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4,000 More Troops to Head to Afghanistan

 
 
Reply Thu 15 Jun, 2017 09:07 pm
Step one in a new build up. How many more will they send if these are not enough?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,026 • Replies: 11
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edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2017 05:28 am
There's money to be made.

Al Jazeera English was live — with AJ NewsGrid.
20 hrs ·
The US has signed a $12 billion deal to sell fighter jets to Qatar, weeks after President Trump accused the country of supporting terrorism. We explore the latest mixed messages in the GCC crisis.
Also, has the US-Russia investigation reached the President? A Washington Post article says investigators are checking into Donald Trump for obstruction of justice. We’re live from Washington.
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edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2017 07:07 am
http://theantimedia.org/us-will-never-win-war-in-afghanistan/

The United States has been formally at war with (or within) Afghanistan since 2001, with little to no tangible progress to show for it. In that context, Mattis’ admission should hardly come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention.

However, while Mattis spoke the truth about the non-existent success of the war in Afghanistan, he followed up his statement with a dismal “[a]nd we will correct this as soon as possible.”

This proposed correction involves giving Mattis complete authority to determine troop levels in the war-torn country, something President Trump approved on Tuesday. It is believed that Mattis will be looking to send several thousand more American troops to Afghanistan, though the official number has not yet been confirmed.

In a video published by the Washington Post, Mattis was incredibly critical of restrictions imposed during the Obama era, which he believes caused the ongoing failures in Afghanistan.

“I retired from military service three months after sequestration took effect,” Mr. Mattis, a former Marine general, told the House Armed Services Committee. “Four years later, I returned to the department [of defense], and I have been shocked by what I’ve seen about our readiness to fight … No enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of our military than sequestration.”
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Foofie
 
  0  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2017 01:04 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

Step one in a new build up. How many more will they send if these are not enough?


Do you think teachers would like to spend their career in a classroom full of mannequins, practicing how to teach? Analogous, in a volunteer military, many want to have the opportunity to utilize their skills learned, to earn promotions. We are not in the peace time Army days of Sergeant Bilko (Phil Silvers). If the rest of the world had the desire to maintain western civilization like the U.S. has had, since WWI, we would not have to be at bat, so to speak, so often, in my opinion.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jun, 2017 08:08 pm
Doesn't matter which party is in charge, it only gets worse.
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InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Jun, 2017 09:06 pm
@Foofie,
Foofie wrote:
If the rest of the world had the desire to maintain western civilization like the U.S. has had, since WWI, we would not have to be at bat, so to speak, so often, in my opinion.

The Taliban is a regional militant group in Afghanistan that has no global reach whatsoever. They are not a threat to "western civilization."If they were to be completely removed from power there, the vacuum that would be created would quickly be filled by truly global threats to the West, like ISIS.

The only reason we are still after the Taliban is an outdated grudge dating to 9/11 and a perpetual war that favors the military-industrial complex.
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D45ist
 
  0  
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2017 02:09 am
@edgarblythe,
Well, the war was almost won and then Obama lost. It's a do over.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2017 06:44 am
@D45ist ,
Anybody who thinks Bush is blameless in this fiasco must have amnesia.
D45ist
 
  0  
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2017 07:31 am
@edgarblythe,
Hello? That didn't even make sense. I don't see the name Bush or the word blameless in my post. But, I comprehend that you prefer terror to war. Spoken like someone with nothing to lose and no children.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2017 07:40 am
@D45ist ,
Don't know what you are trying to say, but it's time to redefine war on terror and quit feeding endless war. All they are accomplishing is radicalizing survivors of endless attacks. Increasing terrorist activities.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2017 11:54 am
A concept that you learn quickly in the military is that you can delegate authority but not responsibility. The buck stops with the guy or gal in charge, and when it’s policy at the national level, that guy is the commander-in-chief, currently Donald Trump. Yet when it comes to the Afghan war, it appears Trump may be seeking to evade responsibility even as he delegates the specifics of strategy and troop levels to his “civilian” Secretary of Defense, retired General James Mattis.

That’s the news out of Washington: that Trump has delegated to Mattis the decision as to how many additional U.S. troops should be sent to Afghanistan, and what strategy they should employ in a war that Mattis admits the U.S. military is “not winning.”

Think about that. After nearly 16 years and a trillion dollars spent, the U.S. is “not winning” in Afghanistan, which is, to put it honestly, an admission of defeat. “Not winning” means we’re losing, yet how likely is it that the U.S. military, effectively under the command of retired General Mattis, is going to shift gears completely and withdraw?

Mattis testified to Congress that the Taliban “had a good year last year” and that “winning,” which we’re currently not doing, is a scenario in which U.S. forces, working with Afghan forces, are able to provide local security after several years of “frequent skirmishing” with the Taliban and other insurgent forces.

