Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Frontline: Obama's War

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Frontline: Obama's War

    In case you missed this outstanding story, the full length video is available online to watch here. Frontline: Obama's War
    In Obama's War, veteran correspondent Martin Smith travels across Afghanistan and Pakistan to see first-hand how the president's new strategy is taking shape, delivering vivid, on-the-ground reporting from this eight-year-old 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."

    Even as American soldiers struggle to make progress in Afghanistan village by village, equally vexing challenges remain across the border in Pakistan. "In Afghanistan we know what to do; we just don't know if we have the resources or the time available to do it," David Kilcullen, a leading counterinsurgency expert, tells FRONTLINE. "The problem in Pakistan is we're not really sure what to do."

    When FRONTLINE confronts the Pakistani army about its reluctance to take out key Taliban leaders, the military's chief spokesman, Gen. Athar Abbas, argues that the accusations are misplaced. There is no truth, he claims, that insurgents stage attacks on American forces from the Pakistani side of the border. "They operate from Afghanistan. If somebody claims that everything is happening from this side of the border, I am sorry, this is misplaced, and we refute it."

    Barred from sending troops across the border, the United States is left with few good options. No quick fix will solve Pakistan. "If we have a strategy in Pakistan," says George Packer, a staff writer at The New Yorker, "it's to build up the civilian government to the point where it can be a kind of counterbalance to the military and begin to reorient their own sense of their destiny. Is that even thinkable for a foreign power to do? Even as I say it, I think, why do we think we could even begin to accomplish that?" Link.
    Youtube trailer below.
    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWgG0SJPFO8[/media]
    Any thoughts on what our overall strategy should be in Afghanistan? "Go Big, Go Long, Go Home"?
    |TG-X| mp40x



    Register for the Forums! | Get on Teamspeak! | Play Squad! | Join Discord! | Support Tactical Gamer!


  • #2
    Re: Frontline: Obama's War

    I watched this yesterday, the best documentary I've seen on the subject period.

    Go strong in Afghanistan. We're already going long, we've invested far too much to give up, even if things are looking dire. There are many problems that need to be addressed, let's just hope the administration can work it out before it's too late (if it already isn't)...

    And Pakistan needs to get off their asses, the Pakistani interviewees and their responses were laughable.

    I didn't join a squad once and this guy named Nardini took me into the back room and beat me with a sock of oranges.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Frontline: Obama's War

      Bring the Taliban into the process. They are going to be there so might as well deal with them.
      Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
      - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
      - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
      - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
      - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
      - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
      - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Frontline: Obama's War

        I linked this up in the 'held by the Taliban' thread. This documentary was very well done indeed. This remains such an important issue in American society and I feel it's one that the public largely does not understand well - especially the media.

        The Taliban should be allowed in to (as opposed to brought in, which requires embarassing diplomacy with them) the process, despite their brutal tactics, that their collective intentions are the formation of an 'islamic emirate' and the likelihood that such a state could harbor terrorism. It must be assumed that the recent history would cause them to think twice about harboring global terrorists like Al Qaeda, who clearly brought war back to a country that the Taliban largely had under their control. This is not something that anyone is going to be able to convince them of through force or military defeat, in fact quite the opposite.

        What's the US mission here? Is it to derail Al Qaeda or deliver a pro-American democracy to Afghanistan? Is it to defeat the Taliban? I'm not sure what the mission is now, but it used to be to derail Al Qaeda, and that's largely been accomplished (though will require a troop presence in the region for some time to come). We neglected to have a real dialog about whether or not we were going to actually fight the Taliban.

        As frustrating as it is to witness the thuggish workings of a religious tribal faction like the Taliban, fighting it will not prove successful and will instead result in a drawn out conflict that America can ill-afford, both from a financial perspective (undeniably true) and a geo-political perspective. With regard to the political side, even a 2004 Defense Department report said that "American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single-digits in some Arab societies. Muslims do not “hate our freedom,” but rather, they hate our policies."
        These are hard lessons that we as a society need to learn if our government is to accept them.

