The Afghanistan War and the US economy

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by SouthAmerica, Oct 8, 2009.

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    October 8, 2009

    SouthAmerica: We are having a discussion about the Afghanistan war at Brazzil magazine and I just posted the following in response to the posting of a fellow US Army officer that says that he is in Brazil training the Brazilian army.

    Americans know that we have too much economic troubles at home to waste even more money in a war that is going nowhere.


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    Reply to Hans Pinto - the US military officer that is assigned to his US Army duties in Rio de Janeiro


    The war against Afghanistan has been a mess right from the starting point.

    What is unbelievable to me is that the US government learned nothing from the Soviet Union experience in that area of the world.

    Instead of going in with massive force and getting the job done, they outsourced the fighting to other people with catastrophic results, and here we are 8 years later, and they still are trying to figure out their Afghanistan policy. It seems to me that we have a bunch of idiots making decisions in Washington.

    You can give credit and put this entire mess on the lap of the Bush administration, they did not finish the job when they had the opportunity to do so, and as a result of their complete incompetence today the Obama administration is on a catch-22.

    On one hand, as Obama said: “to leave the fight now would only empower other extremist groups”, and on the other hand Obama is aware that he is losing support of the American people regarding the Afghanistan war and most Americans want the US Army to wrap up that war and come home.

    The national economic situation here in the United States is deteriorating day by day all around us with a massive number of unemployed people, and the numbers will continue to grow during 2010. With so much troubles at home the last thing on the mind of most Americans it is this war in Afghanistan.

    This catch-22 situation will place the fate of the US Army in Afghanistan in a similar path of the fate of the Soviet Army only two decades ago.

    In my opinion, they are going to decide to keep the war going as long as they can, and on the path of a slow death and nothing else.

    I feel sorry for the young American soldiers that have been placed on this losing proposition, and many of them will return to the United States in body bags 4 or 10 at the time.

    After about 7 years the US government was forced to wrap up the Vietnam War, and bring its troops home – we had large demonstration all across the United States, because we had the draft and middle-class kids were being killed in that war by the thousands.

    We are in the 8th year of this war in Afghanistan with no end in sight, and basically we have very little demonstrations against the current wars – because most of the kids that are being killed right now went to the army because they are very poor, and they did not have many options for their future in the collapsing job market of the United States mainly if you don’t have a good education.

    The family of most of these soldiers that are fighting in Iraq and in Afghanistan will just keep their quiet despair to themselves since they don’t have the resources to fight back, and they will watch their loved ones return home one after another in body bags.

    We all know that right now the Afghanistan is an open ended war with no end in sight, but at the same time the Taliban and Al Qaeda are aware that eventually the US Army will need to leave Afghanistan since they don’t have much support at home for that war.

    And that prospect makes things even worse for the US forces in Afghanistan, since they are not going to get much support from the local people, because they know that after the US Army leaves Afghanistan their families would be in trouble, and chances are they would be exterminated by whoever becomes the new group to take over in Afghanistan.

    There is no way to win when you are on a catch-22.

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  2. .

    October 8, 2009

    SouthAmerica: This article has been published on today’s edition of “The Washington Post” and the article said: “…Other officers faulted the Obama and Bush administrations for failing to define the mission in Afghanistan, leaving a series of commanders to do so on their own.”

    Regarding the Afghanistan War the good news for the US Army is: when you don’t know where you are going any path it will take you there.


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    “Army Officers Criticize Rebuke of Gen. McChrystal”
    By Ann Scott Tyson - Washington Post Staff Writer
    The Washington Post
    Thursday, October 8, 2009

    Army officers gathered at a convention in Washington this week said senior White House officials should not have rebuked Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, for saying publicly that a scaled-back war effort would not succeed.

    The hallways at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center buzzed with sympathy for McChrystal, who has said the U.S.-led effort in Afghanistan risks failure without a rapid infusion of additional forces. Obama and his advisers are now debating strategy in Afghanistan, with some officials arguing against additional deployments.

    "It was definitely a hand slap," one Army officer said of the statement last weekend by national security adviser James L. Jones, a retired Marine general, that military officials should pass advice to President Obama through their chain of command. The Army officer, like others attending the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the politically sensitive issue.

    A number of senior Army officers compared McChrystal to Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff who warned before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 that it would take several hundred thousand troops to secure the country -- advice that was dismissed as "wildly off the mark" by then Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz.

