Tag Archives: Surge

Whatever Happened To The Argument About The Surge?

Former vice president Dick Cheney came out a few days ago with another of his angry tirades against President Obama and Democrats who he believes are less than true patriots. The man of anger was upset because Obama was taking time reviewing strategy in Afghanistan. Cheney exploded because he does not like dilly-dallying and wants the president to have the courage of George Bush in his famous “surge.” As I recall, the surge was designed to end violence in Iraq and restore the semblance of law and order. Ironically, Cheney’s ranting came a day before suicide bombers in Iraq killed over 130 people, including key members of Baghdad’s city council. Just about every day in Iraq there is at least one example of a suicide bomber or a car bomber blasting away at people.

Cheney views the surge as “successful” even as hundreds die of violence. Yes, the surge was responsible for reducing the level of violence, but there is no evidence it solved the inherent problem of violence in Iraq. As usual, Dick an Don and George never had a grasp of Iraqi politics or the fundamental issues that divide groups in Iraq. It will take more than a surge in Iraq or Afghanistan to confront the reality of religious disagreements and clan rivalries.

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?

What Will Be The Cost Of Afghan War?

It is almost eight years since American forces smashed their way into Afghanistan along with anti-Taliban militants and within a month had rid the country of its hated rulers. It apparently was a quick victory, and it was expected that an Afghan army would be trained to assume control of the nation. Hundreds of billions of dollars later, the United States is just beginning to organize the semblance of an Afghan army while the government is still run by tribal rulers who regard government as a means to gain wealth.

Steven Biddle, of the Council on Foreign Relations, emphasizes “we will need a large combat presence for many years to come, and we will probably need a large financial commitment for longer than that.” Over 700 American troops have died fighting in Afghanistan and the current rate since Obama ordered a “surge” is running at close to twenty-five to thirty a month.

The real question is whether the American people will support a decade long involvement in Afghanistan without evidence there is a commitment on the part of the Afghan government for honest, effective leadership. It would not be shocking if the central political issue in the 2012 presidential reason is “who got us involved in Afghanistan?”

Military Children In Need Of Mental Care!

The number of children with members of their family in the armed forces who now seek outpatient mental health assistance has doubled since the ill fated Bush invasion of Iraq. Nearly two million children who had at least one parent in the military asked for mental health assistance during the past year. In 2003, about one million of these children were asking for mental health but now the number has doubled. There is some evidence the number increased alongside the famous “surge” of troops fighting in Iraq. We are a nation which compels members of the military to have a third or fourth deployment in combat zones so it is no surprise their children will be undergoing stress. Patricia Barron of the National Military Family Association says there is evidence children are taking more medication and displaying signs of anxiety and depression.

President Obama is sending thousands of troops into Afghanistan where the fighting will be dangerous and for some soldiers it will be still another deployment away from family. Isn’t it about time the president bit the bullet and requested Congress to reintroduce the draft in order to equalize the burden of defending freedom within their entire nation?

Colin Powell Wanted A Surge Before Bush Spoke

A war that lasts six years invariably results in either loss of or distortion of memory by those who lived through the experience. A Fox News version offers a view that Iraq was a mess until George Bush got the brilliant idea for a surge of troops. Of course, even before the invasion of March, 2003, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged an invasion force of about 300,000 in order to deal with violence that would break out once the fighting ended. He was fired for that advice by the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld trio. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told CNN that Bush made a tragic mistake by not dispatching more troops once the formal stage of fighting had ended. According to Powell, “it took us, in my judgment, too long to recognize that we needed to put more force in.”

Rush, and Lou Dobbs, and Ann and the rest of the right wing media prefer inhabiting a world in which the truth has never knocked on their doors.

US Massive Operation Proceeds In Afghanistan

The long awaited American military effort in Afghanistan to replicate the so-called success of the “surge” is now underway in the province of Helmand and areas which have not seen American or Afghanistan soldiers in years. Operation Khanjar(Strike of the Sword) has poured thousands of Marines into combat with the Taliban in an effort to flood the area with so many soldiers it will be impossible for the Taliban to exert their authority. As General Nicholson notes, “the intent is to go big, go strong, go fast, and by doing so we are going to save lives on both sides.” Initial reports indicate many members of the Taliban are retreating to higher ground.

