Politics

More Troops to Afghanistan?

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Earlier this year, President Barack Obama approved a big increase in troops in Afghanistan (basically a 50 percent jack, up to a total of around 65,000).

Now the top U.S. and NATO commander there says we need even more troops over there:

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal says emphatically: "Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months)—while Afghan security capacity matures—risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible."

His assessment was sent to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Aug. 30 and is now being reviewed by President Obama and his national security team.

McChrystal didn't specify the number of additional troops he wants (that will come in a separate report apparently) but did say failure to provide them would "likely result in mission failure." Read the Washington Post story here.

Yesterday on Meet The Press, President Obama had this to say:

"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…. I'm not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan or saving face or, in some way—you know, sending a message that America is here for the duration."

That's good to hear, but if past is prologue, then expect Obama to give the commander about half of what he asks for, as he did earlier this year.

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  1. There are no plausible conditions for 'victory' regardless

    McCrystal, for all his merits, is like an auto mechanic with a clunker, saying, 'yeah, if you give me as long as I want, I can make this into a race car'

  2. So, sending more troop is inherently bad? Even if sending more troops gets all of them back faster, with less overall deaths?

  3. And Obama was the most "anti-war" of all the credible candidates for 2008. What does that say about the state of American politics?

  4. Fewer...it's fewer deaths....argh.

  5. So, sending more troop is inherently bad? Even if sending more troops gets all of them back faster, with less overall deaths?

    That's built into the Reason staff DNA. Didn't you read the primer?

  6. So, sending more troop is inherently bad? Even if sending more troops gets all of them back faster, with less overall deaths?

    There is a much easier way to get all of them back fast, with fewer deaths. I believe the tactic is known as GTFO.

  7. I have an idea. Let's move GM to Afghanistan.

  8. If you set aside the argument of whether we should be in AFG at all, and look at the best way to stabilize the situation there, then McChrystal has the right idea: lock down the security situation, give the local forces time and space to mature, then gradually transition control over to local forces. This is what we failed to do in Iraq.

    Despite our enormous presence in Iraq, nearly every single commander (military and civilian) pushed the idea of "local control" way too hard and fast, before they were ready. Everyone wanted to show how the Iraqis were taking care of themselves, even when it wasn't true.

    It's like operating on someone, removing the tumor, then just standing around to watch. No stitches, no antibiotics, no pain meds, just a bunch of doctors wasting time and claiming "watch him heal himself!". Doesn't work out too well.

  9. it says that the information about the situation over there compelled an anti-war president to concede that our best course was continued presence not precipitous withdrawal.

    I personally think we should bring all of our troops home. I don't think there is any real necessity for bases in Germany, Korea, Japan, or other locations. However, if we start something, we really should attempt to finish it, or be willing to admit that there comes a point where we really can't do any more good, and leave.

  10. When we leave and the Taliban take back over, why is there any reason to believe that won't turn Afghanistan into an Al Quada haven just like they did before 9-11?

  11. Maybe I'm completely clueless here, but I thought "lock down the security situation, give the local forces time and space to mature, then gradually transition control over to local" was pretty nearly exactly what we did in Iraq.

  12. "When we leave and the Taliban take back over, why is there any reason to believe that won't turn Afghanistan into an Al Quada haven just like they did before 9-11?"

    Not likely. Osama loves Obama. I think they're both in the same book club.

  13. If the Taliban take over after we leave, we go back. However, if the Balitan take over, we're okay with that.

  14. When we leave and the Taliban take back over, why is there any reason to believe that won't turn Afghanistan into an Al Quada haven just like they did before 9-11?

    So instead the US government should stay there until Afghanistan turns into a nice place? We'll be waiting a while.

  15. alhues,
    I know that's what was portrayed as the intent, but actually didn't happen until the surge. We were in such a huge hurry and desperate to show the Iraqis doing things for themselves that we let corruption, incompetence, and simple inexperience run rampant.

  16. When we leave and the Taliban take back over, why is there any reason to believe that won't turn Afghanistan into an Al Quada haven just like they did before 9-11?

    Are you not one of the ones who likes to cite the fact that President Clinton could have targeted top AQ, and didn't? Any reason to suspect we couldn't go back to that?

    John, the only way that Afghanistan is going to become a civil society not subject to roaming gangs or empires is for us to stay there fifty years. That isn't acceptable.

  17. "So instead the US government should stay there until Afghanistan turns into a nice place? We'll be waiting a while."

    Maybe so. Sometimes there are no good options. If the choices are leave say 70K troops there for the next ten years and lose a couple thousand casualties or leave and have another 9-11 or worse, maybe leaving the troops there is the best of bad options. Of course we don't know exactly what will happen if we leave. But, we need to think about that instead of reflexively saying "this is hard we must go home."

  18. John--Why don't we just tell them that if they let the Taliban come back to power then we will reduce the entire country to rubble and they won't get a second chance.

    As for Obama, I'm betting he will pick some half-assed middle ground that neither provides the necessary security or gets the troops out quickly, effectively allowing us to accomplish nothing of merit.

  19. "John, the only way that Afghanistan is going to become a civil society not subject to roaming gangs or empires is for us to stay there fifty years. That isn't acceptable."

    Really? Is another 9-11 acceptable? Is Afghanistan and NW Pakistan becoming a place a haven where international terrorists can train and plan attacks unmolested acceptable? Yeah, the options suck. But stop pretending we can leave with no downsides.

