Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal

| April 15, 2021 | 71 Comments

Biden announced Wednesday that the United States will fully withdraw its troops from Afghanistan before Sept. 11,  the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. Finally.

Many allies of Biden have issued statements supporting this major foreign policy decision. There are exceptions, of course. CIA Director William Burns opined Wednesday that withdrawal will inhibit intelligence gathering, and other lawmakers expressed concern about leaving regardless of the situation on the ground.

Biden says keeping US troops in Afghanistan past this summer ‘makes no sense to me’

Leo Shane III

President Joe Biden on Wednesday said the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan will begin at the start of May and finish before Sept. 11, but vowed leaders will remain focused on U.S. security as they end the nearly 20-year-old conflict.

“With the terror threat now in many places, keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year makes no sense to me, and our leaders,” the commander-in-chief said in a national address announcing the plan.

“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the draw and expecting a different result. I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan … I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.”

Should have left long ago, but better late then never I suppose. Bombing the place back to the 12th century as a parting shot would be a pointless gesture because, really, how could one tell? Read the entire article here: Military Times

Category: Afghanistan, Biden, Foreign Policy

Comments (71)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Trump wanted to get out 1 May, but Democrats scrapped that so they can say we’ll be out by 11 SEP. Politics…

  2. Sapper3307 says:

    At least we pushed them forward into the Stone Age.

  3. Denise Williams says:

    As a mother whose son took his last breath in that Godforsaken land more than a decade ago…

    As a mother who has more friends than not that know first-hand the unique and tragic mixture of pain and pride that knock on the door brings…

    As a mother who has sat, nearly a decade later, with other mothers, fathers, siblings and extended family who lost their loved one in the same land, mere miles from where my son breathed his last…

    It is past time.

    We had a window, a very brief window, in which the application of the full force of the might of the greatest military in the history of the world could have prevented thousands of American deaths. We could have prevented he deaths of untold thousands of civilians who their countrymen used as disposable cannon fodder and movable human shields. But, politicians decided the American public didn’t have the stomach for what would be necessary…the sealing of the Khyber pass…the utter demolition of Tora Bora…the mass destruction of the bloodlines of the Taliban. Our wise leaders treated the American public like delicate children while they sent our children, handcuffed, to engage in war.

    There have been a few times in history when the annihilation of an enemy was more warranted, and not out of vengeance. We, at least any who read and comprehend, the history of that land knew no other course of action would secure peace for us, for the region, for the world. Perhaps for not much longer than a generation, but in that generation there would have been peace. Instead, we have sent the sons of those who fought, bled and died there more than two decades ago to continue the fight their fathers were not allowed to win, a fight they are not allowed to win either.

    We could have wrought utter destruction and left, departing with the warning that if they, their children or their grandchildren every again threaten us or ours, we’ll be back and do it again. Now, we are leaving the to claim victory that they persevered, and in that perseverance defeated the greatest military force in the history of the world. We have emboldened an enemy who thinks in terms of millennia, and our children for generations to come will pay the price.

    No, we did not lose the Afghan war. We never really tried to win.

    My son enlisted in 2008. He knew, fully, what he was doing. He knew that selecting his MOS was a guarantee he would go to war, even when he had a choice to select another, prestigious job in the military. When asked, his answer was “I wanted to be a real Soldier first”.

    Because he knew and I always knew the risk he willingly took, I am not bitter. I am simply sad. If my son knew the interim outcome we face today back in 2008, I know he would have made the same choice.

    No, I am not bitter, just sad. I weep for myself and all those who know this impossible, unbearable pain. It is an ache that didn’t have to be, if only the politicians had the smallest fraction of the courage displayed by all those who swore that Oath. I weep for my son’s brothers, for all those who went, and went again, and again who are now left wondering why.

    The why is actually the easiest part to answer, and is something that can comfort and bring peace to the warrior’s heart. You did it because it was the right thing to do. You did it so others here at home would not again experience the terror, the destruction, that was brought to our shores nearly twenty years ago. You did it because, as my son said, “If we don’t fight them over there, keep them busy over there, we will be fighting them here”.

    You served. You did what you could with what you were given in the ways you were allowed. No, you did not guarantee we will be safe here at home for the next generation, but not for lack of effort, lack of courage, lack of honor. Those who directed your steps, controlled your actions lacked courage and are utterly bereft of honor.

    What you did was buy us some time. What you did mattered then, and matters now. We know this. We remember. I am sad and I weep for us all, but the tears only deepen my gratitude for what we have all been given. I end every day with a prayer of thanks, and a prayer you may find the peace you have earned.

    • SFC D says:

      May the Lord bless you, Denise. You raised a fine son, remain proud of him and proud of yourself.

      • Denise Williams says:

        Thank you SFC D, I am beyond proud of who he was but I know the simple truth…he was who he was and I was blessed to be on the ride that was his life.

        • Fyrfighter says:

          May God Bless you and your son Denise, and you said it more eloquently and succinctly than I can imagine doing.

          Thank you.

        • Poetrooper says:

          Denise, reading what you write makes me wish that all our fallen warriors could have mothers as eloquent as you to carry on for them, continuing their legacy so that they are not forgotten, and to remind others of their sacrifice.

          Your son was supremely fortunate to have such a mother to step up to the podium and speak for him when he no longer could.

          You have this old soldier’s complete admiration and condolences.

    • thebesig says:

      It would not have mattered what we did, or how long we did it. Hitting them hard, then telling them if they do anything stupid we will be back to bomb them again?

      Their response would be to “bring it”. No matter how many of their fighters end up dying in the process. They would gladly die “for Allah” and “his cause”. In the book “Holy War Incorporated”, the author talked about how Islamic fighters slept in the open, not under cover, hoping to be killed from the air so that they could get their paradise and be considered as “dying in battle”. Those who did survive the aerial bombing that resulted were actually disappointed, sad, etc., that they survived.

      We’re not dealing with people that think like westerners. We’re seeing a form of long term Asiatic thinking, planning, mindset, etc. This is not just about them thinking like it’s still the Medieval Period. Their radical elements believe in the manifest destiny that Islam will dominate the world. They believe that we are headed there.

      In fact, where the Taliban are openly saying they fought to re-establish control in Afghanistan, their long term goal is to establish Islam throughout the world. The BBC had an interview with a Taliban commander who stated that “the struggle would continue until Islam rules the world”.

      Our invasion was just a setback for what is a centuries long objective.

      From a historic perspective, “letting them kill each other”, would only bite us in the rear end in the future. The Huns were a group of warring tribes that were “killing each other” in a move to expand their individual power. However, the “killing each other” lead to one unified entity under Attila.

      This also happened in Asia, where the Mongols were warring against each other until they fell under unified control under Genghis Kan.

      The radical Islamists in that region don’t recognize what we label as “international boundaries”. To them, the Muslim Countries are part of the “Islamic Nation”, “Dar al Islam”, etc. This is a part of the reason to why violence goes up when it appears that a deal would be made between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

      To the radical Islamists throughout the ME, not just Hamas, all of Israel is “occupied territory” within the “Muslim Nation”. What’s going on in Israel, what occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan, Mindanao (Philippines), etc., are all a part of a single conflict in the eyes of the enemy.

      We, as a civilization, play into their long term objectives if we see these as separate events, one that we could just “do away with” if we do not get involved.

      I’ve told people, since the early 2000s, that this is a war that we have to fight indefinitely, if necessary, if we are to continue to exist as a culture, as a civilization, etc.

      Radical Islamists in the United States are bidding their time. The election fraud of November 2020, and Democrat attitudes before, during, and after then, are playing into these radical’s hands.

