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30 November 2011


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Colonel Lang,

Have been overseas; missed SST.

"What would happen if the U.S. immediately ceased all aid and subsidies to Pakistan, burned all of its bases, equipment, and embassy in Afghanistan, and put all American troops, personnel, and contractors on planes back to the U.S. so they all arrived in time for Christmas".

Lots of things would happen; some in the US interest, some not. Lots of things are going to happen anyway; some in our interest, some not. Overall, getting out seems to me to the best solution.

It would also add another credible arrow in our strategic quiver for the rest of the world - "careful, or we are going to withdraw [as opposed to invade]".

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96


Time to come home. The only thing we can do there now is, make things worse.

FB Ali

What would happen....?

A lot of head-twirling activity and changes in the situation for a year or two. Then it'll all settle down into almost exactly the same state as if the US tried to hang in there. The end-state will probably take a little longer to reach in the latter case.

It's easy to bomb the hell out of places and people, it's much, much more difficult to change the natural flow of history in any part of the world.


fb ali

"it's much, much more difficult to change the natural flow of history in any part of the world." Much, I have been trying to tell people that. pl


There are lots of good folk in every country. Our presence or absence shouldn't be the determining factor in their ability to bring their current despots into line. We've been too long blinded by Paki's superficially westernized military and its smooth-talking 'garchs, unwilling to pay to maintain a garrison state.
China can pick up the northern pieces, Karachi may go its own way as a proto-Singapore, the Pashtuns can take what they want (a la Kurdistan) and the feudals will continue to rule what's left. This is of course a long-term and romantic scenario, but it at least gets us out of an abusive relationship.


What would happen if we brought our troops home and out of harm's way?

I think the only truly important thing that would happen is that a whole lot of American families would receive the best Christmas gift imaginable.

Dr Agitprop

Pat, is that a photo of Pancho Villa at the top of this thread?

Dr Agitprop

The Twisted Genius

I'm with Brigadier Ali on this one. We Americans have to realize that it isn't always about us... no matter how bad we want to be that way.


Nature abhors a vacuum.

We leave, someone else goes in.

Only difference: the US taxpayer doesn't pay! I say, let the Chinese PLA bring roads, schools, and civilization to the locals on the Hindu Kush. They're right next door, in any case. And if the locals whimper about the PLA being less local-friendly than Uncle Sam, well, shrug and shuffle on.

The grand American experiment to convert "hearts and minds" hasn't been overwhelmingly successful in the last fifty years. Perhaps we ought to stop trying to export it.

William R. Cumming

Did not DeGaulle kick the USA out of France in the 60's and we complied by stripping all US military complexes of anything of value? France survived and still has 500 kinds of cheeses.
Perhaps by pretending the USA had no empire we can pretend it has not collapsed and all is AOK!


Isn't Afghanistan about a north-south oil pipeline to the Indian ocean that would bypass China?

After all, it can't just be the heroin...

ex-PFC Chuck

" . . it's much, much more difficult to change the natural flow of history in any part of the world."

This reminds me of a statement I read years ago attributed to Bismarck. It went something like this: "The job of the statesman is to put his ear to the ground to listen for the hoof beats of the horse of history, figure out which direction he's running, and be prepared to jump on his back and hang on for dear life when he comes by."


"What would happen if the U.S. immediately ceased all aid and subsidies to Pakistan, burned all of its bases, equipment, and embassy in Afghanistan, and put all American troops, personnel, and contractors on planes back to the U.S. so they all arrived in time for Christmas".

Forsooth! How then would we express our exceptionalism? Oh, we're not? Well, in that case, head 'em up and move 'em out.

I think there might be a bit of financial turmoil as rivers of money are diverted from their well-worn streambeds on both sides, but as the wise Brigadier Ali says, the flow of money is not the same as the flow of history.

I earnestly wish for a simulation good enough to let us predict all the unintended consequences of such a dramatic step, but I agree with Jake, the only thing we can do there now is make things worse.

Leaving might have downsides, but those are uncertain. Staying has downsides and those are certain.

Yet another interesting topic on SST.


It would be the right thing to do, which is why it will not be done. So many other things have to be tried first.


If I had a vote I vote for no 'weasel word clauses' the withdrawal. We can deal with what comes, when it comes. As for what the "plan" would be if there was complete withdrawal....well we'd have to draw it up after consulting people like Col Lang, et al, active and retired. But I would push for a big travel budget to India.


Colonel Lang,

"Pat, is that a photo of Pancho Villa at the top of this thread?"

I believe it is part of a photo of 3 Confederate prisoners
taken after Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg.

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96



Yes. I suppose I am indicating that military failure is not always a disgrace. pl


Colonel Lang,

No. No disgrace in that instance.

R.E. Lee said it all, quite beautifully.

"After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the brave survivors of so many hard fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them.

But feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attented the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.

By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from a consciousness of duty faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that a Merciful God will extend to you His blessings and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell."

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96

Laura Wilson

Thank you for an enlightening discussion and some absolutely fabulous quotes! I value the wisdom of this group.


Buncha commies around here. If we left by xmas, there are a considerable amonut of mercs and contractors who might not get a year end bonus. For shame people, for shame!


It seems to me you are assuming a fact 'not in evidence'. That people have not thought and talked about getting out. Indeed, it is my impression that they/we have talked ad infinitum about it. At some point...you have to take the proverbial "leap of faith".

I will tell ya this Rick...if NYSDMV stands for what I suspect it does, NY's Motor Vehicle agency, based on my experience with it, I would strongly urge an entity, any entity, to do the exact opposite of WHATEVER the NYSDMV is doing and you will exponentially improve your chances of doing the right thing.



You can go see Erik Prince in Dubai to collect.


As an aside, we ALL, at times, do leaps of faith, which we sometimes call calculation. We have no choice.

You have, we have, basically set up a system in which we fail to calculate the implications of 'staying'. Then, when someone says, 'get out'...we say we 'oh, we can't even consider that...it will undercut our troops, undercut our allies, send the wrong signal to the enemy, minimize the sacrifices of our forces already expended' otherwise known as 'sunk capital'. Guilt and fear, guilt and fear, that is what sells. Fuck em. Get out now. Deal with what comes or does not come. And stay close to India.



Not altogether sure of your point except "leave!" I have favored a CT strategy and about 25000 for a few years then going down to less than 5000 then, but IMO the situation is accelerating downhill. I hear rumors that BHO is going to to abandon the COIN thingy there because it is increasingly inappropriate in the context of the regional struggle between India and Pakistan. In addition the JCS are faced with massive budget and therefor manpower cuts in the ground forces and they can see that down the road they can't afford that war. pl

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