November 24, 2009

Obama has decided to decide to send 34,000 new troops to Afghanistan.

Or at least that's what the leak says he's going to tell us at long last on December 1st. I suppose we're being tested. Since some people will squawk loudly and try to push him back, if you like the decision, make some positive noise.

144 comments:

David said...

Oh, we're being tested all right.

AlphaLiberal said...

Well, if it's a leak then it's a fact.

Whatever it is, it's bad news for Obama.

Hey, look! Another reason to hate Obama! He is working to improve science education in America!

how terrible!

John Lynch said...

You mean, the illegally obtained information? That's what we call leaks these days.

former law student said...

What is our goal?

When you don't know where you're going, running faster won't help you.

AlphaLiberal said...

I think the Afghan pooch has been truly screwed by Cheney and Bush. It's really too late to put that back together again and we shouldn't try.

But I like Dave Obey's proposal for a war surtax to pay for this adventure!

Bissage said...

It depends. Will this great outflow of humanity help the unemployment rate?

wv = dingato. Not to be confused with gymkata!

Ann Althouse said...

Alpha's energized.

Ann Althouse said...

Quick! Do something! Defeat was in our clutches! Don't let go!

Rich B said...

Is there no end to the things this man will do for us? Why don't I feel more grateful? Especially when he saved us from the evil Bushco!

John Lynch said...

fls- winning the war?

If we don't plan on winning, let's gtfo.

Winning defined as leaving an Afghanistan that can control it's own territory and defend its own people.

Is that possible? Yes, I think so. Are we willing to pay the price? I guess we'll see. If this report turns out to be true, the President thinks so, too.

I get tired of the inability to say "win" or "victory," but I guess that's a nuanced view of the world. Previous Democratic presidents were able to say and do those things, so I have confidence this one may rise to the occasion.

SteveR said...

Glad to see he's standing up to his commanders. That'll teach 'em.

MadisonMan said...

But I like Dave Obey's proposal for a war surtax to pay for this adventure!

It looks good on paper, but I doubt the monies raised would pay for the adventure. But it might pay for a couple bridges to nowhere! So then why give the Government more money?

Ann Althouse said...

"But I like Dave Obey's proposal for a war surtax to pay for this adventure"

Oh, bullshit! We don't need actual money to do stuff anymore. Billion, trillion... no one even knows the difference these days.

miller said...

I think it's vital that he make a decision to make a decision - he's decided that he can make a decision to send 34k troops.

Now he just has to wait how this polls, and then he can release his decision.

So the penultimate decision is just about ready to be made.

miller said...

President Phyllis Dither:

Almost reporting for duty.

John Lynch said...

I'm not going to badmouth the President for trying to win. If it's for some other reason, well, fuckem. But 34k is more than window dressing, and it will take a long time to get them all there. The previous escalation still hasn't completely arrived.

So, I'm willing to forgive the delay if we are actually trying to win. Delay looked to me like trying to avoid a decision and to find a way to abandon Afghanistan. If that's not true, good. I'm happy to be wrong. Very happy.

holdfast said...

"But I like Dave Obey's proposal for a war surtax to pay for this adventure!"

I'll bet you do, and I'll bet that when this "adventure" is over, you'll find an excuse to keep the tax around, maybe to pay for some of Obama's healthcare adventure.

AllenS said...

I think he'll announce that he hasn't made a decision. Why rush it. Kinda like voting present.

miller said...

diller=dither

I hate autocorrect.

dix said...

Hey, look! Another reason to hate Obama! He is working to improve science education in America!

You mean Obama is behind the Climategate leaks?

edutcher said...

This is the same leak that was leaked two weeks ago. Believe it when you see it, especially since there are other leaks saying The Zero's ambassador in Kabul is in secret negotiations with the Taliban to hand Kandahar over to them.

If this is true, though, why send only 85% of what McChrystal wanted? Does The Won think that something, but not everything, will make everybody happy?

Ann Althouse said...

Quick! Do something! Defeat was in our clutches! Don't let go!

Sad to say, that's probably what their thinking.

miller said...

because blogger won't let me delete my solecism.

EDH said...

Quick! Do something! Defeat was in our clutches! Don't let go!

You mean a "defeat" AL could arguably ascribe to Bush "was in our clutches. Don't let go!"

Buy, hey, a good excuse for another tax increase. Why let a "good crisis" go to waste!

AlphaLiberal said...

I am very caffeinated, that is true, Ann. And entertained by this country's dumb political dialog.

Oh, bullshit! We don't need actual money to do stuff anymore. Billion, trillion... no one even knows the difference these days..

Well that was Bush and Cheney's approach. But why not pay for the war?

miller said...

Scott, I think Florida's a Moby.

I am casting no aspersions on liberals, but I don't think Alpha is really a conservative trying to Moby a liberal, nor do I think he's really a liberal.

I think he's the Sullivan of the Althouse blog.

AlphaLiberal said...

You mean Obama is behind the Climategate leaks? .

No, Obama was not the thief who broke numerous laws to steal the emails.

holdfast said...

Ok, so we have the numbers. Now I would like to know what the strategy will be - is it to be McCrystal's rural counterinsurgency strategy? Is there a plan to involve the local tribes more, like what happened in Anbar? Are we going to try to push across the whole country or will we roll out the new strategy regionally? What about areas under the "control" of forces like the Germans and Italians who won't fight - how do we prevent those areas from becoming Taliban safe havens?

I don't need a detailed timeline - that's a gift to the enemy, but I would like some interim success metrics - how will we judge when a province has been pacified, for instance?

veni vidi vici said...

What took so fucking long? Copenhagen?

The annoyance is with priorities that appear to be jumbled, at best. This more than anything detracts from whatever good decisions may ultimately be made in any given instance.

Perception = reality, and so far this administration is unnecessarily degrading their brand. Unfortunate for a group that entered office with a lot of potential and extraordinary amounts of goodwill from the electorate and foreign powers.

