Don't Ask Me, I Don't Give a Damn, Next Stop is Afghanistan...

Come on all of you, big strong men, Uncle Sam needs your help again. Yeah, he's got himself in a terrible jam, way down yonder in Afghanistan. So put down your books and pick up a gun, gonna have a whole lotta fun.

James Pethokoukis of Reuters reports that President Barack Obama is planning on sending 34,000 troops to Afghanistan over the next year. That represents a 50 percent increase over the 68,000 already there. But 6,000 fewer than our commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, requested.

The 34,000 troops follows an earlier 50 percent jack in manpower this year. Remember when Afghanistan was the "good war" in the fight on terror? And when Obama said, "Until I'm satisfied that we've got the right strategy I'm not gonna be sending some young man or woman over there—beyond what we already have"?

Yeah, I don't either, really.

Some Dems, including Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin and Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, are calling for a "war surtax" (on rich people, of course) to pay for any troop expansion. That's great fellas, because that'll really show 'em. Why not, I don't know, actively push for Congress to either actually declare war or get the hell out already? At the very least, can somebody tell us what the U.S. goals are in the graveyard of empires and give us some probability about reaching them before my kids are draft age?

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  • Art-P.O.G.||

    OEF's been going on for over 8 years now. Anyone else think that'll start to take a toll on an all-volunteer Army/Marine Corps? Yeah, me too.

  • hmm||

    Not as long as the US economy sucks. They beat last years recruitment goals. I know people going in o9s with 4 year degrees that graduated high in their classes and not just going in with the credit hours to get in or ROTC. Just plain old college grads. I can't imagine the number of high school grades facing a shitty economy willing to join just for the paycheck with college grads choosing that route.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I know what you're saying, and that thought occured to me, too, but I'm thinking that a lot of Jr. NCOs and Captains with combat zone experience will end up trying to get out, and a lot of Senior NCOs might end up trying to retire.
    I'm just wondering how green the Army and Marine Corps might end up getting as people try to say "no thatnks" to multiple deployments.

    Actually, based on my observations, as shitty as the economy is, most people will stay in the services anyway.

  • Council Of Outraged Parents||

    We're outraged that only the poor are fighting this war. On behalf of all the children, rich and poor, black and white, gay, lesbian and transgender, we demand a reinstitution of the draft. When do we want it? Now!

  • ||

    Everyone in the US military is now under a contract that started after OEF began. No one put a gun to their heads, they volunteered (and for the record, so did I).

  • healthscarequotes||

    i read on worldnetdaily that bill ayers ghostwrote the art of war

  • TP||

    If it's poor people fighting the War, then it's only fair that rich people pay for it.

    Afghans in the rural areas despise a Central Government even more than Libertarians.

  • creech||

    Why? It was largely the poorer folks who elected the guy who is continuing and expanding this war? Actions have consequences.

  • JB||

    The poor and the very rich.

    I am very in favor of taxing rich Democrats at a high rate.

  • ||

    Don't Ask Me, I Don't Give a Damn, Next Stop is Afghanistan...

    Wait... that's a Country Joe song? So THAT'S what Mystery Science Theater 3000 was referencing. Go figure.

  • Abdul||

    How long before people stop comparing every frigging military intervention to Vietnam?

  • anon||

    In this case, the comparison seems to be pretty appropriate.

  • pistoffnick||

    I dunno...maybe when we stop waging unwinnable wars with high civilian casualties in places we have no right to be?

  • JB||

    No right to be?

    Go eat a bag of digs. The Taliban provided material support to Al Queda and refused to turn them over after 9/11.

    They got only some of what they deserved. I was highly in favor of killing the fuck out of the Taliban, Al Queda, and then leaving. Warn them that they we will come back and kill them some more if they try fucking around again.

    No reason to stay and build a country; that's a job for its inhabitants.

  • ||

    I agree. But that's never been the plan since Bush didn't hit and split either. Obama is contuinuing Bush's philosophy of war and nation building, right or wrong.

  • JB||

    Didn't say otherwise.

  • ||

    """No reason to stay and build a country; that's a job for its inhabitants."""

    The hassles and cost of rebuilding themselves should be a deterrent from making us come back.

