Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Stalins Organ

Motivation for fighting in Afghanistan?

Recommended Posts

Hanson's piece was not referring to a Marine in Iraq unless I have missed something but was all his own opinion. I appreciate that there is a modifier but won is still the expression I am trying to grasp. You do make the point that US casualties are down:

I assume therefore that leaving South Vietnam was a win also on that logic. This is a piece from the BBC item quoted early in the thread:

So "won" depends very much on what you say were the objectives were in the first place. And "largely won" suggests perhaps some aims achieved and some not, or, a single aim that is still not resolved satisfactorily. I can very much understand that the military are confused by what is happening. For them there is no "win" ever in this situation where they are embroiled in politics. There only clean win would have to have been capture the Sadaam family and leave the BAathist to organise elctions etc or whatever.

As for "fairly stable democracy" I think it is wussy as without any explanation of why it it is qualified with "fairly" it is pretty useless to the reader.

Sigh. The OP (stands for Original Post) stated that there was a very confused Marine in Afghanistan. Here is a refresher for you in case you didn't read it.

Good grief - talk about getting it the wrong way around:

Quote:

"The Iraq war was different from this war," a US marine in Afghanistan's Helmand province told a BBC reporter recently.

"That was definitely a war on terrorism. Here I don't know. No-one even mentions 9/11 any more. That's why I went to Iraq."

how screwed up is that? Has the US forgotten who actually launched 9/11, and where they were based??

(from a BBC article)

Is a bit of a history refresher needed for the troops on the ground?

So no, the article I posted did not talk about a Marine. However, if you can stretch your mind a little you might possibly see that Hanson's article can be used as an explanation as to why that Marine would have thought that way. That's it. There is no more to it than that. I'm not going to argue 'won' or 'lost' and I'm not going to argue about whether it was right or wrong because quite honestly I don't really care. It is not my purpose to argue the finer points because no amount of arguing is going to change your mind about the situation. My purpose was only to explain how an individual could hold the point of view that the Marine has. It's not because he is stupid and it's not because he can't remember 9/11. It's because the new President of the US has for all itents and purposes declared the war on terror to be over. He hasn't made this declaration because he wants to claim victory - no where will you see Obama ever say the US 'won' the war. He is declaring it over by making it not exist. You can agree or disagree, but if a Marine is putting his life on the line in Afghanistan and the President isn't supporting him then what is that Marine supposed to think? I'm out of this thread now so you can all go back to talking amongst yourselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP most often stands for Opinion Piece so perhaps you will bear that in mind as a cause for confusion.

What is an Opinion Piece? An opinion piece or “op-ed” is a short essay that newspapers have traditionally published “opposite the editorial” page to provide voices and views other than those expressed by the newspaper’s editorial staff.

I am not trying to argue the correctness or otherwise of the war - I am more interested in peoples perception of the result so far. I have the deepest sympathy for all soldiers who are suffering for their political masters decisions and some no doubt feel an element of betrayal.

To feel betrayed by the politicians is perhaps because they are not up on their history where armies in the late 20th century have been given plenty of bad positions to be in whilst the politicos dicker about.

Perhaps we need honesty - you are in that country to change it , in some way, from its current position. And we will let you know when we feel we have accomplished as much as we can for [our] the free World's benefit. With the onus less on "win" militarily but rather some change to occur then the armies know that there is not an obvious win point.

As for Obama ever claiming to have won - I think he is too smart for that. This was/is a situation without a winner in terrms of those involved. I am sure that some areas will regard the Wests embroilment in Iraq with satisfaction - China, Russia etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...snips...

I am sure that some areas will regard the Wests embroilment in Iraq with satisfaction - China, Russia etc

The Russians and French took a bath on the invasion of Iraq - both had quite a few billions in contracts already in place that were declared null and void once Saddam's government fell (I have no clue as to what China's exposure was). Both countries manufacture arms, though, so the losses would have been ameliorated with the escalation to armed conflict in the region (and elsewhere).

