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Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

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Old 04-10-09, 10:34 AM   #126
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

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Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
One could also point out that we are still in the budgeting cycle initiated by the prior administration -- a supplemental is necessary to fund the war since, per that administration's practice, the current budget does not include the cost of the war.
I am curious about that. Was that a practice created in the last 8 years or does it go further back?
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Old 04-10-09, 11:26 AM   #127
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

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Originally Posted by Hank Ringworm View Post
This makes absolutely no sense. Should Bush have planned a withdrawal before Iraq was ready, just so Obama wouldn't have to deal with it? I guarantee you Bush was going on Petraeus's recommendations, just like Obama's doing.
It just makes it beside the point. It makes what an incompetent president's actions unimportant, considering Bush's surge came years after people recommended his initial invasion to contain many more troops than were sent. I don't see the point in congratulating someone who finally decides to listen to reason. But I do find it funny that Bush's withdrawal plan is more valid than Obama's. Clearly this argument is fair and balanced with the folks here.
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Old 04-10-09, 12:52 PM   #128
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

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Except President Obama didn't consistently vote against supplementals when he was a Senator. He voted against the supplementals that did not include a timetable for withdrawal. He voted in favor of supplementals that did include a timetable for withdrawal. Now there is a timetable for withdrawal.

One could also point out that we are still in the budgeting cycle initiated by the prior administration -- a supplemental is necessary to fund the war since, per that administration's practice, the current budget does not include the cost of the war.
1. Is that the best you can up with?

2. Bush made the same arguments.
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Old 04-10-09, 12:52 PM   #129
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

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Originally Posted by orangecrush18 View Post
I am curious about that. Was that a practice created in the last 8 years or does it go further back?
Which practice -- the practice of using supplemental appropriations, or the timing of the budget cycle?

The timing of the budget cycle has not changed in decades, as far as I am aware.

Supplemental appropriations certainly precede the Iraq War, but they were not used to anywhere near the extent they were used to fund the Iraq War.
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Old 04-10-09, 12:54 PM   #130
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

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Originally Posted by classicman2 View Post
2. Bush made the same arguments.
Bush made the argument that he voted against supplementals that failed to include a timetable for withdrawal? And the argument that his predecessor hadn't properly budgeted for the Iraq War during his first fiscal year in office?
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Old 04-10-09, 01:55 PM   #131
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

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Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Which practice -- the practice of using supplemental appropriations, or the timing of the budget cycle?

The timing of the budget cycle has not changed in decades, as far as I am aware.

Supplemental appropriations certainly precede the Iraq War, but they were not used to anywhere near the extent they were used to fund the Iraq War.
The latter. Thanks for the info.
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Old 04-10-09, 02:07 PM   #132
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

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Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Bush made the argument that he voted against supplementals that failed to include a timetable for withdrawal? And the argument that his predecessor hadn't properly budgeted for the Iraq War during his first fiscal year in office?
Bottom line - Obama is following in line with Bush - supplemental(s).

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Old 04-23-09, 04:28 AM   #133
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYT
Taliban Seize Vital Pakistan Area Closer to the Capital
By JANE PERLEZ
Published: April 22, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pushing deeper into Pakistan, Taliban militants have established effective control of a strategically important district just 70 miles from the capital, Islamabad, officials and residents said Wednesday.

The fall of the district, Buner, did not mean that the Taliban could imminently threaten Islamabad. But it was another indication of the gathering strength of the insurgency and it raised new alarm about the ability of the government to fend off an unrelenting Taliban advance toward the heart of Pakistan.

Buner, home to about one million people, is a gateway to a major Pakistani city, Mardan, the second largest in North-West Frontier Province, after Peshawar.

“They take over Buner, then they roll into Mardan and that’s the end of the game,” a senior law enforcement official in North-West Frontier Province said. He asked that his name be withheld because was not authorized to speak to the news media.

The Taliban had pushed into the district from the neighboring Swat Valley, where the Pakistani Army agreed to a truce in mid-February and remains in its barracks.

On Wednesday heavily armed Taliban militants were patrolling villages, and the local police had retreated to their station houses in much of Buner, officials and residents said.

