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Meanwhile In Afghanistan


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14 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

You should read Max Hastings book on the Korean war, including the dispatch of Task Force Smith. If someone with foresight had put a USMC Division in there, prewar, there probably would have been no war. They were not really taking the problem seriously until war errupted, and very nearly lost as a result.

 

There wasn't really a USMC division to put there pre-war. It took practically the whole active USMC to cobble together the regimental combat team that was the ground element of the 1st Marine Brigade, and the rest of 1st Marine Division was filled out with recalled WWII veterans to make Inchon.

 

i don't know if @Ken Estesis still around, but I'd be the that he can reference details.

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On 9/19/2021 at 10:17 AM, RETAC21 said:

This and your previous post just go on to show what American Exceptionalism is, unfortunately, it misses the real World.

Americans live on the shadow of WW2 and as time passes on, they have come to believe that they alone won it, and forget the inconvenient allies. All of this cloud their understanding of current world problems apparently.

Korea was a success, and a dearly paid one, just not one as great as it could be. Vietnam, irak, Somalia and Afghanistan have been losses because Americans lack the will to win (not their politicians, but the voters who elect them), and because of that, it doesn't matter whether the US logistics get the gold medal or the USAF and USN can deploy anywhere.

Would sorta disagree with you on the "will to win" part, at least if you're reducing it to "willing to stay for a long time and spend a lot of money and lives" (correct me if I'm wrong). We were in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan for vastly much longer than would make any sort of sense, spent insane amounts of money and lost many more people than we expected to. US voters honestly would have been ok with us being in Afghanistan indefinitely (although I think that would have been a terrible mistake). Our problems were total garbage strategy (as in, we were worse at strategy than a bunch of illiterate goat-herders), not a lack of stamina.

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8 hours ago, RETAC21 said:

The preservation of South Korea was the mission.

Who trained whom is irrelevant, as you well know.

If the context of the discussion is strictly in terms of the mission objective, and if that really was the full objective, then yes, it was a success. That conclusion can extend creep into other levels of specifications though.  The post by Rick that you responded to talked about if the public and political will was there. Without a doubt public will would have been very low, so low that the stated mission objective couldn't even fancy capturing and holding onto the rest of Korea. With such low level of will on the foundation, then the question comes as to why were US soldiers in Korea at all to begin with? A place all the way on the other side of the Pacific with no implication to the US mainland. How can the population be rallied for such an endeavor? Because of that, they shouldn't have been there. AFAIK, in 1944 and early 1945, the US government had a vague idea of some sort occupation of Korea after the defeat of Japan. But it was in IIRC August 1945 that they hastily drew a line across Korea and just let the Soviets have the northern half with a vision that joint occupation would be followed with Korea unification (peacefully). They had no idea about the seeds of division and ideology divide that they planted with that hasty decision. 1946, 1947, 1948.. year by year the ideology divide grew sharper and sharper, the commies prosecuted in the South thus concentrated in the North and vice versa with the South. The majority of Korean Independence advocates were communists so they concentrated in the north. After knocking down the empire of Japan, the US had to scramble back the Koreans that operated Korea under the old empire, military or not. Maybe a flimsy token of information to those that cannot experience the consequence that the Korean War had. A reason why it's called the "Forgotten War". It's a slap to the face on US conquest drive against Imperial Japan. Along with Truman's "China loss". Who trained is relevant to understanding the whole history otherwise "learn from history" being spoken in an (intentionally or not) incomplete context becomes a punchline for strengthening the keeping of historical understanding as incomplete. 

In saying that, its not to say that Korea should have most certainly stayed in the empire of Japan, but just like how decolonization occurred elsewhere in the world, that decolonization may have happened as well in Korea, and if it had happened, it would have been a united Korea. If the decolonization process was done well, then it could have been done while at the same time keeping the Soviet or CCP style communists out. Many of the Koreans that did work along with the Japanese empire still would have preferred to have an independent political entity for themselves but since they were still working along with the empire, there's reason to think that a decolonization process could be gone without things going as far as out of control as the Korean War. And an additional note, Japan losing Taiwan was totally unfortunate.

Edited by JasonJ
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6 hours ago, FALightFighter said:

There wasn't really a USMC division to put there pre-war. It took practically the whole active USMC to cobble together the regimental combat team that was the ground element of the 1st Marine Brigade, and the rest of 1st Marine Division was filled out with recalled WWII veterans to make Inchon.

