28 Sep

Brit General-Troop Reductions Will Be Minimal On July 11, 2011

                                       

Lt General Nick Parker: Troop Withdrawal Will Not Be Significant

Lt General Nick Parker, speaking in Kabul, said the withdrawal will be unlikely to involve more than a few thousand troops.

“It is entirely reasonable for there to be some draw down of some sort although I suggest it is not a significant as some people choose to make it out to be,”

His statement seems to be in contradiction to the impression left by US President Obama, who is worried about the possibility of losing the Democrat Party and Code Pink by not initiating troop withdrawals and bringing the war to an end, according to reviews of Bob Woodward’s new book, The Obama Wars.

General Parker reiterated that troop reductions will only take place if the Afghan army is at the right numbers and capability to start filling in for the 138,000 Nato troopers on the front line.

Lt Gen Park, the deputy to overall commander of Nato troops, Gen David Petraeus, said that the figure of 2,000 troops going home, which has been suggested by some US politicians, was one that would not have any “strategic significance” on the total force.

“I know the military advice will be as few as possible because military men always want to keep their options open,” he said.

He added it was “entirely reasonable” for politicians to set a deadline of 2015 for British withdrawals as they would not want the Afghans to see them as an “occupying regime”.

While significant steps were being made in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table special forces commandos were giving insurgent commanders a “pretty serious kicking at the moment”.

He suggested that “our kinetic action”, Taliban war-weariness and locals turning to the government were helping the reconciliation effort with insurgents.

Lt Gen Parker, whose son suffered a double amputation while serving in Helmand, suggested that military commanders were a “little bit over enthusiastic” in declaring the success of Operation Moshtarak, the biggest air assault since Vietnam launched last February.

Unfortunately, they raised raised expectations that there would be “peace in our time” when a force of 12,000 hit Taliban strongholds in central Helmand but that had “not been the case”.

He stressed the security operation had done “what we said it would do” but the American held Marjah area was proving to be a tough area to subdue.

He stressed that American troops fighting the Taliban in a major operation in Kandahar, overseen by British officer, Major Gen Nick Carter, were facing fierce fighting,”The enemy stronghold there is certainly as strong as we thought and possibly a little bit more. There are serious military challenges.” He feels that there is no “tipping point”, but that the fight will be a long drawn out struggle to achieve victory.

In the mean time, Karzai is drawing the Taliban into his government while they are engaged in a campaign of bombing, mayhem, and terror.

About Skook

A professional horseman for over 40 years, Skook continues to work with horses. He is in an ongoing educational program, learning life's lessons from one of the world's greatest instructors, the horse. Skook has a personal website skooksjournal.com featuring his personal writings and historical novel type stories.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Military, NATO, Pakistan, Support the Troops. Bookmark the permalink. Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 at 1:47 pm
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22 Responses to Brit General-Troop Reductions Will Be Minimal On July 11, 2011

  1. Old Trooper 2 says: 1

    “little bit over enthusiastic” :wink:

    Hah! Marjah is a coin flip on any given day.

    That is an understatement. Kandahar is a “snake pit” and the fight there has been very challenging and has not reached full intensity yet. Home Field advantage plays into this fight as the Taliban has not announced their “Withdrawal Time Table” yet…/Sarc…

    ‘This Is Obama’s War’

    http://abcnews.go.com/WN/exclusive-bob-woordward-talks-diane-sawyer-book-obamas/story?id=11719487

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  2. Oil guy from Alberta says: 2

    Canada should have at 2 battle ready divisions there to win this thing. That’s 20,000 troops and it will never happen. They got about 7k and they’re battle weary. We don’t need fancy armored units, just rifle regiments. We have them as reserve units and the Obummer will never get them.I know that George W could get them. Nobody talks to Harper.

