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Thread: What Is Our Strategic Endstate in Afghanistan?

  1. #21
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I'm not that sure it is important.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    ... SWED's question, "what is our strategic endstate in Afghanistan?" is critically important.
    I am quite sure we are not yet in a position to provide an answer not least because there are too many other players involved.
    Relatively speaking, if our goal is to defeat the Taliban, that is a lot easier than attempting to reform Afghanistan's social, political and economic structure.
    Relatively speaking, that's correct -- that doesn't mean that either is achievable by us -- or that either needs to be achieved at all.
    If our goal is to establish a stable (relative to what)...
    Relative to world and regional norms; that's all you can get -- there will no western liberal democracy there.
    ... nation where democracy and capitialism can self-sustain, that implies a couple of things that we really should debate seriously:

    1. Do you have to create a stable democracy and market economy to defeat the enemy? (If I recall the Islamists won a couple of free elections in recent years, because they promised to put the nation under Sharia law, Algeria being one example. I think we're too quick to correlate buzz phrases wtih endstates, and we assume the book "The End of History" is fact versus opinion.)
    Define defeat. There's not going to be any defeat in Afghanistan, of us or them (whoever they are); hopefully an acceptable outcome will be achieved; that's all you'll ever get in any COIN operation. There may be much trumpeting and foolishness on either or both sides about wins, losses, etc but it'll just be noise, the reality will be no defeats -- or victories in the classic sense.
    2. Assuming we're going to pursue this, are we prepared to go the distance to achieve this? In the long run is this very expensive investment (effort, time, money, manpower) in our national interests? You can make the argument that rebuilding Germany and Japan definitely supported our long term strategic interests, but is there a parallel to Afghanistan?
    Probably not but I don't think that will affect many decisions.
    3. Strategic endstates imply using all the elements of DIME. Once we defeat the Taliban (assuming we take away his safehaven in Pakistan), then what? Do we have a feasible plan for "transformation"? Will it get funded and supported on both sides of the aisle? Will be able to garner and sustain critical international support?
    I again cite Korea and Viet Nam as harbingers of the lack of such a strategic end state...

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    What I 'm saying is that any "transformational" change cannot be pushed from us, rather it must be created at the grassroots level within the Afghan nation.

    There is a large populace of people who will not touch anything the US "creates" simply because it is American.

    With opposition like that, now try and define a strategic endstate.



    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Ski I wasn't trying to use DIME to describe our endstate (though it may have read that way), I was attempting to make the argument that a realistic endstate is one we can achieve using our elements of national power.

    I'm not totally sold on your argument, but let's say your correct, and since we're the ones there attempting to encourage that "transformational" change, how do "we" help the Afghan people develop and embrace the idea of nationalism? Information? Diplomacy? Economic incentives? Using the military to neutralize those who oppose it?

    The problem presented is to define our desired endstate. You identified a problem that we may have to solve to get to the endstate.
    "Speak English! said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and what's more, I don't believe you do either!"

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  3. #23
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    Default Another Approach

    Excerpt from, "All Counterinsurgency Is Local" in the OCT issue of The Atlantic:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200810/afghan

    The Taliban are well aware that the center of gravity in Afghanistan is the rural Pashtun district and village, and that Afghan army and coalition forces are seldom seen there. With one hand, the Taliban threaten tribal elders who do not welcome them. With the other, they offer assistance. (As one U.S. officer recently noted, they’re “taking a page from the Hezbollah organizations in Lebanon, with their own public works to assist the tribes in villages that are deep in the inaccessible regions of the country. This helps support their cause with the population, making it hard to turn the population in support of the Afghan government and the coalition.”)

    The rural Pashtun south has its own systems of tribal governance and law, and its people don’t want Western styles of either. But nor are they predisposed to support the Taliban, which espouses an alien and intolerant form of Islam, and goes against the grain of traditional respect for elders and decision by consensus. Re-empowering the village coun*cils of elders and restoring their community leadership is the only way to re-create the traditional check against the powerful political network of rural mullahs, who have been radicalized by the Taliban. But the elders won’t commit to opposing the Taliban if they and their families are vulnerable to Taliban torture and murder, and they can hardly be blamed for that.
    Ski, I agree that we naively attempt to make other countries mirror our political, social, economic and security systems, assuming that if we simply overlayed an American Style template of any country, their problems would magically go away. As you pointed out, this creates an entirely new set of problems.

