US Army commander warns of failure in Afghanistan

Crusader74

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www.irishtimes.com, last Updated: Monday, September 21, 2009, 08:46

Army chief warns of Afghanistan 'failure'

The top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan says in a confidential assessment of the war that without additional forces the mission "will likely result in failure". A request for more troops faces resistance from within US president Barack Obama's Democratic Party, which controls Congress, and opinion polls show Americans are turning against the nearly eight-year-old war.

Army General Stanley McChrystal wrote: "Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) - while Afghan security capacity matures - risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible." The assessment is contained in a copy of the 66-page document obtained by the Washington Post . Gen McChrystal's spokesman in Kabul confirmed that the document is genuine. Gen McChrystal is expected to ask for a troop increase in the coming weeks to stem gains by a resurgent Taliban.

The Post said Gen McChrystal's assessment makes clear that his call for more forces would be part of a new strategy that emphasizes protecting Afghans rather than killing insurgents. "Inadequate resources will likely result in failure. However, without a new strategy, the mission should not be resourced," Gen McChrystal is quoted as saying. Gen McChrystal has finished preparing his request, which some officials expected would include roughly 30,000 new combat troops and trainers, but he has yet to submit it to Washington for consideration. Defence secretary Robert Gates has said the Pentagon was working with Gen McChrystal on how that request should be made.

In the assessment, Gen McChrystal paints a grim picture of how the war is progressing and writes "the overall situation is deteriorating". He calls for a "dramatically" and even "uncomfortably" different approach to fighting a war which requires a cultural change in the way the military fights. "The objective is the will of the people, our conventional warfare culture is part of the problem, the Afghans must ultimately defeat the insurgency."

The war in Afghanistan is now at its deadliest in eight years. Gen McChrystal's assesment says fighters have control over entire sections of the country, although it is difficult to say how much because of the limited presence of Nato troops. He also strongly criticises the Afghan government as having lost the faith of the country's people. "The weakness of state institutions, malign actions of power-brokers, widespread corruption and abuse of power by various officials, and ISAF's own errors, have given Afghans little reason to support their government," Gen McChrystal says, refering to the International Security Assistance Force.

The number of US troops in Afghanistan has almost doubled this year from 32,000 to 62,000 and is expected to grow by another 6,000 by the year's end. There are also some 40,000 troops from other nations, mainly Nato allies. Fifty-eight per cent of Americans now oppose the Afghan war while 39 per cent support it, according to a recent CNN/Opinion Research poll. Mr Obama said in interviews aired yesterday he wants to wait to determine the proper strategy for US forces in Afghanistan before considering whether more troops should be sent there. "I just want to make sure that everybody understands that you don't make decisions about resources before you have the strategy ready," he told ABC.

Congressional critics, including his 2008 Republican presidential opponent Senator John McCain, have urged the administration to approve the deployment of more troops immediately, saying any delay puts the lives of troops already in Afghanistan at greater risk. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told CNN yesterday his party would be supportive of a US troop increase for Afghanistan if it was needed as part of a new strategy but he said he was troubled by the delay in the decision-making. "We think the time for decision is now," Mr McConnell said.

Reuters
 

AWP

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Didn't I say this about 3 years ago?

At any rate, a 30k increase in troops to a landlocked country where supply lines are already tenuous and the infrastructure to support existing troops doesn't exist?

This is what happens when you only focus on Step 3.
 
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7point62

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...without a new strategy, the mission should not be resourced...

Fear any new strategy that doesn't have finding and killing UBL and those associated with him at the top of the list because I have a feeling any new strategy is going to be some half-assed lawyer-politician compromise clusterfuck that will just serve to delay the inevitable withdrawal because the people who put Obama in office are too pussified to stay the course.

...He also strongly criticizes the Afghan government as having lost the faith of the country's people...

When have the Afghan people ever had any faith in a central government? Maybe a guy like Massoud might of had a chance at unifying a large cross-section of Afghans, but we'll never know.

I don't think there's anybody who could unify that country or even get any kind of majority to agree on anything.

Just kill the vermin. Forget the rest. Throw every freakin resource we have into finding and killing UBL & his bros and GTFO. Afghanistan will go back to being Afghanistan.
 

AWP

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When have the Afghan people ever had any faith in a central government? Maybe a guy like Massoud might of had a chance at unifying a large cross-section of Afghans, but we'll never know.

I don't think there's anybody who could unify that country or even get any kind of majority to agree on anything.

We/ Karzai had a chance after we evicted the TB. I'd say by 05-06 or so that (the goodwill and hope of the people) was gone. No one wanted to admit it but we've been fighting our way out of a hole since '06.
 
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7point62

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Free, maybe you can help me out here.

I'm not clear on the composition of the "growing insurgency." We were fighting Taliban and AQ. I thought most of the Taliban were Pakistanis (at one time funded by the Saudis) and that the core of AQ was primarily Arab with the rank and file being a mixed bag.

