Leaving Iraq…OK, but What about AfPak?

Well, it looks we have arrived – it is August, 2010 and time for a serious winding down of our troops in the Middle East. President Obama emphatically confirms that his campaign promise will be kept. Though I understand a non-combat military presence will remain, on the whole, combat forces will be gone by the end of this month. Troops withdrawal from Afghanistan is scheduled for next summer.

Either way, at this point I guess discussion is moot. Nonetheless…

There are still those who believe that it is unwise to pull out. I tend to lean in that direction myself, especially as concerns Afghanistan, but the King of the universe is in charge of history, ultimately. And since General McChrystal’s sudden removal from the Afghanistan theater, I have to consider the possible divine implications of the timing of this change of command. I have to consider that McChrystal’s strategy had its effect, seeds were planted & roots went down. If this is true, there will be more fruit. (
article) It would seem that the General accomplished his mission. For its final outcome, he himself perhaps did not need to remain in Afghanistan. Maybe US/NATO troops don’t need to remain, either, but…

Until a month or two ago, Amrullah Saleh was the man in charge of Afghanistan’s intelligence operations, and the ‘main conduit for intelligence sharing between the CIA and the Afghans.’ In a ’60 Minutes’ interview this past December, Saleh informs us that “The same people who we were trying to kill those days, ( Sept.11, 2001 and its aftermath) the bulk of them are alive. The war has not ended.” Saleh believes that “the American public is underestimating the Islamic fundamentalist groups, and terrorism and extremism…” And it is his opinion that withdrawal of our military forces will result in a ‘massacre campaign’ of at least two million Afghan deaths. He calmly but emphatically declares that this war is his, that he is in it for his family, his country. Because Afghan & American interests converge, we fight together, but Amrullah Saleh owns this long and difficult battle. For him, it is not Obama’s war, nor an American occupation.

In comments made be ‘aceinhibitor123’ on the ’60 Minutes’ interview of Saleh, and also ex-CIA operative Harry Crumpton, we get what purports to be the viewpoint of someone of Afghan origin: “A wounderful segment of the 60 min, thank you for informing the world about these facts. I absolutly agree with both gentlemen from the US and being from afghanistan and living in the US for 30 yrs I am so proud to see an afghan with a perfect description of the alQaida and Taliban. I was raised in afghanistan and the world is truely under estimating the danger of fundmental islamic terrorist as was described by the afghan security chief. I feel the strategy formulated and described by the american gentlman is what exactly is needed to defeat these people from the dark ages and rescue the humanity from danger they are posing.” (source)
Read more

(of course there is no way to verify the authenticity of this comment, that I can see, but I’m taking it at face value..)

I know that polls & surveys are said to indicate that support for the war in Afghanistan has dwindled big-time. But not in every instance, as shown by these thoughts from a reader , dated Aug.2, 2010, on the CBS website article/video ‘Shadow Warrior’:

“We are where we are, and we can’t wish all that away. I realize a lot of people don’t want to think about all that or deal with the mess we have made, and walking away sounds fine to them, but I personally cannot stomach it.

The good news is we appear to be winning hearts and minds and gaining some trust:

In one key shift, the latest poll by ABC News, the BBC and ARD German TV finds that sharply more Afghans now see the Taliban as the main source of their country’s strife, while many fewer blame the United States or its allies. (National survey) [NOTE: in all fairness, I must mention that this survey does still indicate some Afghan unhappiness with US presence.]
Let’s give it a little more time and see if we can turn things around. No one hates war more than I do, or worries about our troops more, believe me. I have some skin in this game.”
(Read more)

For more critical reasons perhaps, ex-CIA operative Harry Crumpton expressess similar sentiment.
Harry masterminded the downfall of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, during the immediate aftermath of 9/11. During the ’60 Minutes’ interview, he explained: “It’s easy to say, ‘Okay, let’s pack up. Let’s go home.’ But this is an enduring security concern for the United States, for our homeland…prior to 9/11, I made this same argument. I said, ‘If we do not address the issue in Afghanistan, we will suffer in the homeland. It will happen.’ And it did.”

Saleh and Crumpton are both concerned about conditions on the other side of the border, in Pakistan, ‘the enemy’s safe haven, where they are the power’. And if he was in charge again today, Crumpton would “be inside Pakistan and have men on the ground in the tribal areas…building the exact kind of relationships that {he} built with the Afghans that helped defeat the Taliban…” post 9/11. I don’t need to emphasize – but I will – that this same strategy had been re-employed by General McChrystal, with some success…but to have the success, we have to BE THERE. Our troops must remain among the locals to train, support and empower unto victory.

Having previously been deeply involved with the Taliban, the Pakistani army & the Inter-Services Intelligence agency now combat the country’s jihadists. The National Republic paints a picture of a smug, militant regime having been ‘bitten’ by the very Islamists it supported. Once bed partners with insurgents and radicals, 9/11 forced a resented change upon militant Pakistan: “…the Americans arrived and made Islamabad choose another side.” TNR posits that this resentment lingers yet today, and many Pakistanis would love to backtrack through time, pre-September 11, 2001 – a push “made much more powerful by Americans who want to wash their hands of Afghanistan”, Americans who think that “Pakistan will be no worse off with an American withdrawal.” Ensuing civil war and alignment with the ‘new’ Afghan Taliban are strongly suspected outcomes of such a withdrawal. Along with ‘supercharged’ militants “who have argued all along that the Americans would leave defeated…” In no way do we, as Americans, want to contribute to Taliban re-growth or cohesion. Premature AfPak withdrawal could guarantee that very thing.


7 responses to “Leaving Iraq…OK, but What about AfPak?

  1. "President Obama said Monday in a speech before the Disabled American Veterans national convention in Atlanta that the US military is on target to withdraw all its combat troops from Iraq by the end of August. We speak with independent journalist Jeremy Scahill, who says this instead marks the beginning of a downsized and rebranded occupation that will rely heavily on private military forces. HERE "Democracy Now Link for you and me. This issue is all the buzz and how about that flooding in Pakistan … did someone take my advice and seed those clouds … ? YIKES! MooPig Wisdom

  2. …as always, lovin' a good link! Thanks, MPW – and I like Democracy Now, too…"a downsized and rebranded occupation" – exactly the impression I got from the 'Non-Combat Troops' link ref.'d in my post. Well…I'm assuming Obama needed to give a semblance of keeping a campaign promise without doing it absolutely, for reality's & security's sakes. Also, an article I read in 'World Desk' recently, which is being blocked from my computer right now! indicated depression & mental issues among Iraqis rising, b/c of our upcoming withdrawal. Yeah, I think I remember you mentioning 'cloud-seeding'!

  3. We will see what happens and exactly how many troops are pulled out of Iraq. Obama hasn't kept many of his campaign promises, and I have to see the draw down to believe it.I agree that we need to stick it out in Afghanistan. I am not sure I am a fan of the "hearts and mind" strategy, but once we commit troops, we need to see things through to the end. If that means our troops are in Afghanistan for a number of years to come, then that's what needs to happen.

  4. "…I have to see the draw down to believe it."…Now that I think about it, the 3rd. week in August is bearing down upon us, and I haven't seen/heard anything at all about any troops arriving back home from Iraq…have I just missed the News items?

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