Page 15 of 17 FirstFirst ... 51314151617 LastLast
Results 281 to 300 of 324

Thread: Sanctuary or Ungoverned Spaces:identification, symptoms and responses

  1. #281
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,457

    Default

    Cole,

    The mistakes that led to that tragedy happened before the helicopters came on station. The critical error was not with SOF or the Army or the helicopters, but with the predator crew which failed to inform the SOF folks that women and children were in the vehicles. This was information they should have passed since it was the imagery analysts at the DGS that made the identification and the call that women and children were present. The helicopters were not brought in to ID a potentially hostile target - they were brought in to attack a target that was already determined to be a threat.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

  2. #282
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default It could have been worse, as the Actress said to the Bishop...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    No clean hands.
    Clean hand are not relevant IMO. It is rightly or wrongly a shooting war and doo doo occurs. Most folks do their best to avoid doing dumb stuff but much is inevitable. I totally agree with your comment that we need to stop with the "who shot John" routine. I merely suggest that couching things as SOF / Big Army did this or that is a BS effort aiming precisely at blaming Joe for shooting John -- whoever the devil Joe is -- or John is. That stuff is counterproductive and not helpful -- and, as I've said before, it can obscure otherwise important points.
    This is the great challenge of going to a foreign land and taking a side in such an internal dispute. Both the government and the insurgent emerge from the populace to compete for dominance, and it is the populace that bears the brunt of such competitions.
    It's not a challenge, it's a foregone conclusion that bad stuff will occur. It's a war.
    ...This is why it frustrates me when so many say "you have to crush the insurgent first, then look at addressing the issues of governance." I just don't buy it...
    We noticed. However, many of us do buy that. Some based on experience rather than theory.
    ...Only if one is hard set that the current form of governance must prevail...
    I think that will vary, probably greatly, from situation to situation. There is no one size fits all.
    Its complicated, but SF guys know this province as well as any. One team took 50% casualties on a prior rotation.
    Been there, done that. More than once. It happens. Try 36 KIA and 118 WIA in less than eight hours out of 302 committed or 2 KIA, 8 WIA out of an A Team in two days. Don't like those, I have more. War's war...

    I'm neither bragging or complaining and that's not a hooray for me -- many have been through worse -- it is simply an attempt to add perspective to that rhetorical flourish. As Wilf would say, "war is war." It is, that's a fact and trying to modify what it is will iklely fail as have all previous attempts to do that. Ina war, bad things happen and one just keeps going.

    That leads to this:
    They have a right to be a little quick to call for assistance when hours or days away from any type of ground support.
    is disingenuous at best. Yes, they have a right to call -- so? Others not in SOF /SF have that right. All do it. All have an obligation -- a statutory and regulatory duty, in fact, to cal and to be quick -- but not to screw up in the process...
    Most of these teams were almost always in a complex mix of direct and indirect fire and IEDS from the minute they left the gate to the minute they returned, yet they go out every day and keep working to hold the edges of the frontier back so that the conventional forces can have some breathing space as they work the main battle area. But it was in the main battle area that "warning shots" killed civilians virtually every day.
    Sorry, my conversation with Beany wearing CIF and other guys, with dumb Grunts -- mostly 82d types but an occasional Cav or Mech guy -- and a few others from MI to CA does not corroborate your rather mellifluous version. It does not totally discount it, just says it's not nearly that that simple and as Cole wrote above, the night raids guys can and do get carried away and we both know that. As he also correctly mentioned, the short tours and often returning to different AOs does not help in the great SOF vs. the Army "Who knows the country best" war within a war.

    Back to your original comment, not "No clean hands" -- just a lot of hands in a war from all over the Army, some more competent than others in all elements, conventional and otherwise (as always...). The bulk of the errors and failure you cite and which are often posted on this board by others are training shortfalls and / or a flawed personnel system. the two are self reinforcing and are in a constant battle to see which does the least damage (that says they mean well but the system is too flawed for good efforts to pull it out). The third factor is parochial turf protection. There are others, for sure -- but those failures of the US Army are a large causative factor in many of the others.

    In any event, parochiality does not help anyone.
    Its frustrating. I also think it is largely avoidable.
    Of course it's avoidable -- Fix those things I mentioned, they're really more important than trying to chart a new foreign policy which will always be subject to US domestic politics -- and you are not going to fix that.

