• RU...Democracy in Afghanistan? Even if we were to somehow kick out the taliban, there will never be democracy there. No amount of effort at winning the "hearts and minds" of the Afghanis is capable of instituting democracy or any other form of self government by the people there. Their tribes are more important to them than any idea of a central government to which they would be loyal. I don't think that even a Soviet or North Korean style dictatorship would be capable of "governing" the people who have the misfortune of having been born in one of the worst hell-holes on the planet.

    The first thing that has to happen for people to take the first step on the road to self-government is to WANT TO. Democracy can't be imposed on a people. And, RU, there isn't "a people" there. They are a rag-tag rabble of tribes. I'm thinking that there are no Afghani equivlants to Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton or John Adams.

    The best -- THE VERY BEST -- we can hope for is to kill off most of the taliban and get the hell out. It would certainly be nice if an assassination squad could take out OBL also. Bottom line, I have no hope of this ill-conceived venture ending in any way favorable to the US.

    October 8, 2009 at 9:41 p.m.

  • BigJ you're welcome, and I wanted to thank you for pointing out the book 1920 - I get a laugh a page out of reading it especially the irony, its amazing.

    October 8, 2009 at 3:06 p.m.

  • Rollingstone
    After 9/11 we convinced Pakistan and Libya that they would make better allies, than parking lots.... They agreed.

    October 8, 2009 at 2:47 p.m.

  • Not a threat we just want to help :)

    October 8, 2009 at 2:44 p.m.

  • BigJ
    Are you saying we should antagonize our ally?at one time you said that we should give up that "cowboy, hang-them- high" diplomacy.
    If it did work the last eight years what makes you think it will work now?

    October 8, 2009 at 2:36 p.m.

  • Rollingstone
    Pakistan has nukes...No one thretens countries with nukes...That's why North Korea gets away with what they do...BTW Pakistan has stepped up against Al Qaeda but they did not want to use the bulk of their force because they feared their arch rival India..Our country assured Pakistan that India would mind their manners...It's about negotiation not bombs.

    October 8, 2009 at 2:18 p.m.

  • I agree with BigJ as Gen Sherman would say the enemy must know the misery of war. We need to tell Pakistan that either they go in and clean out this rat's nest or we will and not with ground troops.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:59 p.m.

  • Cowl is a word...means...Cover with or as with a cowl.

    In a sentence means:"cowl the boys and veil the girls"

    October 8, 2009 at 1:53 p.m.

  • JR74
    I don't think important information is being withheld…. We don't want to know troop movements, tactics, and future plans. I think the war correspondents are doing an excellent job of keeping us informed…..

    October 8, 2009 at 1:41 p.m.

  • "The Defense Department is not the NEWS."

    And its not alot of useful information either. They are only going to tell you what they want you to know. Always have, always will.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:35 p.m.

  • Waywardwind
    I agree, it goes back to Attila the Hun, Alexander the Great and the Brits….. The Afghans are more tribal and have very little to do with a central government. We would be waiting forever for them to ever build a central government that will be of some use to its people.

    We do have an interest in Afghanistan, if our mission is to keep Al Qaeda from setting up training camps. But they can set up camps in other countries… Generals Petraeus and McCrystal have a counterinsurgency strategy that requires winning the hearts and minds of the civilian population… This will take building the schools, bridges, shops, and installing utilities…. They seem to think that we need a larger force right now to protect those that are building, training, and doing the chores needed in nation building.

    Since we do not have a plan for complete withdrawal, I hope Congress will give him a two-year time limit; instead of an open-ended commitment.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:32 p.m.

  • Sorry that's movement but if they mess with the U.S. they will be a short moment.:-)

    October 8, 2009 at 1:25 p.m.

  • BigJ
    The Taliban is a radical religious moment…. There are various degrees of radical, we are trying to disassociate the less radical segments of The Taliban from Al Qaeda.

    The strategy of General Chrystal has been on 60 Minutes and all the major news networks and in fact Washington Post ran a story on his 65 page assessment….. He wants to pull out all his troops from the isolated outposts and into the villages where there will protect the innocent civilians from the radical Taliban…. General McCrystal was successful in Iraq using this strategy, that’s why he was picked to replace General McKiernan.

