I think Obama just signed his defeat card. He has so screwed up his chance of winning re-election, and Afghanistan is the reason.

JFK and LBJ bothl learned that you can not set a time of departure in a war. Not when the end of the war is in doubt, as it is now.

All the other side (both the Republicans and the Taliban) has to do is wait you out. This is now, officially, a quagmire. Kennedy set two time-tables, never met them. LBJ had two, never met them. As for Nixon? He had a fake peace agreement, and won partly because of it in '68. (The death of Bobby Kennedy being the chief reason he won, at least in my opinion)

Obama says he will bring the troops home in 18 months. That is the deadline; but deadlines in politics/war hardly ever work. Eighteen months from now, a year and a half, will be summer of 2011. The next Presidential cycle will be starting to rev up. What is going to happen if things in Afghanistan are not going smoothly, and even Pelosi-Murtha-McCain have their doubts,as do I, then what does Obama do? Extend the troops? Retreat? If he extends, the Republicans are all over him, and some of his own party are going to nail him. Michael Moore--Jerry Brown--Murtha, maybe even others (who don't want to go down to defeat with Obama over a quagmire) will roast him. But what if he withdraws in 18 months? The Republicans will still be all over and then this happens;

Can you imagine the footage coming out of Afghanistan during the final days we leave? Women, who had a little freedom there, will be shot, cained, as the "clerics" retake control. The schools we built will be burned, and all of this will be on the news, not only here, but over there. Can you imagine us closing down our embassy, and the last diplomats being carried out as throngs of Islamic hoards rush the complex just as that last helicopter leaves? It will ruin Obama, and it will also ruin our credibility.

Sure, this may not happen, and is a bit cliche, but I think something like this will happen; but no matter what happens, if we withdraw? It will be ugly. Obama claims he is getting white in his hair because of the war? He's going to look like Morgan Freeman at the end of DRIVING MISS DAISEY when this is all over.

I think the USA will ultimately abandon the Afghan war. The government in Afghanistan is a sham, as the one was in Vietnam. Obama's big mistake will be withdrawing towards an election cycle in 2011-2012. The memory will be fresh.

Here is what I would have done if I were Obama (if I was serious about being re-elected). I would have made a determination the first week in office after coming to office in January 2009. I would have decided whether I wanted to win this war; or not.

If I wanted to win the war, and after I was safely in office, I would have done a 180 degree turn, and sent THE ENTIRE ARMY. Not the 5000 here, and the 5000 there, and now (Dec 2) the 20000 more. I would have done the Colon Powell strategy of Gulf War 1. Send a million men, and just take over that country and kill all the bastards; overwhelming forces. IT WORKS. Yeah, the left (and I bet 90% of the Reader's base) would have been all over him? But so what? This is politics. Time heals all wounds!

If I didn't want to go that way, a full invasion, then I would have cut and ran in March of 2009. I would have said things like "Bush invaded this country, he set up the government. Its corrupt and there's nothing we can do about it, short of invading with the entire army, and I'm not going to do it because peace is the way to go."

I would have taken my lumps in March 2009, blame it on Bush (like the economy), and get it over with. (I said then he should have done that, and I even SUPPORTED going over there).

I work for the military and it was clear to me, after the first sham election there last year in Afghanistan, that it was a lost cause. You can't expect to change hundreds of years of culture in five years. Not with a trickle of an army.

Obama; one term. I could be wrong, you never know. But it was JFK who said that "we can't know where we are going, until we know where we have been." Obama = LBJ. The Vietnam War cost LBJ. His numbers were so low, he didn't even want to run for re-election.

By the way; Obama's numbers are starting to go down already. Eighteen months from now? poof!

GOD, whoever you are; (Christ) (alah) (Buddah) (William Shatner) !!! I hope I am wrong.

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Comments

a2zresource Dec. 2, 2009 @ 11:43 a.m.

According to more than one strategic thinker, the war is generally to win some 40,000 villages, as I tend to agree that any government structure more complex there than that is either (1) a local warlord's extended sphere of influence or (2) a government propped up at great expense to American taxpayers (but not to those corporations with ties to other corporations getting government bailouts... or more directly feeding off large wartime appropriations).

Let's say it takes a company of infantry to effectively hold down a village, prevent re-occupation by whoever the bad guys might happen to be, and train a local militia (police or other local security forces) loyal to the central Afghan government, propped up or not. Yeah, in the old days, we could expect to do that with an air-dropped A team of green berets, but not now as we seem to have forgotten how to do that.

Now, if we want to get out of Afghanistan the fastest, then we need to go in with the mostest... enough troops to get the entire security/militia-training job done, all at once, so that a time limit makes sense. Let's say an infantry company is roughly 200 ground fighters (2 12-hour shifts of 100 on patrol and conducting militia training); multiplied by 40,000 villages, and then factor in another 50% for logistical overhead, we get an Afghanistan surge troop commitment of about 12,000,000.

We had about that many in uniform during WWII, and that was when we were a lot less people than 300,000,000 Americans. Naturally, grunts back then were cheaper by the dozen million.

