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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #650 on: June 13, 2010, 08:56:22 PM »

Hmm, wonder how this will change the game if it pans out?

U.S. Discovers Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan
By JAMES RISEN
WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and Blackberries.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines.

American and Afghan officials agreed to discuss the mineral discoveries at a difficult moment in the war in Afghanistan. The American-led offensive in Marja in southern Afghanistan has achieved only limited gains. Meanwhile, charges of corruption and favoritism continue to plague the Karzai government, and Mr. Karzai seems increasingly embittered toward the White House.

So the Obama administration is hungry for some positive news to come out of Afghanistan. Yet the American officials also recognize that the mineral discoveries will almost certainly have a double-edged impact.

Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.

The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government could also be amplified by the new wealth, particularly if a handful of well-connected oligarchs, some with personal ties to the president, gain control of the resources. Just last year, Afghanistan’s minister of mines was accused by American officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mine. The minister has since been replaced.

Endless fights could erupt between the central government in Kabul and provincial and tribal leaders in mineral-rich districts. Afghanistan has a national mining law, written with the help of advisers from the World Bank, but it has never faced a serious challenge.

“No one has tested that law; no one knows how it will stand up in a fight between the central government and the provinces,” observed Paul A. Brinkley, undersecretary of defense and leader of the Pentagon team that discovered the deposits.

At the same time, American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region. After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants more, American officials said.

Another complication is that because Afghanistan has never had much heavy industry before, it has little or no history of environmental protection either. “The big question is, can this be developed in a responsible way, in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible?” Mr. Brinkley said. “No one knows how this will work.”

With virtually no mining industry or infrastructure in place today, it will take decades for Afghanistan to exploit its mineral wealth fully. “This is a country that has no mining culture,” said Jack Medlin, a geologist in the United States Geological Survey’s international affairs program. “They’ve had some small artisanal mines, but now there could be some very, very large mines that will require more than just a gold pan.”

The mineral deposits are scattered throughout the country, including in the southern and eastern regions along the border with Pakistan that have had some of the most intense combat in the American-led war against the Taliban insurgency.

The Pentagon task force has already started trying to help the Afghans set up a system to deal with mineral development. International accounting firms that have expertise in mining contracts have been hired to consult with the Afghan Ministry of Mines, and technical data is being prepared to turn over to multinational mining companies and other potential foreign investors. The Pentagon is helping Afghan officials arrange to start seeking bids on mineral rights by next fall, officials said.

“The Ministry of Mines is not ready to handle this,” Mr. Brinkley said. “We are trying to help them get ready.”

Like much of the recent history of the country, the story of the discovery of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth is one of missed opportunities and the distractions of war.

In 2004, American geologists, sent to Afghanistan as part of a broader reconstruction effort, stumbled across an intriguing series of old charts and data at the library of the Afghan Geological Survey in Kabul that hinted at major mineral deposits in the country. They soon learned that the data had been collected by Soviet mining experts during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, but cast aside when the Soviets withdrew in 1989.

During the chaos of the 1990s, when Afghanistan was mired in civil war and later ruled by the Taliban, a small group of Afghan geologists protected the charts by taking them home, and returned them to the Geological Survey’s library only after the American invasion and the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.

“There were maps, but the development did not take place, because you had 30 to 35 years of war,” said Ahmad Hujabre, an Afghan engineer who worked for the Ministry of Mines in the 1970s.

Armed with the old Russian charts, the United States Geological Survey began a series of aerial surveys of Afghanistan’s mineral resources in 2006, using advanced gravity and magnetic measuring equipment attached to an old Navy Orion P-3 aircraft that flew over about 70 percent of the country.

The data from those flights was so promising that in 2007, the geologists returned for an even more sophisticated study, using an old British bomber equipped with instruments that offered a three-dimensional profile of mineral deposits below the earth’s surface. It was the most comprehensive geologic survey of Afghanistan ever conducted.

The handful of American geologists who pored over the new data said the results were astonishing.

But the results gathered dust for two more years, ignored by officials in both the American and Afghan governments. In 2009, a Pentagon task force that had created business development programs in Iraq was transferred to Afghanistan, and came upon the geological data. Until then, no one besides the geologists had bothered to look at the information — and no one had sought to translate the technical data to measure the potential economic value of the mineral deposits.

Soon, the Pentagon business development task force brought in teams of American mining experts to validate the survey’s findings, and then briefed Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Mr. Karzai.

So far, the biggest mineral deposits discovered are of iron and copper, and the quantities are large enough to make Afghanistan a major world producer of both, United States officials said. Other finds include large deposits of niobium, a soft metal used in producing superconducting steel, rare earth elements and large gold deposits in Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan.

Just this month, American geologists working with the Pentagon team have been conducting ground surveys on dry salt lakes in western Afghanistan where they believe there are large deposits of lithium. Pentagon officials said that their initial analysis at one location in Ghazni Province showed the potential for lithium deposits as large of those of Bolivia, which now has the world’s largest known lithium reserves.

For the geologists who are now scouring some of the most remote stretches of Afghanistan to complete the technical studies necessary before the international bidding process is begun, there is a growing sense that they are in the midst of one of the great discoveries of their careers.

“On the ground, it’s very, very, promising,” Mr. Medlin said. “Actually, it’s pretty amazing.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/14/world/asia/14minerals.html?pagewanted=all
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Rarick
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« Reply #651 on: June 15, 2010, 06:47:00 AM »

Oh boy.  Talk about a Tom Clancy novel in the making.   "The Bear and The Dragon" or something like that comes to mind.  The only question is who Afghanistan cooses to help them exploit this motherlode.  How clean can they keep this as well?

I hope they can get it turned around, I can hear the drool drops from Iran and Russia? if they do not.

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prentice crawford
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« Reply #652 on: June 15, 2010, 07:36:50 AM »

Woof,
 Actually, this may explain all the intrest in the first place.
                              P.C.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #653 on: June 15, 2010, 10:22:35 AM »

I've been running across some stuff wondering why this is coming out now and seeing seemingly serious commentary saying this is all a bunch of smoke-- that no one is going to invest the money and take the risks that these projects would entail. 
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G M
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« Reply #654 on: June 15, 2010, 10:34:13 AM »

I'll bet China is already working on a plan.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #655 on: June 15, 2010, 10:42:24 AM »

Hell, they're probably already working on a tunnel dug by North Korean laborers.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #656 on: June 15, 2010, 11:10:23 AM »

Actually, according to my readings, China is quite out of play on this one.  Look at a topographical map of the Afg-Chinese border area.  Look at the distances involved.  Consider that Afg has no paved roads in the regions in question.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #657 on: June 15, 2010, 11:37:21 AM »

Well I was being facetious. . . .

Looks to me like a railhead to the Indian ocean is most viable, but that takes it through Pakistan. Maybe through some of the other 'Stans via railhead, then Russia. GM is right, though: if this proves a viable find China will be deep in the game as they are starving for resources.
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ccp
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« Reply #658 on: June 15, 2010, 11:40:46 AM »

Maybe this could get them off the opium poppy for income.
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G M
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« Reply #659 on: June 15, 2010, 12:58:54 PM »

http://www.china.org.cn/english/business/232800.htm

The China Metallurgical Group Corp., Jiangxi Copper Corporation, and Zijin Mining Group Company recently won a joint bid to develop the Aynak mine, the largest copper mine in Afghanistan, according to the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines and Industries. Reliable resources revealed that the project, possibly worth up to US$2.87 billion, would kick off six months later.

 

As one of the world's largest copper mines, the Aynak mine has a prospective reserve of 690 million tons of cooper ores. With 1.65 percent copper content, these ores are expected to produce 11.33 million tons of copper, or more than one third of the total copper reserve in China, which stands at some 30 million tons. Some geologists predicted the Aynak copper mine was probably the largest copper mine in the world.

