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

  1. #21
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    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.
    What's the basis for this assumption about what the rest of the world will think? As far as I can tell from published commentary around the world, the prevailing opinion seems to be that we were bloody barmy to get bogged down in Afghanistan in the first place and that the sooner we're out the better. The idea of US intervention and armed nation building has not exactly been received with open arms around the world, in case you haven't noticed.

    I have no problem at all with the world knowing that the patience of the US taxpayer is not unlimited. I have no problem at all with the world knowing that that the US will not provide unlimited to governments who steal from us or populaces who sit idly by and let their government steal from us without a visible murmur of dissent. I have no problem at all with the world knowing that we'll support those who work with us to the best of their abilities, but that our support is conditional. I have no problem at all with the world knowing that we are not a bunch of bloody idiots who will throw money and lives down a black hole for all eternity without revising a plan that is clearly not working. I have no problem at all with the world knowing that we are capable of recognizing and changing a dysfunctional policy, however belatedly.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    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.
    It all seems terribly easy to fix for people writing on the Internet, doesn't it? Any brilliant ideas floating around on how exactly to do this? You recognize, I assume, that the other routes we depend on are in the hands of governments and individuals who are every bit as capricious as the Pakistanis?

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    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.
    We are not in a position to fire the Pakistanis. They are there. They will act in their perceived interest no matter what we do or say. The decision to try to build a nation of our liking in Afghanistan is what's responsible for this situation, not the Pakistanis.

    The single worst decision we could make at this point would be to conclude that since we must fix Afghanistan and we can't fix Afghanistan without fixing Pakistan, we therefore have to fix Pakistan too. Follies of that magnitude are what bring great powers down.


    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Yep, heard that exact same argument in 1973-1975.
    Yes, it was true then as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    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.
    Why should we take anyone with us when we leave? We're leaving them with a country, a government, and an army... not perfect ones, but it's not our job to make them work, it's theirs. If they give a rat's ass about their country, why would they want to come with us, instead of staying and fighting for their country? At what point would you expect them to take it over themselves? No nation anywhere was ever built or secured by any means other than the blood and sweat of its own citizens.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    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.
    So you propose to save the people from their own government? How do you propose to do that? Take that government away and install a new one (worked ever so well in Vietnam)? We are a nation. We have a government. That government deals with other governments. Relations between the Afghan government and people are something Afghans need to work out.

    I don't see these supposed millions out in the streets protesting corruption or begging the US to stay.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    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.
    You ignore the blue whale in the outside influence drawing room: us. The support we gave South Vietnam was orders of magnitude beyond what the North received from anyone. The support we've given the Afghan Government is orders of magnitude beyond anything the Taliban has received from Pakistan. If winning or losing was a function of outside influence, Duong Van Minh would have been strolling down a boulevard in Hanoi and the Taliban would have been exterminated years ago. Outside influence or support means squat if the people on the receiving end haven't the will to fight or are too busy stealing the money to bother fighting.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Maybe not, but if you make a promise, you should keep it.
    What exactly was promised... to whom, by whom, and when?
    “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

  2. #22
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    Default What Was Promised ?

    Not a difficult question to answer (originally asked by Jon Custis, I believe) - for which, there are three key documents:

    2001 Future of Afghanistan Statement

    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.
    Technically, this was not a binding international agreement; but it does represent the US position in 2001-2005. It looks to three areas of strategic partnership: The Political/Diplomatic Front; Relief, Recovery, and Reconstruction; and The Military and Security Front.

    2005 Strategic Partnership Agreement - Bush & Karzai (pdf file attached).

    Again, this presents the same three areas of strategic partnership (in slightly different words): Democracy and governance; Prosperity; and Security.