"Insurgency" to me infers some kind of nationalist guerrilla movement, or at least some semi-unified grassroots uprising against a common enemy.

In what way is the insurgency growing? By stepping up combat operations? By recruitment of new members? By both? By alliances with previously non-aligned warlords and/or bandits? Are we seeing evidence of various Afghan factions uniting to fight the foreign invaders (us and ISAF)?
 
J

JJ sloan

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This subject really irratates me!
General "McClueless" has decided to OPCON SOF to "battlespace owners" taking the fight completely out of the hands of our best and brightest.
Now he is stomping his feet and whining for more troops. I think this guy had part of his brain removed when he took command.

I agree with Free, in what way does McClueless think he can support the troops he already has in country when the supply lines are so stressed as is? This will make the insurgents very happy, more bullets to steal and food to ratfuck. How many stolen jinga trucks will it take for them to realize that it isn't working?

7point62:
Just kill the vermin. Forget the rest. Throw every freakin resource we have into finding and killing UBL & his bros and GTFO. Afghanistan will go back to being Afghanistan.

Really? Do you really think this is the issue? UBL and his buddies? Do you really think we can just "GTFO". What will happen then? I will tell you what will happen. Someone else will take his place... it's called recuperability. AQ has a very high recuperability rating. And when they recuperate what will take place? Recruitment? Definately. They will retake Afghanistan, reinstate the TB regime, recruit and train. I would venture a guess that if we just leave they will have a massive pool from which to recruit in order to destroy the great satan. No my friend we are there for the long haul... or else. I don't believe they will attack again, and with greater success next time; I KNOW they will.
Reference: http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm34-36/appd.htm

In what way is the insurgency growing? By stepping up combat operations? By recruitment of new members? By both? By alliances with previously non-aligned warlords and/or bandits? Are we seeing evidence of various Afghan factions uniting to fight the foreign invaders (us and ISAF)?

Recruitment of new members is the center of gravity for both the TB and AQ. Stepping up combat operations is a result (or symptom) of the center of gravity. We need to extract critical vulnerabilities from that center of gravity and target there. What would be accomplished by killing UBL? Would that affect the center of gravity? Maybe, but only for a short period, if at all. My personal thought is that providing security for the people of Afghanistan and proving to them, however long it may take, that America will not leave them to the TB is the greatest weapon against recruitment.

I'm ranting... my bad.
 

LongTabSigO

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Didn't I say this about 3 years ago?

At any rate, a 30k increase in troops to a landlocked country where supply lines are already tenuous and the infrastructure to support existing troops doesn't exist?

This is what happens when you only focus on Step 3.

This point highlights the real key problem modern warfare faces. This falls under the category of what I call the "Shinseki Revelation": any General now has to ask for more troops, unless he's absolutely in full control of the situation. This forces the politicians to reckon with "the logistics of providing the logistics".

Such is the state of play in the ways of national defense and national strategy.
 
7

7point62

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7point62:
Just kill the vermin. Forget the rest. Throw every freakin resource we have into finding and killing UBL & his bros and GTFO. Afghanistan will go back to being Afghanistan.

Really? Do you really think this is the issue? UBL and his buddies? Do you really think we can just "GTFO". What will happen then? I will tell you what will happen. Someone else will take his place... it's called recuperability. AQ has a very high recuperability rating. And when they recuperate what will take place? Recruitment? Definately. They will retake Afghanistan, reinstate the TB regime, recruit and train. I would venture a guess that if we just leave they will have a massive pool from which to recruit in order to destroy the great satan. No my friend we are there for the long haul... or else. I don't believe they will attack again, and with greater success next time; I KNOW they will.
Reference: http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm34-36/appd.htm

In what way is the insurgency growing? By stepping up combat operations? By recruitment of new members? By both? By alliances with previously non-aligned warlords and/or bandits? Are we seeing evidence of various Afghan factions uniting to fight the foreign invaders (us and ISAF)?

Recruitment of new members is the center of gravity for both the TB and AQ. Stepping up combat operations is a result (or symptom) of the center of gravity. We need to extract critical vulnerabilities from that center of gravity and target there. What would be accomplished by killing UBL? Would that affect the center of gravity? Maybe, but only for a short period, if at all. My personal thought is that providing security for the people of Afghanistan and proving to them, however long it may take, that America will not leave them to the TB is the greatest weapon against recruitment.

I'm ranting... my bad.


JJ, one of my mistakes is thinking that people will automatically hear the sarcasm in my voice as they read my words, as is the case in my "GTFO" quotes above. I'm sarcastic and cynical about our committment to OEF because I do not believe that the hippies, fringe groups, ex-60's radicals, draft dodgers and the rest of the sheep who put the current administration in office will ever give us--i.e. the military-- the opportunity to go the "long haul" in Afghanistan. They want what they consider "Bush's War" over. They could care less about 9/11, to them it's ancient history...and to some of them it was all a Bush conspiracy. They don't want us to hurt the poor misunderstood terrorists that the evil Bush administration persecuted. They elected a liberal activist to the White House who's up for reelection in 3 years, and they want a return on their investment.

