topic
Leaving Afghanistan

Introduced: June 27 2011

President Obama has called for a withdrawal of troops from a war where the U.S. has spent 10 years and over $1 Trillion. What is your opinion? What are your concerns?

 

In announcing the withdrawal, President Obama said we have largely achieved our goals, Afghanistan will no longer serve as a launching pad for terrorism, we can now turn more resources to economic problems at home, we will begin to focus on small clandestine operations to combat Al Qaeda, and the timing is good because we can begin to withdraw from a position of strength.

 

Since President Obama’s announcement, opinions cover the spectrum…Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney favor a more rapid withdrawal, Michele Bachmann would prefer to “stay the course,” and some in the Republican and Democratic camps seem on board – for different reasons: some Democrats because the war was siphoning funds from efforts to create jobs and some Republicans because of what some observers call “a rising isolationism” in the party.

 

Dialogue on Leaving Afghanistan
IWD:

Getting caught up - Sepember 2012:

As of mid-September, all 33,000 troops sent in as part of the “Surge” two years ago had left the battlefields, leaving 68,000 troops to continue the process toward withdrawal in 2014. Because the incidence of “green-on-blue” killings (where Afghan soldiers or persons dressed in Afghan police or military uniforms attack NATO soldiers) has risen to more than 50 this year (an increase from 35 such deaths in 2011), the problems of withdrawing are becoming more obvious. The situation has caused some (including Senator John McCain) to suggest the timetable should be stepped up – and others vehemently defend the notion that the U.S. should stay at least that long – or even longer – to make certain the Taliban does not resume control.

241:

Is there any doubt that the longer we remain in Afghanistan, the worse things will get?! Since our timetable for withdrawl was set, we have had three humiliating incidents that have only caused the radicals and others in the country to hate us more. We didn't understand the culture -- and nothing we do will make them our friends.

148:

All in favor of the withdrawal, we are engaged in a no-win situation in Afghanistan, a war with no winners. No matter how long we stay, the outcome will be the same; the tribal heads and Karzai will make a deal with the Taliban that will have concession on both sides relative to their rules and accepted customs. Afghanistan is a tribal country where outsiders are not welcome, it’s ruled by tribal heads that have no trust in the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai and very little trust in the U.S. My only regret is that women and children will have no say so and the chance for improving women’s rights will take a step back… hope I’m wrong!

048:

I think we are in for a bumpy ride. I read in the New York Times one article about a “success story” in Afghanistan, focusing on Kabul where the Afghan forces have just about taken over all the responsibilities from the Americans. And on the very same page, was the story about the bombing in the Kabul hospital that killed six people. How are we going to define success? Are we still going to say we’re successful if bombings increase and the Taliban move back into areas we drove them out of?

187:

The U.S. military leaders don’t seem too thrilled about Obama’s plan. Many of them are saying that we are likely to lose all that we’ve gained unless we stay longer with a strong force.

105:

An interview with Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, the man who has been leading the day-to-day war in Afghanistan asked what’s going on with the Taliban. He said they’re around the edges of Afghan society and no longer in the major villages. He says that more Afghans are gaining trust in their own security forces and saying to the Taliban, “We don’t want you here.“

089:

As I watched the Boston Pops' 4th of July celebration that concluded with a razzle dazzle of fireworks accompanied by the Star Spangled Banner, I couldn’t help but feel that although leaving Afghanistan at this time may not be perfect, when we get through it, even if we’re still dealing with Middle East problems, we’ll feel better not having ourselves entangled over there. It’s like giving up alcohol. Living without a war may take a little getting used to.

108:

Pakistan is a mess and our relationship with Pakistan is a mess. A witness at the Chicago trial of a terror suspect admitted that he and others involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack were trained by a group that had ties to Pakistan’s intelligence service. But it doesn’t seem that continuing to fight in Afghanistan has much of an effect on that.