      They (driven by the ideology supporting the global Islam manifest destiny), have been fighting the west since the beginning of the Medieval Period. Prior to that, northern Africa and the lands adjacent to the Eastern Mediterranean were predominantly Christian and other religions.

      Our first major rodeo with them was the Barbary Wars.

      They plan on making that a reality all over the world. “War on Terror” does not capture the reality and nature of this war. I call it, “The West’s response to the radical terrorist war to exterminate non Muslim civilizations and to establish global Islamic Law”.

      Either we prevail with our objectives in the Middle East, or their radical elements turn the United States and the rest of the world into their version of Islam.

      There’s no third or other option.

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        There are things they fear, for example the destruction of one’s tribe, weakening the tribe to the point it is consumed by the its rivals.

        That -works-, and it is how they restrain each other.

        -proven- to work there, for millennia.

        We were too squeamish to make use of what historically restrains them.

        Those who claimed to lead us were too bleeping arrogant to study the enemy, and too bleeping stupid to determine that Victory is the only moral objective in War. Absolute Victory.

        Or stay out of War.

        • thebesig says:

          The complete destruction of one’s tribe has been a tactic throughout the world. The “Killing every man, woman, child,” concept that we see in the Old Testament is an example of this.

          It has worked as a psychological tool for millennia, but has consistently failed to prevent the culture, that the tribe belongs to, from falling under the control of the most powerful alliance of tribes.

          Had we killed entire tribes, whether they contained combatants or not, it would have worked against us from a PSYOP perspective… Those against us, including those we were fighting, would have leveraged this to turn opinion against this effort… Both in the US and around the world… A lot sooner than when it actually happened.

          The aftermath of a war was never as smooth as many people believed them to be. See the Spanish American War for example. They had to fight an insurgency in the Philippines right after that. After World War II, they had to deal with a group called “SS Werewolf”. I even read an article, written in 1946, that suggested that we were actually losing in Europe. Even after the US Civil War, the South continued to be a hostile place for federal troops. Even after the American Revolution we had “unfinished issues” that lead to conflicts.

          The aftermath of wars have had their drawbacks, perhaps we could accuse the leaders that lead any of the wars throughout our history as being too bleeping arrogant to study the enemy and being too bleeping stupid to determine that victory is the only moral objective in War.

          If we judge victory by what happens in the aftermath of major combat operations, then the United States never truly won a war, not even the American Revolution.

          Tragically, staying out of war is not an option today when dealing with an enemy learning and improving in ways they could bring the world closer to global Islam.

          Whatever the United States does with regards to this mortal fight between two sides, the other side will caste a vote with regards to our ultimate fate.

          • 11B-Mailclerk says:

            The folks there have been pruning tribes as a means of control for millennia. It works.

            One doesnt have to directly extinguish a tribe. Just weaken it sufficiently so it’s rivals see a good opportunity for consumption.

            There are resultant outcomes one can publicize to drive the lesson.

            They have a very much harder time retaliating against us, so it is very asymmetric. But it does require a certain ruthlessness and lack of squeamishness the we may no longer poses absent existential threat.

            A bunch of my kin, here, are no longer around because the USA used to be quite adept at that sort of thing.

            And to the extent we did use it, therw, to pick a bunch of approximately tolerable “allies” to whack the others we wanted whacked, it worked.

            De-populating whole areas is feasible, but we got out of that sort of thing in the late 1940s.

            Demonstrably historically workable, and to the degree we used it, quite successful.

            Certainly not a unique view on my part. Other more scholarly pros have written on it. And the historical evidence is quite evident, once one looks for it.

            Sun Tzu advised knowing well self and enemy, thus being victorious. We blew it.

            • Docduracoat says:

              The So jets did total war in Afghanistan.
              Wiping out entire villages, mining the passes, indiscriminate bombing and shelling.
              It did not work for them.
              No reason to think ruthless war would have worked for us.

              • 11B-Mailclerk says:

                They tried to stick around an rule.

                Wreck and leave. Repeat as needed. Deny them the target for the long term, and leave them occupied with their cultural sport to play.

                We stuck around. Error.

                • thebesig says:

                  Originally posted by 11B-Mailclerk:
                  They tried to stick around an rule.

                  Wreck and leave. Repeat as needed. Deny them the target for the long term, and leave them occupied with their cultural sport to play.

                  We stuck around. Error.

                  This would not work. If we just “wreck and leave”, they could claim victory. The more we “leave” after “wrecking”, the more they could claim they have beaten us. “They came, we kicked their asses, they left for, like what, the 50th time? We kicked their asses 50 times!” This would be a recruiting bonanza for the terrorists that we are dealing with.

                  By the end of 2002, it became evident that our enemy was fluid and illusive. We had to wait for them to congregate in an area. Until then, without information on where they were at, we didn’t have the convenience of “wreck and leave”.

                  Meanwhile, while we’re busy “wrecking and leaving”, the terrorists are taking their lessons learned to other parts of the world. So, while we “wreck and leave” in Afghanistan, radical Islamists expand their influence, reach, and potency around the world.

            • thebesig says:

              Originally posted by 11B-Mailclerk: The folks there have been pruning tribes as a means of control for millennia. It works.

              One doesnt have to directly extinguish a tribe. Just weaken it sufficiently so it’s rivals see a good opportunity for consumption.

              Again, killing entire tribes has not stopped a whole bunch of tribes, within an area, from falling under the control of a single group of powerful tribes/leaders.

              When you’re talking about one tribe, within the same culture, doing it to another tribe within the same culture, that’s one thing. However, when the United States is involved, and when tribes shift alliances fluidly. We would have to engage in genocide to take care of the problem.

              Otherwise, we’d kill one tribe, just to find out that a friendly tribe, what we thought was friendly, was also hostile. We kill that tribe off. But, given that their fighters will hide among non combatants, behind women, behind children, or even those of another tribe, then what?

              We slaughter innocent people? Great job, our task just got more difficult. We just gave them the reason to close ranks against us… After all, we’re not Muslims. It wouldn’t take much for the other tribe, or even an enemy tribe, to engage in propaganda to get a former enemy tribe to become an ally. Again, alliances shift quickly in that part of the world.

              11B-Mailclerk: There are resultant outcomes one can publicize to drive the lesson.

              And, from a PSYOP standpoint, the resultant outcomes provides our enemy with an opportunity to engage in propaganda that damages our efforts, and that could rally former enemies into a single cause against us. This wouldn’t just impact us in Afghanistan, but negatively affect our efforts throughout the Middle East… Even the world.

              11B-Mailclerk: They have a very much harder time retaliating against us, so it is very asymmetric. But it does require a certain ruthlessness and lack of squeamishness the we may no longer poses absent existential threat.

              An effective way to negate that advantage is for fighters to go to the wrong tribe as if they were a part of that tribe, just to get that tribe killed. You think that the victim tribe would blame these fighters for their fate? Nope. They’ll blame the United States instead. Congratulations, now you have two enemy tribes screaming about the United States engaging in genocide, killing innocent women and children, and using the resulting carnage as anti-American propaganda to up their recruiting efforts to build their numbers.

              11B-Mailclerk: A bunch of my kin, here, are no longer around because the USA used to be quite adept at that sort of thing.

              A bunch of misconception about how the US military, and US government, treated the native American tribes. Pandemic diseases that the whites were better able to handle killed many among the Native American tribe. Did the US side break agreements, and engaged in killing? Yes, but it wasn’t always one sided.

              11B-Mailclerk: And to the extent we did use it, therw, to pick a bunch of approximately tolerable “allies” to whack the others we wanted whacked, it worked.

