VICE: "What Winning Looks Like" Afghan security forces documentary

Discussion in 'Think Tank' started by The Wrong Guy, May 16, 2013.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war | Los Angeles Times


    Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

    Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.

    Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

    Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.

    But soldiers say the military is reneging on 10-year-old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on veterans whose only mistake was to accept bonuses offered when the Pentagon needed to fill the ranks.

    “These bonuses were used to keep people in,” said Christopher Van Meter, a 42-year-old former Army captain and Iraq veteran from Manteca, Calif., who says he refinanced his home mortgage to repay $25,000 in reenlistment bonuses and $21,000 in student loan repayments that the Army says he should not have received. “People like me just got screwed.”

    In Iraq, Van Meter was thrown from an armored vehicle turret — and later awarded a Purple Heart for his combat injuries — after the vehicle detonated a buried roadside bomb.

    Continued here:
  3. The Wrong Guy Member

  4. RightOn Member

    wow this is despicable
    the vets were enticed to sign up
  5. The Wrong Guy Member

    US drops largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan | CNN


    The US military has dropped an enormous bomb in Afghanistan, according to four US military officials with direct knowledge of the mission.

    A GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, nicknamed MOAB, was dropped at 7 p.m. local time Thursday, the sources said.

    The MOAB is also known as the "mother of all bombs." A MOAB is a 21,600-pound, GPS-guided munition that is America's most powerful non-nuclear bomb.

    The bomb was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft, operated by Air Force Special Operations Command, according to the military sources.

    They said the target was ISIS tunnels and personnel in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province.

    The military is currently assessing the damage. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, signed off on the use of the bomb, according to the sources.

    This is the first time a MOAB has been used in the battlefield, according to the US officials. This munition was developed during the Iraq War.

  6. The Wrong Guy Member

    Russia supplying Taliban with weapons, top U.S. general in Afghanistan suggests | CBS News


    U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday as the country descended further into chaos.

    Worsening the situation are new allegations the Russians are supplying the Taliban with weapons.

    “We’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law,” Mattis said.

    Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, made it clearer. A reporter asked Nicholson “So you are not refuting that they are sending weapons?”

    “Oh, no, I am not refuting that,” Nicholson replied.

    The visit comes after a sneak attack by the Taliban on an Afghan military base in Mazar i Sharif that killed at least 140 Afghan soldiers.

    Military vehicles drove Taliban fighters dressed in Afghan army uniforms past checkpoints and into the base.
    Survivors said the militants then opened fire on unarmed Afghan soldiers returning from a mosque.

    Mattis called the attack “barbaric.”

    The Taliban also claimed responsibility for another attack Monday at Camp Chapman, a base that houses CIA and U.S. special operations forces. In 2009, seven CIA officers were killed there in a suicide bomb attack. There are no American casualties this time.

    The Taliban now control about 40 percent of the country. The U.S. sent 300 Marines to Helmand Province last week, and Nicholson has said he may need a few thousand more troops.

    Despite a resurgent Taliban, the U.S. military targeted ISIS militants two weeks ago, dropping a 22,000-pound bomb on a network of caves and tunnels near the border with Pakistan. There have been no confirmation of ISIS deaths.

    Mattis also said Monday that 2017 is going to be another tough year for Afghan security forces. There is no word if Nicholson’s request for more U.S. troops will be granted.

    Source, and video:
  7. The Wrong Guy Member

    US sending almost 4,000 extra forces to Afghanistan, Trump official says | The Guardian


    The Pentagon will send almost 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, according to a Trump administration official, an attempt to break a stalemate in a war that has now passed to a third US commander-in-chief.

    The decision by defense secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week, the official said, and will be the largest deployment of American manpower under Donald Trump’s young presidency.


    Trump has inherited America’s longest conflict with no clear endpoint or a defined strategy for American success, though US troop levels are far lower than they were under presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush. In 2009, Obama authorized a surge of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, bringing the total there to more than 100,000, before drawing down over the rest of his presidency.


    There have been almost 2,400 US military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001.

  8. The Wrong Guy Member

  9. The Wrong Guy Member

    Mattis: Trump has reached decision on Afghanistan strategy | Axios


    Defense Secretary James Mattis said Sunday that, after a "sufficiently rigorous" review, President Trump has decided on a strategy for the War in Afghanistan.

    "The president has made a decision. As he said, he wants to be the one to announce it to the American people."

    Per Reuters: "One U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Trump's top national security aides are backing adding between 3,000 and 5,000 troops and allowing them to embed with Afghan forces closer to combat."

    Flashback: This has been a contentious process within the administration. Trump reportedly stunned Mattis and other top officials by leaving a July Situation Room meeting without reaching a decision on Afghanistan. According to NBC News, Trump said the U.S. was "losing" the war and that he wanted a new commander in Afghanistan.