The staff members of local nongovernmental organizations have been ordered to leave, and their offices have been looted, they said. Pakistani television news channels showed Taliban fighters triumphantly carrying office equipment out of the offices of the organizations.

“They are everywhere,” one resident of Daggar, Buner’s main city, said by telephone. “There is no resistance.”

The Taliban advance has been building for weeks, with the assistance of sympathizers and even a local government official who was appointed on the recommendation of the Taliban, the senior official said.

It also comes 10 days after the government of President Asif Ali Zardari agreed to the imposition of Islamic law, or Shariah, in Swat, as part of the deal with the Taliban.

A local politician, Jamsher Khan, said that people were initially determined to resist the Taliban in Buner, but that they were discouraged by the deal the government struck with the Taliban in Swat.

“We felt stronger as long we thought the government was with us,” he said by telephone, “but when the government showed weakness, we too stopped offering resistance to the Taliban.”

...
The militants were helped by the actions of the commissioner of Malakand, Javed Mohammad, who is also the senior official in Swat and who was appointed on the recommendation of the Taliban, the senior law enforcement official said.

The Taliban began their assault on Buner in early April, when a battalion of the Taliban militia with heavy weaponry crossed over the hills from Swat to Buner, according to an account in the newspaper Dawn that appeared on Saturday.

The Taliban then captured three policemen and two civilians, and killed them, the newspaper said.

Infuriated by the killings, people in lower Buner and Sultanwas assembled a volunteer force and killed 17 Taliban fighters, the account said.

But soon after that, Mr. Mohammad tried to persuade the local elders to allow the Taliban to enter Buner, the newspaper said.

Soon afterward, Mr. Mohammad ordered the local armies to dissolve, the senior law enforcement official said. The order led many of those who had been willing to stand up to the Taliban to either flee or give up, the official said.


...
Appeasement in action.
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Old 04-23-09, 08:20 AM   #134
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

Lets hear some good news here.

I have long believed, and many of the soldiers do too, that we should be hunting these people over there. Hunting them down and eliminating them. Make fear a presence in their lives. We spend WAY too much sitting on bases waiting to be hit, doing vehicle patrols to different places they know we are going and they sabotage routes, etc. Not enough time out there with search and destroy teams hunting those people, with air assets on standby.

I know that sounds a bit like Willard's opening monologue, but it's what we should be doing. We get soft on bases and they get harder out there living and sleeping it.

Anyway...

I know someone that was involved in this on another forum. It was hairy stuff up there.

Quote:
Turning Tables, U.S. Troops Ambush Taliban With Swift And Lethal Results

KORANGAL OUTPOST, Afghanistan — Only the lead insurgents were disciplined as they walked along the ridge. They moved carefully, with weapons ready and at least five yards between each man, the soldiers who surprised them said.

Behind them, a knot of Taliban fighters walked in a denser group, some with rifles slung on their shoulders — “pretty much exactly the way we tell soldiers not to do it,” said Specialist Robert Soto, the radio operator for the American patrol.

If these insurgents came close enough, the soldiers knew, the patrol could kill them in a batch.

Fight by fight, the infantryman’s war in Afghanistan is often waged on the Taliban’s terms. Insurgents ambush convoys and patrols from high ridges or long ranges and slip away as the Americans, weighed down by equipment, return fire and call for air and artillery support. Last week a patrol from the First Infantry Division reversed the routine.

An American platoon surprised an armed Taliban column on a forested ridgeline at night, and killed at least 13 insurgents, and perhaps many more, with rifles, machine guns, Claymore mines, hand grenades and a knife.

The one-sided fight, fought on the slopes of the same mountain where a Navy Seal patrol was surrounded in 2005 and a helicopter with reinforcements was shot down, does not change the war. It was one of hundreds of firefights that have occurred in the Korangal Valley, an isolated region where local insurgents and the Americans have been locked in a bitter stalemate for more than three years.

