We reported here: Let’s buy off the Taliban!
- What next? Fareed Zakaria as propaganda minister?
- Muslim POTUS: “Victory Not Necessarily Goal in Afghanistan”
Here on Winds of Jihad we exposed Â the smarmy, slimy CNN-News-wipeMuslim Fareed Zakaria, on quite a few occasions: Zakaria was born inMumbai, India to a Muslim family. His father, Rafiq Zakaria, was a politician associated with the Indian National Congress andÂ an Islamic scholar.
Stupid is as stoopid does, Forrest Gump.
The Obama administration is considering outbidding the Taliban to persuade Afghan villagers to lay down arms as it struggles to find a new approach to a war that is fast losing public and congressional support.
Despite five war councils in two weeks, President Barack Obama has so far failed to come up with a strategy for the conflict that may define his presidency. Fierce infighting continues between his own generals and advisers.
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Obama has been handed three options by General Stanley McChrystal, commander of the US forces in Afghanistan. These range from 20,000 to 60,000 more troops, which would almost double the US military presence. McChrystal is said to favour an increase of 40,000 men, without which he warns the mission will fail.
The White House is uneasy about sending so many on top of an extra 21,000 already dispatched this year, fearing this could escalate the war which has already claimed the lives of 241 American soldiers this year.
Decline Is a Choice
The Muslim POTUS who Â intends to turn America into a ‘post American’ world…
Obama’s delay in coming to a decision has led generals to warn that the Taliban will see it as lack of resolve and take advantage. The Taliban stepped up attacks last week with a bomb in Kabul, which killed 17 people, and an onslaught against a US military post in which eight Americans died.
Anthony Zinni is one of a number of retired generals who have taken to the airwaves insisting more troops should be sent. “The risk if you take too much time is you look like you’re dithering and both our allies and enemies will wonder if we’re really committed,” he warned.
The president is reportedly frustrated that the debate has become polarised between those who want to send more troops and their critics, who say it would lead to another Vietnam. They advocate more reliance on drones and special forces.
Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that the president has only himself to blame. “It was Obama who insisted in March and again last month that this was a ‘war of necessity’ and must be fully resourced rather than looking at what we really have at stake in Afghanistan.”
One official said the key emphasis in the White House meetings had been to identify options that would prepare the way for American troops to leave. Apart from training more Afghan troops, the focus has shifted to accepting a political role for the Taliban, while also trying to weaken them by winning some over.
Afghans are known for changing sides back and forth during their long years of war â€” there is an old saying that “you can rent an Afghan but never buy one” â€” and battles have often been decided by defections rather than combat.
Paying Taliban foot-soldiers to switch sides could spare US lives and save money, say its advocates. A recent report by the Senate foreign relations committee estimated the Taliban fighting strength at 15,000, of whom only 5% are committed idealogues while 70% fight for money â€” the so-called $10-a-day Taliban. Doubling this to win them over would cost just $300,000 a day, compared with the $165m a day the United States is spending fighting the war.
The tactic was used to good effect in Iraq where the US government put 100,000 Sunni gunmen on its payroll for about $300 a month each.
Some experts disagree. Gilles Dorronsoro from the Carnegie Institute insisted: “You cannot break an insurgency that strong with money. It’s not a mercenary force â€” it’s a very powerful movement.”
More troops, say McChrysal’s allies, could tip the balance of power away from the insurgents and give the population the confidence needed to switch sides.
McChrystal had his knuckles rapped for failing to go through the chain of command when he described advocates of a focused attack on Al-Qaeda as “short-sighted”. He was told to cancel a trip to Washington to brief Obama.
One serving general close to McChrystal told The Sunday Times he has been taken aback by the White House’s attitude. “It surprised a lot of us â€” we thought the policy decision was made to come down on the counter-insurgency course of action.”
The source described as “crazy” the idea that “we can just cut deals with the Taliban without having to do anything”.
He added: “At the moment you can’t recruit from Pashtun communities or their families will be killed, so we need to first improve security.”
The Pentagon insists that not sending more troops would signal a lack of resolve and give the enemy the opportunity to regain the initiative.
Obama has scheduled further talks for this week. But it has not gone unnoticed among his generals that among the works of art chosen by the Obamas to hang in the White House is Edward Ruscha’s painting about indecision, I Think I’ll … The picture superimposes phrases such as “maybe … yes”, “maybe … no” and “wait a minute” on top of a blood-red sunset.
New recruits to the Afghan National Army take part in a training session at the Kabul Military Training Centre. A massive effort is under way to train thousands of new troops to join the fight against the Taleban-led insurgency. But the task is being hindered by a lack of mentors and high levels of illiteracy among the recruits
About 90 per cent of those joining the Army are illiterate, according to US officers involved in the training
PS: It is common for these new recruits to run off with their weapons and their training to join the Taliban…