U.S. Stands “Shoulder-to-Shoulder” with Afghanistan’s Armed Forces and Police. Or Not.


According to our recent survey, more than a few members of our Armed Intelligentsia think TTAG should stay away from politics. This site didn’t start in a market research group and it isn’t going to slavishly follow one either. If it has a trigger, it runs. Saying that, I killed yesterday’s question of the day—War. Huh. What Is It Good For?—because it wasn’t gun enough. I reckon this one is. “NATO has scaled back operations with Afghan soldiers and policemen to lower the risk of insider attacks and reduce local tensions over an anti-Islam video that prompted protests in Afghanistan,” marinecorpstimes.com reports. Ditto the U.S. . . .

“The U.S. military has suspended the bulk of joint field operations with Afghan troops amid a wave of so-called insider attacks and concern about protests over an anti-Islam film,” foxnews.com reveals.

Insider attacks (a.k.a., green on blue) have taken out 51 troops so far this year. Despite new rules for keeping a watchful eye on Afghani “partners,” including mandating that soldiers keep a loaded gun on their person during any and all joint ops, the killing continues. An Afghan police officer gunned down four U.S. troops in Zabul yesterday.

The same day that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta [above, right] said, basically, it’s a war. Shit happens. Today, however, Panetta issued a more sophisticated, more politically palatable assurance. Fox:

He said the attacks do not mean the Taliban are succeeding. Instead, he said the Taliban “are resorting to efforts that try to strike at our force, try to create chaos, but do not in any way result in their regaining territory that has been lost.”

Territory? As in actual territory? ‘Cause I was under the impression that our presence in Afghanistan was more of a “hearts and minds” than a “capture the flag” type deal. Make no mistake, this is an enormous shift in U.S. policy with far-reaching consequences. marinecorpstimes.com:

Until now, coalition troops routinely conducted operations such as patrolling or manning outposts with their Afghan counterparts. Under the new rules issued on Sunday by Lt. Gen. James Terry, such operations are no longer routine and require the approval of the regional commander.

In any case, if a few armed Taliban (one assumes) “insurgents” can shoot down U.S. Armed Forces’ operations in the region simply by assassinating 50 soldiers what does that tell our enemies about our strength and resolve? In that sense, doesn’t this move put U.S. troops at greater risk?

Back to guns per se . . .


  1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

    “…reduce local tensions over an anti-Islam video…”
    Yet another example of people taking their religion too seriously. I’ve a proposal for all Middle Eastern countries: separate your church from your state, and we’ll stay the fvck out of your country. Deal?

  2. avatar GS650G says:

    Maybe Afghanistan isn’t ready for the type of police or army we think they need.

    1. avatar Matt in SD says:

      Agreed. It takes the will of the people, not just a few of the people. If they truly want freedom from a theocratic dictatorship they need to self police, not just have a police force but actually police themselves as citizens. If they aren’t willing to stand up for it, they don’t want it bad enough and we shouldn’t be there holding their hand while we try to do it for them because it will be an endless operation.

  3. avatar stateisevil says:

    Why is the U.S. government in Afghanistan?

    1. avatar JD says:

      The reason we are there is because the attacks on 9/11. If we leave we ask for a repeat.

      1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

        Forgive me, but I do not believe that our continued presence in the world’s butcrack will make a repeat either more or less likely.

      2. avatar Joe says:

        That’s one thing GW Bush got right. It’s been 11 years without another attack. Unfortunately, it’s been 11 years and people are forgetting. Iraq – that was a mess I blame on Cheney. Political assassinations – let’s embrace them. Too many lives lost to depose a dictator. Otherwise, Iraq was a mess, is now a mess, and will be a mess for the foreseeable future.

  4. avatar jwm says:

    It’s the same issue as in Viet Nam. Who of the locals do you trust. Short answer is, trust no one. We must always remember that no matter how good our intentions were we are the invader here.
    As much as we like to knock NYC or Chicago if we heard on the news that chinese forces had landed there we would be outraged and up in arms. We shouldn’t expect any different reaction from the folks of any country we put boots on the ground in.
    We should strive to force our politicians to use great care in choosing our next fight and only invade when no other option is open.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      I wouldn’t care if the Chinese invaded NYC or Chicago. That’s Yankeeland. Hell, the Chinese would probably turn them into better places to live anyway.

      Note: I’m not being totally serious. Although I’m slightly serious.

    2. avatar Mark says:

      You’re absolutely right. They don’t want us there and they’re not hiding the fact that they don’t want us there. I don’t want us there. U.S. military action should always have a specific national interest mission which requires getting in, getting it done and getting out.

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    Is the US trying to bring Western-style civilization to Afghanistan? We’d have more success trying to teach calculus to a cocker spaniel.

    We didn’t go to Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban; we sent troops there to kick out Al Qaeda. It’s time to declare the mission accomplished, bring the troops home and pretend that we won.

  6. avatar Aharon says:

    “by assassinating 50 soldiers what does that tell our enemies about our strength and resolve? In that sense, doesn’t this move put U.S. troops at greater risk?”

    I’m not sure there is another better more realistic choice. Sarcastically, we could support ordering allied forces to willing risk being executed by their Afghani ‘partners’ (sounds like a corporate PC word). I am also not sure if it is a question or matter of our strength and resolve as it is of telling everyone about America’s arrogance and ignorance ie America’s dumb & dumber mindset of denial of the facts in traditional Islamic Afghanistan and to another extent the changing world we live in.