    Also, do not go into adventures of a new and different kind and do the same things that failed to work in older adventures elsewhere. If you do you'll have the same sorts of problems of language, culture, tortuous ROE, untouchable high altitude errors, excessive control / micromanagement, risk avoidance, minor and great examples of incompetence, political interference, general malfeasance -- and parochial foolishness.

    Do things with a broken system and you'll get broken results. Do them in a broken nation and you have discovered double trouble.

    I'm just surprised and happy that things are going as well as they are. The Kids, as always, are doing their best...

  3. #283
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    98

    Default a few things...

    I've only got a few things to add, mainly because I'm reading more to learn here than I am to opine for sure.

    1. Why is it that US reactions to combat that's supported from Pakistan are treated as violations of Pakistan's sovereignty in the narrative, but AQ & the Taliban hiding out there & using sanctuary areas to take over parts of Pakistan, much less as a base for attacks in Afghanistan, is not spoken of in the same terms? What they're doing is clearly a greater violation, yet we don't counter with that truth in the narrative using the same language.

    2. In terms of tightening the borders, well some of these mountain passes could rather easily be made impassable if we created some cliffs where they don't exist now. The US has all sorts of expertise in mining & moving huge quantities of rock around, why not use it? The effects won't be permanent, but in order for them to be countered sufficient peace must be present afterwards to bring the resources to bear to undo the engineering. Thus, peace becomes a determinant and provides motivation to achieve the goal of changing the terrain. Also, done right it's cheaper than a hell of a lot of the other alternatives.

  4. #284
    Council Member carl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Denver on occasion
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Certainly true, but we have to recognize that the northern route is controlled by regimes whose capriciousness is exceeded only and occasionally by their avarice, and that any arrangement with Iran would be impossible to keep quiet and would come with a very large quid pro quo. Doesn't take much more than a glance at Afghanistan's list of neighbors to recognize that dependence on any of them is going to carry a pretty hefty price tag and some less than pleasant bedfellows.
    True enough. I put out Iran as a trail balloon so maybe that isn't a good idea. The other countries aren't any great shakes either but I wonder if they aren't the best of a bad lot. At least they won't be using our money to kill our people and aren't actively supporting Taliban & company nor do they entertain any grand ideas of being the center of a new Muslim universe. The price tag may be high but the price tag of our present course is, I think, probably defeat. I just don't see how we can prevail unless the Pak Army/ISI is removed or mostly removed from the equation.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  5. #285
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Latitude 17 5' 11N, Longitude 120 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
    Posts
    3,137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I just don't see how we can prevail unless the Pak Army/ISI is removed or mostly removed from the equation.
    Define "prevail", in this context? Given tradition and proximity I doubt that they can be "removed from the equation". If we weren't there they would still meddle... if just wouldn't be our problem, at least not to the same extent.

  6. #286
    Council Member carl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Denver on occasion
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    I knew you were going to ask that. Prevail means Taliban & company doesn't take the place over again, or we are able to establish a condition whereby we are successful enough to stay in the place and not bug out. That would mean enough progress against Taliban & company to keep the Americans from getting discouraged. Defeat means the Taliban & company take the place over again or we bug out and it descends into a never ending battle in which the scale of violence would dwarf anything happening now.

    I know they will always meddle to some extent which is why I said mostly (gotta cover my bases), but it would be good if they gave up the proxy war bit. I think the loss of the money associated with that supply line would be a motivator whose power would be much greater than we may think. Also the Pak Army/ISI would have to make clear choice about whose side they are on instead of having it both ways. The prospect of doing that would tend to concentrate their minds. It would also tend to clear our minds.
    Last edited by carl; 03-01-2011 at 06:38 AM. Reason: I forgot something.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  7. #287
    Council Member carl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Denver on occasion
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    (Ok, I hope you can laugh at the irony of accusing me of using rhetoric to discredit a particular position, followed by your calling a decision by the US. to withdraw from the current situation as "bugging out.")
    I would laugh at the irony if there was one, but I don't think there is. Irony in this case would imply a like and a like. The phrase "the old Soviet team" is a rhetorical device, but it is also sophistry in that you know that it is not true but it makes a powerful initial impact. The phrase "bug out" is a rhetorical device, rhetorical flourish if you will, used to make an impact but I would submit that it is absolutely true. When you tell a group that you will stand by them and then don't and they get killed in their hundreds of thousands or maybe millions; that is bugging out.