 

With a huge domestic demand, China is now the world's largest copper consumer. Last year, copper consumption in China totaled four million tons, or 22 percent of the world’s whole supply. However, the country is suffering from a deficiency of copper resources. Currently, more than two thirds of the copper consumed in the country is from overseas markets.


For more details, please read the full story in Chinese
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #660 on: June 15, 2010, 01:45:18 PM »

Any idea how they are moving all that, GM?
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G M
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« Reply #661 on: June 15, 2010, 02:02:59 PM »

Nope, but I bet they'll build a rail system either to a port in Pakistan or by land into China. We'll know by next year.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #662 on: June 15, 2010, 02:34:21 PM »


U.S. Geological Survey
Workers taking part in a 2006 U.S. Geological Survey mission in AfghanistanSummary
In a June 13 story, The New York Times revived interest in Afghanistan’s potential mineral wealth, which has long been suspected. The country’s mountainous terrain indicates the likelihood of such deposits, and in 2007 the U.S. Geological Survey published a study reporting much of what is being said in the media today. But the challenges of extracting the minerals and bringing them to market in an economical and competitive way remain extraordinarily daunting.

Analysis
The potential for mineral extraction in Afghanistan has generated immense press in the last few days, following a June 13 New York Times story on an estimated $1 trillion in mineral deposits believed to exist in the country and a June 12 statement by U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus characterizing Afghanistan (with caveats, of course) as having “stunning potential” economically.

Yet much of what is being discussed dates back to two studies done in 2006-07 by the U.S. Geological Survey in conjunction with the U.S. Agency for International Development and Afghan geologists. The results of these studies were published in 2007 by the U.S. government, and their findings have now reportedly been verified by a small, Pentagon-led team, which will release its report at a conference in Kabul scheduled for July 20, according to a spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry. There also is increasing talk of lithium deposits in particular, one of the reasons behind the current coverage. Statements regarding Afghanistan’s potential mineral wealth have been made in the recent past, with Afghan President Hamid Karzai using the $1 trillion figure at least as early as February of this year and Petraeus using it when discussing the matter in December 2009.



U.S. Geological Survey
A map from the 2006 U.S. Geological Survey mission in Afghanistan, including GPS and magnetic base station locations
(click here to enlarge image)
The China Metallurgical Group has already committed $3 billion up front and $400 million thereafter to secure the rights to the Aynak copper mining district in Logar province. Verification drillings were done last year, and a temporary camp is now being prepared, though a massive railway, power plant and smelting facility remain to be built. The Hajigak iron-ore deposit also was examined in an area about 100 kilometers west of Kabul, in Bamyan province, but the Chinese pulled out of the bidding, which was later canceled following a corruption scandal involving the Chinese company and the Afghan Ministry of Mines during the Aynak bidding process. The Chinese experience shows that what little progress is being made in terms of foreign investment in Afghan mining projects is already slowed by problems relating to poor infrastructure, awkward logistics, security threats, and corrupt or opaque negotiations.

The potential presence of large mineral deposits in Afghanistan has never been in doubt — the country’s mountainous terrain indicates the likelihood of such deposits. The challenge is extracting the minerals and bringing them to market in an economical and competitive way, and this challenge remains extraordinarily daunting. Afghanistan is an underdeveloped country with extremely poor infrastructure, including no rail connection to the outside world (though one is under construction to Masar-i-Sharif in the north). Though the nature of a mineral deposit and the economics of its exploitation can vary considerably — even within a single country — pulling ore out of the ground and moving it a great distance is a logistically intensive proposition, even with relatively developed road and rail networks.

Technically, developing sufficient infrastructure in Afghanistan is possible, but the cost of doing so is almost certain to drive the costs of mineral investment, extraction and transportation far above what can be recouped on the global market.

STRATFOR has been focusing and continues to focus on how these reports came about just in the past week. There is clearly a media blitz now under way, and it is important to understand why. Over the next few years there will be little meaningful impact on the ground in Afghanistan in terms of investing in and developing the country’s minerals. The key question at this point is how Washington will play this mineral-wealth story to serve its interests in the region, especially as the United States struggles to break a stalemate in southwestern Afghanistan and force the Taliban to the negotiating table. But local mistrust of U.S. intentions may counter any potential benefit of playing up Afghanistan’s economic potential.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #663 on: June 15, 2010, 04:07:04 PM »

second post

The trillion-dollar Afghan battlefield
By RALPH PETERS

Posted: 12:10 AM, June 15, 2010

 

Afghanistan just got its worst news since the Soviet invasion three decades ago: American geologists have charted as much as a trillion dollars' worth of mineral deposits in that tormented landscape.

Up to now, Afghanistan's internal factions and neighbors have been fighting over worthless dirt, Allah and opium. Assigning the battlefield a trillion-dollar value is not a prescription for reconciliation. Expect "The Beverly Hillbillies" scripted by Satan.

Even were Afghanistan at peace, its endemic corruption would generate a grabocracy -- a Nigeria, not a Norway. Throw in inherited hatreds and the appetites of its neighbors, and Afghanistan may end up more like eastern Congo, a playground for state-sanctioned murderers and looters.

Beyond reportedly vast deposits of rare minerals (lithium, etc.) essential to popular technologies, there's copper, cobalt, iron and gold in them thar hills. Afghanistan never before offered so much to fight over.

Instead of making life easier for our troops, the finds will make it harder to disengage. Washington will succumb to arguments that we need to preserve access to these strategic resources, even though it's far cheaper to buy them than to prolong a military protectorate. (US firms won't get the good contracts, anyway.)

We already provide strategic security for Chinese mining interests in Afghanistan -- having been chumped by the Karzai government out of the gate. Now the Chinese will arrive in hordes, bribing and smiling.

The Russians will also take a renewed interest. And the Iranians have already crept into western Afghanistan (where key deposits are located). The potential for violence spilling across more borders -- including into unstable Central Asia -- will be enormous.

But the gravest danger of an all-out shootin' war comes from Pakistan and India. Until the revelation of these finds, Islamabad (which continues to support the Afghan Taliban) just wanted strategic depth in the event of a war with New Delhi, while India had engaged in Afganistan just to frustrate Pakistan.

Now Pakistan, a country in which the powerful have already stolen all there is to steal, will develop delusions of grandeur about controlling Afghanistan's subsurface wealth. And India's swelling economy will develop a sudden hunger for Afghan minerals.

China will side with Pakistan, exploiting Islamabad as a proxy. Iran may line up with China and Pakistan, as well. Pakistan will turn up the heat in Kashmir. The "Great Game" of yore is about to become Monopoly played with corpses.

Afghanistan's one hope was that, eventually, outsiders would leave it alone. That hope's gone now. Development of a full-blown mining industry will take decades, but that just means decades of violent competition.

Back in the happy-face United States, optimists insist that these Afghan finds will fund good government, security and development. Ain't gonna happen. A country living on aid and opium won't go Harvard Business School when megawealth floods in (the opium trade won't disappear, either). And the environmental damage will put BP to shame.

Meanwhile, we can't manage the war we've got. The CIA, at least, keeps killing al Qaeda terrorists across the border in Pakistan. But our troops, in the words of one fighter on the ground, just "patrol, patrol and patrol, making themselves IED magnets."

Afghan National Army training is showing progress, but President Hamid Karzai just dumped his two most pro-American ministers, and our ballyhooed Kandahar offensive -- delayed yet again -- has begun to seem like "Brigadoon" with body armor.

It's high time to ask ourselves the basic question about Afghanistan that we've avoided since we made the decision to stay: What do we get out of it?

"Chinese access to strategic minerals" is not an adequate answer.
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Rarick
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« Reply #664 on: June 16, 2010, 04:19:39 AM »

Actually, according to my readings, China is quite out of play on this one.  Look at a topographical map of the Afg-Chinese border area.  Look at the distances involved.  Consider that Afg has no paved roads in the regions in question.

