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I have heard all these arguments before and while they are realistic given the nature of the U.S. government at this time, they are not valid.

Viet Nam was lost solely to two things, first, a terrible strategy on war prosecution that cost 50,000 U.S. lives. Secondly, the left ran an all out propaganda war.

At the end, the U.S. had won the fight, and won the war but failed to solidify the victory.

wars are ultimately won by making the enemy despair. That's it, (or wiping out every man, woman and child of the opposition, which is total despair) Hanoi didn't despair, they just waited for Cronkite to kill the will.

Viet Nam could have been far lest costly if the U.S. wasn't so squeamish about leveling N. Vietnam. You can't care about borders, you can't care about niceties and politics, you have to care about making the enemy despair. When all their hope is gone, you win.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki are classic cases in point.

Afghanistan is no different, if you catch bad guys being aided by a village, you wipe out the village. You don't worry about borders and you certainly don't worry about waterboarding KSM.

War is evil, cruel, impersonal, and final. If you play it like a game you are going to lose. Nobody, but countries that have "progressives" worry about beating the crap out of the enemy to help your side. Treating people that want to kill you like
bad children is the definition of stupidity. It has nothing to do with "American values". "We are better than that" You are stupider than that. Niceties are for your guys, not the others. Ten minutes before you just shot 15 of his buddies in the back without blinking an eye and now you want to had him a Koran.

Had he had the honor of being in a Uniform, and fighting by rules, then by all means treat them with in the bounds. (Which still may include leaving him in a very cold room for a few hours while listening to a loud Springsteen. (Now that's torture)

This doesn't mean you don't make friends, you just can't be squeamish about your enemies. Germans who had been bombed into submission did not give the invading WWII troops much trouble even though those armies just killed their sons, fathers and families. In fact, many Germans had already despaired and wanted an end.

We cannot win in Afghanistan with wimpy, half-baked, half-assed policies. We need to go in there like we mean it.
So, the Mr. Miller's thoughts are realistic, just not valid.

 

Posted by: Redhawk  
Dec 14, 12:16 AM

Sadly, the author is correct – there is no way to win this war short of a total war that would inflict massive casualties on the civilian population in Taliban-controlled areas that could carry over into the tribal areas in Pakistan where the Taliban find refuge. But the stakes, such as our national survival, have never been at the level where this would ever be considered. As far as our national interest, maintaining a presence in that backward country does not seem like it should be high on our list of priorities. The non-Taliban Afghans do not have much will to fight their brethren; far less than did the south Vietnamese population against the north, so there is little hope that the non-Taliban Afghans could ever be an effective deterrent. One thing Vietnam taught us is that in a long, drawn-out war of attrition which this war will become, fought with PC-rules of engagement and with an administration whose heart is not really in it and only stays engaged for political reasons, we cannot win.

Posted by: Respublica  
Dec 14, 12:44 AM

I agree with Mr. Millers assessment on most points. However I must point out that Osama had been given official aid and coverage by the Taliban in charge of the Afghan government (the half baked theocratic mess that it was). That is enough to justify a Just War to smash the government to pieces and send the Taliban scurrying like the rats they are. However when we undertake the Utopian idea of Nation building it is pure folly. America is great and good because our Nation is great and good. Montesquieu said it best when he stated that a people get the government they deserve (not exact quote). The Afghani people at large do not understand concepts of Liberalism (using the classical sense of the word) and Freedom. Sure there are outstanding examples of individuals, but the average Afghani doesn't prize individualism and justice, it is still a very much tribal society. Nations shape their governments, not the other way around. The Germans and Japanese took to Liberal Democracy easily because they had known it for a whole century. It was ingrained, but at the time stifled, in their culture.

The most effective way to keep Afghanistan safe is to buck the constantly rumblings of the UN and pledge to knock down any government the Afghanis are forced to put up with if it threatens the safety and liberty of the people of these United States. Let the Taliban know that anytime they try and erect a state in Afghanistan, they will get have themselves get obliterated. The sheer effect of a siege every time will give Afghani's a reason to resist any encroachments upon them by Theocratic fundamentalists, if not for the sake of their survival. However, the willingness to do this rests in good minds prompted by good hearts, and sadly both are lacking in our congressmen and President. Our Republic will only survive with Statesmen, not the political, bureaucratic faceless mess we have now.

Posted by: azcIII  
Dec 14, 01:59 AM

bmatkin,
You certainly have valid points, but the whole point of Mr. Miller's article is that we aren't fighting the war like "we mean it". We haven't been for some time (due to internal politics, etc) and we won't in the future. So why sacrifice the lives of our finest and money we don't have to fight a war our "leaders" have no will to win?

I supported going into Afghanistan, and Iraq at the time, to neutralize any threat from the radical regimes. I don't support this notion of nation building we've taken up since WWII. As Mr. Miller points out, we bombed Germany and Japan into oblivion, then rebuilt on our terms. But in neither nation were we faced with a fanatical ideology like islam. Islam is a whole other ball-game and one we cannot reform. Only muslims can and they don't want to. Even reforming Afghanistan won't do much to solve the problem of islam. But destroying our already-fragile economy will certainly go a long way towards aiding their cause. In fact, several muslim leaders have talked about destroying America by dragging us into endless wars. I don't remember where I read it...maybe Robert Spencer's site?

Occupying Afghanistan for 20 years is a large part of the reason the USSR collapsed, and our finances are in worse shape right now than theirs were. We are in very serious danger of an economic collapse, and must immediately stop spending money we don't have and wasting scarce resources. I, for one, am not willing to see our economy collapse, citizens starving en masse, children/grandchildren consigned to de facto debtor's prison for life, possible civil war and possibly even worse to continue occupying a medieval country that cannot be reformed into a viable, stable modernized nation.

