Sunday, February 04, 2007

When the UN/NATO fail, the US gets the blame

MATA MUSING: Please be sure to check Mr. Friel, the author's feedback, in the comments section. He has rightly called me on my July 31st date error for NATO assuming command of US troops. I had originally picked that up from the bulletin and a big mea culpa to me for not rechecking the NATO site for updates.

I do not believe Mr. Friel recognized I was disgruntled that the media reports always tend to blame US military for the failures with interviewee quotes (and no subsequent facts to clarify positions with factual history of just who has been in charge), and that I was ecstatic that the US was reassuming command. Plus I am also happy that the Congress has agreed to grant the additional requested funds.

However he's a busy guy in the thick of it. And I merely thank him for visiting Sea2Sea and contributing his thoughts.

KABUL (Reuters) - The Taliban threatened a spring offensive of thousands of suicide bombers as the United States, doubling its combat troops in Afghanistan, took over command of the 33,000-strong NATO force on Sunday.


The Taliban warns 2007 will be "the bloodiest year for foreign troops," saying they have 2,000 suicide bombers ready to go into action when winter snows melt in a few months.

"We have made 80 percent preparations to fight American and foreign forces and we are about to start war," Mullah Hayatullah Khan, a 35-year-old black-bearded guerrilla leader, told Reuters at a secret base in the east on Saturday.


"The first 3-5 months of 2007 are absolutely crucial to the entire Afghan effort as the mission has been defined -- that is, in bringing security to the southern provinces," Sean Kay, a security expert and professor of international relations at the Ohio Wesleyan University, told Reuters.

From the beginning, he said, the United States had failed to field enough forces in Afghanistan to prevent the re-emergence of a counter-insurgency and NATO continued to suffer from this particularly in the south.

Thus the interviewees' in Reuters Kabul author Terry Friel's article, manage to take yet another UN/NATO military failure and lay it squarely on the shoulders of US forces which were "from the beginning" insufficient. Let me insert here.... I agree. The US cannot "police" the world. However what are we expected to do when the rest of the world refuses to contribute to the needed int'l "policing, as they promised? Don't forget... the world was united in the Afghan action. Big "bleepin'" deal.

For those of you sound-byte educated, the UN and NATO have been in charge of the "security" of Afghanistan since late 2003 in all but the far east provinces. And even those were turned over to UN/NATO completely July 31st. (Note correction on this date above... was transferred officially as of Oct 5th, 2006) Translation - the group in charge when the increased violence and renewed thrust of the Taliban commenced was... ta da... the UN/NATO "supreme'os". Gee... what a surprise. Has the UN/NATO every had a success in history?

"The United States had failed to field enough forces..."???? I bet your pardon, but what about all those pledges by the UN members, promising not only military support but cash, that are not being honored? When the 26-member UN coalition fails to do the job, and fails to cough up the necessary manpower and bucks needed, just how does this become OUR fault?

Typical "blame America" crap. This amidst the anti-Iraq-success-Congress who will, again, strive to put Iraq and their future under the UN/NATO flag ASAP so that when failure happens, it won't be the US's fault. Guess again... we'll still get the blame.

Iraqi future under UN/NATO control. That will certainly be in the "plans" by a Dem controlled Congress, and supported by the wimpy Republicans who are more worried about their re-election that what is right. What a recipe for failure. And that, folks, is the only "plans" our lily-livered, politically correct, poll driven Congress can come up with... plans to fail.

At least now our forces are going back under the control of US military commanders. That will be the only way Afghanistan has a chance to again beat the Taliban down. However the way it got to the present situation lies not on our soldiers, but on the inept management of the UN and NATO, and the countries who refuse to honor their promises to contribute.


Terry Friel said...

Surprised you take a simple story about US taking over NATO command as a criticism of US policy/strategy.

The story makes clear that the US is now providing the rapid response force that NATO never did and has doubled its ground combat forces and is hoping to spend another $10.6 billion.

And you left out this additional quote from Sean Kay, a US professor as was made clear in the article:
"NATO continues to suffer from this -- there are simply not
enough troops to carry on a successful counter-insurgency
campaign in the south. As the Taliban get further entrenched, the
public there gets further drawn into their grip.

The article also clearly said only Britain and Poland, in addition to the US, have answered the call for more soldiers, while most other counties ignore the call and also impose heavy restrictions on where and how their troops can fight.

to quote: President George W. Bush is asking Congress for an extra
$10.6 billion over two years for the Afghan army and police, and
Washington has been pressing its allies for more troops and an
end to restrictions on how and where their soldiers can fight.

But so far, only Britain and Poland have committed more men
and women and France is pulling its special forces out.

Whether you like it or not, there is a legitimate debate about the commitment by EVERYONE to the Afghan fight. Five years on, there are clearly issues, and you cannot ignore that, nor dismiss a straightforward article, backed with quotes and facts, as anti-American. To quote only very limited parts of articles and ignore the rest of the context is dishonest.

By the way, the United Nations has precious little to do with security in Afghanistan. That is entirely up to the NATO-led ISAF and the separate coalition, Operation Enduring Freedom, which has always been under US command. Check your facts.

It was also only in October that the bulk of US forces were placed under the NATO command, so your final comment is also a little disingenuous.

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MataHarley said...

My thanks for visiting to Sea2Sea from the thick of it, Mr. Friel.

However, as I mentioned in my personal correspondence to you, I find it beyond annoying that when the UN/NATO allliance countries fail to live up to their end of the bargain, and the country's security... (of which NATO leads operations for the ISAF. i.e., a "da buck stops here" position)... goes down the drain, that it's somehow the fault of the US for not having enough troops there "from the beginning" in Mr. Kay's eyes.

Also, it's further frustrating to see the outgoing NATO commander take credit for a banner year in 2006 (most of which was still the US at the helm for the affected areas) with his comment:

"We have proved that NATO can and will defeat the Taliban militarily and, come the spring, an ISAF offensive -- not a Taliban offensive -- will set the conditions to defeat the insurgents again," he said."

So when the going is good, it's NATO as the hero? When the going gets tuff, it's the US's fault??

This stuff drives me crazy, as I'm sure you can tell. Would love to see a few more of this nuances debunked in articles as it just leads the majority of US citiziens to believe that everywhere our military is (unless it's under the command of NATO), we are failures. And we cannot win if the nation believes we are perpetual losers.