    Are Americans and allied forces more at risk? Yes and no. Yes, because it emboldens the anti-American opposition and no because the risk is being reduced of individual allied forces being shot in the back. Just like in Vietnam, political and military egos, and the money for a select few to make from the war determine the ongoing policy. Unlike Vietnam, the world has really changed a lot and the foundations of the American empire are cracking faster and faster.

  7. avatar Rambeast says:

    Our forefathers warned us of getting involved in the affairs of other nations. The Feds ignore them, and we get 9/11 and the rest of the issues that plague the US.

    Global economy/village or no, we need to just pull out of the rest of the world and let them experience the world without US. Stop funding failed states. No more pumping money into international arts programs. Enough with fighting for corporate interests that want resources to ship to nations they outsourced our economical engine to. Let the middle east revert back to the stone ages and destroy themselves. Let the rest of the world invest in their militaries as much as we do, or be conquored by the ones that will.

    Let’s go home, and take our ball with us.

    1. avatar Silver says:


      Pretty much.

    2. avatar Mark says:

      Control the U.S. border and stay out of stuff that doesn’t concern us.

  8. avatar Sammy says:

    I think that Sharia law is the heart of the problem. The Islamist have lived under Sharia law for centuries. Unless I am mistaken Sharia laws are directly from the Quran and the teachings of Muhammad. My point is that it would be to the Islamist what others would to consider blaspheme to consider living under the “laws of man” or what we might mistake as democracy. Consider the intense ability of the powerful Mullahs to exert tremendous social pressure to obey God and their willingness to violently implement these laws.

    Now, along we come and try to impose our values on them. For the people of the middle east to turn to us the must turn against their clergy, religious commandments and their concept of the after life. You might as well try to get the Pope to renounce the 10 commandments than to successfully transform Islamic cultures to ones similar to our.

    We should defend our self with every ounce of our being, if attacked, but this nation building is a very bad investment on many levels. It is unwelcome where it is tried and exposes us to a multitude of counter attacks and unnecessary international scorn at a time when we can least afford it. And most important, our service men and women deserve better. These young people are far to valuable to waste on people who do not want our help.

    I agree with Rambeast we should remove our troops globally and let them see what their GDP is like with their own defense budget figured in.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      We tried that approach and it gave us WW2.

      1. avatar nonnamous says:

        An oil embargo with Japan gave us WWII…interventionism.

        1. avatar David says:

          To nonnamous: You have to go back even further to 1852 when Adm. Perry threatened the Japanese with naval bombardment of Edo(Tokyo) if they didn’t open their country to trade. And that is why meddling in the affairs of other countries by use of force doesn’t work. A 90 yr. old grudge. The Founders wanted us to be like Switzerland. Armed neutrality. You leave us alone and we won’t kill you. The Swiss haven’t fought in a war in over 150 years. Sounds like a reasonable proposition to me.


          USN, Ret.

  9. avatar jwm says:

    When America removes itself from the world stage that creates a vacuum that has to be filled. In filling that vacuum the process usually becomes violent and wars kick off.

    That would be fine except that we can’t promise that the violence won’t spill over to us. We need to stay active in the world’s events, we just need to get smarter about our choices of how and when to use the military.

  10. avatar Tim says:

    “I killed yesterday’s question of the day—War. Huh. What Is It Good For?—because it wasn’t gun enough. I reckon this one is.”

    You reckoned wrong.

  11. avatar the last Marine out says:

    From their point of view ,It’s their country, so if you need a little food, training, and new guns you go join local army, later you walk with the guns, and GOOD PLANS on how to kill more Americans, it will always end that way , as I said it’s their land and that’s how they will always feel…. can we win ……..NEVER !!!!!!!!!

  12. avatar GS650G says:

    Hitting Afghanistan after 911 was necessary. Creating a 51st state is not. Ditto for Iraq, they have the means to run their own country and if either of these two paradises step out of line they can watch the 8 vapor trails of B1 bombers overhead.

    Defense is one thing but creating new democracies is a stretch. I’m in favor of military presence strictly for knocking down trouble, but give me a break on nation building. Iraq can pay for their own reconstruction, Afghanistan was mostly mud huts and villages, they don’t want for much more. A fair number actually want to live under the repressive Taliban and our only beef with them should be their support for terrorists.

    It’s too bad the Taliban needed the money terrorists provided, if they had other means of support they most likely would not have joined up with them.

    1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

      I agree with all that you said. One little nit needs picking, though. B-1’s have four engines; B-52’s have eight, and leave the characteristic “four sets of two” vapor trails you describe.

  13. avatar JLR says:

    “According to our recent survey, more than a few members of our Armed Intelligentsia think TTAG should stay away from politics. This site didn’t start in a market research group and it isn’t going to slavishly follow one either. If it has a trigger, it runs. Saying that, I killed yesterday’s question of the day—War. Huh. What Is It Good For?—because it wasn’t gun enough.”

    I don’t have a problem with TTAG weighing in on political matters, particularly gun politics. However I was one of those who complained in the comments about that article.

    The problem wasn’t that it was political. The problem was the quality. If you’re going to weigh in on complex foreign policy issues, at least give the appearance of knowing what you’re talking about. It was nothing more than pithy commentary without any thought or insightful analysis.

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