You could look at it from Standard Oil's point of view - they've paid for the right to exploit these resources two or three times now, getting the US taxpayer to foot the bill this time around is (was) a sensible commercial strategy. The fact that they've mis-estimated the risk equation (again) is just par for the course for most corporate boards over the last decade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hansen may well be right about the source of the Marine's confusion.

which still begs the point of what to do about it.

the idea that the war in Iraq is "won" and a stable democracy is installed is laughable. Anyone who is peddling such ideas is either stupid or thinks that their audience is.........and if their audience is the American population then from Hansen's statement above they may be right! :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think QV would be more dispassionate - no pay check to worry about )

http://www.heritage.org/research/iraq/wm217.cfm

interesting reading - from a right wing think tank. It is surprising to see that in 2001 8.5% of US oil imports were from Iraq ....... I had not known or forgotten that. Not included in the article and probably forgotten by Costard[!) is Australias large grain contracts - kidding

Whilst looking at Austalian involvement I came across this highly interesting article:

It was as if President John F. Kennedy had outsourced the Bay of Pigs operation to the advertising and public-relations firm of J. Walter Thompson.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/8798997/the_man_who_sold_the_war/

Interesting as a historical piece. In fact very interesting in terms of what is done by a democracy.

this excerpt I found laughable or at least strange:

n July 1990. Rendon had taken time out for a vacation -- a long train ride across Scotland -- when he received an urgent call.

Long train journey in Scotland!?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

..snips..

Not included in the article and probably forgotten by Costard[!) is Australias large grain contracts - kidding

Well and truly aware of these - and the corrupt fashion in which the contracts were managed. There's no way I could claim that Australian business is any way better managed than that of the US or UK. Of course, we know who we're owned by.... :D

One of the biggest parts of the deal that got Australia into the "Coalition of the Willing" was the hint of a promise of rebuilding contracts (this was openly sought by our PM and reported in our press). It didn't turn out to be such a wealth generator because the security situation never got better than "****ing nightmare man - you'd have to be completely nuts to go there". We were also giving meaningful thanks for some ultra heavy-weight support during the East Timor invasion, and, well, to be frank, our sympathies did lie with the US after 9/11. As Margaret Thatcher said at the time "These are our people."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cracking on in Helmand

If you've read books such as "3 Para", "Apache", and "An Ordinary Soldier" the linked article makes for unsettling reading

... lack of engagement with the enemy also kept the newly-arrived British army [i.e., 3 PARA in 2006] oblivious of their role in an ongoing drugs war. By 2006, the growth in the opium trade, especially in Helmand, had led to what Semple described as “nothing short of an attempt to corner the world supply of heroin.” When the British army arrived it was at worst ignorant and at best naïve about the way its mission was seen locally as securing the interest of one drug lord against another. In Sangin, for instance, the Parachute Regiment arrived in the summer of 2006 ostensibly to protect the embattled district governor and officials loyal to President Karzai. But most of these officials came from one tribe, the Alokozai, whose local leader ran a private prison, whose men were alleged to have kidnapped and raped local children, and whose tribe was trying to wrest the drugs trade from its rivals. Semple put it this way: “In the run-up to the deployment a lot of the people in Helmand were actually very favourable. But then they found the same drug-dealing network holed up in Sangin next to the British platoon. They thought that somehow the British have got tricked into backing the drug mafia.” Already denounced to the Americans as terrorists, the rival tribal groups were driven into the hands of the Taliban.

Jon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And something pretty similar happened with the Australians in Oruzgan: the district governer was an old crony of Kharzai's and was nothing short of a psychopathic megolamaniac who used the transition of power to settle a telephone book full of old scores. So the Taliban were able to base a very fertile recruitment campaign amongst the disaffected tribal groups who were pretty much in despair over this example of what their democratic future would hold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With the Afghanis being very tribal and prone to feuding it is hard to see what could be done - the concept of democracy is obviously screwy in that kind of arena anyway. Possibly suggesting they all ran their own tribal areas and with plenty of fun being had as they discussed why their neighbours land was their land .....

Divide and rule would seem to be beneficial with 50% of the tribes benefitting .... better than just one mob with US connections pissing off the majority under the cloak of democracy.

As for trying to change the social structure - as per women - that can keep another 50 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heard a great interview on the drive home from work with a former Aussie Army Brigadier who has since left and worked as an advisor to Condi and was on the planning staff for General Patreas in Iraq and now Gen McChrystall (sp?). He basically said that hearts and minds was too simplified in the way it was being applied these days. The idea that it was important to ‘make people like you’ was pointless and the way it was being put into effect was doing nothing more than creating a cargo cult. His point was that people won’t like you if they don’t feel secure and if their lives have no predictability.

