I agree with you about the unreliability of the media in reporting of the war, but that comes mostly from the opinions of reporters . When they are interviewing participants we get a more clear view. There are other sources of information like think tanks and veteran’s blogs. Your assumption that only people who have served there in the military have a clear view of what is happening is ridiculous. We have had other ex military saying that they knew little of what was happening outside of their unit. The purpose of my post was to ask questions, but I admit to steering the answers by suggesting that my questions be considered against certain assumptions. If John thinks those assumptions are invalid, then I expect that he will say so.
1. Afghanistan is a huge mess. If we left now it would revert to the way that the Taliban want it to be and we would have achieved nothing. Just my opinion there. I bought your argument in relation to Iraq because that is a more developed country and has some hope of making government institutions work. That is not the case in the tribal areas of Afghanistan. This is also a White House view not just that of the the Washington Post for reporting it.
The military like to play up their success and praise themselves, so they are even less reliable than the media.
2. I never said you were brainwashed. I don’t even know you. You may have access to classified information that is denied to me, but is it current? The White House does not seem to have access to it.
3.On “failed state” I considered the usual definition of “failed” to have attempted to do something and not succeeded. My point was that the Afghans have not tried very hard so their failure is limited. But that is a small point and does not matter much here. We agree that it is still a failure, and that supports my bleak assessment more than yours.
4. I have no doubt our soldiers do feel that they are defending their country and would react like that. The fact is that armed forces everywhere are often used to further the interests of their country other than by resisting attacks on the homeland. Have you heard of “battleship diplomacy”. I actually think that invading Afghanistan with the aim of finding the 911 bombers was a good idea. Staying there to make a modern successful state out of the country is not. I doubt that we succeeded with the first goal. I think that the Taliban got up our nose so we decided to stay a while and sort them out once and for all. Bad idea.
5. Your situational awareness is flagging here. In my opinion the most likely next war zones for us fighting Al Qaeda would be Somalia and Yemen. They have all the pre-conditions that Afghanistan had. A failed Islamic state with a corrupt and ineffective national army, a civil war festering, and porous borders: perfect.
6. That was an opinion I drew from a war college paper. Do you really think that the cost of supporting the Taliban in the kind of fighting it is doing in Afghanistan is beyond some of the wealthiest families in the world. Of course not. It is a perfect strategy because it inflicts massive damage on American society and its wealth out of all proportion to what it costs them. The USA is much weaker now than it was when they invaded, so keep it up long enough and they might even destroy America.
8. Vietnam is a clear warning. Eventually we had no choice there and there is every indication that the same thing could happen in Afghanistan. It is foolish not to learn from mistakes.
and most Americans who live in third-world conditions back home are just flat-out lazy.
9. Crap. That is just hackneyed conservative propaganda. Try supporting your family on the wages from a job in a cat fish cannery in the Mississippi delta. The sad uncomfortable fact is that there is an immense number of hard working poor in this country.
You say that it is not possible for our military to eliminate the Taliban and bring them to justice.
10. Indeed I do. Speaking precisely, the military are not an instrument of the justice system. They are not equipped to consider guilt and innocence. Our government can decide that they are guilty and use its military to administer punishment, but that is not justice either. That was silly G W rhetoric to make himself look like a tough guy. In fact, the US Army has demonstrated quite comprehensively that it is incapable of eliminating the Taliban in the environment of Afghanistan. How much more proof do you need?
11. I did not say that we could talk the Taliban out of the war. I suggested that a smarter tactic might be to dry up their sources of supply by targeting their roots through diplomatic means. The guilty Saudi families do not want to lose their power, and I think that a cleaver State Department, linked to banking and the oil business could possibly find a means of making them fear that.
12. Soldiers who criticize the courage of other soldiers usually lose credibility rather rapidly. The Dutch army is bound by rules of engagement set by its government that are different from those set by our government. They know that the Dutch people are not committed to the American goals, and so will not accept the same kind of casualties as we do. So their effectiveness as combat troops is reduced. Look John, this is basic stuff. You should understand this if you are going to take such an arrogantly superior tone as you have in your post.
12. The Aussies have not been an extension of the British since Federation in 1901. In WWII they combined forces with the Brits to defeat the Germans and with the USA to defeat the Japs, that’s all. Since WWII, the Australian Army has specialized in light infantry counter revolutionary tactics, and so it is very good in that role. They also have an excellent Military College (ADFA – Uni of NSW) that has analysed the hell out of the Afghan War. I agree with you that the Aussies will support us right or wrong, but they are under no illusions about why they are there.
