Sunday, February 08, 2009

Is the relief pitcher balking?

I hope this is just poor reporting by The Times;
The Pentagon was set to announce the deployment of 17,000 extra soldiers and marines last week but Robert Gates, the defence secretary, postponed the decision after questions from Obama.

The president was concerned by a lack of strategy at his first meeting with Gates and the US joint chiefs of staff last month in “the tank”, the secure conference room in the Pentagon. He asked: “What’s the endgame?” and did not receive a convincing answer.

Larry Korb, a defence expert at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank, said: “Obama is exactly right. Before he agrees to send 30,000 troops, he wants to know what the mission and the endgame is.”
Ungh. First of all - Korb is an a55hat and everything he says should be ignored unless you are looking for contrary indicators.

Second; the incoming forces do have a mission. Any dolt with access to the internet can go to the ISAF website and learn about it. Those of us with access to the SIPRNET can gather even more goodies.

Third; in military planning there is no such thing as an "end-game." End game is something said by people who don't know a Line of Operation from a line of coke. In the military, we have "End States." That, like the Mission, is very well defined for the operation in Afghanistan.

I am only going to repeat what is in open media on this.

This, from MSNBC(!) and the WaPo(!), seems more like reality as I see it from the cheap seats.
The Pentagon is prepared to announce the deployment of 17,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Afghanistan as early as this week even as President Barack Obama is searching for his own strategy for the war. According to military officials during last week's meeting with Defense Secretary Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon's "tank," the president specifically asked, "What is the end game?" in the U.S. military's strategy for Afghanistan. When asked what the answer was, one military official told NBC News, "Frankly, we don't have one." But they're working on it.

Senior military officials confirm to NBC News that a secret report from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to President Obama recommends a shift in the military mission in Afghanistan to concentrate solely on combatting the Taliban and al-Qaida and leave the "hearts and minds" aspect of the war to other U.S. agencies and NATO.

The officials stress this strategy would NOT abandon the so-called "soft-side" of the war, to establish good governance, law enforcement, economics, education, etc., but instead hand those responsbilitities over to the State Justice, Agriculture departments and others. "This is a classic counnterinsurgency strategy, but the military can not do it alone."

President Obama's national security team gave a dire assessment Sunday of the war in Afghanistan, with one member calling it a challenge "much tougher than Iraq" and others hinting that it could take years to turn around.

U.S. officials said more troops were urgently needed, both from the United States and its NATO allies, to counter the increasing strength of the Taliban and other warlords opposed to the central government in Kabul. But they also said new approaches were needed to untangle an inefficient and conflicting array of civilian-aid programs that have wasted billions of dollars.

"NATO's future is on the line here," Richard Holbrooke, the State Department's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told an international security conference here. "It's going to be a long, difficult struggle. In my view, it's going to be much tougher than Iraq."

Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command, said the war in Afghanistan "has deteriorated markedly in the past two years" and warned of a "downward spiral of security."

In addition to more combat troops, Petraeus called for "a surge in civilian capacity" to help rebuild villages, train local police forces, tackle corruption in the Afghan government and reduce the country's thriving opium trade. He also suggested that the odds of success were low, given that foreign military powers have historically met with defeat in Afghanistan.
Make no mistake - if the Times reporting is accurate (which I don't think it is), Gen. McKiernan isn't going to get what he needs to set conditions, and we are going to balk - then game over.

Last guy out of Baghram is a rotten egg - and when you get home dig a shelter, buy gas masks for the family - get iodine pills - buy guns, get the good stuff from ammoman, and talk to your favorite Mormon about the right place to buy food that stores well - and go with their wisdom and see if you can stock 2-years of the basics. Some might tell you that you're already falling behind.

....and people wonder where I come from sometimes.

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