  20. In essence, the problem with actions in places like Afghanistan is that I'm somewhat sure that we don't really have clear goals. We are there to suppress a threat, and someday someone will say when we've done enough. I'd prefer if we did this type of thing on a much smaller, more specific, and devastating scale. Instead of sending troops, it seems to me that if we or one of our close allies are imperiled by a country or other entity, we should drop a big ass bomb on their heads and leave it at that. Let people bitch about how mean we are, so long as they don't engage in war acts against us.

  21. "John--Why don't we just tell them that if they let the Taliban come back to power then we will reduce the entire country to rubble and they won't get a second chance."

    Because we would never do that and they know it. Further, the place is so poor that I am not sure rubble is much of a threat. Further, even if they don't want the Taliban to take over, what if they can't stop them despite their best efforts?

  22. Also, every liberal who said AFghanistan, as opposed to Iraq, was the good war, was lying through their teeth.

  23. Kilroy | September 21, 2009, 2:45pm | #
    If you set aside the argument of whether we should be in AFG at all, and look at the best way to stabilize the situation there, then McChrystal has the right idea: lock down the security situation, give the local forces time and space to mature

    ...

    200 years later, abdul looks over his donky sandwich at babur, and says, "dude, check out the burqa on that one"

    ....

    i'm sorry, but if you think 'stabilizing' afghanistan is an achievable goal, you somehow missed out on something called 'human history'. There is a difference between helping a society with a longstanding history of civil government get back on its feet and inventing civil society wholesale. The main difference being that the first can be done.

  24. If we dont send more troops we'll all be burning in jet fuel

  25. "i'm sorry, but if you think 'stabilizing' afghanistan is an achievable goal, you somehow missed out on something called 'human history'. There is a difference between helping a society with a longstanding history of civil government get back on its feet and inventing civil society wholesale. The main difference being that the first can be done."

    Okay, then what is your alternative to trying? Leave, let it become an Al Quada haven and hope for the best?

  26. Really? Is another 9-11 acceptable? Is Afghanistan and NW Pakistan becoming a place a haven where international terrorists can train and plan attacks unmolested acceptable?

    Spare me your 9-11 invocation. There is no particular reason you cannot fight terrorists through police actions. This is a false dichotomy. If it's true that the Afghan occupation has cost 2 billion a month for 8 years, and you're talking about 10 more years, that is (conservatively) 430 billion dollars.

    No, sorry John, I'm not going to support that.

  27. Further, the place is so poor that I am not sure rubble is much of a threat.

    Or, to paraphrase Curtis LeMay, it does no good to bomb someone back to the Stone Age when they never left it.

  28. John, the only way that Afghanistan is going to become a civil society not subject to roaming gangs or empires is for us to stay there fifty years. That isn't acceptable.

    Yea, you didn't see us doing that in Germany or Japan did you!

  29. When we leave and the Taliban take back over, why is there any reason to believe that won't turn Afghanistan into an Al Quada haven just like they did before 9-11?

    Tactical Nuclear Weapons

  30. Anyone here supporting losing one more life, spend one more dollar in Afghanistan better be able to define WTF is our objective.

    US Marines are not going to remake Afghani culture. Democracy in that tribal hell-hole is a pipe dream for the forseeable future. Some authoritarian government, probably fundie Islamist, will be ruling one year after we leave. Leave now or leave in ten years, we'll see the same end result.

  31. Or, to paraphrase Curtis LeMay, it does no good to bomb someone back to the Stone Age when they never left it.

    That's racism, straight up.

  32. Spare me your 9-11 invocation. There is no particular reason you cannot fight terrorists through police actions. This is a false dichotomy. If it's true that the Afghan occupation has cost 2 billion a month for 8 years, and you're talking about 10 more years, that is (conservatively) 430 billion dollars.

    No, sorry John, I'm not going to support that."

    Then what do you support? You honestly think, given 9-11, Madrid, Bali, and so forth that it is a good idea to let Afghanistan become a safe haven for international terrorists? And when you consider that 9-11 cost us something like a trillion dollars and another will cost more, $480 billion sounds like a bargain.

    You want to pull out of Afghanistan. Okay, what is your plan? You don't seem to have one beyond hope for the best. Sorry I can't support that.

  33. Yea, you didn't see us doing that in Germany or Japan did you!

    GILMORE already refuted you. There is a big difference between completely instituting civil society where none existed and getting a formerly civil society back to that state.

  34. If the choices are leave say 70K troops there for the next ten years and lose a couple thousand casualties or leave and have another 9-11 or worse, . . .

    9-11 was a couple of thousand casualties.

    You need to come to terms with the fact that some very small cell of criminals is going to kill a million people in some big city in our lifetime and there is essentially nothing that can be done short of turing the entire world into the cold-war USSR.

  35. "US Marines are not going to remake Afghani culture. Democracy in that tribal hell-hole is a pipe dream for the forseeable future. Some authoritarian government, probably fundie Islamist, will be ruling one year after we leave. Leave now or leave in ten years, we'll see the same end result."

    I will give you an objective, keep hunting and killing the mother fuckers so they can't come over here. And continue to do so until Afghanistan has a police force and Army to do the same thing in our stead. You are moving the goal posts. The goal is not to turn it into America. The goal is to turn it into a country that can control its borders and not support international terrorism.

    Granted we are shooting ourselves in the foot by not admitting the obvious and letting them grow poppies. But, that doesn't mean that what we need to do can't be done.

  36. GILMORE already refuted you.

    How could he when I refuse to acknowledge him? Huh, smart guy?

  37. And when you consider that 9-11 cost us something like a trillion dollars and another will cost more, $480 billion sounds like a bargain.

