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America's perpetual war is now The Donald's perpetual war…


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Author Topic: America's perpetual war is now The Donald's perpetual war…  (Read 59 times)
Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: August 25, 2017, 11:47:46 am »


from The Washington Post....

Trump announces new strategy for Afghanistan
that calls for a troop increase


The president had previously called the conflict a waste of time and resources.

By DAVID NAKAMURA and ABBY PHILIP | 11:20PM EDT - Monday, August 21, 2017

President Trump speaks at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, on Monday night about his strategy for the war in Afghanistan. — Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press.
President Trump speaks at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, on Monday night about his strategy for the war in Afghanistan.
 — Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press.


PRESIDENT TRUMP outlined a revised vision for the U.S. war in Afghanistan on Monday, pledging to end a strategy of “nation-building” and instead institute a policy aimed more squarely at addressing the terrorist threat that emanates from the region.

“I share the American people's frustration,” he said. “I also share their frustration over a foreign policy that has spent too much time, energy, money — and, most importantly, lives — trying to rebuild countries in our own image instead of pursuing our security interests above all other considerations.”

But Trump provided few specifics about his policy and how much the U.S. military commitment in the region would increase as a result, insisting that conditions on the ground would determine troop levels and strategy.

Trump's decision to further commit to the nation's longest war, rather than withdraw, reflects a significant shift in his approach to Afghanistan since taking office and marks a new willingness to take greater ownership of a protracted conflict that he had long dismissed as a waste of time and resources. As a candidate, Trump denounced Afghanistan as a “total disaster” and railed that the costly conflict in Central Asia drained enormous resources at a time of more pressing needs at home for American taxpayers.

“My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like to follow my instincts,” Trump said in his first prime-time address, delivered from the Fort Myer military base in Arlington, Virginia. “I heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk of the Oval Office.”

Trump's new approach to Afghanistan is the result of a long policy review within his administration that was finalized during a presidential retreat with top advisers at Camp David on Friday.

His decision to endorse a Pentagon plan to boost troop levels reflects mounting concern among military leaders that battlefield setbacks for Afghan government forces against the Taliban and al-Qaeda have led to a rapidly deteriorating security situation.

Although Trump did not specify how many more troops will be sent to Afghanistan, congressional officials said the administration has told them it will be about 4,000 more than the 8,500 U.S. service members currently in the region.

In his speech on Monday, Trump laid out a strategy that included pressuring Pakistan to do more to stop terrorists from finding safe haven within its borders. He also said that India would play a greater role in providing economic and developmental support.

Trump acknowledged that his approach is a departure from his campaign rhetoric, but he said he would prioritize American security over attempting to “dictate” to the Afghan people how to live.

He called his approach “principled realism” and portrayed it as in keeping with the “America First” approach of his administration. He pledged that U.S. troops would have a clear definition of victory in Afghanistan, but offered only a broad outline of what that would mean.

“Our troops will fight to win,” Trump said. “From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al-Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over the country, and stopping mass terror attacks against Americans before they emerge.”

Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan's ambassador to Washington, said Trump's message was “exactly what we wanted” because it “takes into account our country's needs and constraints. We did not want it to be about troop numbers or time lines, but to conditions on the ground,” he said while visiting Kabul. “We welcome this strategy that integrates American military power into achieving our shared goals.”

Davood Moradian, executive director of the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies, said the “tone and narrative” of Trump's speech was “reassuring and uplifting for many of us, because it projects the confidence and resolve which are necessary for our besieged population and exhausted security forces.”

He said Trump was “right in being clear and resolute about Pakistan,” but he also cautioned that having a “legitimate, functioning” government in Kabul, now facing serious internal divisions and external challenges, will be the “key to implementing” a successful new Washington policy.


Afghan National Army soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, August 21st, 2017. Deep in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, on the front lines against Taliban and Islamic State fighters, U.S. military commanders say they needs more forces to better train Afghan soldiers to combat the escalating threat. They've hoping for President Donald Trump to heed their calls for more troops when he outlined his new war strategy on Monday. — Photograph: Rahmat Gul/Associated Press.
Afghan National Army soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, August 21st, 2017.
Deep in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, on the front lines against Taliban and Islamic State fighters, U.S. military
commanders say they needs more forces to better train Afghan soldiers to combat the escalating threat. They've been
hoping for President Donald Trump to heed their calls for more troops when he outlined his new war strategy on Monday.
 — Photograph: Rahmat Gul/Associated Press.


