Will US Lose Afghan War Due to Public Fatigue?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jumpinjarhead, Sep 22, 2009.

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  1. Although this article focuses on the US public, there is a legitmate question as to whether thie "fatigue' factor affects other members of the coalition as well. As the US found in the Vietnam War, loss of public support is a critical factor for any nation with a representative government successfully waging a war. In a COIN op, such suggestions of public loss of confidence serve to encourage our enemies to do all they can to increase this sense of fatigue.

  2. An example of enemy ratcheting up pressure on allies:

    talian paratroopers react during the funeral of the victims of an attack on an Italian military convoy in Kabul on Thursday Sept. 17, during their state funerals in St. Paul's Outside the Walls Basilica, in Rome, Monday Sept. 21, 2009. The crowd applauded as the coffins of the six victims, draped in the Italian flag, were carried inside the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls in Rome by fellow soldiers. An honor guard saluted the coffins and many outside the basilica waved the red-white-and-green Italian flags.

    Italian Army trucks carry the coffins of the six Italian soldiers killed in a suicide car bomb attack on their convoy on Sept. 17, in Kabul, Afghanistan, in Rome, Monday, Sept. 21, 2009, en route to St. Paul's outside the Wall's Basilica for the funeral service. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

  3. The USA funded Islamic extremists in Afghanistan in a deliberate attempt to provoke a Soviet invasion. Not just "My opinion" - Secretary Brzhinski actually boasts about it in his autobiography (as well as several interviews) When the USSR DID invade, the Muslim terrorists were immediately promoted to "Freedom Fighters" (American "English" for "the kind of terrorists we fund and support") Money and hardware was pumped into the region, through the auspices of Pakistan's INter Service Institute, the terms of the deal offering (almost) plausible deniability, in that those who'd provided the arms and gear stayed out of the area, leaving the whole thing up to the Pakistanis. The Pakistanis were less than accurate or honest in their accounts of what they'd done, which was mainly promote the interests of groups friendly to Pakistani interests. When the smoke cleared, the USSR had gone home... and the USA's idea of who was who in Afghanistan relied almost entirely on distinctly - and deliberately - inaccurate Pakistani reports. The shattered country was run as a series of princedoms, in the interests mainly of a few "warlords". Aid was severely hampered by "taxation" on it levied by every fiefdom it passed through. The rise of the Taliban seemed at the time to Afghans be an improvement on the Warlords. The US invasion and (temprary) explusion of the Taleban pushed things back -almost exactly - to where they'd been just before the rise of the Taliban; but this time it as called "Democratic Government". Afghanistan had reached that point almost entirely as a direct result of deliberate American meddling. (That's particularly strange, given that in the early 1950's Afganistand had pleaded with the USA to become a "client state". The USA wasn't interested. Not, that is, until Afghanistan became a handy place to cause the Russians trouble.)

    Afghanistan is indeed a "failed state", mainly because the USA deliberately provoked the situation which broke it (and then just walked away, no longer interested.) Repairing it isn't a job for people whose skill set is limited to "Blowing things up and killing people"; particularly when those people have such an unrivalled talent for self-delusion. Afghanistan has almost NO employment, and little "industry" outside of Opium cultivation. Given the opportunity, Afgans would LOVE to have work outside of hiring out as mercenaries for one side or the other. (Or possibly as re-volunteering for the Afghan Security forces; the USA's claim of "90,000 trained men" overlooks the reality that many men have got trained, moved to another area, and got trained again. And again. Repeatedly undergoing basic training under a variety of pseudonyms is apparently one of their few growth industries.) US Aid, unfortunately (and hardly unexpectedly) is more beneficial to thepolitically well connected corporations picked to administer it than to the supposed recipients. Things like schools in the wrong places, and incapable of withstanding a typical Winter's snowfall. The Brits, the Irish and the Swedes spend a lot less cash, but spend it a lot more efficiently; it actually helps AFGHANS.

    If you want to "fix" Afghanistan, divert 10% of the military budget from military expenditure to local aid projects. Help them build small scale industry. (But for God's sake, let the Irish or the Swedes handle the administration of it) "The Man from Delmonte" could change things for the better far more easily than a couple of divisions of infantry. (The Afghans used to be great growers of soft fruit. Build fruit juice packaging plants, and open your borders to trade.) Turn the terrorists into " a bloody nisance who get in the way of me making a lot of money", and they've got a SERIOUS problem. DOne right, that 10% investent would mean that most of the troops could just go home, as there would be nothing much for them to do.