    I use that term for a reason. It has an emotional impact. It is important that that action means more to people than some academic argument concerning evolving national interests or sniffing that they really deserve what they get because they didn't turn into good Jeffersonian democrats soon enough to suit us. It means that innocents, lots of innocents, who didn't have anything to do with government policies or decisions are going to die when we leave. "Bugging out" helps convey that. If we judge that that is what we must do, so be it. But we should have the integrity to say we are bugging out because we feel we must, so tough luck for you guys. That is being much more honest with ourselves about what we are going to do and what it is going to mean to the people we leave behind.

    We have bugged out on a lot of peoples in my lifetime, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Hmong, Kurds, Iraqii Shiites, Aghans once already and I wouldn't like to see it again. But if that is what will happen we should call it what it is, a bug out, instead of creating imaginative rationalizations to blame the people we abandon and make ourselves feel better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    But this is indeed an emotional issue down on the ground. This is a country that has endured more than its share of human tragedy over the past 30 years alone, and the U.S. has had a hand in a lot of that. There's no crying in baseball, and there is no crying in superpower geo-politics either. Hard calculations of national interests, relative cost/benefit analysis, and pragmatic assessments of cause and effect must shape decisions.

    The US gets a bum rap for leaving when the going gets tough. Typically that follows our being far too lenient with the government we had signed up to support to begin with, and allowing them to then drag us into positions we would have never taken on our own, and that are clearly counter to our interests. Diem and his successors did that to us in Nam; Mubarak, the Saudi family, Ben Ali, Ali Abdullah Saleh, etc are doing it to us across the Middle East; and Karzai is doing it to us in Afghanistan. We did not, and are not abandoning these "allies." These are men who grew drunk and corrupt with power and wealth behind the security of the United States, men who created growing discontent and conditions of insurgency across their populaces as they became emboldened by that blind support and acted with ever growing impunity.

    No, we do not abandon these allies. We allowed them free will, they exercised that free will, and they have abandoned us. There should be consequences for such behavior, and we have been training these guys that they can get away with far too much once in league with the United States. It's time to turn that around before it drags us down. That is not "bugging out," that is simply taking care of the cold hard business of the United States of America and getting straight with our own values and principles in the process.
    That is all a grand argument for the international relations class and it makes us feel much better about ourselves. If Taliban & company return to Naw Zad though, I am not sure it will provide much comfort to that 12 year old girl teacher I mentioned and her father, and others like them, as they are having done to them what Taliban & company will do.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  8. #288
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,706

    Default

    Night Raids. That is a totally different animal and is primarily Rangers, not SF.

    Rangers are firemen, SF are cops. SF walk the beat day and night among the people in bad neighborhoods. Rangers sit at the station waiting for the bell to ring, then mount up and run into the flames to do their business, mount back up and return to the station. You gotta have both, but the term "SOF" blurs important distinctions. Rangers are 90% techint driven; SF is 90% humint driven. Rangers are 99% DA, SF are 90% FID.

    The night raids are a touchy topic for a variety of reasons. One reason is because they are effective at finding and getting the guys they look for (how effective that in turn is to the overall success of the operation is a matter of a large, and very different debate). Another is because everybody has an idiot cousin or son-in-law or two in their family. Karzai and his appointed governors and their network of friends are not exempt from this. When one of these guys is running dope or guns or affiliated more directly with Taliban operations and gets rolled up in the night, phones start ringing. Mr. local big shot may well have Karzai on speed dial, or at least the governor, and in this culture such calls are common, answered, and responded to. Our senior leaders spend a great deal of their face time with senior GIRoA officials discussing these matters rather than important issues such as governance, security, economic development, etc. Another is that Rangers tend to break things. Their goal is to get in, get their guy and get out and stay alive in the process. Things like doors get broken. Lastly is that in any culture a man's home is his castle. In this culture multiply how you might feel by 10. Pashtunwali places a duty on the head of household to secure those within his compound. Worst case, the head of household rushes forward to do his duty, dusty AK or old Russian single shot shotgun, or even older British rifle in hand, and is shot for his troubles. Even best case, when no one is inadvertently killed or taken by mistake for questioning, this same head of household is left emasculated and powerless in his own eyes and those of his friends and family. I don't think we can fully appreciate the emotional effect of that or ever be able to assess how many Taliban are produced for every Taliban removed in such operations.