These are the problems that "doing the right thing" alone cannot overcome. Isn't this crew supposed to be the "smart" ones? I'd like to see a little more evidence of it, and less talk about how smart their are coming from themselves.

holdfast said...

"No, Obama was not the thief who broke numerous laws to steal the emails."

You mean like the thieves at the CIA, State Department and elsewhere who broke numerous laws to leak embarrassing things to the NYT? Of course, that was only national security - now we are talking about Gaia-security!

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm glad to hear about the reinforcements. But why would we need a new tax to pay for more troops when we can just bend the cost curve on the troops we already have?

veni vidi vici said...

How smart "they" are.

Fast typing is the enemy of coherent thought.

AlphaLiberal said...

...is it to be McCrystal's rural counterinsurgency strategy? .

We'll find out soon enough but I would not trust any more of McCrystal's many leaks.

Dude has a serious problem with following the chain of command and is out there lobbying. Wouldn't be surprised if he leaked false info.

After he lied to the American people about the circumstances of Pat Tillman's death he should be removed from command as untrustworthy.

Scott M said...

A very great deal of the time leadership is 2 parts DOING SOMETHING and 1 part getting it right.

I just want the guy to fish or cut bait, for crying out loud. We're there, so we should be there to win. However, I'm not so dead-set against getting the hell out of there either and concentrating our theater efforts on severely increased cooperation with the Pakis.

John Lynch said...

AL- I'm fine with a war tax, and I agree the Bush administration didn't plan the war very well. We needed a lot more resources for the military, and a larger military, than they thought was necessary. They didn't properly resource (how did that word become a verb?) the policies they implemented.

War taxes have many historical precedents, and typically were a tax on the richest Americans. Since that class of people has largely checked out of military service, I'm fine with soaking them. It's the middle class that goes to war, so let's at least make sure they have what they need.

Jeff said...

Presented with a variety of choices, the President picks the least controversial one.

I think the military is going to see this as the compromise choice that it is. If McKristal doesn't squawk then he probably did give Obama a highball estimate of what he needed, which seems out of character.

Bob said...

Since some people will squawk loudly and try to push him back, if you like the decision, make some positive noise.

*golf applause*

Montagne Montaigne said...

%85 of the request is not a compromise choice.

I will enjoy watching hawks do a little squirmy "I have to poop" dance when forced to endorse Obama's decision. And I will similarly enjoy the rightist's contortions when explaining how this troop escalation is further proof of marxist tendencies.

The situation is a tough one for our forces and allies, but maybe not so dark as the sudden explosion of attention from nincompoop armchair generals and pundits in the past 6 months has led us to believe. If we're lucky the ADD horserace-addled press and the fickle public will go back to forgetting about the existence of Afghanistan in a year, because it will be quiet.

Meanwhile, watch for the disintegration of the tenuous political structure of Iraq.

John Lynch said...

You go to war with the President you have.

John Lynch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chase said...

What is our goal?

When you don't know where you're going, running faster won't help you.


As one who supports the troop escalation, I agree with you on your question, fls.

I will enjoy watching hawks do a little squirmy "I have to poop" dance when forced to endorse Obama's decision.

Monty, I disagree with the bulk of your comment, but that statement is a terrifically funny visual that I will be adding to my conversations, thank you.

traditionalguy said...

The Soros/Pelossi/Obama operation has wished for an end to military action in Iraq for 6 years and were stymied by the Surge Strategy of General Betrayous accidentally working. Now they are worried about fallout from a sudden withdrawal from the Afghan Theater. So they send the signal to enemies and allies in the Afghan Theater that we are gone as soon as the 34,000 new troops doesn't cause a accidental victory there. That announcement kills off the hopes for a victory. Only a Bush like 'We are here until its over" statement has a chance. That means all 104,000 troops in the Afghan Theater are now extras in Obama's movie script in which they are destined to die in for nothing or lose and return from as failures in 6 months. Great leadership...its so nuanced!

garage mahal said...

I'm so glad he's going for that all elusive WIN! All we need are fresh players to go along with our new Coach McChrystal! They're going to so love us over there with our new team. I just hope we have enough new players this time. I can't wait for that victory parade!

Scott M said...

@MM

The situation is a tough one for our forces and allies, but maybe not so dark as the sudden explosion of attention from nincompoop armchair generals and pundits in the past 6 months has led us to believe.

I just took the Delorean up to 88 mph and plopped that comment smack down in the middle of 2007. Apropos? I think so.

One of the most clear-cut differences I see between left and right, at least among the more rational of each stripe, is the unwillingness to give credit where credit is do. I hear time and time again from conservative commentators, pundits and friends positive things to say about an Obama decision like this...usually with the added, "now let's hope he follows through".

What I hear very, very seldom, especially during Bush's term, is the same sentiment even when he was making decisions that could have been easily embraced by both sides.

This wasn't true during Clinton's admin. Very few on the right were willing to give him credit for anything and wrongly so. I hear it now though.

No poo-poo dances necessary.

Anthony said...

At this point -- either way -- make a decision.

He has been president for 10 months now. And don't give me the "he is contemplating" line -- this is something he was saying needed to be done during the campaign.

Either do it, or pull our troops out. Stop dithering already.

John Lynch said...

I'm waiting for Iraq to collapse. I've been hearing it for 6 years. There was a civil war, and there was collapse. We're seeing the recovery.

People keep moving the goalposts. There's no military solution (until there was), there's no national reconciliation (until there is) and it wasn't worth it anyway (since there's nothing else to say).

I've heard many predictions that things were going to fall apart again, but they haven't. Any objective look at Iraq shows improvement. I've noticed a trend away from statistics and toward anecdotal reporting to show how bad things are. Antiwar media keeps having to look for new metrics of failure, which tells me the war is won.

Tracked over time, the antiwar people were right until mid 2007 and have been wrong since then.

And wtf are so many people invested in the idea of civil war and failure for a country of 25 million people? I'm fine with the rage over 100,000 Iraqis dying. I get that. But the rational response isn't to wish for more death and suffering. It's to do our best to prevent more. That's up to the current US administration.

