War by committee—remember Vietnam?
Vietnam was a fiasco and ended in disaster because the executive branch and congress were at odds and the military was given impossible direction and conflicting support.
In the case of Afghanistan, America’s purpose was to root out the Taliban for providing safe haven to al Qaeda and to eliminate the terrorists. The al Qaeda fled to Pakistan and the Taliban dispersed to strongholds, and Americans have been running around chasing them ever since.
In the process, we significantly weakened the Taliban, and supported the creation of a “democratically-elected” government with Karzai as a two-term President. His government remains corrupt, weak, and unviable without 1) strong US military support, 2) strong financial support.
We’re essentially buying people off to temporarily let us have our way, for awhile, until the inevitable departure.
The American public and the President are aiming for a date-certain time period, while military leaders resist that. They want some flexibility. They should be granted flexibility in the form of weeks not months.
Dribbling along and dabbling at nation-building is simply wrong because the US does not have the financial capacity or political will to do that in Afghanistan. Besides, they don’t want us to either.
As I understand it, General Petraeus wanted a surge to weaken the Taliban and to give the Afghani government time to get on its feet and in charge. It doesn’t appear that this is going to happen. That is not a military failing; it just isn’t in the cards.
So, if distinguished and experienced Ambassador Holbrooke is one who is saying “let’s get out of here,” I applaud him. He is not one who should be leaving. If General Petraeus is lobbying for more time to make nation-building work, he should be directed by the Secretary of Defense to focus on an orderly departure.
I don’t know about Eikenberry as he seems to be the odd man out, being a former General, and just redundant.
As for Senators Feinstein and Graham, they should simply butt out. If they have an opinion, pick up the phone and call the President. Public jawboning with FoxNews is the type of behavior that got us into the Vietnam and now Afghanistan fiasco.
Bring the troops home at once. Save taxpayers’ dollars on a wasted war effort.
“Petraeus May Need a New Team in Afghanistan, Senators Say
Published June 27, 2010
Two influential senators suggested Sunday that President Obama clean house on the civilian side of his Afghanistan war team if Gen. David Petraeus cannot get along with the same diplomats who may have sparred with outgoing Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also said the withdrawal timetable needs to be flexible, though the president has set July 2011 as the deadline to get out.
The senators spoke just days after McChrystal resigned over a Rolling Stone article in which he and his aides were quoted mocking the Obama administration, particularly Amb. Karl Eikenberry and Special Representative Richard Holbrooke. The article reflected deep divisions between the military and civilian side of the war effort.
While lawmakers were nearly unanimous in saying Obama had to change generals after the article, Feinstein said those diplomats should not get a free pass with Petraeus. Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," the senator said Petraeus must be a "command presence" on the team.
"(Petraeus) should make the calls. If he can't work with the ambassador, the ambassador should change. If he can't work with Holbrooke, that should change," Feinstein said. "I think we put all of our eggs in the Petraeus basket."”