Saturday, October 3, 2009

Afghan Strategy - Is it designed for Victory?

From Small Wars Journal: Obama's War:  In FRONTLINE's season premiere, Obama's War, airing Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings), veteran correspondent Martin Smith (Beyond Baghdad, Return of the Taliban) travels across Afghanistan and Pakistan to see firsthand how the president's new strategy is taking shape, delivering vivid, on-the-ground reporting from this war's many fronts. Through interviews with top generals, diplomats and government officials, Smith also reports the internal debates over President Obama's grand attempt to combat terrorism at its roots.

"What we found on the ground was a huge exercise in nation building," says Smith. "The concept's become a bit of a dirty word, but that's what this is. We started with the goal of eliminating Al Qaeda, and now we've wound up with the immense task of re-engineering two nations."

The brunt of the work is falling on rank-and-file soldiers, and nowhere is it more difficult than in the dusty, unforgiving landscape of Helmand province, the Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan, where FRONTLINE embedded with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. Since the Marines' arrival in July, Helmand has become the most lethal battlefield in Afghanistan. But FRONTLINE found the Marines trying to act as armed diplomats, attempting to build the necessary trust for badly needed economic development.

"It's trying to change the culture of the organization," Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, tells FRONTLINE of the administration's plan. "At the end of the day, our best counterinsurgents are going to be young sergeants who just have an ability to deal with people. We've got to give them the flexibility to make decisions."

[bold and color emphasis mine. lw]

NOTE 1: The foregoing is only an excerpt.  Read the whole thing at

NOTE 2: United States Marines and their "Commander-in-Chief"

From an informal survey of--talking to-- Marines (sergeants) their sentiment concerning Obama is not favorable---far from it, in actuality.  Although, at this time, they always add the qualifier that he is their Commander-in-Chief, and they have to, and will, follow his orders.

Obama's complete lack of military experience, his shaky Affirmative Action education, lack of interest in strategy and tactics, lackadaisical* attitude towards war--his adversity towards "victory" as the ultimate goal in war--make him unqualified as a Commander of anything military, this, in addition to his incompretence and ineptness for the office that he occupies.  lw

Apparently, I am not alone in making this discovery about Marines' feeling for the man sending them into an uncertain and confused situation in Afghanistan.  At Belmont Club, in a post titled "The Ego has Landed," I found this interesting Comment re Marines' sentiments about their Commander-in-Chief:

39. Tarnsman:

Earlier in the week I was in Dallas with my brother and his business partner, who had brought along his three young adult sons, for the Monday Night Football game (GREAT stadium!, btw). After the game, one of the sons spent the wee hours of the morning talking with a Marine on leave at the hotel we were staying at. His comment to me when I asked about what the two had talked about was that the Marine went on and on about how much the rank and file depise the President. “He’s the CiC and we will follow his orders” was the important qualifier that the Marine made a point of to make after his comments. Granted it was the alcohol talking, but this is not the first time I have heard of military personnel expressing their displeasure and unhappiness with their new boss. I know that Liberals can sense that the Military is not the least impressed with their new CiC. They have to wonder and think thoughts that keep them up at nights.

[Click on the numeral "39" above for the Comment in its place of origin.]
*dreamy: lacking spirit, liveliness, or interest; languid

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