        We need to draw down in Afghanistan and make it clear that U.S. intentions are those of self-defense and not occupation.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Frontline: Obama's War

          I think a large part of what we can accomplish is dependent on Pakistan and other surrounding countries.

          I am not against simple nation building, or even modest nation stabilization, for Afghanistan.

          I just think America was never really involved in the entire region. We would come in during a crisis and then get out as soon as we could. Having a presence would hopefully increase our understanding of this region.
          Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
          - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
          - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
          - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
          - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
          - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
          - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Frontline: Obama's War

            I have to point out David Rohde's 'Held by the Taliban' story that is being released in pieces this week, because it illustrates facts about the Taliban more than anything I've read so far. Some excerpts pertaining to this thread, and what the US needs to accomplish in the 'fight' against the Taliban:

            Some nights, commanders and their fighters visited the houses where we were being held. Conversations were dominated by their unwavering belief that the United States was waging a war against Islam.

            ...

            My captors saw me — and seemingly all Westerners — as morally corrupt and fixated on pursuing the pleasures of this world. Americans invaded Afghanistan to enrich themselves, they argued, not to help Afghans. They ignored the fact that the United States helped build hundreds of miles of paved roads in Afghanistan and more than a thousand schools and health clinics. My captors denied widespread news reports that the Taliban burned down scores of newly built schools to prevent girls from getting an education.

            ...

            We were held for much of the winter in a building the Pakistani government had constructed to serve as a health clinic. It was part of an American-backed effort to win the hearts and minds of the local population.

            Our guards spent their days there listening to radio broadcasts and shouting “God is great!” at reports of the deaths of Afghan and American soldiers.

            Most of the guards were Afghan men in their late 20s and early 30s. Some had grown up as refugees in Pakistan. All had limited educations from government schools or religious institutions, known as madrasas. Some did not make it past junior high school. None had seen the world beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan.

            They all had relatives or friends who had been killed by Soviet or American troops. They grew up in a culture where teenage boys reached manhood and made a name for themselves by showing their bravery.
            Most poignant of all, though, is this:

            The Taliban assailed the drone attacks, and my captors expressed more hatred for President Obama than for President Bush. They bitterly criticized the Obama administration for increasing the missile attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas and the number of American troops in Afghanistan.

            A stalemate between the United States and the Taliban seemed to unfold before me. The drones killed many senior commanders and hindered their operations. Yet the Taliban were able to garner recruits in their aftermath by exaggerating the number of civilian casualties.

            The strikes also created a paranoia among the Taliban. They believed that a network of local informants guided the missiles. Innocent civilians were rounded up, accused of working as American spies and then executed.

            Several days after the drone strike near our house in Makeen, we heard that foreign militants had arrested a local man. He confessed to being a spy after they disemboweled him and chopped off his leg. Then they decapitated him and hung his body in the local bazaar as a warning.
            This isn't working. America needs a shift in policy, soon.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Frontline: Obama's War

              If you're interested in learning more about the Afghanistan war, there are 2 short documentary series called "Ross Kemp in Afghanistan". Really interesting, each series is 5 episodes long and it goes through a lot of the stuff the above documentary does, but there's pretty much nothing in terms of diplomacy or talk about Pakistan. It's main focus is about strategies in Afghanistan and the lives of British soldiers.
              Anger is a gift - Malcolm X

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Frontline: Obama's War

                Originally posted by thegreatnardini View Post
                Go strong in Afghanistan. We're already going long, we've invested far too much to give up, even if things are looking dire. There are many problems that need to be addressed, let's just hope the administration can work it out before it's too late (if it already isn't)...
                I was actually in the process of editing the post from "Go strong" to "Go big" when you made your reply, because I had misquoted the phrase that was used before the surge in Iraq. Just to clarify for everyone why you answered "Go strong".

