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Thread: Afghan Exit:why, how and more in country and beyond

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Moderator's Note

    There are now over three hundred threads in this forum and time for a new one to cover what may happen, is planned to happen and not only the impact within Afghanistan, but at home too. Home of course being wider than just the USA, the ISAF coalition and those nations who have participated in Afghanistan.

    The catalyst for this thread came from a number of posts on the 'The Best Trained, Most Professional Military...Just Lost Two Wars? ' thread which IMHO contribute to that subject and are more pertinent here.

    Secondly after a review there are a number of threads that cover aspects of an exit, most of them from a historical angle; back to three years ago only.

    Fuller explanation and links etc are on Post 16.

    This thread was not started by Bob's World, rather I used it as the starting point.(Ends)



    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    OK, so what should the individual consequences be?

    Thereafter what and how long would it take to replace with those who built it with those without guilt or blood on their hands?
    I don't think we need to go on a witch hunt to see who to punish.

    It's just time to recognize that we don't need to control, directly or indirectly through the Northern Alliance, Afghanistan to prevent it from being an AQ sanctuary. To recognize that the Northern Alliance has absolutely no interest or desire to be the government we want them to be. To recognize that we are better off simply packing up and going home than we are executing any kind of phased out exit plan.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-11-2012 at 10:11 PM. Reason: Add Note and last line in Mod's Note
    Robert C. Jones
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    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    To recognize that we are better off simply packing up and going home than we are executing any kind of phased out exit plan.
    Should we continue to pay for the fuel and ammunition for the ANSF after we leave? And should we make special provisions to take along the many thousands who have worked for and with us, and their families, when we go?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Carl,

    We were manipulated (willingly) by the Northern Alliance. We did not trick them into supporting us, rather it was quite the opposite. Most are now mulit-millionaires and already have their exit strategies well funded and well planned out. I shed no tears for them.

    Those in the villages, those who embraced the Villlage Stability program, for example, that is another matter. There will be no offers of sanctuary for these people I am sure, and they have no millions to show for their buying into what we were selling. These are the ones who are most vulnerable to what will happen as the US and GIRoA both light out for other places.

    As we prioritize our loyalties, I think we might want to think about our own troops, their families, and the people of the US. I think this has gone on long enough.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Bob:

    Those who aren't rich will look at us and say "You promised." If we don't at least try to make some extraordinary provisions for them that makes us a pretty shameful lot. Those who aren't rich to whom we made promises will probably not look kindly upon us if we were to bug out precipitously leaving them. We might have to steal out like thieves in the night.

    Do you think we should continue to supplies fuel and bullets once we leave? The Soviets did that at least until their system collapsed.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Bob:

    Those who aren't rich will look at us and say "You promised." If we don't at least try to make some extraordinary provisions for them that makes us a pretty shameful lot. Those who aren't rich to whom we made promises will probably not look kindly upon us if we were to bug out precipitously leaving them. We might have to steal out like thieves in the night.

    Do you think we should continue to supplies fuel and bullets once we leave? The Soviets did that at least until their system collapsed.
    Carl, the problem stems from the concept of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". You can of course exploit this situation without throwing billions at these temporary 'fair weather' allies but that is not the way the US works.

    The US politicians - remember Nixon with his "Peace with Honor" BS - seem to be able to sell anything to the voters but after the US troops are safely back at home and the country concerned drops off the radar thats when the real problems begin. More were killed after the war in Vietnam. What are the stats from Iraq using "Mission Accomplished" as the end of the war (they thought).

    What will happen in Afghanistan is anyones guess but what is for certain is that the leaders of the current regime are well set up with US money to move at short notice while for the villages the cycle of violence will continue.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Bob:

    Those who aren't rich will look at us and say "You promised." If we don't at least try to make some extraordinary provisions for them that makes us a pretty shameful lot. Those who aren't rich to whom we made promises will probably not look kindly upon us if we were to bug out precipitously leaving them. We might have to steal out like thieves in the night.

