Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lives in the balance...

President Barack Obama has authorized sending 17,000 additional troops into Afghanistan.

The military operations will set up a string of bases and smaller combat outposts, allowing the troops to move around and engage in counterterrorism against foreign fighters and counterinsurgency operations against the Taliban and other local enemies, the official said.

The goal is to have enough troops to "seize and hold" territory and maintain basic security, which hasn't been possible under current troop levels, the official said. The Taliban continues to maintain at least half a dozen safe areas inside Afghanistan, which are prime targets for the U.S. military.

About 38,000 U.S. troops are currently serving in Afghanistan.

The increased troop levels are expected to last three to four years, the military official said.

Meanwhile, there have been three U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan since Obama took office, which really upsets me.

Will those in power not be satisfied until we have nuclear annihilation?

One war leads to another?

Was there any attempt at diplomacy and peaceful resolutions?


Christopher said...

I was afraid he would pull some bullshit like this.

You see, I didn't drink the koolaid vis a vis Barack Obama -- when he's correct, I cheer, when he's wrong, I blast him.

He's wrong on Afghanistan. This escalation of U.S. troops is a harbinger of Vietnam 2.0.

Dada said...

Same ol' same ol' -- Obama's just the new puppet front man for *The Corporation* (the real gov't).

Maybe instead of sending our youth, we should send in professional trained mercenary killers from Blackwater (er, "Xe" - sorry)

Whichever, I think we should check with the Russians -- see how many troops they used in Afghanistan to lose that one. It may be Obama needs to send more?

Christopher said...

Dada is correct.

The Ruskies were in Afghanistan for a decade and they had their asses handed to them.

Too bad American imperialism prevents us from seeing this.

Annette said...

He has always said he would do this... You guys need to stop and think a little before you start condeming him. He has ALWAYS said he would pull out of Iraq and refocus the war into Afghanistan and onto Al Queada and the Taliban who were the ones who attacked us on 9-11. That's what we should have done instead of going into Iraq in the first place. Now we are going to fight the correct war. No, I don't like the fact that we are having to do this. But maybe if we hadn't went to Iraq in the first place and stayed after Bin Laden like we should have we wouldn't have to be going back like this now.

Christopher said...

There's so much wrong in Annette's rant that I'm not sure where to begin.

First, it's al Qaeda, and not "Al Queada." Al Queada sounds like a dish at a Mexican restaurant.

Second, while there is no dispute that Bush had his head up his arse for invading and occupying Iraq, current intelligence reports from the CIA, NSA and Interpol about the region and the location of Osama bin Laden, all point to the 9/11 Mastermind not being in Afghanistan but in one of the tribal sanctuaries in northwestern Pakistan.

Third, a 2008 National Intelligence Estimate said al Qaeda "has regenerated its attack capability and secured a safe haven in Pakistan."

So, let's put this in perspective.

If invading and occupying the wrong country -- Iraq, was a mistake in 2003, what makes invading and occupying the wrong country -- Afghanistan, correct in 2009 when we know Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan?

Fran said...

al Qaeda, ~ "Al Queada

I've seen it spelled and pronounced in different ways.

You say "Al Queada
I say al Qaeda


While it is true Obama has announced for many months that he would send a surge, or escalate in Afghanistan, I did not think that would happen in his first 100 days, and I had hoped he would have taken the time to explore more options.
Afghanistan is a whole different place than Iraq, and so many people there live in poverty.
They are unable to oppose the Taliban or al Qaeda
(also sometimes spelled al Qaida) let's not get hung up on the spelling- we know what we are talking about- ok?) because they live in poverty in very rugged terrain.

I will refer to them as T (Taliban) & AQ (al qaeda)

I'd rather we spend the billions the would have been spent on war, helping the impoverished out of poverty, to be able to take back their country.

From their perspective, they have no good choices- either a ruthless insurgency-T & AQ, or the shockingly awful U.S. troops and their collateral damage, bomb the hell out of everything, including innocents, infrastructure, whtever is in their path.

