Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 82

Thread: Frontline on Afghanistan: The War Briefing

  1. #1

    Frontline on Afghanistan: The War Briefing

    Link to website

    Aired about a week prior to the election, the gist of this program was to present to the viewer the list of options that the next President will have with respect to moving forward in Afghanistan.

    As always with Frontline, while the video itself is great the website and all of its associated background is incredible.

    What was striking about the program is that it reflects the new trend to stop talking about the situation in Afghanistan in isolation. A lot of the hour was dedicated to Pakistan, the Pakistani Taliban, the and state of Pakistani politics. The footage of US troops in combat in Afghanistan was almost a backdrop to discussion of the great power politics in play between the US, India, and Pakistan.

    There was some discussion on the role that the Iraq War had on diverting resources away from Afghanistan. Certainly with only two brigade combat teams in Afghanistan it is clear that any military resources tied up in Iraq cannot be reprogrammed for Afghanistan overnight. However, in the interview with the former State Department Counter-terrorism Coordinator he makes the interesting point that between 2002-2004/2005 there was a security lull. Large numbers of ground forces were not really needed then, as the Taliban had yet to regroup and begin trying to reassert itself. At that point, what was required was a more comprehensive soft power approach that could have solidified the gains won during the first phase of OEF, when the Taliban fled to the hills facing a sizeable amount of coalition firepower. Unfortunately, we didn't do that, and starting in 2006 the Taliban began making inroads. This reminded me of what happened in Iraq where we had a few months of relative calm after the fall of the regime, and almost a full year where we retained significant freedom of action, but for reasons beyond the scope of this thread, we squandered it until finally things spiraled nearly out of control.

    This led to an interesting discussion of how poorly the US national security establishment is structured in order to engage the world in the 21st Century. Let me just quote the interview:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl.../crumpton.html
    the further you get away from Washington, the more successes you have in integrating all these instruments of statecraft. ...

    But frankly, the national leadership here, the White House and elsewhere -- and especially Congress -- they need to look at this holistically. And sadly, many people look at aid or the soft-power instruments as not very useful. But, in fact, it's critical to securing these victories.

    How do we get people from Agriculture or Commerce, State Department, development banks, into the mix? Again, there are some good examples at an operational level. But we should be thinking about it strategically. I'll give you an example: the role of the U.S. ambassador overseas. If we want to use all the instruments of statecraft, all the tools that we have, who is better positioned to bring all these instruments together? ...

    I have argued that the U.S. ambassador should be given the authorities and the resources to do this. ... But we're not recruiting or training or providing the right incentives for U.S. ambassadors to do this.
    What you're saying is the State Department has not fielded a very strong team?

    Not to wage counterinsurgency. There's some good examples where they've learned on the job. Ambassador [to Iraq] [Ryan] Crocker is a great example. Ambassador [Kristie] Kenney in the Philippines is another good example. But it is not a systemic program or plan. And I think that it's part of the need to restructure U.S. national security.

    And if it's not the U.S. ambassador to take the lead on this, well, then my question is, who is it? You can't default to the military, because in many cases, 90 percent of this should be nonmilitary. They're a critical part of it, but they shouldn't have the lead, in my view.
    Also relevant is the leaking of a National Intelligence Estimate stating that the situation in Afghanistan "is in a downward spiral". link

    Unfortunately for the forthcoming Obama administration it looks like time is running out. A distressing part of the Frontline documentary was when one of the interviewees flat out stated that the US is currently at the point where the Soviets were in 1988, and like them has to decide whether we want to win by doubling (more like quintupling) down or to get out.

    However, with 140,000 troops tied down in Iraq, a diplomatic corps only recently authorized to begin expanding its ranks, and a financial crises putting stress on the public purse, there might not be enough to double down with come 2009.

  2. #2
    Registered Senior Member
    Posts
    23,053
    If we'd fight the war in Aghanistan in the same way we fought the Germans in France and Belgium, the war would be over in mere months. It's our method of fighting the war that's at fault in the perception of losing!

    In France, we liberated the French people and the French countryside from the oppression of the Nazis. We should learn from history, and use the same methods to liberate the Afghanis from the Taliban and other extremists.

    Lots of people are going to say something like "Oh, you can't do that!" Yet the situation and the conditions were very, very similar in France as they are in Afghanistan. Why do it differently if the old way obviously worked?