After taking office, Trump announced that he would delegate authority to the Pentagon to set troop levels. That raised fears among some lawmakers and foreign policy analysts that even a modest initial increase could escalate rapidly and plunge the United States more deeply back into a conflict that has resulted in the deaths of 2,403 Americans.

“After the extraordinary sacrifice of blood and treasure, the American people are weary of war without victory,” Trump said. “Nowhere is this more evident than with the war in Afghanistan.”

Although President Barack Obama did not fulfill his campaign pledge to end the conflict, his administration vastly decreased troop levels from a high of more than 100,000, and shifted remaining forces to a less dangerous training and advisory role.

Vice President Pence and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have advocated for the Pentagon plan to add troops, along with broader diplomatic and economic pressure on regional players, especially Pakistan.

Pence began briefing members of Congress about the strategy hours before Trump's speech.

Republican leaders praised the strategy and the deliberate nature of Trump's thought process.

“I'm actually pleased with the way he went about making this decision,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Republican-Wisconsin) said at a town hall meeting televised by CNN that began immediately after Trump's remarks. “We have had a convoluted approach to Afghanistan and I think it's high time we had a comprehensive approach.”

Senator John McCain (Republican-Arizona), who has urged Trump to articulate a new strategy for the region, called the speech “long overdue”. But he praised Trump for shifting the nation away from the Obama administration's approach.

“I believe the President is now moving us well beyond the prior administration's failed strategy of merely postponing defeat,” McCain said in a statement. “It is especially important that the newly announced strategy gives no timeline for withdrawal, rather ensures that any decision to reduce our commitment in the future will be based on conditions on the ground.”

Democrats criticized Trump for not offering more specifics in his speech.

“Tonight, the President said he knew what he was getting into and had a plan to go forward. Clearly, he did not,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-California) said in a statement. “The President's announcement is low on details but raises serious questions. When President Trump says there will be no ceiling on the number of troops and no timeline for withdrawal, he is declaring an open-ended commitment of American lives with no accountability to the American people.”

Trump's task on Monday night was magnified by his need to convince his core supporters, many of whom responded to his campaign calls to put “America first” by reducing foreign interventionism in the Middle East and Central Asia. His speech came just days after the departure of chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who had advocated for replacing U.S. troops with private security contractors.

In a nod to concerns among his supporters that his decision marks a retrenchment in Afghanistan, Trump insisted that the United States would not provide “unlimited” support and resources.

“Our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check,” Trump said. “The government of Afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political, and economic burden.”

But the strategy Trump described on Monday night amounted to an open-ended approach, which is likely to worry voters who supported him, in part, because of his promise to scale back the United States' commitments abroad.


President Donald Trump applauds as he walks off the dais after speaking at Fort Myer in Arlington Virginia, on Monday, August 21st, 2017, during a Presidential Address to the Nation about a strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan. — Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press.
President Donald Trump applauds as he walks off the dais after speaking at Fort Myer in Arlington Virginia, on Monday,
August 21st, 2017, during a Presidential Address to the Nation about a strategy he believes will best position the U.S.
to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan. — Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press.


It is not the first time Trump has shifted away from his campaign rhetoric about foreign entanglements in his actions as president.

He has framed his decisions to use military force — including Tomahawk missile strikes on an air base in Syria in April after President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons — around his pledge to be tough on terrorism and direct threats to American security. But before serving as president, he criticized Obama for contemplating military action in Syria in response to Assad's chemical weapons use.

Trump has been acutely aware of the limited options he faces and has blamed his predecessors — principally Obama — for leaving him what he described on Monday as a “bad and very complex hand.”

Citing Obama's decision to withdraw from Iraq in 2011, Trump said he would not consider such a strategy in Afghanistan.

“A hasty withdrawal will create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al-Qaeda, would instantly fill,” he said. “We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistake our leaders made in Iraq.”

Even before his campaign, Trump was skeptical about the war. “When will we stop wasting our money on rebuilding Afghanistan?” he tweeted in 2011. “We must rebuild our country first.”

