10 December 2009

The Butter-Cutter On Mr. Obama's Afghan Strategy Speech

It has been over a week since the president outlined his Afghanistan strategy at West Point and it continues to be debated and discussed in the media. As I entered the virtual Mess Hall, I wondered how this issue was playing out with The Butter-Cutter.

“Hey! So the Prez shit-canned the advise of General McChrystal and is only gonna surge 30,000 more troops to 'The Stan' instead o' surgin' 40,000! Fer this guy, Pentagon 'n' White House Spear-Chuckers know better what's goin' on in 'The Stan' than somebody there with boots on the ground!” he shouted at me as I neared the Chow Line.

“Well, that is not entirely correct. Secretary Gates reported to Congress that he has the authority to send an additional 3,000 troops, potentially increasing the surge total to 33,000, if he deems it necessary. And, . . ."

“WHAT THE F***! The President of the United States says something one day; 'n' the next, his Secretary o' Defense Spear-Chuckers says he's full o' shit! Who the f***'s in charge here?” he bemoaned. 

“As I tried to say before you interrupted me: as far as General McChrystal is concerned, he has publicly expressed satisfaction with the president's decision to reduce the amount of troops he requested,” I said.

“Ya shittin' me? Wadidya think the general was gonna say? 'Hey, Civilian Puke! I told ya 40,000 'n' I ain't gonna take nothin' less!' Yeah, sure! THAT'LL BE THE DAY! Then again, maybe the Secretary o' Defense Spear-Chuckers told 'im not ta sweat it cuz he's the one really in charge 'n' if he really needs more troops, he'll see that he gets 'em! Oh, my achin' ass! Can that be true?” he barked back.

As I searched for a response, The Butter-Cutter continued.

“OK! OK! What the f*** these Surgers supposed ta do when they get there?”

“In his speech, the president said that General McChrystal 'reported that the security situation is more serious than he anticipated'; in that, 'the Taliban has gained momentum' and Al Qaeda 'retain[s] their safe-havens along the border.'Therefore, the president is increasing the force level in Afghanistan in order, 'to seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan.' “

“Huh!?! OK, officer-type, tell me what that shit means!”

“Well, central to the president's strategy is that we are going to train the Afghans how to fight the Taliban and . . . ”

'WHOA!!! WE'RE gonna train the Afghans HOW ta fight the Talley-Banners? MAN, the non-Talley-Banners whipped BOTH the Talley-Banners AND them Al Kydas back in '01 when all we gave 'em was air support 'n' ammo! When WE jumped in at Tora Bora, WE got our ass kicked! What're we supposed ta train 'em ta do now--LOSE? WE oughta be gettin' THEM ta train US!” The Butter-Cutter bellowed in response. 

“You do not understand,” I corrected The Butter-Cutter. “We are taking a lesson from our experience in Iraq. After our forces were dramatically increased by a surge in Iraq, we went on to defeat those . . .”

“BULL SHIT!” he shouted in cutting me off. “We held reveille on them Iraqis with MONEY--bought 'em! 'n' them bought 'n' paid fer Reveille Gangs went out in their 'hoods 'n' whipped ass! Oh! Is that what ya mean this surge shit in The Stan's gonna do? We're gonna buy-off the Afghans too?”

I just did not want to correct him on his use of 'Reveille Gangs' in lieu of, 'Awakening Councils.' So, I said, “No! We are establishing security around population centers where we will improve the infrastructure for those people while their own security forces are being trained. These areas will expand as Ink Spots . . .”

“Ya gotta be shittin' me! The Mobile Teleprompter's bringin' in The Ink Spots ta fix The Stan! Wadda they gonna do? Tour the place singin' '40s sweet shit like the sweet talk Obama used ta win the election?” The Butter-Cutter interjected while roaring in laughter. “Tell me! How long The Ink Spots gonna go around serenadin' before all them Talley-Banners gonna rip the rags off their heads 'n' scream, 'Enough o' this shit! I surrender!' ” and he laughed still louder.

I tried to get him back to reality by saying, “The president believes the surge will show definitive improvement in the security situation in 18 months,” I said.  

“What? They gonna pull all these guys out after only 18 months?”

“No, the president said the withdrawal of the surge forces will start in July 2011. The rate of that withdrawal will depend on the conditions on the ground. The president . . .”

“What kinda bull shit is that?” he cut me off in asking. “They gonna BEGIN ta bring back the 30,000 guys in 2011? Does that mean they can bring back one-a-day? So, thatta take . . . what? 90 years ta bring 'em all back?”

“I do not think the administration intends to bring our forces back one warrior at a time.” I told him.

“Wait a freakin' minute! I read that the Pentagon don't expect ta get them 30,000 Surgers into The Stan until the fall o' next year. If they're gonna start bringin' 'em back in July 2011, that means there ain't gonna be no 30,000 extra Surgers in-country ta do their shit fer a full 18 months before they start commin' home. This SURGE IS BULL SHIT!” he said while shaking his head.

