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NRT: Not worth it

Written By: - Date published: 2:45 pm, August 6th, 2012 - 133 comments
Categories: afghanistan, defence - Tags: ,

From I/S at No Right Turn…


Not worth it

Over the weekend, we were told that another two kiwi soldiers had died in Afghanistan. The total New Zealand body-count is now seven, five of them in combat.

The politicians are all spouting the usual crap: bravery, honour their sacrifice, dangerous job, sympathy for the families, and this is being reflected in the media coverage. Meanwhile, this tide of political sympathy means our media are failing to ask the question they should be asking: were these deaths “worth it”? And sadly, the answer to that is a resounding “no”.

These soldiers did not die to defend New Zealand. They died in the name of better relations with the United States. Its just a modern version of blood for butter, with a different hegemon to toady to.

They did not die for the freedom of Afghans. They died defending a corrupt, theocratic regime, little different from the one the Americans overthrew in 2001. They died so that rape victims can be forced to marry their rapists and people can be jailed for translating the Koran. They died defendingtorturers.

They did not die “making a difference”. While the Provincial Reconstruction Team has been doing some limited aid work in Bamiyan province, that will all be washed away when we leave – to the extent that the people who work with us expect to be killed and have applied for asylum in New Zealand.

None of this is worth the death of a single New Zealand soldier. And the politicians who pretend that it is need to be held to account for their lies.

133 comments on “NRT: Not worth it ”

  1. Roy 1

    Well said. Absolutely correct.

  2. Dr Terry 2

    Now wait for the Nat’s (and other politicians) to glorify these insane deaths! The names of the dead will be hastily added to the ANZAC roll. I wonder what the bereaved families think/feel? (One imagines their responses must comply with “traditional” expectations).

    • “I wonder what the bereaved families think/feel?”

      The families of the two Kiwi soldiers killed in Afghanistan at the weekend say they are proud of their sons’ time in the army. 
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/7420156/Killed-Kiwi-soldiers-named  

      • Bored 2.1.1

        They will be feeling all the emotions of loss and grief, and have my deepest sympathy. As the parent of a serviceman who could get into the line of fire I take offense that our government sends our children into risky places assisting some ridiculous imperial vengeance mission.

      • CnrJoe 2.1.2

        In a RNZ bulletin ystrdy – one father said his sons death would be for nothing if ‘we’ pulled out – and went on to qualify that the soldiers want to go really badly – they ‘live for the opportunity’ – and said that was the reason we should still be there. ????

        • rosy 2.1.2.1

          Don’t be too harsh – a day after your child dies you want their life to have mattered, to be worth something – even though the worth and meaning might seem irrational to others.

    • “I wonder what the bereaved families think/feel?”

      I suspect the families have to feel that the deaths of these two men meant something. It would be the only thing preventing the deaths being turned into a pointless tragedy and thus worsening their grieving…

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    What did Labour say it was going to do differently again.

    • Te Reo Putake 3.1

      Labour sent in a reconstruction team. National took them out and sent in the SAS.

      • grumpy 3.1.1

        Bullshit, these guys were not SAS, they were the reconstruction team – same unit Labour sent in.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          Once any of your forces have been identified as conducting offensive military operations, you’re done. You become the enemy.

          That’s why Labour was at pains to define a purely humanitarian and reconstuction role for NZ forces in Afghanistan.

  4. Steve Wrathall 4

    So what are you advocating? That Afghanistan be abandoned back to the Taleban, because the Karzai govt doesn’t live up to standards that no country fighting for its existence has? Have you forgotten so quickly how much damage theocratic terrorists can do when given the resources of a state?

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      What are you advocating?

      That John Key reverse his decision to pull out?

      That we stay even after the US pulls out?

      We’ve been there for over a decade, and the Karzai govt is no more secure than it was 5 years ago. The cost of the war to defend his government from the people he is supposed to be governing, exceeds the gdp of the country.

      Read the reports of this incident. What does it tell you that the Taliban retreated to a safe area over a provincial border? After ten years the taliban has safe areas, ie, no go areas for coalition forces.

      There is no game plan for ‘wining’ this war. So what are you advocating?

      we live in a democracy, with a defence force made up of volunteers who swear an oath to follow civilian orders. That means citizens have a duty to only send them into harms way for things that might work. I can’t see any evidence that our objectives can be achieved in this war. Fuck, it’s been years since I’ve seen a description of the objectives that makes a lick of sense.

      • Steve Wrathall 4.1.1

        Of course any NZ involvement in Afghanistan will have to be under a US-led coalition of the willing. But to suggest the Karzai govt is “little different” from the taleban shows a comtemptible disconnect from reality. Has the current Afghan govt poison gassed girls for going to school, cut off women’s noses, executed women adulterers in stadia, sent terrorists flying into buildings…?

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          How about asking Afghani women?
           

          Statement of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) on the International Women’s Day, March 8, 2010
          Today, on the 8th of March, Afghan women are mourning for the gang-rape of Bashiras and Saimas, for being flogged by most lowed elements, for being auctioned in open market and for their young daughters who put an end to their miserable lives by self-immolation. But the perpetrators of all these crimes are forgiven; therefore they enjoy complete immunity, are still holding their official positions and tightening it through plundering our people and country.

