Tag Archives: Petraeus

WE’RE IN IT TO WIN, SAYS PETRAEUS

General Petraeus assumed command of the 140,000 European and American troops in Afghanistan as former commander General Stanley McChyrstal left the scene. There was no surprise or shock about what the new leader of forces had to say concerning goals in this Asian nation. “We have reached a critical moment. We must demonstrate to al-Qaeda and its network of extremist allies that they will not be allowed to establish safe havens in Afghanistan.” He promised one and all that “we’re in it to win.” Of course, there was no explanation as to what “win” meant in operational terms. Even as he spoke, Afghan President Karzai denounced claims there was corruption in his country as “baseless” and went on to assure the media that after discussions with Petraeus, it was clear, “anti-corruption was the main part of the war against terrorism.” A glance at previous comments by military leaders assuming command in Afghanistan will produce similar promises about winning and not losing.

The main confusion I feel relates to the following:

Karzai statement that talk about corruption is “baseless.”

Karzai statement the war requires emphasis on “anti-corruption.”

Does this mean once we persuade the Taliban to end their corruption, then we “win?”

DEADLINES OR NO DEADLINES

President Barack Obama thought he had resolved a problem with relieving General McChrystal of his command in Afghanistan, but it becomes increasingly clear in so doing the proverbial can of worms was opened. Senator John McCain, fighting to win a primary against a Tea Party opponent, decided the time was now for him to draw upon his military credentials and challenge the president on his war strategy. “you cannot tell your enemy,” said the senator, ” when you’re leaving in warfare and expect your strategy to prevail. That’s just a fundamental of warfare.” In one sense, McCain has a valid point about letting the enemy know when you leave the battlefield, but the question is whether in so doing the object of that information is the enemy or your ally in Kabul? As long as incompetent, corrupt President Karzai knows there will be US and NATO forces in his nation, there will be no move to end corruption and inefficiency.

Another problem is by appointing General Petraeus, the president is now trapped in a dilemma. The general has repeatedly made clear.”we have to be careful of deadlines.” What happens if Petraeus wants to hold off on sending troops home, does Obama fire him?

Petraeus Told To Adjust Tactics

The Pentagon almost unanimously agreed with the dismissal of General McChrystal for insubordination and backed the appointment of General Petraeus as the new commander in Affghanistan. Joint chief of Staff chair, Admiral Mike Mullen, said: “Any new commander, General Petraeus included, will go in, assess his command, and what is it going to take to achieve the mission.” He has the flexibility to introduce new tactics or any changes that are necessary. Mullen, admitted he was “nearly sick” when he first read the Rolling Stone article. “Literally, physically, I couldn’t believe it.” Of course, he basically admitted current tactics would be pursued, although there might be adjustments.

Reality, is that General McChyrstal violated his West Point training, but the unanswered question is whether a new general will obtain the old or new results. This blog doubts the end result will be altered, but we offer the Pentagon good wishes on their old ideas.

Did Surge Result In Surge Of Violence?

For over a year, supporters of the Iraq was have cited the famous “surge” which they claim ended violence and proved America could win the war in Iraq, with or without WMD. General David Petraeus, who designed the surge, now expresses the view of being very concerned about the growing escalation in violence within Iraq– a year after the surge. However, according to General Petraeus while violence is escalating in Iraq, “it is a heck of a lot less than the height of violence in Iraq.”

His comments are reassuring. Now, we know there is an escalation of violence in Iraq, but it is not as bad as two years ago. Question: Exactly when does the surge lead to no more surges in violence?

“Shovels, Tractors, Teaching Degrees In Afghanistan”

General Petraeus summed up the real issues confronting American and NATO forces in Afghanistan by saying what is most important for success is “shovels, tractors and teaching degrees.” He emphasized in fighting the Taliban it entailed “more than just killing or capturing terrorists and extremists.” A major problem in Afghanistan is focusing on the Taliban and not focusing enough on economic development, and providing jobs for Afghans. Of course, jobs in themselves are also not the “solution” because what is lacking in Afghanistan is any semblance of either a short or long term plan.

Unfortunately, General Petraeus can not discuss the major problem confronting the war in Afghanistan. From President Karzai down, the government is led by corrupt, incompetent individuals who line their pockets with money rather than ensure money flows into economic development. Unfortunately, General Petraeus as a military leader is unable to confront the major issue of –drugs. We focus energy on destroying drugs. How about purchasing the entire drug crop of farmers and depriving the Taliban of that source of revenue?

