Afghan reality.

#1
Under the Afghan sun, a dark new reality is taking shape
Simon Jenkins(Sunday Times)

The British deployment to Helmand, in southern Afghanistan, makes no sense and visiting Kabul has only made me sure of it. This is quite different from Iraq, where the British Army is embarked on a delicate exercise of extraction.

Helmand is an exercise of insertion and has already cost a British life. About £1 billion is being spent on a base in the desert. Nobody in London or Kabul can offer a clear mission statement for the 3,300 soldiers garrisoning it, only implausible remarks about “establishing the preconditions for nation building”.

At least American policy had clarity. As Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor make plain in Cobra II, their recent study of the war on terror, to Washington Afghanistan was never like Iraq. It was not about neocon nation building but was a hunt to find Osama Bin Laden, “albeit with the wrong search party”. Once a puppet ruler had been found in Hamid Karzai, America was happy to dump the job of propping him up on Britain and others. It even abandoned poppy eradication as a reward to the drug lords for their (temporary) support. The policy was cynical but it was a policy: punch hard and get out.

Full article here:- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2088-2230703,00.html
 
#4
hansvonhealing said:
They must be like the Americans then, they are willing to fight to the last British soldier....
Crap!!! Hans one of these days you should give some serious thought to extracting your head from your arrse.
 
#5
The AMericans are taking huge casualties in Iraq and a fair amount in Afghanistan. We are just a sideshow to them - this idea that they are using us as cannon fodder is tripe.
 
#6
There is no sense to what we're doing in Afghanistan. Our two aims - turn it into a "proper" country, and stop drug production are mutually exclusive - and both are also impossible to achieve.

It is not, and has never been a nation state in the western sense. It harks back to the Eastern empires of old in that it is a loose confederation of different groupings that co-exist and where the "leader" only leads as long as he doesn't do anything to offend anyone. The current Aghan PM is in terms of power the Mayor of Kabul - and as the riots have shown his writ there is shaky. Who guards him ? Not Afghans, but mercenaries. He is maintained in power solely by Western money and troops. Yet we persist in the delusion that a few years of patronising interference can do what took a thousand years or more in the West.

Drugs are the only thing that makes money in Afghanistan. It forms the majority of GDP. Without it most would starve. And the organisations that sell it on have lots of money, ready access to arms and no morals whatsoever. They will happily arm anyone who wishes to resist us, and given that no poppy = no food for most of the locals that'll be a lot of people. More likely though is that the "representatives of the Afghan Govt" advising us will target a few token areas of poppy owned by their business rivals while theirs flourish. The British Army acting as drug enforcers, not what I expected but what we will be doing.
 
#7
There is that as a question.

If we stop drug production, what will they grow instead. It is hardly the best place to grow marrows is it?
 
#8
Probably an urban myth, but I keep hearing that its cheaper to buy up all the smack, rather than deploy our army for 1 year*






(*That said, any porridgewog regiment would just snort their way through it)
 
#9
Xenophon said:
hansvonhealing said:
They must be like the Americans then, they are willing to fight to the last British soldier....
Crap!!! Hans one of these days you should give some serious thought to extracting your head from your arrse.
..at least it is still capable of thinking for itself - I suggest you read the last paragraph above, ''Once a puppet ruler had been found in Hamid Karzai, America was happy to dump the job of propping him up on Britain and others. In other words, the Americans are getting out, leaving it to us.
Your head must be up someone else's arrse if you think thats a good thing for us.
 
#10
Probably an urban myth, but I keep hearing that its cheaper to buy up all the smack, rather than deploy our army for 1 year*
I'd be keen to find out the truth in that, we could say that we were helping build their economy too! On a serious note though they're after a permanent solution.

Ref: Us being cannon fodder, I dont think thats fair. Bagdad is no walk in the park and the US have lost a hell of a lot more men than we have.
 
#11
I don't think anyone's buying the "establishing the conditions for nation building" - but delete "nation building" and insert "power base for western nations" and you might be closer to the mark. There may actually be sound reasons for doing the latter - removal of pit of vipers and replace with pit bulls would benefit all of us indirectly.

But to do this by trying to create a democracy is a mission doomed to failure - if you want to control that region economically and politically I'm sure there are far smarter ways of going about it than trying to create a democracy. You can even create something that isn't a democracy but still brings freedom of expression, rights for women and a non-religious based educational structure. These conditions are probably the most hostile for religious extremists.
 
