Foreign Policy

Afghanistan: Surge Also Needed?

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Let's not forget the other war (or the other front in the same war, or the important front being unjustly ignored, or whatever you want to call it) in Afghanistan. New Defense Secretary Gates was there this week, and

said he was "strongly inclined" to recommend a troop increase to President Bush if commanders believe it is needed.

……The prospect of a troop increase in Afghanistan, at the same time Bush is ordering 21,500 more troops into Iraq, raises new questions about the military's ability to sustain its war-fighting on two major fronts. There now are about 24,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, which Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, the senior American commander here, said is the highest since the war began in October 2001.

Eikenberry already told Gates he wants extended tours of duty for 1,200 soldiers in Afghanistan. And what sort of situation are these soldiers facing, more than five years after the invasion?

Suicide attacks in 2006 totaled 139, up from 27 in 2005, and the number of attacks with roadside bombs more than doubled, from 783 in 2005 to 1,677 last year. The number of what the military calls "direct attacks," meaning attacks by insurgents using small arms, grenades and other weapons, surged from 1,558 in 2005 to 4,542 last year.

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  1. I would like to see 100,000 more soldiers sent to Afghanistan. Well, I would prefer more, but I am not sure there is political will to fight this war the way it should be fought.

    Still, 100,000 is a pretty good bump and I think those soldiers could walk around the country looking for stashes of IEDs and stuff like that and kill insurgents.

    Death from above is always great, but nothing beats boots on the ground as far as showing committment and being effective in this kind of war.

    Also, if we provide enuf targets, then all the potential suicide bombers will blow themselves up and there will be none left to cause trouble when the 125,000 strong US military contingent decides to leave. The large force is like a flypaper that attracts the BGs and causes them to neutralize themselves.

  2. Afghanistan’s surge: is this another poppy story?

  3. Sam,

    I think you should be one of the 100,000 whose boots are on the ground. It would do you good to walk around and look for IEDs and stuff like that and kill insurgents. Just think of the interesting stories you could tell if you come back to the states.

  4. The number of what the military calls “direct attacks,” meaning attacks by insurgents using small arms, grenades and other weapons, surged from 1,558 in 2005 to 4,542 last year.

    So is the Taliban’s much vaunted ‘surge’ idea working in Afghanistan?

  5. I think you should be one of the 100,000 whose boots are on the ground. It would do you good to walk around and look for IEDs and stuff like that and kill insurgents.

    Oh, I think the people who were for the war in 2003 have been in line ahead of me for almost four years now. First we draft registered Republicans.

  6. “said he was “strongly inclined” to recommend a troop increase to President Bush if commanders believe it is needed.”

    Ummmm…. Why can’t he recommend a troop increase regardless of whether Bush and Co already think they are needed? Are we back to the “tell the prez only what he wants to hear” mode of behavior? Shouldn’t part of his job be to advise the Commander in Chief?

    This is a problem.

    As an aside, assuming we actually should have boots in the ground anywhere in that part of the globe — a fairly big assumption — the I would prefer we pull everyone out of Iraq, send them all to Afghanistan and get that one squared away first as should have been done five years ago.

    Of course in reality we can’t possibly change either place in any real sense. The best we can do is enforce a police state and keep the violence between the locals to a minimum and deny the Taliban’s return. Not the way I want my tax dollars spent…..

  7. Sam,

    Most of the dems in congress and the senate voted for the war on 2003. A whole bunch of liberal columnists supported the war as well. Read the “Radar” link on one H&R threads.

    Besides all that, nobody needs military service time like Dems.

  8. “said he was “strongly inclined” to recommend a troop increase to President Bush if commanders believe it is needed.”

    Garth,

    I don’t think this sentence means what you think it means.

  9. Good night all you lunatics.

  10. fine, then take registered republicans and registered democrats in proportionate measure. no skin off my nose.

  11. The only people ignoring Afghanistan are the snarky reporters and editors who should be covering it.

  12. Ah wayne, I see your point.. But seems to me that the last sec of defense was a big “send in the troops” kind of guy even when the commanders were not recommending it… This guy’s the other way around I suppose.

