Monday, December 20, 2010

Germany signals retreat

They join the Dutch, Canadians, Brits, French, ..... well ... pretty much everyone else who is going home while the getting is still good.
Germany has announced plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan more quickly than expected, with the pullout beginning next year and finishing by 2014.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told the parliament Thursday that the pullout will begin about a year from now -- earlier than the 2012 date outlined in a 108-page progress report on Germany's mission in Afghanistan, issued earlier this week. Germany has been reviewing its Afghan plans at the same time that President Barack Obama has, and on Thursday the president announced details of his Afghan strategy review, citing slow progress but saying "we are on track to achieve our goals."
I don't blame them. We signaled our retreat with the President's West Point speech last year - and shifting to 2014 didn't change the fact that we have decided to accept ultimate defeat on our own choosing.

It doesn't matter that the surge we started in '08 is now fully up to speed and achieving the effects we want. Tactical and Operational success mean nothing of the Strategic and Political fail.

We are the big player in AFG. If I were German, I would bring my people home even earlier. The present administration lacks the will to win.

President Obama is completely detached from reality.
With those additional forces in Afghanistan, we are making considerable gains toward our military objectives. The additional military and civilian personnel that I ordered in Afghanistan are now in place, along with additional forces from our coalition, which has grown to 49 nations.
No sir; all your usable and partially usable maneuver forces from allied nations are going home. With Germany leaving - the balance will follow them. They are following your lead in retreat on a timetable. Congratulate yourself - you just traded a good chance for some kind of victory for certain defeat.

The West is leaving AFG to its own devices. History will not look kindly on NATO's dithering from late '05 through today, or the Obama Administration's withdrawal under fire. He took the surge the previous administration gave him and wasted it.

The future is unknown - but my money is that we just promised a very bloody next quarter century to our children.

Also, check out my last post at Big Peace on Holbrooke's final service to his nation.


Jay said...

Sal -- the only one detached from reality is you.   Continue to play up the date from the Est Point speech (gets old, but it serves your agenda..), and taking things out of context.  Plays well to your base.  I suspect History will look less kindly on the Bush Administration's lack of real effort/attention in A'stan while they chose to venture into Iraq.

Skippy-san said...

Maybe the Germans and the other nations understand something we do not-that no matter how long we stay Afghanistan will neve get any better. It is the best is ever going to be right now.

I have serious doubts about our capacity to transform Afghanistan into a functioning nation state where authority is effectively exercised from Kabul. It’s a monumental task. Even if nation building is possible, we don’t have enough money for that. We can’t afford to waste the money that we do have.-Andrew Bacevich.

Wstr said...

Whilst I share your concern on a seemingly fixed timetable  (esp. short ones that could allow the Taliban to husband their resources then hit the Afghan govt hard) - that's rather a more mixed list of countries then how it's presented.
The Dutch and Canadians announced their pullout decision in 2009. France and Britain are still targeting 2014 in line with the current US policy (like it or not) and the outcome of the 2010 Kabul Conference. Therefore they should be there until all of NATO shutters up shop.
The only mention in the UK (so far) of 2011 was in response to a -very- leading question of whether Britain would consider pulling out some troops next year as Obama had said the US might do. The answer was:  <span>“Yes we can, but it should be based on the conditions on the ground...</span><span>The faster we can transition districts and provinces to Afghan control, clearly the faster that some forces can be brought home.”</span>

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Jay: Not exactly. The Germans were so defensively oriented as to be almost useless, and the rockpile was NATO and theater/campaign of economy of force...because the Joint Staff was sure that the decisive victory was already won.

Not what one would expect if they had any knowledge of the Brit's experience in the 19th Century. Which pretty much all of them don't.

The Joint Staff, the various Chairmen, Rumsfeld and State all bear huge responsibility for the Iraqi and Afghan insurgency. Bush had persuasive advisors he respected. He was not well served by them

Obama's problem is somewhat the inverse.

And the Euros read presidential speeches very closely and act on what they think they see.
The Krauts particularly. They have the their own agenda. By guess and by God, they've built up a very nice stack of chips from (initially) horrible cards and a tiny collection of small chips 65 years ago.

There are no permanent allies or enemies (some very long term ones) but rather mutual advantage or opposing goals.

Marx was a dope. (Karl, not Groucho, who was really good at what he did).

xformed said...

I'd have sworn that a charismatic President of the World could most certainly have convinced "our allies" to come along, unlike the Evil W, who did it all by himself, everywhere all the time.

So, H, how's that "unifying" methodology working out for you anywhere?

Come to think of it, the Great Uniter is anything but.  I'll figure this:  His formative years were spent in cultures where being part of the local Pop Warner, Babe Ruth like sports were just what we did, and learned team work and the value of watching someone's back.  I suspect Indonesia had sort of a insular, you have to do your own thing, while figuring out the rest are there to stab you in the back and step on your corpse mentaility.