“I am sure DoD will be able to increase the force level in Afghanistan expeditiously in order to take advantage of the additional 30,000 troops for a good period of time before the withdrawal starts,” I assured The Butter-Cutter.

“You're sure, huh? Well, officer-type let me tell ya how we Snuffies see this shit. Come the 2012 campaign year, if them guys ain't home already, they're gonna be commin' home by the droves so's the Mobile Teleprompter can tell everybody, 'See, I told you I would bring our troops home'; 'n', no situation on the ground's gonna change that DE-SURGE. Maybe The Ink Spots ain't gonna be sent ta The Stan, but that don't change the fact that that West Point speech 'n' this surge ain't nothin' more than a song 'n' dance!”  he blurted out before turning and walking away from the Chow Line while muttering invectives as he continued to shake his head.

Semper Shaking The Head,

Anthony F. Miavic

Major USMC (Ret.)



(6 Thinks)

Kentm0300 said:   December 16th, 2009 9:47 am

This is what sticks in my mind about Afghanistan: When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier. Go, go, go like a soldier, Go, go, go like a soldier, Go, go, go like a soldier, --Rudyard Kipling, "The Young British Soldier"

MvGuy said:   December 15th, 2009 6:59 pm

I spent a few years over there in the 70s smugglin hash an hangin out wif the Afghans... I was also traveling around Pakistan, Iran and India too.. At that time what struck me is how much like Americans the Afghans are..... Just a bunch of tribes...... The Peshton & Tajiks..?? Kinda like rebels an yankies..?? If the Russians invaded the U.S., do you think that either the yankies OR the rebels would side with the Russians to settle war scores..???? It would be only a handfull that would.... The majority of both the Southerners and the Northeners would do to the Russians what the Afghans will be doin to US....Lying low until they get a shot a break an opportunity to KILL the foreign occupier and steal his gun, watch cellphone...rings and shoes........ The Afghans value their freedom in some ways more than Americans do these days..... The Afghans did not hate Americans when I was traveling around their country.. Much like us in the USA, they would judge every person they met as individuals..... They wanted to know and like the foreigners.... They were bored and any diversion was fun for them.... Now the U.S. Gov is sayin that Khalis Sheikh Mohamed was the brains behind 911... The Bin Laden wanted poster does not mention 911..... The Saudis that hijacked the Planes, were not from Afghanistan. KSM was hangin round in Pakistan... O.K.O.K., the taliban gave Bin Laden hospatality, but the Taliban said they would turn him over if we send proof he was responsible for 911.... They are jus gonna wait us out, 5, 10, 20....50 Hey they been doin this for over a 1,OOO Yrs. wif the Monguls, Europeans, Russians an the friggin ones we beat too, the Brits........ Cheers...!!!!!!!

 USMCRetired said:   December 13th, 2009 4:08 pm

 Mark's observation below is a little short of the . . . mark. With the advent of TV, we have been captives of TV 'Talking Heads'. Wasn't it the Talking Head Walter Cronkite who decided the Vietnam War? Or at least, convinced the American public the War was lost. The president, with his ever-present teleprompter and an ever-accommodating media, attempts to control both the discussion and the policy by his seemingly daily appearances. Unfortunately, members of his administration are also in the media; is the surge 30,000 or 33,000; and, will the surge be completed in the fall of next year or the summer of next year--just two administration contradictions bounding through the media. In any case, one should not worry much: Talking Head policy makers are doomed to fail under the weight of the time tested bane of actors and Talking Heads alike: "over exposure."

Mark said:   December 13th, 2009 3:05 pm

 To answer the butter cutter's question of "Whoes in charge?" I would answer that BO is in charge of the teleprompter and everything else is like candy falling from a pinata, whoever grabs it first has it until he tires of it.

Ski said:   December 11th, 2009 12:49 pm

 1st Sgt Langford speaks with the sharp mind of a "Top", so I ask how do we obliterate the Taliban - seriously. They are as tough as he says, most of us have seen that first hand in one life or another, but how do we do just that. I am told by a senior Israeli that to date they have removed an entire layer of senior Palestian/Hamas leaders, but the movement keeps growing. The targeting of senior leaders has become "feel good material" for domestic politics - and what are we throwing our last billions at and its a corner-stone in the so called new strategy. The Russians tried gas and lasers, didn't work and cost them more, are nucs still out of the question - but what could they even do. Our military stubbornly insists upon a top-down engine, so if the HQ are hit things slow down. The Taliban have no such impedment they just have a focus and as long as they have room to run and a hole to hold up in they survive. Semper Fi Ski

1stSgt James L. Langford USMC (Ret) said:   December 10th, 2009 2:17 pm

 I spent a few years in that neck of the woods back in the mid-fifties and I can tell you, for a fact, the Afghans are fighters without peer. They have never been conquered as a Nation because they are not a nation but only a collection of tribes. We can only win by defeating them like we did the American Indians: Reservations and obliteration!