for Al Qaeda to set up and train. And we must deny them that.

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 6:06 AM

What permanent long term 'limited objectives' are there?
If the Taliban remain in control of any area, Al Qaida or any other terrorist set-up will thrive.
Even if Afghanistan is totally and permanently controlled by NATO (!) they would then need to do similarly in Pakistan. And then ... where?
We've even given up on tin-pot Somalia. Apparently modern big league forces cannot these days manage what used to be bush wars. And the potential terrorist world has seen this.
Eventually 'we' are going to get out, and are going to see a mess develop behind us, as in Somalia. So we might as well get out soonest.
Big re-thinks are necessary. Probably along the lines of a concentration on internal/national/continental defences against terrorism, which could include punitive long-range strikes at any developing long-range terrorist facility.


collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 6:23 AM

Alan, Al Qaeda and the Taliban are not synonymous. They are different entities with different objectives.

The Taliban does not figure in our national security interests as long as they do not again host Al Qaeda.

By the way, thank you for bringing up Somalia. This looks like deja vu all over again. Somalia before Clinton was a humanitarian mission. Clinton tried to make it into a military conflict and got a black eye and 20 of our boys killed.




surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 6:31 AM

I am aware of the different entities!
But that sounds like an excuse (typically now starting to be mentioned due to lack of success) for starting to talk with the Taliban. Shades of Kenyatta, Makarious, etc. That's the inevitability of the thing, so often shown by history.
A Taliban area will be benevolent towards a terrorist set-up. Period.
Who the xxxxxxxxx are we fighting in Helmund and why? It ain't Al Qaida.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 7:08 AM

Well, I think we ought to talk with the Taliban.

As to who we are fighting and why, you'll have to ask Barack and George.

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 7:17 AM

Lads I helped train are out there fighting the Taliban.
I want them back before so-called diplomats start cutting their legs from under them the other side of the talking fence.

clevercloggs
Clevercloggs  (Level: 27.4 - Posts: 1246)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 7:52 AM

All the time "certain" nations are treated as if they are the West's property, while that part of Palastine known as Israel is allowed to do what it likes, there will be no point in talking with anyone. Some speak of North Korea, Iran etc as being "rogue nations", while conveniently forgetting that it is the US that's been going around the world installing people like Saddam and Karzai. They also overlook Israel's terrorist acts............at their peril.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 7:56 AM

No point in fighting the Taliban, Alan.

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 8:00 AM

As I've always said.
Now others are starting to agree.
So you ARE for pulling out?
You're confusing me!

bigmama60
Bigmama60  (Level: 95.2 - Posts: 6648)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 8:26 AM

There is no Oil in Afghanistan. How would a pipeline benefit the Obama administration? As much as the Bush/Cheney administration loves oil and profiteering they would have never left Afghanistan. Especially if they felt they could benefit from the Unocal Corporation building a pipeline to the Caspian Sea. .

clevercloggs
Clevercloggs  (Level: 27.4 - Posts: 1246)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 10:11 AM


collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 4:11 PM

I'm for limited forces and limited objectives, Alan.

Whatever is required for a holding action there - just like it was under Bush.

We need a DEFENSIVE force there to keep an eye on terrorists spilling over the mountains out of Pakistan and we need to keep Al Qaeda from setting up shop in Afghanistan.



collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Fri, 2nd Oct '09 4:20 PM

I'm for limited forces and limited objectives, Alan.

Whatever is required for a holding action there - just like it was under Bush.

We need a DEFENSIVE force there to keep an eye on terrorists spilling over the mountains out of Pakistan and we need to keep Al Qaeda from setting up shop in Afghanistan.



bigmama60
Bigmama60  (Level: 95.2 - Posts: 6648)
Sat, 3rd Oct '09 2:03 AM

Well, Clevercloggs, I certainly hope President Obama is not in collusion with the Bush/Cheney art of war profiteering.

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Sat, 3rd Oct '09 4:31 AM

One can't have limited objectives.

Wherever we're not, they'll be there, can you not see that? And, in fact, they're still often within where we are anyway!

Afghanistan & Pakistan either need to be totally cleansed - impossible, and even if so the naughty lads will just hive off somewhere else - or there's no point in losing lives holding onto 10% of Afghanistan while the boys are just building their bombs and training people elsewhere.

80% of the UK's recent (and not inconsiderable) internal terrorist attempts have originated within Pakistan anyway, which is currently barely being scratched, despite 'limited action' attempts by the Pakistanis to appease the US.
Al Qaida, which is a pretty loose term anyway, are also very active in Somalia, Eritrea, Yemen & co. Similar jihad groups operate in numerous other areas. When do we start our limited objectives there?

