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General Category => General Comments => Topic started by: yossarian22c on August 13, 2021, 10:12:30 AM

Title: Afghanistan
Post by: yossarian22c on August 13, 2021, 10:12:30 AM
Afghanistan is quickly falling back to the Taliban. 20 years of fighting seems wasted at this point. Instead of a national military maybe we should have been training and arming village and city level militias. Give people the tools to defend their own homes. Seems like they don't have enough national unity for the people in the military to think its worth putting up a fight in whatever town/city they are assigned to. Maybe we should have been training and arming the women that will be locked in their homes when the Taliban returns to power. Whatever we did hasn't seemed to have worked. Maybe the Taliban is over extending and the Afghan government forces will be able to mount a counter strike but the early signs don't look promising.

Overall this looks bad. The country is falling so much faster than anyone expected. Biden is sending troops back in to help evacuate the embassy. Its Vietnam all over again.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 13, 2021, 12:52:29 PM
Overall this looks bad. The country is falling so much faster than anyone expected. Biden is sending troops back in to help evacuate the embassy. Its Vietnam all over again.

And the story of Vietnam is that America should have stayed there longer and fought harder, arming the locals more than they did?
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: yossarian22c on August 13, 2021, 01:09:42 PM
Overall this looks bad. The country is falling so much faster than anyone expected. Biden is sending troops back in to help evacuate the embassy. Its Vietnam all over again.

And the story of Vietnam is that America should have stayed there longer and fought harder, arming the locals more than they did?

I'm not sure there is a good solution to these issues. I think the lesson is if there is an armed group with support from neighboring/foreign countries that has decent support within the country they are going to be extremely difficult to defeat. If more Afghans are willing to fight for the Taliban than against them then there isn't that much you can do as an outside power unless you are willing to occupy the country forever.

I'm not sure there was ever a good solution or a good time to leave. Hindsight is 20-20 but what we did the last 20 years didn't work. Maybe the local villages and cities want the Taliban in control, then it wouldn't have mattered if we had armed them. But if the locals don't want the Taliban but don't have the capacity to fight them then maybe there were other options. Maybe focusing on local/regional militias with some federal coordination would have been more productive than trying to form a national army. Maybe there was no good external solution to Afghanistan.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: yossarian22c on August 13, 2021, 01:28:00 PM
Arming regional/local militias could have led to a civil war upon leaving with all the weapons we provided. I definitely don't know the right policy and it seems like the last 4 presidential administrations haven't known the right policy either.

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 13, 2021, 01:43:26 PM
Why did Afghanistan even require a solution in the first place? We know they had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden, or 9/11, posed no threat to the U.S., and other than poppy fields had no strategic gain by being there. It was previously well-known that going into Afghanistan was a no-win proposition in the long-term; Russia knew that all too well. The only thing I can't understand is why you're looking for reasons why America should have done more there. How about less?
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 13, 2021, 02:14:54 PM
Can't really let a nation state openly harbor bin laden, could we under the circumstances? Afghanistan should have played the Pakistan game and pretended they weren't harboring him.

We've had twenty years to debate the nature and scope of intervention there, I'm not sure what another discussion is going to explore.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 15, 2021, 09:27:34 AM
This is the biggest failure of American policy I’ve ever personally witnessed.

“Never underestimate the ability of Joe Biden to fvck things up.” - Barak Obama. Barak nailed that one.

Taiwan must be sh1tting.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Mynnion on August 15, 2021, 10:32:15 AM
I may be wrong but I am guessing Trump would have also pushed for removal of troops since that would align with his goals to reduce overseas wars.  What we are seeing is a mess. 

It is the result of ignoring the history of foreign powers failures in Afghanistan.  Once committed we were in a no win scenario with almost nothing changing long term from the initial invasion.  We need to do a better job deciding how to engage in these situations.  The best bet is to get rid of our dependence on fossil fuels and opioids and undercutting the money flow into the Middle East.  The area would be much better without the manipulation by outside powers.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 15, 2021, 11:38:44 AM
The attempt to hang this partially or fully on Trump is underway, as if Trump is currently in charge.

It literally took only 6 months for Joe Biden to establish himself as the worst president in US history.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Mynnion on August 15, 2021, 12:36:17 PM
I was not blaming Trump.  I was just stating that he would likely also pull troops from Afghanistan.  Any blame falls clearly on the backs of Bush and each president since 2001 who failed to prepare for an eventual pullout.  If we are going in there needs to be a plan for pulling out.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 15, 2021, 12:45:12 PM
The window of changing things for the better in Afghanistan was lost when the War in Iraq (part 2) was started and Afghanistan was put on the back burner and allowed to boil.

Time and time again the advice given for how to deal with Afghanistan was wrong. Obama wanted out, Trump wanted out and Biden wants out.  Only one had the balls to do it.

In 2001 only one congress person thought going into Afghanistan was a bad idea. To make this a 'right' or 'left' thing now... Blame Bush, blame Obama, blame Trump, blame Biden.... The people right and left wanted war in 2001 and that is what the people got. Now the people don't, 20 years for little to show. Time to cut the loses. There was never going to be a good way to leave which is why its taken so long.

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 15, 2021, 12:52:18 PM
I was not blaming Trump.  I was just stating that he would likely also pull troops from Afghanistan.  Any blame falls clearly on the backs of Bush and each president since 2001 who failed to prepare for an eventual pullout.  If we are going in there needs to be a plan for pulling out.

I believe that Trump would have left as well, and right to do so,  but Crunch has a point. The end in Afghanistan was going to be the same and the Media coverage of it would have been all about Trumps incompetence's who likely would have fed the flames with his poor ability to communicate.

Probably best this is being done under Biden
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 15, 2021, 01:03:15 PM
Quote
Vice President Kamala Harris confirmed Sunday that she was the last person in the room before President Joe Biden made the decision to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.

In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union,” Harris was asked about being the last person in the room regarding major decisions, something that Biden has said is important to him in his working relationship with the vice president.


Failure at every level.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 15, 2021, 01:06:33 PM
How would you or the GOP done the withdraw Crunch?
The end is inevitable?
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 15, 2021, 01:11:25 PM
I would have randomly selected 5 people from across the US to conduct it and gotten better results.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 15, 2021, 01:32:02 PM
Nice deflection but not a answer, and the end with what ever 5 people chosen would be the same - Afghanistan going to to the lost column 

Trump was right about getting out of Syria though at the time I thought how he pulled out was wrong.  I had to admit that their was probably no good way to go about pulling out of a situation your never going to win.  Your just never going to win

Over the next few weeks we are going to be treated to hundreds of arm chair quarterbacks questioning every play. Most of them never having gotten off their butts to play the game. Can't wait

There was a window when the outcome in Afghanistan might have succeeded but that window closed in 2003 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 15, 2021, 03:12:51 PM
I was not blaming Trump.  I was just stating that he would likely also pull troops from Afghanistan.  Any blame falls clearly on the backs of Bush and each president since 2001 who failed to prepare for an eventual pullout.  If we are going in there needs to be a plan for pulling out.

I believe that Trump would have left as well, and right to do so,  but Crunch has a point. The end in Afghanistan was going to be the same and the Media coverage of it would have been all about Trumps incompetence's who likely would have fed the flames with his poor ability to communicate.

Probably best this is being done under Biden

Plenty of criticism flying around. Biden doesn't throw petrol on the fire with belligerent tweets about media coverage, shifting blame to others.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 15, 2021, 05:18:22 PM
You cannot be serious. I’m gonna assume sarcasm.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 15, 2021, 05:29:53 PM
Nice deflection but not a answer, and the end with what ever 5 people chosen would be the same - Afghanistan going to to the lost column 

It’s an accurate depiction of the level of this debacle. And no, it would not have been the same.

There are plenty of reasons to leave Afghanistan. There are also reasons to stay. Either way could be argued.

But the way it’s being done right now is an unmitigated disaster. It’s the biggest failure of American policy and leadership in at least the last 45 years and the case could be made for the last 200 years. The speed and scope of this failure is something that will resonate for decades.

The taliban has taken the country, held press conferences, been recognized as the ruler. Biden remains on vacation, hiding from the media and the world. We’ll be damn lucky to avoid a hostage situation with the Americans that are at a very real risk of not making it out.

Leave or stay may be a question but the execution of the leave is 100% Biden and will forever remain a stain upon America.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 15, 2021, 05:48:28 PM
Nice deflection but not a answer, and the end with what ever 5 people chosen would be the same - Afghanistan going to to the lost column 

It’s an accurate depiction of the level of this debacle. And no, it would not have been the same.


It isn't a depiction of anything??? 5 random people could do better??? really that saying something, making a point....

Leaving ground forces in Afghanistan was always going to end in disaster. History is clear, a military solution was never going to work. But this time for sure

Lots of reasons to leave, lost of reasons to stay and you provide none for either. 

I agree that the how of leaving is on Biden, another miscalculation among all the others since 2001... but the stain was always in the beginning as was the inevitability of the end.

Still I doubt it will be remember, no more so and probably less then the other American losses.

I suspect its China turn in Afghanistan. I expect the inevitable end will be the same for them as well.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 15, 2021, 06:29:22 PM
Quote
President Biden is expected to address the nation in the next few days about the crisis in Afghanistan, an administration official says

Guess he really is enjoying that vacation.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 15, 2021, 10:17:05 PM
Quote
Jen Psaki reportedly taking the next week off.

There is nobody left running the country. The Biden administration has completely folded.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 16, 2021, 04:59:31 AM
Just like when Carter put his feet up on his desk and lit a nice celebratory cigar because Obama  took the mantle of worst President in history and donned it for him, now Obama just had a big superspreader celebration that coincided with his 60th birthday but was really about his joy at passing that mantle onto Joe "BFD" Biden who now wears it with a big smile along with a quickly escalating case of dementia.

"The likelihood there's going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely," Biden said in July during a news conference, adding that Afghan troops were "as well-equipped as any army in the world."

https://news.yahoo.com/biden-followed-promise-swiftly-end-204823405.html

And now the Taliban has all of that so Biden just made them "as well-equipped as any army in the world" too. If it had to fall did we really have to arm our enemies so well at the same time, betray the people who helped us so they can get dragged out of their houses and executed in the streets, and as girls 12 and up are forced to marry cutthroats and murderers have Joe Biden become the world's most prominent facilitator of sex slavery?

Although first and foremost this is a massive failure of Joe Biden, special credit also has to go to the U.N. for doing absolutely nothing. Why is it the job of the U.S. to defend human rights for everyone? Of course Joe Biden was supposed to be the guy who gets cooperation from the international community and increases the standing of America around the world but we see how much that's worth. Nada. With our borders overrun and our murder rate skyrocketing, we can't defend ourselves so it's small wonder that we can't defend others either. We're a laughingstock.

Maybe one way to turn this around is for Biden to use it as a cautionary tale. You don't want to get invaded by America. If you oppose us when we invade we'll kill you. If you help us when we invade we'll get you killed when we leave. We did that to the Kurds in Iraq too so Afghanistan is not a one off. It's a promise we have a history of keeping. You'll get the old Kabayashi Maru. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. No way out. So don't piss us off.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 16, 2021, 09:40:17 AM
Quote
Kamala refused a request to do a presser today. Said she was focused on Haiti not Afghanistan. Now staffers for the rival teams have been openly fighting all day, per WH official

Oh my God. Literally, nobody in the white house is running this show. Biden remains ... wherever he is ... and is potentially planning an address for Wednesday. Wednesday.

This is a completely "hands off the wheel" moment in America. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it, a complete leadership vacuum. It begs the question, who actually is running this?
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: NobleHunter on August 16, 2021, 09:59:33 AM
I commend you, Crunch, for self isolating by hiding under a rock for over a year and a half.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 16, 2021, 11:06:18 AM
Carter was the worst president in history? Not Harding who watched the economy burn and ushered in the great depression? Not to mention massive corruption and scandal?
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 16, 2021, 11:26:21 AM
I commend you, Crunch, for self isolating by hiding under a rock for over a year and a half.

And I commend you for your mental gymnastics, truly a gold medal performance.

Speaking of performance:
Quote
President Joe Biden will return to the White House on Monday afternoon to give a speech about Afghanistan after the Taliban took charge over the weekend, prompting growing criticism from his allies in Washington.

The speech is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. ET.

Biden was expected to stay at Camp David on Monday, where he spent the weekend isolated from many of his top advisers and out of public view; the only public image of him Sunday was a photo released from the White House showing the president at an empty conference room table holding a teleconference with his national security team. Instead, he will return to the White House on Monday.

This should be entertaining.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 16, 2021, 11:29:51 AM
Carter was the worst president in history? Not Harding who watched the economy burn and ushered in the great depression? Not to mention massive corruption and scandal?

Well, it's only been 7 months. We have the fastest-growing inflation in decades (approaching double digit), the president begging Russia to not do cyber attacks, also begging OPEC to pump more oil. and the complete collapse of American foreign policy. Let's give Biden another 7 months, let him prove Obama right about never underestimating Joe's ability to fvck things up.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 16, 2021, 01:13:24 PM
From Jake Tapper:
Quote
Washington Post publisher emails Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan: “Urgent request on behalf of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post” to help get “204 journalists, support staff and families” to safety.

There's a very real possibility of the Taliban dragging the US journalists, staff, and their families through the streets for their beheading. Jesus. What a catastrophe.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 16, 2021, 01:18:52 PM
The Catastrophizing and fear mongering isn't helping matters.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on August 16, 2021, 01:44:28 PM
Most of the inflation is due to used car prices increasing - which is due to US automakers canceling chip orders during the pandemic and chip foundry capacity being maxed out, so they can't order more chips - reducing availibility of new vehicles resulting in increased prices for used vehicles.

Quote
Used car and truck prices, which are seen as a key inflation indicator, surged 21%, including a 10% increase in April alone. Shelter, another key CPI component, was up 2.1% year over year and 0.4% for the month.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/12/consumer-price-index-april-2021.html

The 'Shelter' part is due to lumber mills cutting production - again due to pandemic, and then a sudden surge is housing starts and rennovations - causing a lumber shortage.

Quote
A pandemic surge in home buying and renovation sent lumber prices soaring. They may never return to normal, experts say.

As home building and renovation soared amid pandemic lockdowns, the price of lumber rocketed from around $400 per thousand board feet in February 2020 to an all-time high of over $1,600 in early May.

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/how-lumber-industry-misread-covid-ended-global-shortage-sky-high-n1272542

It has nothing to do with Biden.  I do wish you were a bit brighter and would bother at least thinking 2-3 seconds before posting.

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 16, 2021, 02:47:39 PM
The Catastrophizing and fear mongering isn't helping matters.

Let's have a reality check. The headline, "Eight dead in Kabul airport chaos: Evacuation flights halted after US soldiers shoot dead two armed Afghans while three are run over by taxiing jets and more plunge to their deaths from fuselage - as UN say Taliban have started 'targeted killings'.

The highlights:

This is the reality. People being run over and falling from airborne aircraft, targeted killings, American citizens stranded. But it's just "Catastrophizing and fear mongering". Are you even watching the news?
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 16, 2021, 02:49:21 PM
It has nothing to do with Biden.  I do wish you were a bit brighter and would bother at least thinking 2-3 seconds before posting.

And I wish you'd finish that cure for cancer and varicose veins, etc. But, I guess you're too busy with that brain work on defending Biden.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 16, 2021, 02:53:30 PM
As we prepare for an incredible press conference, let's recall Joe's words from June 4, 2020:
Quote
It's hard to believe this has to be said, but unlike this president, I’ll do my job and take responsibility. I won’t blame others. And I’ll never forget that the job isn’t about me — it’s about you.

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 16, 2021, 03:43:49 PM
Carter was the worst president in history? Not Harding who watched the economy burn and ushered in the great depression? Not to mention massive corruption and scandal?

Well, it's only been 7 months. We have the fastest-growing inflation in decades (approaching double digit), the president begging Russia to not do cyber attacks, also begging OPEC to pump more oil. and the complete collapse of American foreign policy. Let's give Biden another 7 months, let him prove Obama right about never underestimating Joe's ability to fvck things up.

Why am I not surprised that you side stepped or misunderstood the question. Focus please. My post didn't say anything about biden, I asked if Carter was worse than Harding?

Maybe cherry will be able to defend his premise better than you did.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 17, 2021, 02:46:14 AM
Well who is worse than whom is of course subjective.

Honestly I don't know enough about Harding to objectively say Carter was worse but since it's a subjective opinion anyway I'll stand by Carter. As for Obama well I just priced my Obamacare options and the cheapest for a family of four was over $13,000 a year and that's with a deductible of thousands of dollars so since the "Affordable" Care Act was Obama's masterpiece and in no universe is paying over $18,000 with the premiums and deductible before you start getting any serious coverage paid for considered "affordable", Obama's masterpiece is a piece of junk.

Now for Biden there is no world in which what is happening right now in Afghanistan can be considered anything other than an unmitigated disaster. Carter lost Iran to the hardline Islamists and now Biden is doing the same in Afghanistan. Generations of misery for those people are coming. When you look at all the evil Iran is doing then if Carter gets the blame for helping cause that it racks up a whole lot of negative numbers in his tally column.

Now what could Biden have done differently? Well there are international forces in Afghanistan. If he was so great at making America great again on the international stage he would have negotiated between the government of Afghanistan and the U.N. to get an international military presence there of peacekeepers to... you know... keep the peace. Maybe it couldn't be done but you never know until you try and Biden didn't even try. He just shrugged his shoulders and walked away muttering about how it's all Trump's fault.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 17, 2021, 05:42:26 AM
And if Biden tried very publicly to get the international community with the U.N. onboard with a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan and failed then at least he could spread the blame around. As it is he said the Afghan government and military has it covered and he looks like he's almost solely responsible for one of the biggest failures in modern history, even worse than Carter when Iran was lost because we had twenty years to get Afghanistan in shape, Biden had plenty of time to look the situation over and make a reasoned assessment, he took that time and came to the conclusion that Afghanistan was ready, willing, and able to hold the line, and he has been proven wrong in every conceivable way.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 17, 2021, 06:15:03 AM
If you want to blame a president for the rise of Iran, you might want to choose Eisenhower who directed the Cia to overthrow their government and install the shah whose leadership eventually led to the Muslim uprising that led to the hostage situation.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 17, 2021, 09:19:56 AM
And if Biden tried very publicly to get the international community with the U.N. onboard with a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan and failed then at least he could spread the blame around. As it is he said the Afghan government and military has it covered and he looks like he's almost solely responsible for one of the biggest failures in modern history, even worse than Carter when Iran was lost because we had twenty years to get Afghanistan in shape, Biden had plenty of time to look the situation over and make a reasoned assessment, he took that time and came to the conclusion that Afghanistan was ready, willing, and able to hold the line, and he has been proven wrong in every conceivable way.

I made the same argument when Trump left Syria. I thought it was the right thing to do but that the way he did it was wrong.  I don't think you agreed with me at the time.
One thing I have to say for Biden is that he isn't spreading the blame around and is taking responsibly.  I think he was justified in thinking that a 300,000 man army might have done better against a force of 75,000. With that failure their is nothing for NATO to do.  Either the Afghan people stand up or they don't and they had 20 years to work it out.

Afghanistan has this weird paradox where they well do everything to push back from a occupying force but very little when it comes to inner authoritarian force.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: yossarian22c on August 17, 2021, 09:26:39 AM
And if Biden tried very publicly to get the international community with the U.N. onboard with a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan and failed then at least he could spread the blame around. As it is he said the Afghan government and military has it covered and he looks like he's almost solely responsible for one of the biggest failures in modern history, even worse than Carter when Iran was lost because we had twenty years to get Afghanistan in shape, Biden had plenty of time to look the situation over and make a reasoned assessment, he took that time and came to the conclusion that Afghanistan was ready, willing, and able to hold the line, and he has been proven wrong in every conceivable way.

I made the same argument when Trump left Syria. I thought it was the right thing to do but that the way he did it was wrong.  I don't think you agreed with me at the time.
One thing I have to say for Biden is that he isn't spreading the blame around and is taking responsibly.  I think he was justified in thinking that a 300,000 man army might have done better against a force of 75,000. With that failure their is nothing for NATO to do.  Either the Afghan people stand up or they don't and they had 20 years to work it out.

Afghanistan has this weird paradox where they well do everything to push back from a occupying force but very little when it comes to inner authoritarian force.

I agree. Maybe we should have formed an all woman army. Maybe they would have had the motivation to stand and fight against the Taliban. The fact that the entire army basically surrendered without firing a single shot is sad. The afghans gave their country back to the Taliban.

Could Biden have done a better job planning the withdrawal? Sure, but it seems like it was always going to end this way if no one in the country was willing to fight the Taliban without US forces standing beside them.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: NobleHunter on August 17, 2021, 09:33:51 AM
I think I got this from Twitter, but a problem is that the US built the Afghan army to operate like the US armed forces. That means it needs an enormous amount of logistical support which was still mostly supplied by Americans. Without that support they apparently aren't that effective in the field. If this is true, it's another reason why this situation has been headed towards failure for a long time.

I wonder if we could have gotten out sooner (and left the Afghan government in a better position) if we realized that one way to make leaving more politically viable is to have the withdrawal agreed to by one President late in their term but happen early enough in the next President's term for it to blow over before midterm elections.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: oldbrian on August 17, 2021, 09:48:47 AM
The problem is, we keep doing things half-assed.  We rebuilt their army, but left the society which needs to support it alone.  So of course the army reverted to what it was before, because that is what that form of society will support.
Banana Republic 2.0.

We had to completely change Japanese culture to get the success we had there, and a similar effort was needed in Afghanistan.  Except we didn't want to put in the effort and spend the political capital it would need.  Like yossarian said, external vs. internal.  We needed to change their internal way of doing things for it to stick.

I don't think China will reach far enough to get embroiled there, but if they do, you can bet they will be willing to go all the way.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on August 17, 2021, 09:54:31 AM
The reality is that the majority of Afghani's find the Taliban preferable to the US.  Their military aren't fighting because they don't view the Taliban as their enemy.  People in the US are confused 'how did the Taliban take over so quickly' - because there was no interest in opposing them by the vast majority of Afghani's.

We have this narrative that we are the beloved liberators, but from their perspective we are an invader who has setup and supported an extremely corrupt government.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: yossarian22c on August 17, 2021, 09:59:44 AM
The reality is that the majority of Afghani's find the Taliban preferable to the US.  Their military aren't fighting because they don't view the Taliban as their enemy.  People in the US are confused 'how did the Taliban take over so quickly' - because there was no interest in opposing them by the vast majority of Afghani's.

We have this narrative that we are the beloved liberators, but from their perspective we are an invader who has setup and supported an extremely corrupt government.

I would fall short of saying a majority prefer the Taliban. I doubt many of the women of the country find them preferable. But more people are willing to fight and die for the Taliban than are willing to fight and die opposing them.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 17, 2021, 10:24:05 AM
The reality is that the majority of Afghani's find the Taliban preferable to the US.  Their military aren't fighting because they don't view the Taliban as their enemy.  People in the US are confused 'how did the Taliban take over so quickly' - because there was no interest in opposing them by the vast majority of Afghani's.

We have this narrative that we are the beloved liberators, but from their perspective we are an invader who has setup and supported an extremely corrupt government.

I would fall short of saying a majority prefer the Taliban. I doubt many of the women of the country find them preferable. But more people are willing to fight and die for the Taliban than are willing to fight and die opposing them.

I might agree  but if the majority don't take a stand to do anything about the Taliban aren't they by their non action if not perfecting the Taliban accepting them? With regards to outcome isn't the pretty much the same thing?
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: NobleHunter on August 17, 2021, 10:32:44 AM
The Taliban have just survived nearly twenty years in direct conflict with the US. What do you think a bunch of civilians are going to do? For most of them, their choice isn't resisting the Taliban or accepting them, it's accepting them or getting killed.

Until you come up with hard evidence about who the Afghani want in charge, I suggest you stop making grand statements about what they really want.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on August 17, 2021, 10:55:43 AM
I would fall short of saying a majority prefer the Taliban. I doubt many of the women of the country find them preferable.

Why would you think that?  If you go with 'well If I were a woman and lived under that situation'.  It is like feminists freaking out when women choose to be a homemaker - they wouldn't make that choice therefore it is an irrational choice and noone could ever choose it voluntarily.  Afghanistan is 3/4 rural and thus is going to be heavily weight to the 'traditional conservative values' of the region - basically in full alignment with the Taliban.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: yossarian22c on August 17, 2021, 11:00:51 AM
I would fall short of saying a majority prefer the Taliban. I doubt many of the women of the country find them preferable.

Why would you think that?  If you go with 'well If I were a woman and lived under that situation'.  It is like feminists freaking out when women choose to be a homemaker - they wouldn't make that choice therefore it is an irrational choice and noone could ever choose it voluntarily.  Afghanistan is 3/4 rural and thus is going to be heavily weight to the 'traditional conservative values' of the region - basically in full alignment with the Taliban.

I doubt that even people with "traditional conservative values" enjoy being treated as the property of their male relatives.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 17, 2021, 11:05:19 AM
The Taliban have just survived nearly twenty years in direct conflict with the US. What do you think a bunch of civilians are going to do? For most of them, their choice isn't resisting the Taliban or accepting them, it's accepting them or getting killed.

Until you come up with hard evidence about who the Afghani want in charge, I suggest you stop making grand statements about what they really want.

I would have like to think that a 20 year window would have given the civilians the opportunity to setup a structure that would have protected them. Voter turnout hasn't been great during that time.  That said I can't say I would have done anything different myself in such conditions.

