Friday, February 03, 2012

AFG: The Disaster to Come

We once had a pretty good plan for AFG, one that began development in late '07 and brought us the uplift in '08/09 and on. It sidelined for a large part the ineffective NATO forces and build a conditions based Shape-Clear-Hold-Build process, slightly modified as time progressed.

In spite of the original sin of Bonn, too much hope, and the unfortunate trusting of NATO to do what it promised - there was a path that gave AFG the best chance to bring security to their nation and as a result, increase our own security.

For years you have read here and over at BigPeace my posts about the importance of Conditions Based planning - the route to victory for thousands of years - vs. Calendar Based planning which has another history to it, one of retreat and defeat.

That is where we are heading. Fred & Kimberly Kagan get close to it.
Everything Secretary Panetta said about the transition approach envisioned at Lisbon is true—that process, excessively binding and bureaucratic in our opinion, does foresee the gradual and conditions-based transition of the task of securing all of Afghanistan to the Afghan security forces. At some point—not specified at Lisbon or in any public statement or document before this one—the mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), would change from defeating the insurgency alongside the Afghans to assisting the Afghans in securing their own state. Could that point come in late 2013? Perhaps. But there is no way to be sure now. Announcing it as a fixed timeline now, therefore, would be not only foolish but irresponsible. Secretary Panetta said one thing about Afghanistan that is certainly not true: “Consolidating those gains is going to be what we have to do in 2012, ensuring that we continue the transitions, ensuring that we continue to improve the Afghan army during this year.” If those goals are the limits of our campaign in Afghanistan for 2012, then our mission there will fail. The reason is simple: You cannot consolidate gains that have not yet been made.
What Panetta is talking about is Calendar Based wrapped up in Conditions Based dressing.

If that is the case, then we are not in this to win. The present administration has neither the will, the plan, or the patience to get us to a condition we reached in mid-08 in IRQ - the opportunity to declare victory and go home.

Since the President's West Point speech he has been clear - he just wants out. First it was 2011, then 2014, and now 2013 it seems. Since he telegraphed that desire, the enemy has been given a lifeline - a reason to be patient. They know victory is theirs if they wait.

Sure, there is a small chance that AFG will reach some benign limbo - but that is just hope. Hope has a low probability of success. Conditions Based decisions increase the odds of success in the out years - Calendar Based is only focused on the short term check in the block.

We've been here before. Vietnamization worked, and with USA support following the North's invasion in '72, South Vietnam in effect has won its own peace.

Then we had Watergate and the '74 election.

The Left could not let a victory in Vietnam stand, and when they had the chance they cut off the South while their Communist fellow travelers doubled down support to the North so when they had a do-over in '75, the South was lost and so was the war.

So again, we find ourselves with people from the same cloth.

If we are not in this to "win" this, then what exactly are we doing? If you are not in it to win - then what is the morality of asking one more family to sacrifice their son or daughter?


ewok40k said...

procedure to follow in the next wars:
1,estimate the number of troops needed to pacify the country
2,check the supply routes for sustaining the said number of troops
3,if the supply capacity

John said...


When the history of the War on Terror is written some decades from now, probably as the preface to the social, ecnomic and cultural collapse of the United States of America, people will ask how anyone could have been sutpid enough to make these decisions so obviously at odds with our national interests, indeed national survival.

And, they will ask how voters were so deceived, or so foolish, as to elect the people who made these decisions.
I don't know the answers, but I do know that if Obama is not thrown out in the November elections, our nation is doomed to total collapse, from internal and external factors.

The more important questions are what can be done to prevent collapse, and what prudent steps hsould be taken to survive that collapse.  These are clearly beyond the scope of Phib's analysis, but the seriousness of the (likely) unintended consequences cannot be ignored.

What good will be done in Afghanistan between now and surrender day is not worth another dollar, or certainly not the bones of a single American fighting man or woman or even one of our working dogs.  Just pull out immediately and be done with it.

juan said...

The most negative consequence for America of the last decade of war -- it revived the hard left. They had been seemingly killed off with Clinton. But they came back to power via the anti-war movement.

