Time to set realistic course in Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, left, has been accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children. He is now being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the military's high-security prison.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, left, has been accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children. He is now being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the military's high-security prison.

Two months after the Sept. 11 attacks, Robert Bales volunteered to join the U.S. Army. In the 11 years since then, he has served four overseas combat assignments, three in Iraq and the most recent in Afghanistan.

By last year, when orders came for that final deployment to Afghanistan, Bales did not want to go. The initial rush of patriotism after 9/11 had faded. He faced serious financial pressures, including the possible loss of his family’s home. His domestic life was apparently strained, in large part by his repeated deployments. But of course he went anyway, because what were his alternatives?

We all know how the story ends. For whatever reason, a “good soldier” whom others have described as calm, decent and level-headed apparently walked off his post in the middle of the night, entered a nearby Afghan village and killed 16 civilians, including nine children, before returning to post and turning himself in.

Bales will now have to face the full consequences of his actions. If the allegations are true, he brutally murdered 16 innocent people, and the backlash he provokes will probably end up costing American lives as well.

(It should be noted that the Afghan government and people do not accept that version of events, insisting that the killings were perpetrated by a squad of as many as 15 to 20 U.S. soldiers. Afghan army chief of staff Sher Mohammad Karimi, for example, has called it a pre-meditated massacre.)

As expected, the repercussions of the atrocity have been enormous. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is demanding that U.S. forces confine themselves to their bases. The struggle to win Afghan public support and turn its people against the Taliban has suffered another major, perhaps fatal setback to a goal that may have been unattainable anyway. And here at home, the tragedy has added to rising and widespread doubt about the wisdom of continuing military efforts in Afghanistan.

It is true, as some have pointed out, that one tragic incident should not be allowed to turn national policy. But it is also true that this is not one tragic incident; it is merely the latest indication of many that we are grasping for the unattainable in Afghanistan, and doing so at increasingly unacceptable cost. History tells us that Afghanistan has never been open to outside influence, and what little chance we may once have had to “win” there was probably lost when we diverted manpower, resources and attention away from that country in 2003 to concentrate on Iraq, an enterprise that our leaders deemed more important to our national interests.

Some, of course, remain unwilling to admit that reality.

Max Boot, an advocate of American empire and ardent supporter of our twin invasions, argues on behalf of an extended commitment to Afghanistan in the Weekly Standard, the house organ of the neocon movement:

“What, after all, is the alternative? Peace talks have scant prospect of success given that the Taliban are now betting—perhaps rightly—that they can simply wait us out. The likely result of a precipitous American pullout, which would trigger an equally hasty exit by our NATO allies, would be a major Taliban offensive in the east and south that would aim to take back Kandahar, Marja, and other population centers that have been secured at considerable cost over the past few years. The Afghan security forces would be likely to splinter along ethnic lines, and the entire country could well be plunged into a civil war as it was in the 1990s, when Kabul was regularly on the receiving end of artillery bombardments.”

Let me suggest two things:

1.) When your best argument for sustaining a decade-long war is “what is the alternative?”, I would suggest that your policy is strategically and morally bankrupt.

2.) The arguments made by Boot for sustaining our involvement in Afghanistan at current levels are the same arguments being made six years ago, four years ago and two years ago. And in those years, the lives lost, the resources invested and the sacrifices made by Bales and tens of thousands of others like him have brought us no closer to any definition of “victory” that Boot and others would be likely to accept.

Mitt Romney is also among those unwilling to accept that reality. As The Hill reports:

The former Massachusetts governor, appearing in an exclusive interview on Fox News Sunday, charged that Obama had failed to lead in Afghanistan, as well as with the intensifying situation between Iran and Israel.

Romney said the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan could be traced to “the lack of the leadership on the part of our president.”

Romney pointed to Obama’s “interaction with (Afghan President Hamid) Karzai and with leaders there, as well as his relative detachment from our military commanders there and the fact that he published a specific date for a withdrawal,” as leading to the increasing instability and violence in the country.

Romney also said Obama “did not oversee elections in Afghanistan that would have convinced the people there that they had elected someone that they could have confidence in, [and] did not put enough troops into the surge, as what’s requested by the military.”

However, when asked how he would have exerted leadership as president, Romney borrowed heavily from the approach favored by that well-known foreign policy specialist Herman Cain:

“Before I take a stand at a particular course of action, I want to get the input from the people who are there,” Romney said.

Yeah. That’s some leadership for you right there.

– Jay Bookman

684 comments Add your comment

Common Sense isn't very Common

March 19th, 2012
10:37 am

I agree completely

Common Sense isn't very Common

March 19th, 2012
10:38 am

Brosephus™

March 19th, 2012
10:46 am

War is not pretty and war is not price. War makes the honey badger look like he’s a concern troll. There has never been an army that could conquer that part of the world, and the US is just another tick mark on that list.

