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Into the Valley of Death

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by S-2 View Post
    I hate our lack of commitment. I hate our lack of unified command of singular purpose and focus. I hate the absence of control over NGOs that wander willy-nilly. I hate cowboys that see Afghanistan as their last frontier. Our untidy western facade masks an even more untidy and byzantine Afghan puzzle-palace. I hate that too.
    Captain,

    You've just described Yugoslavia.

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  • Agnostic Muslim
    replied
    Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    How so? I am asking a simple question. Can you carry through?
    Militarily - Yes.

    The capability is there and the discipline is there, even if the desire at the level of NATO is not. Whether all of that capability will be utilized is a different question.

    Seriously, I would like to know what the "democratically chosen popular opinion" is. I can tell you what the Canadian "democratically chosen popular opinion" is - we're carrying through with this war.
    The "popular opinion" at this point seems to be pretty much that - this war is one that the US started and the US wants to fight, and we are being unnecessarily dragged into it.

    I would like to know what US or Canadian popular opinion would be if Iraq was in the place of Mexico, and half the suicide bombings were occurring within the US - especially given the sentiment (correct or not) that the war was needless.

    And you're missing the point altogether. It is not what NATO thinks nor what Pakistanis think. At the end of the day, it is what the Afghans think ... and the Afghans have been telling you big time what they think.
    If NATO really thinks that Pakistani efforts in FATA will make a difference then that is very much the point - because no democratic government in Pakistan will support a war that its people think is a Western ploy.

    If you are referring to the numerous statements by Afghan officials, then I am afraid that I have to say that I don't really give a rats ass what a bloody warlord has to say about Pakistan - especially when they choose to bring out dreams of redrawing borders. The only Afghan opinions the Pakistanis are looking at are the Pashtun ones.

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  • S2
    replied
    OoE Reply

    Colonel,

    I honestly don't think that we're winning by any stretch nor shall at this rate of commitment. Not in Afghanistan. Not Pakistan. Not even Iraq. It's not the fault of our troops. I sincerely believe that my nation has never been better served with such professional excellence as we now see. I'm stunned by our quality, to be blunt.

    I hate our lack of commitment. I hate our lack of unified command of singular purpose and focus. I hate the absence of control over NGOs that wander willy-nilly. I hate cowboys that see Afghanistan as their last frontier. Our untidy western facade masks an even more untidy and byzantine Afghan puzzle-palace. I hate that too.

    One-third more people than Iraq. One-third more sq. miles than Iraq. About one-quarter of the troops. Who are any of us kidding? It's a joke and waste of dollars as currently pursued.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by Agnostic Muslim View Post
    None of the answers to those questions would satisfy you- because they would be approached under a different set of dynamics than what NATO faces in Afghanistan - and I am not referring to the purely military aspect of this conflict.
    How so? I am asking a simple question. Can you carry through?

    Originally posted by Agnostic Muslim View Post
    I think we have had more than one "set back", and "popular" Pakistani opinion has its own dynamics, with which us "enlightened Pakistanis" express our frustration quite vehemently - but at the end of the day, it is about what the "democratically chosen popular opinion" wants is it not? For that is exactly what your media and Governments repeatedly reminds us is best for us and shove down our throats. So let the chips of "popular opinion" fall where they may.
    Seriously, I would like to know what the "democratically chosen popular opinion" is. I can tell you what the Canadian "democratically chosen popular opinion" is - we're carrying through with this war.

    Originally posted by Agnostic Muslim View Post
    Most Pakistanis do equate the NATO presence with the Soviets, and arrive at the same conclusion - that atrocities galore are being committed, that NATO has no local support, and will eventually lose and be driven out. If your side cannot be bothered to explain its side of the story, then there is no need to complain about the mis-perceptions on our side. Is the "winning hearts and minds" effort faltering already?
    And you're missing the point altogether. It is not what NATO thinks nor what Pakistanis think. At the end of the day, it is what the Afghans think ... and the Afghans have been telling you big time what they think.

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  • Agnostic Muslim
    replied
    Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Do you believe that you have enough successes to carry on your momentum? Or do you believe you have to redefine your efforts? These are serious questions.
    None of the answers to those questions would satisfy you- because they would be approached under a different set of dynamics than what NATO faces in Afghanistan - and I am not referring to the purely military aspect of this conflict.

    The 1st piece of good news I have heard in a long time. I applaud your victory but one victory does not make a war won.

    The question I have is would you, as in the Pak popular opinion, change their minds if one set back occurred ... or are you now determined to carry through ... at least now, is your army determined to carry through ... because right now, the performance has been pokey dot.
    I think we have had more than one "set back", and "popular" Pakistani opinion has its own dynamics, with which us "enlightened Pakistanis" express our frustration quite vehemently - but at the end of the day, it is about what the "democratically chosen popular opinion" wants is it not? For that is exactly what your media and Governments repeatedly reminds us is best for us and shove down our throats. So let the chips of "popular opinion" fall where they may.

    I don't want to present NATO's side of the story, mainly because I remembered the Soviet's side of the story. The Soviets did the exact same things we're doing. The only difference is that we seemingly have better support from the Afghan populace. If, and I emphasized IF, that is true, than that is the story that I want to present ... and according to the ECONOMIST, we have 70% support.
    Most Pakistanis do equate the NATO presence with the Soviets, and arrive at the same conclusion - that atrocities galore are being committed, that NATO has no local support, and will eventually lose and be driven out. If your side cannot be bothered to explain its side of the story, then there is no need to complain about the mis-perceptions on our side. Is the "winning hearts and minds" effort faltering already?

