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29 August 2012

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r whitman

The Vietnam war was lost here in the US for a number of reasons but people were intensely aware of it all the time.

No one in the US cares about the Afgan war except for the military and foreign policy junkies. No one in Tampa this week or Charlotte next week will mention it. Its lost or won and nobody cares.

robt willmann

On the subject of a war -- but unrelated to this Afghan issue -- an unexploded, 500 pound bomb was discovered about 5 km from the downtown square in Munich, Germany in the area of the university when construction was being done. It supposedly had a delayed chemical fuse and was of American manufacture, according to the person who told me yesterday. The Germans thought that it could not safely be defused, and so a "controlled explosion" was done.

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/fliegerbombe-in-muenchen-gesprengt-kein-auge-hab-ich-zugetan-die-ganze-nacht-nicht-1.1452868

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/panorama/weltkriegsbomben-in-staedten-gefahr-die-im-boden-schlummert-1.1453406

This is not an isolated instance, as unexploded ordnance is still being found in Germany from World War II.

Babak Makkinejad

There is an entire French Army unit that is dedicated to the task of finding and defusing unexploded ordnance from WWI and WWII in France.

Fred

I've read somewhere recently that French farmers are still finding artillery shells from WWI.

mbrenner

The holder of the Burke Chair is a serious, intelligent man. That it's taken 11 years for him to recognize this elementary yet central point is all the commentary we need as to how the United States has gone off the rails.

turcopolier

mbrenner

Yes, it is also am medication of the profound corruption to thinking wrought by government consulting and contracts. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I thought CSIS was also supported by the Government of Saudi Arabia, yes?

bth

It's hard to believe that the CSIS report is the state of the art in analysis. A competent undergrad could have written it. Surely there is better.

turcopolier

bth

It's nothing special but it does the job. pl

FB Ali

I have read the summary at the link above, and not the whole report. While a realistic assessment of the present dire situation (including, refreshingly, the realization that much of this mess is due to faulty assessments and reporting from the theatre), it indulges in pie-in-the-sky fantasy when proposing a future corrected course of action.

His suggestion that the US get improved Afghan performance by threatening to pull out completely is comical!

He also clings to the notion that the US can leave behind a viable Afghan national army and police. The 'green on blue' attacks have put paid to that possibility, far fetched as it was to start with. They have initiated a vicious cycle that will effectively kill this program (three Australian soldiers were killed in one of these attacks today).

jmc5588

The originally implicit and later explicit assumption in this piece is that there is such a thing as the "Afghan people." Afghanistan is a geographical expression, the detritus of four empires.

bth

What is the feasibility of this thread producing a more realistic strategy and outline of action? I think the situation is pretty well known, but practical and realistic next steps seem to be largely missing from the national discussion - what little there is.

oofda

There was a WWII bomb in the Danube near Vienna that exploded this week. Every month or so in Austria or Germany, a bomb is found during construction.

Babak Makkinejad

Years ago, NATO states defined Afghanistan as her sand box. That is another inherent weakness of their position.

turcopolier

bth

The reasonable, practicable strategy is to withdraw our forces altogether from Afghanistan and continue to pursue the jihadis on a world wide basis without occupying any more Muslim land. pl

turcopolier

jmc5588

absolutely correct. pl

McGee

Spot on - as always, Colonel!

Walrus

Five Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan yesterday.

What a waste.

Babak Makkinejad

What is the goal?

Walrus

I love the solution to UXB's adopted by the natives in New Guinea: - They build a log fire over it and retire to a safe distance to watch the fun.

John Adamson

I remember reading a comment by a soldier/historian Col. Harry Summers who described meeting an NVA general after the
Vietnam war. Summers pointed out that we had never lost a battle in the field. The NVA general said that was true - but was also irrelevant since they won the war.

People who were there really understand the truth of the comment.

I think the same thing applies to Afghanistan where I believe the slogan is, "You have watches, but we have the time."

bth

It's a shame that we didn't use the killing of OBL to declare victory and leave.

turcopolier

John Adamson

It was an NVA colonel. That's what Harry told me. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, an Agricultural society clashing with an Industrial society.

For an Industrial society, war, like everything else, must be run according to time tables and schedules.

For an Agricultural one, wars will be fought based on seasons; and there is always time....

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