              The Romans utilized this tactic with the Germanic tribes, as well as with the Huns. How did that work out for them? It would only work in the short run, but in the long run, when the entire group falls under a single command, it would not matter. We would face a unified threat like the Romans and Chinese did with the Huns and Mongols respectively.

              Originally posted by 11B-Mailclerk: De-populating whole areas is feasible, but we got out of that sort of thing in the late 1940s.

              Demonstrably historically workable, and to the degree we used it, quite successful.

              Because neither the Iraq nor the Afghanistan wars were like World War II with regards to force on force engagements and major combat operations spread and intensity. During that war, entire areas were leveled.

              However, you can’t just do that when the fighters hide in a non combatant population area, or hide in a population of women and children. Even miscalculations that resulted in civilian deaths in Afghanistan proved to be a PSYOP nightmare for our side of the fight.

              11B-Mailclerk: Certainly not a unique view on my part.

              And its not practical given the variables that exist in the current wars compared to the variables that existed in the wars that you are referencing.

              11B-Mailclerk: Other more scholarly pros have written on it.

              I have access to databases full of scholarly articles, written by scholarly pros, due to my taking doctoral courses. Do you have a name of the title of the article, or even the authors names, so that I could look them up in one of these databases and verify for myself what they said?

              11B-Mailclerk: And the historical evidence is quite evident, once one looks for it.

              I’ve been following history related topics for 42 years. I’ve been detailed in my readings and research on these topics. This is what I’m basing my rebuttals to you on.

              11B-Mailclerk: Sun Tzu advised knowing well self and enemy, thus being victorious. We blew it.

              Your argument actually goes against what Sun Tzu advocated. He was big into using PSYOP. We actually do what he advocates when we leverage PSYOP.

              • Ret_25X says:

                the political class profits from the war. This is the real reason we are not ever going to be willing to apply the only level of kinetic force necessary to win by their “rules”.

                The only war the USA ever fought that got away from the elites was WW2 in the Pacific theater. Had that theater been prosecuted according to the same rules of the ETO, Japan would still have an empire and we would still be in some form of state of war with them.

                Overwhelming force as an instrument of national policy only works if it is actually overwhelming and you are willing to occupy for generations thereafter.

                Genocidal campaigns coupled to Roman style occupations are bad for business and immoral in their essence.

                The original counter terrorism campaigns in AFG were the right balance, but somehow we decided we could create some form of Western democracy there…nope. The people there are not culturally accepting and may not be for generations to come.

                Just keep their problems there. Anything more is a recipe for wasting life…ours and theirs.

                • thebesig says:

                  Ret_25X: the political class profits from the war. This is the real reason we are not ever going to be willing to apply the only level of kinetic force necessary to win by their “rules”.

                  If the the real reason to why we are in these wars is because “the political class profits from it”, then the need to continue engaging in war would not have even been a political hot point.

                  In the wake of the 2001 attacks, both Democrat and Republican, politicians and electorate, closed ranks with regards to the need to take the war “over there”. However, as the first decade continued, the Democrats opposed the war. Since most of the casualties were coming from Iraq, that was there point of argument.

                  However, even before we invaded Iraq, Afghanistan was starting to become a protracted war. Had it not been for Iraq, the Democrats would’ve been arguing to pull out of Afghanistan a lot sooner. This is no different from the Democrats arguing for defunding the Vietnam War. If the political class truly benefited from this war, or from any war, the Democrats would not have “cut the legs off” of the South Vietnam government. But they did.

                  One reason to why we are not willing to apply the kinetic force, advocated on this thread, is the geostrategic and geopolitical headwinds it would create against us and against America’s interests. Another reason involves the advantage that the terrain gives to the defenders against a modern military.

                  Ret_25X: The only war the USA ever fought that got away from the elites was WW2 in the Pacific theater. Had that theater been prosecuted according to the same rules of the ETO, Japan would still have an empire and we would still be in some form of state of war with them.

                  The military that we entered World War II with was the product of the military that was fielded and maintained in the preceding decades. The military was neglected after World War I with regards to fielding the needed equipment and materials. This included training.

                  Consequently, when it was time to halt the Japanese advance in that theater, we had to deal with embarrassments like torpedoes hitting the sides of Japanese warships and then bouncing off harmlessly.

                  There was a lot of embarrassing errors in planning, and future preparation, that cost us in that theater. The Japanese were better prepared in the beginning, understandable given that they were at war years before we were.

                  There were lapses in leadership, judgment, and planning in both main theaters of war during World War II, which cost a lot of lives.

                  Additionally, although the Japanese were occupying countries in the theater, they set up puppet governments, and they had to deal with resistance within some those countries. For example, even in the Philippines the militia had already started to push the Japanese out of areas before the US returned.

                  They were not just content with taking countries in that area, but with taking US territory further east into the Pacific, closer to our side. Regardless of how incompetent things were ran, the American population would not have stood for that arrangement.

                  Originally posted by Ret_25X:

                  Overwhelming force as an instrument of national policy only works if it is actually overwhelming and you are willing to occupy for generations thereafter.

                  Genocidal campaigns coupled to Roman style occupations are bad for business and immoral in their essence.

                  What is being advocated, either directly or indirectly on this thread, is the idea that certain tribes or groups simply get wiped out. So we are in agreement with regards to not engaging in genocides.

                  On the part of the Romans…

                  After they conquered a territory, and annexed it, and got a “tribute” status arrangement from the conquered kingdom, the Romans pretty much kept at the federal level. They kept garrisons in those areas similar to how we kept garrisons in the US West. They left local governance to the locals as well as to the kingdoms that they conquered. They even allowed many kings to remain in power in their kingdoms. These kings had their own military to manage kingdom level affairs and even served as auxiliaries for the Roman military.

                  Ret_25X: The original counter terrorism campaigns in AFG were the right balance, but somehow we decided we could create some form of Western democracy there…nope. The people there are not culturally accepting and may not be for generations to come.

                  If you listened to the speeches that President Bush made, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 2001, he advanced an argument that was consistent with unrestricted warfare. Although military action was going to be taken, it was not the sole or main tool to use in the War of Terror.

                  Also included, in the overall War on Terror, was the need to set up a government and a security force in countries that were invaded. These governments had to be more representative in nature. This was not an objective to establish a first world democratic country, but one that was more secular in comparison to the one that was overthrown.

                  This threat will continue to exist as long as the mindset continues to exist that we are the enemy until we convert to Islam.

                  This is not the case of the people not culturally accepting of a representative government. The Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan engaged in intimidation campaigns against the population. When supporting a representative government becomes a death sentence, yes, it would appear that they would “not be supportive” of a Western democracy style government.

                  Ret_25X: Just keep their problems there. Anything more is a recipe for wasting life…ours and theirs.

                  That is exactly what needs to happen for the radical Islamists to succeed in their campaign to unify the whole world under the banner of Islam.

                  As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, just leaving the problems over there, and not bothering with it, is just begging to lose in a conflict that the radical Islamists have been waging against the West for centuries.

                  The ultimate objective, of the tribes fighting each other in Afghanistan and elsewhere, is to have overall control of the others. The Taliban hopes to regain total control in the future, like what they had prior to the 2001 invasion. Before they could get to that point, they are going to be dealing with inter-tribe conflicts for dominance and control.

                  Again, the Huns and Mongols consisted of tribes that fought each other. As long as they were fighting each other, the civilizations adjacent to them did not have to worry about being overran. However, the Huns under Attila, and Mongols under Genghis Khan, shows the futility of the idea of “keeping the problems over there”.

              • 11B-Mailclerk says:

                My statements are based on what works there, with those tribes. Demonstrably. Historically. You don’t seem to be looking at that.

