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greatwolf
07-16-2009, 04:27 AM
I actually saw a comment on Yahoo today. It seems the British are debating the winnability of the afghan war following the loss of 8 soldiers in a single 24hour period. I just needed to understand why!

What I see here is a serious lack of commitment. Yes grief over the losses is clearly understandable, but unless they do not believe they should be in Afghanistan in the first place, it shouldn't be justification for calls to pull out. Calls for change in policy probably, but certainly not pull.

What do you guys think? Is this just the way the brits do it?

GonzoTheGreat
07-16-2009, 04:35 AM
What would be a win of the war in Afganistan?

-If all Afgani were dead?
That's perhaps not what you want to contemplate, but based on 2,500 years of history of the region, that's what it may very well take before they stop fighting either each other or the foreigners in their land.

-If Afganistan becomes a democracy with freedom of religion and freedom from religion, equality for men and women and other things we (should be able to) take for granted ourselves?
That's not really something that has seemed a priority so far. The Western forces were quite happy to ally themselves with fundamentalistic warlords, just as long as those weren't officially Taliban. As a result, people can get the death penalty there for being accused of saying the wrong thing about Islam, and women haven't had all that much of an improvement in their situation, at best.

-If ...
Fill in your own victory condition. As long as we don't know what winning the war means, it isn't all that easy to say whether or not winning it is possible, I think.

Ivhon
07-16-2009, 05:20 AM
I actually saw a comment on Yahoo today. It seems the British are debating the winnability of the afghan war following the loss of 8 soldiers in a single 24hour period. I just needed to understand why!

What I see here is a serious lack of commitment. Yes grief over the losses is clearly understandable, but unless they do not believe they should be in Afghanistan in the first place, it shouldn't be justification for calls to pull out. Calls for change in policy probably, but certainly not pull.

What do you guys think? Is this just the way the brits do it?

Gee...way to dump on the Brits...who are engaged only at our request and who have done the majority of work in Afghanistan since we decided we would rather play in Iraq.

Is it winnable? Aside from Gonzo's (actually non-snarky) question of what defines a win, historically speaking Afghanisistan has been as big an empire killer as the world has ever seen. Plenty of US brass wonder if the war in Afghanistan is winnable - why would the British NOT come to that conclusion? As I type this, Im wondering if a big reason we went to Iraq is because we didn't want our response to 9/11 to bog down into another Viet Nam so we went somewhere supposedly easier picking and left the British holding the bag. Oh...and lets not forget the pro-western, secular, pro-women's rights leader that repeatedly asked us to live up to our promises of supporting his government but is now reduced to uselessness and dealing with warlords because we couldn't be bothered to support him.

So, I think it is pretty crappy to poopoo the British for not being "tough enough" when they - who only suffered terrorist attacks for HELPING US; who have unquestioningly run around in our misguided escapades in Iraq - look at history, look at what we have done/are doing and wonder what the fuck they are doing there, when we don't know what the fuck WE are doing there.

Shall we go ahead and toast up our Freedom Muffins while we are at it?

yks 6nnetu hing
07-16-2009, 05:46 AM
people, people... winning a war is so much more than winning a few battles.

I't about supplies. And winning the support of the locals. Winning the support of the locals, in turn, is easier if you're helping them, not killing them. if you're cynical enough to see it that way, it's about money. And if you think about it, it's really logical: if people are healthy and happy and they have enought to eat and a roof over their head then they're much less likely to kill other people to have all that, religion or no religion.

I don't know about other countries' aid programs (and I'm too lazy to look it up) but Estonia is strongly involved in developing medical care (with focus on women and children) and is helping with setting up the general system for the local government. http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/IMG/pdf/Estonia_fact_sheet_11_06_08.pdf we might not have a lot to give but we try to put it where it would make a difference.

And this in a province deemed as one of the most dangerous - http://wpcontent.answers.com/wikipedia/commons/b/ba/Afghanistan_map_-_security_by_district_and_opium_poppy_cultivation_ by_province_2007_-_2008.gif

Davian93
07-16-2009, 07:36 AM
We're 8 years into it and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel.

What is the end state that would be considered a success?

Perhaps another couple decades will do the trick...

greatwolf
07-16-2009, 07:53 AM
Gee...way to dump on the Brits...who are engaged only at our request and who have done the majority of work in Afghanistan since we decided we would rather play in Iraq

Actually, I wasn't trying to blame it on the brits. I'm not american and that's why I'd like to undetrstand this better. Its one thing reading what govts say and another knowing thing entirely knowing how americans and brits feel about the whole thing. I mean both the overall war against al qaeda/terrorism and that in afghan/iraq. If the people are not really convinced about the need for a war in iraq/afghanistan, then its pretty difficult to justify any death, let alone 8 in a 24hour period.

From the posts above, it seems generally opinion is that the goverment hasn't got a defined target. It has little idea what to do. Its a different type of enemy than the military is used to I guess. And its hardly a personal thing for most people and politicians now that 9/11 has faded somewhat. Quite unlike say, WWII.

The impression I just got from the story was that the decision makers in britain don't seem committed. If they are not, and I may be wrong, then they won't win.

Davian93
07-16-2009, 08:04 AM
With Tony Blair gone, I doubt the Brits care about anything that America wants.

I miss Tony, he was an awesome PM (an opinion that 80% of Brits wouldn't share with me).

In all honesty, I think there is a secret agreement that Afghanistan has to be occupied by a Great Power at all times...it was simply America's turn to try and do it. (We probably drew the short straw at a UN Security Council poker game or something)

Ivhon
07-16-2009, 08:04 AM
Actually, I wasn't trying to blame it on the brits. I'm not american and that's why I'd like to undetrstand this better. Its one thing reading what govts say and another knowing thing entirely knowing how americans and brits feel about the whole thing. I mean both the overall war against al qaeda/terrorism and that in afghan/iraq. If the people are not really convinced about the need for a war in iraq/afghanistan, then its pretty difficult to justify any death, let alone 8 in a 24hour period.

From the posts above, it seems generally opinion is that the goverment hasn't got a defined target. It has little idea what to do. Its a different type of enemy than the military is used to I guess. And its hardly a personal thing for most people and politicians now that 9/11 has faded somewhat. Quite unlike say, WWII.

The impression I just got from the story was that the decision makers in britain don't seem committed. If they are not, and I may be wrong, then they won't win.

Apologies for misreading your drift, then.

GonzoTheGreat
07-16-2009, 08:16 AM
I have translated some parts of an article about the progress in Afganistan. I don't have a link to the original article (I don't think there is one), so this is about all you can get. At most, I could also provide the original text, but since I'd have to type that in myself, too, I am not too eager to do that unnecessarily.
Through the window of the helicopter we can see a nomad encampment and a slowly moving caravan. Four drivers with long sticks in their hands. Those are simple people, who work to earn an honest living. But there are also other nomads. On the other side of the border, in Pakistan, there are training camps for insurgents. ... After training, the insurgents enter Afganistan disguised as nomads or traders.
...
Over hidden paths and through unmarked passes they tried to enter Afganistan. They had been trained and armed by foreign instructors in Pakistan. They became more active when the mountain passes are snowfree. Then the mountains echoed from the shots of guns, the rattle of machine guns, and the explosions of mines and grenades. Now it has become quieter, and our troops can come down out of the mountains into valleys again.
...
Specialists disarm and remove mines, or help with building water systems and roads.
...
We fly over the valley of Jalalabad. Underneath us there are mandarin orchards, melon fields and cotton plantations. It isn't long ago that here armed bandits went around at night, terrorising the villages. Ruines and wilderness marked their trails. Now the fertile soil is covered with the yellow of grain and green of vegetables. They tell of the trust in a safe future. In our soldiers the Afgans see friends, who help in the fight against the enemies of democracy and help with building a better life.To give on idea of the freedoms I've allowed myself in this translation, I'll give the original of that last sentence too:
"In den sowjetischen Soldaten sehen die Afghanen Freunde die ihnen im Kampf gegen die feinde der Revolution und beim Aufbau eines besseren Lebens helfen."

The article from which I've quoted is from 1983, and it describes things from a Soviet (DDR) point of view. When I was in East Berlin in that year, I picked up an issue of Armeerundschau Soldatenmagazin. It cost one Mark, which at the time (using the exchange rate I could get) was between 10 and fifteen dollar cent.

PS Rather to my surprise, the closest (only, too) library I have found which has these magazines on offer is one in Canberra, Australia (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1484475). I'm sure there's a good explanation for this, but I have no idea what it is.

Brita
07-16-2009, 09:27 AM
I watched a CBC news story last night on Afghanistan and the Taliban moving into Pakistan. What really struck me was an interview with one of the few dedicated Afghan police officials. It is generally conceded that foreign troops cannot win any sort of democratic stability in the region, that it has to be police forces made up with Afghan nationals themselves. Sounds great, but many police chiefs are corrupt, selling the weapons and computers they are given.

The police chief being interviewed was one of the few dedicated police chiefs. He only hires his own family to patrol, because they are the only ones he can trust to not shoot him in the back and steal the weapons....

It seems pretty hopelesss to me.

Canada has lost 124 soldiers. This (http://icasualties.org/oef/) is a list of casualties from Operation Enduring Freedom so far.

Gilshalos Sedai
07-16-2009, 10:40 AM
It is times like this when the unassailable wisdom of Vizzini comes to mind.

Isabel
07-16-2009, 12:48 PM
The police chief being interviewed was one of the few dedicated police chiefs. He only hires his own family to patrol, because they are the only ones he can trust to not shoot him in the back and steal the weapons....

It seems pretty hopelesss to me.


You can also say that this is one of the problems in Afghanistan.
For example, if people only trust their clan and family and the police is only of one family, than its likely that that family has more advantages in the area. I don't think they would be fair against a rival family.

But I also wouldn't know the solution:( Afghanistan is a crappy situation.

tanaww
07-16-2009, 01:01 PM
It is times like this when the unassailable wisdom of Vizzini comes to mind.

I think we can win a land war in Asia, sweetie. But we do have to let our soldiers work and, preferably, keep the press corps and the other retards out of it. I'm channeling Jack Nicholson's character in A Few Good Men.

Here are a few more:
The consensus seemed to be that if really large numbers of men were sent to storm the mountain, then enough might survive the rocks to take the citadel. This is essentially the basis of all military thinking.
-- Terry Pratchett, Eric

Being in the army is like being in the Boy Scouts, except that the Boy Scouts have adult supervision.
--Blake Clark

Yellowbeard
07-16-2009, 01:44 PM
Me and my cyncial self is thinking that Police Chief, if he weren't the chief, and the chief weren't in his family, he'd be just as likely to shoot the chief in the back as anyone else.

I think we can win a land war in Asia, sweetie. But we do have to let our soldiers work and, preferably, keep the press corps and the other retards out of it.

They need to send enough troops to be able to perform all the mission requirements.

Also, while saying building up an Afghan National Army to take over the role that the US forces are playing right now sounds good, it's awfully difficult to actually do. The people there don't feel loyalty to the nation. They're loyal to their clan and tribe, so the Afghan national government really has very little support among it's people.

Of course, this is part of the problem w/ the overall Middle East. When the British relinquished control after WWI, they drew the boundaries of the nations such that the tradional tribal areas and provinces were split up. If they hadn't done that, the Middle Eastern nations would not be full of competing tribes and clans to the extent they are today.

StrangePackage
07-16-2009, 01:46 PM
How do you win someone else's civil war?

Crispin's Crispian
07-16-2009, 01:57 PM
How do you win someone else's civil war?
You don't. You pick one side and help them win. Or, in Afghanistan's case, you pick one side and help it lose.

Isn't that what we're trying to do? There are very few people outside of the Middle East who would say the Taliban is a regime worth fighting for. That leaves the other option, as nebulous as that may be.

tanaww
07-16-2009, 02:05 PM
They need to send enough troops to be able to perform all the mission requirements.

First we need to be able to recruit enough troops to fulfill the needs of the mission. As long as we have a volunteer Armed Forces and the prevailing public sentiment that serving in it is someone else's job, that won't happen.

My stance on public service has been made before and I'm not reopening that now. I will say that the current shortage has facilitated an appalling lowering of recruiting standards for which our military will suffer for years to come. I believe the maximum age for enlistment is now 42 or some nonsense. So if you're 38 years old, overweight, with no felony convictions involving a firearm or assault and you want to get out of your Mom's basement, go see your local recruiter. A 38 year old friend of a friend recently joined the USAR. My husband is going to be so fucking happy to deploy to Afghanistan with her and people like her. Right?

The current shortage also facilitates the work of firms like KBR, Xe(formerly known as Blackwater) and Halliburton so we can pay more and get less! Yay!

Sinistrum
07-16-2009, 03:28 PM
Summary of this thread thus far: War is hard. We should just give up and go back to watching American Idol (or its European equivalent) and pretending like nothing is wrong.

Everyone seems to be focusing on the consequences of continuing efforts in Afghanistan without giving any thought to the consequences if we turn tail and run. See unlike how Iraq played out, we've actually got a pretty big reason to be in Afghanistan. Yanno, that whole 9-11 thing that was planned and carried out by Al Queda while they were receiving protection and support from the Taliban.

If we take the "spoiled brat who gives up the minute anything gets difficult" approach to Afghanistan, the Taliban will just come back. What is more, they will come back stronger because they'll probably be able to snap up Pakistan too. They'd have the resources (including nukes btw) of two countries available to plan and carry out a new waive of terrorist attacks against not only the U.S., but also its allies. Given that, saying "oh its too hard I quit!" isn't really an option.

Not saying everything is hunky dory over there or that we don't need a serious shift in our tactics. I've maintained from the get go that our tactical thinking hasn't been nearly aggressive enough. As for what constitutions victory, that is simple. Victory is when the Taliban no longer constitutes a threat to the U.S. or anyone else for that matter (notice I said nothing about freedom or democracy). If that means killing every single one of them, so be it. Of course they could always surrender and give up their dreams of a global caliphate before it gets to that point, but I'm not holding my breath.

Ozymandias
07-16-2009, 03:43 PM
I't about supplies. And winning the support of the locals. Winning the support of the locals, in turn, is easier if you're helping them, not killing them.

False. Plenty of wars have been won quite thoroughly without the support of locals. An occupation needs that. And, in our case, a respectable pullout that doesn't seem like a retreat needs local love and cuddlies.

if you're cynical enough to see it that way, it's about money. And if you think about it, it's really logical: if people are healthy and happy and they have enought to eat and a roof over their head then they're much less likely to kill other people to have all that, religion or no religion.

While mostly true, its by no means universal. War is just politics. The ultimate form of it, in fact. In the US, in 2003, we enjoy a higher standard of living than any other person in any other country at any other point in history, even relative to available wealth and technology. And we still went to war. Twice. We've had that standard of living for many decades... and have been to war many times. We act belligerent and fight wars for the same reasons guidos blow out their hair and get into bar fights; to show we're tough and to prove it. Is it useless? Yeah, as long as we're all rich and safe and happy we shouldn't bother. But thats not how politics or human nature works.


