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2008-11-09 Afghanistan
Vietnam Style Tactical Mistake In Afghanistan
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Posted by Anonymoose 2008-11-09 15:38|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [6489 views ]  Top

#1 In other words, Afghan lives are more important than our soldiers' lives. This is bullshit, what building in Afghanistan ISN'T a civilian building? So if they are in a building, any building, they are untouchable.
Posted by bigjim-ky 2008-11-09 16:06||   2008-11-09 16:06|| Front Page Top

#2 These ROEs are going to get our guys killed.
Posted by JohnQC 2008-11-09 16:12||   2008-11-09 16:12|| Front Page Top

#3 It's time to pull out of Afghanistan now. Karzai's "stop civilian casualties" crap is totally ridiculous. How in Hell are our troops to have any idea just who is/isn't a civilian when the ENEMY DOESN'T WEAR UNIFORMS?

We've just lost this war.
Posted by Jolutch Mussolini7800 2008-11-09 17:15||   2008-11-09 17:15|| Front Page Top

#4 Sadly, I agree
Posted by Frank G">Frank G  2008-11-09 17:16||   2008-11-09 17:16|| Front Page Top

#5 Folks, we did this in the surge in Iraq. Yes -- civilian lives are indeed more important than our soldiers' lives, and when we demonstrated that in Iraq we got substantial assistance from the civilians to ID the terrorists.

This is classic small wars philosophy, and I think it is a smart move. We'll have plenty of chances to whack the bad guys, and by demonstrating publicly that we won't kill civilians who are being used as shields and hostages, we'll gain support in the population.
Posted by Steve White 2008-11-09 17:25||   2008-11-09 17:25|| Front Page Top

#6 This is not a large departure from the current ROE's to be frank (not Frank).
Posted by anymouse">anymouse  2008-11-09 17:55||   2008-11-09 17:55|| Front Page Top

#7  civilian lives are indeed more important than our soldiers' lives

You're damned well wrong about that. Every drug-dealing goatherder and corrupt Muzz politician in Afghanistan combined isn't worth the death of ONE American Marine.
Posted by Jolutch Mussolini7800 2008-11-09 18:05||   2008-11-09 18:05|| Front Page Top

#8 Would YOU want to fight under those ROE's ?
Posted by bigjim-ky 2008-11-09 18:06||   2008-11-09 18:06|| Front Page Top

#9 I wouldn't, and thanks, Mouse, for the clarification ;-)
Posted by Frank G">Frank G  2008-11-09 18:14||   2008-11-09 18:14|| Front Page Top

#10 Let Karzai's boys rush the mud forts.
Posted by ed 2008-11-09 18:36||   2008-11-09 18:36|| Front Page Top

#11 Steve White, regarding your comment about civilian lives being more important than our soldiers lives:


Ban me, asshole. I don't give a shit. What you said is beyond the pale.

Posted by Whiskey Mike 2008-11-09 18:42||   2008-11-09 18:42|| Front Page Top

#12 Whiskey Mike, you are wrong.
Posted by Deacon Blues">Deacon Blues  2008-11-09 18:58||   2008-11-09 18:58|| Front Page Top

#13 Whiskey Mike...Steve probably could have expresed it better. However, I think his point is that tactical expediency can trump operational and national policy. We have the tools, especially in Afghanistan to isolate and eliminate tactical targets without resorting to Sherman-esqe much as I (a senior reserve officer) would personally like to see it.
Posted by anymouse">anymouse  2008-11-09 19:25||   2008-11-09 19:25|| Front Page Top

#14 WM - In my 7+yrs time here, I don't think Dr. Steve meant what you inferred. Poorly expressed, yes.
The problem is strategy vs. costs. I'd just as soon evacuate this den of thieves and destroy from orbit. Others have persuasive arguments against. Steve White is not one to sacrifice our blood for no reason
Posted by Frank G">Frank G  2008-11-09 19:32||   2008-11-09 19:32|| Front Page Top

#15 I think you're both correct. And we should get out now before a lot more die for no reason. We've finished our business in Afghanistan and it should not stand in the way of finishing the far moree important business in Iraq. We can always deal with the Afghans again if need be.
Posted by Nimble Spemble 2008-11-09 19:55||   2008-11-09 19:55|| Front Page Top

#16 Words have meaning. The meaning of Steve's words are clear. The statement might have been carelessly phrased, but statements like that must be challenged.

This deserves more discussion, just not tonight.
Posted by Whiskey Mike 2008-11-09 19:56||   2008-11-09 19:56|| Front Page Top

#17 agreed
Posted by Frank G">Frank G  2008-11-09 20:19||   2008-11-09 20:19|| Front Page Top

#18 We need to get out of Afghanistan. It is simply ridiculous to assume that we can accomplish any lasting change there - even if we weren't fighting on the enemy's turf, with one hand tied behind our backs.

The British have fought there - and then given up - at least for times in the past 300 years - the Soviets once, and I think that Alexander, and Genghis Khan both gave it a try - and no one ever made a lasting impression. There is no central power to win over - it is just and endless series of clans, tribes - and even individuals.

There is no way that Karzai - or anyone like him - can ever serve as a dominant leader over the disparate rabbles.