When a guy gets up in the morning he wants to expect that his family will still be alive at the end of the day, that his mosque won’t be bombed accidentally or his taxi stolen by bandits, and, more importantly, that if his family does get killed or his car stolen there are ways of this being redressed. This Aussie guy said that the Taliban, although not POPULAR, had actually developed quite a lot of SUPPORT from people because they set up Sharia courts and a rule of law. It might not have been perfect law, it might have been harsh law, but two farmers arguing over who owned a goat could get it sorted out according to some legal principle that they understood. As he said “That just doesn’t happen in non-Taliban Afghanistan. Justice is only for the very rich or the major drug barons with connections”.

It was a bottom up philosophy. No point in bringing in experts on international law on fat salaries to sit in a spanking new high court building in Kabul if those guys work out a solution for who owns the goat.

He was careful to differentiate between Taliban and al-Qaeda. He said the AQ guys had ruled their zones through fear and terror. But this had been a brittle form of control because they only had two options: kill you or not kill you. The Taliban though had offered people more security, more infrastructure and social programs and that all important rule of law. And while the Marines and the Airborne were chasing the militant Taliban regulars around the hilltops, the people down in the towns, where they actually had to sleep and do business every day were subject to the scrutiny of the civilian and clerical Taliban supporters who were helping them out in little ways and keeping the propaganda line up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember reading Artyom Borovik's The Hidden War back in 2003, and wondering how much of the Soviet's story we were going to repeat. There are some very pertinent sections in the book, a couple of which I still remember. A high-ranking Soviet officer discussed with the author, just before the Soviet pullback, the mistakes the Soviets had made early on. He said they had tried to enter every village and bring the revolution to everyone, when in reality the locals just wanted to be left alone. The villagers were just as likely to fight the mujahideen as they were the Russians, but the Russians forced their presence on the people, met resistance, and countered it with bombs, which turned the population against them. The officer said that the establishment of autonomous regions would have solved many problems, but the Soviets insisted on pulling everyone together under a central government.

We're not fighting the same war, but there are a lot of similarities. The Soviets owned the villages by day, the Afghans by night. The Soviets had serious problems with groups moving across the border with Pakistan. Divisions within the Afghan population made self government impossible. The drug trade was pervasive. It's well worth a read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're not fighting the same war, but there are a lot of similarities. The Soviets owned the villages by day, the Afghans by night. The Soviets had serious problems with groups moving across the border with Pakistan. Divisions within the Afghan population made self government impossible. The drug trade was pervasive. It's well worth a read.

What's the old line about being doomed to repeat history?

In the radio interview I heard yesterday the guy said something like "There is absolutely no point in trying to extend the reach of an unpopular and corrupt central government if people think it is making their lives less secure and less regular."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This Aussie guy said that the Taliban, although not POPULAR, had actually developed quite a lot of SUPPORT from people because they set up Sharia courts and a rule of law. It might not have been perfect law, it might have been harsh law, but two farmers arguing over who owned a goat could get it sorted out according to some legal principle that they understood.

Related

Taliban 'laying down the law'

BRENDAN NICHOLSON

September 1, 2009

TALIBAN insurgents have set up significant public infrastructure in parts of Afghanistan, with their own courts and even ombudsmen who villagers can complain to.

This startling view of the Taliban's campaign to deliver governance to Afghans in competition with the Government in Kabul was delivered in Canberra yesterday by Dr David Kilcullen, who leaves for Kabul this week to join the commander of US and NATO forces, General Stanley McChrystal, as counter-insurgency adviser.

The former Australian Army officer said a key to winning the war was delivering government, services and justice across Afghanistan and developing rapport with locals.

Jon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah that's the guy. He mentioned half a dozen times that it wasn't rocket science. But the difficulty is the way things get perverted as they percolate through the military and political channels. There is this huge perception/assumption that because someone from Rhode Island wouldn't like to live under the Taliban, then nobody would. Or that because the Taliban do some nasty stuff, they are wholly evil and with no redeeming features. This Disney type dichotomy ignores the predominant shades of grey within Afghanistan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
... This Disney type dichotomy ignores the predominant shades of grey within the World.