As a candidate, he argued for a more isolationist approach to foreign policy. Recent foreign wars, he told his supporters, had drained the United States of blood and treasure at the expense of efforts such as education and infrastructure at home.

“So we're on track now to spend, listen to this, $6 trillion — could have rebuilt our country twice — altogether, on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Middle East,” Trump said during a speech in Cleveland during the campaign. “Meanwhile, massive portions of our country are in a state of total disrepair.”

This argument was a departure from the Republican Party's hawkish stance on military engagement and the two post-September 11 conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq that began under President George W. Bush. Trump's stance helped him appeal to some Democratic-leaning voters who were skeptical of the wars and perceived Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as more hawkish than many in her party.

As president, Trump has used bellicose rhetoric to describe his military objectives, even as he has resisted being specific about his plans and objectives. He repeated that pattern in laying out his vision for U.S. engagement in Afghanistan.

“Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables will guide our actions from now on,” he said. “I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.”

Within the White House, Bannon's opposition to sending more troops to Afghanistan helped fuel strife with other Trump aides, including national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who supported the modest troop surge.

Bannon had advocated for a proposal to replace U.S. troops with private security contractors, an idea floated by Erik Prince, the founder of the controversial contracting firm Blackwater USA and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Military leaders largely opposed the idea, and the White House ruled it out.

But foreign policy analysts said Trump's decision on Afghanistan is tricky because his strategy does not represent a radical departure from the past.

“To be honest, it's probably pretty close to what a Hillary Clinton would do,” said Derek Chollet, an assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration who now serves as a defense analyst at the German Marshall Fund.


Pamela Constable, Ed O'Keefe and Adam Entous contributed to this report.

• David Nakamura covers the White House for The Washington Post. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

• Abby Phillip is a national political reporter covering the White House for The Washington Post.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Trump's speech on Afghanistan, in 3 minutes

 • VIDEO: Trump: ‘Conditions on the ground’, rather than timelines will determine Afghan strategy

 • VIDEO: In Afghanistan, Mattis sees ‘another tough year’ ahead

 • VIDEO: Trump: ‘Let us find the courage to heal our divisions within’

 • VIDEO: Trump calls on Pakistan to stop harboring terrorists

 • World reacts to Trump's speech on new Afghanistan strategy

 • On Afghanistan's front lines, US commanders await more men

 • In escalating America's longest war, Trump acts against his ‘original instinct’

 • Trump faces the grim reality of Afghanistan: No quick path to victory and no clear way out

 • ‘It's a hard problem’: Inside Trump's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan

 • Here are six costly failures from America's longest war. No.1: cashmere goats.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-expected-to-announce-small-troop-increase-in-afghanistan-in-prime-time-address/2017/08/21/eb3a513e-868a-11e7-a94f-3139abce39f5_story.html
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2017, 11:51:04 am »


An excellent idea.

They should televise it more like they did the Vietnam War (the war where Donald Trump turned into a yellow-bellied coward and avoided the draft).

After all, Afghanistan is going to eventually end the same way as the Vietnam War did.

It would be great to see all those bodybags carrying dead Americans being unloaded from transport aircraft on a regular basis.

After all, they're only dead Americans, so no great loss.

And look on the bright side....yet more trillions of dollars sucked out of the American economy by The Donald's continued warmongering.

Which should hasten the eventual downfall of America as China's star rises.
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2017, 11:51:19 am »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Against his instincts, Trump makes Afghanistan war his own

By DAVID HORSEY | 5:00AM PDT - Tuesday, August 22, 2017



IN A speech to the nation on Monday night, President Trump committed to keeping American troops fighting in Afghanistan for an indefinite time to come, thereby abandoning one of his longest-held political positions.

As a private citizen and as a presidential candidate, Trump repeatedly said it was time to end U.S. involvement in a war that began less than a month after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. Commenting on Twitter in 2012, he said, “Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!” In 2013, he tweeted, "I agree with President Obama on Afghanistan. We should have a speedy withdrawal.”

Now, though, after what he described as months of consultation with generals and Cabinet members, the president has reversed his position and intends to keep U.S. forces on the battlefields of Afghanistan until the enemy is defeated.

