In the fog, remember: victory is impossible in Afghanistan

#1
The devil is not in the detail. The devil is in the whole damn thing.

So take a look at the whole damn thing; see that occupying Afghanistan was a mistake; then close your mind to further argument or entreaty; because of argument and entreaty there will be no lack, but it will never be conclusive; and in the end we will have to decide. We must harden our hearts against this beautiful country and these handsome, noble, crazy people; and all the rest is noise.

Matthew Parris on the money again: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article6632876.ece

msr
 
#2
His idea that we can do nothing is rather indicative of the whole political atmosphere in Britain, which knows little and cares less about Afghanistan.


At least some people, i.e., Rory Stewart, have the bollox to not only admit that Afghanistan was a mistake but also to say that we are more than capable of making it work if we pull our collective fingers out, rather than rolling over and waiting to be fcuked by the Taliban and the Afghan governement.

http://www.scotsman.com/afghanistan/Walking-tall--Rory-Stewart.4176794.jp
 
#3
Rory Stewart - admirable & talented fellow, no doubt, but also a throwback to a bygone age when Britain (and notably Scots) really did run a fifth of the World. IMO, he's a romantic. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but...?!

Matthew Parris - an equally admirable & talented fellow, and I suspect rather more realistic in his appraisal of the current situation/ likely outcome in Afghanistan.

As I see it, Afghanistan is hugely different from Iraq - where a combination of massive American bribes, Persian political machinations, political & economic self-interests of a predominantly urban, literate/ technically sophisticated population, and a largely cosmetic "surge" just MAY have established a rough stability; time will tell. Afghanistan, however, seems to have extremely limited potential for creation of any form of long term political stability: it's nothing more than a geographical construction; has never experienced coherent government except when imposed by an external power, and the population has been conditioned over centuries to accept whichever power prevails in a given locale at a particular time.

The US led "surge" will, I'm sure, prevail, but then what? How long before there's a "drawdown" of forces? There's no way any American President is going to commit to a 50 year presence in sufficient strength to really bring about fundamental change. Local warlords, tribal leaders, the Taliban et al understand this, and will play their long games, deriving whatever benefits they can from the American presence, and when the time comes... it'll be game on again.

We should get out now - stop kidding ourselves that there's anything worth investing more lives & treasure in.
 
#4
I will now make a prophesy.

Some time after the General Election, but not too long after, the Conservative government (if they get in, because there is the slightest of chances that they might not) will announce that we are withdrawing from Afghanistan and a little time after that a massive (10% perhaps??) cut in Defence spending.

Paris is the Tories animal, spreading despondancy in front of those announcements.
 
#5
msr said:
The devil is not in the detail. The devil is in the whole damn thing.

So take a look at the whole damn thing; see that occupying Afghanistan was a mistake; then close your mind to further argument or entreaty; because of argument and entreaty there will be no lack, but it will never be conclusive; and in the end we will have to decide. We must harden our hearts against this beautiful country and these handsome, noble, crazy people; and all the rest is noise.

Matthew Parris on the money again: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article6632876.ece

msr
Thank Christ people like you are kept out of the command loop.
 
#6
parapauk said:
msr said:
The devil is not in the detail. The devil is in the whole damn thing.

So take a look at the whole damn thing; see that occupying Afghanistan was a mistake; then close your mind to further argument or entreaty; because of argument and entreaty there will be no lack, but it will never be conclusive; and in the end we will have to decide. We must harden our hearts against this beautiful country and these handsome, noble, crazy people; and all the rest is noise.

Matthew Parris on the money again: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article6632876.ece

msr
Thank Christ people like you are kept out of the command loop.
why? does understanding the bigger picture mess it up?
 
#7
msr said:
The devil is not in the detail. The devil is in the whole damn thing.

So take a look at the whole damn thing; see that occupying Afghanistan was a mistake; then close your mind to further argument or entreaty; because of argument and entreaty there will be no lack, but it will never be conclusive; and in the end we will have to decide. We must harden our hearts against this beautiful country and these handsome, noble, crazy people; and all the rest is noise.

Matthew Parris on the money again: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article6632876.ece

msr
Exactly the kind of beautifully closed minded sentiment which underlies the rest of the article and makes this peice stand out from Paris's unsually first class output.