    But... maybe it's time to check our agendas here. Is "sending the troops home" what the people who actually run things in the USA want to happen? By the most amazing coincidence, the USA has found it vitally neccessary to build a series of vast military bases right next to the path between other peoples' oil and the customers they're selling it to. A convenient "small war" gives a pretext for keeping troops and airbases where the USA wants them, (straddling the pipelines) but where they'd otherwise have no reason (nor justification) to do.
  4. Interesting thesis. I am not sure our current masters would agree but fear not, if that was the evil intent all along from we greedy, grasping colonial dirty Americans, I expect it will be fixed shortly, along with the requisite apologies to all concerned.
  6. per the thread title: it's the only way they'll lose

    also, makes you wonder who the world's bogeyman was prior to 1776...
  7. This view of course much depends on your underlying view of the US in general and how you define the word "provoke." (Such parsing is appropriate since you already have dragged Clinton into this since he was a master at such things). From what little I know of these matters, I believe a more objective assessment would reflect some situations where the US was the provocateur (Grenada and Panama come to mind), but I do not believe your implication is accurate that this was the consistent or even predominate role of the US in international affairs. Indeed, in many situations the US was rather a relatively unwilling participant, having to become involved due to alliances or other reasons. In more recent years following the breakup of the USSR, a number of its entanglements have actually been thrust on it due to its role as "the" superpower (Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, etc.).

    While I try to be intellectually honest enough to acknowledge that as an American I have inherent biases such that I try to deal with them in forming my opinions, I also think it accurate to observe that many who continually bash the US on many fronts are actually doing so for reasons other than those they may cite in the given situation but they do not have the same concerns about being transparent as to their real motives or prejudices.
  8. JJH, I believe this was the provocation referred to earlier. Have to say I was gobsmacked first time I read it. We all know there are two main types of Black Ops in this area.

    Counter Revolutionary Warfare
    Revolutionary Warfare.

    I guess this Op was in the latter camp then.........

    History Corrected—U.S. Wanted Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
    Mid-East Realities, 6 October 2001

    The world believes that there was an invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union on 24 December 1979 and then, in response, the U.S. and Muslim countries rallied to help Afghanistan repel the invaders. Wrong...just as so much of the widely accepted history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the actual realities of U.S. involvements in the Middle East are wrong because of the manipulation of history by various governments and intelligence agencies—most especially the U.S. and Israel, the CIA and the Mossad.

    What really happened is that the President Jimmy Carter secretly approved CIA efforts to try to topple the government of Afghanistan in July 1979 knowing at the time that U.S. actions were likely to trigger Soviet conter-reactions. Read the following interview with Carter's National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brezinski just now available in English, and in addition to everything else note the not-so-subtle Western biases and slights...i.e., stirred up Muslims.


    National Security Adviser in the Carter Administration

    Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [From the Shadows], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

    Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

    Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

    B: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?

    B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

    Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [intigrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

    B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

    Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

    B: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn't a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.
  9. I am not disagreeing on this one necessarily although ZB's creds have been called into question in the past. I simply don't know enough about it to opine either way. Even taking his account as true for the moment, given his sequence of events, one can easily argue that the original "intent" of the US in this aid was not necessarily to induce a Soviet attack (if I understand the other posts in this thread this is the assertion--that the US diabolically foments and orchestrates these events for that specific purpose).

    While a Soviet reaction may have been predicted by ZB in his note in response to the 3 July 79 directive of that evil and Machiavellian advocate of US world domination, James Earl Carter, ( :? ) it does not mean that that was the reason for the directive in the first instance. Clearly, something other than the alleged enticing of the Soviets to invade had to have prompted the directive in the first instance or else why would ZB have then added the note in the way he now describes since it would have been merely restating the obvious?
  10. Not sure how much more evidence will ever reach the ear of the public. All I can say that those two principles of warfare,

    Create a revolution,
    Counter a revolution,

    are central to black ops carried out by CIA and our own specialist organisations for very many years.