    Are terrorists only in Afghanistan? Remind me again where KSM was captured. Your false dichotomy is irritating: either we stay in Afghanistan, at 2 billion a month, for the next half-century, or we get another 9/11. Dude. What happened to police actions again? Didn't we just perform one in Somalia?

  38. "You need to come to terms with the fact that some very small cell of criminals is going to kill a million people in some big city in our lifetime and there is essentially nothing that can be done short of turing the entire world into the cold-war USSR."

    No. Criminals won't do it. Religous fanatics will do it. And we can stop them. We just have to be brutal about hunting them down and killing them. Sorry, I don't buy surrender. I mean really, if we can't help it, why not just go Muslim, declare a caliphate. That will get them off of our backs.

  39. McChrystal is 100% right, but Obama knows nothing about war and is so utterly unqualified to be CINC that he won't meet McChrystal's request - not even 1/2 way. While this is definitely not good, there is an upside.

    A temporary "loss" in AF will look very bad for Obama - this can be leveraged in 2012 and used in concert with his drastic domestic policy failures (cap 'n tax, socialist healthcare, credit card regs, banking regs, racism) to unseat his butt and send him back to gangster Chicago. Once we get a real Patriot back in the WH we can refocus on AF and WIN! And repeal Obama's socialist policies. The thing to look at is the Governor's race in VA and NJ - these will be an indicator! Also, the Arab Mind is not suited for democracy or peace - it's in a book called the Arab Mind - Google it!

  40. "Are terrorists only in Afghanistan? Remind me again where KSM was captured. Your false dichotomy is irritating: either we stay in Afghanistan, at 2 billion a month, for the next half-century, or we get another 9/11. Dude. What happened to police actions again? Didn't we just perform one in Somalia?"

    KSM was only captured in Pakistan because we ran him out of Afghanistan. If we hadn't done Afghanistan, we would never have captured him because he would have never been in Pakistan.

    Where is there any gaurentee that "police actions" can stop these fuckers? They didn't in the 90s, when we had Kobar Towers, two WTC attacks and the USS Cole. We have tried using cops and it didn't turn out too well did it?

  41. John | September 21, 2009, 3:03pm | #

    Okay, then what is your alternative to trying? Leave, let it become an Al Quada haven and hope for the best?

    Define "al quada haven" and tell me they already dont have half a dozen. And so what: they're a loose network of terrorists. You think a permanent occupation of the most un-occupy-able country on earth constitutes a defensive strategy against *that*?

    Do you normally use a bazooka to swat flies?

  42. Obama: "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....

    If you have the wrong strategy, why would you keep ANY troops over there?

  43. Where is there any gaurentee that "police actions" can stop these fuckers? They didn't in the 90s, when we had Kobar Towers, two WTC attacks and the USS Cole. We have tried using cops and it didn't turn out too well did it?

    Uh, if you want to play that game, I could cite Madrid, Bali and London as evidence that the occupations are not working, either.

    I didn't say police actions would be easy or cheap, but it seems apparent to me that we are fostering resentment in Afghanistan by tromping around there, attempting to de facto colonize it.

  44. Parents Rights > Marine Patriot | September

    Also, the Arab Mind is not suited for democracy or peace

    You'd think after 8 years even the idiots would know that afghans arent Arabs.

    or that statements like this would be embarrassing.

  45. "Define "al quada haven" and tell me they already dont have half a dozen. And so what: they're a loose network of terrorists. You think a permanent occupation of the most un-occupy-able country on earth constitutes a defensive strategy against *that*?"

    A haven is a government that allows them to opeate openly like Afghanistan did before 2001. There are currently no governments that do that.

  46. Religous fanatics will do it. And we can stop them. We just have to be brutal about hunting them down and killing them.

    So, you advocate carpet bombing the Saudis? Because if we're going to start hunting down anti-American religious fanatics, that's the place to start.

  47. John | September 21, 2009, 3:17pm | #

    A haven is a government that allows them to opeate openly like Afghanistan did before 2001. There are currently no governments that do that.

    Somalia, East Algeria, Yemen, NWFP

    Next?

  48. John, do you honestly think that MOAR TROOPS and/or MOAR TIME in Afghanistan will eliminate (or do anything other than agitate) Al Qaeda?

    It's like doing shots of Listerine to get rid of hookworm.

  49. John: Yes, I would rather have another 9/11 than to have all of the freedoms of this country stripped away while funding a fiscal blackhole that is an unending war.

  50. No. Criminals won't do it. Religous fanatics will do it.

    People that murder innocents are criminals. They're motiviation is not particularly relevant.

    And we can stop them.

    The police cannot stop crime only bring criminals to justice (on those increasinly rare conditions where the system works).

    We just have to be brutal about hunting them down and killing them.

    See comment on cold-war USSR.

    Sorry, I don't buy surrender.

    I didn't say surrender.

    I mean really, if we can't help it, why not just go Muslim, declare a caliphate. That will get them off of our backs.

    This is just the way the United States dealt with the native population here in the territories -- just kill every man of fighting age and put the rest on reservations.

    It was effective, but some people look back on that with some amout of sadness and embarassment.

    The ultimate problem is poverty. People that have nothing and have never been educated are easy prey for a preacher promising eternal salvation for killing the "other".

  51. "I could cite Madrid, Bali and London as evidence that the occupations are not working, either."

    Madrid and London were home grown terrorists. They were not from Afghanistan or trained there like the 9-11 terrorists were. So those are failures of Spainish and British domestic security not a result of occupation. Further, we are not occupying Afghanistan. We are there at the behest of their lawful government, that is not an occupation. So stop using that term.

