Time to Break the Silence on Afghanistan Escalation

Posted: April 6, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Forty-two years ago last Saturday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in the pulpit of Riverside Church in New York City to indict his country’s war policies in Vietnam. Entitled “Beyond Vietnam—A Time to Break the Silence,” this seminal speech attacked the paralyzed apathy stifling his nation’s ability to yield to the clear moral imperative to work for peace:

Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

King’s summation in 1967 of the situation in Vietnam rhymes with the news on our television and on the Internet in 2009. His description of the moral fog that blocks clear vision could equally apply to the search for a palatable strategy in Afghanistan.

The progressive movement in the United States finds itself in a bind, with many of our once anti-war allies now pounding the drums for escalation.  In general, we want President Obama to succeed, and, on almost every issue, we feel the need to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Furthermore, the moral ambiguities inherent in any proposed Afghanistan policy leave it open to criticism from well-meaning folks acting in good faith to create a better future for that country.  This complexity, and the fear of getting it wrong or of allowing harm to come to those we’re trying to help, can be paralyzing. The result of that paralysis, however, is deference to inertia, no matter where the forward motion carries us. Writing after the horror of World War I, W.B. Yeats summed up this hesitance:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

All of this uncertainty, however, relies on a bad assumption: that this war can help the people of Afghanistan. As Rachel Maddow said recently:

I want to hear [President Obama] reject what I think is this really hot idea — even among liberals, certainly in the national security brainiac community — this idea that war can be constructive. (That) if you wage war just the right way, the result is a country and a community that is helped by the war. War is destructive. The idea that you can do something constructive with war is becoming this facile, dangerous, intellectually lax political interpretation of military counter-insurgency theory.

Maddow is not alone. Rita Lasar lost her brother on September 11 and then watched in horror as his death was used to sell this war to the American people:

My brother, Abraham Zelmanowitz, was on the 27th floor of the North Tower on September 11th, 2001. …[H]e chose instead to stay with his friend and coworker Ed Bayea, a paraplegic in a wheelchair, who could not leave. My brother told all who passed them on their way down that he would wait with Ed until help came. They both died….I knew this country would use my brother’s death to invade and bring death to Afghan civilians as innocent as my brother and I was appalled.

Lasar traveled to Kabul in 2002 with three others who lost family on September 11. Here’s what she saw:

…[W]omen, if they did venture into the street, were universally clad in their burkas. I did not see one woman, not one, without a burka…We spent 2 weeks there. We met with many families who had lost loved ones when our bombs hit the wrong targets. We visited a hospital, partially destroyed, where we saw young children who had mistaken cluster bombs for food packages, who were missing limbs.  We visited orphanages full of children who no longer had parents. We went out of Kabul to tent cities full of families who could no longer live on their land because cluster bombs circled them.

She has a clear message for the president:

Get us out of there now.

But if the new administration follows through on its current policies, we won’t be leaving anytime soon. The drive to “help” the people of Afghanistan through “massive doses of violence” leads us to continually raise the stakes, adding more troops. But, as the Carnegie Institute for International Peace pointed out in a recent report:

The mere presence of foreign soldiers fighting a war in Afghanistan is probably the single most important factor in the resurgence of the Taliban.

According to international women’s rights group MADRE:

A troop surge has already been tried—and it failed.  In 2007, the number of US/NATO troops was increased by 45 percent. During that surge, more civilians were killed than in the previous four years combined.

MADRE also points out the deplorable situation of Afghan women, not under the Taliban, but under the U.S. backed government in Kabul:

  1. 1 in every 3 Afghan women experience physical, psychological or sexual violence
  2. 70 to 80 percent of women face forced marriages in Afghanistan
  3. Every 30 minutes, an Afghan woman dies during childbirth
  4. 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate
  5. 30 percent of girls have access to education in Afghanistan
  6. 44 years is the average life expectancy rate for women in Afghanistan

Afghan women rights activists often refer to the U.S.-backed regime as “The Rule of the Rapists,” a name all the more apt now that the Karzai government passed a law legalizing rape in marriage for a portion of the population.  The Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) has called repeatedly for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the end for our support of the corrupt regime in Kabul. But the “new” policy in Afghanistan assures us that we Americans know better.

