UK Socialists Predict "More Slaughter" With Surge In Aghan

#1
I am posting this to provide more insight into the various viewpoints in the UK and US about Afghanistan. I do not endorse the group or the article.

Afghan ‘super-surge’ means more slaughter

Barack Obama may have won the Nobel Peace Prize last week, but his war in Afghanistan and Pakistan is going disastrously, writes Simon Assaf

A series of deadly bomb attacks in Pakistan and demands from the US military for a “super surge” in Afghanistan underline the growing instability as the “war on terror” enters its ninth year.

Pakistan is now experiencing an “American problem” in the tribal regions that were overrun by Pakistani troops earlier this year.

The successful offensive in the Swat Valley, a strategically vital region north of the capital Islamabad, has become a bloody quagmire for the Pakistani army.

Insurgents have targeted military convoys with a series of deadly roadside bombs.

They have also unleashed an offensive with a high profile raid on Pakistani army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

The raid led to the unprecedented statement by Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, who declared that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons stockpile was “safe”.

Now the US is desperately pumping in some $7.5 billion to shore up the Pakistan’s ailing economy.

Meanwhile, US troops have retreated from a key province in eastern Afghanistan one week after a mass attack by insurgents overran two bases.

Local fighters are said to have raised their flag over the bases in Kamdesh, a key outpost along the border with Pakistan.

The withdrawal from the strategic mountainous region has become a key plank of a new strategy set out by General Stanley McChrystal.

The new US commander wants to pull all occupation troops back to urban areas in a move that seriously undermines the “Af-Pak” strategy set out by Barack Obama.

Insurgents

That strategy sought to trap insurgents between occupation troops in Afghanistan and the Pakistani army in the south.

McChrystal’s move does not signal the end of the violence, but is a prelude to a new “super surge”.

As news of Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize was announced last week, the US military demanded he deploy a further 60,000 US troops in Afghanistan.

This is on top of the 65,000 already in the country.

As Canada and other Nato countries set dates for the withdrawal of their troops, the pressure is mounting on the US and Britain to make up the deficit.

Gordon Brown has promised to send another 500 troops, even though there are severe pressures on the military.

But despite the growing number of British troops heading into the battlefields, the force is still too small to make a real impact on the growing insurgency.

Both the US and British armies are facing mounting losses in an increasingly bloody conflict.

The number of British troops seriously wounded in Afghanistan this year has already surpassed that for the whole of 2008.

Some 57 troops were badly injured in the first two weeks of July alone. Equipment is failing and weapons are jamming.

US troops are now complaining that their modern rifles can’t cope with the Afghan heat and dust.

According to some reports many of the soldiers killed in the battle of Kamdesh died after their rifles overheated.

The retreat from Kamdesh and other border areas comes on the eve of a major offensive by the Pakistani army on the restive border province of South Warizistan.

Afghan insurgents use South Waziristan as a safe haven to launch attacks on occupation forces.

Now there are fears that Pakistani insurgents are slipping into southern Afghanistan to escape the planned Pakistani army offensive.

http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=19274
 
#2
jumpinjarhead said:
Afghan insurgents use South Waziristan as a safe haven to launch attacks on occupation forces.

Now there are fears that Pakistani insurgents are slipping into southern Afghanistan to escape the planned Pakistani army offensive.
My bold. What will that do? Yes, it will push the militants out for a few weeks and then as the Pakistani Army withdraw, they'll move straight back in.
 
#3
JJH:

Thanks for the post. Interesting article from that point of view. I did note that they said:

Gordon Brown has promised to send another 500 troops, even though there are severe pressures on the military.
Clearly there is a lot of pressure on the UK forces due to repeated deployments and deploying 500 more will increase the pressure.

However, an increase in US forces deployed, whether it is 20,000, 40,000 or 80,000 will cause major pressure on the US Army and Marine Corps who already are experiencing some retention problems due to the repeated deployments. Senior NCO's getting close to their 20 will probably stay in but many NCO's who are not that close to a pension may well opt for a job where they see their family every night and nobody shoots at them.

If I recall correctly, Clinton reduced the Army from about 750,00 active and a similar number in reserves and NG to just under 500,000. It has crept up to about 520,000 and Gates has said the active Army will increase by another 20,000. This number will be a drop in the bucket and does little to repair the damage Clinton did to the military with his ~30% cuts.