           

          Though we don’t expect anything different from the most corrupt and dirty puppet regime of the world, the pain of Afghan women turns chronic when the world believes that the US and NATO has donated liberation, democracy and human and women rights for Afghanistan; whereas, after eight years of the US and allies’ aggression under the banner of “war on terror”, they empowered the most brutal terrorists of the Northern Alliance and the former Russian puppets – the Khalqis and Parchamis – and by relying on them, the US imposed a puppet government on Afghan people. And instead of uprooting its Taliban and Al-Qaeda creations, the US and NATO continues to kill our innocent and poor civilians, mostly women and children, in their vicious air raids.

           
           
           
           
           
          http://www.rawa.org/rawa/2010/03/07/emancipation-of-afghan-women-not-attainable-as-long-as-the-occupation-taliban-and-national-front-criminals-are-not-sacked.html

          • rosy 4.1.1.1.1

            hmm, yes – just a different set of murderers, rapists and oppressors.

            Because this ‘war on terror’ never had the objective of removing the terror inflicted on the Afgani people it was never going to work out for them, especially for women and children – the political decisions are being made without their interests at the top of the list.

        • Kotahi Tāne Huna 4.1.1.2

          If we are to send soldiers as part of “the coalition of the willing”, I would like to have a little more confidence in the current leadership of said coalition first. To put it mildly.

          I get the realpolitik – the democracies have to stick together – but plenty of other democracies are unwilling. What is the compelling argument that necessitates our involvement? Is it because we’re one of the “five eyes” for example? Or what?

    • bad12 4.2

      And have you forgotten how much damage a democratically elected terrorist state can do when it continually uses spurious excuses to illegally invade country after country…

      • Steve Wrathall 4.2.1

        Which countries do you claim were “illegally” invaded?

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1

          I think you’ll find the shorter list is those that haven’t been.

          • Gosman 4.2.1.1.1

            There is no detailed analysis if these interventions were illegal or not. It looks to be just a list of actions that US military forces have been deployed for.

            • Frank Macskasy 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Just because YOU think that “there is no detailed analysis if these interventions were illegal or not. It looks to be just a list of actions that US military forces have been deployed for”, doesn’t make it so.

              If you have information to back up your assertion – present it and share it with out.

              (And this time make sure it supports your position – not undermines it.)

              • Gosman

                I’m not making the claim they were illegal.

                You remind me of people who believe in Psychic ability who challenge Skeptics to prove that the Psychic ability claimed is fake. You should be smart enough to know that isn’t how it works.

                • If you’re questioning whether they were “illegal or not”, you surely must have a basis to pose that question on, surely?

                  When you state “It looks to be just a list of actions that US military forces have been deployed for.” – that implies you have a set position that they were legal.

                  Or are you just saying that for no discernable reason; just ‘cos you can”?!?!

                  Be precise in what you mean, please.

              • Draco T Bastard

                But Frank, what I linked to is just a list of US invasions. IMO, in all probability most of them were ‘illegal’ in the sense that they were against existing international law at the time but the US would have justified it in some way that made it look ‘legal’ such as the false flag incident in the Gulf of Tonkin.

                • Oh yeah, the American guvmint have been busy little beavers, Draco…

                  They only seem to be interested in legalities when it suits them. They even flout their own laws when it suits them…

                  As for torture such as water-boarding… *shakes head in disgust*

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Water boarding is not a torture technique, it is an “enhanced interrogation” technique. Didn’t you read the fine print?

  5. DH 5

    This is wrong people. We made the commitment to do this way back in 2002 or whenever and that meant we were in it for the long haul. Once in getting out was never going to be easy, you can’t just walk away & leave someone else to carry the can.

    As for being worth it. Well Bamiyan is an enclave of mostly Hazaris, an ethnic minority who were long persecuted by the Taliban and the Pashtun majority. NZ gave them ten years of relative peace & security and the rule of law. A lot of kids went to school and a lot of families gained opportunities they never had before. Ask them if it was worth it or not. Add up ten years worth of good deeds & ask the soldiers if they think their efforts were worthless or not.

    I wish we’d never gone in there in the first place. But we did. And in the time they’ve been there our soldiers have done an outstanding job representing themselves and our country. They all did a job they can be proud of.

    You’re insulting the dead, it’s not the right time for this.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      You’re insulting the dead, it’s not the right time for this.

      How can you honour NZ dead by creating more NZ dead?

      This is wrong people. We made the commitment to do this way back in 2002 or whenever and that meant we were in it for the long haul

      Link please.

      Any official NZ Government statement commiting our military forces to offensive military operations in Afghanistan ‘for the long haul’ (as opposed to reconstruction and humanitarian efforts) will do.

      Or I’ll be forced to assume that you are lying through your fucking disloyal treacherous teeth.

      • DH 5.1.1

        Just fuck off mate.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Come on, any link for your assertions will do. I’m quite happy to apologise and say I got it wrong.

