What should Obama do with Afghanistan?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by fivepoint, Sep 21, 2009.

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What do you think Obama should do?

Poll closed Oct 21, 2009.
  1. Change the 'goal' of the mission

    18.5%
  2. Bring the troops home ASAP

    38.9%
  3. Send all the troops at the Generals' request, stay until the 'job is done'

    25.9%
  4. Other

    16.7%
  1. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    IOWA
    #1
    Reports came out this morning that the Military's top brass may ask for over 200,000 new troops to be sent to Afghanistan to keep the country from sliding into the abyss to a point where the war can't be 'won' and the insurgents can't be stopped.

    What do you think Obama should do?
    Change the 'goal' of the mission?
    Bring the troops home ASAP?
    Send all the troops at the Generals' request, stay until the 'job is done'?
    Other


     
  2. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #2
    I don't know anymore. I've always been behind the Afghanistan effort, but if we can't find a way to get things done correctly, we should leave.
     
  3. Nugget macrumors 65816

    Nugget

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Location:
    Houston Texas USA
    #3
    Tell me what "win the war" actually means and I'll be happy to discuss my thoughts on that subject.

    Unless we can (as a country) articulate what conditions constitute a victory then the inevitable result will be a "failure" no matter how many troops we send.
     
  4. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #4
    Problem with that is it makes the US look like we go in make a mess of things and then refuse to try to clean it up.

    Other problem is the US pulling out it will leave a huge power void and that is to much of a void to be filled in a control manner. It has to be done slowly the power void being filled by the government not war loads
     
  5. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #5
    I used to think we should put all of our resources into capturing and/or killing Bin Laden and then GTFO, but I don't know what good it would do if he was dead, Al Qaeda wouldn't fall apart with him gone. Now I simply think just GTFO would be the best option.
     
  6. Nugget macrumors 65816

    Nugget

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Location:
    Houston Texas USA
    #6
    So you'd continue to pour blood and money into the region just to avoid looking worse? How do you ask a soldier to die just so the country can save face?

    Besides, it's not like your "nightmare scenario" of looking bad is any worse than the current state of affairs where the US just looks like it goes into a region, makes a mess of things, and then doesn't know how to clean it up.
     
  7. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #7
    Then Pakistan needs to be more helpful, and we need to get our allies on board too. No more going it alone. It's not right, or effective.
     
  8. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #8
    The goal has to change, are we there to find Bin Laden, or are we there to rebuild the country to keep the insurgents out. Obama needs to define what he wants to do there. Bin Laden isn't in Afghanistan so are we there to control the Taliban?
     
  9. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #9
    While this might be true (and I think it is) that still doesn't change the fact that they need more manpower over there.

    I would check the 'other' box because I don't think the other options adequately describe the situation. There needs to be a big sit down and analysis of the situation, formulation of an actual strategy with a defined end goal, and then an assessment of what is needed, both in term of troops and equipment.
     
  10. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #10
    1. Hand over Bush, Cheney, Rummy, and a few others as international war criminals,
    2. Start an investigation into the power structure that enabled those crazies in the first place,
    3. Give back their oil,
    4. Make full restitution,
    5. Admit publicly that Osama is dead,
    6. Open a real investigation into 9-11.

    That's what he should do. Of course none of those things will happen.


    The government scripted "talking points" most of you are mentioning here are rather ridiculous and certainly a non-issue by all humanitarian accounts.
     
  11. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #11
    Without anything to back up your theories, your posts look eerily like drivel. Thats the problem with conspiracy theories.
     
  12. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #12
    In my mind, the conflict in Afghanistan has two facets:

    1. It is a proxy war over Pakistan - a country with Nuclear weapons and a contentious relationship with India - a country who also has Nuclear weapons and is a burgeoning world power. These are high stakes.

    2. Afghanis have never been conquered, but have lead a relatively simple, decentralized existence. Their land is of great strategic importance, but not amenable to outside interference. The best the US can hope for is to Police the area while trying to build a central government against the odds.

    In short, it's not good in the best of scenarios - but perhaps Greece of the mid-20th Century should serve as a model - a lot of money and time was spent to drag them into the western orbit - to head off a number of potential catastrophies.

    I don't like it, but overall I think it is a good fight.
     
  13. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040

    GfPQqmcRKUvP

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Location:
    Terminus
    #13
    WTF. Please, enlighten us on your views about Osama's current status and what really happened on 9-11.
     
  14. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Negotiate a settlement with the Taliban, pay restitutions and exit stage left.


    Please don't. Use a 9/11 conspiracy theory thread for that discussion.
     
