Progress in Afghanistan


by Astronuc
Tags: afghanistan, progress
apeiron
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#253
Feb27-12, 07:06 PM
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Quote Quote by Galteeth View Post
I think part of the problem there is the "bad guys" aren't particularly afraid of dying since they are religious fanatics. The "good guys" are slightly more sane and thus afraid of dying.
The Afghan police certainly seem well-informed about the political realities of the situation.

By contrast, the article makes clear how the US leadership lies and spins to the US population. So I'm surprised people don't get more upset about that aspect of what the article claims.

I’m hardly the only one who has noted the discrepancy between official statements and the truth on the ground.

A January 2011 report by the Afghan NGO Security Office noted that public statements made by U.S. and ISAF leaders at the end of 2010 were “sharply divergent from IMF, [international military forces, NGO-speak for ISAF] ‘strategic communication’ messages suggesting improvements. We encourage [nongovernment organization personnel] to recognize that no matter how authoritative the source of any such claim, messages of the nature are solely intended to influence American and European public opinion ahead of the withdrawal, and are not intended to offer an accurate portrayal of the situation for those who live and work here.”

The following month, Anthony Cordesman, on behalf of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote that ISAF and the U.S. leadership failed to report accurately on the reality of the situation in Afghanistan.

“Since June 2010, the unclassified reporting the U.S. does provide has steadily shrunk in content, effectively ‘spinning’ the road to victory by eliminating content that illustrates the full scale of the challenges ahead,” Cordesman wrote. “They also, however, were driven by political decisions to ignore or understate Taliban and insurgent gains from 2002 to 2009, to ignore the problems caused by weak and corrupt Afghan governance, to understate the risks posed by sanctuaries in Pakistan, and to ‘spin’ the value of tactical ISAF victories while ignoring the steady growth of Taliban influence and control.”

How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding and behind an array of more than seven years of optimistic statements by U.S. senior leaders in Afghanistan? No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan. But we do expect — and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve — to have our leaders tell us the truth about what’s going on.
WhoWee
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Feb27-12, 07:12 PM
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Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
The Afghan police certainly seem well-informed about the political realities of the situation.

By contrast, the article makes clear how the US leadership lies and spins to the US population. So I'm surprised people don't get more upset about that aspect of what the article claims.
Is it really a matter of leadership lies and spins or is it a matter of the media picking and choosing their reports?
apeiron
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Feb27-12, 07:40 PM
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Quote Quote by WhoWee View Post
Is it really a matter of leadership lies and spins or is it a matter of the media picking and choosing their reports?
Which bit of the media report made you think that might be the case?
WhoWee
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#256
Feb27-12, 07:48 PM
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Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
Which bit of the media report made you think that might be the case?
I haven't found any major news stories citing - just secondary.
Galteeth
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Feb27-12, 08:00 PM
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Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
The Afghan police certainly seem well-informed about the political realities of the situation.

By contrast, the article makes clear how the US leadership lies and spins to the US population. So I'm surprised people don't get more upset about that aspect of what the article claims.
Nothing new there. First casualty of war and all that.
BobG
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#258
Feb27-12, 08:04 PM
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Quote Quote by ThinkToday View Post
We haven't really done much to win a war since WW2. We reclaimed Europe, North Africa, Mid-East, and Far East in 4 years. We didn't do it by being polite when we went to war. Within a few decades, most of the places we leveled are our allies (Germany, Japan, etc.). You shoot from a holy building and it becomes dust. Ever look at the pictures of WWI and WWII that show bombed out churches, even the ones for our Christian religions? Why waste time arguing with the nuts over this? Make a clear statement we'll total destroy any structure you shoot at us from regardless of its religious significance. The mid-East may never like us, but IMO, they better damn well fear us.

Gingrich had one thing correct about the Koran burning. Why are we apologizing for burning Korans that were already desecrated by having messages written in them to pass information between prisoners? Where's the apology for the innocent lives taking because they got PO'd about the burning?
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
Blunt force ruthlessness can work against an organized force, but doesn't work against insurgencies. See Iraq, where much of the insurgency was kicked off by agitators who purposely engaged from within otherwise friendly places to draw just the kind of blunt force response you describe.
I agree with mheslep. Don't forget how quickly we leveled Iraq's forces and disposed of Hussein. It's just that winning that war meant taking care of a total mess for 9 years.

And, likewise, we took care of Afghanistan pretty easily, too. And winning that war means we're still taking care of a total mess more than 10 years later.

A better idea is to know what benefit you hope to gain from a war, make sure the benefit is worth the cost, fight until you've gained that benefit, and then get out.

Invading Afghanistan was a good idea. I'm not so sure hanging around in-country for 10 years was worth it. There was a good end result (Bin Laden's death), but surely there were cheaper ways to achieve that than hang around in Afghanistan for 10 years.

