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Subject: The President on "Victory in Afghanistan" rss

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Sam I am
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I will assume (unless I hear otherwise) that the disaster in Afghanistan is O.'s and liberals faults exclusively.
 
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rcbevco wrote:
I will assume (unless I hear otherwise) that the disaster in Afghanistan is O.'s and liberals faults exclusively.


What a tired argument. Here is the assertion in a more complete fashion:

1. Bush messed up Afghanistan

2. Obama asserted that he would shift focus from Iraq to Afghanistan (rightly so).

3. Afghanistan is still a mess.

4. Obama's response is getting into the vagueness that Bush had on Iraq about when the objectives would be complete.

Conclusion: Obama is the same as Bush in the ineptitude to run a war.
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Chad Ellis
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Is that the entirety of their discussion about Afghanistan?
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Victory in Afghanistan.....Extremism and fundamentalism will cease to exist in the region.

Attainable? If you killed everyone, sure.

Attainable from a "civilized" nation such as the US. No.
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Here is the assertion in an even more complete fashion:

0.1 Bush promised not to engage in Nation Building.

0.2 Bush sort of got elected.

0.3 Bush engaged in Nation Building by starting a 'war' in Afghanistan.

1. Bush messed up Afghanistan

2. Obama asserted that he would shift focus from Iraq to Afghanistan (rightly so).

3. Afghanistan is still a mess.

4. Obama's response is getting into the vagueness that Bush had on Iraq about when the objectives would be complete.

Conclusion: We probably should not engage in Nation Building, as it does not translate into Victory.
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49xjohn wrote:

Here is the assertion in an even more complete fashion:

0.1 Bush promised not to engage in Nation Building.

0.2 Bush sort of got elected.

0.3 Bush engaged in Nation Building by starting a 'war' in Afghanistan.

1. Bush messed up Afghanistan

2. Obama asserted that he would shift focus from Iraq to Afghanistan (rightly so).

3. Afghanistan is still a mess.

4. Obama's response is getting into the vagueness that Bush had on Iraq about when the objectives would be complete.

Conclusion: We probably should not engage in Nation Building, as it does not translate into Victory.


Yes, but all that matters is #4. The right answer probably being to withdraw all major troop operations as they exist at this time because it has proven to be quite ineffective.

I think Chapel is dead-on right. The military is designed to blow shit up and complete objectives through the use of force. Nation building is not what is is trained to do -- the former can't be accomplished while adhering to the professed morals of our society; the latter is a fool's game.
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As more and more time passes, I'm becoming more and more ok with pulling out of Afghanistan. However, there is no way Obama could do it before his second term since it would be far to easy for Republicans to paint him as the weak-kneed fool who let Bin Laden get away.

Where as, if he maintains status quo (and by this I mean, doesn't leave and maybe he makes the situation a little better) in Afghanistan while pulling out of Iraq, he keeps most of the people who elected him pretty happy I'd I think.

But thats my less than educated opinion on the matter.
 
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SpaceGhost wrote:
rcbevco wrote:
I will assume (unless I hear otherwise) that the disaster in Afghanistan is O.'s and liberals faults exclusively.


What a tired argument.


A vague post like that could be turned either way. I was emphasizing my lack of willingness to bite on the "O's going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" mentality. Which based on his animosity to O would have been sadly predictable.

BTW, I agree with your assertions, 100%.

The only way to a traditional "victory" now is a long and bloody war and it appears we as a country are unprepared for it. I say leave. I am tired of both of their wishy washiness "shit or get off the pot". (IMHO "get off the pot" combined with a real alternative energy policy and a containment strategy is the only road to victory.)

 
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Drew1365 wrote:
This President is treating his job like a part-time hobby, and it's pissing me off.


I'm loving it! Maybe this will be the kick in the butt to get everyone else to do their jobs.
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Drew1365 wrote:

This President is treating his job like a part-time hobby, and it's pissing me off.


I don't know if I necessarily agree with that.

While your outline of his approach to Afghanistan disconcerting, I do think he's pretty serious about his role as President. He just probably has different set of priorities than you want him to.

But then again, I don't mind that he's going out of his way to fight for an Olympics. It's not like it's taking that much time away, I'm sure.

 
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Drew1365 wrote:


But don't worry! The President is out there on the front lines fighting for something after all! The Olympic games! shake

This President is treating his job like a part-time hobby, and it's pissing me off.