So now for two elections in a row the Republicans will nominate one of their most moderate (by voting record) members, while the Democrats run an extreme leftist, again.

The 90s "New Democrats" have been crushed and replaced with Pelosi, Obama and the rest of Team Evil.

cdrsalamander said...

Naw ... don't be silly.  We've survived worse by an order or magnitued.

DeltaBravo said...

Yeah, it's a complete surrender.  We have lost much national credibility.  No one will ever trust us as an allly again.   So the next time (and there will be a next time, as whatever (fill in the blank:  Somalia, Afgh, Pakiland, Mauritania, Iran, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria... ) country hosts the next group that comes in and destroys our monuments and cities and buildings.. I suggest we forget trying to solve any problems and eliminate root causes.  Count our dead, bury them, and then go bomb whatever country hosted the attackers and paid their freight and let them train within the boundaries.  Be sure to kill 10 people for every one of ours killed.

Repeat as often as it takes to get the world's attention.  No more hugs and sammiches and blankets.  Next earthquake or tsunami, let al-Qaeda pass out the tents and sew up the gashes and dish out the clean water.

But there will be a next time on our shores.  We've shown incredible weakness... the kind from the Clinton era that invited 9-11 to begin with.  And while we're busy arming the drug cartels in Mexico and planning how to arrest citizens in this country, the terrorists have had 3 years to plan their next attack.  They say on average it takes 4 years to plan a big one.  That should leave the next attack to take place on the new president's watch.  So the new president can be blamed.  Because history happens the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.  And the Obama administration has been a farce.  (If Obama is reelected, he'll blame President Bush for any attacks, to be sure.)  Here's to that outstretched hand of friendship!  Now everyone loves us.  Right?   RIGHT??!!!

James said...

I'm not sure about that. The multiculti crew has made damn sure they break this country appart on race, gender, party, wealth, national, and phylisophical lines.

Instead of moving to america to become american there are many now who move here and are told that they should stay as they were.

A thousand fault lines.....

James said...

The problem with afgainistan is this. The people we fight today care nothing of the cost simply the image. If we kill 200,000 of them and they kill 4,000 and we leave them be.......THEY won. To them death is nothing they raise their children to die in GAZA and the israelies kill 300 of them for every israeli killed.has the fighting ended? NOPE.

What america needs is to utterly crush the islamist. Make it so publicly known that those who would support them stop in fear. We need to force it through the idiot talking heads in washington and elsewhere that though we may WANT to give the afghainies democracy they CANT keep it. The cultural building blocks arent there. Nothing to bind them. A loss confederacy maybe.....they are tribes treat them as such.

PAKISTAIN IS OUR ENEMY. No no amount of wishing will make it not so. The ISI is basicly backing the taliban in totality. They feel AFG is theirs.

I really dont think the US has the will or the power atm to win in AFG. Why? Because we dont have the men as in about 100,000 more ground troops atleast to do real coin. We dont have the will to do what is nessesary because it might make us feel bad. And we SO want to feel good and prove to Europe that we are good little boys dont we! BAH.

What america is trying to do is akin to a doctor trying to clean out a wound while someone else pours mud in it. No matter what he does unless he deals with the reality of the situation he can never finish.

Can we wn? I hope so because we have to or the nationand world will feel a isalist threat for the next 100 years and it may not end until concentration cams litter the civilized nations of the world, the ME is a large smoking glass crater and our children walk to war their fathers should have finished.

Of course we can go obama's and such way. And of course thats perfect.....after all as the enemy gets stronger more messures must be taken to make us "safe". So new laws will come around ever restricting our freedoms...

