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Another reason Afghanistan is a lost cause


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Fixed it for you. :)

 

Seriously, we could extrapolate this example and likewise declare Baltimore, New Orleans, Chicago, LA etc. lost causes. Hell, look at how many people are still stumping for Mumia, after all these years.

 

 

I'm down. Let's do this.

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If we leave the area, who gives a f**k. Unemployed young men can be paid by Taliban, or any other warlord looking to expand their presence. And if they are looking solely for who pays the most, then for a fraction of stationing 100,000 NATO soldiers in Afghanistan, we can just pay off some warlords to harass the Taliban, not much different than when we supported the Northern Alliance: they provided the muscle and we provided the cash and equipment. Had we invested with the Northern Alliance much earlier than Sep. 11, 2001, then they would have had more time to take care of the Taliban.

 

Had it not been for 9/11, the Northern Alliance would have pretty much been defeated. They only controlled the northern part of the country, and right before the Twin Tower attacks, they lost their main commander (forgot his name) to a suicide attack.

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The problem is a very simple exercise in logistics. It is, unfortunately, also a very difficult exercise in self-discipline, which nearly all Americans(Hell, Westerners) lack. We go through incredible mental gyrations desperately looking for any solution to the problem other than the obvious, time proven and simple one. That problem truly being that the population of the problem region is a bunch of 7th century savages that were stupidly provided with the tools and techniques of modern culture without having to go through all the cultural developments to EARN them. It is a widespread problem, not restricted to just Astan, but the solution is always the same, whether people have the mental capacity to accept it or not. We can pour the combined resources of the Western world into these shitholes to NO effect because you're trying to overcome biology and it's simply fucking impossible.

 

 

 

You don't have to LIKE the job, you just have to DO it. S/F.....Ken M

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Well, could always start to train, arm and fund all unhappy people in region (there is plenty to choose). After all, if Iran and Pakistan can make life difficult to others by proxy war, it should work both ways.

Edited by Sardaukar
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Well, could always start to train, arm and fund all unhappy people in region (there is plenty to choose). After all, if Iran and Pakistan can make life difficult to others by proxy war, it should work both ways.

 

Using biological means is random and uncertain. And there's no easy immunization against savages unlike using anthrax or smallpox. Using proxy fighters is how we got here in the 1st place; the Russians would have steam rolled the Afghanis had we not supplied them with arms and training and we'd never have heard of Osama bin Laden.

 

If something is worth doing; it's worth doing yourself. If only to deny others the capability and experience to others. S/F.....Ken M

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...There is no real evidence the Northern Alliance was going down the pan just because they lost their leader...

During '90s NA suffered several crisis but recovered, most often with Russian aid in arms. Irony at it's finest point.

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I'm down. Let's do this.

 

I've seen a number of mentions out there of secession, i.e. splitting Red America off of Blue America. It occurs to me there is another option, a kind of political apartheid. Vaguely similar to how RSA had those embedded states-within-a-state. We would redraw the national political boundary map, with the liberal cities as self-managed protectorates. There would be fences/walls and border checkpoints to control traffic in and out.

 

So a Blue Stater could, in theory, travel to Red Country with a passport and background check. Likewise, a Red Stater could travel into a Blue Conclave to see a NYG game (at his own risk, of course). Commerce would be handled just as any other NAFTA interaction.

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We owe it to these people to get the country sorted out. More importantly, we owe it to ourselves. Somalia didnt turn out so great when the west withdrew, did it? Same with Aden.

 

Absolutely disagree. We don't owe the people in that $hithole anything. To the few that have actively helped us, we owe something. To the rest, those that are too cowardly or don't care enough to stand up for anything, we owe nothing.

 

Our culture and our nations were made, drug out of the swamp of barbarism, by hundreds of our ancestors (both spiritual and physical) who placed their "lives", their "fortunes" and their "sacred honor" (yes, I realize I just quoted a very US-centric document) at risk for something greater than themselves. Maintaining that culture is a constant fight, and when we no longer possess the will to fight that fight, we will lose what we have gained until we regain the will to fight constantly to keep what has been granted to us.

 

The people and culture of Afghanistan have never produced this, cannot produce this (their culture, specifically their religion- doesn't allow it) and if they don't produce this for themselves, we can't ever give it to them. Even if we did, they will immediately regress into barbarism because they lack the will fight for it themselves.