  • ||

    Real original with the "bag of dicks." It's Americans like you who are too apt to put a gun to someone's head who threaten the long term chance of our survival as a nation. You don't even know who the enemy is, who it is that really threatens your existence. You seem to think that being a brute, and not coming up with a legitimate solution to the problem (note that this is different than killing everything that moves)is a good idea for everyone. It probably reinforces your sense of manhood and makes you feel like a "patriot," but your just a brute, slack jawed knuckle dragging mouth breather, whose solution to a problem is to just smash it with a rock. You'd give cavemen a bad name.

  • Episiarch||

    KULTUR WAR, BITCHES

  • Culture Club||

    Karma Chameleon?

    You cum ... and go?

  • ||

    I suppose there must be a point to this question. Don't know what it is. One might have hoped that a country would have learned something for the incredibly horrendous and pointless butchery that was Vietnam and maybe would have second thoughts about throwing away thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars for no particular reason. One would be wrong.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Truth About the Vietnam War

    "And, the US was defending the Republic of Vietnam from an invasion. Whatever the US administrations and military leaders did wrong, THAT was not one of them.

    Let's put things in their proper context, for starters. You're talking about an authoritarian communist regime which, during the 1950s, was murdering many tens of thousands of North Vietnamese civilians, stealing the property of everyone else, and using terror tactics to subject the whole population of North Vietnam to a total destruction of rational social order. None of the usual excuses from historical revisionsists like you apply here: this wasn't self defense because the French were gone; the US was not in North Vietnam during that decade.

    This was not a spontaneous uprising or well-intentioned attempt to make a "better society". Ho Chi Minh founded the Indochinese Communist Party in 1930 (in exile in China). Before that, he was trained by the Soviets while in the USSR. These murderous thugs planned to conquer and enslave their own countrymen before moving on to their neighbors. They did both. Thirty years later, the people in Vietnam are STILL oppressed by their government and living in a failed economy, ruined by the denial of their freedom."

  • BH||

    At least Iraq has oil. Makes sense to grab it some 19th century colonial sort of way seeing as we're cheap crackhos for the stuff. Afghanistan, like Vietnam, I dunno, what's there? Goats and rocks? A giant exercise in the sunk costs fallacy.

  • ||

    Ok I totally diasgree with the idea that we should takeover countries just to steal their resources, but if this is the big idea...then it is totally stupid to go to Iraq...we should hav invaded Venezuala...much cheaper to conquer and much easier to bring the oil here...very little oil from the mideast actually comes to the US...canada, norway, venezuala, MEXICO etc are all much more natural suppliers for the continental US...unless we are trying to cut off China from resources leading up to a big war...which probably has something to do with it god dammit...fuck the rand corporation.

  • ||

    First, let me start by saying that I’m an Australian, not USA. Nor do I agree with the invasion of both Afghanistan and Iraq; however I just want to express why I understand it.

    The thing that amazes me when most about Americans, who express their contempt for "War for Oil" theories is; don't you guys realise that EVERY war in history has been fought for resources? Resources are THE underlying reason for EVERY single war in the history of humanity.

    Politicians/Royalty/Heads of State, may try to sell the masses reasons such as sovereignty, religion, morality, however the underlying fact is that no country goes to war (except when defending their own sovereignty) for anything less than resources.
    Knowing this; as a non-American, I see the Iraq War (and Afghan as well) as a simple mathematical equation. This USA uses the most oil in the world (by a lot) and therefore, needs to secure its constant supply for the nation; hence, the USA takes it.

    In a way, the US powers-that-be, are simply securing a "way of lifestyle" for their people, something which has occurred for the entire history of mankind.

  • JB||

    Al Queda was there.

    Though I see no point in staying in these places. Kill the fuck out of them, then leave.

  • ||

    ya accept...we were supporting the taliban right up until 9/11...we also created Al Qaeda in the first place "The Base" CIA name for the databse of mujahdeen warriors. Now that we have killed hundreds of thousands of folks who have nothing to do with Al Qaeda we have actually increased the # of survivors who want to blow our country up in return.

    Obviously we are still there not to increase our safety but to satisfy obscure geopolitical goals...

    "military men are dumb stupid aanimals to be treated as pawns"- Henry Kissinger- godfather of US foreign Policy the last 30 years

    and/or to just plain give money to the corrupt military/industrial complex.

