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Obama to wait on Pakistan before sending troops

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posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 09:07 AM
Should put this on Breaking News but, well, you know.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama does not intend to decide about sending additional troops to Afghanistan until he is satisfied that the Kabul government can work effectively with the U.S., a top White House aide said Sunday.
"It would be reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop levels if in fact you haven't done a thorough analysis of whether in fact there's an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that U.S. troops would create and become a true partner in governing," said the president's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel gave no timetable for a presidential decision in Afghanistan. He said the White House plans to have additional strategy sessions this week and next, extending a review process that began after the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, reported that more U.S. troops are required.

The central question, Emanuel said, "is not how much troops you have but whether in fact there's an Afghan partner."

Sen. John Kerry, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, made a similar point during a visit to Kabul.

"It would be entirely irresponsible for the president of the United States to commit more troops to this country when we don't even have an election finished and know who the president is and what kind of government we're working with," said Kerry, D-Mass.

The outcome of Afghanistan's Aug. 20 presidential election is in doubt because of ballot fraud that puts in question whether the current president, Hamid Karzai, will remain in office. A runoff election with his closest challenger is a possibility.

Kerry said there also should be a clear commitment in Afghanistan to eliminating government corruption before Obama agrees to send more U.S. troops.

"I believe it is critical for us to be satisfied that the reform efforts that are absolutely mandatory within the government here are in fact going to take place and be fully implemented," he said.

There are now nearly 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was beginning a trip Sunday with a delicate mission: trying to persuade allies to remain committed to the war as the U.S. decides whether to send in more troops.

Gates, who is undecided, at least publicly, on that question, was departing Washington on Sunday on a weeklong trip to Japan, Korea and Slovakia—in part to ask NATO partners and Asian allies for continued contributions to a war now in its ninth year.

Japan is withdrawing two naval ships out of the Indian Ocean that have been used as refueling stops for allies en route to Afghanistan. Britain said this past week it will deploy a small but symbolic force of 500 additional troops—but only if NATO and the Afghanistan government do more to fight the Taliban.

Emanuel appeared on CNN's "State of the Union." Kerry was on CNN and CBS' "Face the Nation."


Is this a good idea or a bad one?

Personally, Obama has had an issue with Pakistan before the election. Just off the wires, I'll let you decide.

My opinion? We should "shock" and "awe" all of the Taliban. Either in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Just get the troops in, wipe them out then go home.

[edit on 18-10-2009 by mikerussellus]

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 09:14 AM
Couple of problems with that idea. Firstly, to "shock and awe" them, we have to be able to find them. They are all up in some of the most rugged mountainous terrain on the planet and that's not counting the cave complex's. Secondly, much like in Iraq, there are militants from various countries in the world actively traveling TO Afghanistan to fight Americans. You can kill a lot of them but more will come. The only way to "win" Afghanistan is the way that we have slowly "won" Iraq. We have to build up infrastructure, build up thier National military and generally give people a reason to NOT support the Taliban. This will of course take time.

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 09:21 AM
reply to post by Zenagain

You make sense. Please excuse my earlier comments. That does sound like a more reasonable policy.

My earlier comments were more based on blowing them to hell and gone. Not actually looking at the logistical standpoint.

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 09:56 AM
reply to post by Zenagain

Your analysis is spot on and I am going to have hard time contributing to it. So why bother, but here goes? I think flooding the country with troops is the worst alternative, because the Afghans are already uneasy with the contingent we have there at present. If more troops are sent, it will only invigorate the Afghans even further to join the Taliban and other tribal groups, because they will see it as an occupation. This is the same concept used by the Soviets and we all know how that went. Please don't pounce, but here me out on this next idea. Personally, I reviewed the "Rumsfeld Doctrine," and a fast moving nimble force is what is needed. Here is what the doctrine entails.

It seeks to increase force readiness and decrease the amount of supply required to maintain forces, by reducing the number in a theater. This is done mainly by using LAVs (Light Armoured Vehicles) to scout for enemies who are then destroyed via airstrikes. The basic tenets of this military strategy are:

* High-technology combat systems;
* Reliance on air forces;
* Small, nimble ground forces.

Afghanistan and the Iraq wars are considered the two closest implementations of this doctrine.

This type of force would work wonders with regard to the Afghan's uneasiness with high troop levels as history shows, and an ample solution in tackling the forbidding terrain that a conventional force could get bogged down in. Now this solution is out of place in Iraq because of the many areas of real estate that needed to be policed, but given Afghanistan rural nature it would be a decent option. Just my two cents.

Echoing, what you mentioned, the US must win the hearts and minds of the Afghans, improve infrastructure and agriculture, equip and train an Afghanistan first type army instead of their individual tribal loyalties, go into all the tribal areas were the US and Nato are welcome and foster relations with the chiefs through public works, medicine, and overtures of protection from hostile tribes or the Taliban. The key to Afghanistan is through the people, and not by superiority on the battlefield.

The US and its allies have to get a handle on the tribal demographic which makes up Afghanistan. They have to find a way to effectively communicate and politic in that by-gone arena. It boils down to gaining trust and right now I think the US/Nato are failing on that front.

[edit on 18-10-2009 by Jakes51]

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 10:54 AM
Actually, I think now that he may be waiting to see what happens in Iran. The latest developments there (the military leaders being suicide bombed by an organization supported in the past by the U.S.) would certainly merit it.

On second thought, it IS right next door.

[edit on 18/10/2009 by Iamonlyhuman]

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 11:10 AM
reply to post by Iamonlyhuman

Actually, I think the President is waiting for ANYTHING that will keep him from having to make a difficult decision. I'm sure if he could he would vote "present". Too bad - you can't do that when you are in the big chair.

Our soldiers lives are at stake. Now is not the time to be plotting little political tricks with your buddy Rham. Come on Prez!! Make a decision!!!

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 12:37 PM
One of the problems is that they (the generals) are continuing actions without the troop strength and our guys are getting killed. Change strategy and lives might be saved, but what does that do for the Taliban?

And what is Pakistan doing? Are they allies or not? I thought they were, they're actions certainly seem like it.

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 01:19 PM
reply to post by mikerussellus

I don't disagree at all with what you said. Our military needs direction from their commander in chief. They need (and deserve) clear direction and the resources to carry out that direction. Whether that direction is to keep on the same course or to change strategy the need is the same. Dithering around trying to look thoughtful or deliberate while really making no decision is the worst case scenario.

As for the other governments like Afghanistan and Pakistan they are probably as confused as we are. They too are looking to the US to see what our direction will be. We are waiting for them to decide while they are waiting for us to decide . . . .

The President needs to understand that somebody or something is going to decide for him if he doesn't get it going. I would say it is always better to choose for yourself and try to influence events rather than you watch to see what happens and "Hope" for the best.

Hmmmm - Maybe that is the "Hope" we were promised - - - -

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