Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: NATO leaders lower Afghanistan expectations

08 April 2008

NATO leaders lower Afghanistan expectations

After 6 years, it's time to face reality in Afghanistan (click to inflate)

From the Toronto Star:

A weak, wobbly country where things still blow up regularly. But one with its own small army which, though also weak and wobbly, will be just strong enough to hold Afghanistan together. A police force still riddled with corruption, but not so corrupt as to be unable to bend the will of the people toward it, rather than the Taliban. An Afghanistan still awash in drugs, where women's place in society would make the average Westerner recoil and the prisons remain the stuff of nightmares. And finally an Afghanistan that our soldiers might be able to get the hell out of in a few years, at least as a hard-fighting force in the dangerous south.

Drill down through all the rhetoric dished out at NATO Bucharest summit last week – including the salute-inducing 1,320-word Strategic Vision statement signed by the 40 world leaders trapped in the Afghan vise – and the grim reality begins to emerge. Reading between the lines leaves little doubt that the bedraggled mission in Afghanistan is coming to the conclusion that lowering its lofty goalposts is the only way out.
So after six years of fighting, the war in Afghanistan can only be won by changing the definition of "victory". Keep in mind that this is the country in which our primary foes really are a bunch of extremist theocrats who aid and protect al Qaeda, and who could take over the country if we don't figure out a way to stop them. This was the important fight, not Iraq. And now it looks like the best we can hope for is a country that sends us heroin instead of hijackers.

I have to wonder if we could have done better, had we not committed most of our resources to the war in Iraq.

(cross posted at Liberal Avenger) (via appletree)



Anonymous peter england said...

And what if they decide to hit Iran too? From what I hear the rumours and hints are getting stronger all the time that Bush will do that before he goes.

9:26 pm  
Anonymous gordo said...


Frankly, I've been getting a different message from the snippets of the behind-the-scenes discussions that we're able to glean in the press.

Most of my liberal friends seem to think, for example, that Admiral Fallon was removed because he was one of the last objectors to an attack on Iran. But these were the same people who saw Fallon's elevation to Centcom commander in January '07 as a sign that the US was preparing to attack Iran (why would you put an admiral in charge of Centcom, if not in preparation for naval operations in the Persian Gulf?).

But the reports I've seen suggest that the upper echelons of the US military steadfastly oppose the idea of risking war with Iran. They think that the troop surge is straining the American military to the point that it's hurting military preparedness. The rumor is that an attack on Iran might trigger mass resignations, and that an invasion of Iran would certainly do so.

I also don't agree with those who say that Fallon resigned in protest, but is trying to minimize the impact of his protest by denying that he's resigning in protest, as at least one commenter has suggested. I think that he was forced out, and I think that he was forced out because he's always been skeptical of the surge, and he wanted to continue a drawdown of troops in Iraq.

Here's what I think is the more plausible scenario: Bush and Cheney think that the surge has been a ringing success, and that Petraeus has been vindicated. Petraeus has told them that scaling back the troop presence would endanger the security gains that the troop surge allegedly brought, and they believe them. So in their eyes, Fallon was wrong and Petraeus was right, and Fallon's continued advocacy of a drawdown means that he's the wrong person to put at the head of Centcom.

10:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't understand why anyone is surprised at what's going on in Afghanistan. What did the US or anyone else expect to achieve?

They went in after Osama and the terrorist training camps. The camps were knocked out for the most part. Bush long ago said he doesn't any longer care if Osama's dead or alive. Nor does he care where he is. Nor does he care what he's doing.

There was massive use of air power (which made the MIC happy) but most of it was merely re-arranging rubble.

Poppys are the only thing that can be grown and sold to make a living there - have you seen the place?

The war against the taleban is about as sensible as the war on terror. It's a philosphy more than an actual group of people. So when one dies another replaces him. The only answer to that is GENOCIDE.

Are we in the west prepared to do that to get our own way?

We should get out like the Russians did once they realised what an impossible quagmire they'd walked in to. Many years previously the, then mighty, British Empire learned the same and so did the same - walked away and left them to it.

All the troops both there and in Iraq would be far better utilised if they were truly protecting our homelands at HOME.

Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan [the countires] has anything like the technology to harm any of us at home. Sure, like last time a few determined terrorist can always try to infiltrate and launch attacks on "sucker" easy targets like the WTC. And be honest, the way America builds scyscrapers that hold so many people in one confined area will always be an Achilles heel. It's the same where even accidental fires are concerned since they too can inflict the same carnage.

America and ourselves should concentrate ALL our efforts on better "intelligence services," better security at home - and of course, we the people should only elect sane, competant, trustworthy people to run our countries.

All pie in the sky, I know. But that's the "tough shit" reality.

The only way to rid ourselves of enemies or even reduce them drastically is through diplomacy. It's simple logic to say that those with the most enemies will always be the ones with the least friends and vice-versa.

The days of brute military force as an answer to modern day, complex international problems, are long since dead and buried. Unfortunately our politicians and leaders don't have the intellect to even recognise that - let alone work on any relevant "acting plans" for our futures.

Long story short? The old "war" ways won't work any more - they're over - for ever.

So what's to do?

It's a pity all the so-called, high earning "think tanks" can't EARN their money - like you and I have to.

The average man - including you and I - don't have the time, knowledge, authority, back-up and such to come up with the answer. But the best of our contry's brains should be able to. After all they've had long enough and been rewarded (in advance) enough.

11:07 am  

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