Maybe this is the 'trying to help the butterfly out of the cocoon ' issue  where help makes survival more difficult.

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on August 17, 2021, 11:07:53 AM
I doubt that even people with "traditional conservative values" enjoy being treated as the property of their male relatives.

You are again, interpreting it through your cultural expectations.  They probably view it is the right and proper role of men as God intended it - not "I'm being treated as property" but "I'm being protected by my family from wicked men who would assault my virtue".

For something comparable think of circumcision in the US.  Chomping off part of a male child's penis is from an outsiders perspective horrifically barbaric genital mutilation and yet we really don't give it much thought and most US parents will have their male child circumcised.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 17, 2021, 11:09:34 AM
From my perspective its the generals and intelligence experts that have been wrong time and again across 4 administrations.

Funny sad then that the media in general keep going to them for their perspective on things. Only a few have acknowledge how badly they got things.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 17, 2021, 11:18:12 AM
Until you come up with hard evidence about who the Afghani want in charge, I suggest you stop making grand statements about what they really want.

Not even sure how you could achieve an objective assessment of this. Interview someone there, they'll be afraid of reprisals based on what they say. Tell them no one will hear, they'll assume they can. And even if they knew they were alone, they've been conditioned already. And who's to say they are even aware what they 'want', if you're being technical. Maybe they will repeat what they've been taught to say, and can't process the idea of "if the world could be made how you want, how would that be?"

I'm sure some people are ok just saying what they think, but I think broadly it's going to be tough to get a straight answer that you can accept at face value, to make conclusions like 'they want the Taliban there.'
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: NobleHunter on August 17, 2021, 11:24:14 AM
Not even sure how you could achieve an objective assessment of this. Interview someone there, they'll be afraid of reprisals based on what they say. Tell them no one will hear, they'll assume they can. And even if they knew they were alone, they've been conditioned already. And who's to say they are even aware what they 'want', if you're being technical. Maybe they will repeat what they've been taught to say, and can't process the idea of "if the world could be made how you want, how would that be?"

I'm sure some people are ok just saying what they think, but I think broadly it's going to be tough to get a straight answer that you can accept at face value, to make conclusions like 'they want the Taliban there.'

Which means people shouldn't make statements about what the people of Afghan want.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on August 17, 2021, 11:33:55 AM
It is well known there is strong rural support of the Taliban,

https://carnegieendowment.org/files/taliban_winning_strategy.pdf

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/09/24/taliban-kabul-rural-afghans-join-peace-deal/

https://www.vox.com/world/2020/2/21/21146936/afghanistan-election-us-taliban-peace-deal-war-progress

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Wayward Son on August 17, 2021, 02:06:18 PM

I would have like to think that a 20 year window would have given the civilians the opportunity to setup a structure that would have protected them.

One analysis I read said that they were taught by Americans to fight like Americans.

Which mean with good air support. :(

So that, along with a corrupt government, may not have provided them with as much opportunity as anyone would have liked. :(
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 17, 2021, 05:03:16 PM
Fallout:
Quote
Across Europe, officials have reacted with a mix of disbelief and a sense of betrayal. Even those who cheered Biden’s election and believed he could ease the recent tensions in the transatlantic relationship said they regarded the withdrawal from Afghanistan as nothing short of a mistake of historic magnitude.

They're saying it out loud now, the part everyone was supposed to ignore. It was, in fact, the biggest US foreign policy failure since the end of WW2.

Germany:
Quote
“I say this with a heavy heart and with horror over what is happening, but the early withdrawal was a serious and far-reaching miscalculation by the current administration,” said Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the German parliament’s foreign relations committee. “This does fundamental damage to the political and moral credibility of the West.”

Röttgen, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, is no flamethrower. He has known Biden for decades and was optimistic about his prospects.

While Merkel has avoided direct criticism of Biden, behind the scenes she has made it clear that she considered the hasty withdrawal a mistake.

UK:
Quote
In the U.K., which like Germany supported the U.S. engagement in Afghanistan from the beginning, the sentiment was similar. “Afghanistan is the biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez. We need to think again about how we handle friends, who matters and how we defend our interests,” tweeted Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative chair of the U.K. parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

The current reports I see are that Biden has yet to contact even one other world leader. He's Hiden' Biden again. A quick teleprompter read and then he scurried from the room to get back to that 2 week vacation while upwards of 10,000 Americans remain trapped, left behind by Biden's failed leadership.

Back to the world, China:

Quote
Chinese fighter jets, anti-submarine aircraft and combat ships conducted assault drills near Taiwan on Tuesday with the People’s Liberation Army saying the exercise was necessary to safeguard China's sovereignty.

China has stepped up military exercises around self-ruled Taiwan, which it considers its own territory.

There will literally never be a better time than right now to take Taiwan. Well, maybe when they 25th Biden for his dementia and Heels Up Harris takes over - her performance as the border czar has been even worse than Biden's Afghanistan policy. There's a calculus there to apply for sure.

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 17, 2021, 05:14:09 PM
Most definitely a major failure of four American administrations and NATO
When it comes to Afghanisatin the Generals have always been proven to be wrong.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 17, 2021, 06:17:43 PM
Most definitely a major failure of four American administrations and NATO
When it comes to Afghanisatin the Generals have always been proven to be wrong.

Still trying to pin it on others. smh Biden is in charge now, he owns the unmitigated disaster of his withdrawal. Nobody else.

More fallout:
Quote
Iran has accelerated its uranium enrichment to near weapons-grade, according to the IAEA (Reuters)

Iran began operating a second centrifuge system to enrich uranium to 60% during protracted negotiations on a new nuclear agreement with the Biden admin and others.

Quote
The Saudis, Russians, and other members of the oil cartel have rejected President Joe Biden's request that they produce more oil to lower U.S. gasoline prices.

They are all laughing at the weakness being projected.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on August 17, 2021, 08:55:29 PM
I may be wrong but I am guessing Trump would have also pushed for removal of troops since that would align with his goals to reduce overseas wars.  What we are seeing is a mess. 

It is the result of ignoring the history of foreign powers failures in Afghanistan.  Once committed we were in a no win scenario with almost nothing changing long term from the initial invasion.  We need to do a better job deciding how to engage in these situations.  The best bet is to get rid of our dependence on fossil fuels and opioids and undercutting the money flow into the Middle East.  The area would be much better without the manipulation by outside powers.

Trump had an agreement that everyone but the Democrats in the United States agreed to. The US was to pull out by May of this year.

Biden decided to abrogate that deal and delayed the departure so his team could "review" it. Thus pissing off a LOT of warlords in Afghanistan as well as the Taliban.

So when the US finally did pull out, months later than the promised May timetable, the Warlords did nothing to stop or slow down the Taliban.

And somehow Biden unilaterally breaking Trump's agreement simply because Trump made the deal is being swept under the rug.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on August 17, 2021, 09:09:15 PM
Leaving ground forces in Afghanistan was always going to end in disaster. History is clear, a military solution was never going to work. But this time for sure

Lots of reasons to leave, lost of reasons to stay and you provide none for either. 

I agree that the how of leaving is on Biden, another miscalculation among all the others since 2001... but the stain was always in the beginning as was the inevitability of the end.

Still I doubt it will be remember, no more so and probably less then the other American losses.

I suspect its China turn in Afghanistan. I expect the inevitable end will be the same for them as well.

I think Afghanistan could have been "won" but I doubt it happening was every truly in the cards, and I do agree with others that any chance was gone after Iraq's invasion didn't work out according to plan because they failed to plan for after they removed Saddam's government.

The only way Afghanistan could have been won would have required a large-scale military involvement, and a long-term one at that. "It takes a generation" comes to mind, which means 20 to 30 years in my book, we're coming up on the 20th anniversary now.

We would have needed to be committed to staying there for 20+ years back in 2001. We would have needed to be willing to be "colonial imperialists" as we used our military forces to suppress the tribal warlords and keep the Taliban at bay throughout the country, not just the major urban areas.

Only in a social setting where the population was able to safely to go about their lives with minimal concern about the Taliban turning back up 12 hours after the US military patrol leaves their village, or the Warlord getting his vengeance 6 months from now for some perceived slight do you create the groundwork for a stable and lasting (meta-)society like would be needed in Afghanistan.

But instead, because we were unwilling to say "we're going to stay here, and keep you safe for the next 10, 15, or 20 years" because that'd be imperialism.... Those people had to constantly live in fear and full consideration of "what happens in 6 months when the Americans pull back?"

And honestly, by 2003, it was already moving into possibly too late to properly fix because by then it wasn't just "what happens in 6 months when the Americans pull back?" anymore. It was "what happens in 6 months when the Americans pull back again?"

We did everything imaginable to encourage and foster disloyalty and distrust among the Afghani people when it came to American security guarantees. We were quite literally our own worst enemy over there.

The Taliban didn't defeat us in Afghanistan. The United States of America defeated the United States of America over there, the taliban was simply a proxy.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: NobleHunter on August 18, 2021, 09:11:54 AM
And somehow Biden unilaterally breaking Trump's agreement simply because Trump made the deal is being swept under the rug.

Gee. That really sucks. Good thing that's never happened before.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: yossarian22c on August 18, 2021, 09:27:53 AM
And somehow Biden unilaterally breaking Trump's agreement simply because Trump made the deal is being swept under the rug.

Gee. That really sucks. Good thing that's never happened before.

Wow a 3 month delay after 20 years. You really think that made the difference in how things went down? The withdrawal already looks rushed and unplanned. You think it would have gone better in May with Trump's deal? This was always how it ended when we left this year.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Wayward Son on August 18, 2021, 10:47:27 AM
On the pull out from Afghanistan. (https://newsone.com/4186137/trump-afghanistan-video-bragging/)
Quote
I started the process, all the troops are coming back home, they (Biden) couldn’t stop the process. 21 years is enough, don't you think. They (Biden) couldn’t stop the process, they (Biden) wanted to but it was very tough to stop the process. ... Thank you, thank you.

You can watch Donald Trump taking credit for the withdrawal on video in the attachment if you doubt it.  He even mentions how he expected the government to fall after our troops left.  ::)

So why is it, Crunch, that Biden alone gets all the blame for this debacle, but your Fearless Leader gets all the credit?  ??? ;D
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on August 18, 2021, 01:44:17 PM
You can watch Donald Trump taking credit for the withdrawal on video in the attachment if you doubt it.  He even mentions how he expected the government to fall after our troops left.  ::)

I have an associate who was an infantry officer in the Army fairly recently, discharged due to a service connected disability. He had an informal better pool going with a number of officers he'd served with previously on this matter(all of them having served in Afghanistan). None of them would wager on the Afghan government lasting more than 6 months, most of the predictions were far shorter, but it seems even they were being a bit optimistic, most expected it to last at least a couple months.

Quote
So why is it, Crunch, that Biden alone gets all the blame for this debacle, but your Fearless Leader gets all the credit?  ??? ;D

That Afghanistan was going to crumble after the US pulled out was blatantly obvious to everyone with experience on the ground over there. They can argue details as to the expected speed of that collapse(as witnessed by the example I gave above), but Biden and his team should have known this was going to be the end result, and should have had plans in place to deal with the situation accordingly.

Simply declaring "We're not going to see another Saigon airlift" doesn't constitute making plans to prevent seeing it come to pass.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 18, 2021, 01:55:49 PM
Quote
Biden and his team should have known this was going to be the end result, and should have had plans in place to deal with the situation accordingly.

My understand was the their worse case scenario plans were based on the Afghanistan Government and military at least trying to hold out. I view this as another failure of Military intelligence in a long line of failures post 2003 (after 2003 everything abut Afghanistan was wishful thinking)
Leaders can only make plans on the information at hand so though Biden is responsible (He has taken responsibility) Those providing him with the information hw was to act on failed big time just as they failed for the past 17 years!

Hard to watch some of these experts now talking about what should have happened and what should now happen as if they weren't part of the problem. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on August 18, 2021, 02:00:36 PM
And somehow Biden unilaterally breaking Trump's agreement simply because Trump made the deal is being swept under the rug.

Gee. That really sucks. Good thing that's never happened before.

Wow a 3 month delay after 20 years. You really think that made the difference in how things went down? The withdrawal already looks rushed and unplanned. You think it would have gone better in May with Trump's deal? This was always how it ended when we left this year.

Keeping the Warlords happy makes it more likely they don't just let the Taliban roll through their territory without a fight. Voiding that agreement like he did all but assured the warlords were "done" with the process, and that was plainly evident in how things fell apart the moment the Americans left. The Warlords were nowhere to be found, although I'm sure they're resurface soon enough, once the Taliban does something to anger them.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Wayward Son on August 18, 2021, 02:22:56 PM
Quote
That Afghanistan was going to crumble after the US pulled out was blatantly obvious to everyone with experience on the ground over there. They can argue details as to the expected speed of that collapse(as witnessed by the example I gave above), but Biden and his team should have known this was going to be the end result, and should have had plans in place to deal with the situation accordingly.

Simply declaring "We're not going to see another Saigon airlift" doesn't constitute making plans to prevent seeing it come to pass.

So what you're saying is that, if the Afghan government had held out for six months before falling, giving us plenty of time to evacuate our Afghan allies and make an orderly withdrawal, that Conservatives and Republican would be heaping praise on Biden for his handling of the situation?  Or that Biden should have had a plan to rush the Marines and the Army right back in to take over again if it looked like the Afghan government was about to fall?

When Trump negotiated the May 1 withdrawal date, we all knew it wasn't going to end well for Afghanistan. :(

Yes, Biden deserves the blame for how badly this withdrawal took place.  But does he deserve the entire blame for not having an exit strategy when we first went in there, or even after that?  Does he deserve the blame for not pulling out sooner?  Does he deserve the blame for negotiating a specific date for the withdrawal, so that the Taliban knew exactly how long they had to wait?  And does he deserve the blame for trying to keep those Afghani who helped us and are facing possible death from getting refuge in the U.S.?

No.  George W. Bush, Barak Obama, Donald J. Trump, and all those damned selfish pundits on Fox News (https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/08/afghanistan-refugees-tucker-carlson-stephen-miller-republicans.html) deserve to share the blame on those things.

Joe Biden messed this withdrawal up.  But that was with the help of every single President and administration and military officer and American voter since George W. Bush.  We all own this with Biden. :(
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 18, 2021, 02:33:19 PM
https://news.yahoo.com/condoleezza-rice-argues-u-could-214002319.html

Rice makes a good point. I thought along the same lines. People say we can't keep troops in Afghanistan indefinitely but we've done it in other places. South Korea. Japan. Germany. And it's worked. Kept the peace there and sustained thriving democracies for generations now.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

"We have understood this before," Rice wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published Tuesday. "Technically, our longest war is not Afghanistan: It is Korea."

The Korean war ended in a stalemate, and 70 years later there are still more than 20,000 American troops in South Korea, Rice notes. While accepting that "even the sophisticated South Korean army cannot deter" North Korea on its own, Washington and Seoul were able to achieve, after several decades, "a stable equilibrium on the Korean Peninsula, a valuable South Korean ally, and a strong presence in the Indo-Pacific."

So, Rice pondered, why couldn't the same strategy be applied to Afghanistan? "Afghanistan is not South Korea," she writes. "But we might have achieved a reasonable outcome with a far smaller commitment. More time for Afghans didn't have to entail combat troops, just a core American presence for training, air support, and intelligence."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Biden should have seen this coming and brought it to the U.N., asking for help from international peacekeepers and for international support to keep what's happening right now from happening. And if the international community steps up with the encouragement of the Afghan government then maybe we get a solid win. And if they don't then we get what we got now but at least we could say we tried to keep it from happening and the rest of the world refused to do anything to stop it.

We also don't look like idiots who couldn't see the writing on the wall like Biden does after saying this was very unlikely to happen. The Biden administration has a bad habit and a bad track record now of being terribly blind to the obvious and it resulting in predictable and entirely avoidable disasters. We see it with the border crisis, with the crime spike, with the Covid surge because of his great unmasking folly, and we'll see it with inflation. These are the last people you want handling tough situations.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: yossarian22c on August 18, 2021, 02:52:11 PM
https://news.yahoo.com/condoleezza-rice-argues-u-could-214002319.html

Rice makes a good point. I thought along the same lines. People say we can't keep troops in Afghanistan indefinitely but we've done it in other places. South Korea. Japan. Germany. And it's worked. Kept the peace there and sustained thriving democracies for generations now.

If it was a matter of keeping an army base there it probably wouldn't have been controversial. But does having soldiers stationed at Bagram do anything to prevent the rest of the country from falling like dominos? I guess there could have been Kabul and the rest of the country with competing differing governments. Our soldiers in all those other places were there to deter foreign powers, not to fight off a long lasting insurgency. Lot's of things could have been done better. I'm sure every administration is going to point to all the others as to why things collapsed but clearly they all failed. So plenty of blame to go around.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 18, 2021, 03:10:33 PM
Another problem is if the Taliban knew we were going to stay forever they would have kept fighting harder instead of just waiting until we left. I'm not sure an international force would be effective anyway. We saw how that worked out in Somalia. And I'm not saying we should be the ones to stay and run it either. We should have told the U.N. that we are leaving and recommended an international force of peacekeepers take our place, maybe even one from Muslim countries the way Africa now has it's own peacekeeping force they send into troubled African countries. And if the U.N. refuses then fine but at least we could say see I told you so instead of having this all blow up in our faces with our President looking like he never even considered it a realistic possibility.

I mean that's something that could still be done right now. Biden instead of staying on vacation calls for an emergency meeting of the U.N. to get input on how to respond to the crisis in Afghanistan. And if they predictably do nothing then at least it looks like we tried, a little anyway, as opposed to what it looks like now, which is just looking like the miserable failure of an addle minded President Biden. Now if the U.N. says collectively that they're not interested and we say well look we're not interested in carrying the whole load in perpetuity either and without international support we don't feel like we have the moral authority to do it anyway then that's that, and it looks like this in Afghanistan now.

At least we should be working on international support for Afghan refugees, especially for them to be given asylum in countries besides America, maybe even in other Muslim countries if that's where they'll be comfortable, or in Europe too since they are so open minded. And sure we'll take our fair share of them especially the ones who helped us and are in immediate danger, but we should be working on helping them out over there for instance with the U.N. reaching out to the Taliban to persuade them to offer permanent exile as an alternative to the people they are pulling out of houses and executing in the street.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 18, 2021, 03:12:18 PM
Big differences between Korean and Afghanistan
The Biggest one is that North and South Korea have a clearly defined boarder....
 
I'm surprised Rice would make the comparison. But that is the big problem isn't it. That these experts are almost always wrong when it comes to Afghanistan. They fail to take in the uniqueness of which is Afghanistan and assume, assume, ass u me
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Wayward Son on August 18, 2021, 03:14:11 PM
One problem with comparing our troops in South Korea, Japan and Germany with those in Afghanistan.

How many military casualties have we had in the last 20 years in South Korea, Japan and Germany compared with Afghanistan?  How many wounded?

It's one thing to keep troops in relatively stable countries with relatively stable situations.  It's another when there is a constant violent insurgency trying to topple the government you're protecting. :(
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 18, 2021, 03:22:38 PM
I'm going to Bet Rice will regret making that case...
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 18, 2021, 04:07:31 PM
Biden doing things like this probably didn't help any:

"On Biden’s orders, Bagram Airfield, long the U.S.’s largest military installation in Afghanistan, was deserted by U.S. troops in July, who turned off the electricity and left without notifying the Afghan commander on site. The base fell to the Taliban on August 15."

https://news.yahoo.com/where-president-afghan-reporters-emotional-220259657.html

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: yossarian22c on August 18, 2021, 04:13:57 PM
Biden doing things like this probably didn't help any:

"On Biden’s orders, Bagram Airfield, long the U.S.’s largest military installation in Afghanistan, was deserted by U.S. troops in July, who turned off the electricity and left without notifying the Afghan commander on site. The base fell to the Taliban on August 15."

https://news.yahoo.com/where-president-afghan-reporters-emotional-220259657.html

I'm guessing they didn't tell the Afghans when they were leaving because they were afraid of the intel leaking and getting ambushed.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 18, 2021, 04:23:09 PM
Biden doing things like this probably didn't help any:

"On Biden’s orders, Bagram Airfield, long the U.S.’s largest military installation in Afghanistan, was deserted by U.S. troops in July, who turned off the electricity and left without notifying the Afghan commander on site. The base fell to the Taliban on August 15."

https://news.yahoo.com/where-president-afghan-reporters-emotional-220259657.html

It's generally traditional when providing a quote adjacent to the link for the quote to have come from the linked source.

Here's the ap article making that statement

https://apnews.com/article/bagram-afghanistan-airfield-us-troops-f3614828364f567593251aaaa167e623
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 18, 2021, 04:33:46 PM
Checked my history again and this is the story I was looking at while I must have linked a different one.

https://news.yahoo.com/afghan-president-surfaces-united-arab-142839211.html

But whatever the reasons that was definitely a case of "What we've got here is failure to communicate."

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 18, 2021, 04:47:56 PM
"What we've got here is failure to communicate." happened a lot in Afghanistan over the last 20 years
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 18, 2021, 05:31:18 PM
A game that's always fun to play especially as conservatives is "Can you imagine the media and Democrat response to this if it was happening under Trump?"

There's no way he'd be getting the lickspittling that to a large extent Biden is now enjoying. Sure he's getting some licks too with his lickspittling but it's nothing like what Trump would have received. Trump would be getting raked over the coals. His incompetence would be highlighted along with his arrogance and naivete. With the tragedy underway for the Muslims over there he'd also get accused of hating Muslims, being racist, and of course hating women for what they are about to suffer and for him letting it happen. The media's double standard getting put on display is always the real prize of the game and there's a winner every time.


Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 18, 2021, 05:37:00 PM
A game that's always fun to play especially as conservatives is "Can you imagine the media and Democrat response to this if it was happening under Trump?"

There's no way he'd be getting the lickspittling that to a large extent Biden is now enjoying. Sure he's getting some licks too with his lickspittling but it's nothing like what Trump would have received. Trump would be getting raked over the coals. His incompetence would be highlighted along with his arrogance and naivete. With the tragedy underway for the Muslims over there he'd also get accused of hating Muslims, being racist, and of course hating women for what they are about to suffer and for him letting it happen. The media's double standard getting put on display is always the real prize of the game and there's a winner every time.

Can't disagree with you. I suspect the same events would have happened under a Trump withdraw plan and CNN and the like would of roasted him like no one has been roasted before.
Of course Trump would have tweeted out blame and junk to feed the flames and of course never taken responsibility... so what creates what???

Saw the following headline: Why experts say the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan didn't have to lead to chaos... the same fracking experts who got us in this mess. Their are no Experts on Afghanistan....
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 18, 2021, 06:44:48 PM
Biden is laying low. The conservative "news" outlets are making a lot of hay out of him being in hiding. Yeah, that's what you're supposed to do when you screw things up. Keep quiet, let proxies try to control the damage, and try not to make it any more memorable. No doubt, however, the hacky "news" outlets like CNN would be running scrolls about it 24/7 if Trump tried it. "Trump still at Mar a lago as Afghanistan descends into chaotic taliban takeover."

Of course, Trump would still be tweeting that he was a military genius from his hotel room and calling into fox News, so we'd also get a steady stream of ridicule from late night hosts about his belligerence, exaggerations, and inaccuracies.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 19, 2021, 09:50:11 AM
Of course, Trump would not have let this happen. It was not inevitable, it was grossly mismanaged.

Biden has reportedly told aides he is not sleeping well and is going home. I guess that 2-week vacation didn't reinvigorate him. Meanwhile, more fallout:
Quote
UK Parliament holds US President in contempt.

Biden remains in hiding, refusing questions at any press conference as he turns his back on the press and America to scurry back into his hiding place. He did do the interview with the uber-friendly Stephanopolus and that is widely seen as an expansion of the disaster in leadership we're watching play out. Biden must hide, he cannot manage this and it's obvious.

I've never seen anything like this. The president is AWOL, the VP is invisible except for the one picture where she's literally giving Biden the finger during the meeting, thousands of Americans are stranded behind enemy lines as the Taliban starts their purge (the images are heartbreaking). The situation continues to degrade and not a single person in leadership seems to have the ability to manage this. Just incredible.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 19, 2021, 09:53:21 AM
Maybe it's all part of the theatre where they invoke the 25th...
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 19, 2021, 10:07:48 AM
A month ago Biden made a statement that he was confident that the government and military would try to hold out against the Taliban. At worse case it would take months for the Taliban to gain the upper-hand. Sounded resemble and that plans be created accordingly Afghanistan was going to fall to the Taliban but their was time and to me a I don't think may of the 'experts' disagreed. No one paid any attention to what the average soldier in Afghanistan military or government official might have thought about fighting to delay an inevitable loss. (we create what we fear)

In hindsight that seems obvious and that a more extreme worse case should have been planned for.  Biden and most of the experts saw the world as they wished were not as it was. Biden remains responsible for being wrong in hindsight about how long the government and military would last but in that moment in time it was reasonable with the 'expert' advice provided, to think he had time.

I watched his latest interview and I don't know why Biden, and politicians in general, can't acknowledge that they acted in good faith on bad information and perceptions.  That in the last 20 years the west didn't really 'see' the Afghanistan people.  Not uncommon in a lot of failed relationships.   