But as accounts of the fight have spread, the ambush, on Good Friday, has become an emotional rallying point for soldiers in Kunar Province, who have seen it as a both a validation of their equipment and training and a welcome bit of score-settling in an area that in recent years has claimed more American lives than any other.

The patrol, 30 soldiers from the First Battalion, 26th Infantry, had left this outpost before noon on April 10, and spent much of the day climbing a ridge on the opposite side of the Korangal River, according to interviews with more than half the participants.

Once the soldiers reached the ridge’s crest, almost 6,000 feet above sea level on the side of a peak called Sautalu Sar, they found fresh footprints on the trails, and parapets of rock from where Taliban fighters often fire rifles and rocket-propelled grenades down onto this outpost.

The platoon leader, Second Lt. Justin Smith, selected a spot where trails intersected, and the platoon dug shallow fighting holes before dark. Claymore antipersonnel mines were set among the trees nearby.

At sunset, Lieutenant Smith called for a period of absolute silence, which lasted into darkness. Then he ordered three scouts to sit in a listening post about 100 yards away, 10 feet off the trail.

The scouts set in. Less than a half-minute later, a column of Taliban fighters appeared, walking briskly their way.

Sgt. Zachary R. Reese, a sniper, whispered into his radio. “We have eight enemy personnel coming down on our position really fast,” he said. He could say no more; the Taliban fighters were a few feet away.

More appeared. Then more still. The sergeant counted 26 gunmen pass by.

The patrol, Second Platoon of Company B, was in a place where no Americans had spent a night for years, and it seemed that the Afghans did not expect danger.

The soldiers waited. The rules of the ambush were long ago drilled into them: no one can move, and no one can fire until the patrol leader gives the order. Then everyone must fire at once.

The third Taliban fighter in the column switched on a flashlight, the soldiers said, and quickly switched it off. About 50 yards separated the two sides, but Lieutenant Smith did not want to start shooting too soon, he said, “because if too many lived then we’d be up there fighting them all night.”

He let the Taliban column continue on. The soldiers trained their weapons’ infrared lasers, which are visible only with night-vision equipment, on the fighters as they drew closer. The lasers mark the path a bullet will fly.

The lead fighter had almost reached the platoon when Pvt. First Class Troy Pacini-Harvey, 19, his laser trained on the lead man’s forehead, moved his rifle’s selector lever from safe to semi-automatic. It made a barely audible click. The Taliban fighter froze. He was six feet away.

Lieutenant Smith was new to the platoon. This was his fourth patrol. He was in a situation that every infantry lieutenant trains for, but almost no infantry lieutenant ever sees. “Fire,” he said, softly into the radio. “Fire. Fire. Fire.”

The platoon’s frontage exploded with noise and flashes of light as soldiers fired. Bullets struck all of the lead Taliban fighters, the soldiers said. The first Afghans fell where they were hit, not managing to fire a single shot.

Five Taliban fighters bolted to the soldiers’ left, unwittingly running squarely into the path of machine-gun bullets and the Claymore mines. For a moment, the soldiers heard rustling in the brush. They detonated their Claymores and threw hand grenades. The rustling stopped.

Two other Taliban fighters had dashed to the right, toward an almost sheer drop. One ran so wildly in the blackness that his momentum carried him off the cliff, several soldiers said.

Another stopped at the edge. Pvt. First Class Brad Larson, 19, had followed the man with his laser. “I took him out,” he said.

The scout at the listening post shot three of the fleeing fighters, and dropped two more with hand grenades. “We stopped what we could see,” Sergeant Reese said.

The shooting had lasted a few minutes. The hillside briefly fell quiet. The surviving Taliban fighters, some of whom had run back up the trail, began shouting in the darkness. “We could hear them calling out to one another,” Specialist Soto said.

Lieutenant Smith called the listening post back in. After two Apache attack helicopters showed up, an F-15 dropped a bomb on the Taliban’s escape route, about 600 yards up the trail. Then the lieutenant ordered teams to search the bodies they could find on the crest.

Sergeant Reese gave his rifle to another sniper to cover him while he tried to cut away a Taliban fighter’s ammunition pouches with a four-inch blade. The fighter had only been pretending to be dead, the soldiers said. He lunged for Sergeant Reese, who stabbed him in the left eye.