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(...)

 

As for the corruption, theft and tribalism, I dont doubt much of that is true. On the other hand it was also true for much of Scotland in 1745. Less than 50 years later after investment in roads, education and jobs they became a solid part of the British isles, and tribalism eventually all but transformed into a tourist industry. Where we are going wrong in Afghanistan is frantic attempts to fix it in the next year then run away. If we actually had a far sighted plan to stay there the next 25 years, we might have a shot at making it work. Even thats arguably short termism.

(...)

 

The Anglo-Scot solution to troublemaking Highland tribes was sound, but some nitpicking:

 

- Repression after the '45 rising was very thorough, after seeing that the 1715 one (1719 was not a big deal, with the exception of some Spaniards making fast in Eilean Donach Castle) was not properly suppressed afterwards.

 

- That repression left the Highlands Glens quite empty from cattle, thus attacking the basic economy of the Jacobite zones.

 

- Besides roads and bridges, started by Field Marshall Wade, and some improvement in education among Lowlanders, perhaps the most important action were the Clearances, where the clan Chieftain evicted the clansmen from the clan lands to make space for sheep. Those lands were property of all the clan, not only of the Chief, until some changes in law, whose details I don't know.

 

So, the issues with Scotland tribal system were dealt with by voiding of people the tribes, sending them to Canada and America. Those in America often supported the King in 1776, curiously.

 

About thread's topic:

 

- Condolences to the families. The interpreter was a newly-nationalized Spaniard of Iranian origin that fled the revolution and had a rugs store in Saragossa. He enlisted in order to help.

 

- The dead Spaniards were not Army (Ejército de Tierra, EdT, ET) but Civil Guards (Guardia Civil, GC) and were specially trained for intervention against ETA and the like, in a manner similar to SWAT.

 

- The gunman was detained some months ago for suspicions of Talibanism. Was released on the word of the local elders. He had one brother very involved with the Taliban.

 

- The gunman was hunted after leaving the compound, and killed in the street. Villagemen were not amused.

 

- There was some caches of grenades, Molotov cocktails and stones -plain and paving- stored in advance near the military compound, so perhaps this incident was planned.

 

- Information coming from our Defence Ministery is very confuse.

Edited by sunday
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Eradicating poppy production simply provides a recruitment drive for the Taliban with no effort on their part.

Unemployed young men are who the majority of "the Taliban" are.

 

 

 

But to allow the poppies to grow is to allow the Taliban to continue to profit from opium and fund their operations.

 

Sounds like a 'Heads they win/Tails we lose' kind of thing.

 

Is there a better way to deal with it?

 

 

 

 

 

-K

Edited by Special-K
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At some point civilizations have to take responsibility for their actions. They can't just threaten Western-civilization by saying: "If you don't come here and build roads, clinics, schools, provide aid, build our infrastructure and provide economic assistance, then our men will join Islamofacists that will attack you". To me that is arrogance and blackmail. You want help, first help yourself. Pick up an AK and be ready to defend your village/hamlet/compound from the Taliban. When the Taliban comes and kills your kinsmen you blame NATO for not providing security. When NATO accidentally kills one of you, you suddenly grow balls and is ready to join the Taliban and become a shahid. Best solution for NATO is to divide and conquer. Help the areas that are willing to modernize, build school and provide manpower to defend themselves. Those that are not ready the best anti-insurgency tactic is the insurgent rule. Let the Taliban go back on their own ways and two things will occur: 1)They will like what they are getting, so who are we to want to change them anyway and 2)They will resent them and the Taliban will lose support.

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During '90s NA suffered several crisis but recovered, most often with Russian aid in arms. Irony at it's finest point.

 

And after 911, it received another equipment windfall, remember seeing a column of Northern Alliance armor and "WTF"ing over BMPs and T-55s with clearly new (or atleast well-preserved) paint jobs between the rusty battered...

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But to allow the poppies to grow is to allow the Taliban to continue to profit from opium and fund their operations.

 

Sounds like a 'Heads they win/Tails we lose' kind of thing.

 

Is there a better way to deal with it?

 

There are better options and to a limited extent they ar ebeing acted upong, namely providing the infrastructure, training and incentive to make other crops viable.