If I were King, bro--all cynicism aside--I would give our warfighters everything they asked for. And if they told me they needed 10 or 15 years of COIN & FID for the ANA and money up the kazoo to make it work, they would have it...and my only caveat to that agreement would be that they bring me UBL's head on a fuckin platter (along with old One-eye and Dr Z and anybody else they are able to root out).

My comments and my cynicism--kill the vermin and GTFO--are based on my fear that we will, in spite of all our best efforts and the sacrifices of our young men and women, do exactly the latter (GTFO) without doing the former (kill the vermin). We went there find and kill UBL, to destroy his organization and to avenge 9/11. (Let's roll.) If we pull out without having accomplished at least that, than everyone who has died since 9/11 has died for no purpose.
 

AWP

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Free, maybe you can help me out here.

I'm not clear on the composition of the "growing insurgency." We were fighting Taliban and AQ. I thought most of the Taliban were Pakistanis (at one time funded by the Saudis) and that the core of AQ was primarily Arab with the rank and file being a mixed bag.

"Insurgency" to me infers some kind of nationalist guerrilla movement, or at least some semi-unified grassroots uprising against a common enemy.

In what way is the insurgency growing? By stepping up combat operations? By recruitment of new members? By both? By alliances with previously non-aligned warlords and/or bandits? Are we seeing evidence of various Afghan factions uniting to fight the foreign invaders (us and ISAF)?

The Taliban started out as displaced Afghanis, orphans, etc. living mostly in Pakistan as a result of the Soviet occupation. As the TB began to take over Afghanistan their presence in Pakistan was primarily limited to a support role.

So 5th Group and friends show up and monkey stomp the TB and Al Q out in late 2001/ very early 2002 (The US allowing Pakistani airlift to evacuate Al Q/ TB/ Pakistani "advisors" from Konduz was a nice touch in our relations with the ISI, err "Pakistani government") and those groups set up shop in Pakistan in force. You also had the fringe groups from other nations like Uzbekistan's IMU finding a safe haven in Pakistan at that time. Musharaf began walking a tightrope between supoorting us and supporting the growing extremist movement at home (the ISI actually recruited extremists to fight India over the Kashmir) and that tightrope started to break.

So now it is roughly 2004 and some dumbfuck put Olson and the 25th ID in charge and they promptly hunkered down in the face of mounting loses in Iraq with a sister brigade allowing the TB and Al Q the foothold needed to begin to reassert themselves. Iraq siphoned off every resource possible including food in 04-05 and this place became a backwater; Very quietly the TB returned until 2006 when we started to wake up from our Iraqi hangover and realized that two groups who were on the ropes in Afghanistan were now a very real threat aided by more members of the local team: a resurgent HQN and HiG.

I probably just talked all around your question, didn't I? Short answer is that the rank and file are locals, many of their leaders are cowards living in Quetta or Wana or Miram Shah. Opium is funding them so they don't need much outside financial support. The war isn't in my mind about one country, but two, and the sooner our nation recoginizes that our good friends in Pakistan are part of the problem the sooner we can put this mess behind us. Honestly, Afghanistan's borders end at the Indus or maybe even India itself.
 

varsity

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In the assessment, Gen McChrystal paints a grim picture of how the war is progressing and writes "the overall situation is deteriorating". He calls for a "dramatically" and even "uncomfortably" different approach to fighting a war which requires a cultural change in the way the military fights. "The objective is the will of the people, our conventional warfare culture is part of the problem, the Afghans must ultimately defeat the insurgency." Reuters

It's already happening. This is brilliant. I see it every day over here.

I know some folks don't think that conventional forces should be involved in COIN, but they are doing it everyday over here. And they are doing a great job. So for those that don't think they should, you may need to adopt "a "dramatically" and even "uncomfortably" different approach to fighting a war which requires a cultural change in the way the military fights." That's just my :2c:
 

varsity

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This subject really irratates me!
General "McClueless" has decided to OPCON SOF to "battlespace owners" taking the fight completely out of the hands of our best and brightest.
Now he is stomping his feet and whining for more troops. I think this guy had part of his brain removed when he took command.

Hey brother, I agree with this as you well know, but......how do we work around it. We integrate ourselves into them. We "make em fall in love with us". If we don't find a way to work through this shit then we are only working against our selves. I know it isn't perfect but how bout a little UW on the BSO's. Let's be indispensable.

I agree with Free, in what way does McClueless think he can support the troops he already has in country when the supply lines are so stressed as is? This will make the insurgents very happy, more bullets to steal and food to ratfuck. How many stolen jinga trucks will it take for them to realize that it isn't working?

Fuck man, you know I know this one. I do feel that if we work the angle I mentioned above, this issue can be made slightly easier. Not saying it would fix it, but it has been working for me as we speak. For some reason everybody over here loves us right now. I can't think of one reason why...;)
 
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