                They keep themselves satisfactorily busy at Fratricide. It was Al Qaeda that hit us, not the Taliban. Two very different things. The locals of that sad place can be taught not to ally with foreign idiots who annoy us and stay in their lane. We have -zero- interest in conquering the non-state we call “afghanistan”. This isn’t a ” psyop”, this is a training situation.

                Teach them not to play that game, and stick to their own. Works for millennia. They, by themselves, are an annoyance to the outside, not an existential threat. They conquer no one. They need outside allies to act outside.

                We missed that. We stuck around. We forgot who was the real enemy.

                Run up the cost of being buddies with our enemy. Extinguish a few examples. When we must, fight the main and real enemy as needed in a nice flat place where the enemy can easily bunch up.

                You seem to have missed my point. So does almost everyone else. It is what works in what we call “afghanistan”. It is what will still work there until those mountains erode down to prairie.

                No one wants to admit it, but we are not going to exceed the Himalayas in shaping that grim culture. But we -could- have noticed the template.

                Some folks let pride get in the way of needful. That was the other mistake.

                • thebesig says:

                  Response to 11B-Mailclerk April 16, 2021 Part I

                  11B-Mailclerk: My statements are based on what works there, with those tribes. Demonstrably. Historically.

                  So are my statements, made based on a pattern, a historic trend, that has allowed me to make predictions. Again, I’ve been studying history related topics for 42 years. Above, I mentioned a book that I read, Holy War Incorporated by Peter Bergen. There are other books, and articles, that I’ve read specifically related to individual tribes and mindsets in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

                  Peter Bergen actually interviewed Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants. He got the information “from the horse’s mouth”. What I argued here, they flat out said they would do. They are not the only ones, I’ve watched video of radical Islamists making the same statements in mosques outside of Afghanistan

                  This is not the only book that I have read, as I’ve read multiple books, and articles, on this very topic… Then placed them within the pattern and context of what I’ve read regarding history in general.

                  You talked about one tribe threatening the existence of another tribe, and the psychological effects that has on the threatened tribe. I responded that this is not unique to Afghanistan but had been in place throughout the world for millennia. Not just in Afghanistan.

                  What you consistently refuse to see is the fact that this explanation does not explain away a historical pattern that I see… Warring tribes/factions “killing each other” until they all fall under a single unified command/control.

                  11B-Mailclerk: You don’t seem to be looking at that. [SELF PROJECTION]

                  Don’t mistake my disagreeing with you as my “not looking at” anything that you are trying to say. As you can see, I’m addressing as many points as I can that you make. I have to first understand what you’re saying before I could formulate a response.

                  You don’t seem to be looking at the fact that I will not argue a position unless I have extensive knowledge on the topic gained from either first-hand experience or from extensive/exhaustive study, and that the individual that I am arguing against demonstrates a lack of command of the topic being debated.

                  11B-Mailclerk: They keep themselves satisfactorily busy at Fratricide.

                  So have other tribes, and cultures, throughout history before they became a single, controlled, organization that turned around and threatened the civilizations adjacent to them. The Huns were busy at killing each other as they jockeyed for control over each other. Guess who they end up being busy killing after Attila rose to power? The very people that implemented the very suggestion you’re making relative to the United States and the tribes in Afghanistan.

                  11B-Mailclerk: It was Al Qaeda that hit us, not the Taliban. Two very different things.

                  This is exactly what the authors, of Unrestricted Warfare, said when they argued about defeating America by utilizing methods outside of the bandwidth of thinking of the American military.

                  You have to look at this from their perspective, and not from a Western perspective. The mindset that is producing your argument is precisely the kind of mindset that will get us defeated in this war in the long run if we do not ditch it.

                  Al Qaeda, Taliban, Osama bin Laden, Saddam, and Iraq under Saddam, ISIS, Abu Sayyaf, Al-Shabaab, etc., are not isolated, and they are not “different things” when it comes to the manifest destiny of establishing global radical Islamic law.

                  They are a part of the same thing.

                  Again, the important thing is to see this from the perspective of the enemy as they cast a vote in whatever decision we make here. Osama bin Laden’s open letter to America spoke volumes about this mindset.

                  He listed an itinerary of “American offenses”. He did not say this in terms of offenses to Al Qaeda, offenses to Afghanistan, or just offenses to Palestine, etc.

                  Nope.

                  These were list of offenses against the Muslim Nation. Again, they do not recognize international boundaries. It’s the Islamic nation versus the non-believers. He argued on behalf of the suffering of the Iraqi people, the Palestinians, and not just those in a specific Islamic country.

                  11B-Mailclerk: The locals of that sad place can be taught not to ally with foreign idiots who annoy us and stay in their lane.

                  Again, you are seeing this from a Western perspective, and not from theirs. Yes, a tribe could be made to learn to not align with a group that is against the United States and the West. Unfortunately, that same tribe could be made to learn to align with the very groups that go against United States and the West.

                  They understand strength and brutality. As I said in previous posts, tribes are fluid with regards to alliances. As long as they believe that they will ultimately convert the whole world into Islam, they will not “stay in their lane”. To do so would be a violation of that manifest destiny.

                  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard this, about expanding Islamic influence, and about conquering America and Europe, etc. Ahmadinejad even said that not even the tops of mountains would serve as escapes from Islam. Another guy, I don’t remember his name, but he was on the no-fly list, said that “We will all be Islam, whether we like it or not.” People will not settle for minding their own business “over there” when we have this mindset flying around “over here”.

                  I mean, what would a Palestinian imam, in a mosque in the occupied territories, have to gain when Islam rules America? Speaking in terms of global issues, rather than of local, speaks volumes of the fact that they do not see international boundaries, just the Muslim nation versus the lands of the infidels/unbelievers.

                • thebesig says:

                  Response to 11B-Mailclerk April 16, 2021 Part II

                  11B-Mailclerk: We have -zero- interest in conquering the non-state we call “afghanistan”.

                  You do realize that another term for invasion is conquest, do you? We invaded Afghanistan, and then Iraq, so guess what? We conquered.

                  However, if you are talking about conquest for annexation, that is not what I am arguing. If that is what you meant, then your argument, about wiping out tribes, or the arguments others had advanced here regarding “scorched earth”, otherwise bringing heavy firepower to bear to destroy and depopulate to the scale that others hint here, are tactics that ancients used to conquer a territory for annexation.

                  Nowhere, in any of my posts, did I argue that we should “conquer” a country for the purposes of annexation. What I did argue; however, was that we keep fighting as long as we needed to keep the fight… Over there rather than fighting it or dealing with it while on the defense here, in the future.

                  11B-Mailclerk: This isn’t a ” psyop”, this is a training situation.

                  Human nature does not change whether we are at war or at peace, or anywhere in between. Human nature does not change whether a person is in Afghanistan, in the Pacific islands, or in the West. Nor does it change whether were talking about somebody in ancient times or in modern times.

                  Meaning, your argument on this thread would have psychological ramifications that would aid our adversaries and enemies and serve as a detriment to our objectives.

                  I don’t care how you twist it, but if we took your suggestion and started killing off tribes, enemy tribes would close ranks, or the tribe that was on our side could abandon us if the tribe wiped out was their main threat. There are other ramifications to that action. Not only would it negatively impact our mission there, it would impact our mission wherever they take place in a Muslim dominated nation.

                  Hence, PSYOP is relevant, very relevant.

                  11B-Mailclerk: Teach them not to play that game, and stick to their own. Works for millennia.