I heard in a report that most of the Taliban fighters are not Afghanistan nationals, foreign fighters, essentially a occupying force.  History has not been kind to occupying forces in Afghanistan but I wonder if they are viewed as outsiders by Afghans.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: yossarian22c on August 19, 2021, 10:26:29 AM
Of course, Trump would not have let this happen. It was not inevitable, it was grossly mismanaged.

Because the pull out from Syria didn't result in our Kurdish allies being killed by all sides?

You have this confidence in Trump because why? He negotiated/planned most of this Biden just delayed it a few months. Its clear from how quickly the Afghan government folded that our options were either to stay or let them collapse.

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Wayward Son on August 19, 2021, 11:29:46 AM
For those truly interested, here is a report from SIGAR, Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (https://www.sigar.mil/pdf/lessonslearned/SIGAR-21-46-LL.pdf\).  SIGAR has been in existence for 13 years, and interviewed over 700 people in the country.

The executive summary per Electoral Vote.com (https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Aug19.html#item-1) (which is not the same as the reports own executive summary):

Quote
SIGAR was created by Congress to investigate the entire Afghanistan mission. In 2014 it began working on its "lessons learned" program. Here are the main points in the report:

Strategy: The U.S. continuously struggled to define why it was in Afghanistan. Was it because everyone was furious after 9/11 and somebody had to pay? Was it to destroy al-Qaeda? Was it to rebuild Afghanistan like the Marshall Plan rebuilt Germany after World War II? It was also not clear who was in charge of the mission. The Dept. of Defense is great for fighting wars and the State Dept. is great for diplomacy, but no one was really in charge of the overall effort to achieve any mission, assuming someone had specified the mission in the first place.

Timeline: Everyone in the project greatly underestimated how hard it would be and how long it would take. The budget was far too small. It was more like 20 1-year projects instead of one 20-year project. There was far too much emphasis on short-term gains that could be shown to the president and Congress, as in: "Look, they had an election! Mission almost accomplished!"

Sustainability: The U.S. has often done humanitarian aid after natural disasters. They are meant to tide people over with food and tents for a short time. Building a nation where none ever existed before is a whole different ball of wax. Agencies were not prepared for that and were judged by how well they had completed some specific short-term task, not on whether it would be sustainable once the U.S. left. Also, there was a trade-off between letting the Afghans run the programs and having Americans run the programs. Letting the Afghans run them would have embedded them in the country much better, but the Afghan officials were all corrupt. Having the Americans run them gave much better short-term results, but had the danger they would collapse the minute the U.S. pulled out.

Personnel: The Americans who ran the programs in Afghanistan were often the wrong people, with no background in Afghan language, history, or culture. Most were incompetent for the task they were expected to do. DoD police advisors watched American crime shows on TV to learn about policing. No actual American police were there. Civil affairs personnel had PowerPoint presentations for the Afghans. Staff was rotated out before they could learn on the job what was needed. Nobody was watching the spending.

Insecurity: While the reconstruction was going on, the Taliban were not just sitting around waiting for the Americans to leave. They were using violence everywhere to block the U.S. For example, they intimidated voters in ways even Texas Republicans wouldn't dare try. They convinced many people in rural areas that if they cooperated with the government, they would simply be killed, no questions asked. Without security, building a country was basically impossible. In Germany in 1946, there were no heavily armed roving bands of Nazis threatening to kill anyone who cooperated with American officials trying to reboot the country. That made it a piece of cake compared to Afghanistan.

Context: None of the Americans there understood Afghanistan's social, economic, and political dynamics, and if they had, they would probably have rejected them as being obsolete and in need of being updated. There was almost no information about the condition of the country available to U.S. officials. To give one example, the DoD tried training the Afghan security forces in the use of weapons they couldn't even understand, let alone maintain. To give another, there was a big emphasis on writing a constitution and laws in a country that never really had laws and which settled almost all disputes privately and locally. And one more: The Americans never understood the social and cultural barriers to women being treated as equal citizens so the approaches taken (e.g., we'll just pass a law banning X) never worked.

Monitoring and evaluation: There was no serious, accurate monitoring of how well the country was doing. Communication with far-flung mountainous regions was close to impossible, staff turnover was enormous, and the emphasis was on short-term projects that could be measured easily (e.g., X number of school buildings were constructed this year).

It's easy just to mindlessly blame someone or some organization for our failure.  But that won't prevent us failing in the future.  We need to figure out what went wrong and why, not who.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 05:04:44 PM
Ornery never fails to disappoint. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on August 20, 2021, 05:51:20 PM
Quote
Timeline: Everyone in the project greatly underestimated how hard it would be and how long it would take. The budget was far too small. It was more like 20 1-year projects instead of one 20-year project. There was far too much emphasis on short-term gains that could be shown to the president and Congress, as in: "Look, they had an election! Mission almost accomplished!"

That was generally what I was aiming towards in my own commentary on what happened there. The reason they were "20 1-year projects" was because leaving was always "1 year away" from happening for most of that time. So any project started needed to be completed before the latest departure goal/deadline.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 06:39:11 PM
Its Vietnam all over again.

Yes.  Yes it is. 

It's a shame too, considering how much effort was put into not having it happen again.  My first profession in particular spent a great deal of time on figuring out what went wrong and how to make sure it didn't happen again and teaching it to us.  Those old guys who lived through it the first time didn't want it to happen again.

Of course, the problem was that teaching a particular set of guys wearing green how to do things didn't help because it doesn't seem like the guys in green are ever responsible for making things happen or not happen.  The public never came to a consensus on what went wrong in Vietnam.  Could have a 100 year debate on it.  It was the public who got tired and wanted out and the politicians gave it to them.  That and a whole new generation of guys in green that wasn't being taught by the guys it happened to the first time so they didn't know how bad it was to lose.  Now they know. 

I dedicated a significant portion of my early education and love (and taxpayer dollars through tuition exemption) to the study of history.  I guess it was because I found it fascinating, but the philosophical reason was always about "people who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it".  That was the mantra.  The use and public service of history as something beyond entertainment.  By learning history you could prevent bad things from happening by learning from past mistakes. 

I realize now that it was all a lie.  That it was a huge waste of time (and taxpayer dollars) if the attempt was to prevent bad things from happening by learning from the past.  The truth is that I'm just a spectator on a derailing train.  I can't stop the train or convince somebody in charge to stop it.  Nobody learns.  The truth is that history is driven by forces far more powerful than "knowledge" or "wisdom".  History is driven by human nature, not knowledge.  And human nature never changes.  It's a constant. It's why what is happening in Afghanistan is happening.  It's the reason for Ukraine and Syria.  "Never again!".  Ha. 

Quote
Instead of a national military maybe we should have been training and arming village and city level militias. Give people the tools to defend their own homes.

Nah.  See, it's a catch 22.  Diem did that back in Vietnam back when the VC was taking village by village with the Strategic Hamlet program.  So the VC just concentrated their forces and overwhelmed the strategic hamlets.  The lack of a powerful national force by spending all that money on the Strategic Hamlet program led to the failure of the ARVN to annihilate the VC at Ap Bac.  See, if you disperse, the enemy will simply concentrate.  If you concentrate, the enemy disperses.  You need to have the ability to do both.  The VC could do that.  But ARVN could not. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 06:43:37 PM
And the story of Vietnam is that America should have stayed there longer and fought harder, arming the locals more than they did?

The story of Vietnam is that the American people got tired of fighting, declared peace, picked up their stuff and left, and left their allies out to dry. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 06:48:51 PM
It was previously well-known that going into Afghanistan was a no-win proposition in the long-term; Russia knew that all too well. The only thing I can't understand is why you're looking for reasons why America should have done more there. How about less?

Well, there ya go.  It was well known by some very wise and intelligent people, probably all graduates of the Army War College (or University of Phoenix, or even Clown College, everyone is an expert on war), that going into Afghanistan was a "no-win proposition".  They've been saying it for 20 years.  I'm sure this reinforces their belief, and they will pass this belief on to their intellectual spawn. 

I'm consistently amazed. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Wayward Son on August 20, 2021, 06:52:06 PM
And the story of Vietnam is that America should have stayed there longer and fought harder, arming the locals more than they did?

The story of Vietnam is that the American people got tired of fighting, declared peace, picked up their stuff and left, and left their allies out to dry.

Which, of course, the VC never had that option.  They were home.  :D :'(

Which maybe is the lesson...
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 07:00:09 PM
Time to cut the loses.

"Time to let our allies die or become refugees" is I think a better statement reflecting the reality of the situation. 

Quote
There was never going to be a good way to leave which is why its taken so long.

Never (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7ScGV5128A)
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 07:02:01 PM
I commend you, Crunch, for self isolating by hiding under a rock for over a year and a half.

I feel attacked. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 07:06:46 PM
Sure, but it seems like it was always going to end this way if no one in the country was willing to fight the Taliban without US forces standing beside them.

I really don't see why France or Poland can't stand up against Germany by themselves without the British or United States standing besides them. 

I also don't see why the Taliban can't take Afghanistan without the Russians, Pakistanis, Saudi billionaires, and every heroine addict in the world helping them. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 07:15:18 PM
I think he was justified in thinking that a 300,000 man army might have done better against a force of 75,000. With that failure their is nothing for NATO to do.  Either the Afghan people stand up or they don't and they had 20 years to work it out.

This despite all the people that said the Afghan army would fall if the US pulled out completely?  I don't understand how decisions are made as to who the geniuses are.  The people who said that it was a no-win situation 20 years ago, or the people who said 3 months ago that the American pullout would lead to a collapse?   

Quote
And so it is with great sadness that I now criticise one of them. Because I was never prouder than when I was decorated by the 82nd Airborne after the capture of Musa Qala. It was a huge privilege to be recognised by such an extraordinary unit in combat. To see their commander-in-chief call into question the courage of men I fought with — to claim that they ran. It is shameful.

Those who have never fought for the colours they fly should be careful about criticising those who have. Because what we have done, in these last few days, is we’ve demonstrated that it’s not armies that win wars. Armies can get tactical victories and operational victories that can hold a line. They can just about make room for peace, make room for people like us, parliamentarians, to talk, to compromise, to listen. It’s nations that make war. Nations endure. Nations mobilise and muster. Nations determine, and have patience.

Well, America doesn't have patience.  Most Americans think a baseball game takes too long.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 07:28:43 PM
The reality is that the majority of Afghani's find the Taliban preferable to the US.  Their military aren't fighting because they don't view the Taliban as their enemy.  People in the US are confused 'how did the Taliban take over so quickly' - because there was no interest in opposing them by the vast majority of Afghani's.

We have this narrative that we are the beloved liberators, but from their perspective we are an invader who has setup and supported an extremely corrupt government.

LOL!  Oh man.  Yeah I remember you saying the same thing about Vietnam. 

I'm sure that the 50% of the Afghans (Afghani is the currency) that constitute the women of Afghanistan very much prefer the Taliban and are thrilled they have returned to power. 

I mean, really. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 07:45:39 PM
Voter turnout hasn't been great during that time.

8 million Afghans voted in the 2004 Presidential election.  That was 83% of all registered voters.  Total population of Afghanistan at that time was roughly 24 million.  Figure 1/3 of those were under age.  That gives Afghanistan a 50% voter turnout of the total population in 2004.  How the hell is that a low turnout? 

Of course, after that election, turnout kinda dropped off when some people realized that democracy wasn't going to give them the win.  Hard to blame them.  Trump voters aren't big on democracy either after taking an election loss.  Oh, and the fact that the Taliban threatened voters.  I mean, sure.  Obviously the Taliban is preferred by the majority of Afghans. That's why they need to threaten voters.  Oh yeah, that's right.  The Taliban arn't big on democracy or give a damn how many people support them.  They shoot the ones that don't.  Helps their poll numbers.   
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 07:59:50 PM
You are again, interpreting it through your cultural expectations.  They probably view it is the right and proper role of men as God intended it - not "I'm being treated as property" but "I'm being protected by my family from wicked men who would assault my virtue".

For something comparable think of circumcision in the US.  Chomping off part of a male child's penis is from an outsiders perspective horrifically barbaric genital mutilation and yet we really don't give it much thought and most US parents will have their male child circumcised.

Do you have anything at all to back up your contention that the majority of Afghans support the Taliban?  Other than the fact that they're just rural traditionalist conservatives whose views and massacres and torture and women's rights make them similar to mohels and pediatricians? 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 08:11:44 PM
From my perspective its the generals and intelligence experts that have been wrong time and again across 4 administrations.

Michael Morell's response:

Quote
What is happening in Afghanistan is not the result of an intelligence failure. It is the result of numerous policy failures by multiple administrations. Of all the players over the years, the Intelligence Community by far has seen the situation in Afghanistan most accurately.


RightLeft:
Quote
Funny sad then that the media in general keep going to them for their perspective on things. Only a few have acknowledge how badly they got things.

Who do YOU think they should be going to?  Michael Moore? 

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on August 20, 2021, 08:26:45 PM
LOL!  Oh man.  Yeah I remember you saying the same thing about Vietnam. 

I'm sure that the 50% of the Afghans (Afghani is the currency) that constitute the women of Afghanistan very much prefer the Taliban and are thrilled they have returned to power. 

A lot of them are. Same way that many US Christian women oppose abortion rights - they consider it part of their core belief system, no matter how 'obvious' you might believe them to be wrong and 'going against their interests'.  The Taliban beliefs are consistent with the vast majority of Afghans (yes I'm aware Afghani is the currency I still make the typo occasionally due to it being inconsistent with usage for many countries).

Quote
8 million Afghans voted in the 2004 Presidential election.  That was 83% of all registered voters.  Total population of Afghanistan at that time was roughly 24 million.  Figure 1/3 of those were under age.  That gives Afghanistan a 50% voter turnout of the total population in 2004.  How the hell is that a low turnout?

Probably was refering to recent turnout in 2019

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Afghan_presidential_election

Less that 25% of eligible voters voted.  Also the majority of votes are from 'Diaspora' - Afghans with citizenship in other countries and living in other countries.

If you include the disapora then that certainly shifts things, but I'm talking about those living in Afghanistan.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 08:49:49 PM
The Taliban didn't defeat us in Afghanistan. The United States of America defeated the United States of America over there, the taliban was simply a proxy.

Yay
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 20, 2021, 08:54:15 PM
Less that 25% of eligible voters voted.  Also the majority of votes are from 'Diaspora' - Afghans with citizenship in other countries and living in other countries.

Are you counting all the polling locations made inaccessible by Taliban threats?  I mean, if it's OK for the Taliban I guess it's ok for the Ku Klux Klan too.  100% of the votes go to James Milton Smith.

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on August 20, 2021, 11:06:34 PM
Interesting survey of the Afghan population - it is about under what terms a peace deal with the Taliban was acceptable (this was in 2020) - essentially

https://asiafoundation.org/publication/afghanistan-flash-surveys-on-perceptions-of-peace-covid-19-and-the-economy-wave-3-findings/

It appears 57% of the population would have accepted a peace deal with the Taliban under any circumstances (Religious over Secular Law, Taliban Major Role in Government, Women Restricted Role, Become an Islam Emirate) or the opposite.  25% would reject a deal regardless of circumstances - Which leaves 28% who would accept or reject the deal depending on the specifics.  Basically 18% for whom women having a role is important; 13% for whom democracy is important; and 13% for who religious law being higher than secular law is important.  Would have been interesting to see how those three variables interacted.

The 'role' that they want allowed for women is 1) teaching at all female schools; and 2) working as nurses.  Mixed gender environments the support drops drastically; and for more prestigious roles the support drops significantly.

I'm curious how much people were paying attention to the details of the peace deal for the 57% and 25% - if they accepted/rejected without really paying attention or not.

This was a phone based survey.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 21, 2021, 03:15:30 AM
Well, there ya go.  It was well known by some very wise and intelligent people, probably all graduates of the Army War College (or University of Phoenix, or even Clown College, everyone is an expert on war), that going into Afghanistan was a "no-win proposition".  They've been saying it for 20 years.

Actually they were saying it for the 20 years prior to 9/11. After that they stopped saying it, for obvious morale reasons. In other words, even prior to the invasion the common wisdom was that any entrance into that country was going to be a quagmire with no resolvable end-point. You could go, and you could devote many resources to it, but none of that would ever make the problem just go away. And this isn't even the blowback doctrine, it's just the nature of the populace and the geography. The only way to avoid the choice between staying forever, and leaving it and having it go wild again, would be not going at all in the first place. People were so hyped up with patriotism and terror at the idea of dissenting that the objective reactions to the proposition of going, had it been made at any other time, were swept away in fervor. This is not really controversial, it's just what happened. You're free to say you think they were always wrong in the first place about Afghanistan, but it's not like the voices saying that it's a bad place to be are only hindsight 20/20 armchair quarterbacks. It was what everyone was saying much before.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 21, 2021, 08:22:33 AM
It appears 57% of the population would have accepted a peace deal with the Taliban under any circumstances (Religious over Secular Law, Taliban Major Role in Government, Women Restricted Role, Become an Islam Emirate) or the opposite.  25% would reject a deal regardless of circumstances - Which leaves 28% who would accept or reject the deal depending on the specifics.  Basically 18% for whom women having a role is important; 13% for whom democracy is important; and 13% for who religious law being higher than secular law is important.  Would have been interesting to see how those three variables interacted.

The 'role' that they want allowed for women is 1) teaching at all female schools; and 2) working as nurses.  Mixed gender environments the support drops drastically; and for more prestigious roles the support drops significantly.

I've looked through the attached source and I don't see anything like what you have quoted. 

From page 13:

Quote
The protection of women’s rights, freedom of the press, and protection of the constitution among others, have been noted objectives of the Afghan negotiating team.
Over 90% of Afghans believe it is either very important or somewhat important to protect the following as part of a peace agreement: the current constitution (92.0%), freedom of speech (96.0%), freedom of the press (96.3%), a strong central government (96.6%), women’s rights (97.0%), and equality among different groups of people (96.0%). 88.1% say it is important to protect foreign economic assistance in a peace deal.

Over half of respondents (51.6%) say it is important to protect the presence of foreign troops. Over three fifths of respondents said they were very willing (37.3%) or somewhat willing (23.7%) to accept a peace deal in which blanket amnesty is provided for Taliban fighters. When comparing findings to W1 (39.3% and 26.3% respectively), this represents a small decrease on findings.

Over half of respondents say they would be very willing (30.3%) or somewhat willing (23.3%) to accept a blanket amnesty for Taliban senior leaders. This represents an overall decrease on findings from W1 (33.3% and 23.9% respectively). Regarding a Taliban role in government, 58.4% say they are willing to accept this (27.4% very willing and 31.0% somewhat willing).

Ceding control of certain provinces to the Taliban as part of a peace agreement does not, however, find support among Afghans. Over two thirds say they would be very unwilling (63.5%) or somewhat unwilling (3.5%) to accept this. When comparing findings for W1 (54.6%) and W3 (63.5%), the percentage of those citing they are very unwilling to cede control of certain provinces has increased by almost 10 percentage points.

From page 36

Quote
Support for the protection of women’s rights appears strong throughout the three waves of the Survey.
In all waves, only a fifth or less of respondents said they would be very willing or somewhat willing to
accept a peace agreement where women may no longer work outside the home. Unsurprisingly, Afghan
women are more likely to say they are very unwilling to accept a peace agreement where women may
no longer work outside the home, when compared with men (81.6% females compared to 67.1%
males). Utilizing the same question but disaggregated by region, 92.4% of respondents in the Central/
Highlands region say they would be very unwilling, while this is significantly lower in the East (61.7%)
and South West (66.3%).

Support for accepting a peace deal where women and girls may no longer attend school is extremely low.
Just over 10 percent say they would be either very willing (6.7%) or somewhat willing (3.9%) to accept
such a deal. Again, women (90.8%) are most likely to report being very unwilling to accept such a deal,
while this is slightly lower for men (83.1%). Almost all respondents in the Central/Highlands (99.1%)
say they would be very unwilling to accept such a deal, while this is lowest in the East (78.3%).

I don't see anything in there remotely similar to 57% of the population would accept a peace deal under any circumstances.  What page did you see that data point on?
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 21, 2021, 08:25:44 AM
It was what everyone was saying much before.

Who's everyone?  Give me some names. 

I don't doubt that you heard this somewhere.  I don't think that it's your original thought.  But I'm curious who "everyone" is.  It's kind of vague. 

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on August 21, 2021, 10:13:04 AM
I've looked through the attached source and I don't see anything like what you have quoted.
 

The floor and ceiling for a peace deal are interpreted from their four part question - they phrase the question with each variant - Peace Deal given A and Peace Deal given NOT A - for each of the four items - and you get a minimum of 57.4% support a peace deal for each of those and 25% refuse a peace deal for each of those, then that tells you what the floor is.

Regarding the 'important or somewhat important' responses - people say 'somewhat important' about things that sound nice but they don't really care about.  If you ask people if it is 'somewhat important' to 'feed the starving kids in Africa' - you will get an extremely high percentage; if you ask 'what percentage of your taxes should be used to feed the starving kids in Africa' or 'how much are you willing to donate to feed the starving kids in Africa' - you get quite a different impression.

For women's rights, it might be a different survey by the same organization that delineates what jobs Afghans are comfortable with women having.  I'll see if I can find it.

Quote
I don't see anything in there remotely similar to 57% of the population would accept a peace deal under any circumstances.  What page did you see that data point on?

I specified it was any of 4 circumstances.  It is from

CONJOINT EXPERIMENT: WHICH ASPECTS OF A PEACE DEAL ARE SUPPORTED BY CIVILIANS

pg 91, and 92

If you do the breakdowns it shows what is actually important.  Any of the four combinations of circumstances are offered for a peace deal.

Would Support a Peace Deal if

TALIBAN TO HAVE (NOT HAVE) MAJORITY INFLUENCE   67.1 (65.2 ) - so only 1.9% consider this important enough to be a deal breaker
INCREASE (DECREASE) ROLE OF WOMEN 57.4 (74.8 ) - so 17.4% consider this a deal breaker.
INCLUDE (EXCLUDE) REQUIREMENT OF ISLAMIC LAW HIGHER THAN SECULAR LAW 70.0 (62.5 ) - so 7.5% consider this a deal breaker
REQUIRE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECT LEADERS (BE AN ISLAMIC EMIRATE) 69.7 (62.7 ) - so only 7% consider democracy to be a deal breaker
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 21, 2021, 11:19:10 AM
Who's everyone?  Give me some names. 

Their names are "Russia" and "The CIA". There's a reason the CIA was training proxy insurgents like Osama bin Laden to achieve secondary goals there in the 80's - because any other strategy would be a waste of resources. And the Russians were doing the same. Sending an actual military force in there would be foolhardy.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 21, 2021, 11:30:30 AM
Their names are "Russia" and "The CIA". There's a reason the CIA was training proxy insurgents like Osama bin Laden to achieve secondary goals there in the 80's - because any other strategy would be a waste of resources. And the Russians were doing the same. Sending an actual military force in there would be foolhardy.

OK.  So you can't name anybody.  Just say that.  "Everybody" doesn't exist.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 21, 2021, 11:41:27 AM
TALIBAN TO HAVE (NOT HAVE) MAJORITY INFLUENCE   67.1 (65.2 ) - so only 1.9% consider this important enough to be a deal breaker
INCREASE (DECREASE) ROLE OF WOMEN 57.4 (74.8 ) - so 17.4% consider this a deal breaker.
INCLUDE (EXCLUDE) REQUIREMENT OF ISLAMIC LAW HIGHER THAN SECULAR LAW 70.0 (62.5 ) - so 7.5% consider this a deal breaker
REQUIRE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECT LEADERS (BE AN ISLAMIC EMIRATE) 69.7 (62.7 ) - so only 7% consider democracy to be a deal breaker

I don't think your interpretation of the statistics and your extrapolation on how may consider something a deal breaker is accurate.  The question in question on the poll, Q-27, presented a randomized hypothetical peace package with 4 different aspects each with two different outcomes giving a total of 16 possible peace packages.  The respondent was then asked to thumbs up or thumbs down the entire package, not specific parts of the package. 

Because of this, you cannot extrapolate exactly how many Afghans figure each separate part of the hypothetical peace deal was critically important, because they were voting on the entire package, not individual aspects of it.  The only thing you can do is see which aspects were more important than others. 

From the survey:

Quote
A conjoint experiment is useful in determining what combination of a limited number of attributes
is most influential on respondents’ preferences.

Quote
Condition 1: Similar to Wave 1, whether or not the Taliban have majority influence does not seem to
impact whether Afghans would support a peace deal; 67.1% responded to supporting the peace deal
under Taliban majority influence (slightly higher than 65.8% in W1), whereas 65.2% supported the
peace deal otherwise (compared to 64.4% in W1). Compared to when the government did not allow
the Taliban to have majority influence after the peace process the condition of allowing Taliban majority
influence slightly increased the odds of supporting peace by 1.09 times (95% CI for OR, 0.956-1.245)
though the change is not statistically significant.
Thus, similar to findings from W1, the Taliban having a majority influence within the new government
does not affect support for a peace deal.
Condition 2: As found in W1, the role of women continues to impact whether Afghans would support a
peace deal; 74.8% supported the peace deal if women’s role was to increase in the public space, whereas
57.4% supported the peace deal if women’s role reduced. Compared to when the government increased
the public role of women in society, the condition of reducing the women’s role reduces the odds of
supporting peace by 55% (95% CI for OR, 0.396 - 0.521).