The impression I get is that he has no solid arguments about faliure in afghanistan (as there are none, just the same non-empirical arguments which underlie the pro-invasion case) and has therefore resorted, by necessity, to suggesting that the mechanism is wrong and therefore the whole situation is wrong. Sadly, his conclusion does not follow the rest of his article and is the result of some fairly deranged reasoning.

I'm not saying that he's wrong (although I believe that he is) but that the article is nothing but incoherent bumf.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#8
Northern Ireland

Area: 5,463miles sq
Popln: 1.5million

Troop levels: average over the courese of the troubles c. 20,000+ (less auxilaries)


Helmand Provinnce:

Area: 58,584 miles sq:
Popln.: 740,000
Troop levels: c. 7,000 (average) (current 8,300),Less auxilialries

1st Afghan campaign saw 4,500 troops slain on the retreat from Kabul under Elhinstone

2nd Afgahn Campaign:

40,000 troops (achieved our objectives ish)

3rd Afghan Campaign:

8 divisions (acieved objectives ish)



Russian Occupation:

c. 190,000 troops (kicked out)

Jan 2009 Isaf Troop Levels:

55,000+


This is our fourth Afghan War, have our politicians learned from history?
No!!!!!!!

If there is any real reason why we are failing in Afghanistan, or can be accused of failing in Iraq is because we were not given the political support, or freedom or assest that we required from our govt.

What we we have achieved with what we had was amazing.

What we could have achieved with what we deserved & needed would have been magnificent.

Edited for drunken spelling.
 
#10
Sheffield87 said:
Right or wrong. The military are doing their job...
No. Rightly or wrongly the military are putting a plaster on a gunshot wound.

Even spectacular results during skirmishes and contacts with several taliban killed in each really means naff all on the grand scheme of things. The Russians tonked them left right and centre hundereds of times and they were still eventually forced to reverse out keeping an eye open as the left.

In order to win The allied forces need to regain the positive lead they had on things in 2002 when the OMF and Taliban were on the back foot. They need to smash any rebellion back into the stoneage and then we need to commit troops and assets to the region to support political and economic growth. Only then will we truly be in a position to get on the plane and sod off without fear of being shot down before we cross the borders.

Unlike what has happened in Iraq where we have bugged out claiming life is lovely there as the car bombs in the markets start to go boom all over again and the suicide bombers start saying hello to Iraqi and US Security forces. Oh but if the world asks we won and its all fine now... Shhh!
 
#11
Closet_Jibber said:
Sheffield87 said:
Right or wrong. The military are doing their job...
No. Rightly or wrongly the military are putting a plaster on a gunshot wound.

Even spectacular results during skirmishes and contacts with several taliban killed in each really means naff all on the grand scheme of things. The Russians tonked them left right and centre hundereds of times and they were still eventually forced to reverse out keeping an eye open as the left.

In order to win The allied forces need to regain the positive lead they had on things in 2002 when the OMF and Taliban were on the back foot. They need to smash any rebellion back into the stoneage and then we need to commit troops and assets to the region to support political and economic growth. Only then will we truly be in a position to get on the plane and sod off without fear of being shot down before we cross the borders.

Unlike what has happened in Iraq where we have bugged out claiming life is lovely there as the car bombs in the markets start to go boom all over again and the suicide bombers start saying hello to Iraqi and US Security forces. Oh but if the world asks we won and its all fine now... Shhh!
You have a very valid point. But do you not understand what i mean? Can't blame it on the brit mil
:)
:) :)
 
#13
I get your point but I don't think the governments that have sent troops off to go and get blown up should be allowed to get away with doing a half arrsed job of it. It destroys the reputation of our armed forces and seriously damages morale (When you consider the "Tactical Withdrawal" from Basra).

The Boys and Girls may get on with the job but if there is no point in them being there then lets just do one sooner rather than later. If they are serious about it then lets start treating it like a war. Lets start throwing money at the services and lets get the job done properly, even if it means we can only show big brother for 6 nights a week instead of 7 in order to save up for a new set of webbing.
 
#14
You have got a very fair point. But at the end of the day our troops have no say in where they go and what they are asked to do. At the end of the day people join the army etc and therefore are under orders. It ain't there fault where they go and do.
If anyone is to blame its the government....they have made mistakes before and (im sure) they will make mistakes again...
:cry:
 
#15
quiller said:
parapauk said:
msr said:
The devil is not in the detail. The devil is in the whole damn thing.

