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Why has the United States chosen to occupy Afghanistan/Iraq?

Kroanon

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I'm slightly confused as to why we need to prop up our little puppet states in Iraq and Afghanistan with a conventional military occupation. Wouldn't an unconventional or low-intensity strategy (precision attacks by ground/carrier based air power or cruise missiles fired from submarines, together with special forces in country backed up with good intelligence) work better in the long term? Why have we gone to a high-intensity solution? What benefits (in terms of increasing our national security) has our strategy wrought that wouldn't be possible with something more low-key?
 

spud_meister

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Iraq is being toned down, and frankly, low intensity wouldn't work in Afghanistan while the taliban still exists.
 

reefedjib

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can't do counterinsurgency with precision attacks/cruise missiles. counterterrorism isn't sufficient to win. where are you going to get that good intel?
 

bicycleman

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For the last 30 or so years, the US has done this type of strategy. They did the same thing in Vietnam, to the point, that we just pulled out, and Viet Nam went communist. It will happen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both countries will then become Taliban controlled. The Taliban just wait us out, until America loses stomach to fight. No one seems to want to fight a decisive war anymore, like we did in WWII.
 

spud_meister

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For the last 30 or so years, the US has done this type of strategy. They did the same thing in Vietnam, to the point, that we just pulled out, and Viet Nam went communist. It will happen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both countries will then become Taliban controlled. The Taliban just wait us out, until America loses stomach to fight. No one seems to want to fight a decisive war anymore, like we did in WWII.
the taliban won't take control of Iraq, there's too much sectarian violence, if America pulls out completely the country will splinter into 3, Sunni, Shi'a and Kurdish controlled territories.
 

Kroanon

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can't do counterinsurgency with precision attacks/cruise missiles. counterterrorism isn't sufficient to win. where are you going to get that good intel?
Define win. If winning means protecting the United States from terrorism and terrorist attacks, I think it'd be perfectly suitable to our needs. Why wouldn't it be? Additionally, to answer your second question, with our intelligence services of course. Can't the CIA clandestinely gather intel in other countries? Isn't that one of the key points of their mission and purpose? We don't need to have soldiers on the ground occupying and policing the country to obtain intelligence, do we?
No one seems to want to fight a decisive war anymore, like we did in WWII.
Again, why is it necessary to fight this guerrilla war on their soil? Also, WWII is not at all the same type of conflict, to compare the War on Terror to WWII is frankly stupid.
 

reefedjib

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Define win. If winning means protecting the United States from terrorism and terrorist attacks, I think it'd be perfectly suitable to our needs. Why wouldn't it be?
Winning is denying the terrorists a safe haven. This objective requires the establishment of a stable government that denies the terrorists access. The only way to do this is fight the fight and the fight is counterinsurgency.

Additionally, to answer your second question, with our intelligence services of course. Can't the CIA clandestinely gather intel in other countries? Isn't that one of the key points of their mission and purpose? We don't need to have soldiers on the ground occupying and policing the country to obtain intelligence, do we?
We do need soldiers on the ground for the intelligence mission. The CIA has no protected HUMINT resources in country. It requires relationships with the locals. Hence, again, counterinsurgency.
 

Kroanon

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Winning is denying the terrorists a safe haven. This objective requires the establishment of a stable government that denies the terrorists access. The only way to do this is fight the fight and the fight is counterinsurgency.



We do need soldiers on the ground for the intelligence mission. The CIA has no protected HUMINT resources in country. It requires relationships with the locals. Hence, again, counterinsurgency.
Since when are conventional forces in country a prerequisite for executing that mission though?Also, the terrorist movement in question is an international one (example: most of Al-Queda's operations in Afghanistan are being planned and executed from Pakistan), are we supposed to go around quashing regimes and then propping up new ones of our own indefinitely, paying a hefty price while doing so? Why isn't focusing on disrupting their operations and protecting ourselves by launching said precision attacks on their bases of operation/leadership, reinforcing our own domestic security measures, and detecting the threats while they're in their early phasees (being planned or organized) with increased intelligence gathering not a sound approach in and of itself? Why is the counter-insurgency required?
 
