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Afghanistan/ Vietnam part 3

support the troops

In the previous thread “Afghanistan/ Vietnam” Ephlbog author Ronit highlighted Political Science professor James McAllister’s sweeping comparisons of Afghanistan and Vietnam. Articlesopinion pieces in this vain have been popping up quite often recently.

In his recent report General Stanley A. McChrystal continually calls for increased troop levels and states emphatically:

“Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.”

“This is a struggle for the support of the Afghan people. Our willingness to operate in ways that minimize casualties or damage — even when doing so makes our task more difficult — is essential to our credibility,” McChrystal said. “I cannot overstate my commitment to the importance of this concept.”

To Which the WH responded:

White House officials say the president stands by the comments he made at the weekend when he told talk shows that he is hesitant to escalate the numbers of troops in Afghanistan but agrees that a new strategy is required to combat the Taliban and al-Qaida. “Until I’m satisfied that we’ve got the right strategy, I’m not going to be sending some young man or woman over there beyond what we already have,” Obama said on Meet the Press.

Such is politics. President Obamas lukewarm response has to give pause to those of us who believe we need to win in Afghanistan.  Obama continually promised the electorate that he believed in the war, and that he would not let us falter in the conflict. General McChrystal is a very capable expert who was given the time and resources to do a full analysis of the situation on the ground, and come up with a plan to win.  McChrystal continually warns throughout his report that increased numbers and a tactical shift is needed now if we are going to succeed.

What we may find is that liberal baby boomer fear of conflict and the demons of their generation push the polity to ignore the military experts and follow a course that leads to a self fulfilling prophesy. We may indeed come to a point historically where comparison of these two wars is viable. We defeat ourselves, because we cannot summon the will to win.

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#1 Comment By jeffz On September 21, 2009 @ 9:32 pm

The military is no different from any government, or heck, any private sector, bureaucracy — given the opportunity, the powers that be will always request more resources, more responsibility, a bigger budget, better equipment, and a broader mission. Folks don’t get to be Generals by thinking small: they are not only good at what they are do, they are ambitious, and ambition doesn’t often equate with modest aims. For some reason, we see this as fine when it comes to the military — even the biggest advocates of cutting government spending seem to give no thought to the immense escalation in our military spending over the past decade — but problematic in all other aspects of governance.

Now, I’m no military expert, and I have no idea what the right strategy in Afghanistan is, or even if a viable strategy exists. But the mere fact that a General asks for more troops is in no way dispositive in terms of deciding the best course of action. Maybe he is right, but we should not blindly accept that recommendation on sheer faith, but rather cast the same critical eye as we would on any government (or corporate) official with any ambitious, well-intentioned, but potentially overbroad goal.

#2 Comment By frank uible On September 21, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

Except that blood is at stake.

#3 Comment By PTC On September 21, 2009 @ 10:26 pm

The Military is very different than the government or the private sector. The Military serves the government, and the constitution. That makes it very different indeed. These people are willing to deploy for years away from family living in garbage and die fighting for our way of life… I doubt very much that is true for many wall street types. McChrystal could retire tomorrow and live like a king. He chooses not to because he believes in a sense of duty above and beyond his own self interest.

He is an expert Jeff. The expert that Obama hired to do this. He is a genius with a ton of experience who was given the time, the resources, and the access to do this study properly. If we do not rely on his word, whose then, exactly? Did you read his report?

He plainly states in the report that if we do not follow this course of action then we should not commit further. He clearly articulates the problems. No doubt, he clearly articulates the detailed courses of action in the classified version.

McChrystal is giving an opinion to the President. Obama does not have to follow it… but the political nature of the Obama response makes me wonder if Obama no longer supports the effort in Afghanistan. Obama did promise the electorate, many times, that he would do what was needed to succeed in this war.

If he is not going to follow the advice of his commanding general to win the war… then who’s advice is he going to follow?

#4 Comment By Dick Swart On September 21, 2009 @ 11:12 pm

I wonder if a reader with an historical perspective would share his views on any ultimate outcome of US participation in Afghanistan.

The general staff studies of the three Anglo-Afghan Wars (1838-1919) and the Soviet-Afghan Occupation (1979-1989) might contain data from which a conclusion, however tentative, may be drawn, in addition to the lessons being learned now by the US and the British, yet again, on asymetrical warfare.