          Also can you please explain your idea of honouring NZ dead by creating more NZ dead.

    • Bored 5.2

      DH, if we had the conversation before or after these tragic deaths nobody would say much, maybe the heat of the moment when emotions are high is the best time.

      I agree with you that Labour should never have committed our army to a war zone, and National are remiss in that they allowed this to continue. And i can see good in what they have achieved despite the reality that they are part of an army of occupation. Our reality is that as an imperial vassal state NZ is expected to pay the price of our “priveleged” imperial position, and that involves sending our children to fight in Uncle Sams offshore spats.

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.1

        Yes there are levies and tributes to be paid if one is to be part of the Imperium.

    • mike e 5.3

      we were sucked in to an unwinable war vietnam 2.
      At the very least after the last solders to die in this provence we should have had our own sas protecting our soldiers and even now till they are pulled out we should have the SAS in their patroling and counter intelligence.
      Afghanistan is a profit centre for giant Tory backing corporations i have talked to experienced solders on who have fought on the ground and they say in private that the reconstruction teams come in and build the infrastructure up and the talban blow it up then it is rebuilt and blown up again .
      Carlyle and other giant corporations are having a feild day while grunts on the ground are paying for it with their lives. these solders weren’t based in banyan.

      • Colonial Viper 5.3.1

        And they want their massive pipeline projects which will take oil from the ex Soviet states out to the sea without passing through the Middle East mess or through China.

      • Gosman 5.3.2

        Every war has suddenly become unwinnable according to some members of the hard left for some reason.

        • Colonial Viper 5.3.2.1

          When did Imperial wars in Afghanistan suddenly become winnable since 400BC?! Geeez you are thick. Can you not even see the US wants the fuck out of dodge ASAP. Remind me what they “won” for their US$500B war?

          • GregJ 5.3.2.1.1

            Since Alexander’s conquest:

            Parthians
            Greco-Bactrians/Greco-Indians
            Sassanid Persians
            Hephalite Huns
            Samanid Persians
            Ghaznavids
            Mongols
            Timurids
            Safavid Persians
            Mughals

            I know it is some sort of idea that Afghanistan is somehow unconquerable but the history shows that is not really so – it has been subject to many empires and in turn has spawned a few Afghan dynastic empires itself.

            • Colonial Viper 5.3.2.1.1.1

              Thanks. Good list. Any one since the modern Olympics started 😉

              • GregJ

                Heh – nicely topical! 🙂

                No – not really anyone since the Afghan Durrani Empire – although you could argue Mohammed Nadir only succeeded because of British military support in 1929.

          • Gosman 5.3.2.1.2

            Perpetuating more myths there CV. There have been numerous successful military expeditions in Afghanistan since 400 BC. Even the British were able to beat them a couple of times. They learnt the best way to control the country was from next door though.

            • Colonial Viper 5.3.2.1.2.1

              I didn’t say miliary engagements couldn’t be won in Afghanistan. But you’ll never hold the country for more than a few years and there will be attrition to your forces ever step of the way.

        • mike e 5.3.2.2

          Goose i can just see you volunteering to go afghanistan your a typical right wing coward .
          Happy to send somebody off to war but won’t go yourself.
          GW bush Blair Shonkey.
          So tell me with not enough soldiers on the ground deliberatly to defeat and maintain peace how is this war going to end when the us pulls out in 2014.
          Goose your so much like the geese they force feed grain into their mouths.
          Except you keep forcing your feet into your mouth you lilly livered RWNJ.

          • Gosman 5.3.2.2.1

            Are our soldiers volunteers or conscripts? I’m pretty sure we had involvement in Afghanistan when many of the servicemen currently there signed up. In short yours is a poor argument.

            • Frank Macskasy 5.3.2.2.1.1

              Gosman; When you grab a rifle and head off to Afghanistan, then we’ll take your views a little more seriously.

              • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                “Will you come to Abyssinia, will you come,
                bring your own ammunition and your gun,
                Mussolini will be there shooting bullets in the air,
                will you come to Abyssinia will you come?”

              • Gosman

                That makes no sense as usual Frank. Have you been an active serviceman in a combat zone? If not, then how can you possibly comment on this topic?

                • I’m not the one suggesting that our troops should be there.

                  Since I don’t support the US “War of Terror”, I think I’m perfectly in a position to make a statement that they shouldn’t be there. That is how I can possibly comment on this topic.

                  Do you understand that?

                • Bastables

                  I was serviceman in a operational deployment, I have PTSD, malaria and a war pension to go with it. The ‘gan’ and Iraq are a fucking waste of time and we lost. My old cpl Dethierry lost his life as a contractor in Iraq because he could not turn down the chance of seeing combat again and higher pay. He is survived by his wife and fatherless daughter.

                  I agree with frank, you right wing chicken hawks sure talk a big game. I also request you sign up and select infantry corp. I also want you to experience the national government cutting funding so moratoriums are placed on training with basics like live ammunition. Go sod yourself you false patriot.

