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US General Peter Fuller fired as Afghan training chief

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US General Peter Fuller fired as Afghan training chief

Old 5th Nov 2011, 10:17
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US General Peter Fuller fired as Afghan training chief

BBC News - US General Peter Fuller fired as Afghan training chief

Honest, politically naive, or both?

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Old 5th Nov 2011, 12:26
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Just honest. It's the politicians that should be fired for not coming up to scratch not the generals.

Frankly I'm stunned that nobody has asked the politicians why if we managed to wrap 2 world wars up in 5-ish years each, it has taken them over 10 years in one country and we're allegedly only half way there? I'd like to think that it's because whilst the military can set all the conditions they want, out without the politicians stepping up to the plate and doing their jobs properly rather than wondering how they will appear to the press and the electorate, then we would be an awful lot better off.

Political incompetence frankly extends to Europe to. A big part of the reason for the current Eurocrisis is exactly because the politicians are waffling and prevaricating and the markets don't believe a word they are saying.

Unfortunately, politicians being politicians, they will always look to blame someone else when the truth comes out.
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Old 5th Nov 2011, 15:01
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Completely agree....but is anyone listening?
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Old 5th Nov 2011, 17:36
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@ Melchet 01

Is there a possible comparison with "the Afghan business" in the "confrontation" with Indonesia from 1962- 66 ? Coming after (and sometimes considered as) an extension of the post-WW2 Malayan Emergency, you could say though that it also took a great deal more time to reach a modus vivendi along the Malaccan Strait and the Borneo border.
But this was another far-away country of which much of Whitehall knew nothing, and most of the then meeja quietly ignored.

Of course, the Viet Nam business was "where it was at" (awful phrase, but succinct) and the result was two prosperous, more-or-less "democratic" countries, with the "Communist threat" removed, after which the British, Australian and New Zealand forces could retire with honour and nomal diplomatic relations quietly resume in the area.
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Old 5th Nov 2011, 18:47
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Britain wasnt in Nam.
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Old 5th Nov 2011, 20:03
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4 Greens, I would check again , late sep 1961, the brits were in vietnam
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Old 5th Nov 2011, 20:26
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At what point does a General cease to be a soldier and become a politician himself, 2*,3*,4* ?
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Old 5th Nov 2011, 21:36
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"At what point does a General cease to be a soldier and become a politician himself, 2*,3*,4* ?"

The change starts at Colonel , especially if posted to the Pentagon.
The Higher you rise, the higher percentage of you becomes Politician.
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Old 5th Nov 2011, 23:49
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A Gp Capt David Green Captained an RAF Beverly (34 Sqn?) from Nuit Dat IIRC. I think the det was a relatively short one and supposedly on humanitarian tasking. There was another RAF story but the grey matter is failing to recall that one. The RAAF Canberras were tasked with 'Nam. Not sure of the dates associated with these but I imagine that google will provide if asked.
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Old 6th Nov 2011, 00:41
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"if we managed to wrap 2 world wars up in 5-ish years each, it has taken them over 10 years in one country"
Several problems with that way of thinking
1) we (and our allies) no longer have a vast pool of conscripted expendables who we are prepared to sacrifice to achieve the ends
2) the Germans didn't go in for asymmetric warfare in a big way
3) we no longer have the resources to carpet-bomb targets - or other otherwise indiscriminately destroy potential enemy targets
4) even if we did, the modern squeemishness about non-combatant casualties would prevent all-out action anyway

You are not going to "win" a situation such as that in Afghanistan unless you follow the lessons of previous wars
a} remove the non-combatant population from locations where they can support the opposition, In other words put them into "secure villages" - or concentration camps
b) have a scorched earth policy for anything that can support the Taliban. Destroy the villages, relocate or kill the animals, put weedkiller on the crops. If anything moves, bomb it. And then bomb it again. And again just to make sure
c) carry out retaliation. Every time the Taliban attack, blow up a mosque. Or two or three. Personally I reckon taking a few redundant 747s or DC10s, stuffing them full of fuel and remote piloting them into a couple of mosques would make people think strongly about whether they really wanted to help the Taliban
d) close the border with Pakistan - again, if it moves, bomb it. Then napalm it to prove the point