                  It only worked temporarily, until the threatened tribe gained strength against the threatening tribe or joined alliances with other tribes that placed it at an advantage to the threatening tribe. Then, the tables were turned. Again, this did not change the fact that tribes that were at each other’s throat, that were killing each other, ultimately came under a single command. No amount of mention, of the threat to kill a tribe, will change the fact that throughout millennia, people left to “kill each other” eventually formed a formidable, unified force.

                  11B-Mailclerk: They, by themselves, are an annoyance to the outside, not an existential threat. They conquer no one. They need outside allies to act outside.

                  Again, you cannot see this from a Western perspective, but from the perspective of our enemies and adversaries. They cannot expect to carry out the manifest destiny of global Islamic law while they are in the current state, or in a state you assume they will indefinitely be in.

                  They had conflicts, and “killed each other”, before someone became their main leader. Then, collectively under a single leader, they ended up being an existential threat.

                  Listen to what our enemies and adversaries say. It does not matter where they are in the Muslim world, they want the United States, and the current world order, replaced with one unified under the banner of Islam.

                  Hence one of the points that you keep missing; this is a historical pattern that has repeated itself for millennia.

                  11B-Mailclerk: We missed that. We stuck around.

                  No, “we missed that” would apply if we did what you are arguing we should do. In fact, doing what you argue would amount to us making the same mistakes that the Romans made.

                  11B-Mailclerk: We forgot who was the real enemy.

                  No, you did. Your description, of the threat we face, and of their nature, painfully shows that you do not know who the real enemy is, nor do you know the actual nature of unrestricted warfare, which is the warfare that they are waging against us.

                  I provided some explanation, above, of who our real enemies are, and of the nature of this war.

                  11B-Mailclerk: Run up the cost of being buddies with our enemy. Extinguish a few examples. When we must, fight the main and real enemy as needed in a nice flat place where the enemy can easily bunch up.

                  And, this has been tried numerous times throughout history. I mentioned, in my previous response, how the Romans leveraged rivalries among the Germanic and Hun tribes. Those tribes that were aligned to the Romans had the might of the Roman Empire behind them.

                  So yes, in this situation, being an enemy of the Roman Empire, and allied tribes, came with substantial costs. In many instances, the Romans fought rival Germanic tribes in terrain that best suited the Roman military. They had their allied tribes with them.

                  Again, how did your idea work out for the Romans? The point that you miss, with that rebuttal, is that your idea has been tried before and did not work in the long run. It’s like what they say, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

                  11B-Mailclerk: You seem to have missed my point.

                  Again, don’t mistake my disagreeing with your argument as my “missing your point”. It’s simply me disagreeing with you. I’ve also disagreed with others that have argued the same points that you have argued here.

                  If I have consistently disagreed with your points, and I’ve disagreed with similar points, repeatedly, when advanced by others that I have argued against over the past 17 ½ years, what makes you think that I would do anything different the next time you make a point that I disagreed with countless of times this century?

                  11B-Mailclerk: So does almost everyone else.

                  Based on what I’ve read, regarding your arguments, I don’t blame them for not agreeing with you either.

                  11B-Mailclerk: It is what works in what we call “afghanistan”. It is what will still work there until those mountains erode down to prairie. [REPEAT POINT]

                  Again, it would only work temporarily. See above. History has indicated that this tactic does not stop the inevitable: that multiple conflicting tribes eventually end up under a single, unified, control. Afghanistan was at that point prior to the invasion in 2001. Seeing how the Taliban rose in Afghanistan, over the tribes they conflicted with, shows how “fighting each other” eventually leads to one or a small group being in control.

                  They were working together, with Al Qaeda, as both had the same objective… Carrying out their manifest destiny of unifying the whole world under the banner of Islam.

                  11B-Mailclerk: No one wants to admit it,

                  People do not just want to zero in on what you’re trying to argue, regarding forcing one tribe to “stay in its lane”, given the other variables that are at play in that region, and given that this type of pattern repeats itself and does not prevent another pattern… The formation of a single governing entity over what used to be multiple tribes having their own rule.

                  11B-Mailclerk: but we are not going to exceed the Himalayas in shaping that grim culture. But we -could- have noticed the template.

                  We were not there to act as an agent of cultural change. We were there to accomplish an objective. One that involved standing up a government and a military. Anybody that thought that we would turn Afghanistan into a first world democratic country simply did not pay attention to the speeches being made in the wake of the 9/11 attacks… Nor did they pay attention to history.

                  11B-Mailclerk: Some folks let pride get in the way of needful. That was the other mistake.

                  This is not a matter of pride but a matter of addressing a geostrategic, unrestricted warfare/asymmetrical warfare threat.

    • AW1Ed says:

      In case any are wondering, Denise informed me of using her name on her comment. My only possible reply was, “Aye aye, Ma’am.”

    • QMC says:

      God bless you and your family mam. Your sons sacrifice will not be forgotten.

    • UpNorth says:

      Bless you Denise, I can’t even imagine how you feel. Thank you for your post, and thank you for your son and his service.

    • KoB says:

      God’s Blessing and His Peace Be unto you Denise. You have our Thanks for who you are, what you have done, and what you mean to us all. If there is anything at all that we can do for you, and those like you, we are here, ready, willing, and able. In the meantime, I guess I better do something about the dust in here. Maybe change the air filters?

    • OWB says:

      As always, the most intelligent response in the room. Thank you, Denise.

  4. SFC D says:

    Ghenghis Khan was able to control Afghanistan for a time, but his methods are generally frowned upon today. Hard to believe my visit to that place was almost 20 years ago.

    • Ret_25X says:

      think of it…30 years since DS/DS and 19 years since AFG…18 years since OIF…

      When did I get old enough to have campaigns 30 years ago?

      Geez, I feel old now.

      • SFC D says:

        Exactly what I’m feeling, CSM. I joined for the college money and GI Bill. How did I get caught up in all that?

      • Poetrooper says:

        Just wait ’til they’re 60 years ago…

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        I recall in the 1980s being assured by senior NCOs and officers “not another Vietnam. We learned our lessons.”

        Apparently, the folks who make General are untrainable, as are folks who get elected.

        Because we set out, once again, to ignore local reality, and set out missing the one thing essential:

        A realistic plan for Victory

        As in “what does the end state look like, where we win and they don’t?”

  5. AW1 Rod says:

    “This is not conditions-based”. Yup…..of course. Why would you do that?

    Another military decision not based on actual events (not event-driven) or the situation (military reality/facts on the ground). None of that matters. Just more arbitrary decisions. Pick a date, and tell your enemy so they can circle the date on their calendar. Stellar military planning and strategy. Obama, Trump, and now Biden…..ALL of them (Trump included) with the same questionable military leadership.

    You see, YOU may just decide the war/fight is over, but maybe your enemy doesn’t give a shit that you decided it’s over. There are two sides in a conflict, and it may not be over for the enemy just because YOU said you’re quitting and leaving. Failure to recognize reality; failure to understand (as our enemy has) that it may never “end”; failure to recognize the “new normal” when fighting terrorism/terrorists (and those who enable and support them). It may never end, and they don’t care if it takes decades. They’ll keep fighting, because they have the WILL and determination. So, there will no doubt be
    an attack on American interests in the region, or Americans in the region, or perhaps even another terrorist attack against/on the homeland some time in the future. Who knows when? One year, five years, ten years, even 20 years. But it will happen. Then we can tell our kids and grandkids, “Sorry, but you’ll have suffer for it and deal with it, because we didn’t have the WILL to do what had to be done for as long as it had to be done.”

    • AW1Ed says:

      Sorry, Rod. It stopped being about America when Dubya started his empire building fantasy there.

      • thebesig says:

        See my reply, above, to Denise Williams. It also applies here.