And Ivhon... that crap about Britain being more involved in Afghanistan is only relative. The American presence in Afghanistan has been smaller than in Iraq, and visa versa for the Brits, but in absolute terms of men, money, and material, the US has commited far, far more to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Don't give the Brits credit where it isn't due.

that we don't need a serious shift in our tactics. I've maintained from the get go that our tactical thinking hasn't been nearly aggressive enough.

Winning Afghanistan is so absurdly simple its disgusting it hasn't been thought of or implemented. We just need to buy the entire opium crop every year. It would be incredibly cheap, so much cheaper than our current tactics. We even kill two birds with one stone! The Taliban finances itself by selling opium. Farmers can only grow opium because its the only profitable crop that grows in the country. If we buy the opium for more than the warlords can, we serve a number of purposes. We increase the quality of life for the peasants, by paying them more, thereby earning goodwill. We cut off the vast, vcast majority of Taliban funding, which means they'll run out of bullets and guns and food and bandages and turbans very quickly. Plus, they lose what little social capital they had with the locals, since their economic function is now gone. And in addition to all those tactical problems, we buy up like 80% of the world opium crop, which we can burn or whatever, thereby eliminating a huge portion of the world drug problem!

GonzoTheGreat
07-16-2009, 04:18 PM
As for what constitutions victory, that is simple. Victory is when the Taliban no longer constitutes a threat to the U.S. or anyone else for that matter (notice I said nothing about freedom or democracy). If that means killing every single one of them, so be it.It won't. They will simply do what they've done already a couple of times: switch sides. At least some of our current allies used to be Taliban when those were in power. At least some of the current Taliban have been our allies.

So if we manage to get a strong enough upper hand, then almost all of them will temporarily be "loyal warlords". That's wonderful, apart from the fact that they're still the same people with the same attitudes and the same "justice system" that existed under the Taliban. So the only real difference will be that they don't call themselves Taliban anymore, as long as our troops are there.
What they'll do once those troops go is a bit of a guess; I would expect them to start fighting each other again, until some other bunch of radical fanatics defeats the whole lot. Perhaps those new fanatics will come up with another name than "Taliban", though.

Is that really a meaningful victory, though?

Ozymandias, there's one problem with your solution: if you buy up all the Opium produced there, then someone will simply start producing it elsewhere. As long as the Prohibition lasts, the crime syndicates will benefit from it.
Of course, it could indeed help to get rid of most of the Taliban, though I don't think it will remove all of them. Funnily enough, the Taliban were also against drug use and production, at least until they really needed the income. In the years before 9/11, they very seriously decreased Opium production in Afganistan, partly because of their own principles and partly because of a deal with the West (mainly the USA, I think). Only after the fall of the Taliban did Opium production start to rise again, and it was still later that the Taliban decided to get into that business too. Until then, it was our own allies who had the monopoly.

Uno
07-16-2009, 06:45 PM
The approach of unthinkingly carrying on the war and calling any doubt of the wisdom of that course of action defeatist has been tried before. The results aren't always good.

But that's exactly what the Norwegian government is doing, if you ask me. They're just supplying troops with no apparent thought for what's going to come of it all. Are some kind of benefits supposed to ensue? Who knows, because there's been no discussion of that kind of thing. There's been some cant about spreading democracy and that kind of thing, but, come on, a minor country like ours is in the imperialist game now? It's all dashed strange, if you ask me. We've got something like 590 soldiers there. May not sound like a lot, but since the US population is 66 times larger than that of Norway, and the US only has about 26,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, it's proportionately a major commitment. And rather taxing to the military budget.

DahLliA
07-16-2009, 07:03 PM
I'm still wondering why anyone not living in the middle-east actually started caring enough to go in there and piss them off in the first place. should have just let them kill eachother off?

Uno
07-16-2009, 07:15 PM
I't about supplies. And winning the support of the locals. Winning the support of the locals, in turn, is easier if you're helping them, not killing them. if you're cynical enough to see it that way, it's about money. And if you think about it, it's really logical: if people are healthy and happy and they have enought to eat and a roof over their head then they're much less likely to kill other people to have all that, religion or no religion.

Ok, but if a war goes on long enough, there will emerge a large class of people who have spent their entire lives fighting, men who know no other life. It is not necessarily in the interest of these people to bring the war to an end. That's not just the various "warlords" and military commanders, but quite ordinary people who actually have no skills or assets but war, and these fellows may be rather disinclined to put down the AK (which, if nothing else, does bring you some amount of prestige and respect, and possibly easy looting), and take up a mop or a shovel, or whatever. And since the conflict in Afghanistan has gone on since the early 1970s, we're actually talking not just about people who have been fighters all their life, but even second and possibly third generation warriors. Hard to win those kinds of chaps over by any means, I'd say.

Brita
07-16-2009, 07:34 PM
Ok, but if a war goes on long enough, there will emerge a large class of people who have spent their entire lives fighting, men who know no other life. It is not necessarily in the interest of these people to bring the war to an end. That's not just the various "warlords" and military commanders, but quite ordinary people who actually have no skills or assets but war, and these fellows may be rather disinclined to put down the AK (which, if nothing else, does bring you some amount of prestige and respect, and possibly easy looting), and take up a mop or a shovel, or whatever. And since the conflict in Afghanistan has gone on since the early 1970s, we're actually talking not just about people who have been fighters all their life, but even second and possibly third generation warriors. Hard to win those kinds of chaps over by any means, I'd say.

They could become legitimate police?....~~sigh~~ I know, I know.

GonzoTheGreat
07-17-2009, 05:26 AM
Problem for them is that if they do put down their guns, and others don't, then they're screwed. It's a fairly classic example of the prisoner's dilemma, though for convenience's sake that's usually explained with two participants instead of millions of them.
If that means killing every single one of them, so be it.I forgot to ask: are you advocating genocide on all the people of Afganistan?

If not, then what scheme do you propose to distinguish between those that "deserve to be killed" and those that "may have a right to life, on the condition that I won't change my mind on that"?

Sinistrum
07-17-2009, 06:55 AM
I forgot to ask: are you advocating genocide on all the people of Afganistan?

Seriously? I mean, SERIOUSLY? Oh c'mon. You aren't even trying anymore, are you? Hell, I don't even have to dignify that was a substantive response. Its so ludicrious that you'd have to be an utter moron who is completely disconnected from reality to conjure that from anything I've said in this thread...oh wait. That's right. I forgot. I'm talking to Gonzo. ;)

GonzoTheGreat
07-17-2009, 07:13 AM
Sinistrum, you are explicitly advocating an increase in violence, in order to kill all those that you think should be killed. Yet if you can't tell who should and should not be killed in that campaign, then either you'll end up killing a lot more people to no effect at all, or you actually do have to kill them all. Only in that way can you be sure that you've gotten rid of all the Taliban, if you do not have any way of distinguishing them from other people in the area.

The Soviets tried to solve the matter through the use of force, and I don't think I would want to accuse them of squeamishness. Yet they did not manage it, and eventually they had to leave.
Either you are advocating the use of a lot more force than the Soviet Union applied, or you are advocating something else.

My problem is that I have no idea what that "something else" could be, since as far as I can see, there's no real way of distinguishing between a fundamentalist who sort of hides his views while you're standing over him with superior firepower and another fundamentalist who does the same, but will eventually turn against you if he has a sufficiently safe chance of doing so, in his own estimation.

Can you explain to me how you would decide who to kill and who not to kill, if your suggestion of stepping up the level of violence was followed?

greatwolf
07-17-2009, 07:17 AM
I guess its a horrible situation down in afghanistan, but what is the cost of pulling out? The more I hear, the more I am convinced that this is a war of cultures. I mean, maybe we shouldn't be looking to the marines or whatever to win this one.

To draw on a poor analogy, if Rand goes to war against the seanchan, he could win at the cost of losing TG. But a war against the damane doesn't necesarily have to involve battling the seanchan. Its of greater benefit to change the seanchan attitude towards damane and in fact even the attitude of RLers towards AS and men channeling in general.

What i'm saying is that there are many fronts in a war. Winning territory is just one aspect of war. You cant hold the territory you win with blood if you dont win the hearts (or bellies) of the people. Without people, all you have is a barren desert.

What is US/NATO doing to win on the other fronts? Did they learn at all from vietnam? Or they need a more profound lesson?

GonzoTheGreat
07-17-2009, 07:22 AM
Some of NATO learned from Vietnam. Heck, some of NATO probably learned from Afganistan: it is quite likely that some current NATO officers served in the Warsaw Pact forces there in the 1980s. Trouble is: until recently Rumsfeld was in charge, and he "does not do learning".

Ozymandias
07-17-2009, 08:10 AM
Sinistrum, you are explicitly advocating an increase in violence, in order to kill all those that you think should be killed. Yet if you can't tell who should and should not be killed in that campaign, then either you'll end up killing a lot more people to no effect at all, or you actually do have to kill them all. Only in that way can you be sure that you've gotten rid of all the Taliban, if you do not have any way of distinguishing them from other people in the area.

Thats war. If your gonna take off the gloves, take off the motherfucking gloves. War is not some international game, where one side gets to up and quit if they don't like the way the chips fall. I realize in an age of mass media its impossible, but we should be in there storming into every Hooverville, hole, and cave they've got and doing what we need to. Carpet bomb mountainsides. Map every cave and throw some mustard gas in there. Whatever it takes. War is war.

Sarevok
07-17-2009, 08:12 AM
Thats war. If your gonna take off the gloves, take off the motherfucking gloves. War is not some international game, where one side gets to up and quit if they don't like the way the chips fall. I realize in an age of mass media its impossible, but we should be in there storming into every Hooverville, hole, and cave they've got and doing what we need to. Carpet bomb mountainsides. Map every cave and throw some mustard gas in there. Whatever it takes. War is war.
The problem is that the enemies in this war tend to hide in villages awong normal civilians.
Are you suggesting to bomb every village where one taliban- or al qaida-member has been sighted?

GonzoTheGreat
07-17-2009, 08:26 AM
Thats war. If your gonna take off the gloves, take off the motherfucking gloves. War is not some international game, where one side gets to up and quit if they don't like the way the chips fall. I realize in an age of mass media its impossible, but we should be in there storming into every Hooverville, hole, and cave they've got and doing what we need to. Carpet bomb mountainsides. Map every cave and throw some mustard gas in there. Whatever it takes. War is war.That is why I asked whether or not Sinistrum advocated genocide, Final Solution, so to speak. It appears that you do, but I am not entirely sure Sinistrum is willing to go that far.

Do you have a preference for how they're to be killed?
Obviously, the USA does not have nearly enough mustard gas to blanket all of Afganistan, so that's out. Carpet bombing would be even more costly and more impossible to do properly (with a 100% success rate, that is). And if you leave some of them alive, they'll merely start breeding again and attack your descendants in the future.

Oh, if you do want to storm every single place where a human could hide, then you're going to have to reactivate the draft in the USA. I doubt many other NATO members would be willing to supply troops for that kind of effort, and it would take a lot of manpower to get it done. Sending out soldiers with explicit "kill every baby you find" orders isn't popular in Germany these days.

GonzoTheGreat
07-17-2009, 08:43 AM
A current article on a recent incident in Afganistan (http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/07/200971392319600978.html). I don't think we can really draw conclusions from this, apart from the "it isn't over, yet" one that no one seems to deny. The article says about that:
But one would not expect it from a war that many American thought was all but over.

It was George Bush, after all, who declared on July 4, 2002, that in "Afghanistan we defeated the Taliban".

That was never a true statement.

Gilshalos Sedai
07-17-2009, 09:13 AM
The problem is that the enemies in this war tend to hide in villages awong normal civilians. Are you suggesting to bomb every village where one taliban- or al qaida-member has been sighted?


The Viet Cong did the same thing. That's why we lost Vietnam.

Davian93
07-17-2009, 09:41 AM
The Viet Cong did the same thing. That's why we lost Vietnam.

The Vietcong had a neutral country in which to hide and resupply and then make their attacks. Fortunately we dont have that situation now...you know, other than Pakistan.

We will never win this war as currently constructed. Its another Vietnam. We can stay there and have a modicum of stability and make some nice headlines but as soon as we reduce our force or pull out, things will go right back to how they were.

Crispin's Crispian
07-17-2009, 11:15 AM
You can't just go in and "do what needs to be done," for exactly the reasons the Dutchies pointed out. Whatever it is needs to be done, you need to figure out to whom you're going to do it. That either requires an extensive investigation and intelligence operation (which will likely result in many, many false positives given the tribal situation), or genocide.

The only way to really have any impact is to try to aid the people you know are pro-democracy. Until the majority of people are philosophically opposed to the Taliban, and are strong enough to stand up to them, we can never leave.

Ivhon
07-17-2009, 11:16 AM
The Vietcong had a neutral country in which to hide and resupply and then make their attacks. Fortunately we dont have that situation now...you know, other than Pakistan.

We will never win this war as currently constructed. Its another Vietnam. We can stay there and have a modicum of stability and make some nice headlines but as soon as we reduce our force or pull out, things will go right back to how they were.

Agreed. Lets save the lives and money and leave now.

Political suicide, I know. We will be there forever.

Sinistrum
07-17-2009, 03:09 PM
We will never win this war as currently constructed. Its another Vietnam. We can stay there and have a modicum of stability and make some nice headlines but as soon as we reduce our force or pull out, things will go right back to how they were.

Agreed. Lets save the lives and money and leave now.

Political suicide, I know. We will be there forever.

No its a lot more than political suicide. Its just suicidal in general. What? Do you people honestly think if we pack up and leave the Taliban is just going to leave us alone? That they're some how just going to magically start playing nice with the rest of the world? I mean seriously, what about them and their past actions towards us makes you think there is even the remote possibility of peaceful coexistence with them? I mean its not like they've done any major attacks against us, I guess. Oh wait, what was that 9-11 business about again?

I guess its really true that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Its especially true when a lot of people here are being willfully ignorant of that history so that way they can rationalize giving up and running away when something gets difficult. This isn't Vietnam. The Vietcong didn't attack us to get us into that war, and they certainly didn't follow us home once we turned tail.

Sinistrum, you are explicitly advocating an increase in violence, in order to kill all those that you think should be killed. Yet if you can't tell who should and should not be killed in that campaign, then either you'll end up killing a lot more people to no effect at all, or you actually do have to kill them all.

No no no. Once again, you fail to grasp my point. I never said we have to kill all of the Taliban. I just said we shouldn't take it off the table. My point is that we do whatever it takes to win against them, no matter how difficult that is. That just so happens to include the possibility of killing them all (and a good deal of "civilians" to boot) but that is not the first or preferential option. The only way to truly win a war is to break your opponents will to fight. Most times, you can do that without killing all of them as long as you make the cost of continuing the war on their end more than they can stomach. That is where increased aggressiveness comes into play. And that doesn't just mean upping the violence. It also means targeting that violence at the things they truly care about.