#12
I agree with the above,

I think the democracy building is a bad way to go about creating stability in Afghanistan. What we should be doing is taking the political and cultural system of tribal chiefs and regional tribal warlords and working with it rather than attempting to overpower it with our own western democratic values. The average Afghan isn't going to give a shit, but as long as we get the provincial elders and warlords on board then we could have this country sewn up for our needs and let them crack on with running themselves the way they did long before the Taliban.
 
#13
moving-target-survivor said:
Probably an urban myth, but I keep hearing that its cheaper to buy up all the smack, rather than deploy our army for 1 year*






(*That said, any porridgewog regiment would just snort their way through it)

Surely we good by their opium for the NHS you know as an anaesthetic.

It would mean no trade of heroin for the hippies and terrorists here in the west.

Plus Britain would be seen as heros by the Afghan country folk, not as oppressors
goin to wreck their cash crop.
 
#14
hansvonhealing said:
Xenophon said:
hansvonhealing said:
They must be like the Americans then, they are willing to fight to the last British soldier....
Crap!!! Hans one of these days you should give some serious thought to extracting your head from your arrse.
..at least it is still capable of thinking for itself - I suggest you read the last paragraph above, ''Once a puppet ruler had been found in Hamid Karzai, America was happy to dump the job of propping him up on Britain and others. In other words, the Americans are getting out, leaving it to us.
Your head must be up someone else's arrse if you think thats a good thing for us.
Which 'us' are you talking about? The British Army? The country in general? Whether we like it or not and one has to assume that because the current government was re-elected only about 12 months ago - well over 3 years into the GWOT - the country in general approved of the foreign policy decisions of that the government made in relation to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Or at least did not disagree with them enough to vote them out of office. The British Army and the armed forces in general are instruments of policy. They are deployed in accordance with policy decisons agreed between the government and our allies. If we are in this Coalition we should not expect to cherry pick the missions that suit us although I think we can do that to a certain extent. I for one do not want to be associated with a view that we are 'fair-weather' allies.

When you do remove the obstruction in your rectum think about this. If you are in the forces you should leave if you disagree with how we are used then go into politics and try and make a difference there. If you are not serving you should still go into politics. If you do choose to do this I think you need to sharpen up your populist rhetoric to the point where anyone with the IQ greater than that of an amoeba can take what you are saying seriously.
 
#15
Xenophon said:
hansvonhealing said:
Xenophon said:
hansvonhealing said:
They must be like the Americans then, they are willing to fight to the last British soldier....
Crap!!! Hans one of these days you should give some serious thought to extracting your head from your arrse.
..at least it is still capable of thinking for itself - I suggest you read the last paragraph above, ''Once a puppet ruler had been found in Hamid Karzai, America was happy to dump the job of propping him up on Britain and others. In other words, the Americans are getting out, leaving it to us.
Your head must be up someone else's arrse if you think thats a good thing for us.
Which 'us' are you talking about? The British Army? The country in general? Whether we like it or not and one has to assume that because the current government was re-elected only about 12 months ago - well over 3 years into the GWOT - the country in general approved of the foreign policy decisions of that the government made in relation to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Or at least did not disagree with them enough to vote them out of office. The British Army and the armed forces in general are instruments of policy. They are deployed in accordance with policy decisons agreed between the government and our allies. If we are in this Coalition we should not expect to cherry pick the missions that suit us although I think we can do that to a certain extent. I for one do not want to be associated with a view that we are 'fair-weather' allies.

When you do remove the obstruction in your rectum think about this. If you are in the forces you should leave if you disagree with how we are used then go into politics and try and make a difference there. If you are not serving you should still go into politics. If you do choose to do this I think you need to sharpen up your populist rhetoric to the point where anyone with the IQ greater than that of an amoeba can take what you are saying seriously.
To boil down your long-winded and, frankly, pompous tirade to its basic thrust, 'ours is not to reason why etc....' Frankly, if that was the case, ARRSE would be empty of opinion. Are you saying that we, serving soldiers or not, must keep our opinions to ourselves and slavishly follow our masters bidding in THOUGHT as well as action?
You may agree with Government policy in Afghanistan but to throw infantile insults at anyone who disagrees with you shows a deep insecurity and a complete contempt for the democracy you profess to hold so dear.
 
#16
It would seem to me that many of the problems being encountered now in the "rebuilding/creation of democracy" in Afghanistan and Iraq are as a direct result of some pretty shaky decisions made a few years back, regarding rushing troops into those areas, by certain individuals in power. There seemed to be a very gung-ho attitude then that has unfortunately been maintained by those same individuals so as not to appear to "lose" in the world media spotlight.