So take a look at the whole damn thing; see that occupying Afghanistan was a mistake; then close your mind to further argument or entreaty; because of argument and entreaty there will be no lack, but it will never be conclusive; and in the end we will have to decide. We must harden our hearts against this beautiful country and these handsome, noble, crazy people; and all the rest is noise.

Matthew Parris on the money again: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article6632876.ece

msr
Thank Christ people like you are kept out of the command loop.
why? does understanding the bigger picture mess it up?
I refer you to Jew_Unit's post.
 
#16
It depends on how you define victory.

The problem with both Iraq and Afghanistan is that we did not have clear objectives when we started and mission creep has now got us to a stage where anything other than a fully westernised Afghanistan is seen as failure.

We need to identify what we really need to achieve and work towards that, ignoring all the “nice to have” extras.
 
#17
parapauk said:
quiller said:
parapauk said:
msr said:
The devil is not in the detail. The devil is in the whole damn thing.

So take a look at the whole damn thing; see that occupying Afghanistan was a mistake; then close your mind to further argument or entreaty; because of argument and entreaty there will be no lack, but it will never be conclusive; and in the end we will have to decide. We must harden our hearts against this beautiful country and these handsome, noble, crazy people; and all the rest is noise.

Matthew Parris on the money again: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article6632876.ece

msr
Thank Christ people like you are kept out of the command loop.
why? does understanding the bigger picture mess it up?
I refer you to Jew_Unit's post.
Me personally, or Matthew Parris?

I refer you to Maj (Retd) Little: http://www.rusi.org/downloads/assets/Journal_Little.pdf

msr
 
#18
jew_unit said:
msr said:
The devil is not in the detail. The devil is in the whole damn thing.

So take a look at the whole damn thing; see that occupying Afghanistan was a mistake; then close your mind to further argument or entreaty; because of argument and entreaty there will be no lack, but it will never be conclusive; and in the end we will have to decide. We must harden our hearts against this beautiful country and these handsome, noble, crazy people; and all the rest is noise.

Matthew Parris on the money again: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article6632876.ece

msr
Exactly the kind of beautifully closed minded sentiment which underlies the rest of the article and makes this peice stand out from Paris's unsually first class output.

The impression I get is that he has no solid arguments about faliure in afghanistan (as there are none, just the same non-empirical arguments which underlie the pro-invasion case) and has therefore resorted, by necessity, to suggesting that the mechanism is wrong and therefore the whole situation is wrong. Sadly, his conclusion does not follow the rest of his article and is the result of some fairly deranged reasoning.

I'm not saying that he's wrong (although I believe that he is) but that the article is nothing but incoherent bumf.
There are no solid arguments about success in Afghanistan either, just the occasional tactical military success on the battlefield.

After 8 years, doesn't the lack of 'success' suggest policy and strategic failings?

How long must the military bleed in the strategic quicksand whilst the policymakers refuse to accept any criticism and cross fingers that a miracle will appear to radically change the picture in their favour.

Although I do agree on the incoherent bumf part. :)
 
#19
parapauk said:
msr said:
The devil is not in the detail. The devil is in the whole damn thing.

So take a look at the whole damn thing; see that occupying Afghanistan was a mistake; then close your mind to further argument or entreaty; because of argument and entreaty there will be no lack, but it will never be conclusive; and in the end we will have to decide. We must harden our hearts against this beautiful country and these handsome, noble, crazy people; and all the rest is noise.

Matthew Parris on the money again: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article6632876.ece

msr
Thank Christ people like you are kept out of the command loop.
God save us from people like you currently in the command loop.
 
#20
The debate is irrelevant. UK foreign policy at the moment is to mimic the US without question. The US will be out of AFG in a year or two and therefore so will we. This "surge" is merely a prelude to popping smoke, redefining victory and running for the doors -it worked in Iraq after all.

There is absolutely no benefit to the US to mire themselves down in AFG; the real threats to their hegemony lie elsewhere (Russia, China, Mexico etc). Bogging the US military down in AFG means they have to make concessions as they lack a credible intervention capability.
 

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