Wishing for what you don’t want

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1104ap_as_afghanistan_us.html

They really want that? Are they being serious? Who wants this, Karzai and his fellow leaders living well in Kabul? Because it is not the soldiers out on the ground. They are fine with never going outside the wire and doing missions. ANA and ANP would be happy to sit in their very safe FOBs and camps all day and earn a paycheck for nothing.

Who does Karzai think is reading these reports? He knows as well as anyone else that has served in or around the ANA for the last few years that there is a ANA face on every mission (or just about every mission). I know that may sound crude, but it is the truth. A mission in Afghanistan does not happen without at least a squad or two of Afghan Army soldiers there as part of the mission. We call that putting an ANA face on everything. Now granted, there may be 20 ANA soldiers on a mission, but they very well could be backed up by a company (120+) or larger unit of Americans. The ANA may be the first ones through the door on a house breech, but it is the Americans who come in later to do the real searching.

There are many ETTs and PMTs in country that would love for the Afghan military and police to go out on mission by themselves and not need any Americans there. However the ANA would get wiped out if that happen becuase if there were no American mentors on every mission with the Afghan forces then there would be no medical evacuation, no close air support and no effective fire from crew-serve weapons.

I love this one line, Hamidzada said that international forces should be “mentors and as backup and support for our forces.”

Hey IDIOT!!! That is the basic mission of Task Force Phoenix which is in its 8th year. This is what ETTs have been trying to do, but until you start getting rid of corruption, kick out the bad soldiers, and find soldiers who want to be soldiers for the good of their country and not just for a paycheck then the ANA will never step up and lead anytihng.

The bottom line of this ranting blog entry is the following: The American goals for the last 7 years have been to get the ANA to step up and lead the missions. Americans don’t want to die for Afghanistan when there is no shortage of Afghans that can die for Afghanistan. Karzai and his government are such hypocrites that it makes me sick to read this stuff and even think one person may believe these lies.

I wish American military leaders or congressional leaders would call Afghanistan on this, however I don’t think that would happen.

11 thoughts on “Wishing for what you don’t want”

  1. And you make valid points. (And I replied there.) Corruption does run rampant there, as it does in much of the 3rd World. It will take time and patience to overcome how deeply it is ingrained.

    My bigger point was that Karzai is playing Obama and using the media to do it. I’m not saying your opinion is warped, but that the media is choosing which quotes we see from him. They have their own agenda, which does not invalidate your points.

    As we agree corruption is a serious issue, the question is how do we overcome that part of their culture?

    But on the point of who to lead that Nation (though neither of us have a vote), I think one would be hard pressed to find another that could stamp out corruption more than he has, could hold the nation together better, all the while fighting the Taliban, HIG, Haqqani and resurgent AQ.

    I’ll bet two senior NCO’s that have been there can come up with a better plan than what State and DoD have devised!

    1. re: your last sentence AMEN brother. I am sure a couple Sr. NCO’s could. I tell you what, you can start with cleaning house on the Afghan side and I will start with cleaning house at Baghram, Eggers and Phoenix.

  2. That’s some article you’re taking on. I’m usually not that patient to let it sit, but if I can get one pumped out, I’ll hold it for your publication time.

    If you could clean out Bagram alone, much less Phoenix & Eggers, I will forever be in your awe! I know just the Afghan to help me bust some heads though!

  3. There is no military solution to the problems in Afghanistan. The core problems are political, economic, and tribal. If Bin Laden were killed tomorrow, very little would change in Afghanistan. Blaming the Taliban for the problems in Afghanistan is diversionary and misdirected. The current Afghan National Army and the trained policemen around the country are certainly a welcome step. But, the police force is as corrupt as it has always been and the National Army is an army of Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, and others, but very few Pashtuns. It is by no means a National army. As long as international forces fight side by side with them, they will exhibit what they have been taught. When there are no international forces in Afghanistan at all, they will revert to tribal loyalties. These ingrained cultural realities do not change overnight. Seven years is a very, very short time in a culture that has a memory of 100s of years. President Karzai is increasingly weakened and ineffective. He has never really been a national leader as much as the mayor of Kabul and he is much less trusted today than he was five years ago. The problems with his brother are well known and help to make Hamid Karzai less credible. Opium poppies are a serious problem and drug use among Afghans has increased. This isn’t a military problem and it can’t be solved by military operations. There must be economic alternatives for the farmers who grow poppies. Smuggling has been a problem in Afghanistan since Babur and before. That will not change through military action. Now that we have a new administration in Washington, DC and General Petraeus leading the efforts in Afghanistan, I feel a bit more hopeful. I feel like we are just emerging from the Dark Ages of the last eight years of the Bush Administration. I hope that there will soon be the recognition that the problems in Afghanistan are regional and must involve cooperation among Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan with assistance from Russia and China. We can bomb until we have left nothing standing, but the problems will not go away. We can even create the illusion of stability as long as we stay there, but once we leave, the tribal realities of the country will reassert themselves. Solutions must be found at that level. Of all the money the US and international groups have poured into Afghanistan, nearly 75% goes to non-Afghans. Of the remaining 25% that winds up targeted for Afghan projects, some small part of it actually gets to where it is intended, but as can be expected, much gets lost in desk drawers. We need to do much better.

