Theodore's World: Two Indisputable facts .... by Colonel Bob Pappas, USMC, Retired

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December 11, 2009

Two Indisputable facts .... by Colonel Bob Pappas, USMC, Retired

Two Indisputable facts

by Colonel Bob Pappas, USMC, Retired

Anyone who knows even a little about war understands that in most wars there is more than one front. When I hear politicians speak about two wars it tells me they are either stupid or are intentionally misleading people. That is true not only of politicians, but of the media in general, as well. On the other hand there were some, a pathetic few who get it right. The “War on Terror” was until the present cast of characters emerged, a multi-front, i.e. Africa, Asia, South America, Europe, a multi-faceted war with two main fronts, one in Afghanistan the other in Iraq. It is not, except among the partisan, intentionally ignorant, two wars.

Whether there is, or ever will be, agreement on how the war was waged until “Neville Obama,” is another thing. But it is useful to debunk the oft stated claims that “we were lied to about the reasons for invading Iraq.” This is a baseless allegation that is issued loudly and often by the left, most recently repeated by Ohio leftist Representative Dennis Kucinich.

One need not be enamored by the rationale used by the Bush Administration justifying invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam Hussein from power, to recognize that it was a brilliant strategic move. However, I was and remain disappointed in the post invasion handling of the occupation, less so of the transition to Iraqi sovereignty although there was much room for both to have been done better. It is one thing to disagree with the judgment and decision as to how to prosecute the War on Terror, and quite another to make allegations that are on their face, fabrications to suit the democrat political agenda.

It is evident from how the strategic portion of the war unfolded during the Bush years that the two most visible efforts, Afghanistan and Iraq, were designated major and minor, with the major effort being Iraq. Whether or not there is ever consensus on where the war should have been fought is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the people of Iraq are now free and for the first time in half a century in a position to determine their own destiny. More important, removing Saddam and his association of socialist thugs from power positioned U.S. forces to apply pressure on Iran.

As has often appears in these essays for the last eight years, bin Laden is dead, he was killed during the attacks on Tora Bora. The pathetic political nonsense spewed by Senator John Kerry and his lackeys that the Bush administration allowed bin Laden to walk unmolested into a Pakistani sanctuary is hogwash, no, it’s bovine scatology.

However, the administration probably knew that bin Laden was dead, as does this current one, a notion reinforced by a statement made during the waning months of the Bush Administration by Vice President Cheney to that effect; and for that reason among others the Administration chose make Iraq the main effort in the War on Terror. To the dismay of the loony left, it was successful, and that fact drives them nuttier. It is also evident from the way it was sourced that Afghanistan was a holding action.

Obama’s recent claim that requests for more troops for Afghanistan were denied during the Bush era is not borne out by available facts. In fact, Bush Administration, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld challenged Obama’s assertion, urging Congress to investigate as well as issuing a challenge to Obama to produce documents that would support his assertion. (Succinctly put, Obama lied about it, so what’s new for this “most transparent Administration in history?”) Whether or not the Bush Administration chose the best strategy will be political grist for decades.

However, here are two indisputable facts: 1. Democrats did everything possible in the public debate, to undermine the war effort; and, 2. the US was not attacked again during Bush’s two terms in office.

Now, Obama has announced his plan for Afghanistan. In stark contrast to his rhetoric during the election campaign, Afghanistan Hawk, Obama now comes across as a pansy. From reports, civilian leadership at the Pentagon and military leadership believe that the 30,000 troops plus the additional 10,000 Obama expects to receive from NATO will be sufficient to do the job.

However, it is evident that Obama’s strategy is designed to begin withdrawal of forces in time for Afghanistan to be off the table as a 2012 election campaign issue. Consider the fact that most of the forces will not be in place until the Spring of 2010, then overlay the mission of training sufficient Afghan forces to secure their own country from that point in time until the summer of 2011. There are too many tasks, they are too expensive and too demanding to get them all done, so we’ll see how it progresses. Hopefully, it will work but one has doubts.

Here’s my assessment: Afghanistan is and has been for centuries a loosely connected array of tribes scattered across some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth. There is no national transportation, communications, or security infrastructure. Outsiders have tried their hand at dominating Afghanistan for centuries, Afghanis remain, outsiders are gone or are dead.

There are probably a million tribesmen all of whom know how to fight on foot in the Afghanistani environment. Their interest in politics is sufficient to know that they want freedom from foreigners, aside from that they are more interested in eking out a living and procreating than what political party, or who is in power. When it comes to foreigners in their land, they put aside their disparate tribal interests to evict the “invader.” It matters little that a foreign force may not intend to stay, what matters is that there are foreigners in their country trying to control them.

Putin recently asserted that U.S. lead NATO forces cannot win in Afghanistan. That is probably a valid statement absent the will to remain there for a generation: a generation of teaching, hand-holding, butt kicking and expenditure of great treasure. Does Obama have the will? Judging from his speech the answer is, “No.” He is so far over his head that it’s pathetic to observe and scary when understood. Should we care? Obama asserted for the better part of his career in the Senate and during the campaign that Afghanistan is vital to U.S. security, so the answer should be, “Yes.”

But now that it’s put up or shut up time and Obama gave such a tepid speech that one can be sure the Taliban and al qaeda are shaking in their boots while waiting for the clock to run out. On the other hand, they may be so impressed with his ability to read a teleprompter that they will lay down their arms and assemble in peace. One thing is certain, it’s going to be interesting, there and at home.

Semper Fidelis

Wild Thing's comment............

Col. Pappas is so good, I like the way he breaks things down and attacks on each thing.

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at December 11, 2009 04:40 AM


Great article Chrissie. Like Chamberlain, Obama and the Democrats have naive expectations that if we leave the problem will go away. That we can coexist within the same borders, when Africa, the Balkans and Israel tell a different story. Many were there before us, to conquer not to teach.

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your gawd like a soldier.~Rudyard Kipling

Posted by: Jack at December 11, 2009 09:58 AM

We also have troops fighting in the Philippines and in Columbia. Both in their ways are connected to the War on Terrorism. Col Pappas is right again.

Posted by: TomR at December 11, 2009 12:23 PM

obama's trying to manage this as a no-risk war, he has downgraded the ROEs to such a point that the troops lives are at risk, but his muzzie buddies are given a better chance to survive. He has already admitted he doesn't want victory so what else is left except the sacrifice of our young troops thanks to his do nothing policy.

Posted by: Mark at December 11, 2009 07:38 PM

Yes the Col. does excellent writing.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 12, 2009 12:16 AM