I was under the impression that Afghanistan was targeted because of the camps where AQ trained their fighters and ran their operations. Many of AQ’s senior people are no longer in need of oxygen, the camps are no longer in operation, and yet, we are still in Afghanistan. We are not going to convert that society to a modern-day bastion of freedom and democracy if that’s not what they want in the first place. Instead of sending troops all over the world, we should redirect our methods and mentality when fighting extremism. We don’t need boots on the ground when we have munitions that can ring the doorbell before they destroy the home. Why put our military in harm’s way and under all that stress when it is not necessary to do so?

Mr_B

March 19th, 2012
10:46 am

We have paid a heavy price in Afghanistan. The Afghanis have paid a far heavier price. Time to leave them to the Taliban dominated government that they seem to want.

Keep Up--Te gusta losing woofinpoofs?

March 19th, 2012
10:47 am

Good article Jay. It is time we came home. Our troops are worn out as is out patience.

Senior Citizen Kane

March 19th, 2012
10:47 am

Maybe Mitt should have vowed to meet with the Taliban leaders without preconditions.

David Granger

March 19th, 2012
10:47 am

All the people in that country are not worth the loss of another American life, or another nickel of American taxpayer money. Bring the troops home now. Whatever happens when we leave just happens. There is not (nor is there EVER going to be) a strong democratic goverment there, and we are kidding ourselves to pretend otherwise.
Keep a close watch on whoever takes over (I’m betting on the Taliban…they’ve proven ruthless before, and probably will again) and make it clear that…if you provide safe haven and support for any group that attacks us, we will come in and kill as many of you as we can with no attempt at nation-building.

Brosephus™

March 19th, 2012
10:49 am

War is not pretty and war is not price

What the hell is my problem this morning??? Anybody know what I meant because I don’t. :)

Contrarian

March 19th, 2012
10:52 am

Meh. We’ll end this war only to start another one somewhere. We ‘Mericans are a war-loving, war-mongering people. “Democracy,” “freedom,” “human rights,” etc. etc. are catchphrases intended to make us and the rest of the world think we are a peace loving people. We aren’t. Everything we do is a ‘war.’

martin the calvinist

March 19th, 2012
10:52 am

like get out asap!

Mighty Righty

March 19th, 2012
10:53 am

Ptretty clear that understanding leadership is not present in this article. A leader is not a dictator. Aside from that observation, it was WRONG and STUPID to advise our enemy of our intention in advance, but what else can we expect from our weak kneed president. My opinion is to get out now without further delay before we apologize any more for our actions.

martin the calvinist

March 19th, 2012
10:54 am

hmm, like lets make decisions before having all the facts, that’s good leadership right there!

ty webb

March 19th, 2012
10:55 am

It’s a cluster%&*#…get out. Leave a carrier nearby from which we can launch drone attcks when needed.

They BOTH suck

March 19th, 2012
10:55 am

Mighty Righty

Good morning. What branch and years did you serve?

Brosephus™

March 19th, 2012
10:56 am

it was WRONG and STUPID to advise our enemy of our intention in advance,

And you think the people there are gonna be complacent with what they perceive as an “occupation” going on indefinitely? Many of the people of Afghanistan had no ideal of what happened on 9/11 for a long time and why we were in their country in the first place. We did not need to put troops on the ground to dismantle the training camps, which was the original intent of our incursion into Afghanistan.

Peadawg

March 19th, 2012
10:56 am

Let’s don’t make the same mistake w/ Afghanistan that we did w/ Iraq. We got Saddam; we should have been out a looong time ago. We’ve got Osama, now let’s get out.

Bernie

March 19th, 2012
11:00 am

The Smartest course of action is to withdraw NOW! We are now spending $850 million U.S. Dollars per week and there is no substantial improvevement even in the near term. Cuttting our Losses now, will leave some money for the next misadventure coming up soon.

N-GA

March 19th, 2012
11:04 am

There are at least two issues here. The first is multiple deployments of our troops….the second is the way we conduct war: defeat the enemy followed by occupation.

If we were smarter solving the second problem, the first could be avoided. The US military has shown repeatedly that it can quickly defeat most enemies: (Panama, Grenada, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq). Where we fail is when we stay. We could save countless lives and money by simply defeating the enemy and leaving with the warning that we will return if their behavior doesn’t change.

However, our troops are “punished” by repeated deployments. This could be alleviated by using the draft. No, I don’t want to hear the argument that draftees make poor soldiers. Just look at Israel’s military (required service). Besides, most military personnel are REMF’s (non-combat). They may still be in harm’s way, just not so much. Draftees could be deployed in non-combat roles if that improves the quality of combatants. Unfortunately bringing back the draft is more a political issue than one driven by logic or need.

