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Saturday, September 19, 2009
SB: Why are we in Afghanistan? (Debunked)
By Andrew Walden @ 12:52 PM :: 5329 Views :: Military

(Scroll down for the complete debunk from the Sept 17 Washington Times editorial: "Afghanistan is not Vietnam ... yet".)

Today's Star-Bulletin:

Rep. Neil Abercrombie, chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces, questioned the wisdom of U.S. policy in Afghanistan in February in a column on the Politico Web magazine. He stated his opposition to committing "a single soldier, sailor, airman or Marine to Afghanistan."

He wrote, "Classic counterinsurgency doctrine depends on an indigenous government we can support, but the current national government in Afghanistan doesn't remotely qualify, unless one considers a corrupt government bordering on a kleptocracy, with little real power over 90 percent of the country, as 'worthy.'"

The recent presidential election in Afghanistan bolsters Abercrombie's assessment. (Afghanistan NEVER had ANY elections until the US arrived)  European Union monitors (socialists) have estimated that one-third of the votes that gave incumbent President Hamid Karzai 54.6 percent of the vote are suspicious and should be examined for fraud.  Various reports have characterized the election as a sham. Karzai calls the vote "true and fair."  (After having a successful vote under harassment by head-choppers, the SB is whining about how "fair" the vote was.)

Abercrombie backs financial, logistic, intelligence and other support of the Afghan government and security forces. (FIG LEAF--What security forces would exist after immediate withdrawal??  Why would we base a counter-terrorism strategy on financial aid to a kleptocracy?????) But the Obama administration would be prudent to move away from what Abercrombie calls "fanciful and messianic visions of 'fixing' a nation that is simply not fixable by outsiders." (Straw man: Who has advocated this in Afghanistan?????)

(Translation: "We liberals can still save Osama bin-Laden if we start protesting now".  QUESTION: IS THE SB ENDORSING ABERCROMBIE'S "NO SURGE/OUT NOW" POSITON?  OR ARE THEY TOO GUTLESS TO SAY IT DIRECTLY?)

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Abercrombie Politico: Lessons learned for Afghanistan

Third, our military presence is a double-edged sword. No country likes to be occupied, patrolled or garrisoned by a foreign military. Our own Founders didn’t take very well to it 233 years ago. (So Taliban are just like George Washington?) The presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to suppress violence and promote peace is often the match that ignites the violence and resistance in the first place.  (So why was the 20 years of non-stop civil war suppressed only by our arrival?) Afghanis have always opposed the presence of large numbers of armed outsiders, (So why didn't the Kandaharis fight the Arabs from AlQaeda?) and our troops, no matter how well intentioned, will be viewed the same way that Macedonian, British and Soviet troops were viewed in the past.  (It is destiny because I write the words.  BTW: Macedonian??? Alexander the Great swept all before him in Afghanistan and the Greeks ruled for 300 years after his death.  Typical error of a pseudo-intellectual lightweight like Abercrombie.) 

...the United States should not commit a single additional soldier, sailor, airman or Marine to Afghanistan.  (Too gutless to as "OUT NOW")

So what is a “clear and achievable objective”? A starting point would be to simply ensure that Afghanistan is not a terrorist safe haven for groups with the ability to attack the United States. In other words, Afghanistan would become a counterterrorism, rather than counterinsurgency, operation.
Pursuit of this limited goal does not mean walking away from Afghanistan or abandoning its people. The United States could still provide substantial financial, logistic, intelligence and other support to an Afghan government and security forces.  (So it DOES mean walking away.)  It would, however, be a critical step toward a realistic approach to American goals in Afghanistan and a step away from a fanciful and messianic vision of “fixing” a nation that is simply not fixable by outsiders.  (Who has advocated this in Afghanistan?)

Abercrombie and the SB are singing a duet as usual.  Like the SB, Abercrombie is also too gutless to actually say "OUT NOW".  Both were wrong about the surge in Iraq and they are wrong about the surge in Afghanistan.  They are advocating the line of the openly socialist "Congressional Progressive Caucus".

