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11 December 2009

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b

Pure propaganda by someone who has not seen one bit of the real life of the people:

The 18th Airborne Corps Military Police Brigade Commander who has oversight command of the facility talks to each detainee as they are released. He is a hard nosed combat soldier. Invariably he tells me--- the detainees thank him and hug him goodbye.

Yeah - Mc Caffrey in his report lists 71 high ranking folks with name and title he talked to in what - a weak!

He surely will have got a lot of "information" from them.

But he seems to have not spend one minute outside of any tightly controlled briefing room and has no idea of how the people or how the grunts think about this catastrophe.

Well - he's not getting payed for that and doesn't have time for talking with anyone really involved ...

N. M. Salamon

Question:

After all the BS in his report, without a single visit to the field to talk with the grunts and the natives how does this retired General, while making extremely good pay as a K-street type, dare to look in the mirror?

Charles I

It all seemed a suitably dark assessment and somewhat optimistic prognosis until I got to the part at the end. . . "is . . .non-political"

This differs somewhat from machinations detailed in my previous cite "The day the general made a mistep", Mark Perry

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KL10Df04.html

In any event, focus IS on the exit strategy, this will be too little too late, 8 years on still a 3-10 year mission (surely to goodness you could spend more than $300 bn in ten years, that's chump change), ain't gonna happen.

Unless they strike oil.

Detroying the crop without well established alternatives in place might not go over to well when some poor farmer has to sell his daughter to pay for the fertilizer etc fronted to him by the dealers, and Monsanto sues him for the seeds he pilfered from the model farm to feed the rest.

I think its doable, maybe, but we won't. Note the courageousness of the martyrs as described by the General, their resources and tactical evolution. I think they're going to herd ISAF toward the border, artillery and air power will increase, lose one collateral village at a time, the buggers'll still be there in ten years, seems to be no shortage of them after 30 years, average lifespan 45 notwithstanding. We'll isolate Iran, they'll start growing opium, squeezing a balloon puts the pressure on but you don't get to the heart of the matter until it blows. And leaves you with nothing. The Venn diagrams are the most elegant rendition I've seen , but they do look like ballons just bursting to, well, burst.

Civilain government in Pakistan is hopelessly inept and corrupt. The Army and the ISI will never foreclose their options in Afghanistan, especially if things are going to heat up there, an Afghan army to deal with to boot, all drawing resources from the main front with India.

We'll never get all these ducks in a row, and Nato's too. My previous cite responding to china_hand reported a Taliban reach out to China to facilitate withdrawal. Not much diplomacy within the Pashtun civil war declared in the report.

And the third point is laudable but laughable. EVERYONE ON ALL SIDES is getting rich as all this war and dope flows over so many routes, over so many borders, through so many departments. I mean, that's your karmic payoff to be in that blighted land - everybody pays to play. We can't stop the dope dealing in our schools, never mind Afghanistan.

I like the bit that declared The Canadians will withdraw.

Charles I

p.s EVERYONE except Uncle Sam

Jackie

b,
I'm not a big McCaffrey fan, but one of his talking points was correct. The Afghans do want to educate their children.

Remember how successful McCaffrey was as the drug czar? Yeah, me either.

Nice report though.

TR

Lots of gristle here....

N. M. Salamon

Interesting analysis of troops, mercaneries and other expenses in Afganistan:

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175176/tomgram%3A__state_of_surge%2C_afghanistan/

Please peruse and contemplate USA unemployment rate.

lina

Gen. McCaffrey states:

"There is no inevitability to history. We are neither the Brit’s nor the Soviets. This is an effort to secure our own national safety and build a stable Afghan state. We can achieve our strategic purpose with determined leadership and American treasure and blood."

We may not be the Brits or the Soviets, but are the Afghans still the Afghans?

And why can't we maintain our national safety without a stable Afghan state? Why can't we do that with spies, law enforcement, and special operations forces?

I hate to be cynical about President Obama, because I respect and admire him, but I can't escape the idea that he wants to keep his finger in the dyke until the end of his first term because he knows as soon as we withdraw, Afghanistan will devolve into complete chaos and civil war. And it's better to postpone that until the second term.

JAC

Conventional military officers, you just have to love them.

They all talk COIN but when push comes to shove they will not let CINC SOC or SF take the lead ever again...

This will be a very costly strategy.

walrus

Col. Lang got it right: "Self Licking icecream cone."

1. Of the Sixty Nine people interviewed, only Six were Afghan nationals and Thirty Three were military personnel, mostly Generals. It therefore stands to reason that none of the observations about the wishes or mood of the Afghan people are likely to be supported by hard evidence.