Neville Chamberlain

March 19th, 2012
11:05 am

I agree with Contrarian. War is never the answer. Well, almost never.

getalife

March 19th, 2012
11:06 am

Lets stop abusing our troops and rest them.

Lets return to peace and prosperity.

Nation build our country for a change.

Bernie

March 19th, 2012
11:06 am

Brosephus @10:56 am, ALL invaders leave Afghanistan much poorer than they were before coming in.
The INVADERS ALWAYS LEAVE. they never stay and weather you announce it or not the people of afghanistan always know you will leave. Its been 10years! Its Time!

We are now spending $850 million per week! Get a GRIP!

how much more is it worth?

Talking Head

March 19th, 2012
11:08 am

If you have a ‘connected’ device such as an iPhone, iPad, internet TV you are bugging yourself and your family to be spied on by the CIA and basically anyone who wants to know…this is crazy, Big Brother IS watching you

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2115871/The-CIA-wants-spy-TV-Agency-director-says-net-connected-gadgets-transform-surveillance.html

carlosgvv

March 19th, 2012
11:10 am

We should have been out of Afghanistan many years ago. With our incredibly hi-tech spy sattelites and other assets, we can easily scan the whole country and spot any potential terriorist threats to us. And yet, we stay there year after year with worse and worse results. I hope the reason for this is lack of proper leadership as the alternative explanation seems to be The Military-Industrial Complex getting as much profit out of this war as possible with no regard whatsover to the lives of our soldiers.

Brosephus™

March 19th, 2012
11:12 am

Bernie

Go back and re-read my posts before you try to tell me to get a grip. It’s quite obvious you have absolutely no comprehension of my position on Afghanistan. If you did, you would realize that your 11:06 post was completely unnecessary and a waste of bandwidth.

ty webb

March 19th, 2012
11:13 am

Looking back, what’s sadly comical is how much flack Bush got for the actions of lynndie england. Hopefully, this incident will give the “score keepers” some perspective.

Peadawg

March 19th, 2012
11:14 am

Talking Head, just use the same strategy as I do with regards to neighbors spying. If someone wants to be a peeping tom, walk around the house naked. Give ‘em a show.

If the CIA is willing to hack your camera on your phone, laptop, etc…surf the web butt ass naked.

Road Scholar

March 19th, 2012
11:15 am

Sorry to be off topic, but from a previous blog:

Jay you are right that Linnenkohl geared up a huge program of new projects that created uncertainty on their delivery. Why? Because Gov Perdue instructed the Department to gear up because he was going to sink more money into transportation. A lot more money..which he began with a large bond program (the same bond program that GDOT now spends $400M a year on retiring the debt). The majority of the bond money went to GRIP, 4 laning rural state highways to encourage jobs in rural counties…that was a bust. The money would be front loaded (as bonds do) and the projects had to be begun to be far enough along to use the money quickly by buying R/W and construction. Perdue never followed through.

Peadawg

March 19th, 2012
11:16 am

Or include a sig in all your emails saying something like “Oh yeah, if the CIA is reading this, ” then put a lot of random words that’ll get their attention :) .

getalife

March 19th, 2012
11:16 am

th,

Way late on the spying thingie.

Corrupt congress granted our telco’s immunity from prosecution.

Talking Head

March 19th, 2012
11:17 am

“If the CIA is willing to hack your camera on your phone, laptop, etc…surf the web butt ass naked.”

That would be hilarious for whomever is watching. I’m just wondering how far this will go though, do I think there be ‘Thought Police’ listening and watching? No, but I could see something similar coming in the near future.

Gator Joe

March 19th, 2012
11:17 am

Jay:
I can hear the Chickenhawks already chanting “cut and run.” They are irrelevant as far as this argument or any argument regarding the involvement of the US in a war. It’s easy for Romney and others like him to criticize the President when they don’t have the awesome resposibility for the lives and safety of American men and women serving in combat, not to mention the lives and safety or Afghan civilians.
The time to leave Afghanistan has come. Whether we leave on an announced or unannounced schedule for withdrawal the outcome will be the same. The world didn’t come to an end after we left Viet Nam.

Brosephus™

March 19th, 2012
11:19 am

If you have a ‘connected’ device such as an iPhone, iPad, internet TV you are bugging yourself and your family to be spied on by the CIA and basically anyone who wants to know…this is crazy, Big Brother IS watching you

No, what’s crazy is that you’re just now realizing this. You seem to forget the electronic surveillance that was allowed under the Patriot Act. You must also not have noticed that specific books always have to be special ordered by book stores if you want a copy. If they wanna track me, let’em. They’ll get bored after the first few days and leave me alone after that. I don’t care.

getalife

March 19th, 2012
11:20 am

willard refuses to take a position on this issue.