                  Rfl times you need to enter http://www.defencecareers.mil.nz/army/joining-up/fitness-requirements

                  You plastic hero.

    • CnrJoe 5.4

      what? the gun lobby use the same rationale’ in the U.S after each massacre on american soil – now’s not the time..unseemly…grieving —–BULLSHIT.
      Now is the time – if not when?

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 5.5

      DH: no. the SAS were pulled out of Afghanistan in 2005.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Pablo at kiwipolitico gets to the specifics … while most numb-nuts NZ journalists are just running the “oh dear, how sad” line.
    http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2012/08/some-questions-about-the-ambush/

  7. Gosman 7

    A dozen or so deaths and injuries, (while obviously tragic), in a deployment stretching around 10 years is extremely light on a historical basis. There also seems to be a clear exit strategy in that the West will be handing over the major security aspects of the operation by the end of next year, by which time the NZ soldiers will be at home. Why do so many on the left always want to cut and run?

    • Pascal's bookie 7.1

      What’s the difference between the west’s “exit strategy’ and “cutting and running”?

      It seems the latter would involve handing over security to the govts forces in the hope they can manage, and the former is, oh yeah, exactly the same.

      I guess we’ve been there for a decade, and everythng is pretty much peachy about now, but will be perfect in a year. Except that’s just not reality is it Gos?

      • Gosman 7.1.1

        The Soviet Union actually managed the situation quite when they left Afghanistan. The Government they left in place was not toppled until three years later and this was in the face of an armed insurrection much greater, and with much more covert and overt foreign support, than what is currently facing the West and the Afghan Government. Once the West leaves the Taliban will lose much of it’s moral cause against fighting the infidel invader. They will likely come to some arrangement whereby they are coopted into the State at some level. It won’t be a liberal democratic state but then no country in that region is.

        • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1.1

          Lol. That’s a fine shade of lipstick you have put on the pig to be sure. But how is it different from cutting and running?

          According to you, once the west pulls out, the people we are fighting will move into positions of power. I assume this is because the government won’t be in any position to say no? In which case that is surely ‘cutting and running’ if anything is.

          If it’s not the case, (ie, if the government could actually say no, but just decides it’s best to give the current insurgents some power), then what exactly have we been doing there for the last ten years, getting in the way of this ‘best’, or ‘least worst’ outcome?

          • Gosman 7.1.1.1.1

            “According to you, once the west pulls out, the people we are fighting will move into positions of power. I assume this is because the government won’t be in any position to say no? In which case that is surely ‘cutting and running’ if anything is.”

            I not stating that at all. In fact if you read my comment you will note that the people will be co-opted into the Afghan state as opposed to imposing themselves by force.

            The Mujahideen didn’t automatically take over the country after the Soviets left. It was only with the massive support from the West and Pakistan AND after Russia removed support in 1991 that they were able to defeat the pro-societ regime.

            Even the Taliban relied heavily on Pakistani help and assistance to take power. The Pakistanis simply won’t be allowed to do this again.

            In short I am very confident that the West can leave Afghanistan with a functioning state which can manage a low level insurgency which will eventually petter out.

            As for why we have been there it has essentially to deny Al Qaida a safe haven and also to enable the Afghan state breathing space to be able to start taking on the responsibility for their own security.

            • McFlock 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, I’m glad the coalition managed to keep AQ out of Afghanistan for the last 10 years…
                       
               

              • Colonial Viper

                Sarcasm? :mrgreen:

                hey Gosman sure, the US denied AQ the safe haven of Afghanistan, so AQ hid out next door at US allies Pakistan instead. And by clearing out Saddam Hussein, the US gave AQ all of Iraq to hide out in, so much so AQ can support the Syrian rebels from out of Iraq.

                Having US boots in a country like Afghanistan, and dropping ordnance on innocent Pashtun villagers on a weekly basis, is about the best recruiting tool for AQ you can think of.

                I mean, seriously where do you get your info/analysis from. It really sucks shit.

              • Colonial Viper

                In short I am very confident that the West can leave Afghanistan with a functioning state which can manage a low level insurgency which will eventually petter out.

                This is comedy gold. Will the west be able to leave Afghanistan in this way before the second half of the 21st century, or did you mean in the second half?

              • Gosman

                AQ have been denied safe havens in Afghanistan from which they can plan and train for terrorist attacks on Western targets.

                • mike e

                  Goose the stench of your BS is getting to where the regional concil will require you to have apermit to discharge.
                  So AQ is not in pakistan or afghanistan somalia syria iraq libya idonesia several former Soviet states you definetly have reading or comprehension problem as you have shot your self in the foot so many times .
                  Your opinion is so uninformed that you can consider yourself a comedian
                  KB probably woudn’t allow you on their site because you would loose every argument like you do here .
                  Seriously you must be a left winger in Drag .

                • Colonial Viper

                  So Pakistan and Iraqi safe havens for AQ will do instead? And the US gets to spend US$500B and hundreds of its own soldiers lives on the way?

                  What a BARGAIN

                  • Gosman

                    Name me the anti-western operations in Western countries planned and carried out by Al Qaida from Iraq.