Furthermore, as for identifying who we need to kill, that is particularly easy. That would be anyone who shoots at us or allows themselves to be used for Taliban military purposes.

The problem is that the enemies in this war tend to hide in villages awong normal civilians.

So that means when "normal civilians" allow the Taliban to hide among them, they become legitimate military targets. I know a bunch of people here are hung up on this "radical" vs. "normal person" distinction with Islam. The fact of the matter is that even though it is their religion being hijacked and therefore this war should mean a hell of a lot more to them than it does to us, the vast majority of "normal persons" in Islam continue to sit on their ass on the sidelines and have not put up any fight or even raised a peep of protest.

The most they have managed to do is get in our way when we try to deal with something that even though it has negatively impact us, is at its core, their problem. Their silence speaks volumes about their stance on the radicals and it means one of two things. Either they're too cowardly to deal with this, or they don't want to deal with it because they approve of what the radicals are doing. Either way I'm calling bullshit. Its time for them to get off their goddamn asses. They need to lead, follow, or get the fuck out of the way in this war and if they're not willing to do any of that, then I think it is a perfectly reasonable to assume they are not on our side. Ergo legitimate military targets.

You cant hold the territory you win with blood if you dont win the hearts (or bellies) of the people.

Until the majority of people are philosophically opposed to the Taliban

You guys make it sound so simple. Yes! Lets just change their minds! We can just reach inside their heads and flip the "I love Democracy, Free Speech, Religious Tolerance, and Woman's Rights" switch. Reality check here people: The only one any person has the power to change is themselves. Anyone claiming anything else is taking mere incentivizing and turning it into a narcissitic claim of mental dominion over all of humanity.

Crispin's Crispian
07-17-2009, 03:32 PM
You guys make it sound so simple. Yes! Lets just change their minds! We can just reach inside their heads and flip the "I love Democracy, Free Speech, Religious Tolerance, and Woman's Rights" switch. Reality check here people: The only one any person has the power to change is themselves. Anyone claiming anything else is taking mere incentivizing and turning it into a narcissitic claim of mental dominion over all of humanity.
That completely ignores everything I already said, so kudos for oversimplifying even further.

Let's break this down.



No no no. Once again, you fail to grasp my point. I never said we have to kill all of the Taliban. I just said we shouldn't take it off the table. My point is that we do whatever it takes to win against them, no matter how difficult that is.
Diffcult, not simple. OK.


That just so happens to include the possibility of killing them all (and a good deal of "civilians" to boot) but that is not the first or preferential option. The only way to truly win a war is to break your opponents will to fight. Most times, you can do that without killing all of them as long as you make the cost of continuing the war on their end more than they can stomach. That is where increased aggressiveness comes into play. And that doesn't just mean upping the violence. It also means targeting that violence at the things they truly care about.

OK, I already got that you're not advocating genocide. So, complete your argument. Where do you take the fight? What things does the Taliban care about that we could assault?



Furthermore, as for identifying who we need to kill, that is particularly easy. That would be anyone who shoots at us or allows themselves to be used for Taliban military purposes.

So that means when "normal civilians" allow the Taliban to hide among them, they become legitimate military targets. I know a bunch of people here are hung up on this "radical" vs. "normal person" distinction with Islam. The fact of the matter is that even though it is their religion being hijacked and therefore this war should mean a hell of a lot more to them than it does to us, the vast majority of "normal persons" in Islam continue to sit on their ass on the sidelines and have not put up any fight or even raised a peep of protest.

So let's say you walk into a town in the mountains of Afghanistan. You just chased a small group of Taliban soldiers into the town, but you couldn't identify them well enough to pick them out of the crowds. No one in the town is talking, because they are either Taliban, or know the Taliban will kill them if they talk. What do you do? You can't leave them there, because they'll be back out in a day's time firing rockets at another platoon. What do you do?

Now, multiply that by the number of villages, towns, and cities where the same thing will happen.


When I said people had to be philosophically opposed to the Taliban, I'm not talking about converting them all to Southern Baptists and selling them Mickey D's fries. I'm talking about supporting the opposition, and protecting those townspeople so they're not as afraid to speak out. If they're all secretly supporting the Taliban, then the problem solves itself.

But I'm no fucking general, so I'm not really advocating anything specific because I really don't know what should be done. If you are so quick to shoot down everyone else's ideas, though, then maybe you have the answers.

Sinistrum
07-17-2009, 03:58 PM
OK, I already got that you're not advocating genocide. So, complete your argument. Where do you take the fight? What things does the Taliban care about that we could assault?

Well lets see, they don't care about their people, otherwise they wouldn't be using them as human shields and generally treating them like shit. They clearly don't care about their economy or else they wouldn't be doing things that tear it to shreds and end up with them living in caves. They don't care about infrastructure or cities for the same reason. That pretty much leaves themselves (and even this is dubious given their preference for suicide attacks), their families, and their religion as possible targets. I underlined that last one for a reason, because by my way of thinking, that is the crux of our issues with them and vice versa.

So let's say you walk into a town in the mountains of Afghanistan. You just chased a small group of Taliban soldiers into the town, but you couldn't identify them well enough to pick them out of the crowds. No one in the town is talking, because they are either Taliban, or know the Taliban will kill them if they talk. What do you do? You can't leave them there, because they'll be back out in a day's time firing rockets at another platoon. What do you do?

Level the village. And by village I mean structures, not necessarily people. When your target goes to ground, leave no ground to go to. They can't hide in what doesn't exist. The end result of this is that either the villagers will get over their fear of the bolded part and stop letting the Taliban use them, they won't and take getting their homes destroyed just like they bend over and take everything else in that part of the world, or they join ranks with the Taliban. Anyway you slice it though, the job of identifying which people we need to fight becomes a hell of a lot easier and thus the over all war becomes a hell of a lot easier.

I will reiterate my previous point. The time for them to sit on the sidelines is at an end. The people of Afghanistan need to pick a side now and they need to do a hell of a lot more than more than just "speak out." Its their religion and their country on the line. We're just there because they refused to clean up their own diarrhea and it ended up splattering all over us too as a result.

Ivhon
07-17-2009, 04:18 PM
Well lets see, they don't care about their people, otherwise they wouldn't be using them as human shields and generally treating them like shit. They clearly don't care about their economy or else they wouldn't be doing things that tear it to shreds and end up with them living in caves. They don't care about infrastructure or cities for the same reason. That pretty much leaves themselves (and even this is dubious given their preference for suicide attacks), their families, and their religion as possible targets. I underlined that last one for a reason, because by my way of thinking, that is the crux of our issues with them and vice versa.



Level the village. And by village I mean structures, not necessarily people. When your target goes to ground, leave no ground to go to. They can't hide in what doesn't exist. The end result of this is that either the villagers will get over their fear of the bolded part and stop letting the Taliban use them, they won't and take getting their homes destroyed just like they bend over and take everything else in that part of the world, or they join ranks with the Taliban. Anyway you slice it though, the job of identifying which people we need to fight becomes a hell of a lot easier and thus the over all war becomes a hell of a lot easier.

I will reiterate my previous point. The time for them to sit on the sidelines is at an end. The people of Afghanistan need to pick a side now and they need to do a hell of a lot more than more than just "speak out." Its their religion and their country on the line. We're just there because they refused to clean up their own diarrhea and it ended up splattering all over us too as a result.

Can't believe I took you off block, but here goes.

Do you ever consider that Mi Lai'ing potentially every village in Afghanistan will NOT actually get the people to stop fearing the Taliban and do what you want, but instead engender enough hatred of YOU that they will willingly join with the Taliban? And considering you WILL be seen as conducting a religious purge - because that is essentially exactly what you are proposing - you will also incentivise the entire muslim world to join with the Taliban.

Yet again, your solution is WWIII that we cannot POSSIBLY win because we dont have enough soldiers. Ok...we can nuke. I think that is what you want anyway.

The solution of leaving now leaves a small group of people hating us and wanting to kill us. Yours leaves billions of people hating us an wanting to kill us.

But oh yea....we're America. We dont take shit from nobody - even if that means inviting FAR more disaster on our citizens. Cuz we dont back down, goldurnit!!! WHOOOHOOO)O

Crispin's Crispian
07-17-2009, 04:38 PM
Well lets see, they don't care about their people, otherwise they wouldn't be using them as human shields and generally treating them like shit. They clearly don't care about their economy or else they wouldn't be doing things that tear it to shreds and end up with them living in caves. They don't care about infrastructure or cities for the same reason. That pretty much leaves themselves (and even this is dubious given their preference for suicide attacks), their families, and their religion as possible targets. I underlined that last one for a reason, because by my way of thinking, that is the crux of our issues with them and vice versa.

How do you take the fight to their religion?

How do you take it to their families without completely undermining the plan you outlined?

Sarevok
07-17-2009, 04:38 PM
Level the village. And by village I mean structures, not necessarily people. When your target goes to ground, leave no ground to go to. They can't hide in what doesn't exist. The end result of this is that either the villagers will get over their fear of the bolded part and stop letting the Taliban use them, they won't and take getting their homes destroyed just like they bend over and take everything else in that part of the world, or they join ranks with the Taliban. Anyway you slice it though, the job of identifying which people we need to fight becomes a hell of a lot easier and thus the over all war becomes a hell of a lot easier.
Uh, Sini, I'm certain that course of action would increase the number of enemy combattants by at least ten-fold.
I know if some people barged in a destroyed my home, I would join the other party, especially if they look and talk like me, too.

Gilshalos Sedai
07-17-2009, 04:59 PM
See.. there was this gigantic world power once... it's Empire spanned the globe... It had a handful of rather fractious colonies across the ocean from it at one point. Its solution? Quarter the troops among the people, requiring the colonists to fead and house these men at their own expense. You can't rebel if the soldiers are in your living room, can you? The head of this empire kept among the people, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of the colonies' legislatures. He affected to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power. He combined with others to subject those colonies to a jurisdiction foreign to the constitution, and unacknowledged by the laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation: for quartering large bodies of armed troops among them: for protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these colonies:

Guess what happened to that Empire? They were kicked out of those colonies, twice, because the people stood up for themselves. Might'nt Al'Quaida and the Taliban be likened to this Empire? Especially in their actions? So, shouldn't we be working on convincing the people they don't have to stand for this?

Or would they even listen since they seem to prefer to try to kill the neighboring tribesmembers instead of the fanatic jackasses that try to take advantage of them?

Sarevok
07-17-2009, 05:16 PM
He combined with others to subject those colonies to a jurisdiction foreign to the constitution, and unacknowledged by the laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation: for quartering large bodies of armed troops among them: for protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these colonies:

I've been trying for a few minutes now to make sense of that sentence, but I really can't.
And since I have no idea what you're talking about, I don't know who or what you're comparing the Taliban to.

Sinistrum
07-17-2009, 05:29 PM
Do you ever consider that Mi Lai'ing potentially every village in Afghanistan will NOT actually get the people to stop fearing the Taliban and do what you want, but instead engender enough hatred of YOU that they will willingly join with the Taliban?

Uh, Sini, I'm certain that course of action would increase the number of enemy combattants by at least ten-fold.

Yes and I addressed that possibility. That would actually make it easier for us to solve the only problem with our tactics in Afghanistan, ie identifying who to fight. Quite frankly I'm not concerned about a spike in numbers. Larger forces are a lot harder to hide and generally easier to blow up.

Your turn to answer a question. So these people that you are so concerned about rising up have been taking it up the ass from the Taliban and other warlords for decades. They've been doing so based in large part on a religious purge (ie they're getting rid of all versions of Islam except the Taliban's and other similar groups). And yet they haven't risen up against the Taliban and other religiously oppressive regimes and become this giganitc Pan Islamic army that you so fear. So what about my proposed course of action will dictate a different reaction? It can't be because we'd be attacking their supposedly moderate religious beliefs because those beliefs are already under attack by the people they'd be rising up to support against us. Merely because of the fact that we're foreigners? That didn't seem to matter when the Taliban was harboring Al Queda, since most of them aren't from Afghanistan. That we're from a different culture perhaps? Hmmm now there is something very interesting, in which case you might be correct. But if thats the case, then that takes me to this.

you will also incentivise the entire muslim world to join with the Taliban.

Yet again, your solution is WWIII

So what about this situation makes you think we aren't headed there anyways? As I've already demonstrated, the "moderate" parts of Islam are pretty much sitting on their asses when they have got a hell of a lot at stake in this fight. Its their very soul of their religion that is being fought over after all and by any rational estimate, they've been getting the shit kicked out of them in the battle for that soul. If they were truly inclined to preserve their "moderation" they would have done something by now. Instead they just sit around and allow themselves to be used to support the very people who are supposedly perverting their most sacred beliefs. Sare made the following point.

I know if some people barged in a destroyed my home, I would join the other party, especially if they look and talk like me, too.

And its fair. But its also fair to state that if someone fucked around with my religious beliefs and tried to outlaw them or fundamentally change them by force, I'd probably have the same reaction as someone destroying my home. And yet, we haven't seen that kind of reaction against the Taliban or any other radical islamic group running around any other Muslim country.

That says to me that perhaps most Muslims aren't as moderate as the PC tolerance and diversity crowd would have us believe. That says to me that maybe this goes a lot deeper than a few radicals upset over supposed economic exploitation or Israel, or whatever other convenient excuse they trot out to justify their attacks against us. The most likely reason that they aren't fighting that hard for the soul of their religion with the radicals is because there really isn't that much to fight over with them. As Sare pointed out, the radicals look and talk just like the "moderates." They're are part of the same culture. And like great wolf pointed out, that's what this really comes down to. A clash of culture and civilizations.

The solution of leaving now leaves a small group of people hating us and wanting to kill us.

So no, the solution of leaving now doesn't just leave a handful of people hating us or wanting to kill us. It just leaves the handful of people who are really gung ho about it with time, resources (such as Pakistan's nukes), and territory to go about doing it while the vast majority of Muslims contently watches on.

But oh yea....we're America. We dont take shit from nobody - even if that means inviting FAR more disaster on our citizens. Cuz we dont back down, goldurnit!!! WHOOOHOOO)O

So while I'm sure statements like these play well with your hippy buddies, they have absolutely zero to do with anything I'm saying. This isn't about pride and it never has been. This isn't about teaching dem der ignoran muzlims a lesson or revenge for 9-11 or any other ludicrious hyberbole you wish to attribute to my position. The only reason you want to portray it like that is because it offers the illusion that we have a choice about fighting this war.

