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Borrowing From Karzai To Pay Al-Maliki
That "troop surge" has to come from somewhere, huh? Like, from our forces in Afghanistan. David Wood writes for the Balt Sun:

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Taliban forces, shattered and ejected from Afghanistan by the US military five years ago, are poised for a major offensive against US troops and undermanned NATO forces. This has prompted US commanders here to issue an urgent appeal for a new US Marine Corps battalion to reinforce the American positions.

NATO's 30,000 troops in Afghanistan are supposed to have taken responsibility for security operations. But Taliban attacks have risen sharply, and senior US officers here describe the NATO operation as weak, hobbled by a shortage of manpower and equipment, and by restrictions put on the troops by their capitals.

The accelerating war here and the critical need for troops complicate the crumbling security picture across the region -- from Afghanistan, where the United States chose to strike back after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, to Iraq, where US troops, in almost four years of fighting, have been unable to establish basic security and quell a bloody sectarian war.

President Bush is expected to announce this week the dispatch of thousands of additional troops to Iraq as a stopgap measure. Such an order, Pentagon officials say, would strain the Army and Marine Corps as they man both wars.

A US Army battalion fighting in a critical area of eastern Afghanistan is due to be withdrawn within weeks to deploy to Iraq.

Let's just hope we don't need to deploy any soldiers anywhere else in the world. Hmmm, suddenly, all those gay soldiers the armed services spat on are looking pretty good, huh?

Posted by aalkon at January 9, 2007 11:03 AM

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Comments

I suspect that gay troops are not the answer.

What happened to NATO, which is basically Europe? Are they still worn out from WWI & WWII? Don't they know how to win anymore? What has the Taliban got that NATO doesn't? Where are the Afghan natives? Can't they run their own country? Why are there so many dysfunctional people in the world?

Posted by: doombuggy at January 9, 2007 2:34 AM

> I suspect that gay troops
> are not the answer.

I'm going to steal that.

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 4:02 AM

I suspect that gay troops
are not the answer.

We're all too busy coordinating our burqas to fight a war anyway.

Posted by: Darry at January 9, 2007 6:30 AM

"What happened to NATO, which is basically Europe?"

In the 1990s the Europeans combined couldn't handle Serbia on their own. They couldn't stop genocide in their own backyard.

Expecting any European country (with the possible exception of the U.K.) to contribute meaningfully to any military adventure is wishfull thinking.

Posted by: winston at January 9, 2007 8:44 AM

It seems increasingly clear that the U.S. either needs to scale down its military obligations, or reinstate the draft. If there is any chance for us to succeed in the current missions in Afghanistan and Iraq (both of which I believe to be quite slim given the staggering incompetence of the Bush people), we will need to significantly increase the number of boots on the ground. It doesn't seem to be possible to do this without drawing down our forces in other trouble spots (e.g., Korea) or finding some way to drastically increase our numbers (and there ain't enough queer victims of the don't-ask-don't-tell weasel policy to do it). Forget NATO, the UK, etc. - these are endeavors that the U.S. has decided to pursue, and it's to us to make the hard choice: seriously pursue a military victory (with attendant sacrifices by everybody), or get the hell out (and watch the sectarian bloodbaths).

Posted by: justin case at January 9, 2007 10:04 AM

Fucking republicans, they ant to cancel welfare and social security because they belive that people should be responsible for themselves.

But at the same time they want to sacrifice other peoples children becuse apparently Iraqi's, even with billions of dollars worth of oil, cant be responsible for themselves.

Posted by: lujlp at January 9, 2007 1:16 PM

(longtime lurker chiming in)

I've always said that there's at least two things that I would not only march on but riot for, and one would be the reinstation of the draft. When someone I know said that they thought we should bring the draft back for this Iraq war I felt the violence within welling up. But decking old people in a church is hardly good manners.

I don't think I've read an argument why gays can't be in the military aside from, "because they are gay". What, scared of sex on the ship? Do you think that's not happening anyways?

