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Thread: What part do you disagree with?

  1. #1
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    What part do you disagree with?

    To little notice, Obama's tough, clearly stated position on Bush's war—that it was disastrously misdirected toward Iraq when Afghanistan was always the real front—is becoming conventional wisdom, even among the Bush administration's top security officials, like Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. During two days of nearly impenetrable testimony on Iraq by Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker last week, one answer rang out as clearly as an alarm bell. Under questioning from Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Crocker admitted that Al Qaeda poses a greater threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan than it does in Iraq. No one knows more about this than the ambassador, an Arabic-speaking diplomat who previously served as envoy to Pakistan and whose career practically tells the story of America and the age of terror going back to the 1983 bombings of the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut.

    Yet the region that poses America's number one threat is getting little in attention and resources compared to Iraq. What Obama is arguing on the stump is pretty close to what Gates and the Joint Chiefs have been quietly hearing from their military advisers: that the best the United States can do with its scant NATO force of 37,000 in Afghanistan is to hold off the resurgent Taliban and their Al Qaeda guests in a stalemate. Under current conditions Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the chief culprits of 9/11, will continue to have plenty of room to roam, unharried by any large-scale U.S. or Pakistani effort to go after them. This is even truer today; next door to Afghanistan, Pakistan is transitioning into a post-Musharraf era and seeking to negotiate more with the extremists. Obama called last year for two additional brigades to be sent to Afghanistan, and last week he was joined by Biden, who told an audience at Georgetown University that "the longer we stay in Iraq, the more we put off the day when we fully join the fight against the real Al Qaeda threat and finally defeat those who attacked America seven years ago." Biden added that Gen. Dan McNeil, commander of the international force in Afghanistan, told him during a visit in February "that with two extra combat brigades—about 10,000 soldiers—he could turn around the security situation in the south, where the Taliban is on move. But he can't get them because of Iraq." Even Hillary Clinton has been tacking, very quietly, in Obama's direction.
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    Two additional brigades = Increased logistical footprint
    Increased logistical footprint = Increased dependence on Pakistan
    Increased dependence on Pakistan = Decreased diplomatic and military leverage
    ... and the US needs every bit of leverage it has there to get anything done under the current paradigm.

    So the only real good choices are to either work creatively with the forces already there, or break out the present paradigm. Incidentally the second choice cannot be achieved with two brigades.

    IMHO ex-SecDef Rumsfeld understood the problem facing the US in Afghanistan just fine. No major US leader is proposing a real, dramatic change to the basic parameters his team had initially worked with. Minor alterations won't get you anywhere better, but some of the proposed small alterations will definitely take you to a worse position. - Just my $0.02, etc. etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ba1025 View Post
    To little notice, Obama's tough, clearly stated position on Bush's war
    Who authorized it? If I seem to recall, a body called Congress passed an authorization bill. I also seem to recall widespread, bipartisan support for the authorization.

    Quote Originally Posted by ba1025
    that it was disastrously misdirected toward Iraq when Afghanistan was always the real front—is becoming conventional wisdom, even among the Bush administration's top security officials, like Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. During two days of nearly impenetrable testimony on Iraq by Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker last week, one answer rang out as clearly as an alarm bell. Under questioning from Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Crocker admitted that Al Qaeda poses a greater threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan than it does in Iraq.
    Given that AQI (an affiliate of AQ) is in dire straits in Iraq now, this is not a difficult statement to make. Next, given the recent non-success of AQI and its setbacks, one cannot interpolate Ambassador Crocker's response to ascertain his position a year ago, or two years ago. I suspect that it would have been his position, but the logic used here is fallacious since the situations have changed over time. Also, OBL et al has not been in Afghanistan for quite a while now, say December 2001 or January 2002.

    Quote Originally Posted by ba1025
    No one knows more about this than the ambassador, an Arabic-speaking diplomat who previously served as envoy to Pakistan and whose career practically tells the story of America and the age of terror going back to the 1983 bombings of the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut.
    I suspect that that there are quite a few more with more knowledge of the specific whereabouts of OBL et al.

    Quote Originally Posted by ba1025
    Yet the region that poses America's number one threat is getting little in attention and resources compared to Iraq. What Obama is arguing on the stump is pretty close to what Gates and the Joint Chiefs have been quietly hearing from their military advisers: that the best the United States can do with its scant NATO force of 37,000 in Afghanistan is to hold off the resurgent Taliban and their Al Qaeda guests in a stalemate. Under current conditions Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the chief culprits of 9/11, will continue to have plenty of room to roam, unharried by any large-scale U.S. or Pakistani effort to go after them.
    The number of troops in Afghanistan is a red herring if we're talking OBL et al. Don't conflate the Taliban and AQ as being one and the same - while they are friends, they are not two sides of the same coin.

