Afghanistan: You'll Never Want to Leave

Is anyone surprised by this?

The Obama administration has decided to begin publicly walking away from what it once touted as key deadlines in the war in Afghanistan in an effort to de-emphasize President Barack Obama's pledge that he'd begin withdrawing U.S. forces in July 2011, administration and military officials have told McClatchy.

The new policy will be on display next week during a conference of NATO countries in Lisbon, Portugal, where the administration hopes to introduce a timeline that calls for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014, the year when Afghan President Hamid Karzai once said Afghan troops could provide their own security, three senior officials told McClatchy, along with others speaking anonymously as a matter of policy.

The Pentagon also has decided not to announce specific dates for handing security responsibility for several Afghan provinces to local officials and instead intends to work out a more vague definition of transition when it meets with its NATO allies.

What a year ago had been touted as an extensive December review of the strategy now also will be less expansive and will offer no major changes in strategy, the officials told McClatchy. So far, the U.S. Central Command, the military division that oversees Afghanistan operations, hasn't submitted any kind of withdrawal order for forces for the July deadline, two of those officials told McClatchy.

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  • ||

    Such a good book. Too bad both sequels are so meh.

  • ||

    Do you recommend it? Is there any author you would say Haldeman is similar to?

  • ||

    I'd highly recommend it. Authorwise, Hadleman is hit or miss. I think this is the only truly great book he ever wrote. It's basically Starship Troopers meets Catch 22. It's not a work of pacifism, but it is anti-war military SF and so is allegorical, but, to me, succeeds by not being polemical.

  • ||

    I can't understand your incredibly dense prose there. Can you rephrase without sounding like a first year creative writing student? Dick.

  • ||

    Book good. Epi read. Epi like, like. Ugh.

  • ||

    Oh, so now you're lording it over me in Caveman? Wow, NutraSweet is so smart! He can describe things in multiple ways! He knows vocabulary! Your elitism disgusts and enrages me.

  • ||

    How dare you! I'm no elitist! I know who Jimmie Johnson is, dammit!

  • ||

    I just read the book a few months ago. I think it's worth reading.

  • guy in the back row||

    I'd highly recommend it. Authorwise, Hadleman is hit or miss. I think this is the only truly great book he ever wrote. It's basically Starship Troopers meets Catch 22.

    Great summary.

  • ||

    I may have read it some years ago, but I've forgotten most of what I've read and my books are still packed away in boxes, with nowhere to put them (I have a house made of stoopid).

  • ||

    Too bad both sequels are so meh.

    Huh?

    Forever Peace was great.

    Forever free....yeah that sucked dog shit. It was not "meh" it was simply terrible.

    But he way the Hugo and Nebula awards committee agree with me.

    also "Camouflage" is a pretty good book of his.

  • ||

    Forever Peace started well, but falls apart so badly into deus ex machina meandering that I can't recommend it. When the godlike beings show up, science fiction suffers in my opinion.

    [cough]Q[cough]

  • Ayn_Randian||

    Are you saying that The Next Generation "fell apart" from the very first episode?

  • ||

    No, but the show degraded a little bit every time Hammy McHamActor pranced on screen to chew the scenery.

    The only thing that Q gave the show was The Borg, and they really didn't need him to kickstart that plot.

  • Ayn_Randian||

    John DePrancie, eh? I'll buy that.

  • IceTrey||

    For god's sake if they ever make a movie of it don't let VerHoeven anywhere near it!

  • The Chinese||

    Alright, alright. How much do you need? Will 500 billion do ya?

  • ||

    Are you shitting us? We wipe our collective ass with 500,000,000,000 dollars. Let us know when you've got some real money to lend to us.

  • stoneymonster||

    I just don't get it. Hey progressives: what *one* thing that was on your supposed agenda in 2008 has this guy done (excepted "Health Care") besides not being a Republican? Where is the outrage that was (rightfully, in many cases) directed at Bush for doing the same things?

    The dishonesty just amazes me.

  • stoneymonster||

    Or to turn the question around: at what point is Obama such a disappointment that it becomes impossible to for you people to keep propping him up? I would've thought the time long past...

  • Irresponsible Hater||

  • stoneymonster||

    Yes, I've seen both variants ;) The thing is, I think many people would have forgiven him some of the more liberal economic policies and legislative overreaches if they'd come with a true winddown in the wars, civil liberties improvements, and softer WOD policies. But instead, zilch, and a wink, and some lies about how much spending and regulation have been cut in the last decade. Nice.

  • C'mon man||

    Obama-love is non-negotiable. Off the table.

  • Ramsey||

    There may be a lot of disagreement on policy between libs/cons/and cap Ls, and there are reasonable arguments (at least one or two) for each of the camps. That said, the far liberal youth turned out in mass to vote for Obama, who then kicked them in the dick and laughed as he disregarded their desires.

    This is exactly the reason that Dems who had won by less than 10 points were so soundly trounced. For many of these young folks this was their first voting experience. If you get kicked in the nuggets the first time you do something is there any chance that you will repeat the same action?