Jarhead, I presume the USMC, a smaller service, took similar cuts under Clinton but you might have the answer to that.

There are limits to what the US soldier or the British soldier will put up with before they opt for a civilian job.

If GEN McChrystal gets the surge he is asking for I hope they act to increase the sizes of the services involved. If they don't they could be driving out the NCO's and junior officers who are the future of the services.
 
#4
DavidBOC said:
JJH:

Thanks for the post. Interesting article from that point of view. I did note that they said:

Gordon Brown has promised to send another 500 troops, even though there are severe pressures on the military.
Clearly there is a lot of pressure on the UK forces due to repeated deployments and deploying 500 more will increase the pressure.

However, an increase in US forces deployed, whether it is 20,000, 40,000 or 80,000 will cause major pressure on the US Army and Marine Corps who already are experiencing some retention problems due to the repeated deployments. Senior NCO's getting close to their 20 will probably stay in but many NCO's who are not that close to a pension may well opt for a job where they see their family every night and nobody shoots at them.

If I recall correctly, Clinton reduced the Army from about 750,00 active and a similar number in reserves and NG to just under 500,000. It has crept up to about 520,000 and Gates has said the active Army will increase by another 20,000. This number will be a drop in the bucket and does little to repair the damage Clinton did to the military with his ~30% cuts.

Jarhead, I presume the USMC, a smaller service, took similar cuts under Clinton but you might have the answer to that.

There are limits to what the US soldier or the British soldier will put up with before they opt for a civilian job.

If GEN McChrystal gets the surge he is asking for I hope they act to increase the sizes of the services involved. If they don't they could be driving out the NCO's and junior officers who are the future of the services.
Excellent points. Indeed we took some hits under Willie Boy but I do not recall them being as severe percentage wise as the army. I am hearing more and more about the loss of NCOs and seasoned young officers due partly to the op tempo but more so apparently from a sense that the Iraq and Afghanistan efforts will be shut down as soon as our current masters can figure out a way to do it and save face at the same time. To some extent then I suppose some are deciding to move on to other pursuits rather than risk being the last one to die in either place.
 

Andy_S

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
Socialist Worker is running more credibly written articles than it did when I was a student. They may have a point: Putting more troops in MIGHT just exacerbate hostilities. OTOH, if those troops manage to drive off the Taliban, hold the ground and damp down the violence, that would permit reconstructoin, and the possible winning of hearts and minds.

But certainly, putting more and more troops into Vietnam only resulted in a conmensurate increase in deployment by the PAVN: The insurgency was smashed by 1968, but the war itself simply got bigger.

True, there is no People's Army of North Afghanistan sitting across a (largely inviolate) border, but in a society as tribal and xenophobic as Afghan, increasing numbers of foreigners (Franks, Infidels, etc) could, indeed, drive more people or sub-tribes into the arms of the Taliban.
 
#6
Socialist Worker scum are in bed with their Muslim friends, you can trust them as far as you can trust their comrades in our government.

A surge would put a lot more eyes on the grouund and seriously hamper Terry's ability to operate, reduce their opportunities to move freely and plant IED's etc without the risk of getting the good news.

More troops will indeed lead to an increase in the slaughter... but I have no problem with dead Taliban, in fact they're my favorite kind.
 
#8
Let's look at alternative "predictions".

The Taliban is completely defeated. Afghanistan becomes a democratic country. Drugs production is stopped. Gay activists in Afghanistan are allowed to organise pride marches.
 
#9
KGB_resident said:
Let's look at alternative "predictions".

The Taliban is completely defeated. Afghanistan becomes a democratic country. Drugs production is stopped. Gay activists in Afghanistan are allowed to organise pride marches.
so far 1/4 - it is a democratic country. Now to work on the others...and by all accounts from those serving, :lol: the last has GOT to be next...
 
#10
BrokenArrow said:
jumpinjarhead said:
Afghan insurgents use South Waziristan as a safe haven to launch attacks on occupation forces.

Now there are fears that Pakistani insurgents are slipping into southern Afghanistan to escape the planned Pakistani army offensive.
My bold. What will that do? Yes, it will push the militants out for a few weeks and then as the Pakistani Army withdraw, they'll move straight back in.
Rather like what we've been achieving in Helmand?

It's not just Socialists predicting slaughter. It's an inevitable consequence of any increase in troops or offensive activity. I just hope we can keep the slaughter limited to the genuine bad-guys and leave the innocent civpop out of it.
 