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  3. Old Trooper 2 says: 3

    *Un-Classified info on RC South*

    http://www.understandingwar.org/region/regional-command-south-0

    Security

    RC South is the stronghold of the Taliban, led by Mullah Omar and the Quetta Shura, and a center for the opium trade. Insurgent activity in RC South was higher in 2008 than any year since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Five of the six primary Taliban infiltration routes are located in the south because it shares the long border with Pakistan.7 The presence of Coalition and Afghan forces was insufficient in the south in 2008 and into 2009, and even non-existent along the borders.8 The unmonitored border allows the smuggling of opium to Pakistan and Iran and permits the flow of weapons, fighters, and leaders into Afghanistan. One main concern for ISAF forces in the region is the connection between the narcotics trade and networks responsible for launching attacks involving improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, which account for 70 percent of military casualties in the region.9

    Out of 23,000 International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops stationed in the area in 2008, only a 300-strong British Royal Marines unit had the mobility to travel around the region to fight the Quetta Shura Taliban.10 Troops were concentrated in the main cities and towns. The Quetta Shura Taliban control many rural villages—not necessarily because they are strong or popular among the public, but because they are unchecked and operate in a power vacuum.11 According to President Hamid Karzai’s security advisor, Asadullah Wafa, the government controls three districts in Kandahar, whereas the Quetta Shura Taliban controls the districts of Ghorak and Miya Nishin. He also assessed that the government controlled only the district centers of twelve other districts in Kandahar province.12

    Although the Quetta Shura Taliban is perceived to be the major security challenge in the region, illicit drug-trade, warlordism, highway robberies, and tribal feuds are other major security problems. Furthermore, appointment of corrupt or inefficient officials has contributed to worsening security and poor governance in the region. President Hamid Karzai’s brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, is accused of involvement in drug trade. He heads the Kandahar’s Provincial Council and remains an influential figure in the south.13 Kandahar governor, General Rahmatullah Raufi, was fired by Kabul in early December 2008 only four months after his appointment, over his alleged differences with Wali Karzai.14 Sher Mohammad Akhundzada remained the governor of Helmand Province from 2001 until December 2005, despite repeated allegations of his involvement in drug trade. In early June 2005, nine tons of opium was found in his office when counternarcotics agents raided it – though he was not removed from office until several months later.15

    Counternarcotics

    RC South produced more than 80 percent of Afghanistan’s opium output in 2007. Helmand province alone accounted for 66 percent of total opium cultivation in Afghanistan.16 In 2008, five provinces – Helmand, Kandahar Uruzgan and Nimruz in the RC South and Farah in the RC West – produced 98 percent of all opium production in Afghanistan.17 The U.N. estimates the Taliban groups reap between $200 and $300 million from opium annually.18

    ISAF and Afghan Forces

    ISAF’s Regional Command South headquarters is based in the city of Kandahar. Canada, Britain, and the Netherlands rotate command of RC South. The Netherlands currently command RC South, under the leadership of Major General Mart de Kruif.19 In 2009, a UK division headquarters, under the command of a British two-star general, will be installed at the Kandahar Air Field.

    There are roughly 23,000 ISAF forces – primarily from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and the Netherlands–in RC South.20here are roughly 8,000 British troops in Helmand province and 2,700 Canadian forces in Kandahar. However, security progress has been limited. ISAF forces control about 60% of the populated areas in southern Afghanistan.21Military officers describe the situation in the region as a stalemate in early 2009, as they can keep their areas under control, but cannot gain more ground. Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, Canada’s Chief of Land Staff in Kandahar called for a 10,000-strong troop build-up in Kandahar.22

    Approximately 19,000 Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) – Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) – are stationed in the region.23 The ANA’s 205th Corps operates RC South, with a brigade each in Helmand, Kandahar, Urozgan, and Zabul.