 

i don't know if @Ken Estesis still around, but I'd be the that he can reference details.

Yeah, just thinking about what I said, that they had a stockpile of salvaged kit, I dont doubt you are right. The US Military was cut to bits after WW2, one  tends to forget now quite how much.

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5 hours ago, Angrybk said:

Would sorta disagree with you on the "will to win" part, at least if you're reducing it to "willing to stay for a long time and spend a lot of money and lives" (correct me if I'm wrong). We were in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan for vastly much longer than would make any sort of sense, spent insane amounts of money and lost many more people than we expected to. US voters honestly would have been ok with us being in Afghanistan indefinitely (although I think that would have been a terrible mistake). Our problems were total garbage strategy (as in, we were worse at strategy than a bunch of illiterate goat-herders), not a lack of stamina.

We we had no strategy, thats clear. I think it was easy for politicians to say it was right to leave, lacking a viable end strategy and disregarding the consequences.  That remaining for intelligence reasons was correct, well we saw that demonstrated very recently with that poor bugger and his family vapourized. The problem was fitting that into a context where the US couldnt be seen to remain forever.

I still keep coming back to the Malaya campaign, where we left in the 1960's, and the war chuntered on until the early 1980's. The trick was creating a military that could conduct its own campaign . The Americans decided, forwhatever reason, to create an armed auxillary to help it conduct its own operations. Which when you get down to it, is pretty much the same mistake it made in Vietnam early on too.

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5 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

We we had no strategy, thats clear. I think it was easy for politicians to say it was right to leave, lacking a viable end strategy and disregarding the consequences.  That remaining for intelligence reasons was correct, well we saw that demonstrated very recently with that poor bugger and his family vapourized. The problem was fitting that into a context where the US couldnt be seen to remain forever.

I still keep coming back to the Malaya campaign, where we left in the 1960's, and the war chuntered on until the early 1980's. The trick was creating a military that could conduct its own campaign . The Americans decided, forwhatever reason, to create an armed auxillary to help it conduct its own operations. Which when you get down to it, is pretty much the same mistake it made in Vietnam early on too.

I still very firmly believe that standard US (Western?) counter insurgency doctrine is fatally flawed. Malaya, Colombia, etc are corner cases. At this point it’s like 1914 France arguing that the cult of the bayonet is great, we just didn’t do the last mass charge correctly. In Afghanistan we -did- do standard counter insurgency, for all the complaints about pulling out our aircraft mechanics or whatever we still left the country after 20 years, during which we killed shit tons of Taliban, did s lot of the happy friendly building schools stuff, and left the Afghan “government” with a military that we spent decades training and was vastly larger and better equipped than the Taliban. Counter insurgency doctrine is broke. 

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18 hours ago, glenn239 said:

Just finished Hasting's book on Operational Pedestal.  Great read.

Didn't realise the US was that far down in amphibious capability by 1950, but it's again no surprise.  

Pedestal book was great! Although maybe because the tale is so good, rather than the book. Was going to post it in the Treaty Cruisers thread but couldn’t find it. 

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34 minutes ago, Angrybk said:

I still very firmly believe that standard US (Western?) counter insurgency doctrine is fatally flawed. Malaya, Colombia, etc are corner cases. At this point it’s like 1914 France arguing that the cult of the bayonet is great, we just didn’t do the last mass charge correctly. In Afghanistan we -did- do standard counter insurgency, for all the complaints about pulling out our aircraft mechanics or whatever we still left the country after 20 years, during which we killed shit tons of Taliban, did s lot of the happy friendly building schools stuff, and left the Afghan “government” with a military that we spent decades training and was vastly larger and better equipped than the Taliban. Counter insurgency doctrine is broke. 

Well, we didnt really. We stuck a platoon in the middle of a town, and said 'There, strategic hamlet'. When all it did was call the local insurgents, whether they were drug dealers or Taliban like bees to a honey pot. To do strategic hamlet you need sufficient force to make the hamlet secure. At least till you can train up locals to deal with theri own security. We did nothing like that. We repeated the same mistake in Iraq (search CIMIC house Al Amarah) and it didnt work any better there.