    The Rangers are very good at what they do. As to the overall Cost/Benefit? No one will ever know. Personally, my assessment is that it is counterproductive, but reasonable minds can differ. It provides a very objective measure of performance in a conflict where few things are objective, so those numbers get used a lot to show "progress" for that reason alone. This is a problem in the military in general. Things that can be counted and put on PowerPoint slides take on an inflated importance over other things that cannot.

    Ken. I hear you. Today's conflicts (I refuse to call them wars) are remarkably bloodless for our forces. Your own experience shows that. For those that forget, a bad month in Vietnam was about equal to a bad year in Afghanistan. These numbers are just for KIAs:
    1964 - 206
    1965 - 1,863
    1966 - 6,144
    1967 - 11,153
    1968 - 16,589
    1969 - 11,614
    1970 - 6,083
    1971 - 2,357
    1972 - 640

    Its hard for us to imagine Infantry units turning over 100-200% casualties in just a few months, yet that was pretty standard in WWII. But that was indeed war, where there was an enemy that had to be closed with and defeated. National survival was at stake.
    This is an insurgency, and it is not even our insurgency, and the insurgency is not even our mission. Our mission is to prevent AQ from operating effectively from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our Ends, Ways and Means have drifted into their separate corners in ways that happened slowly over time, but as one looks at the current state of things it really just can't be rationally justified.

    When I say that our COIN doctrine is actually a Colonial Intervention Doctrine, that is not getting "ideological" (as you accused me yesterday, btw), it is getting real. That is the historical fact. That is not a judgment of history, it just is what it is. I don't think anyone would argue that the US has colonial designs or interests in Afghanistan. Similarly, we should not then be applying colonial TTPs. Back in the Philippine Insurrection days we did not yet have the benefit of Colonial Intervention Doctrine to apply, so we used what we had, which was the lessons learned from our own Indian Wars. This is why the Army herded hundreds of men, women and children into an extinct volcanic bowl on Jolo and proceeded to gun them down in mass. Leaders go with what they know and all doctrine is obsolete before it is ever written down.

    FM 3-24 was also obsolete 100 years before it was written. We don't need to create and sustain some government at all costs in Afghanistan to support our interests there. The very effort to do so puts our true interests in the region at risk. It also puts the people of Afghanistan caught in the middle of the contest at risk and our own soldiers as well. Calling it a "war" perpetuates that, IMO.

    A bit of a late night ramble.
    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)

  9. #289
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Latitude 17 5' 11N, Longitude 120 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
    Posts
    3,137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I knew you were going to ask that. Prevail means Taliban & company doesn't take the place over again, or we are able to establish a condition whereby we are successful enough to stay in the place and not bug out.
    I'm getting predictable in my old age, I guess...

    Do we really want to "stay in the place"? Barring HIV or rabies, I can imagine few things I'd want less.

    I'm not sure it's reasonable, long term, to set a "no Taliban" condition for prevalence. That would depend on the survivability of the non-Taliban government, which may not be very high. No AQ and no attacks on us or our allies would be quite adequate, as far as I can see.

  10. #290
    Council Member carl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Denver on occasion
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    Dayuhan:

    You are predictable only in that you ask about what I should have included.

    "Staying in the place" would presuppose the level on violence being much lower, Taliban & company being less and less able to mount attacks and having less and less influence in fewer and fewer places. I don't think that can happen unless the General sahibs give up their hobby.