Quote
In summary, similar to Wave 1, respondents are more likely to support a peace deal if women have an
increased public role in society.
Condition 3: The requirement that Islamic law is higher than secular law continues to impact whether
Afghans would support a peace deal; 70.0% supported the peace deal if Islamic law is higher than secular
law (an increase from 67.9% in Wave 1), whereas 62.47% supported the peace deal otherwise (consistent
with the 62.48% in Wave 1). Compared to when the government did not include a requirement that
Islamic law is higher than secular law, the condition of superseding Islamic law relative to secular law
increased the odds of supporting peace by 1.4 times (95% CI for OR, 1.227-1.603).
Thus, respondents are more likely to support a peace deal if Islamic law is deemed higher than secular
law. The support for a peace deal preferring Islamic law over secular law has slightly increased from
67.9% in W1 to 70.0% in W3.
Condition 4: In W3, the condition of democratically electing leaders continues to impact whether
Afghans would support a peace deal; 69.7% supported the peace deal if leaders are elected democratically
(consistent with 68.1% in W1), whereas 62.7% supported the peace deal if Afghanistan was an Islamic
Emirate (marginally higher than 61.8% in W1). Compared to Afghanistan being an Islamic Emirate,
the condition of democratically electing leaders increased the odds of supporting peace by 1.37 times
(95% CI for OR, 1.202-1.569), a marginally higher impact than the 1.32 in W1.
Thus, in W3 respondents continue to be more likely to support a peace deal if leaders are democratically
elected, rather than to be part of an Islamic Emirate.

The data supports that women's rights is the number 1 aspect that seems to be critical of accepting a peace deal or not.  This is in line with previous statistics given on page 31 that showed that women's rights was the highest ranked priority for accepting a peace deal by Afghans along with a strong central government. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on August 21, 2021, 11:57:40 AM
I don't think your interpretation of the statistics and your extrapolation on how may consider something a deal breaker is accurate.

Fair enough, I think taking the difference between minimum and maximum is a reasonable approach that should give us a pretty good idea.

Quote
Because of this, you cannot extrapolate exactly how many Afghans figure each separate part of the hypothetical peace deal was critically important, because they were voting on the entire package, not individual aspects of it.  The only thing you can do is see which aspects were more important than others.

There are clever statistics that can indeed give you that, but my simplified approach is going to be pretty close.  I think you can reasonably disagree without me putting more effort in to convince you than I'm willing to invest.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 21, 2021, 11:58:47 AM
Interesting survey of the Afghan population - it is about under what terms a peace deal with the Taliban was acceptable

I mean, the whole thing is academic because there never was a peace deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government.  The agreement was made between the Taliban and the US, and the US and the Afghan government.  A cease-fire and dialogue in return for US withdrawl and guarantees that both parties would not threaten the US domestically or any of their allies. 

The Taliban was never interested in a deal with the Afghan government.  They waited until the US pulled out and then attacked.  They bided their time.  It was all a trick.  And everybody knew it.  The only question was how well the Afghan army was supposed to take care of themselves and there seemed to be a difference of opinion on what they could do.  Afghans may well have supported certain aspects of a peace deal in return for peace.  But the only peace they ended up getting was a complete Taliban victory.  That means no democracy, Taliban rule, loss of women's rights, and Islamic law.  The only thing in there that the majority of Afghans wanted was Islamic Law.  The majority of Afghans never supported a complete Taliban victory.  I don't care if they're city boys or Afghan hillbillies. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on August 21, 2021, 12:19:16 PM
It was all a trick.

It wasn't a trick, the Taliban never implied an intention of not taking over Afghanistan and the US explicitly negotiated to not interfere if they attempted to do so.  So I'm not sure who you think was 'tricked'.  I guess perhaps the Afghanistan people?

Quote
Afghans may well have supported certain aspects of a peace deal in return for peace.

Yep.

Quote
But the only peace they ended up getting was a complete Taliban victory.

I think the survey about the negotiations showed that if it brought peace - they majority of Afghan's were mostly ok with that as long as the Taliban don't curtail women's right to work in unisex schools and as nurses and other "woman's work" - which the Taliban are currently claiming they will allow.  Time will tell, but organizations can change in a 20 year period - we will see if it is just lies to pacify people during their takeover or if they are sincere.  I give it 50/50 odds.  They have been clear on other parts of policy - ie that it will be a ruling council and not a democracy.

Quote
That means no democracy, Taliban rule, loss of women's rights, and Islamic law.

I think the loss of democracy is certain - but it isn't that important to the Afghan people.  Taliban rule is certain - again I don't think they care too much who is in power as long as it doesn't impact them personally too much.  Loss of women's rights uncertain - this will be a major sticking point.  Islamic Law - this is actually a preference of many.

If it is the 1996 Taliban all over again - I think the majority won't care for it.  But I don't think it is the same organization from back then.


Quote
  The only thing in there that the majority of Afghans wanted was Islamic Law.  The majority of Afghans never supported a complete Taliban victory.  I don't care if they're city boys or Afghan hillbillies.

The majority want peace and stability.  If a complete Taliban victory happens to do that than the majority probably prefer that to any scenario that doesn't result in peace and stability.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 21, 2021, 01:04:33 PM
It wasn't a trick, the Taliban never implied an intention of not taking over Afghanistan and the US explicitly negotiated to not interfere if they attempted to do so.  So I'm not sure who you think was 'tricked'.  I guess perhaps the Afghanistan people?

So Trump and Biden's demand for a ceasefire and dialogue was just for show?  I guess that makes it alright.  Certainly makes it alright for the Afghan government and the Afghan people who got hung out to dry. 

1. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and
is known as the Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including
al-Qa’ida, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its
allies.

2. The United States and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United
States as a state and is known as the Taliban seek positive relations with each other and expect
that the relations between the United States and the new post-settlement Afghan Islamic
government as determined by the intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations will be positive.

I mean, I guess the government of Afghanistan and the Afghan people who fought beside us for 20 years were not really our allies, eh?   

Quote
think the loss of democracy is certain - but it isn't that important to the Afghan people.

Quote
Compared to Afghanistan being an Islamic Emirate,
the condition of democratically electing leaders increased the odds of supporting peace by 1.37 times
(95% CI for OR, 1.202-1.569), a marginally higher impact than the 1.32 in W1.

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 21, 2021, 01:12:19 PM
The majority want peace and stability.  If a complete Taliban victory happens to do that than the majority probably prefer that to any scenario that doesn't result in peace and stability.

Bear in mind that there are already 3 million Afghan refugees worldwide and you could probably add another 100-200 thousand easy after this week, if they could find a way out.  So yeah, that's almost an extra 10% of the Afghan population, minus whomever the Taliban removes.  I bet the majority do want peace and stability, being that the alternative is their execution. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on August 21, 2021, 02:01:14 PM

So Trump and Biden's demand for a ceasefire and dialogue was just for show?

You misread or misheard what Trump negotiated - they Taliban only had to 'consider' a ceasefire.  Not actually engage in one.

Quote
I guess that makes it alright.  Certainly makes it alright for the Afghan government and the Afghan people who got hung out to dry.

We armed and trained their military.  We built and improved an enormous amount of infrastructure.  What they decided to do with that is their own decisions.  The military decided that they didn't want to fight the Taliban for whatever reason.  Apparently given the choice between stated ideals but having to repel the Taliban, or letting the Taliban take over - they decided on option 2.

Quote
I mean, I guess the government of Afghanistan and the Afghan people who fought beside us for 20 years were not really our allies, eh? 

Nope, an ally has a particular meaning in international law,

Quote
a country tied to another country by a treaty or alliance.

We have no treaties or alliances with Afghanistan, ergo they are not an ally.  They were a client state. (Obama's Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement had no binding effect on the US as it was an 'executive agreement' and not something ratified by congress)
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 21, 2021, 03:26:59 PM
You misread or misheard what Trump negotiated - they Taliban only had to 'consider' a ceasefire.  Not actually engage in one.

I think I would generally characterize the agreement with the Taliban as a *censored*ty. 

Quote
We armed and trained their military.  We built and improved an enormous amount of infrastructure.  What they decided to do with that is their own decisions.  The military decided that they didn't want to fight the Taliban for whatever reason.  Apparently given the choice between stated ideals but having to repel the Taliban, or letting the Taliban take over - they decided on option 2.

We handed a bunch of gear to a sick kid and told him to go fight a monster.  Then some people want to blame him for not fighting hard enough.  They fought for 20 years and took 60,000 casualties. 

Quote
Nope, an ally has a particular meaning in international law. We have no treaties or alliances with Afghanistan, ergo they are not an ally.  They were a client state. (Obama's Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement had no binding effect on the US as it was an 'executive agreement' and not something ratified by congress)

That's cute, LOL.  What exactly do you call a guy who marries a girl at the Mt. Shiloh Chapel outside of Roan Mt, Tennessee, has three kids with her, lives with her for 20 years, but then goes off and abandons them, and tells her that they were not officially legally married because they never signed courthouse papers and the kids are not his because they don't have birth certificates with his name on them? 

"I was never obligated to fight for these people!  They were never really my friends!  The agreements I made with them had no binding effect!" 

So what about all our other so called Major Non-NATO Allies (yes it's an actual government title, though apparently not binding), that we have with Taiwan?  Singapore?  Ukraine?  I mean, you have basically told all of these people that Bilaterial Security Agreements with the United States are only good as *censored* tickets because they're not signed by the Senate. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on August 21, 2021, 04:35:11 PM
I think I would generally characterize the agreement with the Taliban as a *censored*ty. 

No argument there.

Quote
We handed a bunch of gear to a sick kid and told him to go fight a monster.  Then some people want to blame him for not fighting hard enough.  They fought for 20 years and took 60,000 casualties. 

Seriously?  They had the capability and training to fight, overwhelmingly superior firepower and numbers, they decided not to fight.  In reality the were more mercenaries than anything else, and with the US gone the odds of getting paid dropped off significantly.

Also the people and government of Afghanistan explicitly wanted the US gone.  Only 20% of them were willing to have a US presence.

Quote
That's cute, LOL.

You were referencing Trump's treaty.  Words have agreed upon meaning in a treaty.  They weren't agreeing to not attack Afghanistan - Trump explicitly agreed to not interfere if they did so as long as they agreed to not attack the US.

Quote
So what about all our other so called Major Non-NATO Allies (yes it's an actual government title, though apparently not binding), that we have with Taiwan?  Singapore?  Ukraine?  I mean, you have basically told all of these people that Bilaterial Security Agreements with the United States are only good as *censored* tickets because they're not signed by the Senate.

Yep, they are only good for as long as the President who signed them is in power and only if congress doesn't override him if he tries to fulfill them or directly override them immediately.  The next President can follow them or not at his whim.  That is US Constitutional law - if it isn't ratified by the Senate than it doesn't have much more value than the paper it is written on.  It isn't like foreign heads of government aren't aware of this fact.  If we want the power of treaty invested solely in the President, we can change the US Constitution.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 21, 2021, 04:43:37 PM
I don't agree with, no treaty - no obligation.

But I don't think any of our formal or informal agreements obligate us in a civil war. Spain is a NATO country, but if the Catalans secede or engage in armed attacks on Madrid, I don't think we're required to step in and I doubt we would. If a portion of Japanese residents started a rebellion against Tokyo, I also don't think we'd be getting involved.

It should come as no surprise that the US didn't care about them apart from how they impact us. After all, we armed the SOBs that morphed into the Taliban so they could score some hits against the Soviets.

None of the entities listed have a bilateral security agreement. Taiwan had one once when it was still the ROC, but we trashed it decades ago. We have no obligation to defend Taiwan militarily. Ukraine even less so, and we demonstrated that already when we didn't do anything when they got invaded with Russian proxies. Had to look up singapore, don't see anything resembling that.

So absent that, is there a moral obligation? Whole other question.

Quote
That's cute, LOL.  What exactly do you call a guy who marries a girl at the Mt. Shiloh Chapel outside of Roan Mt, Tennessee, has three kids with her, lives with her for 20 years, but then goes off and abandons them, and tells her that they were not officially legally married because they never signed courthouse papers and the kids are not his because they don't have birth certificates with his name on them?

I dunno, has the guy been telling her for years that he's going to leave, and then filed divorce papers? Because that's largely what happened here. I will grant you that the idea of a socio-political paternity test did offer me a laugh.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 21, 2021, 05:55:12 PM
But I don't think any of our formal or informal agreements obligate us in a civil war. Spain is a NATO country, but if the Catalans secede or engage in armed attacks on Madrid, I don't think we're required to step in and I doubt we would. If a portion of Japanese residents started a rebellion against Tokyo, I also don't think we'd be getting involved.

Partial point. Maybe with an extra point.  The agreement we had with Afghanistan never formally obligated the US to step in during even an external invasion.  Just that the United States would be "gravely concerned".  There is something to be said for a civil war where one side is supplied by external forces, and a whole nuther discussion on why there seems to be some sort of aversion to civil wars in the first place.  Given how strongly some of these people feel about the American Civil War, you'd think they'd be chomping at the bit.  Honestly, if a large force of Japanese citizens rise up with the intent to create a communist dictatorship, it's in the security interests of the United States to assist the legitimate government. 

Quote
None of the entities listed have a bilateral security agreement. Taiwan had one once when it was still the ROC, but we trashed it decades ago. We have no obligation to defend Taiwan militarily. Ukraine even less so, and we demonstrated that already when we didn't do anything when they got invaded with Russian proxies. Had to look up singapore, don't see anything resembling that.

I was referring to Non-Nato significant ally status.  You're called an ally, but there is no mutal defense clause there either.  Just an agreement to sell arms.  Partial point. 

Quote
I dunno, has the guy been telling her for years that he's going to leave, and then filed divorce papers? Because that's largely what happened here. I will grant you that the idea of a socio-political paternity test did offer me a laugh.

Half-point.  The example was simply to stress the problem with that kind of legalism.  But you have a point that your example is more apt to the actual situation, which goes again to show just how raw a deal Afghanistan has been getting since 2009.   

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 22, 2021, 12:25:23 AM
I'll take the partial credit, thanks. I understand and agree why I don't get full credit.

If we call anybody we sell arms to an "ally" then wow have we got a lot of allies, many of whom are at war with somebody. We wouldn't put boots on the ground in support of most of them on that basis.

The major non-NATO allies are here, as detailed by the State Dept:

Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Tunisia

Obligations under that can be found here, and they don't include air support. There is a provision that allows for training but does not commit to it. Major Non-Nato Ally status (https://www.state.gov/major-non-nato-ally-status/)

As for Taiwan, we don't even recognize their flag for fear of repercussions with China. Everyone on the planet knows we'll stand by and watch if China chooses to invade - militarily. Economic and other repercussions are hopefully enough reason for them to leave well enough alone.

Naturally we'll get involved in civil wars if it is in our national interest, hell we'll even start one in a peaceful country. None of that speaks to a moral or legal obligation.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 22, 2021, 12:05:37 PM
If we call anybody we sell arms to an "ally" then wow have we got a lot of allies, many of whom are at war with somebody. We wouldn't put boots on the ground in support of most of them on that basis.

Well, if you count all 29 NATO countries, then add all 21 Rio countries, the Phillipines MDT, ANZUS, the ROK MDT, and the US-Japan Security Treaty, that comes up to 55 countries right there.  Then add in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Thailand, and Tunisia who all have Major Non-NATO ally status.  Then add Taiwan (I'll get to that later).

The countries that we sell arms to that are not on those lists include the Saudis, India, Qatar, the UAE, Lebanon, Singapore (who refused Major Non-NATO ally status), Kenya, Mali, DR Congo, Ukraine, Jamaica, Oman, Nigeria, and Niger. 

The only ones currently involved in armed conflicts or insurgencies are Ukraine, Saudis, DR Congo, Afghanistan, Mali, Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Pakistan, Israel, Mexico, Thailand, Columbia, Phillipines, Egypt, South Korea, and Morocco.  There just doesn't seem to be a shortage of *censored* in the world right now.  But that is 19 out of 80 countries we have treaties with, are Major Non-NATO allies, or we just sell arms to. 55 of those we have mutual defense treaties with.  So yes, we are supposed to put boots on the ground in support of most of them, if they request it. 

Quote
Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Tunisia

Taiwan has the same status and agreements without the actual name, per the Foreign Relations Act of 2003.  Singapore was offered and rejected.  Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, and Qatar have been considered.  A bill was introduced in 2019 to give the status to Ukraine. 

Quote
As for Taiwan, we don't even recognize their flag for fear of repercussions with China. Everyone on the planet knows we'll stand by and watch if China chooses to invade - militarily. Economic and other repercussions are hopefully enough reason for them to leave well enough alone.

Who's everybody?  Does that include the PRC and ROC?  Does that include the House Foreign Relations Committee?  Does that include USINDOPACOM?  I mean, everybody would include those people.  I'm not sure they're all aware.  Probably need to put something in the Federal Register.  Kinda defeats the purpose of Strategic Ambiguity, doesn't it?  You definately need to tell President Biden, who just the other day said this:

Quote
"They are ... entities we’ve made agreements with based on not a civil war they’re having on that island or in South Korea, but on an agreement where they have a unity government that, in fact, is trying to keep bad guys from doing bad things to them,” the president said.

"We have made, kept every commitment. We made a sacred commitment to article 5 that if in fact anyone were to invade or take action against our Nato allies, we would respond. Same with Japan, same with South Korea, same with Taiwan. It’s not even comparable to talk about that."

Not very ambiguous either, and it appears the administration is trying to backtrack. 



 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 22, 2021, 07:44:57 PM
That's talk talk and bluster. There is no way we engage with a nuclear power in direct combat over Taiwan.

Even the agreement you cite only says this :

It formalized that “the United States shall make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capacity as determined by the President and the Congress.”

The law also stated that “any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means” would be “of grave concern to the United States.”

Quote
Former officials who wrestled with this question know it’s not an easy call. “You’re damn right it’s hard,” Chuck Hagel, who served as secretary of defense when Biden was vice president, told me. “It’s a complex decision for any administration, not an automatic one. You can talk policy all you want, but a war off the coast of China? Boy, you better think through all of that.”

Exactly. We'll keep giving them assurances and if Chinese missiles and landing craft head in the direction of Taiwan, we hope we sold them enough hardware and training for them to do okay for a while without having us warplanes shooting down Chinese fighters.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on August 22, 2021, 08:28:35 PM
As for Taiwan, we don't even recognize their flag for fear of repercussions with China. Everyone on the planet knows we'll stand by and watch if China chooses to invade - militarily. Economic and other repercussions are hopefully enough reason for them to leave well enough alone.

Naturally we'll get involved in civil wars if it is in our national interest, hell we'll even start one in a peaceful country. None of that speaks to a moral or legal obligation.

Interesting thing that I've stumbled upon recently is that the island of Taiwan, not to be confused with the Republic of China, may exist in an even more bizarre form of legal limbo so far as the United States Government is concerned than most people realize. And that was deliberate on the part of the United States back in the 1950's.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1943_Cairo_Declaration
Quote
The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan. They covet no gain for themselves and have no thought of territorial expansion. It is their purpose that Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and The Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China. ...

Okay, that makes the case for the CPC that under the context of there being a civil war in China at the time which was simply silent during the war, the Communists can latch on to that, as they obviously control parts of Manchuria today, among some other points.

But then we move later in the war:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdam_Declaration#Terms
Quote
The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.

While they reference the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Declaration does not, on its own affirm anything going to the ROC beyond "yeah, what that other document said"

https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured-documents/japanese-surrender-document

Quote
We, acting by command of and in behalf of the Emperor of Japan, the Japanese Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, hereby accept the provisions set forth in the declaration issued by the heads of the Governments of the United States, China, and Great Britain on 26 July 1945 at Potsdam, and subsequently adhered to by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which four powers are hereafter referred to as the Allied Powers.

...

We hereby undertake for the Emperor, the Japanese Government and their successors to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration in good faith, and to issue whatever orders and take whatever actions may be required by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers or by any other designated representative of the Allied Powers for the purpose of giving effect to that Declaration.

And given that Potsdam references Cairo, the Instrument of surrender now provides the basis for the Communist Party and the ROC to claim they've been granted sovereignty over Taiwan. In keeping with the Cairo declaration's statement of "shall be restored to the Republic of China."

Bringing us "General Order Number 1"
https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/000097066.pdf
Quote
The senior Japanese Commanders and all ground, sea, air and auxiliary forces within China, (excluding Manchuria). Formosa and French Indo-China North of 16 degrees North latitude, shall surrender to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek.

Except using as a basis of a claim gets dicey for the Communist party because..
Quote
The senior Japanese Commanders and all ground, sea, air and auxiliary forces within Manchuria, Korea North of 38 degrees North latitude, Karafuto, and the Kurile Islands, shall surrender to the Commander-in-Chief of Soviet Forces in the Far East

Which then brings us to the Treaty of San Francisco, where neither the ROC or the People's Republic were invited to attend.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_San_Francisco (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_San_Francisco)
Wiki makes this claim, but I have not yet found the relevant documents.
Quote
According to the treaty's travaux préparatoires, a consensus existed among the states present at the San Francisco Peace Conference that, while the legal status of the island of Taiwan is temporarily undetermined, it would be resolved at a later time in accordance with the principles of peaceful settlement of disputes and self-determination, ideas that had been enshrined in the UN Charter.

I did find the supporting document for this one from the wiki page though:
Quote
In 1955, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, co-author of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, affirmed that the treaty ceded Taiwan to no one; that Japan "merely renounced sovereignty over Taiwan". Dulles said that America "cannot, therefore, admit that the disposition of Taiwan is merely an internal problem of China."
But we'll get back to him.

https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%20136/volume-136-I-1832-English.pdf
Quote
Article 2
(a) Japan, recognizing the independence of Korea, renounces all right, title and claim to Korea, including the islands of Quelpart, Port Hamilton and Dagelet.
(b) Japan renounces all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores.
...But with this treaty being signed in the fall of 1951, the ROK has retreated from the mainland of China and is holding out on the Island of Formosa(Taiwan). The United States is also involved in the Korean War at this time, and fighting against the Chinese PLA there. So it seems the US State Department carefully crafted that passage to be as vague as they possibly could. Japan ceded Formosa and Pescadore Islands in compliance with the prior declarations and agreements.. But it didn't specify who they ceded them to. But as the United States was the "Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers" operating in the Pacific Theater, that would mean Formosa technically defaults to the United States until it decides who the sovereign is.

Now back to the US Secretary of State talking about Taiwan in 1955.
https://search.library.wisc.edu/digital/AK7LYDN2XR55Z78Q/pages/APJFBMLMVFOD2S8K
Quote
The Secretary said that we had in mind talking about the possibility of avoiding armed clashes. We certainly would not talk about the disposal of Taiwan. What we want is to assure that the problems can be worked out peacefully. As for the substantive aspects of the problems we must await the evolution of time, for if substantive matters are forced, no decision can be reached under present conditions and an armed clash would surely result. The CPR wants to get Taiwan which they haven't had for 60 years. Even the juridical position of Taiwan is in doubt. The United States also has an interest in Taiwan which we got away from Japan. Japan has merely renounced sovereignty over Taiwan which has not been disposed of by the peace treaty and not ceded to anyone. Consequently the United States also could assert a legal claim until Taiwan is disposed of by some means. We cannot, therefore, admit that the disposition of Taiwan is merely an internal problem.

But later that same year, we do get:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-American_Mutual_Defense_Treaty
Quote
ARTICLE VI
For the purposes of Articles II and V, the terms "territorial" and "territories" shall mean in respect of the Republic of China, Taiwan and the Pescadores; and in respect of the United States of America, the island territories in the West Pacific under its jurisdiction. The provisions of Articles II and V will be applicable to such other territories as may be determined by mutual agreement.

Which is as close as the US comes to saying the ROC is the sovereign of Taiwan... Except Taiwan controlled more territory than that in 1955, and still do to this day.

The Senate's commentary on the Treaty as they ratified it is also "interesting" as well as per wiki:

Quote
"It is the view of the committee that the coming into force of the present treaty will not modify or affect the existing legal status of Formosa and the Pescadores."

And from there we get into the legal mouthful that Congress created with the Taiwan Relations Act after Jimmy Carter withdrew from the mutual defense pact.

Quote
The President- having terminated governmental relations between the United States and the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the Republic of China

...

For all purposes, including actions in any court in the United States, the Congress approves the continuation in force of all treaties and other international agreements, including multilateral conventions, entered into by the United States and the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the Republic of China prior to January 1, 1979, and in force between them on December 31, 1978, unless and until terminated in accordance with law.

...

the term “Taiwan” includes, as the context may require, the islands of Taiwan and the Pescadores, the people on those islands, corporations and other entities and associations created or organized under the laws applied on those islands, and the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the Republic of China prior to January 1, 1979, and any successor governing authorities (including political subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities thereof)

And once again, remember, Taiwan does control more than just the area they're describing, but the area they are describing are the areas that were part of Japan between the years of 1895 and 1945(or arguably 1952 when the San Francisco Treaty entered into force)

So it could be argued that the United States strategy of strategic ambiguity runs a little deeper than some would think. They're actually asserting that as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces (Pacific) they are in fact the Sovereigns of Formosa and the Pescadores until such time that the ROC and PRC reconcile and unify in a peaceful manner. The ROC is simply acting as an administrator of the territory in the interim.  :o

And until the United States makes that determination, Formosa and the Pescadores are not currently "a part of China" but rather "the former territorial possessions of Imperial Japan yet to be disposed of by treaty."