While I'm sure that illusion is a lot less scary, a lot more emotionally satisfying, and offers you the comfort of being able to go on with your regularly schedule life and ignore what is going on, unfortunately for you, it has little or nothing to do with the reality of the situation. This is a war for the survival of our beliefs, and our very civilization. And if those go down, then a good number of us will go down with them, and those that are left can say hello to a brand version of the Dark Ages. And as not fun as they were under Christianity, I doubt they'd get any more appealing under Islam.

your solution is WWIII that we cannot POSSIBLY win because we dont have enough soldiers

Well of course we can't win with people like you running around conceding the war before it even really gets started, whining about the "brutality" of solid tactics while we fight, or giving up the minute anything gets difficult. As I said above, we may not have a choice about fighitng WWIII with Islamic culture. Defeatist like you will only guaranty that we end up losing it.

Ivhon
07-17-2009, 05:39 PM
Yes and I addressed that possibility. That would actually make it easier for us to solve the only problem with our tactics in Afghanistan, ie identifying who to fight. Quite frankly I'm not concerned about a spike in numbers. Larger forces are a lot harder to hide and generally easier to blow up.

Your turn to answer a question. So these people that you are so concerned about rising up have been taking it up the ass from the Taliban and other warlords for decades. They've been doing so based in large part on a religious purge (ie they're getting rid of all versions of Islam except the Taliban's and other similar groups). And yet they haven't risen up against the Taliban and other religiously oppressive regimes and become this giganitc Pan Islamic army that you so fear. So what about my proposed course of action will dictate a different reaction? It can't be because we'd be attacking their supposedly moderate religious beliefs because those beliefs are already under attack by the people they'd be rising up to support against us. Merely because of the fact that we're foreigners? That didn't seem to matter when the Taliban was harboring Al Queda, since most of them aren't from Afghanistan. That we're from a different culture perhaps? Hmmm now there is something very interesting, in which case you might be correct. But if thats the case, then that takes me to this.



So what about this situation makes you think we aren't headed there anyways? As I've already demonstrated, the "moderate" parts of Islam are pretty much sitting on their asses when they have got a hell of a lot at stake in this fight. Its their very soul of their religion that is being fought over after all and by any rational estimate, they've been getting the shit kicked out of them in the battle for that soul. If they were truly inclined to preserve their "moderation" they would have done something by now. Instead they just sit around and allow themselves to be used to support the very people who are supposedly perverting their most sacred beliefs. Sare made the following point.



And its fair. But its also fair to state that if someone fucked around with my religious beliefs and tried to outlaw them or fundamentally change them by force, I'd probably have the same reaction as someone destroying my home. And yet, we haven't seen that kind of reaction against the Taliban or any other radical islamic group running around any other Muslim country.

That says to me that perhaps most Muslims aren't as moderate as the PC tolerance and diversity crowd would have us believe. That says to me that maybe this goes a lot deeper than a few radicals upset over supposed economic exploitation or Israel, or whatever other convenient excuse they trot out to justify their attacks against us. The most likely reason that they aren't fighting that hard for the soul of their religion with the radicals is because there really isn't that much to fight over with them. As Sare pointed out, the radicals look and talk just like the "moderates." They're are part of the same culture. And like great wolf pointed out, that's what this really comes down to. A clash of culture and civilizations.



So no, the solution of leaving now doesn't just leave a handful of people hating us or wanting to kill us. It just leaves the handful of people who are really gung ho about it with time, resources (such as Pakistan's nukes), and territory to go about doing it while the vast majority of Muslims contently watches on.



So while I'm sure statements like these play well with your hippy buddies, they have absolutely zero to do with anything I'm saying. This isn't about pride and it never has been. This isn't about teaching dem der ignoran muzlims a lesson or revenge for 9-11 or any other ludicrious hyberbole you wish to attribute to my position. The only reason you want to portray it like that is because it offers the illusion that we have a choice about fighting this war.

While I'm sure that illusion is a lot less scary, a lot more emotionally satisfying, and offers you the comfort of being able to go on with your regularly schedule life and ignore what is going on, unfortunately for you, it has little or nothing to do with the reality of the situation. This a war for the survival of our beliefs, and our very civilization. And if those go down, then a good number of us will go down with them, and those that are left can say hello to a brand version of the Dark Ages. And as not fun as they were under Christianity, I doubt they'd get any more appealing under Islam.



Well of course we can't win with people like you running around conceding the war before it even really gets started, whining about the "brutality" of solid tactics while we fight, or giving up the minute anything gets difficult. As I said above, we may not have a choice about fighitng WWIII with Islamic culture. Defeatist like you will only guaranty that we end up losing it.

Since once again you have started with the ad hominem (hippy whiny defeatest) I will leave in saying that arrogant warmongering psychopaths such as yourself who are willing to genocidically wipe out an entire region with no though of any other type of solution are THE biggest problem with the world and will ultimately be the cause of our extinction.

back on ignore.

Sinistrum
07-17-2009, 05:58 PM
Since once again you have started with the ad hominem (hippy whiny defeatest) I will leave in saying that arrogant warmongering psychopaths such as yourself who are willing to genocidically wipe out an entire region with no though of any other type of solution are THE biggest problem with the world and will ultimately be the cause of our extinction.

And kumbaya singing peace at any cost retards such as yourself will guaranty that even if we don't go extinct, we'll wish we had. The lives we will lead if your world view comes to pass will be lessons in suffering the likes of which the Devil himself would flinch over. It would be brought about by the hands of the most cruel and vicious tyrants history can conjure because they would stand unopposed. The natural result of refusing to fight against tyranny is that tyranny wins.

All that is necessary for evil to triump is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

And in wanting us to cut and run, that's all you've proposed we do.

Some fates are worse than death, some things are more valuable than human life itself, and anything worth while in life requires sacrifice. You and that silver spoon in your mouth clearly understand none of this or else you'd show another reaction to conflict and adversity other than giving up and running away. You expect your freedoms and the things you want in life to be handed too you, and when they aren't you flinch and give up.

Furthermore, you say there is another solution to this conflict with Islam. So what is it Einstein? Diplomacy? You can't even convince someone like me that you're right, and our political differences aside, we still have similar cultural values. At the very least, I don't base my opinions on something as irrational or inexorable as faith. What possible hope could you have of convincing someone from an alien culture who doesn't value the same things you do (like free speech, democracy, women's rights, religious freedom, etc.) and sees many of them as contrary to the word and laws of God? You can't argue with people over what they see as the mandates of heaven. To assume you could even try is the demonstrative of far more hubris and arrogance than you accuse me of.

EDIT: P.S. If you were so concerned about injecting ad hominem attacks into this discussion, you should have thought about before trying to paint my arguments as coming out of the mouth of Cletis the slackjawed yokel. Don't dish it out if you can't take.

Uno
07-17-2009, 05:58 PM
I've been trying for a few minutes now to make sense of that sentence, but I really can't.
And since I have no idea what you're talking about, I don't know who or what you're comparing the Taliban to.

She's referring to the American Revolution, and I think the comparison may work in some respects, only that the Coalition forces represent the British and the Taliban the patriots, or at least the patriot militias, if not the Continental Army.

During the Revolutionary War, both the British and the insurgents realized that they must make some effort to control civilian populations, but the British Army always had a hard time dealing with patriot militias and other irregulars. Typically, when the British military took control over any given area, a part of the local population, especially loyalists, but also neutrals and even some former patriots, would seek their protection and reaffirm their allegiance to the crown. That was all fine and well as long as the British regulars were there, but the problem was that they often didn't stay for long, and when they left, the people who had declared for the crown were exposed to retaliation from the insurgents. After a while, that kind of thing becomes pretty demoralizing even to committed loyalists. It's a familiar enough difficulty from more recent conflicts. The army takes control and the irregulars vanish, but they're not really gone, and will come back as soon as the military leaves.

There were other issues, too. The insurgents tended to force people to join their militias whether they wanted to or not, and once you had agreed to do that simply to avoid persecution, you were branded as a rebel, even though you were not necessarily in any way committed to the Revolutionary cause. British military officers might forgive some poor sap who just carried a musket, but American loyalists, who felt that they had suffered for the king's cause, would not, which leads to yet another problem, the difficulty of controlling your allies among the local population.

It wasn't necessarily that easy just to lay down your arms and quit the rebellion, because 1) the loyalists might harrass you anyway and 2) the patriots would now treat you as a traitor. To what extent these kinds of dynamics work in Afghanistan, I don't really know, but I wouldn't be surprised if more well-informed people could see some similarities.

Isabel
07-18-2009, 02:43 AM
Yes and I addressed that possibility. That would actually make it easier for us to solve the only problem with our tactics in Afghanistan, ie identifying who to fight. Quite frankly I'm not concerned about a spike in numbers. Larger forces are a lot harder to hide and generally easier to blow up.

Would you want to the same situation to happen in the USA? Would you want your house destroyed, because you are afraid of two sides? If you tell on the onces hiding, you will die and otherwise you will lose your property.

I really don't understand you: on purpose you want to create more enemies and want to kill them all. You just want to kill more people, without giving the solution.

People in the world know that the USA created more enemies on purpose so they can easily all be killed.

I mean, why would you value a life of a US citizens or any other citizens? Just move in and start demolishing every house and make everyone an enemy, so you can kill them easily. Tactic would also work on other nations.



And yet they haven't risen up against the Taliban and other religiously oppressive regimes and become this giganitc Pan Islamic army that you so fear. So what about my proposed course of action will dictate a different reaction? It can't be because we'd be attacking their supposedly moderate religious beliefs because those beliefs are already under attack by the people they'd be rising up to support against us. Merely because of the fact that we're foreigners?

It's based on a simple principle: The USA and other troups are foreign. People fear other ideas than they are used to.
They are used to the islam, even if they are moderate it's part of their culture.

For example: in the netherlands there is most of the time a huge outcry if a muslim says anything that violates the right of women, but if a christian says it, than it isn't that bad. (I don't feel that way, but some popular politicians do)
People go with what they are familiar with.



So what about this situation makes you think we aren't headed there anyways? As I've already demonstrated, the "moderate" parts of Islam are pretty much sitting on their asses when they have got a hell of a lot at stake in this fight.


Why would the moderate parts of the Islam embrace western culture and values? Why not let them do it their own way? A lot of western values also have disadvantages.




And its fair. But its also fair to state that if someone fucked around with my religious beliefs and tried to outlaw them or fundamentally change them by force, I'd probably have the same reaction as someone destroying my home.

Gosh, I haven't seen a big outcry in the USA about religious people forbidding gays to marry. This is happening in a democratic country. Religious people are forcing their way of life on non religious people or religious people who don't think it's that bad.


This is a war for the survival of our beliefs, and our very civilization. And if those go down, then a good number of us will go down with them, and those that are left can say hello to a brand version of the Dark Ages. And as not fun as they were under Christianity, I doubt they'd get any more appealing under Islam.


You can never win a war of beliefs with force. Changings people's mind takes a long time.

Well of course we can't win with people like you running around conceding the war before it even really gets started, whining about the "brutality" of solid tactics while we fight, or giving up the minute anything gets difficult. As I said above, we may not have a choice about fighitng WWIII with Islamic culture. Defeatist like you will only guaranty that we end up losing it.

When will you have won? When there are no muslims alive?

Sinistrum
07-18-2009, 04:25 AM
Would you want to the same situation to happen in the USA? Would you want your house destroyed, because you are afraid of two sides?

No, I wouldn't want the same thing to happen in the U.S. That is why we have bigger guns than everyone else though. That is reflective of the fact that warfare is simply about might. As for fear, that may be the crux of their issue with harboring radical militants. If it is, I have zero sympathy for them for acting on fear alone. If their countries and their religion matters so much to them they should have the courage to stand up and fight for them.

I really don't understand you: on purpose you want to create more enemies and want to kill them all.

No, I really don't want to create more enemies. Saying what I've said is not saying that at all. I would prefer that civilians in the areas we are fighting actually do things to help us, like not harboring our enemies or leaving the area, or in the best case, standing up and fighting along side of us. However, unlike you, I recognize that we can't always control the actions or reactions of others. I also recognize that we have to do what have to do no matter the reaction of other people. Simply put, while I'd like it if our actions didn't piss of others, I'm not concerned by them getting pissed off either. Their opinion shouldn't be in the calculus of how we fight this war and if they get pissed off and become our enemy too, that is something we will just have to deal with in the same way we deal with our other enemies.

It's based on a simple principle: The USA and other troups are foreign. People fear other ideas than they are used to.
They are used to the islam, even if they are moderate it's part of their culture.

I've already agreed with the part that I've bolded, which is why I think the situation is so dire. As for simply being foreigners, that has little to do with it. Most members of Al Queda were foreign and yet they weren't turn on.

Why would the moderate parts of the Islam embrace western culture and values? Why not let them do it their own way?

And, what precisely, is their own way? Does their own way involve treating women like property and/or punching bags? Does their way involve blowing up the holy sites of other religions up? Does their way involve giving men the right to kill the women in their family for dating someone they don't approve of? Does their way involve denying women proper medical treatment because they don't want an unrelated male seeing that woman naked? Does their way involve denying the ability of the average person to openly criticize their government because they'd be criticizing God by default? Does their way involve flying planes into the buildings of Western nations? Does it involve cutting off the clitoris of women as a means of sexual control? Seems to me that letting them do it their own way is simply another way of saying that we should let them be as barbaric, violent, and uncivilized as they care to be no matter who else it affects. But then again, that is the very essence of tolerance and diversity, tolerating the intolerable.

Gosh, I haven't seen a big outcry in the USA about religious people forbidding gays to marry.

Then you clearly haven't been paying attention. Just because that outcry hasn't forced legal action yet doesn't mean its not happening.

You can never win a war of beliefs with force. Changings people's mind takes a long time.

First off, of course you can. If you kill or break the will of everyone with the belief you are fighting against you absolutely can. The history of warfare is rife with examples of this principle in action. In point of fact, breaking the enemies will to fight is at the heart of any successful war. That is done by destroying the belief in their cause to fight. Since nobody else seems to recognize this, I'm starting to think that I'm the only one on this board who has read his Sun Tzu.

At the risk of invoking Godwin's law, the entire struggle against the Nazi regime was a war over beliefs. Don't seem to remember winning over the hearts and minds of too many Germans until after we kick the ever living crap out of them and destroyed most of what they held dear. Nothing crushes the delusion of superiority, divine mandate, or manifest destiny quite like getting your ass handed to you on a plate in a war. God and destiny are never on the losing side after all.

Secondly, as I already pointed it out, it is impossible to change someone's mind. You, nor I, nor anyone else are telepaths, can't use the Force, and can't reach inside the head of someone else and flip a switch to get them to change. The most you can do is incentivize and that only works if they're not an asshole. If they are, well that's where killing them comes in handy.

When will you have won? When there are no muslims alive?

Hopefully not. But painting what I'm saying out as a call for genocide was intellectually dishonest and hysterical when Gonzo did it, and its just the same with you. We win when they don't have the will to fight us over the more despicable aspects of their belief system anymore. It rarely if ever takes a genocide to accomplish this.

Isabel
07-18-2009, 04:47 AM
That is why we have bigger guns than everyone else though. That is reflective of the fact that warfare is simply about might.

