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Whats your opinion on Afghanistan?

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brihard View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 September 2009 at 5:59pm
That's because soldiers by nature are both traind to AND simply instinctively tend to think of things in purely military terms. Your average private, corporal or sergeant probably will not share my opinions simply because they haven't at any point thgouht of it in any larger context than 'More troops = killing more enemy. Killing more enemy = more victory'. Unfortunately, counterinsurgency is a FAR more complex system than that.

I am NOT a trained expert in counterinsurgency by any means and do not claim to be, but I have enough of an academic grounding in sociology, political science, history, criminology (yes it's relevant) to have an idea of what I'm talking about.

Your buddies are making the mistake of thinking that the only way to fight the enemy is by putting two rounds in his face. That deals with the immediate threat, but it doesn't cut him off at the source. Think of it from an epidemiological perspective- if you fight the source of an illness, less treatment or cure is ultimately required to fight the symptoms.

We're very capable of dealing with the enemy who are dumb enough to shoot at us or get spotted planting IEDs, but we need the locals onside to go after their logistical infrastructure and their command and control. That is the only way to dismantle them as organizations.

Your buddies are not wrong, but they're not looking at enough of the picture. Sending more troops will help stave off defeat, but it will not win it for us. We need to do that through other means.
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Linus View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 5:50pm
And that's been my point the whole thread: Up the military operations where needed in quantity, and in quality.


Every single soldier and Marine I know over there has said the same thing... we simply are not doing enough to combat the enemy. The way I read your replies until the last 2 has been that you think we were doing fine militarily, but now that you have explained it more, it is now clear.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brihard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 5:36pm
Frankly I don't care what you're trying to get from me.

If you have an opinion, state it for comment. If you have a question, ask it. Don't sit there trying to draw a specific answer from me.

The mountainous regions barely matter because they are in no way a center of gravity in the conflict. They aren't population centers. Yes, we need to go there ventually, but we stand to gain more by engaging with the locals and alienating the insurgents from the residents. If the locals grow to oppose the insurgency of their own right, we won't nee dto worry about the Jihadis in  the mountains, because their efforts will be hindered by the Afghans themselves. Now that said, Paktiya and Paktika provinces are not my areas of expertise, however the troops are best employed engaging with the local population. If we DO develop reliable information about insurgent presence in the mountains, that's what we have special forces and helicopters for.

We can't secure the Borders without Pakistan's cooperation. They're pushing hard against the neo-Taliban in their ownt erritory, which is both good and bad. Good, because it kills some of them, and demonstrates Pakistani resolve. It also draws the insurgents against them on that side of the border. On the downside, it pushes more of them back into Afghanistan in retreat, and may force them to try harder to consolidate their positions in the more traditional Taliban areas in Kandahar and Helmand.

The eastern region is an ingress and egress route, but the south is where the population is more dense, and also is the heartland of the Taliban. They originated in the Maywand district of Kandahar near the Helmand border in 1994. They still don't like us there (that';s where I was IEDed). The east is bad; the south is worse. The south now has eight to ten times the military presence it had a year and a half ago, so I'm cautiously optimistic. Very cautiously. If we can improve the civil effort to match the military one, we *might* start separating the population away from the insurgency again.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rednekk98 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 5:33pm
Linus, instead of making the comparison to Falluja, since it's not practical in this environment, conisder the Sunni awakening in Al-Anbar province as a whole. This was possible because it allowed troops to move out of bases and in with local populations and tribal leaders and to have knock-and-talks with locals, respond to their concerns, and get actionable intel to arrest or eliminate targets. Falluja became an insurgent stronghold because it was turned over to the Iraqis in a peace deal before they were ready and many of them blended in with the insurgency. From what I can infer from Gen. McChrystal's leaked document, this is a strategy that could work in Afghanistan. Right now with politicians and the public becoming less supportive of the war (not to mentioned NATO allies) what right-minded Afghan would help the coalition if they think they can't protect them and will pull out? If they guys on the ground think the ROE work then there isn't a problem with them and we don't need to "take off the kid gloves" but we do need to get the Afghans engaged, which means being able to provide them with security, both bodily and economically, which is something the Afghan central government and NATO have been unable to do. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 5:24pm
Quote I'm trying to get it through your head, the military and the civil are intrinsically linked. We CANNOT have one without the other, and the limitations on our military success are because of our civil failures. More troops are absolutely a good thing, but more critical is HOW THEY'RE USED.