Our attempts to “help” the Afghan people have now pushed us into unleashing bloodless unmanned drones into the skies of Pakistan, dropping missiles onto impoverished villages, killing innocent men, women and children in unlucky proximity to suspected militants. (I say “suspected” with good reason. We have very poor intelligence in the region, and have been tricked into eliminating the rivals of local drug lords rather than al-Qaida or Taliban extremists.) And though our president seized on the use of Predator and Reaper drones as a politically pain-free way of widening the scope of the war, often referred to now as “AfPak,” these strikes are not pain-free for the people in the villages along the Durand Line. Drone attacks from the air, along with the heavy-handed tactics of a Pakistani military under pressure from the U.S. government, create a massive humanitarian crisis:

AMERICAN drone attacks on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan are causing a massive humanitarian emergency, Pakistani officials claimed after a new attack yesterday killed 13 people.

The dead and injured included foreign militants, but women and children were also killed when two missiles hit a house in the village of Data Khel, near the Afghan border, according to local officials.

As many as 1m people have fled their homes in the Tribal Areas to escape attacks by the unmanned spy planes as well as bombings by the Pakistani army. In Bajaur agency entire villages have been flattened by Pakistani troops under growing American pressure to act against Al-Qaeda militants, who have made the area their base.

President Obama, laboring under the broken assumption that war can help the Afghan people, has continually widened the zone of use for drone aircraft in Pakistan despite warnings from regional experts that these strikes dishonor us in the eyes of the local population, increase sympathy for extremists and radicalize those affected by them. In retaliation for drone attacks, the Pakistani Taliban upped its violence toward the Pakistani government, attacking a police station in Lahore last week and promising weekly suicide bombings until the airstrikes cease. As our robotic swipes at this hornet’s nest continue to agitate the situation in Pakistan, our generals and civilian militarists issue solemn warnings that our allied government in that country could be toppled in as little as six months. These are the ultimate in self-fulfilling prophecies, as the extremists on the border have no real chance to topple the Pakistani government on their own. Middle East expert Juan Cole:

As for a threat to Pakistan, the FATA areas are smaller than Connecticut, with a total population of a little over 3 million, while Pakistan itself is bigger than Texas, with a population more than half that of the entire United States. A few thousand Pashtun tribesmen cannot take over Pakistan, nor can they “kill” it. The Pakistani public just forced a military dictator out of office and forced the reinstatement of the Supreme Court, which oversees secular law.

In 1967, King thundered against the U.S.’s rationale for supporting corrupt allies through ever-escalating use of military violence. He quoted the statements of the Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam, saying:

“A time comes when silence is betrayal.” And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

In 2009, betrayal seems to be all around us. A pivotal anti-war umbrella organization during the last administration, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, was swiftly decapitated through political co-optation by the new administration.  Senior AAEI staff, including Steve Hildebrand, Paul Tewes, and Brad Woodhouse, now work as political aides for President Obama or for the Democratic National Committee. MoveOn moved on from its vocal opposition to war in Iraq to a deafening silence about the war in Afghanistan. The Center for American Progress recently published a report arguing for escalation. And, as Roll Call reported recently,

Anti-war Democrats have been largely mum on President Barack Obama’s recently unveiled policy for Afghanistan — partly because leading liberals don’t yet know where they stand.

On the 42nd anniversary of King’s speech, we find ourselves “mesmerized by uncertainty.” Many progressives worry that reversing the planned escalation will sacrifice justice in Afghanistan in the name of peace. But before this concern pushes them to embrace counterinsurgency doctrine as the answer in Afghanistan, they might want to read the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which states explicitly on p. xxxiv that COIN doctrine “implicitly asks Americans to define their aims in the world and accept the compromises they require…[c]ounterinsurgency favors peace over justice.”

With this context, those paralyzed by the complexities of the situation in Afghanistan should be able to escape the false dilemma of “counterinsurgency or compromise.” There are no ideal options in Afghanistan. Every possible way forward, escalation included, will incur compromise and cost. But faced with the rising humanitarian toll of our policies, we must realize now that we, not al-Qaida and not the Taliban, are responsible for our behavior and that we can only be responsible for our own choices. As such, we cannot allow terrorists and extremists to decide for us when we will end our military violence in Afghanistan. As King said,

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.

Alternatives to escalation exist. The Carnegie Institute for International Peace suggests that the U.S. limit its goals in Afghanistan to leaving behind a government that can survive a U.S. withdrawal. Their report suggests that because military confrontation with the United States provides the unifying rationale for our opponents, the best way to weaken and divide them is to unilaterally reduce the number of troops without negotiating with the Taliban. During this drawdown, U.S. troops would be concentrated in major population centers, and the U.S. and our allies would focus on assisting Afghan attempts to build good governance that will outlive our presence.

MADRE’s suggestions closely track those of the Carnegie report:

  1. Set a timetable for the withdrawal of US and NATO troops.
  2. End US missile strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  3. Demilitarize aid operations and fund reconstruction efforts that benefit Afghans, not US corporations.
  4. Promote peace talks between all parties involved in the conflict. Negotiations should include women’s organizations and other progressive forces and uphold the principle that human rights, including women’s human rights, are non-negotiable.
  5. Compensate families and communities hurt by US military operations and pay war reparations.
  6. Support local models of governance, such as the Loya Jirga, not a charade of procedural democracy that empowers war criminals.
  7. Support demands of the Afghan women’s movement to end violence against women, ensure women’s access to critical services such as healthcare, education, food and water, and give real meaning to hard-won legal reforms meant to protect women’s rights.
  8. Create a fund to meet Afghans’ urgent humanitarian needs. After 30 years of intervention and war, the US owes Afghanistan nothing less.
  9. Support Afghan civil society, particularly women’s organizations, which are a crucial counter-force to warlordism, terrorism and government corruption and a key to rebuilding Afghan society.
  10. Recognize that ultimately, decisions about what happens in Afghanistan should be made in Afghanistan, not Washington.

Taking our cue from Dr. King, we should not ignore the complexities of the situation in Afghanistan. But, recognizing the dangers posed by an escalating conflict to an impoverished people, the security of the region and the soul of our nation, we should understand that a time comes when silence is betrayal.

That time has come for us in relation to Afghanistan.

Help us break the silence:

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Comments
  1. […] Time Break the Silence on Afghanistan Escalation posted on April 6th, 2009 at Return Good for Evil […]

  2. Sporkmaster says:

    1. One thing that is hard about stetting timelines without being vague is that it will cause massive problems because the enemy will know when we will be leaving. That is why incoming and out going units’ arrival and departure times are not made public. I still cannot give a specific date to my family on when I am coming home. So to announce a exact time when all our forces are leaving would be bad. It would endanger the lives of the soldiers.

    2. So what about the smaller units in Afghanistan? Terrain and distance may prevent needed assistance from arriving. Also speaking from experience I have seen the benefits of just having air support present reduce threats that we face from small arms fire, and such.

    3. Again how will you handle security protection for these people? Consider the two Red Cross workers that where captured and threatened with beheading. They have let them go I think but what happens if they do not?

    http://www.gmanews.tv/story/155960/2-Red-Cross-workers-may-be-freed-this-week-Sulu-gov-says

    4. What happens if parts of the group leave and issues a statement that all publications from the your group as ill ligament and will use force to prevent those publications from taking effect? Consider the Sunnis when they did a boycott in Iraq in 2005 and threatened violence against the Shitie government.

    5. How are you going to do that? Even if I agreed with this, how will you make sure those that where hurt by us are legit rather then people taking advantage of the system. Because I promise you that everyone will be claiming that we hurt them some how and are entitled to money. I would be willing that even the insurgents would be willing to try to get on this.