So you are saying that as long as you are more powerfull than anyone else you can do anything?

As for fear, that may be the crux of their issue with harboring radical militants. If it is, I have zero sympathy for them for acting on fear alone. If their countries and their religion matters so much to them they should have the courage to stand up and fight for them.

Look a fight against the taliban from the citizens will be very hard on them. Many many people will be killed. A revolution doesn't happen over night. It took the US citizens also a while to rebel against the british.
While you expect them to stand with the USA, which has done very selfish things in the past, which culture has also disadvantages, for a result that is not clear.


No, I really don't want to create more enemies. Saying what I've said is not saying that at all. I would prefer that civilians in the areas we are fighting actually do things to help us, like not harboring our enemies or leaving the area, or in the best case, standing up and fighting along side of us.

Read what I said above. There are many reasons to think of why they won't help and rise up. You have unrealistic expectations of citizens.
Because they are unrealistic, you are autamatically creating more enemies.

Most members of Al Queda were foreign and yet they weren't turn on.
They still have the same religion and are supported by some Afghan people.

And, what precisely, is their own way?

Let them do it at their own pace. We didn't event democracy in 5 years. It's a work in progress.

First off, of course you can. If you kill or break the will of everyone with the belief you are fighting against you absolutely can.

No, that way you can make sure they can't come up against you. But have you changed their mind?

GonzoTheGreat
07-18-2009, 04:57 AM
Yet again, your solution is WWIII that we cannot POSSIBLY win because we dont have enough soldiers.No, the proposed solution is not WWIII, it is actually WWII. It is what the Germans used to suppress the resistance against their rule in occupied Europe.
If a German patrol was attacked near a village, shoot the most important men from that village. If you are not sure of the trustworthiness of some people, arrest them and everyone around them, so that you won't miss anyone. Use enhanced interrogation techniques to get them to talk, and then arrest the people whose names are mentioned too.

Of course, as we all know, the Germans were wusses, they did not do the job properly. But I'm sure the current US soldiers wouldn't be hampered by liberalism to such an extend, so no doubt they could actually manage to make this work. That's what US Army training is for, after all.

Me, I hope that if it comes to this, my country will withdraw its troops instead of collaborating. I'm not too hopeful about that, though.

DahLliA
07-18-2009, 08:49 AM
the problem with comparing winning WW2 with winning in afgahnistan is that the nazis were a proper army. al queda isn't...

greatwolf
07-18-2009, 09:13 AM
When will you have won? When there are no muslims alive?

Actually, yes. And no. No muslims (genocide) means the US has won. Also no muslims (Total conversion) is also a win. But neither is probable. First the US cant get total conversion. Convert to what? The best enemy to fight is one that is divided and can be taken one at a time. Even better if you can get them to fight each other.

While Taliban/al qaida tactics are designed to tackle an enemy like the US/NATO (with superior firepower, etc etc) US policy for dealing with Afghanistan/Taliban/al qaida is hardly coherent and does not seem targeted at the enemy at all.

The basic questions are there for the military/government/american people to answer. 1) who is the enemy? 2.) How to win. (that include how do you know you've won)

A fractured america won't be able to settle on definition of enemy or tactics. Someone might propose a solution that will please everyone including muslim americans but I consider it unlikely. It follows that the US cant win a war that it should win. So it will lose or surrender at some point. Then it will have to deal with the consequences of surrender.

GonzoTheGreat
07-18-2009, 09:34 AM
the problem with comparing winning WW2 with winning in afgahnistan is that the nazis were a proper army. al queda isn't...That is indeed one part of the problem. As an aside, I would like to point out that the Allies did not bother to try to defeat all fascists in WWII either. The ones in Spain and Portugal were left to rule their countries in peace, despite the rather obvious ties to the Axis countries.

But the issue I wanted to draw attention to is the following:
If we start* using tactics that we said were crimes against humanity when the Nazis used them, then how can we claim that we are defending our own ideals still?
A large part of our ideals is that it is simply not ever right to do that kind of thing, so if we're doing that, then we are evil. Our opponents may also be evil, but to be honest, I don't think I need feel responsible for the lack of morals of heretical Jews#. However, I do share responsibility for the lack of morals of those that are officially my allies or even soldiers acting in my name.

* Continue might be a more appropriate, but definitely less comfortable, word.

# See my previously (not in this thread, I think) expressed views on oneness of the Abrahamic religions, if you don't get that.

StrangePackage
07-18-2009, 11:11 AM
I don't buy the "more of them makes them easier to fight" argument.

In 1967, according to the USJCoS, there were approximately 300,000 Viet Cong in South Vietnam. South Vietnam was approximately 1/16th the size of Afghanistan.

The large numbers and high concentration (compared to Afghanistan, where estimates indicate that there are at most, 20,000 Talibani fighters in the field at any time, spread over a much wider area) did not assist the US in correctly identifying, or defeating, the Viet Cong.

Davian93
07-18-2009, 11:35 AM
I don't buy the "more of them makes them easier to fight" argument.

In 1967, according to the USJCoS, there were approximately 300,000 Viet Cong in South Vietnam. South Vietnam was approximately 1/16th the size of Afghanistan.

The large numbers and high concentration (compared to Afghanistan, where estimates indicate that there are at most, 20,000 Talibani fighters in the field at any time, spread over a much wider area) did not assist the US in correctly identifying, or defeating, the Viet Cong.

Military action does not defeat this type of insurgency and it has almost never worked.

GonzoTheGreat
07-18-2009, 11:54 AM
Military action does not defeat this type of insurgency and it has almost never worked.The Romans have done it a couple of times. They just totally exterminated the locals, and brought new ones there.
Sometimes they were more lenient, and then the trouble often reappeared a generation or two later again.

And when was the last time that a Tasmanian native committed an act of terrorism?

Sinistrum
07-18-2009, 02:11 PM
So you are saying that as long as you are more powerfull than anyone else you can do anything?

Yeah pretty much. Force trumps all.

Look a fight against the taliban from the citizens will be very hard on them.

So? Just because something is hard doesn't mean it isn't necessary to do. That takes me to this.

While you expect them to stand with the USA, which has done very selfish things in the past, which culture has also disadvantages, for a result that is not clear.

There are many reasons to think of why they won't help and rise up. You have unrealistic expectations of citizens.
Because they are unrealistic, you are autamatically creating more enemies.


No, I don't expect them to stand with the U.S. I expect them to stand up for themselves. I've said this time and time again in this thread. It is their religion and their countries that are supposedly under attack by groups like Al Queda and the Taliban. They have a far greater stake in this fight than we do, so their goals are should be quite different from ours. We just be there to neutralize a threat. They have to win the soul of their religon and the hearts of their countries back. They should be acting accordingly and their not. So no, I don't expect them to fight along side us. It would be nice, but it's not what I expect. You seemed to miss my point entirely so I'm going to go all caps here to emphasis. I DON'T CARE HOW THEY REACT. If they like us, great, if they don't whatever. Neither one takes away from the necessity of fighting and defeating the Taliban/Al Queda.

They still have the same religion and are supported by some Afghan people.

A. But I thought they were moderates? Don't the moderates have a different religion than the radicals? ;) B. I've already agreed to this statement previously. Why are you posting it as if I was arguing against it?

Let them do it at their own pace. We didn't event democracy in 5 years. It's a work in progress.

I'm honestly all for this. We've tried to bring democracy to two countries in the last eight years in the Islamic world and its failed to take in both. They are clearly too barbaric for at this point in their cultural evolution for it to take. They are stuck in the Dark Ages However, they have also proven that they can't keep their Dark Age practices to themselves. That is an integral part of "their way." They have to spread the misery around. Hence why we have to get involved and not allow them to do it "their way."

No, that way you can make sure they can't come up against you. But have you changed their mind?

Yeah? So? I'm perfectly happy with the first result and frankly, at this point, could care less about their hearts and minds. I couldn't give a shit if they hate us so long as they can't do anything about it.

No, the proposed solution is not WWIII, it is actually WWII. It is what the Germans used to suppress the resistance against their rule in occupied Europe.

If we start* using tactics that we said were crimes against humanity when the Nazis used them, then how can we claim that we are defending our own ideals still?

A. Nobody is talking about random executions (which is not an effective tactic), so once again, you've attempted and failed to draw a false moral equivalency. B. This is war. Modern ideals have no place on the battlefield. They the things that the victor comes in and uses to justify that victory after the fact. All that matters in war is winning it. Everything else can be sorted out later. If a tactic is effective, no matter who the more squeemish of us reaction to it, then it is something we have to consider.

Military action does not defeat this type of insurgency and it has almost never worked.

It follows that the US cant win a war that it should win. So it will lose or surrender at some point. Then it will have to deal with the consequences of surrender.

Yanno everyone on the liberal side of this thread has stated this at some point. So if you know that war isn't the solution, what is? Running away and leaving them to their own devices is apparently? And why is nobody talking about the consequences of losing this war? Do you not think that it might be a bad idea to give Afghanistan back to the Taliban and Al Queda, and all likelihood Pakistan soon to follow?

greatwolf
07-18-2009, 02:30 PM
And what do you think the consequences of losing might be?

Sinistrum
07-18-2009, 03:55 PM
I've already stated them but apparently its "Sinistrum repeats himself over and over again" time. We leave, the Taliban takes over again and gives Al Queda back its platform to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks on the scale of 9-11. What is more, Pakistan further destabilizes and the Taliban takes over there too. That gives Al Queda access to nuclear weapons, thus allowing them to wreck further havok across the globe. Since their first target is likely to be either us, Israel, or India and either way it will spark nuclear retaliation, say hello to Judgment Day, except without Skynet kicking it off.

Davian93
07-18-2009, 07:14 PM
I don't know if I buy this new version of the Domino Theory. Pakistan could very well use Afghanistan falling to AQL as an excuse to eliminate any internal threats and simply butcher those northern tribes that they have allowed to essentially go their own way.

Its not a definite that a AQL superstate emerges no more than a communist block of SE Asia.

greatwolf
07-19-2009, 04:40 AM
Its not a definite that a AQL superstate emerges no more than a communist block of SE Asia.

Its by far the most likely outcome. Fact is, one cant be sure AQL is not already close to control in pakistan.

GonzoTheGreat
07-19-2009, 05:02 AM
Yanno everyone on the liberal side of this thread has stated this at some point. So if you know that war isn't the solution, what is?How about the one that I have been fairly consistently advocating all the years that this has been going on, every time we have been having this discussion:
Let the soldiers fighting this war (including but definitely not limited to the US military) be subject to laws intended to protect the innocent. That means that if they bomb a wedding because it might possibly inconvenience them to check whether or not it is a legitimate target, then they are to be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter, just as they would be if they dumped a cluster bomb on a wedding in Kansas City, Arizona*.

This policy is now starting to be sort of implemented, or at least it is considered. The US has announced that it is reviewing its rules of engagement, in an attempt to decrease the amount of collateral damage.

Running away and leaving them to their own devices is apparently?That may be all that is left now, as a reasonable option, because for far too long the calls for restraint and civilised behavior went unheeded.

And why is nobody talking about the consequences of losing this war?Because you don't care. Given a choice between having your soldiers held accountable or losing the war, you always opted for being a loser, never for accountability. That's what the Bush presidency has been about all the time: avoiding accountability.

Do you not think that it might be a bad idea to give Afghanistan back to the Taliban and Al Queda, and all likelihood Pakistan soon to follow?Yes, and I've been arguing against that for years now. But you wanted to use rules of engagement which had been proven to be ineffective, because using other rules would mean holding your troops and your politicians accountable for their decisions.

Let me ask it straight out: if you did not want to lose, then why did you defend the methods the Soviets used ineffectively in the 1980s?
I do not think you can argue succesfully that you are unaware of their failure in that case, since it played such a large role in the collapse of Communism as a world power.

* I'm not entirely sure there's a Kansas City in Arizona. However, what with American grasp of geography being what it is, it is as strange a proposition as it would be otherwise.

Davian93
07-19-2009, 10:40 AM
Its by far the most likely outcome. Fact is, one cant be sure AQL is not already close to control in pakistan.

Fact is, you have no idea whatsoever and likely neither does our gov't. I would bet our gov't has far better info than you do simply based off my past job experience but either way, I doubt its a definite.

GonzoTheGreat
07-19-2009, 11:38 AM
To be honest, I don't think Al Qaeda has a chance of getting control in Pakistan. Perhaps their current ally, the Pakistani Taliban, could manage that. But if those do manage to grab power, then nationalism will prevent them from handing over control to OBL just as much as simple lust for power.
Look at how Mao asserted his independence from Stalin once he'd gained control over (most of) China, and then look at the relative differences: at the time, the Soviet Union was one of the two world powers while China was a third world country (entering the second world, of course), while AQ is a fairly small organisation compared to the nuclear power Pakistan. No reason why the Pakistani should be junior partners in such a case.

Ozymandias
07-19-2009, 01:14 PM
So that means when "normal civilians" allow the Taliban to hide among them, they become legitimate military targets. I know a bunch of people here are hung up on this "radical" vs. "normal person" distinction with Islam. The fact of the matter is that even though it is their religion being hijacked and therefore this war should mean a hell of a lot more to them than it does to us, the vast majority of "normal persons" in Islam continue to sit on their ass on the sidelines and have not put up any fight or even raised a peep of protest.


Yup. Radical Islam can flourish because moderate Islam allows it to. You think villagers in Afghanistan don't know exactly where most of the Taliban are? You don't think that after years of living with their neighbors, they don't notice when a couple of new guys move in down their dirt road and don't come out whenever an American spy plane passes? They're complicit.

If your going to wage war, do it. Nike has a great slogan for war, don't it? You go in and you make it clear to these people that their with us, or against us. There are no civilians and there are no bystanders. The opium grower who sells his crops to some guy with a submachine gun isn't a civilian. He's actively supplying the enemy with a cash crop they use to buy weapons and make bombs to kill allied soldiers. His life, his rights - forfeit.

Plus, for all that most people attempt to pretend to be moderate about it, there is something inherently violent about Islam, and thats the reason Islamic terrorists will always be a problem.

JSUCamel
07-19-2009, 01:25 PM
Yup. Radical Islam can flourish because moderate Islam allows it to. You think villagers in Afghanistan don't know exactly where most of the Taliban are? You don't think that after years of living with their neighbors, they don't notice when a couple of new guys move in down their dirt road and don't come out whenever an American spy plane passes? They're complicit.

If your going to wage war, do it. Nike has a great slogan for war, don't it? You go in and you make it clear to these people that their with us, or against us. There are no civilians and there are no bystanders. The opium grower who sells his crops to some guy with a submachine gun isn't a civilian. He's actively supplying the enemy with a cash crop they use to buy weapons and make bombs to kill allied soldiers. His life, his rights - forfeit.

Plus, for all that most people attempt to pretend to be moderate about it, there is something inherently violent about Islam, and thats the reason Islamic terrorists will always be a problem.