    Do you think we should continue to supplies fuel and bullets once we leave? The Soviets did that at least until their system collapsed.
    Carl, you act like we somehow lured the Northern Alliance into doing something they were not already completely dedicated toward the accomplishment of. Or, as if the Afghan populace somehow has any more say now in who rules them than they did before. This is still a land where the only sure vote is cast in 7.62mm lead.

    Think about it, if the election process was truly fair and functional, the Taliban government in exile would have simply rallied a "get out the vote" campaign rather than a long, bloody insurgency.

    Government to government relations are contracts, not blood oaths. You worry about what happens if the US "abandons" GIRoA; but answer this, how long ago do you think that Northern Alliance-based government abandoned us?? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Never really caring about what we wanted from the first place? We were "abandoned" long ago, but were too self-absorbed to notice or even much care.

    Again, they abandoned us long ago, and have been manipulating us to protect and fund one of the most self-serving governments on the planet. Will many good Afghan people suffer when we leave? Yes. But many good Afghan people suffer because we stay as well.

    Time to stop make arguments based on false logic and poor facts. It is only just in the past few months that our senior leaders in Afghanistan are waking up to the fact that the interests and efforts promoted so heavily by ISAF are not anything that GIRoA is interested in at all. If we would have truly honored Afghan sovereignty from the start we would have realized this long ago. Allowing our General's opinions to trump the host nation's President is a bad policy that leads inevitably to places like the one we are in now.

    As soon as we stop driving the train as to what "must" be done, there will be a HUGE compression and reduction of security effort by GIRoA. As soon as we stop funding development and security forces there will be an immediate halt to 90% of that as well. We have been self-serving in our approaches just as much as GIRoA has. Time to let this situation find a more natural balance. That is a balance that may well end up with significant Taliban influence over it. We need to prepare for that reality and be willing to swallow our pride and reach out to embrace it.

    The only way our true enemies gain undue influence or sanctuary in Afghanistan is if we once again turn our backs on the place or are too proud to reach out to the new management that is sure to rise. Judging by our spiteful positions on Cuba, Vietnam and Iran, however, I am not optimistic that we will this time decide to be the bigger man and extend our hand first. Most likely we will allow ourselves to be manipulated by a vocal diaspora that has fled in our wake to enjoy their il-gotten gains in the safety of our borders
    Robert C. Jones
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    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    David:

    Your judgment in these matters is good. You decide.

    But let us amend the original question the C's asked. We'll go from 'How come such a great military just lost two wars?' to 'How come this country of ours that professes to be a cut above, the city on the hill, is probably going to abandon millions of people to lethal killers again?' Just like we did before.

    I remember the aftermath of our abandoning South Vietnam. I hoped we would never do it again though I knew in my heart that we probably would. That won't make it any less sad and shameful though.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default This question does tie in

    with the OP's question:

    from Carl
    How come this country of ours that professes to be a cut above, the city on the hill, is probably going to abandon millions of people to lethal killers again?
    In answer, it will continue to do so until (1) it ceases to preach that it is "the city on the hill"; and (2) it ceases to preach that it will safeguard "millions of people" from "lethal killers".

    It will continue to do so so long as its strategy continues to be based on what was so clearly stated to be US strategy in Afghanistan from the gitgo:

    Future of Afghanistan
    Richard N. Haass, Director, Office of the Policy Planning Staff, and U.S. Coordinator for the Future of Afghanistan,
    Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
    Washington, DC
    December 6, 2001

    Mr. Chairman:

    I am pleased to have this opportunity to testify before the Committee on Foreign Relations in my capacity as U.S. Coordinator for the Future of Afghanistan.

    Our aims in Afghanistan are well known to the American people and this Committee. We seek to bring about an Afghanistan that is free of terrorists, that no longer is a source of poppy, and that allows its citizens -- including an estimated five million refugees and an unknown number of internally displaced persons -- to return to their homes and live normal lives in which opportunity comes to replace misery. ... (JMM: much more of the same in the rest of the statement).
    Not to blame Mr Haass too much, who was simply following in the footsteps of a flock of US Presidents (from Wilson to GWB, at the time) and stating what his boss Colin Powell wanted stated.

