Tuesday, October 06, 2009

No Option?

Something is wrong with this argument by the White House Press Secretary:

"...The White House also tried to make it clear on Monday that Mr. Obama did not envision actually pulling out of Afghanistan no matter how he rules on General McChrystal’s request. “I don’t think we have the option to leave,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary..."

So "surgical' operations are a huge success, says this report here. The allied forces have eliminated 1/2 of its top targets. Swell. So why do we need more troops then? Stupid question. Top targets killed are replaced by new recruits and "promotions" from within the ranks. That's why.

Clearly the war is not going well. Hence, General McChrystal's request for more troops. He is not wrong if "winning" conventionally defined is the goal. The real issue is the same as in the Vietnam War. Is this kind of war winnable when the people are not 98% behind you? And for every Taliban/Al Qaeda killed, 1-1/2 show up to join Uncle Mohammed? What you gonna do? Burn down the village to save it?

Strategic operations are not a solution either. Afghanistan, unlike Vietnam, is sparsely populated and mountainous. If you can't even find Osama bin Laden in all those years spending $$$$ and many surgical operations, are you going to kill them all using the same tactics?

Why is withdrawal not an "option"? That was too the rationale of staying put and then escalate in Vietnam! And to a disastrous result.

It's been pointed out many times, "losing" Afghanistan, which was never "ours" would not be a global disaster. After all Taliban is a stationary target while Al Qaeda is already all over the world. Surely, we are not going to burn down 1/2 of Africa, Syria, and maybe Iran not the mention maybe the entire Afghanistan to eliminate Al Qaeda? Even then, you think you can get them all?

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