Ah, to be young and idealistic....

Sinistrum
07-19-2009, 02:20 PM
I don't know if I buy this new version of the Domino Theory.

Even if it doesn't come to pass, letting the Taliban and Al Queda regain control of Afghanistan would still be a disaster.

How about the one that I have been fairly consistently advocating all the years that this has been going on, every time we have been having this discussion:
Let the soldiers fighting this war (including but definitely not limited to the US military) be subject to laws intended to protect the innocent.

A. This is already being done for the most part. I wouldn't be so upset about our tactics if it wasn't. B. All it has accomplished is letting the Taliban and Al Queda use said "innocents" as human shields because C. the "innocent" aren't willing to turn them in no matter what because they're part of the same culture. Therefore they aren't so "innocent." Oh yeah, and D. any further restrictions on our military tactics would only increase the affectiveness of said human shields.

This idea that our soldiers have to be 100% sure that a target is a target is pattenly absurd when faced with the concept of a human shield. The entire point of using human shields is to make a target not a target. Therefore our military would never be able to attack Al Queda or the Taliban under your standard given the tactics the enemy uses. What, precisely, are you trying to accomplish by making our soldiers essentially fight a war with both hands tied behind their backs? What, that somehow if we're nice to them and demonstrate how virtuous we are by never ever ever harming one of these so called "innocents" that they'll be more inclined to cooperate or fight with us? Seriously?

The rest of your post is just absolute garbage that doesn't need to be responded to because it operates under the assumption that being nice to people is the way to win a war.

Davian93
07-19-2009, 02:24 PM
Yup. Radical Islam can flourish because moderate Islam allows it to. You think villagers in Afghanistan don't know exactly where most of the Taliban are? You don't think that after years of living with their neighbors, they don't notice when a couple of new guys move in down their dirt road and don't come out whenever an American spy plane passes? They're complicit.

If your going to wage war, do it. Nike has a great slogan for war, don't it? You go in and you make it clear to these people that their with us, or against us. There are no civilians and there are no bystanders. The opium grower who sells his crops to some guy with a submachine gun isn't a civilian. He's actively supplying the enemy with a cash crop they use to buy weapons and make bombs to kill allied soldiers. His life, his rights - forfeit.

Plus, for all that most people attempt to pretend to be moderate about it, there is something inherently violent about Islam, and thats the reason Islamic terrorists will always be a problem.

Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

Enigma
07-19-2009, 04:11 PM
The rest of your post is just absolute garbage that doesn't need to be responded to because it operates under the assumption that being nice to people is the way to win a war.

I don't think anyone would say that you should be nice to your enemies in a war but I would have though that it does not pay to piss of groups who may not be your enemy while in the middle of a fight. That could well allow your enemies to recruit faster that you can kill them.

Sinistrum
07-19-2009, 04:34 PM
I don't think anyone would say that you should be nice to your enemies in a war but I would have though that it does not pay to piss of groups who may not be your enemy while in the middle of a fight. That could well allow your enemies to recruit faster that you can kill them.

Ok so answer me this. How do we avoid pissing off a group of people who, in eight years, have demonstrated absolutely zero interest in helping us out in defeating our current enemies because they share a common religion, culture, and group of countries, and have allowed themselves to be be used as elements in our enemies attacks against us AND kill our enemies at the same time?

Bottom line is that as long as they continue to allow themselves to be used as human shields, we have no choice but to kill them too. And given the common culture and religion between the radicals and the "moderates" there is little to nothing we can do to get them to resist being used like that. The civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq and being used as human shields because in large part, they want to be.

Enigma
07-19-2009, 07:20 PM
Its a lot easier to be brave and stand up to thugs when you know that the state has got your back and you are supported by your neighbours.

If on the other hand your state is a basket case, the only people helping you are a bunch of foreigners who you don't really understand and who don't really get your culture and are only there for a short visit and the thugs are well armed and know where you live and where your family live, then bravery is a probably a good way to get yourself killed.

Sinistrum
07-19-2009, 08:46 PM
Its a lot easier to be brave and stand up to thugs when you know that the state has got your back and you are supported by your neighbours.

And how are we supposed to conjure this supportive state? Out of thin air? This hypothetical state still consists of the same people that, to this date, haven't helped us out all that much and its power still depends on those same people standing up to groups like the Taliban.

then bravery is a probably a good way to get yourself killed.

Possibly, but nobody ever said standing up for what you believe in wasn't dangerous or difficult, now did they? Bottom line is that its still their religion and their countries that are "being perverted" by radicals like the Taliban and Al Queda. If they truly value a non-radical state or religion like the PC crowd in the West claims, then they should have the courage to stand up a fight for it, likelihood of death not withstanding. After all, as everyone keeps pointing out, they have the numbers. If turning those numbers against us is a big enough threat to get everyone here shitting their pants over it, then they should pose just as equal a threat to the radicals. So far, those numbers haven't, despite the radicals best efforts to piss them off, which then brings us back to them not being so moderate in the first place.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-20-2009, 04:40 AM
False. Plenty of wars have been won quite thoroughly without the support of locals. An occupation needs that. And, in our case, a respectable pullout that doesn't seem like a retreat needs local love and cuddlies. you misunderstand. Or I wasn't clear enough. The only way to win a war without the support of the locals is to annihilate the locals. In the Napoleonic wars more soliders were killed by guerilla fighters than actually died in battles (read that somewhere in a John Keegan book) - and I'm quite sure the same applies for most wars ever waged. Because, obviously, if the locals see you as a threat who will come, take your food and kill and rape without any regard to whether you happen to be an innocent civilian by-stander, they'll go guerilla on you. Afghanistan has throughout the known history (5000 years or thereabouts) been one of the most vicious guerilla fighting areas. So unless you want to just raze the country (which, I understand most of the world and US as well finds generally morally unacceptable) you NEED the support of the locals.



While mostly true, its by no means universal. War is just politics. The ultimate form of it, in fact. In the US, in 2003, we enjoy a higher standard of living than any other person in any other country at any other point in history, even relative to available wealth and technology. And we still went to war. Twice. We've had that standard of living for many decades... and have been to war many times. We act belligerent and fight wars for the same reasons guidos blow out their hair and get into bar fights; to show we're tough and to prove it. Is it useless? Yeah, as long as we're all rich and safe and happy we shouldn't bother. But thats not how politics or human nature works.
Ah, but that is a different discussion completely. the reasons for going to war are not the same for individuals as they are for countries and thse reasons have shifted quite a lot over time. For US the main "excuse" was self-protection, or so it was served at the time. "They attacked us first, and these other ones there supported them and those others also have WMD's so we have to attack while we're still stronger". So yeah, to me that looks more like fear than bullying. Then again, whether that was the *real* reason for war is another issue completely. While for the terrorists of 9-11 it was more of a religious brain-wash and it was NOT a whole country, it was an extremist grouping that happened to be based in a certain country.

GonzoTheGreat
07-20-2009, 05:12 AM
Yup. Radical Islam can flourish because moderate Islam allows it to.Radical Christianity can exist because moderate Christianity allows it to. Radical Judaism can exist because moderate Judaism allows it to.

Are those legitimate arguments for just simply killing Christians and Jews until all the abortion clinic bombers and "random Arab killers" have been turned in to justice by their moderate fellows? If not, why shouldn't this same principle be used in all cases?

I can definitely understand the appeal of such a simplistic solution, but on the other hand, I do actually believe in our principles of individualism and hence individual responsibility. So, tempting though it is, I can't support a "kill all Christians" solution. Just as I don't support a "kill all Muslims" solution either.

Those who argue that we should abandon our principles and use the methods of our enemies seem to believe that those enemies have a superior approach to reality.

Sinistrum
07-20-2009, 09:22 AM
Those who argue that we should abandon our principles and use the methods of our enemies seem to believe that those enemies have a superior approach to reality.

In some ways they do. The problem with your "prinicples" on this issue is the problem with most principles that liberals like to cling to like a security blanket. They only work if everyone agrees to them. Those who don't agree to them automatically get an advantage over those who do because generally speaking, those principles serve to limit behavior. Those who don't can get what they want without the constrictions of the limits. They can "cheat" to win, and because it is more effective, they will always do so. Those who play by the rules will always have an uphill battle against those who do.

Furthermore, unlike your principles, there is nothing about our enemies approach that denies the fundamental truth of human behavior that is most relevant to warfare. Force trumps all. You are operating under the delusion that talk always works and produces superior results. They are not.

Sarevok
07-20-2009, 09:40 AM
In some ways they do. The problem with your "prinicples" on this issue is the problem with most principles that liberals like to cling to like a security blanket. They only work if everyone agrees to them. Those who don't agree to them automatically get an advantage over those who do because generally speaking, those principles serve to limit behavior. Those who don't can get what they want without the constrictions of the limits. They can "cheat" to win, and because it is more effective, they will always do so. Those who play by the rules will always have an uphill battle against those who do.

In most societies those people are called criminals. Are you suggesting to become one?

GonzoTheGreat
07-20-2009, 10:15 AM
In most societies those people are called criminals. Are you suggesting to become one?As he said: force trumps all.
So a powerful drug dealer is more to be admired than a weak greengrocer who refuses to cheat his customers.
And, at least so far, OBL is to be applauded for what he did on 9/11 because he manages to get away with it.

As I've said before, I have different ideals.
Those who play by the rules will always have an uphill battle against those who do.Some people have the courage to do this nonetheless.
Others don't, I admit.

Gilshalos Sedai
07-20-2009, 10:15 AM
So.... you want to fight a moral war against immoral foes, Gonzo?

GonzoTheGreat
07-20-2009, 10:24 AM
Well, I have to admit that Stalin managed with fighting an immoral war against immoral foes. Of course, Churchill and Roosevelt did fairly well while holding up their morals, so maybe that example isn't too good. On the other hand, maybe it is.

Who would you rather have as US president: Franklin D. Roosevelt, or Joseph Stalin?
That's the real issue, and it seems as though Sinistrum and I are on opposite sites here.

Gil, do you want to let loose the US army with the Afgan rules of engagement in the USA, just on the off chance that some of the terrorists might have made it to US soil?
If not, why not? After all, we do know that at least some terrorists can buy airplane tickets, so it is not an entirely impossible proposition.
And you'll have to admit that having US soldiers shoot up US civilians for ignoring stop signs would be immoral, so it would satisfy your requirement of fighting an immoral war against immoral foes.

You can of course start facilitating, by saying that you only want to be immoral to others, not to yourself. That'd be very human too, and being humanitarian* is supposed to be good.

PS I admit that neither Churchill nor Roosevelt was perfect either. So there was room for improvement, even there.

* A word that hardly ever means what it logically should mean.

tanaww
07-20-2009, 10:29 AM
It is my inexperienced and naive point of view that the "home team" determines the rules of engagement. We must adapt our methods to the terrain and the opponent or a whole bunch of capable soldiers end up dead. If we need to kick in doors, so be it.

And, (matches in one hand, gas in the other), I say that if Iran, North Korea and the Taliban want Nuclear Weapons, we should deliver them. Of course, in all three situations, we have a very vocal, agressive minority overpowering the majority of people who just wish they'd go away and STFU.

Who do I want for President? Me.

Brita
07-20-2009, 10:30 AM
Possibly, but nobody ever said standing up for what you believe in wasn't dangerous or difficult, now did they?

If they truly value a non-radical state or religion like the PC crowd in the West claims, then they should have the courage to stand up a fight for it, likelihood of death not withstanding.

Sini, you keep saying this, but it is hard to not to look at these statements without a fair bit of cynicism, knowing they are coming from someone who has never faced such hard decisions in his life. None of us here in North America have. We can't even begin to imagine what it is like there. So to glibly say "Well, it's gonna be hard" from your computer keyboard while eating cheesy puffs is a lot easier than watching you family murdered in front of you. (I apologize in advance for the snarky remark, but I couldn't help myself...)

Even our soldiers bravely fighting in Afghanistan do not face the terrible threat of reprecussion the civilians do. They are risking their lives, assuredly, but they are not facing the torture and death of their own children for it.

And this comes to the crux of the argument. If the population is not willing to risk everything to root out the Taliban, and if we are not willing to engage in genocide, then is the war in Afghanistan truly winnable in any significant way?

I say no, because I am not willing to engage in the method that is required to win (mass slaying of innocents). And I am willing to use the time and money to beef up our homeland security and defense than to wastefully expend it on a futile effort in enemy territory.

It is up to the Afghan people to take on the terrible price needed to rid our planet of this cancer called Taliban, not us. And it is a far more difficult decision than we can fathom.

Ozymandias
07-20-2009, 10:39 AM
Radical Christianity can exist because moderate Christianity allows it to. Radical Judaism can exist because moderate Judaism allows it to.

Are those legitimate arguments for just simply killing Christians and Jews until all the abortion clinic bombers and "random Arab killers" have been turned in to justice by their moderate fellows? If not, why shouldn't this same principle be used in all cases?

I can definitely understand the appeal of such a simplistic solution, but on the other hand, I do actually believe in our principles of individualism and hence individual responsibility. So, tempting though it is, I can't support a "kill all Christians" solution. Just as I don't support a "kill all Muslims" solution either.

Those who argue that we should abandon our principles and use the methods of our enemies seem to believe that those enemies have a superior approach to reality.

Let me just cut this line off with a simple, "your barking up the wrong tree."

I think my opinions on fundamental or radical religion of any sort have been made perfectly clear before and its not worth getting into. And the two prosletyzing religions are the worst.

tanaww
07-20-2009, 10:42 AM
Let me just cut this line off with a simple, "your barking up the wrong tree."

I think my opinions on fundamental or radical religion of any sort have been made perfectly clear before and its not worth getting into. And the two prosletyzing religions are the worst.

I hate to agree with you but my view is that if your religion is so great, you wouldn't need to force it down my throat (i.e., fundamentalism) or sell it door to door (i.e., Jehovah's Witnesses).

Ozymandias
07-20-2009, 10:43 AM
you misunderstand. Or I wasn't clear enough. The only way to win a war without the support of the locals is to annihilate the locals. In the Napoleonic wars more soliders were killed by guerilla fighters than actually died in battles (read that somewhere in a John Keegan book) - and I'm quite sure the same applies for most wars ever waged. Because, obviously, if the locals see you as a threat who will come, take your food and kill and rape without any regard to whether you happen to be an innocent civilian by-stander, they'll go guerilla on you. Afghanistan has throughout the known history (5000 years or thereabouts) been one of the most vicious guerilla fighting areas. So unless you want to just raze the country (which, I understand most of the world and US as well finds generally morally unacceptable) you NEED the support of the locals.


You were very clear, that wasn't the issue. I still take exception to this broad generalization based on a few random wars you've thought up. Its a poor generalization, is all... wars do fail without the support of the locals, but they also succeed. And they fail with the support of the locals. It very often has little to do with that. Except, of course, in the case of an occupation, when it does become important. And, in many of these cases, its because the locals are willing to go to extremes that the occupiers won't. Like using "civilians" as human shields.

