Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Commander in Chief, what is the mission?

As awful and painful as the Iraq experience has been, imagine you are a highly trained warrior sent to Afghanistan.

Who the hell am I fighting?

Who the hell is ok to shoot?

Who the hell is shooting back at me?

"I'm not a policeman, I'm a trained warrior. Kill the enemy, protect my fellow men. Get everyone home safe."

President Obama, you have sent men into no-man's land.

President George W. Bush owns Iraq.

You now own Afghanisatan.

I lost a son in an unexplainable war in Iraq.

I pray for the men and women being deployed into Afghanistan and Pakistan.

If there is no clear mission, we will have heavy losses and no victory.

That is not how our military is to be used, sir. The price is too high.

Either identify the mission, or get the hell out.

Nawa, Afghanistan — One week after several battalions of Marines swept through the Helmand River valley, military commanders appear increasingly concerned about a lack of Afghan forces in the field.

“What I need is more Afghans,” said Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, commander of the Marine expeditionary brigade in Helmand Province. He accompanied the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, during a visit with troops at Patrol Base Jaker here on Monday.

General Nicholson and others say that the long-term success of the operation hinges on the performance of the Afghan security forces, which will have to take over eventually from the American troops.

General Nicholson said the American force of almost 4,000 had been joined by about 400 effective Afghan soldiers.

“The net increase in Afghan security forces is zero” since the brigade arrived a few months ago, he said. The lack of Afghan forces “is absolutely our Achilles’ heel,” added Capt. Brian Huysman, commander of Company C of the First Battalion, Fifth Marines in Nawa.

Captain Huysman said the Afghan forces were critically important in establishing trust and communication with citizens. “We can’t read these people; we’re different,” he said. “They’re not going to tell us the truth. We’ll never get to build and transition” — the last phase of the operation — “unless we have the Afghans.”

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