In all, the soldiers found eight bodies on the crest. They photographed them to try to identify them later, and collected their weapons, ammunition, radios and papers. Then the patrol swept down a gully where a pilot said he saw more insurgents hiding.

Four scouts, using night-vision gear, spotted five fighters crouching behind rocks, and killed them with rifle and machine-gun fire, the scouts said. The bodies were searched and photographed, too. The platoon began to hike back to the outpost, carrying the captured equipment.

Second Platoon, Company B has endured one of the most arduous assignments in Afghanistan. Eight of the platoon’s soldiers have been wounded in nine months of fighting in the valley, part of a bitter contest for control of a small and sparsely populated area.

Three others have been killed.

In a matter of minutes, the ambush changed the experience of the surviving soldiers’ tours. The degree of turnabout surprised even some the soldiers who participated.

“It’s the first time most of us have even seen the guys who were shooting at us,” said Sgt. Thomas Horvath, 21.

The next day, elders from the valley would ask permission to collect the villages’ dead. Company B’s commander, Capt. James C. Howell, would grant it.

But already, as the soldiers slid and climbed down the mountain, word of the insurgents’ defeat was traveling through Taliban networks.

Specialist Robert C. Oxman, 21, had put a dead fighter’s phone in his pocket. As the platoon descended, the phone rang and rang, apparently as other fighters called to find out what had happened on Sautalu Sar. By sunrise, it had been ringing for hours.
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Old 05-10-09, 10:04 AM   #135
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

President Karsi says the U. S. must halt all air strikes in Afghanistan.

There's no way that we should ever agree to that.

If he insists - our response should be - 'so long.'
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Old 05-10-09, 11:36 AM   #136
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

Karsi on Meet the Press all but said that the United States is engaging in an immoral war in Afghanistan.

When challenged by Gregory he tried to back away a little bit.
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Old 05-11-09, 02:45 PM   #137
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday he asked for the resignation of Gen. David McKiernan. He said a fresh approach was in the U.S.'s best interest.

I believe his replacement is Lt. Gen. McCrystal - I'm not of that though.

The first of 21,000 additional troops arrived in Afghanistan.

Note: McKeirman most likely will retire. He's probably not a happy camper.
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Old 07-21-09, 07:19 PM   #138
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

Wow, nothing since May?

In any event, the War on Drugs went awesomely today:
Quote:
U.S. bombs poppy crop to cut Taliban drug ties

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The U.S. military bombed about 300 tons of poppy seeds in a dusty field in southern Afghanistan Tuesday in a dramatic show of force designed to break up the Taliban's connection to heroin.

The air strike occurred mid-day in Helmand province and was observed by CNN's Ivan Watson, who is embedded with the U.S. Marines operating in that province.

The military dropped a series of 1,000-pound bombs from planes on the mounds of poppy seeds and then followed with strikes from helicopters.

Tony Wayne, with the U.S. State Department, said the strikes on poppy seeds, that can be used to make opium and heroin, is part of a strategy shift for the military to stop the Taliban and other insurgents from profiting from drugs. Video Watch U.S. military bomb poppy seeds »

"There is a nexus that needs to be broken between the insurgents and the drug traffickers," Wayne said. "Also, it is part of winning the hearts and minds of the population because in some cases they are intimidated into growing poppies."

In a bid to encourage Afghan farmers to swap out their poppy plants for wheat crops the U.S. Agency for International Development has been offering them seeds, fertilizers and improved irrigation.

Observers have noticed a significant decline in the opium trade in Afghanistan, with the number of poppy-free provinces increasing from 13 in 2007 to 18 in 2008, according to a U.N. report released last year.

Opium cultivation in the country, which has 34 provinces, dropped by about 20 percent in a year, the U.N. reported in August.

"It's a challenge to deliver assistance in a war zone -- you can hear fighter jets flying above us right now," said Rory Donohoe, a USAID development officer.

"At the end of the day, what we found is successful is that we work in areas that we can work," he told CNN in a recent interview in Helmand province.