B

benjaminw1

Guest
#11
mac1 said:
KGB_resident said:
Let's look at alternative "predictions".

The Taliban is completely defeated. Afghanistan becomes a democratic country. Drugs production is stopped. Gay activists in Afghanistan are allowed to organise pride marches.
so far 1/4 - it is a democratic country. Now to work on the others...and by all accounts from those serving, :lol: the last has GOT to be next...
Ho Ho! What like Cuba is a democratic country?
 
#12
KGB_resident said:
Let's look at alternative "predictions".

The Taliban is completely defeated. Afghanistan becomes a democratic country. Drugs production is stopped. Gay activists in Afghanistan are allowed to organise pride marches.
:lol: Thats the most accurate assessment I have heard about the place! Like the FSU we are pyssing in the wind with Afghanistan.
 
#13
benjaminw1 said:
mac1 said:
KGB_resident said:
Let's look at alternative "predictions".

The Taliban is completely defeated. Afghanistan becomes a democratic country. Drugs production is stopped. Gay activists in Afghanistan are allowed to organise pride marches.
so far 1/4 - it is a democratic country. Now to work on the others...and by all accounts from those serving, :lol: the last has GOT to be next...
Ho Ho! What like Cuba is a democratic country?
well, yeah, they have elections right? How they run them might not be quite up to Western standards, but you have to start somewhere
 
#14
benjaminw1 said:
mac1 said:
KGB_resident said:
Let's look at alternative "predictions".

The Taliban is completely defeated. Afghanistan becomes a democratic country. Drugs production is stopped. Gay activists in Afghanistan are allowed to organise pride marches.
so far 1/4 - it is a democratic country. Now to work on the others...and by all accounts from those serving, :lol: the last has GOT to be next...
Ho Ho! What like Cuba is a democratic country?
It is an irony Benjamin.
 
#15
DavidBOC said:
JJH:

Thanks for the post. Interesting article from that point of view. I did note that they said:

Gordon Brown has promised to send another 500 troops, even though there are severe pressures on the military.
Clearly there is a lot of pressure on the UK forces due to repeated deployments and deploying 500 more will increase the pressure.

However, an increase in US forces deployed, whether it is 20,000, 40,000 or 80,000 will cause major pressure on the US Army and Marine Corps who already are experiencing some retention problems due to the repeated deployments. Senior NCO's getting close to their 20 will probably stay in but many NCO's who are not that close to a pension may well opt for a job where they see their family every night and nobody shoots at them.

If I recall correctly, Clinton reduced the Army from about 750,00 active and a similar number in reserves and NG to just under 500,000. It has crept up to about 520,000 and Gates has said the active Army will increase by another 20,000. This number will be a drop in the bucket and does little to repair the damage Clinton did to the military with his ~30% cuts.

Jarhead, I presume the USMC, a smaller service, took similar cuts under Clinton but you might have the answer to that.

There are limits to what the US soldier or the British soldier will put up with before they opt for a civilian job.

If GEN McChrystal gets the surge he is asking for I hope they act to increase the sizes of the services involved. If they don't they could be driving out the NCO's and junior officers who are the future of the services.
From this side of the pond I am confused as to why Clinton gets castigated for taking the peace dividend yet Bush is not criticised for invading two countries in 8 years and making no significant increases in troop strength ? Surely the the American people would pay more taxes to recruit more soldiers - what better way to support the troops than to make sure they win, after all ? So why did Bush do nothing ?
 
#16
One_of_the_strange said:
From this side of the pond I am confused as to why Clinton gets castigated for taking the peace dividend yet Bush is not criticised for invading two countries in 8 years and making no significant increases in troop strength ? Surely the the American people would pay more taxes to recruit more soldiers - what better way to support the troops than to make sure they win, after all ? So why did Bush do nothing ?
I am no expert on this but the US did increase the Army and Marines.
I do think the Bush administration wanted to do these things "on the cheap" (relatively speaking)--remember the brouhaha after the initial assault into Iraq when things went pear shaped.

In the US the conventional wisdom at least until Obamamania set in, was that increasing taxes for anything is a political man trap (Bush Sr. found this out when his epic words "Read my lips, no new taxes" were played over and over in the campaign he lost because he did increase taxes (stark reminder that he was a republican not a conservative).