Which makes this read out in a more hilarious manner:
https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/archives/speech/united-states-china-joint-communique-united-states-arms-sales-taiwan

Quote
In the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations on January 1, 1979, issued by the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the People's Republic of China, the United States of America recognized the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, and it acknowledged the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China. Within that context, the two sides agreed that the people of the United States would continue to maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan. On this basis, relations between the United States and China were normalized.

Where people need to remember that acknowledgement of a position is not the same thing as agreement with a position.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 22, 2021, 09:50:49 PM
That's talk talk and bluster. There is no way we engage with a nuclear power in direct combat over Taiwan.

Why not? 

Quote
It formalized that “the United States shall make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capacity as determined by the President and the Congress.”

I know that it doesn't promise mutual defense.  The old one did.  But I think you can read between the lines and what people are writing and the concept behind Strategic Ambiguity.  We've made it clear that we could choose to help defend Taiwan during a PRC invasion. 

Quote
Exactly. We'll keep giving them assurances and if Chinese missiles and landing craft head in the direction of Taiwan, we hope we sold them enough hardware and training for them to do okay for a while without having us warplanes shooting down Chinese fighters.


Taiwan couldn't stand up to a full invasion by themselves.  The Chinese have too many ballistic missiles.  Good ones too.  ROC ballistic air defense is pretty tight, but they are outgunned and outnumbered.  They might be able to make the ground fight difficult, but they couldn't last long if they lose control of sea resupply and the Chinese maintain theirs. 

The good news is that Japan and Australia have already signaled a wiliness to assist in the defense of Taiwan.  Chinese aggression is a little more real to them.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 22, 2021, 10:26:00 PM
Well I hope we never find out. Because I don't know we get into direct combat with China and not have it eventually go nuclear. There is some precedent for that between India and Pakistan. I'd hate to rely on restraint.

Major nuclear powers have fought each other via proxies and trading. China did have troops also in North Vietnam but did not commit air assets.

Nobody can know how serious the United States is for sure, that's the ambiguity. Does China want to find out if we're bluffing? Maybe not. How great is their interest in taking over Taiwan? I don't have the depth of understanding to weigh that.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on August 23, 2021, 12:03:00 AM
Well I hope we never find out. Because I don't know we get into direct combat with China and not have it eventually go nuclear. There is some precedent for that between India and Pakistan. I'd hate to rely on restraint.

It is a very safe bet that China fully believes in the idea of "limited wars" being possible with Nuclear Powers. They have three examples of them doing exactly that.

During the Korean War in the 1950 they went up against the nuclear armed United States, where the commanding General was even very loudly demanding that China get nuked. The United States didn't do it, we even fired the general, even as our forces were nearly pushed off of the Korean Peninsula entirely.

In the late 1960's, a now Nuclear Armed China engaged in a protracted (but low grade) border war with the likewise nuclear armed Soviet Union. Nobody was nuked.

For the past 10 years, China has been engaged in on-again, off-again border conflicts with nuclear armed India, nobody has been nuked over that yet.

Why would China have any reason to believe that the United States would be willing to use nuclear weapons over Taiwan when we didn't use them in Korea even when it looked like we might lose? The consequences for us would have been much less back then compared to now. So from their perspective, the calculus simply doesn't make sense. The United States will not use nuclear weapons so long as China doesn't use them first. (Which is almost certainly a correct assessment)

While the Untied States on the other hand, cannot be so certain about the restraint of China. Especially when China has helpfully offered to "Nuke Japan until they surrender" in the event they follow through with Japan's Foreign Minister's statement about how Japan would view an invasion of Taiwan to be "an existential threat to Japan" (which would be sufficient to trigger the self-defense clause in their constitution)

https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/566427-hiroshimas-and-nagasakis-in-our-future

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Major nuclear powers have fought each other via proxies and trading. China did have troops also in North Vietnam but did not commit air assets.

How quaint. I guess you didn't consider the Communist Party of China to not be a "major power" until some time after the 1970's? See previous comment above. Although the China/India conflicts also call that into question...

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Nobody can know how serious the United States is for sure, that's the ambiguity. Does China want to find out if we're bluffing? Maybe not. How great is their interest in taking over Taiwan? I don't have the depth of understanding to weigh that.

I think the memorandum from 1955 probably sums up US policy then, and US policy now. Although I didn't quote the full thing.

1) The United States is committed to the peaceful unification of China, as it was to the peaceful unification of Germany(completed), and the peaceful unification of Korea.
as such
2) The United States does not support efforts on the part of the ROC to wage war on the PRC. (Was an issue in the 1950's and into the 1970's; not much of one now)
3) The United States also does not support efforts on the part of the PRC to wage war on the ROC. (Is pretty much THE issue now)
4) The United States does not support any move which might make reconciliation and reunification far more difficult than it already appears to be. (Taiwan cannot declare independence)

Those positions are entirely consistent with US policy positions today, only the US has had to be care about references to the ROC since 1979 due to their "acknowledgement" of China's "One China policy"

But, just because the organs of state seem to be stuck in the 1950's doesn't mean our political leadership are unopen to a different approach today. And it certainly is valid to question just how committed the US is to the idea of "peaceful reunification" and "self-determination" when at present it seems the two options are diametrically opposed to one another these days as it relates to the people on the Island of Taiwan.

If China declares war on Taiwan, the US will have to drop the idea of "peaceful reunification" and decide if they want to use military force to help ensure the people of Taiwan are allowed their right to self-determination... Or if doing so is even worth the effort, as a lot of people on Taiwan would likely die as a result of the US deciding to fight(not to mention US and Allied service-members)... But knowing the Communist Party of China, if we just let them take control of Taiwan, a lot of people are likely either going to die in any case, or otherwise "not be seen again for a very long time."
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 23, 2021, 09:22:55 AM
Well I hope we never find out. Because I don't know we get into direct combat with China and not have it eventually go nuclear.

I don't think there is a bunch of risk of nuclear escalation in the Taiwan situation. 

The United States wouldn't release first.  They don't have enough on the line. 

The primary use for tactical nukes for China would be using them against US CVN battlegroups and logistics/air bases like Guam.  But I honestly don't know how many tac nuke warheads they have on their ballistic missiles, or even if they can fit them.  Provided they can, and they are able to nuke US carrier groups, they risk reprisal from nuclear attacks from their naval bases and logistical bases.  Even if the US does not retaliate, China will have probably lost the thing they want most, the backing of Russia.  Russia coming down on their side is the number one thing China wants in a war for Taiwan, especially if Russia commits to protect China's space based recon sats or assists in disabling American satellites.  It's a losing proposition for China, and would make a conventional loss even worse, provided they do not consider the mainland under threat of invasion, which really isn't in American plans.  We just can't invade China. 

Tac nuke use by China against US bases would basically invite the same problems, except it gives a greater risk of retaliation by the US, leading to a greater risk of escalation, which is again something China doesn't want. 

China's goal is to take Taiwan.  Their way to do that is to defeat the ROC, Japan, Australia, and the US conventionally.  Opening the nuclear box is something China doesn't want, and wouldn't do, unless they thought the PRC was under direct threat.  Their primary method of assuring victory is to convince the United States that they could not win or that Taiwan isn't worth the risk or casualties.  China's best weapon is Americans who don't want to fight China. 

China can defeat Taiwan conventionally on their own.  But their problem is being able to keep Taiwan supplied by maintaining sea and air control over Taiwan against the combined fleets of Australia, Japan, and the United States.  The resolve of Japan and Australia is greatly tied to how committed the United States is. 

China's path to conventional victory is having enough ballistic missiles with enough range to take out any naval force that enters the East or South China Seas.  They have plenty, but the United States still has a pretty big navy with plenty of anti-ballistic missile protection.  Add in whatever they would need against Australia and Japan.  And each missile they hold back against naval battle groups is a missile they cannot use to hammer Taiwan's defenses.  At some point it will simply be a matter of numbers.  It's cheaper to build 40-50 ballistic missiles than it is to build an Aegis destroyer and crew it.  China will eventually have those numbers, but I don't think they have them now.  In the meantime, the US is in a race to improve ballistic missile protection for it's ships and bases. 

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How great is their interest in taking over Taiwan?

They're pretty serious about it.  All of their military spending over the last 10+ years has been geared towards being able to win a conventional fight over Taiwan and in the South China Sea.  They have only recently begun to upgrade and increase their nuclear force.  Honestly, they would have done it a long time ago if it were not for the United States.  Japan and Australia are becoming much more vocal in their support recently, due to a perceived lack of strength coming from the United States. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: yossarian22c on August 23, 2021, 09:56:55 AM
I think we should bite the bullet with Taiwan sooner rather than later. Send a couple carrier fleets along with forces from Japan and Australia to the area and have them formally declare independence and have everyone recognize it. Hong Kong shows you can't play the slow game with China. They will wait until the opportunity is ripe and strike. Better to put forward a show of force and make Taiwan's status to the world clear. If it doesn't happen soon it never will.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 23, 2021, 10:31:59 AM
I think we should bite the bullet with Taiwan sooner rather than later. Send a couple carrier fleets along with forces from Japan and Australia to the area and have them formally declare independence and have everyone recognize it. Hong Kong shows you can't play the slow game with China. They will wait until the opportunity is ripe and strike. Better to put forward a show of force and make Taiwan's status to the world clear. If it doesn't happen soon it never will.

I don't think I would advocate instigating a war, for moral reasons.  But the pragmatic realistic assessment is that a war now with China would be better than a war later with China.   In 10 years our naval carrier groups would need to be huge to even think about entering the China Seas unless we can develop some snazzy new anti-ballistic missile technology like a shipboard laser system that can engage 1000 missiles in 1 minute.  I don't think that's possible.  That would limit our ability to assist Taiwan to initial strikes with SSNs and B-21s. 

Today we can win a conventional war with China over Taiwan given the ability to concentrate enough naval power in the Pacific and given there are no other naval wars going on anywhere else to prevent drawing from the Atlantic and Med.  We could destroy China's navy and air force and bases to the point that it would take them another 20 years to rebuild and get back to where they are now.   
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: yossarian22c on August 23, 2021, 10:50:40 AM
I think we should bite the bullet with Taiwan sooner rather than later. Send a couple carrier fleets along with forces from Japan and Australia to the area and have them formally declare independence and have everyone recognize it. Hong Kong shows you can't play the slow game with China. They will wait until the opportunity is ripe and strike. Better to put forward a show of force and make Taiwan's status to the world clear. If it doesn't happen soon it never will.

I don't think I would advocate instigating a war, for moral reasons.  But the pragmatic realistic assessment is that a war now with China would be better than a war later with China.   In 10 years our naval carrier groups would need to be huge to even think about entering the China Seas unless we can develop some snazzy new anti-ballistic missile technology like a shipboard laser system that can engage 1000 missiles in 1 minute.  I don't think that's possible.  That would limit our ability to assist Taiwan to initial strikes with SSNs and B-21s. 

Today we can win a conventional war with China over Taiwan given the ability to concentrate enough naval power in the Pacific and given there are no other naval wars going on anywhere else to prevent drawing from the Atlantic and Med.  We could destroy China's navy and air force and bases to the point that it would take them another 20 years to rebuild and get back to where they are now.   

China is pragmatic. It may piss them off for independence to be declared and recognized they wouldn't start a war they couldn't win. We don't have to invade China, just have enough naval and air power in the area they can't launch an invasion. The result of Taiwan independence may be some kind of trade war, cyber strikes, closing of trade routes, etc. There would be significant fallout but I think it would be short of a shooting war. Like you said the same action in 10 years may yield a different result. In 50 years Taiwan may become another Hong Kong.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 23, 2021, 11:33:30 AM

China is pragmatic. It may piss them off for independence to be declared and recognized they wouldn't start a war they couldn't win.

I just don't see a need to declare independence.  Taiwan already is independent and everybody knows it, including the PRC.  Declaring independence would likely start something that could have been easily avoided.  Deterrence is the best solution and deterrence depends on America being strategically ambiguous on the side of signaling a clear resolve to fight for Taiwan in the event of an invasion attempt.  It's not the best long term strategy because China will likely win the long strategic fight, and they know that.  But they like to test the waters.  They're showing some impatience, and the United States is showing fatigue at being the linchpin for world peace.   

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on August 24, 2021, 01:32:44 AM
I don't think I would advocate instigating a war, for moral reasons.  But the pragmatic realistic assessment is that a war now with China would be better than a war later with China.   In 10 years our naval carrier groups would need to be huge to even think about entering the China Seas unless we can develop some snazzy new anti-ballistic missile technology like a shipboard laser system that can engage 1000 missiles in 1 minute.  I don't think that's possible.  That would limit our ability to assist Taiwan to initial strikes with SSNs and B-21s.

Don't need snazzy new anti-ABM tech, just need increased range for the Carrier strike groups (MQ-25 is working on that), and cheaper, low-observable "bomb/missile trucks" to accompany the F-35's. Which the Air Force is working on with the "Sky Borg." (The Navy is standing up an MQ-25 squadron in a couple months, the Air Force has already flown a Sky Borg aircraft--estimated cost is to be about $16 million per plane).

The Army fielding some medium range ballistic missiles that can hit targets in mainland China from Okinawa and other parts of Japan, as well as possibly Guam is some thing that helps immensely too. We've already conducted live fire tests, and expect to be fielding them starting in 2023.

If China "starts anything" I'm sure those programs would be expanded and accelerated.

All that said, the United States probably wouldn't want any of their Carriers within about 1,000 miles of China's Mainland at the initiation of hostilities all the same. That's just tempting fate when they don't have a full picture of China's potential "kill chains" on the DF21/DF26.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 24, 2021, 02:24:08 AM
Grant

 "Deterrence is the best solution..."

And that's the problem with what Biden just did in Afghanistan.

Now I'm curious. Did Biden make a deal with the Taliban that we're going to get out and stay out no matter what even if they take over the country and execute any members of the government they can catch like the Vice President who is still there and fighting them?

Why is the Taliban drawing red lines on our withdrawal with Biden kowtowing to them? Who is in charge?

I hate to be the one to say this but maybe we should just go back in, strong. Take out the Taliban now since they've put themselves out in the open. Start by cutting off their retreat so they don't make it back to the countryside and dig back in. Instead of the Taliban going door to door to find out who worked with the Americans to execute them or their family members left behind how about the Afghan people go village to village finding out who ever worked for or with or was a member of the Taliban and put them in prison for treason? First of course we'd negotiate with the Afghan President who is in hiding and with the Vice President who is getting surrounded and put under siege but is fighting back. If they both agree that they want our help and in exchange for giving us exclusive rights to develop their trillions of dollars in natural resources including rare earth metals, then we help them, for the rights of women and gays of course. Also of course we'd need a real declaration of war from our Congress with input from the American public. But put the option on the table,  fly it up the flagpole and see if the American and Afghan people salute.

The hit to our credibility could start a series of unfortunate events with the fall of Afghanistan being a very small domino but the first to begin the cascade. If China does attack Taiwan because of our perceived weakness, or heck even actual weakness as far as will goes, then whatever it would take to beat the Taliban right now would seem like a small price to pay compared to losing Taiwan or certainly even worse, saving it.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 24, 2021, 08:32:30 AM
Grant

 "Deterrence is the best solution..."

And that's the problem with what Biden just did in Afghanistan.

Now I'm curious. Did Biden make a deal with the Taliban that we're going to get out and stay out no matter what even if they take over the country and execute any members of the government they can catch like the Vice President who is still there and fighting them?

The agreement that Trump made, and Biden followed, is that

1. If you ceasefire
2. Don't let terror groups into your country
3. Don't attack allies
4. We will leave

The rest is ambiguously written so the Taliban might think we would come back if they do anything against the agreement, but I think that it somewhat obvious at this point that the administration has no interest in returning to Afghanistan for any reason. There is nothing in there about guarantees or penalties or enforcement.  This was pointed out when Trump made the deal.  Public support is only rallying around getting people out.  Honestly, getting everybody who wants out out is cheaper and takes less time than going back into Afghanistan for 100 years.  I don't like the idea of leaving a-holes alive in charge of a country, it's inviting trouble, but there is nobody out there right now rallying for Afghanistan: The Sequel.

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Why is the Taliban drawing red lines on our withdrawal with Biden kowtowing to them? Who is in charge?

The Taliban is in charge.  They've taken most of the country.  They can do whatever they want because there is nobody there to stop them except a handful of troops trying to secure the airport. 

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I hate to be the one to say this but maybe we should just go back in, strong. Take out the Taliban now since they've put themselves out in the open. Start by cutting off their retreat so they don't make it back to the countryside and dig back in.

This would probably happen in a fantasy movie.  Aragorn or Lando gives a rousing speech and everybody who doesn't want to fight the Afghan Circumcision Party gets on board and shows up to save the day.   I mean, sure, it's the best time to do it if you like killing the popular conservatives of the Taliban.  They're out in the open.  Running victory laps.  Drop in the 82nd Airborne to surround Kabul.  101st secures Bagram.  10th Mountain secures outlying areas.  That's most of XIII Airborne Corps.  But then where are you?  Back at square one and you have the entire US Army rapid response capability tied up in Afghanistan, and god knows how much of the USAF Airlift Command tied up supplying them. 

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First of course we'd negotiate with the Afghan President who is in hiding and with the Vice President who is getting surrounded and put under siege but is fighting back.

All my best wishes to those still fighting, including the Vice President.  The President who ran off can go hang.  But honestly, I feel that the first problem of Afghanistan and Iraq, that created most of the problems, was treating both invasions as liberations and standing up independent governments as quickly as possible.  We should have treated both as occupations with the idea of staying there 50-100 years, and slowly giving power back to local government, like we did with the Philippines, Japan, or Germany.  The thing is that this would have created a whole new set of problems, including hardening armed resistance and painting us as the bad guys in the international community. 

It's all academic.  We're not going back.  I'd have a hard time supporting it unless I felt it was going to be done well.  We actually have a way to exit now while trying to get as many people who want out that we can.  I think that should be our #1 responsibility.  Helping anyone who wants out out and resettling them where they want.  This will create more problems, but it is the easiest right thing to do. 

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The hit to our credibility could start a series of unfortunate events with the fall of Afghanistan being a very small domino but the first to begin the cascade. If China does attack Taiwan because of our perceived weakness, or heck even actual weakness as far as will goes, then whatever it would take to beat the Taliban right now would seem like a small price to pay compared to losing Taiwan or certainly even worse, saving it.

I don't know.  I am curious to see what happens in the Biden administration.  This is their Bay of Pigs moment.  Because of the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy came back strong with the space program and Vietnam assistance.  Will the administration be looking for a way to reestablish credibility as a priority?  That might help make the right decision the next time something comes up.  Or will Biden continue American withdrawal from the world stage? 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 24, 2021, 08:55:29 AM
If they both agree that they want our help and in exchange for giving us exclusive rights to develop their trillions of dollars in natural resources including rare earth metals, then we help them, for the rights of women and gays of course.

This is the kind of mercenary thinking I'm not really pleased about when it comes to US involvement.  We should be helping Afghanistan because it is the right thing to do and because it is in America's interests, not because the government allows us to get our hands on their goodies. 

I have no problem letting American or NATO countries develop the natural resources, provided the Afghan government and people get a fair price for what we are digging up.  This would help the Afghan people as well.  Give them an economy not reliant on opium.  But the natural resources of Afghanistan belong to the Afghans and they shouldn't have to pay for our help with anything other than friendship and cooperation. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: NobleHunter on August 24, 2021, 11:44:28 AM
The hit to our credibility could start a series of unfortunate events with the fall of Afghanistan being a very small domino but the first to begin the cascade. If China does attack Taiwan because of our perceived weakness, or heck even actual weakness as far as will goes, then whatever it would take to beat the Taliban right now would seem like a small price to pay compared to losing Taiwan or certainly even worse, saving it.

Any time a foreign affairs analysis uses the word "domino," one should take a step back and double check one's reasoning. That metaphor has probably been responsible for more disasters and blow back than any other.

I also recall that historical research has shown that the Soviets or Chinese have never been particularly affected by events decried as displays of weakness. It's far more likely that opposition to the US will see the withdrawal from Afghanistan as the US finally coming to their senses rather than showing weakness.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 24, 2021, 12:13:54 PM
One thing I hope we don't forget is how wrong the experts being listened too tend to be, especially when it comes to dominoes and American credibility.
Funny how they are only correct in hindsight. Why were still listening to their analysis bogles the mind.

Dreamed of a butterfly but wouldn't stop trying to shape and pick at the cocoon.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 24, 2021, 12:19:51 PM
Give them an economy not reliant on opium.

I doubt this was in fact in accordance with U.S. foreign policy goals while there.

Quote
But the natural resources of Afghanistan belong to the Afghans and they shouldn't have to pay for our help with anything other than friendship and cooperation.

Boy, while this sounds ok on paper it certainly doesn't reflect the actual real-world functioning of the foreign policy of superpowers. No problem if it's your personal opinion, but I hope it's not an assessment of real history or of current priorities.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 24, 2021, 01:18:51 PM
Boy, while this sounds ok on paper it certainly doesn't reflect the actual real-world functioning of the foreign policy of superpowers. No problem if it's your personal opinion, but I hope it's not an assessment of real history or of current priorities.

I'm not sure which superpowers you are referring to. 

Defining superpowers in history is an interesting exercise. 

I'd start with Spain, then a combo of GB and France, then add Germany, than the United States and USSR, now just the US with China trying to emerge. 

I personally don't give a F what the foreign policies of the European superpowers were up to 1945.  I personally don't think the foreign policy of the USSR is one to emulate.  If you're taking a shot at the foreign policy of the United States post 1942 you should be more specific, but I'm sure I'm going to disagree with your take on it.  I personally don't feel like getting another speech on how the shareholders of Chase Manhattan are running things.  Suffice to say that I don't agree with your view of recent history.  I'm still unsure where you have gathered your knowledge on the subject. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 24, 2021, 01:51:36 PM
It's far more likely that opposition to the US will see the withdrawal from Afghanistan as the US finally coming to their senses rather than showing weakness.

LOL.  No.  Where on earth did you get that?  That's what YOU think, not the rest of the world. 

From Tony Saich:

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Chinese state media has been using the U.S. withdrawal to score propaganda points. It has highlighted the chaotic scenes that followed the initial withdrawal and this fits with the general narrative that the U.S. is in decline and is no longer a major global force.

Second, they have used this to stress that the U.S. is not a reliable ally and thus cannot be counted on. This has included indicating to Taiwan that there is no guarantee that the U.S. would provide support to the island in the future. Taiwan is on its own in the face of Beijing’s pressure.

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/08/tony-saich-on-chinas-reaction-to-the-talibans-takeover/

From NBC:

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State-controlled media said the rapid U.S. pullout should serve as a warning to the people of Taiwan: They shouldn't rely on U.S. protection in their long-running dispute with China.

Randy Phillips, a former CIA officer who worked in China, said: "There is no doubt that the Afghanistan debacle represents a major hit to U.S. credibility and will only further strengthen the belief in the Chinese leadership that the U.S. is a declining power and a paper tiger. The risk of miscalculation in the South China Sea just went way up."

Another state-owned newspaper compared the U.S. retreat to a 2019 movie called "A Dog's Way Home," which, perhaps not coincidentally, was airing Monday on Chinese state television.

"Taipei officials need to quietly mail-order a Five-Star Red Flag from the Chinese mainland," he tweeted, with a smiley-face emoji. "It will be useful one day when they surrender" to the Chinese army.

A separate Global Times editorial included an illustration of a bald eagle ushering Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen into a hole in the ground while examining what editors identified as America's history of turning its back on allies, including France after the Revolutionary War.

The Guardian:

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The president’s televised speech last Monday was truly shocking to non-Americans. His undeserved contempt for Afghan forces and obliviousness to the sacrifices of Nato allies smacked of arrogance and betrayal. His claim that nation-building was never a US aim was grotesquely untrue. “Afghanistan was the ultimate nation-building mission,” George W Bush wrote in his 2010 memoir, Decision Points. “We had a moral obligation to leave behind something better.” Hear that, Joe?

The enemies of democracy have been strengthened. There’s no doubt Afghans are paying a terrible price.
Yet it was Biden’s apparent repudiation of the traditional US leadership role that rocked British and European establishments. “Endless military deployments of US forces” in overseas conflicts were not in the national interest, he declared. Afghanistan was solely about defending the “homeland”. For those raised in a world defined by American power and ringed by its permanent bases, this was stunning.

Armin Laschet, Angela Merkel’s choice to succeed her as Germany’s chancellor, called the withdrawal “the biggest debacle Nato has suffered since its founding”. Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, an Afghan war veteran, decried “Britain’s biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez” – another fiasco, incidentally, to which the US contributed.

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The North Atlantic measurably widened last week. The more Joe Biden tried to shift blame for the Afghan chaos, the bigger the gulf with America’s UK and European allies grew. This US president, who preaches the virtues of multilateralism yet acted on his own, has done more in a few weeks to undermine the western alliance than Donald Trump ever did with all his bluster.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/21/after-afghanistan-the-pax-americana-is-over-as-is-nato-about-time-too

Ouch.  For all Trump's idiocy.  All the badmouthing of NATO allies.  All the sucking up to dictators and Pooter.  Despite the fact that it was his plan Biden was following.  Biden is seen as worse than Trump.  That's quite an accomplishment.

So yeah, they're not all basking in the wisdom of America. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: NobleHunter on August 24, 2021, 01:57:28 PM
I wouldn't assume China's propaganda is what they're actually thinking. Of course China is going to use any crisis to attempt to weaken US influence. That's no reason not to pull your junk out of the meat grinder.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 24, 2021, 02:05:10 PM
That's no reason not to pull your junk out of the meat grinder.