    Quote Originally Posted by ba1025
    This is even truer today; next door to Afghanistan, Pakistan is transitioning into a post-Musharraf era and seeking to negotiate more with the extremists. Obama called last year for two additional brigades to be sent to Afghanistan, and last week he was joined by Biden, who told an audience at Georgetown University that "the longer we stay in Iraq, the more we put off the day when we fully join the fight against the real Al Qaeda threat and finally defeat those who attacked America seven years ago." Biden added that Gen. Dan McNeil, commander of the international force in Afghanistan, told him during a visit in February "that with two extra combat brigades—about 10,000 soldiers—he could turn around the security situation in the south, where the Taliban is on move. But he can't get them because of Iraq." Even Hillary Clinton has been tacking, very quietly, in Obama's direction.
    The drawdown of the troop "surge" provides a pool of potential forces and more forces will be sent to Afghanistan next year by the US. France has already ponied up an additional battalion to reinforce their current presence there.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Banned Senior Contributor dalem's Avatar
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    I disagree with pretty much all of it.

    -dale

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    I suspect that that there are quite a few more with more knowledge of the specific whereabouts of OBL et al.
    The US doesn't appear to be interested in bin Laden's whereabouts. Salim Ahmed Hamdan, bin Laden's bodyguard/chauffeur who was captured just hours after taking bin Laden's satellite phone knew where he was going, but he was released from Guantanamo and turned over to the Saudis, without being water-boarded.

    If there was anyone you'd want to water-board, it would have been Hamdan. He knows bin Laden's state of mind, physical and metal health condition, and all of the al-Qaida/Chechnyan camps/bases.

    With respect to 911, Hamdan was complicit, a conspirator, and an accessory before, during and after the fact. I guess a public trial would have been out of the question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    Who authorized it? If I seem to recall, a body called Congress passed an authorization bill. I also seem to recall widespread, bipartisan support for the authorization.



    Given that AQI (an affiliate of AQ) is in dire straits in Iraq now, this is not a difficult statement to make. Next, given the recent non-success of AQI and its setbacks, one cannot interpolate Ambassador Crocker's response to ascertain his position a year ago, or two years ago. I suspect that it would have been his position, but the logic used here is fallacious since the situations have changed over time. Also, OBL et al has not been in Afghanistan for quite a while now, say December 2001 or January 2002.





    The number of troops in Afghanistan is a red herring if we're talking OBL et al. Don't conflate the Taliban and AQ as being one and the same - while they are friends, they are not two sides of the same coin.



    T .
    There was no functioning AQI 5 years ago beyond a camp of no real strength and with as yet no connection to AQ in the no fly Kurdish zone near the Iranian border or were they operational? if so what acts had they carried out?

    Given the taliban had given him asylum in the past i think it is important they be rooted out. Once they are not in control anywhere in Afghanistan a natural evoloution of the fight would be to up the pressure on them in Afghanistan. Don't you think if we had the force of arms to bear we could o eliminated them in Afghanistan with a sustained larger US presence in Afghanistan. if not why don't you think the US Military couldn't of achieved this with more force?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ba1025 View Post
    There was no functioning AQI 5 years ago beyond a camp of no real strength and with as yet no connection to AQ in the no fly Kurdish zone near the Iranian border or were they operational? if so what acts had they carried out?
    By the time OIF planning kicked into gear, AQ was in Pakistan. AQI didn't exist, and so I wasn't making an argument that AQI was the reason for Iraq. However, AQI did exist 1 year ago, 2 years ago, 3 years ago, 4 years ago (although under the T&J banner and not yet affiliated with AQ) and so with OIF having occured, and with the administration and military screwing up "phase IV", it's part of the equation.

    Quote Originally Posted by ba1025
    Given the taliban had given him asylum in the past i think it is important they be rooted out. Once they are not in control anywhere in Afghanistan a natural evoloution of the fight would be to up the pressure on them in Afghanistan. Don't you think if we had the force of arms to bear we could o eliminated them in Afghanistan with a sustained larger US presence in Afghanistan. if not why don't you think the US Military couldn't of achieved this with more force?
    I agree that the Taliban needs to be eliminated to provide the opportunity for stability within Afghanistan. However, there is a tradeoff between more troops and looking more and more like an occupier vs. a facilitator. While more troops in late 2001 would have been helpful, the fact remains that unless we violate Pakistani sovereignty, elimination of the Taliban either then or now is not possible. To defeat an insurgency, while killing is part of the equation, its the defeat of the underlying idea/motivation for the insurgency that must be accomplished. More force is not decisive against insurgencies except when an insurgency is in its infancy, and having been around the block for nearly a decade by its overthrow, the Taliban was not in its infancy.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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