    The authors above point out a more feasible approach to pacify the country to establish conditions where we're reasonably ensured that the Taliban will not be welcome. However, the strategy we apply depends upon our strategic end state (if there is one). Again if the desired end state is a stable, democratic government that practices free market capitalism, the approach offered above may not get us there.

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    Bill

    Our endstate is almost irrelveant. The Afghans must be able to formulate what their endstate is going to be, and if that is exatly the same as ours or heavily overlaps with ours, then that's all for the good.

    If it doesn't, then what?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Excerpt from, "All Counterinsurgency Is Local" in the OCT issue of The Atlantic:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200810/afghan



    Ski, I agree that we naively attempt to make other countries mirror our political, social, economic and security systems, assuming that if we simply overlayed an American Style template of any country, their problems would magically go away. As you pointed out, this creates an entirely new set of problems.

    The authors above point out a more feasible approach to pacify the country to establish conditions where we're reasonably ensured that the Taliban will not be welcome. However, the strategy we apply depends upon our strategic end state (if there is one). Again if the desired end state is a stable, democratic government that practices free market capitalism, the approach offered above may not get us there.
    "Speak English! said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and what's more, I don't believe you do either!"

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question Endstates

    Perhaps if we look at this from a more comparative albeit somewhat theoretical point of view (in that no one really "knows for sure). With the way things are right now what type of situation does the average Afghan(and this is in the most generic form) find themselves in.

    Food, shelter, water, jobs, schools, faith, fiction, literacy, leadership, hope, lack of hope; we know all these things tend to add up to actions by those with or without power in order to maintain, or change things. Rather than try to develop an outright statement of where we want to be in ten years with this how about we look at where we were ten years ago, where we are now and draw the line so we can at least tell what direction we are really headed.

    We are well aware of the arenas in which we excel against opponents, so its a given that we capitalize on those areas. We should be aware of the areas we're not so good in so how about trying something different. And everything else( and I mean EVERYTHING else) is up to the folks who live and will live there.
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    Default The limits of power

    Ski and Ron, I agree that the locals will ultimately determine their own so called end state (of course even the phrase end state is misleading, as there is never an end state), but that isn't the question, the question is what end state will "we" accept before we call "our" mission complete?

    Perhaps contrary to the prevailing view, I think there is much we can do (and have done) to shape the direction the locals will go in. Yes we're a foreign body in Afghanistan, but so is the Taliban. The Taliban way of life is not the norm, yet they are now having success based on their strategy, not because they're local. We need to study their strategy and counter it. I know it sounds simplistic, but it doesn't appear we're doing that. Our strategy, or the perception if it, went astray somewhere relatively recently.

    The Taliban have upped their game considerably in recent months based on what I have been reading open source, so it is probably a safe bet to assume that they are now getting some degree of State sponsorship (directly or indirectly), and the list of possible sponsors are quite numerous. For our competitors it is desirable to have a U.S. and NATO tied up in Afghanistan, so they can maneuver elsewhere with less threat of U.S. intervention.

    I'm not there, so I can't feel or see the frustrations you're dealing with, but I think we can do better than we're doing now. I like Ron's idea, it would be worthwhile to show a graph of Afghanistan's social, political, economic, security, conditions from say 1975 to the present (and then somehow portray this to the Afghan people in a meaningful way for them). I suspect there were would be some rapid sharp increases starting in 2002/03 time frame; however localized they may be. As the article suggests, it may now be time to push into the hinterland and spread the wealth. You can't effectively oppose the Taliban by dropping bombs on villages they're occupying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    The Taliban way of life is not the norm, yet they are now having success based on their strategy, not because they're local. We need to study their strategy and counter it. I know it sounds simplistic, but it doesn't appear we're doing that. Our strategy, or the perception if it, went astray somewhere relatively recently.
    One of the problems in Afghanistan is that we are not fighting a single insurgency; we are struggling against several insurgencies and numerous criminal organizations and the remnants of old regional kleptocracies struggling to regain their influence. In other words, not one war but many inthe same geographical space.