    This war is not about ideology, we need all opinions conservatives, liberals, Democrats Republicans and independents…. I'm glad the president just listening to all sides before he makes a commitment.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:23 p.m.

  • This comment was removed by the user.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:08 p.m.

  • Ok, sorry about that Mike. I don't know what happened there but my computer decided to post the samething 3 times.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:07 p.m.

  • I am glad somebody else understands that RU. Besides you can't believe EVERYTHING you hear or see on the news.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:06 p.m.

  • I'm glad somebody else sees it that way RU. Besides you can't believe EVERYTHING you hear or see on the news.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:04 p.m.

  • Im glad somebody else sees that RU. And you can't believe everything you hear or read in the news.

    October 8, 2009 at 1:03 p.m.

  • BigJ
    We are not fighting the Afghans.... We are only fighting the Taliban and that are aligning themselves with Al Qaeda.... Hardly any Al Qaeda in Afghanistan they are all located in Pakistan.

    October 8, 2009 at 12:51 p.m.

  • Mike..."It might be a long occupation."

    It will be if we do something foolish like commit to "nation building." There will never be a nation as we understand the concept in that armpit of the world. Alton and Granny are correct when they say that the entire population of Afghanistan is not worth one drop of American blood. This conflict cannot be won by conventional armies and air forces. We stood a better chance of winning in Vietnam than we have now in Afghanistan. Somebody should should have noticed what happened to the Soviets when THEY fought in that place.

    October 8, 2009 at 12:35 p.m.

  • The rules of engagement you cited, made me furious when I read about them. When American safety is no longer the priority, our troops need to hunker down on American soil. Then we will be the civilians, and we are on the same side. We won't have to worry about becoming human shields. We will be the ones who will be protected. America is a big country, folks. Military bases all around our perimeters would keep us from being invaded. We learned from 911, now use that knowledge to protect this great country.

    October 7, 2009 at 8:04 a.m.

  • I find it sad that individuals that have never studied the art of warfare, how to win a war, and Sun Tzu are going to make the call on this conflict. This is not a ball game where you have another season next year, or a video game where you can start over when you fail. We are talking about American blood. Body bags contain real people.

    I have two children currently in the military (coming upon 10 years). They soon must decide if they will say in or get out. It is very difficult this time for them. They love being part of the military family. But the danger level has increased with the recent additional rules of engagement:
    1. Prohibiting protective air support or artillery support if it cannot be determined civilians are not in the area.
    2. Requires troops to retreat from a firefight, if it cannot be determined that civilians are not in the area.
    3. Prohibits returning fire, even for protections, if it is possible civilians are in the area.

    Where is our government’s duty to put Americans first over all others? Coolgranny is correct; not a single drop of American blood is worth all the blood of Afgan citizens.

    October 7, 2009 at 1:47 a.m.

  • 50% of polled Americans do not want to send more troops in, 40% agree that we need to send in more troops. I hate to think that pulling out might lead back to a repeat of 9/11, and I also wonder if money problems in the USA give people reason to give up. It seems the terrorist are tying their best to hurt the USA with the recent capture of a bomb plotting creep, but to open the playground back up where they don't have to hide doesn't seem smart.

    October 6, 2009 at 11:27 p.m.

  • There is a simple answer. Either we go in all the way or get out. Enough with tying our soldiers' hands. Either we trust them to get the job done or we dont. General Shinseki was a true leader, he stood up when it was needed, unlike some of the generals that came out after they retired to speak their mind. I just hope that todays leaders do not commit the same stupid mistakes that the previous ones did. Rumsfeld wanted a quick war, fought with mostly special forces and from the air, hence bringing a retired Spec Ops general to take over as chief of staff for the Army. Most troops felt that WE NEEDED more boots on the ground from the get go. The war part was going to be easy, we destroyed the Iraqis war fighting capabilities back in 91. We knew that it was going to be the occupation part that was going to be hard. The same goes with Afghanistan, so I am hoping that these generals learned from their mistakes and speak up. This is not about marching at a different beat of drum but rather, not having as many casualties as possible. Yes, casualties are a fact of life and they will happen, unless we decide to leave tomorrow and WE ARE NOT. So, either we fight or we retreat, either way, let's do either one fully.