Sometimes you just have to kill the basterd no matter what the laws or what the bleeding hearts say.

ewok40k said...

re: bombing and deterrence AFG has already crossed the 9/11 x 10 civilian casualties ration and is possibly even into 9/11x100... Mostly caused by Taleban btw - you cannot terrorise enemy who doesnt care about lives of his countrymen. 1000 bomber raids did actually cause Germans to be more fanatical in WW2. Heck, even 9/11 managed to mobilise US into most warlike mode since WW2.
and it gets worse - because:
re: arresting own citizens, there was Oklahoma City before 9/11, and more and more homegrown Islamist zealots show up. It sucks, but it sucks even more -  because there are other groups that I am sure will strike before end of the century - Greenies being my personal bet along the lines of "Rainbow 6". Cyber-anarchists are prime suspects for mass network attacks. And all that domestic threat is something you can't bomb unless you want to flatten the cities where hypothetical 9/11 redux conspirators lived in the US.
So don't think mass bombing will solve anything, save perhaps collective hurt ego. Most places you mentioned where Islamists can hide don't have even government strong enough to prevent them form settling. Deterrence works against those who can control their own country.
And if you cross some threshold of violent reprisals you will find boycotted in the world trade - which will make present recession look like a picnic. 

Oh and give Obama a break, I assume him getting OBL finally killed and many more lesser AQ suffering the laser guided karma is not enough. Had it been Bush there would be second coming of Theodore Roosevelt lauded, but I guess Not Done By My Party is in full effect - on  both sides. I guess if Obama attacked Hell, there would be plenty of sympathy for the Devil from the Republican leadership.

And for the hopefuls that think reduced US footprint abroad will reduce risk of attack - it is not true as Islamists fight what is their idea of the US, not the reality. It is as real as all-powerful Judaic conspiracy Nazis set out to destroy. In fact much as antisemitism antiamericanism is often construct to cover failures of own society or state. During communist times I've witnessed absurd claims that bad potato harvests were caused by US dropping pest beetles as bio-weapon...

so my take is - whatever you do or do not, there will be more attacks, and there is nothing you can do to deter them, and some will probably arise from your own society, under various ideological flags. 
but ultimately I am optimist - US democracy survived worse, including civil war which devastated the country on scale today unimaginable, and western democracies in total proved far more resilient than many expected,  UK surviving blitz and V-weapons, France rebirthing after Vichy episode and even Germany and Japan becoming pillars of democratic world, collectively staring down Soviets who were far more powerful than Islamists will ever be, and finally including most of former Soviet satellites - and I hope one day Russia itself too - into the democratic family.

LT B said...

The US Republic needs to survive the lawfare and political attacks from the internal socialists.

Adversus Omnes Dissident said...

CDR Sal, exactly.  EXACTLY.  Everyone knocked the French when they decided to pull out, but when the POTUS himself is in it to lose it, then why should the French president sacrifice more lives and treasure when it is nothing more than a suicide pact?

cdrsalamander said...

If I were him - I wouldn't.

DeltaBravo said...

Ewok, you misunderstand the complete disgust with Obama and why Republicans and independents aren't impressed with him "getting OBL".   When Pres. Bush took office, the democratic party had spent 8 years gutting our intel agencies, bypassing any chance to get OBL (Calling ISI to warn them was probably a bad idea in retrospect) and cutting back our military.  Pres. Bush spent 8 years listening to the left howl how 9-11 was his fault (even that he had a hand in it or let it happen to increase his Halliburton stock) and all that garbage.  He had to rebuild the military, rebuild our intel capabilities, and wage a 2-front war that the left howled was unjust and all about oil.  Because he wouldn't send 200,000 of our finest to search 12,000 miles of caves in the Hindu Kush with no intel and little local support, he was accused of letting OBL get away.  Then comes The Chosen One.  Who promised to end all wars, get rid of that vile Guantanamo (which produced the actual intel that got OBL) and stop being mean when we asked questions of terrorist prisoners.  And then the troops equipped and trained under another president went in with intel we wouldn't have had if we played by the left's rules, and got OBL and Obama took credit for it.  And then he announced in 2009 the war was over in July 2012 and we'd go home.  Last one out turn out the lights.  Sorry if that disgusts some of us. 