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reefedjib

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Since when are conventional forces in country a prerequisite for executing that mission though?Also, the terrorist movement in question is an international one (example: most of Al-Queda's operations in Afghanistan are being planned and executed from Pakistan), are we supposed to go around quashing regimes and then propping up new ones of our own indefinitely, paying a hefty price while doing so? Why isn't focusing on disrupting their operations and protecting ourselves by launching said precision attacks on their bases of operation/leadership, reinforcing our own domestic security measures, and detecting the threats while they're in their early phasees (being planned or organized) with increased intelligence gathering not a sound approach in and of itself? Why is the counter-insurgency required?
Yes, conventional forces are necessary. You can't do counterinsurgency without ground troops. Additionally, the missions those ground troops engage in are highly varied, from conventional assaults up to distributing water and medical care, training locals, engaging in relationships with political leaders, etc...

The thing that may help you is that there are really two missions. One is a counterterrorism mission and involves intel, special operations, unmanned attack to disrupt the operations and go after the leadership and professional expertise (bomb makers, comms, trainers) of the terrorist organization. The other mission is counterinsurgency to build a stable government in AFG to deny terrorists access to the country - remove the safe haven.

Since they are ideologically based and dispersed and have reasonable safe havens in PAK, they can survive our first mission: counterterrorism. We must complete the second mission or they will flood back to AFG when we leave.

To all of this Intel is key and they know better than to use unencrypted comms. It takes knowing the people and establishing HUMINT, and the CIA cannot do that mission.

As far as disrupting attacks here, it again takes HUMINT. The masterstroke is that they no longer have to attack us here since we are engaged with them there. They are counting on us leaving...
 

Kroanon

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Yes, conventional forces are necessary. You can't do counterinsurgency without ground troops. Additionally, the missions those ground troops engage in are highly varied, from conventional assaults up to distributing water and medical care, training locals, engaging in relationships with political leaders, etc...

The thing that may help you is that there are really two missions. One is a counterterrorism mission and involves intel, special operations, unmanned attack to disrupt the operations and go after the leadership and professional expertise (bomb makers, comms, trainers) of the terrorist organization. The other mission is counterinsurgency to build a stable government in AFG to deny terrorists access to the country - remove the safe haven.

Since they are ideologically based and dispersed and have reasonable safe havens in PAK, they can survive our first mission: counterterrorism. We must complete the second mission or they will flood back to AFG when we leave.

To all of this Intel is key and they know better than to use unencrypted comms. It takes knowing the people and establishing HUMINT, and the CIA cannot do that mission.

As far as disrupting attacks here, it again takes HUMINT. The masterstroke is that they no longer have to attack us here since we are engaged with them there. They are counting on us leaving...
Well I meant "gathering intelligence" rather than counter-insurgency when I asked about whether or not conventional forces would be required, should of been more clear. So assuming we establish a stable government that can defend itself and deny them access in Aghanistan, what do we do about Pakistan? Continue with the "first mission", or would we have to move on to the second in that situation as well? What about Iran? There are so many states that probably couldn't deny them access (or would gladly welcome them in some cases), would we have to go and build states in each and every one of those countries as well? Isn't this asking for an indefinite struggle?
 

reefedjib

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Well I meant "gathering intelligence" rather than counter-insurgency when I asked about whether or not conventional forces would be required, should of been more clear. So assuming we establish a stable government that can defend itself and deny them access in Aghanistan, what do we do about Pakistan? Continue with the "first mission", or would we have to move on to the second in that situation as well? What about Iran? There are so many states that probably couldn't deny them access (or would gladly welcome them in some cases), would we have to go and build states in each and every one of those countries as well? Isn't this asking for an indefinite struggle?
Impossible to gather intelligence and carry out strikes (special ops or unmanned) without ground forces.

Pakistan is not a failed or failing state nor a dictatorship. They are working with us to a degree to deal with the Taliban and cross-border issues. They are not attacking the safe havens. We will not be invading them.

Iran is not providing a safe haven. If we invade Iran it will be over nuclear weapons.

Somalia is a possibility, but it is kind of similar to Afghanistan with a lot of warlordism. Hard to form a democratic state on that foundation as we are learning in AFG. We will probably stick to the current counterterrorism mission in Somalia, as well as support Ethiopia's efforts and perhaps the AU.

Yemen? We provide a lot of assistance to Yemen government and they are embroiled in a tribal struggle there. Can;t imagine we would invade.

No, we have our plate full for the foreseeable future with Iraq and AFG.

As far as this being an indefinite struggle...look at the history of the US since inception. We are always defining our place in the world through armed conflict. Now look at the Cold War and the wars we fought then. Now look at the "Non-functioning Gap" (all countries not a part of globalization - "Core" is globalized) and the increase in conflict in the "Gap" since the Cold War ended in 1989-1991. It has dramatically increased. We increase the rate of immigration from those parts of the world and leave them their ****ed up politics. Blowback is international terrorism. Solution is to change their politics and bring countries in the "Gap" into the "Core".
 

