'By jingo, our brave boys are off to tame the Afghan. And they'll fail' - U2 Feedback

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Old 01-28-2006, 06:58 PM   #1
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'By jingo, our brave boys are off to tame the Afghan. And they'll fail'

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...014614,00.html

This article neatly describes the problem with putting politicians with no military experience in charge of wars and post-war planning.


"Intelligence reports suggest that Taliban activity in southern Afghanistan will increase drastically in the summer. Money is pouring into its coffers and those of its Pakistani allies, mostly from opium but also from Saudis and Gulf states. People are “insuring” themselves against future trouble. To imagine that a mere 3,300 British soldiers can have any impact on such swirling forces is spitting in the wind. Britain is covering what in truth is an American withdrawal in the face of an emerging Karzai-Taliban-warlord coalition.



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In Iran Britain has followed a sensibly cautious path in collaboration with the rest of Europe. But having stupidly failed to support the moderates the West must now tread warily with the extremists. It must contain the laptop bombardiers emerging from the swamps of the Potomac and crying for yet another war. Extending the Bush/Blair doctrine of military pre-emption by bombing Iran would be Allah’s gift to the crazies around Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Such a confrontation would mean engaging Iran in a real rather than a rhetorical conflict, a slaughter beyond anything justified by facts on the ground. It would mobilise pro-Iranian militias inside Iraq and activate suicide cadres across the region. Hamas’s hardliners would cheer and Israel’s security be ever more threatened. And for what? Is all this the best diplomacy can offer the 21st century?"
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Old 01-28-2006, 07:13 PM   #2
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I despair when I think of Afghanistan and its future. I'm afraid it's in for more hell and high water from the Taliban and the damn warlords, many of whom might as well be the Taliban because they enforce Taliban-type laws in their territories.
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Old 01-28-2006, 08:27 PM   #3
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The only thing worse than a war with Iran is an Iranian nuclear bomb
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Old 01-28-2006, 11:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
I despair when I think of Afghanistan and its future. I'm afraid it's in for more hell and high water from the Taliban and the damn warlords, many of whom might as well be the Taliban because they enforce Taliban-type laws in their territories.
Yes. And the troubling need (?), despite deep reservations, for Western forces and diplomats to form alliances with some of these thug warlords you mention is going to bedevil our relations with the region for a long time to come. Similar dynamics prevail in many areas of Pakistan, and Musharraf has had to make some deeply troubling compromises when it comes to enforcing what in theory are Pakistan's laws in these regions, in order to minimize the ever-present risk of violent subversion of the state from communities unaccustomed to accepting centralized power. This is an incredibly long-entrenched (and pre-Islamic too, as far as that goes) feature of the Central Asian social landscape. I am reminded of one Raj-era British official's memorable description of the business of maintaining their forts along the Afghan flank as "using a crowbar to swat wasps."
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Britain is covering what in truth is an American withdrawal in the face of an emerging Karzai-Taliban-warlord coalition.
My younger brother, who served in the Air Force in Afghanistan during the first phase of that operation, had pretty much the same comment when he heard about Britain sending more troops to the region. There is still quite a large contingent of American forces stationed over there, but whether their current emphasis on combing the Afghan-Pakistani border for the Taliban old guard serves the best interests of Karzai or anyone else is highly questionable.

While I agree that in the short run an Iranian war may seem preferable to an Iranian bomb, the reality is that we cannot stave off the threat of Iranian nuclearization indefinitely, and need to weight that in the balance when considering the long-term wisdom of military engagement (and even more so, post-engagement planning, which has hardly proven our forte). And needless to say, the possibility of resulting widespread intensification of terrorism throughout the Islamic world, with attendant destabilization, must be taken into account, too. Although it's true that there are those in the Arab world who would be delighted to see their Persian brethren's power scaled back several notches. Just not by us.
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Old 01-28-2006, 11:28 PM   #5
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The only thing worse than a war with Iran is an Iranian nuclear bomb

And Australia would be leading this war? Or is this to be a US/Israel (possibly)/British coalition of the willing and coerced where we bear the brunt of the cost and the deaths?

Just a practical question.
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Old 01-28-2006, 11:41 PM   #6
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As a middle power without the tools that would be an impossibility.

In the absence of nation building (which costs lives and saps resources) a swift decapitation of the leadership and putting the force structure in disarray could be done without long term comittments. The current leadership of Iran is religious, they write their letters to a messianic figure who has been living in a well for centuries, they have stated the intention of genocide and given the absence of a rational mind the sort of mutually assured destruction that saved the world in the cold war is non-existent. A nuclear strike would warrant a second strike response from Israel - the cost in life from a nuclear war is completely undesirable by any party that loves life.

Australia's force structure since the 1980's has been shifted towards forward defence of the north with a more specialised military that is capable of working with other forces. In future the JSF and Abrams tanks will increase this compatibility.

We have troop comittments in both Afghanistan and the al Muthanna province of Iraq where the Australian contingent has been protecting Japanese engineers, the SAS was in Iraq right from the beginning taking out missile sites. The Royal Australian Navy was working in the gulf performing ship inspections as well.
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Old 01-28-2006, 11:53 PM   #7
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We appreciate your contribution. We are also stretched to the hilt by our own. I understood Australian's limitations here. I'm not sure you understand ours. We're not omnipotent and omnifinanced.
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Old 01-28-2006, 11:56 PM   #8
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Stretched because of nation building.
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Old 01-28-2006, 11:59 PM   #9
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I didn't say we were stretched for a good reason. I said we were stretched. My point is it's going to be us again.
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