    "I didn't say police actions would be easy or cheap, but it seems apparent to me that we are fostering resentment in Afghanistan by tromping around there, attempting to de facto colonize it."

    We are not attempting to colonize it. That is stupid. They have their own government. We are trying to help a legitimate government fend off an agressive insurgency launched for Pakistan. That is not colonizing.

    Further, I would rather lose the lives of soldiers in Afghanistan, than civilians in the US. That is what we pay soldiers to do.

  52. but Obama knows nothing about war

    Come on, Obama knows war. He was a community organizer in Chicago for crying out loud!

    tell me they already dont have half a dozen.

    Buffalo, New York
    Alexandria, VA (Del Ray)
    San Francisco, CA
    NY, NY
    Colorado

    Sorry, I only got to five. Anybody else have more to add?

  53. I will give you an objective, keep hunting and killing the mother fuckers so they can't come over here. And continue to do so until Afghanistan has a police force and Army to do the same thing in our stead. You are moving the goal posts. The goal is not to turn it into America.

    If I'm moving the goalposts I'm moving them back to when the Bush administration was crowing about the success of the elections years ago.

    The goal is to turn it into a country that can control its borders and not support international terrorism.

    Ten years after the initial invasion, five after the Karzai government was installed/elected and Afghanistan is how much closer to having a functional national government? 2%? 5%? Certainly not any more than 25%.

    Leave with a promise to return and kill the government leaders, whoever they are, if they don't fucking behave.

  54. The ultimate problem is poverty. People that have nothing and have never been educated are easy prey for a preacher promising eternal salvation for killing the "other".

    Bullshit. The 9/11 hijackers were neither poor nor uneducated, so you'll have to come up with another excuse for them.

  55. Cute John T.

    What, you think we should occupy Lawackahana NY now?

  56. T,

    You spelled Iran wrong at 3:18pm.

  57. "Sorry, I only got to five. Anybody else have more to add?"

    Washington, DC

  58. :"The police cannot stop crime only bring criminals to justice (on those increasinly rare conditions where the system works)."

    That is why it is not a criminal matter. We cannot let every terrorist get a free attack.

    "The ultimate problem is poverty. People that have nothing and have never been educated are easy prey for a preacher promising eternal salvation for killing the "other"."

    The problem is not poverty you nitwit. The terrorists in 9-11, Mumbei, Bali, London were anything but poor. The leadership of the Al Quada are all educated elites. If the problem were poverty, terrorists would be coming from truely poor Muslim countries like Bangledesh instead of coming from Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Europe and be part of the educated elite. Poor Muslims are not the problem.

  59. What, you think we should occupy Lawackahana NY now?

    We already occupy it. Just rounded up a few there.

  60. John:

    Just curious, do you think that Afghanis (and Muslims in general) will be more or less motivated to fly airplanes into buildings if we turn their country into the equivalent of a prison state?

  61. "Ten years after the initial invasion, five after the Karzai government was installed/elected and Afghanistan is how much closer to having a functional national government? 2%? 5%? Certainly not any more than 25%.

    Leave with a promise to return and kill the government leaders, whoever they are, if they don't fucking behave."

    It is a tough job. Sometimes life is like that. And leaving with the pledge to return and kill everyone, while a good idea in theory is not practical. We would not return and kill everyone and they know that. Issuing idle threats is not going to get us anywhere.

  62. I'm not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan or saving face or, in some way-you know, sending a message that America is here for the duration.

    See?

    He wouldn't say one thing, and do another. That would be like lying.

  63. Madrid and London were home grown terrorists. They were not from Afghanistan or trained there like the 9-11 terrorists were.

    Now who is moving the goalposts? you specifically said this, John, in support of the occupation of Afghanistan (and yeah, I am going to keep saying 'occupation', 'cause that's what it is):

    You honestly think, given 9-11, Madrid, Bali, and so forth that it is a good idea to let Afghanistan become a safe haven for international terrorists?

    Did you or did you not write that?

    That is why it is not a criminal matter.

    It isn't a "war" matter, either. Face it, the Bush Doctrine was way over-ambitious. You cannot just reform every failed society. There are better ways, and they do not involve being in a worthless country for 50 years.

  64. "Just curious, do you think that Afghanis (and Muslims in general) will be more or less motivated to fly airplanes into buildings if we turn their country into the equivalent of a prison state?"

    How are we turning their country into a prison state? There are prison states all over the Arab world in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. It isn't the US who is running those countries. The taliban is going to turn the place into a prison state. We are trying to prevent that.

  65. Bullshit. The 9/11 hijackers were neither poor nor uneducated, so you'll have to come up with another excuse for them.

    Start over jackass.

    The Saudis that participated in 9/11 were boxed in with no long term opportunities by the unique social structure within the Saudi culture. They may have been educated, but they were stuck on a deadend path.

    Every rule has an exception; every execption has an exception; and so on.

    But, in fucking general, the foot soldiers that provide the bulk of terrorist groups have sprung from poverty and cultural dead-ends.

  66. When we leave and the Taliban take back over, why is there any reason to believe that won't turn Afghanistan into an Al Qaeda haven just like they did before 9-11?

    Al-Qaeda already has taken over most of Afghanistan:

    map of Taliban versus government-controlled areas

    The questions are:

    1) Is our involvement turning into a Vietnam-style unwinnable clusterfuck?

    2) Has ANY foreign power, ever, managed to control and pacify Afghanistan? (Hint: No. Not Genghis Khan, not Alexander the Great, not the British, not the Russians. Nobody.)

    3) If we leave and the Taliban take over, are they stupid enough to try another 9/11 attack, given the ass-whupping they got last time, rather than settling for making the lives of Afghans miserable and more or less leaving us alone?