I once heard an argument for why women shouldn't be in the military (at all) that went, "...because they can be raped". Have you not looked at any statics lately? In my close circle of girl friends there are only a few that haven't had some sort of rape experience, and we're all under 30.

I was asked by a pollster recently if we should offer military serve to immigrants as a way of becoming a citizen. Hell yes! Anyone who will to die for our country gets to use our hospitals and vote for the same slime bags we get to vote for.

Posted by: Stacy at January 9, 2007 1:45 PM

You want to know where we can get 50,000 troops in a hurry?

Germany.

Can anyone tell me why we have that many troops stationed in Europe so long after the fall of the Soviet Union?

The draft is not the answer - unless you're keen on losing. Draftees have no desire to fight, so sending them over is only going to get them killed, and a good number of the volunteers as well.

We had several opportunites to avoid sectarian strife in Iraq, and we sacrificed them all on the altar of political expediency. If we'd killed al-Sadr the moment he popped up, there wouldn't BE a Shiite insurgency. If we'd secured the Iranian border, ditto.

But in order to not give offense, we puttered. And now we're in a situation that could have been avoided.

Posted by: Brian at January 9, 2007 1:50 PM

> You want to know where we can get 50,000 troops in a hurry?

> Germany.

You should comment here more often.

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 2:55 PM

Hey - why are you surprised to hear about a lack of troops? It's what you wanted, right? What you voted for?

Since the 1992 elections, here's how much you have "supported" your troops:


Eliminated: 709,000 regular active duty service personnel, 293,000 reserve troops.


That's eight standing Army divisions, 20 Air Force and Navy air wings with 2,000 combat aircraft, 232 strategic bombers, 13 strategic ballistic missile submarines with 3,114 nuclear warheads on 232 missiles, 500 ICBMs with 1,950 warheads, four aircraft carriers, and 121 surface combat ships and submarines, plus all the support bases, shipyards and logistical assets needed to sustain such a naval force.

None of this happened magically. Yes, some of the hardware above was obsolete, old or obsolescent (though I know personally of three subs that weren't anywhere near that), but it wasn't replaced, because you didn't want to replace it. You, the people, approved the drawdown.

Don't you feel smart? Go ahead. Get mad. Then what?

Posted by: Radwaste at January 9, 2007 3:29 PM

Radwaste -

That's the so-called "peace dividend" that Bush and Clinton thought they could cash in after the fall of the Soviet Union.

After all, who else in the world could possibly be hostile toward us, right?

But you are painfully correct. The people allowed the military to be 'drawn down' in exchange for promises of payments from the public purse for their pet projects.

Posted by: brian at January 9, 2007 6:36 PM

To be fair when "we" planed out the drawdown who could have anticipated some fuck head invading and occupying a country that never attacked the USA and has nothing to do with global terrorism?

Or that the same fuckhead would ignore military sratigists at EVERY GOD DAMN TURN?

Posted by: lujlp at January 11, 2007 12:47 AM

"To be fair when "we" planed out the drawdown who could have anticipated some fuck head invading and occupying a country that never attacked the USA and has nothing to do with global terrorism?"

I don't expect the American citizen to know their history at all - but it's not just Americans who don't think. If you'd have been at a roadside café in Frankfurt in 1938 and told people seriously that it was going to be legal to burn Jews, Europe would be a shambles and 20-plus million people would die there by 1945, you'd have been carted off and forcibly medicated.

"Oh, goody! We don't need soldiers any more!" is just plain airheaded, no matter who says it, whatever year it happens to be. Hey, if you're fat, you're an easier mark for some thug. You're not going to be a tough mark just by thinking good thoughts about how you didn't expect to need to be fit.

By the way - I see you've focused on the President again. Why? Congress has the Constitutional duty to declare war. But you won't say anything about your Congresspeople - will you?

