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Barack Obama and Afghanistan

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Throckmorton

Lifer
Aug 23, 2007
16,830
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I know this may be very difficult for you to grasp...but I don't represent a group of people called "us". But I'm sure this kind of 'thinking' makes it easier for you to deal with those who may not agree with you...it's just so much easier that way isn't it?
Not "those who don't agree with me", but those who voted for Bush twice and refuse to take responsibility.
 
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chucky2

Lifer
Dec 9, 1999
10,038
36
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But look at the options from when Bush was running? Good lord, Gore or Kerry? No thanks! Bush, amazing as it sounds, was the lesser of the two evils in each race.
 
Nov 30, 2006
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Not "those who don't agree with me", but those who voted for Bush twice and refuse to take responsibility.
I think Bush was a horrible president and believe that we shouldn't have gone into either war. There...I said it! Lol. Now...let's talk about what you think.

It's funny that you break this down into a purely partisan issue...surely this issue is beyond simplistic polarized stereotypes...no? What say you about all the Democrats who voted with Bush on these wars and funded them through the years? You going to give them a 'pass'?

What say you about what we should do in Afghanistan? Stay the course? Get out? I'm really curious as to why this question is so tough to answer.
 

Throckmorton

Lifer
Aug 23, 2007
16,830
2
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I think Bush was a horrible president and believe that we shouldn't have gone into either war. There...I said it! Lol. Now...let's talk about what you think.

It's funny that you break this down into a purely partisan issue...surely this issue is beyond simplistic polarized stereotypes...no? What say you about all the Democrats who voted with Bush on these wars and funded them through the years? You going to give them a 'pass'?

What say you about what we should do in Afghanistan? Stay the course? Get out? I'm really curious as to why this question is so tough to answer.
Didn't I already say "COIN"? I don't know about you, but I'm deferring to the experts like Petraeus and McChrystal, which is what Obama is doing, but not what Bush did for most of the Afghanistan war.

It's not Democrats' fault that the head of the executive branch who was in charge of running the war botched it, it was the fault of the people who voted for him. If you don't think going to war was the right thing to do, go ahead and blame Democrats for THAT.
 
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Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
30,283
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Obama, being a very smart man, is coming to the realization there is nothing to 'win' since winning would be removal of fundi religion and he does not want to go there.

No in 6 months after we gone old scores will be settled, wealthy like Karzi will fly to Switzerland and Burkas will be back. Nothing accomplished.
100% agreed.
 
Nov 30, 2006
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Didn't I already say "COIN"? I don't know about you, but I'm deferring to the experts like Petraeus and McChrystal, which is what Obama is doing, but not what Bush did for most of the Afghanistan war.

It's not Democrats' fault that the head of the executive branch who was in charge of running the war botched it, it was the fault of the people who voted for him. If you don't think going to war was the right thing to do, go ahead and blame Democrats for THAT.
So...it's all the fault of those who voted for Bush...not those that actually supported the wars with their votes in Congress? Interesting perspective.

COIN will possibly take decades and, given the culture and history there, appears to have little chance for success. Even if it eventually succeeds, there are no guarantees that Afghanistan will not give safe haven to AQ or that AQ will not continue to have safe haven in Pakistan. At the end of the day...what have you really accomplished?

IMO...this is Vietnam all over again and the sooner we realize it and get out...the better.

BTW...will you be going to the homes of the troops who have died because of COIN?
 

Nebor

Lifer
Jun 24, 2003
29,582
11
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Obama, being a very smart man, is coming to the realization there is nothing to 'win' since winning would be removal of fundi religion and he does not want to go there.

No in 6 months after we gone old scores will be settled, wealthy like Karzi will fly to Switzerland and Burkas will be back. Nothing accomplished.
The Burkas never left. All we've done is give billions of dollars to a society that has historically bred and supported terrorists. They're laughing at us every day for it. They continue on doing things the way that they want to do them. We have have in effect, rewarded the country that attacked us on 9\11.

Oh and Karzai and all of his cabinet members have mansions in Dubai, suspiciously owned by the national bank. Cough.
 

Fern

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 30, 2003
26,907
173
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Afganistan is the war the Left claimed was legitimate.

Look, I don't care if he pulls out but I damn sure wanna know what the plan is to prevent another taliban arising and using afganistan as a base to attack Western countries.

I don't like occupations, and seems to me there must be a solution other than this expensive effort. But if he's just 'giving up' that's gonna come back to bite us on the @ss. Also makes the sacrifice so far a total waste.

Fern
 

woolfe9999

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2005
7,164
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I think he promised the pull-out during the campaign. However I agree with your larger point - if you announce that you are leaving on "X" date, the enemy automatically wins just by hanging around to that date. I think it's immoral on principle to ask service men to die once you've announced that you're giving up. If you're set on giving up, don't keep fighting just to establish that you tried. It's politics to Obama, but it's life and death to our servicemen.