    2012 Strategic Partnership Agreement - Obama & Karzai (full text). The WH fact sheet notes the five areas covered: Protecting and Promoting Shared Democratic Values; Advancing Long-Term Security; Reinforcing Regional Security and Cooperation; Social and Economic Development; Strengthening Afghan Institutions and Governance; and further that:

    The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) is a legally binding executive agreement, undertaken between two sovereign nations. The President’s goal in negotiating such an agreement has been to define with the Afghan Government what's on the other side of Transition and the completed drawdown of U.S. forces. The agreement the President signed today will detail how the partnership between the United States and Afghanistan will be normalized as we look beyond a responsible end to the war. Through this Agreement, we seek to cement an enduring partnership with Afghanistan that strengthens Afghan sovereignty, stability and prosperity, and that contributes to our shared goal of defeating Al Qaeda and its extremist affiliates.
    but that:

    When it comes to an enduring U.S. presence, President Obama has been clear: we do not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan. Instead, the Strategic Partnership Agreement commits Afghanistan to provide U.S. personnel access to and use of Afghan facilities through 2014 and beyond. The Agreement provides for the possibility of U.S. forces in Afghanistan after 2014, for the purposes of training Afghan Forces and targeting the remnants of al-Qaeda, and commits the United States and Afghanistan to initiate negotiations on a Bilateral Security Agreement to supersede our current Status of Forces Agreement. The United States will also designate Afghanistan a “Major Non-NATO Ally” to provide a long-term framework for security and defense cooperation.

    To be clear, the Strategic Partnership Agreement itself does not commit the United States to any specific troop levels or levels of funding in the future, as those are decisions will be made in consultation with the U.S. Congress. It does, however, commit the United States to seek funding from Congress on an annual basis to support the training, equipping, advising and sustaining of Afghan National Security Forces, as well as for social and economic assistance.
    In connection with timeframe and termination, the 2012 SPA is very specific:

    2012 SPA - Obama & Karzai.jpg

    Both parties have agreed that either party may terminate on 1 year's notice.

    In this context, assertions flaunting the terms "abandon" and "cut and run" are a bit irritating and obnoxious - a mature flaming assertion would not be averse to such couplets as "coward, cowardice" and "traitor, treason".

    Regards

    Mike
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by jmm99; 11-08-2012 at 06:44 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Not a difficult question to answer (originally asked by Jon Custis, I believe) - for which, there are three key documents:

    2001 Future of Afghanistan Statement



    Technically, this was not a binding international agreement; but it does represent the US position in 2001-2005. It looks to three areas of strategic partnership: The Political/Diplomatic Front; Relief, Recovery, and Reconstruction; and The Military and Security Front.

    2005 Strategic Partnership Agreement - Bush & Karzai (pdf file attached).

    Again, this presents the same three areas of strategic partnership (in slightly different words): Democracy and governance; Prosperity; and Security.

    2012 Strategic Partnership Agreement - Obama & Karzai (full text). The WH fact sheet notes the five areas covered: Protecting and Promoting Shared Democratic Values; Advancing Long-Term Security; Reinforcing Regional Security and Cooperation; Social and Economic Development; Strengthening Afghan Institutions and Governance; and further that:



    but that:



    In connection with timeframe and termination, the 2012 SPA is very specific:

    2012 SPA - Obama & Karzai.jpg

    Both parties have agreed that either party may terminate on 1 year's notice.

    In this context, assertions flaunting the terms "abandon" and "cut and run" are a bit irritating and obnoxious - a mature flaming assertion would not be averse to such couplets as "coward, cowardice" and "traitor, treason".

    Regards

    Mike
    Mike,

    Politicians in general are the scum of the earth.

    I would suggest that one does not go out on a limb and get all defensive about the actions of people you can trust about as much as you can a crack whore.

    Read Perfidious Albion. The shoe fits the US (as well as most other countries).

    Shrug your shoulders and live with it by all means (because its not going to change) but for heavens sake do not pretend it is not happening.

    The US is going to dump its one time allies in Afghanistan and leave them to the wolves. Whether they do so in a hurry or with one years notice makes no difference... and the spin-doctors will come up with a justification.