A nasty terrain feature called something like Himalaya too?
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ccp
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« Reply #665 on: June 16, 2010, 11:08:08 AM »

***We already provide strategic security for Chinese mining interests in Afghanistan -- having been chumped by the Karzai government out of the gate. Now the Chinese will arrive in hordes, bribing and smiling.

Back in the happy-face United States, optimists insist that these Afghan finds will fund good government, security and development. Ain't gonna happen. A country living on aid and opium won't go Harvard Business School when megawealth floods in (the opium trade won't disappear, either). And the environmental damage will put BP to shame.

It's high time to ask ourselves the basic question about Afghanistan that we've avoided since we made the decision to stay: What do we get out of it?

"Chinese access to strategic minerals" is not an adequate answer.***

Interesting stuff.  A lot of food for thought.  Has anyone begun to try to answer Ralph's question:  What do we get out of it?  All this over OBL.


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G M
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« Reply #666 on: June 16, 2010, 11:30:45 AM »

Buraq Hussein O-barry told everyone he planned to throw in the towel by July 2011, thus setting the stage for what is happening now.
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G M
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« Reply #667 on: June 16, 2010, 12:09:07 PM »



The Obama Afghan endgame.
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G M
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« Reply #668 on: June 16, 2010, 01:23:33 PM »

http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2010/06/16/a-feature-not-a-bug/

It's a feature, not a bug!
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DougMacG
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« Reply #669 on: June 16, 2010, 02:33:09 PM »

CCP/Ralph Peters:  "time to ask ourselves the basic question about Afghanistan that we've avoided since we made the decision to stay: What do we get out of it?"

The answer is necessarily nothing in terms of mineral deposits.  As with oil in Iraq, if that money or resource becomes ours, then the rhetoric of our enemies, and of our leaders who apologize for our national behavior, will ring true.  Best case would be to have American companies bidding on an equal footing with the others, that the resources will enter the world markets somewhere, and that the money generated will help build a healthy and peaceful country.  Time will tell.

Sad and likely true, Peters point that the mineral will be an additional motive for war more than a solution to what they lack.
-----

Regarding the current appearance of failure, GM wrote: "Buraq Hussein O-barry told everyone he planned to throw in the towel by July 2011, thus setting the stage for what is happening now."

Agree.  The question I didn't see that that answers:  what would a better leader do differently than Pres. Obama?  How would a hawkish Republican or responsible Democrat prosecute this war?  The answer may have been the same surge, same commanders and same strategy, but you do not telegraph to your own troops much less your enemy, during the battles, your willingness to surrender and leave in short order regardless of results.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 03:43:50 PM by DougMacG » Logged
G M
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« Reply #670 on: June 16, 2010, 04:27:06 PM »

Exactly, Doug!

No matter what the fight is, you never give that information out.

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.
Sun Tzu

The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
Sun Tzu

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G M
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« Reply #671 on: June 17, 2010, 09:17:22 PM »

**Wow, it's almost like he's trying to lose this war....**


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is focused on meeting its July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but it has no political strategy to help stabilize the country, current and former U.S. officials and other experts are warning.

The failure to articulate what a post-American Afghanistan should look like and devise a political path for achieving it is a major obstacle to success for the U.S. military-led counter-insurgency campaign that's underway, these officials and experts said.



Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/06/16/96019/experts-us-has-no-long-term-political.html#ixzz0rAPDYoRF
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #672 on: June 18, 2010, 12:24:52 AM »

So, what should BO's strategic decision have been?  If you were President, what would you have done?  And, what would you do now?
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Rarick
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« Reply #673 on: June 18, 2010, 06:04:50 AM »

Well, Strategically speaking we have been the "arsenal of Democracy" since WW2.  Maybe we need to find a new primary global trade item to finance Lady Liberty, or put her on an allowance?

China is not a democracy, but they have some serious man power- let them pay for those minerals in their blood.  Make it thouroughly understood to the Talibananas that if we have to come back, that it will be very different.  Basically if they were acting against us before, and find them acting against us again it will be a wall and a bullet.  Then a gain that is sooooooo.......un-nice, the message may never be sent.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #674 on: June 18, 2010, 05:05:24 PM »

"So, what should BO's strategic decision have been?  If you were President, what would you have done?  And, what would you do now?"

Crafty, what do YOU think we should be doing:  A larger presence?  Smaller?  Smarter?  Or just out?

As an aside, Debka, who is ridiculed often here for inaccurate and unconfirmed reports, is reporting that bin Laden is in Iran, not Pak. 

I guess if it was me, I would define down some of the missions abroad and go leaner and meaner in most locations. (That is the opposite of appease and disarm.)We need to keep a presence, improve the intelligence and continue hitting enemy targets as we identify them.  There is no way to know from here if the current surge-like strategy has any prospect for improving conditions.

Right now I cannot tell if we are trying to win something or just slow the rate of loss and save face.  The only real news story is Michael Yon reporting that reporters are not allowed to embed with troops any longer to witness, question or report, and those who write critically will be badgered by customs upon their return.

I wonder if 200k soldiers returning from 2 venues will have any affect on unemployment at home.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #675 on: June 18, 2010, 08:49:26 PM »

We need to get seriously outside the box.

The following is offered in a brainstorming way only-- there may be some serious flaws in it, but at the moment it is what occurs to me.

a) I would consider ignoring the Darcy line and cut a deal with the Pashtuns to give them a Pashtunistan in return for giving up the AQ in their territory.   This would freak the Paks and I would green light the Indians while taking out Pak's nuke program.

b) I would consider fg with the Russians and freeing the Germans from dependance on Russki gas AND provide an alternate source of money for the rest of Afg by building/threaten/offer to build a natural gas pipeline for central Asian gas through Pashtunistan and the remains of Pakistan to the Indian Ocean that gives it access to the market other than Russia.  Without this gas, Russia will not be able to export to and control Europe, especially Germany and Afgans, Pashtuns, and Paks have an alternate source to making money.

Again, these ideas may be crazy, but maybe there is some value to extract.
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JDN
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« Reply #676 on: June 18, 2010, 09:17:43 PM »

I am still waiting for an answer/ideas/comments to CCP's succinct comment;
CCP said, "It's high time to ask ourselves the basic question about Afghanistan that we've avoided since we made the decision to stay: What do we get out of it?"

Crafty offered a couple of interesting "out of the box" ideas, but if the answer is "nothing", and so it seems, why are we there and why are American's dying?
Not to mention the billions of dollars spent...  I think it's a question a lot of Americans are asking in these difficult times...

We had a strong purpose, we "got a lot" out of WWII on many levels.  And we fought to win.  I am, and I think much of the world is grateful.  Further, maybe I understand the Korea War.  After that...?

"What do we get out of it" is a good question.


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DougMacG
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« Reply #677 on: June 18, 2010, 11:52:59 PM »

Crafty,  Very, very interesting ideas.  Even if the final answer is unwise, these options on the table could be serious bargaining chips or incentives for our fair weathered friends to consider as they decide whether or not to help our efforts.

The CCP what do we get out of it question is the same IMO as how do we define success.  Best case I would say is that the forces that would destroy us now have to operate in a smaller and smaller world as we close down the state sponsors of terror and set up camp in the former safe haven territories of anarchy and tribalism.  If you are Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan or N. Korea, your sovereignty during this time of war on terror should depend on your ability to control the elements within your borders that would otherwise be attacking the free world.  Maybe we freed 50 million people or gave them a shot at self-rule they didn't have before, but our justification is based on our security, taking battle to enemies and disrupting attack plans.  Most certainly we have done that, but progress has stalled and resources and patience are are showing limits.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 11:55:44 PM by DougMacG » Logged
G M
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« Reply #678 on: June 19, 2010, 03:36:13 PM »

I think that if the possibility for nation building was ever viable in Afghanistan, it isn't at this time and well may have never been. Our bottom line must be preventing Afghanistan as being used as a base for AQ/Talib attacks on the US, as Doug mentioned.