  • JB||

    So you would have favored thumbing yourself while Al Queda sat in Afghanistan after 9/11?

  • ||

    AQ was not a pretext to engage Iraq.

  • JB||

    Was talking about Afghanistan...

    "Afghanistan, like Vietnam, I dunno, what's there?"

  • ||

    Krog angry! Krog smash! Krog kiiiiillllll!

  • ||

    Afghanistan has the geography. It allows for a pipeline which starts in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and flows to Pakistan, which is where the USA wish to port it.

  • ||

    Probably a while. People still remember Vietnam; nobody remembers the Phillippine Insurrection.

  • ||

    That's because the Phillipino guerrilas didn't have a catchy name back then.

    If we went back in to fight the Moro Islamic Liberation Front I guarantee everyone would remember it.

    Plus, you'd get alot of young men eager to join up and fight MILFs in the Phillipines.

  • ||

    The Navy has been doing that for years.

  • Xeones||

    As soon as the Boomers die off, Abdul.

  • Agent Provacateur||

    C'mon swine flu mutation...

  • But||

    Boomers didn't start the Vietnam War, of course. But they provided the fodder.
    And they jolly well shouldn't forget that disaster.

  • ||

    The boomers that run around screaming "Vietnam" are almost the ones who actually fought it. I rarely if ever meet an actual Vietnam vetaran who thinks this or that war is "another Vietnam". It is only the ones who got college deferments and didn't go who seem to be so scared by the experience. Odd that.

  • But||

    I haven't seen anyone, young or old, running around and screaming "Vietnam!" Maybe I should get out more. But one needn't have been a soldier in a jungle to learn the lessons of that wholly unnecessary war, a war begun, ironically, by Brokaw's "greatest" generation and "war hero" John F. Kennedy.

  • ||

    "We don't really want to stop the war
    But that's what you'll all be voting for.
    You'll forget amidst this silly sham
    We're the ones who got you into Nam.
    So let me introduce to you
    The act we've blown for all these years:
    Sargent Shriver's Bleeding Hearts Club Band."

  • A.G. Pym||

    AFAIK, it was during the Truman administration that the US first began offering military aid and support. We were paying most of the French war effort in Indochina during the Eisenhower administration. Then proceed to Kennedy who, if accounts are believable, was already working on a disengagement plan when he was killed. LBJ took the effort over and made it a convenient revenue source for Lady Bird.

  • ||

    Some Dems, including Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin and Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, are calling for a "war surtax" (on rich people, of course) to pay for any troop expansion.

    This is what is known as the public option for war.

  • Rich||

    "Why not, I don't know, actively push for Congress to either actually declare war or get the hell out already?"

    Meh. "Declare war." How quaint!

    And isn't the *stupidity* tax high enough already?

  • ||

    This seems like the action of someone who has no idea what to do. If Obama wants to go all in in Afghanistan, fine, send a 100,000 troops. Send enough people to make a difference. If he wants out, then get out.

    Maybe 34,000 is what is necessary to win but I doubt it. It looks more like a number designed to show the people committed to Afghanistan Obama is doing something but not a number so large as to enrage his anti-war critics. In other words, the worst of both worlds; a continued commitment that is not large enough to win.

    I hope this is enough to make real progress. But, it sure doesn't look like it from the outside.

  • ||

    I didn't think the Iraq surge was enough troops, but that plus other tactics, seem to have worked.

    Personally, I don't think sending the entire fucking Army and Marines would not really do the job, and if it did, it would require keeping that troop level for decades. It depends on the mission. Do we want to occupy or have a more realistic plan? Like shoot and scoot JB mentioned earlier.

  • ||

    Oh and he will be anouncing this at 5 pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving no doubt. What a fucking weasel.

  • Xeones||

    I hope this is enough to make real progress.

    There is no such thing as "progress" when you're talking military involvement in Afghanistan. Ask the Soviets, the British Empire, or Alexander the Great.

  • ||

    I wouldn't say that. The British experience is mischaracterized. The British kicked the hell out of the Afghans in the second Anglo-Afghan war and pacified the entire country. No one ever talks about that. They just talk about the first one.

  • ||

    The Second Anglo-Afghan War was essentially a series of punitive expeditions, and so was successful. The First War, that actually involved an Anglo-Indian army garrisoning Kabul in support of a friendly ruler, was an unmitigated disaster. I leave it to you to decide which one of these two wars is more comparable to the current situation.