America's pecker is 1008 cold rolled carbon steel.  Make that grinder look like Robocop after meeting ED 209. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: NobleHunter on August 24, 2021, 02:30:23 PM
Lovely imagery but that doesn't really reflect the truth of a lot of America's military adventures.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 24, 2021, 02:43:54 PM
Grant

"But the natural resources of Afghanistan belong to the Afghans and they shouldn't have to pay for our help with anything other than friendship and cooperation."

If we want to help some needy people out of the goodness of our hearts we could just help Haiti. At least it wouldn't bankrupt us. Beating the Taliban without getting financially compensated would put us further into debt that we already can't afford. Plus, money buys defense, as in private military contractors. Setting up the industry of mineral extraction along with that paying for the security forces that come with it would go a long way toward reigning in the Taliban, giving them hardened targets to strike and expose themselves to our military coordinating with pmcs.

And if we did take their resources of course they'd get a very fair cut that would help out their people and economy a lot more than they're being helped now just leaving it all in the ground.

Another play would be to let Russia and China also develop some of those resources with the permission of the Afghan government. Not just permission but invitation. Yes the Taliban beat the Russians. The Taliban beat the Americans. Maybe the Taliban could beat the Chinese too. But there's no way they could beat all three of us. And throw the British in for good measure.

And we know what we'd be fighting for too. We know what our objective would be. It would be to stop the pedophile cult called the Taliban from raping little 12 year old girls and forcing them into a life of sex slavery as future human bomb incubators.

Of course all of this would be predicated on a number of conditions any one of which could and should derail it. Maybe the Afghan government and people don't want us back and would rather live under the Taliban than have us certainly get a lot of the people we're there to save killed as collateral damage and human shields behind which the Taliban will be hiding. The American people may not support going back in there even if it is to "save the children". Congress may not be willing to do things properly and formally declare war against the Taliban and ISIS and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. People will talk about how much they care about human rights and women's rights and how much they oppose sex slavery but when it's time to put it on the line to stop those things they aren't willing to step up. And it doesn't help that it looks like there are multiples more able bodied males trying to cut and run from Afghanistan than there are Taliban fighters. I'm sure there are plenty of brave Afghanis but when there are this many cowards it starts getting difficult to justify trying to save them.

Well it's all just kind of a thought experiment anyway. It's not going to happen and that country is probably doomed. The best we can hope for, or pray for, is that the Taliban mellows out a little bit this time around but so far their talk along those lines isn't matching their actions.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 24, 2021, 02:53:07 PM
Didn't Trump call of the earlier withdrawal timetable precisely because the Taliban started acting up and killing Americans?

My understanding was under Trump our withdrawal was conditional on the Taliban behaving themselves. Biden changed that dynamic and made it clear that ours was now an unconditional surrender.

Of course the Taliban are playing it smarter this time around by so far not killing Americans.

Maybe Trump would be doing the same thing as Biden but there's probably an even chance that as the Taliban started their brazen and successful attacks Trump would have reverted to his usual position of "bomb the stuffing out of them."
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 24, 2021, 03:02:25 PM

If we want to help some needy people out of the goodness of our hearts we could just help Haiti. At least it wouldn't bankrupt us.

We do help Haiti.  Billions of dollars worth of aid.  But Haiti doesn't have a bunch of people running around killing people or engaged in terrorist activities.  Haiti doesn't need the US Army.  Afghanistan did.  And I really don't think that Afghanistan has bankrupted the United States.  The US government just happens to spend more than it brings in with taxes.  That's not bankruptcy.  That's relying on your credit card too much.  When we get to the day where we can't pay our debt, then we can talk about bankruptcy. 

Quote
private military contractors

Mercenaries.  I would think the lessons of renaissance Italy would be poignant here. 

Look, I would be all for it as long as American companies are paying the Afghans fair market prices for whatever they're getting, and not demanding resources for free.  But it's all academic.  It's not going to happen either way. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: NobleHunter on August 24, 2021, 03:05:03 PM
Didn't Trump call of the earlier withdrawal timetable precisely because the Taliban started acting up and killing Americans?

My understanding was under Trump our withdrawal was conditional on the Taliban behaving themselves. Biden changed that dynamic and made it clear that ours was now an unconditional surrender.

Of course the Taliban are playing it smarter this time around by so far not killing Americans.

Maybe Trump would be doing the same thing as Biden but there's probably an even chance that as the Taliban started their brazen and successful attacks Trump would have reverted to his usual position of "bomb the stuffing out of them."

Trump's idea of the Taliban behaving themselves was the Taliban assuring Trump everything was fine while Trump ignored that the Taliban was doing whatever they wanted.

There's no way Trump would have walked away from yet another blown deal. He'd have continued his "see no evil" approach even after Kabul fell.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 24, 2021, 03:05:41 PM
Lovely imagery but that doesn't really reflect the truth of a lot of America's military adventures.

The truth of American military involvements is that they do not fail due to lack of pecker tensile strength.  They fail due to a lack of testicular mass and fortitude. 

Oh, and American domestic politics. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 24, 2021, 03:11:48 PM
There's no way Trump would have walked away from yet another blown deal. He'd have continued his "see no evil" approach even after Kabul fell.

We'll never know.  The Great 5th Grade Communicator is not President.  Biden is. 

Granted that it was Cheetoh Jeezus's plan.  Also granted is that L'Orange hated to look bad and was very keen on his public image and "being screwed".  He said a bunch of stupid stuff that eventually got reversed one way or another.  Biden on the other hand, and a certain set, are determined to be that dog on the internet in the middle of a house fire saying "this is fine", and "this was inevitable", and "this was the best outcome".   

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2016/08/05/us/05onfire1_xp/05onfire1_xp-facebookJumbo.jpg?year=2016&h=549&w=1050&s=9811adcfaca81cbaf3ad373b370a6471b7423d6af91c454df85770e7046c8a17&k=ZQJBKqZ0VN



Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: NobleHunter on August 24, 2021, 03:15:04 PM
The truth of American military involvements is that they do not fail due to lack of pecker tensile strength.  They fail due to a lack of testicular mass and fortitude. 

Oh, and American domestic politics.

Right, so the US could have prevailed in Afghanistan if they'd just stuck it out for another twenty years? Nonsense. The US failed not because of a lack of resolve or courage but of a lack of competence. The US, and NATO, are simply bad at nation building or reforming societies. The total mass of all the balls in the world is worse than useless if you don't know what you're doing with them.

Domestic politics come into play only as much as it caused the shift of attention from Afghanistan to Iraq. Though staying focused on Afghanistan may have just made them waste money in Afghanistan rather than Iraq.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on August 24, 2021, 03:25:47 PM
Brett Baier reporting that our military is now only taking American citizens at the Kabul airport. Afghans with SIVs or other valid documentation are on their own. He adds that our military is expected to be out in 72 hours. At that point, even US citizens are on their own.

I cannot believe that is accurate. I cannot believe Biden will literally abandon US citizens and leave them to the clutches of those 3rd-century barbarians. This is a disaster.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 24, 2021, 03:35:56 PM

Right, so the US could have prevailed in Afghanistan if they'd just stuck it out for another twenty years? Nonsense. The US failed not because of a lack of resolve or courage but of a lack of competence. The US, and NATO, are simply bad at nation building or reforming societies. The total mass of all the balls in the world is worse than useless if you don't know what you're doing with them.

I'd like to count competence as simply a form of testicular fortitude.  And I must ask is whether the US and NATO are doomed to be bad at nation building or if it is simply a mistake that can be learned from and corrected.  The US and Western Europe are in fact responsible for quite a deal of successful nation building.  Germany post WWII.  Japan post WWII.  Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo. Iraq seems to be hanging on.  The Philippines.  Cuba.  The Dominican Republic.  Panama.  Grenada.

Granted some of these are bigger successes than others.  Hard to call Cuba a success. 

This leads me to question why some nation building was successful and some were not.  I'm welcome to hear all the wacky cultural reasons why Afghans cannot ever be a democracy.  But if nation building is possible, then it is simply a matter of NATO and the United States doing it correctly, instead of it being a matter of impossibility. 

It's hard to nation build when you're constantly fighting an insurgency.  So the next question is whether or not we could have eliminated to Taliban, and if so, why didn't we? 

My personal opinion is that this came down to American domestic politics, the belief that victory was never possible, and a clear lack of patience, vision, leadership, and yes, courage and perseverance to make hard choices and see the project through for yes, 50 to 100 years.  And I honestly don't think it would take that long to eliminate the Taliban, any more than I think that the VC and NVA were some sort of invincible force that the United States just could not defeat. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: NobleHunter on August 24, 2021, 03:50:59 PM
I've heard that the problem with the Taliban was that they could always go hide in Pakistan. Hard to beat an insurgency if they can always go were you can't hunt them down.

German and Japan rebuilt themselves, I suspect the same is true (more or less) of the Balkans. I'm not sure about The Philippines or central america. I suspect success comes down mostly to pre-existing social structures and intent of the nation builders. It was certainly helpful that the West wanted Germany and Japan to be useful allies against communism.

No amount of vision and patience can compensate for ignorance and incompetence. Being willing to make the hard choices means nothing if you make the wrong choices.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 24, 2021, 04:05:54 PM
I've heard that the problem with the Taliban was that they could always go hide in Pakistan. Hard to beat an insurgency if they can always go were you can't hunt them down.

This is correct.  Same as NVA and VC slipping into Cambodia.  The hard choice answer is to go into Pakistan/Cambodia/North Vietnam to hunt them down. 

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German and Japan rebuilt themselves

With American money while under allied or American occupation.  It's not just physical rebuilding.  Their societies and cultures were changed.  The Japanese are better at baseball now than we are.  Their governments were molded.  Give credit where credit is due. 

Quote
No amount of vision and patience can compensate for ignorance and incompetence. Being willing to make the hard choices means nothing if you make the wrong choices.

I have to ask again what these mistakes were and what were their sources.  Are we doomed to make these mistakes, or can we learn from these mistakes and adjust fire?  Is ignorance and incompetence something that the United States is cursed with or cannot shake?  If you make one wrong choice is failure inevitable or can you correct it?  Are we talking about one hand of poker or the world series of poker?  Did we bet EVERYTHING on one hand and then lose? 

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: NobleHunter on August 24, 2021, 04:20:25 PM
American occupation and money means sfa without engagement on the ground. I think its notable that both Japan and Germany had pre-existing traditions of societal transformation. It could be argued they were primed to do it someone else's way. They also didn't have local armed resistance.

There should be link in this thread to a report on Afghanistan which comprehensively details the assorted failures of the mission. It seems the heart of them was assuming that American occupation and money would be sufficient. That the mistakes were evident from nearly the beginning and still not learned from suggests it's very difficult to implement lessons learned. Not to mention nation building in one region won't be the same as another region. New mistakes are always possible.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 24, 2021, 05:19:04 PM
American occupation and money means sfa without engagement on the ground. I think its notable that both Japan and Germany had pre-existing traditions of societal transformation. It could be argued they were primed to do it someone else's way. They also didn't have local armed resistance.

There should be link in this thread to a report on Afghanistan which comprehensively details the assorted failures of the mission. It seems the heart of them was assuming that American occupation and money would be sufficient. That the mistakes were evident from nearly the beginning and still not learned from suggests it's very difficult to implement lessons learned. Not to mention nation building in one region won't be the same as another region. New mistakes are always possible.

I think this might be the link which I'm move forward
For those truly interested, here is a report from SIGAR, Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (https://www.sigar.mil/pdf/lessonslearned/SIGAR-21-46-LL.pdf\).  SIGAR has been in existence for 13 years, and interviewed over 700 people in the country.

The executive summary per Electoral Vote.com (https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Aug19.html#item-1) (which is not the same as the reports own executive summary):

Quote
SIGAR was created by Congress to investigate the entire Afghanistan mission. In 2014 it began working on its "lessons learned" program. Here are the main points in the report:

Strategy: The U.S. continuously struggled to define why it was in Afghanistan. Was it because everyone was furious after 9/11 and somebody had to pay? Was it to destroy al-Qaeda? Was it to rebuild Afghanistan like the Marshall Plan rebuilt Germany after World War II? It was also not clear who was in charge of the mission. The Dept. of Defense is great for fighting wars and the State Dept. is great for diplomacy, but no one was really in charge of the overall effort to achieve any mission, assuming someone had specified the mission in the first place.

Timeline: Everyone in the project greatly underestimated how hard it would be and how long it would take. The budget was far too small. It was more like 20 1-year projects instead of one 20-year project. There was far too much emphasis on short-term gains that could be shown to the president and Congress, as in: "Look, they had an election! Mission almost accomplished!"

Sustainability: The U.S. has often done humanitarian aid after natural disasters. They are meant to tide people over with food and tents for a short time. Building a nation where none ever existed before is a whole different ball of wax. Agencies were not prepared for that and were judged by how well they had completed some specific short-term task, not on whether it would be sustainable once the U.S. left. Also, there was a trade-off between letting the Afghans run the programs and having Americans run the programs. Letting the Afghans run them would have embedded them in the country much better, but the Afghan officials were all corrupt. Having the Americans run them gave much better short-term results, but had the danger they would collapse the minute the U.S. pulled out.

Personnel: The Americans who ran the programs in Afghanistan were often the wrong people, with no background in Afghan language, history, or culture. Most were incompetent for the task they were expected to do. DoD police advisors watched American crime shows on TV to learn about policing. No actual American police were there. Civil affairs personnel had PowerPoint presentations for the Afghans. Staff was rotated out before they could learn on the job what was needed. Nobody was watching the spending.

Insecurity: While the reconstruction was going on, the Taliban were not just sitting around waiting for the Americans to leave. They were using violence everywhere to block the U.S. For example, they intimidated voters in ways even Texas Republicans wouldn't dare try. They convinced many people in rural areas that if they cooperated with the government, they would simply be killed, no questions asked. Without security, building a country was basically impossible. In Germany in 1946, there were no heavily armed roving bands of Nazis threatening to kill anyone who cooperated with American officials trying to reboot the country. That made it a piece of cake compared to Afghanistan.

Context: None of the Americans there understood Afghanistan's social, economic, and political dynamics, and if they had, they would probably have rejected them as being obsolete and in need of being updated. There was almost no information about the condition of the country available to U.S. officials. To give one example, the DoD tried training the Afghan security forces in the use of weapons they couldn't even understand, let alone maintain. To give another, there was a big emphasis on writing a constitution and laws in a country that never really had laws and which settled almost all disputes privately and locally. And one more: The Americans never understood the social and cultural barriers to women being treated as equal citizens so the approaches taken (e.g., we'll just pass a law banning X) never worked.

Monitoring and evaluation: There was no serious, accurate monitoring of how well the country was doing. Communication with far-flung mountainous regions was close to impossible, staff turnover was enormous, and the emphasis was on short-term projects that could be measured easily (e.g., X number of school buildings were constructed this year).

It's easy just to mindlessly blame someone or some organization for our failure.  But that won't prevent us failing in the future.  We need to figure out what went wrong and why, not who.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 24, 2021, 05:37:26 PM
I find it interesting that no one here or else where is talking about the above list
It seems quite evident why the mission was going to fail and that we don't really want to talk about Afghanistan that might prove constructive.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 24, 2021, 05:57:41 PM
I find it interesting that no one here or else where is talking about the above list
It seems quite evident why the mission was going to fail and that we don't really want to talk about Afghanistan that might prove constructive.

Because the executive summary above only points out immediate problems, not even direct causes for the overall failure of Afghanistan, and doesn't even touch on root causes.  The title of the report itself is "What We Need to Learn: Lessons".  These were all specific points where the mission in Afghanistan was done poorly, to the point that there is some real stupid *censored* pointed out.  But none of the things were DIRECTLY the causes of overall failure in Afghanistan.  They were perhaps contributing factors, but not direct causes. 

Finally, there is no mention of root causes in the executive summary.  There are plenty of points where things were done stupidly or ineptly.  But there is no mention of why these things were done stupidly or ineptly.  In the case of incompetent or inept personnel, why where they chosen, who chose them, what were the criteria, etc etc etc.  Who was setting the requirements?  Who hired these people?  Who set the mission parameters? 

It's going to come down to either civil or military leadership being incompetent or uninspired.  These individuals are appointed by political leadership.  Political leadership is appointed by guess who?  Us.  We Tha MFn People.  So we're all to blame, depending on which kinds of political leadership you think did the worst job.  Was it 7 years of Bush?  Or was it 13 years of Obama, Trump, and Biden? 

And that's still touching on the indirect causes.  That's still not touching on the direct causes of failure.

The direct causes of failure are:

1. Inability to destroy the Taliban
2. Inability to build up the Afghan government
3. Inability to build up the Afghan military
4. American and NATO departure

Some of those things mentioned in that report might touch on things that were done *censored*ty, and those things may have contributed to those direct causes.  But the final direct cause was departure before any of those jobs were completed.  Either those jobs were impossible, or they were done poorly.  If they were done poorly, is it impossible that they could be done correctly?  The report seems to believe that corrective actions could be taken, hence: lessons to learn.  If they could be done correctly or better, why were they not?  If corrective actions could have been made, why were they not and why did the United States not correct them before departure? 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on August 24, 2021, 10:37:24 PM
Either those jobs were impossible, or they were done poorly.  If they were done poorly, is it impossible that they could be done correctly?  The report seems to believe that corrective actions could be taken, hence: lessons to learn.  If they could be done correctly or better, why were they not?  If corrective actions could have been made, why were they not and why did the United States not correct them before departure?

The options for mission success were untenable for substantial portions of the US Electorate, and thus never going to happen.

US Military preference is a 1:50 ratio if we are going to garrison a nation.(be their police, military, etc)

Afghanistan's population, according to Google, was 38.04 million in 2019.
That works out to 760,800 troops in Afghanistan, we never came anywhere close to that number. But then, that was where our Northern Alliance allies and other assorted warlords were supposed to come into things, I guess.

We also openly ignored that 1:50 ratio with regards to Iraq. In the old Ornery Forums, and even in news archives from 2003, you should find a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs(or was it the head of the Army? I don't remember) saying he felt we should send 600,000 troops in to invade Iraq, because the 1:50 ratio would suggest sending 512 thousand as the minimum(and not all of the involved troops in the invasion would ever actually be on the ground in Iraq, so the +80k was reasonable), we instead opted for half of the 512 thousand number when Operation Iraqi Freedom happened.

Or course, we also went into both nations with a "this is not an occupation, and not going to be an occupation" position from the onset, so the military's guidance of 1:50 was never going to happen.

Which leads to the next set of problems, we didn't want to look like occupiers, so we drastically undermanned what needed to be sent. We also didn't want to look like "colonizers" or any stripe of "imperialist" so we were a "light touch" on a wide range of things. Meaning there was a broad array of things we should have acted on, but didn't, because we didn't want to make it easier for other nations (and people in our own) to accuse us of being imperialists(not that the approach worked in any case).

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 24, 2021, 10:47:49 PM
So we're all to blame, depending on which kinds of political leadership you think did the worst job.  Was it 7 years of Bush?  Or was it 13 years of Obama, Trump, and Biden? 
Certainly all of those guys, for starters.  I think the huge, clear-cut mistakes started during the Bush era.  Especially those in around around combining ignoring the maxims "never start a land war in Asia" and "don't fight a war on two front".  But I don't think they were by any means irretrievable by the 2008, so the clock still runs.

Of the four, I think Obama did the least harm in terms of facts-on-the-ground actions.  But he contributed to the narrative that the others continued and eventually concluded:  'ending the Forever Wars'.  (Which way to the Haldeman forum?)  Right or wrong, it was popular with the US electorate, it's a more principled politician than either Trump or Biden that was ever going to spend political capital on opposing it.  Especially because the partisan impossibility of agreeing on a position on what "ended enough" would mean:  Trump attacked Obama for merely "ending combat operations", would have attacked Biden for reversing his agreement with the Taliban(!) to withdraw, actually in fact attacked him for



Quote
The direct causes of failure are:

1. Inability to destroy the Taliban
2. Inability to build up the Afghan government
3. Inability to build up the Afghan military
4. American and NATO departure

Some of those things mentioned in that report might touch on things that were done *censored*ty, and those things may have contributed to those direct causes.  But the final direct cause was departure before any of those jobs were completed.  Either those jobs were impossible, or they were done poorly.  If they were done poorly, is it impossible that they could be done correctly?  The report seems to believe that corrective actions could be taken, hence: lessons to learn.  If they could be done correctly or better, why were they not?  If corrective actions could have been made, why were they not and why did the United States not correct them before departure?
Could have done more on #1 earlier on -- see above 'more interested in the wrong war' observation above.  But after a certain point, while not quite the War on an Abstract Noun of the Bush prospectus, you can't progress it just by killing people in the field in Afghanistan.  #2 is I think even harder.  Was the error to not remake the country in the Western image hard enough?  Or that was tried too much?  One argument is that is should have been reestablished as a loose tribal federation, and allowed to crack on with it on that basis as long as they didn't go all 'failed state' again.  #3 there seems to be have been definite failures on.  Showtime didn't have to make up the Homeland plot point about phantom battalions existing only to absorb funds into someone else's pockets, it was supplied to them by real events.  And clearly there was a lot of 'flipping' when it came to it.  But it seems to have been designed wrong, too.  Or designed to use US support and US contractors under the assumption those would be there forever, and no transition whatsoever to a plan for them not to be when that was agreed under Trump, executed under Biden, and possibly teed-up during Obama.  #4 is more-or-less the fallout from the politics and operationalisation of the foregoing.  What was the last reasonable chance to avoid the accident?, as I understand MVI investigators ask.  Already very tough by 2021.  Maybe already inevitable by 2017.  Not in an ideal spot by 2009.  Was it even the right decision in 2001?
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on August 24, 2021, 11:07:02 PM
OrOf course, we also went into both nations with a "this is not an occupation, and not going to be an occupation" position from the onset, so the military's guidance of 1:50 was never going to happen.

Which leads to the next set of problems, we didn't want to look like occupiers, so we drastically undermanned what needed to be sent. We also didn't want to look like "colonizers" or any stripe of "imperialist" so we were a "light touch" on a wide range of things. Meaning there was a broad array of things we should have acted on, but didn't, because we didn't want to make it easier for other nations (and people in our own) to accuse us of being imperialists(not that the approach worked in any case).

To continue this train a bit further, and to rehash some even earlier statements:
1) The United States should not attempt to "nation build" again unless they're willing to go "all in" (or can establish a coalition that can ensure they collectively do so). This means the 1:50 ratio happens at the onset, and remains for a minimum of six, possibly longer depending on how quickly they establish civil authorities and/or other proxies to ensure that 1:50 ratio is maintained in some form. (soldier, police officer, or some kind of para-military force of local origin)

If you are unwilling to go for the 1:50 ratio, you aren't serious enough about it, and should recognize as much. And in light of what happened with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, and with the Iraqi defectors who were promising us the moon in early 2003... "Indigenous forces" are going to be completely and thoroughly vetted to our standards before they are considered as part of the 1:50 ratio. (Exemption: recent hostile occupation -- see WW2 France)

2) If you're going to nation build, be ready and willing to completely own the "Imperial Colonialist" title. You're not going to avoid it in any case, and as demonstrated, seeking to avoid it doesn't make things better.

3) Do not tolerate corruption on the part of the local government officials who assume power while under our watch. Really, Vietnam should have taught us that much, seriously, WTF?

4) Prepare to be there for the long haul if it isn't a case of rescuing a recently invaded/occupied developed nation. It is going to be a generational undertaking, if you're unwilling to make plans for keeping a substantial number of troops stationed there, not to be confused with deployed for the next 20 years, don't send a large number of troops in there in the first place.

Of course, if we adhered to that Afghanistan wouldn't have cost us 2.2 Trillion over 20 years, it likely be a large multiple of it instead, but on the flip side, with a 50:1 ratio rather than what we did use, things would have likely been a lot more stable simply because they wouldn't have been able to do much. So expenses would have been wildly different(and both more and less effective in various ways--less corruption on their end, but some additional costs/resistance due to being openly and unapologetically occupied)... But it would have still been very expensive, far more so than what we did do.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 24, 2021, 11:56:25 PM
1) The United States should not attempt to "nation build" again unless they're willing to go "all in" (or can establish a coalition that can ensure they collectively do so). This means the 1:50 ratio happens at the onset, and remains for a minimum of six, possibly longer depending on how quickly they establish civil authorities and/or other proxies to ensure that 1:50 ratio is maintained in some form. (soldier, police officer, or some kind of para-military force of local origin)
I certainly believe in the principle that you should accept the advice you're given by the relevant professions regarding executing a particular task, and if they say they're being asked to make bricks without straw, then you should ask them to do some other, differently scoped task instead.  So in theory, if you buy into "we'll be hailed as liberators" that modifies the above in one direction, but if one thinks "there'll be centuries of guerrilla warfare" it shifts it in the other.  But there's professionals to make those assessments too, albeit even harder ones to separate them from political considerations.

