Wednesday, October 03, 2012

One Response To "Afghanistan: The Forgotten American Nightmare"


Within this post was the email sent to my congressman and senators regarding the execution of the war in Afghanistan: Afghanistan: The Forgotten American Nightmare - Sunday, September 30, 2012.   

I wish to express my concern regarding the present military tactics being employed in Afghanistan that place our soldiers at unnecessary risk. 
Please refer to this article: 
My concern is more than abstract; I have a niece who will deploy to Afghanistan before the end of the year as a medic.  She will be one of those soldiers who will have to venture into hostile territory unarmed as a result of the politically correct insanity that serves as leadership these days. 
I would like to see funding sharply curtailed for this military fiasco since the CIC has determined that there is no real long term vision, strategy, or goals for our involvement... only that we want to stand our soldiers up before hostile forces in the name of hope and change. 
Forgive my sarcasm. 
Bruce Hall

The following is from my congressman, Mike Rogers:

Dear Mr. Hall:
Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns with the war in Afghanistan. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me on this issue.

I believe America’s goal in Afghanistan should be to ensure it never again becomes a safe haven for al Qaeda or their allies to plan attacks on this country or any other. America’s national security depends on denying al Qaeda and the Taliban a safe haven in Afghanistan.

Working with our NATO allies, our men and women in uniform have made tremendous progress to achieve this goal. Thanks to the brave sacrifice of so many American service members, we have made great progress in denying al Qaeda safe-haven in Afghanistan. The gains we have made so far are fragile and could easily be reversed. That is why I have serious concerns with President Obama’s policy to begin an early withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

The ongoing effort in Afghanistan marked an important milestone recently: the completed draw down of the 33,000 troop surge that President Obama committed in December of 2009. This leaves roughly 68,000 American military members who remain in a tough fight in Afghanistan. Like all Americans, I support bringing our troops home, but I want them to come home having accomplished a lasting, strategic victory for the United States. Withdrawal from Afghanistan should follow a plan for victory, and not a political calendar.

The death of Osama bin Laden is important in our effort against al Qaeda, but should not be a reason for premature withdrawal from Afghanistan. The intelligence gathered from the raid on the compound in Pakistan is an important step in defeating al Qaeda and its affiliates around the world, but that success is distinct from our efforts in Afghanistan. Success in Afghanistan means that global terrorist networks will not have a safe haven in that country in which they can launch attacks against the America.

America’s military men and women who have sacrificed so much must know that the new way forward in Afghanistan is a plan in which the military mission and the rules of engagement are clearly defined, and specific benchmarks are outlined for Afghanis to take over so our troops can come home. I am encouraged by the leadership in place at the Department of Defense and the Army to tackle this extremely difficult, yet vitally important mission for America’s nation security and standing in the world.

To that end, progress, stability, and democratization in Afghanistan will go a long way towards stability in that region. Afghanistan used to be a severely isolated country, where the people lived at the mercy of a brutal regime supported by international terrorists. In contrast the nation now has a democratic constitution, a robust free press, more than 11,000 miles of paved roads and eight million children in school, more than a third of whom are girls. In 2001, fewer than one million Afghan children went to school, and all of them were boys. There has also been an exponential expansion of health services. Today about 80 percent of the Afghan population has access to basic health services. Afghanistan has emerged from the dark isolation of the Taliban regime. All of these accomplishments are due to the hard work of our military forces which have dramatically improved Afghan army operational skills, and all could be be reversed with a premature withdrawal. 

Sending young men and women to war is the most serious decision of any President and Congress. As Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, rest assured I will keep your views in mind as Congress continues to debate this important issue.
Again, thank you for your correspondence. Please keep in touch.

This, of course, is a form letter with the first sentence, the last paragraph, and the closing added on for a "personalized response."

You can judge for yourself if it responds to the criticism outlined in my email to Rep. Rogers.  From my perspective, this is a blind eye and deaf ear couched in platitudes.  After 12 years, we have the statement, "The gains we have made so far are fragile and could easily be reversed."  That tells me there is no real military leadership allowed by the civilian overseers in our government, otherwise the battle against al Qaeda and the Taliban would have long been over. "The military mission and the rules of engagement are clearly defined" except that the "rules of engagement" have been translated to the operational and tactical levels in a way that recklessly and unnecessarily endangers our soldiers... hence the article linked above.

I'm sure Rep. Rogers means well, but he believes the mission is nation building which will lead to the defeat of al Qaeda and the Taliban.  We disagree.  The military mission is... or should be... the elimination or permanent crippling of our enemies.  Instead, we are guaranteed an Obama led reenactment of what has happened in Iraq.

A comment on another post from a frequent commenter was, "Read your Constitution. It provides Congress and the President with the authority to issue letters of marque and reprisal against private actors who try to harm American citizens without the need for major military action. Given the fact that al Qaeda only had a few hundred members and was quite hated in some quarters of the local population it should have been very easy to get rid of every last fanatic at a reasonable cost."  

The suggestion, translated into current language is that all we had to do was establish a bounty for every member of al Qaeda and Taliban and we wouldn't need any military action at all.  Unfortunately, things don't work out so well in the real world.  We spend a lot of money and get a few results, but it still takes our military doing the dirty work.  No one else is handing them over to us... and they seem to be in a position to "easily reverse" the gains that have been made.  Why?  Because they know we have "rules of engagement" and a deadline to leave.  What's to fear?  All they have to do is wait and use our soldiers for target practice until they withdraw.

Fantastic military minds in action.

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February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)