    There has been little outcry, but the low Dem turnout was Obama's hens coming home to roost.

  • Steve||

    The war was won years ago; time to wrap it up.

  • ||

    Was it?

    We wanted OBL. We gave an ultimatium to the Taliban to hand him over or else. They chose or else. We still don't have OBL and the Taliban are still doing good enough have talks with the current Afghan government. Is that a win?

  • ||

    Hey, why not tell everyone that we'll leave if they hand over bin Laden? Have we tried that?

  • ||

    Is THAT why we're still there?

    Seriously, why in the fuck are we still there?

  • ||

    Two words: Afghan Disney.

  • T||

    I thought by destroying the opium trade we were giving the narcotraficantes more money. It's a subsidy closer to home, where people like us more.

  • ||

    No, Afghan Disney.

  • T||

    I don't think Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck are gonna translate well.

  • ||

    Dude, Afghan Disney.

  • ||

    ""Seriously, why in the fuck are we still there?""

    Probably not, the mission has changed from get OBL to rebuilding a nation, and providing them security. I think we called it a police action in the 80s.

  • ||

    ""Have we tried that?""

    I don't know. I've always thought we should remind the Taliban on a regular basis.

  • Rhywun||

    Huh. Forgot about him.

  • ||

    What a year ago had been touted as an extensive December review of the strategy now also will be less expansive and will offer no major changes in strategy

    I'm shocked.

    Stunned.

    Flabbergasted.

    Astounded

    and

    amazed.

    I never saw this coming.

  • ||

    Mr. Brooks is a good and loyal Democrat?

    Hold on [kicks sarcasm detector] Ooooooooh...never mind.

  • ¢||

    That said, the far liberal youth turned out in mass to vote for Obama, who then kicked them in the dick and laughed as he disregarded their desires.

    Nope.

    He embodies their desire—their dissembled or repressed but inevitably electorally revealed desire, for wars with their guy's name on them, not some redneck's.

    No one who ever voted for any Democrat, ever, anywhere, for anything, ever, is anti-war. No one. It's the war party.

    (The GOP is the win-the-war party. That's not the same.)

  • stoneymonster||

    Oh pish-tosh, let's just remember those Republican wars, shall we:

    Spanish-American War: Republican!! (What? the Dems forced him into it? nonsense)
    WWI REPUBLICA-- err
    WWII REP-- hmmm
    Korea -- uh
    Vietna -- Shit
    Grenada -- Look!!!
    Panama -- See!
    Ser --

    Iraq -- AH ha!!!!!!
    Afghanistan -- SEee??!?!

  • Ramsey||

    War on Drugs, War on Poverty, War on Terror...

  • ||

    They do like using the "War on" brand.

  • War on the Economy||

    Obama's winning that one.

  • ||

    ""(The GOP is the win-the-war party. That's not the same.)""

    What war did the GOP win?

  • ||

    The war against not having massive national debt.

    Both parties piss away money. Arguing about what they are pissing on is pointless as long as their dick is still out.

  • ||

    I'm pretty certain that you can call both Panama and Grenada successes. There's no question that both have had very good Freedom House ranking scores since then.

  • ||

    I don't know if they rise to the level of war. But they were good quick in and out operations.

  • ||

    Panama could be viewed as a anti-narco operation and Grenada was mostly a rescue, and wpns confiscation trip. It was a small bump in the road for 2/8 Marines on their way to relieve 1/8 in Beriut.

  • ||

    Make that Beirut

  • ||

    Yeah, but in both cases we overthrew a dictatorial unfree government, left, and the end result later was a free democracy with a minimum of bloodshed.

    Pretty much the dream result of any US foreign adventure. I'm not saying that they're arguments to scale up operations, but you can put them in the Win category.

  • Virginia||

    we're still in Afghanistan?!

    outside of a military family, who could tell? chocolate chip BDUs are background noise at this point.

  • Iraq||

    I ......... forGOT!!

  • Kolohe||

    Choco chip BDU's in the Army were replaced over 5 1/2 years ago, but perhaps that goes to your point.

  • ||

    Secular democracy with respect for human rights doesn't get built in a day, y'know.

    By the time we finish the glorious transformation of Afghanistan society to democracy (2020?) the price a herder gets for selling marrying off his daughter will be up to 1.2 heads of cattle and 120 cell phone minutes.

  • Ayn_Randian||

    No one here is all that surprised that the deadlines were BS. The rate of hiring, building, contract-expansion, etc. belies the notion that U.S.-led ISAF is leaving anytime soon.

    I pose to the general audience this question, however: what do libertarians make of the intellectual underpinnings of the Bush Doctrine, to wit, the notion or idea that failed states will inevitably harbor anti-American terrorists who will strike United States soil?

    I, personally, want to leave Afghanistan, but I remain to be convinced that a NATO departure is a smart move.

    Of course, as a libertarian, I am disgusted at the massive welfare-state we are creating here.

  • RyanXXX||

    The failed states theory is BS - the guys who come out of those countries act as grunts at best. The deep-cover guys, the ones who could pull off a 9/11, have to be well-educated and at least middle class.