  • Michael||

    It's true that no one can with any certainty say that the US will eventually see success in Afghanistan, but to use the Soviet experience as a metric is a bit asinine. Remember that ultimately they failed at everything.

  • ||

    Dude, they had free healthcare.

  • JB||

    lol

  • Hugh Akston||

    They kicked some Nazi ass.

  • ||

    Yes, but could they have without the materiel shipped there from the USA?

  • ||

    Well, seeing how the Polish-Soviet War, the Lithuanian-Soviet War, the Latvian and Estonian Wars of Independence, the Winter War and the Afghan War went, I would have to say no.

  • ||

    We expect to make strong progress during our the first quarterly earnings report of 2010! The economy is saved bitches!

  • Colin||

    Country Joe!!!

  • Agent Provacateur||

    At the very least, can somebody tell us what the U.S. goals are in the graveyard of empires and give us some probability about reaching them before my kids are draft age?

    I'd say we don't have a draft but then Democrats are in power and a draft is so democratic.

  • DJF||

    How about instead of a special tax on rich people to fund the war we have a special tax on government employees (especially Congress) to fund the war. After all government employees are selfless people who love to do what is best for the country.

  • hmm||

    A tax of their first born sounds great to me, but no officers just enlisted positions for them.

  • ||

    hmm,

    The first born can be an officer, but only if the officer is an USAF pilot of an attack or FO aircraft. Disregarding PJs & flight crew, being enlisted man in the USAF isn't a lot different than being civil service or photo-jo in the Army.

  • Kolohe||

    Sturgeon, combat camera folks are no slouches. They're out there hiking in the hills like any other infatryman.

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/55thcombatcamera

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I read a story awhile back about a photojournalist assigned with some SF guys in Swat Valley. Harrowing.

  • CavMedic||

    Art-P.O.G, if it is the same one I am thinking of he got a Silver Star from that action.

  • ||

    We have to harvest those Poppy fields before winter. Chop Chop!

  • Kolohe||

    Poppy is planted this time of year; it's harvested in the spring.

    (...the more you know (TM))

  • hmm||

    I really wish we would have just kicked ass and left if we had to do anything. This whole operation was fucked before it started when we failed to at least protect Ahmad Shah Massoud. Oddly enough he died to a suicide bomber 2 days before 9/11. Seems like more than a tin foil hat coincidence to me.

  • ||

    Ahmad Massoud was that really good wide receiver that was a football announcer right? the guy who proposed to Bill Cosby's wife on TV?

  • ||

    Ahmad Massoud was that really good wide receiver that was a football announcer right? the guy who proposed to Bill Cosby's wife on TV?

  • anon||

    As reckless as they are, don't you think that washington has at least figured out that not having a draft is essential to unlimited public suppport for war?

  • ||

    I like that part of the movie. That's where they show the only black guy in the audience.

  • ||

    I am constitutionally ignorant. Is there supposed to be a formaal declaration of war before we do things like Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia or even Grenada?

  • hmm||

    Constiwhat? What's that?

    Didn't Congress circumvent the War Powers Act by giving Bush the power to decide if we went to war. Instead of actually voting on going to war. tricksy bastards.

  • ||

    It depends on what you mean by "declaration of war." Congress did vote to authorize the use of military force in Iraq and Afghanistan. It didn't use the Magic Words, but it was Congressional action.

    While, going in, we were likely engaged in a war (that is, an armed conflict with a sovereign), now we likely are not, as the Afghan and Iraq sovereigns are on our side. To send troops to an ally to help suppress an insurrection or otherwise maintain order isn't really fighting a war*, so what we are doing now probably doesn't need any more Congressional authority than what we have.

    *At some point, you could argue that the insurrection amounts to a civil war, and you could have a nice argument about whether taking the side of the recognized sovereign in a civil war means you are at war with the opponent.

  • ||

    If the war is over, why are we still holding the prisoners?

  • ||

    The constitution? Your sad devotion to that ancient document hasn't allowed you to conjure up the WMD's or given you clairvoyance to find Bin Laden's hidden rebel base.

  • ||

    shut up or I'll choke you to death with my mind!