194:

I don’t think we can trust Pakistan at all. The most recent sign is the U.S. learning that Pakistan’s spy agency ordered the killing of a journalist who wrote about Muslim extremists infiltrating the military. I think Pakistan is filled with enemies of the U.S. and there are two main concerns. First, we need to maintain bases somewhere, probably Afghanistantso we can conduct strikes against militants in Pakistan and, second, we need to keep an eye on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. Sometimes it seems like that old game Pop-A-Mole – you swat one down and another pops up. What strategy can we employ that keeps “swatting” without conducting wars all over the region?

012:

This is basically turning away from a policy of counter insurgency and toward counter terrorism. I am definitely in favor of targeted, clandestine attacks that do not involve 100,000 of our young men and women living in desert outposts and being involved in heavy firefights.

 

Note from IWD: Difference between “counter terrorism” and “counter insurgency: Counter terrorism is a tactic to take direct action against terrorist. Counter insurgency is a policy, where you try to deny the terrorist or insurgents the support they need to function, if possible by turning the population against them – “winning the hearts and minds.”

035:

I agree with three Senators – one Republican (Rand Paul of Kentucky) and two Democrats (Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tom Udall of New Mexico) who wrote a bi-partisan op-ed in The New York Times urging an even swifter withdrawal because our mission there now largely consists of nation-building – trying to build “a strong central government, a national police force and an army, and civic institutions in a nation that never had any to begin with.” They quote Leon Panetta as saying Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan is much weaker and actually much stronger elsewhere. They believe our military and intelligence organizations can fight the terrorists without “a huge military footprint.” I hope they’re right.

 

Note from IWD: Where do Republican candidates stand on Leaving Afghanistan?

Michele Bachmann: Immediately after Obama announced the withdrawal, she said we need to stay the course and finish the job. Since then her comments are mainly focused on the economy.

Mitt Romney: Wants to bring troops home as soon as we possibly can – as soon as the generals say it’s okay.

Tim Pawlenty: Says he is the candidate who is willing to continue the war.

Ron Paul: Never approved of the war and wants us out immediately.

Newt Gingrich: On June 13, he said U.S. should pull out troops as soon as possible; on June 24, he described the withdrawal plan as “dangerous.”

Jon Huntsman: He would be in favor of a more rapid withdrawal.

Herman Cain: Said Obama’s decision could embolden our enemies; but said it’s time for nation-building at home.

Newest Contender: Thaddeus McCotter (Michigan Congressman): We’re in it to win it or come home.

030:

A read from Rumsfeld's book, Known and Unknown, on the part about 9/11 and all that followed is an interesting perspective from a man at the center of the action. He may have gone from rock star status to scapegoat... (how often does that happen to the rich and famous and powerful)... but he had leadership of a significant portion of the decade and the book title he selected is very telling. You do the best you can with what you have and what you know at that time...

 

Agreement with him is not necessary to make his an interesting perspective.

 

For me, I remember standing near the still smoldering North Tower and hearing the echo in my head of Pres. Bush saying... 'The people who brought down these buildings will hear from all of us soon..."

 

What else could we have done but go for them where they were at the time. Al-Qaeda is like catching smoke- they are everywhere and nowhere - but how could there not have been pay-back. I personally would do it without any ground forces. Technology without our sons and daughters lives on the line.

 

If you’re going to war, do it big and quick... don't start it but be ready to finish it.

 

And for Obama's announced detailed plan, Wanna bet the bad guys go into their disappearing mode until our troops are diminished in number. Wanna bet 'we'll be back'... right where we started.

 

Will our leaders then try to send our grandchildren to walk around a booby-trapped region on that 'mission never accomplished' in the first place!

 

Who of us would accept that? Not me, that's a KNOWN.

136:

Many articles are written about Afghans’ fears that the U.S. drawdown will allow the Taliban to regroup. The worry is that the Taliban now have a timetable to aim for and tho’ they probably won’t hurry to regroup this year with 10,000 leaving, the situation will be different and better for themin 2014. But to listen to that concern might mean we’d need to be there at this level of commitment indefinitely. Can’t do that!

075:

Obama is getting ready for 2012. War is costing us too much, but terrorism is worse than ever in our lives right now. Go easy on removing the troops.