Barry O is such a slacker. If he didn't waste time attempting to secure multi-billion dollar international deals and spent more time clearing brush at a dude ranch, this country would be in much better shape.
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Drew1365 wrote:
There's no reason the President and his wife need not to personally go to Copenhagen to beg for the Olympics in Chicago. (Michelle's comments: "It's a battle -- we're going to win -- take no prisoners!" were rather unseemly, I felt.)


There I fixed it. I find having a president who can walk and chew gum exhilarating. I though that representing the US to other countries was part of his job? The comments were a little much though.

 
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SpaceGhost wrote:
49xjohn wrote:

Here is the assertion in an even more complete fashion:

0.1 Bush promised not to engage in Nation Building.

0.2 Bush sort of got elected.

0.3 Bush engaged in Nation Building by starting a 'war' in Afghanistan.

1. Bush messed up Afghanistan

2. Obama asserted that he would shift focus from Iraq to Afghanistan (rightly so).

3. Afghanistan is still a mess.

4. Obama's response is getting into the vagueness that Bush had on Iraq about when the objectives would be complete.

Conclusion: We probably should not engage in Nation Building, as it does not translate into Victory.


Yes, but all that matters is #4. The right answer probably being to withdraw all major troop operations as they exist at this time because it has proven to be quite ineffective.

I think Chapel is dead-on right. The military is designed to blow shit up and complete objectives through the use of force. Nation building is not what is is trained to do -- the former can't be accomplished while adhering to the professed morals of our society; the latter is a fool's game.


Funny.... I think Japan, Germany, South Korea and most of Western Europe would say we do a FANTASTIC job of Nation Building.

So much so that many of my friends from Israel used to complain that being our ally wasn't nearly as profitable as being somebody we kicked the shit out of and thus they would joke that they needed to declare war against us and then loose quickly if they really wanted our help/protection and large amounts of economic aid to start flowing in.

It is about having the will to do it not the ability. If we were willing to spend the MONEY to rebuild Afghanistan we could make it economically viable and genuinely win the hearts and minds of the people so throughly that the Taliban would never gain a serious foothold again.

You can argue it isn't our problem but you cannot say we have even tried a concerted rebuilding effort yet.

We need to stop just "holding" and start building.

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Meerkat wrote:
SpaceGhost wrote:
49xjohn wrote:

Here is the assertion in an even more complete fashion:

0.1 Bush promised not to engage in Nation Building.

0.2 Bush sort of got elected.

0.3 Bush engaged in Nation Building by starting a 'war' in Afghanistan.

1. Bush messed up Afghanistan

2. Obama asserted that he would shift focus from Iraq to Afghanistan (rightly so).

3. Afghanistan is still a mess.

4. Obama's response is getting into the vagueness that Bush had on Iraq about when the objectives would be complete.

Conclusion: We probably should not engage in Nation Building, as it does not translate into Victory.


Yes, but all that matters is #4. The right answer probably being to withdraw all major troop operations as they exist at this time because it has proven to be quite ineffective.

I think Chapel is dead-on right. The military is designed to blow shit up and complete objectives through the use of force. Nation building is not what is is trained to do -- the former can't be accomplished while adhering to the professed morals of our society; the latter is a fool's game.


Funny.... I think Japan, Germany, South Korea and most of Western Europe would say we do a FANTASTIC job of Nation Building.

So much so that many of my friends from Israel used to complain that being our ally wasn't nearly as profitable as being somebody we kicked the shit out of and thus they would joke that they needed to declare war against us and then loose quickly if they really wanted our help/protection and large amounts of economic aid to start flowing in.

It is about having the will to do it not the ability. If we were willing to spend the MONEY to rebuild Afghanistan we could make it economically viable and genuinely win the hearts and minds of the people so throughly that the Taliban would never gain a serious foothold again.

You can argue it isn't our problem but you cannot say we have even tried a concerted rebuilding effort yet.

We need to stop just "holding" and start building.



I agree -- but that isn't the purpose of the military. The military paves the way for the nation building to commence. Right now, the American people aren't behind this prospect of dumping money or lives into Afghanistan to rebuild
 
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SpaceGhost wrote:
I agree -- but that isn't the purpose of the military. The military paves the way for the nation building to commence. Right now, the American people aren't behind this prospect of dumping money or lives into Afghanistan to rebuild


The American people want tax refunds and big screen TVs.
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Speaking of winning hearts & minds: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/09/2009930132987...
 