There's one caveat to that though. It's possible that the Afghan government can and will step up in time and defeat the Taliban after we've run away. I think it's much more likely that the current government simply goes over to the Taliban and Karzai cuts the best deal he can, and al Qaeda returns to its safe haven. But it is possible that we leave and yet still gain our desired result - a government that does not host and protect terrorists that attack us. If that happens, then it's even possible to argue that by establishing the pull-out date, Obama forced Karzai to step up more quickly and might even have saved US lives.
Obama did not say we would totally withdraw by a date certain. He said we would begin withdrawing in July 2011, and was purposefully vague about the actual rate of withdrawal, which could be 20K troops per month over 5 months or 1 troop per year until the next ice age. When questioned, the WH clarified that this could change based on "conditions on the ground."

The withdrawal timeline is not really a withdrawal timeline. It's a political game that Obama was playing with 1) Karzai, whom Obama wants to feel pressured to step up, not act like he has a blank security check, 2) liberals in his own party who wanted out.

So far as how it plays to the enemy, I'd say it's an open question what the enemy can really expect when no concrete withdrawal timeline was given at all.

- wolf
 

chucky2

Lifer
Dec 9, 1999
10,038
36
86
There's 3.) the Afghani's who are looking to see if we'll be there for them, or, if they'll be soon stuck with the nutso's and us sailing away.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,872
4,214
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So far as how it plays to the enemy, I'd say it's an open question what the enemy can really expect when no concrete withdrawal timeline was given at all.
To turn that around a bit it's what we can expect from the enemy once we leave. We certainly need to since the mismanagement of affairs has led to what seems a lost cause. It merely remains to be seen how things shake out. I suspect that things will return to where they were before we invaded. I do not see a strong centralized government as being viable in the Afghan culture where tribal loyalty is far more important than some foreign concept of a federal system.

Our mistake was to leave Afghanistan for the mad war in Iraq. That led to a slow deterioration of the situation fueled by the realization that America did not take the Afghan situation seriously. Our troops became a club with which the Dems and Reps could use to beat each other. If we had moved decisively with a good understanding of the culture, wants and needs of the Afghan people this may have played out entirely differently. As it is neither military campaign nor diplomatic initiative will erase our incompetence.

Bottom line is we were screwed from the moment we waged war.
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
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I have a very different take from Hayabusa, and while I believe that Afghanistan may be a legitimate war, we in the USA, and they in Nato, never were willing to commit the troops and resources to stand even a tiny chance of winning the Afghan peace.

The greatest danger to any occupation is the chaos and anarchy the occupying force bring in its wake. And when GWB allied with the very thugs Afghan thugs that made the Taliban the lesser of two evils, it may have added up to enough military power to win the war, but made it much harder to ever establish a government that could either function or reduce the anarchy, corruption, or the violence level.

At least Obama increased the troops levels, installed generals who half way got it, but without going back to square one which is to give the Karzai government the ole heave ho, and then adding about 300,000 more troops, its pretty well too little too late in Afghanistan. Sadly, IMHO, the Taliban is winning in Afghanistan because they know how to govern, know how to reduce violence in areas they control, and all Nato does is run from place to place turning the whole country into a shooting gallery.

The other thing to note is that the Afghan people would rather have a Government without the Taliban, but the Nato Government has proved to be an even worse alternative, partly because of sins of commission, but mainly by sins of omission.

How can anyone in Afghanistan have any faith in Nato if they can't deliver anything but violence, anarchy, corruption, and even more violence after eight years?

It does not make me into a Taliban fan to say, Nato is even worse than the Taliban.
It did not have to be so, even though it now is, nor does it have to be so in the future. But for now its basically true.

And if we want to win in Afghanistan, either commit the troops and development dollars to win, or alternately scale back our expectations, because even with the troops we have, we can save a part of Afghanistan but not all of it.
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,873
462
126
Obama did not say we would totally withdraw by a date certain. He said we would begin withdrawing in July 2011, and was purposefully vague about the actual rate of withdrawal, which could be 20K troops per month over 5 months or 1 troop per year until the next ice age. When questioned, the WH clarified that this could change based on "conditions on the ground."

The withdrawal timeline is not really a withdrawal timeline. It's a political game that Obama was playing with 1) Karzai, whom Obama wants to feel pressured to step up, not act like he has a blank security check, 2) liberals in his own party who wanted out.

So far as how it plays to the enemy, I'd say it's an open question what the enemy can really expect when no concrete withdrawal timeline was given at all.

- wolf
I can tentatively agree with this, or at least agree that he has gotten better over time with his pronouncements on ending our combat mission. I still don't like setting a time line for either running away or starting to run away, but I can concede that it might yet turn out to be the smarter thing to do.

Guys, Afghanistan has been a COIN operation since the Taliban fled to the Pakistan Pashtun tribal regions. Obama didn't make this a COIN operation - the enemy gets a vote in that, if they don't come out and play your only alternatives are going home or COIN. What Obama did was step up COIN because we were losing it. He's walking a narrow line because we have such limited forces and because he knows (or at least his military advisers know) that had we introduced the forces LL says are necessary to win, we would be fighting the whole damned country, and that could still happen. I don't like Obama's setting the date for withdrawal (or at least to start the withdrawal), but on balance I think he's done a pretty good job with Afghanistan. And if the good guys (well, the less-bad guys) end up winning, then the withdrawal date may well look like a smart ploy too.
 

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