I think that Crafty has the core concepts for how we should proceed. Pakistan has to be defanged. We reward that tribes that help us and punish those that wage war against us and our allied tribes.
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ccp
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« Reply #679 on: June 21, 2010, 12:35:38 PM »

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

"a) I would consider ignoring the Darcy line and cut a deal with the Pashtuns to give them a Pashtunistan in return for giving up the AQ in their territory.   This would freak the Paks and I would green light the Indians while taking out Pak's nuke program."

Where did this come from?

So Pashtuns who are in Afghnanistan and Pakistan would like to have their own unified country?

"while taking out Pak's nuke program."

Can this be done?  Should it be done?  At least while NOT also taking out the Iranian nuke program to maintain some balance of power in the region.

Did you notice the Drudge headline that Saudi Arabia gave the greenlight to Israel to use their airspace?

SA clearly fears Iran.  Let the Jews take care of Iran for them I guess.


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« Reply #680 on: June 22, 2010, 05:39:47 AM »

The Saudis are very tribal.  If they can play of one rival tribe of against another- so much the better.  The Saudis learned from Desert Storm, they probably do not want us over there ever again, and will do whatever to prevent that.

Good points about the tribal lines Crafty.  If you look at an "ethnic Map" of the area ( I forgot where I saw it) you see that  the arbitrary border was less about tribes than easy to use terrain for border lines.  They probably could have done a way better job and divided things up by tribe.  Willful ignorance is a human trait tho'..........
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« Reply #681 on: June 22, 2010, 12:30:56 PM »

Thank you for catching and cleaning up my using the wrong name for the boundary CCP.
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« Reply #682 on: June 23, 2010, 10:59:59 AM »

Actually I wan't trying to correct you.  I was just wondering where the concept of a "Pashtun" country came from.
Only because I never heard about it before.  It seems like an intriguing idea but the perception I am left from the MSM is that this region is filled with a bunch of decentralized tribes.
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« Reply #683 on: June 23, 2010, 04:54:29 PM »

Of which the Pashtuns are one of the biggest and most important.  I am suggesting that some of our problems in this part of the world derive from the fact that we are operating under the conceptual illusion and delusion of the Durand Line.
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« Reply #684 on: June 24, 2010, 12:15:17 AM »

There's never a good time for an American administration to air its dirty laundry in public, but the departure of Gen. Stanley McChrystal amid a flurry of sniping and backbiting comes at a particularly inauspicious moment.

The Afghanistan war effort Gen. McChrystal had been leading—and the strategy he personally devised for it—are entering a crucial few months that may well determine their success or failure. Before being dismissed Wednesday for intemperate remarks about civilian officials, Gen. McChrystal had put in place what most analysts consider the most comprehensive plan of coordinated military action and economic development in eight years of warfare. The troops he persuaded President Barack Obama to dispatch to execute that plan are still arriving.

A rising number of insurgent leaders have been killed or detained recently, and, with U.S. help, the size of Afghan security forces has been ramped up about 30% in the last year, but in recent days, implementation of the strategy, as well as political support for it, have started to look considerably more shaky. A military push into the city of Marjah hasn't been the success hoped for, and a larger operation in the major city of Kandahar has been put off.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, after briefly reassuring American officials of his reliability, has lately rekindled doubts by firing two cabinet ministers highly regarded in Washington. Allied support is fading; two allied nations plan to pull out next year, and only about a third of the Western military trainers once thought necessary to upgrade Afghanistan's security forces are on the job. American troops in the field have begun to openly question rules of engagement that require a high degree of caution in launching military attacks to avoid civilian casualties.

 
.All that raises questions about how secure Afghanistan will look when parliamentary elections, crucial to broadening the Afghan government's grip, are held in September. Soon after that, allies will reassess their commitment to the war. A bigger political test comes in December when Mr. Obama reviews progress on the ground in anticipation of a July 2011 start to an American drawdown.
Now the troubled war effort proceeds minus Gen. McChrystal, its main architect and the one commander President Karzai appears to really trust.

 
.During a video conference Tuesday night with Mr. Obama, the Afghan leader told the U.S. president that he had full confidence in Gen. McChrystal, said the Afghan president's spokesman, Waheed Omar. Firing him would disrupt the war effort at a critical moment, Mr. Karzai argued, with troops poised to begin a major effort to secure Kandahar and its Taliban-infested surroundings.

"The president believes that we are in a very sensitive juncture in the partnership, in the war on terror and in the process of bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan, and any gap in this process will not be helpful," the spokesman told reporters in Kabul.

The new commander Mr. Obama named, Gen. David Petraeus, shares Gen. McChrystal's philosophy of counter-insurgency operations, which stresses dispersing troops and civilian aid to secure selected areas and winning residents' loyalty through intense, on-the-ground cooperation with local leaders. Indeed, Gen. Petraeus essentially was the originator of the approach when he was head of American forces in Iraq.

Gen. Petraeus, currently commander of U.S. forces across the Middle East, has a much more solid relationship with President Obama and civilian leaders in the administration.

But he doesn't have Gen. McChrystal's knowledge of Afghanistan or the same trust of leaders there and in Pakistan, an important ally in the fight against the Taliban.

Anthony Cordesman, a veteran military analyst and sometime-adviser to Gen. McChrystal, offers this summary: "Is it winnable? Yes. Are we going to win? That's not a question anyone can answer. This is a war with so much uncertainty."

One immediate risk is that the military command team in Afghanistan could fracture. After arriving a year ago, Gen. McChrystal reshaped the allied command in his image, creating an unusual operation filled with handpicked loyalists.

Military headquarters and the U.S. embassy in Kabul have been filled in the past two days with talk that a departure of Gen. McChrystal could prompt an exodus of other top officers. Speculation Wednesday was that Gen. Petraeus would bring in his own aides.

Gen. McChrystal last fall sold President Obama on a counter-insurgency strategy that called for defeating the Afghan Taliban by sending troops to selected districts, ridding those of insurgents, and working with Afghan forces and international aid officials to hold the areas.

As important as the military effort was a push to use economic aid and Western development advice to build local governments that would win the hearts and minds of the locals.

But agreement on the plan came only after weeks of divisive administration debate. In giving Gen. McChrystal 30,000 of the 40,000 troops he sought to execute the strategy, Mr. Obama insisted on two conditions.

First, administration aides say, he told the general not to use the troops to take any cities or regions he wasn't confident they could then hold. And second, the president said there would be the December 2010 review of progress, and a decision in July 2011 about when and how to begin drawing down American troops.

The contingent of 30,000 additional troops isn't likely to be deployed in full before the end of September, coalition officials say. This means the coalition will be fighting at full strength only 10 months before the deadline for deciding on a drawdown plan—a timetable many military commanders see as severely handicapping their chances of rolling back the Taliban.

Military Fatalities in Afghanistan

 .Troops Deployed in Afghanistan

 ..Meanwhile, progress on the ground is slower than Gen. McChrystal's team anticipated. That's especially clear in Marjah, where the general sent American forces to drive out the Taliban and establish a kind of showcase of counter-insurgency strategy.

Instead, after besting the Taliban in February and early March, Afghan and allied forces failed to set up a functioning government in Marjah quickly. The result has been a population that remains wary of the coalition forces and the Afghan authorities they back. That, in turn, has allowed the Taliban to make a resurgence, and Marjah today is contested turf.

Casualty Count

 .Track the deaths of U.S. and allied forces' troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
.Violence is up nearly 100% this year across Afghanistan, according to internal figures from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, whose countries provide the allied forces.