 

If you can make it so people don't need to grow poppies then, amazingly, they don't, and the evidence is out there where it has worked, but it takes time and effort, and this constant attitude of quick fixes that will magyck up a solution in six months or else it is a failure is largely to blame for many of the problems in Afghanistan.

 

Eradication of poppy production is a microcosm of the national problem - it is a 'whole of government' affair that requires more than simply destroying fields.

Providing employment (road construction for eg) and incentivising the production of food crops are two of the most successful means.

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And after 911, it received another equipment windfall, remember seeing a column of Northern Alliance armor and "WTF"ing over BMPs and T-55s with clearly new (or atleast well-preserved) paint jobs between the rusty battered...

 

Yes, US partially financed that one and Russians delivered hardware.

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So your defence for walking away and not worrying about the consequences is that the rest of the worlds is too cowardly and dont care to stand up for something. Isnt that a little contradictory? It certainly isnt backed by the casualty figures from a whole host of nations fighting there, not a few my own countrymen.

 

No, I'm not talking about the rest of the world. As pointed out by Rod, the Afghans are unwilling to fight the Taliban, but willing to fight the West. It is their choice- we can support their choice, but if we impose a solution (as I understand your argument), they will simply go back to fighting when we leave- and we can't stay there indefinitely. I fully respect the sacrifices your countrymen have made- and they are part of the "we" in my post- Western civilization. The Afghans are not part of "we", and never will be until they choose. So far, they have not so chosen. Neither have the Saudis, the Iranians, etc. The few places that have chosen to modernize (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, a few others) and accept the ideas of freedom and democracy have flourished- the rest of the world is a $hithole that can't be improved without their own willingness to chance.

 

I can recall seeing live on TV 2 airliners fly into the world trade center because our repective politicians thought dealing with Afghanistan was too difficult, too awkward, and impossible to sell to the public. Now we just cut our losses, allow the place ot became in the thrall of terrorists and let it happen again?

 

It amuses me that in one breathe we earnestly condemn Iran for trying to develop atomic weapons, then in the other breath state its alright to walk away from Afghanistan, despite the fact that its already destabilizing Pakistan which already IS a nuclear power. If we assume there are no long term consequences by just walking away, we are deluding ourselves.

 

I was never in favour of going into Afghanistan (many here now posting I remember certainly WERE) because I had a vague impression that something like this was going to happen. I restate, we are there now, its too damn late to whinge about how difficult it is, and we ought to suck it up and win because its now our collective responsibility to the international community to do so. Win is a rather awkward statement considering the place is going to be unstable for decades, but I dont doubt the Taliban consider retaking power a win and so would the remnants of Al Quaeda. Im sure they will be overjoyed at getting back into their old stomping ground. Im also sure Osama will be delighted to see himself proven right after just a decade of fighting. Losing Afghanistan will be seen to be losing the defined if nebulous war on terror. Walking away signs the deeds for more of the same.

The only thing we should have done in Afghanistan was a punitive expedition- kill alot of people and smash alot of things- should have been done by about NOV-DEC 01, in hindsite- and supported whoever (from the Northern Alliance?) was willing to fight AlQaeda. Until the Afghans are willing, they are never going to develop into a functional, stable, democratic country- ALL of them, even our allies, are simply out to build power for their tribe or family, not for the good of the country.

 

Deaths among the Afghan population at the hand of the Taliban are on the rise.They are even appear to be interdicted at the border. This is the tipping point when people reject them and their culture. Now is not the time to be cutting our losses. The Romans could see the consequences of losing wars went far beyond the immediate territorial considerations. Why cant we?

 

Sunday, I accept your point about the Highland clearances (In actual fact, Ive a suspicion my lot may have been some of them). OTOH, to do it you had to have security to drive people out without their rebelling. That being the case, it suggests the plan to create security worked. Thinning out out the population, whilst morally reprehensible, as far as I can see made it a done deal. It was dependent on winning security in the first place.

In the same way we CAN rebuild Afghanistan. But its dependent on getting security right first. After we get that right that we can drive Autobahns through Helmand, and start importing Porn by the the Truckload and start pilfering that Lapis Lazuli. Inside 3 decades they will all be couch potatos with subcriptions to the playboy channel.

 

Not that we will give it chance to happen Im equally sure.