I have to be honest; I’m not all that enthusiastic about dialoguing with you. In fact, this here might be the last time I ever acknowledge you. Some of my reasons for this:
ï‚§ You are a hypocrite. You speak to me in an arrogant, condescending tone, I reply in kind, and you criticize me for being “arrogant.”
ï‚§ You do not substantiate your claims. You make outlandish statements, an example of which would be your assertion that a Saudi family is funding the Taliban and single-handedly causing the destruction of American society, yet when I ask you for evidence to support your claim, you completely ignore my question and change the subject.
ï‚§ Whereas I answer your questions, you completely ignore mine. In addition to being disrespectful and rude, it shows that you feel as if the world revolves around you.
ï‚§ You reveal your ignorance by inquiring if I have ever heard of “Battleship Diplomacy.” That’s like some idiot off the street asking a doctor if he knows how to properly work his equipment. Would a doctor even have the desire to entertain someone like that?
ï‚§ You have revealed yourself to be a Flaming Liberal. I associate with neither Right-Wing Conservatives nor Flaming Liberals.
ï‚§ You are a 2-face. You act like you care about our troops, when the truth of the matter is that you neither respect nor trust the forces which give you the very freedom you enjoy and take for granted.
ï‚§ You claim that my situational awareness is completely flawed when I specifically told you that I have access to information you will never know about. In other words, you only hear that which you want to hear; which is not the behavior of a rational, just, or fair person.
I will at this time respond to both your comment above as well as the comment you left on the blog regarding the Ground Zero Mosque. Beyond this I cannot say for sure whether I will ever acknowledge you again.
1. First you say that the Dutch are some of our staunchest allies, which is completely absurd. Then, when I point out that the Dutch are pussies, you say that “soldiers who criticize the courage of other soldiers usually lose credibility rather rapidly.” Oh really? Says who, you? Let’s put this in a baseball context. When Manny Ramirez’s fellow teammates criticized his willingness to put 100% into his play, not only did those players who criticized him not lose their credibility, the level of respect people had for them actually increased because they actually had the balls to call him on it. But according to you when I call out a fellow teammate on their lack of willingness to put 100% into their play, I’m wrong? Hmm…I see you just make up the rules as you go, huh?
Next you offer an explanation for the Dutch’s pussy behavior, saying that I should know this because it’s “basic stuff.” You really think you’re more schooled than me, huh?
2. You said that “the military is even less reliable than the media because they like to play up their successes and praise themselves.” Okay, so what’s wrong with that? Name me one entity on the face of the Earth – political, religious, private sector, tree hugger, etc – who doesn’t play up their successes and praise them selves. Oh, but it’s wrong when the military does it, right?
3. Next you said that we should feel sorry for and support people who choose professions that are not designed to support a family in the year 2010. Okay, well check this out: My mom grew up dirt poor in the mountains outside of Bogota, Colombia. She didn’t have a pair of shoes until she was 5 and didn’t brush her teeth until she was 11. But she came to America and became a professor of Spanish Literature. My uncle came to America at the age of 16 and spoke not a word of English. He was on his own and ran with a bad crowd, but he buried his head in the books and today is a high-powered lawyer who holds political office in Los Angeles. And I’ll never forget what he told me once: “If you are born in this country there is no excuse for you not to make it.” So don’t give me this shit about how I should feel sorry for some crab fisherman who was born in this country and chose not to take advantage of all this country has to offer. It’s not my fault he chose a bad profession.
I personally do want anything to do with anyone who supports this kind of laziness. And since you obviously support this chicanery, you are not someone I want to interact with on any level.
4. You criticize me for speaking my mind. Dumb ass, I’m from Brooklyn; I will literally slap the shit out of you.
5. I clearly stated in my original blog that I work at an extremely high level and – unlike most soldiers – have visibility across all of Afghanistan, and you discredit me on the grounds that you’ve met soldiers in the past who claim to not have had any idea what was going on. Where’s the logic there? You also claim that the White House doesn’t have access to the information I get. Are you really that arrogant to think you actually know what the White House has access to?
