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 Post subject: Increasingly perilous / Dangerously Parochial
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:20 am 
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So said Obama, launching his new AF/PAK strategy. This includes an extra $5 billion in direct aid for Pakistan in what is billed as a "stronger, smarter" strategy.

Additionally, a further 4,000 troops are to be deployed, on top of the 17,000 already promised. These "top-ups" are to focus on training Afghan security forces, with a target of bringing the strength of the Afghan National Army to 134,000 by 2011. In the same period, police expansion to 82,000 is also planned.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: "The situation is increasingly perilous"
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:47 pm 

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Ah, but this is not about winning a war, its about hearts and minds. I have not come across anyone winning a war of hearts and minds ever.

Our biggest enemies are not our foes, its our enlightened leaders and their conviction that given enough kindness and treasure all opposition will fold. War is a very very bloody undertaking, our soldiers train for that, it is their only reason for existing, asking them to do otherwise is a total waste of resources and lives.

I remain convinced that our strategy will lead to a "Dunkirk". I have no idea how we would manage to extract our forces and equiptment when the time comes. We have serious problems getting equiptment and supplies in now never mind getting out. There is no coastline, an air bridge is dependant on doggy arrangements which should things go wrong might be curtailed.

Having a look at a regional map is all it takes to see the dangers, Iran to the west and north west, Pakistan to the south and east, Turkmenstan to the north with Usbekistan. Our access to Afganistan is due to the permission of questionable allies who are all of the same religion to those we are confronting in Afgan, our chances of "success" is marginal, history is not favourable, and the expectations of our leaders is fanciful. What is the choice on offer, a stable westernised country or an Islamic state, for a muslim that is a no brainer, the thought of it would be enough for a muslim to lose his life.

Whatever the tactics on the ground the stratagy is completely wrong for a successful conclusion, that is, if we know the real the stratagy. Can we take it as a given that we know the real objectives?

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 Post subject: Re: "The situation is increasingly perilous"
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:47 pm 
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DEFENDER wrote:
Ah, but this is not about winning a war, its about hearts and minds. I have not come across anyone winning a war of hearts and minds ever.

Our biggest enemies are not our foes, its our enlightened leaders and their conviction that given enough kindness and treasure all opposition will fold. War is a very very bloody undertaking, our soldiers train for that, it is their only reason for existing, asking them to do otherwise is a total waste of resources and lives.

I remain convinced that our strategy will lead to a "Dunkirk". I have no idea how we would manage to extract our forces and equiptment when the time comes. We have serious problems getting equiptment and supplies in now never mind getting out. There is no coastline, an air bridge is dependant on doggy arrangements which should things go wrong might be curtailed.

Having a look at a regional map is all it takes to see the dangers, Iran to the west and north west, Pakistan to the south and east, Turkmenstan to the north with Usbekistan. Our access to Afganistan is due to the permission of questionable allies who are all of the same religion to those we are confronting in Afgan, our chances of "success" is marginal, history is not favourable, and the expectations of our leaders is fanciful. What is the choice on offer, a stable westernised country or an Islamic state, for a muslim that is a no brainer, the thought of it would be enough for a muslim to lose his life.

Whatever the tactics on the ground the stratagy is completely wrong for a successful conclusion, that is, if we know the real the stratagy. Can we take it as a given that we know the real objectives?


"Hearts and minds" is one of those vacuous expressions - coined, I think, during the Vietnam war, to express an ill-thought out strategy which never really worked. Furthermore, while the short-form description is a "war", it is a counter-insurgency, with the added complication of nation-building - an altogether different prospect to a conventional war.

Nor does the selective use of history help. In the more recent history, the province of Helmand was prior to the Communist coup a sophisticated, wealthy and self-sustaining society. The idea that we are dealing with primitive throwbacks is entirely false. The objective is to rebuild that society, in which context historical comparisons with previous campaigns are false. We are not there as occupiers but as part of an international team seeking to rebuild society and bring peace and prosperity, then with the intention of leaving.

The difficulty we confront is that this is not primarily a military venture - it requires the interaction of military effort with reconstruction and other activities. As long as we look at the military effort in isolation, and that effort is not fully integrated into the broader endeavor, we have problems.

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 Post subject: Re: "The situation is increasingly perilous"
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:02 pm 
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'Defender' articulates the situation far better than I would be able.
We are being asked to believe that Muslim 'nations' will accept the imposition of a western-style democracy...this they consider crusading, pure & simple. (history, history, history)
Consider the Muslim point of view...which sheer logic should prompt us to do.
Our western society is considered an abomination and, had they our power, they would like nothing better than to cure our problem by the imposition of a Sharia driven theocracy.
Is the US, for example, ready to accept that as a solution to its flawed society? If that seems a stupid question I do not apologise...yet we expect the countries we temporarily occupy to do just that. We have forgotten that we are dealing with a radical & as yet unreformed religion as a way of life.
Despite the ongoing waste of lives & treasure...theirs also...they will remain Islamic states with one or another form of Sharia...because that is what they believe in.

I perfectly understand Richard's riposte to Defender...nation building is a very noble enterprise which, if we were on the receiving end we should no doubt welcome...God knows we need it.

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 Post subject: Re: "The situation is increasingly perilous"
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:25 pm 

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Richard - what's going on ? I am truely shocked.

First we have D Camerloon "More troops and the right civilian back-up and support so we deal with the other problems in Afghanistan like corruption and drugs. It is no good just pouring in the troops if you do not deal with the other problems on the ground." I cannot imagine Camerloon thought of these very sensible comments on his own ! Who's been briefing him ?