We also openly ignored that 1:50 ratio with regards to Iraq. In the old Ornery Forums, and even in news archives from 2003, you should find a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs(or was it the head of the Army? I don't remember) saying he felt we should send 600,000 troops in to invade Iraq, because the 1:50 ratio would suggest sending 512 thousand as the minimum(and not all of the involved troops in the invasion would ever actually be on the ground in Iraq, so the +80k was reasonable), we instead opted for half of the 512 thousand number when Operation Iraqi Freedom happened.
Don't recall whose estimate that was, or I suppose rather who articulated it in public.  (Myers?  Shinseki?  Schoomaker?)  But I do vividly recall Donald "Unknown Unknown" Rumsveld mocking it as old-fashioned thinking and how much better his notions were instead.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on August 25, 2021, 12:32:02 AM
We also openly ignored that 1:50 ratio with regards to Iraq. In the old Ornery Forums, and even in news archives from 2003, you should find a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs(or was it the head of the Army? I don't remember) saying he felt we should send 600,000 troops in to invade Iraq, because the 1:50 ratio would suggest sending 512 thousand as the minimum(and not all of the involved troops in the invasion would ever actually be on the ground in Iraq, so the +80k was reasonable), we instead opted for half of the 512 thousand number when Operation Iraqi Freedom happened.
Don't recall whose estimate that was, or I suppose rather who articulated it in public.  (Myers?  Shinseki?  Schoomaker?)  But I do vividly recall Donald "Unknown Unknown" Rumsveld mocking it as old-fashioned thinking and how much better his notions were instead.

Shineki sounded right, and that helped me get a hit on google. It wasn't 600 thousand, but still "several hundred thousand" for the occupation of Iraq. But given "a couple hundred thousand" would generally be between 100K and 300K depending on the speaker, and "a few hundred thousand would generally start somewhere between 200 and 300k and likely run into the 400K range... That he specified "several hundred thousand" suggests he was looking at 400 thousand plus troops.

https://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/25/international/middleeast/army-chief-raises-estimate-of-gis-needed-in-postwar.html

Quote
The magnitude of the postwar troop commitment described by the Army's top officer, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, is much larger than what other American officials have outlined. Pentagon officials have said that about 100,000 American troops may be needed in the post-Saddam phase, along with tens of thousands of additional allied forces.

"Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required," General Shinseki told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee today. "We're talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems."
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 25, 2021, 12:41:37 AM
Shineki sounded right, and that helped me get a hit on google. It wasn't 600 thousand, but still "several hundred thousand" for the occupation of Iraq. But given "a couple hundred thousand" would generally be between 100K and 300K depending on the speaker, and "a few hundred thousand would generally start somewhere between 200 and 300k and likely run into the 400K range... That he specified "several hundred thousand" suggests he was looking at 400 thousand plus troops.
Living in Cork has taught me, if nothing else, that I wouldn't want to be arguing the rigorous distinction between "a few", "several", or indeed "a couple".  At least not with locals on the judging panel.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 25, 2021, 12:52:20 AM
Finally, there is no mention of root causes in the executive summary.  There are plenty of points where things were done stupidly or ineptly.  But there is no mention of why these things were done stupidly or ineptly.  In the case of incompetent or inept personnel, why where they chosen, who chose them, what were the criteria, etc etc etc.  Who was setting the requirements?  Who hired these people?  Who set the mission parameters?

You can hire the best people in a company dedicated to selling ice to Eskimos (as the expression goes), but later asking why the company failed, using the questions above, would really be missing the point.

Quote
The direct causes of failure are:

1. Inability to destroy the Taliban
2. Inability to build up the Afghan government
3. Inability to build up the Afghan military
4. American and NATO departure

I find it astonishing that such a list would not at least make honorable mention to:

0. Going there in the first place.

You can debate all day about whether there was a valid goal, a moral justification, and all the rest, but if the operations fails there has to be a conversation about whether the operation was just a bad idea. As I alluded to above, there is really no point looking for a fall guy or a flaw in the execution of a plan that was, from its conception, a failure. I can't prove to you it was to your satisfaction (as evidenced by our other exchange about me apparently making up that Afghanistan was viewed as a no-man's land for decades), but if it were the case all the rest of these questions would be moot.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on August 25, 2021, 12:53:42 AM
Shineki sounded right, and that helped me get a hit on google. It wasn't 600 thousand, but still "several hundred thousand" for the occupation of Iraq. But given "a couple hundred thousand" would generally be between 100K and 300K depending on the speaker, and "a few hundred thousand would generally start somewhere between 200 and 300k and likely run into the 400K range... That he specified "several hundred thousand" suggests he was looking at 400 thousand plus troops.
Living in Cork has taught me, if nothing else, that I wouldn't want to be arguing the rigorous distinction between "a few", "several", or indeed "a couple".  At least not with locals on the judging panel.

It's also why I said "suggests he was looking at 400 thousand plus troops." He might be one of those people where "several" starts at 3. But yeah, the error bars on those terms is bad, especially as the number of digits increase. A "couple" can easily be 200 +/- 100, a "few" could be 300 +/- 200, and "several" can end up being 400 +/- 300 without trying very hard, and in the case of "Several" it could be a lot more than +3 and however many digits are relevant. Although generally speaking most people are not going to use "several" to describe 2 or 3.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 25, 2021, 01:30:39 AM
It's also why I said "suggests he was looking at 400 thousand plus troops." He might be one of those people where "several" starts at 3. But yeah, the error bars on those terms is bad, especially as the number of digits increase. A "couple" can easily be 200 +/- 100, a "few" could be 300 +/- 200, and "several" can end up being 400 +/- 300 without trying very hard, and in the case of "Several" it could be a lot more than +3 and however many digits are relevant. Although generally speaking most people are not going to use "several" to describe 2 or 3.
There might be more of a localisation factor than I thought here, over and above my jovial -- though true! -- mention of "a couple" being more like 2(+3/-0) here.  Seemingly US dictionaries, and dictionaries splitting out AmEng usage separately, are pretty adamant that several means "more than two".  BrEng entries are much vaguer.  I'd no idea there could be an EngNatVar issue here.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 25, 2021, 09:26:26 AM
The options for mission success were untenable for substantial portions of the US Electorate, and thus never going to happen.

If success was possible, but the conditions for success were beyond the tolerances of the US Electorate, this is what I believe qualifies as a shortcoming in testicular mass.  The second part of this though is a complete lack of good political leadership for the majority of the time.  The American people are not always going want the right or best thing.  That should be obvious.  This is where strong political leadership is important, to communicate and sell the importance of the mission in Afghanistan.  This hasn't happened for a very long time.  The administrations have been focused on getting out of Afghanistan for 13 years. 

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US Military preference is a 1:50 ratio if we are going to garrison a nation.(be their police, military, etc)

I'm not sure what the source of this ratio is.  I've never heard of it before and can't find it with a quick search.  I'd say it's a pretty good number on the high end.  I'd suggest that 1:200 would be the very lowest.  The Army doesn't have 600K active duty troops total.  I think that the number of troops necessary to garrison Japan was around 400,000. 

I don't know the exact number of troops that would have been needed.  But I know it would have been much more than we had. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 25, 2021, 10:17:01 AM
If success was possible, but the conditions for success were beyond the tolerances of the US Electorate, this is what I believe qualifies as a shortcoming in testicular mass.  The second part of this though is a complete lack of good political leadership for the majority of the time.  The American people are not always going want the right or best thing.  That should be obvious.  This is where strong political leadership is important, to communicate and sell the importance of the mission in Afghanistan.

Who is the one to state objectively whether the American people are wrong in such a scenario? Maybe a vague discontent or lack of will in regard to a foreign action is a sign of something correct. Although it's possible to sell an idea to someone who doesn't want it, it doesn't follow from this that the ability to do means one should do so.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 25, 2021, 12:46:43 PM

I find it astonishing that such a list would not at least make honorable mention to:

0. Going there in the first place.

You can debate all day about whether there was a valid goal, a moral justification, and all the rest, but if the operations fails there has to be a conversation about whether the operation was just a bad idea. As I alluded to above, there is really no point looking for a fall guy or a flaw in the execution of a plan that was, from its conception, a failure.

Fenring, you keep alluding to the concept that the goals were impossible to begin with.  As if the operations in Afghanistan were similar to trying to making 2+2=5.  You havn't given any details or reasoning on why it would be metaphysically or even physically impossible.  You havn't provided any sources for any experts or reasoning at all.  Other than that's what "everybody said".  That's fine if that is what you believe, but at least present a reasoned argument why it would be impossible. 

And I don't think that the allegory of selling ice to Eskimos is going to work.  It's too easy to sell ice to Eskimos.  It's no different than selling water to people in Seattle or Minnesota.  You can sell ice to Eskimos by the block or you can sell entire igloos.  Instead of having to spend time carving their own ice blocks or building their own igloos, they can spend more time hunting seals or whatever else they want to do.  That's the very basis of a specialized economy. 

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I can't prove to you it was to your satisfaction (as evidenced by our other exchange about me apparently making up that Afghanistan was viewed as a no-man's land for decades), but if it were the case all the rest of these questions would be moot.

Sure.  You're right.  If the mission was to divide 69 by zero or create a round square or time travel, the cause of failure would be simply that it was undoable.  But you havn't presented anything to support that intervention in Afghanistan was impossible. 




Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 25, 2021, 12:52:34 PM
Who is the one to state objectively whether the American people are wrong in such a scenario? Maybe a vague discontent or lack of will in regard to a foreign action is a sign of something correct. Although it's possible to sell an idea to someone who doesn't want it, it doesn't follow from this that the ability to do means one should do so.

That's a whole different argument that is separate.  It's the difference between whether something CAN be done versus whether something SHOULD be done. 

I would point out that the majority of Americans and the majority of our allies believed that the invasion of Afghanistan SHOULD have been done.  There has been plenty of people changing their minds since then, but the argument as to why it shouldn't have been done usually comes back around to the idea that it CAN'T or COULDN'T be done. 

Despite the rule of democracy, the idea that the majority of a people think something doesn't necessarily make it right. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 25, 2021, 01:04:32 PM
That's a whole different argument that is separate.  It's the difference between whether something CAN be done versus whether something SHOULD be done.

Well, yes, but I meant something more than that. I meant that if the public will is against something, there may be merit to listening to them even if there is a more objective 'should' that can be imagined. In other words, there may be merit to listening to what people say (or tacitly say) for its own sake alone, even putting aside some kind of god's-eye-view of the situation.

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I would point out that the majority of Americans and the majority of our allies believed that the invasion of Afghanistan SHOULD have been done.

I don't agree with this statement. There is an enormous gulf between people thinking a thing should be done, versus them supporting something that's been sold to them as the only way to make America safe. Was there public approval to attack Afghanistan? Probably a fair amount. Was that because they wanted that attack specifically, or was it because they were supporting their leadership in a time of crisis and would have likely supported any sort of plan that seemed tangible and 'getting the job done?' Totally different issue then.

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Despite the rule of democracy, the idea that the majority of a people think something doesn't necessarily make it right.

Of course, but it also doesn't make it wrong. So who decides? The point of democracy is supposedly that wrong/wrong ends up being literally defined as being a representation of the will of the people, either directly or through their choice of leaders. This actually absolves such a system from having to define in political terms whether something is right or wrong. It just is. Individuals have to make the decision, but the system is supposed to follow its design dictates (i.e. to represent whatever the individual desires happen to be). It is entirely concordant, for instance, to have a democracy that is 'functioning well' and also disintegrating at the same time, because the will of the people is not capable of supporting a healthy politics.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 25, 2021, 01:07:09 PM
Fenring, you keep alluding to the concept that the goals were impossible to begin with.  As if the operations in Afghanistan were similar to trying to making 2+2=5.

Actually, I never said that. What I said is that it might have been a bad idea. What I neglected to do (by design) was to define "bad". You can talk until you're blue in the face about why a bad idea couldn't be implemented to satisfaction, but sometimes an idea is just bad. There can be various ways in which an idea can be bad, which it's probably not worthwhile to try to enumerate.

Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 25, 2021, 03:19:47 PM
If success was possible, but the conditions for success were beyond the tolerances of the US Electorate, this is what I believe qualifies as a shortcoming in testicular mass.  The second part of this though is a complete lack of good political leadership for the majority of the time.  The American people are not always going want the right or best thing.  That should be obvious.  This is where strong political leadership is important, to communicate and sell the importance of the mission in Afghanistan.  This hasn't happened for a very long time.  The administrations have been focused on getting out of Afghanistan for 13 years.

For 13 years?  Not starting, say, in 2003, when Donald "pockets of resistance" Rumsveld announced the end of major combat operations and a significant drawdown in troops, to facilitate invading the next country on their checklist?  Or Paul "wildly off the mark" Wolfowitz snarking back at the Shinseki quote mentioned above, after they's replicated the very same error in that campaign too, saying "It is hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in a post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself."

Sometimes, making a balls of it isn't the good or strong thing to do.  Most times, indeed.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 25, 2021, 03:43:16 PM
For 13 years?  Not starting, say, in 2003, when Donald "pockets of resistance" Rumsveld announced the end of major combat operations and a significant drawdown in troops, to facilitate invading the next country on their checklist?  Or Paul "wildly off the mark" Wolfowitz snarking back at the Shinseki quote mentioned above, after they's replicated the very same error in that campaign too, saying "It is hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in a post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself."

Sometimes, making a balls of it isn't the good or strong thing to do.  Most times, indeed.

I think the cases you are mentioning have more to do with the competence side of the coin rather than the "balls" or will part of the coin. 

I'm not going to argue that those people up there screwed the pooch.  There was a major competence problem there.  But I mentioned the lack of political leadership in communicating the importance of the mission in Afghanistan.  I think there was plenty of communication and selling of the mission for Afghanistan back then, dispite 2003 being the beginning of the Democratic party's disenchantment with Afghanistan, in an attempt to win the Presidency in 2004.  Obama and Clinton admitted in front of Robert Gates that their opposition in some cases was political.  Obama himself conducted a surge in Afghanistan in 2010. Democrats were playing politics by trying to get the anti-war vote.  So as far back as 2003, there was mixed messaging coming from American political leaders.  But the Bush administration was the last one to actually sell Afghanistan and not to be looking for the door. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 25, 2021, 04:31:47 PM
5% of people polled by CBS think the withdrawal from Afghanistan went "very well".

🤔😢
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 25, 2021, 05:20:54 PM
Fenring, you keep alluding to the concept that the goals were impossible to begin with.  As if the operations in Afghanistan were similar to trying to making 2+2=5.

Actually, I never said that. What I said is that it might have been a bad idea. What I neglected to do (by design) was to define "bad". You can talk until you're blue in the face about why a bad idea couldn't be implemented to satisfaction, but sometimes an idea is just bad. There can be various ways in which an idea can be bad, which it's probably not worthwhile to try to enumerate.

I've read your posts over a few times and again I get the impression that your reasoning, though balanced, ends up holding no person or agency accountable... with little room to learn anything from the situation that might prove helpful in the future.

Its probably me. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 25, 2021, 06:55:32 PM
I think the cases you are mentioning have more to do with the competence side of the coin rather than the "balls" or will part of the coin. 
Which in return casts a great deal of doubt on "balls" being the key factor in the success of the endeavour overall.  If it's even applicable to badly planned and poorly run belligerence when its other people entirely doing the fighting and dying.

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I'm not going to argue that those people up there screwed the pooch.  There was a major competence problem there.
I'd argue more like major reckless disregard problems.  Started a war against Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, decided that they were more interested in other Fronts on the War on an Abstract Noun, and didn't even try to prosecute it fully.

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But I mentioned the lack of political leadership in communicating the importance of the mission in Afghanistan.  I think there was plenty of communication and selling of the mission for Afghanistan back then, dispite 2003 being the beginning of the Democratic party's disenchantment with Afghanistan, in an attempt to win the Presidency in 2004.  Obama and Clinton admitted in front of Robert Gates that their opposition in some cases was political.  Obama himself conducted a surge in Afghanistan in 2010. Democrats were playing politics by trying to get the anti-war vote.  So as far back as 2003, there was mixed messaging coming from American political leaders.  But the Bush administration was the last one to actually sell Afghanistan and not to be looking for the door.
First one to use the door, as I just pointed out.

I'm all in favour of "blame enough to go around".  Not so much because I'd seek, like OSC, to portray myself as the Golden Mean between the "Insane Far Left and the Lunatic Far Right", as from outside they look more like two loose coalitions of factions within the the Breathtakingly Ruthlessly Self-Interested Party.  But your blame specificity seems very patchy here.  Trump very much "played politics by trying to get the anti-war vote" -- he ran on surrendering to the Taliban, negotiated directly to surrender to them over the heads of the US-backed and supposedly legitimate and democratically elected government, largely implemented the surrender to them, and might well have completed surrendering during his first (and only -- so far!) term had the military professionals and few remaining adults in the room.  Biden you can accuse of being Continuity Trump in that respect, or as having been given a complete hospital pass, politically, strategically, and in terms of signed agreements.  Or some of both.

Obama opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Not clear what opposition to Afghanistan -- much less "playing politics" -- you're suggesting either he then or the 2004 campaign were guilty of.  Here's the DNC platform from that year:  "We must expand NATO forces outside Kabul. We must accelerate training for the Afghan army and police. The program to disarm and reintegrate warlord militias into society must be expedited and expanded into a mainstream strategy. We will attack the exploding opium trade ignored by the Bush Administration by doubling our counter-narcotics assistance to the Karzai Government and reinvigorating the regional drug control program."  Buncha peacenik hippies, huh?  Even moreso with (I assume you mean HR) Clinton. What did they do in office -- or say out of it, indeed -- that can remotely be bracketed with Trump's actions and rhetoric?  The one concrete fact you cite is the surge, which happened on their watch, and is entirely contrary to the rest of the narrative.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 25, 2021, 06:58:25 PM
5% of people polled by CBS think the withdrawal from Afghanistan went "very well".

🤔😢
Trump will be saying what terrible poll numbers those are, and that if he'd done exactly the same thing -- or did it earlier, as he wanted to -- he'd have 85% of Republican voters saying it went better than any other treacherous headlong retreat in history.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 25, 2021, 07:42:40 PM
First one to use the door, as I just pointed out.
Would edit this addition into my own post, but can't, apologies.  (Parameter you can tweak in the Promised Land, Ornery Joshua?)  From the same David Frum article in The Atlantic that I quoted the Kerry election-losing platform from:  "A strange dichotomy split the U.S. foreign-policy elite. Prominent figures in the Bush administration—Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld—wished fiercely to escape Afghanistan. This wish was partly because of their determination to finish off Saddam Hussein, but it was also a policy preference in its own right. (For what little it’s worth, that’s how I personally felt at the time: However steep the odds against a stable future for Iraq, that urbanized and literate country was a more promising terrain for U.S. strategic goals than hopeless Afghanistan.)"

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/08/bin-laden-2001-end-war-afghanistan/619767/
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 25, 2021, 09:42:48 PM
I've read your posts over a few times and again I get the impression that your reasoning, though balanced, ends up holding no person or agency accountable... with little room to learn anything from the situation that might prove helpful in the future.

Its probably me.

It is you, definitely. You routinely read pessimistic things into posts that aren't there. Most likely a projection.

You are in fact so far off in your summary that it almost could not be more incorrect. But if you want to go back to the old forum you can find my thread about the Bush admin to see an example of why.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 25, 2021, 10:34:57 PM
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The direct causes of failure are:

1. Inability to destroy the Taliban
2. Inability to build up the Afghan government
3. Inability to build up the Afghan military
4. American and NATO departure

I find it astonishing that such a list would not at least make honorable mention to:

0. Going there in the first place.
Logically that'd be on a different list.  If you don't even start, then those other factors of failure don't ever arise.  The sole item on the list initially indeed, as it assures not success whatsoever, but with plenty of scope for lots of followup blunders in coming up with alternative means of addressing the problems of bin Laden, al Qaeda, and so on.

Model answer for Iraq, though.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Grant on August 26, 2021, 09:55:07 AM
Ok.  Can argue about the past for the rest of time.  But the August 31 deadline for ending evacuations and for all troops out is fast approaching.  All signs seem to point to the idea that there is no way to get all the Afghans who want out in that amount of time.  Maybe we could get the Americans out that want to leave, but a bunch of them are staying to get more refugees out. 

1.  Should the United States break the Aug 31 deadline for ending evacuations and stay as long as necessary to get everyone out that wants out?  What are the pros?  What are the cons? 

2.  Will the United States break the August 31 deadline for ending evacuations and stay longer? 

3.  What will Germany, France, and the UK do?  Will they try and stay longer if the US pulls out on the 31st? 




Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 26, 2021, 10:48:10 AM
I've read your posts over a few times and again I get the impression that your reasoning, though balanced, ends up holding no person or agency accountable... with little room to learn anything from the situation that might prove helpful in the future.

Its probably me.

It is you, definitely. You routinely read pessimistic things into posts that aren't there. Most likely a projection.

You are in fact so far off in your summary that it almost could not be more incorrect. But if you want to go back to the old forum you can find my thread about the Bush admin to see an example of why.

I actually pay attention to your posts for the possibility of projection though I'm not sure I'd call it a pessimistic reading. You tend to present a reasoned middle ground that I mostly agree with but then leaves me feeling defeated...and asking myself if Fenring is correct who is accountable, what can be done... which I guess could be pessimistic.

Also possible its the limitation of the medium. 
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 26, 2021, 12:10:57 PM
You tend to present a reasoned middle ground that I mostly agree with but then leaves me feeling defeated

Well, ok, so this is why I was suggesting it was projection. Not projection of a point of argumentation, but more that your own disposition is reflected when you say that it leaves you feeling defeated. That is entirely a matter of how you engage with the world, no? For instance, a person who is in the mode of getting depressed when hearing bad news might react very differently to the same information as someone who has come to a sort of peace that the world is broken and that it can't just be fixed mechanically...at least not at present. Same message, different reaction, depending on the reader; so does it say more about the post, or about you? I don't mean this as an insult. Some things are bad and there's nothing you can do about it. I used to find that depressing; actually it made me angry. Now I think of it more as keeping aware of reality while allowing progress to attend to itself (with our participation, but not through brute force). I'm a lot less stressed about the world now.

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...and asking myself if Fenring is correct who is accountable, what can be done... which I guess could be pessimistic.

Not that I expect everyone to have read every thread I ever participated in, but I felt like I had already said my piece about who's to blame for the 9/11 era invasions. Also there's a distinction between what I suspect, and what I know. I know that the Bush admin was obviously the pusher behind Afghanistan and Iraq 2.0, and in both cases (in different ways) it was on their own initiative even to the point of overruling intelligence briefings telling them otherwise. What I suspect has more to do with the affiliations Cheney and his crew kept, which is more in the think tank/private society vein of looking at things.

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Also possible its the limitation of the medium.

Maybe. But I can see how it can be depressing to not find a bad guy you can go and smite. But reality isn't really like that. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!) things done in the past can't be fixed, undone, or made account for. You can only improve things for going forward. That is a huge relief if you find a way to see it like that. My post was a bit reactionary, in part because it feels like you're vaguely accusing me of something when you've on occasion written that to me.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 26, 2021, 01:16:04 PM
D'oh, I did the quote-misnesting thing, and didn't catch it on non-preview in a timely manner.  I hate it when that happens.

1.  Should the United States break the Aug 31 deadline for ending evacuations and stay as long as necessary to get everyone out that wants out?  What are the pros?  What are the cons? 
The pros are obviously a regard for common humanity and a "you broke it, you fix it" duty of care.  The cons are the possibility that it all goes horrifically wrong, either at the hands of the Taliban, or a third party.  There's not a great deal of stick that the US is able to use right now, and offering too much of an additional carrot to the very theocrats you've just surrendered an entire country to isn't a good look.  Even if they seemed inclined to nibble on one, which they don't.

To which add, the sadly inevitable xenophobic pushback on refugees pretty much wherever they end up these days.  (Not clear to me if the Nato evacuations are to the various home countries, or just out of the theatre of operations in the first instance.) 

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3.  What will Germany, France, and the UK do?  Will they try and stay longer if the US pulls out on the 31st?
Very unlikely, I think.  The UK has characterised their deployment as having been done 'though' the US one, and not operationally independent.  It's been briefed there that the UK floated a 'coalition of the willing' proposal to the other in-country allies to extend it without the US, didn't get any takers, and then said it couldn't possibly do it alone.  (That's a handy formula they all could use separately, if one is even a moderate cynic about government briefings.)

Meanwhile, amid much fanfare here, a tiny number of Irish 'special forces' (about half a platoon of the Army Ranger Wing) were deployed to Kabul...  on what doesn't even sound like a special forces mission, and is apparently already been unwound.  I think because a larger number would have needed parliamentary debate and perhaps more, so if you're only going to send a dozen, send the hardest nuts you can find.

Another question is 'normal' flights out of Kabul, if and when those resume.  Who will the Taliban allow to leave, and on what basis?  And which countries are willing to take how many of them in?
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 26, 2021, 02:41:53 PM
Now several Marines have been killed during the evacuation by ISIS, apparently. Does that change anything?

I think it does. Maybe we still leave but now it doesn't just look like we're surrendering to the Taliban but to ISIS as well.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 26, 2021, 02:47:41 PM
You say "maybe", but is there any scenario in which this makes not leaving more likely?  To say nothing of, more possible.  It's not like the Taliban are going to say, "no, we changed our minds -- stay and we'll shoot up some ISIL-K guys together, it'll be a real bonding moment for us!"

As to the domestic politics of it, likely correct that this will increase the Trump Party howls that it's a national disgrace that Biden failed to reverse Trump's Taliban-surrender (and impossible strategic and political hangover).
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 26, 2021, 03:49:08 PM
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Maybe. But I can see how it can be depressing to not find a bad guy you can go and smite. But reality isn't really like that. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!) things done in the past can't be fixed, undone, or made account for. You can only improve things for going forward. That is a huge relief if you find a way to see it like that. My post was a bit reactionary, in part because it feels like you're vaguely accusing me of something when you've on occasion written that to me.