It's possible to win an unjust war. I think that's what bothers so many people, that the US is getting away with it. I understand the rage about that, but let's be honest about what is happening and stop pretending that karma will cause the whole thing to fail.

Florida said...

AlphaLibTard Wrote: "I think the Afghan pooch has been truly screwed by Cheney and Bush. It's really too late to put that back together again and we shouldn't try."

Finally, I agree with AlphaLiberal. I much prefer Obama's strategy of committing murders and assassinations in Pakistan by authorizing robot drone airstrikes using Hellfire missiles that have wide areas of collateral damage so that the maximum number of innocent women and children also die ... you know to show those ragheads that Obama means business.

AlphaLiberal ... bringing war criminals into power since 2008!

jeff said...

"I will enjoy watching hawks do a little squirmy "I have to poop" dance when forced to endorse Obama's decision."

This makes no sense, as usual. If true, Obama is endorsing the hawks position. Sounds like yet more projection on motives.

William said...

Resistance is futile. That's not the message he's sending to the Taliban and AQ. Rather the message is that one more bomb might be the one to cause the infidel to turn tail.....Perhaps Obama is being careful and deliberative but the effect of his thought processes is to give encouragement to our enemies and anxiety to our allies. The last angry Muslim will not give up on Obama's watch.

AlphaLiberal said...

You mean like the thieves at the CIA, State Department and elsewhere who broke numerous laws to leak embarrassing things to the NYT? .

Yes. Like Daniel Ellsberg who leaked the Pentagon Papers and then faced the music?

Or Scooter Libby who did time for leaking national security secrets?

Yeah, like that.

AlphaLiberal said...

Florida exhibits the 2nd grade mentality so common to Right Wingers:

"AlphaLibTard"

You know, fuck you for making fun of retarded people, you asshole. Grow up.

Scott M said...

@Alpha

You would have to compare the two sets of data re FOIL requirements before you go comparing apples to oranges.

My limited understand of the situation thus far is that some (if not all) of that data was subject to a FOIL request that CRU had ducked.

Regardless of the illegality, the info is damning nonetheless. Why bother ping-ponging about he illegality of the hack at all? The info djinni is out of the bottle. What difference can it possibly make especially in the light of CRU's admissions that the data is genuine?

Doyle said...

34,000 "more" troops, Ann. They're not fresh from the soldier factory you seem to think exists to make you feel tougher for "standing up" to the bad guys, as you cheer on the deployment of 34,000 brand new soldiers to Af-fucking-ghanistan to get shot at and blown up for a few more years. Nitwit.

bagoh20 said...

This is like cooking your turkey to 130 degrees because you don't want to over-cook it and you do have to at least put it in the oven or people will bitch.

34K can't win it. Winning takes desire, fortitude, vision and leadership. 34K, 2 months late is thoughtfulness. Thanks for that.

Scott M said...

@Ann

Oh, bullshit!

Color me incredulous...lol :)

WV - deckm - the thing I'm not going to get built onto my house this Friday if this bullshit! rain keeps up.

Dave said...

If these numbers are true, then Obama, barely a year into office, will have more than doubled the US presence in an extremely, extremely dangerous and difficult environment.

Politically, this is a decision that does NOTHING for him. His base does not support the Afghan war, and it is increasingly popular with the population at large.

In fact, this is Obama's biggest gamble to date.

Florida said...

AlphaLibTard Wrote: You know, fuck you ..."

And thus AlphaLiberal completely sidesteps explaining how he can support a President who commits war crimes in Pakistan by using Hellfire missiles to murder innocent people who have neither been accused, nor convicted, of any crimes against the United States.

How can you sleep at night, sir, knowing that you help enable Barack Obama's murder of innocent Pakistanis?

Montagne Montaigne said...

Obama doubled the number of troops in Afghanistan the moment he took office. That buildup is just now coming into full effect, because it takes time to move the troops.

Yet, with less than a year in office, and despite the aforementioned, and despite the fact that he'll probably go with McChrystal's recommendation, to folks like bagoh20 Obama is... trying to lose the war? Trying to bring America down? Trying to deliberately kill soldiers because he "hates the military"? Or something? I really can't tell what they think this administration is doing, because it doesn't matter what the administration is doing. They hate the administration and have since January, nothing will change that, it has no basis in reality and why should we even have a discussion about it?

Scott M said...

@MM

I don't about all of the above, but I do know that negotiating with the enemy to give them control over certain areas in order to get them to stop shelling our bases is not how we fought when I was in, when my father was in, or when my grandfather was in. Possibly when my great-grandfather was in, but, honestly, I never talked to him about all things appeasing.

Kidding aside, negotiations like that, if true, are definitely not the way to win.

Kudos on more troops, though. Hopefully we'll see another 30k or 40k by fall 2010.

JAL said...

@ AL Or Scooter Libby who did time for leaking national security secrets?

I missed that on the 5 PM news. Seriously.

What were he national security ecrets that were leaked?

Elliott A said...

@ the lawyers here. Is it a crime for a citizen to use theft or deception to produce materials, evidence, etc. of a crime in progress of which he has become aware? The whistleblower here knew that these climate people were committing fraud. In the academic setting, this gets them money. The are stealing from the source of their research funds. Let's not discuss their effect on the political ramifications of their cooked research, rather just the crime of fraudulently obtaining research funds. No government person of any stripe was involved in the uncovering of these e-mails. Also, in most cases, materials on university computers are NOT private, even though these individuals resisted giving up the data.

JAL said...

I heard the 34 K troops are over two years.

I also picked up a rumor that on Arabic sites that there has been some chatter about behind the scenes wheeling and dealing (giving up?) with the Taliban, to give them 5 of Afghanistan's provinces if they stop shelling the troops in the others.

Afghanistan is a tough one, but I think we might be doing somewhat better than the Russians did?

If we're going to help Afghanistan (to stay out of bin Laden's bed) we need to work on a tribal level.

The truth is, bringing the region country into the 21st century is a task which will take more commitment than Obama has to much of anything. (No wealth to redistribute.)

