It's a deal: Five, 15, 20 years in Afghanistan -- who's counting?
Withdrawal to start in July 2011? Dream on. The quiz kids behind "COIN" have always been happy to plunk down US troops for the duration, and now this from Kabul, via the LA Times:
Afghanistan's security forces will need U.S. support for another 15 to 20 years, President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday in the latest in a series of indications that U.S. involvement there is likely to last far into the future.
That would help explain the massive construction projects underway for US bases that far exceed the needs of a short stay.
Also Tuesday, the top U.S. and allied commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, told lawmakers in Washington that the U.S. needed to signal a long-term commitment in Afghanistan in order to reverse the momentum of the Taliban-led insurgency, a commitment that he said must continue even after combat forces begin to draw down in 2011.
Questions about the timing of U.S. troop reductions and a hand-over of control to Afghan forces loomed over both McChrystal's testimony in Washington and a trip to Kabul by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
Karzai, appearing beside Gates at a news conference in the Afghan capital, said it would take five years for his forces to assume responsibility for security throughout the country. He said it would be 15 to 20 years before Afghan forces could operate without heavy U.S. financial and technical help.
Funny how the jihadists just, presto, get up and running to paralyze the country before you can say Allahu Akbar.
Gates did not take issue with Karzai's timeline, but he said he hoped that the Afghan military could be ready sooner. Gates emphasized that a U.S. withdrawal would begin in 2011, as outlined by President Obama in his order last week to deploy an additional 30,000 troops. But Gates said the drawdown would be a process lasting several years as Afghan forces took responsibility.
You might call the Afghans retarded if you miss the fact that they are also masters of the Big Scam. Why bother taking responsibility for all the grunt work if Uncle Sam will do it for you? Intentionally or not, it all comes together as the perfect strategy for a wininng jihad abroad and complete subversion at home: Distract and degrade the US military with pointless missions that politically pacify much of the Right as the Obama-led anti-American Left takes over everything while our bravest young men are out of the country ....
"Whether it's three years or two years or four years I think remains to be seen," Gates said. "As President Obama has made very clear, this is not an open-ended commitment on the part of the United States."
Excuse me, didn't the man just contradict himself?
McChrystal, appearing before the Senate and House armed services committees, reinforced Obama's message of limits to U.S. involvement, but he also stressed the need for a long-term commitment to Afghanistan.
Either he's crazy or we're stupid. Or both.
"That we will not abandon them over time is very, very important," McChrystal told the Senate panel. "It gives them consistency in our commitment to them and some assurance for the future."
Love the hard-headed emphasis on US national security in the supreme commmander's testimony. What next -- "true love waits" rings?
McChrystal voiced confidence that the added troops, which will bring the U.S. force to about 100,000 next year, would produce recognizable gains by 2011, an important step to win --
Pop quiz time, folks: "An important step to win" -- what? Think, now. An important step to win ... the war???
an important step to win over Afghans and erode any support enjoyed by insurgents.
That's right. About 100,000 of America's infidel sons (mainly) are going into harm's way to "win over" Afghanistan's Muslims, some significant number of same being engaged in jihad, a "communal obligation" (among other things) after all.
That's well thought out, Sir. McChrystal continues.
"The most important thing we will have done by the summer of 2011 is convince the majority of the Afghan people that, in fact, we are going to win," McChrystal said....
Win what? Their support, of course. Instead of VA Day (Victory in Afghanistan Day), we can look forward to SA Day (Support in Afghanistan Day).
The U.S. buildup is projected to cost $30 billion a year, and expectations of long-term American involvement in Afghanistan are based in part on the cost of battling the country's militants. Afghanistan's economy is small and weak, and its government has only a limited ability to collect taxes and tariffs. Without a larger, stronger economy, it has few options for paying for an army and police force robust enough to counter a viable insurgency.
Maybe they just don't want to "counter" the insurgency. Maybe Afghans just don't care enough to counter it. Maybe that's why Afghan men don't stick around long enough to form an army or police force capable of countering it. (Or are they taking their US-trained know-how and joining the Taliban?) After all, the US has already been training and equipping these people for roughly eight years -- which is some heavy "committment" if you ask me. And don't forget those post-WWII, pre-Taliban decades of heavy US nation-building that in the end did squat to win the people's "support" or anything else. We would long ago have won this blessed people's "support" ... if it was ours to win.
"There is a realism on our part that it will be some time before Afghanistan is able to sustain its security forces entirely on its own," Gates said in Kabul. "And whether that's 15 or 20 years, we'll hope for accelerated economic development."
In other words, the US isn't going anywhere, anytime.
Eikenberry told senators that support for the Afghan forces would be far less expensive than keeping American combat units in the country.
"This will be a burden on the government of Afghanistan; they will need assistance," Eikenberry said. "It is clearly in our own long-term economic interest to help the Afghans stand up their police and army forces. That is a pretty good trade-off if we do not need to send more U.S. soldiers and Marines."...
A good trade-off? Is he kidding? I love this logic that posits only two possible choices in whole wide world. Stay and support the Afghans, or Stay. Maybe forever.