The story of the British retreat from Kabul on January 6, 1842 with 4,500 troops and 12,000 civilians is disheartening. Only one man, a British surgeon, made it to Jalalabad.

And Rudyard Kipling ended his poem ‘The Young British Soldier’ with these lines:

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

#5 Comment By frank uible On September 22, 2009 @ 12:16 am

The U.S. civilian sector should have the right always (and the obligation often) to subject the U.S. military sector and its analyses to extensive reasonable (and, if indicated, rude) questioning.

#6 Comment By frank uible On September 22, 2009 @ 12:20 am

Love Kipling’s sentimentality.

#7 Comment By Vermando ’05 On September 22, 2009 @ 3:05 am

“General McChrystal is a very capable expert who was given the time and resources to do a full analysis of the situation on the ground, and come up with a plan to win.”

Another former Williams Professor, Mark Lynch, had a very, very different take on the quality of this study – including the objectivity and expertise of those who wrote it, as well as the time they devoted to it – on his blog at foreignpolicy.com. I don’t know who is right, but there’s more going on here than just “liberal baby boomer fear of conflict and the demons of their generation”.

#8 Comment By PTC On September 22, 2009 @ 3:43 am

Vermando- Nothing against Mark Lynch, but the idea that a civilian history prof has the ability to analyze who and what mechanisms a combat General is tapping into for current intelligence in the study of an ongoing conflict is a bit of a stretch. Mark Lynch may have a legitimate difference from a broad historical perspective, and that is fine, no doubt useful, but he does not see 1% of the current information that General McChrystal and his staff does. Mr Lynch does not have an army of enablers with current eyes on the conflict.

#9 Comment By jeffz On September 22, 2009 @ 5:56 am

The fact that soldiers are willing to die, and do in fact die, fighting these wars makes it all the more important that we do not blindly accept, without any skepticism, reservations, second opinions, or further analysis, the judgments of our military leaders, simply by virtue of their station. That is not to say we don’t weigh their expertise and grant their views respect accordingly, but that is very different from saying “because he says so, we have to do it.” There are thousands of examples in history, probably millions, where other “genius” Generals with amazing track records have been very wrong (aka Hannibal), sometimes with tragic results, in their assessment of battle scenarios. Again, I am not saying he necessarily IS wrong, and I don’t know enough about this conflict to even speculate on the answer. I am just disturbed by your blind faith that anything a General you admire says HAS to be right, is immune from reasoned critique from intelligent civilian sources, and is essentially beyond reproach. There are a lot of people equally high-minded and devoted in civilian public service out there, and you would (rightly) laugh in my face if I made an analogous suggestion to you in terms of your deference to their judgment on matters within their areas of expertise (indeed, you were the one who recently suggested that we don’t need judges and attorneys to interpret the Constitution and that untrained citizens were just as adept at doing so — an analogy would be me saying that we don’t need Generals to lead battles because I’ve watched a lot of war movies). The point is that experts are experts for a reason, and their views should be carefully weighed and given due respect. At the the same time, they should not necessarily be blindly followed, because they do make mistakes, and given how high the stakes are, as we’ve seen in too many military conflicts to name (some still ongoing), we absolutely should be challenging those experts to make sure their analysis holds up. In sum, you can say, so and so strategy is better, and the fact that an expert General endorses it is evidence on-point. You can’t say, we have no choice but to follow that strategy because a smart General suggested it, without allowing that any such policy will inevitably lead, at times, to terrible results.

#10 Comment By PTC On September 22, 2009 @ 9:05 am

Jeff- True. Obama will draw on a wide variety of opinions from other agencies before he pulls the trigger on this. No doubt about that. As he should. What troubles me is how he has shifted his tone. I am not sure he still believes this war is winnable, or worth winning. Also, he had this report for over three weeks before it was leaked. He should be well prepared with an answer on the technical merits of why he wants to wait prior to. In fact, he should have been ahead of this in the news. The fact that he was not is a huge mistake. Those who do not frame their arguments have their arguments framed for them.

I can tell you, as you already know, that there is a large liberal component in the Democratic party drawing comparisons between Vietnam and Afghanistan. Republicans are also doing that as well, because it applies pressure politically. That is because it runs deep in the American psyche of that generation as a lost war that was waged on a lie without cause.

