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  1. #1
    Supreme Allied Commander Take Five's Avatar
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    Default Afghanistan assessment

    As the surge and implementation of counterinsurgency strategy are getting underway in Afghanistan, what is your assessment of how the war's going for the coalition and if it's victory possible or likely?

    I'm interested in how people think it's going/ will go and why. I predict almost everyone will have dreary assessments, since there is there is bad news almost always, even thought the press doesn't explain why or what it means most of the time.

    Please keep the morality of the invasion and conspiracy theories out of this. My intent is to have "what is" not a "what should have been" or "what might be" discussion.
    Johari Nohari

    "If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. "--Niccolo Machiavelli

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Take Five View Post
    As the surge and implementation of counterinsurgency strategy are getting underway in Afghanistan, what is your assessment of how the war's going for the coalition and if it's victory possible or likely?

    I'm interested in how people think it's going/ will go and why. I predict almost everyone will have dreary assessments, since there is there is bad news almost always, even thought the press doesn't explain why or what it means most of the time.

    Please keep the morality of the invasion and conspiracy theories out of this. My intent is to have "what is" not a "what should have been" or "what might be" discussion.
    Good parameters for a discussion.

    I think that dreary assessments should be kept out of circulation and the press, it will harm more than the moral of coalition forces, its a serious big problem in Afghanistan because people will ally with whoever they believe is likely to be the long standing authority.

    They remember that the utter lawlessness which ushered in the Taliban was a result of everyone abandoning the place, not the Russians, nor the Americans wanted to occupy the country by the end of the Afghan war during the Cold War. The Brits quit the place along with the empire.

    Although I tend to find that US-UK cultures have changed, if you're an islamic militant, Taliban insurgent etc. and die or are captured you will be remembered as a martyr, hero, victim of the great Satan etc. if you're a soldier or western employee murdered you'll be mourned as a victim of imperial perfidy and folly. Not hard to see there who could carry the day despite it all.

    What I think people should keep in mind if that if the UK-US had to quit the country in a hurry it could be the worst thing that ever happened to the place, whatever people say about Vietnam, it was a withdrawal in disarray BUT that country was reduced to ashes and agent orange, no way it was going to be an example of anything other than scortched earth to anyone. They lost.

  3. #3
    Supreme Allied Commander Take Five's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post

    I think that dreary assessments should be kept out of circulation and the press, it will harm more than the moral of coalition forces, its a serious big problem in Afghanistan because people will ally with whoever they believe is likely to be the long standing authority.

    Although I tend to find that US-UK cultures have changed, if you're an islamic militant, Taliban insurgent etc. and die or are captured you will be remembered as a martyr, hero, victim of the great Satan etc. if you're a soldier or western employee murdered you'll be mourned as a victim of imperial perfidy and folly. Not hard to see there who could carry the day despite it all.

    .
    That's a very good point about the influence and consequences of the press. Modern conflicts are deeply tied up with information (or disinformation or misinformation) warfare. Especially on the West's side, whose biggest weakness and easiest target is political will.
    Johari Nohari

    "If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. "--Niccolo Machiavelli

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Take Five View Post
    That's a very good point about the influence and consequences of the press. Modern conflicts are deeply tied up with information (or disinformation or misinformation) warfare. Especially on the West's side, whose biggest weakness and easiest target is political will.
    Well, the best reviews of the US performance in Vietnam considered it of paramount importance that strategists remember Clausewitz's consideration on war that if a war was unpopular it couldnt be sustained unto victory.

    Mind you Clausewitz would also have suggested that very clear and concise war aims and an exit strategy where vital to the waging of war too, possibly one of the maddest things about this is that Colin Powell wrote one of the best papers on Clausewitz, war fighting and the US in Vietnam but proceeded to throw his support behind the invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Which I think gives some indication of just how confusing the Bush years and aftermath of 9/11 where, there's a lot to be explained besides the conspiracy nuttery, although I do feel that discussions of "ought" or "preferably" are pointless, you have to start from where you are objectively whatever you would have liked to be different.

    Personally I dont see any way of leaving either of the occupied territories, infact I hope and pray that the fledgling governments of each do not destabilise and fail quicker than expected and that's my high hopes.

    Besides that perhaps these zones can be second fronts in the war on political islam and draw all the volunteering zealots from soft/civilian targets composed of non-combatants in the office or on the bus to the office to engage in real fighting, as Bosnia was before hand (Bosnian muslims can tell a tale about strangers who spoke arabic and wanted for nothing to be martyred in glorious battle during the Balkans wars, their prescence in no way excuses Serbian genocide and systemic rape campaigns though).

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    Unwinnable, unmanagable, unfundable..unsustainable. Troop withdrawel will be forced at some point to due to economic reasons, if not by political pressure first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tantive View Post
    Unwinnable, unmanagable, unfundable..unsustainable. Troop withdrawel will be forced at some point to due to economic reasons, if not by political pressure first.
    Not sure about political pressure, perhaps there will be a withdrawal on the back of economic reasons but I could see changes in the military-industrial complex of both the US and UK as it adjusts to the fact of ongoing campaigns as opposed small scale time limited wars.

    The UK is already considering whether it will renew trident nuclear subs or buy battle ship/aircraft carriers instead. The US might make similar decisions.

    What I do know is that if any kind of retreat where forced, for whatever reasons, especially if it where to be reported that way, it could provoke 9/11 #2 as terrorists get more encouragement from what they perceive as victories. It could also, like I say, spell doom for the people of afghanistan.