    This may explain why we have trouble divining an 'enemy strategy'. I can remember thinking, time and again, when confronted with some enemy action, "What the hell are they trying to accomplish?" By the end of my last tour, I had come to the conclusion that there is no Taliban master plan in Afghanistan, only ceaseless and disorganized activity. How do you counter a formless enemy? How do you formulate a strategy for multiple wars aganst disparate foes?

    My time in Afghanistan sent me back to The Art of War - I'm beginning to get Master Sun.

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    My fear of focusing on an "end state" In the 'Stan is that this might take the place of "operational planning". I point ot 05-06 in Iraq as an example. The military is there to defeat the Taliban and destroy it's ability to exist and to train the current Afghan forces. State department & NATO needs to get active as far a creating a stable goverment if that is the goal. They are sepperate missions and this should be kept in mind even if they both effect each other. Just my .02cents.
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  9. #29
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Important point and one that is missed by all too many.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eden View Post
    One of the problems in Afghanistan is that we are not fighting a single insurgency; we are struggling against several insurgencies and numerous criminal organizations and the remnants of old regional kleptocracies struggling to regain their influence. In other words, not one war but many inthe same geographical space.
    The same thing was / is true in Iraq (and elsewhere) -- those cussed Easterners just will not fight nice tidy western wars. A part of our problem outside European war is our lack of understanding of the psyche of our opponents; that coupled with our impatience to get the job done and just fix things so we can move on to the next challenge has not stood us in good stead in a number of places over the last 60 or so years.
    ...By the end of my last tour, I had come to the conclusion that there is no Taliban master plan in Afghanistan, only ceaseless and disorganized activity. How do you counter a formless enemy? How do you formulate a strategy for multiple wars aganst disparate foes?
    There are only two options; you outfight him at his own game -- which we can do but will not due to the casualties of all types thus incurred -- or you can do what we're doing and play whack a mole. It's inefficient but it does work; it just requires patience and stamina.

  10. #30
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question Some Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Ski and Ron, I agree that the locals will ultimately determine their own so called end state (of course even the phrase end state is misleading, as there is never an end state), but that isn't the question, the question is what end state will "we" accept before we call "our" mission complete? .

    If we consider Iraq as an example of deciding what we will accept it seems a lot lot calling audibles at the line. The circumstances will consistently change in the back and forth between ourselves and the enemy. In the end you call em as you see em.

    The key it would seem would be to accept that we won't really know whats quote acceptable until we've established whats doable and then we have to see a crack in the opponents armor at which point we turn upfield and give it all we've got. An unfortunate fact but I have yet to see the crystal ball which shows us the play before the other teams lines up.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Perhaps contrary to the prevailing view, I think there is much we can do (and have done) to shape the direction the locals will go in. Yes we're a foreign body in Afghanistan, but so is the Taliban. The Taliban way of life is not the norm, yet they are now having success based on their strategy, not because they're local. We need to study their strategy and counter it. I know it sounds simplistic, but it doesn't appear we're doing that. Our strategy, or the perception if it, went astray somewhere relatively recently. .
    I might propose that although the Tali way is not the norm it is however a condition with which the populous find themselves quite unfortunately very famililiar. In that sense perhaps the old adage (better the enemy known, then the friend you don't know.) applies. That comfort zone that so inundates cultures which exist for long periods under dictatorial type governments is something we really have to keep in mind. Think ( Stockholm Syndrome) on a massive scale.

    Not sure about this just thinking about it?


