June 22, 2011

"Mr. Obama’s decision is a victory for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has long argued for curtailing the American military engagement in Afghanistan."

"But it is a setback for his top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, who helped write the Army’s field book on counterinsurgency policy, and who is returning to Washington to head the Central Intelligence Agency."
Two administration officials said General Petraeus did not endorse the decision, though both Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who is retiring, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reluctantly accepted it. General Petraeus had recommended limiting initial withdrawals and leaving in place as many combat forces for as long as possible, to hold on to fragile gains made in recent combat....

The decision... reflects the rapidly changing domestic political landscape. Mr. Obama faces a sagging economy, intense budget pressures and a war-weary Congress and public as he looks ahead to his reelection campaign.

116 comments:

Lance said...

Mr. Obama faces a sagging economy, intense budget pressures and a war-weary Congress and public as he looks ahead to his reelection campaign.

And if a weakened U.S. force in Afghanistan suffers significant losses between now and November 2012, while the economy remains in the doldrums, how will Mr. Obama's reelection chances look then?

Dustin said...

Why did we fight for so long and hard? Obama ramped up the fighting, with a very high casualty rate. I can accept that if there was an end game in mind. Was there one? It helped Obama look like a serious war leader, but now he's backing out in a way that makes very little sense given how hard we fought up to this point.

It's as though the only factor here is Obama's political needs, rather than some kind of coherent plan for Afghanistan.

I guess he couldn't have backed out sooner, given his 2008 campaign complaining Bush didn't fight in Afghanistan hard enough, but this has the same ultimate result, except so many more bodybags.

edutcher said...

OK, he overruled Petraeus in favor of Halo Joe.

Gates, while not my favorite SecDef, doesn't like like it and even the Hildabeast gets that this is a bad idea.

And this, of course, is for political, not national security, reasons.

Tell me again how brilliant this guy is.

Shouting Thomas said...

A few years ago, I never thought I would say this, but...

Time to bring the troops home. Time to fold up all the foreign adventures and bring everybody home.

There is no coherent goal in any of our military ventures. We're bankrupting ourselves with military spending.

Time to give up on these foreign wars and fight only when we are attacked.

lewsar said...

i can't say i'm happy about this, but the state of the nation's finances, i guess this is the right move.

iraq might have a chance, but i think afghanistan will be able to outwait us.

Dustin said...

"And if a weakened U.S. force in Afghanistan suffers significant losses between now and November 2012,"

That is less of a possibility. A small US force drawing down that isn't seeking the enemy will have far fewer engagements. When we have surges, then we see a surge in casualties. I'm just wondering why we had a surge in Afghanistan, with those casualties, which were quite high though not covered by the MSM since Obama is a democrat, if we weren't going to win the war.

There's a reason even Hillary is reluctant to accept this drawdown. This is a worst of both worlds scenario. We pay the price for victory, and then leave without victory.

Jose_K said...

he must stop the foolish war in Lybia. And keep the pressure in Afghanistan.
Retire and allow the Taliban to kill women and girls again. To control opium traffic and support terrorism. Good idea, isolationism

Lance said...

Time to give up on these foreign wars and fight only when we are attacked.

We were attacked. By forces trained in Afghanistan.

If the President wants to argue that Afghanistan will no longer harbor global terrorists, and that U.S. troops can be withdrawn, that's fine. I'm not sure he'd be right, but at least that'd be a decent argument.

He's not saying that. He's saying that Afghanistan still needs policing, but not as much as last year. Which I think is clearly incorrect.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Somewhere, the next bin Laden is composing his speeches about the Weak Horse.

Lance said...

A small US force drawing down that isn't seeking the enemy will have far fewer engagements.

The US force was smaller in 2009 than in 2010 and 2011. Were there fewer engagements?

It's true that in the past year the US has taken the initiative. With a smaller US force, how do you know the Taliban won't try taking the initiative next year?

Rube said...

Lance and Dustin said it better than I could. Bush approved a surge in Iraq with little support except from the Generals. And he didn't back down and it worked. Obama gets plenty of support for his surge and it works, but he's willing to throw it away because of politics. What a piss ant.

garage mahal said...

But if we leave they'll just follow us home.

Hagar said...

It is Iran that is waging a proxy war against the U.S. and our allies in Iraq and Afghanistan (and anywhere else where opportunity offers), and the discussion needs to be about how that is to be stopped.

Wv: bootled - present U.S. military strategy

Shouting Thomas said...

We were attacked. By forces trained in Afghanistan.

I'm well aware of that. I was two miles away from the WTC.

Now, tell me what the coherent goal is today.

There is none.

Shouting Thomas said...

But if we leave they'll just follow us home.

garbage flings a turd.

Yes, attacks within the U.S. will continue.

Will fighting foreign wars stop this?

Maybe. Maybe not.

A better question might be: Can we afford all of these wars with no expiration date?

Scott M said...

