Posted by Curt on 19 August, 2009 at 5:47 pm. 14 comments already!

76 of our bravest have died in Afghanistan over the last two months:

KABUL -The U.S. military said Wednesday six American troops were killed in Afghanistan, as militants killed six election workers amid growing fears on the eve of the presidential election that insurgents would mar the vote.

Two troops were killed in gunfire in the south on Wednesday, the U.S. military said, while a third was killed in an unspecified hostile attack. The U.S. also said a roadside bomb Tuesday in the south killed two troops, while another died of noncombat-related injuries. No other details were released.

The deaths bring to at least 32 the number of American troops killed in the country this month, a record pace. Forty-four U.S. troops died in Afghanistan last month, the deadliest month of the eight-year war.

And where are is the anti-war left and their buddies in the MSM now? Bush is gone so now the casualties are no big deal as we slowly lose grip on this war:

“Is the military mission to engage, push back and dismantle the Taliban networks,” asks Bing West, “with population protection being a tactic to gain tips and local militia, or is the military mission to build a nation by US soldiers protecting the widespread population, with engagements against the Taliban as a byproduct?”

West figures it’s the latter, for two reasons. First, non-kinetic operations are more palatable to the American public, the lifeblood of any war effort. That’s why you see Navy recruiting commercials emphasizing foreign tsunami and disaster relief just as frequently as their standard warheads-on-foreheads fare. Second, denying insurgents use of the local population is prime-directive number one in any low-intensity fight. There’s two ways to accomplish that mission: brutalize the population until they’re broken like a well-trained horse (a favorite insurgent tactic) or — because the first option is proscribed by our Western values — feed, shelter, and protect them until you can bring your superior firepower to bear on the now-isolated enemy.

That soft power, it seems, is the new hotness in Afghanistan. But is it costing us our ability to inflict severe casualties on the Taliban? Controlling the population is only the first step in a successful COIN fight, the second is decimating the opposition to a point where they can no longer function as a combat entity. West lays this out succinctly:

…our ground forces are not inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. However, the annual bill for the US military in Afghanistan exceeds $70 billion, with another four to six billion for development. We’ve already spent $38 billion on Afghan reconstruction. Congress may eventually balk at spending such sums year after year. The problem is we’re liable to be gradually pulled out while the Taliban is intact. Nation-building alone is not sufficient; the Taliban must be disrupted.

And we are not disrupting the enemy. The British see this also:

In March 2007, soldier turned journalist Anthony Loyd thought the war in Afghanistan was “winnable”. The tide was turning against the Taleban, he wrote.

That was from a man who was “there” and we all accord great respect to those knowing figures who have “been there”, as able to divine from their very presence all there is to know about the region they happen to visit.

Well, Anthony Loyd is back “there”, in Sangin actually, where on the eve of the presidential election he is reporting the official view that: “Helmand locals too scared of Taleban to vote in presidential election”.

There was little to show yesterday, he writes, for the copious expenditure of British money, bullets and blood over the past three years in Sangin. With less than 24 hours to go before the start of voting in Afghanistan’s presidential election today the streets were all but empty and the bazaar was, in effect, closed.

One more reason why the handing over of this mission to NATO was a mistake. NATO refuses to send the number of troops needed to win this thing and the NATO troops that are there have rules of engagement that are just plain weak. Ever since the handover in 2006 the situation has slowly deteriorated. But Obama has pledged to defeat this enemy in the War on Terror:

The insurgency in Afghanistan didn’t just happen overnight and we won’t defeat it overnight. This will not be quick, nor easy. But we must never forget: This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is a – this is fundamental to the defense of our people.

And you thought the War on Terror didn’t exist anymore….heh.

Well, the number of our young dying is going up, the left is silent over the matter, and Obama seems to have no plans to win this thing other then, as Bing West said above, “US soldiers protecting the widespread population, with engagements against the Taliban as a byproduct?”

Not a winning combination.

UPDATE

Whoa boy!

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