Some of that is due the increased number of soldiers; the more fighters brought in, the more fighting there will be, say coalition officials. But they also say it indicates the Taliban aren't backing down but looking to push back. June has been the deadliest month yet, by an Associated Press count, with 76 Western troops killed, including 46 Americans.

In Kandahar province, most troops for the surge have yet to arrive, and the military piece of the offensive has been delayed until September. For now, U.S. and Afghan officials are focusing on the softer parts of the campaign. They're mapping out how to build government offices in surrounding districts, boost the number of police in the city and set up fruit and other farming projects.

Sensing the need to show progress soon, senior military officers have begun to talk less of Marjah and Kandahar and more about a pair of districts in the southern province of Helmand, called Nawa and Garmsir, that were taken last summer in operations designed before Gen. McChrystal assumed command.

Meantime, a drive Gen. McChrystal implemented to minimize Afghan civilian casualties—a strategy based on the belief that a softer, gentler approach would dent the insurgency's appeal to the averge Afghan—has run into internal resistance.

 .There is growing frustration among front-line troops, who blame spiking casualties on increasingly restrictive rules of engagement. Platoon and company commanders in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand openly speak of having to fight with one hand tied behind their back.

Use of indirect fire such as mortars requires so many layers of approval that, by the time it's secured, the intended targets are often long gone. Helicopter gunships are usually not allowed to shoot if the pilots don't see their targets holding weapons—even if these men had been spotted firing at American infantry just seconds earlier.

The result, troops complain, is that the U.S. has surrendered much of its technological advantage over the Taliban, who can trump coalition forces in an equal fight because of superior knowledge of the terrain and ability to blend in with civilians.

For all the military uncertainty, the key to the war effort this summer may lie more in how well the civilian side of Gen. McChrystal's formula works out. Progress in establishing a coherent rule of law continues to be hampered by the low pay offered Afghan civil servants and judges, for example.

A sense of pervasive government corruption persists, and analysts fear that will continue to be the case until Western nations figure out how to write foreign-aid contracts that make sure money goes to projects and Afghan citizens instead of corrupt political figures.

One sign of how broad that problem remains: A new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimates that up to 40% of all foreign aid "goes to corruption, security and overhead."

Write to Gerald F. Seib at jerry.seib@wsj.com and Matthew Rosenberg at matthew.rosenberg@wsj.com
« Last Edit: June 24, 2010, 12:28:39 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #685 on: June 24, 2010, 12:33:55 AM »

Second post

President Obama explained his decision to dismiss General Stanley McChrystal yesterday by noting that he had a duty "to ensure that no diversion complicates the vital mission" that American forces are carrying out in Afghanistan. Fair enough. We don't begrudge the President's right to make that call, and no one is better qualified than General David Petraeus to replace his former deputy and run a counterinsurgency.

The larger questions now are whether the President can exert as much policy discipline over his civilian subordinates as he has on the military—and whether he's willing to make a political investment in the war commensurate with the military sacrifice.

Mr. Obama seemed to acknowledge the first point in his remarks yesterday, saying that he had warned his national security team that, when it comes to war strategy, "I won't tolerate division." We hope that message got through to Vice President Joe Biden, whose opposition to the strategy has been leaked around the world and back, and who was recently quoted by Newsweek's Jonathan Alter as saying that "in July 2011, you're going to see a whole lot of people moving out [of Afghanistan], bet on it."

View Full Image

ZUMApress.com
 
Gen. David Petraeus
.Defense Secretary Robert Gates flatly contradicted the Veep on Fox News Sunday, insisting "that absolutely has not been decided," and that the July 2011 date was only a "starting point" for withdrawal, contingent on local conditions.

The President ought to put this debate to rest, rather than trying to appease his liberal base by promising withdrawal while winking and nodding to our partners in Afghanistan that the deadline is effectively meaningless.

So far, his ambiguity has fueled the very infighting that led to General McChrystal's dismissal, persuaded our NATO partners to prepare their own exit strategies, and convinced Afghan President Hamid Karzai that he can't count on America's long-term support. The damage isn't merely the deadline but the sense projected by Mr. Biden that the U.S. will leave the Afghans in the lurch again, much as we did at the end of the Cold War.

More
A Critical Moment in Afghan War Effort
Obama Turns to Petraeus
Swift Decision to Dismiss McChrystal
New General Is a Politician
Vote: Do you agree with the decision? Photos: McChrystal's career
Photos: Who's in Charge? A History of Tension
Latest updates on Washington Wire
.In naming General Petraeus, the President made an astute political and military choice. But there is also a hint here of a last stand, with the General again being put in the unenviable position of having to turn the tide of a failing war. The General might have been too deferential to make this point himself, but we hope he asked the President in return to give him all the support he needs to succeed.

The President could help on this score by deploying a civilian team to Afghanistan that gets along with their U.S. military counterparts and Afghanistan's leaders. We like Senator John McCain's suggestion to replace U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry—whose relationship with Mr. Karzai is as poisonous as his dealings were with General McChrystal—with former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. Mr. Crocker, who also previously served as a highly effective U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, understands there is no diplomatic mileage to be gained by undercutting the very government the U.S. is seeking to shore up.

General Petraeus also needs a replacement at Central Command (his nominal superior) who won't undermine his efforts. That is precisely the situation General Petraeus faced when he served in Iraq under then-Centcom Commander William Fallon, until Admiral Fallon was pushed out. We're partial to General James Mattis, who previously ran the Marine component of Central Command, served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and helped write the Army's counterinsurgency manual with General Petraeus.

Above all, Mr. Obama has to give General Petraeus more political backing and personal attention to the war than he has so far provided. It's remarkable that it took the firing of General McChrystal to hear again from Mr. Obama, for the first time in months, why he is committed to the war. Mr. Obama said yesterday that no one individual is indispensable in war, but if any single person is, it is a President. Mr. Obama too often gives the impression of a leader asking, "Won't someone rid me of this damn war?"

In choosing to throw a Hail Mary pass to General Petraeus, the President has chosen a commander who understands counterinsurgency, who helped to design the current Afghan strategy, and who knows how to lead and motivate soldiers. He—and they—need a Commander in Chief willing to show equal commitment and staying power.
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« Reply #686 on: June 24, 2010, 04:52:46 AM »

Man I am surprised the presidents knees aren't getting sore with all this knee jerking going on.  I do not think that hwe is thinking for himself at all, very, very bad.  He should have had a new AfPak CinC to plug right into the slot if he was going to relieve McChrystal, and given this action that theatre is a defacto Vietnam with poltics driving the war rather than winning the war driving the war.
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« Reply #687 on: June 24, 2010, 09:34:59 AM »

Strange times we live in.  Petraeus was the one defamed in the famous ad.  Sec. of State Hillary was the one who disrespected him the worst during questioning (lecturing) trying to prove her ANTI-war credentials.  Obama was the poster boy of move-on-dot-org that ran the ad.  Biden is still the clown.  McChrystal is the one who allegedly voted for Obama.  Petraeus is the one who saved Bush's Iraq. The right wing rags are the ones who most think we are losing the war based on the troops' limited rules of engagement.  And left wing Rolling Stone is the pub that broke the story - two huge anti-Obama stories within a couple of weeks.

A bad deal for Petraeus. Tampa, even in summer, is nicer than Kabul.  A mixed story for Obama.  The article filled with truths will now lose interest as the story has moved forward.  Obama gets a better commander for the war and gets a chance to be seen as a strong leader even though it was all about ego instead of what was best for the country.  The McChrystal quotes in the article may be ignored now, but will find their way into 2012 Presidential race if the Pres. decides to seek reelection, especially if the war is still going badly.

Going forward, I don't see Petraeus at this point in his career being shy about asking the administration for everything he needs to succeed or in answering questions honestly in front of congressional hearings.  Obama can't afford to lose another commander.  Petraeus will have McChrystal's loyal lieutenants for continuity unless they clean out the whole staff.  Yet all of the dynamics that were going wrong in Afghanistan before this move are still firmly in place and central command loses its wisest leader as the Iraq effort either ends in success or failure.

