Cynical Synapse

Tue, 13 Oct 2009

Afghanistan: The Mission is in Serious Jeopardy

Filed under: Global War on Terror, Government, History, Indecision, Military, Politics, Rogue states, Terrorism — cynicalsynapse @ 6:13 am

That’s what Senate Intelligence Committee Chairperson Diane Feinstein (D-CA) said on ABC’s This Week. She added delaying sending more forces puts those already there at greater risk. To host George Stephanopoulos, Feinstein said:

I think General McChrystal, who is one of our very best, if not the best at this, has said a counterterrorism strategy will not work. The president said to us very clearly, just as you said, George, we will not pull out.

Now, if you’re going to stay, you have to have a way of winning. The question is, what is that way? And I think the counterinsurgency strategy, which means protecting the people, not shooting from afar, but securing, taking, holding, and providing security for a period of time is really critical.

So, Feinstein is shooting down Vice President Joe Biden’s call to scale back the Afghan theater to special forces and Predators. On CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said much the same thing. “I think the great danger now is a half measure sort of (to) try to please all ends of the political spectrum,” McCain remarked. He added the Biden approach “would be the counter-terrorism strategy that we attempted in Iraq under (former Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld and Gen. (George) Casey. It didn’t succeed.”

Michigan’s Sen. Carl Levin (D), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, appeared on CBS’ Meet the Press. He said, “[T]he mistake going back to that last question I believe that was made in Afghanistan was taking our eye off that ball. Not going after bin Laden when we had him where we wanted him.” Levin is calling for dilly-dallying and coming up with the right strategy. “But now I think it would be a mistake for us to do anything other than to look for ways to succeed in Afghanistan,” he commented. Seems to me Feinstein summed it up pretty good:

I think we need to look for those warlords that we can work with, those Pashtuns who want to work for stability, for good, solid governance. I don’t think we can make the country into a Jeffersonian democracy, but I do think you — you’ve got to stabilize this country.

You leave this country, and the Taliban are increasing all of the time. They’re taking over more. It will have a dramatic impact on Pakistan one day. I really believe that.

Occasional references to the Vietnam War are used to make the case for pulling out of Afghanistan. The problem in that conflict is what we are seeing now: a lack of political will. The politicians didn’t listen to the military experts and the war was lost. The lesson there is actually to give the commanders in the field what they need to win. Politicians have been reticent to do that from the very beginning when Rumsfeld fired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Eric Shinseki. The Chief blasphemed the US needed 150,000 to secure the peace after toppling Hussein’s regime in Iraq. Seems history bore that out.

McCain’s take on what President Obama needs to do is pretty straight-forward: give Gen. Stanley McChrystal the 40,000 troops he’s asking for. “To disregard the requirements that have been laid out and agreed to by Gen. (David) Petraeus and Admiral (Mike) Mullen would be an error of historic proportions,” McCain said. Why doesn’t Obama get this?

The significance of this? Need I remind anyone the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon were launched from Afghanistan?

UPDATE: Obama Decision in “Coming Weeks”

OMG! Is he serious? The Commander-in-Chief said he’ll make his decision on Afghanistan strategy in “the coming weeks.” Say what? What are the Joes on the ground supposed to do between now and then? How is McChrystal supposed to come up with any plans that support the future warfight until he knows what direction Obama’s going to go in?

This isn’t rocket science, folks. We’re either in it to win it or we’re not. I know this and I haven’t seen the intel reports. If we want to win, we’re burning daylight. If we want to give up, then we’ll be handing nuclear-armed Pakistan to the Taliban. If you think that’s a good outcome, what are you doing here in the first place? Did I mention the extremist Taliban and Al-Queda seek nothing less than the total annihilation of our way of life?

Update: Won’t Rush Afghanistan Decision

Mon, 26 Oct 2009

It’s been a month since Gen. Stanley McChrystal asked for 40,000 more troops and President Obama still doesn’t have a plan! Today, 26 October, he told military personnel at Jacksonville Naval Air Station he would “never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm’s way.” Hello! Troops are already in harm’s way! In fact, 14 US personnel were killed today in Afghanistan.

As retired Gen. Anthony Zinni said, time’s up on the Afghanistan decision. Either we want to defeat global terrorism or we don’t. Commit or withdraw. Personally, I’m for doing whatever it takes to wipe out the threat to the US and western civilization.

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