Given the very blase' attitude most Americans have about anything to do with national defense (one would never know we have 2 hot wars going on), I do not think any appeal based on national security will have a positive effect on public support for increasing taxes, especially fgiven the recession.

I suppose now with everything in DC framed in terms of multiple trillions of dollars, in a perverse way, defense may come out ok (in the sense that several 100 billions of dollars can easily be hidden from view) but I doubt it. The MASTER OF THE WORLD has to curry favor with the far left base of his support and they are livid over his not abruptly pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

I think it most likely that the military will be required to do more with less during the reign of the MASTER OF THE WORLD, unless perhaps control of the Congress shifts to the republicans. Of course, if Al Aqeda or some other terry group pulls off another 9/11 or worse, that could change things, at least for a while--we proved in 9/11 that within a week or so after the event, most Americans were again more interested in who wins American Idol than any war against terror.
 
#17
I remember looking at this back in April when the (Defense) budget for FY 2010 was proposed by Sec Gates. Here's a cnn report covering that:

"Gates announces major Pentagon priority shifts
Story Highlights
NEW: Budget receives mixed reception from congressional Republicans

Defense Secretary Robert Gates calls for phasing out production of F-22

Budget reflects "lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan
," Gates says

Budget includes stronger institutional commitment to military's all-volunteer force

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a 2010 Pentagon budget Monday that reflects major changes in the "scope and significance" of Defense Department priorities.

The proposed budget cuts several traditional big-ticket items while
investing in programs designed to bolster the military's ability to wage an ongoing conflict against terrorists and other extremist elements in multiple regions at the same time.

Gates acknowledged that parts of the budget are likely to run into significant opposition on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are concerned in part about preserving valuable defense contracts for their districts and states.

"This is a reform budget, reflecting lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan," Gates said. "There's no question that a lot of these decisions will be controversial."

He called on Congress to "rise above parochial interests and consider what is in the best interests of the nation as a whole."

House Armed Service Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, acknowledged that congressmen have concerns about job losses in their home districts but said that ultimately, "the national interest overrides anything."

"The buck stops withus," he said. "We still have a lot of hard work ahead of us."

Three key priorities are reflected in the changes, Gates said.

The priorities are a stronger institutional commitment to the military's all-volunteer force, a decision to "rebalance" defense programs to better fight current and future conflicts, and "fundamental overhauls" of the military's procurement, acquisition and contracting process.

Among other things, Gates called for production of the Air Force's most expensive fighter, the F-22 Raptor, to be phased out by fiscal year 2011.

He also called for terminating a proposed fleet of 23 presidential helicopters estimated to cost more than $13 billion. The proposed fleet, he noted, was originally projected to cost $6.5 billion. It "has fallen six years behind schedule and runs the risk of not delivering the requested capability," he said.

Gates maintained that a new fleet of presidential helicopters will still ultimately be necessary, however.
See a list of winners, losers and break-even programs »

At the same time, he said he did not want to pursue a development program for a new Air Force bomber "until we have a better understanding of the need, the requirement and the technology."

Gates did request 50 Predator and Reaper-class unmanned aerial vehicles by fiscal year 2011, translating to a 62 percent increase in capability over the current level and 127 percent from a year ago.

The Predator has been used extensively by the military in operations along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

Turning to the military's overall troop levels, Gates proposed spending an additional $11 billion to complete a planned expansion of the Army and Marine Corps while halting reductions in the Air Force and Navy.

A planned 547,000 troop increase, while capping the growth of Army brigade combat teams at 45 as opposed to a previously discussed level of 48, will be sufficient to "ensure that we have better manned units ready to employ and help put an end to the routine use of stop-loss," Gates maintained.

"This step will also lower the risk of hollowing the force," he said.

Gates also proposed a reduction in the use of support service contractors from 39 percent of the Pentagon work force to a pre-2001 level of 26 percent.

The contractors, Gates added, would be replaced with full-time government employees.

To help create a more mobile, flexible force, Gates proposed boosting special operations personnel by 2,800, or 5 percent, as well as purchasing aircraft designed to provide greater lift mobility and rapid transportation of those forces.

Among other things, he cited a proposed increase in the purchase of "littoral combat ships, a key capability for presence, stability and counterinsurgency operations in coastal regions," from two to three ships.

The Pentagon's ultimate goal, he said, is to acquire 55 of these ships.

Another $500 million is directed toward boosting "global partnership capacity efforts" through enhanced initiatives for "training and equipping foreign militaries to undertake counterterrorism and stability operations."