    If one believes that the US is "the city on the hill" and has an obligation to safeguard "millions of people" (actually "billions") from "lethal killers", then one is obliged, I suppose, to preach what Mr Haass said. The problem is that, if in the course of these neo-colonial wars, one must pull the plug, charges of hypocrisy are well founded indeed.

    I do not believe that the US is "the city on the hill"; or that it has an obligation to safeguard "millions of people" (actually "billions") from "lethal killers" - other than its own citizens. I am therefore a "bad, evil person".

    Regards

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    But let us amend the original question the C's asked. We'll go from 'How come such a great military just lost two wars?' to 'How come this country of ours that professes to be a cut above, the city on the hill, is probably going to abandon millions of people to lethal killers again?' Just like we did before.

    I remember the aftermath of our abandoning South Vietnam. I hoped we would never do it again though I knew in my heart that we probably would. That won't make it any less sad and shameful though.
    The word "abandon" is emotionally loaded and I don't see any place for it in a discussion like this. Do you suggest that protecting the populace of the world is an American responsibility? Or that once the US associates with a dysfunctional government they are then committed to defend the governed populace forever?

    If Afghans want to keep the Taliban out, they can do that. They sent the Russians back to Russia, they're sending the Americans back to America, they can send the Taliban back to Pakistan... if they want to. If they don't want to, that's ultimately up to them. I don't see how protecting Afghans from themselves, or from each other, is an American responsibility.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    The word "abandon" is emotionally loaded and I don't see any place for it in a discussion like this. Do you suggest that protecting the populace of the world is an American responsibility? Or that once the US associates with a dysfunctional government they are then committed to defend the governed populace forever?

    If Afghans want to keep the Taliban out, they can do that. They sent the Russians back to Russia, they're sending the Americans back to America, they can send the Taliban back to Pakistan... if they want to. If they don't want to, that's ultimately up to them. I don't see how protecting Afghans from themselves, or from each other, is an American responsibility.
    Quoted for truth, as they say. Absolute truth.

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    Posted by JM999

    If one believes that the US is "the city on the hill" and has an obligation to safeguard "millions of people" (actually "billions") from "lethal killers", then one is obliged, I suppose, to preach what Mr Haass said. The problem is that, if in the course of these neo-colonial wars, one must pull the plug, charges of hypocrisy are well founded indeed.

    I do not believe that the US is "the city on the hill"; or that it has an obligation to safeguard "millions of people" (actually "billions") from "lethal killers" - other than its own citizens. I am therefore a "bad, evil person".
    Posted by Dayuhan

    The word "abandon" is emotionally loaded and I don't see any place for it in a discussion like this. Do you suggest that protecting the populace of the world is an American responsibility? Or that once the US associates with a dysfunctional government they are then committed to defend the governed populace forever?
    Lot's of wisdom in the above quotes, and while I emphasize with Carl's lamenting, I have come to a place where I believe the American people have a strong sense of right and wrong, which is a large part of what makes me proud to be an American. The downside to this (and I have definitely been guilty of this) is they feel compelled to act when they see an injustice in the world, but they have no idea where that act will take them or the millions of people impacted by it. We collectively have naive beliefs about how the world works, and then when we find out that can't save all the children or send all the girls to school despite our best efforts, and we get tired of our people coming home in coffins or terribly maimed with no end in sight we abandon altrustic goals for more reasonable ones. The question we need to ask in the beginning before we commit is will we ultimately do more good, or create a worse situation like we did in Iraq where more people died after Saddam was soundly defeated?

    A case in point that is not Afghanistan centric. We generally find it apalling that kids would work in a so-called sweat shop for 10-12 hours a day in a developing nation, although kids did it in the US during the industrial revolution. We find it more disgusting if they're working in a company making goods for a US Company. We're so disgusted that we jump on our white horse and ride to the rescue. In this case Senator Harkin in 1993 proposed legislation banning imports from countries that hire underage workers. Bangladesh saw the writing on the wall, and directed its factories quit hiring children. Bravo! America came to the rescue, we can all sleep better.