050:

One thing the Democrats on the left and more and more Republicans on the right can agree about? Getting us out of Afghanistan!

129:

I agree with Obama’s plan and some of his reasons. We DO need to direct our resources to our own problems and maybe we realize war hurts.

 

Note from IWD - Albert Einstein on War: “In two weeks the sheeplike masses of any country can be worked up by the newspapers into such a state of excited fury that men are prepared to put on uniforms and kill and be killed… If unrestricted sacred egoism leads to dire consequences in economic life, it is still worse as a guide in international relations. The development of mechanical methods of warfare is such that human life will become intolerable if people do not discover before long a way of preventing war.”

IWD:

Getting caught up - Sepember 2012:

As of mid-September, all 33,000 troops sent in as part of the “Surge” two years ago had left the battlefields, leaving 68,000 troops to continue the process toward withdrawal in 2014. Because the incidence of “green-on-blue” killings (where Afghan soldiers or persons dressed in Afghan police or military uniforms attack NATO soldiers) has risen to more than 50 this year (an increase from 35 such deaths in 2011), the problems of withdrawing are becoming more obvious. The situation has caused some (including Senator John McCain) to suggest the timetable should be stepped up – and others vehemently defend the notion that the U.S. should stay at least that long – or even longer – to make certain the Taliban does not resume control.

241:

Is there any doubt that the longer we remain in Afghanistan, the worse things will get?! Since our timetable for withdrawl was set, we have had three humiliating incidents that have only caused the radicals and others in the country to hate us more. We didn't understand the culture -- and nothing we do will make them our friends.

148:

All in favor of the withdrawal, we are engaged in a no-win situation in Afghanistan, a war with no winners. No matter how long we stay, the outcome will be the same; the tribal heads and Karzai will make a deal with the Taliban that will have concession on both sides relative to their rules and accepted customs. Afghanistan is a tribal country where outsiders are not welcome, it’s ruled by tribal heads that have no trust in the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai and very little trust in the U.S. My only regret is that women and children will have no say so and the chance for improving women’s rights will take a step back… hope I’m wrong!

048:

I think we are in for a bumpy ride. I read in the New York Times one article about a “success story” in Afghanistan, focusing on Kabul where the Afghan forces have just about taken over all the responsibilities from the Americans. And on the very same page, was the story about the bombing in the Kabul hospital that killed six people. How are we going to define success? Are we still going to say we’re successful if bombings increase and the Taliban move back into areas we drove them out of?

187:

The U.S. military leaders don’t seem too thrilled about Obama’s plan. Many of them are saying that we are likely to lose all that we’ve gained unless we stay longer with a strong force.

105:

An interview with Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, the man who has been leading the day-to-day war in Afghanistan asked what’s going on with the Taliban. He said they’re around the edges of Afghan society and no longer in the major villages. He says that more Afghans are gaining trust in their own security forces and saying to the Taliban, “We don’t want you here.“

089:

As I watched the Boston Pops' 4th of July celebration that concluded with a razzle dazzle of fireworks accompanied by the Star Spangled Banner, I couldn’t help but feel that although leaving Afghanistan at this time may not be perfect, when we get through it, even if we’re still dealing with Middle East problems, we’ll feel better not having ourselves entangled over there. It’s like giving up alcohol. Living without a war may take a little getting used to.

108:

Pakistan is a mess and our relationship with Pakistan is a mess. A witness at the Chicago trial of a terror suspect admitted that he and others involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack were trained by a group that had ties to Pakistan’s intelligence service. But it doesn’t seem that continuing to fight in Afghanistan has much of an effect on that.

194:

I don’t think we can trust Pakistan at all. The most recent sign is the U.S. learning that Pakistan’s spy agency ordered the killing of a journalist who wrote about Muslim extremists infiltrating the military. I think Pakistan is filled with enemies of the U.S. and there are two main concerns. First, we need to maintain bases somewhere, probably Afghanistantso we can conduct strikes against militants in Pakistan and, second, we need to keep an eye on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. Sometimes it seems like that old game Pop-A-Mole – you swat one down and another pops up. What strategy can we employ that keeps “swatting” without conducting wars all over the region?

