There is not a military solution in Afghanistan

Regarding the Af-Pak Mess, here are the Security developments in Afghanistan, March 2:


March 2 - Following are security developments in Afghanistan at 1330
GMT on Monday:

HELMAND - NATO-led forces killed eight civilians and wounded 17 in an
engagement with insurgents who had attacked their patrol in Sangin
district, 490 km (305 miles) southwest of Kabul, on Feb. 23, NATO and
the provincial governor's office said.

The joint statement was released following an investigation into the
incident which also resulted in insurgent casualties.

NANGARHAR - U.S.-led coalition forces shot at a car when it failed to
heed warning signals in Jalalabad city, 115 km (70 miles) east of
Kabul, wounding one civilian passenger on Sunday, the U.S. military
said.

NANGARHAR - A vehicle belonging to NATO-led forces rolled over after
it swerved to avoid a collision with another vehicle, killing a
civilian on a bicycle in Jalalabad city on Sunday, the alliance said.

HELMAND - NATO-led troops wounded one Afghan boy when they fired
mortars at two men they say were planting a roadside bomb in Gereshk
district, 530 km (330 miles) southwest of Kabul, on Thursday, the
alliance said.

FARAH - NATO-led soldiers wounded two civilians when they shot at a
car they say was travelling too close to their military convoy in
Farah, 650 km (405 miles) southwest of Kabul, on Sunday, the alliance
said. (Compiled by Jonathon Burch; Editing by Sugita Katyal)


It is just plain wrong to believe that a military increase inside Afghanistan will solve the problem. Unfortunately, it is only going to create more of a problem with incidents (some of which are nearly unavoidable) like the above.

There is not a military solution in Afghanistan, and the quicker that progressives begin telling this to Obama, the less we will lose. But right now, there are too many of the misguided Matthew Yglesias types, who are in support of an Afghanistan war, and there are way too many progressive bloggers that have their head in the sand, and are too afraid to piss off their Obamafan pageviews by speaking out against the surge escalation in Afghanistan.

For an idea of the insanity that currently is happening in progressive regions of the blogosphere, just look at the back and forth between Plutonium Page (Daily Kos) and Brandon Friedman (of VoteVet.org), over their support of a troop increase in Afghanistan:

A Century? And even then, given the above that happens all to regularly with a military try at nation-building, it wouldn't work. One of the many wrong-headed legacies of George Bush is that nation-building with a military in the middle-east doesn't work. That's the tactic that Obama needs to reverse.

Tags: Afghanistan (all tags)

Comments

59 Comments

My Jerome sixth sense

When I clicked on the MyDD link this morning, I was thinking that I hadn't heard from Jerome in a long time. There hadn't been anything bitter to say about Obama after the inaguration, so I guess it was no surprise.

What a surprise to see a bitter, resentful post this morning!

Jerome, I have been a huge defender of you in the past. I have defended you against countless attacks here and elsewhere. But no more.

Now you are just embarrassing yourself. A copy and paste job offering more of a swipe at Obama supporters than any insightful analysis?

Jerome, you have proven yourself to be completely out of touch with present day politics. You could not have gotten the 2008 election any more wrong, so one must wonder how you could get anything pertaining to Afghanistan right.

You retreated to blogging about international politics, something which very few care about, and very few can question you on (because very few care about international politics). I suggest you stay there, or retire from political analysis. And to think you were a co-author of crashing the gate?

Obama has proven you wrong on every count in 2008, and when it comes down to Obama versus Jerome on Afghanistan, I'm going to have to side with Obama again; him having the far better track record than you.

I don't know if political analysis is your day job. If it isn't, don't quit whatever it is. You finally proved that you are completely out of touch.

by iohs2008 2009-03-03 04:57AM | 0 recs
Re: My Jerome sixth sense

Whatever Jerome says about Obama, I invert it, and the likely outcome is that the inversion will be correct.  

by lojasmo 2009-03-03 05:08AM | 0 recs
Re: My Jerome sixth sense

Jerome can say all he wants that there's no serious conversation on Afghanistan taking place in the blogosphere... but you guys sure showed him!

by Steve M 2009-03-03 05:12AM | 0 recs
Re: My Jerome sixth sense

Yea, its a real shame. Too many bloggers are bullied into submission by these type of bots that go under a pseudonym.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 05:15AM | 0 recs
Re: My Jerome sixth sense

Jerome, it's your site.  If you want to bar folks from posting under aliases, go ahead.

by Adam B 2009-03-03 07:03AM | 0 recs
Re: My Jerome sixth sense

That said, I don't particularly agree with you that bloggers aren't debating Afghanistan policy because they're afraid of upsetting their audience.  Now you know these people better than I do and maybe that's what they tell you over coffee, but it doesn't really look that way to me.  Obama has been questioned by the left on a lot of topics since the election - state secrets, Bagram, bank nationalization to name just a few - and the "how dare you question Obama" position seems to belong to a small handful of commentors.  People are having good debates on these issues.

