Sunday, February 26, 2012

Time to follow Bismark's advice and Stop

How Afgan's view America and NATO
Adios, Afganistan
Diplomacy by cruise missile

From the outset of this blog, I have remained a supporter of the efforts of our government and NATO nations to try and change the course of a culture mired in a medieval epoch that retarded it's advancement into modernity and even more troubling and dangerous for humanity, remained a refuge for those who wished to destroy and retard the advancement, that most of the world has seen in the past half-century.

That is why after careful consideration of the events of the past year, coupled with the total lack of progress in changing the political landscape in Afghanistan, and the failure of our own forces to be able to both penetrate the mindset, as well as understand the most basic tenants of the culture they are trying to nurture, has led me to conclude that is is time to stop, and dramatically change course in Afghanistan.

I ignored the call to change courses two years ago, when George Will wrote this in the Washington Post, August 31, 2009.

U.S. forces are being increased by 21,000, to 68,000, bringing the coalition total to 110,000. About 9,000 are from Britain, where support for the war is waning. Counterinsurgency theory concerning the time and the ratio of forces required to protect the population indicates that, nationwide, Afghanistan would need hundreds of thousands of coalition troops, perhaps for a decade or more. That is inconceivable.
So, instead, forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent Special Forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.
Genius, said de Gaulle, recalling Bismarck's decision to halt German forces short of Paris in 1870, sometimes consists of knowing when to stop.
At the time, I took Will to task for abandoning the children, and especially the future generations of young women of Afghanistan to a life with no future.  Several things have happened in the past two years to finally bring me to declare that Will was right in his recommendation to pull back and in a phrase, practice what could be termed "diplomacy by cruise missile." Harsh and unfeeling as that appears, it makes sense that if we pull back, and make it plainly known to whoever ends up claiming to govern Afghanistan, that as long as they don't harbor those factions that threaten the world, including growing opium, or terrorists, that how they govern their countrymen is the choice of the people, whom have proven able to cast off any faction who tries to impose an unpopular rule set. Breaking those conditions, will bring a rain of missiles, or surgical strikes by special Op's teams to eliminate the threat. Hence we would be operating under the same rule set that Afghan's have lived with since before the Age of Alexander the Great.

Several events, including this from Tim Lynch, who's experience in Afghanistan is legendary, and sums up ten years in Afghanistan with three pictures.
Ten years ago, Afghans were thrilled to see us and thought that finally they could live in peace and develop their country

Five years ago they watched us flounder - we stayed on FOBs and shoveled cash by the billions into the hands of a corrupt central government that we insisted, despite clear evidence to the contrary, was a legitimate government - one that had to be supported at all costs. We raided their homes at night and shot up civilians who got too close to our convoys, we paid for roads that did not exist and, because of the "force protection" mentality, most Afghans thought our soldiers were cowards because they never came to the bazaar off duty and unarmored to buy stuff like the Russians did. In fact, every bite of food our soldiers consumed was flown into country at great expense, so in a land famous for its melons and grapes our troops ate crappy melon and tasteless grapes flown in by contractors from God knows where.

Now, they want to shoot us in the face. Except for the klepocratic elite who want us to give them billions more and then shoot us in the face.
We are not innocent in this relation deteriorating to the point that saw our President apologizing yet again for American behavior colliding with the sensitivities of the people of Afghanistan and those of the Islamic faith. The fact that after ten years, we can't seem to educate our own forces about these sensitivities seems to point to a growing lack of discipline and the old saying, CRS, "can't remember shit. The continued desecration of the enemy, add to this perception by a people who have been raised in a culture that has placed their religious icons to a point of veneration beyond the highest of any on earth. Add to that reality, when things spin out of control, and American officers are murdered inside the most secure Afghan government ministry, President Karzi, ignores their deaths, and continues position himself against the US in a effort to survive after our exit.
It is high time we obliged him, the Taliban, and the Afghan people so intent on being left to their own devices. We should announce our withdrawal with clear conditions that hell in it's most vivid images will rain down on Afghanistan or any country harboring the seeds of terrorism. Also that we will provide assistance to any nation that abides by the conditions of acknowledging human rights in their most basic form. I was part of the Vietnam Experience, and our options to influence the aftermath was limited by external forces.  Today, conditions would dictate a different outcome, that would secure our security against attacks like 9/11, by making the source-code country on notice that hell will come their way if they abide those who wish us harm.

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