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Whats your opinion on Afghanistan?

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brihard View Drop Down
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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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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 5:24pm
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 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 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 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 5:59pm
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.
"Abortion is not "choice" in America. It is forced and the democrats are behind it, with the goal of eugenics at its foundation."

-FreeEnterprise, 21 April 2011.

Yup, he actually said that.
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