    Most of the additional 21,000 U.S. troops that arrive in Afghanistan in 2009 will be deployed in southern Afghanistan, a plan aimed at securing the civilian population, gaining more ground, and isolating the enemy. The additional forces will bring the total of troops in the region to roughly 60,000 Coalition and Afghan Forces. Major General de Kruif has warned the arrival of fresh U.S. troops will trigger increased violence as they move into areas of Taliban control.24

    There are four Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in the south. They are in Kandahar City, Kandahar Province (led by Canada); Lashkar-Gah, Helmand (led by the United Kingdom); Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan (led by the Netherlands) and Qalat, Zabul (led by Romania and USA). There is no PRT in Nimruz.

    There you have it in a nut shell. Dope, very bad folks, Government corruption and as I explained before, not enough boots on the ground, an unstable region and apparently a plan to withdraw but not one to win. That’s what happens when a Community Organizer sits in the Big Chair and considers the War to be a distraction from his Agenda of transforming America.

    If you want to defeat the Taliban it must be done in RC South or not at all.

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  4. Tom says: 4

    There you have it in a nut shell. Dope, very bad folks, Government corruption and as I explained before, not enough boots on the ground, an unstable region and apparently a plan to withdraw but not one to win. That’s what happens when a Community Organizer sits in the Big Chair and considers the War to be a distraction from his Agenda of transforming America.

    “That’s what happens”? All that stuff happened in the last two years? What about the first seven?

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  5. Old Trooper 2 says: 5

    @ Tom, I was there and I know. Since You were not, you can only speculate or offer some party line drivel that you only heard from others who were not there.

    Troop reductions if you don’t want to lose a war are as asinine as raising taxes while the economy is flat and unemployment is pushing 10%. By the way, the Taliban has not offered their withdrawal plan yet. You must work for the Team Obama State Department. Maybe you can ask the Taliban.

    ‘This Is Obama’s War’

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  6. Tom says: 6

    OT2

    You are correct that I am hardly an expert, which is why I’m asking one (you). I’m fortunate to have this opportunity, so forgive me for pestering you with questions. I sincerely would like to know what you think on this: assuming the war is winnable with the correct strategy, why wasn’t it won a long time ago? I seem to recall a strategy called “shock and awe” that, we were told, mitigated our need for boots on the ground. And for many years resources were diverted to Iraq. Would things have been different if we put in the correct amount of troops seven, eight years ago?

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  7. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/opinion/26friedman.html?emc=eta1

    Excerpt:

    China is doing moon shots. Yes, that’s plural. When I say “moon shots” I mean big, multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing investments. China has at least four going now: one is building a network of ultramodern airports; another is building a web of high-speed trains connecting major cities; a third is in bioscience, where the Beijing Genomics Institute this year ordered 128 DNA sequencers — from America — giving China the largest number in the world in one institute to launch its own stem cell/genetic engineering industry; and, finally, Beijing just announced that it was providing $15 billion in seed money for the country’s leading auto and battery companies to create an electric car industry, starting in 20 pilot cities. In essence, China Inc. just named its dream team of 16-state-owned enterprises to move China off oil and into the next industrial growth engine: electric cars.

    Not to worry. America today also has its own multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing moon shot: fixing Afghanistan.

    This contrast is not good.

    – Larry W/HB, CA

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  8. Nan G says: 8

    Most of the Taliban are followers of a few charismatics.
    Target those few leaders and the whole thing falls apart.

    Back before the president before Netenyahu (sp???) in Israel, the leaders of both Hamas and Hezb’allah were targeted.
    After a few targeted assassinations nobody even knew who their ”leader” was!
    One of them fled the country and has attempted to ”lead” from the shadows.

    If someone eventually does get brave and say, “I’m the new leader,” make him a target.

    It worked until Israel quit doing it.

    It worked with al Qaeda whose ”leaders” only surface in the form of an audio or video once in a blue moon.

    It would work with the Taliban, too.

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  9. Nan G says: 9

    The Israeli president I meant was the one who had the massive stroke.
    According to recent news he is still alive in a deep coma.

