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News Obama needs to make a decision.

  1. Nov 3, 2009 #1
    Either give our troops the reinforcements they need in Afghanistan or don't. Quit beating around the bush and get on with it. This indecision is making him look weak and our foreign policy appear indecisive.

    He is taking an issue that is costing the lives of our troops and making it a purely political choice.

    He should make a decision one way or another so that our commanders overseas can adjust their tactics accordingly.

    Does anyone want to speculate as to why he is hesitating?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2009 #2

    turbo

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    You have posed a complex situation as a false dichotomy, which is what much of the military and Obama's enemies all want. Afghanistan is a tar-baby conflict that he got stuck with. There is no simple way to resolve a complex network of long-running internal conflicts, fueled by religious fanaticism and by money from the drug trade. Saying something like "if we only had 40,000 more troops", without providing a properly-designed mission that has some reasonable chance of improving internal security in the country is reckless. If only Bush and Cheney had done a little thinking and planning before putting our troops in harm's way... we might not be in this situation today.
     
  4. Nov 3, 2009 #3

    DavidSnider

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    What do you think about giving our medical opiate production contracts to Afghanistan rather than Turkey?
     
  5. Nov 3, 2009 #4
    Your implying that our generals in Afghanistan are asking for troops without any plans on how to use them. They have come up with an offensive plan, but the question is whether or not we want to commit to an offensive or start to withdraw.

    We need to do one or the other. The commanders have been in the country for over eight years now. They have a plan for whatever decision the President makes. To sit on the brink of two totally different tactics is a dangerous position to be in. For the President to be "anticipated to make a decision in the coming weeks" for over a month is a poor position to be in.
     
  6. Nov 3, 2009 #5

    MATLABdude

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    "Faster, faster, faster! Now, now, NOW!"
    -most Greek Tragedies
     
  7. Nov 3, 2009 #6

    turbo

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    Again, oversimplification of a complex situation. We do not have to "go on the offensive" or "withdraw". There are a million options in between, and I don't mean setting up yet another puppet government and propping it up with American lives and money. That simply does not work. It's very easy to commit to military action, but once you have totally screwed up the normal dynamics in a country, how do you manage to withdraw without leaving power-vacuums at all levels that bad actors will exploit to make the lives of the country's citizens even less secure than they are now? An ill-planned withdrawal could cause as much or more loss of life and regional instability as an ill-planned invasion. Cheney accused Obama of "dithering" on Afghanistan. I sure wish that he and his sock-puppet W had done a bit of dithering before setting us on this road.
     
  8. Nov 3, 2009 #7
    The commanders are saying that in order to defeat the insurgents/resistance (whatever you want to call it) we will have to send in more troops. In order to secure the outlying country side we will have to send more troops. To prevent the loss of more American soldiers we will have to send more troops.

    At this point our country has really stopped caring whether or not this region of the middle east is stable. Regardless of who messed everything up, we will either have to leave relatively soon and let the country fall apart. Or we will have to stay for however long it takes a foreign country to embrace their occupier and adopt a form of government they have never really attempted before against the will of all the local powers that be.

    The President was most likely waiting for the outcome of the run-off so that the United States would not look like it was supporting a illegitimate government. Now that Karzai has suddenly pushed out his opponent we are having to justify our support without the confirmed legitimacy of his government.

    This is purely political posturing. Our commanders have told him what they need in order to secure the country. He is waiting to either give them the tools they need or offer up a better solution. He is not telling us that he is looking for alternatives. All he is doing is waiting on whether or not he is going to give the commanders the troops they asked for.

    I don't care who is in office. If Bush was doing this at the expense of our soldiers I would be upset as well. I could care less what McCain says. If the ultimate outcome is a failed attempt at global security because of political pressure I think we should go ahead and pull out the troops. If we are going to continue with this game of save the world we have to trust the opinion of our commanders on the ground and give them what they need to accomplish the mission that we gave them. We need our Commander in Chief step up.
     
  9. Nov 3, 2009 #8

    russ_watters

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    What false dichotomy?

    Afghanistan is a tar-baby conflict that he got stuck with. There is no simple way to resolve a complex network of long-running internal conflicts, fueled by religious fanaticism and by money from the drug trade. Saying something like "if we only had 40,000 more troops", without providing a properly-designed mission that has some reasonable chance of improving internal security in the country is reckless. If only Bush and Cheney had done a little thinking and planning before putting our troops in harm's way... we might not be in this situation today.[/QUOTE] While all of that is true, none of it addresses the question in the OP: it is Obama's responsibility now, so he must have a policy for dealing with it. And doing nothing is also a policy...