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    Default Lousy Diversion

    Mark:

    You have posted five sentences of smoke - none of which address the simple question of "What Was Promised?".

    Whatever you want to call them - "scum crack whores" in your terms - they got together this year and definitively agreed to the US withdrawal. Ain't no dumping when both parties agree to the terms.

    I'll skip delving into Perfidious Albion. Not knocking your choice of reading materials; but I'm now into the BEF of WWI and especially the memoirs of the soldiers who fought in that war. As I've said elsewhere, I will be doing not much posting and much more reading.

    Even your book, if my pre-publication order ever ships.

    Astan's a done deal. Live with it.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    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.
    I'm sorry, looks like I wasn't clear. I got it you were referring to the US, but do you mean the "people" to be Afghans in general? There is a huge gulf between the Kabul elite and the South Helmand farmer, who isn't holding "us" to any credibility standard in the first place.

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    You have posted five sentences of smoke - none of which address the simple question of "What Was Promised?".
    He also ignores some pretty clear evidence you provided in the pursuit of continued howling over a policy decision he doesn't like. It's peculiar, ignoring terms like "Major Non-NATO ally", unless it was noted and deliberately ignored because it eminated from the White House and not the Pentagon.

  7. #27
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Default What was promised?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Not a difficult question to answer (originally asked by Jon Custis, I believe) - for which, there are three key documents:
    Well there it is, the piece of paper that we can wave at the ghosts when they come calling; saying "You promised." We can show it to them and say "Show me where?" They will stand silent but that look won't leave their faces as they fade away. We will go on and be a lesser people but we won't know it. We have that piece of paper you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    In this context, assertions flaunting the terms "abandon" and "cut and run" are a bit irritating and obnoxious - a mature flaming assertion would not be averse to such couplets as "coward, cowardice" and "traitor, treason".

    Regards

    Mike
    You know I tried to figure out how "mature flaming assertion" actually fit into that sentence. I had to think on it for a whole day before I could say "Oh I get it now."
    Last edited by carl; 11-09-2012 at 12:47 AM.
    "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 jcustis View Post
    I'm sorry, looks like I wasn't clear. I got it you were referring to the US, but do you mean the "people" to be Afghans in general? There is a huge gulf between the Kabul elite and the South Helmand farmer, who isn't holding "us" to any credibility standard in the first place.
    Yes I was referring to the Afghans in general. I know there is a huge gulf between the Kabul elite and the South Helmand farmer. I don't care about the Kabul elite. They will escape. I do care about the millions of others who were foolish enough to put their trust in us. They weren't as wise as the South Helmand farmer.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  9. #29
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Dayuhan:

    When we cut off the money to Afghanistan sometime after 2014 and we don't make provisions for those who trusted us and worked with us to get out, you tell yourself whatever you need to so even the tiniest thought of our country shaming itself doesn't cross your mind. The arguments you have presented here should work very well.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    It all seems terribly easy to fix for people writing on the Internet, doesn't it? Any brilliant ideas floating around on how exactly to do this? You recognize, I assume, that the other routes we depend on are in the hands of governments and individuals who are every bit as capricious as the Pakistanis?
    You made the point that there was no way around dealing with the Pak Army/ISI because of supply considerations. I responded that there was and said how it could be done and has been done. Then I get the catcall above. How do you deal with a catcall? I don't rightly know.

    I would note that none of those capricious governments are sponsors and supporters of Taliban & Co. as is the Pak Army/ISI.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  10. #30
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Can't speak to Afghanistan, wasn't there.

    However, with respect to Viet Nam and a few other places, we did indeed leave a few, relatively speaking, people in bad straits. Certainly not millions by any stretch. For some the error was their own and for some the fault was ours. That or the actually rather small numbers don'tt excuse those that we left that we should not have but the entire issue should be viewed in context and perspective. The vast majority of residents in Viet Nam and elsewhere were just thankful that we were gone and accepted the cost of those 'left behind.'

