A different POV

In the last few months I’ve been reading and paying attention to a couple of milbloggers.  They are reporting on the state of all things military including current events in Iraq and Afghanistan.  One of them is Bouhammer.  I have a great deal of respect for him and his call to service.  I am writing this post because I am looking to have a dialogue.  I will admit to being gun-shy about posting in his comments section because most of who comment over there are staunch supporters and feel strongly the same way he does.  I don’t want to be attacked for having a different perspective.

He asked the question of whether or not “victory” is important in Afghanistan.    He was “disgusted and disappointed” with President Obama’s statements earlier this week that victory isn’t necessarily the goal of the US in Afghanistan.  Obama’s opinion was that using the term victory gives people the wrong image.  That the word “victory” inspires the image of the Japanese signing the surrender document to the United States in WWII.  I happen to agree, and here’s why.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban are not a military institution.  They do not have a chain of command in the sense that our military does.  Yes, they have leaders, but my impression is that if someone wanted to act on their own volition that there wouldn’t be repercussions for not following war-time protocol.  Our military personnel is not allowed to make decisions that are against the Geneva Convention because they think something might work.  There are rules to followed in warfare and Al Qaeda and the Taliban do not follow those rules.

Even if the leaders of the Taliban and Al Qaeda were to throw their hands up in the air and ceremoniously wave the white flag, there would still be people in the ranks that would say “hell no!” and continue doing whatever they could to harm to Americans.  They don’t care if they die because they are fighting as individuals based upon a principal that the United States is evil, and being a martyr is better than allowing the U.S. to take over.  Our military goes to war because they believe that our country is worth fighting for.  But if one lone soldier or marine takes matters into his own hands, he/she would be condemned not exaulted.

Our leaders, military and otherwise, have yet to define what “victory” means for the scenario in Afghanistan.  At least I haven’t heard of a specific plan since 9-11.  What does victory look like when you are dealing with a group such as Al Qaeda or the Taliban?  Maybe someone in the military can tell me what they are being told victory looks like.  Even former President Bush never gave the public specifics on what victory looks like.  He used the word, but no expansion from generalities was given.

I am speaking from a civilian point of view.  What does victory look like in Afghanistan?  When will our soldiers on the ground say, “Yep, we’ve won this war. It’s time to go home”?  In my mind, THAT is victory, and I just don’t see that happening.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Political victory is defined providing the opportunity to overcome repression of a cast society and repression of a militant strong arm dictatorship.Giving the opportunity to their society to build a democratic”free” government.Like our nation free to define their natioal objective with out feer of reprisal,torture, or death. These are inherent values to our nation which other strive for and want. The question is doed there nation really want freedom bad enough to make the change and do they have the fortiude to weed out the Taliban. Answer. Poltical victory is defined as giving their nation the tempoary freedomb to make a change in their society. Tactical victory has to be defined by their nation fighting to support their nations freedom while we support them with tactical training and polital support as long as they are willing to want to acheve freedom. That is my military perspective. Traveler

  2. I failed to mention that we do not define their victory as it is their will to continue to fight for a free society.

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