“Our troops will fight to win,” Trump said in his speech. “We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition. Attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing Al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge.”

Trump insisted the approach he has adopted is sharply different from that of his predecessors in the White House and, in some ways, it is. He was unusually critical of America's nominal ally Pakistan for allowing havens for the Taliban within its territory, and he broached the very provocative idea of bringing Pakistan's mortal enemy India into an economic development plan for Afghanistan.

Trump also declared the U.S. was finished with trying to turn foreign countries into Western-style democracies.

“We are not nation-building again,” he said. “We are killing terrorists.”

Some of the ideas he presented as new, however, were anything but novel. He made a big deal out of a shift toward a policy based on “conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables.” His administration will not be the first to take that approach; it mirrors the stance taken by President George W. Bush and is not much different from the policy President Obama adopted toward the end of his time in office.

Trump also said a “fundamental pillar of our new strategy is the integration of all instruments of American power — diplomatic, economic, and military — toward a successful outcome.” Both Bush and Obama gave that a try. Trump's ability to do it better is highly questionable, given that he has hollowed out the State Department with staff reductions, failures to fill key positions and a proposed 30% budget cut.

Whether Trump has put together a coherent strategy or not, the remarkable thing is how quickly this supposed swamp-cleaning, anti-establishment, quasi-isolationist outsider has chosen to adopt a strategy that should please the neoconservative foreign policy experts who, for decades, have held significant sway over the American role in international affairs. Anyone who voted for Trump believing he would bring the troops home and avoid entanglements in distant lands will be deeply disappointed.

With his new position on Afghanistan, Trump is falling in line behind past presidents of both parties who have discovered it is not easy for the leader of a superpower to escape from participation in the world's conflicts. And, like Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, he may have already learned that it is politically less risky to keep a war going than to acknowledge that victory is impossible.

One day, perhaps, Americans and their leaders will stop pretending that every war is World War II with a clear enemy and an ultimate day of triumph. The conflicts of our current era are not like that. They are shadowy battles against shifting adversaries who use unconventional tactics and conceive of their struggle not in years, but in generations. In this kind of battle, a final victory is not the realistic objective. American troops in Afghanistan are like the ancient Roman soldiers stationed along the Rhine and the Danube. Their job is all about holding the line and keeping the barbarians as far from the empire's heart as possible.

Against his own instincts, Donald Trump has chosen to defend a distant line with American blood and treasure. Afghanistan is now his war to win or lose or perpetuate until another president comes along.


http://www.latimes.com/opinion/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-afghanistan-instincts-20170822-story.html
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2017, 01:33:18 pm »

Ktj..."“Our troops will fight to win,” Trump said in his speech"

...great idea....Oh-bummar  never experienced winning did he.....turned America into a bunch of losers...😩

...I'll be good to see America "great again" 😜
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2017, 01:53:05 pm »


Yes, we already know you are stupid, and generally as thick as the dog-shit I sometimes have to scrape off the soles of my work-boots.
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2017, 02:14:00 pm »

How much did that yankee leftist rag rip you off for your subscription sonny?
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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2018, 10:13:21 pm »


from The Washington Post....

America's forever war is expanding. Again.

An indefinite U.S. presence in Syria adds another long-term chapter to 17 years of conflict.

By ADAM TAYLOR | 12:59AM EST — Friday, January 29, 2018



THIS WEEK, the Trump administration announced that the United States is committing to an extended military presence in Syria.

At an event at Stanford University on Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said about 2,000 U.S. troops will remain indefinitely in Syria and laid out American military goals there that go far beyond the defeat of the Islamic State and other extremist organizations. U.S. forces will also be there to contain Iranian influence and help bring about a peace agreement that sees President Bashar al-Assad removed from power, Tillerson said.

Any observer of the crisis will know these are not simple or quick tasks, and Tillerson conspicuously failed to set out any time limits for removing U.S. troops. As such, it's tempting to draw an unspoken conclusion from the announcement: America's “forever war” has gotten yet another indefinite lease on life.