    I suspect the same attitude prevails in Afghanistan. To cite promises presumed is irrelevant to all but those who wish for whatever reason to make an issue of them. Some here or there may feel "lesser." That as they say, is their problem. For the US, 'lesser' is a fact of life and has been for over a hundred years. TR started us on the downhill slope and W. Wilson accelerated the decline -- been going on ever since; generally at the hands of those in positions of power who were concerned with 'doing good.' That includes G. W. Bush who kept us in Afghanistan and Iraq, both places where we had no real business to cause us to stay because he -- not the Nation -- had an attack of sadly misplaced moral rectitude. IMO, he failed in his responsibility in his elected position because he put personal feelings before the good of the nation that he was nominally responsible for 'leading' (as if anyone could 'lead' the US... ).

    As for perfidy, that's a feature of nations (plural as JMA noted), not a bug. Not going away, either. "Live with it..." Indeed.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    However, with respect to Viet Nam and a few other places, we did indeed leave a few, relatively speaking, people in bad straits. Certainly not millions by any stretch. For some the error was their own and for some the fault was ours. That or the actually rather small numbers don'tt excuse those that we left that we should not have but the entire issue should be viewed in context and perspective. The vast majority of residents in Viet Nam and elsewhere were just thankful that we were gone and accepted the cost of those 'left behind.'
    A few? Actually rather small numbers? The vast majority thankful that we were gone? Perhaps. No way to really argue that. I remember though the boat people most of whom I think died at sea. The million dead Cambodians. The Hmong who were hunted down and the ARVN collapsing with no fuel nor ammunition. That is part of the context too.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default A few. Very small numbers...

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    A few? Actually rather small numbers? The vast majority thankful that we were gone? Perhaps. No way to really argue that. I remember though the boat people most of whom I think died at sea. The million dead Cambodians. The Hmong who were hunted down and the ARVN collapsing with no fuel nor ammunition. That is part of the context too.
    Then you remember that some Boat People had US ties but the majority by far were South (and former North...) Viet Namese Catholics who decided they'd rather not live under the rule of Hanoi -- who BTW later penalized a lot of people who had no US ties or debts owed. You can add the Cambodes to your total but we promised them nothing and in fact did very little there -- we didn't abandon them so I'm unsure why one would add them into the tally of folks we've abandoned...

    I went to Laos in 1961. The Hmong were being hunted down and killed before we got there, nothing changed except we added some Americans to the KIA column and the Hmong flocked to help us -- and themselves -- in yet another effort that was doomed to fail before it began -- and a lot of Hmong and other hill tribes as well as Americans knew that very early on.

    On the ARVN collapsing with no fuel or ammunition, you're absolutely correct and the US' 93d and 94th Congresses have much to answer for in that defeat. So does Nixon and the failed 'Vietnamization' effort. As do Johnson possibly the worst US President ever and Kennedy who was a good talker...

    It was always doomed to fail, so was the entire intervention. We promised something we couldn't deliver -- just as occurred in Afghanistan and in Iraq and has in other places.

    You're again focusing on the symptoms. Of course we're leaving people in the lurch. We have -- and had -- little choice but to do so. That's the penalty of sticking ones nose in places it doesn't belong -- and why all those people are just happy to see us leave.

    They really wish we hadn't come in the first place.

    The quick smack at that point is that regardless, we went, therefor we acquired a debt of honor and whether we should have done so or not is immaterial. That's a quick rebuttal -- and it's wildly fallacious. The reality is that anyone who promises something they cannot provide is far more morally guilty than one who foolishly tries to something they patently cannot do, finally realizes their error and has little choice but to withdraw under pressure.

    In quick turnover, quarterly bottom line and sound bite prone America, those who initially committed are never the ones that have to clean up the mess as best they can. You're fond of history and often cite successes of others and even ours from past centuries. For those other and those other times, there was a degree of continuity; people were more careful about what they promised or did because there would likely be consequences. We have devolved the system, destroyed any semblance of continuity and now let faceless people or even, Gods help us, Committees who will move before any consequences might occur...

