Tag Archives: US troops

Will Iraq Ask US Troops To Remain After Deadline?

President Obama has established a deadline for the departure of American troops from Iraq which in theory has a firm deadline of 2011, but in reality there is considerable flexibility regarding when the last American soldier leaves Iraq. Geneeral Ray Odierno insists “I think that Iraq leadership is focused on that this ends in 2011.” Even as he spoke, there was a continuation of bombings in Iraq which apparently is escalating over the past few weeks. Odierno believes during the ensuing 18 months of a large scale American presence, the last remnants of al-Qaida will be destroyed either by American or Iraq forces. But, General Odierno did admit, “In a few key areas, Iraq will have to make a decision on whether they are ready to control the entire operations areas.”

A major unanswered question is what happens if Iraqi forces are still struggling to contain al-Qaida in 2011? Does that mean American troops will be compelled to remain? In reality, the real date for departure has yet to be clearly determined.

When US Soldiers Depart, What Happens?

As the date draws closer for the departure of American soldiers in Iraq, there are many unresolved problems such as will Iraqi troops be sufficient to handle the ensuing issues of law and order. Mosul, the nation’s third largest city and still a strong supporter of al-Qaida is watching with anxiety what will occur once the last US troops are gone. “If you don’t have the Americans this is not going to be good,” said captain, Ahmed, “I cannot take care of it” and he refused to give his last name out of fear of retaliation. American military leaders fear the capacity of al-Qaida to renew violence once the Americans leave.

A problem still impacting Iraq is that al-Qaida still have some strongholds and most probably its soldiers are lying low waiting for the Iraq government to be in full charge. The unanswered question is whether President Obama will decide to maintain thousands more US troops even though they are expected to leave by the end of 2011. In a nutshell, when, if ever, will it be safe to just pack up and leave. Does anyone know?

Obama’s Folly In Afghanistan

President Barack Obama has acted decisively to address America’s domestic problems and has shown an ability to identify issues and suggest solutions. However, his Afghanistan policy is marked by the opposite qualities of lack of inability to identify key issues or offer intelligent solutions. Within a month after taking office, he dispatched 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan on the assumption there was need for “more” troops. About 4,000 soldiers from 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team are being deployed to service in Afghanistan after returning from a tour in Iraq. They will shortly be followed by more troops and more troops on the mistaken assumption the problem is lack of soldiers and the solution is sending more soldiers.

The Obama solution is the exact one followed by the Soviet Union which eventually sent over 150,000 troops to Afghanistan and then departed in defeat. It is relatively easy to defeat an Afghan government, but extremely difficult to control the entire nation whose geography and historical resistance to outsiders lends itself to guerrilla warfare and a willingness to fight on and on into the indefinite future.

Obama must first step back, take a deep breath, and clearly identify key issues and alternative solutions. I do not wish to offer “the solution,” but it is necessary in Afghanistan to be absolutely positive as to the problem and alternative solutions. President Obama fails on both these points.

Afghanistan War May Last –Forever?

The war in Afghanistan is now over seven years long with no prospect of any end in the forseeable future. That means it has lasted longer than WWI and WWII combined. A new report being issued by the United States Institute for Peace predicts any attempt to establish peace in Afghanistan will most probably entail at least a decade or so. It claims there were unrealistic goals from day one of the operation and seven years later there are still no realistic goals in sight. Current plans are for shifting thousands of troops from Iraq to Afghanistan on the assumption more is better. Of course, Afghanistan is NOT Iraq and is more mountainous and geographically more difficult in fighting against guerrilla warfare insurgents.

Step one according to the report is for newly elected Barack Obama to work with military leaders and develop the semblance of realistic goals for what is to be accomplished in Afghanistan. By this time next year there might be 50,000 US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and by 2012, there might be…………?

New American Afghan Plan Is An Old Plan

A year ago, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested a plan that would arm local militias in order to get ordinary citizens involved in fighting the Taliban. The idea was dismissed by US military officials who believed such a plan would take away responsibility for local peace from the National Police. As always, the Bush administration dismisses ideas that are not their own and finally after their continual blunders gets around to understanding ideas from non-American sources might actually have some merit. Yesterday, the United States military unveiled a NEW plan which calls for arming local militias in an effort to replicate the success of arming Sunni groups in Iraq. The NEW PLAN undoubtedly will be hailed as another example of the brilliance of General Petraeus.

Naturally, the British who originally had the plan were not provided information about the PLAN since in the Bush administration, secrecy and deceit are what is most prized. Local people will now be trained, equipped, and provided support from coalition forces in order to fight the Taliban.