  4. Charles, you are long on book facts and short on RealPolitik. Obama is not a messiah, nor Bush the devil.

    It will take time & patience, but the work of 19th Century British mapmakers can be overcome. Corruption is a part of the culture, ingrained, but it can be overcome.

    And there can be no political solution without security, which means Military. Success in Iraq should have taught you something, then again Obama still refuses to admit the reasons for that Success.

    Afghanistan policy cannot be a cookie cutter plan from Iraq, but basic principles of COIN are flexible, as written by Petraeus.

  5. WOTN, You are absolutely correct that Obama is no Messiah and Bush is not the devil. Furthermore, you are correct that one small part of the problem is 19th century British mapmakers. Although, the Durand Line has never been observed by the Pashtuns or the Kuchis or the Baluchis and will not likely every be. It is important, but really doesn’t contribute in any way to the current problems other than those between modern day Pakistan and Afghanistan. Corruption can be overcome, but not in your lifetime or mine. Among Afghans, what we call corruption, is often viewed as merely a cost of doing business or staying out of jail. Security is a prerequisite to a political solution in Afghanistan, but security is elusive and not obtainable with Afghan troops and police unless we are willing to stay there through at least one more generation of children. It would, more likely, take two generations of children. Security is more a mental state than one enforced by a gun. Iraq and Afghanistan are related only because Bush created the relationship. If he had committed the resources that have gone down the toilet in Iraq to Afghanistan, we would be much closer to what I imagine both of us would like to see, a stable, secure, and free Afghanistan. At some point, Afghanistan will calm down like Iraq has ………… until we leave. I’m afraid that my information about Afghanistan is “book facts” but it also comes from Taqriben tis sol pesh kub da Afghanistan do sal zendigi kadom.

  6. There’s a sure way to make such a dire prophecy of “can’t” come true: simply accept “can’t” and don’t try.

    And that is why Veterans make such great employees. Soldiers understand that most problems have a solution which includes a plan, perserverance, a “can do” attitude. “The difficult we do right away. The impossible may take us a day or two.”

    Yes, corruption is ingrained in the culture of Afghanistan and is hence a “challenge,” but not insurmountable.

    Afghanistan and Iraq are related in many more ways than just the fact that both have come under assault from Al-Qaeda and islamist terrorists, more than just a common religion, but there are also significant differences.

    But any person that thinks that security is a mere state of mind and can be achieved without Military and/or Law Enforcement carrying guns and enforcing security is living in a dream world. I recommend perusing the articles: “On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs,” by LTC Grossman, “The Abused,” along with the list of articles at the end of my two most recent articles on Karzai including the articles by Bouhammer in disagreement:
    http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2009/01/karzai-failed-mayor-or-unprecedented-unifier-how-do-misperceptions-of-iraq-play-into-paki-politics.html

    3 Years ago, much of the body politic said “Iraq is lost. We can never achieve peace, yadda yadda yadda” 2 years ago, the left side of the aisle was calling our Troops “targets.” 1 Year ago the same politicians were saying the new security in Iraq was temporary.

    As much as Troy and I attempt to provide a written description of the real Afghanistan, some things cannot be understood unless experienced. When you put the filter of the media and political bias on what is being told those that have never been there, the misperceptions will be great. The simple “facts” create a false story.

    General Petraeus and The Troops refused to accept the “can’t” and defeatism of partisan slogans. Our Troops, the Iraqi Military, and others with a “can-do” attitude again demonstrated how no challenge is insurmountable.

    But there is only one force on this Earth powerful enough to force defeat on our Troops: Our Body Politic and even they are powerless without the complicit or active support of the people. Unfortunately, few of the American people are educating themselves, few are actually listening to the words of the Veterans that have been there, just as Obama refused to talk to Gen. Petraeus.

  7. I see little reason in pursuing this. I’m quite sure that we both hope for the best outcome for Afghanistan. We are all prisoners of our own propaganda. We just choose different sources. Clichés are most certainly part of the problem.

  8. And like Obama dismissing the words of the General he voted to put in charge of Iraq, so too do his supporters now dismiss the words of the Veterans that have served there?

    A prisoner of propaganda? Not me and not Troy. We’ve been on the ground. We’ve lived, fought, and worked there. Our words are born out of decades of training for the experiences we now relate.

    If you wish to accept “can’t” and hence failures, or lack of success attainable in your personal life, that is your decision and you are responsible for it. But when you vote to put in politicians that force Troops to commit to “can’t” when they know it will cost lives, when they know that they’ve paid in blood, for something they can do, then that effects me and hundreds of thousands of Troops and millions of Veterans and the very safety and security of this Nation and the citizens we’ve protected.

    When a civilian gives up or makes a mistake, it rarely costs lives. When a Soldier makes even a small mistake, it can be deadly. So, no, we don’t just accept cliches, propaganda, and party lines at face value.

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