Funny how you should say that in such a way to make me think you missed what I said before:

Quote
A military win and a humanitarian win are NOT mutually exclusive. You cannot have one without the other.





What I was trying to get from you was more of a "Secure the borders better and increase operations in the inherently more hostile mountainous regions of the east", because if we don't severely limit not only the routes of access, but also the hideouts of the enemy, it makes our attempts at a more civil fix futile, correct?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brihard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 5:18pm
Originally posted by Linus Linus wrote:

So please, answer what I've asked twice now: 

Do you think we cannot improve on what we are doing there militarily?

Yes. We could blow up fewer civilians, use force less discriminately, get a better footprint on the ground and rely more on involvement with the local population and less on trying to kill things we see on a computer screen because someone told us they're bad. There's certainly a need to use UAVs to take out targets we've positively IDed, but it will not win the war.

I'm trying to get it through your head, the military and the civil are intrinsically linked. We CANNOT have one without the other, and the limitations on our military success are because of our civil failures. More troops are absolutely a good thing, but more critical is HOW THEY'RE USED.

Everything I've said so far in every post I've made has been in answer to that question. Imnproving what we're doing military only happens if we engage our civil engagement with the local population. Treating them better will bring us better local security, and better intel, allowing what troops and other assets we do have to be used much more effectively.

I'll say it again, you're out of your depth in this discussion.


Edited by brihard - 21 September 2009 at 5:19pm
"Abortion is not "choice" in America. It is forced and the democrats are behind it, with the goal of eugenics at its foundation."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 5:08pm
Originally posted by brihard brihard wrote:

We need VASTLY more commitment to rebuilding and development.



I've agreed with you on most everything you've stated, but we keep rehashing the same points. Yes, Bush effed up. Yes, humanitarian missions are a must, and need to continue. Yes, trust has to be earned / maintained with the populace. Yes, their military needs to be involved in some of the operations / decision making processes.




So please, answer what I've asked twice now:

Do you think we cannot improve on what we are doing there militarily?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skillet42565 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 4:55pm
LOL2WEEKS
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brihard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 4:54pm
Of course not. They KNOW from experience that if they commit, they die. Hence they don't commit. We can't make them, either- they can continue skipping around or, if need be, fading into the population for a while. There's also an extremely porous border with Pakistan thy can use. They've realized that wedding themselves to particular ground is a recipe for disaster. Besides, they don't need to hold ground- they just need to prevent us from doing so. Anything that is not a win for us is by default an effective loss. Any effective insurgency (which they very much are) is by default decentralized.

You keep talking right past what I'm saying, and it's starting to piss me off. Yes, we need to take military action in many cases, but right now our presence is disproportionately military in nature, and what civil groups are there mostly seem to sit around and write reports. There's no concerted civil-military effort, and a lot of the NGOs are afraid to have ny real association with us. PAradoxically, this denies them the protection needed to get much done.

There will always be a few who need to be fought, but the point I've made repeatedly is that that is NOT rightfully the role of the U.S., or NATO, but of the Afghan government through the Afghan NAtional Army and the various police services. The numebr of true radicals is very small. Most fighters are occasional fighters in between harvests, and are motivated by tribal allegiances or by easily avoided grievances such as the inadvertant bombing of civilian targets.

We had it won in 2002 and 2003, then Bush effed up and sent the U.S. military to Iraq. Had we used those numebrs, committed them to Afghanistan, held ground and exploited our success we could have done it. The enemy were essentially destroyed, and waht remained were in effect 'stunned'- unsure what to do, without the resources to do much of anything, and without andy command and control structure. We mistakenly mistook this for instant victory, and U.S. troops were diverted to Iraq.

Our military efforts are about what they should be. We need VASTLY more commitment to rebuilding and development.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 4:53pm
Originally posted by Skillet42565 Skillet42565 wrote:

No, I meant death.


Oh, I'm sorry, I missed the plainly obvious meaning behind your immature post. My bad.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skillet42565 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 4:50pm
No, I meant death.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 4:36pm
Originally posted by Skillet42565 Skillet42565 wrote:

I honestly cannot wait until you get ran over by an ambulance or something.