Petraeus' first move should be to end the ban on embedded reporting so the American public might have a clue what is going on there.  And his second move should be to implement the Crafty Doctrine rearranging and realigning that dangerous region.   
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« Reply #688 on: June 24, 2010, 12:59:53 PM »

Love that opening paragraph!!!  (The last one is not too shabby either cheesy )
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« Reply #689 on: June 25, 2010, 03:32:55 PM »

PN is less than she used to be, but this piece strikes me as worthy of inclusion here:

McChrystal Forces Us to Focus

Now Petraeus owes us a candid assessment of the Afghan effort.

 

By
<http://online.wsj.com/search/term.html?KEYWORDS=PEGGY+NOONAN&bylinesearch=t
rue> PEGGY NOONAN

Gen. Stanley McChrystal's greatest contribution to the war in Afghanistan
may turn out to be forcing everyone to focus on it. The real news there this
week was not Gen. McChrystal's epic faux pas and dismissal but that 12
soldiers were killed on June 7-8, including five Americans by a roadside
bomb, making that "the deadliest 24 hour period this year," as The Economist
noted. Insurgency-related violence was up by 87% in the six months prior to
March. Agence France-Presse reported Thursday that NATO forces are
experiencing their deadliest month ever.

There have been signal moments in this war since its inception, and we are
in the middle of one now.

It has gone on almost nine years. It began rightly, legitimately. On 9/11 we
had been attacked, essentially, from Afghanistan, harborer of terrorists. We
invaded and toppled the Taliban with dispatch, courage and even, for all our
woundedness, brio. We all have unforgettable pictures in our minds. One of
mine is the grainy footage of a U.S. cavalry charge, with local tribesman,
against a Taliban stronghold. It left me cheering. You too, I bet.

But Washington soon took its eye off the ball, turning its focus and fervor
to invading Iraq. Over the years, the problems in Afghanistan mounted. In
2009, amid a growing air of crisis, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates sacked
the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan-institutional
Army, maybe a little old-style. He was replaced by Gen. McChrystal-specials
forces background, black ops, an agile and resourceful snake eater.
"Politicians love the mystique of these guys," said a general this week.
Snake eaters know it, and wind up being even more colorful, reveling in
their ethos of bucking the system.

View Full Image

noonan0626

Associated Press

 

Last August, Gen. McChrystal produced, and someone leaked, a 66-page report
warning of "mission failure." More troops and new strategy were needed. The
strategy, counterinsurgency, was adopted. That was a signal moment within a
signal moment, for at the same time the president committed 30,000 more
troops and set a deadline for departure, July 2011. The mission on the
ground was expanded-counterinsurgency, also known as COIN, is nation
building, and nation building is time- and troop-intensive-but the timeline
for success was truncated.

COIN is a humane strategy not lacking in shrewdness: Don't treat the people
of a sovereign nation as if they just wandered across your battlefield.
Instead, befriend them, consult them, build schools, give them an investment
in peace. Only America, and God bless it, would try to take the hell out of
war. But the new strategy involved lawyering up, requiring troops to receive
permission before they hit targets. Some now-famous cases make clear this
has endangered soldiers and damaged morale.

The Afghan government, on which COIN's success hinges, is corrupt and
unstable. That is their political context. But are we fully appreciating the
political context of the war at home, in America?

The left doesn't like this war and will only grow more opposed to it. The
center sees that it has gone on longer than Vietnam, and "we've seen that
movie before." We're in an economic crisis; can we afford this war? The
right is probably going to start to peel off, not Washington policy
intellectuals but people on the ground in America. There are many reasons
for this. Their sons and nephew have come back from repeat tours full of
doubts as to the possibility of victory, "whatever that is," as we all now
say. There is the brute political fact that the war is now President
Obama's. The blindly partisan will be only too happy to let him stew in it.

Republican leaders such as John McCain are stalwart: This war can be won.
But there's a sense when you watch Mr. McCain that he's very much speaking
for Mr. McCain, and McCainism. Republicans respect this attitude: "Never
give in." But people can respect what they choose not to follow. The other
day Sen. Lindsey Graham, in ostensibly supportive remarks, said that Gen.
David Petraeus, Gen. McChrystal's replacement, "is our only hope." If he
can't pull it out, "nobody can." That's not all that optimistic a statement.

The U.S. military is overstretched in every way, including emotionally and
psychologically. The biggest takeaway from a week at U.S. Army War College
in 2008 was the exhaustion of the officers. They are tired from repeat
deployments, and their families are stretched to the limit, with children
reaching 12 and 13 without a father at home.

The president himself is in parlous position with regard to support, which
means with regard to his ability to persuade, to be believed, to be
followed. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows more people
disapprove of Mr. Obama's job performance than approve.

When he ran for president, Mr. Obama blasted Iraq but called Afghanistan the
"good war." This was in line with public opinion, and as a young Democratic
progressive who hadn't served in the military, he had to kick away from the
old tie-dyed-hippie-lefty-peacenik hangover that dogs the Democratic Party
to this day, even as heartless-warlike-bigot-in-plaid-golf-shorts dogs the
Republicans. In 2009 he ordered a top-to-bottom review of Afghanistan. In
his valuable and deeply reported book "The Promise," Jonathan Alter offers
new information on the review. A reader gets the sense it is meant to be
reassuring-they're doing a lot of thinking over there!-but for me it was
not. The president seems to have thought government experts had answers, or
rather reliable and comprehensive information that could be weighed and
fully understood. But in Washington, agency analysts and experts don't have
answers, really. They have product. They have factoids. They have
free-floating data. They have dots in a pointillist picture, but they're not
artists, they're dot-makers.

More crucially, the president asked policy makers, in Mr. Alter's words, "If
the Taliban took Kabul and controlled Afghanistan, could it link up with
Pakistan's Taliban and threaten command and control of Pakistan's nuclear
weapons?" The answer: Quite possibly yes. Mr. Alter: "Early on, the
President eliminated withdrawal (from Afghanistan) as an option, in part
because of a new classified study on what would happen to Pakistan's nuclear
arsenal if the Islamabad government fell to the Taliban."

That is always the heart-stopper in any conversation about Afghanistan,
terrorists and Pakistan's nukes. But the ins and outs of this question-what
we know, for instance, about the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service,
and its connections to terrorists-are not fully discussed. Which means a
primary argument in the president's arsenal is denied him.

It is within the context of all this mess that-well, Gen. Petraeus a week
and a half ago, in giving Senate testimony on Afghanistan, appeared to
faint. And Gen. McChrystal suicide-bombed his career. One of Gen.
McChrystal's aides, in the Rolling Stone interview, said that if Americans
"started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular."

Maybe we should find out. Gen. Petraeus's confirmation hearings are set for
next week. He is a careful man, but this is no time for discretion. What is
needed now is a deep, even startling, even brute candor. The country can
take it. It's taken two wars. So can Gen. Petraeus. He can't be fired
because both his predecessors were, and because he's Petraeus. In that sense
he's fireproof. Which is not what he'll care about. He cares about doing
what he can to make America safer in the world. That means being frank about
a war that can be prosecuted only if the American people support it. They
have focused. They're ready to hear.
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« Reply #690 on: June 25, 2010, 04:16:00 PM »

Second post


"Pajamas Media » Europeans React Skeptically to McChrystal Debacle

U.S.
President Barack Obama's decision to remove General Stanley McChrystal
as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan has generated considerable
media commentary in Europe, where governments are facing an uphill
struggle to reverse dwindling public support for the Afghan deployment.

Most
European opinion-shapers say that Obama had no choice but to relieve
McChrystal of his command after the general and his associates publicly
ridiculed Obama's war cabinet in a magazine article. But the
overarching theme in European newspaper commentary is that McChrystal's
insubordination is a symptom of a much larger problem, namely that
Obama's counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan is not working.