God knows Joe needs a victory. Why, just today he was bemoaning the fact that the government isn't spending enough to support the recovery.

I'm all for bringing 'em all home. My brother is due to go back to Iraq, again, for six months. Bring 'em home. Bring home most of the Europe-based troops. Bring home the Korean peninsula troops. It might take a decade, but who cares?

Marshal said...

"Lance said...

And if a weakened U.S. force in Afghanistan suffers significant losses between now and November 2012, while the economy remains in the doldrums, how will Mr. Obama's reelection chances look then?"

If Obama manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at least his base will be motivated to vote for him.

Michael K said...

There was never a chance of a modern society in Afghanistan. The only change since Alexander the Great is the AK 47. During the "golden age" of Afghanistan, about 30 years, the city of Kabul was the only civilized place. Pakistan, or the Pashtun element of it, is the real enemy.

Iraq had the potential to be the only modern Arab country. It could still do it. Afghanistan is best abandoned as the British did.

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm all for bringing 'em all home. My brother is due to go back to Iraq, again, for six months. Bring 'em home. Bring home most of the Europe-based troops. Bring home the Korean peninsula troops. It might take a decade, but who cares?

Hell, I might even vote for Obama if he decided to do this.

Scott M said...

And this, of course, is for political, not national security, reasons.

Easily arguable from the other side, is it not, to say the same about Bush and Iraq?

AllenS said...

Once we leave Afghanistan, we'll have more troops at the ready to invade Libya and other countries like Sudan and Yemen. Not to mention other countries that have oil.

Phil 3:14 said...

So as Afghanistan deteriorates over the next 10 years, I'm not looking forward to the back and for regarding who lost Afghanistan?

Lance said...

Now, tell me what the coherent goal is today.

There is none.


I agree. Sorry if I gave any impression otherwise.

My point is that of the three options facing the President (attack, leave, or maintain), he chose the worst. I agree that leaving altogether seems to be a better option than trying to just "maintain". But I believe we should continue to pursue the Taliban, especially its leaders, while working with the Afghanis to build a stable government that won't tolerate global terrorists.

One thought: possibly the President has decided to leave, and this is the first public step.

Lincolntf said...

With Joe Biden as the brains behind our military strategy, what could go wrong? It's brilliant. We'll always do the exact opposite of what's nevessary to win, so our enemies will never see us coming!

Synova said...

Getting out of Afghanistan isn't going to help the economy. What a moron. We get our fairly well-known reputation as someone who can't be counted upon strengthened and the economy stays in the dumps.

Yay.

traditionalguy said...

" Unexpectedly" the Afghanistan Surge did nothing except delay Obama's inevitable withdrawal so that Obama could say that he tried the Surge and , nice Muslim that he is, he told the Taliban would end August 2011. But I agree with any rational Commander-in-chief who withdraws forces from the Afghan Mountain valleys and holds a small flat land area area to keep an eye on the Muzzies... which is what Joe Biden wanted to do 1200 American lives ago.

PETER V. BELLA said...

President Obama does not care about the sagging economy, a war weary congress, or intense budget pressures. He especially does not care about the public- the American people.

All he cares about his himself, his golf score, and his vacations. The troop withdrawal timed perfectly for the election cycle will make him look good. That is all that counts.

When it comes to policy versus politics, Obama picks politics every single time. It is all about his-story.

Drew said...

It's as though the only factor here is Obama's political needs, rather than some kind of coherent plan for Afghanistan.

Got it in one.

Methadras said...

Urkel has already fucked us, so if he thinks saving his bid or re-election by calling back troops from Afghanistan will help him, then why should he be trusted even more to secure victory? This country is run by morons. God help us all.

Synova said...

"Once we leave Afghanistan, we'll have more troops at the ready to invade Libya and other countries like Sudan and Yemen. Not to mention other countries that have oil."

Heh.

What Allen said.

bagoh20 said...

I support our presence in Iraq, but I'm not confident about Afghanistan and would be OK with a sensible withdrawal, but having Biden and Obama agree with me makes me pretty certain I'm completely wrong, just going with the odds and recent history.

PETER V. BELLA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PETER V. BELLA said...

Oh yeah, he caved in to the dumbest white man in America. What does that say about the pseudo- intellectual professorial president?

Shouting Thomas said...

Once we leave Afghanistan, we'll have more troops at the ready to invade Libya and other countries like Sudan and Yemen. Not to mention other countries that have oil.

Solution:

Stop suppressing domestic oil, gas and coal production.

Issue permits to drill in the Gulf, off the cost of California and in ANWAR.

Start building nuclear power plants again.

Stop funding the goofy "green" scam.

jimbino said...

The big losers are are fighting forces. Why anybody would willingly fight in these foreign invasions is a mystery to me. I spent 7 years struggling to stay out of Vietnam, a similar foolish invasion, and I pity all those who suffered and died for that meaningless war.

Drew said...

There was never a chance of a modern society in Afghanistan.