                    • McFlock

                      Name me the ones planned and carried out from Iraq before 2003.
                             
                      I have the Iranian embassy siege, and that’s about it. 

                    • Gosman

                      I’m not the one claiming that Al Qaida is able to effectively work out of Iraq in it’s efforts against Western targets.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      And that question is still open after the US has spent US$500B and hundreds of its own lives. We know that AQ can operate in Syria – and even across the border in a Nato country, Turkey, to target Alawites.

                      Yet you characterise this as some kind of success. Loser.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      But you do seem to be the one who thinks AQs primary goal is to kill westerners.

                      Most analysts think that the killing westerners part is strategic and aimed at a broader goal.

                      Wahhibist jihadis certainly seem to be kind of thick on the ground in certain areas at the moment. Stupid Al Qaeda, we got them beat!!

                    • Gosman

                      I’ve never stated, or even expressed an opinion supportive of the view, that Al Qaida primary goal is to attack Western targets. I am of the view if you want to tackle Islamic extremists you should tackle them head on in places like Saudi Arabia.

                      However Western nations are interested in their own security primarily. Hence actions which attempt to lessen the threat to Western nations should be regarded as successful if they achieve that aim.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      However Western nations are interested in their own security primarily. Hence actions which attempt to lessen the threat to Western nations should be regarded as successful if they achieve that aim.

                      I don’t understand how wars creating enmity and AQ recruits angry at Western countries helps US security.

                      In fact the US has a long long history of setting itself up for shit down the road with actions like this. (aka “blowback” in intelligence parlance)

                • McFlock

                  You heard it here first – terrorism is no longer a threat in the West.    
                       
                  BTW, where did they learn to fly again? 

                  • Gosman

                    When was the last successful attack carried out by Al Qaida on Western targets in Western nations?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      What do you think AQs startegy is, and what part do spectacular attacks on western targets play in it?

                      Also, enjoy going through border control these days?

                    • McFlock

                      2005 London AFAIK.      
                         
                      But then there was Times Square 2010,  and the underwear bomber in the 2009 (obviously the dodgy batch of plastic was because of the invasion /sarc). And we have the Saudis to thank for discovering the cargo plane bombs in 2010.      
                         
                      So it’s still an issue. 

                    • Gosman

                      I didn’t state it was no longer an issue, just that it is much harder for Islamic extremists to carry out attacks on Western targets. This is due to a combination of better intelligence gathering, stricter security controls in Western nations, and the degrading of Al Qaida’s planning, training, and most importantly their co-ordination abilities.

                    • McFlock

                      of which the occupation in Afghanistan was a microscopic part.
                                 
                      A good start, with a fouled-up follow-through. 

                    • Colonial Viper

                      When was the last successful attack carried out by Al Qaida on Western targets in Western nations?

                      Was there ever one?

                • “AQ have been denied safe havens in Afghanistan from which they can plan and train for terrorist attacks on Western targets.”

                  And you base that statement on—?

                  • Gosman

                    I base this on the fact that Intelligence estimates have put the number oif Al Qaida operatives in Afghaistan at around 100 maximum.

                    • McFlock

                      You moron, that’s how asymmetric warfare works.
                           
                      100 in Afghanistan? That’s at least 10% of their 2001 operator estimate.
                             
                      But along with most other low-level conflicts, the real issue is the reliability of support from the populace, from information and supplies from the wider population through to  a smaller cadre of locals who provide operational security and distraction efforts for their own purposes (money, fuck a competitor, fuck the neighbouring village, whatever). And everyone chooses their own level of support or non-obstruction.
                               

                    • “Intelligence estimates…”

                      Oh dear lord… *facepalm*

            • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1.1.1.2

              Explain how this ‘co-opting’ is going to work without giving them influence, ie power.

              You also might like to explain why they will be ‘co-opted’ right at the point that the government loses a whole bunch of its war fighting ability. Why would they settle for being co-opted if co-option means something less than what they could gain by fighting?

              And how will Pakistans strategic interests be dealt with? Pakistan sees Afghanistan as strategic depth vis a vis India. They are’nt going to walk away from that.

              ‘they won’t be allowed to do this again’? How, pray tell, are we going to stop them? Even with all those assets right there in country the west hasn’t been able to stop Pakistan playing games. Where did we find OBL again?

              And you’ve still not told me the diffrence between cutting and running, and what the west is doing.

              • Gosman

                Pakistan will be denied the opportunity to overtly support the Taliban as they did in the 1990’s. Without this support there is little liklihood of the Taliban taking over power as they did before. They only managed this after receiving massive support from Pakistan and because the opposition they face was divided and largely unsupported by external nations. This is unlikely to happen after the West leaves. Reachin an accomodation with elements of the Taliban doesn’t necessarily mean they will gain much, if any power. They might just wish to recive assurances and/or money.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Crystal ball gazing in Afghanistan. That’s very likely to work out well.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Pakistan will be denied the opportunity to overtly support the Taliban as they did in the 1990′s.

                  How? The west will have less influence in the region once we pull out, not more, and Pakistan has perceived that strategic depth in Afghanistan is vital to her national interests for decades.

