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NYT: Afghan Plan Worries Military Experts

Buried in the ‘Asia Pacific’ section of the New York Times:

2012 Troop Pullback Worries Military Experts

By THOM SHANKER
June 22, 2011

WASHINGTON — On Afghanistan’s battlefields, the most significant effect of President Obama’s latest orders will be felt at this time next year, when as many as 23,000 American troops who would have been on missions at the peak of the summer fighting season will instead be packing for home.

This will make it more difficult, if not impossible, military experts said, for the commanders to carry out one of their major goals for next year.

Well, Mr. Obama certainly doesn’t want the US military rolling up victories over the terrorists in Afghanistan when he is trying to get his base to the polls.

Senior officers said their military campaign plan for 2012 envisioned building on security gains earned by troops who had already flowed into Afghanistan’s south and southwest, with plans to turn some of those areas over to local forces. This would have freed American troops to pivot toward the vulnerable eastern border with Pakistan, but these forces may now be sent home.

In fact, if Mr. Obama had given the military all the troops it had asked for for the surge, this would have already been accomplished. But since he didn’t, they had to move piecemeal.

And now, originally planned endgame will never be carried out.

Mr. Obama’s plan, announced Wednesday, has two stages. In the first, the United States will withdraw 10,000 troops by the end of this year, or about double what the military had desired. In the second, 20,000 additional troops, the remainder of the 2009 surge, will be withdrawn by the end of next summer.

His commanders can manage the first stage, according to a range of officers who are currently involved in the campaign or have served in Afghanistan. It would leave a substantial percentage of the surge force on the ground past the season when fighting traditionally slows in October and November as mountain passes freeze, preventing insurgents and supplies from traveling across the rugged borders from safe havens in Pakistan.

“Bringing 10,000 out by December is more than the military wanted, and quicker than the military wanted, but it is doable without any major impact on the ground plan this year,” said Lt. Gen. David W. Barno, who retired from the Army in 2006 after serving as the senior American commander in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005.

“But putting a September 2012 expiration tag on the rest of the surge raises real concerns,” added General Barno, now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a policy research center. “That’s the middle of the fighting season.”

Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, another policy research center, said the September pullout date really means that many of those troops will stop carrying out their missions months earlier…

Mr. O’Hanlon and General Barno said it was hard to fathom the military logic of setting a withdrawal deadline for the surge right in the middle of the fighting season. “This is a rushed ending to what has been a fairly effective surge,” Mr. O’Hanlon said.

And, again, this is no accident.

Even after the withdrawal of the surge forces — an initial 30,000 plus 3,000 other support troops — the American presence in Afghanistan will be a considerable force of 68,000.

Which is exactly the size of the force that everyone, including Mr. Obama when he was campaigning in 2008, used to say was totally inadequate to the task.

Administration and Pentagon officials said Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander in Afghanistan, had pressed for a less rapid withdrawal. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who visited Afghanistan in recent weeks, also had warned against risking the success of the surge with a speedy withdrawal. But the president’s new order was preferable to even more accelerated proposals to withdraw all of the surge forces by early next summer.

What do Petraeus and Gates know? They were also opposed Mr. Obama’s ‘gutsy call’ on using SEALs against Bin Laden. They know nothing about military strategy.

In writing his campaign plan for Afghanistan, General Petraeus was said to have paid close attention to what the military calls “battlefield geometry,” which is the flexible shape, number and location of forces on the tactical map.

His plan would turn some security duties over to Afghan forces gradually, with American and allied troops stepping back from areas as they are pacified.

Hitler’s generals used to try to argue with him, too. The fools.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, June 23rd, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “NYT: Afghan Plan Worries Military Experts”

  1. Not so fast

    Going for the complete sweep. Destroy the economy of the United States. Oust the secular leaders of the Mid East replace them with Islamofacists, ie Muslim Brotherhood. Loose the war on Terror. Gotta say the man is consistent if nothing else. Whatever hurts the United States and decency in the world he’s moved against it and rather succesfully too…..

  2. GetBackJack

    Look at the photo above. Does that in any way look like men who are fighting a war?

    This isn’t about “democracy” or the Taliban or any other faux-made up BS … it’s about the opium , pure and simple.

    Since DARPA developed an aerosol fungal spray herbicide that kills only the opium poppy, how come all these vaunted Generals and military experts aren’t clamoring publicly to eradicate the ISI’s and Taliban’s funding by eradicating the poppy crops?

    Killing the money, kills the supply line.

    C’mon, people. This ain’t rocket science.

  3. Petronius

    It is what it is –– a cynical calculation by the CINC to advance his reelection at the cost of an American military defeat.

  4. Gladius et Scutum

    The very first “tell all” by a CIA insider was Frank Snepp’s account of how Henry Kissinger handed over South Vietnam. It was titled “Decent Interval”, refering to the idea that the US only needed such between their pull out and the fall of the south.