  10. The Wrong Guy Member

    What Trump said about Afghanistan before he became president
    • President Donald Trump could announce Monday night that he is boosting American troop levels in Afghanistan.
    • As a candidate and well before he ran for president, Trump criticized the conflict and pushed for it to end.
    On Twitter — the president's most frequent outlet for communication — he started calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan as early as 2011 and continued that push as a candidate. In at least a dozen tweets, Trump criticized the war, sometimes urging Obama to pull out American troops. In other instances, he called the effort a waste of money or of American lives.

    Five years ago to the day Monday, Trump called Afghanistan "a complete waste." He added: "Time to come home!"
  11. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trump's 'new' Afghanistan policy is more of the same

    By the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board


    Candidate Donald Trump once called U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan a "total disaster." Now president, Trump told the nation on Monday that, after studying the issue, he had reconsidered his original instinct to pull U.S. forces out of that country.

    Administration officials say he has approved a plan to send thousands more American trainers, advisors and specialists to Afghanistan to deal with a resurgent Taliban and other violent groups, including Islamic State.

    The president’s second thoughts may be warranted, but we understand why it took him so long to accede to his advisors’ recommendation. U.S. involvement in Afghanistan has dragged on for far too long, and the government it helped erect now controls little more than half of the nation’s districts.

    In a nationally televised speech, Trump said that U.S. strategy under his leadership will change dramatically. Yet despite the new packaging and more muscular rhetoric, much of the policy he outlined seems like more of the same: using U.S. forces to prevent the Taliban and other insurgent groups from toppling the U.S.-supported government, but with no guarantee of either a decisive victory or military gains significant enough to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.

    This doesn’t mean Trump is making the wrong decision or that he should revert to the glib advice he offered as a private citizen in a 2013 tweet: “We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Their government has zero appreciation. Let's get out!”

    Much as the U.S. may wish that the Afghan military and police forces were able to neutralize the Taliban without outside assistance, a hasty withdrawal would, as Trump recognized, create a security crisis for the Afghan government — and increase the possibility that the country again would become a haven for terrorists who would export violence to the U.S. That’s the very problem that drew the U.S.-led coalition into war in Afghanistan in the first place.

    Trump has decisively rejected a total withdrawal. He also has properly rebuffed hare-brained suggestions — advanced by former strategist Steve Bannon — that he entrust much of the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan to private contractors. Instead, the U.S. will use American troops — to be increased from 8,400 to approximately 12,000 — to train and assist Afghan forces while pressing Pakistan to deny shelter to fighters from the Taliban and the Haqqani network.

    In its broad outlines, the policy announced by Trump is not very different from that pursued by President Obama at the end of his administration. Obama originally had hoped to reduce the number of U.S. troops to about a thousand, stationed at the U.S. embassy in Kabul. But on the recommendation of his military advisors, he twice modified planned troop reductions to leave more Americans in deployment.

    One arguably new element was Trump’s suggestion that he would put pressure on Pakistan to stop providing a safe haven for the Taliban and associated groups. Noting that the U.S. has been paying Pakistan billions of dollars, he said that country had much to lose if it continued to harbor terrorists. He also suggested that, unlike the Obama administration, his goal in Afghanistan was to kill terrorists, not engage in nation-building. (That is actually less of a distinction between the two administration’s policies than Trump suggests.)

    Finally, Trump suggested that the U.S. was open to the idea of peace negotiations in the future with elements of the Taliban. But in the meantime, Trump has concluded, as President Obama did before him, that the U.S. must continue to be engaged militarily in Afghanistan. Even if that is the least bad decision, it’s depressing that 16 years after the U.S. intervened in Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — at an eventual cost of 2,400 American lives — the Taliban is not only still alive but ascendant, corruption remains rife, and political consensus seems elusive.

    Given the alternative, Trump is right to try to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan. But it’s hard to be optimistic about where that will lead.


    Trump's phony Afghanistan plan

    By Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune


    President Donald Trump has a plan to win in Afghanistan in the same way that Grigory Potemkin had a village. It may look like something real and substantial, but it’s not. His address to the nation Monday night was a theatrical performance, not a serious statement of a strategy for achievable goals. It was calculated, like so much of what he does, merely to make him look and sound good right now, even if it will eventually be exposed as an empty fraud.

    Trump is an admirer of Winston Churchill, and the speech was studded with ringing words of determination and purpose. “The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory,” he declared. “We will fight to win.” To the military men and women in the audience, he said, “With our resolve, we will ensure that your service and that your families will bring about the defeat of our enemies and the arrival of peace.”

    But victory and peace were beyond our grasp under George W. Bush, who by the end of his presidency had 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, and Barack Obama, who raised the number to more than 100,000 before finally pulling out most of our forces. We currently have about 8,400 troops there, and Trump is expected to add about 4,000. The commitment of personnel and money does not match the rhetoric.

    What Trump has embraced is not a plan to win but a plan to prevent the collapse of the Afghan government and the victory of the Taliban. In that he may succeed. But he can’t bear to admit the very limited scale of what he may accomplish there. His approach reverses the one enunciated by Theodore Roosevelt. He speaks loudly and carries a small stick.

  12. Ann O'Nymous Member

  13. Ann O'Nymous Member

  14. The Wrong Guy Member

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