Well, inaction may well make that a reality. If we fail to muster the will to win, if we fail to properly fund and man this war, we will lose. The General was asked to give a full analysis of what was needed to win a counter insurgency, and he provided it. He is in command. If Obama is not going to follow his plan, he should at least have the courtesy to relieve him, and try to find someone else who thinks they can win with less men and less money. He should also explain that to the those fighting under his command as President.

Obama may well follow this plan. It is not a done deal yet, not by any stretch. But asking for more manpower and tools during a time of war to fight the enemy does not seem like an outlandish request.

The opposite of what you propose may well be true, if we do nothing, many more Americans and our allies may die as a result, and we may never achieve our objective of an Afghanistan under allied control. McChrystal is very clear, more manpower and money is needed right now to stand up our Afghani allies and create enough pockets of security to win this war. If we are not willing to pay for that, then we should hold what we have and look for another strategy that does not involve counter insurgency and nation building.

#11 Comment By JeffZ On September 22, 2009 @ 9:14 am

Fair enough. Personally, I’d be more interested in comparisons to past conflicts in Afghanistan (plenty to choose from, certainly) than in comparisons to Vietnam … seems to be the most relevant metric in terms of figuring out what realistically can hope to be achieved, and what it will take to achieve it.

#12 Comment By eyetolduso On September 22, 2009 @ 9:57 am

The annual death rate for American forces in the 8 years of engagement in Operation Enduring Freedom in and around Afghanistan has been reported as 155. While the lost of any life is tragic (we have aprox. 17,000 murders every year in the US as a comparison, 45,000 traffic deaths, maybe we need these troops patrolling US streets) the death toll should not be the main factor in determining US policy. The military death toll during peace time years is always around 2,500. Dangerous business.

#13 Comment By Michael On September 22, 2009 @ 10:24 am

I’m currently reading “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet invasion to 9/10/2001”, by Steve Coll. It’s an amazing book and, among other things, discusses the comparisons made between Vietnam and Afghanistan within groups like the CIA. I recommend it to anyone interested in recent U.S.-Afghanistan relations.

#14 Comment By PTC On September 22, 2009 @ 10:43 am

Michael- I have read it. It is a good book. Remember- this time, there is no superpower supporting the Taliban.

The USA dominates the battlefield far more than any other power in the region ever has. This time, we can win, if we have the will and commit the manpower and money.

#15 Comment By Ronit On September 22, 2009 @ 11:03 am

@PTC: Define “winning”.

#16 Comment By PTC On September 22, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

Ronit- Allied control of Afghanistan provinces primarily through use of Afghani allies. A permanent presence in Afghanistan that projects power throughout the region monitoring and disrupting extremist organizations.

#17 Comment By Ronit On September 22, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

@PTC: Attempting to maintain a permanent presence in Afghanistan sounds like a recipe for death by slow attrition.

#18 Comment By PTC On September 22, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

eyetold- Great point. Loss of life in these conflicts has been miniscule in terms of a historical perspective, especially in Afghanistan.

#19 Comment By PTC On September 22, 2009 @ 2:08 pm

Ronit- Why? The former Afghani government fostered the largest attack from a foreign power on our homeland in United States History. We still have troops in Germany, Italy, Spain, Kuwait, Korea, Japan, Bosnia, Kosovo…etc. etc, it is not like such a presence in a contested region has not been achievable in the past- or that insurgencies/ terrorism attacks on our troops in countries that we have occupied are something new.

#20 Comment By Ronit On September 22, 2009 @ 2:24 pm

@PTC: Do you see any major differences between the occupation of Japan or Germany or Korea and this occupation?

#21 Comment By Ronit On September 22, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

The two big ones I would point to:

1. No regular enemy, therefore no regular military victory that can be achieved against them.

2. No legitimate, friendly political leadership to take the place of the defeated regime (Karzai is immensely corrupt and has no legitimacy)

Also, we’ve wasted six years in a holding pattern without bringing many real improvements to the lives of the Afghan people that would win them over to our side.

#22 Comment By PTC On September 22, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

I think it would be helpfull if those blogging here who think we never should have invaded Afghanistan or now believe that the war is no longer worth the cost- would explain why they have that belief.

I think a lot of the anti Afghanistan sentiment stems from Iraq fatigue… and while one could very easily argue that the invasion of Iraq was counter productive from a strategic perspective, I do not think that same argument can be made so easily about Afghanistan.

#23 Comment By PTC On September 22, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

Ronit- Every conflict is different.