                I originally supported the Afghanistan campaign because I thought the people responsible for 911 deserved to be captured or killed. It was actually pure genious in the way we used the Northern Alliance, Special Forces, and air power. But the war is completely different now. We have ventured into nation building, engaged in a war against the Taliban more than Al Qaeda who was supposed to be the 911 culprit, and have expanded the war into Pakistan in some capacity. I'm not sure that even a surge in troops can ultimately win this conflict. Maybe we ought to have just enough troops in country to keep Kabul stable till the Afghan people have enough resources and will to go after the Taliban themselves or negotiate a peace of some sort. That way at least the central goverment can operate with some sense of security. Its a complicated matter for sure. I just don't think that young American lives are worth Afghanistan. And with the US national debt at 11+ trillion dollars, we can hardly afford such foreign interventions.

                Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                I have to point out David Rohde's 'Held by the Taliban' story that is being released in pieces this week, because it illustrates facts about the Taliban more than anything I've read so far. Some excerpts pertaining to this thread, and what the US needs to accomplish in the 'fight' against the Taliban
                Fascinating article. There's no speculation when you were there on the ground being held by the Taliban like this guy.
                |TG-X| mp40x



                Register for the Forums! | Get on Teamspeak! | Play Squad! | Join Discord! | Support Tactical Gamer!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Frontline: Obama's War

                  While watching, I kept thinking how do seemingly intelligent men think there is some kind of winning endgame. My only conclusion was there has to be a financial motive. It's too obvious that until we can repopulate their country with millions of Americans, it is going to be their country and they are going to run it how they want. The strong will make the laws like in any society.

                  Double-talking Pakistan is taking our billions and giving it to the Taliban. We are looking like fools.

                  The Taliban isn't even a single entity, they are multiple independent gangs of thugs raping and pillaging the countryside. We are spending billions destroying them. Why? Why did the Soviet Union spend ten years trying occupy this wasteland. Is it the opium, secret diamond mines, what? Terrorist can be trained in an apartment. They don't need a country to harbor them. I'm not saying there is some giant conspiracy, but I will say non of this adds up and we are not getting the whole story.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Frontline: Obama's War

                    Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
                    While watching, I kept thinking how do seemingly intelligent men think there is some kind of winning endgame. My only conclusion was there has to be a financial motive. It's too obvious that until we can repopulate their country with millions of Americans, it is going to be their country and they are going to run it how they want. The strong will make the laws like in any society.

                    Double-talking Pakistan is taking our billions and giving it to the Taliban. We are looking like fools.

                    The Taliban isn't even a single entity, they are multiple independent gangs of thugs raping and pillaging the countryside. We are spending billions destroying them. Why? Why did the Soviet Union spend ten years trying occupy this wasteland. Is it the opium, secret diamond mines, what? Terrorist can be trained in an apartment. They don't need a country to harbor them. I'm not saying there is some giant conspiracy, but I will say non of this adds up and we are not getting the whole story.
                    Not saying it adds up to anything good, but I think your first paragraph is a bit inaccurate. Afghanistan, if it can really be called a country, clearly can not run itself in any manner the populace wants. The strong will make the laws, and the laws will be detracting to the majority of the populace, and no one will do squat. It will continue pouring opium into the world, it will become a deeper harbor of terrorism, and will work in just about every way possible to destabilize the rest of the region. Terrorists can be trained in apartments, but the beliefs that cause people to blow themselves up in theaters and crowded markets are rooted largely in the area.

                    There is no clear, good solution, but I think acceptable is what we are heading towards. When there is some semblance of a decent government that can hold it's own in combating the violence, when women's rights are not infringed upon on every level, when the farmers are able to grow crops other than opium to support their lives, that is what the goal should be. I am sure there will be compromises, it's unlikely that the Taliban will be going anywhere, and with that in mind any "solution" should probably be made with the intent of "bringing them into the fold".