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  10. Robert says: 10

    @ Tom;

    The problem isnt so much a question of winable but what constitues victory. Right now all we have is some amorpheous “stability” standard but until conditions like the drug trade and warlordism are controlled that may not be possible or even firmly defined. The definition the current adminstration is looking for is we stop fighting and come home. The probelm with a definition like that is no one buys it. In order to “win” both sides have to be in agreement of the outcome, usually because the losseing side is no longer capable of disputing the facts (ie they’re all dead, their leadership replaced, land taken and settled by the other power, their resources taken for the victors benifit..). Traditional definitions of victory do not seem to apply, rather the war on terror seems to have spawned a “we’re not giving up so we haven’t lost” sort of definition. Victory through a complete ideological collapse of Islam would work, but I wont be holding my breath.

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  11. Tom says: 11

    The criticism of Obama is that he hasn’t displayed a will to win, which as you point out, is hard to define, because there is never going to be a black and white outcome to this. While the generals are surely taxed with winning, the President’s job is broader: doing what’s best for the country. Obama campaigned to a war-weary public on ending the war in Iraq and winding down the one in Afghanistan. So it’s surprising to me how often he’s criticized from the Right, considering he’s kept in place many Bush-era programs, expanded others, such as covert ops and drone missions, increased troop levels in Afghanistan, etc. As far as his being on or not on the same page as the generals, they have different jobs and priorities, but he’s clearly more in sync with them than the previous administration. The Bush Pentagon wildly underestimated the amount of troops necessary to stabilize Iraq, fired or forced into retirement Generals that pointed this out, and then five years later, when they finally started listening to the military, tried to take credit for “the surge”, which was just a correction of their prior mistakes. The worst thing, to me, about this is that tried to do the whole thing on the cheap, so to speak. so they could justify their domestic agenda (i.e. tax cuts). This would be the war where no American had to make any sacrifice (aside from the men/women fighting it): it would pay for itself and be over quickly, so we were told

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  12. Traditional definitions of victory do not seem to apply, rather the war on terror seems to have spawned a “we’re not giving up so we haven’t lost” sort of definition.

    I once read that a major problem is the differing horizons between the USA, on one hand, and radical Islam, on the other. Our horizon doesn’t extend beyond the next election, and often not beyond the next quarter. Radical Islam, on the other hand, works on God’s time. They look at their history, where it took 100 years until Saladin drove the Crusaders out of Jerusalem. The Palestinians never surrendered to the Israelis, because they view themselves as the people who reclaimed the Holy Land from the Crusaders.

    Don’t expect radical Islam to surrender. So the “war,” such as it is, will just go on and on. The question is when do we decide that it really is a police and intelligence problem and not a military problem.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

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  13. Old Trooper 2 says: 13

    @ Tom, As Obama is the CiC, It is His War. His solution is not Strategic, Tactical or achievable in any real sense, it is 100% Political and there id no Diplomatic solution at hand. Obama has no military training, has failed to listen to those who have, McChrystal and Petraeus, took the counsel of his appointed fools instead and political appointees. Obama is no West Point, Annapolis VMI or Texas A&M Grad, He has treated General officers like pizza delivery boys, as did Carter and Clinton before him. I opposed the Bush/Rumsfeld approach to AFPAK and they did not listen either.

    Meanwhile we have Troops deployed to FOBs like little Alamo positions throughout the Stans. On Diplomacy, Truman was satisfied with the division of Korea into North & South and we see how well that panned out. Clinton withdrew Troops from Somalia and that worked out swell… Carter had US Embassy hostages held until they were released after Reagan was elected.

    The outcome in AFPAK will be pretty ugly as long as Obama relies on Drone strikes that kill more villagers than Taliban with Intelligence gathered by an “Agency Army” of folks of dubious character.
    Whack a Mole on steroids with no Strategic or Tactical success. When a Nation commits resources, blood and treasure and loses large quantities of both and loses, does that elevate that Nations prestige or make the Continental US more vulnerable? There is No Peace with Honor when there is No Peace.