    6. How can this be done when considering point ten. Because as much as our ideals would like to shape Afghanistan, the author is claiming that we do not have a right to make that call.

    7. To me the only way to make those laws “real meaning” is if there is effective enforcement and punishment for the violators. But does the author have a system in mind to do this? Who is going to follow a law without enforcement, more so when in some areas might determines what is law.

    8 So is Russia going to help too? I mean they did more then go camping in the early 80s too.

    9. And what happened if these women’s groups face intimidation through threats of violence and other means/ Are we just going to write them a stern letter of reprimand? Laws will be ignored if there is not something there to enforce them. For example; lets say that the group passes a law that makes martial rape illegal. Someone goes out and does it anyways. What will/can the group do to enforce that law if it’s authority is not recognized?

    10. Ok, here is the real kicker out of all of them. Regardless on what I agree or disagree with how Afghanistan is run, coming out with this statement does not make sense. You have all these ideas on how Afghanistan should be run then you say it is up to them. If that is what the author believes then that in my mind means no outside influence, which means us. We can say that this is how you should go about running a country, but if they want rule by warlords or even the Taliban back then “What happens in Afghanistan should be made in Afghanistan, not the US.” for better or worse.

  3. dcrowe says:

    Hey, good morning Sporkmaster.

    1. The Carnegie report, as I understand it, doesn’t call for announcing anything to the enemy. We’d just do it w/o talking to them at all. THere’s a couple of motivations behind that: 1) to reduce their prestige by preventing them from using negotiations to elevate their influence, 2) to suddenly remove the outside factors driving not-necessarily-friendly factions together, and 3) to immediately reduce military confrontations so that civilians don’t get killed in the crossfire. So in that scenario, you wouldn’t “announce” much, you’d just go. But can I clarify? Isn’t the reason you can’t talk about your deployment schedule to prevent opponents from knowing exactly when a given transport, etc. will be in a given time and place and vulnerable to attack? That’s different than saying “we’re out by 2010” or something like that.

    2. Every report I’ve seen shows that airstrikes in support of units that come under fire are the number one killer of civilians.

    3. The Carnegie report pretty clearly spells out that the troops would be used during the drawdown to protect the major population centers. (That’s something they share with COIN theorists like Kilcullen who question the administration’s counterinsurgency implementation). But again, the year we added more than 40 percent more troops, we had record civilian casualties. See http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/04/04-1. The most important thing to do to reduce civilian death immediately is to implement a strategy that immediately reduces military conflict in the country. Plus, this is something the aid groups are very much behind. I assume they understand the risks.

    4. Can you explain this a little more?

    5. My flip answer is, “I wasn’t aware the Pentagon was worried about wasting money…” My more reasoned answer is that too much is better than too little as far as reparations go.

    6 & 10: The author objects to our backing an illegitimate government with our violence. What they’re after is a process that supports civil society and good governance rather than picking winners in the political process.

    7. Troops /= law enforcement. Those are two different functions and it’s 1) unfair to troops to put them in that situation, and 2) dangerous because troops are trained to kill the enemy extrajudicially, i.e. in combat situations vs. due process.

    8. Let’s hope…? But their “help” with escalation ought to make us worried. I’m sure they’d love to help us get as far in as possible so Afghanistan can bleed us dry…just like it bled them dry.

    9. Never underestimate the ability of a group of angry women to toss out repressive regimes. There are some good 20th century examples in “A Force More Powerful”. http://www.amazon.com/Force-More-Powerful-Non-Violent-Conflict/dp/0312240503/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239105955&sr=8-2

  4. Sporkmaster says:

    Hi, how are you?

    1. When you are talking about reducing their influence, I take it your talking about the Taliban and warlords? One thing I am concerned about that is if they start fighting each other. Because a large potion of the violence in Iraq is the different groups against each other. I would be willing to guess that they will not just part ways without bloodshed. In which the local population would still be in danger of being in the crossfire.

