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Ear to the Ground

British Commander Calls Taliban Unbeatable

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Posted on Oct 5, 2008
DoD / Michael L. Casteel

Victory in Afghanistan? That’s “neither feasible nor supportable,” according to the outgoing commander of British forces there, who tells The Times of London that the Taliban “seems relatively impervious to losses.” The Afghan government must instead reach some political settlement with more moderate insurgents, concluded Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith.


The Times:

The departing commander of British forces in Afghanistan says he believes the Taleban will never be defeated.

Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, the commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, whose troops have suffered severe casualties after six months of tough fighting, will hand over to 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines this month.

He told The Times that in his opinion, a military victory over the Taleban was “neither feasible nor supportable”.

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By Folktruther, October 8, 2008 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

I actually agree with your post on Afghanistan, Tony Wicher.  Miraculous.

Are you coming down on both sides of the issue, Cyrena, or did you change your mind.  You were for the bailout before but now you appear to regard it as a ripoff. Changing your mind in retrospect is perfectily honorable.

The Taliban appear to be striving for negotiations to take advantage of the US election.  That they do so because of fear of Obama’s escalation is highly unlikely.  But it does offer a way forward.

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By Tony Wicher, October 8, 2008 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Here’s the link again if the last one didn’t work.


http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=2455

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By Tony Wicher, October 8, 2008 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

I am worried about Obama’s stated Afghanistan policy. “Kill bin Laden and crush Al Qaeda” are laudible goals, but they can’t be accomplished militarily. The military approach will only bog us down in Afghanistan forever which is bin Laden’s stated objective. Al Qaeda must be isolated politically. The process has to involve talks between the Taliban, NATO and Karzai government. It looks like Gen. Petraeus is there trying apply his Iraq strategy by buying off tribesmen to fight the Taliban, but that strategy will not work in Afghanistan, because the Taliban are legitimate representatives of the Pashtun. I hope Obama understands this and is just talking tough during the election, and intends to have a process of negotiation with the Taliban (as with the Palestinians). Here is a antoher informative link on the subject:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP7ih_E6O98&eurl=ht tp://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&tas;k=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=2455

The American Empire is falling, there is no doubt about it. Obama will have to manage this fall, to bring about a ‘soft landing”, as it were, to prevent world-wide depression and massive unstability. It won’t be easy.

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By cyrena, October 7, 2008 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

“The economic collapse of the U.S. is a symptom of these evil imperialistic wars, but the evil administration that led this country to this fate will never till a dormant and sheepish citizenry the connection between these evil wars and the economic troubles.”

Fadel,

I generally agree with you, at least in theory, and of course I always respect your religious persuasion, as I do all others. You also know that I’m an advocate for human rights, and I think we both know that the Taliban are not ‘nice guys’.

Yes, these are imperialistic wars. I agree with that as well. They are NOT, however, the reason for the economic collapse of the US. There is a practical connection between the economy and the War on Iraq, and most American’s are fully aware of that. $10BILLION a month for waging war on Iraq is a no-brainer, and we don’t need the evil administration to figure that out for us. (why would we listen to the bastards anyway?)

The same goes for the BILLIONS that Dick Bush paid the Pakistani dictatorship under Musharraf. We can figure that out as well. We knew it long before now, and most of us haven’t counted on the current evil administration to point that out. (obviously…they would NOT!)

But, those are not the only reasons for the economic collapse. Our economy hasn’t collapsed. Rather, we’ve been the victims of the most enormous GRAND THEFT in the history of the planet, and while this evil administration certainly won’t admit to that, the rest of us will find that out soon enough. Count on it.

Meantime, bin Laden isn’t running anything here. I don’t know if the guy had anything to do with 9/11 other than as a patsy, and I don’t know if he’s even still alive. So, we may have to help Barack with his foreign policy on this. (believe me, I intend to..even if I have to remind him that I’m older than he is..no…not old enough to be his mother, but certainly a approved surrogate). Mostly we just don’t think it’s a good policy to spend any huge amount of blood or money chasing after folks who aren’t bothering us. Now HE says that they are plotting against us, and maybe he knows more than we do. (needless to say, I’m not privy to any of this type of information). Regardless, I still think that we must be overly cautious with this imperial stuff, and *I* am not afraid of Usama bin Laden OR the Taliban, OR al-Qaeda!!!