2. This is the view of the Generals, and they will get what they want, no matter who is President.

3. The Generals observations regarding Pakistan and it's army as the most capable organisation in that country are probably correct. McCaffrey said nothing about it's government or political parties. By implication, this means that our Generals support the emergence of a military Dictatorship in Pakistan, since it may be the only way to secure the logistics route to Afghanistan.

4. The gratuitous comments about Obamas strategy, Bagram prison, McChrystals leadership and his employment on the board of the contractor Dyncorp, make me want to vomit.

I will say it again, we could lose every soldier we have sent to Afghanistan if this goes pear shaped.

flr

At the top of McCaffrey's report, I counted twenty-seven general officers (not counting Afghans!) in a war with < 100,000 troops. Another 35,000 Americans servicemen will surely bring more generals with them. Sean Naylor's "Not a Good Day to Die" was very good on the effect of this top-heavy structure.

Pg. 10: "There is no inevitability to history. We are neither the Brit’s nor the Soviets."

Every other poor dumb SOB who walked through that door got punched in the face, but it's gonna be different for me -- I'm special.

Pg. 10: "We now have the most effective and courageous military forces in our nation’s history committed to this
campaign."

Yeah, those losers at Gettysburg and Pointe du Hoc were totally second-best to us. Meuse-Argonne Offensive? The Wilderness? If only those dudes had possessed more courage.

Pg. 11: "The superb leadership from Secretary Gates, Admiral Mike Mullen, General Dave Petraeus, and General Stan
McChrystal is objective, experienced, non-political, and determined."

Finally, someone who notices that Petraeus and McChrystal are "non-political." Of course, the selection process for that fourth star is inherently a non-political process, so this is an outcome that makes sense.

Ahh, what's it feel like to see the world this way?

Brian Hart

Barry McCaffrey is a high priced call girl for DOD. No prostitute could pull a train that long – 69 generals, colonels and diplomats - in 9 days in two countries counting flight time.

His analysis is made for TV talking points a college student could write from a dorm room. It’s an easy reader for talk show hosts. He’s on the casting couch ready for his close up.

His research titled as an ‘after action report’ implies some suspense nay even a whiff of danger. His 69 sources listed up front - instead of footnotes - are strategically located to intimidate cadets. He kissed so many asses on the last page that I hope he had gum to chase away the taste.

As a young officer he seemed to be physically brave.

Later in life he became a propagandist practicing his trade. This seems to have happened about the time he led us to victory in that war on drugs as czar. Check him out in wiki for a quick refresher.

He now does what will get him on TV where he poses as an objective military analyst. Where was he in the last 8 years when we starved Afghanistan for resources?

This country deserves better.

flr

"Barry McCaffrey is a high priced call girl for DOD. No prostitute could pull a train that long – 69 generals, colonels and diplomats - in 9 days in two countries counting flight time."

We have a winner -- no further comments needed.

DE Teodoru

McCaffrey should be sent to command in Afghanistan. If he does in that land og poppie fields what he did as head of Federal Drug Enforcement Agency then there would be no Afghnas left free to join the Taliban

Mark Logan

I would bid the general to
contemplate this bullit point a bit deeper:

"Afghanistan and Iraq are an immensely costly war running in excess of $377 million a day in FY10 Constant dollars. (WWII was $622 million per day.). US Defense outlays for 2009 are $657 billion (or 4.6% of GDP…the highest since 1992.) In FY 2009 the war in Afghanistan cost $55.9 billion in regular appropriations with an additional supplemental of $80.73 billion. Clearly Afghanistan will run with a burn rate in excess of $9 billion per month by the summer of 2010."

..and be aware somebody put an "Obamaville" sign up
outside of a snowbound camp of homeless people in Colorado this week, as reported by Beitbart. 8 million unemployed, and the outrage is even leaking into the RW media camp.

Fred

It is very gracious of the DynCorp Board member to take a US Taxpayer funded tour of Iraq and Afghanistan and generate this fine paper. Of course the reader does not find out about this blatant conflict of interest until page 8 and then only after effusive praise of the “brilliant, well educated, non-violent, politically astute deal maker…” Hamid Karzai; who’s government is not disliked due to election fraud or corruption, but because of the Taliban (except for that corruption mentioned previously on page 7, section 6 pt 2).

Twenty six flag officers interviewed and only two were of the Afghan National Army. More than a baker’s dozen of colonels and none are Afghan. One can only conclude that the Chief of Staff of the ANA and the 201st Corps commander are personally leading troops in the field or McCaffrey thinks the opinions of Afghan troop commanders don’t mater.

Most of the points he makes he contradicts later in the same paper.