Your last line is the key one. We have lost the self-assuredness in our own superiority to impose our culture on others, and thats what it will take. Until we are willing to act like Napier (IMO, one of "us", even though he is a Brit- again, who "we" are is clarified in the first paragraph of my response), we will not change Afghanistan, so why spend the blood and treasure? Let them live how they want to live, as long as they keep their barbarism in their own country- kill people and smash things when the come out to threaten us, otherwise leave them alone.

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Losing Afghanistan will be seen to be losing the defined if nebulous war on terror. Walking away signs the deeds for more of the same.

 

Losing will mean the first time in the modern era that an Islamic army has defeated the west in a war. Bin Laden’s triumpant return to Kabul may (or may not) have regional implications greater than the escalation in terror. Is there a potential for a domino effect?

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There are better options and to a limited extent they ar ebeing acted upong, namely providing the infrastructure, training and incentive to make other crops viable.

 

If you can make it so people don't need to grow poppies then, amazingly, they don't, and the evidence is out there where it has worked, but it takes time and effort, and this constant attitude of quick fixes that will magyck up a solution in six months or else it is a failure is largely to blame for many of the problems in Afghanistan.

 

Eradication of poppy production is a microcosm of the national problem - it is a 'whole of government' affair that requires more than simply destroying fields.

Providing employment (road construction for eg) and incentivising the production of food crops are two of the most successful means.

 

 

Carrot and stick approach only works if the West is willing to undertake a long term committment to occupy and govern the country.

 

Right now, where the Taliban are, they are 24/7 inmersed with the locals, while NATO only appears occasionally, even if they don't get attacked every time. Until the locals perceive that any attacks will be answered with the hunting down of the culprits and the punishment of the whole family/village/tribe this is going nowhere. If the locals still see corruption being rampant among the powers-that-be chosen by the West, they are not going to throw their lot with the West.

 

Afghanistan is not unique by any measure, what worked in Malaysia or Sri Lanka, or is working in Colombia will surely work there, but there needs to be perspectives for the populace rather than leaving them at the whim of Karzai&friends.

 

Alternatively, E5M's solution is a decent alternative.

 

Final nitpick, the deceased Guardias were part of the UAR, which, as rightly mentioned by Sunday, specialises against ETA, was set up to combat the possibility if ETA setting up a guerrilla movement in the Pyrinnees back in the 70s and still patrols the area, just in case...

 

 

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If we are to remain in Afghanistan so as not be perceived "as losing the war", then tactics have to change. Rather than treating Afghanistan as a modern nation ready for a centralized democracy at the capital (Kabul), which provides directives to the provinces, we need to divide and conquer. More power for local governors and strongmen in exchange of quiet and progress. See Russia in Chechnya. They had to put a savage ruthless dictator to bring peace to the area. I am not saying that we should strive to have a bunch of Kadyrovs running Afghanistan but having Afghanistan, much like most of the Middle East is not Europe; It takes a strong man with strong military force in order to prevent different tribes, religious sects and ethnic groups from killing each other.

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There are better options and to a limited extent they ar ebeing acted upong, namely providing the infrastructure, training and incentive to make other crops viable.

 

If you can make it so people don't need to grow poppies then, amazingly, they don't, and the evidence is out there where it has worked, but it takes time and effort, and this constant attitude of quick fixes that will magyck up a solution in six months or else it is a failure is largely to blame for many of the problems in Afghanistan.

 

Eradication of poppy production is a microcosm of the national problem - it is a 'whole of government' affair that requires more than simply destroying fields.

Providing employment (road construction for eg) and incentivising the production of food crops are two of the most successful means.

The dilemma is how to make a bushel of grain worth enough to the farmer as a kilo of opium.

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The dilemma is how to make a bushel of grain worth enough to the farmer as a kilo of opium.

 

Frederick the Great had a similar problem when trying to introduce potato cultivation amongst Prussian farmers.

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The only thing we should have done in Afghanistan was a punitive expedition- kill alot of people and smash alot of things- should have been done by about NOV-DEC 01, in hindsite- and supported whoever (from the Northern Alliance?) was willing to fight AlQaeda. Until the Afghans are willing, they are never going to develop into a functional, stable, democratic country- ALL of them, even our allies, are simply out to build power for their tribe or family, not for the good of the country.

 

That is exactly what the US did, with air power and special forces. That is also exactly why they failed to defeat the Taliban or apprehend bin Laden. It was a half-hearted effort, and it shows in the results. The entire Taliban and al Qaeda leadership escaped because the US did not commit sufficient ground forces from the start of the campaign to stop them. And now we are paying the price. What could have been accomplished maybe with a ten thousand Marines or so in 2001, is still not done even after 9 years and 120,000 troops in country.