Money will always win out - and the narco-dollars will subvert anything that the "good guys" can offer. And - the opium trade is the only thing that large chunks of the rural population have going for them. If you wipe out the poppy cultivation, they have nothing - and will hate the eradicators forever.

In a perfect world, it would be great to have a happy, prosperous, democratic Afghanistan, united under a central government, and coexisting peacefully with its neighbors. But - it is not a perfect world. Afghanistan is land-locked - with its only access to seaports being through god-awful routes. Internally, the country might as well be Indonesia, or the Philippines - its terrain makes it the equivalent of a nation of a thousand islands - each one of which must be individually pacified and defeated.

Put an army into the field against the Afghans, and the invader faces the ultimate challenge to maintaining supply lines - god only knows how much "shrinkage" occurs to get one increment of anything to our troops.

The only Afghan strategy that I have ever heard that makes any sense is to create peace by turning it into a desert nation, devoid of life. Destroy its airfields, demolish its roads, dams, pumping stations, cellular towers - and then leave it to its own 8th Century way of life. Keep an eye on it from space - and anytime a significant terrorist training camp is noted, quietly send in an airstrike of cluster bombs. Maybe also maintain a rotation of Special Forces teams into the Area - not as combatants, but as reconnaissance forces, and agent runners.

Selectively hit just the threats that have potential to affect the outside world. Leave the Afghan warlords to enjoy their traditional internal feuds, and impose their backwardness upon their own people, as they see fit.

There is no alternative. The meat-grinder of Afghanistan will chew up another four brigades - or four Divisions, or four Corps - without blinking. The tail to tooth ratio is so high, that only a tiny fraction of the effort thrown at Afghanistan will ever reach the "cutting edge" of our effort there.

It is simply unrealistic to believe that the answer lies in selecting just the right mix of current policies - and that if we hit that optimum mix, then well-deserved success will unfold, and we can go home in victory.

Afghanistan is basically Somalia - but more remote, more backward, more rugged, less centrally controlled - and less important.

I wish it were otherwise. But - it is time to call a spade a spade - and give up on th4e fiction that we are slowly moving toward a successful conclusion.

With blood and treasure, we bought the present central Afghan government an opportunity to create a nation - within the world community. They tried - and failed; and it was not a close miss - it was not even close. There was no realistic potential for any other outcome. It is time to admit it, and more on.

Rant over.
Posted by Lone Ranger 2008-11-09 20:31||   2008-11-09 20:31|| Front Page Top

#19 Disassociating with a failed Afghanistan would not only save American lives in a failed battle with a corrupt government representing a third-world shithole civilization, but would also eliminate any need to supplement and support that fantical shithole Pakistan, which, without the great game $ would've starved on the heroin a blockade could impose
Posted by Frank G">Frank G  2008-11-09 20:38||   2008-11-09 20:38|| Front Page Top

#20 Karzai's "stop civilian casualties" crap is totally ridiculous.

By design. They know us well. We should leave and then glass the place.
Posted by Gomez Unusoting2230 2008-11-09 20:54||   2008-11-09 20:54|| Front Page Top

#21 Great post Lone Ranger.
Posted by Hellfish 2008-11-09 22:24||]">[]  2008-11-09 22:24|| Front Page Top

#22 and the narco-dollars will subvert anything

And the narco-dollars are MARKET-DRIVEN. This is why the old War on Drugs matters. Either fight it to win or legalize it (either way is better than the status quo.)
Posted by Glenmore">Glenmore  2008-11-09 22:28||   2008-11-09 22:28|| Front Page Top

#23 but statements like that must be challenged

I think understood is a better word than challenged. If at the end of the day you lose fewer lives to accomplish the goal by installing a policy of not wasting human shields, then it is arguable that it could be said that it is more "important". Steve is just swapping out politically correct language in order to be brief and hoping his shared history with you will serve to bridge the understanding gap. Besides, he is making you think after all, now isn't he? ;-)
Posted by gorb 2008-11-09 22:58||   2008-11-09 22:58|| Front Page Top

#24 Note: wasting == blowing away
Posted by gorb 2008-11-09 22:59||   2008-11-09 22:59|| Front Page Top

#25 So after they leave the terrorists will murder the civilians anyway, take pictures and then publish it blaming the U.S. anyway.
Posted by CrazyFool 2008-11-09 23:34||   2008-11-09 23:34|| Front Page Top

#26 Time to get out of the Afghanistan and Iraq both. I do not trust the new administration to properly support our troops. In fact, it would not surprise me if they left them twisting in the wind. After all they didn't vote for The One anyway.

Elections have consequences. These wars have been lost here at home. Don't sacrifice our best in a lost cause.
Posted by SR-71">SR-71  2008-11-09 23:43||   2008-11-09 23:43|| Front Page Top

23:43 SR-71
23:43 CrazyFool
23:37 CrazyFool
23:34 CrazyFool
23:31 CrazyFool
23:21 Oztralian
23:05 Gomez Unusoting2230
22:59 gorb
22:58 gorb
22:37 Cornsilk Blondie
22:35 Cornsilk Blondie
22:33 Glenmore
22:32 rjschwarz
22:30 KBK
22:29 Glenmore
22:28 Glenmore
22:26 OldSpook
22:24 Hellfish
22:22 Verlaine
22:18 Frank G
22:18 DanNY
22:14 OldSpook
22:11 OldSpook
22:10 Sgt. Mom

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