And the joke of having a war tax to support a war approved by Congress and while putting on blindfolds and going into never before seen debt for the stimulus, Crap & Tax, and the oh so crisistic health care "reform" is a disgusting political power grab and business destroyer.

wv physt
What Greeks make with their hands.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Quick! Do something! Defeat was in our clutches!

Keep defeet off declutch and decar will last longer.

Scott M said...

@JAL

wv physt
What Greeks make with their hands.



Having just reread Dan Simmons' Ilium and Olympos, that strikes me as pretty damned funny.

AJ Lynch said...

I wonder did Obama's sinking poll numbers play a factor in this decision?

Kyle said...

POSITIVE NOISE!!!

Michael said...

He has gotten the health bill on the floor of the senate for debate and through the house. It would not be possible to, shall we say, dither any longer. The 34,000 number will appease the hawks and bother the liberals but the devil will be in the details that will accompany the troop level number. You can be sure that there will be layers of decision points going forward that will, like climate change models, result in an outcome that is ordained: in a wind down of the matter without the words "victory" or "defeat" having entered the discussion. Good on everybody for playing along.

hdhouse said...

Well this will work just dandy if Obama adopts the Bush/Cheney strategy ......

(someone remind me please what that was....geeeeze they were there for 7 years...they must have had one....anyone see it?....did you look everywhere for it?....where was the last place you saw it?.....)

bagoh20 said...

The objective should be victory. Anything else is a disaster for us, the Afghans and the rest of the global victim of Islamist terror. Whatever victory requires has nothing to do with who is president and whether I like him or not. Of course, I don't actually know what is required, but the modern approach to war is usually too little too late. Obama does not strike me as unusually decisive on foreign policy, so I assume more is possible and preferable.

Ger said...

So...did Ann's son(s) join up yet to help in the fight to protect America?

It's probably not too late for them to head off to boot camp and get in on the action.

After all since Obama has apparently decided to pussy out and send more troops we'll probably still be finghting in southwest Asia for the next decade or more.

vbspurs said...

AL- I'm fine with a war tax,

Don't be silly, John. That is just a ruse to make our national defense unpopular.

It's like Democrats pushing for the return of the Draft. They know that the Draft is what made the chaotic resistance to Vietnam possible -- but with an all-volunteer army you aren't attacking the war, but THE TROOPS themselves. That is highly unpopular with the American people.

A "war tax" (just the name alone has been calculated to raise hackles) is there to discourage your average American from having the desire to fund our continued strategic needs.

Why do some Democrats hate America so?

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

I already fired off two emails to my legislators (even though Mel Martinez is a lame duck Senator).

bagoh20 said...

The Bush/Cheney strategy was to stop the training of terrorist in camps and to disrupt and contain their efforts there until we had Iraq under control. Now is time for a new strategy to move forward. Nothing was missing hdhouse, just time to shift gears. If you can turn around and look forward, you might help us see where to go.

bagoh20 said...

The income tax was created to fund war and it should be used for that first. If you want government health care, or limitless stimulus spending then create a new tax for that. How about a new ACCORN funding tax, that should be widely popular.

The Drill SGT said...

traditionalguy wins the thread at 11:13 AM

announcing in Dec that you'll start sending forces in over next year, while also announcing that you'll decide about pulling out 3 months later sends what message?

By March we'll maybe have 1 extra BCT (3k of troops) there for a month.

What is needed is both extra boots on the ground and the will/determination to see things through. Bush finally beat the insurgency in Iraq because both the Insurgents and the fence sitters became convinced we would stay and see it through.

Obama just sent a message that causing short term violence over the next 3 months is the path to victory for AQ.

Dave said...

@bagoh20
'The objective should be victory. Anything else is a disaster for us, the Afghans and the rest of the global victim of Islamist terror.'

OK - but what is victory? And how long should we be prepared to work for it?

Cedarford said...

"SteveR said...
Glad to see he's standing up to his commanders. That'll teach 'em."

Had LBJ stood up to his commanders when they demanded an extra 250,000 "heroes" to escalate Vietnam to a victory - well, LBJ would be remembered better and we may not have had to "remember" 45-50,000 of the 58,000 "Heroes on the Wall".

JAL said...

Hey! Is Obama going to regroup and evaluate whether he is committing policy and money and sovereignty to the now clearly politically contaminated climate control promotions? He's the big science guy, right?

From AL's link to the Washington Monthly At this point, the nation's leading Democrat is a dynamic president who values science, innovation, and learning. One of the nation's leading Republicans is a half-term governor who rejects evolutionary biology and who disdains elites with "Ivy League" educations. [Fascinating. Sarah Palin haunts these people day and night, waking and sleeping. Just fascinating.]

LOL

"People think about geothermal energy - when they think about it at all - in terms of the hot water bubbling up in some places, but two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, 'cause the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees, and the crust of the earth is hot ..." Al Gore (an Ivy Leaguer, BTW) November 12, 2009 on Conan O'Brien.

Al Gaia Gore was the Democrat VP, and nearly became the President of the US. He's a complete idiot.

And you know what? I would make a pretty safe guess that most of our best science and math guys do not come from the Ivy League schools.

So. Science is good. Like it myself, I do. Had two kids go to an elite (!) science and math high school. Husband is an MIT trained engineer. Don't hate Obama for saying he's attemping to improve sceince education.

But he needs to understand this. Science doesn't give one damn about what color your skin is. It's not about perception. It's not about redistribution of wealth. It's about blinded replication and creative utilization for the good of mankind.

As can be seen in the climate data flap, good science cannot exist if it is filtered through politial correctness.

John Lynch said...

To the chickenhawk folks--

If someone has military service in their past, can they tell you to stuff it?

No?

Then let's just agree that in a democracy, it's OK for civilians to have an opinion on the war. This isn't Starship Troopers. The whole point of democracy is to take power out of the hands of warriors and to have civilians decide when they fight.

Anyway, most servicemen, veterans, and family members support winning the war. This is one of those uncomfortable facts that doesn't fit the antiwar narrative.

John Lynch said...

Cedarford is right. LBJ should have canned Westmoreland much earlier, at the very least. The President is ultimately responsible for the war. No one is going to let Bush off for what happened in Iraq.

Conversely, a President can't blame failure on the military, either.

bagoh20 said...

Victory is a stable Afgan/Pakistan region that is containing and diminishing terrorist activity by constantly beating them which eventually weakens the movement until it dries up. I think that is possible with enough will. If we don't have that will then anything less will eventually be or be seen as a defeat which is a victory for the Islamists. This will increase their activities around the world, eventually leading to nuclear terrorist acts that will make our current lack of will incredibly stupid in the long run.

Freder Frederson said...

Quick! Do something! Defeat was in our clutches! Don't let go!

Gee Ann, is anyone remotely related to you going to be one of those 38,000? It is easy to be all for war when it doesn't cost you a penny and you have no direct emotional or personal involvement in it.

bagoh20 said...

I wish we could walk away. I really do. The stakes are much higher than Vietnam ever was. I even wish the Soviets would have won in Afghanistan as an alternative to the future I see if we fail.

Freder Frederson said...

But they will support it, because they support the troops and they're not a pack of duplicitous bastards like those of you on the left.

Tell me one thing you have done to "support the troops" that has cost you more than $1.98.

garage mahal said...

Anyway, most servicemen, veterans, and family members support winning the war. This is one of those uncomfortable facts that doesn't fit the antiwar narrative..

And I support the Packers winning the Super Bowl.

elHombre said...

Freder inquired: Gee Ann, is anyone remotely related to you going to be one of those 38,000 [sic.]?

So that's it! The campaigning Democrats characterized Afghanistan as more important than Iraq, but the lefty standard for actually fighting an important war is that none of the troops be related to anybody -- the orphan army as it were.

I see.

Freder Frederson said...

A "war tax" (just the name alone has been calculated to raise hackles) is there to discourage your average American from having the desire to fund our continued strategic needs.

And what did your email say Victoria? "Please, Mr. Legislator, keep fighting this war. But for God's sake, don't make anyone I know actually have to go and fight it or make me pay for it. Oh yeah, and if it's not too much to ask, can I have a pony?"

garage mahal said...

Wars are free. A health care reform proposal that saves billions and funds itself is reason to stock up on ammo and hit the fruit cellar.

Joe said...

Victory is a stable Afgan/Pakistan region that is containing and diminishing terrorist activity by constantly beating them which eventually weakens the movement until it dries up.

I agree with that definition, but don't think it's possible. If you slaughter them all, they'll just go underground until our troops pull out. Anything short of that will simply be ineffective.

I still say we go into Pakistan and take their nukes and leave with a warning that we'll destroy them if they allow and/or sponsor terrorist acts against us and this time, we won't even both trying to rebuild their country when we're done.

LarsPorsena said...

"..A health care reform proposal that saves billions and funds itself .."

Yes of course, health care, the self-licking ice cream cone.

jayne_cobb said...

Between this news, Lieberman's no, and the news that the dead census worker in fact committed suicide I'd say that the day just keeps getting worse for certain segments of the left.



As for the sending of more troops:

Assuming he actually announces this and follows through, good on him.

Alex said...

Freder - it's the 101st Fighting Keyboardists all over again. These people will be held to account one day - I promise you that. People I know in the Hague are working up cases as we speak.

Pogo said...

Numbers added mean little if the Commander In Chief is unable to explain in one or two sentences how victory is defined, and when we are done.

And blaming Bush for lack of the same is bullshit.
This is what Obama ran on, in part.

Don't be such a pussy.
What in Sam Hill are we doing there now that you are President ?

elHombre said...

Alpha wrote: Or Scooter Libby who did time for leaking national security secrets?

Scooter Libby did time? For leaking national secrets? Really, Alpha?

vbspurs said...

Jayne, add that Climate Gate is just beginning to catch fire. It's a bad bad day for Liberals.

John Lynch said...

We aren't going to win by bombing Pakistan (Laos?) or by just killing the enemy (1.1 million dead NVA and VC. Yeah, over a million.) Attrition does not work.

You have to take and hold territory and secure villages to win. That takes LOTS of troops. No way around it. I think we'll eventually need a commitment at least as large as what we sent to Iraq.

On the plus side, the Taliban is not nearly as proficient as the NVA and VC. Well over half our casualties are from mines. In Vietnam, it was about 15%. Vietnam was a conventional as well as a guerilla war, which is why the enemy killed so many Americans. The VC and NVA were capable of wiping out platoon and company sized units. The Taliban aren't, yet.

So, we can win. It will take a lot more than most people are willing to admit. I hope the President realizes what he's committing to.

Alex said...

I hope Obama doesn't send a single troop AND withdraws our boys from that hell hole. Let the tribal warlords kill each other, but we don't need to be there. Bring the boys back home and put them working in victory gardens!

bagoh20 said...

"I still say we go into Pakistan and take their nukes and leave with a warning that we'll destroy them if they allow and/or sponsor terrorist acts against us and this time, we won't even both trying to rebuild their country when we're done."

Ok. It sure would save a lot of lives and money, so why not? That must really be above my pay grade. I wonder if such options are ever actually presented by military strategists.

Alex said...

FLS - the 101st fighting keyboardists have no goal - except to be virtual macho men and war crime enablers.

jayne_cobb said...

Vbspurs, I'd forgotten about that.

Alex said...

So, we can win. It will take a lot more than most people are willing to admit.

Impossible to "win" in Afghanistan. Also I wonder do you have skin in the game, because you seem awfully comfortable sending other kids off to die in your fascistic neocon wars.

Cedarford said...

Dave said...
@bagoh20
'The objective should be victory. Anything else is a disaster for us, the Afghans and the rest of the global victim of Islamist terror.'

OK - but what is victory? And how long should we be prepared to work for it?

Many jaws dropped when the former top commander in Afghanistan, then a diplomat, resigned - saying that building Afghanistan into a stable, modern nation will take 35-40 years and massive cost and loss of life to America.