Ditto. Workers comp.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skillet42565 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 4:35pm
I honestly cannot wait until you get ran over by an ambulance or something.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 4:31pm
Originally posted by ThatGuitarGuy ThatGuitarGuy wrote:


Originally posted by Linus Linus wrote:

What I do know is we need to quit fighting them on their terms and force them on our terms. They know they can't possibly fight a straight up fight, which is why they use insurgsjt tactics. We have to force them to face us in a battle, JUST like we dis in Fallujah. They only had 2 option: run or fight. Those who fought, died. It works, amd we need to do it more.

And how exactly do you propose the coalition forces do this?† How do we make them meet us in a straight-up fight?† They're used to their "insurgent tactics" working.† That's what they're going to keep doing, because it works.† They know they would lose in a full on military force battle, which is why they will do everything they can to make sure it doesn't happen.Look at the revolutionary war.† The Colonists fought as the insurgents are fighting now, guerrilla warfare, hit and run tactics, and they pretty much demolished the British and their formations and battle-tactics.† It worked for us, so we didn't change.†


Already conceded that I didn't have the answers ;)


We forced them to do it in Fallujah and it worked. And as Bri stated, we tried again in Kandahar and it didn't work.   But like everything in war, nothing is certain. (ironic statement).



Forcing them to commit to an area to fight would force them to fight us in the open, where our clearly superior training, tactics, and weaponry would win. We just have to find what they are willing to defend, and that's the hard part, as from all the people I know over there have said, they really aren't willing to commit to much.


Edited by Linus - 21 September 2009 at 4:32pm

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ThatGuitarGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 4:20pm
Originally posted by Linus Linus wrote:


What I do know is we need to quit fighting them on their terms and force them on our terms. They know they can't possibly fight a straight up fight, which is why they use insurgsjt tactics. We have to force them to face us in a battle, JUST like we dis in Fallujah. They only had 2 option: run or fight. Those who fought, died. It works, amd we need to do it more.
 


And how exactly do you propose the coalition forces do this?  How do we make them meet us in a straight-up fight?  They're used to their "insurgent tactics" working.  That's what they're going to keep doing, because it works.  They know they would lose in a full on military force battle, which is why they will do everything they can to make sure it doesn't happen.

Look at the revolutionary war.  The Colonists fought as the insurgents are fighting now, guerrilla warfare, hit and run tactics, and they pretty much demolished the British and their formations and battle-tactics.  It worked for us, so we didn't change. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 4:09pm
Originally posted by Skillet42565 Skillet42565 wrote:

As someone with no combat experience trying to argue on the proper way to fight a war with a veteran of that war, you look silly.


And you're someone who fails to read the whole thing, and instead zones in on a single section and refuses to acknowledge anything else.



For you:

Quote not a hard written education based one, such as debating the proper number of platoons to send to a place, or how to clear a city block correctly


Translation: I'm not telling you how to clear a city block. I'm not telling him how to run his squad. I'm not telling him how to fire his rifle. I'm not telling him how to survive a firefight. Therefor, I'm not telling him how to fight a war.


He's not the commanding officer of NATO forces. He isn't in charge of writing strategic plans on how to occupy the country and pacify the resistance, therefor how am I telling him what to do?


I'm simply stating what I think, with my less than educated view, what we need to be doing differently, which is exactly what this thread called for, which is exactly what every single pundit, congressman, and Joe the Plumber do when asked the same thing.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote High Voltage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 4:02pm
Originally posted by Linus Linus wrote:


If they can't agree on the best approach, what the hell gives YOU the right to say one person or the other is wrong? Grow up.

Because one person has two weeks experience, while the other has actually been to the country you guys are debating.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skillet42565 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 4:00pm
As someone with no combat experience trying to argue on the proper way to fight a war with a veteran of that war, you look silly.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Linus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 3:54pm
Originally posted by Skillet42565 Skillet42565 wrote:

Why are you arguing with someone who has actually been there and fought?† You don't know jack **edited** compared to him.



Since you missed it before:



This is a debate of opinion, not of just one school of thought. There is no hard and true answer to this, as it is a "this is what I think should be done" topic. There are people with decades of schooling and hands on education with how to fight, and they STILL disagree with eachother. You have generals saying go in with the whole army, and you have other generals saying we need to do things diplomatically.





If they can't agree on the best approach, what the hell gives YOU the right to say one person or the other is wrong? Grow up.

Edited by Linus - 21 September 2009 at 3:56pm

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skillet42565 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2009 at 3:50pm
Why are you arguing with someone who has actually been there and fought?  You don't know jack **edited** compared to him.
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