    Baron Max

  3. #3
    There is really no such thing as "defeating" the Taliban militarily. We kicked them out of power and out of the country relatively easily, but those were just the first of many battles in this war. The Taliban is an idea, a culture, an institution, and a society. The only way to beat them is to literally from the ground up build an alternative society. You cannot easily teach a generation of people their single greatest boogeyman is now their friend. Humans, especially dirt poor and wholesale uneducated ones, don't work that way.

    What we need is to elicit a change in ideas. That can be accomplished by providing lasting security, healthcare, education, and a growing economy. The Taliban initially gained favor with the population because they were able to provide these things despite a civil war going on. We need to show rural Afghans that we can do it better than the Taliban did.

  4. #4
    Here we are, requiring our soldiers to fight a war of thought. WTF. It's hard enough trying to avoid getting shot. Yet you guys have to retrain an entire society? God help you. I think the Indian or Chinese may be the only ones with the manpower to do a functional ratio of forces to potential combatants, when everyone in the country has to be viewed as a potential combatant. Are there any available in-house Afghani forces that can be put to use? What happened to the warlords who were so helpful against the Taliban?

  5. #5
    Registered Senior Member
    Posts
    23,053
    Quote Originally Posted by Echo3Romeo View Post
    The Taliban is an idea, a culture, an institution, and a society.
    Nazism wasn't an idea, a culture, an institution and a society? If not, what the fuck was it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Echo3Romeo View Post
    What we need is to elicit a change in ideas. That can be accomplished by providing lasting security, healthcare, education, and a growing economy.
    And we did that with the French and the Belgians! We helped rebuild France into a world power that it is today. So, ...what's the difference? Just that the Afghanis are poor, ignorant savages?

    See? I just knew that you, or someone, would use that ol' "We just can't do that" routine, but I think that kind of bullshit is what's causing all the problems and making the wars last forever ....and there's no need for it. To my view, it's only making excuses for not doing what we know we should ...kick the shit outta' them, then rebuild the country, and hand it back to them.

    Baron Max

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Max View Post
    If we'd fight the war in Aghanistan in the same way we fought the Germans in France and Belgium, the war would be over in mere months. It's our method of fighting the war that's at fault in the perception of losing!
    Baron Max
    Holy crap dude, are you serious? That's only 50 years out of date. We aren't tasked with destroying massed armies. That's not going to work. The analogy doesn't apply. Your understanding of modern warfare and terrorist is pathetically obsolete.

  7. #7
    Registered Senior Member
    Posts
    23,053
    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    We aren't tasked with destroying massed armies.
    In France, during WW II, the Germans weren't "massed" in hardly any areas. They holed up in little towns and villages all across France ...and we used artillery and bombs to dislodge them. It's no different to what's happening in Afghanistan ....a few Taliban or extremists hold some little town or village, so we should use artillery and bombs to dislodge them ....just like we did in France!

    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    That's not going to work. The analogy doesn't apply. Your understanding of modern warfare and terrorist is pathetically obsolete.
    And in using "your" methods, we've been over there for umpty-eleven years and have accomplished little or nothing. We conquered almost all of Europe in less than three years. Yet we can't "conquer" a dinky, backward, little country like Afghanistan. Perhaps it's YOUR methods that's fucked up!

    Baron Max

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Max View Post
    In France, during WW II, the Germans weren't "massed" in hardly any areas.
    oh but they were baron.
    the germans massed a huge arsenal in the ardennes.
    by using a spearhead approach they invaded bbelgium and peeled off troops and weapons to protect their supply lines.
    this method cut off france from the rest of europe.
    after this was achieved it was a simple matter to spread throughout france because most of the french army was holed up in the maginon line.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Max View Post
    See? I just knew that you, or someone, would use that ol' "We just can't do that" routine, but I think that kind of bullshit is what's causing all the problems and making the wars last forever ....and there's no need for it. To my view, it's only making excuses for not doing what we know we should ...kick the shit outta' them, then rebuild the country, and hand it back to them.
    Sorry dude, but I'm with Spidergoat on this one. You're looking at this thing through an obsolete prism. Counterinsurgency is totally different from total warfare or attrition warfare, in just about every way. This excerpt is from chapter seven of the COIN manual (leadership & ethics). You should read more of it.

    Patience, Presence, and Courage

    For the first two months of 2006, the Marine platoon of the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit had walked the streets in Iraq on foot without serious incident. Their patrols had moved fearlessly around lines of cars and through packed markets. For the most part, their house calls began with knocks, not kicks. It was their aim to win the respect of the city’s Sunni Arab population.