Given that, and the morass that Iraq became before this....various "troop and war worshippers" will have to seriously reconsider the still-accepted on the Right, Bush Meme, that "9/11 taught us we have no choice but to invade and occupy a series of unstable Islamic nations lest they Become Evildoer Safehavens and more 9/11s happen!"

And the Bush Corollary - "But don't worry, we are talking easy quick wars and the liberated Muslims will love us and form pro-American democratic countries."

Events have shown:

1. The easy quick wars became a trillion-dollar morass of global ill-will towards America, 50,000 dead or maimed Americans.

2. Prospects of endless war in 6-8 more unstable Islamoid countries await if we blindly follow the Bush 9/11 memes. Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan anyone??? From our endless "hero soldier" factory and bottomless stacks of gold??

3. By 2003, we knew that 9/11 was not launched from the caves of Afghanistan but the dream of a guy sitting in a swank Malaysian hotel at the time. Implimented by expat Muslim guys in Europe. Financed by under a million in money from legal business revenue diverted to the operation by Binnie and two other financiers.
The pilots were trained in the US, scout teams tested security in the US, and all the planning and logistics happened by phone and Internet between the USA, Europe, the UAE, Malaysia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Net-centric warfare conducted in multiple lands - with Afghanistan perhaps the most peripheral to the Islamoid success on 9/11.

4. Net-Centric, not a problem originating in a single "lawless land". Something we did not realize and some don't realize even now because Bush and others cast it as all the fault of a single Arch-Evildoer, and if only he was "brought to justice" and Afghanistan "controlled by our heroes" all our problems would go away and everybody "will be perfectly safe". None of that is true.

So we need serious strategic rethinking.

Alex said...

C4 - I think the neocons are panicked that the rest of us are onto them. Also they know that the Hague are forming charge sheets as we speak. Not just the ring-leaders but anyone who voted for the Bush/Cheney war criminals. There will be a reckoning.

holdfast said...

Apparently Alpha was asleep (or gripped by a Sullivan-like case of BDS. Or the clap. Whatever) during the last 8 years when all kinds of secret details about America's fight against terrorists were splashed all over the NYT. And the Plame leak came from the Dick Whatsisname at the State Dept, not Libby. But I guess that is an inconvenient truth.

Darcy said...

John Lynch: Grateful for your thoughts expressed in your 11:18 comment.

And yes, if true, I'll sign on to POSITIVE NOISE!!

bagoh20 said...

Ok C4, I'm convinced. We can come home. Everything will be fine. Pakistan, Iraq, Israel, Taiwan, South Korea, etc.. Man, we could save some big bucks and everything will be cool. Damn, why is everyone else so dense?

John Lynch said...

Alex, look, it's OK to talk about war. We live in a democracy, and it's just as valid for a civilian to be against war as for one.

I have seven years service behind me, I know people who've been there, and my friend Ben is enlisting as a combat engineer.

My dad served 1967-68, and was called up for Desert Storm. I served as a CTR in the Navy (1992-96, including a year in the arctic), and three years in the National Guard as a parts clerk in the local maintenance unit (which got called up after 9/11). I missed out on the war because I got married and decided that I wanted a family. I'm fine with that, since my wife and kid need me. If I hadn't met my wife, I'd probably be in the war or dead. Who knows?

I don't see why people have to be involved in the military somehow to have an opinion on war. War is the biggest decision a state makes, and due to our increasingly small warrior class giving up up the power to a small elite is undemocratic.

I'll never tell a civilian that they aren't qualified to have an opinion about the war. That's they whole point of our system, and that's what the military is defending.

Alex said...

How do we convince the American people to bring ALL the troops back home? I know for a fact that nobody under 30 supports these wars.

elHombre said...

freder implored (1:05): Tell me one thing you have done to "support the troops" that has cost you more than $1.98.

This appears to be a general inquiry so, among other things:

Our family has prepared Christmas care packages for soldiers overseas.

We have sponsored the purchase of Bibles, other books, cigarettes (God forgive us.), Girl Scout Cookies, etc., for them.

We have contributed money to several scholarship funds for the children of deceased service men and women.

We have also replaced the numerous "Support Our Troops" magnetic badges that were removed from our cars and torn up in the liberal Oregon town in which we lived until last December.

And you?

John Lynch said...

If no one under 30 supports the war, then who is volunteering to fight it?

Paul Zrimsek said...

The sense I'm getting from the loud squawkers is that now that we no longer need a War of Necessity (yay!) to contrast with a War of Choice (boo!), Afghanistan is no longer a War of Necessity.

Cedarford said...

John Lynch said...
We aren't going to win by bombing Pakistan (Laos?) or by just killing the enemy (1.1 million dead NVA and VC. Yeah, over a million.) Attrition does not work.

You have to take and hold territory and secure villages to win. That takes LOTS of troops. No way around it. I think we'll eventually need a commitment at least as large as what we sent to Iraq.


I'd add another slight problem - logistics. It currently costs us almost 400 dollars a gallon to get fuel to the frontlines in Afghanistan. Costs to support a single "hero trooper" are estimated at a million bucks a year. And that doesn't include our 7 billion dollar bribe to Pakistan to "consent" to resupplying our isolated guys.

Right now, our logistics rest on Pakistan continuing to be barely stable and having a barely willing leadership to allow us in, even with our 7 billion bribe. Or the other two ways are by the good graces of our friend Vladimir Putin or by a sudden new friendship with Amahdinejad and the Mullahs.

In WWII, a few remnants of Jap divisions, that had survived on cannibalism and somehow through air, naval, and armor pounding by Americans that encircled them once they were cut off from resupply and air and naval cover - said they never thought it was such a hot idea to park themselves on remote islands. They were assured that the Jap Navy would ensure they had logistics. As a show of good faith, the Japs then ADDED new fresh meat to the garrisons..

Already, the Taliban has shown they can shut down ground logistics for two weeks in the only narrow passes into Afghanistan from Pakistan.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I will enjoy watching hawks do a little squirmy "I have to poop" dance when forced to endorse Obama's decision.