Syria now looks like just the latest chapter in a war on terror that has already lasted nearly 17 years — starting in Afghanistan and spreading to Iraq, Pakistan and many other countries — and shows no signs of stopping. One independent estimate from last year argued that these conflicts have cost U.S. taxpayers $5.6 trillion; the human cost, of which there was a fresh reminder on Thursday thanks to a new report from conflict monitor Airwars, is inestimable but devastating.




There were hopes a year ago that a Trump administration might rein in America's sprawling global conflict. Before he was even a candidate, Trump had complained about the wisdom of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and suggested that the best option for Afghanistan was to pull out U.S. troops. Some who felt the war on terror had overstepped its bounds even compared him to favorably to his rival, Hillary Clinton. “Donald the Dove” was one nickname floated by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

But if Trump ever really hoped to end the forever war, that time is long past. When presented with multiple foreign-policy options, Trump has almost always gone with expanded conflict. In August, for example, he reneged on previous pledges to draw down in Afghanistan. Instead, he pushed forward with fresh troop increases, escalating the United States' commitment to its longest-ever war. As WorldViews' Max Bearak recently reported from Afghanistan, U.S. airstrikes have spiked dramatically under new, looser rules of engagement.

Yet experts doubt that military action alone can ever really defeat the Taliban. Privately, foreign officials have suggested that the U.S. military may be in Afghanistan indefinitely, as it is on the Korean Peninsula. And, as observers noted when Trump announced the increase in August, the president has offered few details on how this new escalation might conclude.

The war against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has actually been one of the brighter spots for Trump over the past year. Frequent coalition airstrikes helped dismantle the extremist group's self-proclaimed caliphate — though not without a corresponding rise in civilian deaths. But despite the damage inflicted on the jihadists in 2017, it's unclear whether the Islamic State can be conclusively defeated any more than the Taliban can.

And as the United States adds yet more war aims to its Syrian mission, can it effectively juggle its competing goals and prevent more unintended conflict? The evidence so far isn't promising. Earlier this week, the United States made a clumsy move to create a 30,000-strong “border security force” that would guard a self-proclaimed Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. The prospect of a U.S.-backed, Kurdish-dominated force taking up permanent residence on Turkey's borders led Ankara to threaten invasion.

And as the Trump administration backtracked on its description of the planned security force, Syria warned that it would shoot down Turkish planes if its troops stepped in — marking another potential escalation in the long-standing conflict. “This is shoot-from-the-hip policymaking,” said Nicholas Heras of the Washington-based Center for a New American Security to The Washington Post's Liz Sly.


American vehicles drive at the U.S. Army base in Qayyara, Iraq, south of Mosul, in 2016. — Photograph: Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters.
American vehicles drive at the U.S. Army base in Qayyara, Iraq, south of Mosul, in 2016. — Photograph: Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters.

In his remarks on Wednesday, Tillerson explained that the Trump administration's decision on a continued military presence in Syria was influenced by the allegedly poor decisions of the Obama administration. “We cannot make the same mistakes that were made in 2011 when a premature departure from Iraq allowed al-Qaeda in Iraq to survive and eventually morph into ISIS,” he said.

Some will see an irony here, of course: Trump's approach to  fighting the Islamic State is essentially a beefed-up continuation of Obama's. However, Tillerson's comments also raise the concern that in by attempting to chart a more ambitious course for America's presence in Syria, Trump will doom the mission to failure.

Kori Schake, a military analyst at the Hoover Institution who worked in a number of White House roles during the George W. Bush administration, spoke positively of Tillerson's speech on Twitter but warned that the Trump administration “isn't committing anywhere near the resources to achieve these ambitious goals.” Others, including Michael McFaul, a U.S. ambassador to Moscow during the Obama administration, noted how vaguely the issue of Russia — Assad's most important ally in Syria — had been addressed.

Tillerson acknowledged the difficulties of the situation on Wednesday. “Syria remains a source of severe strategic problems and a major challenge for our diplomacy,” he said. “But the United States will continue to remain engaged.”

But without adequately addressing the mounting issues in Syria, that engagement could stretch all the way into the next administration, leaving Trump's successor with their own problem to fix. Kicking the can along the road may work for now, but it won't bring America any closer to ending its “forever war”.


• Adam Taylor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. Originally from London, he studied at the University of Manchester and Columbia University.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/19/americas-forever-war-is-expanding-again
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