    Taliban & company won't disappear but they can be ground down to a point where they won't matter so much nor be a threat to the entire country if... Unless that happens, I don't think no AQ and no attacks on us and ours is possible.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  11. #291
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default We don't differ much in intent -- just methods...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Night Raids. That is a totally different animal and is primarily Rangers, not SF.
    I used the phrase as shorthand for the gamut of similar ops.
    As to the overall Cost/Benefit? No one will ever know. Personally, my assessment is that it is counterproductive, but reasonable minds can differ.
    Well, I may be unreasonable -- but I do agree with you. In my experience, unless an action type has proven positive benefit, effort should not be wasted upon it.
    It provides a very objective measure of performance in a conflict where few things are objective, so those numbers get used a lot to show "progress" for that reason alone. This is a problem in the military in general. Things that can be counted and put on PowerPoint slides take on an inflated importance over other things that cannot.
    Yes. Yes!
    This is an insurgency, and it is not even our insurgency, and the insurgency is not even our mission. Our mission is to prevent AQ from operating effectively from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our Ends, Ways and Means have drifted into their separate corners in ways that happened slowly over time, but as one looks at the current state of things it really just can't be rationally justified.
    Agreed.
    When I say that our COIN doctrine is actually a Colonial Intervention Doctrine, that is not getting "ideological" (as you accused me yesterday, btw)
    Perhaps that is one of those areas where reasonable minds can differ?

    Really.
    ... it is getting real. That is the historical fact...Leaders go with what they know and all doctrine is obsolete before it is ever written down.
    Agreed, though I suggest that while our 'doctrine' in this case is partly a legacy from empires past, we have applied a good many US peculiar twists to it. Regardless, we agree it is flawed.
    FM 3-24 was also obsolete 100 years before it was written.
    I've told you 10,000,000 times not to exaggerate...
    We don't need to create and sustain some government at all costs in Afghanistan to support our interests there. The very effort to do so puts our true interests in the region at risk. It also puts the people of Afghanistan caught in the middle of the contest at risk and our own soldiers as well. Calling it a "war" perpetuates that, IMO.
    I agree but we erred by deciding to stay -- or to get involved there in the 70s...

    Legacies are such a bore...

  12. #292
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,706

    Default

    Hey now, I thought I was being generously conservative in my 100 year assessment! After all, by the time we dove into the colonial business, initially armed with Indian fighting doctrine, the wheels were already starting to come off for the Europeans. In fact, I imagine it was the wheels coming off of Spain's empire that dropped a big chunk of it into our lap.

    But these things take time, so we expanded our efforts and adopted TTPs from the Brits over the next 40 years that were captured in the Small Wars Manual. Then WWII came along and really drove the final nail into colonialism. Everything since then has been desperate efforts to cling to colonial and US Brand "colonial-Lite" control measures in the face of popular uprising encouraged by a wide range of state (and most recently non-state) actors conducting UW or FID/COIN for their own purposes.

    By the time FM 3-24 hit the street, with its heavy dose of OIF, the horse was indeed a good 100 years out of the barn. For the US in general in terms of foreign policy, and for the US military in terms of types of conflicts, we too often overlook that just because something is new to us it is not by definition then something that we invented. The Brits could have benefited by FM 3-24 150 years ago, but even then the writing was already on the wall. The fat lady hadn't sang yet, but you could hear her warming up in the back room.

    The real question for the US is one of how we best wield influence and protect interests without overly injecting ourselves into any particular problem, or overly committing ourselves to any particular government, state or other significant party. There are terrific lessons to be learned from the Brits in this regard so long as we add a good dose of American principles to shape our own actions by and a dash of empowered populaces to ensure we don't miss that (not new, but improved) impact player on the scene.
    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)

  13. #293
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Never fight a land war in Asia...


  14. #294
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Latitude 17 5' 11N, Longitude 120 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
    Posts
    3,137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    "Staying in the place" would presuppose the level on violence being much lower, Taliban & company being less and less able to mount attacks and having less and less influence in fewer and fewer places. I don't think that can happen unless the General sahibs give up their hobby.
    Unfortunately we can't force them to give up that pastime white we still have a functional presence in Afghanistan that we can't supply without their cooperation. Awkward, that.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Taliban & company won't disappear but they can be ground down to a point where they won't matter so much nor be a threat to the entire country if... Unless that happens, I don't think no AQ and no attacks on us and ours is possible.
    I'm not sure it has ever been possible for us to govern Afghanistan, to dictate who would or would not govern Afghanistan, to dictate how Afghanistan will be governed, or to prevent neighborly meddling. It might have been possible, if we'd kept our eye on the ball from the start, to persuade whoever governs that messing with us would be a bad idea. Unfortunately the window for such persuasion is largely closed.