DeltaBravo said...

well, setting up class envy and racial animosity through all kinds of laws and divisive government programs worked at dividing America on racial and ethnic lines.  Gee!  What's the one cohesive organization in American that could present a real threat to complete balkanization of this country?  The military!  How's about we do that racial division with them!  Yeah, that's the ticket!  Divide the military within itself.  Create internal strife and animosity and use quotas and programs to keep those pesky military from seeing itself as a cohesive unit.

Mission accomplished?  Is it too late to stop that juggernaut?  Was it an actual plan or did this all come about by good-intentioned accident? 

LT B said...

The Russians/Soviets have a history of kicking the teeth in of the Mulims.  Additionally, we are allied w/ Israel so that works against us in their view. 

ewok40k said...

Islamists (and to extent most other brutal regimes in the world) feel threatened by the very existence of freedom and democracy that has irritating tendency to make people thinking they can govern themselves better than party/mullahs/president-for-life does... And, to compound things, external enemy is always needed to blame for all the failures and ills that befell them. I am pretty sure that if the US disappeared from the world with its assorted military and economic might, there would be a great and desperate hunt for a public enemy. 
Remember in both Arab countries and PAK Army was happy to let the press and other media make a business of both antisemitism and antiamericanism for decades just to keep crowds from getting regimes in their sights.
As for the Russians there is still the memory of 3 wars (56-67-73)against Israel being fought with Russian equipement. Russians face for Arabs is "the nice guy that gives us all the fantastic missiles to kill Israelis in their tanks and planes".

cdrsalamander said...

Hey - no one has a pair like the Macadonians .....

DeltaBravo said...

I agree... if Israel didn't exist, the Islamists would have to invent it.

Jing said...

Just a thought, but maybe it's a good idea to not let Afghans, Saudies, Pakistanies, Somalies, and assorted riff raff into your country in the first place. Instead of working yourself into a state of frenzied bloodlust and demanding the that America go kill hundreds of thousands of random strangers because they are being disagreeable about having their homes bombed by you, you could try falling back on the old adage that good fences make good neighbors. These Islamist aren't exactly the brightest tools in the shed and I don't see them building their own four engine widebodies anytime soon.

Brendan Doran said...

AFG - GTFO.  If they touch us again, horrorific punitive measures.   No Wilson, come as vengeful Jackson.

The Hegemony - we need to find our Anatolia, and defend it.  For the end of the Hegemony and possibly USG as we've known it, but not America will come similar to the demise of the Ottomanns.   The Turks founded their modern State on the core of Anatolia, and by Allah and Ataturk they defended it against all. 

I suggest our Anatolia runs from Greenland to Hawaii, with outposts at Guam, Iceland.   But we need to recognize we don't win land wars due to internal divisions within ourselves.   The perimeter should be the Sea.

ewok40k said...

You have 2 biggest moats in the world, called Atlantic and Pacific - use them wisely.

ewok40k said...

but but but it would be racist  /sarcasm off
anyway too many of them are inside the limes already, plus there is growing number of native convertites...

The Usual Suspect said...

Actually, if Israel did not exist, they would all fight amongst themselves.  This is not hyperbole; it is "just the facts, Ma'am" in a Jack Webb sort of way.

America's greatest enemies are located within the Beltway of Washington, D.C.  Of that, I have no doubt.  These are exactly the people that the Founders were thinking of when you raise your right hand and "swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC."

Without sacrifice <span>across</span> the population, people become soft, complacent, and compliant.  Our way of life and our form of government is being subverted from within by a cancer.  A cancer of me, corruption, party loyalty in place of loyalty to the country, instant gratification, no sacrifice, apathy, prolonged infantilism, and free riders and fellow travelers.  The truly sick thing is that hardly anybody understands what is going on.  The politics is just theater to get the populous to take their eyes off the ball.  Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid are happy with things as they are - they both get to remain in power, collect their checks, feed at the public trough, etc.  If they ever decide to leave, they will be hired by K Street firms who will pay them back for all their largesse with our money.

LT Rusty said...


Ivan's a lot less pleasant in his reactions after being kicked in the shins.  Abdul can be sure that when he attacks the US, there will be just as much public opinion in the USA that's on his side as against him.  When he pokes the bear, the response will not be proportional, nor will it be pleasant.

