Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/19/2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/19/2010Turkey has expressed unhappiness about a new NATO missile shield. Our NATO ally is concerned that the shield is exclusively aimed against Iran.

Speaking of our allies, it has now been revealed that Pakistan’s intelligence services aided the terrorists who committed the Mumbai attacks two years ago. This news has apparently encouraged the United States and its NATO partners to help Pakistani Taliban leaders travel to Kabul to begin high-level negotiations with the Karzai government with the goal of ending the war in Afghanistan.

Repeat after me, everybody: “Paris, 1974!”

We just decided to lose yet another war.

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Thanks to CSP, DF, Fjordman, Gaia, heroyalwhyness, Insubria, JD, JP, KGS, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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Anonymous said...

Not losing.

This is what victory looks like. This is what it was always going to look like. It is in everyone's interest for peace to return to Afghanistan.

The Taliban is no longer in control of Afghanistan. Al-Q is no longer operating camps there with the willing assistance of the government.

If the Taliban stop killing people, then Afghanistan has a stable-ish government that is not a threat to its neighbors or us. That was the goal all along. Mission accomplished.

You would have to be insane to want to continue this as a war of anihilation or even worse, a pointless war of never-ending attrition

Most wars end at the negotiating table, not the graveyard.

I personally do not see any vital national interests in Afghanistan that are worth a single additional American life.

Baron Bodissey said...

Professor --

This is “victory” only in the sense that we have redefined what we consider “victory”, so that it is something we can actually achieve.

I do not believe this war should be continued, but then again, I never believed that we should have spent the last eight years “nation-building” in Afghanistan.

Back in 2001-2002 we should have destroyed the Taliban thoroughly, no matter the wreckage we would have to leave behind, and then installed a compliant dictator. Let the Afghans sort out their own governance in their own way, with only one rule: NO MORE SHELTERING AND AIDING PEOPLE WHO GO ABROAD TO KILL AMERICANS.

That’s a simple rule; even a Pashtun can understand it.

Then we go in only when it’s necessary to change dictators.

Instead we spent thousands of lives and untold billions of dollars, and for what? To install sharia in the Afghanistan constitution? To give the Taliban a role in the government??

What sort of madness is this?

If this is “victory”, I’d hate to see “defeat”.

mriggs said...

Paris, 1974???

Baron Bodissey said...

mriggs --

OK, OK, so it may have been 1972 or 1973. Whenever it was that the odious Henry Kissinger sold the South Vietnamese to the North Vietnamese. Then we proclaimed “victory” and went home.

I expect the same dénouement this time with Afghanistan. In a year or two it will begin with the Kabul equivalent of the helicopter lifting off the roof of the embassy.

There won’t be boat people this time, of course. What will they be? “Goat people”, maybe?

A massive exodus of Afghans who worked with us, translated for us, and spoke out against the Taliban. All those women who gladly took off their burqas and started teaching school — they’ll be dead meat if they don’t leave.

And guess where all these refugees will end up?

I like Afghan cuisine, so I suppose I should be pleased.

mriggs said...

Gotcha - it was an obscure reference perhaps.

But this is what happens when you start an unwinnable war, and what is more unwinnable than Afghanistan? Humiliation and assorted other ills follows.
There's no way to achieve a meaningful victory over the Afghan people short of massacring the population of entire districts and employing other methods of extreme cruelty on a similar scale. Think Colonel Kurtz. The will to do it is not even nearly there.

Anonymous said...

You are missing the point. Permit me to elaborate. Break the Afghan campaign into two distinct wars. War 1: Removal of the Taliban government and eradication of the Al-Q safehavens in Afghanistan. War 2: Establish a stable national Afghan government to keep Taliban from coming right back (e.g. nationbuilding).

War #1 ended a few months after it started. A complete victory no matter how you define it. We could easily have left as you suggest at that time.

War #2 has been going on since then. Think carefully about what victory would look like for this part of the campaign. It can only take a few forms: Anihilation of all declared enemies, total surrender of all declared enemies, surrender of friendly forces or negotiated settlement between the beligerent sides.

The enemies were not going to totally surrender though some might surrender for short periods. The fact that they wear no uniforms and are interchangeable with the civil population argues against our ability to kill them all. Even if we had the ability we would not use it because our civilised nature would restrain us from causeing the predictable level of slaughter within the civil population.

We literally can leave any time we want to and our accomplishments in War # 1 will be secure. Our victory in #2 has always depended on some sort of convincing the enemy to stop fighting. If they can arive at an accomodation with the national government that both sides will support, then we have achieved everything we wanted to in War #2.

If the Taliban agrees to stop fighting then there is nothing left for our army to do.

Do you advocate we ignore their attempts at peace and just keep fighting them anyway? Whatever for when we can get what we want through negotiation?

Peace was always going to look like this. There was never any other way this could have worked. For Afghanistan it is good enough. For the last American Soldier to die there it is a few days too late in coming.

Baron Bodissey said...

Professor --

I am not missing the point at all. My definition of “victory” is simply not the same as yours. We cannot achieve victory once having codified sharia in the Afghan constitution. That is a defeat. In order to gain victory, we would have to annul the constitution and start over.

We cannot gain victory by installing the Taliban in the government. We can withdraw our forces at that point, but calling it victory makes the word “victory” meaningless. Our declared objective from the outset was to oust the Taliban and destroy them.

If the Taliban agrees to stop fighting then there is nothing left for our army to do.

I agree, but this can hardly be called “victory”. It is rather a “cessation of hostilities”.

And remember: Hamid Karzai actively sought these negotiations with the Taliban. The planned departure of the United States means the end of his rule, unless he gives the Taliban a large enough slice of the pie (and maybe even then). Hence his sudden desire to negotiate with them.

So the negotiations with the Taliban are our own doing, a result of Obama’s setting a deadline for departure.

Do you advocate we ignore their attempts at peace and just keep fighting them anyway?

I advocate getting out as soon as we can manage, while preserving the lives of our soldiers and taking with us as much of our very expensive arms and equipment as we possibly can. Everything else is window dressing and self-delusion.

I notice that you have changed your noun from “victory” to “peace”, which is a much better descriptor. We Americans will have peace, but of course the Afghans will not — most of them will enjoy the same kind of peace that the residents of Saigon did as the former capital was transformed into Ho Chi Minh City.

Like so many others before them — the South Vietnamese and the Kurds, just to name two examples — the Afghans will rue the day they ever took the promises of the American government at face value.

Sean O'Brian said...

Earlier today National Review Online linked on their main page to a blog post which condemns the supposed racism of European immigration restrictionist parties.

Here is an excerpt from the blog post:

The situation in Europe is quite different. Openly racist, anti-immigrant and Islamophobic groupings are on the rise, and they are wreaking havoc on once subdued European politics. Traditional mainstream parties are declining, and the new racist parties can be seen in broad daylight in Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, where populist firebrand Geert Wilders has suggested banning the Koran. In Italy the anti-immigrant Northern League is already hugely powerful.