        First, this wasn’t an initiative to build an empire. This is unrestricted warfare/asymmetrical warfare. If you read the statements that President Bush made in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, you’d see “unrestricted warfare” as a theme. I recommend reading the book, “Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America”.

        These concepts are being used by the terrorists, plus more, against us. We’ve seen evidence of the Chinese doing this against us, especially in the later years.

        Second, our invading Afghanistan, and later Iraq, needed to be done. The attacks on US soil, in September 11, 2001, was not supposed to be “an only” event. Osama Bin Laden was partly getting frustrated over not killing enough Americans. Engaging in massive terror attacks on US soil would give him that kill count.

        It would also give him something else… Recruitment draw.

        The terrorists were attacking our interests overseas during the 1990s (those that were associated with Bin Laden). Our reaction was seen as a weakness. They saw this as a war, and our side saw this as “law enforcement”. We emerged from the Clinton years as a paper tiger.

        Going into Iraq forced the other side to split their manpower between Iraq and Afghanistan. They determined that Iraq was more important so they brought their fighters to bear in Iraq.

        Unlike in Afghanistan, we have more flexibility with bringing our entire inventory to bear on a flat terrain. As they were flocking to Iraq to fight, we were setting up a government and army in Afghanistan.

        When they finally got the picture that we were going to keep fighting them in Iraq, and it became clear that they were not going to achieve their objectives, the focus shifted back to Afghanistan. By then, we had a local army that was fighting them in addition to the US and its allies fighting.

        Something else happened to. We had set up a checkerboard pattern of nations, in the ME, that were either politically heading in the direction we wanted them to head to, or were relatively secular. This contributed to the Arab Spring, which the Obama Administration fumbled.

        But, this was not an attempt to build an empire. This is something that had to be done.

    • Martinjmpr says:

      So, there will no doubt be
      an attack on American interests in the region, or Americans in the region, or perhaps even another terrorist attack against/on the homeland some time in the future. Who knows when? One year, five years, ten years, even 20 years. But it will happen

      And keeping our troops in Afghanistan to act as pop up targets for the enemy helps to prevent this how?

      All it does is help them hone their marksmanship at the expense of our soldiers. I say let them get their target practice by murdering each other, you know, the way they have been since Christ was a corporal.

      Anything we were going to ‘win’ in Afghanistan, we “won” in the first couple of years. Everything after that was pointless.

      Pull out and let the Taliban “win” Afghanistan. I can think of no more fitting punishment for those assholes than being crowned King of the Shitpile.

      • thebesig says:

        And keeping our troops in Afghanistant to act as pop up targets for the enemy helps to prevent this how?

        By keeping the fight over there and killing them over here forces them to remain on the defensive rather than allowing them to be strong enough to be a base to build on efforts to bring the fight to US soil.

        That’s how.

        I’ve told people, for the 17.5 years I’ve debated this issue, that we have to be willing to fight this enemy indefinitely.

        Letting them “kill each other” while we stay out of it has, historically, been disastrous to the civilization that adapted that strategy.

        History shows that the “kill each other” phase eventually comes to an end when those killing each other came under a single leader’s control. The Romans found this out with Attila, and the Chinese found this out with Genghis Khan.

        They have a manifest destiny that involves bringing the entire world under the banner of Islam. I saw, on a BBC video, an interview with a Taliban commander. When asked about the struggle ending when they achieve their goals for Afghanistan, the commander’s response?

        The struggle will continue until the whole world is Islam. How much more kills will they achieve, in the United States, once Afghanistan again becomes a strong base for radical Islamic operations? There are a lot more Americans living in the United States than are deployed in Afghanistan.

        Think their marksmanship, and killing efficiency via terrorist acts in the US, will make them hyper experts at killing Americans? Perhaps by the time the United States becomes an Islamic Nation in this scenario, the radical Islamists would be able to shoot as if they were in the Matrix movie.

        Pulling out and letting them kill each other and be “King of the Shitpile” is the kind of western thinking that needs to happen for the “shitpile tribes” to help accomplish a centuries long objective.

        Underneath the ME/Regional tribal mindset that these folk possess is a common Asiatic mindset that embraces indefinite patience, outside the box thinking, etc., to achieve victory… Even if it means one generation after another carries the torch for this effort.

        Either we prevail with our objectives over there, or their radical elements prevail in establish global Islamic law.

        These are the only two outcomes for this conflict between the above two sides. There are no other outcomes ceteris paribus.

        • SteeleyI says:

          You are advocating what I’ve heard called the ‘mowing the grass’ strategy. Essentially, we tolerate a certain level of violence but maintain surveillance and sufficient force to knock them back to acceptable levels when they get out of hand and/or threaten us in the homeland.

          Not necessarily wrong, but it does require a long term mindset, what some might call a strategy. Arguably, the last effective US strategy was outlined in NCS-68, essentially our strategy to defeat the Soviets.

          https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116191.pdf?v=2699956db534c1821edefa61b8c13ffe

          One would think that at some point in the 20 years since 9/11 (in reality, this war as we know it started at least as far back as when we deployed infidel troops to the lands of the House of Saud, Guardian of the Holy Mosque, but I digress) we would have developed an actual strategy for defeating what amounts to a global Islamic insurgency, but we haven’t.

          Instead, we have become focused on individual personalities, groups, and events, and lost sight of the fact that although we may lack a strategy, as you point out, our enemy has been consistently pursuing theirs for decades.

          • thebesig says:

            Originally posted by SteeleyI: You are advocating what I’ve heard called the ‘mowing the grass’ strategy. Essentially, we tolerate a certain level of violence but maintain surveillance and sufficient force to knock them back to acceptable levels when they get out of hand and/or threaten us in the homeland.

            Not necessarily wrong, but it does require a long term mindset, what some might call a strategy. Arguably, the last effective US strategy was outlined in NCS-68, essentially our strategy to defeat the Soviets.

            https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116191.pdf?v=2699956db534c1821edefa61b8c13ffe

            Incorrect. Go back and reread the post that you responded to. Nowhere, in that post, or in any post I made on this thread, am I advocating a “mowing the grass strategy”. In fact, nothing I say in the post supports any inference that you made about it.

            One of the major themes, in the post that you responded to, involved historic trends and human nature. Too many people are advocating that we just leave and let them destroy each other. Not a single one of those people have actually zeroed in on the motivation for those people.

            Key here is psychology and mindset. Why would they even try to “kill each other” in order to be “King of the crap pile”? Because achieving that status is what they need to do for the next step towards their ultimate objective… Global Islamic law.

            Nowhere did I argue that we tolerate a certain level of violence, or that we just hit them when they threaten us here. I’m actually arguing the opposite… That we keep the fight and pressure over there to frustrate the chances and efforts to bring their fight over here.

            As for the strategy to “defeat the Soviets”, they were defeated on a political and economic front, and military via proxy. A lot of that could be credited to Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, the Pope, etc. Ronald Reagan abandoned détente in favor of forcing the Soviets into a predicament where their economy hard a hard time supporting the USSR’s keeping up with us.

            I remember the media’s anti Reagan rants about his policies, accusing him of cowboy diplomacy and claiming that he was going to get us all killed. Your link lists a document generated in 1950, well before Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

            Additionally, going through it reads like a best guess assessment of our capabilities, and what the Soviet Union could do given different circumstances, etc. It’s like that intelligence briefing that George Bush received in August 2001 that people claimed warned about the attacks the following month. It was a general synopsis of the history of terrorism that included best guess scenarios of what terrorists would do to select targets then follow through with an attack.

            No details that would have specifically warned about the terrorist attacks. Your linked document is like the intelligence briefing, but longer and addressing another enemy.