Sorry, but not even the Great Orator now in the Whitehouse has words sweet enough to raise a volunteer army that big out of Wii-playing high schoolers here on the home front. Not without one heck of a draft... Of course, the Wall Street Masters of the Universe could squeeze out that many as newly unemployed for the sake of higher productivity with whoever is left on the factory floor.

Maybe it was a bad idea for San Franciscans to want to dump JROTC? Maybe so, if the majority of them wanted to see a second Obama term...

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RobertScorpio Dec. 2, 2009 @ 11:56 a.m.

We are losing the war because the culture we are trying to change (with schools, rights for women) doesn't want to change as fast as Obama (and Bush before him) wants it to change. It is a lost cause, and Obama has hung his hat on the outcome after his speech last night.

If I were the Taliban? I would tell my guys to go home, and take an 18 month vacaction, with the occasional 'market place' bomb just to show them we are still around. Then, after the Americans are gone, we kill all the women who went to school, and we hack to death all the pro-American government lackeys who are left...and its back to the way it was.

I have the perfect no-lose strategy for Obama; this will win it for him, and us. You hire a bunch of 'taliban' looking dudes to go next door to China and set off a bunch of bombs as kill thousands. Have the evidence point right at the Taliban in Afghanistan. The chinese won't F around like we do, and they will come in there and kick butt. They wont worry about civilians or this or that, they will just mow over the entire country. Thats how we win the war; out source it to China.

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or Dec. 2, 2009 @ 5:41 p.m.

RobertScorpio, I disagree with your characterization that JFK set 2 time tables to withdraw from Vietnam. Can you please provide your source for this. In the meantime, here is what RFK said on the subject:

"In point of fact, the one person who knew JFK better than anyone else, Robert Kennedy, was willing to let history know exactly what his brother's intentions in Vietnam had been as early as 1964 and 1965, the critical period before it had truly become "Johnson's War." In a series of oral history interviews for the JFK Library, RFK said that "it was worthwhile for psychological, political reasons" to stay in Vietnam. "The President felt that he had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should win the war in Vietnam....If you lost Vietnam, I think everybody was quite clear that the rest of Southeast Asia would fall." When RFK was asked point-blank "if the President was convinced that the United States had to stay in Vietnam", the one-word response was "Yes.""

Shortly before his assasination, JFK also told Walter Cronkite in an interview " American troops were nontheless not there "to see a war lost" and that he totally disagreed with those who were suggesting the idea of a pullout. "I think that would be a mistake".

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David Dodd Dec. 2, 2009 @ 6:33 p.m.

There is only one piece of evidence that JFK had any plans of withdrawal, it was a National Security Action Memorandum dated October 11, 1963, which ordered withdrawal of 1,000 military personnel by the end of 1963 (there were over 16,000 there at the time). Most evidence suggests that Kennedy expected that the 1,000 troops wouldn't be necessary, as he presumed regional stability by then.

Three Points:

A properly fought war has nothing to do with political excuses for being there. The goal in waging war is not cultural enlightenment. The goal is to conquer and either destroy or force the complete submission of the enemy. The United States of America has not fought a war properly since the Second World War.

Point one: There is no reason to wage a war that will not be properly fought.

===================

Afghanistan has never been conquered. Ever. Not by Alexander the Great (no matter what you read, he never ruled it peacefully), not by Genghis Khan, not by the Mongols, not by the Russians, not by anyone. The best they could manage is a temporary retreat, but they never held it.

Point two: There is nothing to make me believe that even if the United States of America fought a proper war, that they could hold it, either.

===================

Obama's re-election chances will not hinge on this war. Traditionally, voters tend to re-elect when the U.S. is at war. From the First World War, Wilson. The Second World War, Roosevelt. Bush the Lesser in the second Iraq War. Voters tend to want stability in such positions.

Point three: Obama's chance at a second term is entirely in the hands of the employment rate and the economic recovery.

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or Dec. 2, 2009 @ 7:51 p.m.

Gringo, I am familiar with nsam 263: "The President approved the military recommendations contained in section I B (1-3) of the report, but directed that no formal announcement be made of the implementation of plans to withdraw 1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963." The subject has been addressed in several of the books about Kennedy and the jist of most of them is that while Kennedy expected the US to help South Vietnam win the war. " It remains the central object of the United States in South Vietnam to assist the people and Government of that country to win their contest against the externally directed and supported Communist conspiracy. The test of all decisions and U.S. actions in this area should be the effectiveness of their contributions to this purpose." I have read many books containing the various accounts and while many of them refer to discussions Kennedy had with various advisors regarding the eventual withdrawal of troops, I can't recall ever reading anything in regards to a timetable for troop withdrawls.

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David Dodd Dec. 2, 2009 @ 8:24 p.m.

or, I've never read anything about a timetable for troop withdrawals in a radical sense either, only NSAM 263. According to most historians and officials familiar with it at the time, NSAM 263 was more about foresight of expectations of stability in the region than as a part of a timetable for pullout. In my opinion, Kennedy bought into that war completely when he presented the South Vietnamese military the opportunity to overthrow (and then dispose of) Ngo Dinh Diem.

This is a very odd parallel to when Bush permitted the trial and execution of Saddam Hussein.

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