How Osama-bin-Laden views Soviet troops and what he concludes about America:   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/interview.html

Accurate information about Abercrombie: Neil Abercrombie, D-Hezbollah

Debunk of the Abercrombie/CPC/SB position: Washington Times EDITORIAL: Afghanistan is not Vietnam ... yet

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EDITORIAL: Afghanistan is not Vietnam ... yet

THE WASHINGTON TIMES 9-17-09

The United States is stuck in a 1960s flashback. In an interview on Monday, President Obama rejected comparisons between the war in Afghanistan and the Vietnam conflict, saying "you never step into the same river twice." The Amu Darya is not the Mekong.

There are superficial parallels between Vietnam and Afghanistan, especially at the tactical level. The new joint counterinsurgency doctrine addresses many of these aspects, and it is noteworthy that Gen. David H. Petraeus, who oversaw its development, wrote his doctoral dissertation on Vietnam. The Pentagon is well aware of the battlefield lessons of our country's only military defeat.

At the strategic level, the situation is decidedly different. Mullah Muhammad Omar, the leader of the Taliban, is not a head of state like North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh was. There is no conventional armed force in Afghanistan analogous to the North Vietnamese Army. The Taliban does not have a support structure anything like the scale of what the communist world provided to Hanoi. Those who think the Vietnam War was won by pajama-clad guerillas in the jungle should take another look at images of communist tanks crashing through the gates of the South Vietnamese presidential palace in 1975.

Unfortunately, the most important strategic factor is the same: a liberal Congress working to undermine the U.S. war effort. The U.S. military had won the Vietnam conflict by 1970, but when Democrats in Congress cut aid to South Vietnam in 1974, our trusting allies in Saigon were left helpless before the communist onslaught. Mr. Obama might want to consult with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on the spirit of those times. Mr. Biden was a freshman senator and one of the cosponsors of the Case-Church Amendment, which stopped aid to Cambodia and opened the way for the Khmer Rouge takeover and the killing fields that followed.

Today, the doves are sharpening their talons again. Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, has come out against the troop increase the commanders on the ground think is necessary and is pushing for more Afghanization of the war effort. "I'm not just going to sit around waiting for a decision by the president," he said yesterday. Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, declared Sunday that the United States cannot build democracy in Afghanistan. Committee member Russ Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat, is promoting a "flexible timetable" for withdrawal.

Meanwhile, the rhetoric emanating from Congress about the Afghan government is taking on a distinctly Saigonesque ring. We hear that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is a fraud, his government is corrupt, the people in the countryside have lost confidence in Kabul, and the Afghan security forces are a joke. To paraphrase the Yippies of yore, "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the Taliban is gonna win!"

But the Democrats have a more delicate dance to perform this time. They cannot simply cut and run like they did from Vietnam. For years, they promoted Afghanistan as the "right war," a political counterweight to the "wrong war" in Iraq. Now they have to figure out how to back out of the "right war" without the convenient excuse of saying they were duped by supposed lies, as they did in Iraq over the issue of weapons of mass destruction. The get-out-of-jail-free card for an earlier generation was the Tonkin Gulf incident, in which an altercation between North Vietnamese and American vessels was used to justify U.S. military escalation in Vietnam. Later revelations showed the incident was less severe than originally reported and gave political cover to whole flocks of what President Johnson's adviser, John P. Roche, mockingly referred to as "hawks turned dove in mid-flight." There is no such original sin in Afghanistan.

Adding to the contemporary political conundrum is the complicating factor that Democrats in Congress do not want to harm the Obama presidency. Many were willing to throw Lyndon Johnson under the bus before the 1968 presidential election knowing they could rally behind Democratic Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who had done an effective job of undermining the White House and reinventing himself as a peace advocate. Mr. Obama does not face the same internal challenge to his leadership. One potential future challenger, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton -- who was elected to RFK's former Senate seat -- could not easily subvert the president from the left on the war issue. Though given the fluid nature of American politics, anything is possible.

Congressional Democrats may yet find a way to abandon the Karzai government to an ignominious fate while minimizing the damage to Mr. Obama's presidency, but the message to the world would be the same as it was in 1975: The United States cannot be trusted, and Washington is willing to abandon vulnerable allies because of short-sighted domestic political score-settling. The shame of Vietnam is still with us, and we may yet see Americans being helicoptered from Kabul rooftops ahead of advancing Taliban forces. There are some things you can step in twice.

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