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Patraeus to modify Afghanistan ROE's


DP Veteran
Dec 20, 2009
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This is a good, good thing. I'm all for minimum necessary force in COIN, but that's a two part equation.

minimum...... necessary (to win).

A military source close to Gen. David Petraeus told Fox News that one of the first things the general will do when he takes over in Afghanistan is to modify the rules of engagement to make it easier for U.S. troops to engage in combat with the enemy, though a Petraeus spokesman pushed back on the claim.

Troops on the ground and some military commanders have said the strict rules -- aimed at preventing civilian casualties -- have effectively forced the troops to fight with one hand tied behind their backs.
Any adjustment to the rules of engagement does not mean the counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan will change. President Obama stressed Wednesday -- after he accepted McChrystal's resignation in the wake of a magazine article in which he and his staff were critical of the administration -- that the change-up does not represent a shift in war policy.

Rather, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that Petraeus, currently head of U.S. Central Command and the former U.S. commander in Iraq, will have the flexibility to reconsider "the campaign plan and the approach."...
That's fine, as long as Petraeus doesn't have "the flexibility" to extend this war beyond the time limits already laid out by the president.
This is not merely the next chapter. This is endgame.
It had better be, because the American public is done.
We're done trying and failing to prop up a corrupt puppet regime in an inconsequential backwater half a world away, at the cost of billions of dollars and the blood of thousands of our loved ones.
well it depends; do you want us to have accomplished something, or have failed? either those we have lost can be the price we pay to liberate millions of afghans from an authoritarian terror regime, or they can be wasted in an aborted experiment. Announcing a "withdrawal date" was an extraordinarily stupid move on the part of the President; even if you have one, you keep it classified. Otherwise every Afghan out there knows that it's a smarter move to side with the Taliban (who will be there in August 2011) against the Americans (who will not). The Taliban are not popular, but the people will side with them out of fear if we convince them that we are planning to abandon them to the Talibans' tender mercies (and their attitude towards 'collaborators' is anything but merciful). Only if you convince them that you are there to win will they ever be willing to stand up to the thugs in their neighborhood.

But we (or, at least, I) can be hopefull, it's worth noting that the day after Petraeus was tapped to take the fight in Afghanistan the President went on television to hedge on the "June 2011 withdrawal"; and begin to set the stage for an eventual abandonment of that foolish policy, just as he did with 'closing Gitmo'. Petraeus is the one member of the DOD (other than perhaps Gates, and maybe not him) who has the personal prestige that Obama cannot afford to lose him publicly; if Petraeus tells Obama withdrawal needs to become conditions based (as Obama was willing to do in Iraq), then there is a strong possibility that that is what he will do.
My feelings and sentiments tend to lean towards 1069, however I agree with the poster above. I am torn on Afghanistan, the problem is thinking that we can set up a functioning central government in a land that is more governed by tribal boundaries than political. The Pashtuns are very sympathetic towards the Taliban and many Pashtuns harbor Al Qaeda. These tribes go back centuries and I dont see how in a 20-30 years we can ever hope to stand up a strong and peacful central government. Historically, counter-insurgencies are very long struggles... decades long.

One thing I know, the endstate must be that Al Qaeda or any other Islamic terrorist organizations must be destroyed in order to prevent further on terrorist attacks against the U.S. Surely, we must all be able to agree on the endstate, the issue is the strategy. When I question COIN operations and I start to think that its impossible, I think of the Sunni Awakening in Iraq. But then again, that was IRAQ. You cannot cookie cut war, therefore some other strategy must be in place to achieve the endstate.

Personally, I think its going to take an extensive intelligence and military operations that transcend political boundaries to destroy Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organizations. How can we fight a war against an enemy that can move freely within the world and we cannot? At least not legally, hence the term COVERT ops. We also need to stop with the weepy and soft tactics of the current administration, we need call a spade a spade. Stop with the overseas contingency operations, stop with the man made disasters, all theses semantics are designed to make people think we are not at war. Tell me something, if someone is actively at war with you and you refuse to admit it, who will eventually win? We have to stop apologizing for being Americans. I am not sorry for taking this fight to the enemy as doing nothing is in fact doing something, choosing defeat.

The American public has to accept that the wonder years of the 1990s will not return. That was a fluke of history, world history is fraught with war and violence. Israel has been fighting like this since their inception, I am afraid that we are going to join their ranks. We have to systematically target and kill the terrorist WHEREVER they are, just try telling that to Syria, Pakistan, Iran, Phillipines, Malaysia, or anywhere else they go. Diplomacy is so important.

This is a new war, and we had best figure out best how to fight it and win it. Just withdrawing will invite another attack and EMBOLDEN our enemies. We have to win, and I hate to admit it, but I am not sure how yet. But we must.
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