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    9/11 simular terrorist attacks are encouraged each day the US is involved in their territories. The funny thing is, the taliban were pleased with the dutch withdrawel...and hoped for future friendly relations with country to country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tantive View Post
    9/11 simular terrorist attacks are encouraged each day the US is involved in their territories. The funny thing is, the taliban were pleased with the dutch withdrawel...and hoped for future friendly relations with country to country.
    I'm interested in how your reach these conclusions, do you believe that the Taliban are reasonable, rational people who are reasonable in their dealings with their nationals and foreigners or what?

    Similarly what did the US do, precisely, to encourage an attack and how does the continued committments to assisting foreign countries in state building encourage further atrocities?

    I mean presently there is a greater investment being made by the US, without any real hope of a return on that investment, in countries like Afghanistan than is being made in the US itself for its own nationals.

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    US involvement in the middle east prior to the attack starting from Russia's involvement there, research that. Motives theyve given for the attack at the towers, research that. Casualties of middle eastern nationals, drones, hypocrasy of the US, nationbuilding with BOMBS in the other hand..yea...heh research that. Sentiments of the people to this foreign occupation, research that. Follow the money and the massive amounts of unaccounted money, research that, wikileaks leaks...research that, CIA blowback, research that.

    There is no investment to be made there, the middle eastern politics are irrational. To dismiss taliban as simply irrational with no sense of reason is a cop out. These countries haven't seen real peace for such a long time....their culture might not even remember it. The US is not helping in that matter either.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ColonelGadaafi's Avatar
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    It depends entirely on how they manage to achieve political cohesion in eastern Afghanistan and their investments in the project of creating self-sufficient, effective ground forces.

    If they manage to elevate the average Afghan's life quality significantly, then they would have surely have won half the battle against the Taliban, alot of Afghans cite this as their biggest reason for supporting the Coalition forces, they are hoping the coalition can change the status quo for them material wise, and compensate for what centuries of previous adminstrations have utterly failed to do, either through neglect or financial inability or simple incompetence.

    It's a serious challenge, that would make anyone cringe at the thought of such a heavy commitment to investment, with very low payoff, but it is something the USA out of all countries has the capacity to handle, if they play their cards right, and a very neccesary precaution, should they want to win the war against the Taliban.

    As far as the civilians are concerned it's a matter of opening public schooling, funding agricultural infrastructure, introducing adequate medical facilities, and building the civilian infrastructure in overall. Not many would argue against the coalitions presence in their country in favour of Islamist ideals, if they had acess to clean drinking water and higher wages, as far as the majority of Afghanistans populace is concerned, that is the kind of development they want in the future, like any nation really. Any improvement over the previous regime's investments in the public sector, is likely to result in positive response.

    It's a very simple social mechanicism used by Alexander the great. He managed to win alot of conquered kingdoms over, simply by giving them more benefit's, treating them better, and improving their overall conditions and winning over the local nobility through delegation. Caesar also used a variation this tactic effectively in Rome, so much that people accepted his permanent rule.

    After all?, why would you want to fight someone who does more for you then a previous ruler have. Does the distinction really carry any merit of importance when you finally can afford buying a decent home, decent health care, your secure and your kids can go to school?? thats as far as relevance goes for ordinary citizens, the effeciency of acquiring benefits for the common man, if you can do that, you can win at any political arena, it really doesn't matter what kind of relationship you have to the populace. It is The ultimate deciding factor for an empire.

    The Afghan peasantry really have simple needs and are content with little, they are not anything like the middle or upper class, their aspirations usually circulate around humanitarian comforts. If you win these down-trodden class of serfs over to your side, you'll effectively have destroyed the incentive for antagonism, and the Taliban would have lost their largest recuitment pool for replaceable Taliban fighters.

    The point that needs to be made across is that the Coalition wants the role as their benefactor, and as their friend, not as a foreign occupier, the coalition also needs to appeal to local patriotism and antagonize the taliban through information, oral aswell as written. This can be done through local leaders, if it havent been already tried already

    Also another thing that is important is how they will lead their future military campaigns.
    If they continue using dumb ass military strategies to fight against a guerilla enemy on asymmetrical terrain, that yield no long term results, they are going to have to pull a Vietnam, and abandon the whole region. Their only way out of this is if they push Taliban into a tight corner on the mountainous border regions, and choke their supply routes via Pakistan. Civilian causaulities have to be avoided as much as possible. This can be done, but it requires some changes in the geo-political arena in Pakistan aswell.

    Once that happens, the Taliban will be in serious shit, and the Americans will be able to pick them at their leisure. I am guessing most Taliban will resort to taking refuge in Pakistan after their defeat, and with the repuptation they have gotten in Pakistan, as nortorious child-killers, the Taliban will not be welcome among the locals, and most would not want to harbor these idiots. Pakistan is a whole other complex theater that interwinds with the Taliban.

    After that they may need to secure a reliable replacement for their operations intelligence and military operations, which in this case is the ANA and Afghanistans Intelligence, to ensure no kind of Taliban off-shoots ever have a chance at reinfilitrating public life again, like in Iraq, where the baathists have already taken measures to create secterian conflict.

    I might make it sound very simple and overly optimistic, but the key to their victory lies with the people. No amount of bullets, advanced technology, frighteningly high purchasing, will stop the Taliban from doing what they do, over and over again. In the end of the day, only the people can say no to the stupidity that is Taliban. No on else. And now when the Afghan people have a shot, they must decide which course they want to take, the only thing the coalition can do, is convince them of being the better choice and take a stand against the Taliban.

    They might take some lessons from colonial powers in the past, who managed to build very strong ties and systems in subjugated nations.
    "Where can you flee? What road will you use to escape us? Our horses are swift, our arrows sharp, our swords like thunderbolts, our hearts as hard as the mountains, our soldiers as numerous as the sand. Fortresses will not detain us, nor arms stop us. Your prayers to God will not avail against us. We are not moved by tears nor touched by lamentations."

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