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TechScott's avatar

Is Afghanistan war another Iraq?

Asked by TechScott (58 points ) April 6th, 2009

The Obama administration has quickly turned its back on Iraq and focused on Afghanistan. Troops are being moved from Iraq to Afghanistan and US partners in Iraq are leaving for Afghanistan at an alarming rate. But is the Afghanistan problem any more solvable than Iraq or are we going headlong into a problem bigger than Iraq?

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28 Answers

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I think it is solvable, and I think the U.S. learned a lot of lessons in Iraq that it can apply to afghanistan. Yeah different situations but still same type of war, I think Petraeus knows what hes doing. And also while violence has increased in afghanistan, I dont feel like it has spiraled out of control to a point where Iraq did. So I don’t think it will be a bigger problem than Iraq, and I think it is a situation we can succeed in. The issue was never really that we were fighting it wrong, we just didn’t have the man power to finish the job there.

Judi's avatar

It’s where we should have been all along. It is where Bin Landen is. Remember him?

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I agree with Judi. Remember the end of “Charlie Wilson’s War”? Problems with Afganistan could have been averted all together if we’d built schools and hospitals instead of turning our backs. Speaking of which, The Afghan School Project is an excellent “put your money where your mouth is” program to support, if you’re a supporter of infrastructure as a solution. It costs $10–15 a month to educate a student.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Iraq = oil
Afghanistan = no oil
Bush/Cheney = oil men
Obama != oil man

So I’d say the answer is no. However, we can’t do the job in Afghanistan without addressing the real problem in Pakistan. The token civilian government in Pakistan has functionally abdicated to the Taliban, and their military has functionally surrendered to them. As long as they have free reign top operate there, our hands will be tied.

bananafish's avatar

It was the original war – it was the real response to 9/11 – not the fabricated b.s. response. This is the war we were always meant to fight.

The fact that we never even had any business being in Iraq meant that our efforts in Afg. will be at least somewhat easier – hopefully we’ll have better support from the international community, and we’ll have an honest goal with few/no hidden agendas (ie securing oil rights and contracts).

We need to finish what we started, we owe that to the people who died in the towers. Everything about Iraq has just been one big distraction and insult to their memories.

fireside's avatar

I think it is encouraging that a part of the focus for the new influx is on working with the farmers to educate them on ho else they can work their land. The poppy fields came back because they didn’t know any other way, hopefully this new push will allow them to convert their fields into something less harmful.

Another sign of encouragement is that he has indicated that there will no longer be a blank check of aid to the Pakistani government without some real progress on thier part.

It’s tough to say though.

kevbo's avatar

Afghanistan = oil pipeline + heroin + more bases surrounding Iran

dannyc's avatar

Obama is much different than Bush. And will garner much more respect for his position. I would highly recommend the citizens rally around his view.

gary4books's avatar

I hope so. We won in Iraq.

w2pow2's avatar

For those of you against the Iraq war- here’s what may have possible happened:
George Bush says that there is no evidence that the Iraqis were helping the terrorists groups. Why the hell would he say if he’s a liar!?
Sooner or later the citizens are going to have to wake up and realize that the government can’t tell them everything.
It’s possible that it was witnessed by an undercover agent. The agent witnesses it but can’t record any evidence. Oh now there’s a problem. There’s a million possible explanations.
And the government has to zip their lips so an agent in Iraq doesn’t have his head blown off.
I saw the liberal media questioning one of Bush’s representatives saying “Why aren’t you searching for these terrorists?” (Facepalm) Well duh he’s not going to broadcast it!

Disc2021's avatar

Honestly, I have no idea what the hell is going on over there and it seems like the more reading I do/the more I try to keep myself informed with what’s happening over there, the less I know. I think all we are doing over there is making a mess, ending lives and creating confusion.

Maybe I’m wrong – maybe we are making justice the utilitarian way. As far as what I see and what I know – lives (including innocents) are being lost and jeopardized and to me that’s not justice. I haven’t seen any progress (nor do I know how our government is defining “progress”) and I dont even know what the goal is (which I’m assuming it’s to end terrorism/terrorist countermeasures) and until then I will remain dismissive and skeptical about the whole fiasco in the middle east.

majorrich's avatar

The Terrain in Afghanistan is exceedingly difficult to fight in as can be seen in no less than 6 other invasions that have been stopped with relatively primitive weapons. We Need/ed to cut the flow of more avanced weapons and logistical supply from Iran and Iraq. Having cut supply lines as best we can, we can proceed and launch a protracted campaign in Afghanistan. Still it is going to take a lot more boots on the ground and support in the pipeline. That all takes a lot of planning and timing as did the (uncertain) timeline of the Iraq component.

Osama Bin Laden is almost surely dead. The command structure he built is robust and fluid. And they are well supplied. These are all problems facing the theatre command. AND remember it takes 5 non-combat troops to support each combat troop, on the skinny side. in this kind of terrain I would wager more like 12 to 18. Thats a lot of stuff to coordinate, and change focus when you aren’t sure you are done in one area and have a 3 month deadline to move to another AO.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@majorrich , According to CNN’s Peter Bergen, Osama bin Laden is still very much alive and is still calling the shots. Bergen is one of the only Western journalists to have ever met bin Laden personally, and is widely considered an expert on him and the region in general. He is still a serious threat to the U.S., and we still have to go after him.

majorrich's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex Good Morning! I know he has kidney trouble and is on dialysis. Perhaps he got a transplant in Cuba or somewhere else that wouldn’t tell us. I was just regurgitating my last sitrep. I still get calls and may report for stateside duty doing paperwork and stuff. Being immobile and unable to go to work at 48 sounds good, But I can tell you I would give nearly everything to get in this fight! Its personal this time.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@majorrich , Bergen is pretty sure the stories of bin Laden’s kidney problems are bogus. I wouldn’t take Musharraf at his word if he told me the sun would rise in the east tomorrow morning. The two-faced bastard probably arranged for his safe passage into Pakistan when we were chasing him at Tora Bora.