Conventional ground forces simply ain't the answer any more, which surely has been amply demonstrated?





collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Sat, 3rd Oct '09 4:32 AM

We didn't have war profiteering, Beverly.

But of late we might have had a war strategy directed by civilian George Soros.

clevercloggs
Clevercloggs  (Level: 27.4 - Posts: 1246)
Sat, 3rd Oct '09 4:56 AM

Bigmama60
Well, Clevercloggs, I certainly hope President Obama is not in collusion with the Bush/Cheney art of war profiteering.
>>>>>>>>You've changed the figure head Bev that's all. The global corporate fat cats that control the politicians haven't gone away. Democrats have higher ideals than repugs, roaches have higher ideals than repugs, but hard cash trumps ideals in this world i'm afraid.

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Sun, 4th Oct '09 6:15 AM

Collioure:

The grapevine tells me towards 10 US chaps have just died in one action in normally 'non-problematic' Nuristan (sp?), well away from Helmund.
Apparently the Taliban involved just moved there from the pressures in the south.
My deep condolences obviously - but see what I mean?


collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Sun, 4th Oct '09 8:02 AM

Why can't we have limited objectives, Alan?

Why do we need to go out and hunt Taliban? We can't hold territory outside of city centers.

Our concern is Al Qaeda arriving from Pakistan and any Al Qaeda training camps.

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Sun, 4th Oct '09 8:24 AM

I'm agreeing with you!
I've said just now that we appear to not be able to contain irregular warfare with orthodox land campaigns (which has been know for centuries, but never mind!).
But I'm also saying that we can't simply reduce to limited actions anyway, which are just as valueless (see all my previous stuff above).
Al Qaida - and/or any other terrorist training by whatever name - is already in Afghanistan, wherever the Taliban hold sway - and that's currently in the vast majority of Afghanistan now.
The new incoming NATO forces are planned for the north and west - since Nuristan they'll now need to go to the east too, while we're also not succeeding in the south. Get the picture?
Either hold entire nations (all of them, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen etc. too) under a total permanenent boot, or get out and revert to far tighter defensive policies.
One of those alternatives is impossible - you tell me which one.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Sun, 4th Oct '09 8:33 AM

Alan, we haven't talked to the Taliban. We haven't refined our objectives there.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban are likely separable. They are far from one and the same.

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Sun, 4th Oct '09 8:49 AM

And many in the US still accuse us of appeasement in 1938?!
The Taliban are 'talking' to your and our lads right now.
Wherever the Taliban holds sway, Al Qaida and those of similar ilk will thrive.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Sun, 4th Oct '09 9:30 AM

Alan, we don't have enough troops or enough patience to win that war. Your own general said it would take 40 years.

It's not an important country. It is a collection of tribes and villages. It can't support a democracy of any kind.

We just need to keep very bad things from happening - i.e., Al Qaeda, nothing more. We had been doing that.



surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Sun, 4th Oct '09 11:09 AM

I keep saying I agree with all you say???!!!
Just that we're not keeping anyone from anywhere currently.
Terrorist training is happening all over much of Afghanistan already - the Taliban are already in control of much, and terrorist groups have free reign there.
So might as well get out now.
What's our disagreement?

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Sun, 4th Oct '09 12:01 PM

Well, I don't agree with this.

"Wherever the Taliban holds sway, Al Qaida and those of similar ilk will thrive."

The Taliban does not necessarily host Al Qaeda.

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Mon, 5th Oct '09 3:01 AM

Sorry, but it's not opinion, it's fact.
How do you think Al Qaida were operating out of Afghanistan for 9/11? It's about the only fact about the whole Iraq/Afghanistan episode that Bush got right.
Taliban doesn't necessarily (e.g. is not forced!) to host, but if a terrorist group wishes to set up shop in a Taliban area, it ain't going to find any opposition.
You really think, therefore, that our lads are dying fighting the Taliban to protect women's rights, or whatever? In which case we'd be invading scores of other nations also!

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 5th Oct '09 3:15 AM

I don't know why we have added forces, Alan.

I don't know what our strategy is today. I see newsclips about hunting for Taliban, but I don't understand what finding them accomplishes. Taliban do not engage in international terrorism.

I do believe that with a smaller force our limited objectives were being achieved in Afghanistan.