Around
25 European countries collectively have more than 30,000 troops
stationed in Afghanistan, but political pressure is mounting on
European governments to withdraw those troops from the country. Recent
polls show that more than 70 percent of Britons want their troops out
of Afghanistan immediately, as do 62 percent of Germans. Polling across
Europe — from Portugal to Poland — shows that well over 50 percent of
Europeans want their troops to come home.

In February, Dutch
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's coalition government collapsed
when the two largest parties failed to agree on whether to withdraw
troops from Afghanistan this year as planned. Now the Poles, the
British, and others are discussing how long they will stay.

Although
European governments have praised Obama's decision to name General
David Petraeus as the new commander in Afghanistan, the public
squabbling within Obama's inner circle clearly has undermined the
president's credibility, which up until now has provided European
governments with much-needed political cover to help them keep their
troops in Afghanistan. The question is now: can Petraeus make enough
headway in Afghanistan to keep the Europeans from rushing to the exits?

What follows is a brief selection of European commentary on the McChrystal affair:

In
Britain, the left-wing Guardian published an article titled "Fears for
Afghan Strategy after 24 Hours of Turmoil." It says the "Rolling Stone
story has focused attention on the serious divisions and personality
clashes among those in charge of the military and political strategies.
That in turn has led to further questioning of whether McChrystal's
counterinsurgency strategy is working. … The likelihood that
McChrystal's strategy will fail is accepted by some senior British Army
officials. One speculated that the coming year would bring a further
scaling back of the objective of the international mission in
Afghanistan, which already slipped last year from 'defeating' to
'degrading' the Taliban."

Another Guardian article titled "Where
McChrystal Led, Britain Followed" says McChrystal's dismissal should
make British commanders, diplomats, and politicians rethink their
Afghan policy. The article says: "For the British military, especially
the British special forces, McChrystal was a hero of almost Homeric
proportions. His dismissal should make the commanders, diplomats and
politicians think hard and think again about the Afghanistan policy
from top to bottom. It is no use them clinging to the notion that the
British army needs to defend its military honour and prowess to prove
Britain is still a vital ally to the U.S. — which is how some argue for
our troops still being there. Notions of honour and fidelity are not in
any sense practical operational objectives."

Also in Britain,
the Economist magazine published an essay titled "McChrystal and
Afghanistan: It's His War." It says: "Mr. McChrystal is an advocate of
full-spectrum counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare, a sophisticated
approach that embraces politics and economic development as part of the
war effort. But the question facing COIN advocates in Afghanistan today
isn't whether they are, in principle, right about how to fight
insurgencies. The question is whether this approach — which demands
such sophistication and expertise, so many soldiers who are also social
workers, agriculture experts and police trainers, so many USAID
consultants who need to be protected by soldiers, and such an effective
development aid effort in a world that has rarely seen effective
development aid anywhere, let alone in the middle of a jihadist
insurgency — is possible in practice. And, if so, is it possible in
Afghanistan? Is it achievable by the actually existing American
military and aid bureaucracy in Afghanistan? And can it be done at a
price that Americans are willing or even able to pay? The answer we're
seeing so far isn't yes."

In another article titled "Out with
the New, in with the Old," the Economist says: "Today's decisions [to
replace General McChrystal] do not change the reality on the ground in
Afghanistan, where a brutal insurgency and incompetent government make
victory, however it is defined, uncertain at best. Nor does it do much
to change Eliot Cohen's observation that Mr. Obama has assembled a
dysfunctional team to work on the Afghan project. And, with General
Petraeus now focused 1,500 miles east, what becomes of Iraq?"

Soeren
Kern is Senior Analyst for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based
Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group."

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/europeans-react-sceptically-to-mcchrystal-debacle/   
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« Reply #691 on: June 27, 2010, 05:36:00 PM »

THE moment he pulled the trigger, there was near-universal agreement that President Obama had done the inevitable thing, the right thing and, best of all, the bold thing. But before we get carried away with relief and elation, let’s not forget what we saw in the tense 36 hours that fell between late Monday night, when word spread of Rolling Stone’s blockbuster article, and high noon Wednesday, when Obama MacArthured his general. That frenzied interlude revealed much about the state of Washington, the Afghanistan war and the Obama presidency — little of it cheering and none of it resolved by the ingenious replacement of Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus, the only militarily and politically bullet-proof alternative.

What we saw was this: 1) Much of the Beltway establishment was blindsided by Michael Hastings’s scoop, an impressive feat of journalism by a Washington outsider who seemed to know more about what was going on in Washington than most insiders did; 2) Obama’s failure to fire McChrystal months ago for both his arrogance and incompetence was a grievous mistake that illuminates a wider management shortfall at the White House; 3) The present strategy has produced no progress in this nearly nine-year-old war, even as the monthly coalition body count has just reached a new high.

If we and the president don’t absorb these revelations and learn from them, the salutary effects of the drama’s denouement, however triumphant for Obama in the short run, will be for naught.

There were few laughs in the 36 hours of tumult, but Jon Stewart captured them with a montage of cable-news talking heads expressing repeated shock that an interloper from a rock ’n’ roll magazine could gain access to the war command and induce it to speak with self-immolating candor. Politico theorized that Hastings had pulled off his impertinent coup because he was a freelance journalist rather than a beat reporter, and so could risk “burning bridges by publishing many of McChrystal’s remarks.”

That sentence was edited out of the article — in a routine updating, said Politico — after the blogger Andrew Sullivan highlighted it as a devastating indictment of a Washington media elite too cozy with and protective of its sources to report the unvarnished news. In any event, Politico had the big picture right. It’s the Hastings-esque outsiders with no fear of burning bridges who have often uncovered the epochal stories missed by those with high-level access. Woodward and Bernstein were young local reporters, nowhere near the White House beat, when they cracked Watergate. Seymour Hersh was a freelancer when he broke My Lai. It was uncelebrated reporters in Knight Ridder’s Washington bureau, not journalistic stars courted by Scooter and Wolfowitz, who mined low-level agency hands to challenge the “slam-dunk” W.M.D. intelligence in the run-up to Iraq.

Symbolically enough, Hastings was reporting his McChrystal story abroad just as Beltway media heavies and their most bold-faced subjects were dressing up for the annual White House correspondents’ dinner. Rolling Stone has never bought a table or thrown an afterparty for that bacchanal, and it has not even had a Washington bureau since the mid-1970s. Yet the magazine has not only chronicled the McChrystal implosion — and relentlessly tracked the administration’s connections to the “vampire squid” of Goldman Sachs — but has also exposed the shoddy management of the Obama Interior Department. As it happens, the issue of Rolling Stone with the Hastings story also contains a second installment of Tim Dickinson’s devastating dissection of the Ken Salazar cohort, this time detailing how its lax regulation could soon lead to an even uglier repeat of the Gulf of Mexico fiasco when BP and Shell commence offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

The Interior Department follies will end promptly only if Obama has learned the lessons of the attenuated McChrystal debacle. Lesson No. 1 should be to revisit some of his initial hiring decisions. The general’s significant role in the Pentagon’s politically motivated cover-up of Pat Tillman’s friendly-fire death in 2004 should have been disqualifying from the start. The official investigation into that scandal — finding that McChrystal peddled “inaccurate and misleading assertions” — was unambiguous and damning.

Once made the top commander in Afghanistan, the general was kept on long past his expiration date. He should have been cashiered after he took his first public shot at Joe Biden during a London speaking appearance last October. That’s when McChrystal said he would not support the vice president’s more limited war strategy, should the president choose it over his own. According to Jonathan Alter in his book “The Promise,” McChrystal’s London remarks also disclosed information from a C.I.A. report that the general “had no authority to declassify.” These weren’t his only offenses. McChrystal had gone on a showboating personal publicity tour that culminated with “60 Minutes” — even as his own histrionic Afghanistan recommendation somehow leaked to Bob Woodward, disrupting Obama’s war deliberations. The president was livid, Alter writes, but McChrystal was spared because of a White House consensus that he was naïve, not “out of control.”

