Al Qaeda and the Taliban

I am doing research for an article for a magazine. I have been speaking with troops directly in Iraq and Afghanistan on the front. I also speak with Veterans who have left the military who were in both these battle fields.

In general these men and women believe that we need to remain in Afghanistan. They firmly believe that both the Taliban and Al Qaeda remain strong forces. Their thoughts are that essentially these groups are organizations setup with a corporate structure. Many said it does not matter whether Bin Laden or any other leaders are dead or not, there are many second in command (vice presidents) who will take over.

They feel as strongly as we on the left about getting out of Iraq. Virtually every one of them I spoke to currently in the military and those who have returned believe it was wrong to go into Iraq and we need to be out ASAP.

We currently have 160,000 troops in Iraq and 50,000 in Afghanistan.

They know Bushco used 9/11, Al Qaeda, Bin Laden and The Taliban for fear mongering. They believe that he just exploited a situation that is real. Their thoughts are that both these groups are as strong or stronger than they were on 9/11.

Those in Afghanistan believe in what they are doing there and are very frustrated that Pakistan is not allowing them in their country to pursue the Taliban and Al Qaeda. On this battle front the men and women universally are committed to their cause.

Those in Iraq are completely discouraged and feel their training is being wasted and they are killing for no good cause. They know they are in an un-winnable war that is virtually a civil war within Iraq. The Iraqi government and military are NOT “stepping up to the plate” and taking the lead and doing their job. They should be preparing to take things over as we withdraw but are doing little to show signs of doing so.

In general the troops in Iraq would gladly go to do what they were trained to do in Afghanistan.

I have spoken to over 50 men and women who are in or were in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have spoke to officers as high as Majors. That is three promotions from General. They are of the same belief.


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  1. for their resurgence was the ability to cross in and out of Pakistan with relative impunity. The coming chaos in Pakistan will only make them stronger.

    Until Pakistan is resolved, they can always just fade back into the mountains and wait. But I would rather have the troops actually doing SOMETHING other than waiting to get blown up in Iraq.  

  2. unwilling to leave Iraq.  I know two of them pretty well and feel confident in saying that their personal motivation for desiring to stay in Iraq is some fluttering hope that we can make a silk purse somehow.  Both soldiers are career soldiers.  A long time ago they chose to dedicate their life work to America’s military and we all see that Iraq is going to be our second Vietnam in terms of what it will do to our long term reputation.  The harder someone has worked and the more they have sacrificed before this yahoo and friends stole the presidency the harder it is to swallow this reality.  It is our medicine though and it is ours to take and now it is only a matter of who will be the last nose holding spoon full of sugar added punks to buck up.

  3. bwhahaahahahhhahhha!

    You tend the hurt the ones helping you.

    • Edger on December 28, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    but I believe that past and current foreign policies have created and continue to exacerbate that threat, and that al-Qaeda is the response to those foreign policies.

    Military force/pursuit will, I also believe, do little but cause the threat to continue to grow.

  4. I gotta run. Thanks for voting in poll also. Later, Tom.

  5. As Al-Quida has proven, they can carry out threats, at least to some degree.  For that reason, they shouldn’t be ignored.  

    What concerns me is that while the Bush Administration seems to be focusing exclusively on Al-Quida-though they are incompetently dealing with potential threats-they ignore other growing treats from more powerful forces.  

    I’ve posted comments before about the new alliances being forged to counter US power.  There was the Sino-Soviet Summit in August, 07 where:  (emphasis mine)

    “…The leaders of Russia, China and Iran said Thursday that Central Asia should be left alone to manage its stability and security _ an apparent warning to the United States to avoid interfering in the strategic, resource-rich region…”

    “…The veiled warning came at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and on the eve of major war games between Russia and China…”

    Re: the War Games

    “…The exercises take place against a backdrop of mounting rivalry between the West, and Russia and China for influence over Central Asia, a strategic region that has huge oil, gas and mineral resources…”

    “…Russia’s growing assertiveness is also causing jitters in the West. Putin announced at the firing range that Russia was resuming Soviet-era sorties by its strategic bomber aircraft near NATO airspace…”

    As Richard Clarke mentioned in his While You Were At War Article, the Bush Administration has ignored other very real world problems and has allowed smaller threats to grow into much larger ones.  Clarke warned of what was going on a year ago, but has been ignored by BushCo:

    “…But the focus on Iraq has precluded such efforts, even as the troubling issues multiply: Russian governors are no longer elected, but appointed; dissidents die mysteriously and probably at the hands of the new KGB; opposition media are suppressed; and corporate leaders are jailed or hounded out of the country…”

    “…Meanwhile, Moscow plays petro-politics by dramatically raising the cost of energy to former Soviet republics that do not toe the Kremlin’s line, and by threatening to turn off the pipeline to European nations that don’t cooperate”

    And on Afghanistan/Parkistan, Clarke had this comment:

    “…The Pakistani-Afghan border: Afghanistan increasingly receives the attention of senior U.S. policymakers, not because of the narcotics problem, but mainly because the once-defeated Taliban again threaten Afghan and coalition forces. However, if there is a solution, it lies on the other side of the Khyber Pass where a sanctuary has emerged, a Taliban-like state within a state in western Pakistan. Dealing with that problem is more than Washington has been willing or able to handle, for it involves the complex issue of who governs nuclear-armed Pakistan and how… Getting Pakistan to do more would require a major sustained effort by senior U.S. officials, including addressing the longstanding tensions with India. Because of Iraq, Washington’s national security gurus do not have the hours in their days to manage that — nor the troops needed to secure Afghanistan…”

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that IMHO, the real threat is our own government’s lack of intelligence (both in the agency and the personal sense), and their lack of skill and expertise in handling multiple complex issues at the same time.

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