    "You know what happened to Shinseki," said one Army general, referring to what many officers believe was the Bush administration's punitive treatment of the general, now Obama's secretary of veteran affairs. Shinseki's assessment was vindicated when President George W. Bush increased U.S. troop levels in Iraq.

    "We take the kids to war and ask them to take a bullet. So you won't stop Stan from saying what he thinks is best for the mission and the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines," said the general, who is an acquaintance of McChrystal's.

    Other officers faulted the Obama and Bush administrations for failing to define the mission in Afghanistan, leaving a series of commanders to do so on their own. "McChrystal was sent to fix Afghanistan -- is that to get rid of the Taliban or al-Qaeda?" said a one-star Army general. "Without the mission being defined well, you've left it to them to decide what to do."

    Several officers said such tensions arose because the military is serving a civilian leadership. "You kind of get used to it after years of service," the Army general said. "We tend to live with it."

    Some officers observed that political leaders must commit the resources needed to fulfill their goals. If not, they said, the goals must change. "Gen. McChrystal has given an assessment of what the military strategy should be to achieve the political objective," said an Army officer who served in Afghanistan under McChrystal and his predecessor, Gen. David D. McKiernan, who was abruptly relieved in May by the Pentagon leadership.

    "It comes down to: How much am I willing to commit, and if I can't contribute what the commander needs, do I have to change my objective? It happens time and time again with senior military commanders and civilian leaders."

    Policy in Afghanistan

    For years, U.S. commanders in Afghanistan have said they need thousands of additional troops to combat a growing Taliban insurgency and to train the Afghan army and police forces. As the violence began to increase in the country in 2006 and 2007, the Bush administration made it clear to commanders that no significant troop increase in Afghanistan was possible given the priority placed on quelling the violence in Iraq, according to officers familiar with decisions at that time. McKiernan made a very public appeal for tens of thousands of additional forces, and that led to initial troop increases first under Bush and then Obama.

    When McChrystal was selected by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to replace McKiernan, the belief in military circles was that he would be given the resources to conduct a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan -- finally providing what officers had long believed was necessary to try to stem increasing violence.

    The Pentagon has also pressed NATO and other international allies to supply more forces, but Army officers at the convention voiced concern that signs of division within the Obama administration over Afghanistan strategy could sap the commitment of governments struggling to maintain public support for a sustained campaign.

    Several officers simply shrugged off the civilian admonishments to the military -- most recently issued by Gates, who on Monday pointedly told hundreds of Army personnel attending an opening ceremony of the convention that military advice should be candid but private.

    "The public admonishments -- fine. If you made general, you've been chewed out a few times," said one senior Army general.

    Officers said there was no question that McChrystal and other commanders would carry out whatever decisions Obama makes. "We will tell you what we think, but we are also soldiers, so if the president gives an order, we will execute it," the senior officer said.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/07/AR2009100704056.html

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  3. Bush's legacy will be the wars and The Patriot Act.

    If there is a God, Bush should burn in Hell for all eternity. :mad:
     
  4. .
    And Dick Cheney will keep company to George W. Bush in Hell for what these criminals have done to the United States and to the rest of the world.

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  5. Had we left Iraq alone and only focused on Afghanistan Its not clear we would be any better off.

    In this scenario Afghanistan still would be a mess and we would have trouble with both Iran and Iraq. With Saddam still in charge there would be no end to Americas involvement in the Gulf.
     
  6. With or without the other Hussein... isn't this the "100 years" of US involvement over there which McCain alluded to?

    We should GET THE HELL OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST... and let them fight and kill each other until their hearts are content. Besides, financially we are suffering the "death by a thousand cuts" over there.

    We should also mandate energy efficiency to eliminate our dependence on imported oil.

    Both of which should have been "objectives for America"... had we ever had any real leadership in the White House.. :mad:
     
  7. The sad fact is that we receive only 15% of our oil from the Middle east. We could easily replace that with domestic oil if we loosened the drilling regulation a little bit.
    So all our efforts in the middle east are to the benefit of Europe and Asia who rely on the middle east for most of their oil.
     
  8. .

    December 15, 2009

    SouthAmerica: I just posted this information on Brazzil magazine on the comments section after an article in reply to another posting by another member of that magazine.