            Originally posted by SteeleyI:

            One would think that at some point in the 20 years since 9/11 (in reality, this war as we know it started at least as far back as when we deployed infidel troops to the lands of the House of Saud, Guardian of the Holy Mosque, but I digress) we would have developed an actual strategy for defeating what amounts to a global Islamic insurgency, but we haven’t.

            This war started in the beginning of the Medieval Period. The Global War on Terror is just the West’s latest reaction to it. Radical Islamists have consistently been in a state of war, or at war, against those who are not Islam. The tactics that we have seen ISIS and other terror groups implement are not that much different from ancient terror tactics used to psychologically force the opposing side to capitulate. Burning people? Ditto. Decapitating people? Ditto. Raping, murder, destruction, theft of property, etc.? Ditto.

            We developed a strategy, early this century, on addressing global radical Islamic terrorism. Unfortunately, even those, among conservatives, have resisted such efforts and spread conspiracy theories about some of what needed to be done.

            This is unrestricted/asymmetrical warfare. Addressing this type of warfare requires unrestricted/asymmetrical warfare methods. A good book to read on this is “Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America.” In the beginning pages, the authors described the use of a bombing attack on the World Trade Center as a method of asymmetrical/unrestricted warfare.

            The way the military, and law enforcement, has to deal with this threat needed to be revised away from what they traditionally had to address. One of the main purposes, of unrestricted warfare, is to use nonmilitary methods, or “outside the box” methods, to wage war.

            Attempting to apply conventional methods used in previous wars, in asymmetrical warfare, would be like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. Or, as the authors of Unrestricted Warfare put it, being like the bull in a China shop where you are trying to obtain the items that you are destroying without originally intending to destroy them.

            Originally posted by SteeleyI:

            Instead, we have become focused on individual personalities, groups, and events, and lost sight of the fact that although we may lack a strategy, as you point out, our enemy has been consistently pursuing theirs for decades.

            What we have been too focused on our conventional assumptions normally applied to war… Instead of changing one’s mind set to reflect the new reality that we face in a war like this. Those that I’ve argued this topic against are thinking exactly as the authors of Unrestricted Warfare projected. In order for unrestricted warfare to work, one of the things that have to happen is that the opposing side being subjected to unrestricted warfare has to think in conventional terms vice unrestricted warfare terms.

            One of the terms that the authors of Unrestricted Warfare used to describe this is “bandwidth”. Or, outside the bandwidth of thinking of the American military. The arguments that I am going against here are an illustration of that bandwidth. That mindset is what the enemy needs us to possess in order for them to prevail against us under unrestricted warfare.

            I’ve argued that this war has been waged for centuries, from their perspective. It started when the forces of Islam expanded beyond the Arabian Peninsula.

  6. Denise Williams says:

    thebesig-
    “Their response would be to “bring it”. No matter how many of their fighters end up dying in the process. They would gladly die “for Allah” and “his cause”. “
    and
    “We’re not dealing with people that think like westerners.”

    I agree with both of these statements in particular as well as the rest of your post. My contention is and remains, hitting them sufficiently hard to wipe out the majority of the leadership buys time. If we’re lucky, maybe the better part of a generation.

    I understand the Muslim mindset to which you refer and I also understand the leadership and financiers do not share the religious conviction of their followers. For them, the religion is a tool by which they control their masses and insulate themselves. Waging war is expensive and does require the hope of a return on investment. Then again, it is a useful tool to obfuscate their immorality-as defined by their religion-from their masses.

    Despite all the ways in which we agree, I disagree on the utility and outcome of a scorched earth policy. Our political leaders and those who are convinced of their intellectual and moral superiority decry this idea, not on the basis of it’s lack of efficacy but on a lack of their intestinal fortitude. They not only moralize, they presuppose such a policy will only engender hatred in our enemies.

    Which brings us to the most salient point, one on which we seem to be in complete agreement…it does not matter what we do or don’t do, they have, will and will always hate us. Because we are not them, and our worldviews are anathema to theirs.

    Another quote from my kid (yes, I know the movie he got it from) paraphrased – Their Prophet says submit, ours says Decide. Americans, regardless of our religious persuasion or lack there of, don’t submit.

    • thebesig says:

      We have to do more than take out their leadership. We’re dealing with a mindset, an ideology, that they’re exposed to even as children. Many grow up wanting to become martyrs. If we take out the current leadership, they will quickly be replaced, and they will continue the fight… As they have been doing for centuries.

      Their leadership and followers do share religious convictions. I’ve seen videos, of services in mosques, where their religious leaders talk about conquering the world, or present other radical ideas. I saw one video where a religious leader talked about a child that talked to him about wanting to be a martyr. He responded with a list of cities that they were going to attack.

      I’ve seen photos of regular, rank and file, Muslims showing signs, and chanting, demonstrating the same radicalisms that their leaders display. The radicalism that’s associated with their leadership is a lot more imbedded in many of their societies than what people assume in the West.

      I recommend the book, “Unrestricted Warfare”. Included in this book is how to wage war inexpensively.

      The leadership disagrees with the scorched earth policy not because of a lack of fortitude, but due to practicality. One of my MOSs is “Psychological Operations Specialist” or simply “PSYOP”. What’s not as praised in a war effort is the PSYOP efforts that take place in the combat theater. Implementing a scorched earth policy in Afghanistan, Iraq, or anywhere else where we are not engaged in major combat operations a la World War II would work against us… From a psychological standpoint.

      This enemy hides among civilians and non combatants. They hide among women and children. Just imagine the propaganda campaign bonanza that this would bring about for the enemy if we actually did this. We’d actually make our jobs harder, and this would ripple throughout the Middle East and impact our objectives in those other areas.

      They hate not because of worldview, unless it has something to do with religious beliefs. If we all convert to Islam, their version of Islam, then we will, in their eyes, become a part of “Dar al Islam”. Their attack against us has a lot to do with them turning the “House of War” into the “House of Islam”.

      On a side note, a video that addresses the leaderships and followers belief system:

      • Anonymous says:

        Where? Bosnia– they eat pig, drink slivovitz and dress up nice for services on Friday because they’re going out clubbing afterward. (Of course, only Germany and Israel accepted them as refugees because Muslim countries didn’t feel them “islamic” enough.)

  7. Green Thumb says:

    War sucks.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      And more than 50 years later as I pull on my
      Hanes underwear I notice the label:
      “Made in Vietnam”

      I was once cautioned to not wear the war
      on my sleeve. Put it behind you son.
      Afghanistan is no Vietnam but they do share
      a common trait….most people could not point
      to either on a world map.

    • Devtun says:

      ‘War is a racket’.

      -MajGen Smedley Butler-

    • Anonymous says:

      “For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimmage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!” –Mark Twain

      Has always been such.

  8. Hate_me says:

    Earlier today, I walked through Arlington National Cemetery to visit a friend. We were in entirely different theaters when he died, but he was one of my earliest friends – from long before either of us enlisted. It’s been over a year since he passed, and I haven’t had the opportunity to pay my respects until now.

    An old knee injury started flaring up, and the steps were agony; didn’t matter, I needed to do it. One of the facilitators saw me struggling on a downhill and offered to drive me to his section, but walking just seemed to fit the cause.

    It took longer than I’m proud of, but I eventually found his headstone. I knelt down before him to say what I needed to say and…. nothing. Blank.

    I had no plan, beyond getting there. I cursed myself for not writing something beforehand, and for not bringing a flask from which to pour him a round. I wished I could think of something profound, anything, that might fit the moment. Anything justifying the pain in my knees or the pain of his absence, any acceptable reason why I couldn’t be there to console his mother and father when they laid their son in the ground. Yet, until it’s over – and really over, a real win as opposed to storming off because we’re tired of the game – I don’t know if I’ll ever find the right words.