    A reminder, some of ISAF is Your Army and Your Citizens. Our Second Greatest Generation. Obama is on record as saying the the US of A can absorb a second 9.11.01 attack. Remember this, Obama sent 30,000 troops less than his Military Leadership requested. The outcome and consequences are his responsibility now, not Bush or Rumsfeld’s. It is Mr Obama’s War Now. He had 20 months to get it figgered out. That is what happens when Community Organizers meddle with things that they do not understand. The War is going just as swell as the Summer of Recovery…

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  14. Old Trooper 2 says: 14

    @ Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA, I’m still waiting for the Taliban to announce their Withdrawal Timeline…they only make between $200 to $300 million a year on opium there in RC South and keep a population living in fear, Women Oppressed and they run marvelous training camps for Jihadi types that are their International Export Products. No legitimate Government can be respected if Illegal Opiates and Terrorists are 100% of their GDP.

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  15. @trooper: You know 1,000X as much as I do about conditions on the ground, strategy, tactics, etc., but I am impressed that, among people who know more, even, than you, there is no consensus. Maybe you are correct. Maybe not.

    On 60 Minutes this week there was a story about the unit of a Lt Colonel on the Afghan/Pakistan border region. After many months and many casualties he “owns” about 10% of the region he’s tasked to turn around. They go to a village which has supposedly been pacified, only to learn that it’s been unpacified, hearts and minds-wise. So he doesn’t even “own” the 10% which he though he “owned.” It’s the best video I’ve seen, depicting what it’s actually like, boots on the ground-wise, since the Afghan invasion first commenced.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/09/28/eveningnews/main6909288.shtml

    P.S. Here’s a more direct link to the 60 Minutes video

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6902810n&tag=contentMain;contentBody

    From my viewpoint, the task at hand seems utterly impossible. Others may disagree. I gather, though, that the Lt. Colonel in charge of the unit shown on 60 Minutes shares my thoughts, in his heart of hearts, based on what he said and how he said it.

    With respect to “timeline for withdrawal,” this has been argued different ways, again, by people who know even more than you profess to know.

    Senior generals have stated that there is no problem with announcing a time line. What’s the worst that can happen? The enemy lays low until you go? What’s wrong with that? That’s a gift. It allows the Afghans more opportunity to stand up. With respect to winning hearts and minds, others have argued that it’s not only desirable but essential to announce a time line. Absent a time line, we build a hospital or school and the Afghans think that we are simply preparing for an occupation. With a time line, when we build a hospital or school, they accept it as a gift and not as part of a regime of occupation. We win hearts and minds, instead of hardening them against us.

    The broader question is simply this? It is worth it? Is it really worth it? Is it even plausibly possible? The 60 Minutes clip makes me strongly doubt the latter. I’ve always doubted the former.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

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  16. Tom says: 16

    OT2,

    Regarding the FOBs they had a segment on 60 minutes last week showing the daily grind of a unit in just such a base. These guys are targets every time they leave base, but they still go out there every day to the villages doing their job. The courage and professionalism on display was something to behold. I recommend taking a look if you missed it. (Edit – missed this mentioned in the previous post)

    As much as numbers and strategy, isn’t a lot of the outcome contingent on Pakistan and the Afghan government? As long as Pakistan allows the Taliban free passage and space to regroup in their territory, the outcome appears dire. Likewise, the Afghanistan government doesn’t inspire much confidence in anyone, particularly their citizens. It seems like there are no good choices left, just less bad ones.

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  17. Old Trooper 2 says: 17

    @ Tom, INRE FOBs, ever seen one? I have and ran one outside Kandahar, went out myself daily.
    I never needed “Newsies” to tell me about it. I went out on “Cordon & Search” Ops at night from there as well and know that business. You Lead from the Front. That is how I picked up my last Purple Heart.