We still don't know if Iraq will turn out to be worth it and may never know. That was a shuffling of the deck and there might never be a way to know whether its net result was positive or negative or how positive or how negative the result was unless we had a way to know what would have happened in the world without an invasion.

Based on history, I still think the odds are against Iraq turning out positively (the chances of an ethnic civil war ending with a shared government and no new civil war within 10 to 15 years is easily less than 5%, but greater than 1% - it happened in South Africa and in Guatemala and that's it - I only give them the 5% because both South Africa and Guatemala are fairly recent ethnic civil wars and the world seems to be getting better at resolving them). But I wouldn't guarantee Iraq wouldn't have turned out negatively even without an invasion (Hussein was going to die sometime and all hell was almost sure to break loose between the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds someday).
apeiron
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Feb27-12, 08:07 PM
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Quote Quote by Galteeth View Post
Nothing new there. First casualty of war and all that.
I don't get it. Why would you not care?

Besides, the article argues truth is also a casualty of the "peace".

I first encountered senior-level equivocation during a 1997 division-level “experiment” that turned out to be far more setpiece than experiment. Over dinner at Fort Hood, Texas, Training and Doctrine Command leaders told me that the Advanced Warfighter Experiment (AWE) had shown that a “digital division” with fewer troops and more gear could be far more effective than current divisions. The next day, our congressional staff delegation observed the demonstration firsthand, and it didn’t take long to realize there was little substance to the claims. Virtually no legitimate experimentation was actually conducted. All parameters were carefully scripted. All events had a preordained sequence and outcome. The AWE was simply an expensive show, couched in the language of scientific experimentation and presented in glowing press releases and public statements, intended to persuade Congress to fund the Army’s preference. Citing the AWE’s “results,” Army leaders proceeded to eliminate one maneuver company per combat battalion. But the loss of fighting systems was never offset by a commensurate rise in killing capability.

A decade later, in the summer of 2007, I was assigned to the Future Combat Systems (FCS) organization at Fort Bliss, Texas. It didn’t take long to discover that the same thing the Army had done with a single division at Fort Hood in 1997 was now being done on a significantly larger scale with FCS. Year after year, the congressionally mandated reports from the Government Accountability Office revealed significant problems and warned that the system was in danger of failing. Each year, the Army’s senior leaders told members of Congress at hearings that GAO didn’t really understand the full picture and that to the contrary, the program was on schedule, on budget, and headed for success. Ultimately, of course, the program was canceled, with little but spinoffs to show for $18 billion spent.

If Americans were able to compare the public statements many of our leaders have made with classified data, this credibility gulf would be immediately observable.

http://armedforcesjournal.com/2012/02/8904030
Again, certainly nothing new here. But wouldn't you care? What was the point of posting the article then?
Galteeth
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#260
Feb27-12, 08:19 PM
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Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
I don't get it. Why would you not care?

Besides, the article argues truth is also a casualty of the "peace".



Again, certainly nothing new here. But wouldn't you care? What was the point of posting the article then?
I just meant I'm not particularly surprised the government has spinned and lied about the war. I think a bigger challenge would be to find a case where a state engaging in war did not lie and spin. It doesn't mean i condone it. But I am interested in what is really going on.
I think the disconnect right now between official statements and whats actually going on is bigger then ever. We hear statements from the white house and the pentagon about "doubling down" and "not shifting strategy." Meanwhile, military personnel are being evacuated from the capital. It borders on delusional.
apeiron
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#261
Feb27-12, 08:27 PM
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Quote Quote by WhoWee View Post
I haven't found any major news stories citing - just secondary.
This is unclear. Are you arguing against the Armed Forces Journal report that the progress in Afghanistan bears "no resemblance to rosy official statements"?

The AFJ answer to your question was "leadership lies". So what exactly supports your alternative contention of: "or is it a matter of the media picking and choosing their reports?"

As I point out, the irony of that contention is that an army journal is speaking out about its own leadership here - the kind of free speech we like to see (if accurate). Do you mean to characterise the AFJ as a less reliable media outlet for reasons that you know?

Of course, a plausible answer to the whole question is perhaps "the people in fact prefer to be lied and spun to".
WhoWee
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#262
Feb27-12, 08:28 PM
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Quote Quote by Galteeth View Post
I just meant I'm not particularly surprised the government has spinned and lied about the war. I think a bigger challenge would be to find a case where a state engaging in war did not lie and spin. It doesn't mean i condone it. But I am interested in what is really going on.
I think the disconnect right now between official statements and whats actually going on is bigger then ever. We hear statements from the white house and the pentagon about "doubling down" and "not shifting strategy." Meanwhile, military personnel are being evacuated from the capital. It borders on delusional.
Again, the news organizations don't appear to be placing a priority on holding the White House accountable for statements either (IMO).
SHISHKABOB
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#263
Feb27-12, 09:33 PM
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Quote Quote by ThinkToday View Post
"Blunt force ruthlessness" - Nah, definitive force. IMO, when the indigenous population stand up and say "no", get out, etc., “we don't want to die because of you”, and back it up with their own use of force, that’s change. Whether it’s German’s trying to kill Hitler, Italian’s after Mussolini, etc., people don’t like other people putting them in danger. Take a look at the mess in Iran. You don’t think outside pressure and threat of force has an impact? According to my Persian friends, it does. Even on a much smaller scale, it’s like when people want to “take back” their street or block because of drug or gang violence.