    Pakistan’s ISI invented the Taliban, and they aren’t leaving in 2014. What Obama really wants is the “Vietnamization” of the war.

  5. canary

    GetBackJack, You are right. Obama turned the Afghanistan war into confiscating and trafficking opium.

    Obama’s very first move was to stop the U.S. Military destroying poppy fields. For 9 months he made this his priority in Afghanistan, paying no heed to anything else; until the complaints got louder.

    President Bush tried to get the Afghanistan leader to allow DARPA to destroy the fields, but do to global environmental reasons they refused, and so our U.S. soldiers burned every opium poppy field they found without foot soldiers!

    The photos, footage, and covering of this does not make the main stream media’s agenda. Just as they all have covered up the muslim terrorists crossing over Mexican border into the U.S. They don’t show the pictures of our uniformed soldiers packing & bagging the opium loading it on vehicles. These poppy fields are the Taliban’s way to put food in their addicted bellies. The main media won’t bring this up either.
    This is a religious holy war by a bunch of heroin addicts; whose addiction begins as babies.

    Obama bows to Afghanistan’s corrupt illegally elected leader Karzai whose brother is at the top of the drug trafficking in Afghanistan. How easy it is for Karzai and his brother to keep constantly in touch.

    Under President Bush’s leadership the media reported the leaks getting U.S. & British soldiers killed. But, they focused on intelligence and kill Al-Qaida missions.

    Though U.S. and NATO troops deaths and loss of limbs has tripled under Obama’s different approach, the news doesn’t report it. “Only some” local & hometown news media reports the loss or injury of one of their own. .

    To appease the poor Taliban who have lost their income, Obama has our troops growing green beans even though you can’t grow anything in Afghanistan in the winter. Doesn’t work out. So, they grow a
    expensive spice (one in which Michelle Obama gave to all the NATO wives in her gift basket of herbs and spices grown on her plantation that started out with lettuce & peas. Not good enough.

    So, Obama decides to have our U.S. & NATO soldiers show the Taliban how to grow marijuana. If the money or their addiction was for marijuana they wouldn’t have been growing 90% of the heroin in the world.

    Russia still complains to Obama’s change the opium policy as it easily crosses into their border and the Russians addiction to heroin is skyrocketing.

    The opium going into Mexico has led the Mexican drug cartels and corrupt Mexican officials to daily slaughters smuggling it into the U.S. This isn’t cheap marijuana anymore. This is heroin; a big money $ maker they want to sell in the U.S. Smuggling this opinion into the U.S. is what’s led to the cartel and muslim terrorists in Mexico resorting to mass graves, slaughters, chopping heads off and sewing faces onto soccer balls. Next door terror & Afghans heroin crossing into our country Terrorize

    And clue into Obama’s withdrawal speech: “When threatened, we must respond with force —

    ‘but when that force can be targeted, we need not deploy large armies overseas.’

    When innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don’t have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own. Instead, we must rally international action,

    ‘which we are doing in Libya, where we do not have a single soldier on the ground,’

    but are supporting allies in protecting the Libyan people and giving them the chance to determine their destiny.”

    In other words Obama is saying his illegal humanitarian aid is a war because Libya is a threat to us.
    Obama brags not a single foot soldier is needed to bomb a country so they can “determine their own now we can just target terrorists without a single foot soldier on the ground by bombing targets. So, they can determine their own destiny? I think Obama worded it this way, because he knows the Al-qaida is taking advantage of this joining the muslim youth. So, Obama is not targeting Al-qaida in Libya.

    While Obama spends 100 million dollars a day bombing Libya to rid his once good buddy Gadafi,
    he ends his speech with the 3 Trillion dollars we’ve already spent, and it’s time to focus environmental jobs in America makes no sense.

    And I am disgusted with all the military leaders; Gates, political leaders who did not say “no” to Obama.
    At the very least to allow Afghanistan’s corrupt leader Karzai ,who threatened to join the Taliban, to visit Ft. Campbell. The idea that Karzai was put in a leadership position to order our troops at Ft. Campbell to avoid killing civilians at any cost. Ft. Campbell, a Army base that has lost more life, and has been said to have more suicides and poor moral has to stand there and have a monster giving them orders at their safe haven home; on U.S. soil they are dying for to keep the muslim terrorists off our soil? And for Obama & U.S. Military leaders to have Karzai to visit their military cemetery and stand on our soldiers graves is unbelievable. No telling what prayers to allah he spat in Arabic or under his breath to
    fallen U.S. soldiers. This contradicts any respect Obama’s speech writers come up with, as Obama is incapable
    in many capacities to say any patriotic endearments. I’ll bet he takes things from Republican Presidents and changes the words.

    • GetBackJack

      Than k you, and you are 100% correct, or some very very good people are telling lies, one or the other. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2799.....ab49a.html

      12,000 tons. That’s what our Special Forces operators discovered in Helman province. Doing the math (and I won;t bore ya’ll AGAIN with it) that number represents almost as much as our DOD budget for 2010.