    I would also add that more often than not the CIA's interventions have caused more problems than they have solved. I was involved in the Kosovo war, it was only several years later, whilst reading a Sunday Times article that I realised I had been flying around Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), players in the back of the aircraft.

    That well worn phrase, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter", clearly applies just as equally to us in the west.

    It goes on JJH.....
  11. There is no country in the world that can claim to be "fatigued" by TWOT. You frankly would not know there was a war on unless you were immediately next door to a casualty's family.

    Claiming, as politicians are, that we are fatigued and tired of war is like somebody half a mile into a BFT saying their legs hurt.

    War-fatigue sets in when the 50000th conscript is dead or the supply of X-ray machines for civilian hospitals is impacted. Nobody in the developed world has had to give up something material because of TWOT. No oil rationing, no sweet rationing, nothing at all - except half an hour's less kip on the day you fly off for your long haul vacations...

    Now you might be fed up with the way the war is being run - for example the way it is trying to be fought of a peacetime economy and budget. You might not approve of the absence of robust and rigourous objectives and missions - I know I do. However there is a threat to be countered and we really need to get it right and pretty F-ing quickly. This war is at a point where we can lose it, as opposed to Taleban or Al Q winning.

    Politicians and peaceniks moaning about war-fatigue and demanding truces, peace and abandonment are merely traffic bumps and need to be driven over with conviction. which it seems the governments and CofC are facing a shortage of. The only shortage I can detect during the Great War against Terror by the way.

    So everybody who reads this, count your blessings, saddle up and push for a war-attitude from the government rather than a rather soppy global sheriff, who is afraid of the dark, attitude.
  12. Cuddles hundreds and hundreds of players have been killed in "targetted actions", in Iraq and Afg, beneath the soppy platitudes there is a shed load of killing going on.
  13. I agree on that as a general principle. I just am a bit less eager to ascribe the conscious, intentional puppetry on the part of the US (or most other western nations for that matter) as the root of all the world's woes. This is not as result of some sentimental jingoism on my part but rather a profound skepticism that the US is so adept and methodical at its foreign policy as to accomplish such things intentionally.

    I appears to me that many of those who ascribe such competence to the US, really do so in order to fit their template that the US is in fact the "Great Satan" of world affairs. While this may make their conspiracy theories more plausible, it is not supported by the facts, at least as I know them.

    Indeed, even under the evil incarnate and simian (to use the tone of many posters on here) George B*sh (I hesitate even to use his full name as it might cause such revulsion and apoplexy among some readers), if one adds up the numerous instances where the US gave of its treasure and talent to help those in need around the world, it would put the "unparalleled, illegal, immoral, unjustified, deceptive, colonial, imperial etc. etc.) aggression of the hated US in Iraq and Afghanistan in a slightly different context.
  14. I hear what you are saying. The common criticism of CIA led ops is that they tend only to fight fires and think little for the long term. Thinking back to the Soviet invasion of Afg, if it was started/helped along by CIA they did a very good job, initially. The massive problems since were created when the CIA/US/UK walked away from Afg when the Soviets left. A terrible civil war ensued followed by Talib/ALQ/9/11/ to present day.

    I would argue the opposite. CIA should leave well alone!!

    Then the rather ironic situation which I experienced at first hand, going up against the possible threat of Stingers in a defenceless aircraft in 2001/2, missiles left over from the last bit of meddling. If it does go pete tong again, well, all the Afg warlords have re-armed thanks to western money pouring into Afg. Another civil war will follow and here we go again a cycle of never ending war.........
  15. Perhaps, but I do not think a factual case can be made that the targeting by the allies has been anything but scrupulous, if imperfect, in trying to minimize noncombatant casualties. Indeed, if one compares the conflicts in recent years to all others in which the US, UK and our allies have been engaged, the targeting process used in these ongoing operations can not honestly be said to be wanton or irresponsible.

    The grim reality, and perhaps that is your point---that we are not adequately portraying this reality, is that in all armed conflicts, civilians are often the victims. This is even more so in COIN and MOUT ops like those in which our forces have been engaged where noncombatants become commingled (often intentionally by the insurgents). While none of us should ever become so jaded as to ignore the terrible cost in human suffering in any armed conflict, this does not equate with any evil intention or wrongdoing (excepting of course those situations where criminal intent or recklessness may be involved) in general by the COIN force.