Basically total destruction with the gloves off, in the way wars USED to be fought. Of course you'd have to consider a holiday in The Hague afterwards...
Just remember the Soviets couldn't make sense of warfare there, so its little chance that "The West" can - unless we become as intimidating to the locals as the Taliban are

"Of course, the Viet Nam business was "where it was at" .... and the result was two prosperous, more-or-less "democratic" countries, with the "Communist threat" removed"
Am I the only one missing something here? To my way of thinking Vietnam was a f'up which resulted in it, and Laos falling to Communism, and Cambodia falling to genocide
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Old 6th Nov 2011, 01:29
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At what point does a General cease to be a soldier and become a politician himself, 2*,3*,4* ?
I don't think anyone advances beyond 1 star without being as much a politician as a military man, and the further up the star tree, the more the politician and the less the soldier is the tacit requirement.

To oversimplify: 1 star -50/50, 2 star, 70/30, 3 star, 80/20. Top job? as high as 90/10, I suspect. We just have to consider ourselves lucky that that 10% still represents quite a lot of soldierly knowledge and ability... in some, (if unfortunately not all), cases. David Petraeus immediately comes to mind.

I can't imagine the frustration that almost every senior officer must feel when dealing with the current Afghan government, although I expect we'll be treated to some very illuminating memoirs after everyone who can sue is safely dead and buried.
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Old 6th Nov 2011, 01:48
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c) carry out retaliation. Every time the Taliban attack, blow up a mosque. Or two or three. Personally I reckon taking a few redundant 747s or DC10s, stuffing them full of fuel and remote piloting them into a couple of mosques would make people think strongly about whether they really wanted to help the Taliban

Hmmm flying a few planes into the world trade centre, and the pentagon certainly made the Americans pull their heads in.

Do you think that the original Taliban that were fighting in Afghanistan are the same ones now?, or are they being created somehow?

Think how you would react if some Muslim troops kicked in your front door looking for some undercover CIA bods.

Would welcome them as a liberating army.. or would you be motivated to join the insurgents that just want them gone by any means.

The only way to win (or draw) is to remove the creation of new enemy's, I do not think thats being achieved in any way shape or form, after a decade of fighting I think there are more now then a decade ago, I certainly don't see the world as any safer.

The Afgan government is isolated from reality by the presence of foreign powers.

I don't have any comprehensive answers for a solution, but it doesn't look like the present situation.
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Old 6th Nov 2011, 08:43
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Originally Posted by Jig Peter View Post
But this was another far-away country of which much of Whitehall knew nothing, and most of the then meeja quietly ignored.
Peter, I don't know that much about the Malayan Emergency except it was held to be a model for counter-insurgency operation although I suspect it was not as portable as it had been thought to be.

On Confrontation, it was certainly a far-away country but it was certainly not ignored. I have studied parts of that campaign and Dr David Easter's book throws much light on it. It used GCHQ and Misinformation Disemination to a degree and, for the time, massive forces. Off the top of my head, around 50,000 personnel. I know that fighters, bombers, MPA etc all streamed down the route in a rapid reinforcement. Although this denuded NATO for a time they returned to UK having proven that Plan Addington would work.
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Old 6th Nov 2011, 10:37
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Confrontation/VietNam comparison

