Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A negotiated settlement with the Taliban

Even though Obama has ramped up the war in Afghanistan, he is committed to a withdrawal by 2011.  The only way to do this is to allow the Taliban to win -- but with conditions.  I believe the plan is to push them hard over the next year, and then negotiate a settlement that requires them to turn over Bin Laden.  In return, we betray our allies (the Northern Alliance et al), and allow the Taliban to regain power under a new name.  We then pay them to allow us to help them develop their mineral resources, and to control the fractious tribes.  As long as they play the game, we play it with them.

Then everyone is happy.  Except the women of Afghanistan of course.

Here is a great STRATFOR summary of the 30-year war in Afghanistan.  One of the primary points of the article is that we have never actually fought it like a war.  We never have had enough forces on the ground to really make a difference.

America's wars of the last 50 years have been fought primarily with aerial bombing.  It never really works, because the enemy decentralizes to suburban areas and the countryside where even precision bombing is not effective -- unless you bomb every single house, recreational vehicle, and tent.

Despite our technology, wars still cannot be won without large numbers of troops on the ground.  We have not done that since World War II -- not even in Iraq.   And so we get wars that go on and on and on.

After full victory, an occupation is required.  Without a full occupation, the victory is again lost.  We have not done that recently either.  Note that occupation troops are not the same group as the fighting troops.  As Jerry Pournelle said recently:

The Romans understood this: the Legions were not good at pacification and nation building. Auxiliaries, with Roman officers and non-coms but native forces who were never going to be pulled but would remain and intermarry and be Romanized -- were the proper instruments for that task. 
Our military leadership is starting to understand this again.  None of our Presidents since FDR have understood it -- including Mr. Obama. (Actually Mr. Obama understands very little of anything.  Except he received lots of early mentoring in the destruction of capitalism, which he is now busily putting into practice.)

Of course what this means is that you don't go to war lightly.  It is a huge commitment.

The attack on Pearl Harbor resulted in a full commitment of the US to defeat Japan.  The idea was to destroy them militarily and then invade and occupy.  There was no discussion of trying to win the hearts and minds of the good Japanese people.  There was no worrying about killing civilians.  The Japanese were the enemy.  We went to war to kill them and take over their country.

If the US were the same country today as it was back then, the 9/11 attacks would have resulted in the invasion of Afghanistan with millions of troops.  We would have invaded Pakistan too, and told them that if they resisted, we would bomb and occupy their cities.  Industry would have been cranked up to double and then triple our tanks, ships, and aircraft.  Any resistance would have resulted in our wiping out whole villages and even cities with firebombing like we did in Germany.  In appropriate situations, where we found deep bunkers for example, we would use nukes.  We would rule the countryside as well as the cities, and install a government at all levels.

And Iran would be very quiet right now.

But I guess we are "Beyond War" -- which I think is the same thing as Defeat.


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