                  Without this support there is little liklihood of the Taliban taking over power as they did before. They only managed this after receiving massive support from Pakistan and because the opposition they face was divided and largely unsupported by external nations. This is unlikely to happen after the West leaves.

                  Much of this is contigent on the previous non-answered question. But you do realise that the govt is going to be losing a lot of support when the west pulls out right? The support the taliban has been recieving will not diminish when we pull out, and the govenment hasn’t been able to defeat them with that support.

                  Reachin an accomodation with elements of the Taliban doesn’t necessarily mean they will gain much, if any power. They might just wish to recive assurances and/or money.

                  Such offers have been on the table for some time. But what sort of assurances? In return for what?

                  And you’ve still not answered the question about what the difference is between ‘cutting and running’ (your words, not mine) and the withdraw the west is planning. It’s a distinction you drew, it’s most odd that you won’t address it.

                  • Gosman

                    It is your opinion that the Government of Afghanistan will lose a lot of support. In my opinion they will increase their legitimacy if they don’t have to rely on Western Soldiers to maintain order.

                    Pakistan is essentially bankrupt. This means they can’t afford to annoy the countries that they require to support them. They aren’t going to be receiving billions of dollars of aid from the US if they overtly support the Taliban.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      I was talking about military support. I realise now that you seem to think that this military support is irrelevant going forward because of kumbayah, but I have my doubts on that score.

                      Will we just now start to apply this pressure on Pakistan? Why haven’t we being doing it for low this last decade, or if we have, why will it start to be more effective once we leave? Do you think we will have better intel once we leave?

                    • Gosman

                      When the Soviet Union left Afghanistan Western commentators were giving the Government they left in place three or four months before they were overthrown. In the event it took the complete collapse of the Soviet Union and the related support that the Afghan Government received from them before this happened. This is unlikely to occur in Afghanistan.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      I agree that the situation is completely different from when the red army withdrew. So I’m not sure why you seem so fixated on the comparison. Fighting the last war much?

                      The question I’m asking you is what is the difference between cutting and running, and pulling out and hoping for the best/

                    • lprent []

                      Fighting the last war much?

                      Several wars ago..

                    • Gosman

                      It’s not hoping for the best at all.

                      You beat back the insurgency to allow time for the Afghan security forces to train and then hand over to them. Then you withdraw your forces whilst providing technical, logistic, and funding support to the Afghan government. You also isolate the insurgent supply lines to ensure they aren’t able to get strong enough to effectively overthrow the Government in Kabul.

                      It is a standard anti-insurgent strategy and it certainly isn’t cutting and running. It is what the British and Commonwealth forces did in Malaya in the 1950’s and early 60’s.

                    • McFlock

                      Afghanistan is not Malaya.
                      Just like Vietnam was not Malaya. 

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Jesus wept.

                      Are the insurgents beaten back yet? Remember last season when they were launching attacks in Kabul? Just a hiccup, sign of weakness really.

              • Gosman

                By the way what would you regard as a non cut and run strategy?

                • mike e

                  Dumd arse t roll of the day award.goose.
                  If the right wing had such thoughts and brought them to a high level meeting in the pentagon they would put you in a straight jacket and lock up in a rubber room goose!

                  • Gosman

                    As usual you have nothing to add to this discussion except to attack me personally. You disagree with my view they explain why.

                    A couple of facts for you to consider.

                    The top leadership of Al Qaida pre 2001 has largely been killed or driven in to hiding outside Afghanistan.

                    The US has been able to seriously degrade their top leadership in these new hiding places. The US can carry out drone attacks virtually anywhere Al Qaida might look to set up shop.

                    They do not have the organised training camps on anywhere neear the scale that they had pre 2001 and no country’s Government is actively providing safe havens as was the case pre-2001.

                    There has been little in the way of attacks on Western targets in Western nations over the past few years.

                    The military effectiveness of the Taliban in Afghanistan is largely limited to hit and run attacks or suicide bombings. They have no ability to launch a large scale military operation involving heavy weapons which was what led to their victory in the mid 1990’s.

                    The Pakistani Government is heavily reliant of external support to help prop up their economy and are aware of what overt support for Taliban/Al Qaida will mean.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      What a deal for US$500B and hundreds of dead American soldiers. And all AQ got out of it was the opportunity to train up against US forces in live fire exercises, and tens of thousands of new recruits.

                • Colonial Viper

                  The international forces needed to develop a full “hearts and minds” strategy over the last decade and stick to it. Building trust and buy-in from all significant tribal factions – which would have required massive concessions, and yes bribes essentially – would have given the central govt significant legitimacy.

                  Instead we have a central govt with no legitimacy and sweet FA influence just 100km out from the capital, we have a civilian population full of enmity for US forces (and US contractors) who used indescriminate force and humiliation against them, and we have entire provinces who see the Taleban as the inevitable future of Afghanistan (whether its in 1 year or in 10), for better or for worse.

                  Meanwhile the Taleban still have the operational capability to reach into the highest levels of the central government and assassinate whoever they wish, just like they did with Hamid Karzai’s half brother.