They have witnessed what went down in Iraq, which to this day still does not have their infrastructure repaired and functional- with the exception of the green zone which has it's own water & electrical sources.

I am not launching a personal attack on anyone, but I will address this comment:

Now we are going to fight the correct war

In my opinion, there is NO CORRECT WAR.

War is never correct.
And there is a lot wrong with this one.
One big element in Afghanistan is the U.S troops last 8 years there, they have turned a blind eye to the poppy fields. One of Afghanistan's biggest gross national products is Heroin. Even the U.S. CIA states it is essentially the "supplier" for all of Europe. Drug trade is dirty, and often leads to greed and a maffia type situation. People die over this trade. The U.S. has let it flourish.

The One war leads to another concept is already in full swing. Drones are bombing Palistan, as the troops surge in Afghanistan.

Obama does not even have a freaking Sec. of Commerce, his own cabinet assembled & already the bombs are flying?

Not that I give a rat's ass about S of C, per se, but he does not even have his house in order & already with the war escalations (plural?) are happening.

Plus there is a general "Iraq was a success" type pronouncements going on while people are STILL killing & dying there. The notion that a saturation of troops will get an area under control can't be deemed successful unless or until the troop saturation is removed and the area remains under
If instability surges upon troop removal, then it was not a success. It is too early to know, and we do know the Soviet Union spent 10 years in Afghanistan before they finally gave up & left.

I had hoped Obama would be more cautious, and even tempered to listen to a variety of solutions and options before *jumping the gun* with military escalation.

As for bin Laden- the idea that if we were to capture or kill him the whole insurgent terrorist movement will be shut down or revenge achieved, is naive. There are plenty of madmen in this world to perpetuate violence.

I never bought the idea that the big bad superpower (USA) could not find this one guy (bin Laden). It was not our intent.

As for war in general-- each innocent person killed, or injured creates an new insurgent recruit.
Not only does Afghanistan not have oil....
they have a problem with potable drinking water.

Check out these stats:

Unemployment rate:
40% (2008 est.)
Population below poverty line:
53% (2003) *Probably much higher in 2009
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 44.21 years
male: 44.04 years
female: 44.39 years (2008 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 28.1%
male: 43.1%
female: 12.6% (2000 est.)

So we are waging a war in a country with a 28% literacy rate, age 44 life expectancy, and over 50% poverty rate.

These people don;t need bombs, they need bread!

I am not simplifying the situation. I am just vehemently opposed to war as a "solution".
The Iran to Afghanistan to Pakistan/Nuclear scenario should be a huge red flag for any thinking person with foresight.

We can not & should not afford this, and it troubles me that we are engaging in aggression in Pakistan without any Congressional approval. Pre-pre emptive wars are going another step in the wrong direction.

By the way, Obama said he thinks clean coal is a good option as well, and I won't agree with him on that topic either.

I do subscribe with MLK jr. & Gandhi's theories of non violence. Are there other ways to address Afghanistan's problems? Was anything BUT military options considered?

It hard to decipher the real numbers.... but be are talking $800 billion for war. Slog through this to see the other hidden numbers of medical costs, etc.


Our country is bankrupt, in part because of the war spending. While they hash out if they can allocate crumbs for the people of this country to save itself,
there never seems to be a problem finding cash for war. Hell they spent over a week talking with automakers.... these war expenses did not need one little discussion.

We are dropping bombs in Pakistan, while congress fights over head start funding for pre schoolers.

War funding is the elephant in the room.
Because what appears on the actual budget was supplemented 10 fold with back door requests for billions.

It is the moral issue of the war mentality I most oppose, but clearly the financial aspect is a issue as well.

War is terrorism.

Fran said...

Damn! That was a long ass post- but I have to go to work. This discussion is not over!

Gary said...

Thanks Fran. Yes, let's see some of the power, goodwill and intelligence in the White House move to peace-making at any cost. War-making is easy.

Dada said...

As I read somewhere, "Afghanistan is where empires go to die." (Yeh, just ask the Russians.)