Look. Iraq is a mess. Read a paper from 1946. It was mess, then, too. It's going to be a mess with Democrats, too, no matter what Ms. Pelosi says - which, so far, hasn't been very impressive. Staying there under the War Powers Act is the biggest symptom of WHY it's a mess: the Pres sticks his neck and those of our neighbors in the service out, and Congress fiddles with pages and interns, making useless noises. We put cute ribbons on our car, saying "Support Our Troops!", then let Congress do little or nothing to back them; we get in the car and go to WalMart because we're bored while our guys get ambushed.

Posted by: Radwaste at January 11, 2007 1:57 PM

Raddy, despite your best intentions and most heartfelt efforts, I like you.

Posted by: Crid at January 11, 2007 3:53 PM

Saddam wasn't Hitler and was never going to be Hitler, although this rhetoric was useful in getting the war started. He was an insular paranoid maniac with no means of conquering the rest of the middle east, much less the world.

Who, here on this board, has said, "let's get rid of all of our army?" Yes, some parts of our armed forces, like part of our nuclear sub fleet, are not necessary in a world where we're not holding the Soviet Union to MAD.

Yeah, we're talking about the president. This is his war, he lied for it, called those who stood against it traitors and terrorist sympathizers, and yeah, fucked it up, him and those he chose to play pivotal roles. Interesting choice of words. 'stuck his neck out.' Well, he certainly stuck out troops' necks out, what with the fragmenting body armor, denying veteran's benefits to those who got the good stuff (Dragon Scale) even if it was with their own money, the unarmored Humvees. Oh, and cutting vets' benefits back home.

I and a majority of the American people said plenty to our Congress this past November. Before that, Bush had a majority in both houses, had them marching in lockstep, and could pass any damn thing having to do with Iraq that he wanted. How did that Congress deny him anything?

What do you mean, we do nothing to back them (except for you, who I assume are writing this from a Marine enlistment office)? Please, demand of your representatives to rescind the tax cuts, because somehow, we have to pay for better armor, better vehicles ( the Cougar and the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle have proven ability to save lives, having a V-shaped hull that deflects an IED blast up and outward, but cost twice as much as standard Hummers, and we only have 1000 of them), and rehabilitation for returning vets.

More troops? The general who WROTE THE MANUAL on counterinsurgency says we need, at minimum, 20 combat troops for every 1,000 people in the area's population. Baghdad alone has about 6 million people; so clearing, holding, and building it will require about 120,000 combat troops. We have has about 70,000 combat troops in all of Iraq (another 60,000 or so are support troops or headquarters personnel). Even an extra 20,000 would leave the force well short of the minimum required—and that's with every soldier and Marine in Iraq moved to Baghdad. Hey Crid, forget 'what you want for Iraq,' this isn't a birthday party thrown for you by Mommy, you don't get to pick what you want - what's your plan? What is realistically possible?
I believe you previously mentioned us staying for 10 years. Barring the fact that the majority of Americans want us out, now, where will this huge amount of troops come from?

Only 12% of the American public approve of Bush's job in Iraq because he got us there under false pretenses, and fucked it up once we were there, and currently has no timetable for leaving and no benchmarks of 'victory.'

I cannot adequately express my contempt for your 'it sucked then, it sucks now, so what's the difference?' dodge. It sucks a lot worse now, so much worse that 70% of the SUnni population, up from 10% in '03, now thinks it's OK to attack American troops. More death, more torture, fewer utilities and medical services and more violence. You could use your same rhetoric to excuse Hitler, or Stalin ("sure, the Russians have it bad under Joe, but hey, always sucked to be a Russian. And now, they really have a chance at something new!")

Posted by: Cat brother at January 11, 2007 6:47 PM

Amy's blog software is filtering my comments, reducing throughput to about a dozen a day. This is horrific censorship and a terrible burden to my free expression, a reprehensible example of The Man's media elites stomping a jackboot on the throat of the little guy. For Shame, Amy Alkon... For Shame. Or else I forgot to type the email address. Better late than never:

> He was an insular...