At points, an outside observer would welcome for once the Bush administration actually coming up with a successful idea on their own or acknowledging they get ideas from other sources.

US Military Fears Thousands More Needed In Afghanistan

Pentagon officials increasingly have concluded there is need for almost double the number of soldiers currently in Afghanistan if the Taliban are to be controlled. Current plans call for dispatching about 10,000 more troops, but the general consensus is at least 20,000 must be sent in order to get the Taliban under control. They need helicopter units, intelligence teams, engineers, medical staff, and soldiers who are able to spend time training the Afghans in how to conduct military operations. Conditions in Afghanistan are much more complex due to more extensive mountains and the reality many Afghans support the Taliban.

Perhaps, George Bush can explain why over the past seven years an Afghan army was not trained and equipped. Why in 2008 is this a topic to be considered? The entire mess that is Afghanistan was created by Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney who were bent on invading Iraq despite the need to maintain a large force in Afghanistan to crush the Taliban. Ironically, the troops will be coming from Iraq when seven years ago if those same troops had been kept in Afghanistan there would be no problems in Iraq.

Pakistan Furious At US Attack

The government of Pakistan is angry at what it terms an American incursion within its territory that resulted in the death of 20 civilians including women and children. The attack occurred in a remote South Waziristan village. Pakistan officials claim three helicopter gunships and commandos were involved in a pre-dawn attack on a house in the village. Witnesses said troops entered the house of a local tribesman, opened fire, and threw a bomb into the house. Pakistan military officials said they had the right to retaliate against those who conducted the operation. Prime Minister Gilani termed the attack “cowardly” and “outrageous” and expressed his anger that US forces were conducting military operations within his nation without authorization of the Pakistan government.

There is no doubt Taliban and al-Qaeda forces operate within Pakistan territory. The issue that has yet to be adequately addressed is how best to deal with this situation. American military leaders want action, Pakistan government officials want to use negotiation. Until that difference is bridged this will not be an isolated incident.

Gates Promises More Troops In Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told reporters in Bucharest the United States was committed to extend its military presence in Afghanistan. He indicated President George Bush had told European nations attending the NATO meeting that more American soldiers would be dispatched to Afghanistan next year in addition to the 31,000 who presently serve. Gates also made clear that additional troops going to Afghanistan would not be impacted by any withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.

The Gates comment reflects the determination of President Bush to continue his non-effective military ideas in Afghanistan. American troops have been fighting in that nation for nearly seven years and there is scant evidence the current strategy is working to defeat the Taliban. An emphasis upon military “victory” has always been prominent in the ideas of Bush although all indications are Afghanistan needs political and economic issues addressed. For example, farmers depend on the poppy crop and they cooperate with the Taliban who help them get out this important financial crop. Some experts have suggested purchasing the entire poppy crop to win farmers over and deny the Taliban an important source of revenue. This type of thinking is not going to occur as long as Bush is president.

Japanese Furious Over Rape Case On Okinawa

The Japanese government is furious over the alleged rape of a 14 year old girl on Okinawa by a United States Marine named Tyrone Hadnott. The Marine admits he forced the girl to kiss him but denies raping her. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said the action “is unforgivable. It has happened over and over again in the past and I take it as a grave case.” Japan’s Defense Minister said the alleged rape case would have a serious impact on U.S.-Japanese relations.

For some reason, there are still 50,000 American soldiers stationed in Japan fifty years after the conclusion of the Korean War. The initial reason for their presence was concern over a possible war with China and the fact there had been an armistice in Korea between opposing forces. There no longer is any danger from China and both North and South Korea are working to resolve their differences. Perhaps, it is time to end the presence of 50,000 members of the military in Japan and have them used in regions where their presence could make a difference such as Afghanistan. If 50,000 soldiers are kept in any nation, the chance of such incidents occurring must happen. The war in Afghanistan cries out for more troops.

Sunni Militants Vow Action Against US Over Gaza

A coalition of five Sunni militant groups issued a joint statement which promises to increase attacks on American troops because of US support of Israel’s policies in the Gaza strip. The announcement by the “Iraqi Resistance Campaign To Help Gaza” appeared on the Internet. It described American and Israel leaders as “war ciminals” and promised the people of Gaza that help would shortly arrive promising although they were fighting “the enemies of God in Iraq, this will not deter from helping our brothers(Palestinians) because the enemy is one and the victim is one.”

This announcement should not be surprising because Muslim miilitants seek to create anger within the American army against Israel. They want US soldiers to believe if one of them is killed it all stems from Israel actions in Gaza. The situation in Gaza must be resolved and if it is, Islamic militants will still be fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.