012:

This is basically turning away from a policy of counter insurgency and toward counter terrorism. I am definitely in favor of targeted, clandestine attacks that do not involve 100,000 of our young men and women living in desert outposts and being involved in heavy firefights.

 

Note from IWD: Difference between “counter terrorism” and “counter insurgency: Counter terrorism is a tactic to take direct action against terrorist. Counter insurgency is a policy, where you try to deny the terrorist or insurgents the support they need to function, if possible by turning the population against them – “winning the hearts and minds.”

035:

I agree with three Senators – one Republican (Rand Paul of Kentucky) and two Democrats (Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tom Udall of New Mexico) who wrote a bi-partisan op-ed in The New York Times urging an even swifter withdrawal because our mission there now largely consists of nation-building – trying to build “a strong central government, a national police force and an army, and civic institutions in a nation that never had any to begin with.” They quote Leon Panetta as saying Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan is much weaker and actually much stronger elsewhere. They believe our military and intelligence organizations can fight the terrorists without “a huge military footprint.” I hope they’re right.

 

Note from IWD: Where do Republican candidates stand on Leaving Afghanistan?

Michele Bachmann: Immediately after Obama announced the withdrawal, she said we need to stay the course and finish the job. Since then her comments are mainly focused on the economy.

Mitt Romney: Wants to bring troops home as soon as we possibly can – as soon as the generals say it’s okay.

Tim Pawlenty: Says he is the candidate who is willing to continue the war.

Ron Paul: Never approved of the war and wants us out immediately.

Newt Gingrich: On June 13, he said U.S. should pull out troops as soon as possible; on June 24, he described the withdrawal plan as “dangerous.”

Jon Huntsman: He would be in favor of a more rapid withdrawal.

Herman Cain: Said Obama’s decision could embolden our enemies; but said it’s time for nation-building at home.

Newest Contender: Thaddeus McCotter (Michigan Congressman): We’re in it to win it or come home.

030:

A read from Rumsfeld's book, Known and Unknown, on the part about 9/11 and all that followed is an interesting perspective from a man at the center of the action. He may have gone from rock star status to scapegoat... (how often does that happen to the rich and famous and powerful)... but he had leadership of a significant portion of the decade and the book title he selected is very telling. You do the best you can with what you have and what you know at that time...

 

Agreement with him is not necessary to make his an interesting perspective.

 

For me, I remember standing near the still smoldering North Tower and hearing the echo in my head of Pres. Bush saying... 'The people who brought down these buildings will hear from all of us soon..."

 

What else could we have done but go for them where they were at the time. Al-Qaeda is like catching smoke- they are everywhere and nowhere - but how could there not have been pay-back. I personally would do it without any ground forces. Technology without our sons and daughters lives on the line.

 

If you’re going to war, do it big and quick... don't start it but be ready to finish it.

 

And for Obama's announced detailed plan, Wanna bet the bad guys go into their disappearing mode until our troops are diminished in number. Wanna bet 'we'll be back'... right where we started.

 

Will our leaders then try to send our grandchildren to walk around a booby-trapped region on that 'mission never accomplished' in the first place!

 

Who of us would accept that? Not me, that's a KNOWN.

136:

Many articles are written about Afghans’ fears that the U.S. drawdown will allow the Taliban to regroup. The worry is that the Taliban now have a timetable to aim for and tho’ they probably won’t hurry to regroup this year with 10,000 leaving, the situation will be different and better for themin 2014. But to listen to that concern might mean we’d need to be there at this level of commitment indefinitely. Can’t do that!

075:

Obama is getting ready for 2012. War is costing us too much, but terrorism is worse than ever in our lives right now. Go easy on removing the troops.

050:

One thing the Democrats on the left and more and more Republicans on the right can agree about? Getting us out of Afghanistan!

129:

I agree with Obama’s plan and some of his reasons. We DO need to direct our resources to our own problems and maybe we realize war hurts.