Not a leader.

Talking Head

March 19th, 2012
11:22 am

“No, what’s crazy is that you’re just now realizing this.”

Partially true. However the 2 way TV is something new since that technology didn’t exist 10 years ago. It’s mind blowing that a book I read many years ago that was written in 1948 described this scenerio.

JF McNamara

March 19th, 2012
11:25 am

Leave now, and sign an accord that allows us to attack any terrorist in their borders. I don’t care about Afghanistan. It’s the war on terrorism not the war on the Taliban.

We would be better of leaving and just bombarding the Taliban army if we need to. We can’t win the nation building war.

paulo 977

March 19th, 2012
11:25 am

David Granger

March 19th, 2012
10:47 am

All the people in that country are not worth the loss of another American life, or another nickel of American taxpayer money !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
___________________________________________

R..I..G..H..T and so it goes on …Who the he** are they? Just ragheads!!! They are not my “neighbors” !!!!

Peadawg

March 19th, 2012
11:26 am

” However the 2 way TV is something new”

Like I said, give ‘em a show if they want to watch. If you do some kind of workout while watching, let it all hang out.

Brosephus™

March 19th, 2012
11:26 am

It’s not mindblowing to me. Look at how people have gradually given up many of their rights to the government, and it’s plain to see. The fact that you have people actually championing the erosion of rights in the name of “protecting taxpayers” only shows that the public is more complicit in asking for the eradication of their rights as opposed to fighting dearly to keep them as the forefathers of this country did.

Road Scholar

March 19th, 2012
11:27 am

Give the chickenhawks an M-16, a few grenades, a bottle of water and ship them and their sons and daughters to Afghanistan. That will solve everything!

O'ByteMe - Fake-Irish Goon

March 19th, 2012
11:28 am

an advocate of American empire

We are an empire. We hate acknowledging it, but when the USSR collapsed, we were the lone empire on the planet. We’re the biggest driver of global economics, global interaction, etc. The only thing is — as a people (outside of neocons) — we don’t want to be in this position. We’d rather the rest of the world just get in line without us having to do much.

The problem with being an empire is that you end up with a lot of other actors who want to upstage you just because they feel the need to be noticed.

If we first acknowledge that we’re the lone empire on the planet, does that help clarify our position in relation to other countries? For an empire to keep going, we need to not have everyone else gang up on us. So we have to maneuver our foreign policy to keep bad actors busy.

If we leave Afghanistan now and warn the Taliban that we’ll re-commence bombing if they allow any AQ bases anywhere in their country, is that enough to move our empire forward?

Gator Joe

March 19th, 2012
11:29 am

N-GA @ 11:04, I agree with reinstating the draft, though for different reasons. If all able bodied men and women, yes women, were subject to having to serve in the military and with the possibility of combat, then suddenly there would be more reluctance about going to war unless it was absolutely necessary. The next generation of conscientous objectors and peace advocates would immediately emerge, and the ranks of the draft-age Chickenhawks would shrink.

getalife

March 19th, 2012
11:30 am

I care about American freedom.

I did not agree with Senator Obama and Clinton voted yes for telco amnesty.

That was the fight to stop them spying on you but you lost.

ByteMe - 99%-er who bathes

March 19th, 2012
11:32 am

How would the 99%-ers handle this?

Oh, right, they’re the ones over there dying for a vague “cause”.

Simple Truths

March 19th, 2012
11:33 am

Jay, glad to see you softened your stance from last week when you used the work “executed” to describe the events.

USinUK - missing the dogwoods ... not the pollen count ...

March 19th, 2012
11:35 am

“Looking back, what’s sadly comical is how much flack Bush got for the actions of lynndie england. ”

of course the difference is that Bush and Cheney advocated torture.

last time I heard, Obama has not advocated going into villages and killing indiscriminantly …

Normal, Plain and Simple

March 19th, 2012
11:35 am

Why are we still in Afghanistan, you ask? I say it’s simple. It’s not for national security, it’s not for “let’s fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here”. It’s not to promote democracy, and it’s certainly not to win “hearts and minds”.

It’s the Military Industrial Complex, folks. How can they sell there war sh*t if we don’t have these “police actions” that last for decades. I have said this before and I’ll say it here again. The lives lost, from Korea through Afghanistan, are merely human sacrifices to the American God of the Military Industrial Complex. They don’t care about lives lost when there’s money to be made.

307 more days

March 19th, 2012
11:36 am

getalife

March 19th, 2012
11:06 am

For once ion your life, I agree with you……………………….Bring them home, if necessary, let the drones do what they do best

ty webb

March 19th, 2012
11:37 am

usinuk,
lynndie england wasn’t a enhanced interrogator…try again.

