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From inside the belly of the beast... why your vote matters.

 From a friend - a senior NCO in the National Guard with multiple tours in Afghanistan as an advisor to the ANA.  I know a lot of Colonels who don't have this kind of wisdom or insight.

This man was/is a wasted asset by the US Army.  Because he didn't have officer rank or a PhD appended to his name.  

Once upon a time, we weren't like that.  I rather suspect that in the SOF, we still aren't.  But the rest of the Army?  I weep sometimes, for our pretensions.

We are in the military. We are all military thinkers, and as such we must not be driven by emotional responses. We can't say, "Fuck it, let's shut out the lights and leave!" There is a difference between passion and emotionalism, and we need to stay on the side of informed passion and avoid frustrated emotional responses. Some are looked to by civilian readership for some leadership, some courage. Emotionalism in that role can be harmful, or at least unhelpful. In the end, it sounds like another voice in support of the president's non-strategy; even if it is a negative reaction to it.

I get the frustration. I do. I understand the urge to cry out for evacuation. I do. And it's wrong. First, logistically, it's impossible or at least completely improbable. You simply can't move all that shit that quickly. Second, it's just flat ill-advised. If you want a dissertation on why, I'll happily drown you all in words that will make lots of sense if you dry your eyeballs out reading them.

Instead, I'll give you this; if you want to advise quitting, your prayers have been, in part, answered. Our commanders in the field have quit. Force protection is job 1. Period. Mission? Not really. And it's evident. What's happening now is lip-service being paid to the advisory mission and the de facto implementation of the Biden plan. Our military in Afghanistan is a lost ball in tall grass. We have lost our way because command climate trickles down, and our national strategy on Afghanistan is not based on any goal or desired end state in Afghanistan other than for it to be a plus in favor of Obama's reelection. The national command climate, set by the CIC, is a shambles, and that's reflected in the zeitgeist on the ground. National security strategy, the objective of which becomes to satisfy domestic political imperatives, is not national security strategy; it is domestic political campaigning. That is what Afghanistan has become.

It's what Afghanistan has been since the day that Obama announced his non-conditions-based withdrawal schedule with a time hack one month and six days before the 2012 election.

An Army left to fight a domestic political campaign in a foreign country will fail at it. (Nobody told the Marines that they were fighting for votes in the 89th precinct, so they keep fighting what they believe to be a war.)

Romney's approach to this is brilliant. He cannot win otherwise. He could not possibly have a brilliant campaign plan for Afghanistan. He cannot possibly win after proclaiming Obama's "strategy" of withdrawal to be in the least bit ill-advised. There is no way for him to politically overcome the seduction or withdrawal. It's like the voice in your head that screams at you to stop running in the late stages of the longest run you've ever done. America has that voice screaming in it's head... and it sounds a lot like Obama's voice. He has always been the voice of the easy path, the seduction of the abdication of responsibility; the excusable acceptance of mediocrity. For the same reasons that Social Security disability claims have surged so much in the past four years, there is no overcoming the seduction of the softer, easier path.

It is best that Afghanistan is a non-issue in this election.

That being said, it is a shame that it can't be adequately discussed. But, since that is impossible, it must be kept from the fray at this point. Romney has handled this well. His endorsement of the withdrawal deadline not survive the first quarter year of his presidency. But he danced around the president's attempt to paint him as a hawk. That was all he needed to do. In an America which has convinced itself that Afghanistan is too difficult and in fact unworthy of our best efforts, which has convinced itself that it is tired of a war that most have experienced a few minutes at a time on the news, a hawk is not what the sheeple want to vote for.

And trying to explain that Obama's plan is a disaster unfolding would avail him nothing.

What would a President Romney be expected to do? I expect that he will approach this problem as he approaches any business problem. That in itself would be a huge leap... if you will excuse my political jingoism... forward.

It's hell when a simple word like the word "forward" become tainted by politicization.

I would expect a top-down review to be commissioned immediately after his inauguration. Obama did the same thing. He assembled (arguably) the best set of minds you could find on the subject of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and they gave him good recommendations. At first, he appeared to listen. Then he pulled the rug out from under the whole thing with the announcement of the withdrawal date. It was immediately apparent as being driven by domestic political needs of the president, not driven by national security needs for results. Here is where I would expect to see differences. I would expect Romney to actually listen to the advice that he is given. Romney is not a national security strategist, but he will know what his desired end state is. When he chooses a strategy option generated by actual strategists, it will be chosen based upon that desired end state and not based upon domestic political imperatives. A real goal based upon a desired end state on the ground will be a step (again, please forgive me) forward.

Vote.

11 Comments

I do not think there will be any easy answers for the next thousand years. How much longer can we stay in places like Afghanistan? Who is going to pay the bill? Anything this country does, we must consider the long-term consequences of our actions. If you want tax cuts, then prove how they will generate more revenue for this nation. This can be through things like job creation or education. But one thing, as Ronald Reagan said, "Trust, But Verify". These are not profits, but should be used to build a larger job base and help in other ways. I am not saying this in such a way to make the status permanent, just until WE get on OUR feet. Personally, I don't see this from either man.
 
John, your Sr NCO nails it, the second the Big Zero announced a date to pull out "Our cammanders in the field have quit". SSGT Matthew Sitton reconigized this, and the "pointless" order to literally wander around in a minefield. His men paid the price, and it sickened him....He, under duress, followed orders, and payed the price. His Wife, and 9 month will also pay that price.
http://rhinoden.rangerup.com/hero-of-the-week-ssg-matthew-sitton/
Jerry

 
Jerry- I remember reading that a month ago. Right up there (if not ahead of) Benghazi as far as being depressing and bad for my blood pressure.

As for the rest of it- I was watching the Avengers last night, and I think this quote might apply:

"You're going to lose because it's in your nature. You lack conviction."
 
This Senior NCO is absolutely correct, and it breaks my heart that we are going this way.
We coulda been a contender! We coulda been somebody.
Sadly, no...
Nuke them from orbit. It's the only way to be sure...
 
Thanks for the HT to SOF.
 
The way to tell if the Romney administration does understand what should be done in Afghanistan is if the ROE that currently demans the deaths of our soldiers and surrender of our mission is addressed.
 
So, in summary.  "Vote for Romney.  Don't believe what he said about Afghanistan and agreeing with President Obama's policy. "

I think it's an interesting coincidence that "'The Economist' endorsement for President Obama includes the words "For all his businesslike intentions, Mr Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says"
 
 Keep up the good fight, Matt!

I posted that more for what it says about the current policy than anything else.

I don't happen to agree fully - in that I think it's too late, and I'm not a fan of nation-buildling in this fashion, anyway.  Especially since we seem to insist that the nation we build should, for some odd reason, mirror us and our values, when it's starting from a far different place than we did, with a completely different history.

That takes British-level stick-to-it-ivness.  Which we don't have, and which isn't going to work in the world we live in, anyway.  If anything, I would start redeploying faster.  But then, I never would have invaded Iraq, either, so clearly I'm not cut out for this game, except as a pawn within it.
 
 Oh, and regardless of the merits of Old Blue's thesis and your appendix thereto, I do not like the current President's view of America, or Americans.

I've met Romney, and I don't like him personally.  

And there is simply no way the Democrats will let him do the things the Left is most afraid of - they are far better at playing the Congress than the Republicans ever have been.  Unless the Dems get completely screwed in the Senate (not gonna happen) Romney is not going to get to pack the Supreme Court in a way that will fully overturn Roe, for example.

Obamacare is a stalking horse for single-payer, and no, I don't think the government is anywhere near efficient enough to manage that much of the economy.  They don't even *have* functional accounting systems.  I know - I've been swimming inside their money machine since 1975.  It's a fantasy - *especially* DoD.  

Both sides agree that the health system is seriously out of whack, but I prefer the other approaches to fixing it than the ones the Dems have put forth.  

And it doesn't matter who wins, I'm going to get stuck with the bill.  And I'll be paying taxes and not getting back what was promised me all my adult life.   The philosophical difference of the Left wants me to love government and be a ward of the state... well, I'd rather they just left me the hell alone.  But neither side can do that.

So, I want divided government, where they hate their jobs because they never get their way, and they have to fight, tooth and nail, to get anything done.  Because if they all get on the bus to Abilene, down that path lies disaster.
 
"Because if they all get on the bus to Abilene,..."

Oh don't worry, John, I hear there's a left turn at Albequerque that always leaves 'em wandering in the desert looking for the Cave of Wonders.
0>;~}
 
There has always been a relatively easy answer at hand, but America has never chosen to take it because we always want to be loved and be the good guys.  First we stop all aid to everyone.  We owe the world nothing beyond the blood we have already shed for the world's various stupidity.  And we uniformly got shit on after all was said and done.   We leave the Af, and everywhere else like it.  We tell their leaders if they want to screw with us, no problem.  But we will come at them with our A game and every weapon of war we have, and WE WILL KILL EVERYTHING.  And we will not stop until their nation is lifeless and limp.  We would have to do it once, maybe twice, but once the world realized that we were serious, and that we were consistent in that goal of protecting Americans, they would fear us.  That is enough.  The world will never like us, but they will always want our stuff.  It is actually an easy decision to make.  If they fear us they will leave us alone.  It worked for the Soviet Union for the most part, because everyone knew if they screwed with the soviets they would get their asses handed to them.  Right up til they went into the AF and halfassed that war totally.  They did the AF the way we did Vietnam with the same result.  Of course there are far too many weak sisters on both sides of the political parties who would quail before that solution, thus we will continue to be screwed with by inferior people simply because they can.