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Old Jun 12, 2012, 03:16 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by leekohler View Post
What a disgusting thing to say. Unbelievable.
I completely agree, what a ****ing idiotic thing to say. Soldiers should be respected whether they fight a war you agree with or not.
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 05:59 PM   #102
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So should construction workers. And street cleaners.

And politicians, of course.
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 06:48 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by VulchR View Post
More than three million Afghans cast valid votes in the last elections, which hardly sounds like a puppet government. And of course, we all know that once the coalition leaves, Iran, Pakistan, India, and the other neighboring countries will allow the people of Afghanistan govern themselves in peace without outside interference. Just like when the Taliban last in power.
You're right, of course. I shouldn't be so cynical.

Quote:
How the Afghan Election Was Rigged

By PETER W. GALBRAITH

Monday, Oct. 19, 2009


No one will ever know how Afghans voted in their country's presidential elections on Aug. 20, 2009. Seven weeks after the polling, the U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) is still trying to separate fraudulent tallies from ballots. In some provinces, many more votes were counted than were cast. E.U. election monitors characterize 1.5 million votes as suspect, which would include up to one-third of the votes cast for incumbent President Hamid Karzai. Once fraud occurs on the scale of what took place in Afghanistan, it is impossible to untangle.

Afghanistan's fraudulent elections complicate President Obama's job as he weighs a recommendation from General Stanley McChrystal, his top commander there, to send as many as 40,000 additional troops to support a beefed-up counterinsurgency strategy. But for that strategy to work, the U.S. needs a credible Afghan partner, which Afghanistan's elections now seem unlikely to produce. (See pictures from election day in Afghanistan.)

A war undertaken to defeat al-Qaeda is increasingly seen through the lens of these elections. In my home state of Vermont — where the National Guard is about to deploy to Afghanistan — people seek me out to ask why our soldiers should be fighting for a corrupt Afghan government clinging to power by fraud. I am quite sure the same question is being asked of political leaders in both the U.S. and Europe.

Unfortunately, I am unable to provide reassuring answers. Over the past four months, I served as the deputy head of the U.N. mission in Kabul and had a firsthand view of the fraud that plagued Afghanistan's presidential vote. Each time I proposed actions to deal with it, Kai Eide, the head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, overruled me. Like any good subordinate, I respected my boss's decision, but in private, I told him I thought he was making a mistake in downplaying the fraud. When the press learned of our disagreement (through no fault of ours), U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon removed me from my post. This is an account of what went wrong — and why success in Afghanistan will remain beyond our grasp until the problems I witnessed are fixed.

The Ghost Vote
Afghans perpetrated the fraud, and they are, of course, ultimately responsible for the consequences. They include the local election staff, government officials and local warlords and power brokers. Afghanistan's Independent Elections Commission (IEC), a seven-member board appointed by Karzai to supervise the elections, was anything but independent. Its head met weekly with Karzai (but not with the other candidates), and the commission consistently made decisions that benefited the Karzai campaign. (See more pictures from Afghanistan's presidential election.)

Because the elections were so critical to political stability in Afghanistan — and, therefore, prospects for the U.S.-led military mission — the U.S. and its allies needed them to go smoothly. The U.N. Security Council tasked the U.N. mission in Afghanistan to support the IEC and other Afghan institutions in the conduct of "free, fair and transparent" elections. On two occasions, I started to take action that could have reduced the risk of fraud. In July, I learned that there were 1,500 polling centers (out of a total of 7,000) sited in places either controlled by the Taliban or so insecure that no one from the IEC, the Afghan army or the Afghan police had ever visited. It was obvious that these polling centers would never open on election day. They were also perfect vehicles for fraud. Since no observer, campaign representative or voter could go to the locations, it would be easy for the election staff — on its own or in collaboration with local officials — to say voting had taken place and then report a tally.

Along with ambassadors from the U.S., NATO, the E.U. and the U.K., I urged the election commissioners and the Afghan Ministers of Defense and Interior to close down these ghost polling centers. Serving a President who was to benefit from the fraud, the Afghan ministers complained about my approach to my boss, Eide, and he ordered me to stop. On election day, these ghost polling centers produced hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes for Karzai. (After controversy erupted over my dismissal, the U.N. told some reporters that I wanted to disenfranchise voters by closing polling centers; this was absurd. The only ones I wanted taken off the books were ones that had never opened.)

With support from U.N. election experts working within the commission, the IEC published safeguards to exclude obviously fraudulent ballots from the preliminary tally of election results. These guidelines were a matter of common sense. For example, they excluded results from polling centers that had never opened or that reported more votes than they had ballot papers. A week before the IEC was to announce the results, I learned that it was considering abandoning these safeguards. I called the chief electoral officer to express my concern. Within two hours, I found myself summoned to meet the Foreign Minister, who, on direct instructions from Karzai, protested my interference in the Afghan election process. At that time, however, my intervention was successful, and the IEC voted to keep the safeguards.