    The key to a successful punitive raid is to leave early, while you still have the initiative, while you're on top and the enemy is broken and on the run, while people still fear you. Leave at that point and you communicate two things: you never wanted to control the place, but if provoked again you'll be back even angrier. Wait around, go static, stop clearing and start holding, try to do what you cannot do (like "installing" a government) and the enemy rebuilds and reorganizes, begins harassing you, takes the initiative. Leave at that point and it's seen as running away, and the threat of future action becomes way less credible. You portray yourself as a meddling imperialist and as a weakling who hasn't the stones to do imperial meddling effectively. Hard to imagine a worse combination.

    Of course we weren't trying to do a punitive raid. If anyone knows what we were trying to do, please tell me, because I can't figure it for the life of me. What we ended up doing was painting ourselves into a really ugly corner, but it's hard to imagine that as a deliberate act.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 03-02-2011 at 01:19 AM.

  15. #295
    Council Member carl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Denver on occasion
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    You are right, we can't sustain the current level of effort without the Karachi supply line. But why do we have to maintain the current level and type of effort? Why can't we reduce it to what can be sustained from the north and the air? When I was in my corner of the imperial frontier we had Campbell's Soup in the chow hall. The big stink with GEN Crawford was caused by some IO types who didn't have anything useful to do. Do we really need that soup and those guys? Do we need multiple fixed wing jets other than A-10s based in Afghanistan? Fixed wing jets automatically raise your logistical needs way up there.

    If we were to give up that supply line, there would be no more reason to give the Pak Army/ISI any kind of aid at all. There would be no reason to give Pakistan any kind of aid. I read today they want to buy more F-16s. If we can give up that supply line they can give up those airplanes along with spare parts and tech support for what they have. They would have to give up the money that comes from the supply line itself. We have a lot of leverage if we could find the cojones to use it.

    We can't do anything but lose if we don't show some determination and some imagination. Following our present course shows neither. If this is the best we can do, then the best we can do is be up front with the Afghans and tell them to make other arrangements as quick as they can, then have the decency not hector them about the choices they make as we head for the sea.

    I am not too interested in what we should have done a decade ago. Now is the problem. We may or may not be able to affect much who runs Afghanistan, but I think we sure as heck can determine who won't. But we can't do that unless we seriously try. We aren't serious about trying unless we are serious about cutting out the Pak Army/ISI. And they won't take our threat seriously unless we are serious about giving up that supply line. If we can't find the imagination and determination to do that, we are in for some very hard times because a country without those two qualities is going to be had over and over.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  16. #296
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Latitude 17 5' 11N, Longitude 120 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
    Posts
    3,137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    If we can't find the imagination and determination to do that, we are in for some very hard times because a country without those two qualities is going to be had over and over.
    Probably true, but the imagination and determination we bring to any issue is usually proportional to its immediate impact on us. As Ken has been known to observe, we don't tend to get efficient until we feel really threatened.

    We could probab;y reduce our presence to a point that would allow supply from the north, though I'm not sure I'd want to be at the field end of a supply line that required the cooperation of the Karimov family. Would a presence of that size actually accomplish anything? If we're going to cut down to that extent, why not just leave?

    If we weren't there, we could cut aid to Pakistan. They'd likely meddle anyway, and the Taliban would probably come to control all or part of Afghanistan. What we could or would do about that I don't know.

  17. #297
    Council Member carl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Denver on occasion
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    I guess it's just me and you out here. Everybody else must be asleep.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    We could probab;y reduce our presence to a point that would allow supply from the north, though I'm not sure I'd want to be at the field end of a supply line that required the cooperation of the Karimov family. Would a presence of that size actually accomplish anything? If we're going to cut down to that extent, why not just leave?
    That is where the imagination and determination part come in. Bing West (I think) and others think we can get along with less. Our current force size may simply be the result of our doing things the way we have always done it, just bigger. "Ok. Green Beans? Check. F-16s and associated multiple 10,000 foot runways? Check. Get most of the food from the local economy (thereby developing the local economy)? No we can't do that. We'll ship in shiny cheese, yellow and white." Just asking the question about whether a reduced size force could do anything betrays an acceptance that the way we are doing it is the only way available. (That is not a knock on you. It is the 1st question most would ask.) I don't think it is a matter of doing the thing that we are doing now that isn't working or bugging out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    If we weren't there, we could cut aid to Pakistan. They'd likely meddle anyway, and the Taliban would probably come to control all or part of Afghanistan. What we could or would do about that I don't know.
    There is that, we wouldn't have to buy the bullets the General sahibs shoot at us anymore. But I think we could be there and stop buying their bullets. If we weren't there, we wouldn't do a damn thing. I didn't like thinking about Cambodia in 1976 and I don't want to do that to a people again.
    Last edited by carl; 03-02-2011 at 05:22 AM. Reason: typo
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  18. #298
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Latitude 17 5' 11N, Longitude 120 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
    Posts
    3,137

