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why is he sending them?

cpwill

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From the beginning, the call to arms was highly uncertain. On Dec. 1, 2009, commander-in-chief Barack Obama orders 30,000 more Americans into battle in Afghanistan. But in the very next sentence, he announces that an American withdrawal will begin after 18 months.

...Nine months later, Marine Corps Commandant James Conway admitted that this decision was “probably giving our enemy sustenance.” This wasn’t conjecture, he insisted, but the stuff of intercepted Taliban communications testifying to their relief that they simply had to wait out the Americans.

What kind of commander in chief sends tens of thousands of troops to war while announcing in advance a fixed date for beginning their withdrawal? One who doesn’t have his heart in it... One who thinks he has to be seen as trying but is preparing the ground — meaning, the political cover — for failure.

Until now, the above was just inference from the president’s public rhetoric. No longer. Now we have the private quotes. Bob Woodward’s book, Obama’s Wars, drawing on classified memos and interviews with scores of national-security officials, has Obama telling his advisers: “I want an exit strategy.” ... Moreover, he must find an exit because “I can’t lose the whole Democratic party.” This admission is the most crushing of all.

First, isn’t this the party that in two consecutive presidential campaigns — John Kerry’s and then Obama’s — argued vociferously that Afghanistan was the good war, the right war, the war of necessity, the central front in the War on Terror? ...

What happened in the interim? Did [the party] suddenly develop a faint heart? Or was the party disingenuous about the Afghan war all along, using it as a convenient club with which to attack George W. Bush over Iraq, while protecting Democrats from the charge of being reflexively antiwar?..

This is the man who made Berlin coo, America swoon, and the Nobel committee lose its mind. Yet he cannot get his own party to follow him on what he insists is a matter of vital national interest?

Did he even try? Obama spent endless hours cajoling and persuading individual members of Congress to garner every last vote for health-care reform. Has he done a fraction of that for Afghanistan — argued, pleaded, horse-traded, twisted even a single arm?...

“He is out of Afghanistan psychologically,” says Woodward of Obama. Well, he may be out, but the soldiers he ordered to Afghanistan are in.

Some will not come home.
 

1069

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I'm a staunch supporter of Obama, but I agree his heart's not in this war, and I'm disappointed he let himself be railroaded into endangering our troops to no real purpose.
I've said numerous times that if I could talk to him, that's one thing I'd ask him about.
From what I've read, Obama seemed to feel he didn't have a choice.
Fewer troops was not one of the options presented to him to choose from.
The choices were increases of thirty thousand, forty thousand, or eighty thousand (which, it turns out, we simply didn't have).
Obama chose to increase troop levels by the least amount presented to him as an option, and it's clear, in retrospect, that he didn't like having to make that decision and that he wasn't particularly pleased with being put in a position to have to do so.
With Biden so staunchly anti-war, though, I don't know why Obama couldn't have just said no to all the options, if that's how he really felt.
I hope it weighs on him.
I think it did, initially.
But he seems to have gotten over it.
 
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rathi

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I agree with the criticism that Obama's support of Afghanistan was primarily based on using it as a political shield to prevent him from being called a anti-war. Of course pretty much every other person in America is guilty of the same sin, citizens included. It has become a football game where you cheer your team instead of honest discussion about practical foreign policy. Nobody and I mean nobody has come up with a detailed plan for either staying or leaving and justified it with predictions of cost, losses and expected results. The politicians are too cowardly and the public is too stupid for anyone to step forward with an actual strategy.
 

RoccoR

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rathi, et al,

Yes, there is some concern that the strategy is either confused, or not understood. The evolving and complex environment causes constant course corrections that make it appear that there is no real strategy.

The strategy for Afghanistan has one more aspect to it, that fogs-up the environment; that is, the strategy is driven Washington Political pressures that impact the execution of a coherent and practical political-military solution.

I agree with the criticism that Obama's support of Afghanistan was primarily based on using it as a political shield to prevent him from being called a anti-war. Of course pretty much every other person in America is guilty of the same sin, citizens included. It has become a football game where you cheer your team instead of honest discussion about practical foreign policy. Nobody and I mean nobody has come up with a detailed plan for either staying or leaving and justified it with predictions of cost, losses and expected results. The politicians are too cowardly and the public is too stupid for anyone to step forward with an actual strategy.
(COMMENT)

Everyday we hear about an engagement or strike in Afghanistan, involving the "Taliban." So much so, that it sometimes gives the impression that it is the principle concern and problem. but, in fact, the Political-Military (POL-MIL) structure has five (5) basic groups of concerns which effect the strategy.
  • Insurgent groups: motivated to overthrow the Afghan government (GOA) and
    coerce the withdrawal of international forces. Examples include:
    • Taliban
    • Haqqani
    • Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-i-Islami
    • al-Qaeda
  • The Criminal Elements: Involved in drug-trafficking, timber, and gem smuggling
  • Relations with Local Governments which are in the Pashtun belt of western, southern, and eastern Afghanistan and influenced little by the Central GOA:
    • local tribes
    • sub-tribes
    • clans
  • Warlords and associated militias units, increasingly more powerful after the displacement of the Taliban.
  • Criminally corrupt GOA and local government officials and security forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, providing official and unofficial support to insurgents and criminal bands.

Additionally, the weakness and corruption within the Central GOA have begun to lead a rift between the “the urban elite,” who gain the most benefit from economic grow and foreign assistance, --- and the --- “rural population," which derives much less and where the greatest frustration and resentment grows against the GOA; and by extension the US Forces and ISAF/NATO, to which they draw an associate.

The "Taliban" differ from "al-Qaeda" in that the "Taliban" has, as its primary objective objective, the re-establishing their extremist ideology (known as Deobandism) in Afghanistan and their control.

The "al-Qaeda" differ from the "Taliban" in that "al-Qaeda" has a broader and more global, two-prong, agenda: (1) to overthrow Middle Eastern Regimes which have been corrupted by the west alliances, and establish a pan-Islamic caliphate; with the second prong, (2) to gradually invade and choke the western nations as it spread the Islamic culture. They refer to this two-prong approach as fighting the "near enemy" (in the Middle East) and the "far enemy" (America & Europe).

Most Americans simply do not understand the basics of the scope and nature of the conflict, and therefore, don't understand the ever-changing face of the strategy as resources are altered in the conflict.

There is an ancillary issue of grave concern. Pakistan is a nuclear capable country. That is to say, it has a working nuclear arsenal (ready made). If the Government of Pakistan should fall under the control of one of these radical Islamic elements, the danger multiplies by a factor of ten, over any previous foe (Iraq, Iran, China, North Korea, all combined).

What is the Strategy in Afghanistan? There probably is no strategy that comprehensively covers all these issues in one package.

Most Respectively,
R
 
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USA_1

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Obama was left a real mess in Afghanistan and there is no real solution unless it's to kill every Taliban in country.
 
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