    Saudi Arabia is the elephant in the room, and the majority of the "training" for 9/11 was done in Europe and here in America (flight lessons, anyone?).

    The "failed states" rubbish is an excuse for us to go into those places and rebuild them as American puppet regimes, is my guess.

  • Ayn_Randian||

    Your "puppet regime" is totally undermined by the current political situations of both Iraq and Afghanistan, so I'm not buying it.

  • ||

    Just because we failed at creating lickspittle nations doesn't mean the attempt wasn't made.

  • Ayn_Randian||

    That just doesn't make sense. Harmid Karzai gets more and more American media coverage defying the interests of the military. We know how to create client states; history (Rome) knows how to create subservient nations. The United States just is not following those plans.

  • RyanXXX||

    Um, his disagreements are petty at best. He has to bitch whenever we cause too many civilian casualties or else he loses all credibility (not that he really has any).

    And any country with permanent American bases is going to be at least somewhat subservient to us

  • RyanXXX||

    We didn't invade Iraq because it was a failed state, anyway. I don't think the Baathist government really qualifies. Somalia or Yemen would be a better example. Probably Afghanistan too. And all three show that intervention hurts us more than it helps.

  • Virginia||

    the basic notion that failed states produce bitter, delusional losers who hate what they perceive to be the cause of their shit-sandwich-of-a-life is not rocket science. the rest of the Bush Doctrine about invading & occupying is horseshit. not to mention slams nose first into the Dont Buy Shit You Cannot Afford Doctrine. it's a simple doctrine. it's only one page, and it's free.

    hey, i have a new Bush Doctrine. it's where you pass Orwellian laws and run up the public debt with nothing to show for it.

  • ||

    Somalia, Yemen, Chad, Sudan, both Congos, Waziristan ... We're gonna have to bring back the draft to police all the failed states that have anti-western "terrorists" running around.

    Punitive expeditions coupled with a withdrawal of ground troops from places we have business being (the Middle East leads the list, followed by central/south Asia).

  • Ayn_Randian||

    I know that the whole "mess them up and depart with a warning" theory is your thing, but I think that would only serve to radicalize the invaded.

  • RyanXXX||

    Not as much as seeing christian soldiers police their streets for year after year, and installing a Western-style government with no historical tradition.

    Al Qaeda couldn't make a good case calling us "crusaders" if we just bombed the shit out of them and left

  • ||

    the intellectual underpinnings of the Bush Doctrine

    Can't sleep clown will eat me?

  • ||

    The Forever War

    I loved that book....the ending kind of sucked though.

    But I think Joe Holdeman's book was meant to be an allegory to the Vietnam war. He was drafted and served as a combat engineer in Vietnam and was wounded in combat.

  • ||

    I thought the book was good, and that the ending was challenging and thought-provoking.

    SPOILERS FOR FOREVER WAR

    What really ended the Forever War? Who really started the Forever War? In the end the narrator is told by the Earth government that made peace with the aliens that the Earth started the war to make money for corporations and all that Marxist junk, and that the war ended when the human race evolved into a unitary being with a single consciousness. The aliens in the war were also a unitary being with a single consciousness, and the similarities between the two races allowed for communication and peace. Should we really believe this? The narrator expresses skepticism, and it seems just as likely that the aliens started the war, won the war, and then forced humanity to become a hive mind race just like them.

  • ||

    The sequel doesn't bear out that interpretation.

    I always took the ending to be an allegory on Nietzsche's warning that "If you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss stares into you too." Earth ends the war by becoming what it is fighting against, even if it didn't really know what it was fighting against in the first place. In a sense, it is a victory for the aliens in that we had to deform ourselves to fight them to the point we become them, making the victory hollow.

    It's hard to read Forever War outside of the politics of Vietnam. In that sense, the message is that war is ultimately pointless if you lose at home what you were fighting to protect.

  • ||

    I haven't read the sequels, because of the widespread hostility to them, so I will have to defer to your judgment, or pretend there are no sequels.

  • ||

    Forever Free is not irredeemably horrible, and does continue the story of William and Marygay.

    Forever Peace is only a thematic sequel, in that is an anti-war novel, but slips into a rather implausible and ill-drawn fantasy of technologically-induced pacifism. (The subject tackled in a far superior fashion by Bernard Wolfe's Limbo.)

  • ||

    Ridley Scott (Alien, Bladerunner, Black Hawk Down) has taken on The Forever War as one of his next projects. He wanted to do this novel for about 25 years but the rights were bought up by someone else.

    I look forward greatly to seeing it when/if it gets completed, but I dread all the changes to the story that I suspect will be made for 'political correctness'.

  • ||

    I can't imagine how it can be brought to the screen in a way that doesn't warp it into a polemic on The War on Terrah. I mean, not even X-Men Origins: Wolverine managed to avoid that shit, what hope does an explicitly anti-war novel have?

  • ||

    It has a great chance, now that Obama is President. See how most of the action war movies were pro-President and pro-American when Clinton was in office?

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