Sadly, there was a modern society in Afghanistan 60 years ago.

http://www.howtobearetronaut.com/2010/10/once-upon-a-time-in-afghanistan/

Dustin said...

"
Easily arguable from the other side, is it not, to say the same about Bush and Iraq?

6/22/11 4:28 PM"

Clearly not. Bush stayed in Iraq when the going got tough. He's the classic example of staying the course out of principle, even when politically harmful to him. He articulated this as spending what political capital he had. Many other goals of his would be far more achievable if he had been more flexible on Iraq.

I'm very surprised to see this comparison even attempted.

Carol_Herman said...

I could be wrong, but I don't think Biden is a veep in 2012. Will the democraps be able to fill their convention hall? I think they picked South Carolina.

That choice, alone, is the beginning of a great unraveling.

AJ Lynch said...

I support getting out of Afghanistan. What scares me is when anyone claims Joe Biden, the dumbest man in the Beltway, is right.

george said...

This is not news. It was announced a year or two ago when Obama decided to split the baby. There was no rational military reason to surge with a predetermined withdrawal date. That was just throwing lives away for nothing. You either stay until you win (or it is clear you cannot win) or you withdraw before the surge and change tactics at that point.

The last thing a rational person would do would be to give the military less resources than they required to complete the mission and impose a timeline that will obviously not be met. It takes a true genius to come up with such a plan. It also takes a great contempt for the US military to ask them to go along with such a farce that will claim the lives of so many of their number.

I will be glad to get the guys home but we all should have a clear picture of what sort of person we have as CIC now. He is as morally empty as he is intellectually vacuous... and takes some doing.

bagoh20 said...

I believe the most worthwhile goal in any U.S. intervention is to demonstrate that tempting us is stupid. We will either win or at least destroy our enemies' interests in the process.

We have either done that or can in Afghanistan.

We should be harder to tempt than we have been in Lybia, but we should be known as possible to be tempted with predictable results.

Hagar said...

The "endgame" has to be regime change (for the better; as is, it could easily get a lot worse)in Iran - then "the troops can come home."

Chip Ahoy said...

Dr. Ruth,

Last night I was busy, the news on as background. I don't know what station it was. My attention was arrested for the ending moments of an interview with somebody in Congress saying real fast, "I wanna know and my constituents wanna know when is this war gonna end?

He sounded not at all like a big rotund man that he is but rather like a demanding spoiled little girl. The question stuck. I repeated it aloud, but made it sound worse. I repeated it again and faster, and even worse. Then again. And again, like a song. I kept repeating the question each time making it increasingly faster and snotty and demanding until I achieved full snottiness. I thought to myself, "Shut up. Your neighbors will know you're insane." But still the question kept rolling around inappropriately. At length, the reptile portion broke through and I thought, "Oh shit, the basal ganglia again." It emerged briefly and submerged again but not before insisting, as an alien thought injected, "Never never never never never trust a Democrat with running a war, and when they do, consider the effort abandoned." And then I thought, "Man, I hate it when that happens." And now that is how this ordinary question comes through.

Robert Cook said...

Too little, too late. This protracted drawdown will still leave us in a year's time with nearly 70,000 troops in Afghanistan, or, as the NYTimes put it, (as excerpted in yesterday's Greenwald column):

"Even after all 30,000 troops are withdrawn, roughly 68,000 troops will remain in Afghanistan, twice the number as when Mr. Obama assumed office."

Pathetic.

How about admitting we have no coherently articulable goals in Afghanistan and vacating our forces from there en masse?

The Drill SGT said...

@george 4:49, exactly what George said...

Michael K said...
There was never a chance of a modern society in Afghanistan. The only change since Alexander the Great is the AK 47. During the "golden age" of Afghanistan, about 30 years, the city of Kabul was the only civilized place. Pakistan, or the Pashtun element of it, is the real enemy.

Iraq had the potential to be the only modern Arab country. It could still do it. Afghanistan is best abandoned as the British did.


minor comments:

1. Afghanistan is not a country, only a collection of tribes.

2. Now that we have announced we are pulling out, the slope is greased. We need to be aware that it will start to get ugly fast and our allies start cutting deals with the enemy.

3. ultimately we'll be lifting the embassy staff out by helo.

4. the name the Brits gave for their policy was "butcher and bolt". The tribes would go on jihad, brits would follow them home, teach them it was a bad idea and bolt back to the border before the adjacent tribes cut off the Brit retreat.

5. good news is that once we are out og A-stan, we don't need to bribe the Paki's to use their road. We will have more leverage there then...

Robert Cook said...

"Time to give up on these foreign wars and fight only when we are attacked."

I never thought I would see Shouting Thomas advocate what should be the bedrock minimum requirement for us to ever engage in military action abroad, and which is already our present legal obligation under the UN Charter.

Bravo, sir.

bagoh20 said...