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by Agnostic Muslim View Post
    I don't believe you understand most "enlightened" Pakistanis if you believe that we think we are actually "winning our war".
    Are you? Honestly? Are you? Do you believe so? Do you believe that you have enough successes to carry on your momentum? Or do you believe you have to redefine your efforts? These are serious questions.

    Originally posted by Agnostic Muslim View Post
    As far as limited victories go, Pakistan has had a major one in Swat - and it is continuing to isolate Mehsud through cooperation with the Ahmedzai Wazir's.
    The 1st piece of good news I have heard in a long time. I applaud your victory but one victory does not make a war won.

    The question I have is would you, as in the Pak popular opinion, change their minds if one set back occurred ... or are you now determined to carry through ... at least now, is your army determined to carry through ... because right now, the performance has been pokey dot.

    Originally posted by Agnostic Muslim View Post
    With respect to denigrating NATO efforts, perhaps that is a failure on your part to present your side of the story. Pakistanis don't hear about the excellent piece written hear - they hear about the weddings, villages and innocent children being bombed.
    I don't want to present NATO's side of the story, mainly because I remembered the Soviet's side of the story. The Soviets did the exact same things we're doing. The only difference is that we seemingly have better support from the Afghan populace. If, and I emphasized IF, that is true, than that is the story that I want to present ... and according to the ECONOMIST, we have 70% support.

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  • Agnostic Muslim
    replied
    Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Does it not disturb you that we are winning our war while even the most enlightened Pakistanis cannot accept that they're losing theirs? That they are more than willing to degenerate our accomplishments while explaining away their failures?

    I don't know if we are going to win our war in Afghanistan but I do know that we are not experiencing the failures Pakistan is experiencing.
    I don't believe you understand most "enlightened" Pakistanis if you believe that we think we are actually "winning our war".

    As far as limited victories go, Pakistan has had a major one in Swat - and it is continuing to isolate Mehsud through cooperation with the Ahmedzai Wazir's.

    With respect to denigrating NATO efforts, perhaps that is a failure on your part to present your side of the story. Pakistanis don't hear about the excellent piece written here - they hear about the weddings, villages and innocent children being bombed.
    Last edited by Agnostic Muslim; 16 Jan 08,, 05:48.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by S-2 View Post
    Funny that when I read defence.pk, our forces are routinely disparaged. Too much firepower and no cultural sensitivity. The truth, avoided assiduously there, is exactly the opposite.
    Captain,

    Does it not disturb you that we are winning our war while even the most enlightened Pakistanis cannot accept that they're losing theirs? That they are more than willing to degenerate our accomplishments while explaining away their failures?

    I don't know if we are going to win our war in Afghanistan but I do know that we are not experiencing the failures Pakistan is experiencing.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by S-2 View Post
    Nope. It happens and at least you're on the lookout for our infantry and it's war. It is, right now, the most physically demanding battlefield on the face of the earth.
    Our infantry are nothing short of outstanding these days.

    No doubt. I have the utmost respect for my Infantry brothers that have to put up with that suck.

    Hell, anyone really that has to deal with that terrain and that type of insurgancy has my deepest admiration.

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  • S2
    replied
    1 idvet Reply

    Nope. It happens and at least you're on the lookout for our infantry and it's war. It is, right now, the most physically demanding battlefield on the face of the earth.

    Funny that when I read defence.pk, our forces are routinely disparaged. Too much firepower and no cultural sensitivity. The truth, avoided assiduously there, is exactly the opposite.

    Our infantry are nothing short of outstanding these days.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I thought it might be too good to go unnoticed. Sorry for the double tag. Newbie error. I should know better.

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  • S2
    replied
    1 idvet Reply

    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/ope...tml#post441309

    Linked already to ABC report further down the threads.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Into the Valley of Death

    Forgive me if this has been posted.
    This is an article in Vanity Fair that is well done and should be read.

    Into the Valley of Death

    A strategic passage wanted by the Taliban and al-Qaeda, Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley is among the deadliest pieces of terrain in the world for U.S. forces. One platoon is considered the tip of the American spear. Its men spend their days in a surreal combination of backbreaking labor—building outposts on rocky ridges—and deadly firefights, while they try to avoid the mistakes the Russians made. Sebastian Junger and photographer Tim Hetherington join the platoon’s painfully slow advance, as its soldiers laugh, swear, and run for cover, never knowing which of them won’t make it home.
    A lot More

    You gotta love the Infantry.

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  • S2
    replied
    U.S. Airborne Keep An Eye On Things

    Looking into the "Valley of Death".
    Attached Files

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  • S2
    replied
    More from 2nd Plt B Co. 2-503 Inf. (Airborne)

    Into the Valley of Death

    Same unit covered by Vanity Fair in a very good six page article. Look at the accompanying photos and the aforementioned video. This is some of the most hellacious terrain I've ever seen. These valleys are STEEP, DEEP, COVERED, & NARROW.

    After seeing the depth of the cedar forests I now understand that there is heavy year-round cover available in this region. Access is probable with the exception of rock slides or snow that may block trails. Observation of these trails is probably physically impossible. The terrain has been massaged for ages. Note the terraces. So too, then, the trails.

    Remember, this is one platoon. This brigade has two airborne infantry battalions and a RSTA squadron. Somewhere else is another 17-25 platoons doing the exact same thing. This is TOTALLY different than Helmand/Kandahar. Different war completely.

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