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Independent Voter | Old Soldier View | Afghanistan Pt II Dec 09
Back in September, I wrote about the crossroads our country is at with the War in Afghanistan (link below). Last night we heard from President Obama on the planned ‘surge’ of troops to the Afghanistan area of Operations. Back in September I cautioned that this is a War of Generations, and at this point I don’t see it any differently. I also reminded folks about why we are there and that the Taliban as well as Al Queada are regional and world purveyors of terrorism and no matter if the Taliban were not our enemies before 9/11 when they refused to turn over AQ and we invaded, and removed them from government, they will be now or at least until they get tired of dying. I also outlined several differences from Viet Nam Operations and some of the similarities as well.
President Obama confirmed much of what I said in his speech last night. So to all those who want to keep trying to hang the Viet Nam tag on this one it’s time to put that away and start supporting what we’re trying to accomplish over there. He also mentioned how we have to recognize and get serious with Pakistan. These folks have finally seen what the Taliban and AQ bring to their country and have rejected it. We now must coordinate more closely on operations in both countries and do hammer and anvil operations against these guys. I repeat here we do not have an option to do any thing but defeat these folks.
I congratulate the President on recognizing this, and I think he should have more clearly stated that July 2011 is a start point to withdraw some forces if the status on the ground permits. It does have the benefit of starting at least a smoldering fire under the butt of Hamid Karzai and that may not be a bad thing. This guy needs to clean up his governments act. But the American people should also know that trying to hold his government to the standards we place on government workers here is not going to be possible.
There is rampant low level corruption throughout the developing world and its’ reasonable to try to bring them to a standard higher than most of their peers in the next couple years. But is not likely to be even close to the standards we use here in the States or the West in general.
Since I try not to comment unless I have something to offer as a solution, I think this is one area the State Department has to get rolling on. I would humbly suggest the State Department assemble ‘Governance’ Teams for every level of government, teams of retired or experienced Government Officials both elected and bureaucrats to show them how it’s done. Much the same as the military has their training assistance teams. All aid and infrastructure projects and contracts initially go through them and as the Afghans learn, hand responsibilities over to them. Then audit, audit, audit and when you’re tired of auditing them audit them again. This is the NationBuilding we need to do over there even more so than the military assistance. This is what will build the structure of trust between the locals and their Government. It will also lead to a more lasting appreciation of all of our efforts over there. This was the missing element in Viet Nam and Iraq. If Sec Clinton really wants to help win this thing she should have her staff working in overdrive to come up with some kind of plan.
This is the time now that we must as a nation reconfirm to all the world that we are in it to win it. There is just no alternative. If we do not defeat them there we will have to fight them here. The potential for harm far exceeds 9/11 if they somehow get hold of one of Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons.
As for all the fuss about the ‘delays’, I think it could have been worked out sooner, but from Sec gates on down I take their no issues with it statements at face value and think we should too. The fact is the time taken has not led to any discernable delays, and may well have given the logistics professionals’ a little more breathing room on gearing up for this. I stress again that the logistical challenges in Afghanistan far exceed those of Viet Nam, Iraq, or even the China India Burma Theater in WWII. To accomplish the mission outlined by the President the military and civilian logisticians are going to be hard pressed. I wish them Gods Speed and success on their efforts as I do our soldiers that face a tough enemy under difficult conditions..
Finally a couple of personal things Mr. President. The country needed some motivation last night not a college lecture. When are you gonna start motivating people instead of whining about the past? It’s been thirteen months since the election and nearly eleven since you were inaugurated. The past is done; your job is to lead us into the future with a clear plan that’s in our national interest and provide the motivation for the public to get behind it. Politically, you pissed off the far right and far left, last night (and I suspect that’s a good thing) but you miserably failed to motivate any one that is not bound by the Constitution to do so. You need to tighten that crap up.
- Independent Voter - Old Soldier view of Afghanistan War
(24 Sept 2009) As an Independent Voter and an Old Soldier I feel compelled to offer a view on the national debate brewing about the War Against Terrorism being conducted in Afghanistan known also as...