Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Letter to the President

I am a strong supporter of the President and fear that Afghanistan is a quagmire that will drag him/us down. I am a retired military chaplain (COL). I have worked for several generals personally, have been in hundreds of staff meetings and I can tell the President one thing beyond a shadow of any doubt: generals always want more troops. I have enormous respect for General Petraeus and fighting a counter insurgency is a good strategy. However, we are talking years for it to work.

I am not going to get into those areas about Afghanistan that you know far better than me. But, it is a "tar baby" that cannot be won. More troops only means more American lives lost. Mr. President, I think your "out" is NATO. It is a NATO mission. Already we have the most troops in there and Nato needs to "pony" up. They're not going to do it. Next case. But, no more troops. My idea: Give it to the Taliban, establish a very liberal immigration policy, especially for women. And, then we can become the "insurgency." But, please Mr. President, no more troops. God bless you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Have you guys been reading the Doonesbury comic strip each day? The writer is drawing some pretty tight comparisons between Afghanistan and our sojourn in Vietnam. (getting involved in a civil war, propping up a questionable government, no desire among the populous for us to be there, lack of support from surrounding nations, etc.) What think ye? Don

I would not give us the chance of a snowball in hell in Afghanistan. When we have 50% of our force there being contractors, When we must oppose the nation’s only real cash crop. When we don’t have the guts as a nation and administration and media to fight a war, Even if our military had the highest morale, how do we win without a win mentality? What do we win? If we won it what would we do with it? Clyde

Wish I could see a better solution. I don’t have a family member or friend to donate to this venture, and anyway, I think we probably have already done all that we can reasonably do. We won. Let’s go home. Lamar

Good reasoning, Claude. Here is the contradiction I see for the US in Afghanistan: only a very aggressive (read bloody, with heavy civilian casualties) military effort would bring anything approaching a “win;” this administration, with increasing pressure from the political left, will find such efforts increasingly untenable. This is to not even mention growing American casualties, and our “allies” bailing out as the casualties mount. Lamar

I, too, am very concerned, but my conclusions are mixed. On the one hand, I'm convinced we should not fight except to win, though winning in Afghanistan might require killing most of the occupants of that land and surrounding countries; which we can't and should not do, not as Americans nor as NATO forces. Probably we should not fight to impose representative democracy on a people that don't have the basic values necessary for it to take root and grow, especially when we seem to be rapidly losing those essential values, ourselves.Perhaps, we should provide a buffer, is such is possible, for a specified period of time to allow the Afghans to take responsibility for their own, with the clear understanding that the will be on their own. But what do I know?

Clyde,I'm weary too, and some days I'm attempted to quit, to turn it off, so I can focus on things I feel I have some control over.But thenI think I'd be playing into the hands of some elements that intend to win by attrition as we opt out until they have full sway in all government branches and can more their designs forward to quickly and far that they can't be reversed short of heavy domestic bloodshed--and perhaps not even then, which they are sure we'd have no stomach for--and perhaps not even then. So I'm going to keep trying, like those young men/grunts did so long ago when their service for their country was repaid with demeaning comments and actions. I never could really understand at the feeling level what kept the grunts going in the face of imminent death there and in light of certain disrespect back home.
Lamar, I am with you. I would add one caveat: create an extremely liberal immigration policy for Afghan women. Let's at least give them a chance. I keep hearing that Pakistan is key. Agree but they need to figure that out. Claude

Claude, good comments but any way you cut it, it is muddled and symbolically, Vietnam, revisited, mainly in terms of how long we would need to be there. What we seem to intentionally ignore is the fact that we are dealing with a tribal people, mostly Muslim, mired in the Middle Ages. Why is this so hard for us to grasp? What I think is happening is the same thing as Vietnam: the generals leading the president down the primrose path of more troops, a military victory. It can't happen.