    Default

    Mid afternoon in my time zone, I'm just trying not to work. Awesome procrastination device, this one...

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    That is where the imagination and determination part come in. Bing West (I think) and others think we can get along with less. Our current force size may simply be the result of our doing things the way we have always done it, just bigger. "Ok. Green Beans? Check. F-16s and associated multiple 10,000 foot runways? Check. Get most of the food from the local economy (thereby developing the local economy)? No we can't do that. We'll ship in shiny cheese, yellow and white." Just asking the question about whether a reduced size force could do anything betrays an acceptance that the way we are doing it is the only way available. (That is not a knock on you. It is the 1st question most would ask.) I don't think it is a matter of doing the thing that we are doing now that isn't working or bugging out.
    A force small enough to require no land supply line would be a very large reduction. I'm not really asking whether a force that size could "do anything", rather whether it could do what we're trying to do there.

    All I pointed out was that our ability to influence Pakistan is terminally compromised by our need to supply our forces through Pakistan. If we can accomplish the mission with a force small enough to need no land supply, that would obviously be desirable. Since I don't know what the mission actually is (if anyone does, please tell me), I don't know what force level is needed to accomplish it, and I don't know how large a force we could supply without use of Pakistani land routes, I can't say whether that's a viable step or not. Maybe someone who knows more could give more useful suggestions. I do know, or rather I'm fairly confident, that if the government of Uzbekistan wakes up one day and realizes that our ability to supply our forces depends entirely on them, they will take all possible advantage.

    If we can't accomplish the mission without exercising influence over Pakistan and we can't influence Pakistan without reducing our force below the level needed to accomplish the mission, we've painted ourselves into a rather tight corner, from which there may be no really satisfactory exit.

  19. #299
    Council Member carl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Denver on occasion
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    Dayuhan: What does Dayuhan mean anyway?

    Late last year I think about 40% of supplies were coming via the northern route and the air. We wouldn't be giving up land supply, just a whole lot of it. We would have to rethink what we are doing and how we are doing it in order to get along on that but that would be a good thing. We need some hard thought because what we are doing now ain't working.

    We flat out can't do anything with the current arrangement. Nothing. That corner can't be gotten out of. By giving up that supply line we are busting through the wall. The General sahibs don't think we'll do it and if we did it would stir the pot mightily in Pindi.

    Uzbekistan probably would wake up. But when they did, at least they wouldn't be using the money to kill us. It is in their interest anyway. I doubt they want to MO running Afghanistan again.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  20. #300
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Latitude 17 5' 11N, Longitude 120 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
    Posts
    3,137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Dayuhan: What does Dayuhan mean anyway?
    "Foreigner", in Tagalog. Kind of an identity thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Late last year I think about 40% of supplies were coming via the northern route and the air. We wouldn't be giving up land supply, just a whole lot of it. We would have to rethink what we are doing and how we are doing it in order to get along on that but that would be a good thing. We need some hard thought because what we are doing now ain't working.

    We flat out can't do anything with the current arrangement. Nothing. That corner can't be gotten out of. By giving up that supply line we are busting through the wall. The General sahibs don't think we'll do it and if we did it would stir the pot mightily in Pindi.
    Agree that dropping the land route across Pakistan would be a good thing, in the sense that it would allow us to cut aid to Pakistan... way past time for certain people there to stop taking our support for granted. Might also be a good thing for Karzai to see the US scaling down.

    Whether it's feasible or not I'm not in a position to say. I would expect to be held up by those in control of the bases to the north, for a start.

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •