The Afghan War Is Winnable ?

Soviet helicopter brought down by locals in Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

A question, does the following give a true picture?

The Afghan War is winnable,
The facts, perhaps, are spinnable,
Karzai’s intent’s not sinnable,
Our General now states.

A Soviet Gen’ral said the same,
His failure did not call for blame,
T’was then and now a no-win game,
But just at diff’rent dates.

— Larry Eisenberg

Source / Commenter in New York Times

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14 Responses to The Afghan War Is Winnable ?

  1. masterspork says:

    That a Russian helicopter can be shot down?

    I think that it is a mistake on comparing the aims that the Soviet Russia and ours. We are trying to drive out the Taliban out of towns , Russia tried to do that by wiping out whole towns Also the events in Eastern Europe and later in Moscow was one of the main reasons the left, rather then anything the Taliban or Northern Armies did. Also Russia has been in the area just as fast.

    Also while this is far from over, it is far from lost.

  2. Fed Up says:

    To start with, please define “winning” because originally, acording to Bush, we went into Afghanistan only to get Bin Laden, and if the Taliban fell fine. Once we got him we were getting out.

    As for this BS about denying “Al Quaida” a base, that is absurd. Terrorists can have a “base” anywhere they like. That is the nature of the way terrorists operate in cells and secretly to blow things up…they can go by boat, plane, train or car!

    More generally there is no way to win a guerilla or “assymetrical” war. Vietnam proved that, and before Vietnam, there was China. All you can “win” is a stalemate. Whether you are fighting a communist led insurgency or an elite led insurgency, you cannot win, you can occupy, but the resistance will go on. You cannot win the peace.

    This is because war is politics by other means (said Clauswitz) so what exactly have you won if you cannot win peace? Nothing.

    We have changed the world into a global economy but we still behave as if that did not happen. Its a mess.

  3. masterspork says:

    We have a good idea that he is hiding in northern Pakistan area, but because that area is for the most part lawless, the Taliban have great control there. But because that is part of the Pakistan was causing a lot of politics issues. It is only been recently in the past year that the Pakistan government has made a serious attempt at going after them. Also just like the other terrorist leaders that we have captured or killed, there is someone to take his place. I would imagine that it would be the same for Osama.

    Regardless of any guerrilla force you will still have the same or very slimier requirements to operate. You have logistics in all area, training, intelligence, recruitment, and the ability to get their fighters to the target. Afghanistan was that over all base of operations, it is why that it was not until a few years after we arrived. If you look at the enemy activity it is for the most part in the Southern part of the country near the Pakistan border.

    Yes you can because guerrilla warfare is only affective when paired with conventional forces. But also we where fighting both types of warfare at the same time and managed to get a cease fire. It was not until that 1975 that North Vietnam attacked breaking the agreement. I think that we could have come out of that better given situation. For example the Tet offensive was a disaster for the VetCong but some how it become a PR victory because a member of the South Vietnam government said that the Vetcong was very weak and could not mount a large attack.

    Well going back to Afghanistan, Al Qaeda has made several attacks against us and still tries today. Groups like this do not want peace and working with them is just a futile effort. The world has always been a mess so I do not know what has changed recently.

  4. Richard says:

    Masterpork, Stick to mouthing the “line” on this war. It was not a member of the Government of South Vietnam who said the VC was weak. In November ’67 General Wastemoreland said, “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.” In December of that same year LBJ said, “We are finally making progress in Vietnam.” At the end of Jan. ’68 the Vietnamese people captured 74 of 74 provinical capitals. Laid a 100 day siege to Khe Sahn, and stopped the american agressors cold in the Ashau Valley. The U.S. army never recovered the from the Tet offensive. In ten years with 500,000 troops they never fought their way more than 10miles out of Ho Chi Min City. Do the hollow pronouncements of “victories” in Afganistan sound familar, they sound like echos of the old MACV bullshit from the “five o’clock follies” of long ago.

  5. masterspork says:

    Yes it was, It was I South Vietnam Officer who said that. Also on the tet offensive was a complete DISASTER for the VietCong and the North Vietnam violating a cease fire that they asked for. We where doing fine, the press’s opinion of the war is what never recovered.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tet_Offensive

    http://www.vwam.com/vets/tet/tet.html

    I swear people are looking for defeat at all costs.

  6. Richard says:

    Misterpork,
    First it was a “member of the SVN government” that said the VC were weak, now you say it was an ARVN officer. I can imagine that a member of the SVN government said the VC was weak, and I can imagine that some ARVN officer said that and I guess you can imagine that also. You however are the only one who can imagine that made any diffeence. It was the statements by Wastemoreland and LBJ that showed how both of them also imagined conditions that did not exist.
    That the Tet offensive was a loss for the Vietnamese is simply Nixonian blather. And now you are repeating it. I can prove that Wastemoreland and LBJ made those statements, can you prove some SVN official or some ARVN officer said what you only imagine. Imagine there is no bullshit. Know your song well before you start singing.

  7. masterspork says:

    I think that it does because during the Tet offensive we where not unprepared compared to the South Vietnam army which was celebrating a holiday and cease fire.

    No it is not, after the Tet offensive the tunnel system took a serious blow along with they heavy bombs from B-52s. Even the people that fought for the VetCong and North Vietnam army said that it was a major set back.

    According to General Tran Van Tra: “We did not correctly evaluate the specific balance of forces between ourselves and the enemy, did not fully realize that the enemy still had considerable capabilities, and that our capabilities were limited, and set requirements that were beyond our actual strength.

    It was not until after the conclusion of the first phase of the offensive that Hanoi realized that its sacrifices might not have been in vain. General Tran Do, North Vietnamese commander at the battle of Hue, gave some insight into how defeat was translated into victory:

    In all honesty, we didn’t achieve our main objective, which was to spur uprisings throughout the South. Still, we inflicted heavy casualties on the Americans and their puppets, and this was a big gain for us. As for making an impact in the United States, it had not been our intention—but it turned out to be a fortunate result.

    Hanoi had in no way anticipated the political and psychological effect the offensive would have on the leadership and population of the U.S. When the northern leadership saw how the U.S. was reacting to the offensive, they began to propagandize their “victory”. The opening of negotiations and the diplomatic struggle, the option feared by the Party militants prior to the offensive, quickly came to occupy a position equal to that of the military struggle.

    As far as the General I have read mixed signs, he claimed that they where weak but said that there was a major build up in the North Vietnam army.

    I cannot remember of of the tip of my head what the officer said but I will see if I can dig it up.

  8. masterspork says:

    Forgot to add the source.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tet_Offensive

    In Military terms it was about as effective as the battle of the Bulge was for the Germans.

  9. Richard says:

    Thanks for recognizing the role and effect of the anti-war movement in the U.S. in aiding the Vietnamese People in their struggle against U.S. Imperialism. Glad that I did my small part. The Soviet Union’s quest in Afghanistan were territorial as is the U.S. goal. Someday, there will be a last helicopter off the roof of the U.S. headquarters there, and peace will return to the Afghani people as it did to the Vietmanese.

  10. masterspork says:

    US imperialism? May I remind you who invaded who in Vietnam?

    You mean the in the same way that the massacres that happened after 1975? Also that helicopter was removing Vietnam civilians to escape the invading North Vietnam Army n 1975 after our forces left in 1973 in according to the peace treaty/cease fire. The people of Afghanistan deserve better then to become the new Somalia.

  11. Richard says:

    Am I to understand the Vietnamese invaded Vietnam?

  12. masterspork says:

    Yes, the North against the South. Also they had no problem killing civilians are will there.

  13. Richard says:

    There never was a North or South Vietnam, that was only the way they were described by U.S. Mythmakers. Geneva 1955, Supporters of Ho withdraw to the north and supporters of the prostitute Diem to the south, it was and is still just Vietnam. the withdrawals were to last until Ho’s election. Elections cancelled by U.S. when the outcome became obvious. Just Vietnam. With the cancellation of elections the withdrawal became mute..So many lies…So much bullshit. Have you got something mixed up with My Lai.

  14. masterspork says:

    Yes there was, just as there is a Two separate governments and people. Just like with Taiwan and China, North and South Korea, Not to forget East and West Germany. Like it or not they where two separate countries.

    In East Germany/Berlin, Korea, and Vietnam is was the communist that lead the attack to claim these lands not out of trying to do elections. The last two both supported by Chinese military forces. It is more then you want to make it seem.

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