Kroanon

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Impossible to gather intelligence and carry out strikes (special ops or unmanned) without ground forces.

Pakistan is not a failed or failing state nor a dictatorship. They are working with us to a degree to deal with the Taliban and cross-border issues. They are not attacking the safe havens. We will not be invading them.

Iran is not providing a safe haven. If we invade Iran it will be over nuclear weapons.

Somalia is a possibility, but it is kind of similar to Afghanistan with a lot of warlordism. Hard to form a democratic state on that foundation as we are learning in AFG. We will probably stick to the current counterterrorism mission in Somalia, as well as support Ethiopia's efforts and perhaps the AU.

Yemen? We provide a lot of assistance to Yemen government and they are embroiled in a tribal struggle there. Can;t imagine we would invade.

No, we have our plate full for the foreseeable future with Iraq and AFG.

As far as this being an indefinite struggle...look at the history of the US since inception. We are always defining our place in the world through armed conflict. Now look at the Cold War and the wars we fought then. Now look at the "Non-functioning Gap" (all countries not a part of globalization - "Core" is globalized) and the increase in conflict in the "Gap" since the Cold War ended in 1989-1991. It has dramatically increased. We increase the rate of immigration from those parts of the world and leave them their ****ed up politics. Blowback is international terrorism. Solution is to change their politics and bring countries in the "Gap" into the "Core".
Well yes I agree, war is an extension of politics, all nations have interacted with other nations in the same way for the most part. I threw Iran out there partially because there are all the required elements (intense anti-American sentiment for one thing; same thing could be said of Saudi Arabia though I suppose) for that sort of thing to develop, not to mention Iran could become destabilized if the current regime collapsed, which is possible due to the civil unrest as of late, which certainly could escalate and blow up rapidly and unexpectedly at any time. Also since it looks to me as if Iran is the big red target in all of this, with all of the back and forth rhetoric and geostrategic situation in the region, which is shown in this map, although in simple (and yea, somewhat biased, with the "retaliations against Israel" thing; I found it on a Sudanese forum, figures) terms.

 
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Winston Smith

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I'm slightly confused as to why we need to prop up our little puppet states in Iraq and Afghanistan with a conventional military occupation. Wouldn't an unconventional or low-intensity strategy (precision attacks by ground/carrier based air power or cruise missiles fired from submarines, together with special forces in country backed up with good intelligence) work better in the long term? Why have we gone to a high-intensity solution? What benefits (in terms of increasing our national security) has our strategy wrought that wouldn't be possible with something more low-key?
Because creating puppet states was always the main purpose. The supposed national security benefit is that it gives us control of strategic resources. Suppressing terrorism isn't an immediate goal of the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's a long-term aspiration, at best, but not a defined objective in the short term.
 

rathi

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The reality is that neither Iraq nor Afghanistan has been done with any real strategy in mind. Iraq and Afghanistan both turned into nation building exercises despite the original plan having nothing of the sort. Political choices about public image have been the primary concerns.
 

majora$$hole

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to make more money for the "military money making machine" ie: mcdonald douglas, bell aeronautics, exxon, ect.....
 

American

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Hopefully when we really start pulling out, the native military will step up to the challenge to secure their countries.
 

cpwill

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I'm slightly confused as to why we need to prop up our little puppet states in Iraq and Afghanistan with a conventional military occupation. Wouldn't an unconventional or low-intensity strategy (precision attacks by ground/carrier based air power or cruise missiles fired from submarines, together with special forces in country backed up with good intelligence) work better in the long term? Why have we gone to a high-intensity solution? What benefits (in terms of increasing our national security) has our strategy wrought that wouldn't be possible with something more low-key?
yeah. we tried a plan that operated much like that. it was called the 'Rusmfeld Doctrine', and before that the 'Westmoreland Strategy'

it has a poor record in counterinsurgencies.
 

bus

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I would say that Afghanistan was a national response to terrorist attacks that happened in the United States. I would follow the argument that it was easier for the administration to offensively attack a country like Afghanistan than to tell a nation there was no way to protect them (defensively) from all of the conceivable threats. (I agree with that strategy)

I’m also sorry for not reading all replies, but, invading Iraq was about bullying the middle east into compliance, a show of force if you will. It really didnt have anything to do about WMD, (what country tells the other one its coming to invade them for WMD's a year out?)
 
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