Sean said...

What vital national interests of the United States are being served by being in Afghanistan?

Not a flippant question - I honestly want to know what vital interstes of this country are being served by the decade operation in Afghanistan.  I sure as hell have not heard an articulate discussion of why we are there - I must have been absent that day.

This is where I come from....

<p>The Weinberger doctrine:
The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.U.S. combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.U.S. troops should not be committed to battle without a "reasonable assurance" of the support of U.S. public opinion and Congress.The commitment of U.S. troops should be considered only as a last resort.

LT B said...

They keep Gaza a flash point just for that purpose. 

Casey Tompkins said...

That was pretty much Jerry Pournelle's suggestion for both Pakistan and Iraq: come in, blow away the current regime, plant a huge concrete monument on top of what used to be the President's/Prime Minister's/Glorious Leader's palace, then tell the next in line "don't make us come back." Then, leave.

Casey Tompkins said...

Ver' simple, John. Part 1: remove the Taliban from power, as they were a rogue regime. Only 2 or 3 countries in the world ever recognized said regime, one of them being North Korea. Under Taliban rule, Afghanistan became a safe haven for terrorist groups to openly train for future attacks. The result was 9/11.

Part 2: install a democratic government so the Afghanistan people would have a vested interest in defending said government against resurgent Taliban, AQ, or other destabilizing actors {cough ISI cough}. This was more problematic. Me, I anticipated an authoritarian regime with democratic trappings. DC was more ambitious.

Either way, it was arguable that invading Afghanistan in order to eliminate a terrorist host was in our national interest. The problems arose from the follow-through.

Wasn't that easy? :-D

ewok40k said...

The problem is the "Glorious leader" crawling out of his hiding hole  and setting up the shop again (remember Saddam wasnt captured til 2006, OBL was killed just recently and Mullah Omar is alive and probbaly well guarded by ISI...)

ewok40k said...

Russians turned Chechnya inbto pretty much mass graveyard, and still get bombs blowing up in Moscow... and the insurgency spilling into nearest republics like Dagestan. Brutality isnt fix-it-all. But they dont panic if few hundred citizens die each year to terror. Surviving both Hitler and Stalin makes people see things... in perspective.

Billy the Kid said...

Two forward air bases in BAF/KAF?  Nobody sees the national in having a place to launch attacks into Iran/Pakistan/India?  Any of you guys been to these places in the past 6 months?  They are not FOBs.  They will be there for 50 least.

Sean said...

Sounds like we completed our mission early on in our decade long interaction in Afghanistan (eliminating the Taliban).

The rest of our time there and your argument sounds more like we are advancing the national interests of Afghanistan rather than the United States.

Be careful with the "we are building a nation here so that it is better than the one that they had before...." as there are a LOT of instances of this needing to be done (ie: most of sub-Saharan Africa) that we are not doing it.

For the Brokest Nation in History I submit that we might want to carefully evaluate when/where/how long we participate in these types of adventures.  We are not following the Weinberger doctrine by any stretch of the imagination, something that I think would have prevented us from being in our current situation.

By the way, for an excellent discussion of the Weinberger doctrine see the PBS Frontline episode called "Give War A Chance".

Truthful James said...

Out of the old first generation Mission Impossible:

Your task, Mr. Phelps, is to overthrow the Taliban government in Afghanistan, capture Osama bin Laden, destroy his home base in Tora Bora and finally install a judeo Christian democracy in a country whose fractious Muslim tribes have been fighting each other since Alexander the Great left town.  The government of Pakistan, in spite of receiving multi-billion dollars of aid annually, is supporting both the Taliban and bin Laden.  The country has been most reently occupied by the USSR who could not control events there and left in a hurry.  You willbe provided with the latest in U.S. weaponry and the most skillful Army and marine forces plus close air and tactical air support, but your forces on the ground will not have the support of the local tribe who realize that in the long run the dust will cover your footprints.

This taoe will destruct in ten seconds.  This mission will self destruct in twelve years.