Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"The Long War Ahead: Caution..."

One view of U.S. occupation forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan = in the year 2051. (This Artwork is by Zina Saunders, and snagged from the article linked below) . Thanks.

Update (October 28, 2009): Headlines the last few days and weeks:


PESHAWAR, Pakistan – A car bomb struck a busy market in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing 100 people — mostly women and children. More than 200 people were wounded in the blast. It is the deadliest attack in a surge of attacks by suspected insurgents this month. The government blamed militants seeking to avenge an army offensive launched this month against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in their stronghold close to the Afghan border.
IRAQ: Two huge blasts in Baghdad killed 155 and wounded more than 500 last week.

AFGHANISTAN: The U.S. death toll has reached an all-time high since the 2001 invasion: 22 Americans killed last week and three helicopters were lost.

IRAN: The Obama team is said to be developing “new policy” that will face the fact that Iran will be nuclear-armed country and we can’t do much about that. We will have to live with that fact. (But, I’d double check with the Jews first).

So, are we winning (however that is defined), have we won – or will we win? Many say we need more troops, right? (More troops will equal more dead, bet on that). Some say we need to pour more money to help those countries stand on their own, right? Some say all we need are new tactics, right? Others say we have new leadership, so that is the right message, right? Most Republicans say we need a quick decision by the president, right?

At the same time, we get more fireworks from the GOP about “dithering, or dragging our heels.”

The winner, by their standard, is the GOP with their eyes towards 2010 and beyond (get back into power anyway possible).

Sadly, they are NOT willing to help except with more failed policies that got us to this point in the first place. We had an election last year. Give this president a chance.

This stuff is NOT a free-for-all, or “Politics as usual.” We had better start working together to solve our massive problems, or we surely will fall together under the weight of those massive problems – aboard and at home. That is a fact.

ORIGINAL POST: A very good 2-page article by Tom Hayden [click here].

The so-called Kilcullen "theory or hypothesis" is designed to make us think, and it surely does.

I suspect it has or will be read by the Obama team as they struggle about the issue of more troops for Afghanistan.

The hypothesis is put forth this way: "American forces kill or capture Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, enabling President Obama to declare victory and bring our troops home. Would he?"

Hayden writes: "Not according to the Pentagon's plan for a fifty-year "Long War" of counterinsurgency spanning Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Horn of Africa, the Philippines and beyond." (My note: Referred to from here on as the "Kilcullen Plan.")

Hayden goes on discussing the "enemy" in that region: "[these accidental guerrillas] ... are no accident at all. They inevitably and predictably emerge as a nationalist force against foreign invaders. Their resistance to imperialism stretches back far before Al Qaeda. In fact, Al Qaeda was born with US resources, as a byproduct of resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and earlier oppression of hundreds of Islamic radicals in Egyptian prisons."

Hayden summarizes with this: "To his credit, President Obama and his White House advisers see the quagmire ahead, with the majority of Democrats opposing escalation in Afghanistan, with Iraq teetering and Pakistan sliding over the edge, and with no funding for a Long War. There is no short-term way to repair the self-inflicted dysfunctions of the Kabul regime, nor is there any plan likely to win public approval in Pakistan. The military and the Republicans will accuse Obama of failure if he tries to withdraw, and of a quagmire if he stays. Instead of treating counterinsurgency as a holy text, he needs to study the hardest maneuver of all, strategic retreat (like John F. Kennedy in Laos, Ronald Reagan in Lebanon or Bill Clinton in Mogadishu), in order to avoid greater losses that threaten the very promise of his presidency."

I wonder: So, this may dwindle down to a "political vs. a military decision?" Obama loses politically if he fails the military and does not abide by their requests? Or, if the military fails as McChrystal claims if he does not get the 40,000 plus troops he says he needs to win (discounting the Kilcullen theory), then Obama loses for losing another war? What if Obama gives the troops and keeps giving the troops, especially now since McChrystal now says, "No amount of troops will matter — we may lose because the Kabul government is corrupt."

Reminds me of the two doors leading into Hell each has a sign above that reads: "Damned if You Do" and the other reads: "Damned if You Don't."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good run down - thanks.