    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    The Taliban have upped their game considerably in recent months based on what I have been reading open source, so it is probably a safe bet to assume that they are now getting some degree of State sponsorship (directly or indirectly), and the list of possible sponsors are quite numerous. For our competitors it is desirable to have a U.S. and NATO tied up in Afghanistan, so they can maneuver elsewhere with less threat of U.S. intervention.
    Unfortunately just about everything I've seen open source also seems to reflect this


    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I'm not there, so I can't feel or see the frustrations you're dealing with, but I think we can do better than we're doing now. I like Ron's idea, it would be worthwhile to show a graph of Afghanistan's social, political, economic, security, conditions from say 1975 to the present (and then somehow portray this to the Afghan people in a meaningful way for them). I suspect there were would be some rapid sharp increases starting in 2002/03 time frame; however localized they may be. As the article suggests, it may now be time to push into the hinterland and spread the wealth. You can't effectively oppose the Taliban by dropping bombs on villages they're occupying.
    Just so theres no confusion niether am I, I have seen quite a few that are there express that frustration and others. I know we're trying hard to see what doing better would entail and thus the suggestions I made. I think your probably right about the hinterland somewhat but I still don't know that it's going to be anything like Iraq. IT would seem that this country has been controlled by governments that pretty much commuted to areas to reinforce or gain control and otherwise used mostly fear of informants to maintain their grips.

    So whats to say we might not find ourselves in a situation where Larger regional FOB's might actually be in order for those areas further out?

    Once again just trying to keep everything in mind and not necessarily count out a more effective blend of COIN/CON with constant adaptation to situation.
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  11. #31
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Exactly...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
    ...The key it would seem would be to accept that we won't really know whats quote acceptable until we've established whats doable and then we have to see a crack in the opponents armor at which point we turn upfield and give it all we've got. An unfortunate fact but I have yet to see the crystal ball which shows us the play before the other teams lines up.
    To which I'd add that our own position will change over time due to domestic and international events and thus further muddy the water.

    It's tempting to to lay out a 'strategy' (more correctly an operational plan to achieve a desired end state) and head for a 'successful' conclusion but the issues and the world are more complex than that and, in the case of Afghanistan, there are entirely too many players in the scrum. We are forced to adapt and cobble -- and I'm pretty comfortable with that, we do that sort of thing better than anyone else in the world while OTOH our ability to adhere to finite plans is not particularly good...

  12. #32
    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default The value of an End State

    I think I was the first who proposed an answer to the question this thread posed. Whether it is the stated end state or a proposed end state matters little for my purposes. As a reminder, this is what was proposed (more or less) back in 2002...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    A legitimate government - one recognized as such by its citizens

    Adequate security forces - to preclud ungoverned areas that could host terrorist staging activities

    an economic system not reliant upon narcotic production

    Stable enough to resist adventurist actions of its neighbors

    "In other words, doesn't have to smell like roses, but it can't smell like a pile of $hit either" -

    end state (more or less) proposed to CENTCOM CDR o/a May 02
    I've been following the thread since and I'm somewhat surprised the turn that it has made. It seems unless I'm mistaken, that the collective wisdom of the council is "do we need, or can we know" the end state.

    WHAT!!!!!

    An end state provides the word picture for the commander's intent... It gives ultimate purpose and direction to all activity -- or should. If we are unable or unwilling to pose an end state for fear that we will need to adjust that end state should conditions change, than shame on us and everyone who put someone in harm's way. Stealing a phrase from another recent thread -- Fuzzy or Fraud, I go with Fraud!!!

    Maybe I missed something along the way in this thread, but I think we collectively somehow allowed ourselves to get into group think mode.

    Wilf are you out there??? If COIN/IW is war, and war is war, exactly how do you conduct it without an idea on how it ends????

    If the arguement is we started without an idea of how it ends in either IZ or AFG - agreed. If we think we ought to continue to muddle along until an idea of how it ends emerges - you be on the wrong side of that discussion

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  13. #33
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    To dip my toe in the waters, I do think you need to have some sort of end state in mind, informed by local conditions and what actually might be achievable (or feasible) in the region. "Muddling through" has never served us well in the past, and I've seen no breakthrough that will change that.

    Having said that, I think that we will most likely not be able to form a good vision of an end state because our domestic and political conditions simply don't allow for the sort of enclosed planning that used to take place. We fixate on short-term goals, unable (or unwilling) to grasp that these sorts of things take years. Looking back to our own history, the Frontier took decades to pacify (a full century really-if not more-given the changing nature of what was considered the Frontier). The Philippines took over ten, and many of the so-called Banana Wars lasted longer than our efforts to date in Afghanistan. In all those efforts, the operational planning shifted many times, but the end state focus remained pretty consistent. Granted, all these examples would be considered Imperial efforts...and that's why I feel that we can no longer plan this way.