Well then, let me be the first to give credit where credit is do-do.

Seriously, if Obama follows through, then I give him credit for making the right choice.

John Lynch said...

Cedarford-

Totally right. Also, our mission in Afghanistan is always a hostage to Pakistani goodwill. That limits what we can do with regards to India, and even our relationship with China. If 9/11 hadn't happened, we'd probably be aligning with India right now.

Committing to Afghanistan really does set us on a path that we otherwise wouldn't want to be on. We're supporting two corrupt governments to forestall something worse. Yes, we are going to get very dirty in the process. And we lose a lot of freedom of action.

I really do respect the arguments that the Afghan war isn't worth it. People who think it is worth the cost need to be honest about how great a cost it is. I don't think Obama was serious about Afghanistan during the campaign, and I hope he is now.

Unfortunately, hope isn't a strategy. I'm very pessimistic about the whole thing, but I think winning is better than losing. I don't think cutting our losses will work, as the Taliban and Al Qaeda have attacked us at home. The North Vietnamese never did.

knox said...

I'm asking this honestly, not snarkily... how long have liberals been against the war in Afghanistan? Because I thought that was the one they supported? I'm not kidding, when did their position change?

John Lynch said...

I did a survey for my senior thesis in 2008. The results, from a very small pool of respondents, were interesting.

The people that opposed the Iraq war almost all opposed the war in Afghanistan as well.

Most of my respondents were self-identified liberals. I think the campaign rhetoric about Afghanistan was empty, and my conversations with some liberal friends confirmed that they thought so, too. They didn't really expect Obama to follow through, or they didn't expect Afghanistan to go so badly.

Really, the issue is foreign wars. There's a lot of people, not all liberal, who want the US to just be another country. They don't want to be in wars on the other side of the world, and they don't think other people's problems are as important as our problems.

It's empire denial.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

when did their position change?


Ah, I think it was around the time that Zero won the election.

Skyler said...

This is good news. I can't wait to get there!

Skyler said...

holdfast wrote,

Is there a plan to involve the local tribes more, like what happened in Anbar? .

Just to clarify this concept. The local tribes were always involved in al Anbar. They were just involved on the wrong side. There were pitched battles between al Qaeda and the Tribes while I was there, bigger than any battles with us. It just took them some time to decide that we weren't also the enemy.

Skyler said...

correction, I should have said "most of the battles with us." We had a few doozies ourselves.

bagoh20 said...

So which is prefered:

Complete pull out?
Complete overwhelming escalation?
Dithering and incrementalism?

Am I missing an option?

Michael Hasenstab said...

And I support the Packers winning the Super Bowl.

Now that right there is a hopeless cause, and I am a Packers fan.

Ricardo said...

The only truly worthwhile comment on this whole thread is FLS asking at the top "What is our goal?"

If you can't answer that, with specificity, then you'll never be able to figure out the next steps, and you'll never be able to quantify your success or failure.

Why is this so difficult to grasp?

bagoh20 said...

The goal is easy to define, because it's always the same: Pursue action that improves security and peace over time. The tough question is what does that. There is no absolute answer, but history should inform us some.

The negatives of interventions are widely discussed and mostly accepted, but those arguing for withdrawal mostly minimize or a avoid altogether the negative repercussions down the road. There are no slam dunk easy answers here. People are gonna die and stuff is gonna get broken, no matter what. It's a question of which people and who's stuff, and how much if we follow different paths. I don't trust things in that part of the world to get better and spare us in the process. Not any more.

vbspurs said...

Knox wrote:

Because I thought that was the one they supported? I'm not kidding, when did their position change?

Oh Knox, stop it. Imagine any liberal truly "supporting" their country in war efforts during the administration of President GW Bush. Afghanistan was always used by them simply as a cudgel to beat the Republicans with, as an argument against the Iraq War. Now that the Iraq War has been won (with precious little acknowledgement from media and anti-war protesters), Afghanistan is just the next conflict that requires an immediate capitulation.

What else can you expect from a candidate, later a President who is DEEPLY uncomfortable uttering the word "victory" in relation to his country's battles.

"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur," Obama told ABC News.

Ugh. Repulsive.

Cheers,
Victoria

knox said...

Over the last four years, I've heard an awful lot of: "The Iraq War is a distraction--we need to focus our effort in Afghanistan, and especially in finding bin Laden." Have those people changed their minds?

There's a lot of people, not all liberal, who want the US to just be another country. They don't want to be in wars on the other side of the world...

Well, I'll be honest, I want us to remain in Afghanistan, but I'd like for us to be more isolationist in the future. Only because I have no desire to send our troops out to risk their lives for us, only to receive little moral support and fickle-at-best political commitment. Our country doesn't seem to have the stomach for it anymore. Unfortunately. As soon as things get tough, people want out.

garage mahal said...

Oh Knox, stop it. Imagine any liberal truly "supporting" their country in war efforts during the administration of President GW Bush.

A lot of liberals actually fought and died in that war. And you.....helped how again?

Skyler said...

The only truly worthwhile comment on this whole thread is FLS asking at the top "What is our goal?"

Easy, here's how it should be stated. Our purpose is to kill or capture (in that order of preference) all those that were involved with the attacks on 9/11 or are sympathetic to those that were, and to eradicate the threat of future attacks by eliminating the ability of the enemy to operate in Afghanistan.

Why is that so hard? I'm sure the official version is stated more politely.

Kirby Olson said...

Skyler hit it. I hope the president thinks it's that clear. He thinks it's an occupation of another country, but I don't think he's sure why we're there. Something that Bush left him to take care of, I guess, like the faltering economy.

Bissage said...

DUCT TAPE!!1!!!!!!1!!!!!!

Pogo said...

"Why is that so hard? I'm sure the official version is stated more politely."

The question is, can Obama say it, politely or otherwise?
I don't think so.

