You make the call....

Steven Laib stevenlaib at SBCGLOBAL.NET
Sun Dec 6 07:35:44 MST 2009

I have to agree with Dennis that it is the job of the generals to assess and determine what is needed to get the job done.  It is the job of the executive to decide what the job is.  Right now we don't have a clearly defined goal, which is part of the problem, BUT more importantly, we have to accept the concept of collateral damage.  In this war there really are no civilians, anyway.  The enemy considers everyone a target regardless.  We will have to do the same.  


From: Dennis Putnam <dap1 at BELLSOUTH.NET>
Sent: Sun, December 6, 2009 8:14:45 AM
Subject: Re: You make the call....

I disagree. It is precisely a commanding generals job to understand the
situation and to know whether or not it is safe to reduce military
operations or increase them and if the required resources are available.
By your definition we then must not have had a goal for any war ever fought.

By arguing Rumfseld you are making my point for me. Politicians are not
qualified, generally, to prosecute a war (perhaps Eisenhower was an
example of an exception but he didn't have to fight one as POTUS). That
is why we have highly trained and experienced field commanders and the
joint chiefs. I agree Vietnam was a case of snatching defeat from from
the jaws of victory all due to politicians micro-managing a war for
which they were completely unqualified. IMO, the biggest reason for the
poor success of the US military recently, is this cockamamie idea that a
war can be fought without civilian casualties. If that had been the
mindset in during WW II in Japan in particular, I likely would not be
here today. My father was assigned to the 2nd wave of the Japanese invasion.

Stephen A. Frye wrote:
> At 02:15 PM 12/5/2009, you wrote:
>> An unachievable goal is not what you originally asserted. I too have
>> doubts, under the current administration, so lets just stick to the
>> original assertion that we don't have a clear goal in Afghanistan. I
>> only agree that the goal is subjective to an extent. Its like the
>> definition of pornography: I can't define it but I know it when I see
>> it. I can't define when the Afghans can manage their own country but I
>> will know it when I see it. Even though he is Obama's appointee, I trust
>> Gen. McChrystal to know when too.
> I do not trust the generals to do that.  It is not their job. The
> government should clearly state the mission, and then turn it over to
> our military leaders to carry it out.  That's where Vietnam failed -
> we had politicians trying to carry it out, that's where Rumsfeld
> failed - he bragged that he was the architect and the generals were
> merely his pawns, and that's where we are failing now - way too much
> government in on the implementation.
> It's the exact point where General H. Norman fought constantly with
> Cheney.  Cheney wanted to define the "how" of the military operations,
> and Generals H. Norman and Colin Powell told him "no".  Thank God
> almighty that they won that point of contention.  Cheney's plans were
> for political expediency at the cost of thousands of soldiers lives.
> Thus I also believe that if our generals are indeed to implement any
> plan or pursue any goal, then the objective must indeed be clearly
> defined and it must be achievable.
> I don't think we have either yet.
>> Stephen A. Frye wrote:
>> > I understand what you are writing, but the goals you state are very
>> > subjective.  Instead, can we set achievable, objective criteria to
>> > know when they are ready to assume. I don't think so.  And when that
>> > is coupled with what you write about the corrupt government, steeped
>> > in its tradition, then I argue that the goal is unachievable.
>> >
>> > At 01:54 PM 12/4/2009, you wrote:
>> >> Sounds great in theory but ignores the dependencies. The goal has
>> always
>> >> been clear. Provide training, security and stability sufficient
>> for the
>> >> Afghan government to assume control of their own country. Exit
>> strategy
>> >> is dependent on the previous. The American people will get behind
>> it as
>> >> long as they can see progress toward the goal.
>> >>
>> >> The problems are numerous. A horribly corrupt Karzi government, a
>> >> country that traditionally is segregated into groups by warlords not
>> >> loyal to any central authority, a horribly weak POTUS, a horribly
>> >> influential left and media that cares more about advancing a leftist
>> >> agenda than what is best for the US with respect to terrorism. The
>> >> latter is the part most difficult to understand as it almost seems
>> they
>> >> desire another 9/11.
>> >>
> Stephen A. Frye
> s.frye at
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