      Now, the Taliban is in bed with the Cartels, who nothing but an offshoot of the old Capone and Lansky gangs (yes, that’s true … Capone OWNED Mexico as his money laundering outlet)

      And our very best young men and women are dying over there in a god-forsaken land that Patton could have taken in under a month.

      BTW – ya’ll do some research and understand how Vietnam was, in the undertow, almost completely about opium.

  6. Gladius et Scutum

    The very first “tell all” by a CIA insider was Frank Snepp’s account of how Henry Kissinger handed over South Vietnam. It was titled “Decent Interval”, refering to the idea that the US only needed such between their pull out and the fall of the south. http://www.franksnepp.com/decent/index.html

    Pakistan’s ISI invented the Taliban, and they aren’t leaving in 2014. What Obama really wants is the “Vietnamization” of the war.

  7. Mithrandir

    MUHUAHAHAHAHAH! The Folly of Government!

    Anyone figure out it’s all a TRAP yet?
    *EXPENSIVE
    *40% fraud/waste/abuse right off the top, billions missing–can’t find out where it went.
    *No expiration date.
    *Zig when they should have zagged, left when they should have turn right…..
    *No definition of what victory is.
    *No ability to reassess plan.
    *Unintended consequences are about 1/2 the result.
    *Blow-Back, what will the action trigger in the future?
    *Debt. Generations must pay for the result.
    *Thousands of soldiers injured on permanent disability.

  8. canary

    Karzai surrounding himself with muslim terrorists preparing for coup, taking the radicals side to avoid losing his head.

    AP: Karzai Surrounding Himself with Anti-US advisers

    Jun 23, 2011 by Kathy Gannon

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – President Hamid Karzai is increasingly isolated and has surrounded himself with an inner circle of advisers who are urging him to move closer to Iran and Pakistan as the U.S. draws down its role in Afghanistan, several friends and aides tell The Associated Press.

    Their advice is echoed in Karzai’s anti-West rhetoric, which has heightened both in his public speeches and in private. He met recently with Iran’s defense minister, and constantly cautions against trusting the U.S. to have Afghanistan’s best interests at heart.

    They say people allowed to see the president are vetted by an inner circle of religious conservatives who belong to a nonviolent wing of Hizb-i-Islami, a radical Islamic group whose relentless attacks on American soldiers forced the U.S. to withdraw from bases in northeastern Kunar and Nuristan provinces.

    Inside Afghanistan’s presidential palace, Iran, Pakistan and China are most often referred to as reliable allies, according to Karzai’s friends and advisers.

    Karzai seemed to go out of his way to snub the United States in the days leading up to President Barack Obama’s address Wednesday…

    “His timing is confusing,” Nadery said.

    One adviser whose friendship with Karzai spans decades said he had consistently warned the president against engaging in public battles with the United States, urging closed-door diplomacy instead.

    “The president said, ‘You are always saying be careful, be careful, telling me what is wrong.’ And then he told me to never call him again. And since then I have not been able to see him and I am still an ‘adviser,’” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he says he still values his friendship with Karzai. “He will always be my friend but I am worried about him.”

    A second adviser told the AP that participants at a recent Afghan security council meeting left “shaking their head at the flip the president has made” …”We are worried about our old friend,” he said.

    The U.S. has not asked for any bases or centers to remain under its control.

    ….Nadery said. “Now he sees they may go and they don’t want a (military) presence here, there were no bases that they requested and perhaps now he is thinking,
    ‘Who will protect me?’ …

    “We have a proverb of sorts in Afghanistan: Once a Hizb-i-Islami, always a Hizb-i-Islami,” Nadery said.

    The growing influence of Hizb-i-Islami, some analysts warn, is also possibly paving the way for another civil war in Afghanistan once the U.S. and NATO withdrawal is complete.

    … militia groups in northern Afghanistan have rearmed, frightened by the growing influence of Hizb-e-Islami in the government and the future implications of peace negotiations with the Taliban.

    According to testimony from Guantanamo prisoners, Hekmatyar sheltered Osama bin Laden for nearly one year after the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001.

    From his bases in Kunar and Nuristan provinces, Hekmatyar kept bin Laden safe until sometime in 2003 when he helped the al-Qaida leader escape to Pakistan, where he was killed by U.S. commandoes last month.

    “What I see is very dangerous not just for Afghanistan and the region but for the world,” Dashti said….

    (entire article)
    http://www.wqow.com/Global/story.asp?S=14965936

    “”His timing is confusing,” Nadery said.”

    No. Karzai’s timing is convince the terrorists he’s been one of them the entire time in working with the U.S.

    • GetBackJack

      … and Canary, besides this excellent overview, let’s not forget Karzai’s family are the biggest opium war lords of the region, even down to a known address for their American based family overseers in New Jersey.




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