(maybe he should appoint me as the Secretary of State AND the Secretary of Defense..save the taxpayers some money).

I say that because he was asked an important question about this tonight, (well..they both were, but we knew better than to expect McInsane to answer it…he never does) and on this question, Obama didn’t directly answer part of it either. It had to do with the sovereignity of Pakistan’s borders. In short, do we respect the rule of (int’l) law or not? Now I think he may have been more responsive on all of the particulars, if there had been more time. So I’ll cut him some slack there. But, this is a very, very, very tricky question that requires some serious consideration.

I DO believe that there are times when the law must be violated in order to UPHOLD it, but my own doctrine says that should only apply in cases of genocide and ethic cleansing, and ONLY when the international community is on board with it.

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By Fahrenheit 451, October 7, 2008 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

@ jackpine savage;

Agreed!

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By jackpine savage, October 7, 2008 at 5:11 am Link to this comment

Farenheit,

No we don’t have the stomach for the full brutality necessary to truly crush an insurgency. Our level of brutality is just enough to fuel an insurgency.

Frank,

To be honest, i’ll take it when i see it…but it is an interesting possibility. I’m certainly not saying that you’re lying, nor am i suggesting that such a situation is not possible. Such a turn of events would be very heartening. They must believe that Obama will have the resources available to pour into Afghanistan.

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By Silent Partner, October 6, 2008 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fadel wrote:

” I call the Taliban as freedom-fighters trying to rid themselves from a puppet government and the foreign occupiers of their country.”

Fadel, the “puppet government” was elected by the Afghan people in free elections. Free elections are something that the Taliban would never have allowed. In fact, they never allowed anything but theocracy in the style of their own brand of Islam. They were one of the most brutal regimes to have existed in the middle east in recent memory.

I know a girl, Roya Hanifi, who escaped from Afghanistan with her mother after her sister was kidnapped from their home forcibly by five armed Talibanis, to be married to one of their members. Her father and brother resisted the kidnapping, and were shot in from of her in the living room of their home. The Talibanis told her mother they would be back for Roya when she was older.

The Taliban routinely murder anyone who violated their Islamic laws about music, clothing, hair length, etc.  Most Afghanis are glad to be rid of them. You call them ‘freedom fighters’. Who’s freedom are they fighting for?

Your word’s show your true colors, Fadel, and it is very ugly.

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By Fadel Abdallah, October 6, 2008 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

Sorry, but towards the end of my previous comment the word “till” was supposed to be spelled as “tell”!

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By Fadel Abdallah, October 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment

By diamond, October 6 at 3:26 pm #

“Any rational person who knows anything about insurgencies knows he’s right.”
===============================
I partially agree. However, I call the Taliban as freedom-fighters trying to rid themselves from a puppet government and the foreign occupiers of their country.

Stupid Britain should know better than anyone else that the Afghani freedom-fighters cannot be defeated and they learned this the hard way when they encroached on their lands in the early twentieth century.

Because people in the West have short historical memories, or because they don’t learn their historical lessons, they have already forgotten that the people of Afghanistan have defeated one of the two evil super-powers of the twentieth century, namely the Soviet Union, which eventually led to the dismantlement of that Empire. They are in their way to defeating the other evil empire left on Earth: that of the USA. The economic collapse of the U.S. is a symptom of these evil imperialistic wars, but the evil administration that led this country to this fate will never till a dormant and sheepish citizenry the connection between these evil wars and the economic troubles.

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By montymarket, October 6, 2008 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Past time we outsourced this war to China.  They share a border.  Have tons of money.  Need an imperial war to match the west.  Prove they are our equals. Olympics, space walk, rocketry—no big deal.  Let’s see them conquer other country in their sphere of influence.  Do what Alexander the Great to Russia tried and failed: tame the Afghans.  Big feather in China’s hat. Prove their mettle.  Show the power of a directed economy. Mix it up.  In exchange for redirecting the oil pipelines to Beijing, let’s bring our troops home and outsource this to China.

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By Frank, October 6, 2008 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

Wow, I just reread my post and those typos were bad even for me. Had to clean it up.  I also added a link to a CNN story I just saw on the home page publicly confirming that the Taliban have severed ties with Al Quaida and are seeking peace talks with the Afghan government.