Thomas

March 19th, 2012
11:38 am

If you are presiding (Congress or the Pres) and fill it is responsible to go to war- then go and win with your trillions of $s of the latest military might. See the Bush Sr. and the push back of the Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. It is foolish to do occupy/police movements as there is no end game. If Afghanistan truly threatens world peace- tell them their country is going to be flattened in 10 days and it is best to get out. Otherwise, no military action.

Jimmy62

March 19th, 2012
11:38 am

I like how you are blaming a guy who isn’t even in office. Here’s a clue: There’s this guy in office named Obama, and he can do something about this. Romney can’t. Who cares what Romney’s words are, what matters are Obama’s actions. And despite saying he would pull us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, we are still there. Why don’t you criticize him more instead of spending most of your column criticizing the words of someone who has no power to do anything with this situation and is thus irrelevant?

Doggone/GA

March 19th, 2012
11:41 am

“And despite saying he would pull us out of Iraq and Afghanistan,”

Except he didn’t say that.

AngryRedMarsWoman

March 19th, 2012
11:42 am

Horrible worthless place full of backwards people – they don’t want to be “saved” and they don’t want to be modern and they sure as heck don’t like us…they just want to live their oppressed tribal lives, so let them. Pull out. Drop a few well placed bombs as a warning and then keep some stealth units floating around to neutralize AQ if they start popping up. Don’t give much of a crap about the Taliban because they tend to stay at home and terrorize the people there – I am really sick and tired of trying to save people from groups like the Taliban when they won’t life a finger to help themselves and it simply results in a bunch of whiny and ungrateful people who never liked the USA to begin with. Pull it all out. No more aid either. You want to follow the Taliban, so let the Taliban take care of your humanitarian needs. Let’s start building roads, dams and schools right here in the USA instead of in some far flung craphole full of weakminded ingrates. Just sick of it all….bring our men and women back home NOW!

Keep Up--Te gusta losing woofinpoofs?

March 19th, 2012
11:43 am

“Don’t you dare ask a candidate what they would do if they were elected to office!” — Thomas Jefferson

Oh the poutrage and the evasion of a straight answer.

Recon 0311 2533

March 19th, 2012
11:43 am

Obama has lacked leadership in the war he once called the right war and the one we must win. Romney was correct in pointing it out. Having said that I believe it’s long past the time for us to depart but we should remind Karzai why we’ve been there and the 3000 we lost as a result of 9-11 a cowardly attack that was planned, ordered and controlled from within his own country. We will not tolerate a reconstitution of jihadist activities in Afghanistan and should that re-occur after our departure we will unleash whatever weaponry we possess necessary to destroy it.

Brosephus™

March 19th, 2012
11:43 am

I like how you are blaming a guy who isn’t even in office.

I like you you’re demonstrating your lack of reading comprehension skills. Nobody’s blaming Romney for anything. Pointing out that Romney is claiming that Obama lacks leadership and answers that his approach would be to defer his decision is not blaming him for anything. It’s only pointing out the fact that Romney would show a lack of leadership himself, therefore rendering him a hypocrite.

Brosephus™

March 19th, 2012
11:43 am

I like HOW you’re…. Man, this pollen has me jacked up like something awful..

Doggone/GA

March 19th, 2012
11:44 am

“it simply results in a bunch of whiny and ungrateful people who never liked the USA to begin with”

yeah, why the hell should they be whining because we invaded them when they didn’t ask us to? Bunch of ingrates, who just can’t appreciate what we did to them.

Paul

March 19th, 2012
11:44 am

Jay

When you published the thread regarding Romney’s selection of foreign policy advisers – those same people who championed war with Iraq, never admit to errors, push American intervention now – I wondered how it would manifest itself.

Now we know. Adherence to ideologically criticizing one’s opponents while admitting one has no clue what to do until one forms a committee.

Romney’s losing the foreign policy race.

Brosephus

Yes, he hit Afg because AQ was there, but that was only after the Taliban gov’t refused to turn them over. We said if we didn’t we’d topple their government. They didn’t and we did.

I see our big mistake as trying to install western democracy in a 9th century tribal culture. We should’ve worked with the tribal leaders. We didn’t, we got Karzai and the current mess.

N-GA

“We could save countless lives and money by simply defeating the enemy and leaving with the warning that we will return if their behavior doesn’t change.”

I agree. “Taliban leaders (looking them in the eye, face to face), you know why we came here. We are leaving. If you again harbor or sponsor acts of terror against us, or even if we think you’re planning something, we will come back and kill you, you and you. Negotiations are over. Good-bye.”

To sum it up, the Republican frontrunner has established no credibility on the subject.