6. You say that we went to Afghanistan to get the 9-11 “bombers”. Oh really? Where are you getting this from? The 9-11 PLOTTERS (not bombers) were scattered across the world (and we caught a few of them, such as your boy Zacarias Moussaoui). We went into Afghanistan to run Al Qaeda out of there. And guess what? They’re not there anymore as an effective force. Get your facts right before you put unsubstantiated information out there.
7. My situational awareness is flagging? Oh, but of course, the armchair quarterback hiding behind his keyboard back in America is the one who really knows what’s going on. Your comments, the comments I have seen many others making, and my own inability to understand what was really going on out here before I actually got here have convinced me that I need to address this in a future blog.
8. You speak of a Saudi family that is using a “masterful strategy” that inflicts massive damage upon our society and our economy out of all proportion to what it costs them yet, again, you fail to tell us who this “all-powerful family” is. And last I checked, Saudi Arabia is just as dependant on our economy as we are on theirs (if not more so). So you’re basically just wasting my time.
Fact: The CIA has very close ties to the Saudis. The real threat out there is the Iranians, who have been credited with blowing up Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, running operations in Iraq which have resulted in the deaths of American military personnel, and funneling all sorts of support (weapons, money, training, etc) to both Hezbollah and the Taliban. But here the know-it-all thinks our biggest threat comes from a mysterious Saudi family; right.
9. In your opinion the next war zones are Somalia and Yemen? Jackass, we’ve been running military operations in Somalia for a good 20 years now. These days they just have pesky little pirates who are so stupid they attack NATO naval vessels and are immediately captured. As for Yemen, that’s been in the news for a good 10 months now, so stop taking credit for other people’s conclusions. (That’s a lack of integrity right there on your part.) And we have Special Forces in Yemen who are completely decimating the Al Qaeda cells there and giving the credit to Yemeni forces (to prop them up in the eyes of the rest of the world). Ha – I can’t believe you actually threw Yemen out there as if it was your idea! LOL
10. There are many differences between Vietnam and Afghanistan, but that’s another topic for another time. There’s an organization known as CALL, which stands for Center for Army Lessons Learned. Man, we analyze the shit out of everything to the point of overkill, and here you are – the know-it-all armchair quarterback – saying that the military doesn’t learn from its mistakes. Because of course, you know everything!
11. Our military was not tasked to bring the Taliban to justice. Our job was to kick Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, and we accomplished that. Reconstruction became necessary due to the nature of the situation there. We’ve been through this, and I’m going to write about this in further detail in my next BLOG, I’m not going to take you by the hand here.
12. You said that I said that ONLY people who have served in Afghanistan know what is going on there. I never said that, have some integrity and stop making stuff up.
13. You said that we should basically abandon the Afghan people. a: That will create more enemies. b: Afghanistan will revert to a terror haven again. c: Millions of women and children will be butchered. d: This is exactly the kind of thinking that makes people hate both Right-Wing Conservatives and Flaming Liberals; both are completely out-of-touch with reality and contribute nothing to the betterment of our society.
14. You said that it is in the government’s interest to make sure we have an enemy – a “boogeyman”, if you will – to always keep the population in fear and allow for all sorts of opportunities for the government (“big brother”) to leverage our fears against us. This is ghetto conspiracy logic. For starters, you give the government way too much credit. Second, you have nothing on me when it comes to conspiracy talk. I know more about conspiracies than you will ever know. The entire world is a conspiracy. Every government in the world is corrupt. It’s human nature. What it all boils down to is where your loyalties lie. So save me the conspiracy crap.
15. You mention that you read a military paper, as if that’s supposed to put you on my level. You throw terms at me such as “asymmetric warfare.” Do you even know what that is? In the military we call it COIN (Counter Insurgency Warfare). But seriously, do you know what that is? Can you tell me what the COG in COIN warfare is? If you can’t then maybe you shouldn’t throw those terms out there as if you are an authority on the subject.
16. Your assertion that we are in Afghanistan to support big business is yesterday’s argument. There was a time when war was good for the economy. Those days – the days of the Civil War and WWII – are long gone. We live in an era wherein war is bad for a nation’s economy. Fact: We have yet to profit from all “the oil” in Iraq. Fact: No effort or push is being made to harvest Afghanistan’s natural resources.
Your statements show me that you do not understand how the world really works. If you were to approach me like a student looking to learn something, I wouldn’t have a problem schooling you, sharing knowledge with you, etc. But since you insist on trying to lecture me – without the right credentials to substantiate your stance – I have no choice but to dismiss you as yet another know-it-all wacko.
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