Not depressing because their is no one to smite but without accountability things tend to stay the same or worse regress. Without accountability the task of determining what when wrong becomes more difficult as does any possible solution to correct. 

Side note I view accountably and responsibility as attributes of love. Without getting to be accountable or responsible the experience of meaning and purpose and so I imagine being loved become difficult IMO.  If nothing I say or do matters to anyone I doubt I would experience being loved
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 26, 2021, 03:58:05 PM
Not depressing because their is no one to smite but without accountability things tend to stay the same or worse regress. Without accountability the task of determining what when wrong becomes more difficult as does any possible solution to correct.

It sounds like by accountability you mean naming the names of who is responsible. What I am trying to say is that one can fix a system without (sometimes) needing to do that. Having a tribunal where the miscreant is exposed may not even appreciably change things, although it could. I think the system is most often the thing needing changing, so that bad behavior of people in it is almost incidental to the fact that they could do that in the first place. It's like, if a video game has a bug and people are exploiting it, it would be beyond ridiculous for the devs to try to track down the bad actors and ban them. You just fix the bug and move on. Accountability in this sense just means identifying a problem.

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Side note I view accountably and responsibility as attributes of love. Without getting to be accountable or responsible the experience of meaning and purpose and so I imagine being loved become difficult IMO.  If nothing I say or do matters to anyone I doubt I would experience being loved

I think this is one of those areas which is applicable only in the flesh and blood reality of individual interactions. I don't think it makes sense to speak of holding people to their responsibilities in the abstract. I don't have the ability, and maybe not even any business, trying to make waves at people I've never met and 'hold them responsible' in the sense of caring for their own sense of responsibility. I can do that (out of caring) for the people around me, and who I encounter in my goings on (which includes direct interactions like this one), but I can't 'help' Dick Cheney take responsibility for his actions. I don't have any standing or relationship with him, access to him, or ability to affect his level of caring or information.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 26, 2021, 03:58:13 PM
Now several Marines have been killed during the evacuation by ISIS, apparently. Does that change anything?

I think it does. Maybe we still leave but now it doesn't just look like we're surrendering to the Taliban but to ISIS as well.

Confusing as the Taliban and ISIS are revivals not allies. At least that is what is being reported.
If they really are revival's ISIS gains by making the withdraw as difficult as possible - if such attacks push the US to extend forcing the Taliban to keep face... I can't see the situation improving
The longer we stay past the deadline the more likely a reaction to the situation on both sides (vice a response)

I didn't think the word surrender is helpful or accurate though it may feel like a surrender. I suspect the fight against the Taliban and ISIS will continue if via a less then direct method.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on August 26, 2021, 04:00:44 PM
Thanks for replying Fenring
I was trying to work something out for myself that wasn't clear to me or easy to express.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 26, 2021, 04:12:49 PM
I didn't think the word surrender is helpful or accurate though it may feel like a surrender.
The US (under The Former Guy) formally signed an agreement to withdraw, in return for...  not a lot.  That's a bilateral agreement, with the Taliban -- not involving the Afghan government or Nato allies, and indeed over their objections at a range of volume levels.  Seems pretty darn-gosh surrendery to me.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 26, 2021, 05:04:18 PM
Surrender has a very specific meaning, we didn't disarm ourselves and show up on one of the talibans battleships and agree to their terms. Retreat would be more appropriate, in the proper parlance, or withdrawal.

You could certainly say we lost. Had we allowed the Afghan government to participate, that wouldn't even be surrender.

Even when Cornwallis surrendered his army at Yorktown, England did not surrender to the United States.

The term is clearly employed here to suggest we should feel shamefully emasculated and that we should have instead fought on endlessly or to employ a "kill em all" strategy like the successful conclusion to ww2 conflicts. Where Germany and Japan most definitely did surrender.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 26, 2021, 07:21:38 PM
I should try and do an "Austrian Navy" joke, but I'm afraid I'm all out.

It's not being "clearly employed here to suggest we should feel shamefully emasculated" (and I'm including myself in "we" here, with my UK hat on for starters) at all, and framing your point that way is surely straying well into "don't make me tap the sign again" territory regarding the mission statement about how "Ornernies" conduct debates.  (More honored in the breach than in the observance, to be sure.)  I'll remind you I was the poster objecting to the "more balls needed" diagnosis of US/Nato involvement over the years, indeed.  I have a pretty systematic preference for more neurotransmitters over more androgenic anabolic steroids.  Don't be waving it around for the sake of it; be getting better results with (or without) it.

Yes, it's true to say that the neither US or allied forces in the field, nor the US as a country or any of the allies, have surrendered to the Taliban in the narrow sense of the law of war.  (Not that war was ever declared, of course.)  Just in every (other) English-language sense of the word "surrendered".  Surrendered Afghanistan to its fate.  "Stopped resisting an enemy or opponent and submitted to their authority."  Not that I think dicdeffing is an especially productive exercise, but neither is trying to police perfectly reasonable choices of word.  "Retreat" is an overly generous characterisation, given that it was planned for for a year (the strategic-surrender part), and still ended up as a rout (the operational end of it).

The "allowing"(!) the Afghan government to participate part is key, though.  About the fate of their own country, how magnanimous of us! ... had we but done done so.  I don't know precisely why they were excluded, but the appearance is certainly that the intent was to predetermine a timetable, and neither facts nor consent of the parties were to be allowed to get in the way of that.  Even if t had involved some arm-twisting, better than just doing a deal over their head.  With the Taliban.  (The "shameful" part would properly apply there, all right.)

"Fought on endlessly" is also a straw man.  (If forget it's on the OA boilerplate too.  Personally I think Paul Graham's "Disagreement Hierarchy" pyramid is much more to the point and much more operable, too.  But OSC's dime, OSC's preference, fair enough.)  Perhaps not an intentional one, who knows.  At any rate, combat operations were wound down between 2014 and 2016.  Trying to maintain the status quo at that point isn't that, much less "kill 'em all".  But I suppose "ending the Forever Support-and-training-missions" isn't quite as snappy a political slogan.  And not so much "endlessly", as until there's a political agreement, a request to withdraw, or at least a better-considered arrangement to do so unilaterally (or internally to Nato, preferably).
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on August 27, 2021, 09:48:46 AM
Whatever you want to call it, everyone else is calling it surrender.

https://www.militarytimes.com/opinion/commentary/2021/08/24/breaking-hearts-and-minds-the-strategy-of-surrender/

Breaking hearts and minds: The strategy of surrender

By Joan Barker

"...For the past two decades, “winning hearts and minds” was the fundamental strategy of triumph in the war on terror. Today, it is clear that breaking hearts and minds is the strategy of surrender in that fight.

Mo and Hamid feel like they have been abandoned, thrown to the wolves, their harrowing experiences reflecting those of thousands of interpreters who are desperately trying to get out of Afghanistan before they end up on a Taliban hit list.

Multiply each of those terrified interpreters by the number of people in their extended family. Do the math. That is hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who are about to witness the U.S.turn its back on them while hiding behind neatly prepared talking points from public relations teams at the White House. I think it goes without saying that this is more than just an issue of international credibility, it is also one of national security.

When all of these abandoned people, along with their friends and families, see the American flag in the future, will they feel a fullness in their hearts…or a sickness in their stomachs?..."
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 27, 2021, 09:55:33 AM
"...For the past two decades, “winning hearts and minds” was the fundamental strategy of triumph in the war on terror.

When serious commentary and satire become identical...
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 27, 2021, 11:13:57 AM
I had a whole answer and the back button wiped it. I concede that there is a dictionary definition of surrender that applies.

I truly don't see much room for anything that isn't fantasy other than the two options that I listed. You can call them straw men if you want, or you can give me the elevator speech that shows me my error and a functional strategy that would work in 2021. Not one that might have worked in 2005.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 27, 2021, 07:22:37 PM
I had a whole answer and the back button wiped it. I concede that there is a dictionary definition of surrender that applies.
I hate it when that happens.  I keep doing it in Youtube, which seems to have an especially crappy and hair-trigger "you obviously wanted to delete your entire draft irreversibly with one opaque click or keystroke" comment system.  Bring back usenet news!  Or even browsers with "undo", even though they worked sporadically at best.

Quote
I truly don't see much room for anything that isn't fantasy other than the two options that I listed. You can call them straw men if you want, or you can give me the elevator speech that shows me my error and a functional strategy that would work in 2021. Not one that might have worked in 2005.
Well, Frum wasn't even stopping at 2005 or indeed 2003, his time-machine was set for 2001...  And at this point it's all history, so the distinction between yesterday's dodgy decisions and the ones from two decades ago seems somewhat arbitrary.  It's all post-mortem and hindsight now.

What about the one that was working reasonably well in 2016, and was only really fatally undermined in 2020?  Is that 'ruled out on time' too, or do you have specific criticisms of that?

I'm honestly uncertain what the differential diagnosis between #45 and #46 on this is.  There's a formerguyist snarl at Biden that obviously makes no sense, there's neocon and non-interventionist-style critiques that damns them both (or would if applied with any consistency) for each of their own characteristic reasons, and are fair enough in their own terms.  I don't like Biden's decision (to follow through on Trump's), but the degree to which it was forced on him, the degree to which he thought it was the right thing to do, and the degree to which it was "playing politics" isn't at all clear to me.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 29, 2021, 03:56:31 PM
Quote

What about the one that was working reasonably well in 2016, and was only really fatally undermined in 2020?  Is that 'ruled out on time' too, or do you have specific criticisms of that?
 

This strategy to me lands in the "fought on endlessly" camp. Now sometimes fight on endlessly can eventually resolve to progressively better. We might consider northern ireland such a model for what that could look like. But I don't see how you get a bunch of corrupt dudes propped up by the US into a power sharing agreement with the taliban with a taliban disarmament. Not when neither side is particularly interested in a western style representative government.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 29, 2021, 07:32:52 PM
I suppose that's an available criticism -- and a politically winning one, at least until recently.  The "endless" part can obviously argue about more literally without end -- can't prove the counterfactual, hard to make predictions it is, the hypothetical future especially about (I believe that one was Yoda Berra), and there will be strategic whattifferry about this forever.

But that summary is much too broadly lumpist for my splitty tastes as regards the "fight on" part.  Afghans were doing the fighting.  The proposition wasn't that there be "major combat operations" much less another "surge", but that there continue to be a Western presence diplomatically, to provide more training of the Afghan army and police, to allow in-country air support, and to allow Western contractors to continue to be there.  By pulling all of that out -- some of them more premeditatedly than others -- said West has precious few levers left, never mind the largely parked "fight on" one.

The NI comparison I don't see as especially helpful or at all close in either direction.

I don't see you think the Western-style representative government isn't interested in Western-style representative government.  As to their simultaneous interest in corruption -- well, the similarities merely continue!
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 30, 2021, 03:16:47 PM
Afghans were doing the fighting. That makes it sound like we weren't at risk. They weren't doing all of it. From 2016 to 2019, 64 US service members were killed. Not sure how many were just maimed.

Endless fighting also matters on the financial front as well. $45 billion in 2018.

BTW, the kill em all strategy isn't a straw man either. It doesn't even need much of a troop presence. Just drone targets removing civilian deaths and intelligence confidence from the equation. Expensive in terms of reputation and dollars, but doable.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 30, 2021, 05:22:30 PM
It's a tin man, then:  no brain!  In dollars fairly cheap up-front -- drones cost plenty sure, but less than the alternatives.  But what's the actual strategy part there?  Help the Taliban kill a few thousand IS-K fighters, maybe killing a few tens of thousands of Afghanistan?  Make all-out air war against the Taliban?  Use it to try to enforce some sort of 'red lines' with them, still be be forced out?  As an idea it seems less pros-and-cons, than various downsides strung loosely together.  OTOH it does seem to be where we are.

The total US defence budget is $715 billion.  (I know I've been trying to generalise this to the Western Coalition, in the spirit of spreading the blame and the responsibility around, but I'll freely acknowledge that it's very much been the US's project from the beginning, it make the strategic decision to start it, and the one to end it, and besides, I'm too lazy to add up the Long Tail of the other participants much lower (both absolutely and famously even relatively) military spending levels.)  Now having watched almost all of the famous "Critical Race Theory" Congressional hearing, I appreciate that Representatives would very happily spend all of that, and more, without troubling to wonder if they were actually defending anything.  Just as long as they each get (at least) their share of the pork.  Western-style democracy at its finest!  But I don't think it's wildly unreasonable to consider spending some of it on propping up countries that have a track record of turning into outright failed states and both actively and passively hosting anti-US and anti-Western terrorism.  Call me a closet neocon pawn of the military-industrial complex, I guess.

There was of course the "Trump surge", modest though it was compared to past such.  I'm not familiar with every last operational detail in each of those years, but there's naturally a rough correlational between "conducting combat operations" and casualty rates.  The "train the army, protect the embassy and the contractor" model in itself isn't a high risk.  Relatively speaking.  There were no US troop fatalities at all for 18 months, 2020-1, until the very recent bombing attacks, though presumably that's also partly due to the Trumiban withdrawal agreement.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 30, 2021, 06:55:27 PM
But I don't think it's wildly unreasonable to consider spending some of it on propping up countries that have a track record of turning into outright failed states and both actively and passively hosting anti-US and anti-Western terrorism.  Call me a closet neocon pawn of the military-industrial complex, I guess.

If you're going to think in terms of the corporate welfare state, then war spending is just redistribution of wealth, and any operation has a bottom line. It's not so much "are they happy to spend that amount for defense" but whether there's a direct monetary incentive. If there's no money in propping up a nation-state in the Afghan border then it wouldn't happen, it's just bad business.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 30, 2021, 07:34:06 PM
And you're not seeing a "downside risk", financial and otherwise, in having an entity within said borders that actively and passively hosts terrorist groups, and that will actively inculcate an exceptionally hardline version of Islam, leading to more of more such in the future?
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 30, 2021, 09:10:09 PM
And you're not seeing a "downside risk", financial and otherwise, in having an entity within said borders that actively and passively hosts terrorist groups, and that will actively inculcate an exceptionally hardline version of Islam, leading to more of more such in the future?

Not really. Where's the cost? Maybe to the Russians. That's how it was for decades.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 30, 2021, 09:41:30 PM
To the Russians?  They're not even the Assistant Lesser Satan for those groups.  Interesting take though.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on August 31, 2021, 12:28:12 AM
We seem to be much better at creating failed states that are havens for terror than propping up their alternatives. Like trying to prop up the shah, and creating the Islamic revolution, or trying to prop up the Mujahideen and creating the taliban. Our removing Sadam and paving the way for isil.

Maybe we should sit on our f-ing hands for a decade or two.

Maybe we
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 31, 2021, 04:28:44 PM
I'll agree with you on all three of those.  I feel obliged to make that clear, especially as John Bolton is on UK's Channel 4 News right now, and feeling rather unclean that I might happen to agree with him to any extent whatsoever on Afghanistan.

Somehow, I don't see the US sitting on its hands geopolitically for 20 minutes, never mind 20 years.  The trouble is there's a big Glass Hammer mentality.  Huge strike capability, absolutely no staying power whatsoever.  Doesn't bode well for the broader political struggles, say with China.  If you think a bunch of hairy-arsed Hillfolk in the Afghan mountains take a long-term view, try a five-millennia-old empire for size.

Doesn't bode well for Europe either, that can't even be bothered to buy the hammer in the first place, has just had arguably its premier military power (France would disagree, obvs) withdraw from its main multinational organisation, and has no common foreign or defence policy.  And is hardly likely to get one, while its members remain split between "ride shotgun with the US" and "tsk loudly at the US"
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on August 31, 2021, 04:53:39 PM
feeling rather unclean that I might happen to agree with [John Bolton] to any extent whatsoever on Afghanistan.

Probably a good moment to rethink your life...I can't help but think of Ramsey Bolton when I hear his name.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on August 31, 2021, 08:14:47 PM
Presumably a third cousin.  But one still has to apply the "if John Bolton told you not to jump off a cliff" test.

Mind you, he shares your cynicism about any sort of "nation building", and sees it entirely as "forward defence".  Now, how you do the one in a sustained manner without also doing the other, sadly the interviewer didn't have the gumption to ask.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: alai on September 01, 2021, 10:42:14 PM
The attempt to hang this partially or fully on Trump is underway, as if Trump is currently in charge.
"As if" Trump signed a withdrawal agreement with the Taliban.

I'm idly curious whether you'll pitch yourself as being on the "great agreement" wing of the Trumps, or the "one of the most disgraceful diplomatic bargains on record" Bush-neocon, though I think the likeliest bet is some sort of hyperpartisan contortion that fails to address the matter entirely.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on September 10, 2021, 08:38:38 AM
I guess it's too late for this now but one option for Afghanistan that we could have brought up for them is the draft.

What do we have now, hundreds of thousands of able-bodied men and women running for their lives as refugees?

I remember during the Korean War how South Korean men would be picked up off the street and abducted into the South Korean Army, given a few days of training, and then sent to the front to fight for their country. Okay, I don't remember it personally but from watching M*A*S*H, but the point is that's what the Afghan government could have done.

Sure some of them might be cowards and traitors but if you've got hundreds of thousands the numbers will work on your side. Many countries have mandatory military service. Singapore, Israel, South Korea with the first two drafting women along with men. It's strange that Afghanistan wouldn't especially in a time like this. Almost like they'd rather get a nice two-fer, a new Islamist country along with the perfect excuse for a nice little hijrah. And Biden fell right into it.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on September 10, 2021, 10:16:09 AM
I guess it's too late for this now but one option for Afghanistan that we could have brought up for them is the draft.

We now know why the 'collapse' happened so fast,

Quote
The deals, initially offered early last year, were often described by Afghan officials as cease-fires, but Taliban leaders were in fact offering money in exchange for government forces to hand over their weapons, according to an Afghan officer and a U.S. official.

Over the next year and a half, the meetings advanced to the district level and then rapidly on to provincial capitals, culminating in a breathtaking series of negotiated surrenders by government forces, according to interviews with more than a dozen Afghan officers, police, special operations troops and other soldiers.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/15/afghanistan-military-collapse-taliban/

We quit paying them to be in the military and the Taliban paid them to surrender.  Mercenary forces don't fight if they don't get paid.  I'm curious how you think a draft would help if the officers are willing to be paid to surrender, and are perfectly ok with desertion?

You still have the mindset that the Taliban are 'invaders' but it is more like a civil war. - most of the people only have tribal loyalty not nationalism.  People not fighting the Taliban aren't due to 'cowardice' etc. - it is that they have no motivation to fight them
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on September 10, 2021, 10:23:13 AM
Honestly it is quite clever,

the US could probably save hundreds of billions by just buying off officers to surrender whenever we want to conquer a country.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on September 10, 2021, 10:56:16 AM
So maybe it was as hopeless as Biden in private was saying. I still like my draft idea though. If these people hate the idea of living under the Taliban so much that they are going to flee their country then they should have hated the idea of their country being under Taliban control enough to fight for it. If they are getting betrayed from within by their own government then they need to root out those traitors too. The people fleeing had years to step up and take control of their country. They didn't.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: LetterRip on September 10, 2021, 01:40:20 PM
So maybe it was as hopeless as Biden in private was saying. I still like my draft idea though. If these people hate the idea of living under the Taliban so much that they are going to flee their country then they should have hated the idea of their country being under Taliban control enough to fight for it. If they are getting betrayed from within by their own government then they need to root out those traitors too. The people fleeing had years to step up and take control of their country. They didn't.

The 'flee the country' are mostly the wealthier individuals who already have foreign ties and their dependents, the individuals that helped the US, and more 'liberal' women.  Military age men aren't generally the group leaving.  They don't really allow women in their military (there were a bit less than 5,000 women in procurement and administration roles).

"Traitor" doesn't really apply, most loyalties are tribal there isn't a shared national identity.  If Canada, the US, and Mexico were declared as "North Americastan" and a government set up in Mexico, would you consider yourself a 'traitor' for not supporting the government of "North Americastan".

https://thediplomat.com/2020/04/who-is-an-afghan/

https://culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/afghan-culture/afghan-culture-core-concepts
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Crunch on September 20, 2021, 08:48:10 AM
So 13 service members were killed in a terrorist attack. One that the Biden administration was aware of but failed to warn the team on the ground. He left them hanging out to die.

But, he was gonna get even! Took out a terrorist target in response. Except:
Quote
Gen. McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, to announce no ISIS-K fighters killed in U.S. drone strike in Kabul Aug 29. 10 civilians killed, including 7 children in Toyota. No disciplinary action expected, officials say. US military stands by intel leading to strike.
That's just great, seven kids were killed so Biden could look tough. Just great.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on September 20, 2021, 09:37:20 AM
That's just great, seven kids were killed so Biden could look tough. Just great.

To be fair this is typical of drone strikes through multiple administrations, both the casual neglect of care, and the lying about the results.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on September 20, 2021, 01:21:25 PM
Quote
That's just great, seven kids were killed so Biden could look tough. Just great.

The buck stops at the leader however as a policy and in general its one the people demand or not pay to much attention to.   Kick the US once and we the US will kick you 10X fold... Seven Kids were kills so that America could look tough. As a people we don't get to wash our hands of it just by pointing to the individual "in charge" at the time.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: Fenring on September 20, 2021, 03:16:59 PM
The buck stops at the leader however as a policy and in general its one the people demand or not pay to much attention to.

I think it's safe to say that it's not a policy anyone ever demanded, and it's probably more accurate to say that most people are either leery of it or outright freaked out by it. It's one of those things that you hear about, and go "uh...I guess this is something they do now?" And there's nothing you can do about it because Presidents of both parties will do the same.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: rightleft22 on September 20, 2021, 03:40:05 PM
The buck stops at the leader however as a policy and in general its one the people demand or not pay to much attention to.

I think it's safe to say that it's not a policy anyone ever demanded, and it's probably more accurate to say that most people are either leery of it or outright freaked out by it. It's one of those things that you hear about, and go "uh...I guess this is something they do now?" And there's nothing you can do about it because Presidents of both parties will do the same.

I might agree with you if over the last 20+ years this unfortunate happenings didn't keep happening. At some level the people are ok with it even if 'leery' and or 'freaked' out out, Its not enough to demand a different response.

I'm thinking more generally when I use the word policy, its not explicit but based on the repeated happenings could be implied.

3000 people died in 2001 and vengeance was a key motivator for the 'justice' sought and the 100X + price inflicted which included a lot of civilians directly and indirectly. The demand for vengeance may have been dressed up as 'justice' but we all know what the motivation behind the 'justice' was.
I may be freaked out by such numbers but that does not mean I get to look away and pretend innocence of the methods of which the country reacted.

After the attack on the airfield Biden's words, were words of vengeance, if not explicitly, in tone and I didn't hear to many voices speaking out against such vengeance. I can pretend that the collateral killings were unexpected. But I would be lying.   
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: cherrypoptart on September 20, 2021, 05:04:36 PM
"Seven Kids were kills so that America could look tough."

They were also killed because of the reliance on over the horizon warfare tactics. It's a tragic irony and quickly fatal repudiation of Biden's assurances too because we were promised that we could still strike effectively at terrorists even after we pulled out using such means and the very first time it results in this type of tragic mistake, one that could have been avoided with ground intel. Unfortunately those ground assets were all sent underground and into hiding or fleeing for their lives when we unleashed the Taliban on them.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on September 20, 2021, 05:18:14 PM
I talked before about the kill em all strategy. Twenty years of collaboration "on the ground" only gave us handfuls of dubious strikes in the first place. Just fire away on poor intelligence, we're bound to hit some terrorists.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDeamon on September 21, 2021, 02:23:27 PM
"Seven Kids were kills so that America could look tough."

They were also killed because of the reliance on over the horizon warfare tactics. It's a tragic irony and quickly fatal repudiation of Biden's assurances too because we were promised that we could still strike effectively at terrorists even after we pulled out using such means and the very first time it results in this type of tragic mistake, one that could have been avoided with ground intel. Unfortunately those ground assets were all sent underground and into hiding or fleeing for their lives when we unleashed the Taliban on them.

The ongoing battle between the Air Force(and other proxies/equivalents) and every other organization still continues. Technology and air power alone are not, and never will be, adequate to the task of assuring America's military objectives on their own.

Unless we're willing to become a completely callous society as it relates to both how we wage war, and how we view the lives of others in that context.

You're never going to avoid the need for "boots on the ground" the best you can do is limit the number of them you need.
Title: Re: Afghanistan
Post by: TheDrake on September 21, 2021, 06:34:58 PM
"Seven Kids were kills so that America could look tough."

They were also killed because of the reliance on over the horizon warfare tactics. It's a tragic irony and quickly fatal repudiation of Biden's assurances too because we were promised that we could still strike effectively at terrorists even after we pulled out using such means and the very first time it results in this type of tragic mistake, one that could have been avoided with ground intel. Unfortunately those ground assets were all sent underground and into hiding or fleeing for their lives when we unleashed the Taliban on them.

The ongoing battle between the Air Force(and other proxies/equivalents) and every other organization still continues. Technology and air power alone are not, and never will be, adequate to the task of assuring America's military objectives on their own.

Unless we're willing to become a completely callous society as it relates to both how we wage war, and how we view the lives of others in that context.

You're never going to avoid the need for "boots on the ground" the best you can do is limit the number of them you need.

Tell that to Ender Wiggin. :)