    October 6, 2009 at 11 p.m.

  • Johnny
    Good response.

    White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said complete withdrawal is not on the table.

    General McCrystal wants to pull in the troops from their outpost and bring them back to the, cities amongst the people; to start gaining their hearts and minds….

    Afghanistan is the 3rd poorest country in the world,has a low literacy rate,and never had a functioning central government....It might be a long occupation.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:27 p.m.

  • I tended to agree with Obama's, I don't know what, second or third proposal ago. It was the only one that was based on sound military theory, overwhelm your enemy by force, once eliminated, focus on winning the hearts of the populace. If you listen to the history of Afghanistan, and the current ebb and flow of the sentiments of the current population, you see something that is as old as warfare itself: non-combatants will support whoever is winning. After the fighting ceases, the population will support whoever provides them the best ability to survive and prosper. Al Qaeda and the Taliban have already shown the Afghanis that their interests do not align with this goal, which is why we have met relatively small resistance amongst the general population (it has been insular tribal pockets under the influence of the Taliban that have been problematic). This situation is very unlike Viet-Nam. We are fighting a fringe group which has successfully plied its will only to the degree they can coerce a captive population. In Viet-Nam, we were half-heartedly fighting on behalf of an abusive government against another nation which was supplying large numbers of troops and materials, along with a ideological phenomenon. I do not know if I agree with rushing massive amounts of troops in, but that is the only historically proven method to win a war. I do think that a full retreat, leaving an unsheltered new government to falter and eventually fail due to not grasping the learning curve of democracy is the absolute wrong answer.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:11 p.m.

  • Coolgranny
    While that may be popular, it is not very practical because we are not fighting a country per se...i.e. Al Qaeda is in Pakistan but they are our ally and they have nukes.

    Our military has pretty much bought into counterinsurgency tactics, where we protect the civilians, train their armed forces, and rebuild their nation, hoping they will rid their country of the Islamic terrorist. … We will see what Iraq does when we withdraw all our troops in 2011.

    I agree no one wants another Vietnam.

    So true,Zorro.

    October 6, 2009 at 4:54 p.m.

  • I have no idea what the president will decide but I hope he makes the decision based on what is best for our country. Deploying military forces on foreign soil to keep the peace and nation building has brought several great empires down in history. The sun never sat on the British Empire and Rome ruled the civilized world and both were brought down by military commitments beyond their home. I just want us safe and I don't support our presence all over the world propping up corrupt regimes. Saddam Huessein was never a real threat to us, yet we invaded Iraq and now we are paying the price for that. Al Queda is everywhere, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Africa.........even in England and right here. Go after Al Queda and enough with this spreading democracy.

    October 6, 2009 at 4:41 p.m.

  • I think we should pull out everyone. When other countries get attacked, and they will, we can just bomb the offenders from the face of the earth. Set a price for the protection. We can give warning so the innocent people can evacuate through our spy networks. We pretty much know who the first attackers are going to be anyway. Let's just protect America for a while. No one wants another Viet Nam.

    October 6, 2009 at 4:36 p.m.

  • I don't know for sure but I think the president will taking the advice of his vice president;that's why he chose the veteran foreign policy expert.

    True,Biden has made several statements contrary to the administration and had to be reeled in.

    Politics: The American people do not want 10 more years of war in Afghanistan....Tough decision,Obama needs honest advice.

    October 6, 2009 at 4:15 p.m.

  • As I understand it, McChrystal made comments contrary to what Joe Biden had proposed, not the Pres. Biden's position was not consistent with that the Pres himself has been stumping. Also, I recall this is not the first time Biden himself has made a number of comments that could be described as counter-intuitive to that which Obama has proposed.

    October 6, 2009 at 4 p.m.