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Can Gen Petraeus win in Afghanistan?

10:33 UK time, Sunday, 4 July 2010

US Gen David Petraeus has formally taken command of the 130,000-strong international force battling insurgents in Afghanistan. Do you think he can repeat his Iraq success?

The general, calling the battle in Afghanistan "a contest of wills", said the coalition would not back down against the Taliban, despite a number of gloomy analyses of the war's progress.

"We are in this to win," the new commander said.

He also paid tribute to his predecessor, Gen Stanley McChrystal, who was sacked after he and his aides mocked and criticised political leaders in Washington and Kabul.

What does the future hold for the Afghanistan campaign under Gen Petraeus? Will the change of personnel at the top bring a change in strategy, despite President Obama insisting it will not?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Getting the morale of the troops back, ensuring the chain of command is respected and making sure there is no back-biting in military and civilian circles are tough calls. Of course the whole operation has to be planned to the last detail to match the willy Taliban.

  • Comment number 2.

    "Will the change of personnel at the top bring a change in strategy, despite President Obama insisting it will not?"

    There are two types of adversaries the NATO forces need to consider in Afghanistan. The Taliban resistance and non-Taliban resistance.

    The Taliban are an evil fundamentalist mindset that one can never negotiate with. The other resistance, by contrast, is naturally to be expected in any country under foreign occupation, and these people are more likely to talk.

    So far the media and the politicians have conveniently and purposefully grouped anyone against the foreign occupation as Taliban. Hopefully, General Petraeus, given both his military experience and intellect will recognize the mistake of doing this, and recognize the need for nation-building as a component strategy for defeating the Taliban.

    As for whatever Obama's claims - can anyone believe anything Obama insists on these days?

  • Comment number 3.

    I thought they were winning heroin exports since invasion have quadrupled.
    mission accomplished.

  • Comment number 4.

    Can Gen Petraeus win in Afghanistan?
    No.
    As for General Petraeus “success” in Iraq:
    As a result of years of economic sanctions against Iraq, carcinogenic bombs replete with depleted uranium, terrible burning of white phosphorous over a million people have died (2/3 children). As many if not more have become displaced, refugees, homeless.
    If the Iraq War was so successful, why are the Americans still there – training and contracting - ensconced in the green zone?
    An independent commission set up by the government of the Netherlands headed by Netherlands Supreme Court judge Willibrord Davids, has clearly concluded
    1. the 2003 invasion of Iraq violated international law
    2. "regime change" as practiced by the powers that invaded Iraq had "no basis in international law"
    3. UN resolution “1441 "cannot reasonably be interpreted as authorizing individual member states to use military force to compel Iraq to comply with the Security Council's resolutions.
    As for Afghanistan, it’s not a battle of wills. The Afghan War is also illegal. On Sept. 14th Congressional resolution authorized President Bush to use force. No vote in a nation's legislature can permit that nation to behave contrary to international law. The Congressional resolution cannot make U.S. military action "right". Suppose that Pakistan's legislature voted for war against the United Kingdom?
    Military actions that cause massive civilian harm (as is occurring in Afghanistan) are in fact defined as terrorism; we would have no problem with this definition if the situation were reversed and Afghanistan had passed a Congressional Resolution to bomb the United States.
    Since the War in Afghanistan is illegal, no attacks are legitimate. Even if the war was legal, not all targets are legitimate. There is no justification for attacking civilian structures or infrastructure. Several million people are at risk of starvation in Afghanistan already.
    Expectation under Gen Petraeus?
    Bloodshed on a more massive scale!
    Afghans, including the Taliban are fighting for the very way of life, on Afghan soil. Do you think they will cut and run on their own soil, fighting for their own way of life?
    Will the change of personnel at the top bring a change in strategy, despite President Obama insisting it will not?
    Yes, Petreaus will give the troops a lot more freedom to "protect" themselves vs civilian population. Civilian death toll will escalate, and this will motivate the Taleban to aggression like we have never seen.

  • Comment number 5.

    With due respect to Gen Petraeus and his competence, a question pops up in mind: "Has the Iraq war really been won." I pause to ponder. As to the war in Afghanistan, the cause has gone awry. Was the General appointed to fight the Taliban and where does Al Qaeda figure in - the real reason for war. The war in Afghanistan represents now a war of civilisations or is it a tirade against Islam. It is a clash of ignorance on either side. The Taliban et al live in Afghanistan - their homeland while Americans are extraneous - an invading force. Well, goodluck to Gen Petraeus!

  • Comment number 6.

    NATO's problem in Afghanistan is how to get out without losing too much face. It was a colossal blunder to choose to fight religious extremism on such unfavourable ground.

    The Taliban are obviously confident that they can continue indefinitely to inflict casualties on the NATO forces. Although the stated aim of the Taliban is to drive out the "foreign invaders", they may not be in too great a hurry to do so, because the more NATO troops they manage to draw into Afghanistan, the greater the Taliban's prestige when they eventually leave. They are therefore unlikely to cooperate by, for example, a temporary reduction in their activity to allow NATO to claim success and leave.