As far as "where it was at" goes, I meant that reporting and protesting were concentrated on VietNam rather than the events in Borneo and the Straits of Malacca which were "low key" and a much more sophisticated combination of the threat of visible military force and intelligence/diplomatic efforts behind the scenes. At the time, therefore, "Confrontation" was far from headline news - the success of the methods used naturally led to subsequent analysis. Possibly bearing fruit in the recent events in Libya.
The two countries I referred to are Malaysia (with and without Singapore, which also made an important, if unsung, contribution under Lee Kwan Yew and his successors) and Indonesia.
Britain kept well out of VN, despite US displeasure, but the blunt and even brutal application of massive force (however gradual as the situation in VN evolved) proved fatal. And the outcome for Laos and Cambodia further points the lesson.
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Old 6th Nov 2011, 11:10
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"but the blunt and even brutal application of massive force (however gradual as the situation in VN evolved) proved fatal"
On the other hand, the blunt and even brutal application of massive force would probably have succeeded if Linebacker II/ Rolling Thunder had been alowed to continue to its natural conclusion. North Vietnam was on the point of throwing in the towel until the journalists and TV crews became puppets of the communist propaganda machine.
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Old 6th Nov 2011, 15:24
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Peter, agreed, however HMGs concerrn was not Malaysia pre se (of which Singapore was a part) but the retention of the Singapore base.

The transcript of the discussion between Dean Rusk and Robert McNammara on the one hand and Patrick Gordon Walker and Dennis Healey on the other makes fascinating reading. The US position was that they would rather we held our position in SEA as we could do things that the US could not.

Far from the later withdrawal from East of Suez, Wilson was more keen to retain a base there. Indeed we still used bases there until the mid-70s and a final withdrawal under, IIRC, the Tories.
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Old 6th Nov 2011, 15:41
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The thing about Linebacker etc is that the idea was to bomb NORTH Vietnam flat, leaving the South (the allies) alone... and the result when the US did have a go was to drive a political solution forward - ie 'bombing them to the negotiating table'. I think it's rather more debatable whether continued bombing, having destroyed the North's ability to wage war with its conventional forces, would have also caused the VC to fade into the woodwork. Now transfer the idea to Afghanistan - were exactly are the good guys going to live while the regionally identifiable bad guys get the bombs?

It's also somewhat debatable whether bombing Afghnistan flat* constitutes freeing the Afghan people from the shackles of extremists and allows them to take their rightful place amongst developed nations...etc

*I decided 'back to the stone age' was probably not as big a move as it sounded.
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Old 6th Nov 2011, 16:02
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Dave,

If the politicians had turned us loose in Vietnam to wage war...the outcome would have been much different.

Until the very end...we did not blockade the harbors, mine all the harbors, rivers, and bays....we did not invade the enemy lands....did not wage a war of logistics but rather one of attrition...and tolerated other nations support of the North Vietnamese.

It is when the B-52's went downtown...we closed the Ports...and went into the Sanctuary areas did we begin to see the North Vietnamese resolve weaken. Tet 1968 was a horrible defeat for them militarily and a horrible defeat for us politically.

Sadly, the bottom line analysis is we should have suppported Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh in their war of independence from France and we could have avoided all the bloodshed and loss of national assets that we did.

Why Truman allowed us to be drawn into the support of the French defeats me!

We had a complete failure by our National leadership...Political and most importantly...the Military.

Today...we see the same thing happening in Afghanistan and other places...we tie ourselves to the wrong people for the wrong reasons...and when the Military does speak up...they get fired. The tragic thing is there is some rank grabbing spineless bastard that will jump at the chance to fill the empty slot...zip his lips...and enjoy the perks of the promotion until he can retire with a fat pension and the accolades of those who fail to grasp what has happened.

Example of the "new Army"...fourteen people are killed at Fort Hood...and the Army Chief of Staff's statement is all about how it might adversely affect the Army's Diversity Program!

Political Correctness is going to destroy the US Military and in turn the country itself.
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Old 6th Nov 2011, 16:14
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If the politicians had turned us loose in Vietnam to wage war...the outcome would have been much different.
I think that's debatable - that the politicians (LBJ/McNamara) interfered outrageously and made it unwinnable I wouldn't argue with, they certainly prolongued the agony. Whether it was ever going to be winnable is another matter, the will of the South to oppose the North following Vietnamisation seems to me to be an important factor in deciding that.
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