    The choices are indeed limited but my point being, You do not send Troops into harms way on Political Goals. I hope that does not escape your reasoning. Re: the Paks, trust them as far as I can throw the Lincoln Monument. The Paks need to understand that they need to clean their Own House as the Pak ISI has divided loyalty but the Paks have no sanctions, only Billions in US Aid and the taxpayer gets mixed results.

    Obama sent no honest brokers to counsel Karzai or monitor their elections either. He gets an F on Foreign Policy from me and takes credit for the Iraq Surge that he voted against when he was even present in the Senate to vote. Even our ISAF Allies question the US Posture in AFPAK,. I dealt with them daily. He sent that charlatan, Richard Holbrook, who has never conducted a successful State Department mission. The joke here is on the Taxpayer and the US Armed Forces.

    An answer lies in shutting down the Opium Operation, killing Taliban Operatives and telling Karzai to eliminate corruption. That takes Troops on the Ground, not Predator Drones that kill Civilians. Building Partnerships is hard work and takes time. Holding an election is not Democracy, Security is eliminating the threat, not holding talks with the Taliban until the withdrawl clock runs out.

    @ Larry, clowns on fact finding Missions from DC that do not stay long enough to stop pissing Stateside Water are Obama’s advisors. He ignored his hand picked General Officers that I worked for. I saw this coming after the request for Troops and a Strategic plan was submitted and we waited for months to get the Political one that is not cutting it today and 30,000 less Troops.

    I can foresee an Afghanistan outcome as Somalia version 2.0…

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  18. @trooper:

    Operation Enduring Freedom was launched in October 7, 2001

    Prior to and immediately subsequent to that, here’s a history I cribbed from wiki:

    On October 4, 2001, it is believed that the Taliban covertly offered to turn bin Laden over to Pakistan for trial in an international tribunal that operated according to Islamic shar’ia law[14]. On October 7, 2001, the Taliban proposed to try bin Laden in Afghanistan in an Islamic court[15]. This proposition was immediately rejected by the U.S. Shortly afterward, the same day, United States and British forces initiated military action against the Taliban, bombing Taliban forces and al-Qaeda terrorist training camps[16].

    On October 14, 2001, the Taliban proposed to hand bin Laden over to a third country for trial, but only if they were given evidence of bin Laden’s involvement in the events of September 11, 2001[17]. The U.S. rejected this proposal and continued with military operations.

    Question #1: Is the above correct?

    Question #2: In retrospect, should we have taken the Taliban up on their offer?

    Statement: You are very hard on Obama. But we launched the Afghan War in October, 2001 and pretty much declared victory by March 2002. Yet, when Obama took office, January, 2009, Afghanistan was a disaster.

    Question #3: Who bears the responsibility for the condition with which Afghanistan was turned over to Obama? Does this person/administration not also deserve a few critical words from you?

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

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  19. Old Trooper 2 says: 19

    @ Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

    #1 Unconfirmed.

    #2 I jumped into Kandahar as initial Forces for OEF. No offer of record can be confirmed on OBL
    as the Taliban was on the run to Waziristan and they did not leave behind any “negotiatiors”. They did leave in a hurry as did OBL with Taliban Militia Troops.

    #3 I was critical of Bush / Rumsfeld but Obama had 20 months to make a difference and has not.
    He repeatedly voted against funding either OEF or OIF and that Sir is a matter of record. I also went in on Helo lift for OIF hours ahead of the 101st Mission and my Teams secured Forward Refuel/Rearm positions and later destroyed Republican Guard HQ Units and captured Republican Guard Officers in their homes.

    My Intel Folks predicted the insurgency but Higher did not acknowledge that info until months later. As you may recall, the Able Danger Mission Group predicted the planning for 9.11.01 and was ignored by both Rumsfeld and the totally bogus 911 Commission that was a CYA effort for both the Clinton and Bush Administrations and the CIA.