    Focus your anger on those corrupt and righteous souls who wrongly send us to these destined to fail efforts, not those who have to try to pick up the pieces and do the best they can with a terrible hand.

    As long as you and others focus on the wrong end; the 'departure' as opposed to the problem site, the beginning, it will not change. We will continue to meddle and fail and abandon some people that we should not.

  13. #33
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Ken:

    That was a very thoughtful comment. Many of the points I disagree with but you've outlined your position well.

    I know we have gotten ourselves in a corner because we refuse to see the reality of the situation, though we would probably disagree what that reality was. I full well blame those elites who don't see. But I also see that many of the same names that refused to see are still blindly leading. Or rather the system that refused to see is exactly as it was. And I fear that that same system will turn our backs on those we owe again.

    I think, just me, that regardless of how you go about making the promise, you incur the same moral culpability if you don't fulfill it. And in these particular circumstances, that moral culpability means that when we leave, we must, must, try hard to take those we can with us if things fall apart. And we must keep the money going. It still sickens me to remember all those smug demands to 'end the war' by cutting off South Vietnam. We still have a chance to do the right thing by the Afghans. We haven't sent them fully down the road we sent South Vietnam down yet. I hope to God we don't and I think it important to remind people what we did those many years ago on the tiny chance we'll do right this time.

    We'll have to leave the actual numbers that we left to die rest. I think it more than very small numbers but it may not be useful to debate that. I included Cambodia because it was part of a unified conflict whole. If South Vietnam had held, I believe Cambodia would have held and that million would still be alive.

    My main point here is that we haven't gone fully down that road in Afghanistan yet. We don't have to. I hope we don't though I bet we will.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Yes I was referring to the Afghans in general. I know there is a huge gulf between the Kabul elite and the South Helmand farmer. I don't care about the Kabul elite. They will escape. I do care about the millions of others who were foolish enough to put their trust in us. They weren't as wise as the South Helmand farmer.
    I think that is where your perception is at odds with reality Carl.

    The Afghans didn't put their trust in us as much as they simply rode the fence, used our do-good attitude and largess to their benefit, and got the handouts we gave.

    Where there were not enough handouts, they were more than happy to point out where the boogeyman was, to make sure we understood the degree of instability in their neighborhoods, whether it be Kabul or the Korengal, imagined or real. Our COIN principles ensured we did something about resolving the "instability" as quickly as we could muster the manpower and the money. Successive unit rotations didn't move the chains as much as they simply held on to a 9-5 semblance of security until the sun went down.

    There is a reason why Mullah Omar came to power, and that will be part of the Taliban's (or similar incarnation) resurgence when we leave.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    JCustis:

    My perception at odds with reality? You won't be the first who has thought so. But in my world (the sky is blue in my world so at least one thing matches up) I've read that a lot of Afghans have done things that they wouldn't have done if they thought (and I'll admit it was foolish of them to think we wouldn't) we were ultimately going to leave them in the lurch.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default Empirical evidence does not seem to support the claim

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I do care about the millions of others who were foolish enough to put their trust in us. They weren't as wise as the South Helmand farmer.
    I wonder whether millions of Afghanis have placed their trust in the US. Were that to be the case, I am inclined to believe that much less anti-Coaltion violence would be happening in the country. To say, correctly, that the rank and file Afghanis had placed their trust in the Coalition in general, or the US in particular, would be tantamount to saying that the the guys wearing the white hats (us) had "won their hearts and minds." And, had we won their "hearts and minds," then we could say we had won the population-centric COIN campaign. However, given that the opposition forces are still able to "move through the people as a fish swims in the sea." to quote Mao, I doubt that "millions" of Afghanis have much trust in the protection that the Coalition forces are supposedly providing to them.