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Mon, 5th Oct '09 3:54 AM

I keep saying that I agree with you that there's no point in hunting Taliban.
Except that limited objectives don't work either. See all my stuff above and see Nuristan.
That's all.


collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 5th Oct '09 4:18 AM

I don't see where limited objectives don't or haven't worked.

We have enough of a presence in Afghanistan to knock out Al Qaeda training camps if they pop up, and we have developed information sources within Waziristan and are taking out Al Qaeda leadership with missile strikes. Is something more needed?

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Mon, 5th Oct '09 4:32 AM

So Al Qaida and/or other terrorist training groups don't now exist in Afghanistan/Pakistan?
Dream on.
That's why limited objectives aren't working.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 5th Oct '09 1:35 PM

I'm not hearing that Al Qaeda training camps have reappeared in Afghanistan. Are you?

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 5th Oct '09 2:05 PM

Here's the latest

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20091004/D9B4GL1G1.html

Al Qaeda presence very diminished. The maximum estimate - less than 100 operating in the country, no bases, no ability to launch attacks.


collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 5th Oct '09 2:08 PM

BTW Gen McChrystal is in a lot of hot water for upstaging the President last week.

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Mon, 5th Oct '09 2:28 PM

"Mission accomplished" again, eh?
That report is almost unbelievable in its naivity.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 5th Oct '09 3:42 PM

Could be.

What do you hear?

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Tue, 6th Oct '09 5:16 AM

Apologies for the delay in coming back, am a bit haywire currently.
Do enjoy these exchanges - I suspect we're more alike than we seem!
Well, like you, I probably grade news verity according to source.
Direct contact with the field (of which I still have a little) can range from 10 down.
Various newspapers can range from maybe 6 down.
Diplomats & politicians start at zero and go wherever into the minus!
I was loosely connected with the Falklands and was in LA at the time. Some of the stuff coming from our US diplomat/political 'colleagues' then was startling.
Loosely, now, as you hint, the Taliban is superficially just another political system, maybe abhorrent to some, but if that's what the Afghanis want (and I don't think it is, wholly), then let them have it. Attempting to impose our 'democracy' (with all its ills anyway) on some other societies is futile. Even if superficially successful, when and whenever they're left to look after it themselves, it can often simply collapse like a pack of cards. It's not what their culture/society wants or needs.
Trouble is, the nature of Taliban renders it sympathetic toward extreme Islamism, not only or just Al Qaida, which is itself rather a loose set-up, but also any of the many other terrorist training elements.
Taliban can, but not necessarily, deliberately foster terrorist training. But, certainly, it would be a very rare Taliban area indeed (if not unknown!) that initiated any punitive measures against such terrorist training sites.
NATO probably effectively controls less than 20% of Afghanistan and none of Pakistan. And even within controlled areas, terrorist-friendly elements will still exist under cover.
Draw your own conclusions!
That's why I'm entirely with you in regarding any long-term action against the Taliban as futile. And what's therefore the point in any short-term or 'limited' action?
I just know that we're eventually going to come out of Iraq/Afghanistan and what develops behind us probably won't be to our liking. So we might as well do that right away and save lives (our credence in these areas is already shot).
Our strategy should become a far more stringent defence - which includes effective pro-active defence, but which the current Afghanistan episode ain't.
Well, you did ask!

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Tue, 6th Oct '09 5:25 AM

Alan, you can't put Iraq and Afghanistan in the same basket - and you keep trying to. Iraq can be a great country under an Islamic democracy. Afghanistan cannot.

But, Alan, what if we leave the Taliban alone in Afghanistan? That's a presence without action.

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 261.1 - Posts: 2770)
Tue, 6th Oct '09 7:57 AM

There was no reason to invade Iraq (I know we don't agree), while there was some reason in invading Afghanistan.
But both post-invasion opportunities were wasted and the end results are going to be similar.

Iraq is too broadly divided (Sunni, Shi'ite, Kurd, simplistically) to succeed as a single democratic unit.
Afghanistan's divisions are far more multiple.

Different situations certainly, but similar endings in sight. Sans us, a single dominant presence will take over, whether it's Taliban, a Shi'te imposition, break-aways or a 'neighbourly' intervention, or a mess will continue, whichever.

We can now but defend from afar, and we should face that.



clevercloggs
Clevercloggs  (Level: 27.4 - Posts: 1246)
Tue, 6th Oct '09 8:08 AM

Collioure
Iraq can be a great country under an Islamic democracy.
....And what the hell has that to do with Washington exactly ?


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