Obama in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by lonestar, Mar 28, 2010.

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  1. Obama in Afghanistan: 'We will beat the Taliban'

    Can someone who has seen the Americans at work on the ground first hand say anything to reduce my impression that they haven't got a clue what they're doing! I despair when I hear this sorry excuse for a President speaking to a load of whooping simpletons who think they are in a 'yeh man, hell yeh, shoot 'em all' war which will end on a set date next year just because they decide it will.

    Either they have a really intricate plan to deceive the world or they really don't understand what it is they are trying to achieve, god help the British if we are sharing our responsibility for any areas with them as it seems they are intent on being as antagonistic as possible.

    I watched a documentary with US forces based at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province this afternoon. Whereas the British seem to get out and about on foot whenever possible, walking around markets etc trying to get a feel for the local circumstances these yanks did nothing of the sort. They drove EVERYWHERE, shouting at kids to get back and throwing water bottles at them from their armoured vehicles like they were feeding animals at a zoo. They shouted in English at everyone and pointed their weapons before speaking. Either they have abandoned every counterinsurgency manual ever written and decided that hearts and minds are not important or they are just stupid.

    I despair :roll:
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3y_5vxM8PYM

    I think that video sums up what is perceived of the Americans at war quite nicely, but obviously it's still at least slightly bias, would be good to get a neutral aspect.
  3. According to an article, in yesterdays Telegraph, the Yanks want to take over total control, in Helmand, and move the British contingent will go to Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul. If this is the case I wonder how the local population, in general will react.
  4. It's always been like this - Can anyone think of any armed conflict in living memory where US forces haven't been criticised for being OTT, gung ho, brash, plain stupid or whatever?

    Sadly, the fact of the matter is that in a confliuct where you need boots on the ground and supporting firepower, the choice is Yanks or nowt.

    What DOES need to happen though is for UK (and other allies) to let it be known that if the US prosecutes the conflict in a way that is unacceptable to our individual concepts of operation we will withdraw support rather than just continue to throw more resources into a failing strategy.
  5. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    lonestar wrote

    With? You've only just passed the AIB and you are in Helmand!


    Batman would tell you, "you've made a hasty generalization, Robin. It's a bad habit to get into." He's right. As for whooping and a hollering, perhaps you've yet to attend a mess dinner where the guest speaker blows sunshine up the collective arrses of the naval audience. Cringe.

    However the Americans aren't the Prinz Eugen Division so perhaps you should give them a break until you know them. There is a USN Officer on the Staff at BRNC. Start there when you get there. He'll likely tell you that force protection on US warships don't wave and encourage non kinetic contact with 'friendly' locals. Last time they did that, 17 (IIRC) sailors were killed. It may inform their approach.

    Just a few thoughts, not necessarily an answer.
  6. Get a life will you, i'd heard you were a pedantic cnut but Jesus! :roll:
  7. Can i just agree with seadog, you have made a ' Hasty Generalization ' . I also watched the documentary you'r talking about, and i think if you where to watch it again you would see that the camera crew stuck with one unit for the whole programme.

    Think about how many american troops there are out there. Plus the fact that the unit the the documentary seems to have been based on, looks like a supply unit as it was out there re supplying other elements out in the FOB's. This unit stayed in Leatherkneck.

    I may well be wrong, but thats the way it seemed to me.
  8. Yeah and a **** is generally useful!!! 8)
  9. To an extent, my original post perhaps leant on that documentary a bit too much, I only really intended to use it as an aside. I was frustrated when watching the news report from Obama's speech to the US troops because to me (and yes I know, I am looking from a totally outside viewpoint) they just don't get it! Even the great black hope himself seems to be completely unrealistic in his estimations. The best estimates suggest 2 years for the most stable parts of Afghanistan to hand over properly and he is talking about a withdrawal beginning next year - unless it is going to be a veeeeery slow withdrawal it just doesn't add up. The only way that logic works is if you see the mission the way the audience he was talking to seemed to see it, which was a gung ho lets get out and kick some butt approach.

    I do not doubt that the US military are professional, well equipped, well intentioned etc. I'm sure at the purely military aspect of their role they do a good job, but I am not alone in suspecting that the guys on the ground still haven't got their heads round the concept of winning over the local population and fostering some form of civil society.

    I certainly get the impression that British forces are far more aware of the wider picture and the importance of getting the local population on side - right from the top generals all the way down, I just don't get that impression with the Americans and without it I don't see how they can possibly achieve the ambitious goals they are setting themselves.
  10. You do realise that if we suddenly disappeared from Helmandshire, the US probably wouldn't notice? In fact, the only thing they might notice is the lack of self-important bollocks that UK Plc produces regarding COIN and Afg. The US Army and USMC are the best two armies in the world at COIN. They put blood and treasure on the line to achieve their tasks and don't plead special circumstances. They are a nation at war, and they are doing far far better than us.

  11. Firstly, you are contradicting yourself, COIN is not war, it's counter insurgency based on winning support and providing security. You may be the fool here shipwreck.

    Also, whilst none of the ISAF nations are exactly steamrollering their way to success, the US Forces may have oodles of kit but their effectiveness is certainly in question. They have no concept of hearts and minds (high priorities in COIN) other than giving Oreos and MRE's to kids occasionally, it's little wonder ISAF forces are universally disliked and distrusted by those they seek to help when many US operations end in little more than a mountain of bodies and brass. That is not COIN policy.

    As for COIN, well:

    COIN is a term formed in order to shift the goalpost in order to make every operation and event seem both succesful, and relevant. It is smoke and mirrors to simply avoid defeat in the short term.

    Celeste Ward, former secretary of defence under Bush says it best:

    “Coin doctrine is, at best, a collection of tactics that may or may not apply to a given situation, but because of the absence of real discussion about US strategy and priorities, Coin has been elevated to the status of a strategy.

    They certainly would notice our absence.

    And to put my ten pence worth in, many of the US troops I have spoken to have even less of an understanding of why we are there than we do, some still believe they are hunting Bin Laden or claiming "an eye for an eye". Higher up the chain however, there are some exceptional junior officers who come across very well.
  12. Funny how this visit coincided with a visit to Canada by Hillary R Clinton. During her visit and interviews with Canadian TV, she was quite forthright about Canada remaining in the Stan after 2011....when we are due to upsticks and GTF.

    Sentiment in Canada is mixed however consensus is that we do get out. Clinton hinted that Canada might remain in a non combat role but the question here in Canada is troops wearing combat gear, carrying weapons etc IS a combat role, whether you may call it that or otherwise.

    The Govt. has stated Canada will cease it's involvement after 2011....but I would not bet on it!

    Time will tell
  13. I personally believe our ROE is correct for the job at hand, that being counter insurgency, not war.
  14. And I was agreeing with you, group hug!
  15. And I agree as well - bigger group hug!
  16. Oi homo's stop that, and listen up.
    Is not the USMC motto still "Kill em all, let God sort it out"? :D
  17. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    Rumrat asked:
    No, it's 'Semper Fidelis' which isn't Latin for 'Kill em all..........." oh never mind.

    MLP's group hug phot, while barf inducing is, in context, funny. However, one apt funny shouldn't be seen as an invite to follow up with less funny (or not funny at all) noncontributory posts and derail a good thread.

    Back on topic.

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