  67. Once we get a real Patriot back in the WH

    Totally racist, dude.

  68. That is why it is not a criminal matter. We cannot let every terrorist get a free attack.

    You get two choice John. They're soldiers so we wage war against them. Or they're criminals so you turn the police loose on them.

  69. The Saudis that participated in 9/11 were boxed in with no long term opportunities by the unique social structure within the Saudi culture. They may have been educated, but they were stuck on a deadend path.

    They studied abroad. They lived abroad for quite a while. They ended up in a "deadend path" on their last airplane flights by their own choice.

    BTW, Arafat was an Engineer who decided to start blowing up Jews by his own choice too.

  70. Where are the "Obama wants me to . . ." people from the weekend? Some of you need some guidance.

  71. How are we turning their country into a prison state? There are prison states all over the Arab world in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. It isn't the US who is running those countries. The taliban is going to turn the place into a prison state. We are trying to prevent that.

    What would you consider an occupying force of 60,000+ soldiers attempting to keep order?

    Your argument seems to be we need to do whatever it takes to stop another 9/11 from happening, including keeping troops there for however long it takes for the nation of Afghanistan to somehow not be a breeding ground for terrorists. I'm arguing that your solution to the problem is going to motivate that breeding ground even more.

  72. prolefeed has it. Afghanistan is intractable. There is no instituting a government there, and there never has been hope of doing so. There is no reason to think that the Taliban is going to readmit AQ given the past eight years, and there isn't any reason that withdrawal from having ground forces there means we are wholly uninvolved. We have been providing airstrike support to the Ethiopian government and won the Kosovo war that way as well.

    John's false dichotomy is, well, false. We could pick a side (the Afghan government) and provide them material and air support, if necessary. If they fail, they fail.

  73. You fools.

    If our government had been investing in a weapons X program like our more government friendly neighbors to the North this kind of thing would be no problem. But you anti-government types killed any hope of that, now didn't you? Like private R&D is going to put up the money for the adamantium!

  74. The Saudis that participated in 9/11 were boxed in with no long term opportunities by the unique social structure within the Saudi culture. They may have been educated, but they were stuck on a deadend path.

    [Citation needed]

  75. MNG - the Xavier Institute is private. I would take all of them over that one government-enabled mutant any day of the week. 😛

  76. And leaving with the pledge to return and kill everyone, while a good idea in theory is not practical. We would not return and kill everyone and they know that. Issuing idle threats is not going to get us anywhere.

    Another terrosist attack on the U.S. orchestraed from Afghanistan and yes, we would return. Make no mistake about it, we are a vengeful people.

    Short of turning evil ourselves, we are not going to remake these societies. All we can do is punish them.

  77. Spoof my ass, this is the genuine article!

  78. TAO
    Good point!

    Iirc the pre-Ultimate FF had the Baxter Building as a private entity too supported by funds from Reed Richard's numerous patents.

    And of course Iron Man was the employee/head of a major corporation.

  79. lest we forget that NATO has no small part, either. Combined, we're pushing 110,000 total troops in that country.

    Enough is enough - it is clear that this is not working and is just going to lead to more US deaths.

  80. I often hear that the Taliban has no substantial support amongst the Afghan people, that they just terrorize them. But if that is true why don't the majority of Afghans kick their asses?

    If it were the case that the Taliban represented 15% of the nation that were terrorizing the rest of the nation, and the rest of the nation were begging for us to come in, how many people would support that? Sort of like, iirc the whole Chuck Taylor thing in that African country. You know the one, it's in Africa and Chuck Taylor was up to no good there.

  81. Sorry John, but I think you are wrong on this one. It is an assumption that if we leave Aghanistan, another 9/11 will happen. 9/11 happened to some extent because we a relatively free country. Going about bombing the shit out of everyone who hates us isn't going to increase our safety. Per my recent post, you are saying this: Afghani and
    Americans are dying because the Taliban might regain control and might execute another act of terrorism. Sorry, but that isn't good enough.
    It someone really wanted to, really cared, they could bomb plenty of soft targets right now like Time Square or any pro football game. And how come they don't?

    Anyway, I subscribe to J sub D's proposal:

    Leave with a promise to return and kill the government leaders, whoever they are, if they don't fucking behave.

  82. Thanks for being the voice of reason TAO.

    We should use our current policy toward Somalia as a template for how to deal with Afghanistan. It is essentially a failed state. Trying to build up a centralized government is a fool's errand. We should just do what we can to provide support to the government that is friendly with us (i.e. guns, intelligence, training, etc.) and take out any high value targets with air strikes or special forces. In fact, extend this strategy to Pakistan while we are at it.

  83. "It isn't a "war" matter, either. Face it, the Bush Doctrine was way over-ambitious. You cannot just reform every failed society. There are better ways, and they do not involve being in a worthless country for 50 years."

    They you are going to have to take the J sub D method and kill them all. Because that is what we are headed towards. Let's leave Afghanistan tommorow. Then when there is another 9-11 and it is traced back there, what are we going to do? Nothing? Go back and occupy the place?

    I admit it sucks, but there are no good options. None.

  84. Afghanistan as terrorist haven was not necessary for 9-11 to happen. Any group of reasonably big and strong men could have done it from completely within the US. If you are not an idiot, it is not too hard to keep plans for such a thing secret. The idea that our being in Afghanistan is preventing another similar attack is ridiculous.

  85. And leaving with the pledge to return and kill everyone, while a good idea in theory is not practical. We would not return and kill everyone and they know that.

