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An under-resourced war


 

U.S. and other coalition deaths were up nearly 50% in June over the record-low month of May, but for the second month in a row, more foreign soldiers were killed in Afghanistan than in Iraq. The related story includes far more pessimistic language from Gen. Dan K. McNeill than I heard from him in Kabul last October. Which makes sense: It’s getting worse there. A couple of weeks ago our John Geddes provided details.


 
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An under-resourced war

  1. All “unwinable” wars are “under-resourced”.

  2. Taliban are taking advantage of the confused political situation in Pakistan. They may also have pulled some of their fighters from Iraq because they (and Iran) are probably going to wait for the US presidential elections.

  3. I can never get over the so called unwinnable war label you see once in awhile – this reveals a complete and total ignorance of the history of war. All war’s are winnable and generally speaking are very simple to win when fought. Read Sun Tzu the best way to win a war is to remove the wil of the enemy to fight one. A Classic example is when Sun Tzu received his first commission the Lord of the County place him in charge of the concubines telling Sun Tzu to make them obey him – after some difficulties he publicly beheaded one of them and the next day he got full compliance from all orders in front of the Lord of the Manor – now this is an example only of course however the principle remains very true and well established in history – Personally I would start with infiltrating and disappearing all radical teachers from the Madrassas in Pakistan which more than likely is the source of the training of the militants.

  4. Wayne:

    Obviously you have more expertise then the British and the Soviets, who tried to pacify Afghanistan and failed.

    If you were only around back then to tell them what to do, they might have won!

  5. Wayne, how about YOU do some reading of the history you claim others not to know anything about. When you do, please answer the following:

    Of all the wars fought by foreign forces in Afghanistan, how many were won?

  6. Hey Boudica – how long a list would you like we could start with Alexander The Great we could then move on to the Mongols and then there were some very interesting smaller nations that conquered them etc etc etc.- history is really very interesting and a lot of people would do very well by actually reading it and not just the headlines!

  7. The war in Afghanistan in winnable. The key is that it is not winnable given the current set of constraints.

    – NATO forces are fragmented due to the PRT paradigm;
    – NATO forces are hampered by limitations on Rules of Engagement (ROE’s);
    – Afghan National Army and Police are not yet effective and are seriously underfunded and under trained.
    – Corruption is rampant effectively siphoning money and public support;
    – War lords who have committed serious crimes and control armed militias are sitting in the wings avoiding overt confrontation but just protecting their interests form a substantial part of the government.
    – The government in Afghanistan has no effective control outside of Kabul.
    – The region is fundamentally unstable with Iran, Pakistan, China and Russians all keeping their fingers in the pie with their own vested interests.

    How do you help the situation in Afghanistan?
    Militarily:
    -More money, troops and equipment. The commander of the British forces who recently left indicated that if you follow “by the book” counter insurgency procedures you need 400,000 troops in Afghanistan. This would seem like the worst case but assuming we split the difference and call it 200,000 that still leaves us 150,000 short. I would not count the ANA in this number yet they do not seem to be effective and reliable just yet (See GOA report last week);
    – Disband PRTs and create a unified command;
    – Remove all ROEs;
    Diplomacy:
    – A forum for regional parties needs to be put in place for local players to make decisions about local issues.
    Governance:
    -Strong local law enforcement and judiciary are required to increase the effective control of the government. Current efforts have been inadequate
    – Strict anti-corruption measures to be rigidly applied to increase confidence in the central government.

    We can argue about the specifics but the long and the short of it all is that we have done too little (for many reasons) for too long. Without a significant investment in money, people and material NATO and the west are likely to face an ongoing war of attrition which will continue to erode the effectiveness in rebuilding the state of Afghanistan and effectively it will not be able to neutralize the effect of insurgents.

    My $0.02 get serious or get out. And, No, I don’t think we have been treating the situation as seriously as it deserves to be treated (from a foreign policy perspective both in Canada and within NATO states).

  8. The Afghani people, by and by large, wanted the British and the Soviets out of Afghanistan by any means necessary. In the latter case, the mujahideen were heavily financed and assisted by the United States.

    This time around, the exact feelings of the Afghan people aren’t clear but they’re certainly not “ragingly anti-Canadian”. They’re not being financed by the biggest superpower in the world and they’ve lost actual control of the country beyond the level of a few largely rogue warlords. A country is not uninvadable merely because there are mountains in it. In a case like this, it’s all about having the will to see it through. And if NATO isn’t going to support this war properly, better to get out now and let the Taliban have it now rather than later after even more bloodshed.

  9. Wayne,

    Look where it got Alexander and the Mongols.

    It is a distant imperial folly, with little or no relevance to the people of Canada. Sure the pipeline was a capital idea for the Americans, ashame they got tangle up in that other debacle.

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