                    You are right, it is not some huge organization to barter with, but it is a group of small gangs that share some similar ideas, and knowing that, it is easier to "combat" the problem; thinking of it as a bunch of small unions, or militias, allows us different options, one can go around talking to the leaders, selling a case that the people can agree on, and suddenly the huge insurmountable foe becomes a much smaller group of true crazies that can be dealt with appropriately (say, trials, in their country, and locked in their jails).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Frontline: Obama's War

                      Out troops are telling the villagers to disobey the Taliban while the Taliban is still shooting at them. What a freaking joke. Those people know we can't stay there forever and as soon as we leave the Taliban will have their way.

                      The Hacks that we are trying to put into power are all known corrupt criminals.

                      Kabul has a reach of only 10-15 miles at most. All other parts of the country are run by small factions. It really doesn't matter who we put into power, because they will have no power. They simple don't have the money, resources or infrastructure to have anything that resembles a western style government. That country is a baron wasteland with opium and hash being the only real export.

                      They have no real media and the literacy rate is 36%. People outside of Kabul won't know or care there is a new government. As far as the populace is concerned the US is there as part of a war against Islam. I hope it is universally understood by now that we are creating more terrorists then eradicating them, by being there.

                      I like what we did in Pakistan. If we know of some terrorists. Send in some drowns and take them out.

                      There is much more lawlessness and violence immediately south of the American boarder, with 100x more drug trafficking that is directly affecting our population. We should be sending troops there. Why are we 10,000 miles away spending billions blowing up hillbillies and dirt. Hearts and minds my ass.


                      We need to be out of Afghanistan pronto.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Frontline: Obama's War

                        Originally posted by Adiventure
                        There is no clear, good solution, but I think acceptable is what we are heading towards. When there is some semblance of a decent government that can hold it's own in combating the violence, when women's rights are not infringed upon on every level, when the farmers are able to grow crops other than opium to support their lives, that is what the goal should be. I am sure there will be compromises, it's unlikely that the Taliban will be going anywhere, and with that in mind any "solution" should probably be made with the intent of "bringing them into the fold".
                        While I agree with this somewhat utopian vision of Afghanistan which would clearly bode better for the civilians there and for international security, I don't believe that it's feasible. The US simply can't afford it in terms of money and on top of that I think the military needs a break from tirelessly fighting these insurgencies (Iraq and now Taliban) that never even had a beef with America in the first place. We can't keep this up under the auspices of accomplishing the grand vision. Maintain a troop presence - a base in Kabul, and withdraw the rest.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Frontline: Obama's War

                          http://hotair.com/archives/2009/10/2...o-the-taliban/
                          http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/wo...licy.html?_r=1

                          President Obama’s advisers are focusing on a strategy for Afghanistan aimed at protecting about 10 top population centers, administration officials said Tuesday, describing an approach that would stop short of an all-out assault on the Taliban while still seeking to nurture long-term stability.
                          From a response to the HotAir story:

                          One thing I’ve noticed that’s missing from every single city vs. country argument I’ve ever heard, and seems entirely applicable to the recent post on Hot Air: When city and country disagree, who feeds who?

                          Do the people in the countryside get their daily bread from food grown in the cities? No, it seems to work the opposite way. The country folks grow the food if the government lets them, and then it’s shipped in to feed the city folks.

                          If the country folks decide they aren’t on the same team as the people in the city, well, sucks if you live in the city. Either get with the program, or get real thin real quick. At least American liberals in coastal cities have big corporations to provide their organic foods from all over the world, what do you think the Afghanis have while they’re under assault by jihadist extremists?
                          Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                          snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                          Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                          Comment

                          Connect

                          Collapse

                          TeamSpeak 3 Server

                          Collapse

                          Advertisement

                          Collapse

                          Twitter Feed

                          Collapse

                          Working...
                          X