Afghanistan

September 15, 2009

I am very concerned by the talk in the media and coming from some in Congress regarding our future in Afghanistan.  The comparison of Afghanistan to Vietnam is way out of line!  These defeatists need to be held accountable for their words.  Ask them, repeatedly, if necessary, to give statements of fact to support their position rather than their “The sky is falling” rhetoric.   It appears the naysayer’s have zero faith in our military commanders and the troops they command.

I guess they have forgotten why we are there.  The Taliban gave al Qaeda sanctuary and al Qaeda planned the September 11th attacks under Taliban protection.  The Taliban refused to turn bin Laden and his henchmen over to the U.S. and thus became targets themselves.

No, the war is not going well for the U.S. and our Allies, but with the new commander along with his new war plan this could change in a short amount of time.  He is and is, rightly so, concerned about civilian casualties; however, if his ROE endanger American, NATO, or Afghan troops, he needs to re-evaluate his ROE and give the troops an opportunity to defend themselves.  It is NOT our troop’s fault if the Taliban use civilians as human shields.  NOTE: I am not advocating indiscriminant shelling or bombing to take the Taliban out at the expense of the civilians they abuse.  I find it interesting the Afghan government rails against the U.S. and NATO forces when civilians are killed – no condemnation of the Taliban or the local warlord’s support for them.  By not calling out the Taliban, I believe the Afghan government is in some ways complicit in supporting Taliban efforts around the country.  Pakistan is finally offering legitimate aid in the “War on Terror”, but is nowhere close to shutting down the badlands that serve as a way station for travel to and from Afghanistan.  In order for that to occur Pakistan would have to invite NATO and/or U.S. troops to fight alongside or in conjunction with their attacks in the SWAT area and other PAK provinces.

I believe we must have a massive troop surge with those additional troops being placed in rural areas to close off Taliban access.  The recent addition of 21,000 troops is a start but is nowhere near enough to adequately do the job.  The surge troops placement in rural areas with QRFs and SF Teams would keep Taliban forces from settling in.  Random LRRPs or Recon-in-force out of these rural outposts will also keep Taliban forces from controlling villages and their inhabitants.  A larger troop force to train significantly larger Afghan forces and Afghan Police is also necessary.  Advanced training should take place alongside our troops stationed in the rural outposts.  Training is more effective when danger is near.

NATO governments need to be told unequivocally they need to get in the fight or go home.  Most NATO forces are so hamstrung by their politicians they can barely defend themselves.  The U.S. needs to take the stand, if you don’t allow your troops to actively engage the enemy, then the U.S. feels no obligation to stay in NATO.  Of course, this needs to be done with conviction rather than rhetoric. U.S. and NATO governments need to get serious with the rampant corruption the Afghan government wallows in.  Government officials engaged in corruption need to be publicly called out and exposed.  Legal action by the people of Afghanistan must be pursued against these corrupt officials.

I sincerely hope our President has the temerity to stand up to the defeatists in Congress, the media, and anyone else advocating withdrawal, and approve the recommendations by his field commanders and the Pentagon to aggressively pursue victory in Afghanistan.

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