My own view is that plenty of bloggers ARE writing about all these things, including Afghanistan, and the fact that some aren't has more to do with the fact that many bloggers simply aren't interested in playing the role of policy wonk, let alone foreign policy wonk.  They'd rather sit around and snark at the latest comment by Michael Steele or Jonah Goldberg or whoever, which I suppose there is a place for, but I really don't think they do it because they're afraid of pissing off Obama fans.

by Steve M 2009-03-03 07:05AM | 0 recs
Actually, if people weren't inclined

to be policy wonks, they wouldn't be discussing bank nationalization or Bagram or state secrets.

The reality is that there is no simple answer to Afghanistan, and that to credibly oppose Obama's comprehensive strategy that involves short-term stabilization coupled with long-term economic and political development, one needs to advance a thoughtful, coherent alternative.  

It's easy to say:  "No escalation" or "No more troops" or "Withdraw our troops."  It's a much more difficult thing to offer a concrete alternative and discuss the likely consequences of said alternative plan.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Actually, if people weren't inclined

The bloggers I'm talking about aren't discussing any of those other wonky topics either.  I thought this would go without saying.

by Steve M 2009-03-03 07:38AM | 0 recs
Some bloggers are substance-free.

But, the question still remains as to why Obama gets harder pushback--and firmer alternatives proposed to him--on issues like TARP and Bagram than he does on Afghanistan.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:44AM | 0 recs
Re: My Jerome sixth sense

Pfft.  I go under the same name on EVERY site on the interwebs.  I have not one sock.

As far as your opinion on the middle east.  I will also trust Obama's judgment over yours.

by lojasmo 2009-03-03 09:06AM | 0 recs
Well, when he adopts a position

taken by Obama himself and then criticizes Obama for not agreeing with it, some kind of sharp criticism is due.

I myself would tend towards the sloppy/lazy + vanity/I'm smarter than the Preznit angle, which pervades an unfortunate percentage of blogospheric content.

I mean, aside from the fact that he's talking about something Obama already knew, he's repeating verbatim what close Obama advisor and ally John Kerry had to say recently.  I mean, yeah Obama said it two weeks ago and John Kerry said it a week ago--but it is CRUCIAL that the blogosphere follow Jerome Armstrong so that Obama really gets the message!

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 06:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Well, when he adopts a position

There is a disconnect between "there is no military solution" and "we need to send a lot more troops" that all the gotcha comments in the world cannot resolve.

Obama believes sending more troops is good policy, Jerome believes it is bad policy, but you want to claim they're in agreement because they both recite similar versions of essentially the same platitude.  In other news, anyone who believes war should be only a last resort agrees with George Bush on Iraq, because he once said the same thing.  Your point is extremely banal.

by Steve M 2009-03-03 07:01AM | 0 recs
So, Jerome opposes a comprehensive

strategy that involves military, political, economic, and diplomatic elements?

Then he should stop hiding behind the 'no military solution' and say what he really means:  "Let the Taliban and Al-Qaeda rule Afghanistan.  What's the worst thing that could happen?"

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:05AM | 0 recs
Re: So, Jerome opposes a comprehensive

I don't like how some of us prefer to turn into exact mirror images of the right-wing Iraq war cheerleaders in preference to having an actual discussion.  I'd like to think progressives can do a little better than "aha, so you'd prefer that Saddam Hussein was still in power."

by Steve M 2009-03-03 07:07AM | 0 recs
What's the alternative

to a comprehensive strategy?

It's not enough to sit there and say "US OUT OF AFGHANISTAN."  Pulling the US military out would have definite consequences, and anyone advocating a complete withdrawal needs to address those consequences.  

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: What's the alternative

The alternative is a principally diplomatic strategy that doesn't involve committing more troops, I assume.  The tone of your comments in this thread isn't really conducive to starting a thoughtful conversation about consequences, really.