    Bullshit. I remember the palpable blood lust that was running through the air after 9/11. We wanted someone to pay and we wanted them to pay at the business end of a JDAM. When James Baker warned Terik Aziz that if Iraq used weapons of mass destruction against our troops, the American people would seek vengeance, and the President had the means to exercise that vengeance....that wasn't entirely hyperbole.

  86. 5 seconds on Google -- Top article.

    http://www.boston.com/news/packages/underattack/news/driving_a_wedge/part1.shtml

    The road cuts across southwest Saudi Arabia, its tribal culture, desert wilderness, and bleak patches of development that missed out on the oil-rich kingdom's largesse.

    Highway 15 cuts through southwest Saudi Arabia, a region bubbling with economic frustration and Islamic puritanism.

    Engineered in the late 1960s by Mohammed bin Laden, patriarch of the family's construction empire, this two-lane highway was his pride in a life of service to a monarchy trying to build a nation out of the Arabian sands.

    But to his exiled scion, Osama bin Laden, this road stretched into the Saudi heartland of isolation, boredom, economic frustration, fiery Islamic puritanism, and the mounting rage of its disaffected middle-class youth - fertile soil for recruits to his Al Qaeda terror network.

    Along this narrow and treacherous highway, US and Saudi officials say, bin Laden and Al Qaeda saw a way to drive a wedge through the fragile US-Saudi relationship - and steer home the point that the Sept. 11 strikes were as much an attack on the House of Saud and its alliance with the United States as they were an attack on America itself.

    Twelve of the 15 Saudis among the 19 hijackers who carried out the terrorist strikes came from the leading tribes in the provinces that straddle this highway.

    Senior US officials and Saudi Interior Ministry officials involved with the investigation into the involvement of Saudi nationals in the attacks say they now believe bin Laden's Al Qaeda actively sought out young Saudi volunteers from this region for their ''jihad.''

    The investigation is beginning to reveal a picture of how bin Laden, a native of the Saudi southwest, exploited the young hijackers by playing off the region's deep tribal affiliations, its economic dis-enfranchisement, and its own burning brand of Wahhabi fundamentalism which the kingdom's religious hierarchy fosters in the schools.

    The path to understanding this culture which bore the hijackers - almost none of whom had any deep links to Islamic militant movements much before Sept. 11 - lies somewhere along this road. On maps it is ''Highway 15,'' but to Saudis it is commonly known as ''The Road of Death.'' Stretching south from the lowlands around Mecca into Taif and the woodlands of Al Baha province, and then climbing up to the mountains of Asir, it is considered the most dangerous road in a kingdom which officials say has an extraordinarily high rate of fatal car crashes. Highway 15 alone claims hundreds of lives every year, and thus its name.

    It has become known as a strip of asphalt where disaffected, middle-class Saudi youth climb into large American-manufactured Buicks and Chevrolets and race at speeds over 120 miles per hour. They say it is a way to vent their rage against the limited economic opportunities in the kingdom as well as the crushing boredom and confining strictures of life under Saudi puritanism.

    Bin Laden, it seems, provided the inspiration for at least 12 of the alienated young men from this area to find a far more apocalyptic way to express that rage.

  87. "The idea that our being in Afghanistan is preventing another similar attack is ridiculous."

    You are so right, Zeb.

  88. And for what its worth, I do think the terrorist won. The fucking TSA, Department of Homeland Security, The Patriot ACt, all that shit. We played a game of chicken and we fucking swerved. We gave up on our principles for the fucking illusion of security.

  89. I admit it sucks, but there are no good options. None.

    There are good options. Not included in those is occupying a "nation" that has no business being a nation in the hopes that we can make it a nation.

    This is a total fool's errand, and it has the added bonus of destabilizing Pakistan (hence why this is now the Af-Pak 'war').

  90. Thanks, kinnath. Interesting stuff I wasn't aware of.

    Of course, this makes my snarky suggestion of carpet bombing Saudi Arabia more valid.

  91. My girlfried calls me mr 5 seconds

  92. Thanks, kinnath. Interesting stuff I wasn't aware of.

    You're welcome.

    Of course, this makes my snarky suggestion of carpet bombing Saudi Arabia more valid.

    I concur that the problem is not Afghanistan; it's Saudi Arabia.

  93. Married for 33 years, which is probably longer than the twat that impersonated me has been alive.

  94. "I admit it sucks, but there are no good options. None."

    Stop meddling over there. That's an option. How would we like it if some other country was occupying our country? Wouldn't we fight back? But if we stopped meddling all over the world, there would be a lot of unhappy warmongers in this country.

  95. "we can to provide support to the government that is friendly with us (i.e. guns, intelligence, training, etc.) and take out any high value targets with air strikes or special forces. In fact, extend this strategy to Pakistan while we are at it."

    Or just be neutral to all countries, free trade with all and animosity toward none.

  96. bookworm - those glib answers does not provide a framework for preventing terrorist attacks against this nation. There is something to be said for being anti-occupancy, but you are bordering on the ridiculous. If there are criminals out there who have or will perpetrate crimes against the United States, then we have to have methods to find and kill them.

  97. If there are criminals out there who have or will perpetrate crimes against the United States, then we have to have methods to find and kill them.

    Explain how occupying a hostile country is going to solve that problem.

    Remember, the bulk of the 9/11 highjackers came from the stagnant underbellies of some very wealthy countries. Afghanistan was just a convenient location for staging the attacks. There are many, many others.

  98. "The taliban is going to turn the place into a prison state. We are trying to prevent that."

    Like we did in Iraq? Women now have less freedom there than they did under Saddam.

