Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Time to rethink Afghanistan September 25, 2012 by Kevin E. Dayhoff
In light of a recent dispatch from Michael Yon, “Stuck in the Mud,” 24September 2012, http://www.michaelyon-online.com/stuck-in-the-mud.htm, I am reminded of what I wrote back in March, 2012:
“Time to Rethink Afghanistan” by Kevin E. Dayhoff March 28, 2012
So far, 2012 has not been a good year for the war in Afghanistan. Just last Monday a New York Times/CBS poll quantified what most Americans already know in their gut: support for the war is dropping sharply among both Democrats and Republicans.
According to the Times’ article, “Support in U.S. for Afghan War Drops Sharply, Poll Finds,” “the survey (a copy of which may be accessed here,) found that more than two-thirds of those polled — 69 percent — thought that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan. Just four months ago, 53 percent said that Americans should no longer be fighting in the conflict, more than a decade old.”
Inadvertently, the Times article explained part of the problem when it quoted “Michael E. O’Hanlon, a military expert at the Brookings Institution, who is close to American commanders in Afghanistan, said that the opinion polls reflected a lack of awareness of the current policy…”
Yes, Mr. Hanlon, you are correct. Ten years of war and at this point in time, most Americans cannot tell you why we are still risking the lives of our young men and women.
The rest of the quote from Mr. Hanlon reads: “…the current policy, which calls for slowly turning over portions of the country to Afghan security forces, like the southern provinces, where American troops have tamped down the violence.
“I honestly believe,” said Mr. Hanlon, “if more people understood that there is a strategy and intended sequence of events with an end in sight, they would be tolerant…”
Here’s the takeaway: “The overall image of this war is of U.S. troops mired in quicksand and getting blown up and arbitrarily waiting until 2014 to come home. Of course, you’d be against it,” said Mr. Hanlon.
Bingo. Increasingly the overall image of this war has become the feckless foreign policy of sending young men and women into quicksand to get blown-up arbitrarily.
The additional context of the troubled mission-drift approach to the war may be found in a recent telling interview with the top commander in Afghanistan, detailed by Jennifer Hlad and Chris Carroll in Stars and Stripes.
U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen was quoted as saying that “he believes the majority of non-commissioned officers; staff NCOs and young officers are ‘extraordinarily well-trained.’
“Repeated tours in Afghanistan, and prior to that, in Iraq, don’t inherently reduce the effectiveness of the force or reduce the effectiveness of small-unit leadership… I’m confident the institution is solid,” said General Allen in the article, “Allen: Investigation of Afghan killings to look at leadership climate.”
Anecdotally and unscientifically, all intuition and instincts indicate that General Allen has unwittingly responded to what has been, heretofore, only whispers in the hallway… http://www.thetentacle.com/ShowArticle.cfm?mydocid=5001
Time to Rethink Afghanistan by Kevin E. Dayhoff March 28, 2012 The Tentacle http://tinyurl.com/8a4emqm
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