  15. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #15
    That's an insult to drivel.
     
  16. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #16
    The "war" is already lost: the Taleban by all accounts are in control of 80% of the country already, the last election was a complete stitch-up, the puppet government has no authority, the president's own brother is a drug runner, most NATO countries are not even seriously engaged, and the people of Afghanistan are no better off than under the Taleban. If NATO left, the main result would be that less innocent people would be killed by mistake. As far as I can see the whole exercise is driven by vanity.
     
  17. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #17
    Personally I am tired of having to deal with it, pull out time. In fact withdrawal all troops in the area.
     
  18. chstr macrumors 6502a

    chstr

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    #18
    why why why is that country such a flustercluck??? russia couldn't do anything there and now we are losing. is it that the majority of the people there prefer it the way it is? is it religion? is it just too easy to live in corruption? what?
     
  19. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #19
    Mainly because one country after another, the British, the Russians, the Pakistanis, the Americans, have tried unsuccessfully but persistently to interfere in a fiercely tribal and independent-minded confederation. Everybody seems to think they can beat the odds. They can't.
     
  20. Wotan31 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #20
    1. Clarify what the goals are
    2. Listen to the Generals and give them what they ask for

    The office of POTUS is not a military strategist. He should listen to the Generals who are running the show, give them what they ask for, and don't pass legislation that cuts them off at the knees. That's the best thing he can do. And if objectives are not met in a time table agreed upon with the Generals, then reassess and make corrective measures.
     
  21. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #21
    Apparently you don't understand the term "Commander in Chief" too well.....
     
  22. sysiphus macrumors 6502a

    sysiphus

    Joined:
    May 7, 2006
    #22
    Actually, it's a bit stickier than that, given that there's no reasonable expectation for a president with no military background to make sound military decisions on his own. The last time we had a president who could really manage without heavy influence from his generals was probably Ike. Yes, Obama is the CIC, who has the final say...and it's not simply a cut-and-dried matter of giving the military boys whatever toys they want--but at the same time, their jo is to provide expertise on how to effectively run the military...and for Obama not to act largely on their input would be irresponsible at best. And just in case you think this is a slight or critique of Obama, you could just as easily substitute GWB, Clinton, Reagan, Carter etc. in my statement.
     
  23. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #23
    Critique Obama all you want, he's fair game. I just don't think that the Generals should be in complete control of the show, of course others INPUT (;)) is necessary, but at the end of the day it is the POTUS, with input of others, that has to make the final call and decide what our policy will be.
     
  24. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #24
    FDR, Churchill and Truman all became reasonably competent military-political strategists after a little practice.
     
  25. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #25
    This is true, but of course, reasonably good military strategy isn't enough to make the kind of change politicians have said they want in Afghanistan. Amazing military strategy isn't enough.

    I mean, if you push back in history, and you take your pick of all the great empires that have gotten as far as Afghanistan or nearby -- Alexander the Great, the Mongols, the Indian dynasties -- long before the Soviets and Americans, civilizations have been fooling around out there for five or six thousand years. And despite their earnest efforts, while there have been flourishing civilizations to the East, to the West, to the North of them -- Afghanistan just has no historical basis for a modern democracy let alone any other kind of orderly nation-scale governance.

    I actually don't think it's a proxy war for Pakistan. I think it's a fundamental misunderstanding of the history and geography of Western Asia. Pakistan was formed in the 40s out of sheer arrogance. No sensible person would have thought taking a country with two large regions separated geographically and culturally and both full of serfs with no real history of civilization would ever have worked. Even if they had Kashmir and Jammu, it still doesn't make any sense. Pakistan has actually done remarkably well, all things considered. But Afghanistan is just Pakistan further removed in that historical sense. Now you move away from the serf farmers and you have a bunch of mountains full of nomads and a little farming here and there.

    I'm not saying it's impossible to civilize Afghanistan -- although I am saying I don't think it's a good goal. But in antiquity, it would've taken centuries to do it. Today it's arrogant to think it would take any less than several stable decades of a large foreign presence. Nothing is going to get fixed in two years.

    I don't like the Taliban, but I think the most sensible option at this point would be to try to bring them into a governance structure with the people who sided with us and find a way for a graded handover of power that protects what we consider to be the most important human rights for Afghanis -- maybe a right of passage out of the country for people who want to be civilized and some peace-keepers who stay behind only to enforce that kind of minimal settlement. And then we have to actually stop being neocolonialists and let them figure out for themselves what they want, recognizing that it may not be what we want for them.
     

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