    The rest of the story is those kids didn't go to school or stay home and watch Sesame Street, in many cases they ended up in worse jobs, living on the street, and in many cases they ended up as child prostitutes. They worked in those sweat shops because they were the best available alternative and we took that away from them with the best of intentions, because we used mirror imaging, and assuming if the kids weren't in sweat shops they would be going to school.

    We're naive as a people because most of our people view the world through 30 second sound bytes and make a judgment on whether something is good or bad, and may even push to have the government deploy the military to "fix" the problem. The military isn't broke because it can't fix these problems, but our national level decision making process is.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Default But a promise is a promise

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Carl, you act like we somehow lured the Northern Alliance into doing something they were not already completely dedicated toward the accomplishment of. Or, as if the Afghan populace somehow has any more say now in who rules them than they did before. This is still a land where the only sure vote is cast in 7.62mm lead.
    I don't give a darn about the warlords. I give a darn about all the people we made promises to and who will be subject to that 7.62 mm vote when we bug out, cut off the money and don't bother to try and make extraordinary efforts to take people who trusted us with us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Think about it, if the election process was truly fair and functional, the Taliban government in exile would have simply rallied a "get out the vote" campaign rather than a long, bloody insurgency.
    I have thought about it. I thought to myself that Taliban & Co have never much cared for elections. The results are too unpredictable for them. MO wrapped himself in the cloak of the Prophet, he doesn't do elections.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Government to government relations are contracts, not blood oaths. You worry about what happens if the US "abandons" GIRoA; but answer this, how long ago do you think that Northern Alliance-based government abandoned us?? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Never really caring about what we wanted from the first place? We were "abandoned" long ago, but were too self-absorbed to notice or even much care.
    Tell me, are there gradations in how seriously we should view promises? Does a promise or a commitment leave more wiggle room than a blood oath?

    That is a nice bit of sophistry, us being abandoned. It cleverly shifts the blame. "Your honor I woulda kept the deal but they broke it first." And you always use "Northern Alliance" so we don't have to think about the little people we are going to bug out on. "Northern Alliance" sort of blocks them from view.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Will many good Afghan people suffer when we leave? Yes. But many good Afghan people suffer because we stay as well.
    So one equals the other then? No I think not. That knife is sharp and it will cut deep when we bug out. We can lessen the pain for some if we try to take a bunch of them out with us when we go, or arrange for them to come later if things fall apart. I think we should do that. Do you think we should do that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Time to stop make arguments based on false logic and poor facts. It is only just in the past few months that our senior leaders in Afghanistan are waking up to the fact that the interests and efforts promoted so heavily by ISAF are not anything that GIRoA is interested in at all. If we would have truly honored Afghan sovereignty from the start we would have realized this long ago. Allowing our General's opinions to trump the host nation's President is a bad policy that leads inevitably to places like the one we are in now.
    I agree wholeheartedly with you last sentence. That speaks directly to the point the C's were making in their original post. As you said previously, our generals allowed scores to trump wisdom. That is poor soldiering. Of course since they have made it into the multi-star club, they will benefit now and forever from the impunity that comes from being in the club.

    I agree with you first sentence also, though probably in a different way. I would apply it to our relations with our enemy, the Pak Army/ISI. But it is probably too late now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    As soon as we stop driving the train as to what "must" be done, there will be a HUGE compression and reduction of security effort by GIRoA. As soon as we stop funding development and security forces there will be an immediate halt to 90% of that as well. We have been self-serving in our approaches just as much as GIRoA has. Time to let this situation find a more natural balance. That is a balance that may well end up with significant Taliban influence over it. We need to prepare for that reality and be willing to swallow our pride and reach out to embrace it.
    I think India, Iran, the Stans, Russia and Turkey are all going to have something to say about that. As for us, if we are going to bug out, which it seems we are fated to do, why on earth would we entreat with Taliban & Co? All those countries know a lot more about it and are a lot closer. After bugging out we wouldn't have any pull with anybody anyway.