Unfortunately, the belief that following the success of the “Iraq Surge” will produce similar results in Afghanistan. But, it is still unclear as to the meaning or permanence of the Iraq surge. The surge itself stemmed initially from support of Sunni Awakening Councils which threw their men and arms into the fight against al-Qaeda. No such group exists in Afghanistan and without the support of local groups, no number of soldiers in themselves will be able to consolidate retention of land. As of this point, there is no evidence a functioning efficient government exists in Afghanistan.

Yes, American soldiers can proceed fast, but it is not speed that counts, but the support of the local population.

US Surge Begins In Afghanistan

The American surge led by new forces stationed in Afghanistan has begun to attack Taliban forces. Close to 3,000 new troops are in action in areas around the capital of Kabul in order to restore the ability of the government to conduct its business without interference from militants. Taliban insurgents have fired on the troops placed roadside bombs but so far there have been few casualties. Col. David Haight believes that many Afghans are serving with the Taliban because they receive pay rather than based on ideological factors. On the other hand, Governor Atiqullah Ludin argues “there is a gap between the people and the government” and lack of economic opportunities has led to the growth in militancy.

A common complaint by honest Afghan officials is that all too often American and coalition forces act on the basis of incorrect information which enables an individual to take revenge against an enemy. A major problem is that innocent civilians get killed during military operations. That factor might be more important than needing a job.

Americanizing Afghan War- Will It Succeed?

The new year promises to witness an Americanization of the war in Afghanistan with introduction of about 30,000 American troops to augment coalition forces. Within the coming months, American generals will be calling the shots in deciding military strategy. An experienced US general, John Nicholson will soon command in the South which has been the scene of extensive British, Dutch, and Canadian action. “By introducing more U.S. capability,”says Nicholson, “we have the potential to change the game.” The assumption of American strategy is more troops, more cooperation from local clan leaders and more effective use of military capacity will result in victory.

There are many assumptions, among the most is the ability to replicate in Afghanistan success in Iraq. Of course, there are vast differences between the two countries. Iraq had a well educated population and the capability of utilizing modern ideas. Will this be true of the more economically backward Afghan population?

Are More Troops Less Effective In Afghanistan

During the last election Barack Obama assured the American people we would not “lose” in Afghanistan and the best way to assure that victory was sending in more troops. Secretary of Defense Gates is now struggling with the process of winding down in Iraq as we jump start the military effort in Afghanistan. The assumption of sending 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan from Iraq is based on the belief a “surge” worked in Iraq and will work in another country. A major factor in the success of the “surge” was the work of about 100,000 Sunnis who got tired of al-Qaeda and decided to turn against them. However, a large number of tribal chiefs in Afghanistan prefer the Taliban whose religious ideas are more in accord with their traditional way of life. Another 20,000 or 30,000 troops in Afghanistan will not wok unless support is assured from within the country.

A major mistake of the Bush administration was failing SEVEN YEARS AGO to create an effective national army that would have represented nationality instead of localism. It may be too late to make up for that tragic error. The real issue in Afghanistan is creating a coalition of tribal chiefs. The greatest drawback in achieving that goal is that tribal chiefs think more in accord with Taliban ideas than progressive forces in Afghanistan.

McCain–Still Doesn’t Understand Afghanistan

Senator John McCain ran a political campaign that was characterized by ignorance beginning with his selection of the idiot from Alaska as his running mate. McCain is in Afghanistan and reported the situation will get worse before it gets better, ‘just like the surge in Iraq was.” He called for more troops as most important to win the war in Afghanistan. The senator is traveling with his good friends, Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham, a trio that does not have a clue as to what is needed in Afghanistan. During the campaign, Senator McCain on several occasions got confused and thought Iraq bordered on Afghanistan. He apparently still does not understand Afghanistan is geographically larger than Iraq, more mountainous, and split into tribes and clans in ways unknown to Iraq. The Taliban is respected in many parts of Afghanistan and has close working relations with Pakistan secret intelligence.

There is no connection in terms of strategy between Afghanistan and Iraq. There are currently 62,000 US and NATO forces attempting to cover an area larger than Texas– but with mountains. Senator McCain still doesn’t understand there is no such thing in sight as “victory” because no one even knows what that entails. The best at this point is a political, and economic focus which, most probably, would result in restructuring Afghanistan into smaller units centered around tribes.