In either event, it may be their way to kill in the name of religion, but they need to have a clear understanding their religion won’t protect them until the afterlife, and we will add them in their journey.
definitive force has been definitively proven to *not work* against insurgencies.

http://www.iraqbodycount.org/database/

please note that the level of casualties rises to a peak in late 2006 to 2007, and then has been steadily dropping since.

around the same time as the monthly casualties begins to drop, Rumsfeld is kicked out and Petraeus is put in charge of Afghanistan

prior to that the US military had been thinking in a way similar to yours: if we hear about insurgents somewhere, we go and blow them up. All this does is get civilians killed and does not decrease the level of insurgency. All the relatives of the innocents that got blown up in that house with the targets that were found are now very very angry at the US military and are quite likely to aid the insurgents and not the US.

The US military realized that this was not working. And you can see for yourself. Just look at the numbers, they speak for themselves.

After the peak, the US military stopped using a seek and destroy strategy and instead started using a hearts and minds strategy where we didn't just blow a house up if we heard there were terrorists hiding in there. Instead we work to achieve cooperation with the civilian population by NOT BLOWING STUFF UP

instead we HELP them by providing basic needs like security and help maintaining infrastructure, etc.

blowing houses up and sending in strike teams always ends up with a civilian population that is upset

being nice to them, nicer to them than the insurgents, ends up with a civilian population that wants to be our friend, and not friends with the insurgents.
WhoWee
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#264
Mar1-12, 11:13 PM
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I think it's time to tell Karzai "NO".

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...81K09T20120223

" Afghanistan wants NATO to put on public trial those who burned copies of the Koran at a NATO base, President Hamid Karzai's office said on Thursday, after a third day of bloody protests over the incident.

It said NATO had agreed to a trial, but that could not be immediately confirmed.

Karzai had earlier accused a U.S. officer of "ignorantly" burning copies of the Koran, in an incident that has deepened anti-Western sentiment in a country NATO is trying to stabilize before foreign combat troops leave by the end of 2014."
rootX
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#265
Mar1-12, 11:48 PM
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Quote Quote by WhoWee View Post
I think it's time to tell Karzai "NO".

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...81K09T20120223

" Afghanistan wants NATO to put on public trial those who burned copies of the Koran at a NATO base, President Hamid Karzai's office said on Thursday, after a third day of bloody protests over the incident.

It said NATO had agreed to a trial, but that could not be immediately confirmed.

Karzai had earlier accused a U.S. officer of "ignorantly" burning copies of the Koran, in an incident that has deepened anti-Western sentiment in a country NATO is trying to stabilize before foreign combat troops leave by the end of 2014."
Telling him no implies losing 10 years of war in Afghanistan. I agree with Karzai, people who burned Koran should be put to trail to bring peace in Afghanistan. Letting them go free would harm U.S. interests, given U.S. wants the support of local people.
WhoWee
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#266
Mar1-12, 11:51 PM
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Quote Quote by rootX View Post
Telling him no implies losing 10 years of war in Afghanistan.
To the best of my knowledge - we don't have a law against burning a book that someone else wrote in - that isn't valued as an antique.
rootX
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Mar2-12, 12:14 AM
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Quote Quote by WhoWee View Post
To the best of my knowledge - we don't have a law against burning a book that someone else wrote in - that isn't valued as an antique.
But U.S. laws/values are irrelevant here. We have to win by what Afghanistan people value not by what U.S. people value.
WhoWee
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Mar2-12, 12:40 AM
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Quote Quote by rootX View Post
But U.S. laws/values are irrelevant here. We have to win by what Afghanistan people value not by what U.S. people value.
Perhaps the people who wrote in the books should be put on trial - to determine the reason and purpose for their scribbling?

President Obama and the field commanders have apologized - Karzai needs to accept the apologies and end the pandering.
mheslep
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#269
Mar2-12, 02:59 AM
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More than that, Karzai needs to apologize for the deaths of US soldiers. Actions of the Taliban are not Karzai's fault, but he needs to answer for the actions of Afghan soldiers at least.
rootX
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#270
Mar2-12, 08:00 AM
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The man blamed for killing two Nato officials inside the Afghan interior ministry at the weekend should never have been given security clearance, the BBC has learned. A catalogue of security blunders led to the shootings and his escape. There are now real concerns for the future of the relationship between Nato and its Afghan security partners, Bilal Sarwary reports from Kabul.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17219153


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