    I asked way above if you thought we should stop funding the ANSF after we bug out. I take it that you think we should. We didn't take a blood oath so that is OK I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    The only way our true enemies gain undue influence or sanctuary in Afghanistan is if we once again turn our backs on the place or are too proud to reach out to the new management that is sure to rise. Judging by our spiteful positions on Cuba, Vietnam and Iran, however, I am not optimistic that we will this time decide to be the bigger man and extend our hand first. Most likely we will allow ourselves to be manipulated by a vocal diaspora that has fled in our wake to enjoy their il-gotten gains in the safety of our borders
    Yeah, that diaspora will have a voice. Their throats won't be sliced. The ones we made promises too whom we won't take with us, they won't be heard, for they will be dead.

    A lot of your arguments, they abandoned us, things will reach their natural level when we leave, the enemy isn't really that bad (Mullah Omar, the getter outer of the vote) remind me of the things that were said from 1973-1975. It was all said then too so our self esteem wouldn't be lessened when we pulled the plug.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    The word "abandon" is emotionally loaded and I don't see any place for it in a discussion like this. Do you suggest that protecting the populace of the world is an American responsibility? Or that once the US associates with a dysfunctional government they are then committed to defend the governed populace forever?

    If Afghans want to keep the Taliban out, they can do that. They sent the Russians back to Russia, they're sending the Americans back to America, they can send the Taliban back to Pakistan... if they want to. If they don't want to, that's ultimately up to them. I don't see how protecting Afghans from themselves, or from each other, is an American responsibility.
    The word abandon is a simple description of an act. You promise to stand by something and you don't, you have abandoned it. If that is emotionally loaded that is a measure of the 'don't you dare hurt my feelings' culture we live in now, a culture that in my view blinds us to consequences of our actions.

    Your first question is a simple device to distract. We'll move on.

    When we say we are going to stick with somebody we should, at least to the point where we make a good faith effort to try. We never did because we never recognized and dealt with realistically the Pak Army/ISI. So now we are going to bug out. Since that is a done deal seemingly we should keep the money going to the ANSF and we should make arrangements to take those who worked with us, with us, when and if they need to go. We won't of course. To damn difficult to assimilate people like that (the word that is to be uttered disdainfully with slightly curled lips). We have incurred, I think, certain moral obligations. (I know what's coming so please don't present me with the argument that nations only have interests, not moral obligations. I don't agree.)

    Your last paragraph I heard before, almost 40 years ago. Only then instead of Afghans, it was South Vietnamese. The argument facilely ignored outside actors then, just as it does now.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    I don't give a darn about the warlords. I give a darn about all the people we made promises to and who will be subject to that 7.62 mm vote when we bug out, cut off the money and don't bother to try and make extraordinary efforts to take people who trusted us with us.
    Carl, who are you referring to when you say we made promises to people?

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    Originally Posted by Dayuhan
    The word "abandon" is emotionally loaded and I don't see any place for it in a discussion like this.
    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    The word abandon is a simple description of an act. You promise to stand by something and you don't, you have abandoned it. If that is emotionally loaded that is a measure of the 'don't you dare hurt my feelings' culture we live in now, a culture that in my view blinds us to consequences of our actions.

    Your first question is a simple device to distract. We'll move on.
    Agree. Glad to see someone else has picked up on that.

    You are correct. We have now entered the era of the 'spin'.

    Surely there is some smart young guy with time on his hands who can plot the path of spin from the beginning when the intervention was being justified up to now when the spin is being applied to justify cutting and running.

    I am constantly amazed how some people (many around here) just jump onto and defend to the death the current spin band wagon being applied by the current Administration. Worthy of study.

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    Default Afghan Exit:why, how and more in country and beyond

    There are now over three hundred threads in this forum and time for a new one to cover what may happen, is planned to happen and not only the impact within Afghanistan, but at home too. Home of course being wider than just the USA, the ISAF coalition and those nations who have participated in Afghanistan.

    The catalyst for this thread came from a number of posts on the 'The Best Trained, Most Professional Military...Just Lost Two Wars? ' thread which IMHO contribute to that subject and are more pertinent here.