    This may be different in ways, but when gangs violence becomes a problem, we never reduce police presence in the idea that the gangs are unified against the police to reduce violence. So what do you think is different between this and the violence in Afghanistan?

    As far as time, I think it would be safer to use general terms such as years for the overall withdrawal, that way there is a general idea of what is going on but not too specific to track troop movements. In our case our families have asked for specific dates and all we can say is Summer/Fall because things can change. But it is the understanding that the enemy will try things when a unit arrives and leaves. Because it takes a while to things going and it is real easy to be complacent when you are close to going home. When we left for Iraq we had to push back the date because the newspaper and TV stations gave the date that we where to leave.

    But one thing that may be a issue is that those that want a immediate withdraw may look at not having a specific time and date for our forces to be pulled out as stalling or procrastination. So that is why they will still protest with “troops home now” because we cannot give them that time and date.

    2. That is a real problem, but from a military stand point your in a rock and a hard place because on one hand you have the risk of civilian deaths trying to offer overmatch protection and on the other it is really hard to offer a rapid defense to those that are under attack in the remote parts of the country. Also the enemy is not above at shooting at medical helicopters. ( All US medevac helicopters cannot be armed if they are marked with the Red Cross symbol.) When they do close support, they are low to the ground to try to make sure that what they shoot is hostile. Perhaps I am saying this because I have directly benefited from having air over watch on a route that we got a few IEDs and received a few pop shots on. So I may not be the most unbiased source on this topic.

    3. Just because it is announced that the new units will be on one place does not mean that it actually will happen. For example. We had a unit meeting with all our families there to explain what will happen and where we will go to base A. A few days later in morning workout, my platoon was told that it was going to be base B. Also just because a unit arrives together does not mean that they will stay together for the deployment.

    The main thing that I would caution about the aid workers and risk is you cannot always assume what each on will expect. I have heard the phrase “they know the risks” applied to soldiers. I think that many people that supported the invasion back in 2003 of Iraq made that claim and are getting flack about that assumption. To me aid workers are not any different.

    4. Well what is there as a incentive to keep everyone at the negotiation table. If trying to work things out by all sides is going to work, then all sides must be committed to sticking it out until something is accomplished. I am worried that what happens when a group leaves the table and tries to put up a “my way or the highway” approach using violence to enforce it?

    5. I would imagine when we went a trillion into debt may be a reason. There is talk about programs that are getting funding cut to out right cancellation. But people are angry over they way that the bailout money was handled, can you imagine if we started publicly handing out money to Afghanistan locals with this economic problem still not fully solved? You would never hear the end of it. Also I would not bestrides if there would be accusations that the money is going to the terrorists. I can see the sign posts now. “They killed my child and your paying them for it.” Overall one big PR nightmare.

    6. I think that there goals are good, but because of the differences in culture it may be viewed with installing a puppet government that is fighting against the “moral fabric” of Islam. In that the government would face enormous challenges.

    7. I have to disagree here because just because there is not as active death toll for local law enforcement does not mean that both can face the same level of danger. Consider the 4 policemen that where killed in California and the three that where killed Pittsburgh? I strongly disagree about your statement about escalation of force. For the most part it is the same; where it differs is that police will try to disable if possible. Where as the military will shot to kill. But once you get to that point there has been other steps that have been followed. For example if they are in a car you shoot at the engine first to disable it before you aim at the driver.

    8. Yep a figured as much, but the thing that always catches my eye is how Afghanistan broke the Russian army and it was all one big mistake that we should learn from. If that is the case then what is the deal with Chechnya? Seems like they have been in and out of there since the mid 90s.

    9. I would like to think of it that easy and I would be pleasantly surprised if that happened but I guess I have doubts. But to quote myself above, I may not be the most unbiased about this.

    But on a lighter note I have been playing some video games that are full of satire that I found to be enjoyable. I figure I could show then to you to see what you think of them. Got to find time for laughter somewhere.

    http://www.telltalegames.com/store/samandmax

  5. […] Time to Break the Silence on Afghanistan Escalation posted on April 8th, 2009 at Return Good for Evil […]

  6. dcrowe says:

    Hey, sorry for my delay in responding.