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SpaceGhost wrote:

I agree -- but that isn't the purpose of the military. The military paves the way for the nation building to commence. Right now, the American people aren't behind this prospect of dumping money or lives into Afghanistan to rebuild


Now that is true. Because we at heart are culturally bias in addition to selfish, short sighted and stupid. Watch big blue eyed European children from Sariavo get blown up on the nightly news and we care. (Hell the fact that they make the evening news is an important step) But Rwanda, Somalia, Darfur, or Afghanistan and it isn't our problem.

Which is a large part of why radical groups can establish footholds in these places to begin with.
 
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Meerkat wrote:
SpaceGhost wrote:

I agree -- but that isn't the purpose of the military. The military paves the way for the nation building to commence. Right now, the American people aren't behind this prospect of dumping money or lives into Afghanistan to rebuild


Now that is true. Because we at heart are culturally bias in addition to selfish, short sighted and stupid. Watch big blue eyed European children from Sariavo get blown up on the nightly news and we care. (Hell the fact that they make the evening news is an important step) But Rwanda, Somalia, Darfur, or Afghanistan and it isn't our problem.

Which is a large part of why radical groups can establish footholds in these places to begin with.


Which groups? Where exactly? Do you really think that uncaring average white people halfway around the world are really that large a part in the daily life of the people of Rwanda, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and so on?
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The problem that the US faces with nation building is to a large part due to leftover doctrine from the Cold War.

Thing was, back in the 'good ol' days' of Nuclear confrontation with Ruskies in Fulda Gap, the member nations of NATO/SEATO specialized. the West Germans had start of the art Chemical Warfare detection/response units. The British and French had excellently trained rapid response units trained in International Peacekeeping.

And the US?

Well, we focused on blowing shit up.

Thing is, that was all fine and dandy for the Cold War- the ballon goes up, we pack up in a moment's notice, go to some faraway place and blow the crap out of it. We are very very very good at this.

But, in the new, all volunteer Army that was created in the aftermath of Vietnam, we shunted all the LOGISTICAL branches from the Regular Army over to the Army Reserve and the National Gaurd. Back in the day, joining the National Gaurd was a great deal- get college money, go on manuevers now and again, and know that unless things got REALLY bad, you'd rarely be deployed overseas.

Problem is, the Soviet Union fell, and our National commitments across the globe have only INCREASED. This means that in wars like the Bosnia war, all the old MOS's like "Forklift operator' that seemed so nice and cushy back in the day are now ALWAYS getting activated. Same is true for See-Bees, MP's- all those 'rear echelon' jobs that require a LOT of skill and a certain degree of 'civilian aptitude'. Thing is, we gave all those jobs to the National Gaurd and Reserve, guys and gals who NEVER really expected to be called up more often than COMBAT arms. Thing is though, if you never want to be called up, join up as a tank driver in the Gaurd, and DON'T become Combat Engineer or an MP.

The result is that we just don't have the corps of talent to do a job like Nation Building without running our guys to a total frazzle with "Stop Losses" and constant rotations back to the Suck. We just don't have the logistical or manpower endurance to do this sort of thing- and its a doctrinal problem. Simply put, Generals and Senators like for the US to build up vast fleets of Sexy F-22's, not Aerial Refuelling tankers. Heck, up through the 1990's the Navy didn't have a modern Minesweeper, relying on hulls laid down in WWII! But yet, the Navy wants new, modern destroyers- despite the fact that mines are the poor nation's defense against an invading enemy.

The US is at a crossroads, where EITHER we decide that we're going to focus upon 'Continental Security' and only keep the ability to rapidly go out and beat the crap out of people when we need to- OR we decide that we are going to commit to projects like Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

We need to create the tools for the job- and our boys and girls out there just don't have what they need. The US MUST get its logisitical house in order, as well as focus upon 'All Arms' reaction forces that are designed and trained for the task of coming in behind our Marines and REBUILD a nation after we've blown it up. Or leave these things to the French.

Darilian

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Ummm, Dar? I'm with Chapel - the US armed forces can't build nations, they can only blow shit up. Where we've succeeded in nation building (German, Japan, South Korea), there was a relatively homogeneous population that wanted a strong government and were interested in working together. Where we've failed (various parts of the Middle East, Asia, other parts of Europe) the populations weren't all that interested in living together in the first place and wanted a way to split up. Ethnic, tribal, religious, racial and similar tensions get in the way.

The problem with Afghanistan is that it really has never had a strong central government - just affiliations of tribal groups that each wanted their cut of the pie. Only military force ever seems to have created any type of collective will, and that tended to die out with a particular person or dynasty.

I think the President had it right when he said we needed a new focus on Afghanistan, had it right when he committed more troops there to try to quiet things down, and has it right that somehow the Afghans need to sort out their own national issues. Problem is, they don't seem to want to do that with lots of regional/tribal issues, corruption, graft, and issues with cross-border terrorism into and out of Pakistan.