    Secondly after a review there are a number of threads that cover aspects of an exit, most of them from a historical angle; back to three years ago only:

    a) Leaving Afghanistan: is the USA following the USSR strategy? http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16855

    b) The best thing we can do is leave: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16590

    c) Leave or Stay: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=14354

    d) Withdrawal deadlines discussion: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=10789

    e) What If We Fail in Afghanistan?: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=8990

    Political statements abound on a change of roles, notably the end of a direct combat role for ISAF by 2014 and on the exit of contributors beforehand, such as France. Strategic value and partnership are mentioned, although the exact form is very dependent on the Afghan national government's stance.

    What does an exit mean for the Afghan people, recent posts have asked what does it mean to those who have fought with us, been interpreters and the like?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-06-2012 at 10:22 AM.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Default I don't buy it

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    The word abandon is a simple description of an act. You promise to stand by something and you don't, you have abandoned it.
    I don't buy it. A simple description of an act would be "a withdrawal of troops and other resources", or some such thing. "Abandon" assumes an absolute, eternal, and irrevocable commitment, and no such promise was ever or could ever be made. Of course any commitment made has to depend on corresponding effort from the Afghan side. No government on the planet can be expected to fling money eternally at people who seem mostly interested in stealing it, or to provide eternal support for a government that shows few signs of interest in standing on its own. All commitments are limited, just as all resources are limited.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    When we say we are going to stick with somebody we should, at least to the point where we make a good faith effort to try. We never did because we never recognized and dealt with realistically the Pak Army/ISI.
    I don't buy it. How many lives, how many years, how many hundreds of billions of dollars - much of it stolen by the people we're allegedly abandoning - are needed to constitute a "good faith effort to try"?

    There's no way the US can deal realistically with the Pak Army/ISI until we withdraw from Afghanistan: the need to supply forces through Pakistani territory is the single biggest constraint of the revision of that relationship. Absurd to say we shouldn't leave until we deal with Pakistan when we can't do anything about Pakistan until we leave.

    Even after leaving, of course, all the US can do is stop giving money and threaten various actions if they do things we don't like. Whether or not that will change their policies is debatable: they are not a vassal state and they are not required to bow to our will.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    So now we are going to bug out.
    And why should we not? It's pretty clear that the Afghan Government is not going to put any effort into defending or sustaining itself while the Americans are there to do it for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Since that is a done deal seemingly we should keep the money going to the ANSF and we should make arrangements to take those who worked with us, with us, when and if they need to go. We won't of course. To damn difficult to assimilate people like that (the word that is to be uttered disdainfully with slightly curled lips).
    I would personally have no objection to providing continuing military and civilian assistance, with some provisions. It should be clear that the assistance will be gradually phased out. It should be clear that any organization that doesn't make very visible progress on controlling corruption, meaning specific individual consequences, gets nothing. It should be made clear that if the people training the military get shot, military assistance will stop. I have no personal objection to taking in people who worked with us if they lose - which doesn't have to be a foregone conclusion - with the provision that anyone with a record of stealing public money, dealing drugs, etc is not going to be included.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    We have incurred, I think, certain moral obligations. (I know what's coming so please don't present me with the argument that nations only have interests, not moral obligations. I don't agree.)
    And the government on the receiving end has no moral obligation to make a visible effort to step up and carry their share? How long do you throw money and lives down a black hole?

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Your last paragraph I heard before, almost 40 years ago. Only then instead of Afghans, it was South Vietnamese. The argument facilely ignored outside actors then, just as it does now.
    I don't buy it. The Taliban aren't the NVA, not by a long shot. If Afghans want our help in suppressing them, they need to show that they have the will - they've been given the means - to step up and make real substantive effort to carry the fight themselves. We all they know how. If that will is shown, they deserve support. If not, they don't.

    There are no blank checks or open-ended commitments in international affairs. None. Never have been, never will be.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  18. #18
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Exit Strategies and State Building

    Professor Richard Caplan of Oxford University has a edited volume 'Exit Strategies and State Building' and a relevant short article in Survival, June-July 2012 issue. Link to the book:http://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/index.p...rd-caplan.html