  99. Explain how occupying a hostile country is going to solve that problem.

    Where did I say that? I'm on your side here. The side I am *not* on is bookworm's, who seems to think that invoking Washington's Farewell Address is a good enough answer for all foreign policy quandaries, especially the current one.

  100. "If there are criminals out there who have or will perpetrate crimes against the United States, then we have to have methods to find and kill them."

    "Explain how occupying a hostile country is going to solve that problem."

    Our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is just breeding more terrorists. I see the only solution as sending in special forces to track down those who have perpetrated crimes against the American people. This minimizes collateral damage and therefore less apt to provoke more hatred against America.

  101. "The side I am *not* on is bookworm's, who seems to think that invoking Washington's Farewell Address is a good enough answer for all foreign policy quandaries, especially the current one."

    TAO, can you explain why it wouldn't work in this case?

  102. Where did I say that? I'm on your side here.

    Sorry. I lost track of the thread.

  103. bookworm - I do not support occupations. I support your plan of using SF, in conjunction with providing material and air support to friendly nations who would track down folks like the Taliban and make sure they do not foster problems like in the past.

    We are all on the same side. However, your response to Brian Lockwood was not really a response, given that you support his strategy. Keep in mind that SF forces cannot just launch themselves - they need support, which means bases, either ours or a friendly nation's.

  104. "bookworm - those glib answers does not provide a framework for preventing terrorist attacks against this nation. There is something to be said for being anti-occupancy, but you are bordering on the ridiculous. If there are criminals out there who have or will perpetrate crimes against the United States, then we have to have methods to find and kill them."

    Those who have committed crimes against American citizens should be sought out by using special forces, but the best way to prevent future terrorist actions against Americans is to have a noninterventionist foreign policy.

  105. bookworm - that's fine so far as it goes, but recognize that:

    1. SF Soldiers don't just launch themselves and live off the land. They need home bases.

    2. It's going to require at least a temporary treaty with whatever nation has the criminals to allow us to tromp around and;

    3. If the SF folks are significantly outnumbered by the criminals or those protecting them, it's going to require escalation.

    Honestly, I think that some neoconservatives are just plain lazy. Rather than do the hard work, roll-up-your-sleeves kind of job that it takes to negotiate multilateral criminal-hunting agreements, build forces meant for that kind of thing and then go get the criminals, neocons say "Fuck it. We'll just colonize this place and presto-wammo! it'll be perfect!"

    It does not work that way (as you know, I am sure). A lot of wishful thinking, more money and more bodies does not a foreign policy make - I am reminded of liberals and public schools.

  106. "Like we did in Iraq? Women now have less freedom there than they did under Saddam."

    No they don't. You moron. Saddam may have had lots of rights enshrined into the law. Every authoritarian state does. But, women and men alike had no legal rights in Saddam's Iraq and essentially lived at his will. His sons were free to rape and kill anyone they want. The state was free to and did kill and imprison millions. I will never understand why the Left loves Saddam so much.

  107. "BTW, Arafat was an Engineer who decided to start blowing up Jews by his own choice too."

    As if Israeli policy had nothing to do with provoking his acts of terrorism.

  108. "Rather than do the hard work, roll-up-your-sleeves kind of job that it takes to negotiate multilateral criminal-hunting agreements, build forces meant for that kind of thing and then go get the criminals, neocons say "Fuck it. We'll just colonize this place and presto-wammo! it'll be perfect!"

    So you think we should have just made a mutlilateral agreement with the Taliban whereby they agreed to let us in to hunt Al Quada? No one is saying that we shouldn't have multilateral agreements. We do all over the world. That statement is beyond retarded.

    Since you think we should leave Afghanistan, I take it you think we should have never been there in the first place? What should we have done in December of 2001? Asked them to turnvoer Bin Ladin to the FBI? And when they didn't what? And if we should have invaded, when should we have left?

  109. John, as usual, you pick out the easy targets and ignore the substantive and substantial criticism that has been lobbed at your "Occupy or get more 9/11s" stance.

  110. I think the solution is to take the bored and disaffected youth of America; give them computers and high-bandwidth Internet connections; then tell them they get to keep 30% of whatever they can steal from the accounts of the people that finance terror.

  111. Also, the Arab Human Mind is not suited for democracy or peace

    FTFY

  112. "As if Israeli policy had nothing to do with provoking his acts of terrorism."

    As if he didn't kill just as many Palistinians as Jews and wasn't a criminal scumbag. Fuck you you anti-semetic piece of shit. Anyone who defends Arrafat or justifies his actions is a piece of shit whack job. You are not better than Lonewacko.

    So, shut the fuck up Bookworm.

  113. So you think we should have just made a mutlilateral agreement with the Taliban whereby they agreed to let us in to hunt Al Quada?

    I don't know - would that have worked better than this?

    I take it you think we should have never been there in the first place?

    No. Where did I say that? It should be apparent, to you, especially, John, that having a decade to generation(s)-long occupation is both harmful to United States interests and detrimental not only to the morale of the United State military, but a serious drain on our treasury. And, as has been pointed out to you repeatedly, isn't working.

  114. "I will never understand why the Left loves Saddam so much."

    John, I'm not a leftist and I don't love Saddam. I just question whether or not the Iraqis are better off or not with Saddam gone and even if they are, is it really our business to overthrow totalitarian regimes? If it is, then why don't we overthrow China's, Iran's, and North Korea's regimes and all other totalitarian regimes? These wars are draining our economy and have we really done much good for Iraq with all the death and destruction that we've brought to those people?

