Afghanistan: More Questions than Answers

Over at Tom Ricks compares "President Bush's decision to surge in Iraq to President Obama's current deliberations." This point in his article caused me to reflect a bit:
"Second, when Bush endorsed the surge, he was rejecting the advice of almost all his military advisors. By contrast, if Obama goes for a troop escalation, he will be embracing the recommendations of his generals."

Ann and I were talking about a surge in Afghanistan a few days ago and I opined about how it is not always wise to listen to the generals.. military officers are tasked to wage and win wars.. presidents and their advisors are tasked to determine the advisability of wars and their accompanying escalations.

When I think about the war in Afghanistan I wonder what the strategy should be over there. I wonder if winning over there is simply keeping terrorists engaged.. keeping them off our American soil. When I think about a major escalation in that war I think about how weary our troops (and their families) are and wonder how much more these few will have to sacrifice for us. I also wonder if a national draft is being considered along with an escalation in forces in Afghanistan. I guess I have more questions than answers.

What do you think we should do in Afghanistan?


  1. Personally, I am against troop escalation because as I understand it the Afghans are not engaged in a Civil War and they don't want us there any more. Afghanistan is a "black hole"...Reporter Richard Engel who has been in Iraq and Afghanistan for many years now has a special on Afghanistan called "The Tip of the Spear" which will air on MSNBC on Sunday night...."Eliminating" terroism and regional instability is unrealistic and unachievable imo, which is why I only support scaled down military options that will hopefully achieve come kind of "containment" and lessen the chance for an all out war.

  2. I think containment is a good goal in an unwinnable war Bill.

  3. The French learned you can't win in Vietnam. The Russians learned you can't win in Afghanistan. In both countries we had to see for ourselves.

    I think the Afghanis who don't want the Taliban are too tribal and far too underdeveloped to be organized into a nationwide defense force that can protect themselves from the Taliban. Unless the Pakistanis want to eliminate bin Laden I doubt that we will succeed in catching and/or killing him.

    In addition, the longer we stay in either country the worse we look to the locals as well as their neighbors.

    I think it is time to leave.

  4. Obam campaigned on the idea that Iraq was the wrong war and that we should focus on Afghanistan.

    Now he is waffling. Big deal...he lied about everything else.

    Remember he was going to close Guantanamo on the first day he took office? Another lie.

    As for the draft? Hahahahahaa. Anyone who treis that will be politically finsihed. This generation will never accept being enslaved by old men and women.

  5. Thx for stopping by Andrew. I'd love to hear a bit more about your perspectives on being enslaved by the old folks.. thought that was an interesting phrase.

  6. Andrew, Guantanamo can't be closed because the members of congress will not accept them in our prisons and most countries aren't willing to accept them or accept more if the US won't accept any. He can only close it if Congress has the balls to work with him.

    He's not waffling on Afghanistan he's making sure that we are doing the right thing the right way. Otherwise we are just throwing more bodies in a mass grave.

    The draft is never tolerated when the war is not justified.

  7. Andrew, according to PolitiFact the following is the current status of Obama’s 515 campaign promises

    7 promises broken – 1.4%
    •End income tax for seniors making less than $50,000
    •Allow five days of public comment before signing bills
    •Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials
    •Create a $3,000 tax credit for companies that add jobs
    •Allow penalty-free hardship withdrawals from retirement accounts in 2008 and 2009
    •Recognize the Armenian genocide
    •Negotiate health care reform in public sessions televised on C-SPAN

    47 promised kept – 9.1% of 515 promises, more than 5 per month
    •Create a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners
    •Establish a credit card bill of rights
    •Expand loan programs for small businesses
    •Extend and index the 2007 Alternative Minimum Tax patch
    •Expand eligibility for State Children's Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP)
    •Expand funding to train primary care providers and public health practitioners
    •Increase funding to expand community based prevention programs
    •Sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    •Appoint a special adviser to the president on violence against women
    •Direct military leaders to end war in Iraq
    •Send two additional brigades to Afghanistan
    •Give a speech at a major Islamic forum in the first 100 days of his administration
    •Grant Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send money to Cuba
    •Restore funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne/JAG) program
    •Establish an Energy Partnership for the Americas
    •Release presidential records
    •Require new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions.
    •Remove more brush, small trees and vegetation that fuel wildfires
    •Push for enactment of Matthew Shepard Act, which expands hate crime law to include sexual orientation and other factors
    •Create a White House Office on Urban Policy
    •Support increased funding for the NEA
    •Add another Space Shuttle flight
    •Use the private sector to improve spaceflight
    •Partner to enhance the potential of the International Space Station
    •Use the International Space Station for fundamental biological and physical research
    •Explore whether International Space Station can operate after 2016
    •Enhance earth mapping
    •Appoint an assistant to the president for science and technology policy
    •Establish special crime programs for the New Orleans area
    •Rebuild schools in New Orleans
    •Fund a major expansion of AmeriCorps
    •Appoint the nation's first Chief Technology Officer
    •Work to overturn Ledbetter vs. Goodyear
    •Appoint an American Indian policy adviser
    •Ban lobbyist gifts to executive employees
    •Create new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud
    •Weatherize 1 million homes per year
    •Invest in all types of alternative energy
    •Enact tax credit for consumers for plug-in hybrid cars
    •Support high-speed rail
    •Invest in public transportation
    •Provide grants to encourage energy-efficient building codes
    •Get his daughters a puppy
    •Appoint at least one Republican to the cabinet
    •Raise the small business investment expensing limit to $250,000 through the end of 2009
    •Extend unemployment insurance benefits and temporarily suspend taxes on these benefits
    •Reverse restrictions on stem cell research

    12 promises compromised – 2.3%
    12 promises stalled – 2.3%
    122 promises in the works – 23.7%
    315 promises no action to date – 61.2%

  8. "The draft is never tolerated when the war is not justified."

    ..great statement Joe!


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