There was not enough troops to cover the basic lack of security. Whcih suggests we did far too much far too quickly and spread ourselves far too thin to do anything effectively, right from the start.

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48 minutes ago, Angrybk said:

I still very firmly believe that standard US (Western?) counter insurgency doctrine is fatally flawed. Malaya, Colombia, etc are corner cases. At this point it’s like 1914 France arguing that the cult of the bayonet is great, we just didn’t do the last mass charge correctly. In Afghanistan we -did- do standard counter insurgency, for all the complaints about pulling out our aircraft mechanics or whatever we still left the country after 20 years, during which we killed shit tons of Taliban, did s lot of the happy friendly building schools stuff, and left the Afghan “government” with a military that we spent decades training and was vastly larger and better equipped than the Taliban. Counter insurgency doctrine is broke. 

This is, and almost always is, a political-economic problem. COIN will work when the vast majority think their lives will be acceptably good under the existing regime. Then the problem is just one of suppressing a minority of dissidents.

What the US lacks, and increasingly so after the domestic break with New Dealism, is a sensible model of economic development.

The Washington Concensus model basically holds that if you get neoliberal institutions (free markets, fiscal discipline, liberal-meritocratic ideology etc.) growth will sort of just naturally happen but the historical record tells a different story.

Education for girls is good, but it wasn't enough. What is also needed is suitable industry policy to create the industry which can make use of that educated workforce. Mining and light industry probably would be the sensible sectors to focus on, but most US officials think light industry is just something you move to Mexico or Asia.

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1 hour ago, Angrybk said:

.... did s lot of the happy friendly building schools stuff...

That one was especially interesting. What were Afghans who attend to such schools supposed to do after they finish school? Go back and grow poppy like his father/grandfather/whoever did?

You win such places by making jobs for people, building infrastructure, rails, roads, mines, at least some basic industry and only then do those schools pay off.

Otherwise those schools are just mills that make people even more bitter than they were previously, at best case making them economic emigrants, and at worst actually turning them to be even more "our way was right" types.

Edited by bojan
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No, there is one thing that the halfway successful tries have in common: A pro western military dictatorship in control of the country. 

Why, you may ask and the answer is simple. A military dictatorship depends on the military as a power base, so it is in the best interest of the government to see that the soldiers are paid, fed and decently equipped. You can see this in Vietnam as well. Those ARVN formations that were big and whose generals practically controlled their area of operation performed not too badly, those depending on the civil government faded.

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15 hours ago, JasonJ said:

If the context of the discussion is strictly in terms of the mission objective, and if that really was the full objective, then yes, it was a success. That conclusion can extend creep into other levels of specifications though.  The post by Rick that you responded to talked about if the public and political will was there. Without a doubt public will would have been very low, so low that the stated mission objective couldn't even fancy capturing and holding onto the rest of Korea. With such low level of will on the foundation, then the question comes as to why were US soldiers in Korea at all to begin with? A place all the way on the other side of the Pacific with no implication to the US mainland. How can the population be rallied for such an endeavor? Because of that, they shouldn't have been there. AFAIK, in 1944 and early 1945, the US government had a vague idea of some sort occupation of Korea after the defeat of Japan. But it was in IIRC August 1945 that they hastily drew a line across Korea and just let the Soviets have the northern half with a vision that joint occupation would be followed with Korea unification (peacefully). They had no idea about the seeds of division and ideology divide that they planted with that hasty decision. 1946, 1947, 1948.. year by year the ideology divide grew sharper and sharper, the commies prosecuted in the South thus concentrated in the North and vice versa with the South. The majority of Korean Independence advocates were communists so they concentrated in the north. After knocking down the empire of Japan, the US had to scramble back the Koreans that operated Korea under the old empire, military or not. Maybe a flimsy token of information to those that cannot experience the consequence that the Korean War had. A reason why it's called the "Forgotten War". It's a slap to the face on US conquest drive against Imperial Japan. Along with Truman's "China loss". Who trained is relevant to understanding the whole history otherwise "learn from history" being spoken in an (intentionally or not) incomplete context becomes a punchline for strengthening the keeping of historical understanding as incomplete. 