 

When will people learn that if you go to war with someone to win, you need to go all-in. If you use sufficient force and deploy enough men, you end up with success stories like the Desert Storm or Kosovo. If you hold back, you end up with disasters like the two 'Freedom' operations of late.

Edited by Exel
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Lets be fair here, President George Bush, to his eternal credit, pushed attacking Afghanistan to the top of the pile and pushed for it relentlessly. There has been debate that the Taliban MAY have given up Bin Laden, but I dont believe it. They were joined at the hip, and it would still have left Afghanistan as a terrorist training base. So his commitment to go in I think was right. I may criticize him for other things, but not that. It showed balls, and he overode his own advisors to do Afghanstan first despite their being a large push from Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz to do Iraq first.

 

Where I DO part company is on how it was done. It was rushed. He allowed public opinion to push him to doing Afghanistan before the US military was really ready to do it. The bulk of the forces from what I can tell were Northern Alliance. Now whilst the attack worked, as Excel points out Afghanistan was not sealed before it was attacked. If it had, and there had been adequate blocking forces put in place between Pakistan and Afghanistan, not only would all Al Qaeda been rounded up, but most of the Taliban would as well, and quite possibly Bin Laden would have been plugged into the National Grid by now. Possibly even Pakistan would be more stable at the moment. Though in fairness it always seems about as unstable as Charlie Chaplin in high heels...

 

I can understand why he did that, but it is regrettable that it was done like that. Additionally Iraq probably did need to be done one day, but there was no reason why it couldnt have waited even on evidence they did have, until after Afghanistan was finished.

 

I must have been living in another world then, Bush did not really have a choice, the 9 years in between and the daily brutality of islamism may have dull some of the remembrance of the post 9-11 days, when there was talk of converting Afghanistan into a glassed parking lot. In line with Rumsfeldian thinking, it was done on the cheap and the result was handed over to the loosers while doing Iraq in 2003 was rushed and, with hindsight, should have been done down the road, but the SA were already restless after 9-11 and wanted US troops out sooner than later.

If expelled from SA/Kuwait, Saddam would gain breathing space to hold for the end of sanctions that even then were breaking down. And that put the whole area back in 1990, but with an SA king that was more willing to struck a deal with SH than to call on the US for support. And Iran then was not a problem, remember.

 

Even worse none of Americas allies, of which we were the leading member, pushed for Afghanistan being a priorty. There was simply no imagination of what could go wrong in Afghanistan. We are all paying the price for this now, and pointing the finger at the Afghans as if somehow they are to blame for our screwups. Pointing the finger at the US wont do. The international community was responsible for this fuckup.

 

I still think it can be turned around because if nothing else the right Commander is in place, and I think enough military power is in place to do it. Whether they can actually create order enough for Kabul to maintain control on the rest of the country after we withdraw is where I start having doubts. As somebody said about Iraq, its a bit like teenage sex. We are too quick to get in, and too quick to get out.

 

Ts, ts, America's allies were pushed hard by the Bush administration to support Iraq, and the US is the only partner with the muscle to support an operation on the other side of the world, so the only choice was to go or not. No NATO member (maybe the UK) could support the commitment of anything else but a small contingent to Afghanistan without the US behind it.

 

If the war is to be won, then actual occupation needs to take place, even if that means depopulating by relocation vast tracts of Afghanistan.

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Guest JamesG123

We are trying to treat the disease (violent radicalism growing in underdeveloped/disrupted areas) not the symptoms (Taliban, Al Queda, Maoist Revolutionaries, etc.)

 

Withdrawing and playing a perpetual game of "whack-a-mole", or as the Brits call it "Mowing the grass", is both going to cost far more in the long run, and may actually cause the West to lose the "long war" if it inflames the conflict and the Islamic side gains the upperhand via demographics and applied technology/WMDs.

 

Its a war, you're going to get your hands dirty and we are going to bleed. It doesn't matter how many high-tech toys you have or if you have the capacity to annihilate the population. This war is not about killing. Its about undermining and destroying a specific idea and groups of individual radicals that hide among a largely ambivalent (and innocent) population, much like the Cold War against communism.

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