If we have any chance of victory, we should send Newt over to lecture them. They’d beg us for a peace settlement.

Doggone/GA

March 19th, 2012
11:45 am

“I like HOW you’re…. Man, this pollen has me jacked up like something awful”

Yeah, but that one was obvious what you menat. I’m still working on “price”!

Scooter

March 19th, 2012
11:47 am

There was never hope for stabilizing Afghanistan, no matter what resources were devoted to it.

getalife

March 19th, 2012
11:48 am

You cons can’t talk about your right to privacy because you were scared to death of aq and allowed your party to vote yes on spying on you.

You get what you deserve.

Anyhoo about this issue.

The mission is the same as Iraq and we will leave about 50,000 troops there on a drone base.

Their President thinks they are ready to handle security but that is doubtful.

If you are serious about balancing our budget, stop being so scared cons and demand more defense cuts.

Keep Up--Te gusta losing woofinpoofs?

March 19th, 2012
11:48 am

Horrible worthless place full of backwards people

Ahh there is the kinder gentler less mean spirited people we have become…… Nice broad stroke.

USinUK - missing the dogwoods ... not the pollen count ...

March 19th, 2012
11:50 am

Ty – “lynndie england wasn’t a enhanced interrogator…try again.”

didn’t say she was an interrogator – she was, however, a specialist with the military police

then, W and Cheney seemed surprised that prisoner abuse was rampant after the AG basically gave the military carte blanche to ignore the Geneva Convention.

Doggone/GA

March 19th, 2012
11:50 am

“You cons can’t talk about your right to privacy because you were scared to death of aq and allowed your party to vote yes on spying on you”

And as we were repeatedly told at the time: if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.

/snarc

Aquagirl

March 19th, 2012
11:51 am

Why the eff is this Max Boot chickenhawk lecturing our military? Give him a parachute and a chalkboard and kick him out of a plane over Taliban territory. He can lecture them on U.S. supremacy.

Brosephus™

March 19th, 2012
11:51 am

Paul

I know that, and I still say we could have hit AQ without putting boots on the ground. We have some of the best technology available anywhere, yet we chose not to use it until much later after things had gone on for more than 5 yrs. As to Karzai, I don’t trust him at all. At different points in his life, he’s been involved with the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, and the CIA. He’s probably more crooked than the actual members of AQ themselves.

Brosephus™

March 19th, 2012
11:53 am

Doggone

I’m still trying to figure that one out myself. I know I was thinking something completely different, but I have the slightest clue of what I was thinking. I’m hoping it comes back to me so that I can re-post and redeem myself. :)

JamVet

March 19th, 2012
11:54 am

…the Weekly Standard, the house organ of the neocon movement:

Thank goodness, I’ve not yet eaten lunch.

Because that sure is nauseous.

The lives of our children are infinitely more important the the blood lust of the Republican cowards and chickenhawks, who will sacrifice them from now until gawd knows when, for their pitiful little reasons.

And why they will never again get a new George Bush in the White House.

Paul

March 19th, 2012
11:54 am

Recon

“Obama has lacked leadership in the war he once called the right war and the one we must win. Romney was correct in pointing it out. Having said that I believe it’s long past the time for us to depart ”

If it’s “long past time for us to depart” then what difference does leadership in the last few months make?

USinUK - missing the dogwoods ... not the pollen count ...

March 19th, 2012
11:54 am

Doggone – 11:50 – no kidding.

getalife

March 19th, 2012
11:57 am

“And as we were repeatedly told at the time: if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.”

Yup and the progressives put up a pretty fight like good Americans.

The cons did not and bowed down to spying.

So cons can stop whining about it..

Common Sense isn't very Common

March 19th, 2012
11:58 am

AngryRedMarsWoman

March 19th, 2012
11:42 am
Horrible worthless place full of backwards people – they don’t want to be “saved” and they don’t want to be modern and they sure as heck don’t like us…they just want to live their oppressed tribal lives, so let them.
——————————————————————————————–
When did we start talking about the Ga. Legislature again?

Normal, Plain and Simple

March 19th, 2012
11:58 am

Bro’,
For your sinus’s…a tot of warm Southern Comfort…won’t help the allergy attack, but it will do wonders for your attitude… :)

Recon 0311 2533

March 19th, 2012
11:58 am

“If it’s “long past time for us to depart” then what difference does leadership in the last few months make?”

Paul, he’s lacked leadership on this war for the last two years not in the past few months. He’s hardly mentioned anything about Afghanistan in his public statements for quite some time.

Don't Forget

March 19th, 2012
11:58 am

Romney was correct in pointing it out.

Um, yeah, because Romney means what he says and once he takes a position he sticks with it. lol Mittwit.