Cedarford said...

bagoh20 said...
I wish we could walk away. I really do. The stakes are much higher than Vietnam ever was. I even wish the Soviets would have won in Afghanistan as an alternative to the future I see if we fail.


I fail to see how Afghanistan is "higher stakes" - you are talking about a remote country of no geostrategic importance to the US. Or of only modest critical geostragic importance to anyone else. It exists as a space of contention for Pakistan, India, Russia, and Iran to vie for influence in, and to fund competing butchering proxy groups.

Vietnam, on the other hand, has abundant resources, premium space on the S China Sea to access sea lanes, and an intelligent, civilized, industrious people. And along with Thailand, dominates SE Asia. Good they hate China more than they hate us.

=======================
What is our goal?"

Skyler - Easy, here's how it should be stated.

1. Our purpose is to kill or capture (in that order of preference) all those that were involved with the attacks on 9/11..

We killed or captured most who were there by Dec 2001. The rest fled to Pakistan, which we can't go into because we only exist in Afghanistan on Pakistan's mercy.

2. or are sympathetic to those that were,

Some 33 Muslim nations have strong Islamist elements. 99% of the work and funding that went into 9/11 happened outside Afghanistan (and included people free to do what they wanted in the US, Europe, Malaysia). Of those 33 nations, 8-9 are currently "failed nations" that could as easily become a safe haven for "Evildoers" as Afghanistan is now.

Shall we invade and squandor more on more endless wars?

3.And to eradicate the threat of future attacks by eliminating the ability of the enemy to operate in Afghanistan.

That sure sounded good when "America's Churchill" was talking a few months after 9/11, but it sure sounds stupid now, realizing as we do how little 9/11 had anything to do with The Arch Evildoer in his cave - and how all attacks on us have been by Al Qaeda Islamoids that operate in other countries.

AQ is net-centric. A well dispersed ideology. In 80 countries.

Such was Bush's brief period of power and persuasiveness that people are still locked into his "Heroes of 9/11 vs. the Evildoers" meme. Despite all evidence in recent years that it, like Bush's "Religion of Peace"
babble, was dead wrong.

Just ask the people at Ft Hood or all the neighbors of the Somali immigrants Bush waved in..

AllenS said...

Obama: "I'm here to announce, that I'll have an announcement, soon. Very shortly. An announcement, that will be announced, in accordance with what my team of experts, in and out of the military, have decided what will, be the best course, for this country, and the other countries of the area, not to mention the other countries of the world. An announcement of a strategy, that not only we will take, but a projection for future announcements, that will be announced when the time is right."

miller said...

I hope he can find time between his many golf games to make an announcement of what he will do with the troops.

I mean, this war thing is such a distraction for his game.

bagoh20 said...

C-4, you missed the whole point. It's not where Afghanistan or Vietnam are it's who we are fighting and the psychology of that movement. It's strong horse / weak horse stuff. Vietnam did not become the feared problem BECAUSE we fought so hard there that the Communist movement lost the desire to fight as much as we did. We just quit first, and they welched on the treaty.

The Islamists are fighting everywhere. We just need to make sure that we and our interests are not seen as easy targets or that's what they will become. When we do choose to engage them we must win, every time. I believe our over the top response to 9-11 was exactly right. You don't kick an aggressive dog who has shown a tendency to attack when awakened.

I believe this one of the prime reasons we have not been attacked for 8 years, while many others have. All those attacked are soft targets who did not retaliate as expected.

We are in Afghanistan. The challenge is accepted. We can only win or lose. How our enemies see it, is what matters. We are trying to convince them and their potential allies of something. We can never control them if we don't.

Skyler said...

Cedarford, you're making comments about Bush as though someone might defend him. He made a lot of dumb mistakes that are indefensible, both domestically and regarding the war.

But this doesn't change the equation that we must deal with Al Qaeda everywhere, not only in Afghanistan - but especially there.

jr565 said...

Florida said:
How can you sleep at night, sir, knowing that you help enable Barack Obama's murder of innocent Pakistanis?


You've got to put it in the vernacular that the lefties understand using the code words that they can understand. To put it into Obamaese:
“How can you sleep at night knowing that Obama doesn't have enough troops on the ground and is just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.”

And now that Obama is (or may be) escalating in Afhganistan can we bring out the old chicken hawk chestnut again? As in, if people support the war why aren't they joining the military and fighting rather than sending other peoples children to fight the war (cue up CCR's Fortunate Son).
Or was their saying Iraq was the diversion from the real war on terror a diversion from their actual position on fighting a real war on terror.

Chip Ahoy said...

He actually decided to decide? Bloody wow that's awesome. I was just now starting to think about commencing to begin to initiate considering the possibility of pondering the onset of the genesis of the seed of the germ of the idea of maybe birthing subjectively on deciding about the concept of making decision making. This guy's always one step ahead of me..

miller said...

He will announce soon that he's decided.

Then, some time later, he might announce what he's decided.

vbspurs said...

Question: I tune into a programme I rarely watch (Hannity on Fox) and find...of all people...Jay Feely as guest commentator. WTF? He's conservative? Are all New York NFL athletes conservative like Tiki Barber?

vbspurs said...

...and Lyn Swann. Although he was a Steeler, right? NFL guys seem to be disproportionately Republicans.

Beth said...

Now that right there is a hopeless cause, and I am a Packers fan.

Because the Saints are going to win the Super Bowl. Sorry, Packers.

MadisonMan said...

Very possible -- the Packers lost two great players to injury last week.

Ah well. Next year.

hdhouse said...

edutcher said...

"I know, lefties LOVE the smell of American bodies rotting in the morning."


Are you out of the ward for the holidays? Do you have supervision?

You are worse than those we are fighting with that kind of bullshit. You should be ashamed.

Bob said...

Well this probably means I get one Afghan tour in before I retire. Doesn't that suck! More important to me is the difference between Bush and Obama in their respective "surge decisions". At the end of day, you knew Bush was determined to stick with it and he wanted to win. Obama leaves one with the sense he just wishes this would all just go away. Those two impressions mean a lot to those fighting on both sides...