In what may prove to be one of the most controversial aspects of his proposed budget, Gates announced the cancellation or reduction of key elements of the Pentagon's missile defense system, including the installation of additional ground-based interceptor missiles in Alaska.

The proposed overall missile defense system budget was trimmed by $1.4 billion.

A bipartisan group of senators released a letter during Gates' announcement that urged him "not to allow deep cuts in U.S. missile defense programs that are critically important to protecting our homeland and our allies against the growing threat of ballistic missiles."

"The threat from ballistic missiles is significant and on the rise. [It] has been underscored by Iran and North Korea's recent missile tests," they argued.

The letter was signed by both senators from Alaska -- Republican Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Mark Begich -- among others.

Although Gates was initially appointed Pentagon chief by former President George W. Bush, his overall budget received what appeared to be a mixed reception from congressional Republicans.

"Republicans appreciate Secretary Gates' effort to shape the Department of Defense so that we more effectively fight the wars our troops are engaged in today. However, we are concerned about the tradeoffs involved in re-balancing the Department," New York Rep. John McHugh, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services committee, said in a written statement.

"It remains the Congress' responsibility to provide for the common defense," he warned.

Former Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, however, said Gates' budget "is a major step in the right direction."

"It has long been necessary to shift spending away from weapon systems plagued by scheduling and cost overruns to ones that strike the correct balance between the needs of our deployed forces and the requirements for meeting the emerging threats of tomorrow," he said.

"I believe Secretary Gates' decision is key to ensuring that the defense establishment closes the gap between the way it supports current operations and the way it prepares for future conventional threats."

Georgia Republicans slammed President Obama for Gates' announcement about the phase-out of the F-22 Raptor, which is assembled in Cobb County, Georgia.

Rep. Tom Price, whose district includes the Raptor production facility, called the cut "outrageous" and said Obama's "priorities are deeply flawed." Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss said he was "disappointed" in the cuts and accused the administration of being "willing to sacrifice the lives of American military men and women for the sake of domestic programs."

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, was also dismissive of the F-22 phase-out, although he said he generally supported Gates' moves to modernize the military. Some F-22 production takes place in Connecticut as well.

The proposed overall fiscal year 2010 Defense Department budget is almost $534 billion, or nearly $664 billion when including the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The current Pentagon budget totals slightly over $513 billion, or almost $655 billion including the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts." CNN 6 Apr 2009.

To what extent this survived contact with congress, I did not look into, but it's interesting because more often jobs in constituencies have overridden objective national interests.

So in budget terms the Army will be increased by about 22 000, but of course, these will take some time to be recruited, trained etc.
 
#18
One of the Strange said:
From this side of the pond I am confused as to why Clinton gets castigated for taking the peace dividend yet Bush is not criticised for invading two countries in 8 years and making no significant increases in troop strength ? Surely the the American people would pay more taxes to recruit more soldiers - what better way to support the troops than to make sure they win, after all ? So why did Bush do nothing ?
Bush did not do precisely nothing. During his term he increased the Army by about 42,000 and the Marine Corps by about 12,000. Small increases to be sure but still increases. During his second term he also had to deal with the fact that the Democrats gained a majority in both houses. Even during the years when Bush had a Republican majority in the House and the Senate the majority was not huge. You must realize also that the US does not have the strict party whip system that prevails in the UK. Congressmen may favour their party but the most important issues for members of the House is to increase jobs in their district and spending in their district.

Should he have increased force strength more? Yes. Could he? Perhaps, perhaps not.
 
#19
KGB_resident said:
Let's look at alternative "predictions".

The Taliban is completely defeated. Afghanistan becomes a democratic country. Drugs production is stopped. Gay activists in Afghanistan are allowed to organise pride marches.
Building up a democracy comes in small stages. Your own country hasn't even got as far as the bit in bold yet. Bit rich expecting it from Afghanistan this early in the process.
 
#20
LEGZ30 said:
KGB_resident said:
Let's look at alternative "predictions".

The Taliban is completely defeated. Afghanistan becomes a democratic country. Drugs production is stopped. Gay activists in Afghanistan are allowed to organise pride marches.
Building up a democracy comes in small stages. Your own country hasn't even got as far as the bit in bold yet. Bit rich expecting it from Afghanistan this early in the process.
I think I might prefer Afghanistan as it is, come to think of it.
 

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