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What do you think of Obama's plans for the war in Afghanistan?

 
 
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 12:40 pm
I am definitely not the most informed on the ins and outs of Afghanistan, so I was hoping to hear from the smart people here on A2K. What is your take on the situation? Do you believe he made a good case to the citizenry for why we are still there? Will it work? Is it doomed to failure due to the intricacies of the situation on the ground? Is 100,000 troops enough to get us in and out within 18 months or so as he plans to? Why or why not?

 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 12:43 pm
@kickycan,
kickycan wrote:

I am definitely not the most informed on the ins and outs of Afghanistan, so I was hoping to hear from the smart people here on A2K. What is your take on the situation? Do you believe he made a good case to the citizenry for why we are still there? Will it work? Is it doomed to failure due to the intricacies of the situation on the ground? Is 100,000 troops enough to get us in and out within 18 months or so as he plans to? Why or why not?


I believe the plan is doomed to failure, but any plan other than simply leaving probably would be doomed to failure. I think Obama is trying to split the baby in 2; provide a short-term troop increase to please the Hawks, and commit to a withdrawal date to please the rest of us...

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 12:51 pm
I also believe it's unwinnable in Afghanistan - somewhat similar to Iraq. Even the Russians lost there, and they had more troops there. It's not only about current numbers, it's about how Arabs/Muslims react to our occupation of one of their countries now. We've already been there more than six years, and it has killed many innocent Afghans. It becomes a good recruiting tool for the Taliban/al Qaida, because most of them already hate us for our support of Israel, and what we've done in Iraq.
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 12:56 pm
@kickycan,
I don't think it's winnable per se but I think there are more and less responsible ways to get out. This is about where I am, I think:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/12/the-morning-after.html
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 03:24 pm
I have said it before and I will say it again...Afghanistan is going to be Obama's Vietnam.

There is no way we can "win" there using the current strategy (and I was there at the beginning).
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 04:57 pm
I am for our being out of there, and, further, stopping the drone maneuvers in Pakistan. To me, all we're doing is building more rage against us at great expense in lives of the people in those countries, the lives of our soldiers and "associate" companies, as well as the obvious financial expense incurred with every day we stay. I differed with Obama on this before the election, even though I voted for him, and differ with him now.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 05:02 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Quote:
I also believe it's unwinnable in Afghanistan - somewhat similar to Iraq. Even the Russians lost there, and they had more troops there.


Right, c.i. The Russians and the British before them and before that virtually anyone who has ever tried to conquer that territory. In fact, during historic times (i.e. that we have written records of) Afghanistan has only been conquered twice by outsiders over the past several thousand years -- Alexander (the Great) of Macedon and Chingis Khan and his Mongol hordes.
Ionus
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 05:07 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Actually the British did conquer Afghanistan..twice.. Very Happy
The first time they went in to prevent the Russians from moving in and threatening India. They were then thrown out in the second Afghan war. Then they went back in and conquered it again. They then had a rethink of the strategy that required them to own Afghanistan, decided they didnt, and left.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 05:17 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Quote:
it has killed many innocent Afghans
Many times that number were killed by the Taliban. Dont they count ?
Quote:
It becomes a good recruiting tool for the Taliban/al Qaida
A better recruiting tool than owning the entire country and maybe Pakistan ?
I think a lot of people have missed the point. What was supposed to happen after 911 ? Shrug ? Iraq and Afghanistan have made national leaders think twice about state sponsored terrorism.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  3  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 06:16 pm
Several issues to address:

Can we win?

That, clearly, depends upon what we consider a "win" will look like.

If it looks like breaking the military back of the Taliban and helping create an environment where the Afghan people are willing and capable of preventing them from reconstituting their power, than yes we can win.

We're winning, by that definition, in Iraq and it can be done in Afghanistan as well.

The Afghan people suffered under Taliban rule and there is no reason to believe that they want to return to that time.

There are, tribal and ethnic problems which present a challenge and whatever solution is planned, needs to address them, but they are not insurmountable.

Can it be done in 18 months?

Maybe, but I don't think so.

I'm hoping that if it can't, enough progress will be made by 7/11 to make it quite difficult to throw it all away by withdrawing. Obama gave himself this leeway in his speech last night, and I can't imagine him not using it if conditions warrant.

Does history tell us it can't be done?

Of course not. This is one of the lamest arguments critics of the war make.

First of all we are not trying to conquer Afghanistan and so the record of would be conquerors is immaterial.

Secondly, Afghanistan has, more than once, been "conquered," and so even if that was our goal, achieving it would not be unprecedented.

Why does it matter?

We need only recall what happened to us the last time Muslim extremists ruled Afghanistan.

Perhaps they've learned their lesson and won't allow al-Qaeda safe haven to plot additional attacks against us. Want to bet on that?

More likely, and perhaps ultimately more dangerous, they will use their position in Afghanistan to move on Pakistan. They are trying to do so now, so why wouldn't they if they returned to power?

Imagine the Taliban with nukes.

Muslim extremists are not content with a dozen or more Muslim countries. They want a Muslim world.

Additionally, are we really willing to knowingly abandon Afghanis to the fate of Taliban rule?



Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 06:20 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Well said, Finny, well said.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 06:30 pm
@Ionus,
Why should we be responsible for the Taliban? Are they a threat only to the US? Shouldn't the world community be concerned about the Taliban? If they are, why aren't they providing more troops in AFghanistan?
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 06:43 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Hear, hear, c.i. Everyone keeps harping on what a threat these folks are to the non-Muslim world and then get incensed when the USA actually does something about it w/o anyone's help. A coalition of the willing, indeed!
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 09:24 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Because the rest of the world, bar a few exceptions, will do exactly what Finland did in the cold war; apologise, appease and kow tow. Or what NATO did...spend very little whilst America took the brunt of the effort to defend them.

They arent providing more troops because they have people exactly like you in their countries.
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maayaa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 09:17 am
I think that we shouldn't even be sending more troops over. we should just pull our troops out...i mean really just cause we are tryin to fix things for them we are spending all our money causing more stress and problems on other Troops and their families not to say how many of these troops are just 18 and up and most have family members girlfriends and so forth that are pregnant have problems with others and sick and not sure why. so not only do they have the stress of the war they also have the everyday worry of how is my family doing is my wife going to be okay how did he doctors visit go did they figure out whats hurting her....You know i know that we need to help people and so on but we've been doing the war thing for 8 years or more now...and it don't look like its getting any better people are still killing, being killed, and dying over we have lost to many to keep this going....BRING OUR TROOPS HOME SOON AND SAFE! a Proud Marine Wife dealing with he Husbands first Deployment this weekend to Afghanistan.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 11:29 am
@maayaa,
Not only that but our troops are committing more suicides. That increase should have been an important message to Obama that sending more of our troops in harms way is wrong. Obama will be gone in four years, but the damage done to the families of our soldiers is for the rest of their lives; many come back in caskets - for what?
mysteryman
 
  0  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 04:22 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Quote:
Obama will be gone in four years


We can only hope so.
0 Replies
 
 

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