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Afghanistan: its present and future



 
 
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  #121  
Old October 8th, 2009, 5:06 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehawk View Post
I know! Afghanistan is a tough place to wage a war. I know the Soviets faltered there years ago, and others as well. It's frustrating for me because none of this would have been an issue had the Bush administration not been planning to pull a boondoggle and get into Iraq. The idea of our guys languishing over there for eight years is maddening.
I don't see them as "languishing over there". They've been doing their jobs quite well. Do I wish the former Admin had focused primarily on Afganistan? Sure, but that isn't what was dealt. So, I think our troops have done an outstanding job with the support they've been given from those here at home.

Quote:
Remember the old song:

"War! What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing!"

I still believe that.
Actually, war is good for several things. If done right, a defeated enemy will not rise again to threaten you. Wars have done a great deal of good over the years.

-Tibbetts


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  #122  
Old October 8th, 2009, 6:17 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

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Originally Posted by purplehawk View Post
Democrats, on the other hand, are following the President's lead in asking for a strategy and an end game for Afghanistan, not the blind journey and blank check we've endured for the past eight years.
But didn't the President and his advisers approve the counter-insurgency strategy earlier this year? I seem to recall that McChrystal was sent over as commander to implement that strategy and that 17,000 additional troop reinforcements were sent as part of that strategy as well. That was what the President campaigned on, afterall.

The Washington Post this morning has a rather frightening report implying that the President and his civilian advisers and the military commanders each came away with a different understanding of what resources would be needed to support the enhanced counter-insurgency strategy the President announced in March of this year. According to the author's of the article, the President and his team got "sicker shock" when military commanders provided their assessment of the situation in Afghanistan and what it would take to execute Obama's counter-insurgency.

Call me a cynic, but I would hope that the Administration would have thought through what the 17,000 additional troops would be doing, whether they'd be sufficient, and what the final objective was before they'd deploy them to Afghanistan.


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  #123  
Old October 8th, 2009, 6:33 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Quote:
"War! What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing!"
Sometimes it's good. Although in this case, it isn't, and it's actually rather pointless. From a British perspective I think invading the country was a disasterous decision. Blair took us into the quagmire, and Brown is keeping us there senselessly.


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  #124  
Old October 8th, 2009, 6:34 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Kindly keep in mind that while decisions about how to proceed in Afghanistan made by the US administration are important, they are still not the main topic of this thread. How these decisions are made or not made is not the topic, and any further efforts to make this an US politics thread in disguise will get it closed.


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  #125  
Old October 8th, 2009, 7:41 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

I guess my question is whether it's meaningful to differentiate between Al Qaeda and the Taliban. While the Al Qaeda hunt is meaningful, would it suffice to say destroy Al Qaeda and leave the Taliban in place? Or should any exit strategy include the elimination of the Taliban as well?

In my opinion, I don't know if there is a real difference, but it seems to me leaving the Taliban simply creates the environment where Al Qaeda flourished a decade ago. Wouldn't that make it easier for an Al Qaeda replacement to take hold?


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  #126  
Old October 9th, 2009, 2:41 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehawk View Post
Remember the old song:

"War! What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing!"

I still believe that.

I don't know. Let's ask the people who crashed the planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and, who were kept from crashing into either the Capitol or the White House by a group of real heroes...after all, they're the ones who declared the war.

If the Taliban is allowed to regain total power in Afghanistan the suffering will be unbelievable. How many women have to be flogged or stoned to death, how many people have to die in the name of a "religion", what does it take to move some of us to do the right thing? If we had done the right thing when people were being killed in death camps in the 1940s, maybe six million lives would have been saved and fewer lost in doing it. But, we waited, and the cost was terrible. How long do we wait and what has to happen before we can act?


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Last edited by MinervasCat; October 9th, 2009 at 2:52 am.
  #127  
Old October 9th, 2009, 2:51 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

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Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
I don't know. Let's ask the people who crashed the planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and, who were kept from crashing into either the Capitol or the White House by a group of real heroes...after all, they're the ones who declared the war.
Right. But let's make this a rhetorical question. Because answering it would lead to events in the past.

Afghanistan
Here and Now
The future


(That's 3 mods within 24 hours)


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  #128  
Old October 9th, 2009, 2:55 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

I was just commenting on the old song.


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  #129  
Old October 9th, 2009, 3:33 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinervasCat View Post
If the Taliban is allowed to regain total power in Afghanistan the suffering will be unbelievable.
It already is unbelievable and was so before the Taliban took power. The perverted form of sharia which the West so deplored when referring to the Taliban was actually first imposed by the warlords of the "Northern Alliance" when they took hold of power after the Soviet pull-out.

As recent legislation has shown, there is little evidence that the western backed dictatorship has made anything but cosmetic changes.