We now know, thanks to Hastings, that the general was out of control and the White House was naïve. The price has been huge. The McChrystal cadre’s utter distaste for its civilian colleagues on the war team was an ipso facto death sentence for the general’s signature counterinsurgency strategy. You can’t engage in nation building without civilian partnership. As Rachel Maddow said last week of McChrystal, “the guy who was promoting and leading the counterinsurgency strategy has shown by his actions that even he doesn’t believe in it.”

This fundamental contradiction helps explain some of the war’s failures under McChrystal’s aborted command, including the inability to hold Marja (pop. 60,000), which he had vowed to secure in pure counterinsurgency fashion by rolling out a civilian “government in a box” after troops cleared it of the Taliban. Such is the general’s contempt for leadership outside his orbit that it extends even to our allies. The Hastings article opens with McChrystal mocking the French at a time when every ally’s every troop is a precious, dwindling commodity in Afghanistan.

In the 36 hours between the Rolling Stone bombshell and McChrystal’s firing, some perennial war cheerleaders in the Beltway establishment, including the editorial page of The Washington Post and Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, did rally to the general’s defense and implored Obama to keep him in place. George Stephanopoulos, reflecting a certain strain of received Beltway wisdom, warned on ABC that the president risked looking “thin-skinned and petulant” if he fired McChrystal.

But none of the general’s defenders had an argument for him or the war beyond staying the course, poor as the results have been. What McChrystal’s supporters most seemed to admire was his uniquely strong relationship with Hamid Karzai, our Afghanistan puppet. As if to prove the point, Karzai was the most visible lobbyist for McChrystal’s survival last week. He was matched by his corrupt half-brother, the reported opium kingpin Ahmed Wali Karzai, who chimed in to publicly declare McChrystal “honest.” Was Rod Blagojevich unavailable as a character witness?

You have to wonder whether McChrystal’s defenders in Washington even read Hastings’s article past its inflammatory opening anecdotes. If so, they would have discovered that the day before the Marja offensive, the general’s good pal Hamid Karzai kept him waiting for hours so he could finish a nap before signing off on the biggest military operation of the year. Poor McChrystal was reduced to begging another official to wake the sleeping president so he could get on with the show.

The war, supported by a steadily declining minority of Americans, has no chance of regaining public favor unless President Obama can explain why American blood and treasure should be at the mercy of this napping Afghan president. Karzai stole an election, can’t provide a government in or out of a box, and has in recent months threatened to defect to the Taliban and accused American forces of staging rocket attacks on his national peace conference. Until last week, Obama’s only real ally in making his case was public apathy. Next to unemployment and the oil spill, Karzai and Afghanistan were but ticks on our body politic, even as the casualty toll passed 1,000. As a senior McChrystal adviser presciently told Hastings, “If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular.”

To appreciate how shielded Americans have been from Afghanistan, revisit Rahm Emanuel’s appearance last Sunday morning on “This Week,” just before the McChrystal firestorm erupted. Trying to put a positive spin on the war, the president’s chief of staff said that the Afghans were at long last meeting their army and police quotas. Technically that’s true; the numbers are up. But in that same day’s Washington Post, a correspondent in Kandahar reported that the Afghan forces there are poorly equipped, corrupt, directionless and infiltrated by Taliban sympathizers and spies. Kandahar (pop. 1 million) is supposed to be the site of the next major American offensive.

The gaping discrepancy between Emanuel’s upbeat assessment and the reality on the ground went unremarked because absolutely no one was paying attention. Everyone is now. That, at least, gives us reason to hope that the president’s first bold move to extricate America from the graveyard of empires won’t be his last.
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G M
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« Reply #692 on: June 27, 2010, 06:04:27 PM »

Even if Obama was a strong and competent president, he should have fired McChrystal. The fact that McChrystal let himself be torpedoed by this Rolling Stoner raises questions as to his ability as well.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #693 on: June 27, 2010, 06:07:16 PM »

While the US is looking all over the map for Haqqani, they forgot to look
under the bed...
[image: Stratfor
logo]<http://www.stratfor.com/?utm_source=General_Analysis&utm_campaign=none&utm_medium=email>Afghanistan:
Karzai Holds Talks With Haqqani -
Report<http://www.stratfor.com/sitrep/20100627_afghanistan_karzai_holds_talks_haqqani_report>
June 27, 2010

Al Jazeera reported June 27 that Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with
Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan and a
member of the Haqqani network. The unnamed sources told Al Jazeera the
meeting took place during the week of June 20, and that Haqqani was
accompanied by Pakistani military chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani and
Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha. Karzai’s
office has denied the meeting took place, and a Pakistani army spokesman
said he had no knowledge of such a meeting.

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G M
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« Reply #694 on: June 27, 2010, 06:14:01 PM »

Why wouldn't Karzai meet with the victors of the war when Obarry has thrown in the towel?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #695 on: June 29, 2010, 12:04:06 PM »


http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/Story/103451/World/us-and-afghan-forces-kill-150-taliban-militants.html
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G M
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« Reply #696 on: June 29, 2010, 03:54:00 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/29/awkward-dems-trying-to-recast-petraeus-as-a-savior/

David Petraeus trudged up to Capitol Hill today to win a certain confirmation from the Senate, and one has to wonder whether the general is considering the odd twists of history that have surrounded him.  Today, he’s the heroic commander tapped by Barack Obama in desperation to salvage his Afghanistan surge and to reinstill confidence in the war.  Three years ago, Obama’s allies in Congress and on the Left painted Petraeus as a very different figure, and The Hill reports on the awkward position Democrats now face:
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G M
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« Reply #697 on: June 29, 2010, 05:02:00 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/29/petraeus-the-commitment-to-afghanistan-is-necessarily-an-enduring-one/

“Insurgent leaders view their tactical and operational losses in 2010 as inevitable and acceptable. The Taliban believe they can outlast the Coalition’s will to fight and believe this strategy will be effective despite short-term losses. The Taliban also believe they can sustain momentum and maintain operational capacity,” he wrote.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #698 on: June 29, 2010, 07:59:29 PM »

Then: "strongly implied that Petraeus was either a liar or a fool three years ago." (Harry Reid, Durbin, Move-on-dot-org etc.)

Hillary:  "The reports that you provide to us requires the willing suspension of disbelief."

Obama to Petraeus:  " We have now set the bar so low that modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation’s considered success, but it’s not.  This continues to be a disastrous foreign policy mistake.(surge in Iraq)”

Now:  “The commitment to Afghanistan is necessarily…an enduring one”  - Gen. Petraeus
-----
It would take a clinical psychiatrist to explain to us what disorder allows them to trash someone so ruthlessly, never apologize or explain what has changed and then choose that same person to lead their most important mission.

Charles Krauthammer who is no Obama supporter pointed out that maybe a part of this country needed these horrible 4 years to grasp that these are not George Bush's wars, these are America's wars, this is America's security, America's wiretaps, America's detention facilities etc.  We don't do these for fun or to enrich our friends.  We are under attack and taking the fight to the enemy.

Now Obama needs to save face on his phony exit promise that prevents any real progress by saying he is simply following what the best minds of the best leaders are telling him.  The 'willing suspension of disbelief requirement' and 'bar so low that modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation’s considered success'  policy is no longer operative / never happened.
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G M
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« Reply #699 on: June 29, 2010, 08:19:48 PM »

Note that MoveOn has purged it's "General Betray-us" video from it's website. Kind of like how the Soviets would remove purged party officials from their books, documentation.

"We have always been at war with Eastasia".
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