Afghanistan's an even tougher nut to sort out than Iraq, and the military will never be the ones to do anything other than offer some degree of security while the locals sort out what they want to do to live together in peace. But it doesn't seem like the locals are particularly interested in that, and factional problems won't go away.

We've actually never been good at nation building. What we've been good at is nation re-building. We don't really have any track record of success when there wasn't some strong ties in the nation to begin with. Neither, for that matter, has anyone else. At least, not unless they were willing to pour troops into a nation long enough to make it look stable so they could bail and let it collapse later.
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I can tell you from personal experience that the kind folks that live in Fulda, Germany really like the American presence there. I was stationed in the Gap for 19 months when I was in the U.S. Army.

Something tells me that the folks in Afghanistan don't feel the same way.
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My point is that we don't really know HOW good we could be at this job, as right now, we don't have the proper military for this type of mission.

We use Marines as 'peacekeepers' when they aren't trained for this. They are trained to kill the enemy, period.

British troops, trained as peacekeepers, go around on Bicycles- better visibility, but also less invasive than going around in a heavily armoured APC. Yet, we want to arm our vehicles more and more, isolating them more and more from the civilian population.

When we went into Iraq, we didn't have the right MOS's there to rebuild- fighting 'on the cheap' we had more than enough firepower to tear the country apart, but we dind't have the support personnel that we needed to put the place back together- See-Bees, MPs, Intel people fluent in Arabic.

What we NEED, if we're going to do this type of mission, is an 'all arms' Brigade Force that is capable of fighting lightly armed insurgents, but also contains integral MP, Construction Engineers, Liason to Civilians, and Intelligence/Special Forces assets who report directly to the Brigade Commander. Right now, a lot of this support is there, but its centralized with Division or Corps- meaning that these assets are stretched across ALL the formations in the theater. That, and the chain of command is all helter-skelter- people are reporting to Corps, but working on a day to day level with Brigade. Its a total mess.

I don't think that its IMPOSSIBLE to rebuild Afghanistan. But if we're going to make a stab at it, we need to build up some formations that are trained to DO the job.

Personally, we either do the job RIGHT- and build up the forces that we need to DO this type of job correctly for now and the future- or we don't do this type of action at all. Its criminal to send our men and women out to do a job that our armed forces are not trained or set up to do.

In other words, I'm reminded of bumper stickers found all over cars of people belonging to Nixon's 'Silent Majority' of 1968.

"Win- or Get Out."

The good news is that the current head of the Defense Department, Robert Gates, gets it. By insisting that the Pentagon focus money and attention on developing our 'unconventional' capabilities, he's taking a step in the right direction if we're going to build a force to try and engage in peacekeeping across the world.

Darilian
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Meerkat wrote:
Funny.... I think Japan, Germany, South Korea and most of Western Europe would say we do a FANTASTIC job of Nation Building.


Germany had been a sovereign nation since 1870 before the Marshall plan. Japan had national roots that went back at least a thousand years prior to the end of WW II. South Korea had a national identity of some form for at least as long as Japan.

We didn't build those nations, we gave them the tools to re-build. I can't think of a single nation we've truly "built." At least, not a successful one. Outside of our own, that is.
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Darilian wrote:
We use Marines as 'peacekeepers' when they aren't trained for this. They are trained to kill the enemy, period.


Actually, I don't think this is true. The armed forces have retooled their training fairly dramatically over the past decade or so. But I get your point.

Part of this is that somehow the American public still seems to have an idea that we can intervene with force and not have anybody in that force die.

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Calling Germany and Japan exercises in nation building and comparing them to Iraq and Afghanistan is misleading and inaccurate. Both nations had the beginnings of a true democratic representative way of doing things before they both got shanghied by internal developments. Both of them were developed nations with a well educated populace that weren't at war with each other.

None of that is true for Afghanistan, Iraq and any number of other counter insurgencies we and other nations have tried to fight. The "win" record on counter insurgencies is appallingly low. Why? As it has been observed, they can't be won by going someplace and blowing shit up. Unless you are prepared to kill every swinging Richard and Rachel there.

We aren't, nor should we.

Nor is that the most effective way to fight terrorism.

But our last Admin was way too prone to machismo and thinking overt displays of power always get the job done.

And our current one got handed a flaming bag of shit and was expected to turn it into fertilizer.

If we are lucky, we won't get splattered with flaming poo when he eventually flings it away.
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