  115. Is it happy hour on the east coast John?

  116. "I don't know - would that have worked better than this?"

    They told us know and were harboring mass murderers. I don't see how we could have not gone in. And once we went in, what then? You either just kill everyone or you rebuild the government such that it can stand on its own and won't attack you anymore. These things are hard. We occupied Japan and Germany for nearly 10 years before they were allowed to have their own government again. You can't just come in and take over and expect a hostile power to give up. It takes a long time. Should we have gone home and left Germany and Japan to their own devices in 1951?

  117. As if he didn't kill just as many Palistinians as Jews and wasn't a criminal scumbag. Fuck you you anti-semetic piece of shit. Anyone who defends Arrafat or justifies his actions is a piece of shit whack job. You are not better than Lonewacko.

    Yeesh, John, as usual, you misinterpret. Questioning whether a policy gives rise to people like Arafat is exactly what we are talking about here. Please learn to be a little more honest.

  118. Like we did in Iraq? Women now have less freedom there than they did under Saddam.

    That is very hard to believe.

  119. John - Japan and Germany have been addressed. Getting a formerly civil society to stand up on its own =/= forming a whole new society and government from scratch.

    You either just kill everyone or you rebuild the government such that it can stand on its own and won't attack you anymore.

    Dude, wrong again. Is that how Kosovo went, for example?

  120. Asked them to turnvoer Bin Ladin to the FBI?

    Why Not? Sounds like a fine place to start. Who knows, they MIGHT have said 'Sure!' (i know, i know, but its nice to dream)

    And when they didn't what?

    What about one of those Navy Seal, sneak-up-out-of-some-water Black Ops missions we see in the Navy's commercials. Or was that the Marines?

    Even better, hire the Mob. They know how to get someone killed.

    If we wanted bin laden, sendings 10's of thousands of troops his way seems like the best way to get him to go hide somewhere else.

    Armies are designed for engaging other Armies. NOT tracking down and killing a few people.

    War on Terror fails on its premise*.

    (*Till the terrorists number in the thousands and wear uniforms at least. Lining up in 18th century battle ranks wouldn't hurt either.)

  121. """When we leave and the Taliban take back over, why is there any reason to believe that won't turn Afghanistan into an Al Quada haven just like they did before 9-11?"""

    Do you plan to leave someday John? The Taliban will continue exist, like it or not. If we leave in 50, 100, or 1000 years, they will fill the gap then.

  122. Even better, hire the Mob. They know how to get someone killed.

    I know, hire Joe Peschi. He knows how to get things done.

  123. On The News Hour just now

    Hilary Clinton on Afghanistan troops:

    "We're going to be very deliberate"

    About what?

    "We're still deciding"

    I think that sums it up

  124. John,
    If you are so into nation building, why not occupy Somalia? It is the same situation as Afghanistan. Weak central government not in complete control of the country that is harboring terrorists. The reason we don't go in there is that the benefits do not out way the cost. Why spend billions of dollars and risk the lives of our soldiers to occupy the place when special forces and air strikes can accomplish nearly the same goal? And before you criticize, I should say that I completely supported (and still do) the initial invasion of Afghanistan. I just think the main goals of that invasion have been achieved and a continued occupation isn't advancing any of our interests.

    Bookworm,
    You are too apologist for my tastes. Fact of the matter is that most terrorists hate the US for what is great about this country, not all the bad stuff we have done. Most Palestinian terrorists hate Israel because they are Jewish, not because of a particular policy.

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  126. I don't know, can he say no to General McChrystal? If he needs to say no, I hope he does, but if he says yes, I hope he does what he needs to for the continued protection of our country and the USA.

  127. Because we would never do that and they know it. Further, the place is so poor that I am not sure rubble is much of a threat. Further, even if they don't want the Taliban to take over, what if they can't stop them despite their best efforts?

    Then perhaps we should threaten to use poison gas.

    This whole war was the result of the Taliban sheltering Al Qaeda.

    I didn't say police actions would be easy or cheap, but it seems apparent to me that we are fostering resentment in Afghanistan by tromping around there, attempting to de facto colonize it.

    Apparently there was enough resentment for the U.S.S. Cole bombing, nevermind 9/11.

    Plus, those people were willing to kill and burn over a bunch of cartoons. There is no reasoning with them. Just use poison gas and be done with it.

    So, you advocate carpet bombing the Saudis? Because if we're going to start hunting down anti-American religious fanatics, that's the place to start.

    If the Saudis shelter Al Qaeda, I am fine with thermonuclear weapons followed up with nerve gas.

    Our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is just breeding more terrorists.

    How so?

    Police abuses in America have not resulted in retaliatory bombings of police cars and police stations.

  128. """This whole war was the result of the Taliban sheltering Al Qaeda.""

    Close, it was about the Taliban's failure to hand over OBL, not AQ per se. Bush told them to hand over OBL or else. They chose or else.

    ""How so?

    Police abuses in America have not resulted in retaliatory bombings of police cars and police stations.""

    Except for that Waco/OK City bombing thing, and maybe a few others. It depends if you want to count burning police cars or if your strictly interested in bombs.

    But there is a nexus between kicking peoples asses and them wanting revenge for their kicked asses. Right?

  129. Except for that Waco/OK City bombing thing, and maybe a few others. It depends if you want to count burning police cars or if your strictly interested in bombs.

    But there is a nexus between kicking peoples asses and them wanting revenge for their kicked asses. Right?

    So when will the families of Sean Bell and Pedro Navarro-Oregon start killing police officers.

  130. Brian--your picture on Reason Magazine site needs to be updated--or--better yet for your health you need to stop eating.

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