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Afghanistan: its present and future



 
 
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  #181  
Old June 24th, 2010, 3:34 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
But I also have never seen anything where he defied direct orders from the White House.
You don't need to defy orders to have insubordination. You just need to foster a climate where it is more likely than not. But I'm truly not interested in splitting hairs. I literally saw several decorated respected retired military men state that what went on ran counter to the code of military conduct (even men who didn't agree with our Afghan strategy). They said that what occurred could even come to the point of being a Court Martial offense. And that the climate could foster insubordination because of the nasty level of disrespect.

There was also heavy drinking, including the general. These men may have been experiencing burnout, but the it was up to the general to either get other staff or shut down the dissension. The problem wasn't that they blabbed to Rolling Stone, but rather it was that they felt it was ok to talk like that (including the general, who has shot off his mouth on a couple of other occasions). No president should have to tolerate that kind of behavior, whether or not any orders were disobeyed.

But it's over and Obama handled it as well as could be done. I've also seen analysis that Petraeus probably negotiated some changes in our strategy, and since he is politically savvy that might help in managing that quagmire better.


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  #182  
Old June 24th, 2010, 3:42 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

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Originally Posted by USNAGator91 View Post
That could be the problem, where the Afghan War is being seen solely through a political prism. Unfortunately, there is no real military-only solution for Afghanistan and you may be right in the for a more politically aware person.

I've been a major proponent of this conflict, however, I simply don't see a way for a military solution to work, especially when the President has telegraphed a withdrawal which the enemy seems to be feeding off of. Unlike Iraq, there is no real central government to fill a vacuum once a region has been pacified. Also unlike Iraq, there is no strong tradition of central authority in Afghanistan.

It may be time to cut our losses and pull out, as much as it pains me to say it. The President hasn't articulated an endgame strategy, besides the withdrawal. He hasn't established victory conditions or milestones to look forward to (i.e. in the Iraq model, there were timelines established for national elections, formation of an interim government, more elections and the formation of a permanent government).

Given the rather ambiguous nature of the President's focus on this conflict, I think it's time to pull out.
There's a big part of me that agrees with you here. Without an ultimate objective for Afghanistan and a clearly defined strategy for achieving that objective, remaining in the country and fighting until it's time to go is a waste of lives.

Where leaving gives me pause is with what will happen to Afghanistan after we leave. The Taliban, based on everything we've seen, is still in control. It may be quieter than it's been, but it's still there. Will Afghanistan return to the Taliban stronghold it was in the years leading up to 9/11? That's not something I'm comfortable with.

Perhaps, before we leave we ought to see if our political leaders (and the Afghan political and tribal leaders) are capable of defining a realistic "end game" status for Afghanistan and establishing a strategy for achieving that "status". If we can't do that, or we don't have the will to do it, then we just ought to bring the troops home.


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  #183  
Old June 24th, 2010, 3:48 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Afghanistan is where empires go to die. It's not a country, it's just a collected series of warlord fiefdoms. We need to figure out how to tamp down Al Qaeda and deal with the Taliban. They're not going to have democracy there.


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  #184  
Old June 24th, 2010, 3:57 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

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Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm View Post
You don't need to defy orders to have insubordination. You just need to foster a climate where it is more likely than not. But I'm truly not interested in splitting hairs. I literally saw several decorated respected retired military men state that what went on ran counter to the code of military conduct (even men who didn't agree with our Afghan strategy).

Makes you wonder why they did it considering the dozens of other interviews in which they acted perfectly?

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Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm View Post
They said that what occurred could even come to the point of being a Court Martial offense.
I haven't read this. Can you show me where you saw this please?


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Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm View Post
And that the climate could foster insubordination because of the nasty level of disrespect.
This isn't talk that has happened out of the blue. These are obviously long held opinions that have yet to cause any sort of insubordination to appear. If this RS article had never happened McChrystal would still be in charge I am sure. You're allowed to disagree with your commander without it being insubordinate or causing insubordination. You're just not allowed to go public with it :P

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Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm View Post
No president should have to tolerate that kind of behavior, whether or not any orders were disobeyed.
Very true. I just often wonder why people like the President get speech writers and PR people in the room with them so they don't say the wrong thing to the press, and other high ranking officials don't get the same benefit? I can't help but think that they could have done more than a dressing down, but less than forcing his resignation.

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Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm View Post
But it's over and Obama handled it as well as could be done. I've also seen analysis that Petraeus probably negotiated some changes in our strategy, and since he is politically savvy that might help in managing that quagmire better.

I agree.

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Originally Posted by monster_mom View Post
Perhaps, before we leave we ought to see if our political leaders (and the Afghan political and tribal leaders) are capable of defining a realistic "end game" status for Afghanistan and establishing a strategy for achieving that "status". If we can't do that, or we don't have the will to do it, then we just ought to bring the troops home.
I really think that Kazai is at the heart of this. And I think you're right.


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  #185  
Old June 25th, 2010, 2:56 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
I can't help but think that they could have done more than a dressing down, but less than forcing his resignation.
This was the third strike. The first strike could have been enough.


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  #186  
Old June 25th, 2010, 3:52 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

I agree. If this had been his first time, a dressing down and reprimand would have been in order...but since the first two have already been given, the proverbial foot has to be put down.

Otherwise...you look that the leader who is always threatening, but never actually does "it" (whatever that is). Understanding and mercy is fine...to degree, but after that, it at least appears like the misbehaving child who's parent always threatens, never actually does anything--then has the child lose respect for the parent.

The same thing can happen with the military--AND other world leaders who are watching. The military has long known that examples can also give motivation and reminders that they serve the civilian people, not the other way around. Discipline is the cornerstone of the armed forces and one of the things that makes American troops fearsome and respected around the world.

We all remember the "paper-tiger" talk from the middle east years ago. Sometimes it's good to see the tiger cleaning his teeth--then he doesn't have to fight so often.


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  #187  
Old June 25th, 2010, 3:53 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

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Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm View Post
This was the third strike. The first strike could have been enough.
If you say so.


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  #188  
Old June 27th, 2010, 7:28 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

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Originally Posted by ComicBookWorm View Post
This was the third strike. The first strike could have been enough.
It was far more than his third strike.

In recent years McChrystal has:

* been implicated in torture in Iraq;
* been a central player in the Pat Tillman cover-up;
* said he would not support Biden's more limited war strategy, should the president choose it over his own;
* in London disclosed information from a C.I.A. report that the general “had no authority to declassify”;
* was unable to hold Marja (pop. 60,000), which he had vowed to secure in pure counterinsurgency fashion by rolling out a civilian “government in a box” after troops cleared it of the Taliban; and
* treats allies with contempt (as shown by his attirude to the French) when every troop is needed.

http://www.esquire.com/the-side/feat...hrystal-051909
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/op...27rich.html?hp

Quote:
Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
Makes you wonder why they did it considering the dozens of other interviews in which they acted perfectly?
I think it's more a case of the reporters not doing their job.

The strength of RS and other general interest magazines is that they are outside the beltway. Plus the reporter was a freelancer. That is a dynamite combination as it means the reporter and publication aren't inclined to pull their punches in order to cultivate relationships.

It was a similar case when Seymour Hersh broke My Lai and it was agency reporters who went into the field in Vietnam rather than just printing the bilge from official briefings.


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