a Someone should care, maybe not you....: Afghanistan, someone is learning...... .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

10 June 2008

Afghanistan, someone is learning......

There is an article in todays New York Times that talks about how a Marine company in Afghanistan is using the lesson learned in Iraq to pacify a village.

The village of Hazarjoft in Helmand province had been cleared of the Taliban before. Several times. Unfortunately the previous method had involved sending troops in, chasing the Taliban out and then going back to where the troops came from. Teh Taliban promptly comes back too and it is rinse, wash and repeat. One would think we would have learned this lesson. This didn't work in Vietnam (for the French or for the US). It didn't work in Iraq, it doesn't work in Colombia, in point of fact, I can't think of a single situation ANYWHERE were clearing then going back to base has worked.

Well this time the Marines set up camp there. They have been there for a month and the villagers are starting to come back. Marines are saying that the only way to stabilize the area to win over a majority of the population and empower them to resist the Taliban. Just like they did in Anbar Province in Iraq last year. This is of course so obvious that one would think everyone knows it. But it seems not becasue we keep screwing it up. (Does anyone at all think there would be peace in Bosnia now if we hadn't planted THOUSANDS of troops there and left them for years?)
The villagers are not totally convinced yet. They, for some reason. seem tot think the American troops will up and leave and a week or two. (Gee I wonder why they would that idea?) And then of course, the Taliban would start coming back.

What the marines are doing is good but it won't amount to much unless there is a serious effort at a command level to change how things are done. We can hope it will happen. Odds on that? Slim.

And Afghan elder sums the situation up best.

“If NATO really wants to bring peace and make us free from harm from the Taliban,” he said, “they must make a plan for a long-term stay, secure the border area, install security checkpoints along the border area, deploy more Afghan National Army to secure the towns and villages, and then the people will be able to help them with security."

Maybe someone in a position of authority will listen to him.


Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Americans sometimes take awhile to learn things. Heh, that's how we are, but we eventually do.

Marines are saying that the only way to stabilize the area to win over a majority of the population and empower them to resist the Taliban.

I hope this happens. The Afghani people are smart. We have a lot of them here. We just need to be persistent and not alienate them, but instead win over their hearts and minds. Set up opportunities.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I have to wonder...when and if we are ever going to be in a position to leave places like this.

I understand the reasoning for staying now. I understand to some degree why we are there. But at some point dont they have to be able to stand alone? And I get the impression its never going to happen.

Or maybe this is just my personal frustraitions with it all..I have a lot of very mixed feelings about all this right now.

8:22 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

ZS - Americans learn. I have a lot less faith in our governmental structure and military bureaucracy. but we can Hope.

Jen - I can understand that frustration you are feeling. Our leadership is not doing a great job of handling this mess. It will take awhile though. Most rational assessments at the beginning thought it would take a minimum of ten years.
My fear is that if (when?) the Democrats win the presidency they will flee from Iraq and then promptly flee from Afghanistan too. Thus everything we have done will have been wasted effort. Yes we can (throw away two countries and the efforts and lives of thousands of soldiers and civilians from all around the world)

8:51 AM  
Blogger opit said...

I'm still watching what they do more than listening to what they say. The plan is not peace.
When you're ready to read : check 'Best Posts' on the Links page.

9:43 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Interesting report OPIT. Can't argue with it at all but frankly it is irrelevant now. Whether we should have invaded or not, or how many troops we should have used, or even how we should have handled the immediate post invasion occupation are neat questions for historians but mean nothing in the here and now. We did invade, we did break the country and now we have an obligation to try and fix it. And Obama's pulling troops out in 90 days certainly won't help anything. (Well, the Mehdi Army will be pretty happy)

2:41 PM  
Blogger opit said...

And I say your proposal is not merely unrealistic but disastrous. Foreigners raising holy hell are the problem. The NIE said baldly US activity would make terrorism worse. That hasn't changed.
Staying to fix things...won't. It will, however perpetuate and expand crisis, even beyond Iraq's borders. That too is an obvious reading of the analysis.
Take a look at 'progress' in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Turkey hasn't been heard from much of late. That can change.
Pouring gasoline on a fire has predictable results.

10:30 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

On that issue I think we will just have to agree to disagree then. I look at eh current situation in Iraq as greatly improving. That will turn around if we bug out.

9:10 AM  

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