Days later, the IEC discovered that sticking to its published safeguards would exclude enough fraudulent Karzai ballots to keep his total below 50%. This would lead to a second-round runoff, which Karzai desperately hoped to avoid. The IEC reconvened and voted 6 to 1 to drop safeguards, explaining that the commissioners had just read the Afghan election law and discovered that they had no authority to throw out fraudulent votes. This novel and inventive reading of the law did not convince many Afghans. My boss, however, sided with Karzai, and I was ordered to drop the matter. Four days later, I left Afghanistan and was subsequently relieved of my position by the Secretary-General. (See TIME's audio slideshow "The War in Afghanistan Up Close.")

So what should be done now? The U.N. raised $300 million from the U.S. and other Western countries to pay for the Afghan elections. The taxpayers from these countries surely expected the U.N. to spend their money on honest elections, not fraudulent ones. And countries sending troops to Afghanistan surely expected the U.N. to support elections that would put Afghanistan on a path to democracy and stability, not ones making the military mission incomparably more difficult. It is ridiculous to argue, as senior U.N. officials do now, that the U.N. had no authority to insist that the Afghan authorities conduct honest elections.

There is no easy solution to Afghanistan's election mess. If the ECC removes enough fraudulent votes, Karzai will fall below 50%, and there will be a second round of voting. However, the factors that caused problems on Aug. 20 — ghost polling stations, corrupt election staff and a partisan commission — are still present. Dealing with those factors will require leadership that the head of the U.N. mission has yet to demonstrate. If Karzai emerges the winner of the rushed and incomplete audit process now under way, Afghanistan's internal peace will depend on Karzai's opponents accepting — or at least tolerating — the outcome. Karzai's main opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, has said publicly that he does not believe the U.N.'s envoy is neutral. By failing to address the obvious fraud in Afghanistan's elections, the U.N. has lost credibility that is desperately needed for it to act as a postelection peacemaker.

Karzai's opponents are likely to be skeptical that the complaints process can change a fraudulent election into a good one. The Obama Administration should focus on persuading Karzai to adopt some of the opposition's program, including arrangements for genuine power-sharing by Afghanistan's diverse ethnic groups. Even so, Afghanistan's flawed elections have now become a major drag on Obama's new strategy, which just six months ago seemed to offer real hope for that war-torn land. It need not have turned out this way.

Galbraith served as deputy special representative of the Secretary-General of the U.N. in Afghanistan from June 1 to Oct. 1, 2009.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...9210-1,00.html
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 07:14 PM   #104
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So should construction workers. And street cleaners.

And politicians, of course.
Agreed with your statements.

I want to add though when it comes to politicians, especially in countries with democratic roots, it is not wrong to criticize a politician. That is part of a politician's job, to take criticism and feedback and try and improve the state. Personal attacks, however, no matter how much you disagree with the politician, are just wrong. I absolutely hated when people brought up George Bush's supposed drug use and DWI. Who cares? Move on and pick the various other matters that actually matter as president of the United States to criticize him for. Same goes for Obama.
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 07:28 PM   #105
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I want to add though when it comes to politicians, especially in countries with democratic roots, it is not wrong to criticize a politician. That is part of a politician's job, to take criticism and feedback and try and improve the state.
True

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Personal attacks, however, no matter how much you disagree with the politician, are just wrong. I absolutely hated when people brought up George Bush's supposed drug use and DWI.
I agree, up until the point where a politician stands in judgement of others. If a politician who smoked dope as a youth attempts to hide that - and then goes ahead and punishes youths who do that now - then the public/media should rightly call them out for their hypocrisy.

If they either support the stance they took earlier in life, or they're open and repentant about it (they changed their view) - then I have no problem.
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 03:15 AM   #106
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I completely agree, what a ****ing idiotic thing to say. Soldiers should be respected whether they fight a war you agree with or not.
Is that all soldiers or just your own?

If all soldiers then the "Waffen SS" should be worthy of our respect.
How do you rate Saddams Republican Guards, Serbian Military, Syrian Military.

If you answer just your own, it explains why the US has more 'Friendly Fire incidents' than all the other armed forces put together.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by skunk View Post
You're right, of course. I shouldn't be so cynical.



http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...9210-1,00.html
I think this article says it all about the lie, that the West was bringing democracy to Afganistan.
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 03:31 AM   #107
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Is that all soldiers or just your own

If all soldiers then the "Waffen SS" should be worthy of our respect.
How do you rate Saddams Republican Guards, Serbian Military, Syrian Military.

If you answer just your own, it explains why the US has more 'Friendly Fire incidents' than all the other armed forces put together.