In saying that, its not to say that Korea should have most certainly stayed in the empire of Japan, but just like how decolonization occurred elsewhere in the world, that decolonization may have happened as well in Korea, and if it had happened, it would have been a united Korea. If the decolonization process was done well, then it could have been done while at the same time keeping the Soviet or CCP style communists out. Many of the Koreans that did work along with the Japanese empire still would have preferred to have an independent political entity for themselves but since they were still working along with the empire, there's reason to think that a decolonization process could be gone without things going as far as out of control as the Korean War. And an additional note, Japan losing Taiwan was totally unfortunate.

Apparently, and oddly, you can only perceive the World through Japanese eyes, and are able to turn a blind eye to simple historical facts. The mission, as delineated in UN Security Counsil Resolution 83, was "an immediate cessation of hostilities and for the authorities in North Korea to withdraw their armed forces to the 38th parallel."

The Council then recommended that "Members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and security in the area."

McArthur went way out of bounds by invading North Korea, but it was all right insofar as it seemed like the low hanging fruit that was ripe for picking. Whatever the Chinese thought didn't enter the equation, but when the Chinese joined the war, and the cost of conquering North Korea was deemed too high, the mission reverted to the original objective, which was achieved through much sacrifice, but was achieved.

If Korea and Taiwan would have been better off under Japanese rule is impossible to know. In 1950, probably yes, by 1980, not so much, and of course, having Japanese overlords may have meant a communist insurgency until all of Korea and all of Taiwan became communists, becuase this notional Japan would have lacked the means to fight such insurgency bereft of US aid, and as we have seen, this is anything but granted sometimes.

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16 hours ago, Angrybk said:

Would sorta disagree with you on the "will to win" part, at least if you're reducing it to "willing to stay for a long time and spend a lot of money and lives" (correct me if I'm wrong). We were in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan for vastly much longer than would make any sort of sense, spent insane amounts of money and lost many more people than we expected to. US voters honestly would have been ok with us being in Afghanistan indefinitely (although I think that would have been a terrible mistake). Our problems were total garbage strategy (as in, we were worse at strategy than a bunch of illiterate goat-herders), not a lack of stamina.

From Clausewitz:

"War is a trial of moral and physical forces by means of the latter. . . In the last analysis it is at moral, not physical strength that all military action is directed … Moral factors, then, are the ultimate determinants in war.

Carl von Clausewitz

War of course involves a contest of physical force. It is a blood sport. Clausewitz, however, emphasizes the definitive importance of  “moral factors,” or what we think of as morale.

He makes the blunt claim that once you have destroyed your enemy’s spirit — his will to fight — you have won the war. He notes that the armies that prevail most often are those that have the full-hearted support of their citizens back home. When that encouragement is lacking, self-doubt sets in and motivation is undermined."

https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/articles/ideas-work/von-clausewitz-war-six-lessons-modern-strategist

It's not a question of time, it's the will to do what is required to impose your will on your enemies.

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3 hours ago, KV7 said:

This is, and almost always is, a political-economic problem. COIN will work when the vast majority think their lives will be acceptably good under the existing regime. Then the problem is just one of suppressing a minority of dissidents.

What the US lacks, and increasingly so after the domestic break with New Dealism, is a sensible model of economic development.

The Washington Concensus model basically holds that if you get neoliberal institutions (free markets, fiscal discipline, liberal-meritocratic ideology etc.) growth will sort of just naturally happen but the historical record tells a different story.

Education for girls is good, but it wasn't enough. What is also needed is suitable industry policy to create the industry which can make use of that educated workforce. Mining and light industry probably would be the sensible sectors to focus on, but most US officials think light industry is just something you move to Mexico or Asia.

The socio-economic problem is but one component, the first and foremost one is security, the locals need to believe your side will win and that your side, if angry, is much worse than the guerrillas.

Once you get that out of the way, you can try to re-educate the locals. Irak is a poster child on how not to do it. The Iraquis were quite happy to dump Saddam, but instead of picking up the Iraqui Army and Police as they were, use them to pacify the country and then go about reforming them, they were disbanded becuase they were Baathist!  leaving people with the knowledger and the motivation to become insurgents on the street "en masse".

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Washington may not do COIN well, but then again, 1) nobody does, and 2) it is powerful enough that it doesn't have to.

It has the capability to control the entire chessboard.

Had its rapprochement with Beijing come 5 years earlier, the North Vietnamese might want to start re-thinking its priorities a bit. Something about Ho and his preference for sniffing French shit comes to mind.