Quote:
If we had done the right thing when people were being killed in death camps in the 1940s, maybe six million lives would have been saved and fewer lost in doing it. But, we waited, and the cost was terrible. How long do we wait and what has to happen before we can act?
Well, if you're talking about the Holocaust, most of the Allies were at war with Germany before "the decision to exterminate the Jews was presumably taken by the Nazi leadership during the first half of 1941" and the Wannsee Conference and construction of the first extermination camps in 1942.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extermination_camp


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Last edited by Wab; October 9th, 2009 at 3:39 am.
  #130  
Old October 9th, 2009, 3:41 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Godwin's Law.

I have no idea what compelled me to post this, but I just got reminded of it.

We the staff are in a thread-closing mood. Let's make sure we tread carefully or we'll close yet another one.


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  #131  
Old October 9th, 2009, 3:50 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

When PurpleHawk posted her song asking what war was good for, my intent was to reply that war, like everthing else, has a time. If we do not recognize that time, we pay dearly in the long run.

"To everthing there is a season....."


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  #132  
Old October 19th, 2009, 8:48 am
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Re: The Political Situation in Pakistan

The Obama Administration has signaled that any decision on increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan is going to wait until the disputed election there has been settled and results in a government that will work with the United States.

I like this approach. It just makes sense not to indulge a half-baked plan when we don't know what the political situation is going to be in that country.

Decision on Afghan Troops May Wait


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  #133  
Old January 11th, 2010, 2:37 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

The BBC has conducted a surprisingly optimistic opinion poll in Afghanistan which shows that the Afghan people are more hopeful about the future than in the past, that they support the US/ISAF intervention and that they despise both the Taliban and Al Qaeda. It's worth downloading the full report from the article (PDF link towards the top of the page)


  #134  
Old January 13th, 2010, 7:42 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Hamid Karzai has opening praised and thanked our troops, which seems positive to me. Although, some folks in the media seem to be poorly informed, going so far as to claim that we should leave because the Taliban has been beaten. They haven't been beaten, just beaten back. They are still very much there, and ready to grown again, given the chance.


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  #135  
Old January 13th, 2010, 8:04 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Woah - I haven't seen that particular opinion in the media. The assessments of Taliban power I am seeing are rather less optimistic.

I agree with you - any notion that the Taliban have been completely defeated would be, erm, premature.


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  #136  
Old January 13th, 2010, 10:46 pm
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

I thought they were defeated in 2001.

"Three months after the attacks on America and nine weeks after bombs began falling on Afghanistan, a senior-level Pentagon official said for the first time today that the Taliban government had been defeated."

NYT

And 2002:

"Our first objective in the first theater against the war against terror has been achieved: The Taliban are out of business."

GW Bush

"Because of American soldiers and our brave allies and friends, who have fought beside them, the Taliban is out of business."

GW Bush

And 2003:

"n an announcement marking a major victory in America's ongoing war on terror, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld declared Thursday that "major combat activity" has ended in Afghanistan."

Fox

"Now thanks to the United States and our fine allies, Afghanistan is no longer a haven for terror, the Taliban is history, and the Afghan people are free."

GW Bush

"Working with a fine coalition, our military went to Afghanistan, destroyed the training camps of Al Qaida, and put the Taliban out of business forever."

GW Bush

And 2004:

"Today, Afghanistan is a world away from the nightmare of the Taliban."

GW Bush

And 2007:

" Afghan President Hamid Karzai today described the Taliban as “defeated’’ and “hiding’’ – and as posing no credible threat to his government."

Chicago Tribune


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Last edited by Wab; January 13th, 2010 at 10:50 pm.
  #137  
Old January 14th, 2010, 12:33 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Well! I guess Wab gave us some historical perspective on that one.


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  #138  
Old January 14th, 2010, 6:39 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

While it's true that the Taliban government packed their kalashnikovs and left (for safe havens in Pakistan), the Taliban movement was never defeated. It's alive and well and actively striving to get back in power in Afghanistan. While I totally agree that just keeping them down by military power is not the long term solution, I do believe it's necessary for now and probably until a stable and working representative democracy is built. I'm very much afraid that that's not done in the immediate future.

And even then, Their recruiting grounds in Pakistan will still be there.

The link Dung gave a few posts ago gives a few more links to further information about them: opinion poll


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  #139  
Old January 14th, 2010, 7:25 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

The Independent has an interesting article about a new UN report. By far the largest killer of Afghans is the Taliban. Far from defending the ordinary people from foreign aggressors they are slaughtering them.

My view is that we gave the people help when the Taliban government was overthrown and then we looked the other way. We are morally obliged to make good the mistakes we mad or a new Taliban even viler than the old will take control of the country. (If a few of the squillions wasted in Iraq had gone to development in Afghanistan we wouldn't be in this mess now).


  #140  
Old January 14th, 2010, 8:09 am
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Re: Afghanistan: its present and future

Propping up a government almost as vile and corrupt as the Taliban hasn't helped either.


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