    I think you bring up a very salient point here:

    One thing I am concerned about that is if they start fighting each other. Because a large potion of the violence in Iraq is the different groups against each other. I would be willing to guess that they will not just part ways without bloodshed. In which the local population would still be in danger of being in the crossfire…This may be different in ways, but when gangs violence becomes a problem, we never reduce police presence in the idea that the gangs are unified against the police to reduce violence. So what do you think is different between this and the violence in Afghanistan?

    This is a major concern, and it accounts for my delay in answering as I’m mulling it over. You are right–implicit in the “reduce the pressure so they fight each other” is a sort of tacit acceptance of the violence between the groups like we saw in Iraq. And you’re absolutely right to call me out on this, in that in previous posts regarding the debate on whether the “surge worked,” I’ve taken the military to task for claiming victory just because violence dropped after an internal conflict resolved on the side of the Iraqi Shi’ites. So I want to take my time and go slowly through this and then get your thoughts.

    I think it’s important to note that military confrontations with the U.S. don’t just unify the various Taliban factions and allied groups and keep them fighting us. These confrontations also provide the rationale for many of the individuals in these groups to fight, and they provide the key recruitment tool for extremists.

    I was in London not too long ago meeting with representatives of their government on the topic of counterterrorism communications strategies. One of our discussion topics was the “Steps to Radicalization.” Basically, the steps work out like this:

    a) Get a person to identify themselves as part of a group.
    b) Convince that person that said group is under siege or is under existential threat.
    c) Convince that person that violence is a legitimate means of participating in political conflict.

    Pursuing a strategy that will increase short-term military confrontations plays right into this strategy in the most dangerous way possible. AQ and allied groups want Muslims to see themselves as part of a worldwide brotherhood under siege by Western powers, and military confrontations between Muslims and largely Western (Crusader) troops play into that. Further, because we’re foreigners, AQ, Taliban, and related groups can appeal to regionalism. So we’ve got a dangerous situation where these groups can effectively recruit by uniting AQ’s version of jihad with nationalism. This not only drives recruitment, but also provides the ongoing rationale to keep fighting. So, the hope isn’t just that the groups would fracture, but that they would also weaken. So you’d get not only a reduction in violence threatening civilians by reducing combat between the U.S. and them, but also from the removal of the rationale for many recruits to take up arms in the first place. Motivations for shooting at a Westerner differ greatly from motivations needed to kill other Pashtuns and other Afghans.

    There’s a further contradiction in arguing for the use of more troops (hence more conflicts) and more airstrikes to support them: you can’t on one hand say we have to stay and fight to protect civilians while defending the use of airstrikes that kill civilians. It’s clear that the civilians are not the driving factor behind our presence there; you can’t argue for inhumane means in support of a humanitarian mission. The ends are inherent in the means.

    I’m going to have to continue to disagree with you re: #7. Military training differs greatly from police training, and military training does not qualify you for police work. Rules for the escalation of the use of force doesn’t cover it. Police work involves due process as part of law enforcement; military training is training to defeat an enemy. These are two different animals. That’s why we have Posse Comitatus in the U.S….troops are not police.

    LOL, Sam and Max, huh? I’m not familiar with them but will take a look. Hope all is well.

  7. Sporkmaster says:

    I understand that us being there can and does play a part. If we where to leave I think that it would divide those that are and are not willing to fight abroad. Because sometimes people will go looking for conflict zones to look for personal glory. Some examples besides the crusades are Spain when the Moors where there, in western Russia where there Teutonic waged war on the pagan population was “visiting” crusaders. There is the fighting in Greece against the Turkish invasion in the early 1800s that attracted volunteer forces. Not to mention those that joined Allied and Axis/Central Powers doing world war one and two. The flying Tigers are a good example of that. So considering that there is a connection here with war and fighting to masculinity then there will be a large portion of people that would be willing to travel to other area to fight.