  • ||

    Sal,
    You should write a play. We could put it on youtube and be famous.

    When the emperor(David Rockefeller) comes in we can have greenman hit him in the face with a volleyball.

  • ev||

    I like this.

  • ||

    This isn't Facebook ev, we're mature adults here.

    (I like it, too. And that part about being mature is a total lie)

  • hmm||

    This isn't Facebook ev, we're some of us are mature adults here.

  • hmm||

    Nice troll dipshit.

  • Abdul||

    Iraq was supposed to be another Vietnam. The press had a spell where they waited for it to be officially declared quagmire.

    How come's nobody's talking quagmire anymore?

    Or, if you want to make some comparisons, look at the total US deaths in Afghanistan (855) vs Vietnam (58,000). what's that tell you? Absolutely nothing (as Edwin Star might have said).

    Look, you can compare a raven to a writing desk if you want to, and come up with some similarities, but the usefulness of the exercise seems limited at best.

    Similarly, analyzing every military intervention through the lense of Vietnam is of limited use, unless you think keeping baby-boomers' navels full of contemplation material is useful.

  • ||

    In that case, all the hawks comparing the war on terror to World War 2 need to stfu as well.

  • ||

    Crap, I'm of age for a *draft*. O_O

  • ||

    In order to instate a draft, Obama would have to give a specific goal. Like "kill every motherfucker who touches a rifle." He should have a specific goal anyway.

    If the Congress wanted to do something useful, they could tell Obama "Give us a specific goal that you want to accomplish in Afghanistan and a legitimate time frame, or we stop paying for it." That's kind of their job. Of course, anyone who says that is "unpatriotic" and "not supporting the troops."

    It will also be a sad day in military history when the draft is instated to handle a country like Afghanistan.

  • ||

    34,000 more troops!...Obama is awesome! I'm sure that idiot bush would have muffed things up and ordered 37,000 troops to the Af/Pak front, but he doesn't have as much strategery as Obama!

  • ||

    By sending 34,000 instead of 40,000, it seems like Obama is trying to say "you can't tell me what to do" to his military advisers.

  • ||

    You are not the boss of me General M cristal. Yo ...like the champaigne, dope!

  • ||

    He does out rank them. So no, they can't tell him what to do.

  • ||

    True, but they can't be voted out of office for not taking the advice of their vastly more qualified subject-matter expert subordinates.

  • ||

    Some Dems, including Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin and Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, are calling for a "war surtax" (on rich people, of course) to pay for any troop expansion

    And then they will require every Congressman and Senator to go through Basic Training, and spend six months with a combat unit, so they can better understand the situation.

  • ¢||

    By sending 34,000 instead of 40,000, it seems like Obama is trying to say "you can't tell me what to do" to his military advisers.

    If they didn't take who's president into account and overstate their troop requests, it looks like he picked the right number to maximize death, get the quagmire chant going again, pull out when he needs the angry sucker vote back, and say "Bush."

    Those thousands of guys he's sending to their deaths look like a Palin book-signing line anyway, so fuck it. Kill 'em.

  • ||

    I tried to tell the kids, that is why you should study hard while in school.

  • ||

    "At present the population of the world is increasing ... War so far has had no great effect on this increase ... I do not pretend that birth control is the only way in which population can be kept from increasing. There are others ... If a Black Death could be spread throughout the world once in every generation, survivors could procreate freely without making the world too full ... the state of affairs might be somewhat unpleasant, but what of it? Really high-minded people are indifferent to suffering, especially that of others." - Bertrand Russell[vii]

  • Kolohe||

    Apparently, you can get out of the war surtax by going to war:

    http://yglesias.thinkprogress......x-bloc.php

    (or you're family can get out of it if you're killed)

  • Hacha Cha||

    I like the Country Joe and the Fish reference.

  • Tim Starr||

    The US withdrew support for Afghanistan in the early 1990s. Saudi Arabia & Pakistan were happy to fill the vaccuum, creating the Taliban & letting it host Al Qaeda while it attacked the USA in 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2001.

    Neither the Brits nor Soviets ever implemented COIN in Afghanistan, hence their failure. "Hit and split" is what leads to resurgence of terrorism and the need to eventually go back.

    Vietnam analogies would be a lot more persuasive if those making them actually bothered to get the history of the Vietnam War right in the first place.

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