McCaffrey states the Taliban number 30,000 and they are in control of 160 districts. That is 188 people per district. Why is this war still going on? McCaffrey states on page 9 that the Taliban are politically rejected by nearly the entire non-Pashtun population and among them support is 6%. How many of the 5 million recently returned refugees he mentions on page 9 support them. Again, why is this war still going on?

Patrick Lang

Fred

You must be Fred Rutz. wish you would bring my shotgun back.

Yes. The Dyncorp thing is particularly impressive.

Still "on the wagon?" pl

Clifford Kiracofe


"Afghanistan is still in the 14th Century...The land is mired in endless bloody civil war among the Pashtun (42%), the Tajiks (27%), the Uzbeks (9%), the Hazaras (9%), and the many others who speak Dari, Pashto, and a polyglot of disparate languages. The frontiers with Afghanistan’s six neighbor states are uncertain and divide intensely felt tribal and ethnic affiliations."

Later he states:

"This is an effort to... build a stable Afghan state."

Then he states:
" ISAF is reinforcing just in time to rescue the deteriorating tactical situation."

A deteriorating tactical situation...

How does surge/COIN crusade apply to this situation and how and why will it fix it?


1. "There is precious little support for the Afghan operation among the American people. 66% say it is not worth fighting for. Only 45% of Americans and few among his political party approve of President Obama’s handling of the war. This was not a speech on military strategy. We are unlikely to achieve our political and military goals in 18 months. This will inevitably become a three to ten year strategy to build a viable Afghan state with their own security force that can allow us to withdraw. It may well cost us an additional $300 billion and we are likely to suffer thousands more US casualties."

A 3-10 year strategy? Thus 2012-2019? And US Election results in 2012? 2016? 2020? Not to mention 2010, 2014, 2018.

Is this unnecessary adventure in the Hindu Kush is politically sustainable?

2. "Afghanistan and Iraq are an immensely costly war running in excess of $377 million a day in FY10 Constant dollars. (WWII was $622 million per day.). US Defense outlays for 2009 are $657 billion (or 4.6% of GDP…the highest since 1992.) In FY 2009 the war in Afghanistan cost $55.9 billion in regular appropriations with an additional supplemental of $80.73 billion. Clearly Afghanistan will run with a burn rate in excess of $9 billion per month by the summer of 2010."

Is this crusade in the Hindu Kush economically sustainable for the US taxpayer?

3. " We are very vulnerable in our Afghanistan operation. 90% of our Afghanistan logistics comes through the Port of Karachi and runs a dangerous thousand miles of wild country on “jingle trucks” headed to the Bagram or Kandahar Logistics Bases."

"very vulnerable" logistics, indeed.

4. "It is not clear if Pakistan will regress to fundamentalism or become a modern, unified state."

So as Pakistan disintegrates our forces become still more vulnerable in the Afghan quagmire? Is it prudent to escalate under these conditions?

NO MENTION of interested regional players: Russia, Iran, India, China. As if these countries are not now active in some shape, manner, and form INSIDE Afghanistan?

5. "Afghanistan over the next 2-3 years will be simply too dangerous for most civil agencies."

So what about the hearts and minds and economic development? Nothing in time for the US Election is 2012?

5. "NATO forces are central to our success... With few exceptions, however, they will not conduct aggressive counter-insurgency operations."

Our allies decline to "do" COIN, wonder why. There is rising political opposition in Europe to the US crusade in Afghanistan. If NATO is "central" to our effort it seems we are on increasingly thin ice politically in Europe thus more vulnerable in Afghanistan.

8. "The time for ... analysis is done."

We do not need to have ongoing intensive analysis of a dynamic situation?

9. "There is no inevitability to history. We are neither the Brit’s nor the Soviets."

There are consequences from mistakes in policy. There is cause and effect. There are lessons to be learned from history and experience.

10. "Our focus must now not be on an exit strategy."

Aren't "exit strategies" part of serious military planning?

But then McCaffrey is evidently not a serious man, let alone general, apparently having drunk the Kool-Aid and perhaps indulged in no little opium betweem power point presentations and cocktails in Afghanistan to write this "report."


Given that the "die is cast," it seems to me that we need to be thinking ahead as to how to manage and mitigate the consequences of mission failure.

As those of us who lived through the period know, this Republic was destabilized economically and socially from Johnson's decision to escalate in 1965 for a couple of decades: stagflation, domestic unrest, etc.

Our standard of living at home, and indeed our "way of life," is placed increasingly at risk by unnecessary foreign military adventures.

Here is a photo giving some flavor of ops in the Hindu Kush:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
File:Inbound_Choppers_in_Afghanistan_2008.jpg


Fred Strack

Col. I'll start using the last name. Fred Strack. I do owe you a write up on your prior blog entries on Islam/religion but no shotgun. (3 years of entries is a litter more work that I thought, but very educational.)

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