One of the more outside-the-box ideas from the realist side of the spectrum is that we should pursue a bargain with the Taliban where, essentially, they agree to swear off al-Qaeda and we leave them alone.  I can't say that I'm a big fan of this idea, but can I guarantee that it's not the least bad option at the end of the day?  Not really.

by Steve M 2009-03-03 07:17AM | 0 recs
A premise of that approach is that Bush's

estimate of the number of US troops needed to keep the Taliban at bay was accurate.

Empirically,  that one holds not a single drop of water.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:21AM | 0 recs
Re: A premise of that approach is that Bush's

"If you oppose sending more troops, then you agree with Bush on troop levels" is another good example of jibes that don't really serve to advance the discussion, in my opinion.

I'm still trying to work out my views on this issue, but the tenor of the discussion has a very strong resemblance to the pre-Iraq war stage when all the "serious liberals" lectured the anti-war types on how muddleheaded their thinking was, and that kinda bugs me for reasons that I think should be understandable.

by Steve M 2009-03-03 07:24AM | 0 recs
No, the tenor is

that of folks who oppose Obama's policy without providing an alternative vs "well, what do you suggest?
"
We're a governing party now, and it's not enough to say 'no.'  Obama needs to have some kind of gameplan for Afghanistan, and it's not enough to say it's bad--you have to show that there's a better one out there.

Ask anyone who's ever been the boss about the value of folks who complain about problems but don't bother to provide solutions.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:31AM | 0 recs
Re: So, Jerome opposes a comprehensive

Calm down, you don't have to start sounding like LGF.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 07:09AM | 0 recs
I'd like to think you're smarter than that.

1)  Reality:  Some contingent of outside troops are necessary to keep the Taliban at bay until the country can stabilize.  They are no guarantee and are by themselves insufficient, but they are necessary.

2)  Reality:  That contingent must include a significant number of US troops.  It's very difficult to get allies like Canada to commit to sending troops WITH US troops there.  If the US bolts, so does everyone else.

3)  Reality:  The alternative to keeping the Taliban at bay is to let them take over, or at best having Afghanistan devolve into a state of anarchy similar to the period immediately preceding the Taliban's rise to power.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:18AM | 0 recs
I'm thrilled you are open to the posibility

There were a lot of "Reality" drama's going on with Iraq in the Fall of '02 and Winter of '03 too.

But the truth of the matter is that the military will not create a solution. In fact, as this post points out, it also has the potential to make the problem worse.

Its one thing to acknowledge that point, but quite another to go ahead and send over 17,000 more to increase our troop size to 60,000.

If what you say is correct, that the world will not help, then we should just own up to that fact and get out too. The US cannot solve the problem alone.  However, I believe that if Obama reversed his policy of escalation and troop surge in Afghanistan, that the world would step up; but they will not step up until we draw down.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 07:27AM | 0 recs
"The military will

not create a solution."

Again the strawman.  Obama himself has said that the solution is not military--the only way forward is a comprehensive strategy.

Emergency rooms don't cure diseases or ailments, but they can stop the bleeding.

The rest of the world would step up if the US withdrew?  Sorry, but that's an empirical assumption that needs to be supported.  They certainly aren't ready to deploy within the next six months, and the Taliban are not going to go on vacation for such a period.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:41AM | 0 recs
Re: So, Jerome opposes a comprehensive

That's not what Jerome is saying.

by Charles Lemos 2009-03-03 02:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, when he adopts a position

Obama believes sending more troops is good policy...

Maybe more "unavoidable" policy than "good".

by fogiv 2009-03-03 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Well, when he adopts a position

Getting John Kerry to convene hearings would be key.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 07:03AM | 0 recs
Going out on a limb here:

Kerry and Obama have discussed the issue at length and agree on the need for a comprehensive strategy.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Going out on a limb here:

Hearings, where a public push can be made.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 07:13AM | 0 recs
For Kerry to push Obama to adopt

a plan with which he already agrees?

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:22AM | 0 recs
Re: My Jerome sixth sense

You tools are all alike. One-sided, only turn one way, no flexibility to even consider anything that goes against your single-minded belief that Obama can't be wrong.

Given I corrected predicted about nearly every flip-flop that Obama made,  and about nailed the election forecast of '08 to the decimal, and how he would govern...  Your petty criticism amounts to nothing more than a waste of this site's bandwidth.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 05:14AM | 0 recs
Re: My Jerome sixth sense

Anybody that reads 538 could have nailed the election results ...