    Suddenly things changed. An armored HMMWV on night patrol hit an improvised explosive device. The bomb destroyed the vehicle. Five Marines were wounded and two died shortly thereafter. A third Marine, a popular noncommissioned officer, later died of his wounds as well.

    The platoon was stunned. Some of the more veteran noncommissioned officers shrugged it off, but the younger Marines were keyed up and wanted to make the elusive enemy pay a price. A squad leader stood up in the squad bay asserted that there would be a pile of dead Arabs on the street when the platoon went out the next day.

    Just then, the company commander walked in. He was widely respected and generally short on words. He quickly sensed the unit’s mood and recognized the potential danger in their dark attitude. Speaking directly to his Marines, the commander urged them to remember why they were there. He reminded them that a very small percentage of the populace was out to create problems. It was that minority that benefited from creating chaos. The enemy would love to see an overreaction to the attack, and they would benefit from any actions that detracted from the Marines’ honor or purpose. The commander urged his Marines not to get caught up in the anger of the moment and do something they all would regret for a long time. Rather, they needed to focus on what the force was trying to accomplish and keep their minds on the mission. They had taken some hits and lost some good men, the commander said, but escalating the violence would not help them win. It would fall for the insurgents’ strategy instead of sticking to the Marines’ game plan of winning the respect of the populace.

    The commander knew his Marines and understood the operational environment. He assessed the situation and acted aggressively to counter a dangerous situation that threatened mission accomplishment. By his actions, the commander demonstrated patience, presence, and courage.
    http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24.pdf

  10. #10
    Baron Max-Still think I'm off base?

  11. #11
    E3R-I would like to point out that the similarities between counterinsurgency and policing civilians are somewhat disturbing. Even MP's are taught entirely different things from your common soldier, much less civilian police.

    Besides the environment, would you say that the situation is similar to Vietnam?

    Have they cleaned up the gobs of soviet-era mines that they had lying all over yet?

  12. #12
    Registered Senior Member
    Posts
    23,053
    Quote Originally Posted by Echo3Romeo View Post
    Sorry dude, but I'm with Spidergoat on this one. You're looking at this thing through an obsolete prism. Counterinsurgency is totally different from total warfare or attrition warfare, in just about every way. This excerpt is from chapter seven of the COIN manual (leadership & ethics). You should read more of it.
    Reading more of the same tired, old opinion doesn't help anything. You can call it whatever you want, but how you can't see the events in France during WW II as very similar to conditions in Afghanistan is simply because you don't WANT to see it. You make excuses why it's not the same or why it can't be done instead of learning lessons from the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by Echo3Romeo View Post
    Counterinsurgency is totally different from total warfare or attrition warfare, in just about every way.
    Only because you've (the "all-inclusive" term) made it that way, not because of anything else! If you tell yourself lies for long enough, you'll come to believe them yourself. And since before Vietnam, that's what we've been doing ...lying to ourselves and making excuses for not winning wars and just as stupidly, we called it "limited war". What a fuckin' joke!

    In Vietnam, it was the same thing ...we fought the same enemy, day after day, in almost the same areas, and never actually accomplished shit! Our commanders said similar things that you're saying ..all bullshit lies and excuses for not turning us loose on the enemy.

    We won every battle, every skirmish, every firefight. And then left to allow the enemy right back into the same area ....so that we had to go back and fight them again! And again! You're doing the same thing in Afg and you can't see it. If the US military can't learn from the major mistakes in Vietnam, then the US military might as well hang up it's spurs!

    You want similar? Okay, take Fallujah in 2002/2003. It was a hotbed of insurgent activity in Iraq. Every night, insurgents would sneak out of the city and bomb targets and blow up people and set roadside IDEs, then sneak back into the city for protection. The military and advisors tried over and over to be nice, to "help" that city and its people. Nothing worked because the people of Fallujah were in full support of the insurgents. Okay, fair enough.

    In 2004, President Bush gave the go-ahead ...and the Marines and Army troops tore through Fallujah in a few days, killing every insurgent or extremist in the town. It was over and done in a few days. Now ...after years, we've heard nothing about Fallujah, it's not in the news, it's not in the propaganda, it's no longer a hotbed of insurgency. In Fallujah, the US military won because they were allowed to fight ...and yet they won't do the same in Sadr City or Tikrit or other such places. Why?