                  This campaign was a US$500B balls up which had no militarily achievable goals after the Taleban were successfully kicked out of the capital.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    The problem with hearts and minds campaigns is that you need a very strong buy in from the civilian population the forces are drawn from, ie, the west.

                    You need to be able to wear heavy casualties. If, at the tactical level, force protection is more important than collateral damage, you can’t win a hearts and mind campaign. If the foreign soldiers put a higher value on their own skins than they do on local’s, you won’t win hearts and minds. The locals have to see that they will and do risk death rather than accidently kill non-combatants. It’s a huge ask. Not impossible, but huge.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      All very true.

                      As a second option, you can hand out M&Ms from Strykers after accidental airstrikes destroying villagers houses, and give any remaining surviving family members US$500 compensation payments for their lost ones.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  ‘cut and run’ is your phrase. I think it’s juvenile bullshit. If you can’t draw a distinguish between what is, and isn’t, ‘cut and run’ I can only suggest you stop using the phrase? Try thinking instead perhaps.

                  • Gosman

                    Whatever phrase you prefer, what would be a situation in your mind where the West would be able to remove forces from Afghanistan and be regarded as having done so achieving victory of some sort?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Why ask me that? I’ve been asking what the objectives are, and saying, when told, that they don’t seem achievable, for bloody years, and that therefore we should pull out.

                    • Gosman

                      I’ve told you what the objectives were/are. The removal of a regime that provided official protection for Al Qaida. The destruction of the training camps where attacks against the West were planned and co-ordinated. The creation and support of an Afghan State that will no longer provide succour for anti-Western Islamic groups which can manage to handle any insurgency with little or no direct military intervention from the West. I’d say we are well on the way to seeing all three being achieved.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      So we’re leaving victorious, just like the Soviets did; Huzzah!

                    • Gosman

                      The opposition to the Karzai government is far weaker than what the Soviet supported government faced in 1989. They have hardly any heavy weapons and, whilst receiving covert support from Pakistan, do not have any major backers providing direct funding and/or weapons. Small scale insurgennt movements with little outside support don’t tend to win wars. Even the US required the support of France to beat the British in their insurgency.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Ask Assad how comfortable he is for starters.

                      In order to have the stability Afghanistan has now, with taliban controlled areas and an ongoing insurgency, and a high rate of defection from the Afghan army and police (where are they going with their training I wonder, it’s a mystery) it is taking the presence of the western military. Which is leaving. So the govt will be weaker than it is now, and the insurgents will not be affected. They will still have all the resources they have now, resources that have been enough to wage war and secure safe havens.

                      Insurgents ‘win wars’ by not losing. And they haven’t lost with us there helping the government.

                      I doubt we’ll be leaving the Afghans much in the way of an Airforce, and that’s all that really matters.

                      And you have still not explained the difference between us leaving now and hoping for the best, and ‘cutting and running’.

                      And you have likewise ignored the question of how we are going to do something new to prevent Pakistan playing games. What leverage will we have that we have not had for the last ten years? Pakistan is developing relations with china, as I’m sure your aware. they are not as short of options as you seem to think, and you haven’t addressed the point that they see Afghanstan as vital to their strategic interests.

                • mike e

                  The spin is good goose but the thinking dumb.
                  Afghanistan was never going to be won even with the troop surge.
                  As the general in charge said we don’t have enough troops on the ground to maintain peace he was sacked by GW Bush.
                  The ony chance that afghanistan would ever be nuetralized would be if the chinese army took over they have the army to do it ,the logistics of the west maintainiung an army in such an inhospitable terrain and society is impossible !mind you .
                  Goose now I get it Tom cruise and you will do it sinlge handedly!
                  The Chinese army can march on a bag of rice a day the logistics required for a 1st world army are frightfully expensive and very difficult to maintain and protect.

                  • Gosman

                    The view that Afghanistan was always an unwinnable war is rubbish. As stated even the Soviet Union was able to leave a regime in place that didn’t immediately implode and was able to successfully fight off the far stronger opposition forces that were overtly and covertly supported by Pakistan and the US for three years. The Taliban doesn’t even have overt Pakistan support and has to rely on support from shadowy elements within the Pakistani state.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The USSR did so well that the Afghanistan regime didn’t promptly implode after they pulled out, but they themselves did, partly due to the stresses of their own military, financial and political losses.

                      Come on your analysis is fucking awful.

                      Edited – its just a bizarre concept – you can “Win” a foreign war even if your homeland collapses. Its like “the surgical procedure was successful but the patient died on the operating table”

                    • Gosman

                      The Soviet Union didn’t collapse due to the Afghan war. That is just propaganda put forward by various people in the West. Normally you most likely would call them out on this as they are largely from the right of the political spectrum. However when it suits your purpose you obviously like to perpetuate the myth.

                    • McFlock

                      oh noes! Shadowy elements!

                    • Gosman

                      Do you not acknowledge that there are rogue elements of the Pakistani intelligence service actively supporting the Taliban?