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4 hours ago, RETAC21 said:

Apparently, and oddly, you can only perceive the World through Japanese eyes, and are able to turn a blind eye to simple historical facts. The mission, as delineated in UN Security Counsil Resolution 83, was "an immediate cessation of hostilities and for the authorities in North Korea to withdraw their armed forces to the 38th parallel."

The Council then recommended that "Members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and security in the area."

McArthur went way out of bounds by invading North Korea, but it was all right insofar as it seemed like the low hanging fruit that was ripe for picking. Whatever the Chinese thought didn't enter the equation, but when the Chinese joined the war, and the cost of conquering North Korea was deemed too high, the mission reverted to the original objective, which was achieved through much sacrifice, but was achieved.

If Korea and Taiwan would have been better off under Japanese rule is impossible to know. In 1950, probably yes, by 1980, not so much, and of course, having Japanese overlords may have meant a communist insurgency until all of Korea and all of Taiwan became communists, becuase this notional Japan would have lacked the means to fight such insurgency bereft of US aid, and as we have seen, this is anything but granted sometimes.

If the desire of the UN God is a divided Korea than make it so!

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Shameless Americans need a Euro poster to keep jumping to take bullets about US's hasty decision to divide Korea and give the north half to the Soviets, and other geopolitical aspects about the consequneces and fake justice of US pursuit of unconditional surrender.

1980s Japan wouldn't keep commies out of Taiwan even if still part of Japan? What a troll comment. It is what it is. A troll comment, just calling it out as it is.

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6 hours ago, RETAC21 said:

The socio-economic problem is but one component, the first and foremost one is security, the locals need to believe your side will win and that your side, if angry, is much worse than the guerrillas.

Once you get that out of the way, you can try to re-educate the locals. Irak is a poster child on how not to do it. The Iraquis were quite happy to dump Saddam, but instead of picking up the Iraqui Army and Police as they were, use them to pacify the country and then go about reforming them, they were disbanded becuase they were Baathist!  leaving people with the knowledger and the motivation to become insurgents on the street "en masse".

But the problem with US-style COIN is that there just aren't many cases in which the local government is incompetent/unpopular enough for an insurgency to develop (at least an insurgency that's big enough to require help from other countries), but competent/popular enough to effectively make use of that help. Usually the fact that a sizable insurgency has developed means that the government is useless.

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49 minutes ago, JasonJ said:

Shameless Americans need a Euro poster to keep jumping to take bullets about US's hasty decision to divide Korea and give the north half to the Soviets, and other geopolitical aspects about the consequneces and fake justice of US pursuit of unconditional surrender.

1980s Japan wouldn't keep commies out of Taiwan even if still part of Japan? What a troll comment. It is what it is. A troll comment, just calling it out as it is.

Standards and regulations are word of God for that Euro poster, apparently.

It is a good approach to the that Spanish Civil Servant mentality developed during the late 19th century that could give some Center-Europeans lessons on avoiding thoughts outside the box.

In the case of the Korean Peninsula, the UN only authorized the war because the USSR representative went out of the meeting thus was unable to veto the resolution. They could have easily extended the mandate up to the reunification of the whole peninsula and having free elections.

Edited by sunday
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11 minutes ago, sunday said:

Because worthy reasons, standards and regulations are word of God for that Euro poster, apparently.

It is a good approach to the that Spanish Civil Servant mentality developed during the late 19th century that could give some Center-Europeans lessons on avoiding thoughts outside the box.

In the case of the Korean Peninsula, the UN only authorized the war because the USSR representative went out of the meeting thus was unable to veto the resolution. They could have easily extended the mandate up to the reunification of the whole peninsula and having free elections.

It is unreasonable that conclusions are to be tied to "what the UN said" even into as far as where limitless bounds ought to be in the discussion. 

"The Americans paid dearly".. what about the Koreans?  

Some don't give a rat's ass about Korea. Only about the US special post-WW2 heroism and it's UN creation. That's why such arguments are hinged on "it's what the UN said". And now me as mr. Pro-Jap will have arguments made for Korea's sake viewed as part of Pro-Jap argument by some. So now its tine to find Koreans that are happy with the US cutting Korea in half and the current situation with DPRK.

 

Edited by JasonJ
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