We held Germany and Japan for a long period of time before they got on their feet, and expended a large amount of resources to bring them into the fold. Kosovo and bosnia are still under development. What is your argument, that we did not have to put a lot of lives and resources into Germany and Japan to build them up as allies?

#24 Comment By Ronit On September 22, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/09/the_president_held_hostage.php

Leaving aside the real constraints of domestic politics — a skeptical Democratic Congress and a war-weary public, the heart of the internal administration conflict is whether a plausible Afghanistan strategy exists in [the] universe. Simply put, the White House — principally Vice President Biden and Gen. James Jones — don’t want to commit more troops to the region unless they can prevent the Taliban from taking over the government, now and in the future. Biden, in particular, argued against a “counterinsurgency for counterterrorism” strategy as overambitious and unsustainable. The deeply flawed election in Afghanistan, which, most importantly, was seen as deeply flawed by the Afghans, seems to have been the breaking point: the central government was not only corrupt, not only weak, and not only barely legitimate outside of Kabul; it was so weak and so corruptible that it would not even be able to sustain the standing army that NATO troops were desperately trying to train. Who was the U.S. fighting for? A weak, inept, ineffectual and ultimately disposable government? Implicit in this argument is that a strategy predicated on there being an alternative to the Taliban is like a hamster spinning on a wheel. In that case, removing the incentives for the Taliban to be radicalized and destroying the leadership of Al Qaeda — basically, bribing people and killing people, and doing so indefinitely, but with irregular and special operations forces — is the alternative. The Biden alternative focuses on the intricate connections between India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Briefly put, Pakistan facilitates the Taliban and various insurgencies in Afghanistan because it preserves the option of living space to the north — part of the grand goal of turning Pakistan into a haven for Islam. Kashmir’s fate is crucial to this dynamic. But India won’t talk about Kashmir; Pakistan won’t — can’t — truly cut off ties with the Taliban until Kashmir is dealt with — and the U.S seems to have no leverage whatsoever.

(read the whole thing)
(emphasis added)


Ackerman (or his source) reveals his naivete in the next paragraph:

What are the alternatives? An intense, low-level war of attrition between NATO forces and the Taliban forever? Or a concerted effort by the US, Russia, Iran and China to essentially force India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmiri dispute, combined with massive amounts of direct aid to Pakistan, combined with a massive influx of intelligence assets into the region, combined with the bribing of willing and bribable Taliban commanders? Basically, instead of focusing on Afghan civillians, this strategy would make it as expensive as possible for a Taliban leader to decide not to ally with the United States. In other words — counterterrorism as counterinsurgency, and not the other way around.

The first highlighted sentence is what we appear to be headed towards.

The second highlighted sentence will, basically, never happen. Not through external pressure. The more external pressure that is applied, the less likely the Kashmir situation is to be resolved.

The alternatives don’t look great.

#25 Comment By Ronit On September 22, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

Also, PTC – if anyone ever spelled out the future of US strategy in Afghanistan as aiming towards a “permanent presence in Afghanistan that projects power throughout the region” (essentially, a protectorate) – and this is what an Afghan surge seems to lead to – I suspect the public support for that will be very, very low. The American people are not in a mood to acquire colonies at this point.

#26 Comment By PTC On September 22, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

Ronit- I believe your viewpoint falls under the second course of action recommended.. withdraw. Which is fine. As long as we understand that if we are not willing to commit a lot of time and resources into the conflict (as we have done in Germany, Japan, Kosovo, Korea etc etc) then we will not reach our objectives of a stable region free of Taliban. That is fine, but Obama continually stated that he supported a long and sustained conflict that would cost a lot in money and manpower…

#27 Comment By PTC On September 22, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

He should relieve McChrystal and put someone in there that agree’s with his “new” strategic vision.

#28 Comment By rory On September 22, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

interesting and possible relevant op-ed in the washington post about terrorism and safe havens.

#29 Comment By Ronit On September 23, 2009 @ 12:06 am

@PTC: Your framing of this issue is unhelpful. Spending a great deal of blood and treasure to pacify Afghanistan and make it free of Taliban (if that is even possible) gains us nothing if Al Qaeda types continue to thrive in FATA. The debate is over what is most helpful to achieving the broader strategic aims of the United States (remember why we are there? It has something to do with terrorism.)