 

Note from IWD - Albert Einstein on War: “In two weeks the sheeplike masses of any country can be worked up by the newspapers into such a state of excited fury that men are prepared to put on uniforms and kill and be killed… If unrestricted sacred egoism leads to dire consequences in economic life, it is still worse as a guide in international relations. The development of mechanical methods of warfare is such that human life will become intolerable if people do not discover before long a way of preventing war.”

129:

I agree with Obama’s plan and some of his reasons. We DO need to direct our resources to our own problems and maybe we realize war hurts.

 

Note from IWD - Albert Einstein on War: “In two weeks the sheeplike masses of any country can be worked up by the newspapers into such a state of excited fury that men are prepared to put on uniforms and kill and be killed… If unrestricted sacred egoism leads to dire consequences in economic life, it is still worse as a guide in international relations. The development of mechanical methods of warfare is such that human life will become intolerable if people do not discover before long a way of preventing war.”

050:

One thing the Democrats on the left and more and more Republicans on the right can agree about? Getting us out of Afghanistan!

075:

Obama is getting ready for 2012. War is costing us too much, but terrorism is worse than ever in our lives right now. Go easy on removing the troops.

136:

Many articles are written about Afghans’ fears that the U.S. drawdown will allow the Taliban to regroup. The worry is that the Taliban now have a timetable to aim for and tho’ they probably won’t hurry to regroup this year with 10,000 leaving, the situation will be different and better for themin 2014. But to listen to that concern might mean we’d need to be there at this level of commitment indefinitely. Can’t do that!

030:

A read from Rumsfeld's book, Known and Unknown, on the part about 9/11 and all that followed is an interesting perspective from a man at the center of the action. He may have gone from rock star status to scapegoat... (how often does that happen to the rich and famous and powerful)... but he had leadership of a significant portion of the decade and the book title he selected is very telling. You do the best you can with what you have and what you know at that time...

 

Agreement with him is not necessary to make his an interesting perspective.

 

For me, I remember standing near the still smoldering North Tower and hearing the echo in my head of Pres. Bush saying... 'The people who brought down these buildings will hear from all of us soon..."

 

What else could we have done but go for them where they were at the time. Al-Qaeda is like catching smoke- they are everywhere and nowhere - but how could there not have been pay-back. I personally would do it without any ground forces. Technology without our sons and daughters lives on the line.

 

If you’re going to war, do it big and quick... don't start it but be ready to finish it.

 

And for Obama's announced detailed plan, Wanna bet the bad guys go into their disappearing mode until our troops are diminished in number. Wanna bet 'we'll be back'... right where we started.

 

Will our leaders then try to send our grandchildren to walk around a booby-trapped region on that 'mission never accomplished' in the first place!

 

Who of us would accept that? Not me, that's a KNOWN.

035:

I agree with three Senators – one Republican (Rand Paul of Kentucky) and two Democrats (Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tom Udall of New Mexico) who wrote a bi-partisan op-ed in The New York Times urging an even swifter withdrawal because our mission there now largely consists of nation-building – trying to build “a strong central government, a national police force and an army, and civic institutions in a nation that never had any to begin with.” They quote Leon Panetta as saying Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan is much weaker and actually much stronger elsewhere. They believe our military and intelligence organizations can fight the terrorists without “a huge military footprint.” I hope they’re right.

 

Note from IWD: Where do Republican candidates stand on Leaving Afghanistan?

Michele Bachmann: Immediately after Obama announced the withdrawal, she said we need to stay the course and finish the job. Since then her comments are mainly focused on the economy.

Mitt Romney: Wants to bring troops home as soon as we possibly can – as soon as the generals say it’s okay.

Tim Pawlenty: Says he is the candidate who is willing to continue the war.

Ron Paul: Never approved of the war and wants us out immediately.

Newt Gingrich: On June 13, he said U.S. should pull out troops as soon as possible; on June 24, he described the withdrawal plan as “dangerous.”

Jon Huntsman: He would be in favor of a more rapid withdrawal.

Herman Cain: Said Obama’s decision could embolden our enemies; but said it’s time for nation-building at home.

Newest Contender: Thaddeus McCotter (Michigan Congressman): We’re in it to win it or come home.