Paul

March 19th, 2012
12:01 pm

Brosephus

My take was the battle against AQ in Afghanistan (on the ground) was going pretty darn well while the CIA was running the show. Even when military special ops joined in. It was when things got taken over by Defense Dept that it started going downhill.

Regarding technology – when that began the AF was embarrassed to tell the Pres we had but a few Predator-type aircraft available. AF dragged their feet on it for years and years. I think that was one factor in the firing of the AF top general and Sec of AF – not just losing accountability over nuclear assets. When SecDef Gates was with CIA he went to the AF (couple decades ago) with a joint development proposal for drones. AF said “no pilots? Forget it, not interested.”

He didn’t see much change in attitude when he was SecDef. AF initially said to fly drones we had to give a person a college education, put him thru fixed wing pilot training, have him complete an initial tour of duty, then after spending those millions the person just might have the capability to fly drones.

‘course, the real reason was to protect the number of authorized pilots. So for bureaucratic self-interest the stalled the national good. The firings were a way to put the organization on notice that patience with resisting change was over.

Brosephus™

March 19th, 2012
12:01 pm

Normal

I was slow on getting my hands on some local honey, and now I’m paying the price. I’ll probably end up at my doc’s office pleading for a shot of the good stuff. I don’t have any SoCo around, but I do have some Overproof Rum that I’ll probably end up blending with some lemon juice and local honey later on. :)

F. Sinkwich

March 19th, 2012
12:02 pm

I wouldn’t worry too much about this, Jay.

We will surrender to the Taliban on O’bozo’s schedule as planned.

After surrendering Iraq to Iran, he’s on a roll…

Normal, Plain and Simple

March 19th, 2012
12:02 pm

Recon 0311 2533

March 19th, 2012
11:58 am

Please explain to me how letting the Generals fight is lack of leadership? And if it is a lack of leadership to you, what would you have him do?

Normal, Plain and Simple

March 19th, 2012
12:03 pm

Bro’ @ 1201….

That’ll work!

Keep Up--Te gusta losing woofinpoofs?

March 19th, 2012
12:04 pm

Which group is more likely to fight for privacy rights, regulations to create/assure privacy and to stop govt and private enterprise intrusion. Conservatives or Progressives? The Bush Policies as continued by the Obama Administration should be stopped.

Remember if you care to stop the erosion of privacy rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation, ACLU can be your friends…. [uh oh, that is going to create poutrage]

Paul

March 19th, 2012
12:04 pm

Recon

That’s all well and good, but let me rephrase. Would any conceivable change in leadership style have changed our outcome in Afghanistan? Or just delayed the inevitable?

If not, then I’ll submit this is just another excuse to criticize the President on an issue whose outcome would not have changed.

Brosephus™

March 19th, 2012
12:05 pm

Paul

Can’t argue with much of that. Surgical insertions against specific targets would have been much better than a sustained ground effort. Even before the drones, there were numerous GPS guided munitions that were readily available. Put a few people on the ground to use lasers, and then you had the added addition of laser guided munitions. That could have all been done to break up the camps and AQ’s leadership structure without putting so much of our military under the stress that they’ve faced by numerous deployments.

Rumsfeld should have been fired for that.

Paul

March 19th, 2012
12:05 pm

F. Sinkwich

If this is our defeat, could you tell us what victory would have looked like?

Paul

March 19th, 2012
12:06 pm

Brosephus

Yeah, that’s about what we were doing. Then the conventional forces just had to take over with ‘ready, fire, aim!!!!”

JamVet

March 19th, 2012
12:06 pm

Send Mitt’s kids and relatives who are service eligible.

And McConnell’s and Boehner’s and all these other cowards.

Have a lottery and take some poor schmuck GI and say, it’s you lucky day!

Some silver spoon fed trust fund baby is gonna take your place up at the front!

After all, George of the Bungle said we all have to share in the sacrifice. (I guess his twins never got the memo…)

Cue up CCR’s Fortunate Son

Ivan

March 19th, 2012
12:07 pm

“However, when asked how he would have exerted leadership as president, Romney borrowed heavily from the approach favored by that well-known foreign policy specialist Herman Cain:

“Before I take a stand at a particular course of action, I want to get the input from the people who are there,” Romney said.

Yeah. That’s some leadership for you right there.”

And yet, Mitt Romney isn’t Commander in Chief.

Don't Forget

March 19th, 2012
12:10 pm

F. Sinkwich

March 19th, 2012
12:02 pm

I wouldn’t worry too much about this, Jay.

We will surrender to the Taliban on O’bozo’s schedule as planned.

After surrendering Iraq to Iran, he’s on a roll…

At least he didn’t surrender to bin laden like bush did. Wasn’t the primary objective to get the people who attacked us? Iraq didn’t attack us. We attacked them.