IIRC, there were 1.6 million casualties in the war with Iran. Before being repelled in Jan 91, he'd pretty much wiped Kuwait --a member state of the United Nations-- off the surface of the globe. Insular? And of course, he was still brutalizing populations within his own borders, and would have been even more destructive if not for our No-Fly zones.

Cat, did you support the No-Fly zones, or were you against them? If you were against them, did you ever say so to anyone?

> forget 'what you want for Iraq,'

I will, if you ever answer the question. But remember the precise wording: What *did* you want for Iraq? Did you ever speak up? Or do you only do postmortems? It would be fun to know what you thought would have been best before the war. The world's in motion, fella.

> Only 12% of the American public approve
> of Bush's job in Iraq because he got us
> there under false pretenses,

This is Democratic fantasy. Another blogger and I were trading emails earlier this evening how liberals have childish petulence to their tone, and that's what I hear in all these comments that he 'Lied! Lied! Lied!'... As if the American voter never had anything to say about the invasion; as if public opinion in December 2002 had been so corrupted by falsehoods that it need not bear some responsibility for the invasion; as if people in Omaha just happen to have forgotten being terrified of WMDs; as if the re-election in 2004 did not disprove this infantile snark conclusively; as if Raddy's comments about Congress do not apply; as if the clock could be rolled back; as if voters aren't stung by your condescension... As if...

As if there were a Thundering New Democratic Vibe rolling through valley... But there ain't. Bush has never been a favorite of conservatives, though he may have been better than Gore. He's a mediocre president in all respects, and the management and purposes of the invasion have been bungled. But if you think that means America is horny for liberalism in a broad new way, the next few years are going to be very disappointing for you.

> us staying for 10 years. Barring

Maybe 50.

> the fact that the majority of
> Americans want us out

All the way out? Do you think most Americans want us to have absolutely zero influence on the disposition of Iraq's resources, or are they just tired of this war?

9/11 taught us that there's no way to keep the oil flowing from these nations while 'quietly' suppressing their populations. Bush's Bungle has a lot of dim people with short memories (ahem) longing for the days of Henry's Realpolitik. I'm not much for the booklearnin', but I remember those times & policies for the ethical shitbath that they were, and remember that they, not lost memoranda in the preceding summer, were the cause of the attacks.

At the risk of invoking Godwin, Ahmadinejad agrees with you: Saddam wasn't Hitler. But then, according to the president of Iran, Hitler wasn't Hitler either.

Posted by: Crid at January 11, 2007 8:55 PM

I'm going to look for yoiur comment now, Crid...if it was me, I'm really sorry. If anybody's comment disappears, please let me know right away and I'll retrieve it. Getting flooded with spam lately. Was stemmed for a few days, thanks to advice from MT (the software co), but now it's back in force. If anybody knows the pattern to block all the William Styron, etc., comments (you have to have an MT site to know what I'm talking about), please email me at the contact address linked above to your left. Thank you!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 11, 2007 11:22 PM

Rad your a moron, congress people have been talking about denying the president more troops and more funding and forcing a withdrawl and what happens?

Republican kool aid dispensers start acting shocked and appalled that congress might have somthing to do with making decisions about the war.

And crid its asses like you tht cause such hatered for america - what the fuck makes you think we have ANY right to iraqs resorces or how the are managed?

And another thing Bush did lie, the jackass lies for the hell of it from piddily little things that dont matter in the slightest to huge woppers that have led to hundreds of thousand of deaths.

The saddest thing is most of his lies could be so eaisly denounced and countered if people would spend 30 fucking minutes with their brains turned on. I have this sick feeling that W thinks he has been appointed by god to start the apocolypse

Posted by: lujlp at January 12, 2007 1:27 AM

> if it was me

Relax, I published two novels, three tech manuals and a memoir on your comment section yesterday. And truth be told, Thursday is Chianti nite at Chez Cridmo... It's just always easier to blame machinery

> denying the president more
> troops and more funding

So you're saying the Houses are reflecting the will of the people in 2007 in a way that they couldn't/didn't in 2003?