Fahrenheit, the US is not an occupying force in Afghanistan. It is a matter of assisting the elected Afghani government with combating primarily foreign led fighters (Taliban).

Folks, you may never hear this on the news, especially not Fox news, but my friends in the intelligence community tell me (off the record) that both the Taliban and Al Quiada are watching the US election and said to be very concerned about what appears to be an increasingly likely Obama victory . They are concerned about what a shift in US focus on Aghanistan will mean for their survival.

In just the last few days, some Talibani sources have announced they are severing ties with Al Quaida and will seek peace talks with the Afghani government. They see the writing on the wall, and Obama’s victoy in America will likely spell defeat for them and a loss of any chance at political relevancy there. They want to try for representation or some kind of autonomy now before he takes office.

Take or leave it, believe it or don’t.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/10/06/afghan.saudi.talks/index.html

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By diamond, October 6, 2008 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

Any rational person who knows anything about insurgencies knows he’s right.

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By The Dude abides, October 6, 2008 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

CNN just ran a story that the Taliban are cutting ties with Al Quida and are seeking peace negotiations with the government of Afghanistan via the Saudis.  Maybe there is something to this “fear of Obama”...

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/10/06/afghan.saudi.talks/index.html

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By Hammo, October 6, 2008 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

The article noted below may be of interest.


Transcendent warfare: New Army manual, research report are valuable

Joint Recon Study Group
http://jointreconstudygroup.blogspot.com
Oct. 6, 2008

Two new documents by and about the U.S. Army are sparking discussion and debate about various elements of the Army’s missions and future directions.

Both documents, a field manual and a research study report, expand perspectives about achieving short-term and long-term success in various kinds of missions.

Taken together, along with other comprehensive considerations, these views might be considered part of an “outside-the-box” and valuable concept sometimes referred to as “transcendent warfare.”

Article continues at: http://jointreconstudygroup.blogspot.com

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By Frank, October 6, 2008 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Fahrenheit, the US is not an occupying force in Afghanistan. It is a matter of assisting the elected Afghani government with combating primarily foreign led fighters (Taliban).

Folks, you may never hear this on the news, especially not Fox news, but my friends in the intelligence community tell me (off the record) that both the Taliban and Al Quiada are watching the US election and said to be very concerned about what appears to be an increasingly likely Obama victory . They are concerned abut what a shift in US focus on Aghanistan will mean for their survival.

In just the last few days, some Talibani sources have announced they are severing ties with Al Quaida and will seek peace talks with the Afghani government. They see the writing on the wall, and Obama’s victoy in AMerican will likely spell defeat for them and a loss of any chance at political relevancy there. They want to try for representation or some kind of autonomy now before he takes office.

Take or leave it, believe it or don’t.

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By Folktruther, October 6, 2008 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Jackpine’s analysis is quite right, as he often is. The US problem is not the pipeline, which is long dead, but that the defeat of the US would lessen its legitimacy as a leader of Nato. A tactical retreat from Afghanistan by the US would therefore be a strategic defeat of US imperialism.

Obama doesn’t want to be held responsible for this defeat.  The Bushites want war somewhere, anywhere, to give McCain a chance to win the election. Thus the insane acts of war against Pakistan.

Therefore the obvious solution, implied by the British commander, including the Taliban and the Pushtan, Afghanistan’s largest minority of people, into the government, is stalled by real, if selfish, power problems. 

It’s hard to predict how, and when, these will be resolved.  Meanwhile, more death and destruction.

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By samosamo, October 6, 2008 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Just what I expect from a ‘war on terror’, lost U.S. troop’s lives, lost money, nothing accomplished as there is nothing to accomplish other than robbing the US treasury.
Wish there was a concerted effort to get rid of the traitorous parts of congress and rebuild this country, but hey seems like keeping the turnover of congress to less than 1 or 2% is the objective as I am sure that nobody’s elected persons are the cause of this sham.

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By Purple Girl, October 6, 2008 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

SOUND FAMILIAR????
Seems DICK had a Second Assignment for Binny and boys. Was this in return for their assistance with the USSR in the’80’s…‘hey Binny can you do that to the US so We can make it a Corporate Run and OWNED Police State?’
Let’s See, Under troop the origninal invasion into both Afhganistan and Iraq (Blatantly ignoring the Powell Doctrine), Get the factions at each other throats while our kids are caught in the middle. then send in more Troops- a Day late,and about 10 billion short a month and Voila! You have successfully brought down another Global Superpower!
Not only is CheneyCorp responsible for this High Crime..So Is McCain, Anthrax came from WHERE? and who is that behind your right shoulder…Phil “Casino’s Open’ Gramm?

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By Fahrenheit 451, October 6, 2008 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

@ Big B;

We of course want to keep it; for a pipeline, silly.  And because we have an all volunteer military; we’ll just keep throwing money and bodies at it until, until, ah, until we can’t get any more bodies.  But then our economy is down the drain so the military will look pretty good; especially with those huge sign up bonuses.  So, the bodies will just keep on coming.  Ah, but it is like the lottery though, who’ll make it back in one piece?  Lets see; PTSD, blunt force trauma (roadside bombs), missing limbs (ditto), death, divorce, and general degradation of life.  Gee, that $50,000+ signing bonus doesn’t look so hot now, duh!  Hello?!

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By Kilgore Trout, October 6, 2008 at 6:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The soviets had twice the amount of soldiers in Afganistan as the the US has in Iraq and they couldn’t get it done. They also didn’t have to worry about world opinion. So if they were beaten which smart chimp thinks anyone else can do it. It’s just another spoke to keep the wheels of industry churning along, damn the consequences in human lives.

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By Fahrenheit 451, October 6, 2008 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

@ jackpine savage;

It would seem we do indeed have the stomach for the “former” as evidenced by our slaughter of 90 civilians comprising 60 children.  And the denile is still ongoing.  We will do whatever we deem necessary in our self righteous crusade; after all; they’re not Christians.  Cynical?  Damn straight!

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By Big B, October 6, 2008 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

In all fairness, who would want to keep Afghanistan?
The Geology of the region alone explains why this land is stuck in the 11th century. If you cannot get in there physically, what are the odds of scientific and social enlightenment making it over the border. The biggest joke of Afghanistan was the line an american general used early in 2002, that the US would bomb them “back into the stone age.”
They never left the stone age.
If we and the soviets(and the saudis, too) had not flooded the region with weapons, they would be gleefully farming opium, milking goats, and throwing stones at each other.
We all know that we are not there to fight terrorism. If Barry keeps our military there during his presidency, he will join a long line of war criminals that include Reagan, BushI, Clinton, and BushII.
He should be more picky about the company he intends to keep.

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By jackpine savage, October 6, 2008 at 5:18 am Link to this comment

The issue is fundamental in that there are only two ways to defeat a native insurgency. One: go Roman and destroy everything, salt the earth, kill the men, and sell the women into slavery. Two: actually win the “hearts and minds” of the native population.

The US doesn’t have the stomach for the former, and it isn’t equipped/trained/structured for the latter. Moreover, to accomplish the latter we would now have to undo almost 8 years of our actions.

There’s a third issue: Pakistan. During the 80’s our money (matched by the Saudis) flowed into building an insurgency, but in order to keep our hands clean it was funneled through the ISI. Pakistan sees Afghanistan as “strategic depth” against India and put the money mostly into what became the Taliban. Defeating them will have to take the Pakistani portion of the equation into account.

Obama is almost certainly wrong. Shifting our forces/focus now will not change the game greatly or quickly. As is so often the case, if you blow your first chance you’ll never get a second chance as good.

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By Fahrenheit 451, October 6, 2008 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

@ Frank;

Fully realizing the incompetency of our efforts; just how long do you think that will take?  Apparently 8 years isn’t enough?  Are you aware no foreign force has ever been able to keep Afghanistan?

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By Frank, October 6, 2008 at 3:17 am Link to this comment

The Talaiban seem immune to losses because the key ideological leaders and recruiters have not been captured or killed. Once Al Quida’s leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan are taken out, and their financial channels severed, it will be much harder for Al Quaida and the Taliban to maintain sufficient numbers to be a threat to the Afghani government.  The best chance for this is refocusing the US war effort on Afghanistan by implementing phased pullout in Iraq.

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