I hate to agree with you but my view is that if your religion is so great, you wouldn't need to force it down my throat (i.e., fundamentalism) or sell it door to door (i.e., Jehovah's Witnesses).

Both Islam and Christianity are inherently hypocritical in that they promise a Heaven for the chosen few true believers, and yet are willing to accept anyone into that religion. And I'm not talking about the other hypocrisies abuot being able to buy your way in, and all... merely that for about 5 hours work I can become a Christian and get into Heaven. Its not difficult. At least Judaism has the self respect to deny entry to most applicants.

tanaww
07-20-2009, 10:50 AM
Ozy, do you think that might be because the very idea of using civilians as human shields is so unfathomable to people that haven't actually seen it?

Squidward has a great story about an awards ceremony during which a female loaded up with explosives walked up to the front of the formation and pulled the cord. Blew up herself, a USMC Sergeant Major, and a whole bunch of other people. A lot of guys are probably still kicking themselves for shooting too late after telling her to halt and she didn't. This is life on the ground in SW Asia. Do not kid yourselves spectators. Do not believe everything the newspapers and CNN tell you and do not believe that it doesn't exist just because soldiers don't want to discuss it with you.

Gilshalos Sedai
07-20-2009, 10:57 AM
Well, I have to admit that Stalin managed with fighting an immoral war against immoral foes. Of course, Churchill and Roosevelt did fairly well while holding up their morals, so maybe that example isn't too good. On the other hand, maybe it is.

Who would you rather have as US president: Franklin D. Roosevelt, or Joseph Stalin?
That's the real issue, and it seems as though Sinistrum and I are on opposite sites here.

Gil, do you want to let loose the US army with the Afgan rules of engagement in the USA, just on the off chance that some of the terrorists might have made it to US soil?
If not, why not? After all, we do know that at least some terrorists can buy airplane tickets, so it is not an entirely impossible proposition.
And you'll have to admit that having US soldiers shoot up US civilians for ignoring stop signs would be immoral, so it would satisfy your requirement of fighting an immoral war against immoral foes.

You can of course start facilitating, by saying that you only want to be immoral to others, not to yourself. That'd be very human too, and being humanitarian* is supposed to be good.

PS I admit that neither Churchill nor Roosevelt was perfect either. So there was room for improvement, even there.

* A word that hardly ever means what it logically should mean.

Yeah, but Gonzo? You've also stated that it was a war crime to drop nukes on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

War by it's very definition is immoral. Neither Roosevelt nor Churchill could fight this war. It's a geurilla war. WWII wasn't. You want a moral general that could fight a guerilla war, I'm afraid you'd have to look at George Washington.


And speaking of WWII, I'm pretty sure they bombed whole villages in Vichy France. 'Cause you, know, the Nazis were there. But not even the Nazis were cowardly enough to utilize human shields. And no, you invoked Godwin's Law first. Argument is officially dead, Gonzo killed it.

Davian93
07-20-2009, 10:58 AM
Or like in 2003 when human wave attacks were fairly common on the initial push into Iraq? Several tank crews ended up having to shoot them off their Abrams with their 9mm...or simply do a spin in place to take care of the "crunchies".

yks 6nnetu hing
07-20-2009, 10:59 AM
You were very clear, that wasn't the issue. I still take exception to this broad generalization based on a few random wars you've thought up. Its a poor generalization, is all... wars do fail without the support of the locals, but they also succeed. And they fail with the support of the locals. It very often has little to do with that. Except, of course, in the case of an occupation, when it does become important. And, in many of these cases, its because the locals are willing to go to extremes that the occupiers won't. Like using "civilians" as human shields.
OMG

please define "successful war without (eventual) occupation". Or give an example.

Only option I can think of is just nuking the whole place so that there's no-one left to oppose you, therefore no-one to occupy.

Even with a surrender, you'll have treaties in place that are meant to control (i.e. can be seen by the locals as "occupation") the losing party.

GonzoTheGreat
07-20-2009, 11:57 AM
Yeah, but Gonzo? You've also stated that it was a war crime to drop nukes on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.I might have, but I am not sure I did. I am rather ambiguous about those attacks. On the one hand, I don't think they were necessary. On the other hand, I can also understand the "lets just stop this war" attitude which let to the decision.
If, as has been suggested, the main reason was intimidating Stalin, then it was a warcrime. But whether or not that was indeed the primary consideration I don't know.

War by it's very definition is immoral. Neither Roosevelt nor Churchill could fight this war.I'm not sure about Roosevelt. Churchill got his first military experience (outside Sandhurst Academy) as an observer to the guerilla war in Cuba. He also got experience in India and Sudan. Whether or not he could have managed may be unclear, but I don't think he was any less qualified for it than any of the current or recent leaders of the USA and the UK.
If you truly think that the current "once every five years a bomb" is worse than The Blitz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_blitz), then you need a reality check.

It's a geurilla war. WWII wasn't. You want a moral general that could fight a guerilla war, I'm afraid you'd have to look at George Washington.Are you sure (http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=52349)? The Town Destroyer isn't quite as universally admired as you might think.

But not even the Nazis were cowardly enough to utilize human shields.Actually, they were. Or at least, they had some advantage of that. I am not absolutely sure they had planned it. But the concentration camps which had industry in them weren't bombed, because of the Allied wish to avoid innocent casualties. If the Allied had known what was going on in those camps, they would probably not have held back.

And I think that at least occasionally the Nazis did use human shields. I seem to recall reading that it was tried in Stalingrad, but there Stalin ordered his troops to shoot anyway, so it wasn't useful.
And the practice of taking local notables hostage, to be shot if the resistance did something, was also rather human shield like. That particular practice the Germans definitely used in many lands they had occupied.

And no, you invoked Godwin's Law first. Argument is officially dead, Gonzo killed it.I did do it explicitly, I admit, but I wasn't the first to start discussing the actual policies. That honor belongs to someone else.

Crispin's Crispian
07-20-2009, 12:22 PM
And this comes to the crux of the argument. If the population is not willing to risk everything to root out the Taliban, and if we are not willing to engage in genocide, then is the war in Afghanistan truly winnable in any significant way?

This pretty much sums up what I've been trying to get at, and the answer depends on what winning the war actually means.

What makes a victory?

Ozymandias
07-20-2009, 12:30 PM
OMG

please define "successful war without (eventual) occupation". Or give an example.

Only option I can think of is just nuking the whole place so that there's no-one left to oppose you, therefore no-one to occupy.

Even with a surrender, you'll have treaties in place that are meant to control (i.e. can be seen by the locals as "occupation") the losing party.

~sigh~ time to educate. I'll only go with wars post-Napoleon, since that was your example.

Franco-Prussian War
WWI
That war between Japan and Russia in 1903 (or was it 1907?)
Mexican American War
The second war with Napoleon
Any war of independance
Opium Wars

Mind you those are only from the 19th Century. Every single one of them was fought, and no sovereign nation was annexed. All that happened was that a government was replaced... or in some cases, that minor concessions were made.

GonzoTheGreat
07-20-2009, 12:58 PM
Another example, now from the 20th century, might be the Falklands War.
The war between Russia and Japan was in 1905, though I'm a bit hazy on the precise details. I do know that the Russian fleet sailed around the world for almost a year, and then got shot to pieces by the Japanese.

Sinistrum
07-20-2009, 03:04 PM
In most societies those people are called criminals. Are you suggesting to become one?

Way to ignore the fundamental differences between how things operate within a single society and how things operate when two societies clash. In order for something to be a crime, you have to have two things. First, a body of law that most people agree on, and secondly, an effective enforcement mechanism. You neither in the context of international relationships on just about everything.

So a powerful drug dealer is more to be admired than a weak greengrocer who refuses to cheat his customers.
And, at least so far, OBL is to be applauded for what he did on 9/11 because he manages to get away with it.

Oh look at that, you missed my point ONCE AGAIN. I never said that actions drawn purely out of power are to be either admired or condemned. There was no value judgment attached to my statement that force trumps all. It was merely descriptive of the practical realities of human interaction. It is what it is, and the only thing we can do is deal with it on its terms. The only value judgment I did draw was to hint at the foolishness of denying that reality in favor of impractical and unrealistic ideals.

Of course, Churchill and Roosevelt did fairly well while holding up their morals

Yes they were so moral what with the firebombing of Dresden, Japanese internment, allowing Coventry to be blown apart, summary executions of SS officers, and what would probably qualify as "genocide" under your definition with the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. :rolleyes:

They are risking their lives, assuredly, but they are not facing the torture and death of their own children for it.

Yes but this is a war over in large part religion. Viewed through the lens of that religion, which is more valuable? Your life or your immortal soul? If they truly have differences in religion with the Taliban and Al Queda, I would think the answer to that question would be fairly simple from their perspective and they would take action in accordance with that.

If the population is not willing to risk everything to root out the Taliban, and if we are not willing to engage in genocide, then is the war in Afghanistan truly winnable in any significant way?

You make it sound like if we just pull out, everything will be fine and nothing will happen to us. I will, once again, remind everyone of the consequences of giving up and running away. You hand Afghanistan and possibly Pakistan back to the Taliban and Al Queda. What they will do with control of one or both countries is so horrific as to not even be an option. We don't have any other choice but winning because the consequences of losing are potentially civlization ending in magnitude. This is a war of survival. Ergo, we have to do whatever it takes to win.

Enigma
07-20-2009, 03:48 PM
I don't think that the choice comes down to shooting anything that moves or pulling out. I think that what some people are argueing is that winning the hearts and minds war with the majority of the people is just as important as killing bad guys.

In any event some on the shoot everything that moves side seems to be suggesting that the western powers are too soft to get the job done the way that things are going.

I wonder what George W. Bush and Chaney and Rumsfeld think when people accuse them of being bleeding heart liberals without the will to do what needed to be done. Until quite recently they were in charge but while they may have declared victor they did not manage to wipe out the resistance.

Like wise I wonder what bleeding heart liberals think being compared to the aforementioned Bush, Chaney & Rumsfeld?

GonzoTheGreat
07-20-2009, 04:08 PM
To be honest, I think that the "kill all the suspects" crowd would amazingly quickly change their tune if it were their country/society which was the weaker. I sincerely doubt many of them would then hold on to their convictions of "might makes right". For some reason, that's not a widespread feeling amongst people who are living with foreign soldiers rampaging through the country.

greatwolf
07-20-2009, 08:36 PM
I don't think that the choice comes down to shooting anything that moves or pulling out. I think that what some people are argueing is that winning the hearts and minds war with the majority of the people is just as important as killing bad guys.

A war on multiple fronts. CNN/al jazeera is only one front. There is oil, diplomacy, religion and legal fronts as well. You can easily win the war and lose the peace. That is you win on a battlefield in afghanistan and lose in homes across the m-east. And elsewhere.

As long as hitler was dropping bombs on London, he could drop all the leaflets he wanted with flowery speeches or promises, the population would still see it as mere propanganda. To win, he had to do it by force against a people motivated loss of their way of life/lives and property.

This is a war in which the US is trying to prevent a loss and the radicals believe they are righting an injustice. So the US is the bully as long as it isn't taking on someone its own size. Militarily.

A peace corps could actually do better to win this than the military in many ways. Sure the military can take out Taliban outposts, but can they prevent more young arab men join the cause? Or change arab public opinion about the US?

Even the press could attack many fronts where the military would only help lose the war. But are americans focused enough to win this? Do they really have anything at stake until they lose something? This radicalism isn't new. 9/11 only gave it fresh impetus.

Sinistrum
07-20-2009, 09:29 PM
A peace corps could actually do better to win this than the military in many ways. Sure the military can take out Taliban outposts, but can they prevent more young arab men join the cause? Or change arab public opinion about the US?

And what, precisely, makes you think a peace corps could actually accomplish any of that? To put it another way, how are peaceful measures supposed to be any more effective than military efforts? I've asked this question over and over again in various forms and have yet to get anything more than vague and generalized platitudes about "peace" and/or "they're human beings too!" What makes you think that you, me, or anyone else can actually convince Muslims to change their minds on either us or the radicals?

Sarevok
07-21-2009, 03:21 AM
And what, precisely, makes you think a peace corps could actually accomplish any of that? To put it another way, how are peaceful measures supposed to be any more effective than military efforts? I've asked this question over and over again in various forms and have yet to get anything more than vague and generalized platitudes about "peace" and/or "they're human beings too!" What makes you think that you, me, or anyone else can actually convince Muslims to change their minds on either us or the radicals?
By showing you're willing to help set up things like schools, sanitation and irrigation, I'm quite sure you'll get a lot more help from the locals than by pointing a gun to their heads.

tworiverswoman
07-21-2009, 03:46 AM
By showing you're willing to help set up things like schools, sanitation and irrigation, I'm quite sure you'll get a lot more help from the locals than by pointing a gun to their heads.I'm wholeheartedly NOT on the side of the "nuke 'em till they glow in the dark" crowd, but, Sare, this is being DONE. Daily. And the "locals" -- or someone, follows in the footsteps of the builders and blows up whatever we try to build.

"They" (i.e., the insurgents/terrorists) are well aware of the propaganda value of having the infidel dogs giving the people food, stability and hope for the future, and they will do everything in their power to prevent us from accomplishing this.

Frankly, the Middle East is so damn FRUSTRATING to people who genuinely want to HELP them get out of the stone age, only to be stoned to death for their efforts, that if there were any way to just walk away and let them carry on killing each other WITHOUT worrying that they will carry that incessant destructiveness outside their own borders, I think 90% of Americans (possibly 100%) would be more than happy to let them. "On their own heads be it!"

I detest most of Sini's "solutions" posted here - but the central core of his argument isn't wrong -- they have no intention of playing "live and let live." If we allow it by inaction, they will come back again. I don't know how many viable plots to cause my country harm have been discovered and derailed since September 11, 2001, but I know it's been quite a number. I have no doubt that most of them were hopelessly inept, but "most" is not "all."

The next attack isn't going to be a duplicate of the first one. I don't fear planes flying into buildings. But it's impossible to be 100% "safe" no matter what you do. Something will happen. And I can't help but feel we've been astonishingly lucky to have managed to go almost eight years without having our noses rubbed in that fact again.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-21-2009, 03:57 AM
Franco-Prussian War
Germany occupied Alsace and Lorraine - one of the territorial diputes that directly lead to WWI
WWI
Do I really need to point this one out? Germany got so many reparations heaped on its head that it directly lead to WWII
That war between Japan and Russia in 1903 (or was it 1907?) 1905 Both wanted to control Korea and in the Treaty of Portmouth it was agreed that Korea was under Japanese "sphere of influence". More tangibly, Japan got half of the Sakhalin island (which is apparently still stirring trouble between the two countries)
Mexican American War Started because US took Texas and Mexico wanted it back. Ended with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican%E2%80%93American_War Mexican territories of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México were ceded to the United States. Occupation that has more or less successfully made those parts integrally US. Then again, it HAS been over a century.