"We come to places like this demonstration farm where Afghans can come here to a safe environment, get training, pick up seeds and fertilizer, then go back to districts of their own."

Many of Afghanistan's northern and eastern provinces have already benefited from USAID alternative farming programs, which have doled out more than $22 million to nearly 210,000 Afghans to build or repair 435 miles (700 kilometers) of roads and some 2,050 miles (3,300 kilometers) of irrigation and drainage canals.

Giving Afghan farmers improved access to markets and improved irrigation is successfully weaning them away from poppy production, according to officials at USAID.

Over the years, opium and heroin -- both derivatives of the poppy -- have served as a major source of revenue for the insurgency, most notably the Taliban movement that once ruled Afghanistan.

"If you can just help the people of Afghanistan in this way, the fighting will go away," said Abdul Qadir, a farmer in Lashkar Gah.

"The Taliban and other enemies of the country will also disappear."

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapc...ike/index.html
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Old 07-22-09, 01:25 AM   #139
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

Afghanistan is a waste of resources. i got a friend over there right now and i just want his ass home. imo we should just leave them alone. the main reason they are pissed at us is BECAUSE we invade their country and we act like we can do whatever we want - and then, for example, if we do help them like we did in the 70s vs russia, shortly after its over we tell them to go f**k themselves n say "PEACE!" id be pissed too
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Old 07-22-09, 06:21 AM   #140
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

70's?
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Old 07-22-09, 07:56 AM   #141
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

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Afghanistan is a waste of resources. i got a friend over there right now and i just want his ass home. imo we should just leave them alone. the main reason they are pissed at us is BECAUSE we invade their country and we act like we can do whatever we want - and then, for example, if we do help them like we did in the 70s vs russia, shortly after its over we tell them to go f**k themselves n say "PEACE!" id be pissed too
You do realize you are proposing in the first part of your statement what you are criticizing in the second part right
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Old 07-24-09, 11:58 AM   #142
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

July is already the deadliest month for American troops since our invasion.
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Old 07-24-09, 12:15 PM   #143
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

Wasn't that kind of inevitable as our focus shifted there?
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Old 07-24-09, 12:20 PM   #144
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

I think some change of strategy in Afghanistan is not far down the road.

Last edited by classicman2; 07-24-09 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 07-24-09, 12:21 PM   #145
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

Oh man.

Not the poppies... they're so wonderful.

Man they are the best.
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Old 07-24-09, 12:27 PM   #146
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

weren't all wars supposed to end after Obama came to office?
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Old 07-24-09, 01:06 PM   #147
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

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Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post
weren't all wars supposed to end after Obama came to office?
I know you're probably being facetious, but one of the few things Obama made clear during the election was his intent to focus on Afghanistan.

I for one want to see whether or not he has the mettle to stay and fight as the death toll mounts. Somehow I doubt it.
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Old 07-24-09, 01:25 PM   #148
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

Unless something is 'done' about Pakistan - it's a losing cause.
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Old 07-24-09, 02:51 PM   #149
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

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Unless something is 'done' about Pakistan - it's a losing cause.
Bush didn't even really want to "do" anything about Pakistan, and I don't see where Obama is going to be any different.
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Old 07-24-09, 03:01 PM   #150
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Re: Afghanistan: The War Continues Under Obama -- but the debate is still about Iraq.

Yup. Even after Obama outlined his plan, I still have no idea what needs to happen for our troops to come home. I just wonder if it will continue on long enough that the American people start to protest, or if it will be something that the administration brings to the people before the local unrest develops much, perhaps at the prompting of external forces.

I have no idea how we get home from Afghanistan without the general perception that we were driven out through attrition. It's going to take some very careful words and another revision of objectives that are actually obtainable. As in... we'll bomb the hell out of such and such an area, help you move in, and then it's up to you guys to clean up. Peace!

I've said all along that this would be the war Obama will have to answer for in some way, not Iraq.

I know this was a "popular" war. But I'm not sure how many people would have supported it if they knew we would still be fighting it in 2010, even escalating it. That would have probably been unimaginable to most.
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