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25 June 2010

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Jackie

Good, I'm glad they are gone. His staff seemed particularly arrogant.

J

Colonel,

One thing I don't understand regarding Afghanistan, and I keep scratching my head about -- Why isn't the Obama Administration working to eliminate the Afghan Opium trade? Russia would work with the U.S. to accomplish this, India would also assist on it. Pakistan as well would see such an action as their own interests too.

I just don't understand why Obama isn't working to wipe out the Afghan Opium Trade.

Regarding McChrystal, there those who see his actions as deliberate in the Rolling Stone magazine in order to provoke a policy fight over Afghanistan, and put the ball in Obama's lap to end his White House's duplicity of their Afghan program.

In addition, the indicators that Obama's White House intends to 'scapegoat' the military for his civilian failures?

Castellio

The Colonel says: From personal experience I can say that it is not a good idea to keep someone else's followers on your staff when you take over..

Would that Obama had learned the same.

MRW.

Colonel, can you explain this for me. McChrystal was relived of his command, not kicked out of the military. Where is he likely to go?

Fred

The remainder of the staff continue to do what they did before -- spending 16-20 hours busting their humps each day to get this mission done.” Four hours a day of sleep for a year? No wonder they can't think straight.

"But these, of course, are not normal times in Afghanistan, where anything resembling victory is well over the horizon... "
It's a good thing we can finally call this OBAMA's war, since there was neither victory nor responsibility in year 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7…. I'm sure the families of our honored dead are glad to know someone is now accountable. Perhaps the neo-cons and their media allies can beat the drum for putting that other party, the one that failed to achieve victory over almost a decade, in charge - again.

Why is the LTC Sholtis on Facebook? How long has this been up? Is there any chance any information about a US Army Intellegence office on Facebook would be usefull to any of our potential enemies? How about the friend list, anyone else working for US Army intellegence listed?
http://www.facebook.com/tadd.sholtis
Doesn't anyone remember "loose lips sink ships"? Or does that only apply when America is trying to WIN a war?


President Obama can't fire these people fast enough.

The President should consider placing FB and similar social and professional networking sites off limits to some members of the military and intellegence services.

Patrick Lang

MRW

Into retirement. pl

Jimmy

J,
Russia estimates that up to 40% of Afghan heroin ends up in Russia.
http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/06/21/russias_dangerous_fix

If Russia, India, and Iran start interdicting drug runners ["hot pursuit"] into Afghanistan, will Obama look the other way, like we do with PKK? Would that be a good thing?

Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA

And, Pat, I'll bet you a shot of good bourbon that McChrystal becomes a Senior Fellow at AEI or similar organization.

Walrus

According to Hastings, he didn't expect that McChrystal would be fired and neither did McChrystals staff. In an interview with Huffington Post he also says that at least some soldiers are glad he is gone because they believe that some of their casualties are due to restrictive rules of engagement.

Hastings believes that the Kandahar offensive is in "serious trouble" and that our Afghan "partners" want no part of it - some partnership.

The troops apparently have a lot of respect for Petreaus.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/25/michael-hastings-rolling_n_625261.html

My guess is that Gen. Petreaus is going to cancel the Kandahar offensive and try and buy us a negotiated settlement with the Taliban.

Fox is reporting that Petreaus will modify the rules of engagement - good.

J

Whiplash....whiplash....So which side (left/right) is President Obama talking out of now?

Obama Disavows July 2011 Afghan Drawdown Date

President Obama attempted to reassure again today that this would not happen, in comments which formally disavowed the July 2011 drawdown date he set himself in December.

Old Gun Pilot

MRW
As the Colonel says, retirement. But also he will be joining the the board of some DoD contractor and as a talking head on Fox.

Cloned Poster

Nobody in the MSN seems to be saying that June 2010, with 5 days left, is the worst month for ISAF casualties in Afghanistan

http://icasualties.org/OEF/index.aspx

J

Jimmy,

The lines of interdiction could easily be worked out among the interested parties. The Afghan Opium Trade is a plague that could be eradicated. The problem is however that some heavy hitters are making big $$$s trafficking the stuff, and may have some 'influence' within the corridors of power.

Patrick Lang

CP

I grieve for fallen brothers and sisters, but casualties must be endured in war. I remember particularly holding a dying air force kid on the PSP ramp at the airstrip at Song Be. He was in a port detachment and had been caught on a fork lift waiting for a C-130 to park. Mortars killed him. I dove under my jeep and when the fire stopped I could hear him screaming. He died for duty. "the most sublime word in the English language," RE Lee. pl

JM

J: "I just don't understand why Obama isn't working to wipe out the Afghan Opium Trade."