The second war with Napoleonnow you're just grasping at straws, the Napoleonic wars are usually considered in one big lump where after the 100 days and Waterloo France went to having lost as much as was agreed before the 100 days. And some extra, but that was mostly monies.
Any war of independance That one I will grant you, but it's civil war - no one country attacked another. the country attacked itself.
Opium Wars from Wikipedia: Britain forced the Chinese government into signing the Treaty of Nanjing and the Treaty of Tianjin, also known as the Unequal Treaties, which included provisions for the opening of additional ports to foreign trade, for fixed tariffs; for the recognition of both countries as equal in correspondence; and for the cession of Hong Kong to Britain. The British also gained extraterritorial rights.

Mind you those are only from the 19th Century. Every single one of them was fought, and no sovereign nation was annexed. All that happened was that a government was replaced... or in some cases, that minor concessions were made.
As I already said:
Even with a surrender, you'll have treaties in place that are meant to control (i.e. can be seen by the locals as "occupation") the losing party.

GonzoTheGreat
07-21-2009, 05:24 AM
Then how about the football war (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_war)?
It is my inexperienced and naive point of view that the "home team" determines the rules of engagement. We must adapt our methods to the terrain and the opponent or a whole bunch of capable soldiers end up dead. If we need to kick in doors, so be it.The "home team" determines the rules only up to a point. Some (fairly trivial) examples:
-If the attacked country is very pacifistic, that peacefulness is not necessarily copied by the attackers.
-When the British ruled India, there used to be a tradition of widow burning. This meant that if a man died, his widow was burned on his funeral pyre, whether or not she was already dead. Instead of following this rule of the "home team", the British said "we do not allow it". Some locals said it was their custom, and the British commander replied "Go ahead, it is our custom to hang men who do that sort of think. We have plenty rope and gallows, so don't worry on our behalf." The local custom was then changed.
-In New Guinea, there was the custom of eating slain foes. When the Dutch conquered that area, instead of following the custom they prohibited it.

Which brings up the question, Tanaww: if the Afgans had had a custom of cannibalism, would you advocate that US soldiers also adopt that?

Especially the last two examples show that it is possible to win wars and make occupations effective, even if you do not act as barbarical as your opponents do.

Ozymandias
07-21-2009, 09:18 AM
Germany occupied Alsace and Lorraine - one of the territorial diputes that directly lead to WWI


If your point for all of this is that some tiny bit of mud is occupied, then sure, go ahead, your right. Of course, thats so far away from what we're trying to do that it hardly even counts as a parallel. Apples and oranges isn't in it, its apples and hubcaps or some other completely unrelated thing.

What we're doing in Afghanistan is occupying an ENTIRE country. Not asserting that we have a right to exploit it (such as the Opium Wars and the Russo-Japanese War established, it wasn't outright occupation), nor taking a small piece of culturally ambiguous territory like Alsace Lorraine or the Ruhr Valley. We're trying to establish what amounts to a police presence over hundreds of thousands of square miles of hostile territory. If your honestly trying to draw a comparison between those wars and this one, something is wrong with your conception of what we're trying to do.

Oh, and did I mention how amused I was at your direct attempt to disprove a point you earlier espoused?

you misunderstand. Or I wasn't clear enough. The only way to win a war without the support of the locals is to annihilate the locals

It seems like all the examples listed above are pretty clear victories, right? I love situations like this... where the person on the other side so blatantly contradicts themself that either avenue becomes one in which they are forced to admit their wrong. Its one of the joys of debate :)

Gilshalos Sedai
07-21-2009, 09:21 AM
No where did Tanaww suggest soldiers adopt local customs, Gonzo. Nice strawman, there. She did, however say that soldiers must adapt their warfare to the "home teams'" tactics.


And Ozy: The way you're stating it, it's called colonialism and half of Europe did that to most of Africa. And the half that didn't wished they could.

Sinistrum
07-21-2009, 09:22 AM
By showing you're willing to help set up things like schools, sanitation and irrigation, I'm quite sure you'll get a lot more help from the locals than by pointing a gun to their heads.

In addition to Tru's point, what is to say that they're not going to take all of that help, and turn around and fuck us over anyways? What makes you so sure that any aide we give will be enough to overcome the innate aspects of their culture and religion that are causing the tensions with us in the first place? Seems to me that building a school is not enough to convince someone that they're wrong about the word of God.

Go ahead, it is our custom to hang men who do that sort of think. We have plenty rope and gallows, so don't worry on our behalf.

Especially the last two examples show that it is possible to win wars and make occupations effective, even if you do not act as barbarical as your opponents do.

Someone just argued themselves out of their own point. ;)

Davian93
07-21-2009, 09:53 AM
Any thoughts on the U.S. servicemember that they snatched?

GonzoTheGreat
07-21-2009, 10:13 AM
Someone just argued themselves out of their own point.I don't think so, but perhaps you can't see the difference.
On the one hand, you have people burning to death innocent women.
On the other hand, you have people hanging murderers.

As you probably know, I'm against the death penalty, but I do not want to try to argue that those two are at the same moral level.
Any thoughts on the U.S. servicemember that they snatched?He's just an enemy combatant, right?
I mean, the USA can't argue that he is a POW, since that'd require acknowledging his captors as High Contracting Parties in the sense of the Geneva Convention, at which point their fighters would also be eligible for POW status.

So just forget about him for now. If the War On Terror ever ends in a peace treaty signed by all parties, then he'll come free. If not, he will remain locked up for life.

Or you can take my view on the situation, and say that his captors should treat him humanely, as a legitimate POW, just as the USA should treat those it captures. I doubt either party will listen to me, so for what will happen, see the previous part of this answer.

Sinistrum
07-21-2009, 10:49 AM
On the other hand, you have people hanging murderers.

As you probably know, I'm against the death penalty, but I do not want to try to argue that those two are at the same moral level.

Ah, and here I thought that you enlightened Europeans considered the death penalty to be barbaric. Seems to me that if you are to remain logically consistent in your views, then both would have to be termed "barbaric," albeit in different ways. Therefore hanging people who burn other people at the stake would be doing something just as barbaric as burning people at the stake is. Adopting the home teams tactics much? And since you've admitted in that instance it was effective... ;)

Or you can take my view on the situation, and say that his captors should treat him humanely

Gee, how about you do us all a favor and hold your breath while waiting for that to happen.

GonzoTheGreat
07-21-2009, 11:07 AM
Ah, and here I thought that you enlightened Europeans considered the death penalty to be barbaric. Seems to me that if you are to remain logically consistent in your views, then both would have to be termed "barbaric," albeit in different ways. Therefore hanging people who burn other people at the stake would be doing something just as barbaric as burning people at the stake is. Adopting the home teams tactics much? And since you've admitted in that instance it was effective... ;)They were not adopting the home teams tactics, they used their own morals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sati_(practice)), and that was the whole point. The relevant quote from that Wiki article:
You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.That is very explicitly following the same rules that they would also use in their own country. Which is what I have said our troops should also do in Afganistan all along.

If they did that, then I would still argue against the death penalty, of course. But that would then be a discussion about comparative morals, not a discussion about the suspension of morals as is now the case.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-21-2009, 11:13 AM
If your point for all of this is that some tiny bit of mud is occupied, then sure, go ahead, your right. Of course, thats so far away from what we're trying to do that it hardly even counts as a parallel. Apples and oranges isn't in it, its apples and hubcaps or some other completely unrelated thing. that was pretty much my point, yes. And I do agree that this tangent has gotten way far from the original topic.

What we're doing in Afghanistan is occupying an ENTIRE country. Not asserting that we have a right to exploit it (such as the Opium Wars and the Russo-Japanese War established, it wasn't outright occupation), nor taking a small piece of culturally ambiguous territory like Alsace Lorraine or the Ruhr Valley. We're trying to establish what amounts to a police presence over hundreds of thousands of square miles of hostile territory. If your honestly trying to draw a comparison between those wars and this one, something is wrong with your conception of what we're trying to do.hey, you brought those wars up in response to my point above - I just refuted your point, is all.

Oh, and did I mention how amused I was at your direct attempt to disprove a point you earlier espoused?

*sigh* since you gave me the point that no war ends without occupation of SOME sort, even if it's a "tiny bit of mud", then my argument still stands.

Sinistrum
07-21-2009, 11:22 AM
They were not adopting the home teams tactics, they used their own morals, and that was the whole point.

Ah, I see, so it was the British morals that stopped the Indians from burning women at the stake, and not, yanno, the threat of being strung up and either having their neck broken or dancing a tyburn jig. Gotcha. ;)

GonzoTheGreat
07-21-2009, 11:33 AM
Oh, I'm quite sure that an ASBO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbo) would have worked even better, but the Brits hadn't come up with that idea, yet, so they had to make do.

Sinistrum
07-21-2009, 11:49 AM
Oh, I'm quite sure that an ASBO would have worked even better, but the Brits hadn't come up with that idea, yet, so they had to make do.

Yes because asking nicely or giving a stern finger wagging lecture would have worked so well in the face of religious custom dictated by their god/s. ;)

Ozymandias
07-21-2009, 03:06 PM
*sigh* since you gave me the point that no war ends without occupation of SOME sort, even if it's a "tiny bit of mud", then my argument still stands.

Actually, that was your point. I claimed that not all wars end with occupation. Our basis of comparison was the Afghanistan War. I named a bunch of wars in which I don't think occupation occured. You said they did, despite hostile populaces. You therefore contradicted your own original point that a war of occupation cannot be won with a hostile populace.

DahLliA
07-21-2009, 06:57 PM
this is pretty much my view on the whole "might makes right" idea.

I totally agree that anyone who has the power to do something should be allowed to do it. but he also has to take the consequences for his actions. be as big an a-hole as you feel like, but you better bend over and shut up when the shit hits the fan and it's your turn to get rammed in the brown-hole.

so basically: feel free to shoot every single person in the middle east. or just nuke them. but if you do you lose your priviligue to complain the next time someone throws a plane in your head.

for the record I think the whole genocide idea would be a nice harakiri, since you'd just increase the amount of enemies by ten and the rest of the civiliced world would hate you even more. and however much you might not give a damn what people thinks I'm pretty sure starting an open genocide would lead to some pretty interesting diplomatic developments.

Ozymandias
07-21-2009, 07:09 PM
this is pretty much my view on the whole "might makes right" idea.

I totally agree that anyone who has the power to do something should be allowed to do it. but he also has to take the consequences for his actions. be as big an a-hole as you feel like, but you better bend over and shut up when the shit hits the fan and it's your turn to get rammed in the brown-hole.

so basically: feel free to shoot every single person in the middle east. or just nuke them. but if you do you lose your priviligue to complain the next time someone throws a plane in your head.

for the record I think the whole genocide idea would be a nice harakiri, since you'd just increase the amount of enemies by ten and the rest of the civiliced world would hate you even more. and however much you might not give a damn what people thinks I'm pretty sure starting an open genocide would lead to some pretty interesting diplomatic developments.

hell, I say we give em a taste of their own medicine. Have marines go undercover, and go shoot up schools in the Middle East, or blow up embassies, or whatever. See how their population likes it. And then we can deny all responsibility. That'll show em to quiet their own radicals

DahLliA
07-21-2009, 07:19 PM
hell, I say we give em a taste of their own medicine. Have marines go undercover, and go shoot up schools in the Middle East, or blow up embassies, or whatever. See how their population likes it. And then we can deny all responsibility. That'll show em to quiet their own radicals

too bad you're part of the "civilized" world and are expected to act better than that, eh? :p

Davian93
07-21-2009, 07:47 PM
too bad you're part of the "civilized" world and are expected to act better than that, eh? :p

Well we tried it in Vietnam and it worked so well there...Project Phoenix was a codename for such "win the hearts and minds" policies.

Sinistrum
07-21-2009, 10:20 PM
for the record I think the whole genocide idea

Who, specifically, is calling for genocide in this thread?

Isabel
07-22-2009, 12:28 AM
Who, specifically, is calling for genocide in this thread?

You.

If you know the civilisation of a country isn't going to support you full out, for logical reasons, btw. And you say that if they don't support you that they will get killed and their houses destroyed.
That will create a nation of enemies against you and you suggesting killing all your enemies.

Sinistrum
07-22-2009, 01:53 AM
You.

If you know the civilisation of a country isn't going to support you full out, for logical reasons, btw. And you say that if they don't support you that they will get killed and their houses destroyed.
That will create a nation of enemies against you and you suggesting killing all your enemies.

Yeah, guess again. Cuz you're wrong. Dead wrong in fact. I called for the implementation of total warfare (ie removing the things that serve to support our enemies and thus making it so costly for them to fight that they don't want to anymore), not genocide. The fact that you seem to think they are the same only emphasizes my prior points about those on your side of this issue having never studied an iota of military history or tactics.

Furthermore, I never said killing all of our enemies was the end game. If you had been paying attention to my actual words instead of substituting emotionally satisfying and easily rebuttable arguments in their place you would know that. To repeat myself for the upteenth time, I said victory entails breaking their will to fight. Sadly for you and your shrill, morally outraged, and smugly superior soapbox, that does not require killing them all. It merely means showing them that their belief in the superiority of their way of life is incorrect.

The best way to do it is to take the gloves off, stop fighting with one arm tied behind our backs, and kick the ever living crap out of them. Yes, that means a lot of them will die, including quite a few "innocents," but certainly not all of them. Furthermore, how many is entirely up to them and how long they continued insist that they have the right to do things like flying planes into office buildings because the majority of people in them don't pray toward Mecca five times a day. Something cannot be superior if it loses a war and is reduced to rubble. That is the very essence of ideologically based conflict and it is how the U.S. has won every single ideoogically based major war it has engaged itself in. There was a reason Dresden and other German cities were fire bombed, there was a reason Sherman marched to sea, and there was a reason Washington adopted a scorched earth policy during the later stages of the American Revolution. That reason in each case is the same, and that reason is because IT WORKS.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-22-2009, 03:50 AM
Actually, that was your point. I claimed that not all wars end with occupation. Our basis of comparison was the Afghanistan War. I named a bunch of wars in which I don't think occupation occured. You said they did, despite hostile populaces. You therefore contradicted your own original point that a war of occupation cannot be won with a hostile populace.
I think we differ on our understanding of two things, one is as you said the definition of occupation, the other is "hostile".

The way I undestand it is that in any society there are radicals and opposers. In a war/occupation, these "natural radicals" gain support and sometimes form a critical mass of opposition/guerilla fighters. However, it is a part of human nature to just want to live one's life in peace so if the occupiers go mildly enough and win enough of the support of the general local populace then the "radicals" don't have the critical mass any more, hence the war is won by the occupiers.

DahLliA
07-22-2009, 01:36 PM
Who, specifically, is calling for genocide in this thread?

I called it genocide simply because IMO that's the only shot you got at "winning"