    In my opinion, only fools participate on religious wars.

    History is full of religious wars and you can read about some of them at:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war

    The United States is supposed to be fighting a religious war in Afghanistan.

    Keep in mind that Afghanistan is where former superpowers go to die a slow death.


    Afghanistan:

    Afghanistan is about the same size as Texas in the USA.

    No coastline (landlocked)

    Population: 28 million (July 2009 est.)

    15-64 years: 53% (total 18 million people = male 9 million and female 9 million)

    Life expectancy at birth: total population: 45 years

    Religion: Sunni Muslim 80%, Shia Muslim 19%, other 1%

    Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 28.1%
    male: 43.1%
    female: 12.6% (2000 est.)


    GDP (purchasing power parity) US$ 22 billion (2008 est.)

    GDP (official exchange rate) US$ 12 billion (2008 est.)

    Note: Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid, and the Afghanistan economy is working right now mostly because of the infusion of international assistance.


    Labor Force: 15 million (2004 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 40% (2008 est.)


    Afghanistan government budget:
    revenues: $890 million
    expenditures: $2.7 billion


    Exports: US$ 327 million (2007)

    opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems

    Source: CIA World Factbook 2009
    Last update on November 30, 2009


    *****


    For all practical purposes today Afghanistan it is just a pile of rocks after being in a state of constant wars since the Soviet Union invaded that country in 1979.

    Afghanistan does not have an infrastructure necessary to be able to operate as a country, and without foreign aid Afghanistan would descend into chaos in no time.

    And you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that that situation in Afghanistan in 3 or 5 years from now it will not be any different than today, and if you think otherwise it is because you are just a big fool.

    I thought Barack Obama would be smart than that, but he has disappointed most of his supporters when he decided to make the war in Afghanistan “Obama’s War.”

    In February 2009 Barack Obama sent 17,000 extra US soldiers to Afghanistan and in December 2009 he decided to send another 30,000 soldiers to Afghanistan to help the other 70,000 US soldiers that already are fighting on that religious war for a combined total of 100,000 US soldiers.

    There are another 32,000 NATO soldiers and just God knows how many thousands of Blackwater mercenaries are in the payroll of US government who are also participating of the Afghanistan war. (Mercenaries estimated to be another 104,100.)

    According to a Huffington Post article published on December 13, 2009 “The Number of Private Contractors in Afghanistan: 104,100” - Private contractors employed by the Defense Department in Afghanistan will continue to outnumber the size of the American troop presence, even after President Obama sends 30,000 more soldiers to fight in the war, according to the military's most recent contractor count.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/03/the-number-of-private-con_n_378514.html

    If we combine the US coalition force in Afghanistan 100,000 US soldiers, 32,000 NATO soldiers, plus 104,000 mercenaries we will have a total of 236,000 soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

    And keep in mind that these coalition armed forces are armed with the most sophisticated warfare armaments in the world.

    Now let’s give a quick analysis of the enemy at hand in Afghanistan.

    In the last 2 weeks when Barack Obama was making his final decision about how many American soldiers he was willing to send to Afghanistan there were a ton of information on that subject on television and also on the other mainstream media including major newspapers and magazines.

    Who these 236,000 soldiers armed with state-of-the-art armament technology is fighting on this war?

    Believe it or not according to the news they are fighting against 1,000 Al-Qaeda fighters, and about 30,000 Taliban soldiers armed with weapons WW II vintage.

    The ratio of coalition soldiers to Taliban/Al-Qaeda soldiers will be 8 to 1.

    And the worse part of this fiasco is that even with that high ratio in favor of the US coalition forces in a few years they are going to leave Afghanistan defeated and demoralized.

    And the ironic end to this story is that the Taliban might end up in power once again.

    From the US perspective the only positive thing about the Afghanistan war is that the US has been fighting this war on credit, since this war has been financed with money borrowed from China year after year.

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  9. .

    Anyway, with decisions like that I am surprised that these wiseguys in Washigton D.C. did not decide to have a US navy blockade in Afghanistan today - similar to the Cuban blockade in 1962.

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  10. Ricter

    Ricter

    Amateurish smear tactic noted.

    Anyway, energy efficiency has long been viewed as a left wing, tree-hugger kind of thing. It's been hard to turn that around, particularly with Exxons in the other corner.
     
    #10     Dec 15, 2009