As for your point that Obama is doing nation-building in Afghanistan I don't really see that. All the interviews I have read of Patraeus, Gates, and other military types say that winning in Afghanistan is not possible. I don't think they are under any illusions or setting up a false hope of a thriving democracy.

At this point, we don't know what the plan is. As someone who didn't support the Afghanistan to begin with I am not crazy about the idea of adding more troops, but it is what I expected would happen given Obama made that central in his campaign.

Anyone that may support this, like Yglesias, does turn that person into an Obamabot and saying so, undermines your credibility. Yglesias criticizes Obama all the time and nobody yells at him. Please. Talk about setting up strawmen Obama supporters. Anytime anyone criticizes you, instead of listening you immediately discount and name-call. You have more and more in common with the bizarre David Sirota, who the day after Obama releases the most ambitious, progressive budget since FDR, was complaining about a response Obama gave months ago to the press when he chose HRC as his SOS.

by Lolis 2009-03-03 05:37AM | 0 recs
Re:

Oh please spare us with the guilt tripping.

When Yglesias types stuff like "boots on the ground" he's spouting nonsense.

When Obama is doing things right, I'm fine with not giving him an online shout-out--- some of you act like you need it...

I don't recall this buildup in Afghanistan to being "central" to the campaign at all-- certainly not the primary. That's revisionist.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 05:45AM | 0 recs
Re:

Afghanistan certainly wasn't a key issue in the campaign, but I think if you had asked any of us "what's Obama's position on Afghanistan?" we would have said "he wants to wind down the war in Iraq and redeploy some of the troops to Afghanistan to finish the job there."  Disagree with the position if you like, but it was not particularly ambiguous during the campaign, nor was it buried somewhere on his website.

by Steve M 2009-03-03 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re:

Which means that Obama needs to be pushed harder from progressives to not make that mistake. He can flip flop, he has the know-how.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 07:16AM | 0 recs
Flip-flop to what?

You can't tell someone to change clothes if you don't have anything else for them to wear.

If you have a comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Taliban and the regional Al-Qaeda folks, then that's what you should be putting out there.  Obama's not going to abandon his long-held strategy for the complete absence of a plan.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Flip-flop to what?

Sure, there's a grand plan, start drawing down the troops. When we get 17,000, and you start asking for it, I'll start giving it. By the time we've gotten 60,000 removed, you'll be fully aware of the plan.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 08:11AM | 0 recs
"Withdraw the troops" is a slogan,

not a comprehensive plan.

Substituting a slogan for a comprehensive plan is not what serious people do.

Until you have a concrete plan the merits of which you're willing to defend, you're just sniping from the peanut gallery and not providing anything of value to the process.  So, don't be surprised when you get dismissed.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 08:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Flip-flop to what?

Is this kind of like Nixon's secret plan for victory in Vietnam or the secret plan to win Iraq that Ted Stevens always said Bush had?

by aexia 2009-03-03 09:04AM | 0 recs
I think it was John Edwards's

Secret Plan to win the election while taking public financing for the primary.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: My Jerome sixth sense

You are such a hopeless tool. No wonder you go under a pseudonym.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 05:11AM | 0 recs
Re: My Jerome sixth sense

I haven't been a fan of Jerome's blogging either, but on this one I'm going to have to side with him, if only from the perspective of history.

No army in HISTORY has ever held Afghanistan. Ever. The Soviets couldn't do it. Napolean couldn't do it. Alexander couldn't do it.

What exactly is the objective in Afghanistan anyway? Preventing the taliban from regaining power? Let me get this straight: we are going to go occupy a region that has been proven impossible to hold, full of guerillas that for the majority of the last thirty years have been practicing their skills at harassing an occupying power, whose population will sympathize with them the more we squeeze...I believe in Obama too, but tell me some good news about this decision, please. I just can't see any way this will end well.

by pneuma 2009-03-03 05:22AM | 0 recs
Re: My Jerome sixth sense

Napoleon made it as far as the gates of Moscow. As per Alexander, he actually was the last to conquer the area but 330 BC is far different cry than 2000 AD.

I found it histerical that Ann Coulter attacked Obama on this issue as well stating that Peter the Great couldn't conquer Afghanistan either. He, too, never tried. He got as far as the Crimea. The failures to conquer the region were in the late 19th century when the Pasthuns played off the Russians and the British keeping both at bay.

by Charles Lemos 2009-03-03 02:31PM | 0 recs
Re: My Jerome sixth sense

Do you have anything to rebut in the blog item?