I know someone who has coherently articulable goals in Afghanistan - our enemies. They want us out.

bagoh20 said...

Imagine a world where the U.N. got it's way. No thanks. Do you know who those people are and what they care about?

Shouting Thomas said...

I know someone who has coherently articulable goals in Afghanistan - our enemies. They want us out.

Well, yeah. How many more Americans should we send there to die so that we can pound our chests and say we're tough guys?

The unfortunate reality is that there is nothing we can do there that makes any sense.

Lem said...

Biden is Obamas brain?

Mogget said...

I fear for the women who are going to suffer and die when we withdraw. When the fundamentalists assert their patriarchal privileges over women who finally, after 60 years, had another shot at a decent life, it is going to be ugly.

The Drill SGT said...

Shouting Thomas said...
The unfortunate reality is that there is nothing we can do there that makes any sense.


If you put some qualifiers on that, I think you can build a consensus.

Given the current administration with its agenda and its unwillingness to commit the leadership, political capital, time and treasure, the unfortunate reality is that there is nothing we can do there that makes any sense.

If you ultimately are going to lose, sometimes losing fast is cheaper than losing slow. Ask the French :)

Robert Cook said...

Lance said:

"We were attacked. By forces trained in Afghanistan."

Shouting Thomas replied:

"I'm well aware of that. I was two miles away from the WTC."

I was mere blocks away from the WTC on 9/11. I was never convinced there was a valid reason to invade Afghanistan.

Also, the men who attacked us on 9/11 were a disparate group, some of whom were trained in Afghanistan--not for the 9/11 attackes, but in the 90s for earlier operations elsewhere--while others were trained elsewhere. The planning was trans-national in scope. (No Afghan nationals were involved and neither was the Aghanistan Government implicated.)

All the pilots were trained in America. Should we, therefore, invade and occupy South Florida to insure no future terrorists are training at flight schools there?

Our invasions never had any coherent purpose, but were a combination of panicked over-reaction and opportunistic imperial overreach, playing into Al Qaeda's plans perfectly, and creating for us a military, political, financial, and humanitarian catastrophe and quagmire from which we may never extricate ourselves.

Oh, but those who are profiting by our continued engagements are happy, as are those who wish to institute an authoritarian government here in America.

To use the slang of these kids today:

TOTAL FAIL.

mariner said...

ScottM,
Easily arguable from the other side, is it not, to say the same about Bush and Iraq?

I don't see how.

Bush took tons of shit from all over, and did it anyway. How did he benefit politically?

mariner said...

Lance,
But I believe we should continue to pursue the Taliban, especially its leaders, while working with the Afghanis to build a stable government that won't tolerate global terrorists.

You're assuming the Afghanis want a stable government that won't support terrorists.

It seems to me that if this were true it would already have happened.

Perhaps they don't. What then?

mariner said...

Lincolntf,
We'll always do the exact opposite of what's nevessary to win, so our enemies will never see us coming!

No, we'll be like the French -- they'll always see us going.

Roger J. said...

Mr Cook and Shouting Thomas agreeing--both right. and to the folks who say we should get out of Europe and Korea bravo--we won those wars years ago. Much of this is simply bureaucratically driven--those commands provide billets for generals and a bloated budget for DOD (former member of OJCS here--I have the badge to prove it).

From a larger geopolitical standpoint, this withdrawal simply underscores American weakness, unlike Mr Bush who pushed the victory home (and it was a victory if the Iraquis can hold it). this kind of political driven strategy will only embolden our enemies and disconcert our even diminishing allies.

From a tactical standpoint, the (apparent) withdrawal of a combat brigade, only stretches those committed forces of the US in Astan even thinner and makes them more susceptible to the tactics used by the taliban. But since the MSM never covers the casualties in Astan like they did to embarass Mr Bush, it makes them invisible. My country is truly fucked by this sorry son of a bitch that is our president.

The sooner this jug eared bastard of a president is impeached the better off we will be.

Jason said...

Robert Cook: Should we, therefore, invade and occupy South Florida?

Bring it, bitch.

We will have your head and those of the rest of your commie friends lined up on pikes along Calle Ocho within a week.

edutcher said...

I'm with Lance and Jose.

If we should be folding an op, it should be the one in Libya.

Little Zero has always approached A-stan on whim and his colossal ego, parroting Pelosi Galore's nonsense that A-stan was the only War On Terror during the campaign.

When he actually had to do something, he dithered, as he always has. McChrystal, Zero's hand-picked man, couldn't get in to see him for 9 months and, when he did, Zero cut his troop list by 50%.

Now we have Cook's drivel about South Florida. No doubt he thinks FDR is a war criminal for attacking Japan after Pearl Harbor.

I'd ask if Cook can think of anybody who isn't a war criminal, but he'd probably come back with Stalin.

Lem said...

Biden is Obamas brain?

It would certainly explain a lot.

mariner said...

