Cross-Posted at PoliticalVindication.com
News breaks that the Barack Obama administration has attacked the Taliban in the Helmand River valley of Afghanistan. At first glance, the preparation makes it look promising - from the Washington Post:
The operation will involve about 4,000 troops from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, which was dispatched to Afghanistan this year by President Obama to combat a growing Taliban insurgency in Helmand and other southern provinces. The Marines, along with an Army brigade that is scheduled to arrive later this summer, plan to push into pockets of the country where NATO forces have not had a presence. In many of those areas, the Taliban has evicted local police and government officials and taken power.
But then you read this:
Once Marine units arrive in their designated towns and villages, they have been instructed to build and live in small outposts among the local population. The brigade's commander, Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, said his Marines will focus their efforts on protecting civilians from the Taliban and on restoring Afghan government services, instead of mounting a series of hunt-and-kill missions against the insurgents.
"We're doing this very differently," Nicholson said to his senior officers a few hours before the mission began. "We're going to be with the people. We're not going to drive to work. We're going to walk to work."
Similar approaches have been tried in the eastern part of the country, but none has had the scope of the mission in Helmand, a vast province that is largely an arid moonscape save for a band of fertile land that lines the Helmand River. Poppies grown in that territory produce half the world's supply of opium and provide the Taliban with a valuable source of income.
And then this:
In meetings with his commanders at forward operating bases over the past three days, [Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. ]Nicholson acknowledged that focusing on governance and population security does not come as naturally to Marines as conducting offensive operations, but he told them it is essential that they focus on "reining in the pit bulls."
"We're not going to measure your success by the number of times your ammunition is resupplied. . . . Our success in this environment will be very much predicated on restraint," he told a group of officers from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines on Sunday. "You're going to drink lots of tea. You're going to eat lots of goat. Get to know the people. That's the reason why we're here."
Is this the New Marine Corp? Is that what our Brigadier Generals are going to sound like from now on? Barack Obama thinks the reason why the Taliban are still causing problems in Afghanistan is that no one trusts each other. He's going to convince the river population to stop growing poppies and start growing corn (which will fuel the cars he's going to sell them). By then he expects the Taliban to just give up, wandering away rejected by the Afghanis like a girl drops a boyfriend. Does Barack Obama have any respect for the enemy at all?
This isn't an army he's sending into a very dangerous situation - it's a leftist delusion armed with conflict resolution DVDs and a letter from the State Department. Don't misunderstand me - an offensive force attacking a region naturally tries to pacify their surroundings by befriending locals and passing out goodies. We gained control of Afghanistan after the fall of the capital Kabul using less than a thousand American soldiers in the country. We know how to network and create relationships on the ground. But there was always an obvious show of the "offensive" capabilities we could use. The article reveals a very un-Marine-like perspective - actually declaring ourselves easy targets. If what we have landing on the ground in Afghanistan is a reflection of the mysterious Obama Doctrine, it's time to fret. But we're announcing to the world our military isn't there to fight - what do you make of that?
It could be that Obama's just feeding the international beast - doling out propaganda so our soldiers can do those hunt-and-kill missions behind the scenes that will deliver justice to the Taliban. We'll know soon enough the truth, but let's all pray that Obama isn't endangering our soldiers for a loopy interpersonal communication approach to retraining head chopping fundamentalists into iPod sporting soy bean farmers. War is serious business -keep it simple. The military is for breaking things and killing the enemy. The State Department is for appeasement. The congress is for spending, and the presidency is for buying. The United Nations is for show and cheap prostitutes. Understanding the nature of those institutions will reveal the limits to their effectiveness in the mission you give them.
Pray for our soldiers tonight.