    And was it not the case that we’ve been here before: Prez used to say that he would send in more troops to Iraq if requested but it was made rather clear that they should not be requested on risk of career…. Look at the gens who complained in the early days that not enough troops were being committed… It’s a loop

  13. The more troops we put in Afghanistan, the more troops we will have available for the eastern flank of our Iran Expeditionary Forces. And that’s what it’s all about.

  14. Let’s not forget the other war

    How good of you to mention “the other war” every other month or so, H&R. I understand that relatively good news isn’t news in the snarkosphere, and I’m sure you’re pleased as punch when something — anything — appears to take a turn for the worse there.

    H&R doesn’t secretly hope the west fails in both wars, does it?
    Nah, that would be evil.
    Wouldn’t it?

  15. Invading Afghanistan was just and a morally imperative act. Invading Iraq was an ego boosting, dumbass use of military power. If you can’t differentiate between the two, you have my pity.

  16. The more troops we put in Afghanistan, the more troops we will have available for the eastern flank of our Iran Expeditionary Forces. And that’s what it’s all about.

    yes, it is good to collect these soldiers b4 starting that war. much better than trying to collect them after the war has been joined.

  17. H&R doesn’t secretly hope the west fails in both wars, does it?

    How the heck does it follow that a critical attitude means that one hopes for failure? Can you answer that, unwelcome person?

  18. What’s the end game in Afghanistan? Are we supposed to just chase those goobers around the badlands forever?

    This country isn’t built for imperial occupation, so there has to be some end status we can achieve, or else we’re better off leaving and going back in five years if somebody needs killin’.

  19. “H&R doesn’t secretly hope the west fails in both wars, does it?”

    If H&R wanted the war in Afghanistan to fail, they’d probably just tell us that we’re turning the corner, deny that there is an insurgency, and run story after story about how wonderful everything is.

    After all, that’s what’s brought us to the brink of defeat in Iraq.

  20. Ooooo, you bad, joe. You soooo bad!

  21. Any end game that involves Bin Laden in chains and on parade in Manhattan is fine with me, joe.

    My guess is that it will be a very short parade, and that there will be considerable cleanup afterwards.

  22. thoreau,

    What if the cost of that pleasant spectacle is a land war vs. the Pakistani military and their new tribal allies, on their home turf?

    Is that worth bin Laden’s head?

    God as my witness, I don’t know the answer to that question.

  23. My guess is that it will be a very short parade, and that there will be considerable cleanup afterwards.

    At this rate, my guess is that he won’t be in chains, either.
    And the clean up will be only slightly worse than after 9/11/01.

  24. joe-

    If we find ourselves asking that question, that means we need to think of something more clever. Like that simulation in Star Trek, where there is no good option, and the only Starfleet officer to ever solve it was Kirk (who reprogrammed the simulator to give himself better options).

    What would Kirk do?

    (A friend actually suggested I get a “WWKD” bracelet instead of a “WWJD” bracelet. I’m not much a Trek fan, but I love that story, and I brought it up when we were debating a situation that seemed to have no good options. I found a third good option, and he told me to get a WWKD bracelet.)

  25. Any end game that involves Bin Laden in chains and on parade in Manhattan is fine with me, joe.

    – thoreau

    What if the cost of that pleasant spectacle is a land war vs. the Pakistani military and their new tribal allies, on their home turf?

    – joe

    I’ll jump in and give my 2 cents.

    If the only thing to be gained by the military action joe describes is bringing bin Laden to justice, then I am not in favor of such an invasion. That is, if al-qaeda simply replaces him with another guy and no further serious long term damage is done to their ability to conduct terrorism, and taliban remnants are able to cause trouble in Afghanistan almost as much as they do now, then its not worth it.

    However, suppose a military campaign in northwest Pakistan could result in killing or capturing all or nearly all of al-qaeda’s top management before they get a chance to put new people in charge, thus dealing a death blow to what remains of this terrorist network’s hub. And suppose in the process, they could obliterate the remains of the taliban as a fighting force or induce them to accept a peace agreement on our terms. In that case, I’m inclined to say it could be worth it. Especially if:
    1- thats the only way to acomplish such goals
    and/or
    2- al-qaeda has a serious chance of staging come back if we don’t

  26. So you see, the O-Man has a plan to save the day after all.

  27. That could antagonize the 2 million farmers whose livelihoods depend on growing poppy,

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