                    • McFlock

                      Shit, where was Bin Laden again?
                                  
                      I was simply having a laugh at the fact that your “analysis” not only has the depth of a school essay, it even reads like one. 
                                   

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Yeah, rogue elements. That’s the one.

                      Like the rogue elements that introduced cere derived interrogation techniques into Iraqi jails. Just a few bad apples, wouldn’t worry about it.

                  • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                    “The Chinese army can march on a bag of rice a day…”

                    Citation needed. Or to put it another way: I suspect your perceptions of the People’s Liberation Army are somewhat out-of-date…

                • Bastables

                  You’re seriously equating the successful inkblot counterinsurgency of malay with what is happening in the ‘gan’.
                  Inkblot has failed, two dead NZ cpl’s indicate after 10 years the insurgency inkblot or areas of control are expanding even into ‘safe’ non Pashtun areas

                  That increasing afganisatisstion is resulting in more green on blues is the exact opposite experience of Malay success at wining hearts and minds.
                  http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175576/tomgram%3A_engelhardt%2C_death-by-ally/

    • “A dozen or so deaths and injuries, (while obviously tragic), in a deployment stretching around 10 years is extremely light on a historical basis.”

      I’d love to see you have the balls to say that to the families who’ve lost their men in battle.

      As usual, your psychopathic tendency to ignore human suffering is beyond belief.

      • McFlock 7.2.1

        don’t tempt him. The little shit probably would, and not know why it’s a fucked up thing to say.

      • Gosman 7.2.2

        Anybody who joins the armed forces should fully expect they will be put in harms way at some stage. Whilst the Government of the day should attempt to minimise risks to soldiers lives as much as possible sometimes they will be placed in situations where they are wounded or killed. It is part and parcel of the role they signed up for.

        • Pascal's bookie 7.2.2.1

          What do you think the role of citizens is in this arrangement. Politicians give the orders, armed forces follow them, citizens…?

          • rosy 7.2.2.1.1

            What do you think the role of citizens is in this arrangement.
            Mean Pb – dealing with the role of citizens (as compared with the identification of citizens) would mean testing the waters on the notions of society, community and all those other touchy-feely leftie words.

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.2.2

          Hey Gossie, it would help if the politicians kept the interest of NZ in mind before sending our troops to shitfights which are completely out of our control and influence.

        • McFlock 7.2.2.3

          The soldier chooses to trust that politicians will not throw their lives away.
             
          The onus is on the politician to not betray that trust. 

  8. gobsmacked 8

    Countries that have had terrorist attacks by “Islamist fundamentalists”, or “Al-Qaeda”, (or whatever terminology you prefer), while NZ has had troops in Afghanistan, making the world safer from those terrorist attacks:

    off top of my head …

    USA, UK, France, Spain, India, Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia (and bordering territories), in fact pretty much everywhere in the Middle East, etc, etc …

    If that’s a strategy success, thank goodness it didn’t fail.

    (Of course there have been many other acts of terrorism, with different motivation, e.g. yesterday in the USA. But that’s another story.)

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 8.1

      In the meantime, several alleged “terrorist plots” have been foiled and the suspects arrested (not to mention alleged FBI entrapment operations in the USA).

      I wonder how many more of those attacks could have been foiled by determined use of spies rather than overt hostility.

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    I know what this thread hasn’t had enough of! Links! Lonky linky love from the first page of google news results for Afghanistan.

    Let’s start with this one seeing it has a breakdown of some advice the UK PM is getting from his military with regard to the taliban being beaten back, and the government being put on a stable footing to ensure they will cope after western powers pull pegs;

    http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/08/05/news/national/cameron-warns-afghanistan-pullout-can-allow-al-qaeda-return/

    The Sunday Telegraph reported that the fears relayed by senior officers include:
    * The level of desertions. Out of a supposed Afghan Security Force of force around 350,000 troops, 15,000 are currently absent without leave, and as many as 25,000 have in effect been written off as permanent absentees or deserters;
    * The growing number of attacks on Western forces. So far this year 30 ISAF troops have been killed by Afghan soldiers and police in 21 separate so-called green on blue attacks, compared to four deaths in 2007/8.
    * Political loyalty. Earlier this month an entire group of Afghan police deserted and joined the Taliban in the north-west of the country.
    * Corruption within the Afghan police. The scale on which police are involved in the opium industry and their ability to be bribed is leading to concerns that they cannot be trusted to maintain law and order.

    The UK brass reckon pulling out on the timetable would be, I guess, cutting and running, or pulling out and hoping for the best. Quick, tell them about Malaya, it’s all in hand.

    Here’s a piece from Pakistan complaining that the Karzai govt set up by the west is all part of a chess game to support India.

    http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=168288

    Oh yeah, strategic depth in Afghanistan is a bit of an issue with those guys. Quick, tell them not to worry or we’ll cancel their credit card.

    Here’s another piece talking up the cooperation between the Pakistani govt and the Karzai regime:

    http://www.firstpost.com/world/afghanistan-backing-taliban-says-pakistan-406419.html

    Don’t worry though, it’ll all come out in the wash.

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