    In other words, the lack of progress in stemming the violence in Afghanistan seems to demonstrate that the Coalition has not established a believable claim to be the legitimate protectors of those Afghan people who Carl asserts will be sold out by US forces' departure. Without that legitimacy, I aver that neither the Afghanis nor anyone else in the world will view the Coalition's departure as a sell out. Anti-American/anti-Western voices may very well bruit the "sellout/abandonment" claim as part of their standard anti-American propaganda rhetoric/rant, but merely saying something does not make it true.

    Afghan feelings about the US presence in Afghanistan seem much more like those of the citizens of Rock Ridge the day that Sheriff Bart arrived in town. (Blazing Saddles)
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Who does the West take with them at the end?

    Many years ago I read Frank Snepp's 'Decent Interval' on the end of South Vietnam, it made quite an impression on me, although not immediately found on my bookshelves today

    Americans no doubt have some, strong memories.

    Snepp referred IIRC to lists of priority individuals and families who had worked for the USA and only some escaped at the time of the fall of South Vietnam.

    I do wonder whether similar lists already exist in Afghanistan and whether anyone has asked or thought hard if those at risk want to leave. How many interpreters for example left with the Western forces upon withdrawal? Somehow I doubt that the British public would accept a responsibility to accept more than a few hundred Afghans.

    Incidentally a few years ago I met an Afghan refugee in the UK, he'd had been a Kabul cadre, trained in the USSR and was in Bulgaria at the end. He had never returned home and his parents were known to be dead. We already know that Afghans trained overseas have a habit of going AWOL.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    When we cut off the money to Afghanistan sometime after 2014 and we don't make provisions for those who trusted us and worked with us to get out, you tell yourself whatever you need to so even the tiniest thought of our country shaming itself doesn't cross your mind. The arguments you have presented here should work very well.
    What would you have us do, annex Afghanistan as the 51st state and govern the place ourselves? Sooner or later they have to stand on their own, at which point it ceases to be our responsibility and becomes theirs. If we wait for them to be fully ready that will never happen, because as long as we're their they have no incentive to get fully ready.

    As far as bringing people with us goes, how do you propose to distinguish between those who are at risk from working with us and those who just want a ticket on the gravy train?

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    You made the point that there was no way around dealing with the Pak Army/ISI because of supply considerations.
    It was done briefly, at a time when everybody expected access would eventually be restored, as it was. That doesn't mean it would be sustainable.

    Even without the access issue, options for dealing with Pakistan are limited. We could top giving them money, but that wouldn't stop them from doing what they believe is in their interest. All very well to rant about "fixing" or "doing something", but what exactly do you propose to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I think, just me, that regardless of how you go about making the promise, you incur the same moral culpability if you don't fulfill it.
    Did anyone make a promise? Who? When? To whom? Did this hypothetical promise involve eternal support and security?
    “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

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    When I think of "abandoning" Afghanistan, I think of what we did in the early 1990's which was to essentially dump all resources and interest in Afghanistan down the drain. We (the USA) didn't have a policy on Afghanistan for Pres. Clinton's entire first term; the CIA had few contacts and no presence in the country and State Department interest consisted of one mid-level official working in the US embassy in Pakistan. I doubt there was one country we gave less of a crap about than Afghanistan.

    Whatever the emotional baggage one attaches to the word "abandon," I would hope that our withdrawal doesn't amount to the kind of "neglect" we practiced during the early 1990's.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

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    Entropy, your post leads to an excellent follow-on question for the group.

    Assuming we remove all GPF from AFG on schedule, but do continue to try our hand at the ANSF development line of operation on a limited scale and we have some SOF tie-in to deal with AQ, what strategic national interests remain in the support to the country?

    The only thing I have seen advertised that makes any sense is preventing a resurgence of AQ, but do you think that's anything we really need to worry about, or anything that would justify substantial expenditure of resources?

    Does AFG factor into a larger balance of power issue in the region?

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