Wouldn't that be a better approach to shut up Jerome?

I was on the Obama side in the primary. I have no problem with people questioning strategy.

by Pravin 2009-03-03 06:11AM | 0 recs
Jerome is parroting Obama.

He just doesn't realize it.

He means well, but the joke is on him.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 06:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Jerome is parroting Obama.

I don't disagree with you that Obama is saying the right thing, but his actions are what I am more keen on posting about, and with that, regarding sending 17,000 more troops into Afghanistan without a plan, it's not really a joke.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 07:05AM | 0 recs
I'm sure Obama hasn't given the

issue any thought and has absolutely no idea of what his long-term plan is.

If only he had given us an idea of what his broad strategy for Afghanistan would look like.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:08AM | 0 recs
Re: There is not a military solution in Afghanista

It is very easy to say there is no military solution of Afghanistan and history says you may well be right. So what are the other options?

1) Pack our bags and just leave and let what ever happens happens, not our problem.

2) Try and get to some type of stability and concentrate more on building than destroying. Yet then again this solution still would require a foreign presence in the region and NATO or US troops for protection to the aid workers until Afghan forces can do it.

So which of these solutions works for you or do you have another way in mind?

by jsfox 2009-03-03 05:21AM | 0 recs
Re: There is not a military solution in Afghanista

None of those I'd guess. I'd advocate putting in UN Volunteers, and a lot of those from the middle-east. Yes, they'd be unarmed, and some would be killed, but it would have a chance at incrementally working over time (unlike a military solution).

Yes, a military pull-out that is complete for the US. Troops there only under UN command.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 05:35AM | 0 recs
A clarification

Yes, a military pull-out that is complete for the US. Troops there only under UN command.

Ok I am assuming that you are saying that any US troops that remain in country should be under UN command.

Ok I am not going to go to deep into the weeds here since other than the immediate 17K troop increase. No one has a clue what Obama's long term strategy is until he announces it after the current review. I know some are predicting he is going to go all out. Where this prediction comes from I haven't a clue. Is it from the folks who think this is the right course or conversely those who don't, but want this to be Obama's LBJ/Vietnam moment.

But if I were to guess (and that is all it is) based on current DoD and State thinking there will be more emphasis on construction than destruction and more emphasis on aid. Now the question how many troops and under whose leadership the US, the UN or NATO or some combination of all three.

by jsfox 2009-03-03 06:00AM | 0 recs
Re: There is not a military solution in Afghanista

I am not sure what can work. I think the Bushies screwed up a great window of opportunity 7 years ago. Actually, it goes all the way back to prior administrations which fell asleep as this region was festering. Why is it such late news that Pakistan is one of the bigger problems with terrorism?

If they go with a military approach, I am sad to say, the only one that will work is an all out brutal attack by a LOT of forces by a few allied nations as mentioned in that excerpt. Even then, there are no guarantees. You will have to prepare for a lot of collateral damage.

Other than that, the only thing I can think of is do a slight variation of what is going on right now. Pretty much give up on a lot of the region, start isolating certain regions that can be secured at the perimeter and soften up the population with the comforts of modern life. And then slowly target a neighboring region.

One thing I am not an expert of is there a realistic way to control who sells arms to the region? The US has been culpable as has Russia and Israel in marketing arms to the world. China has entered the pimping of weapons. Unless we can do a  blackout of weapons to the warlords, I do not see an easy solution.

by Pravin 2009-03-03 06:20AM | 0 recs
Re: There is not a military solution in Afghanista

I doubt the warlords or Taliban will be any softer towards UN volunteers. I would not waste their lives in that wretched place.

by Pravin 2009-03-03 06:26AM | 0 recs
Thanks Jerome

Yesterday, I had the extraordinary pleasure of seeing Ted Sorenson speak (and meeting him briefly). At one point someone asked a question about Vietnam, and he stressed that at his core, JFK knew that political problems don't have military solutions. It's a lesson too many presidents never learned.