A key issue is that small-scale farmers make more money from poppies than from other crops. There have been countless "projects" to get small-scale farmers to grow something else, from marijuana in dozens of places, to coca plants in South America, to poppies in Afghanistan.

Get them to plant, what?, soybeans maybe. Subsidize them so that the market price they receive for their soybeans, maize, orchids, whatever, is the same or better than what they get for the poppies. How sustainable is that? It isn't.

The way to "wipe out the Afghan Opium Trade" is to reduce the demand for heroin.

J: "The problem is however that some heavy hitters are making big $$$s trafficking the stuff..."

Which heavy hitters are you referring to?

JM

"He died for duty."

Thank you for that.

As I sit in my comfortable apartment, with my comfortable lifestyle, fuming about policy choices in Afghanistan and Iraq, I find it helpful to be reminded periodically of the sacrifices that many have made in the service of their country.

William R. Cumming

So the flag ranks all pick their horse holders? What is new about that since the Watch on the Rhine by the Roman legions?

Brian Hart

What is the mission in Afghanistan?

COIN and counter terrorism, those are strategies, not objectives.

What is the mission for America in Afghanistan?

Sidney O. Smith III

Good Lord, I hope they make an exit. Just my opinion and from a civilian perspective, but I think it is in the best interest of the US Army to distance itself from such displays as we saw on the Team America tour, travelling through France as if they were a rock group or professional bad boy sports stars lead by a West Pointer.

Just seems to me that Sam Damon, in a million lifetimes, would not have acted like those of Team America.

As the vast majority of people know, there are professional ways to dissent to US foreign policy. One would think that such a stance would have to be based on, among other things, moral courage and a willingness to explain what is wrong.

Cold War Zoomie

The President should consider placing FB and similar social and professional networking sites off limits to some members of the military and intellegence services.

It is already a huge No-No in some intel agencies. Our adversaries comb through these sites looking for spear fishing opportunities. I would not be surprised if his gear is already compromised with implants.

Patrick Lang

JM

I am greatly annoyed when I hear people like McCain say that the present generation of soldiers is the "best ever."

1- Politicians say that in every decade and war.

2- Devotion to duty, courage, endurance have always been present. McCain should go down and look at that black wall, the one with the names. Perhaps that would remind him.

3- McCain served the republic well. His present statements remind ME of why I did not vote for him. pl

Fred

CWZ,

My mistake, apparently he's the PR guy, but the rule should still hold. Besides, if he was as busy as claimed he wouldn't have time for FB.

Brian Hart

Col. Lang please consider opening a thread with the simple statement, "What does American Need From Afghanistan?"

I specify need and not want here because I want to get a very pointed focus.

There is no magic well of knowledge near the Potomac that provides this answer soley to those in the Pentagon or the White House. We can think as clearly as anyone on this matter.

If all we need is to prevent al Qaeda from regrouping in Afghanistan and using Afghanistan as a base to attack America then perhaps we already succeeded and should adjust accordingly.

I'd like to exact revenge on OBL and Omar but that is a want and not a need.

What does American need from Afghanistan?

Grimgrin

I remember reading a proposal for wiping out the ilicit opium trade by setting up a pharmaceutical plant in Kabul to produce morphine and other opiate derivative pharmaceuticals. The US subsidizes purchasing to make sure the legitimate buyer can compete with the drugs trade and handles the accounting to make sure that they get what they pay for and that the final product get shipped to hospitals or other legitimate medical organizations. The Afghan farmers get a legitimate point of sale for their crops, and the national goverment gets a source of hard currency, the world gets relief form the morphine shortage and the drugs trade gets squeezed.

There's a limit to how much the drug traffickers can pay and still make a profit, so forcing them into a bidding war for poppies would help starve them of funds, or ideally create a situation where the Taliban is attacking the local farmers to try and confiscate their crops or the payments they receive.

I'm sure there are issues with implementing it, and like any plan that seems clear and brilliant, I don't quite trust it (I've found simple solutions sometimes mean I haven't understood the problem), but it's always seemed to be worth a shot.

JM

Grimgrin: "...setting up a pharmaceutical plant in Kabul to produce morphine and other opiate derivative pharmaceuticals...[seems] to be worth a shot."

Perhaps. It's an interesting variant on the "subsidize small-scale farmers to grow a legit crop" notion.

Key issue would of course be the price differential between legit poppies and the stuff that gets sold to the traffickers. (Reduce the price differential to zero, perhaps, by decriminalizing heroin.)

Reducing demand for heroin needs more attention. I've seen effective "harm reduction" programs in action - needle exchanges, methadone programs - the point of which is to destigmatize drug use and bring users into routine contact with health services, where injecting drug use can be tackled head-on.

What works best? Who knows. But given that our tax dollars are getting spent on all of these kinds of programs and projects, it would be useful to have better information on longer-term outcomes.

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