    Any end state vision that would take longer than two years to attain will be labeled "Imperialist" by every talking head and typing hand out there with the inclination to do so. It doesn't matter if the end state vision is or isn't imperialist...once the accusation is made the burden of proof swings immediately to the planners, and they'll run for cover (especially on the political side).

    So, Hacksaw, I agree we desperately need a realistic end state vision, but I doubt our ability to produce one based on the factors I mentioned. I'd love to be pleasantly surprised....
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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post

    Wilf are you out there??? If COIN/IW is war, and war is war, exactly how do you conduct it without an idea on how it ends????
    Excellent question. I subscribe to both CvC and Delbruk, in terms of either annihilation or exhaustion. If COIN is biased away from Combat and more to Security, then I would suggest you aim to exhaust as nothing decisive can be done, in terms of annihilation.

    To exhaust, keep doing what works and try not to do those things that do not (killing civilians). As I said it is like maintenance, and not construction. You've won when the other guy cannot go on. The desired end state will appear. You'll recognise it because it will look very different to the undesired end state, and you know what they look like.
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    You've won when the other guy cannot go on. The desired end state will appear. You'll recognise it because it will look very different to the undesired end state, and you know what they look like.
    Wilf - What kind of mumbo-jumbo is that?!?!?! Come on! You're the person always asking "so what?"

    What Hacksaw is articulating is the need for a Commander's Intent for Afghanistan - something to focus all operations against. He is asking what that should look like?

    We should muddle along until something magically appears?!?!?!

    Since it seems to be lost in the "it's hard" - what should our intent/endstate be?

    Similar to the 2002 articulation or changed?
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  16. #36
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Misapprehension?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    ...I've been following the thread since and I'm somewhat surprised the turn that it has made. It seems unless I'm mistaken, that the collective wisdom of the council is "do we need, or can we know" the end state.
    Are they saying that or saying this in a different way:
    "... If we are unable or unwilling to pose an end state for fear that we will need to adjust that end state should conditions change..."
    Seems the latter to me...

    I also think this statement of yours is interesting:
    An end state provides the word picture for the commander's intent... It gives ultimate purpose and direction to all activity -- or should...
    While I totally agree with that militarily, my perception has long been that geopolitically on the macro level that is a confining and too often unachievable dictum and, regrettably, the issue transcends the military and enters the political realm.
    Maybe I missed something along the way in this thread, but I think we collectively somehow allowed ourselves to get into group think mode.

    Wilf are you out there??? If COIN/IW is war, and war is war, exactly how do you conduct it without an idea on how it ends????
    We go to the war our political masters send us to and we fight hopefully well and as best we can with an idea of 'winning' -- until they say stop. That may be short of a 'win.' Again, I say look at both Korea and Viet Nam, neither ended in any sense the way the US Army would have liked -- or tried to achieve. What we want and what the Politicians get are often two very different things...
    If the arguement is we started without an idea of how it ends in either IZ or AFG - agreed. If we think we ought to continue to muddle along until an idea of how it ends emerges - you be on the wrong side of that discussion.
    I think you have it backwards. We started with an idea on how it would end and have to backfill and adapt, to downshift, to changing (and unconsidered) circumstances.

    We can and do have an idea how we'd like it to end and my perception is that in Afghanistan, that state tracks broadly with your comments above. The issue, I think is will all the varied players, internal and peripheral allow that to happen -- we may have more votes than most but we do not have them all. Shame we can't have nice clean simple wars anymore...

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    Default I think my original answer has some validity:

    You've identified the fundamental problem with our intervention in Afghanistan.
    We're not even in agreement over whether we can have an endstate, much less what it could or should be.

    Maybe it's better to examine our priorities instead. What are they in Afghanistan? Instead of an endstate, I think we need to reexamine our fundamental purpose for being there.