“But the stories of bin Laden’s life-threatening kidney problems are false, judging by his appearance in videos that he released in 2004 and again in 2007, in which he showed no signs of illness.”

From the article referenced above. It does not seem to me that a man on the run and in need of dialysis would be able to conceal such a serious illness. Not that I don’t wish he was dead, but I was thinking more along the lines of his head on a pike at Ground Zero.

majorrich's avatar

Bin Ladens renal problems could well be rumours and supposition. I took a look at Snopes just for giggles. Here is the link I found. get yer spoon of salt ready.
http://www.snopes.com/rumors/kidney.asp
Still, to be successful in Afghanistan, we need to isolate them from logistical support from neighboring regions.

NewZen's avatar

This excellent question was asked in April. Months have gone by, and still no end in sight. Is Afghanistan war another Iraq (sic)? Maybe. Only time will tell.

All I know is: War is horrible It is not like in the movies.

Please, G-d, protect our boys and girls in uniform over there. Thank you for your service, and whether or not someone agrees with the war or not, it shouldn’t affect how we feel towards the troops who are fighting to protect the USA and its allies against terrorism – and defend democracy. I salute you!

Pennythoughts's avatar

Obama is doing exactly what he said he was going to do. He said this during the campaign. But no one heard it. They all heard what they wanted. And thought Obama is going to end the war and bring the soldiers home. And geuss what Obama is not going to give you health care either. He is going to pass a law that says you must buy it or pay a fine on your taxes….goodbye tax refund.

Tomfafa's avatar

We will not stop until WE become like afghanistan… divided by tribe, race, class… we will call this… ‘social justice.’

Theby's avatar

The Russians pulled out of Afghanistan and so will the Americans. No-one can beat the Taliban.

Tomfafa's avatar

No one can beat the taliban… I agree. Mo (pbuh) has beset upon us a plague that will surely test us as humans.

deadleaf's avatar

Not only is this NOT a war, but this is NOT a problem at all. The only problem is, IMO, that since the United States is a weak Democracy, and an enterprise Republic, the American people are engulfed with debt and concern for their interpersonal relations. Why would Americans worry about international invasions or foreign policy? They don’t even care about the domestic policies (ie. Health Reform, Patriot Act…) Our dependency of what used to be little government, now “Big Brother”, has eluded the fact that this “war” is nothing more than another political agenda that no one but those playing the game know about. I’m a soldier, I cannot do anything about this except ‘vote’, and that cannot be relied on either. Ugh, I’m sorry, I can’t do this.

Tomfafa's avatar

Better a ‘weak Democracy’ than a ‘soft tyrant’... chavez, obama etc.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. Both Iraq and Afghanistan were Vietnam Wars in the making. I said it before the fools in Washington did it and I will stand by that. I told all my friends who supported it to watch out we will still be fighting it 6 years from then and we are and then some. To bad Vegas were not taking any line bets I’d be rich. The Soviets fought there for near 12 years and never really gained control outside of the region of the capital –of course Uncle Sam was helping the mujahedeen which must make Uncle Sam more feckless than the Soviet army because they have better weapons and the mujahedeen do not have as strong an ally and yet to capitulate. Most of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and that is where the bread crumbs should have led to, but Uncle Sam can’t stay off his knees with his lips on the oil pipe so he was never even going to look twice in that direction. 60 minutes did a piece a while back the highlighted the schools (many ran by clerics) that taught hatred for Americans kind of like the Taliban maybe but that got swept quick under the rug.

@AlfredaPrufrock ” Problems with Afganistan could have been averted all together if we’d built schools and hospitals instead of turning our backs.” Why would Uncle Sam care about them? They were schleps and pawns, the US could not or didn’t want to fight the Soviets head up so the mujahedeen became Uncle Sam’s de facto Luca Brasis. They were there so the US could show its might against those evil Soviets, once their job was done they were disposable, tossed out like a used tampon never to be looked at.

@fireside ” The poppy fields came back because they didn’t know any other way, hopefully this new push will allow them to convert their fields into something less harmful.” Had not worked in Central America. The money is too great. If you were some poor farmer and some cartel tells you that you to grow poppies and no “mysterious” fire burns down your home and farm plus you can earn 10 times as much which would you think one would choose?

@gary4books ” We won in Iraq” Did we? So we have no troops there with guns, no more tanks and active military bases? After all there years Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” has finally worked? No wonder know one knows, I’d be embarrassed to declare it that late too.

@Disc2021 ” I think all we are doing over there is making a mess, ending lives and creating confusion.” Well that is about the most truthful and logical thing I heard on it so far.

Nullo's avatar

Afghanistan has a history of stalemating superpowers: the USSR tried something like the current war some decades ago, and lost.

NormanL's avatar

Iraq was because we were told a lie about WMD. Afghanistan was and is about capturing and or killing Osama bin Laden and taking away his training bases. If he did not have support in Pakistan we would already have him. Stop the Pakistani support and put all resources toward killing him and then get out, the heck with nation building.

Ron_C's avatar

Of course not, it is another Vietnam. A war fought to protect industrial interests, a population that didn’t hate Americans before they were invaded, now with protected zones, free fire zones, and major restrictions placed on the military, it wouldn’t be surprising if we end up with 50 thousand dead soldiers just like Vietnam.

Afghanistan is Vietnam without the water.

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