Crap or get off the pot

That was a saying I grew up hearing my Dad say many times. If you have never heard it before, it is fairly simple, Do something or get out, but don’t just sit there and waste time. It is implying the same thing as the famous quote, “Lead, follow or get out of the way”. I have been saying since 2007 that this needs to happen when it comes to Afghanistan. One of the last times I think I talked about it on this blog was when I wrote this post. However it seems that we are still screwing around on the pot. The Pentagon will send almost 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, a Trump administration official said Thursday, hoping to break a stalemate in a war that has now passed to a third U.S. commander in chief. The deployment will be the largest of American manpower under Donald Trump’s young presidency. It is well past time to pack up and force the Afghans to step up and run their country or we drop in a few hundred thousand troops and clean house. As much as I support this President and his National Security team, this is just not the right answer. 4000 more soldiers is not going to secure the entire country enough for the Afghan forces to get a foothold and then manage it themselves. We have been there for 16 years, with an active Embedded Training Team presence for over 15 which has been trying to enable their military. We even picked up the responsibility of mentoring the very corrupt police force in 2007. The US and many of its coalition partners have shed blood, sweat and tears literally on Afghan soil with very little in return.

We have won many small battles, made the lives better for many Afghans in certain spots, etc. but almost all of that has been lost since we have drawn down and turned that landscape back over to the Afghans which has just fallen back into the enemy’s hands.

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So this is why I am saying we need to crap or get off the pot. I would think that between McMaster and Mattis that they know this. In fact I know as smart as both those guys are, that they do. I have no doubt that serving downrange is much better now that some of the gloves are off and the President has delegated strike authority to the Generals, however it will take boots on the ground earning the trust of the Afghans and showing them a way forward to get them to stand up and take over. It will also take routing out all enemies from all four corners of the country. Does America have the stomach to finally start doing that after 16 years, and the financial ability to do it? While the new troops could raise fears of mission creep, Mattis told lawmakers this week he didn’t envision returning to the force levels of 2010-11, when Obama thought he could pressure the Taliban into peace talks. Despite heavy losses, the Taliban fought on.

So I guess we have no choice but wait and see, but I am not anything but pessimistic on this one. There are only two solutions to Afghanistan. One is that we go back in en-masse and eradicate the enemy from everywhere. The other is to “hope” that the Afghans will step up and start caring more about their country than themselves and their tribes. One of those options will require our country to sacrifice a lot and make a serious commitment like we did in Iraq in 2006-2008, the other has never happened in the country’s 308 year existence as a nation-state.

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