    To Amazon, no reviews yet:http://www.amazon.com/Strategies-Sta.../dp/0199760128

    From his university bio:
    Richard Caplan is Professor of International Relations and Official Fellow of Linacre College. His principal research interests are concerned with international organisations and conflict management. His current research is focused on post-conflict state-building. He is directing a research project on 'Exit Strategies and Peace Consolidation' that is examining the empirical experiences of, and scholarly and policy questions associated with, exit in relation to four types of international operations where state-building has been a major objective: colonial administrations, peacekeeping operations, military occupations and international administrations.
    I enjoyed reading the article, especially the point that:
    ...benchmarks need to be concrete and measurable, using meaningful indicators....
    Then I read the SWJ article on the Soviet exit, which quite clearly had 'benchmarks' in place.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Carl, who are you referring to when you say we made promises to people?
    Us, the Americans, the Americans as viewed by the Afghans there and by the rest of the world. When we are judged by those people, they won't use the actual verbiage contained in speeches and policy statements. They will judge us as a group using the totality of the circumstances covering back to 2001. When views like that, we made promises. Again using the totality of circumstance, we made those promises to the Afghans. That is how I figure others judge it, and that is how I judge it.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I don't buy it. A simple description of an act would be "a withdrawal of troops and other resources", or some such thing.
    You parse the word as you like. I see abandon and I figure the rest of the world is most likely to see like that too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    There's no way the US can deal realistically with the Pak Army/ISI until we withdraw from Afghanistan: the need to supply forces through Pakistani territory is the single biggest constraint of the revision of that relationship. Absurd to say we shouldn't leave until we deal with Pakistan when we can't do anything about Pakistan until we leave.
    We supplied the big force we have there now via routes other than Pakistan for months. If we reduce the force to the point where it can be supplied by air and the north route, we can sustain it indefinitely without Pakistan. We have never really tried. That bespeaks laziness, lack of imagination and being the mark for the sahibs in Pindi. The Afghans see that as does the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Even after leaving, of course, all the US can do is stop giving money and threaten various actions if they do things we don't like. Whether or not that will change their policies is debatable: they are not a vassal state and they are not required to bow to our will.
    Did you ever see the movie The Servant with Dirk Bogarde? It is a dark and twisted tale about how man servent takes over the household through malevolent force of character that subtly overwhelmed the employer. The employer could have stopped things and ruled the roost at any time but he never even tried. Weak character you see. We're the employer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    And why should we not? It's pretty clear that the Afghan Government is not going to put any effort into defending or sustaining itself while the Americans are there to do it for them.
    Yep, heard that exact same argument in 1973-1975.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I would personally have no objection to providing continuing military and civilian assistance, with some provisions. It should be clear that the assistance will be gradually phased out. It should be clear that any organization that doesn't make very visible progress on controlling corruption, meaning specific individual consequences, gets nothing. It should be made clear that if the people training the military get shot, military assistance will stop. I have no personal objection to taking in people who worked with us if they lose - which doesn't have to be a foregone conclusion - with the provision that anyone with a record of stealing public money, dealing drugs, etc is not going to be included.
    Well that is a start. Good for you. But I note that you incorporate so many provisos that you would be able to leave any time you felt like it and could easily avoid taking those people with us by saying we haven't been able to fully investigate. IIRC, we did the same thing when we wouldn't take in all the European Jews that there were visa for before WWII because the powers that be said they couldn't be sure they weren't Nazi agents. (I recall reading that in FDR at War but I don't have the book here and I may be wrong.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    And the government on the receiving end has no moral obligation to make a visible effort to step up and carry their share? How long do you throw money and lives down a black hole?
    Don't conflate the gov with individuals. In order to save those individuals, millions of them perhaps, we might have to put up with a bad gov. It wouldn't be the first time. If you insist on putting behavior of the gov foremost, that is presenting an excuse to bug out on the individuals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I don't buy it. The Taliban aren't the NVA, not by a long shot. If Afghans want our help in suppressing them, they need to show that they have the will - they've been given the means - to step up and make real substantive effort to carry the fight themselves. We all they know how. If that will is shown, they deserve support. If not, they don't.
    You ignore the outside influences in both cases again, the Soviet Union and Red China in the one case, and the Pak Army/ISI in the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    There are no blank checks or open-ended commitments in international affairs. None. Never have been, never will be.
    Maybe not, but if you make a promise, you should keep it.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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