I agree, although that last sentence needed fixin' ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well then . . . if (as the evidence seems to be showing) there are more of the Afghan people who want the Taliban (or at least don't mind them enough to do anything about it) than those who want something non-Taliban . . . why are "we" still in Afghanistan?

(Merely a rhetorical question, expressing my fed-up-ness with the whole Afghanistan quagmire.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Drug production banned under the Taliban heroin crop production 185 tons, current production 4000+, but read what a US network said in 2001 May.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3071809/

Paying the Taliban for infrastucture would have been something. However pre-the September 2001 attack on the US homeland there was this interesting March 2001 article on a planned invasion of Afghanistan.

http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/jir/jir010315_1_n.shtml

Supporting your favourite warlord against the effective government - that is stirring it somewhat. You wonder how individual countries around the world would feel about having insurgents aided by outside powers ....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a social experiment, this attempt at changing Afghan society takes the lessons learned from past successes and tries to effect the same changes without some of the key components.

In the olden' days, those of successful colonisation by empire, the legal system of the conquerors was tranplanted wholesale to the new territory. A civil government - with a civil governor appointed by the parliament or crown of the home country in general command - was established with the transfer to the territories of career civil servants. At times the transplanted law finds itself unable to cope with a different set of reasonable behaviours and expectations to those it is based on - generally the interpretation was adapted to suit the conditions, e.g. a country in insurrection would find itself subject to martial law, and harsh judgements handed down in an effort to demonstrate the power of the law. We can see this taking place to day with the Taliban interpretation of Sharia Law in Afghanistan and Swat vs. the interpretation in more liberal Moslem states. The fact that there is rule of law, any law is appreciated by the populace.

Modern Western societies will not condone the carrying out of harsh sentences in these circumstances: graphic photography, informed commentary and the mass communications market divide the populace and stifle the effort. Islamic populations, perhaps subject to less liberal media regulation but more probably through an understanding of a different reality that is their experience, are prepared to have their colonisers succeed through harsh punishment of law breakers.

So the law you put in place has to work: given the dynamics of the law in western nations over the last decade, *laissez faire an' all that *****, it's hardly surprising that the attempt has failed to grab the hearts and minds of a populace that, for all it's problems and woes, actually has a choice about what sort of law they would have, and know that the quality of their lives depends on that choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Modern Western societies will not condone the carrying out of harsh sentences in these circumstances: graphic photography, informed commentary and the mass communications market divide the populace and stifle the effort. Islamic populations, perhaps subject to less liberal media regulation but more probably through an understanding of a different reality that is their experience, are prepared to have their colonisers succeed through harsh punishment of law breakers.

I seem to sense a certain amount of assumption that "the West" has got it right on law and order and that. I dont' think the general population of Western countries has much say as it is pressure groups and "enlightened politicos" who control what actually happens in most countries.

A Gallup International poll from 2000 said that "Worldwide support was expressed in favor of the death penalty, with just more than half (52%) indicating that they were in favour of this form of punishment." A number of other polls and studies

have been done in recent years with various results

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not so much whether you get the death penalty or not. It's whether or not you can expect justice according to a reasonably transparent set of rules and regardless of your personal wealth or status. Having a 'cleric' judge things may not be ideal, but it may be more objective than having judgement by a law graduate whose clan owes some favour to the defendant or plaintiff.

Incidentally, the Australians had a lot of success in Baidoa, Somalia, by ressurecting the Somali penal code from the 1960s and the institutions thereunder. Everyone understood it and it enabled the capture and execution of bandit elements that were making everyone's life hell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did not know that. A good example indeed. I think certainty under the law is a lot easier on society than explaining about special cases/pleading etc. The treatment of rich junkies compared to poor springs to mind.

And as for wealthy corporate rip-off merchants compared to a shoplifter ..! The difference in many western countries is not that its morally wrong but what can I get away with compared to the penalty possibilities - and this is very true of white-collar crime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And it's certainty under their law, which is important because there is no sense of it being imposed by outsiders. In the Somalia example, the court, the judges, even the prison were Somali. All the Aussies did was assist in the actual capture of the gangs. The Somali community then disposed of them. Quite a handy symbiosis!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...