----------



I think this article says it all about the lie, that the West was bringing democracy to Afganistan.
That's actually a good question.

My opinion on the matter is yes, even Waffen SS, even Saddam militia, whatever. The Nazi soldiers had families, wanted the best for their children, etc. the same exact way an American soldier did back then. Up until the last year of the war when they were getting desperate and didn't have the resources to hold prisoners of wars, the Nazi soldiers treated the American soldier with decent respect. Russian soldiers were another story.

I wouldn't make a good soldier. :P
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 04:23 AM   #108
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the Nazi soldiers treated the American soldier with decent respect. Russian soldiers were another story.
Possibly true in terms of US soldiers (I don't know) - however, they certainly started early on everyone else...

Just outside Dunkirk the Totenkopf were held up badly by some isolated elements of the BEF until they ran out of ammunition and surrendered.

They took the British rear guard prisoner and then massacred them all.

There was another massacre of unarmed British prisoners a few days later, again who'd ran out of ammunition and surrendered by a different SS unit.

It had nothing to do with their ability or otherwise to hold PoW's.

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Old Jun 13, 2012, 09:44 AM   #109
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You're right, of course. I shouldn't be so cynical.
...
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...9210-1,00.html
By all means be cynical. However, a corrupt or bad government is not the same as a puppet government. As the article noted, the Afghans committed the fraud, not the Western forces. Also, Galbraith came into conflict with his superiors in the UN - NATO had nothing to do with it. A true cynic would dismiss Galbraith's claims as that of a disgruntled ex-employee of the UN who was bitter because he was fired.
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 01:52 PM   #110
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Regular Afghan soldiers were carpet-bombed in their tens of thousands to "soften them up" (translation: "obliterate"), just as tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers were obliterated in GW1. As for civilians, 20% is a not insignificant percentage, especially since overall civilian deaths were 15% up on the previous year. Perhaps if Western powers were not propping up a puppet government, the Afghans themselves would be a lot nearer to a political solution.
You are greatly underestimating this. In most wars, including the one mentioned above, civilian deaths far outnumber military ones. For the two most recent wars (and starting with Vietnam), civilian deaths are very high and are at least partially higher because determining who is and is not a combatant is not nearly as easy as was in previous wars. But the point is that leaders going into wars should understand that the civilian toll will be huge regardless of any other factors and attempts to mitigate civilian deaths.
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 08:04 PM   #111
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You are greatly underestimating this. In most wars, including the one mentioned above, civilian deaths far outnumber military ones. For the two most recent wars (and starting with Vietnam), civilian deaths are very high and are at least partially higher because determining who is and is not a combatant is not nearly as easy as was in previous wars. But the point is that leaders going into wars should understand that the civilian toll will be huge regardless of any other factors and attempts to mitigate civilian deaths.
I was referring to civilian deaths caused by ISAF, which are reported to account, currently, for 20% of all civilian killings in Afghanistan. See the link below for more:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R41084.pdf
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 10:59 PM   #112
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I was referring to civilian deaths caused by ISAF, which are reported to account, currently, for 20% of all civilian killings in Afghanistan. See the link below for more:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R41084.pdf
My apologies...I misread your original post
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 12:14 AM   #113
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Arn?
Arn is the owner of the site, just so you know. He doesn't post on this part of the site. He more likely to post in the other Mac threads, more so when a juicy mac rumor comes to the site. But he can basically do anything to the site he wants, even if that means he can tell a moderator to have someone banned because he or she attacking another member so be it.

Just because live the land of the free (what little we have), does not mean you can say what ever you want on this site. The site as rules, TOSs, and proper conduct to follow. This does not take your 1st amendment away, you can say whatever you want outside the site.

Does this help you?

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Old Feb 1, 2013, 03:53 PM   #114
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Army personnel suicides have passed death by combat for the first time. Veteran suicides are up to 1 suicide every 80 minutes.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...idemic-veteran

The numbers are out of control.
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Old Feb 2, 2013, 12:53 AM   #115
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We get a lot of training related to suicide. It's a constant topic. I had a great kid in my unit that smiled all the time and he killed himself. This was less than a year ago.

The CO was not happy and the investigation was in deep, followed by days of more training.

A big part of the problem is not military service, or combat but the world back home. The biggest freak outs I've seen have been over finances, wrecked marriages, and kids.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 06:10 AM   #116
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A guy in my old unit committed suicide back in December. Part of the problem is constant deployments because the soldiers aren't given the opportunity to fix the problems at home and instead are rushed off for a year or more (although apparently deployments are less now?)
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 09:02 AM   #117
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Yes suicide awareness training is being pushed but I don't think it's helping really. Suicide is a personal thing and needs to be treated as such ACE cards will only get you so far.
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