Yes — that’s the definition of “winning.” A long-term U.S. commitment of more troops and more money with continued internecine warfare in Afghanistan.

In the near-term, Mattis will likely send more troops (“trainers” and “advisers”) and more money, promising that this time American training and methods will work, that this time corruption will be curtailed, that this time the Taliban will be neutralized (I doubt Mattis is foolish enough to promise “victory”). Trump will rubber-stamp Mattis’s decision, which gives him the ability to blame his generals if and when the Afghan war takes yet another turn that is contrary to U.S. imperatives. (Recall how Trump blamed his generals for losing the Navy SEAL in the bungled raid on Yemen.)

As a candidate, Trump deplored the waste of America’s wars and suggested he would try to end them. As president, Trump is kowtowing to the Pentagon, ensuring these wars will continue. Worst of all, even as he delegates authority, he is evading responsibility.

It’s a recipe for incessant warfare, yet more suffering, and the continued erosion of democracy in America.

Let’s suppose for a moment that Trump actually wanted to end the Afghan war. It would require considerable political capital to take on the national security state — capital that Trump currently doesn’t have, embroiled as he is in controversy (lawsuits!) and ongoing investigations. This is hardly ever remarked upon in the media: the fact that Trump, who ran on a platform that was often quite critical of conventional wisdom and wasteful wars, has little latitude to act on this platform (assuming he’d want to) when he’s constantly under attack in the media as a Putin stooge, or worse. Some would say he has only himself to blame here, but it goes deeper than that, I think.

Update (6/16/17): Surprise! News out of the Pentagon today suggests that another 4000 or so U.S. troops will be sent as a mini-surge to help train and advise Afghan forces. And so the “stalemate“ in Afghanistan will continue.

As I wrote back in February for TomDispatch.com:

That a few thousand troops could somehow reverse the present situation and ensure progress toward victory is obviously a fantasy of the first order, one that barely papers over the reality of these last years: that Washington has been losing the war in Afghanistan and will continue to do so, no matter how it fiddles with troop levels.

Update 2 (6/16/17): Editorial title at the New York Times: Afghanistan Is Trump’s War Now. It reflects a major flaw and a fatal conceit — that Afghanistan is a war and not a country or a people, that it only matters as a war (at least to Americans), and that somehow Trump now owns it. Recall that before Americans wage war, it’s supposed to require a Congressional declaration. Wars are not supposed to be owned by presidents and waged at their whim.

Update 3 (6/17/17): Watching retired General David Petraeus last night on PBS was a grim experience. He spoke of a generational war in Afghanistan and a U.S. commitment that might come to rival our time in South Korea, i.e. 60+ years. Most revealing of all was the language he used. He spoke of achieving “a sustainable, sustained commitment” to Afghanistan. 4000 additional troops are part of that “sustainable, sustained commitment.”

There was the usual talk of regional stability, of maintaining a base against terrorism, and so on. But what the Petraeus interview revealed was the total bankruptcy of American strategy and thinking, encapsulated so well by the concept of a “generational war” modulated by a “sustainable, sustained commitment.”

Update 4 (6/17/17): At Fox News, retired General Jack Keane is calling for an additional 10,000 to 20,000 troops to change the momentum in the Afghan war. These troops will somehow change the “absolute disgrace” of the war (he mainly blamed President Obama for refusing to make the necessary commitment to win the war).

These generals never ask the question: Why are our “enemies” doing just fine without U.S. troops and billions of dollars in heavy equipment and air power? Whether in Vietnam or Afghanistan or elsewhere, the answer for these generals is always more: more U.S. troops, more firepower, more aid to our “allies.”

If these generals were investors, they’d keep funneling money to Bernie Madoff even after his fund had been revealed as a Ponzi scheme. After all, the initial returns were promising, and if we keep sending more money, this time, maybe this time, it won’t all be stolen ...

A retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and history professor, Astore has been a HuffPost featured blogger since 2009. His personal blog is Bracing Views.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-bungles-the-afghan-war_us_59468a13e4b0940f84fe2f84
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2017 03:23 pm
US General Wants 20,000 Additional Ground Troops Sent to Afghanistan

That might suggest they’re leaning toward an even bigger number, with influential retired Gen. Jack Keane suggesting that the US needed to send up to 20,000 more ground troops if they wanted to win the war, saying he believed the 4,000 figure was not likely to change the direction of the war.

Defense Secretary James Mattis conceded in testimony to the Senate this week that the US is “not winning” in Afghanistan, and President Trump has since given him unilateral authority to decide on troop levels and strategy. Mattis was seen as leaning toward the high end of escalation proposals.

http://theantimedia.org/20000-additional-ground-troops-afghanistan/
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