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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.

15 July 2010

Time lines and exit strategies

I was listening to NPR last night (an awful lot of my posts start that way….) and their reporter in Kandahar was talking about his time in Marjah with the Marines that are fighting there. This reporter did something that I haven’t heard other reporters do thus far. He asked the Marine about the much publicized July withdrawal date and it’s effect on the battle. His answer sums up exactly why setting dates like this is such an immensely STUPID thing to do militarily.

The Marine said that the Taliban were using this as their main propaganda tool. They would tell people in the villages, “The Americans are leaving in July. WE will still be here.” The implicit threat there is clear. We may not be able to kill you today while they are here, but we will kill come back when they are gone. Now of course the truth, as we all know, is that in July the President will make some symbolic pull out so he can say, “See, I started the withdrawal.” And then the main forces will stay. But even this gives the Taliban a symbolic victory. They will be able to say, “Look! We are so powerful we forced the Americans to stay and prop up Karzai. Without them, you are all dead.” All of our fancy nuanced political jabber about phased gradual withdrawals doesn’t mean a thing to an Afghan farmer. He hears withdrawal in July and believes we are going to pack up and go home. He looks around his neighborhood and what does he see? A bunch of American (NATO) troops fighting a bunch of Taliban. He has to decide in he believes that the Americans will kill all the Taliban before they leave, or, if they are going to go away and leave him to the Talibs. That is not a comforting thought.

Now here is the thing that frustrates me. If the Afghans are such tough fighters as legend makes them out to be, why are the non Taliban majority so terrified of the Taliban? They have them out numbered. Why is it that if we accidentally kill civilians we drive people into the arms of the Taliban but when the Taliban deliberately kill civilians everyone just wrings their hands and bemoans the tragedy. What the hell happened to the Afghan spirit of vengeance? Why aren’t the relatives and sons of those murdered by the Taliban joining the Afghan Army to hunt down and kill the murders of their parents or children? Or just picking up the Family AK-47 and going walking down the road to house of a local Taliban supporter and shooting the traitorous SOB? (Actually thinking about it, this may be happening but the press just reports a guy was gunned down and they blame it on the Taliban. That is possible)

Another thing that annoys me is the press coverage of Taliban suicide attacks on US military posts like the one in Kandahar yesterday. This was a pointless waste of troops. It served no military function. The attackers all got killed with minor losses to our side but the press builds it up into some major screaming issues. Listen. A few guys willing to die to do it will always be able to attack a base, or a convoy, or a mall, or an embassy. Even if they are shot down in the street and inflict no casualties on friendly forces the press has an orgasm talking about the Bold Taliban attack. I know you guys in the press need blood to sell ads but really, could you stop creating PR victories for the enemy? Please?

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