Now, Sorenson also talked a lot about the similarities he sees between President Obama and President Kennedy, and if there's anyone qualified  to make that comparison, it's him. So I'm hoping that Obama is looking for a long-term solution besides the troop build-up. As much as I've disagreed with you before, Jerome, I'm glad this is something you're talking about.

by Fitzy 2009-03-03 05:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks Jerome

I hope so too. It is discouraging though, to see the first thing come out of the chute for Afghanistan is to go along with the same thing that got us into this quagmire.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-03-03 05:48AM | 0 recs
Compromise with elements of the Taliban

and other rebel groups is the only thing that makes any sense and it seems to be (beginning to be) in the works. It was effective in Iraq and it's the only way the U.S. gets out of Afghanistan without its tail between its legs. The key is to call whoever we compromise and call truces with 'not the Taliban'. Just a matter of semantics. ;)

by fairleft 2009-03-03 05:54AM | 0 recs
Jerome takes on Obamastrawman

Guess who said this on February 17:

I am absolutely convinced that you cannot solve the problem of Afghanistan, the Taliban, the spread of extremism in that region solely through military means. . . . We're going to have to use diplomacy.  We're going to have to use development and my hope is that  . . . Prime Minister Harper [ends] up seeing the importance of a comprehensive strategy.

A)  Jerome Armstrong;
B)  Gordon Brown
C)  Hamid Kharzai
D)  Barack Obama
E)  John Kerry
F)  Hillary Clinton

The SHOCKING answer.

Seriously, pointing out the obvious and then pretending that Obama isn't smart enough to figure it out only makes you look sloppy or dumb.

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 06:28AM | 0 recs
August 1, 2007:

As President, I would deploy at least two additional brigades to Afghanistan to re-enforce our counter-terrorism operations and support NATO's efforts against the Taliban. As we step up our commitment, our European friends must do the same, and without the burdensome restrictions that have hampered NATO's efforts. We must also put more of an Afghan face on security by improving the training and equipping of the Afghan Army and Police, and including Afghan soldiers in U.S. and NATO operations.

We must not, however, repeat the mistakes of Iraq. The solution in Afghanistan is not just military -- it is political and economic. As President, I would increase our non-military aid by $1 billion. These resources should fund projects at the local level to impact ordinary Afghans, including the development of alternative livelihoods for poppy farmers. And we must seek better performance from the Afghan government, and support that performance through tough anti-corruption safeguards on aid, and increased international support to develop the rule of law across the country.

http://www.barackobama.com/2007/08/01/th e_war_we_need_to_win.php

by Geekesque 2009-03-03 07:01AM | 0 recs
hmm

I think deploying more troops as planned is a good idea to clear out the area for bit while we focus on rebuilding, installing schools, hospitals, and infrastructure, bribing local chiefs, and providing assistance to setting up a new government.  

This sounds easy, it won't be, but we have learned a lot from Iraq.   We lost Iraq in the rebuilding stage, along with lack of interpreters we could trust.  We had the potential to rebuild, but once we got in there, we didn't act like liberators, we acted like invading thugs (looking at blackwater, halliburton).

Learn from mistakes in Iraq, we hire locals, instead of bringing our own immigrants (to maximize contractor profits, silly), for labor and engineering.  We have numerous interpreters to assist us with the locals, we provide money for food and shelter to locals and chiefs.  We assist the people in building their government but we don't write the f'n constitution for them.  We invest in the people, we don't treat them like scary animals - we know that many of these people only subscribe or join the fundamentals because that is the only access to get food and shelter, and many times these relationships were formed more in an extortion format.  We may even have to consider allowing their poppy farms to continue since it is a large source of their revenue. I am sure we could use that for pharmaceutical uses.

Of course this is really obvious, but, well, look at Iraq.  I am fully confident that Obama knows this as he has already described how military force alone will not solve the Afghanistan problem.  Thus the only logical use of upping the military force would be to do some clearing out to buy us some breathing room so we can invade the locals with some love, food, shelter, and comfort.

by KLRinLA 2009-03-03 11:33AM | 0 recs
Sad.

Some of us haven't been screaming against putting more troops into Afghanistan because we support the idea of putting more troops into Afghanistan.

Further, no one who has called for a retreat from Afghanistan has shown me any alternative that would bring bin Laden to justice and destroy Al Queda.

For you to attack progressive bloggers for not agreeing with you is trollish behavior.

by djtyg 2009-03-03 12:00PM | 0 recs
Solutions in Afghanistan

I don't know what the solution is but I do think it important to ascertain the size and scope of the problem so that we are all aware of the complexities involved. It is imperative, in my view, that the blame for this catastrophe be squarely placed on the Bush Administration. I've written several posts to that effect already and I suspect that there will be more down the line.

But let's be clear Afghanistan and Pakistan is a mess and it threatens to consume the nation, the Obama Administration and the progressive cause unless we forthrightly discuss the issue.

by Charles Lemos 2009-03-03 02:17PM | 0 recs

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