Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Loosening The Reins On The Military To Fight The Enemy

The Afghans have a saying: “After God created the Earth, He had a bunch of rocks and sand left over so He made Afghanistan.”
Amid that brown and desolate landscape there is a mountain of rusted Soviet military tanks and hardware abandoned in 1989 at the end of their decade-long invasion.
The Hindu Kush is a 500-mile mountain range spanning northwestern Pakistan and eastern and central Afghanistan. For centuries, its barren and jagged mountain ranges have been a graveyard of empires.
The Taliban and mujahideen are fierce fighters.  They defeated the Soviets with muskets and their grandfathers overthrew the British with swords.  Even the fortresses Alexander The Great ordered built in Bactria (modern-day Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan) began to crumble as he continued his invasion east to India.
As President Trump wrestles with America's role in Afghanistan, the germane question is what do we seek to achieve.  Making this godforsaken hellhole tranquil is not a legitimate American interest.
In President Trump’s address to the nation last evening he declared, “In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear. We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that allow terrorists to threaten America.”
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton noted a few weeks ago, “Given terrorism's global spread since 9/11 and the risk of a perfect storm—the confluence of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction—the continuing threats we face in the Afghan arena are even graver than those posed pre-9/11. Accordingly, abandoning the field in Afghanistan is simply not a tenable strategy.”
Bolton added, “Politically unstable since British India's 1947 partition, increasingly under Chinese influence because of the hostility with India, and a nuclear-weapons state, Pakistan is a volatile and lethal mix ultimately more important than Afghanistan itself. Until and unless Pakistan becomes convinced that interfering in Afghanistan is too dangerous and too costly, no realistic U.S. military scenario in Afghanistan can succeed.”
Pakistan hid 9-11 monster Osama bin Laden in plain sight.
The President rightly pointed out “after the extraordinary sacrifice of blood and treasure, the American people are weary of war without victory. Nowhere is this more evident than with the war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history─17 years.”
Trump’s strategy is his promise to loosen the military’s rules of engagement (ROE). “We will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorists and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan.” 
Trump concluded his speech by recognizing the immense sacrifices in the global war on terror.  “Many of those who have fought and died in Afghanistan enlisted in the months after September 11th, 2001. They volunteered for a simple reason:  They loved America, and they were determined to protect her.”
“Now we must secure the cause for which they gave their lives. We must unite to defend America from its enemies abroad. We must restore the bonds of loyalty among our citizens at home, and we must achieve an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the enormous price that so many have paid.”

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