Posted by: Ron44  
Dec 14, 01:59 AM

I am not a military expert, but I would prefer to win this conflict and then get the heck out of there. However, this article by Mr. Miller makes a lot of sense.

I would be real curious to find out Mr. Miller's sentiments on the result of the Korean War. It seems to me that the people of South Korea have taken hold of many of the freedoms and benefits that a free Republic can offer. Is it at all possible that the people of Afghanistan can do the same... if opposing forces are dealt a mortal blow... acknowledging that the collateral damage will be horrific? Like all wars?

Posted by: epaminondas  
Dec 14, 02:43 AM

It was the Taliban which made the force projection of Al Qaeda POSSIBLE via the shield they afforded them. It was the Taliban who working with the ISI created the wahhabi lunatic asylum. And it is the Taliban and the Pushtun on both sides of the border who have a religious mission not with the american govt but with those who make that govt what it is. We make up our own laws, and therefore usurp god's rightful authority.

Like it or not the reality is that we do not have the 'luxury' of a Viet Cong and NVA which had no interest outside it's nation state's borders. Withdrawal CANNOT increase the security of our interests or the safety of our people.

We either KILL the Taliban, and create a situation in which the populace abandons them, or we lose THE GREATER WAR until the moment we grow tired of it all, and we employ the 20 minute solution. Or we fail to do even that and go the way of all other civilizations. I see no sign, certainly in the present govt of ANY ability to be FDR in that vein.

It's that simple. Mr. Miller while making some obvious points fails at the end to comprehend what has been percolating for 1500 years to one degree or another, and was made obvious to me when Barbara Walters interviewed Zia ul Haq and she questioned him about what he was going to do about democracy and human rights in Pakistan...and he asked her what in the world made her imagine that democracy was either the best or final form of govt the world would see.

Posted by: otisg1  
Dec 14, 03:17 AM

It is the real estate! ……….
The Taliban gave Al-Qaeda unfettered access for their training bases.
Sadam gave them the carcass of a Boeing jetliner to practice their moves on for 9/11 and subsequent operations.
Iraq, Iran, the Taliban, the Palestinians and A.Q. were allied enough in their wish to destroy America and Israel. I doubt that even they thought that they would have so much help from the inside.
The genius of the Rumsfeld/Bush Iraq strategy was to force Al-Qaeda into fighting a war on a battlefield of OUR choosing.
Flat, open and where we could use our considerable technological advantages (night vision etc) to kill off the A.Q. leadership. Isn’t it obvious the mountainous regions simply bring armies back to the Stone Age?
This also created the advantage of being geographically positioned to create a double envelopment for dealing with Iran. Look at a map. The strategy was simple and working: Drive A.Q. out of the mountains and the KILL them. The message to Iran was also simple: We can hammer you from two directions……..
The real tragedy is that the Democrats through their politicalization of our post 9/11 actions have destroyed most of the hard work our military accomplished.
The DNC’s creation of faux scandals (“torture” etc.) have simply advertised our weaknesses.
We will pay an enormous price for this in the very near future.
I can find nowhere in Sun Tzu or Clausewitz any mention of advertizing your plans to your opponents as being a wining strategy.
But, Of course Sun Tzu and Clausewitz never faced the military genius of a Messiah!

Posted by: cg  
Dec 14, 04:55 AM

Sad but true. However I would say that even if Congress stopped the war tomorrow and took the money to apply to the economy, it would be squandered. Instead of actually solving the economic crisis, which Congress has yet to do with the billions already spent, the money would go to some pet project like monitoring a duck pond out in the middle of nowhere. Also, when did Biden become a military expert? Did I miss his time as a General? Why do "politicians" feel the need to dictate how a war should be fought? Do they not pay military leaders for this? As Comander in Chief, Obama should rely on the expertise of the military leaders HE appointed to do their job without interference from novice Congressmen. Yet again our government is putting a band-aid on a sucking chest wound.

Another sad fact is that Afghanistan is severely backwards. While many Afghanis would love the notion of real democracy, not the corrupt type practiced by Karzai, they are ruled by the whims of the Taliban and/or the tribal leaders. Leaders who still practice the arrangement of child brides. You can tell a lot about a society when young women would rather set themselves on fire than to be in an arranged marriage to their uncle who is 40 years older than them. Rampant inbreeding aside, there is no infrastructure to speak of. How do you enforce democracy in such a place? There is no industry besides the drug trade. The past attempts to introduce other crops into the economy has failed miserably. Of course Karzai's government refuses to crack down on drug trafficking especially since his brother has been running his own cartel.

These are just a few of the problems in Afghanistan that our Comander in Chief has to consider. While the military cannot combat all of these problems, it makes their job that much harder. Maybe it would be better to withdraw a large part of the military and let special operations do their thing. Then they could decimate the Taliban and al-Qa'ida enough that the remaining fighters would run away, like in Iraq. The American public would forget about the war in two seconds without a major force stationed there. If it weren't for Congress or the media bashing the military, the objection to the war would be relegated to San Francisco.

Maybe the American public should practice the land for time doctrine so commonly used by insurgents, wait until the next election in hope of electing a real Comander in Chief.

Posted by: cedarhill  
Dec 14, 05:21 AM

War is war. You either go for a win or you lose or you draw. The best with this Administration is a draw. What we're getting is just a long drawn out draw with a high likelihood of lose. That would be OK except for the lives lost. How does one morally justify the killing of our soldiers in this manner?

14/12/2009 14:39. plotino #. THIS WORLD

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