Secondly, Thomas Harding of The Daily Telegraph ' . . . Foremost, he adds, we need the logistics in place to support the troops but in addition "we have to adjust our tactics accordingly." He continues ' . . . Firstly we really have to commit to a significant road building programme. This will allow farmed goods swift access to markets before they rot and make non-opium products more popular. When that happens the Taliban will attack the roads which will mean they will come to us and we will regain the initiative.' Bingo. Harding who has been accused in the past of being a vacuous defence correspondent for the DT is talking sense. In fact that comment about roads and 'access to markets before they rot' appears to be a straight lift from your suggestions earlier this year about future strategy to make a success of Afghanistan (the item about food rotting before getting to market was a link from a 'National Geographic' article).

He then goes on to show he has done some original research about Rhodesian tactics and equipment. The trouble is that the MOD which has one of the highest procurement budgets per head of serviceman of any major country in the world does' not deign to read about tactics and equipment used by such countries as the former Rhodesia and Israel. The MOD and senior British officers think they know better than any other armed forces in the world. Slightly off the subject but an excellent example of this : the original HMS 'Dreadnought' designed by Admiral Sir 'Jackie' Fisher was not the first ship designed that way ! The first ship to have that design was a Japanese design utilising experience from the Russo-Japanese war (1904-05). So much for 'the Japs always copying Western technology'. In fact the Admiralty did not want the Dreadnought as it meant that the massive 'Grand Fleet' we had amassed was all obselete and we had to start fleet building all over again.


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 Post subject: Re: "The situation is increasingly perilous"
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:28 pm 

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Richard - none of my business but should'nt this be cross posted at DotR ?


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 Post subject: Re: "The situation is increasingly perilous"
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:01 pm 
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Ivan The Yid From Bradfor wrote:
Richard - none of my business but should'nt this be cross posted at DotR ?


Yes.

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 Post subject: Re: "The situation is increasingly perilous"
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:21 pm 

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In discussing this matter I believe it would be useful to be mindful of the current state of finances. Every penny that we spend on hearts and minds anywhere in the world has to be paid for with borrowed money. Building infrastructure and providing security requires money, lots of it and Afghan has none.
We are at a point where we cannot finance ourselves, how can we afford Afghanistan. The power of the UK is not at all what it was even 15 years ago, we think we are a big player at the table but we really cant afford to be in the game. We have lost our ante, we have lost our credit, its time to admit the reality, we cannot afford to play the game anymore.
We have a bloddy good defense force, but that is about it.

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 Post subject: Dangerously parochial
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 7:26 pm 
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Unsurprisingly, Gordon Brown has "lauded" Obama's strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Speaking in Santiago, Chile, he also used the opportunity to take a sideswipe at other NATO countries, complaining that they should help shoulder the burden of the conflict. The less than enthusiastic participation of many of our Nato "partners" has already been picked up by one of the few British blogs that takes an interest in foreign affairs but this is the exception.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: "The situation is increasingly perilous"
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:38 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:59 pm
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RAENORTH wrote:
Nor does the selective use of history help. In the more recent history, the province of Helmand was prior to the Communist coup a sophisticated, wealthy and self-sustaining society. The idea that we are dealing with primitive throwbacks is entirely false. The objective is to rebuild that society, in which context historical comparisons with previous campaigns are false. We are not there as occupiers but as part of an international team seeking to rebuild society and bring peace and prosperity, then with the intention of leaving.

How likely is it that the International Community could ever rebuild a society such as that? It leaves no room for the nanny state.


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 Post subject: Re: Dangerously parochial
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:45 pm 

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Richard. I am surprised you haven't linked this comment thread with the thread for 'The situation is increasingly perilous'. The two items would seem to run together.

More seriously you had over 70 responses about 'wtf' to call your book. The other comment thread has 11 postings and that includes 2 from me, a couple from yourself. Seems like, as you point out, the British blogosphere is opting out of these very important discussions which can affect our future and the future of the world for decades to come. In fact what we are discussing on the other thread is a damn sight more important to our futures (note the plural) than the hot air emanating from Brown's G20 circus.


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 Post subject: Re: Increasingly perilous / Dangerously Parochial
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:52 pm 
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Quote:
The idea is to move the emphasis away from concentrating on fighting "towards winning the consent of the population, hastening reconstruction and laying the groundwork for reconciliation."


Reconciliation ? With whom? Reminds me of Obama's fiction of moderate Taliban. Winning hearts and minds is great. But at least the leaders of the free world should get it right: Taliban is not the name of a tribe, in which there could be traditionalist and progressive members. It's the name for a mindset. They are Taliban OR they are (could be) moderate. They cease to be Taliban OR there will be no reconciliation. Tertium non datur.

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 Post subject: Re: Increasingly perilous / Dangerously Parochial
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:02 am 
just for one moment.after hearing that gordon brown has told the argentinians.that there is nothing to discuss over the falklands issue and issue it still is.what would we do if another invasion were to happen now.we bearly scraped together the wherewithall the last time.


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 Post subject: Re: Increasingly perilous / Dangerously Parochial
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:10 am 
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number 62 wrote:
just for one moment.after hearing that gordon brown has told the argentinians.that there is nothing to discuss over the falklands issue and issue it still is.what would we do if another invasion were to happen now.we bearly scraped together the wherewithall the last time.


Then, we did not have powerful search radar on the island, or a detachment of Tornadoes - the runaway was not long enough to base them there. If the Argies tried it now, they would be wiped out before they got within sight of the island.

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 Post subject: Re: Increasingly perilous / Dangerously Parochial
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:32 am 
point taken raenorth.although that is just the kind of commitment that overstretches us.


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