Recon 0311 2533

March 19th, 2012
12:10 pm

“Um, yeah, because Romney means what he says and once he takes a position he sticks with it. lol Mittwit.”

You can hardly make that a creditable argument against Romney when you have a Commander-in-Chief who campaigned on how important winning the war in Afghanistan was for our national security during his 08 campaign and then virtually avoiding it since he’s been in office. It took him several months to approve the surge and when he finally did he also announces a withdrawal date. This guy isn’t a Commander-in-Chief, he’s only been a campaigner-in-chief and often just a complainer-in-chief.

USinUK - missing the dogwoods ... not the pollen count ...

March 19th, 2012
12:11 pm

Paul – 12:05 – Afghans performing the final scene of Footloose … with Kevin Bacon …

captguitarman

March 19th, 2012
12:14 pm

Excellent article. My own thinking on this topic has evolved (or devolved depending on your own point of view) to a point where I believe that all future US military action must be taken only to protect America’s clear and immediate best interests. No more spreading democracy, “nation building” or trying to export truth, justice, and the American way. After long wars and attempts to do that in Vietnam, and Iraq II, and Afghanistan, I would hope that Americans and America’s political and military leaders have finally realized that by fighting the kinds of “limited” wars we now fight, when it comes time to leave, the bad guys will always still be around, waiting patiently to take over again.

When we depart Afghanistan, it will not be long until it becomes very clear that all of the American lives lost and treasure expended there were ultimately for naught. Al Qaeda and the Taliban will once again quickly take control, and Karzi and his cronies will depart, while they still can, for their villas in France or Italy or wherever, taking hundreds of millions of American dollars with him. All future military action must be like Iraq I, with limited missions to hit hard, protect US interest, and then just leave, and come back if necessary and do it again.

It will be very discouraging and sobering for Americans to watch Afghanistan and then Iraq come back under control of the Islamists and terrorists who were in control of those nations prior to 9/11, but unless we plan to maintain a permanent, hot, military presence, that is exactly what the future holds. Sad but true.

ByteMe - 99%-er who bathes

March 19th, 2012
12:14 pm

We should declare “victory” and come home. We defeated AQ in Afghanistan. Our target was not the Taliban, except as they were hiding AQ. They aren’t doing that now, likely will never care to do that again, especially if we tell them we don’t care what they do as long as they don’t harbor destabilizing forces. We won! Move ‘em out!

getalife

March 19th, 2012
12:15 pm

willard voted present on this issue.

Failed leadership.

Not ready for prime time.

F. Sinkwich

March 19th, 2012
12:15 pm

“If this is our defeat, could you tell us what victory would have looked like?”

Sure, Paul.

A lot more dead terrorists.

Thanks for asking.

ByteMe

March 19th, 2012
12:15 pm

And on a WTF note… I post a comment and ALL the comments disappear from view? Jay??

godless heathen©

March 19th, 2012
12:15 pm

Bro, “That could have all been done to break up the camps and AQ’s leadership structure without putting so much of our military under the stress that they’ve faced by numerous deployments.

Rumsfeld should have been fired for that.”

Who upped the troop numbers in Afghanistan? Did Obama triple the number of troops on the ground.in Afghanistan? If he had all of these wonderful options, why did he do that?

ByteMe

March 19th, 2012
12:15 pm

Weird… posted another one under a different name and everything came back…??

Joe Hussein Mama

March 19th, 2012
12:16 pm

Recon — “This guy isn’t a Commander-in-Chief, he’s only been a campaigner-in-chief and often just a complainer-in-chief.”

It’s a shame that you find it necessary to make pejorative statements about the CINC and can’t say anything constructive.

E.g. ‘I’d like to see him do this in Afghanistan’ or ‘I think it’d be helpful to pursue this course of action with the Taliban.’

Why, it almost looks like you’re letting your partisanship overrule your love of country! But we all know *that* would *never* happen, right?

RB from Gwinnett

March 19th, 2012
12:16 pm

Ah, yes… The typical liberal chicken hawk “if you haven’t served you don’t get to have an opinion” mantra. Yawn…

Would you mind if we apply that same logic to the 47% who don’t pay any federal income taxes too? Don’t pay, can’t vote? Work for you?

Ivan

March 19th, 2012
12:17 pm

“You can hardly make that a creditable argument against Romney when you have a Commander-in-Chief who campaigned on how important winning the war in Afghanistan was for our national security during his 08 campaign and then virtually avoiding it since he’s been in office”

Pretty much. What’s more is Jay’s blog today, “Time to set realistic course in Afghanistan”, points the finger to Mitt Romney and the Standard Weekly. Not the guy currently in charge, who has the authority to change the process, but instead has been continuing the policies the left opposed for so long up until 3 years ago.