There is an equally strong face saving at all costs culture on both sides. Much of the decision making now would appear to be driven by "what do the polls/papers say?" This really is not the best environment in which to have a sensible, rational discourse. I realise hindsight is a wonderful thing but at the time things were being put into place there were many calling for caution, common sense and constructive future planning after intervention in the regions so that some things happening now may have been avoided.

There is a different mind set in the ME to the West and it has its own intrinsic value to those that hold it, whether we agree with it as individuals or not. Attempting to foist something that may not be entirely workable, due to the economic or cultural climate, onto an unwilling populace without regard for the outcome long term is really not the most sensible thing. I do not know what the answer is to fix it all right away. I wish I did. The West only really has two realistic choices that I can see - stay and help or leave and watch what happens. Much as I would like to see no further loss of military personnel, or need to deploy to the region, I think the alternative would see an even greater loss of lives.
 
#17
The world has a shortage of Opium based analgesics, especially in the developing countries.

Licence the growing, buy it off the Afghans, corner the market from the Drug Lords so the stuff doesn't end up on our British streets.......... then get DfID to 'donate' the crop to Africa instead of giving them our tax pounds - Jobs a good 'un.

Win Win situation.
 
#18
Bomb Doctor,

I do so wish you would stop talking sense :D

Actually, either MSR or Awol started a thread on this vexing question , which is in the archives somewhere.
 
#20
hansvonhealing said:
Xenophon said:
hansvonhealing said:
Xenophon said:
hansvonhealing said:
They must be like the Americans then, they are willing to fight to the last British soldier....
Crap!!! Hans one of these days you should give some serious thought to extracting your head from your arrse.
..at least it is still capable of thinking for itself - I suggest you read the last paragraph above, ''Once a puppet ruler had been found in Hamid Karzai, America was happy to dump the job of propping him up on Britain and others. In other words, the Americans are getting out, leaving it to us.
Your head must be up someone else's arrse if you think thats a good thing for us.
Which 'us' are you talking about? The British Army? The country in general? Whether we like it or not and one has to assume that because the current government was re-elected only about 12 months ago - well over 3 years into the GWOT - the country in general approved of the foreign policy decisions of that the government made in relation to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Or at least did not disagree with them enough to vote them out of office. The British Army and the armed forces in general are instruments of policy. They are deployed in accordance with policy decisons agreed between the government and our allies. If we are in this Coalition we should not expect to cherry pick the missions that suit us although I think we can do that to a certain extent. I for one do not want to be associated with a view that we are 'fair-weather' allies.

When you do remove the obstruction in your rectum think about this. If you are in the forces you should leave if you disagree with how we are used then go into politics and try and make a difference there. If you are not serving you should still go into politics. If you do choose to do this I think you need to sharpen up your populist rhetoric to the point where anyone with the IQ greater than that of an amoeba can take what you are saying seriously.
To boil down your long-winded and, frankly, pompous tirade to its basic thrust, 'ours is not to reason why etc....' Frankly, if that was the case, ARRSE would be empty of opinion. Are you saying that we, serving soldiers or not, must keep our opinions to ourselves and slavishly follow our masters bidding in THOUGHT as well as action?
You may agree with Government policy in Afghanistan but to throw infantile insults at anyone who disagrees with you shows a deep insecurity and a complete contempt for the democracy you profess to hold so dear.
Hans what I think is not really relevant. My opinion as a serving member of the Army will have fcuk all impact on the policies of the government of this country. I expess it to those whom I think might appreciate it but I have never imagined it would make a difference. If you think your opinions will make a difference then as I said get into politics - the Army is not the place. Funnily enough what you think isn't important in the Army, certainly when it comes to matters of national policy - just so long as you do as you are told. In the military environment what matters more is the HOW and the WHY we do what we are told. You launched this thread on based your own opinion - good enough - if you think it will make any difference to our (national) position in Afghanistan then think again.
As to the quote from Tennyson do you honestly think that it has been any other way? Come on!! You join - you do what you are told. If you don't like it then leave. You should thank whoever that you live in a society that allows you to do that. That is democracy. You do not have to follow our masters slavishly - you do not have to agree with them - you vote with your feet.

If you feel insulted - fair enough I meant to insult you. But only because your very simplistic view of the role of the armed forces in a democratic society seems to assume that we have rights that clearly do not exist. Pompous? Very possibly - but at least I have a realistic take on what you give up by signing up to be a member of an instrument of national policy. Clearly you do not. I revise my opinion of you - you are probably not dim but you should grow up!
 

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