    I just mumbled something mundane about how I miss him, and tried not to tear up.

    *****

    Before and after every tour, I like to walk through Arlington and along the Mall. I’ve always found the memorials and monuments help ground me in the deeper reasons behind all the bullshit and tedium of a deployment. Every single time before, this has helped me adapt to the change. Not this time. Closure has proven herself an elusive bitch.

    Eventually, I just stood up and walked away. I walked across the bridge into DC, and twice up and down the entire Mall. Then, up to Georgetown and back across the river. I climbed every set of stairs I could find; it hurt, and it will still hurt tomorrow, but it was the closest thing to catharsis I could find.

    *****

    I’m not really sad, just a little frustrated. I’ve no doubt I’m not the only one to experience something like this.

    I’m just tired of not being allowed to win our wars.

    • Poetrooper says:

      I think you just spoke quite eloquently for a lot of us, your brothers. We feel what you feel but have great difficulty in conveying those feelings to others in any meaningful way.

      Going back to my English Lit days, I believe the word I’m looking for to describe our inability to fully express ourselves is “ineffable”.

      My war was Vietnam and like you I share the frustration of not being allowed to win.

      • Hate_me says:

        Thanks, Poe.

        Is it morbid to be proud of what I wrote, given the circumstance?

        I think I might turn it into a portfolio piece. Perhaps written over a sweeping image of ANC, or maybe a soldier’s cross….

        Initially, I was going to title it “Dustin’s Grave,” but I think “Ineffable” might work better.

    • OWB says:

      The journey’s the thing. And many, if not most, of us have experienced something similar.

      Well done.

    • Denise Williams says:

      Everything you couldn’t say there you’ve said here, because of going there. I hope you feel the catharsis I hear in your words.

      Catharsis doesn’t mean resolution, it is a process, and often is the process of continually absorbing and re-absorbing there is no final, complete resolution. Finding peace in the raw injustice that is this life is the resolution I continually seek.

      I’ve come to recognize that peace I seek looks a lot like acceptance of non acceptance of the raw injustice that is this life. It is what it is and there is nothing I can do about it, so I call that peace.

      I hope you, all of you, find your way there, whatever you call it.

  9. Commissar says:

    We created asinine short term incentives for commanders that did nothing but perpetuate the cycle of pointless metric padding missions that had no hope of achieving any long term objectives.

    A tragic waste.

    • SFC D says:

      That pretty much describes everything the Army does, from PT to annual training objectives.

    • Poetrooper says:

      One of those rare occasions we agree, Lars. At the culmination of a major battle in Vietnam during which I had operated the tactical net throughout for for a colonel who would later become one of the most recognized heroes of that war, he instructed me to call each company to obtain an enemy casualty account.

      His specific instruction was that any trooper who aimed and fired his weapon at an NVA was to be tallied as a KIA/BCC, a Killed In Action/ Body Count Confirmed.

      That of course resulted in a huge over-count of 448 enemy dead which was duly reported by American media as evidenced by a Stars and Stripes cover story I read a couple of weeks later.

      That was the beginning of my doubts about the legitimacy of what we were doing there and a long life of not ever trusting my government again. It was one of the primary reasons I turned down the promise of an E-7 stripe and OCS from my boss, the brigade commander, and left the Army to complete my college education, a decision I’ve never regretted.

      • rgr769 says:

        The demand of field grade officers, usually LTC’s and Colonels, demanding junior officers submit false reports had a great deal to do with my decision to resign my RA commission, even though I had planned for many years to make the Army my career. Although I have missed the military for many years, I am still happy with that decision. I continue my interest in the military, am an aficionado of military history, and am a minor collector of militaria.

        • Poetrooper says:

          I, too, maintained strong ties to the military after getting a job which allowed me to travel to military installations, VA hospitals, major naval vessels and Indian reservations, all over the country and even some overseas bases, for almost thirty years.

          I ended up with a far broader military experience than active duty would ever have provided and loved every minute of it.

      • timactual says:

        My disillusionment began in Germany, and it involved competence more than morality. I have been a military history nut since fifth or sixth grade, and enlisted as soon as I could. Right out of AIT I was put in an E5 slot; flattering, but being a “one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind” is a bit disconcerting. The rest of my tour there did nothing to impress me with the competence of the Army.
        When I got to RVN I thought that things would be different. Surely an actual combat unit would be squared away. Took a month or two, but my enthusiasm wore off and my disillusionment grew. Evidently I was the only person to read Bernard Fall et al. or “Infantry” magazine. Deja vu was an everyday occurrence. When I go home and swapped war stories with my father (23 years Navy) he refused to believe me. Tough choice for an Annapolis grad and WWII vet; who do you believe, your first born son or your government and the institution you served for over 20 years?
        My last year, at Ft. Benning, just confirmed my opinions as to the incompetence and dishonesty (intentional and otherwise) of the Army. There was no future for me in an organization that demanded so much and in return would throw me under the bus or treat me with disrespect at the whim of a a superior.

        Like 769 I still miss it occasionally. “The best of times, the worst of times…”.

        “Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive
        But to be young was very heaven.”

        • rgr769 says:

          The one aspect of my military service on active duty (I spent four years in the 19th SFG(A) and a Reserve unit while in law school) is the camaraderie of a group of men doing a dangerous and difficult job. The sense of it was strongest when I was in Vietnam as a rifle company commander, as you lived with your soldiers 24/7. My military service had more to do with making me who I am than anything else in my life.

    • Martinjmpr says:

      I think it’s more the case that the objectives we set for them are not objectives that can be achieved by military force.

      The military is good for destroying the enemy on the battlefield. But trying to use the military for creating stability and a functioning civil society where there wasn’t one before is like trying to use a hammer to drive in a screw.

      It’s the wrong tool for the job.

      For some reason, we didn’t learn that lesson from Vietnam (where, again, the military was being used to try and do something that the military just isn’t very good at doing, in that case it was creating a functioning civil government in South Vietnam.)

      • Poetrooper says:

        We can probably thank Douglas MacArthur for saddling us with that nation-building burden because of how he set Japan back on course to become a modern industrial powerhouse in such a relatively short time.

        Ditto the success of West Germany post-war.

        But then again, we were dealing with the Germans and the Japanese…

        • Martinjmpr says:

          That’s a good point, too. Just as failure can contain the seeds of future success, too often success in one endeavor breeds a future failure.

          The Greeks called it Hubris.

          Side note: Don’t forget Korea, another country that our military helped to build up from the ashes of war.

          • Poetrooper says:

            Yes, I thought of Korea moments after posting my comment. That little nation, too, serves as a shining symbol of what can arise from the ashes of war when given the right opportunity by a beneficent superpower partner.

        • 5JC says:

          Poe- The Germans and Japanese were already industrial power houses. All McArthur did was stay out of the way. Although we can blame him for why Japanese porn looks the way it does.

          When I was at CGSC they wanted our class to figure out how to turn the Stan in to Switzerland. My suggestion was to give it to Switzerland and move all the Afghanis out.

          I got told to be quiet a lot.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      It’s because the days of Empire Building (e.g., Persia/Parthia, Greece, Rome, England, France, The Golden Horde, etc.) are no longer in evidence. There are no real new worlds left to conquer.

      • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

        Afghanistan isn’t called “The Graveyard of Empires” for no reason, just ask the British, French and the Russians. I did a year over there and it convinced me that there are people that CANNOT be made civilized!

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