    Now, 20 months into the Obama Regime we see his focus and it was never on winning either war. It was on satisfying his support base on “Social Issues”.

    There is no substitute for seeing the elephant close enough to punch him in the mouth. I had front row seats and actually did punch a Republican Guard Officer in the mouth as he resisted capture. I broke out his two front teeth on his upper jaw. You lead from the front.

    The clock is ticking and 20 months into Hope & Change the economy is on it’s ass and AFPAK is just an unpleasant distraction. No Cost of Living Increases for Disabled American Vets either but a lot of eyewash and a VA claims backlog for wounded/disabled Vets that exceeds 800,000 young troopers. I reserve the right to be critical of Any Public Office holder as should You as a Taxpayer. We Owe Veterans a Debt of Honor and Obama has sent Troopers into a war that he apparently has no intention of winning.

    It is all a matter of priorities. I neither share priorities or values with the current regime.

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  20. @trooper: Thanks for your insights (and service!). I worked for the Long Beach VA hospital for 8 years, providing health care, after earlier having worked, during my training, at VA hospitals in Ann Arbor, MI and Washington, D.C.; so I do have some understanding of problems and challenges faced by veterans. I just looked up the White House web site to read about their veterans policies and found the following link, which addresses the issues to which you allude:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/08/03/10-ways-va-serving-our-vets-and-more

    With regard to sending troops into a war without the intent to “win;” that’s the wrong word, as we’ve recently discussed. No one is ever going to surrender. There will never be a peace treaty. It’s about getting out with the most favorable result possible. That’s something on which, I think, 90% of people agree. So the question is this: What was the correct course of action? Just immediately pull all the troops out? As in the evacuation of Saigon? Or go full in, for 25 years of nation building and the steady drip drip drip of casualties of war? Obama spent weeks hearing from all sides; not “dithering” but getting all the information to make the best decisions.

    Here’s what the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen said about the process and ultimate decision:

    “Optimists or pessimists notwithstanding, everybody at that table agreed that this was the strategy and that we would go execute it. And that is where I am focused right now,” Admiral Mullen said at a Wednesday morning breakfast for reporters.”

    You act as if Obama is ignoring the advice of military people who know more than he knows. No, he’s not. His listening to all points of view, which include considerations which go well beyond those impressions of field officers in theater. Military history is replete with examples of field officers who just plain got it wrong. It’s not a one man show; it’s Secretary Gates, the Joint Chiefs, the intelligence services, geopolitical strategists, and on and on. Were there an obvious silver bullet solution to Afghanistan, the Bush administration should have fired that bullet in the 7 years during which the Bush administration REALLY dithered in Afghanistan!

    “Everybody at the table agreed that this was the strategy,” is what Mullen said, today. If anyone was sending the American military to be slaughtered without the belief that important national objectives would be realized, then it was the responsibility for someone “at the table” to have made the case which you (Old Trooper) are now attempting to make.

    With respect to Obama’s “social” objectives, that’s a topic for another time.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

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  21. Old Trooper 2 says: 21

    @ Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA, Thank You for Your Service!

    I Retired as an 0-6. Do You think that the CJCS would argue with the CiC?
    I do know what happened to Gen. McChrystal for arguing his points. He was a fine Soldier that valued his Integrity and his Troopers more than his position or Career. He fell on his sword rather than compromise his values.

    We can agree to disagree on some points but a Harmonious Outcome at this point is in doubt for a lot of Professional Soldiers, both Non Commissioned and Commissioned, Retired and Active Duty. We risk/risked our lives for that, more investment than Career Politicians make. America is never short of Politicians but is short of Statesmen at this point.

    We can hope for the best but both You and I know that Folks get deployed whenever Foreign Policy or Failed Diplomacy falls on it’s ass. Take Care, Pardner!

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  22. @Trooper. Your points are well made and well taken. Thanks again for giving me your time and consideration and enduring thanks for your service and sacrifice. – Larry W/HB

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