> could be so eaisly denounced and
> countered if people would

Play a game. Promise yourself that until the last day of March, you're not going to belittle the intelligence of nameless groups of people, and will only look down on specific individuals whose names you know, so you don't make fun of "people". For extra wintertime fun, read the newspaper as if all the genius in the cosmos was scattered in the skulls of Americans.

(BTW, it is.)

> what the fuck makes you think we
> have ANY right to iraqs resorces
> or how the are managed?

Well, we were as instrumental as any nation in developing those resources in the last century (though recent decades have not done much for their infrastructure). Our economy, literally fueled with that oil, is the greatest source for comfort, decency and forward human movement the world has ever known. (News yesterday reported the Brits were going to the moon in the years ahead; America is so cool we *lost interest* in space travel to dance disco.) Thirdly, perhaps most importantly, we're ready to pay a fair market price for that oil, and will put the lives of our best on the line to make it possible.

> its asses like you

Ouch!

> such hatered for america

We're out of high school, it's about more that popularity now.

Posted by: Crid at January 12, 2007 4:50 AM

So because WE need oil we have a duty to make sure that the people who own it dont mess up the way it is handled?

ya know, i need more money
why dont you give me all of yours and i will make sure that it is handled properly and you might even get some percentge of it once i'm done

or do i need to send people to your place so they can blow things up for a while first?

Posted by: lujlp at January 13, 2007 2:38 AM

According to Robert Kagan (and confirmed by gentle Googling), the United States gets 15-20% of its oil from the Middle East. Europe gets about 80%+ of its oil from the Middle East. The whole world is counting on this stuff, but if we just decided to reduce our consumption, we could take the economic hit of relying on other sources. But this isolationism wouldn't make the world a safer place, even for the superpower.

Posted by: Crid at January 13, 2007 5:59 AM

Our need is irrelivent. Some day China might need the great plains to feed a portion of their population.

Would their military superiority and belief that they could better manage our resorces entile them to invade (under any pretense), set up a permentant military presence, and commence exploiting our resorces?

Posted by: lujlp at January 14, 2007 10:51 PM

> Our need is irrelivent.

Do you think so? Tell us more.

> Some day China might need

I haven't looked at grain deliveries lately; for all I know, China needs the great plains to feed her people TODAY. Many distant nations have counted on the American farmer for food. I'm no expert, but the problem seems less often to be soil chemistry or weather, and more often to be political clarity. America's blessed resources ARE being exploited! You can have American grain for a price... And that price varies from competitive, to trivial, to (sometimes) retrograde.

You said it yourself: Iraqis can't be responsible for a pivotal resource. We fought this war because we'd hoped they could be put in control of their own systems. It's looking less likely that they can. But with Saddam's sons been barreling towards a civil war with various sectarian players anyway, we'd have had to take steps at some point.

Posted by: Crid at January 15, 2007 6:26 AM

When I said iraqis couldnt handle their own resorces I was being sarcastic. Saddam seemed to be doing quite well under he oil for food program.

And you didnt answer my question. My question was would you have a problem with the chineese stationing their army in america as an occupier if they felt they could manage our resorces better?

Answer the question its is a simple yes or no.

Otherwise shut the fuck up and stop trying to cloud the issue.

Posted by: lujlp at January 15, 2007 10:40 PM

> if they felt they could manage
> our resorces better?

If they actually could, I'd be OK with it.

Clear enough?

Posted by: Crid at January 16, 2007 6:36 AM

Yes it is, and just so you know i have sent the dept of homeland secrity an email with your response that you would support an armed invasion overthrow of the government and subsequent occupation of america by china

Dont be too suprised if some feds show up, these days they dont take too kindly to those who would support the downfall of our government, you traitor

Posted by: lujlp at January 17, 2007 12:05 AM

I am about as evil as a boogie man can be!

Posted by: Crid at January 18, 2007 12:48 AM

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