    That said, your answer might help explain Obama's current path. Particularly with today's election, it is probably politically beneficial for Obama to delay dealing with the situation and remind people he inherited it. It is easier to do that than it is to make a decision and harder to criticize someone for a decision they haven't made yet.
     
  10. Nov 3, 2009 #9

    mheslep

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    I see some valid arguments for getting out; the commander in chief has a right and the obligation to take time to consider them, but apparently he's said getting out is not an option. Meanwhile the http://www.icasualties.org/OEF/" [Broken] NATO and US fatalities in 2009 means we ARE committed to military action, we ARE on the offensive. Those 2009 fatalities are nearly twice last years, so the condition is worsening and thus there is a cost for consideration time.

    The commanding general, probably the world's foremost expert on counter terror in battle zones, has put forth his recommendation as to the best way to proceed if the military is to stay engaged there. As for me, I wouldn't have presumed I knew a million options better than his.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  11. Nov 3, 2009 #10

    turbo

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    There are a LOT of variables. Does our government demand that the government of Afganistan divorce itself from drug-running? Do we demand that nationals pick up their share of the policing/anti-insurgency duties? If they don't meet targets, what triggers withdrawals? Afghanistan is a network of interlocking complex problems, and we cannot possibly expect simple solutions to resolve them simultaneously and/or reliably. Throwing more American lives and dollars at the problem looks very familiar - I grew up when Viet Nam was being treated the same way.
     
  12. Nov 3, 2009 #11

    mheslep

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    Most important conflicts required more commitment at some point. That by itself doesn't mean Afghanistan is another Vietnam. Playing politics with the military decisions very much is a defining characteristic of the US 60's involvement in South East Asia to my mind. I don't know that this is what we have now, but it is possible.
     
  13. Nov 3, 2009 #12

    turbo

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    I was not only alive and politically-active in the 1960's but I was of an age when my draft-ability could have drawn me into a conflict with which I was diametrically opposed.

    For those who claim "politics" without context, let me take you back a bit. Ho Chi Minh told the American intelligence agencies that he would help drive the Japanese from French Indo-China during WWII. When asked what he wanted, he said that he wanted a dozen Colt .45 ACPs with holsters, clips and some ammunition as a show of American support to his lieutenants, AND he demanded that after the war, the Vietnamese be able to form their own government and not be saddled with the French colonial government that had fled in the face of the Japanese invasion. The Americans thought that was a really good deal, until after WWII, when they re-instated the French colonial government, and things pretty much went to hell from there. BTW, the American intelligence community loved him and called him "Uncle Ho". Read some history on the region and then see if there are parallels. I lost dozens of friends to Viet Nam - some came home in body-bags, and some came home in bodies and minds that were never the same. Please let the commander-in-chief do his job, and don't second-guess measured, reasoned deliberation. There is no magic "either-or" answer here.
     
  14. Nov 3, 2009 #13
    Nothing you've said in this thread is relevant—and the fact that you lost friends in Vietnam is meaningless. I've lost friends in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I don't expect the fact to make my argument any more powerful when I say that President Obama does indeed need to make a decision on whether to send more troops. When your own hand-pcked Commander is telling you that your troops are dying and that he needs reinforcements there are only three meaningful choices. Let me spell them out for you.

    1) Send the needed reinforcements.

    2) Decide that the fight isn't worth it and evacuate your troops.

    3) Find a Commander who you can trust that say's he can win the battle with existing forces (or less reinforcements than your first Commander requested) and give him command.


    Here's President Obama's choice: Delay as long as he can with his finger n the air while waiting for some hypothetical political wind that will make his choice easy.

    If President Obama was a real leader, his choice would have already been made.

    Personally, I'd appreciate it if you stopped whining about all the problems President Obama inherited—no President has ever created the America he leads on his own. President Bush didn't create Al Qaeda or Saddam Hussein or Iran or North Korea, but he was still responsible for dealing with them. Why are you so eager to excuse our current President his responsibilities?
     
  15. Nov 3, 2009 #14

    turbo

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    Quite an interesting approach to discussion of a complex problem. "Your statements are worthless and your personal experiences are meaningless" is the translation I take from your statement. Perhaps you can make more rational statements?....

