Posted by: rotenochsen | December 7, 2009


Monday, December 07, 2009

One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!…Winston Churchill

Before and after US President Barack Obama’s speech on Tuesday, NATO allies — and Germany, in particular — were expecting to get the call to commit more troops to the fight in Afghanistan. But instead the US government says it will not pressure Germany to send more combat troops, and Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told the German business daily Handelsblatt on Thursday that the US wanted “political commitments, rather than numbers” from its NATO allies. (Since when do politicians defeat the enemy)
Holbrooke added: “Britain has already announced an additional 500 troops; other countries are preparing their own contributions. What’s crucial is that there is cooperation within NATO.” Source:Der Spiegel

There are currently roughly 4,300 German soldiers in Afghanistan, and Berlin says it won’t consider increasing that figure until after an international conference in January. Holbrooke, in turn, has insisted that the US is not disappointed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In contrast to that report in the German paper, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday that alliance members would send at least 5,000 troops to back the newly announced US increase of approximately 30,000 soldiers. Washington has asked Germany to provide 2,000 more troops, France and Italy 1,500 each, and Britain 1,000, according to French officials.It woul appear the right hand does not know what the left is doing! A bad thing in war!

On Thursday, Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa confirmed that Rome would send around 1,000 extra troops to Afghanistan, raising its presence to roughly 3,700. La Russa told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that the previously reported figure of 1,500 extra soldiers was “a maximum quota which we would never reach.”

NATO officials say several other nations have announced plans to send more troops, including Georgia (900), Poland (600) and Slovakia (250). Portugal is keeping the pledge it made earlier this year to send 150 troops from its “rapid deployment” force to join 100 military trainers already in Afghanistan, according to Defense Minister Augusto Santos Silva.

Similarly, following the Obama speech, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Berlin was prepared to increase the number of police trainers it sends to Afghanistan, and France has also stressed its commitment to building up local police forces. Turkey also says it is looking at whether it should boost its training role in Afghanistan. However, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul has made it clear that Turkish soldiers will not be part of any combat operations.
It appears to me that we will continue to fight the Taliban by ourselves! Since the European governments appear to be more interested in Nation building than in fighting the Taliban!

Obama’s talk of a timeline for withdrawal was a misjudgment in my opinion. From USA’s experience in Bosnia, I remember how the Dayton Agreement that supposedly ended the Bosnian war committed Nato to just a one-year mandate. The people were not impressed. As many of Bosnians asked in December 1995: “Why should we support you, if in 12 months’ time you will have gone?” So we must not fall into the same trap this time in Afghanistan.
And, unfortunately, we still have troops in Bosnia to this day!

For our Armed Forces, the immediate task is to complete our mission in Afghanistan. o kill the Taliban and al Qaeda! Just in the last few days, the International community has sort of renewed its determination to succeed . And succeed we must, because defeat is not an option for the USA! Any other outcome would give a huge boost to al Qaeda and the radical Muslims who seek to change our values and our way of life, through terrorist tactics..

Talk now of a withdrawal or troop reductions in Afghanistan is premature. We must show first that we are succeeding. In particular, the World media must believe we are succeeding, and report comprehensive progress as it develops. Maybe our Mass Media will be different than they were in the Vietnam era, but I will not hold my breath until they do!
The current fixation on casualties runs the risk – if over-reported – of eroding our national will to continue. This would be a tragedy. Wars kill people on both sides. If we are not committed to killing the enemy we should bring the troops home now!

Patience is difficult for a liberal (left leaning) Democracy, but impatience, with an eye on the domestic ballot box, is what the enemy always counts on. We must not fall into that trap. For the people of Afghanistan, and the people of this country, the stakes are too high.

Obama and the NATO people say we need to win the hearts and minds of the people. But perhaps more critically, we also need to win the hearts and minds of the people of this country, too. The biggest threat to our success in Afghanistan is not the Taliban, but a loss of will by the people at home to see this vital task through. We must maintain the will to win, and break the will of the Taliban to continue.
Talk of withdrawal only emboldens the enemy!!


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