    But I think saying that withdrawing our forces will deal a crippling blow to AQ and their recruitment efforts may be overestimated. But in order for that to happen then there needs to a alternatives to that the people can support themselves and their families. Because people that are at the end of their ropes would be much easier to use by extremist because of a lack of purpose, disenfranchised and angry. I think AQ realizes that too, that is why aid workers get attacked because if they are allowed to help then their recruiting pool would be at risk. That is why I am in strong disagreement that removal of the troops will solve things because they are not aid workers, and some how will not be attacked. Also AQ uses intimidation, fear and greed to help it’s ranks grow as well. Even if we do not give the population a reason to fight us AQ can and will. Regardless if the agree or not.

    But the country is so spread out plus the fact that the government is not centralized in that you can send requests to the top and expect supply request to be filled. Towns and outposts will face major challenges and become a recreating ground for the extremist using this as a reason why the mysterious “THEM” is using them for their own advancement. That is why there is such concern for these areas because if we can show the local population that people are actively tying to improve the quality of life and heath, then AQ loses the ability to recruit there. If we stay in the larger cites and capitol what is to say that Afghanistan will look like Somalia? Because when the UN was there they only had control of one city with the rest of the country in total chaos and anarchy. These area become perfect to launch other attacks around the world. As it stands right now the pirate attacks are hitting as far out as 250 miles from the coast and creaking into the Indian Ocean. That is what was happening in Afghanistan for the longest time since the 80s.

    Well here is the thing about the US military keeping the peace. If the military does not have the ability to keep the peace then why is it that when disasters (man-made and natural) one of the first thing that gets called up is the National Guard? I thought that due process was done after the person has been arrested and brought the court house. Yes we do try to defeat the enemy but that does not mean that we use force first and foremost. We detain people (Out unit has not) and then hand them over to the Iraqi judicial system for trial. One of our missions that we did was help build a rock foundation so that living quarters could be brought in for Iraq judges to review cases on if they should be brought to trial or not. Even before this stage we would turn them over to a military police unit for detainment and safe guarding. If those in the military police are not views in the same light as civilian police, then they would not have a advantage over those that want to join a civilian police force. But this is not the case.

    The police out here look more like a military force rather then a police force. Machine guns with Ak-family series assault rifles, with the rare RPG. I have even seen a Iraqi police HUMVV that I almost took for a UN vehicle. But you would never see that over here because there is law and order that does not require to have each city block to have a armed checkpoint. That is to me why using military in a normal every day city would not make sense to use military forces to keep the peace. That is where I think you are making the connection to why the military should not be viewed as a police force.

    Yea, it is a fun game, I know one full episode is free to try out and the rest of the games are just as good, if not better.

    http://www.insidenova.com/isn/news/patriot/article/national_guard_prepares_for_2009_hurricane_season/33569/

    http://www.ngb.army.mil/news/archives/2009/03/030309-Guard.aspx

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/27/national-guard-to-pull-ou_n_170692.html

    http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2009/02/national_guard_leaves_new_orle.html

  8. Sporkmaster says:

    More attacks on aide workers and supplies.

    NEW YORK – Somali pirates attacked and damaged an American ship carrying humanitarian aid Tuesday, but the ship and crew were safe under Navy escort, the military and shipping company said.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090415/ap_on_re_us/piracy_liberty_sun

  9. Sporkmaster says:

    Yet even more.

    Gunmen kidnap 2 aid workers in Somalia

    MOGADISHU, Somalia – About 25 masked gunmen armed with machine guns kidnapped two European aid workers in central Somalia on Sunday, aid workers and a witness said.

    Michel Peremans, a spokesman for the Belgian chapter of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), confirmed that a Dutch and a Belgian staff member of his relief agency were missing in the Bakool region, where the attack occurred. But for security reasons he declined to say whether they had been taken hostage.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090419/ap_on_re_af/af_somalia_kidnapping

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