    But returning to "endstates" briefly, we've already had a few of them. Here's my very abbreviated history of Afghanistan:

    Our first end state, going back to the mid-1990's, was the end of an AQ safehaven in Afghanistan. When you look at the history it becomes clear the US didn't have much interest in Afghanistan in general, or the Taliban in particular, except for its associating with and harboring of AQ. The goal of eliminating the AQ safehaven was basically accomplished by the spring of 2002

    Once the Taliban and AQ were initially defeated, the goal changed and became all about preventing the return of a safehaven for AQ - that became our "new" endstate. Since the Taliban were still allied with AQ, our goal included preventing their return as well. We've pursued this goal since.

    At some point in the past year or two a consensus has grown that our desired endstate of an enduring Afghanistan hostile to AQ and its associates cannot be acheived without also eliminating the safehaven in Pakistan, which the Pakistanis are unable and, in some cases, unwilling to do. So now our political leadership and potential future leadership seem to be advocating for and acting on that growing consensus.

    So we are, in a sense, at a crossroads, because eliminating the safehaven in Pakistan is not nearly the same as eliminating it in Afghanistan for a host of reasons I won't go into here, but which should be apparent to anyone with any knowledge of south Asia.

    What has stayed consistent, though, at the root of everything, is AQ and the threat it poses to the US. We can and do and should debate on what policy and amount of blood and treasure should meet that threat, but I think it's fair to say that our "endstate" is ultimately about AQ. So far, the importance of AQ in our policy and desired end states has remained preeminent.

    What I suspect will happen is that at some point that calculus will change, maybe when UBL and AAZ are killed/captured, for example, and when that happens all the supporting goals and polices and "endstates" will change too. This gets back to what I was talking about before in mentioning "priorities." If AQ goes away as a priority, then those goals and policies may fall like a house of cards without that foundation unless something else replaces it. We shall see.

  18. #38
    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default which helps me get to my point... mostly

    Entropy

    Just because a group of knuckleheads (is that ad hominem) on a public website can't come to consensus over -- whether we can have an endstate, much less what it could or should be -- does not mean we shoud eschew this time honored method of describing the "conditions that define the achievement of the Commander's Objectives" Joint Definitions JP 3-0 and 1-02...

    This doesn't change whether we are speaking in terms of Commander-in-Chief or BCT CDR Objectives... What differs is scope and available ways/means.

    Not sure why you insist on priorities (from a military perspective I'd equate that with logical lines of Operation), to my way of thinking this is out of logical sequence.

    All the way up and down the chain of command we need to be able to describe the conditions that define success... When the commander isn't sure his staff or subordinates develop a proposed end state and dialogue until each share the same vision/intent.

    I must be the hanging chad because I don't see we couldn't wouldn't shouldn't do this.

    and if in fact AQ is the center piece of describing those conditions, then I think the following is broad enough to allow individual initiative and account for changing conditions, as well as guide priorities/logical lines of operation...

    A legitimate government - one recognized as such by its citizens

    Adequate security forces - to preclud ungoverned areas that could host terrorist staging activities

    an economic system not reliant upon narcotic production

    Stable enough to resist adventurist actions of its neighbors

    "In other words, doesn't have to smell like roses, but it can't smell like a pile of $hit either"

    The dead horse is now butchered, fried and served hot....
    Hence we shall whip it again tomorrow
    Hacksaw
    Say hello to my 2 x 4

  19. #39
    Council Member Render's Avatar
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    Default

    If the Taliban/Al-Q, (or the Pakistani government), succeed in closing the Pakistani-Afghan border crossings, then the war, at least as far as Coalition forces within Afghanistan are concerned, is over.

    If the Pakistani military actually does fire on US/NATO forces, then the war expands into a new theatre.

    NO
    MSG
    PLS,
    R

  20. #40
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Doctrine is good, dogma is not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    ...does not mean we shoud eschew this time honored method of describing the "conditions that define the achievement of the Commander's Objectives" Joint Definitions JP 3-0 and 1-02...

    This doesn't change whether we are speaking in terms of Commander-in-Chief or BCT CDR Objectives... What differs is scope and available ways/means.
    It does change if the Commander in Chief says "Don't bother me with that, I want X and Y, period and you are not to do Z." Militarily, you're right on track -- the problem is that the effort is only partly military, it's mostly political, like it or not.

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