Obviously, McChrystal has a view on which strategy is most helpful, but that is one of several inputs that the White House has access to – and it is ultimately civilian leaders that decide strategic questions, not the military. Simply because a general has a strategic view does not mean that the civilian leadership has to accept that view.

Secondly, if McChrystal, Mullen, or anyone else in the military leaked the report to Woodward in an attempt to embarrass their Commander in Chief, they should, in fact, submit their resignation without having to be asked.

Finally, instead of an ideological commitment to staying in Afghanistan regardless of cost or likelihood of success, it is wise to reevaluate strategy in light of changed circumstances. In your posts so far, I see several mentions of Obama’s promises in the US elections (over a year ago), but no mention of the Afghan election which happened much more recently. I think you underestimate or ignore just how problematic those elections were, and the degree to which Karzai has lost legitimacy. This has an effect on US strategy, because the prospect of “winning” in Afghanistan becomes much less likely when we have no legitimate local leadership to partner with.

#30 Comment By PTC On September 23, 2009 @ 10:36 am

Ronit- You ignore Pakistan in your response. The key to our influence in the western tribal regions there is control of Afghanistan. Pakistan has nukes, and are having a war with Al Q and the Taliban in that region. That is a large part of the reason, not to mention a border with Iran, that it is absolutely in our strategic interests to keep our foothold in Afghanistan.

The election was a setback, no doubt about it. However, we have overcome that type of problem in the past… and remember, we have a right to be in Afghanistan. We are also backed by a large international coalition. You ignore the impact of leaving in terms of our relationship with critical allies that we pushed into this conflict with us.

Control of Afghanistan is absolutely essential to our national security. No doubt about it. We have a legitimate reason to be there as long as we are willing, allies backing us up in combat operations from over a dozen allied nations, and a link to extremist nations and regions that serve our critical international interest in combating both terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Afghanistan_ISAF_Sept2008.jpg

#31 Comment By PTC On September 23, 2009 @ 10:47 am

Also- Although my framing of this may not be nice, and may serve to offend many of the other Democrats blogging here (hence the low rating), you need to understand that the Republicans have already framed the issue in this way, and that other more independent Democrats like myself who are strong on national security issues and who took a risk advocating for Obama in this election are not going along for this ride. It is a point of view. It is meant to evoke political opposition and discourse as it has. It is very real, and everyday that Obama stays behind on the issue of the war, he loses ground with the moderate voting block.

Health care is not more important than war. He should be focusing on this until he makes a command decision. We elected him to lead. The Democrats risk losing the national security argument for another generation if they do not show strength and some kind of clarity and resolve on the war. Floundering around without a decisive plan for months on end only hurts the country. If he is not going to follow the Commanding General, he should say so and execute another strategy.

#32 Comment By PTC On September 23, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

“Secondly, if McChrystal, Mullen, or anyone else in the military leaked the report to Woodward in an attempt to embarrass their Commander in Chief, they should, in fact, submit their resignation without having to be asked.”

– the chances of that are next to none. Military members almost never leak classified materials such as this to the press. They are however, bound to submit reports to the civil authorities in congress who have a variety of political interests and party affiliations. Such officials are almost never held legally accountable if the leak is discovered.

Do the math, the chance that this was leaked by a person wearing the uniform is next to none.

#33 Comment By JeffZ On September 23, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

I haven’t read this, but article that appears to be on-point in this week’s New Yorker:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/28/090928fa_fact_packer

#34 Comment By Ronit On September 23, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

@PTC: I think it’s more important to focus on the long term strategic goals rather than how the Republicans are going to frame it in 2010. I care much more about the future of US foreign policy than I do about how Democrats are “perceived” on foreign policy. There is no virtue in showing strength and clarity in support of a misguided strategic objective.

Also, Gen. McChrystal has a better understanding of his constitutional role than many of the administration’s opponents (and you) seem to possess:

General McChrystal would not assess various proposals for reshaping the mission that differ from his, including one idea supported by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to scale back the military mission in Afghanistan to focus instead on terrorists seeking safe haven in Pakistan.

The commander said he welcomed alternative proposals for how to stabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan, and stressed that he did not feel that his analysis had been diminished in the view of senior administration officials because of its blunt tone.

“This is the right kind of process, and the way I see duty, I have been given the opportunity to provide my inputs to the decision,” General McChrystal said. “Then it is my duty to execute that decision.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/24/world/asia/24general.html?_r=1&src=twt&twt=nytimes

#35 Comment By PTC On September 23, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

Ronit- Of course he does. That is what he does for a living, follow orders and support and defend the constitution. That is why the idea that he leaked this… is ludicrous.