Just sayin'

ewok40k said...

The country was in state of quite premanent ribal warfare for centuries, and it will revert to it once Western troops leave. The key to stopping Taleban theocracy rebirth lies inpressuring PAK into not sponsoring them - but that is diplomacy not military task.

Scott from Canada said...

<span>"History will not look kindly on NATO's dithering from late '05 through today, or the Obama Administration's withdrawal under fire."  ..... The war started in October, 2001.  What will history say about Bush's dithering then? Why didn't America send enough soldiers to destroy the Taliban during Operation Anaconda in 2002 instead of letting them run to Pakistan? Why didn't Bush finish the job in Afghanistan instead of invading Iraq in 2003? </span>

hajo-hi said...

I would not count too much on what Mr. Westerwelle says right now. He is under attack from his own party the (right-wing liberal) FDP. Half of its rank and file would like to make him invisible rather sooner than later.

Mr. Westerwelle might just be pandering for a better media coverage, by telling something that seems to be good news at first and does not cost him too much (well respect in Washington, but the American foreign policy/defense establishment never regarded him much anyway).

The people to observe are Mr. zu Guttenberg, our minister for defense, and even more Mutti, I mean Ms. Merkel herself. The dates they talk about are the ones that count.

P.S. I know several posters here have/had children/relatives serving the AFG. My respect for their service and my best wishes for their health and life.

USMC Steve said...

Given all that Afghanistan is or isn't really, I doubt we will ever win there if victory is determined to be a stable democratic government friendly to the US.  But I will settle for killing them as long as they support a mob of terrorists who are utterly lacking any civilized behavior towards anyone.  Taliban or al quaeda I care not a whit. 

You people seem unable to grasp what the Soviet Union knew for decades.  Who cares if they like us or not, as long as they FEAR us.

That works much better.

James said...

<span>"The future is unknown - but my money is that we just promised a very bloody next quarter century to our children."</span>
We've been doing that for awhile now in the name of 'peace" and stupid ideologies. So everything will stay barely restrained then one day explode.

Really what many people have just not gotten threw their heads is that it doesnt matter why you say you are leaving or what.

To many many people in the muslim world we just said AQ, Taliban, islam whatever wins (yesi know many muslims will see it for what it is us quiting because of our fickle nature....well that isnt very good either is it). The decidion to leave afghanistan will be seen as a victory for islam by those who want to see it that way and by those who can convince others to see it that way.
Which is a good portion of the planet because lets face it as the most powerful people on the planet and the ones who wont beg and bend over most people hate us for it. Its the same as the mosque issue. Its not what YOU see so much as what your enemy see's.
Some of our "Allies" and i use that term sparingly, dont act very much like em. The brits, aussies, canadians and others have been with us to hell and back. Others like germany and such i have heard many would have liked to taken a more active role but were forbiden to by BS rules chained to them by their political masters.

Then there are the others. Some countries have been found paying the taliban and such off with money-this resulted in the death of british troops early this year or late last year when they took over for the spanish i believe. The taliban decided sense they weren't getting money time to attack and teach a lesson. So the brits in what they thought was a calm safer area found themselves under heavy attack without a word of warning from their "allies" on the possibility.

Then of course the two i have heard doing it the most are the italians and the spanish. This has included payments in both money and info on US plans and movements.

A part of our problem what those we once saw as allies arent.

To those who are thank you for standing beside us for those who didnt...well this isnt the place for those words.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Worked for Vito Corleone and the undertaker, Bonaserra.  "Then your enemies will become my enemies, and then they will fear you."

Therapist1 said...

God help the women of AFG when we leave.

ewok40k said...

you cant really make suicide bombers fear you...

cdrsalamander said...

I spent the better part of half a decade in uniform directly involved in AFG under both the Bush and Obama administrations from staff to boots-on-the-ground at the Strategic, Operational, and Tactical level.

No, I am quite comfortable with my view of the AFG reality.

Byron said...

No...but you can make their bosses fear you.

cdrsalamander said...

"... <span>if victory is determined to be a stable democratic government ...</span>"

Come on - even Belgium isn't a stable democratic government.

James said...

Thats a oxymoron i think.

Technically america doesnt have a stable democratic government. Of course technically we are a democratic-republic but that is overlooked alot.

Democracy is by its very nature unstable. The point is with out culture we can deal with that with theirs...............

I think a lose confederacy is the best afghanistan could really get for now.

Anonymous said...

recently i have big problem which is typical of all of us ! what to do and how to go on living, I can not understand ((I have stopped smiling at ALL!!!! :( yes!!,i have bad looking teeth because of heredity ... why me? Teeth is the first thing you see when meet somebody,or doing smth like that, I have found a solution in putting lumineers ! and i need to say it has guaranteed 100% result,now i know its a good investition