Lance,
But I believe we should continue to pursue the Taliban, especially its leaders, while working with the Afghanis to build a stable government that won't tolerate global terrorists.

You're assuming the Afghanis want a stable government that won't support terrorists.

It seems to me that if this were true it would already have happened.


They were certainly glad when the Taliban were thrown out.

garage mahal said...

Should we, therefore, invade and occupy South Florida?

Sure, just leave the Keys alone.

Roger J. said...

Mr Obama is simply going to sacrifice a relatively small number of fighting men and women to bolster his reelection chances--there will be no pictures of the coffins at Dover; minimal mention or stories of the military men and women that died because of the sychofantic press coverage of the president. I understand the political reality, but it is indeed a sad sad story.

Roger J. said...

sycophantic rather than my bad spelling.

mariner said...

edutcher,
They were certainly glad when the Taliban were thrown out.

Certainly some of them were happy.

My recollection is that others were not, and worked with the Taliban to undermine the regime we supported.

(Of course, since this has gone on for ten years already I may not be remembering correctly.)

Synova said...

Isolationism would be groovy if it were possible. That's not to say that we should or shouldn't continue in Afghanistan (or Libya), just that it's a peculiar sort of hubris to act as though nothing happens apart from US.

The situation in Afghanistan did harbor our enemies, and in this world our enemies aren't confined to some remote corner of it where they can be ignored (while we congratulate ourselves on our high-falutin' morals). The only thing that will stop Afghanistan from being a harbor for our enemies is if the situation in Afghanistan changes.

That's not to say that we've got some sort of mandate to remake the world, only that it is a legitimate matter of State, of self-defense, and what-not, to do a spot-check in the face of a direct attack on our nation... which happened on 9-11.

Letting conditions degrade to what they were, giving up a foothold in the region (not that I can get anyone to admit to the notion of permanent bases in Iraq such as we've got in Germany and Japan) which ought to be an obvious strategic necessity, and proving yet again that we're fickle, is not in our interests.

Because in the end, everything doesn't rely on us, we are not the beginning and the end, events and resentments don't wait on our word or decision.

We aren't that important that simply staying home will mean that everyone else just... stops.

Big Mike said...

If Petraeus resigns, and the Taliban becomes ascendant, then I think Obama in particular and Democrats in general, are going to be in problematic situation. As Dustin pointed out upthread, this has the very real potential of having the US pay the cost of victory, while accepting defeat.

What will you feminists do when the Taliban resumes beating women for showing too much ankle under their burkas?

Lincolntf said...

As the Obama Admin. does it's best to ensure a massive bloodbath in the MideasT, the few principled people in DC need to speak up. If we abandon the cause of freedom from Islamic terrorism now, we'll never again have the will to fight it. We will lose.

edutcher said...

Mariner, my memory is different, but I think we're talking about most of the country, who seemed awfully glad to see them go, as opposed to the Pushtuns, who are very fundamentalist and are on the Paki border (the old Northwest Frontier of Rudyard Kipling); this may be the point of disagreement.

Roger J. said...

Synova's comment gets to the heart of our dilemma--there is a need to have forward stationed forces; but those bases have to be attuned to some coherent geostrategic purpose-

I dont see any kind of such strategy articulated and in place.

It is simply under this administration all politics based on getting Mr Obama reelected.

Synova said...

" dont see any kind of such strategy articulated and in place."

Neither do I.

Same for Libya. Actually, double for Libya.

Robert Cook said...

"It is simply under this administration all politics based on getting Mr Obama reelected."

Uh, is there anyone who doesn't know this is always the primary motivating drive at all times for every President?

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Browndog said...

With the departure of Musharraf, the assassination of Bhutto, and the election of Obama...

....this war stood no chance of even meeting a political objective, let alone a military objective.

I came the shocking personal conclusion 6 months ago that ALL troops need to be pulled out of Afghanistan immediately.

Synova said...

"With the departure of Musharraf, the assassination of Bhutto, and the election of Obama..."

With the election of Obama, the assassination of Bhutto, and the departure of Musharraf... I think that's the order it all happened in, and I'm a little bit convinced that one led to the other. Or at least that the election of Obama and expected change in US policy destabilized Musharraf which led to Bhutto's return and her assassination.

Pakistan wasn't ever much of an ally, but Bush seemed to understand that stability there was important to us and that Musharraf (like whats-his-face in Kabul and whoever-it-was in Baghdad) needed to maintain a facade of not-a-US-puppet-ism in order to remain in power.

Obama was supposed to actually make people *like* us, so I suppose that wasn't important anymore.

edutcher said...

One of the big problems here my be that fact that, under Dubya, it was mostly a Special Forces war (some called it the Commando Olympics).

With Little Zero, it turned into what was known in 'Nam as a Big Unit war. Some of this was the surge, of course, but, if Zero played games with the number and mix of troops McChrystal and Petraeus wanted, then he bears a good deal of blame.

Robert Cook said...

"It is simply under this administration all politics based on getting Mr Obama reelected."