    What do we do? Well, shit, we succeeded in Fallujah, but were too stupid to learn any lessons from it. And now, all over Iraq (EXCEPT Fallujah!), we're still fighting insurgents wherever they want to shoot at US soldiers and Marines. Same as Vietnam ...we let the insurgents go so that we can fight them again tomorrow and the next day and the next day, ...in the same fuckin' places! Ahh, except Fallujah. And that tells y'all nothing?

    And y'all are doing the same stupid shit in Afg ...just farting around, accomplishing the same nothing that we did in Vietnam. No one learns the lessons. And worse, every-fuckin'-body makes excuses why "it" can't be done. The simple truth is that we don't want to win, we just want to fuck around and accomplish nothing for years and years.

    Make me commander-in-chief of the US military and you'd see some shit hit the fan! And we'd finally win a fuckin' war for a change ...and the men and women of the military could come home. Give me one year, one lousy year, and Afg and Iraq would be over.

    Ask yourselves ...when was the last time you heard of any problems in Fallujah? Then ask yourself ..why not? No propaganda bullshit, no insurgents, no bombings, no killings, no sneaking around at night, etc. The answers should surprise y'all ...if you're willing to admit it.

    Baron Max

  13. #13
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
    Posts
    72,822
    Haven't heard a peep from the WTC either. Did that work, too, d'you think?

  14. #14
    Registered Senior Member
    Posts
    23,053
    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    Haven't heard a peep from the WTC either. Did that work, too, d'you think?
    It's in the news regularly, where have you been?

    And "work"? Sure, it dropped the towers and in the process brought down on the heads of al-Queda and the Taliban far more than they ever wanted or expected! I'll just bet those guys are kickin' themselves in the ass for that attack. It didn't hurt the USA, but it sure as hell hurt the Taliban and al-Queda.

    Baron Max

  15. #15
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
    Posts
    72,822
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Max View Post
    It's in the news regularly, where have you been?

    And "work"? Sure, it dropped the towers and in the process brought down on the heads of al-Queda and the Taliban far more than they ever wanted or expected! I'll just bet those guys are kickin' themselves in the ass for that attack. It didn't hurt the USA, but it sure as hell hurt the Taliban and al-Queda.

    Baron Max
    Exactly. These people have relatives,friends and countrymen too



    Just because WTC went down, doesnt mean anything, there are still plenty of people left to fight.

  16. #16
    Registered Senior Member
    Posts
    23,053
    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    Exactly. These people have relatives,friends and countrymen too
    Tough shit, ain't it! If they didn't want shit like that comin' down on their heads, they shouldn't have allowed the Taliban and al-Queda to operate in their towns, villages and country.

    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    Just because WTC went down, doesnt mean anything, there are still plenty of people left to fight.
    Yep, they're just like rats, ain't they?

    Baron Max

  17. #17
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
    Posts
    72,822
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Max View Post
    Tough shit, ain't it! If they didn't want shit like that comin' down on their heads, they shouldn't have allowed the Taliban and al-Queda to operate in their towns, villages and country.
    Thats Fallujah, Baron, not New York. The Taliban and al Qaeda were funded by the US remember?


    Yep, they're just like rats, ain't they?

    Baron Max
    The WTC victims? You mean because they abandoned ship by jumping off?

  18. #18
    Registered Senior Member
    Posts
    23,053
    Tired of your bullshit, SAM .....this is not one of your propaganda threads.

  19. #19
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
    Posts
    72,822
    Propaganda? Just pointing out your BS Baron. Imagine, the US "scared" of Iraq/Afghanistan. What a joke. What did those people ever do to any of you, you've killed hundreds of thousands of them, destroyed their country, tortured and humiliated them, reduced their life to a living hell and you think they are responsible? You people are so full of crap.

  20. #20
    Registered Senior Member
    Posts
    23,053
    Bye, SAM.

    And, no, I didn't even read your post ....I already know what it says!

    Baron Max

Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. By DiamondHearts in forum World Events
    Last Post: 07-31-08, 10:10 PM
    Replies: 4
  2. By kmguru in forum World Events
    Last Post: 01-27-08, 03:30 PM
    Replies: 4
  3. By MattMarr in forum The Cesspool
    Last Post: 08-02-07, 01:42 PM
    Replies: 6
  4. By Free_Matt_417 in forum Politics
    Last Post: 02-16-07, 10:08 PM
    Replies: 0
  5. By OliverJ in forum World Events
    Last Post: 04-16-06, 06:21 PM
    Replies: 82

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •