Movin’ on out

A bad weekend in Afghanistan even as our withdrawal picks up energy. On this blog, I’ve regularly counted our days and years in that war as they’ve added up – today is the 25th day of the tenth year.

And now comes at last time to count down as well. The end of our war in Afghanistan, if on schedule, is 62 days from now.

10 responses to “Movin’ on out

  1. It’s about time. We did a lot of good in Afghanistan at the beginning, but it just drug out to no great purpose because our politicians were once again to venal and weak to properly prosecute the war.

    Frankly, this is one of the problems with Obama as POTUS. He’s a post Vietnam child and was raised without any sense of military service or history. It was almost foreordained that he’d repeat the same mistakes as were made then.

    You can’t when a war of attrition when you allow the enemy to retreat “out of bounds” whenever they feel a little banged up.

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    • I agree that Obama made a big error with the ‘surge’ in Afghanistan. I agree it was a novice’s mistake, but not of misreading history. It was the novice’s mistake of letting the generals define the mission. And that was one of the terrible errors in Vietnam as well.

      But let’s never pretend otherwise: this wasn’t his war. We had been there seven years and two months when Obama took office. And the ‘mission’ was as ill-defined as it was the day we got that big crush on Iraq and left Osama in the hills. The mistake was made by a “Vietnam era child”. This “post Vietnam child” was left to pick up the pieces.

      But the real tragedy is that whether we pull out by December of stay another few years, Afghanistan is Afghanistan. It’s a tribal country with tremendous opposing forces. The Northern Alliance and the Taliban will go at each other just as they have since 1980. The Pashtuns and the Tajiks will pick up right where they left off and Pakistan and other neigbors will get involved as well. I think that was fore-ordained.

      It’s the ultimate ‘nothing new under the sun.’ And jonolan, I would love to be wrong. But I remember Vietnam. The North took the country as we were climbing into helicopters from the roof of the Embassy.

      By the way, I never udnerstand why we call Afghanistan the ‘longest war’. We sent the first ‘advisors’ to Vietnam under Eisenhower. Johnson sent combat troops after Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. And we didn’t leave until Gerald Ford declared an end in 1975. So depending on how you define it, we were there somewhere betwen 11 and 20 years.

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      • The surge wasn’t wrong; it just wasn’t big enough (Obama didn’t listen those who knew the job) and it was still constrained by the old problem of Pakistan.

        With the newer, proven data of Pakistan’s complicity and the available troops from Iraq Obama should have just ignored the Paki border and done what was necessary to destroy the Taliban. Bush didn’t yet have that proven data of Pakistan’s alliance with the Taliban or the troops strength available. Hence, it was Obama’s failure – a failure based upon a desire to leave, not to win.

        As for the rest of your description of Afghanistan – You’re spot on! We could have destroyed the Taliban but we couldn’t and can’t do anything for the area of the world some drunken British civil servant decided to call Afghanistan. The same is true for Pakistan.

        I’ve been in both places and I can tell you without any doubt that they’re neither one “Nations.”

        And yes, Moe. I’m no youngster. I remember the retreat from Saigon and the Hueys being dumped over the sides of the carriers to make room for the next ones coming in as well scrambled out of their.

        As for the length of Vietnam – I lean towards the 20 year length since it was during the “advisor” period that the brother of one of my childhood friends – great guy, always too time to play us young snots – came back from there minus his legs.

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        • I remember too well the first kid from my town killed there – he went to school with my older cousin, although I didn’t know him. It was in ’64 sometime and up to that point, none of us had paid any attention to Vietnam. It changed shortly after that.

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  2. We will never be seen as anything but an occupying force.

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  3. sekanblogger,

    ” We will never be seen as anything but an occupying force. ”

    You mean like OWS ?

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  4. Ms. Holland,

    Occupiers are Occupiers. You called the US military occupiers . OWS are self named occupiers. I bet that if some of the OWS could get guns, tanks and planes, they would bring them to the party .

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  5. The OWS rabble have, unlike the TEA Parties, shown a propensity for disruptive and behavior along with a tendency towards violence. If one follows the news, one learned quickly that the OWS rabble’s response to law enforcement has consistently been violent and has been the sole cause of every injury to-date.

    So far (Oakland included), the police have shown ridiculous levels of restraint.

    So yes, Occupiers are exactly that and would likely use more efficient weaponry if they knew how to get. In fact, I’m fairly sure their violence will escalate over the winter as their protests fail due to the climate.

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    • There are OWS’s in almost 100 citie, so that’s just too broad a brush jonolan. Most of the protests and demonstrations are invisible to the national media.

      Behavior aside though (some of it stupid and offensive), they are making a big difference. They’ve changed the conversation, and I think that was the hope. People are talking about jobs, perverse incentives, the future of the nation – when they’re not talikng about the mini-scandal of the political moment of course!

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