Uh, is there anyone who doesn't know this is always the primary motivating drive at all times for every President?


No Administration wants a FUBAR on its watch, but most try to advance the interests of national security.

The last few Democrat Administrations seem to be exceptions.

Cedarford said...

Just because God Petraeus and his necon cheerleaders wanted a new Surge in a new country (see McCain, Lindsey Graham, Good Old Joe) doesn't mean it was smart. Not with the scumbag Karzai (Bush's special friend) more interested in kleptocracy for his clan and allied warlords than in presenting a better alternative than the Taliban in ruling the place.
Afghanistan 1,300 troops in Afghanistan 2001 (90% fighters), 8,100 - 2002, 13,100 - 2003, 26,500 - 2006, 33,700 June 2008, 68,000 - Nov 2009, 101,000 June 2011 (10% fighters, "90% fobbits").

The Westmoreland-LBJ Surge? 23,390 - 1964, 184,300 1965, 385,300 1966, 485,600 1967, Peaking at 536,700 'Heroes' there to save the Vietnamese and nation-build them. Then Nixon.
334,600 1970
156,800 1971
24,000 1972
50 left - 1973..

Of course the war thirsty would argue that if the S Vietnamese, like the Nobel Afghan Freedom Lovers, were not willing to fight for themselves..if falls to the moral obligation of Americans to go anywhere and pay any price for the God-given Freedom!! of others.

People like Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Bush I agreed. The former three would have called Bush Jr a fucking idiot for getting our troops bogged down 10 years in a trillion dollar "nation-building" fiasco. And Obama at the same level of foreign policy competence as Bush. HW Bush is too polite to call Dubya a fucking idiot and the best Bush son (Jeb) who could have been a great President lost his opportunity to Dubya - and Obama is a stupid disgrace to the Ivys as well.

Old Dad said...

A victory for Joe Biden is a defeat for the world, for America, for Democrats, for Republicans, for kittens, and for light rail (gulp).

But it's a victory for dumbasses everywhere. Garages of the world unite!

PatCA said...

I told you, he turned his victory in killing UBL into defeat.

Surrender.

Cedarford said...

BTW, compared to the trillion, 200 billion dollar bill of Dubya for helping his noble purple-fingered Iraqi and Afghan Freedom-Lovers!! the bill for Libya is still small potatos at only 1 billion. And no US casualties vs. 6K killed and 24K severely wounded. More than 6K of their number maimed severely, or with significant brain loss of function.
But Libya is as brainless as Bush's nation-building. Get out there, too.

The war lovers and believers that we should shed blood to help save unwilling even hostile Afghans from themselves will moan about 10,000 of our puffed up ranks of 'Heroes' - but is 10K out of 100K is small potatos. Probably good to start small but move faster later, as Nixon did tossing the sink or swim fate on the S Vietnamese.

Fred4Pres said...

Joe Biden singing while drunk...

What can you say?

Fred4Pres said...

Joe Biden spelling!

Fred4Pres said...

This includes Joe Plugs calling for two combat battalions for Afghanistan.

garage mahal said...

Was Obama hinting we should build infrastructure here instead of continuing to build it in Afghanistan? That won't go over well with righties.

Old Dad said...

Was garage hinting that Obama's failed foreign policy needs to be rejected so as to pour more resources into his failed domestic policy?

garage mahal said...

Obama has failed to extricate ourselves from these clusterfucks fast enough, and failed to point out how Republicans are going out of their way to destroy our economy.

Better?

Synova said...

"Was Obama hinting we should build infrastructure here instead of continuing to build it in Afghanistan? That won't go over well with righties."

This assumes that Obama is going to do anything "here" that isn't actively damaging.

"Hinting we should" gets him no points at all when what he's actually "done" is mostly just paid states to pay their government workers while everyone else tries to find a job while his labor department takes Boeing to court and his energy department blocks drilling.

Synova said...

And garage, really! Afghanistan was the Good War, Obama said so. We were supposed to take it to Pakistan, Obama said so.

Any Libya is all his. Every last bomb.

Old Dad said...

garage blathered:

"Obama has failed to extricate ourselves from these clusterfucks fast enough, and failed to point out how Republicans are going out of their way to destroy our economy.

Better?"

Better? No, much worse. Obama pledged to surge troops into (your words) the clusterfuck in Afghanistan, and has managed to wreck the economy without going out of his way or even miss a tee time.

David said...

My wife's nephew has spent three tours in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger.

Twice wounded in combat and one broken leg scrambling down a hill to help others in his unit.

He did so well he was given his choice of next assignment. He choose to be trained to fly a Chinook because he so admired the soldiers who flew them in and out and supplied them.

He won't return to Afghanistan right away, but based on Obama's schedule he should have a chance to risk his life again turning out the lights.

Fen said...

Cook: what should be the bedrock minimum requirement for us to ever engage in military action abroad

Right. In the age of WMD, we wait till we are attacked, stack the bodies, and then react.

I hope it happens to you first.

Henry said...

Lance and Dustin pretty much nail this one (comments 1 and 2), but I agree with Shouting Thomas (comment 4). Even with Petraeus in charge, there is no long term solution in Afghanistan. The sooner out the better.

And once we're out and no longer have to play diplomatic games with Islamabad, let's align firmly with India against Pakistan.

JAL said...

I would trust David Petraeus any day over the person who is presently the President of the United States.

JAL said...

Gen. David Petraeus

Michael Yon

Paul said...

The Taliban will re-emerge to fill the vacuum. Al-Qaeda will have BOTH Afghanistan and Pakistan as a training base.

This is far worse than Nixon's 'Peace with Honor' copout.

Obama does not mind the deaths that will ensue from this decision. He is so desperate to do something, anything, to get re-elected that allowing a terrorist organisation free reign is simply a political decision.

Mark my works, he had a choice between dishonour and war. He chose dishonour, and so we shall have war (to paraphrase Churchill.)

JAL said...

@GM failed to point out how Republicans are going out of their way to destroy our economy

hahahahah heeehe hhehehe hhus chichk hick hahaha Republicans hehehehe trying to hiccup hahahehehehhickck ... destroy the economy hehe hahhic

ROFL

hic haha .aa. . .

gasp

roesch-voltaire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SGT Ted said...

Obama is a very, very stupid man. He is surrendering the battelfield. Part of the enemy strategy was to outlast our commitment. Bin Laden himself was counting on it. While he didn't live, he gets his victory. Withdrawal of US Forces from the battlefield.

Thanks for throwing away lots of lives, President Jughead. All done to suck up to his blame-Amerika-first leftwing base who hate the US Military.

roesch-voltaire said...

Shouting for once we agree: these wars have not done well for us! And others agree as well as seen from this quote" "Based on the past ten years, population protection and nation building as U.S. military missions have failed," declared Bing West, a Marine combat veteran and best-selling author, in his latest book, "The Wrong War. I think we need to understand the difference between security and defense between waging war to build nations and the increase of our defense through focused intelligence, and small highly trained strike forces that include drones.

PETER V. BELLA said...

President Obama's speech was very well received. There was laughing, applause, and a standing ovation. By the Taliban, the Yemenis, the Pakistanis, the Libyan government, Saudi Arabia, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, Syria, Egypt, and all the other great friends of the coward in chief.

traditionalguy said...

Realpolitik says that we need to experience war every 20 years or so to keep our Military Officer's training in weapons and tactics updated. But after the last 10 years of learning, we need to get our asses out of this 21st century replay of a Peleliu engagement in the worthless Afghan Mountain valleys.

Mark O said...

When the next major attach comes, and with the Obama policies it will, who will go to the vaults and stuff the notes down his pants?

murgatroyd666 said...

I read Our Beloved President's speech. The man who supposedly is the Greatest Orator of the Third Millennium has some odd turns of phrase. For example:

A second war was launched in Iraq, and we spent enormous blood and treasure to support a new government there. "Enormous blood"?

... they cannot elude us, nor escape the justice they deserve. Is there some other kind of justice?

Some have lost limbs on the field of battle, and others still battle the demons that have followed them home. "Battle" as a noun and a verb in the same sentence?

Others would have America over-extend ourselves, confronting every evil that can be found abroad. Huh? America: singular. Ourselves: plural. He does this several times.

We must chart a more centered course. A "centered course"? The center is one spot.

Alas, he gave us plenty of obfuscatory platitudes and clich├ęs and self-congratulation, but very few specifics about why we're withdrawing at this particular time or what will happen after we leave.

Robert Cook said...

L'il Scaredy Pussy Cat said:

"In the age of WMD, we wait till we are attacked, stack the bodies, and then react."

Oh, Christ, the WMD Bugaboo Boogie Man. In the last century it was the Red Menace, with a commie agent under every bed, in every closet, behind every tree and down every alley, scheming to lure the young and foolish to their evil ideology, plotting to "kill us all!" A few centuries back it was witches giving us the evil eye.

What's it going to be next century, (assuming we survive this one...which I have serious doubts about)?

We are our own greatest enemy and we are the only ones who can or will destroy us.

Synova said...

So, in other words, we wait until we are attacked, stack the bodies and then react.

How big a non-WMD event qualifies, Cook?

How about 3,000 people in one event. Is that big enough for you? No?

Robert Cook said...

"How about 3,000 people in one event. Is that big enough for you? No?"

Our response to 9/11 has been a disaster, without succeeding in the least in its claimed purposes, ("to make us safer" or "to end terrorism" or whatever other glib lie is put forth by the serial assholes who come and go in Washington).

We have simply killed or caused to be killed many many people, while bringing about increasing authoritarianism and government lawlessness here, while squandering unimaginable treasure in the doing of it.

Total calamity, total fail.

garage mahal said...

What's it going to be next century, (assuming we survive this one...which I have serious doubts about)?

Great, another 100 years of right wing zombies driving our discourse.

bagoh20 said...

Nobody knows what will happen longer term, but generally when we walk away from an intervention without finishing it, it goes very bad for a lot of people there. I expect that here.

There is no two ways about it. If we leave, we lost, and the cost of that is not our pride, but the respect, trust and fear our military enjoys. That is not a small sacrifice. We will pay for that eventually and I suspect that bill will come at an even worse time than now, and will include a nuclear late penalty.

It's always easy to say walk away, and nobody that calls for that ever has to apologize for it, no matter how bad it turns out. It ends up being distant in miles and years, so they are off the hook. The price next time may be in the distant future, but it will be very close to us. That's the nature of the new threat.

bagoh20 said...

I am psychic and I know that right now some asshole somewhere is saying: "See they quit, it may take a while but they quit. Even if we kill thousands of their innocents in their cities, they still lose interest in getting us back. Next time they won't even try."

Our betrayal of Vietnam informed the thinking that we would not respond after 9/11. They were wrong, but how we handle Afghanistan will be what's remembered. I want to be out of there, but losing is a mistake. We didn't really try to win - we tried not to lose. That never works.

zefal said...

Biden has long argued? How long is long to the those dolts at the ny times? Just three years ago this was joe biden's op-ed in that very (cough) newspaper.

By JOE BIDEN
Published: March 2, 2008
THE next president will have to rally America and the world to “fight them over there unless we want to fight them over here.” The “over there” is not, as President Bush has claimed, Iraq, but rather the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
That is where those who attacked us on 9/11 came from, where the attacks in Europe since originated and where Al Qaeda is regrouping. It is the real central front in the war on terrorism.

Afghanistan is slipping toward failure. The Taliban is back, violence is up, drug production is booming and the Afghans are losing faith in their government. All the legs of our strategy — security, counternarcotics efforts, reconstruction and governance — have gone wobbly.

If we should have had a surge anywhere, it is Afghanistan. And instead of eradicating poppy crops, which forces many farmers to turn to the Taliban, we should go after drug kingpins.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/opinion/02biden.html

Let me guess; If the policy is shifted again the ny times piece will be headlined: Shift in Policy is Victory for Obama!

Fen said...

Cook: Oh, Christ, the WMD Bugaboo Boogie Man.

Cook, do you even understand what WMDs are? If you don't believe they exist, you could have told us up front and saved us the trouble of taking you seriously.

Robert Cook said...

"Cook, do you even understand what WMDs are?"

Yes...we have them. Al Qaeda doesn't.

gerry said...

Afghanistan is one thing the BO in the Whithouse can do something about immediately.

He'll fuck it up.

Just like Syria, Libya, Israel, etc.

Fen said...

ie. Cook doesn't know what WMDs are.

Why don't you define them for us here. Just as a qualifier.

Thorley Winston said...

No mention of a victory for the United States of America. How very telling.

Luther said...

This was a very depressing thread.

Synova said...

"Our response to 9/11 has been a disaster,.."

Irrelevant to the question.

If we only go to war after we are attacked, no pre-emptive self-defense allowed... does the attack on 9-11 not count?

The efficacy of our response isn't the question. The moral justification of a military response, of going to war, after we are attacked is the question. This is the standard that you insist upon. Entirely ignoring the other attacks that day and all the various attacks in years leading up to 9-11... speaking to the single event that took down the world trade center buildings in New York... IS THAT EVENT NOT BIG ENOUGH FOR YOU?

If it is just a question of rightly directing a counter-offensive, that is a side issue as well... we've as much right to do what we must to counter a small band of persons and the damage that they can do, as we have to make war with a nation... almost none of which citizens' had any involvement in war in the past *either* except as innocents, civilians, and draftees, who certainly did not deserve to die because a small band of people who happened to be their government were terminally stupid.

In fact, in this war, poorly undertaken as it may have been, the combatants in both Iraq and Afghanistan are likely personally morally culpable to an extent never seen before in History in a conflict of equal or greater scope.

Robert Cook said...

"In fact, in this war, poorly undertaken as it may have been, the combatants in both Iraq and Afghanistan are likely personally morally culpable to an extent never seen before in History in a conflict of equal or greater scope."

A grand statement supported by zero documentation, with regard to Afghanistan.

With regard to Iraq, it is a nonsequitur, as they had not even a tangential connection to the attacks of 9/11.

We certainly had cause to respond to the attacks of 9/11. But we had an obligation to respond proportionately and appropriately. Invading two countries on the pretext of responding to 9/11 was disproportionate, inappropriate, unjustified, criminal and disastrous.

It would be as if we put the whole of Los Angeles under siege and mass bombardments because a gang of Bloods or Crips killed a bunch of people at a bank robbery, or like using a chainsaw to perform Lasic surgery.