Afghanistan - What did we actually gain?

I'm in France - that's my excuse!
I hope you're firmly in the role of occupier :)

BTW, i just got a system notification that one of my posts this evening was deleted on grounds of 'lay off the ad hominems'

Since @Caecilius hasn't reported our last exchange on that line, and since my most recent advice re. @ChrisR has been deleted, I can only conclude that my suspicions are correct: he's a Lance Colonel Of Horse formerly of the Loamshires, with extensive operational experience (unspecified) in theatres unnamed . . :)
 
I presume Stonker's just been sent to Coventry?
 
Wrong. But then it's much less taxing to play the man and not the ball. Hence why it's become the default for you and @Bubbles_Barker

Much easier to claim someone is a 'never served civvy' than produce coherent argument.
Nail on head
ARRSE is populated by various cohorts and gaggles who like to pontificate without challenge. If you do they gang up with standard insults as to why you are unqualified to comment.
 
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Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
. . . the best argument would involve the demonstration of tangible progress towards clearly defined goals, agreed ahead of time between commanders and government.

That is, assuming you hold it to be the the duty of military commanders to argue the case for continuing a campaign with no clear purpose, and too few resources.

Personally, I'm of the view that their first duty was to ensure that the first principle of war was rigorously observed from the get-go.

Maybe that's just me :)
It's an interesting question about whether you can always rigorously observe the first principle of war or whether you sometimes need to be more flexible. There's a thread on it somewhere.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Quite.

Edited to add: I keep rereading your post and I'm still unsure as to whether to laugh or cry.
I'm struggling to understand whether your line about a leaving date being a time check is serious or not.

Assuming it wasn't a joke, can you please explain how an easy-to-set leave date is remotely relevant to the subject of setting clear time checks during the campaign to measure progress and thereby persuade politicians to continue?
 
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Edited to add: (or should it be Chrissynote) I believe it's a well established issue that VSOs (and Commanders at all levels) have tended to ask for resources that they 'feel the market can bear'.
A point well made @ChrisR and one that I witnessed first hand in PJHQ. If you look at any list of top reasons why projects fail, you will find that failure to secure / commit the right resources at the right time will be always there. Making do with what you are given can be a meritorious trait at junior levels, but it is a recipe for disaster at the operational and strategic level.
It's a matter of opinion as to whether you think that or pure military advice is their job.
Is it a matter of opinion? It is the commander who has the executive role and where the buck should stop. Surely he is the only person who can be responsible for securing the right resources for a venture and, if he can't secure them, adjusting the plan to allow for what has been allocated. And adjusting the plan because of lack of resources (cost) means one or more of two things; taking longer (time) or doing less (quality).

It ain't rocket science and it ain't some MBA business geekery. We make time / cost / quality compromises in our life every day.
 
I'm struggling to understand whether your line about a leaving date being a time check is serious or not.

Assuming it wasn't a joke, can you please explain how an easy-to-set leave date is remotely relevant to the subject of setting clear time checks during the campaign to measure progress and thereby persuade politicians to continue?
Well, struggle on. I see a politically stated end date as the last in line of your time checks. I can't see how you could view it differently but we'll agree to disagree. This from US doctrine:

"Military End State. Military end state is the set of required conditions that defines achievement of all military objectives. It normally represents a point in time and/or circumstances beyond which the President does not require the military instrument of national power as the primary means to achieve remaining national objectives."

In my opinion a 'leave date' isn't remotely easy to set even if you're doing your job properly.
 
In my opinion a 'leave date' isn't remotely easy to set even if you're doing your job properly.
I'd say trying to identify an end state of any kind earlyn on in a COIN operation is pretty difficult and probably meaningless. Sure, one can have a strategic vision of what the end state might look like, when it might be possible and what you might need to commit to achieve it,, But, in reality, you have no real way of knowing whether it is possible.

So you need iterative management tools and techniques and effects e risk identification and management.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Well, struggle on. I see a politically stated end date as the last in line of your time checks. I can't see how you could view it differently but we'll agree to disagree. This from US doctrine:

"Military End State. Military end state is the set of required conditions that defines achievement of all military objectives. It normally represents a point in time and/or circumstances beyond which the President does not require the military instrument of national power as the primary means to achieve remaining national objectives."

In my opinion a 'leave date' isn't remotely easy to set even if you're doing your job properly.
Indeed. We didn't achieve an end state though, not least because the campaign is ongoing. We also didn't do our job properly by setting an appropriate end date.

What we did is decide we and the US were leaving (mostly) in 2014 because POTUS said so, then cut and ran on that date. The same thing happened in Iraq with the US mission.
 
What we did is decide we and the US were leaving (mostly) in 2014 because POTUS said so, then cut and ran on that date. The same thing happened in Iraq with the US mission.
The headline is true but it over-simplifies the political reality that both public support and support in the houses for the Afghanistan campaign was waning.

Obama made it clear in his 2012 election campaign that he would seek an exit during his second term. There was a political imperative to distance himself from Bush's wars. The situation in the UK was similar.

Neither government could continue to justify continued vast expenditure on unqualified, slow progress.
 
To kickstart the thread back
down a previous line of inquiry, the author of the thread linked below, proposes that ( among other points)association with the US way of doing things, has eroded any concept of Mission command, especially the value of the Strategic Corporal. Decision making rests at 2*+ and ministerial levs.
He is not positive about recent changes to doctrine not the next peer on peer encounter.
I wonder if he has an Arrse username.....

Mission Command; The Fall of the Strategic Corporal; the Rise of the Tactical Minister

Keeping MMCC on time and target
 

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