012:

This is basically turning away from a policy of counter insurgency and toward counter terrorism. I am definitely in favor of targeted, clandestine attacks that do not involve 100,000 of our young men and women living in desert outposts and being involved in heavy firefights.

 

Note from IWD: Difference between “counter terrorism” and “counter insurgency: Counter terrorism is a tactic to take direct action against terrorist. Counter insurgency is a policy, where you try to deny the terrorist or insurgents the support they need to function, if possible by turning the population against them – “winning the hearts and minds.”

194:

I don’t think we can trust Pakistan at all. The most recent sign is the U.S. learning that Pakistan’s spy agency ordered the killing of a journalist who wrote about Muslim extremists infiltrating the military. I think Pakistan is filled with enemies of the U.S. and there are two main concerns. First, we need to maintain bases somewhere, probably Afghanistantso we can conduct strikes against militants in Pakistan and, second, we need to keep an eye on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. Sometimes it seems like that old game Pop-A-Mole – you swat one down and another pops up. What strategy can we employ that keeps “swatting” without conducting wars all over the region?

108:

Pakistan is a mess and our relationship with Pakistan is a mess. A witness at the Chicago trial of a terror suspect admitted that he and others involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack were trained by a group that had ties to Pakistan’s intelligence service. But it doesn’t seem that continuing to fight in Afghanistan has much of an effect on that.

089:

As I watched the Boston Pops' 4th of July celebration that concluded with a razzle dazzle of fireworks accompanied by the Star Spangled Banner, I couldn’t help but feel that although leaving Afghanistan at this time may not be perfect, when we get through it, even if we’re still dealing with Middle East problems, we’ll feel better not having ourselves entangled over there. It’s like giving up alcohol. Living without a war may take a little getting used to.

105:

An interview with Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, the man who has been leading the day-to-day war in Afghanistan asked what’s going on with the Taliban. He said they’re around the edges of Afghan society and no longer in the major villages. He says that more Afghans are gaining trust in their own security forces and saying to the Taliban, “We don’t want you here.“

187:

The U.S. military leaders don’t seem too thrilled about Obama’s plan. Many of them are saying that we are likely to lose all that we’ve gained unless we stay longer with a strong force.

048:

I think we are in for a bumpy ride. I read in the New York Times one article about a “success story” in Afghanistan, focusing on Kabul where the Afghan forces have just about taken over all the responsibilities from the Americans. And on the very same page, was the story about the bombing in the Kabul hospital that killed six people. How are we going to define success? Are we still going to say we’re successful if bombings increase and the Taliban move back into areas we drove them out of?

148:

All in favor of the withdrawal, we are engaged in a no-win situation in Afghanistan, a war with no winners. No matter how long we stay, the outcome will be the same; the tribal heads and Karzai will make a deal with the Taliban that will have concession on both sides relative to their rules and accepted customs. Afghanistan is a tribal country where outsiders are not welcome, it’s ruled by tribal heads that have no trust in the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai and very little trust in the U.S. My only regret is that women and children will have no say so and the chance for improving women’s rights will take a step back… hope I’m wrong!

241:

Is there any doubt that the longer we remain in Afghanistan, the worse things will get?! Since our timetable for withdrawl was set, we have had three humiliating incidents that have only caused the radicals and others in the country to hate us more. We didn't understand the culture -- and nothing we do will make them our friends.

IWD:

Getting caught up - Sepember 2012:

As of mid-September, all 33,000 troops sent in as part of the “Surge” two years ago had left the battlefields, leaving 68,000 troops to continue the process toward withdrawal in 2014. Because the incidence of “green-on-blue” killings (where Afghan soldiers or persons dressed in Afghan police or military uniforms attack NATO soldiers) has risen to more than 50 this year (an increase from 35 such deaths in 2011), the problems of withdrawing are becoming more obvious. The situation has caused some (including Senator John McCain) to suggest the timetable should be stepped up – and others vehemently defend the notion that the U.S. should stay at least that long – or even longer – to make certain the Taliban does not resume control.

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