That does not change the metric he has set. He has a very specific policy that identifies a strategy for success… nay sayers had better come up with solutions and actionable objectives.

#36 Comment By PTC On September 23, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/world/asia/23policy.html?_r=1&ref=world

“A shift from a counterinsurgency strategy to a focus on counterterrorism would turn the administration’s current theory on its head. The strategy Mr. Obama adopted in March concluded that to defeat Al Qaeda, the United States needed to keep the Taliban from returning to power in Afghanistan and making it a haven once again for Osama bin Laden’s network. Mr. Biden’s position questions that assumption.

Mrs. Clinton, who opposed Mr. Biden in March, appeared to refer to this debate in an interview on Monday night on PBS. “Some people say, ‘Well, Al Qaeda’s no longer in Afghanistan,’ ” she said. “If Afghanistan were taken over by the Taliban, I can’t tell you how fast Al Qaeda would be back in Afghanistan.”

#37 Comment By JG On September 23, 2009 @ 7:15 pm

@PTC: PTC – I did not vote this post down, but I would guess that it is the lack of Williams-y news or connection attached to it – rather than it being about differing political views. I think this is an interesting discussion, but there are some readers who want something different from EphBlog (the EphPundit experiment yielded a lot of negativity from some people as well).

Perhaps I’m wrong and it’s all some evil democratic conspiracy, but given that you, Jeff, and Ronit are having an interesting back and forth, I don’t view the whole package (including comments) as overly partisan or anything.

#38 Comment By PTC On September 24, 2009 @ 9:51 am

JG- I disagree. Williams has many connections to the war. You do not need me to post more than a link to know that.

#39 Comment By Ronit On September 24, 2009 @ 12:26 pm

#40 Comment By JG On September 24, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

PTC – I said nothing about whether Ephs were connected to the issue. I was referring to this website and how readership sometimes reacts. We have many readers who come here looking for “Ephs beat Jeffs” or “XYZ Alum won an award.” As such, they may react negatively to a post that is not “about” Ephs in the same way. Again, I cited EphPundit as an example. There are many Ephs in politics, and many were referenced, but there were still a LOT of vocal readers who didn’t care for the series.

#41 Comment By Ronit On September 25, 2009 @ 2:06 am

#42 Comment By nuts On September 25, 2009 @ 2:30 am

New NYT/CBS poll Sep 19-23

War with Iraq NOT worth the costs in lives and other costs — by a 67-24 margin (Question 80) link

Polling of Afghanistan link

#43 Comment By nuts On September 25, 2009 @ 2:31 am

#44 Comment By PTC On September 25, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

Wait until we lose Afghanistan.. then see what happens and how these people being polled react to it. Wait until the death rate climbs even more because we do not have the forces is place to stop the Taliban.

Obama should not lead a war by polls. Polls change. He surges now, we take the country, kill some more terrorists… the polls will change. Then they will change yet again… and again.

You want a war to be run by polls? How about letting our military run a war for a change?

#45 Comment By Ronit On September 25, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

@PTC: The military doesn’t run wars in a republic. You seem to be unfamiliar with the concept.

#46 Comment By PTC On September 25, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

Ronit- Lol. Good god. The military is most certainly given the latitude to run most wars in a Republic… once war is declared or an invasion begins, Generals and Admirals execute plans that they make in order to cover the strategic objectives. In this case, it appears that Obama is changing the strategic objectives… that is fine, but it would be very nice if he let the folks in uniform in on this change.

In this case, Obama is in a war without a military plan being executed. Now, it appears he is in a war and changing his strategic objectives without a military plan being executed.

“Hey son, go hang around on a street corner until you get shot or I figure out a strategy”… not much of a way to treat soldiers.

Obama should stop everything he is doing right now and come up with objectives and a strategy that military people can plan for and execute. Anything less, is a complete disservice. Health care is not more important than the war.

#47 Comment By PTC On September 29, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

http://www.necn.com/Boston/Politics/2009/09/28/Broadside-Martha-Coakley-on/1254179693.html

This from Jeffz in “speak up”… more of the “Afghanistan is like Vietnam” nonsense.

This time, Coakley takes a shot at the comparison.

#48 Comment By PTC On October 4, 2009 @ 8:07 am