    Now instead of the OP's only 2 choices, there are 3 choices? How simplistic can you make a response to a complex, old long-running conflict? Do you want to fight Charlie Wilson's war for decades? Attrition favors the insurgents, and it seems that few war-mongers appreciate that.

    If you have proof that Obama's deliberations are political only, please trot them out right now. I am not "eager" to excuse Obama from dealing with this problem - only pointing out that the people who are clamoring for a resolution "right now, soon, soon, soon" are the same people who led Cheney/Bush into the situation in the first place. We need leadership, and leadership takes patience and maturity. We haven't had a lot of those qualities in Washington for a while. If you don't want to give Obama the time and resources to try to sort out the best course of action (in his opinion), then fine. If you want to charge him with delaying a decision in order to further a political goal, please cite some reliable sources.
     
  16. Nov 3, 2009 #15
    I said your arguments weren't relevant—as in they had nothing to do with the situation. Your arguments that there are millions of little options on how to turn Afghanistan into Iceland doesn't change the immediate fact that their are American troops in Afghanistan in combat at the moment, and those troops are asking for reinforcements. Your personal experiences in this case are in fact meaningless.

    I'm not trying to solve any old, long-running conflicts. I personally don't care about Afghanistan and think we should pull troops out and conduct ongoing aerial strikes against Taliban targets with UAV's. Again, my opinion doesn't change the fact that the President's choice is simple, and in the end, I'd bet a good deal of money that in the end, he chooses either one of the three, or just sends a token reinforcement of 10,000 troops or so that further reveals how pathetically weak our President is.

    Are you serious? How about you prove some of your Puppet-Master Cheney claims?

    I don't believe you, anyway. I think you know that he's delaying. I honestly can't convince myself to believe that you buy your own arguments. I have too much respect for you.
     
  17. Nov 3, 2009 #16

    turbo

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    If you are ignorant of history, you are doomed to repeat it. That's not an observation - it's a law. Ignorance of political/sociological conditions underlying wars and an accent toward nationalism are a prime cause of more war.

    That is quite evident (re long-running conflicts) and is the failure of our country (and Russia, who learned the same lesson) to recognize these conflicts that will lead to more loss of life if we don't find a way to disengage gradually. If we disengage quickly, without short-term adjustments, I fear that Afghanis will suffer even more.

    Cheney was planning at the top levels of Halliburton and their KBR subsidiary. When he took the VP job, he refused to sell off his interests in Halliburton because he had potentially hundreds of millions of dollars or more locked into stock options. Guess what? Halliburton stock has soared while the US economy has tanked. Follow the money.
     
  18. Nov 3, 2009 #17
    Again, I don't expect President Obama to "solve Afghanistan." What I do expect, however, is that as Commander in Chief he take responsibility for the troops he has in the field and that he ensure that they have appropriate numbers.

    President Obama knew when he ran for President that we were in Afghanistan, and he claimed then that he believed that it was the "important war" and that we should win. When he took office, he hand-picked military commanders that he felt could achieve his mission. All of this time, if he was competent, he should already know how various outcomes would affect his strategy.

    He ordered his commanders to perform a review of the situation and brief him. The time for considering outcomes should have been while he was President-Elect, and while his Commanders were performing the review. By the time the review was finished, he should have already planned for various contingencies, including the possibility of his Commanders asking for a drastic increase in troop-strength.

    But he didn't, and now American soldiers are dying in unprecedented numbers in Afghanistan while he plays golf and does photo ops.

    And no, just in case you're wondering, I wasn't at all impressed by your evidence for Puppet-Master Cheney. I made money during the War on Terror as well, due to the fact that I didn't pay taxes on much of my pay while I was in combat. Where does that money lead you?
     
  19. Nov 3, 2009 #18

    mheslep

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    Hey - calm down please. It may not be relevant, but it is not meaningless.
     
  20. Nov 3, 2009 #19

    mheslep

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    Hey guys - calm down please. It may not be relevant, but it is not meaningless.

    Unnecessary T1.
     
  21. Nov 5, 2009 #20
    A good read on Vietnam is the "10,000 Day War".

    If Obama doesn't have a plan, he needs to get one. If he has one, he needs to implement it. If his plan is to wait and see - he needs to get a new plan.

    I think "dithering" is accurate. I also believe we need to get out if we aren't going to allow the military to run the war.

    Personally, I think we need to burn the poppy fields, shoot the drug lords, and rely on (and support) our allies in the region to help sort things out.
     
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