Pakistan Army Continues On Offense

Once upon a time a group of pleasant deer decided to tell the wolves of their desire for friendship and offered them free reign to control a major part of the forest and kill small animals for their food. Of course, the wolves became tired of eating squirrels when there were so many juicy looking deer walking around without any defenses. It didn’t take long before the deer noticed some of them were slowly disappearing as the wolves lit up fires to cook their food. Finally, a meeting of the deers decided to hire some tigers to get rid of the wolves and everyone lived happily ever after.

The Pakistan army has decided they can not lie down in peace with the Taliban wolves and have gone on the offense. American general David Petraeus says Pakistan military and civilian leaders have “demonstrated considerable resolve in the past several weeks” and are driving the Taliban out of major areas where they were attempting to install sharia law. It took a long time, but Pakistan’s military, civilian and clerics finally wised up the goal of the Taliban was to install their ideas in every aspect of society.

It’s Going To Be A Rough Summer In Afghanistan!

During the past eight years of American military involvement in Afghanistan, we repeatedly heard from George Bush that everything was OK and soon the enemy would be destroyed. General David Petraeus finally ushered in a new era by bluntly telling the truth. He admitted the number of attacks in Afghanistan the past few weeks was the highest since the war began eight long years ago. “But, there is no question the situation has deteriorated over the course of the past two years in particular and difficult times are ahead.” The era of Bushism and Cheneyism is over, the truth is finally out– there is no easy road ahead. American troops are pushing the fight into rural areas in order to make contact with the Taliban in order to have direct combat rather than allow them to continually place bombs on roads and engage in hit and run activities.

It will be a rough summer and the number of American casualties will rise. There will be renewed efforts to use air power in such a manner as to avoid killing civilians and recruiting rural areas into the Taliban. The Afghanistan pattern most probably will not follow what happened during the surge in Iraq– it will be slower to reveal signs of progress. That is the truth.

More Troops To Afghanistan Says Petraeus

General Petraeus announced the dispatch of an additional 20,000 troops to Afghanistan in an effort to restore some semblance of order to a nation which has slowly been descending into chaos. There are currently 60,000 foreign troops in that battered nation of whom about 30,000 are American. The additional troops raises the level of American forces to almost half of the number presently in Iraq. General Petraeus said it was important to separate the “irreconcilables” from the “reconcilables” among the insurgents. Certainly, Iraq proved the need to uncover among those who are hostile to the government.

More troops from America or Europe will not solve Afghan problems. If anything, it is important to focus on economic and political development along with military action.

Petraeus Says Osama bin Laden Not That Important

General David Petraeus is not that concerned about whether or not Osama bin Laden is captured because is it unclear if he really is the top leader of Al-Qaeda. “While it would be very, very important to kill or capture bin Laden, there are numerous other leaders who are …giving directions, who are determining the flow of resources, providing spiritual guidance and so forth.” A lesson that finally has been learned by American military forces is killing a leader of an organization which is driven by ideological feelings, does not result in a collapse. Of course, sometimes reports of “killing al-Qaeda leaders” may not actually result in the death of terrorists. Britain’s Sunday Times reported the so-called “killing of a Taliban leader” was actually the killing of a Pakistan officer.

Petraeus discussed the important of gaining the support of the population in order to isolate the Taliban from its base of support. However, a basic problem is that a large percent of the Afghan population prefers the traditional society of male domination and rule by clans rather than support the idea of a unified government. How does one gain the support of a population which disagrees with basic concepts of democracy?

Do Something Different In Afghanistan Says Petraeus

Seven years ago, American troops invaded Afghanistan working with tribal opponents of the Tallban and destroyed the fundamentalist regime. The world witnessed scenes of joyous Afghanis who welcomed the overthrow of the repressive Taliban and it was clear support for the fundamentalists was at a low point. As the Taliban fled, American troops did not pursue Osama bin Laden but allowed the al-Qaeda leader to gain safety in the mountainous regions on the border of Pakistan. During the ensuing years little was done by American forces to train, equip, and allow an Afghan army to assume responsibility for dealing with militants. Little was done to invest billions in creating jobs for Afghans by building an infrastructure or assisting farmers to develop crops other than poppy fields.

Yesterday, General Petraeus said a “comprehensive approach” is needed to deal with the war in Afghanistan. He believes it is necessary to reconcile with the Afghan population and work with Pakistan on border issues. Petraeus insists coalition and allied forces must be seen as “liberators,” not occupiers. But, they once had that reputation and lost it. Isn’t it time for Bush to take responsibility for losing the war in Afghanistan, after all, he claims he won the war in Iraq!