    Maybe General Petraeus is sufficiently intelligent and has the political skill to overcome this problem. It is just possible that he might be able to tempt the Taliban to collaborate by recruiting them into the Afghan "government forces", so that it will be easy for them to take over when NATO leaves. The General's friendly gestures to the Karsai regime could be just a cover for such an intention.

  • Comment number 7.

    No, we need an intelligent general not a gung ho one. We need one that understands the region, the people and the customs, which a US general will never be able to do.

    I don't understand why people are saying he was a success in Iraq. The US are still there losing men, the country is still in chaos. Where is the success? If he is as successful in Afghanistan as he was in Iraq, then god help Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 8.

    Sorry BBC.

    That maybe one of the stupidest question ever asked on your site.

    There's a saying in my language "ethige jwara bandre emmege bare" - treating the buffalo when it's the bull that's sick.

    There's nothing to win or lose in Afghanistan. The real enemy is in Pakistan. Let's not go to the cliche that that the recent publication by LSE is not well researched or it was not known to the NATO.

    Every Tom, Dick and Harry knows that ISI is the real handler of Taliban. Hillary even knows that Osama is in Pakistan, yet, the war is being fought in Afghanistan.

    There's another saying in my language - "angaiyyalliro gaya nodakke kannadi bekaa?" - you don't need a mirror to see the cancer on your own palm. I think Americans are as flustered as the rest of the world when they see that their billions of dollars are being given to Pakistan, which in the end reaching Taliban to kill American soldiers. I think this plot would make a good Steven Soderbourgh film.

  • Comment number 9.

    Firtly I'm not sure Afghan is "winnable" as a purely military campaign sense. It's the Afghan people that will decide whether the Taliban win or not, not the NATO military, though of course they can help.

    I think General Petraeus's success in Iraq was "disguising" deals with the local militia commanders with the "surge" in US numbers so as to appear the latter as being more decisive than the former in scaling back the violence (when I would suggest the opposite was more true).I believe his tactics in Afghan will be similar in doing deals with local Afghan warlords with massive operations in order to make a peace long enough to declare the job done and withdraw the troops. Whether they will be any more successfull will be judged over time I guess.

  • Comment number 10.

    I get the impression that many commentators here know little to nothing about Patraeus.

    Patraeus was the one who turned aroudn the situation in Baghdad. Whilst his precedessors had operated from large bases doing patrols in vehicles and refusing to mingle with the population, under Patraeus the US forces moved out of their large bases and into the urban areas. They set up operational posts among the population and also spent a lot of time buying the support of many militants. Patraeus is far from "gung-ho". He wrote a short guide to counter insurgency tactics and being gung ho was something he specifically stated had to be avoided. He was also responsible for changing the focus in Iraq from installing demcoracy and other misguided ideas to simple stability and protecting the Iraqi population.

    This guy is highly competant and though I doubt he can "win" as such, I feel he is a very able individual who will be able to improve the situation. He knows how to run counter insurgency operations better than many in the US army.

  • Comment number 11.

    Throw as much as "dirt" as you want on ISI, but your words are like a pack of lies that the entire newsprint publishes to defame ISI.

    Fact file

    Osama - Trained & sent into Afghanistan by CIA. Since 1998, has been hunted by CIA & other agencies from USA to MI5, but they all have failed miserably or even come close. So if you are blaming him to be in Pakistan...I laugh at your ridiculous perverted thoughts.

    Afghanistan - Invaded in 1979 by Russians, & has never seen a stable life ever since. Have been recently blessed with trillions of dollars worth of minerals, that everyone has sharpened their interests in.

    USA - Helped fund the Mujahideens (Taliban regime), by providing Stingers, ammunitions, etc, to fight the Russians (Cold War)

    Pakistan - Channel to help the Afghani brothers by providing refuge & fending the Russians off, whose next target was Pakistan. Has helped USA a lot more than any other country in fighting the ridiculous "War on Terror", to which there is no end. USA started it, it has to end it. Period

  • Comment number 12.

    Bush & Bliar invaded Afghanistan because apparently Bin Laden was living in a cave there. But in 9 years they still haven't located him, if he was ever there at all or even still alive.

    It was a futile gesture by the same patronising warmongerers who invaded Iraq with no real plan, who thought they could 'change history' by invading Afghanistan even though many have tried and failed before. But they also failed and the poor servicemen/women are now stuck to face the consequences.

    There is absolutely nothing to be won in this conflict because in a such a volatile country, the people NATO are trying to keep from power will take it again the minute they leave.

  • Comment number 13.

    Ask the Iraqi people - Has he really won in Iraq...??? A year on from now, I would love to ask the Afghani people, this same question...!!!

    The answer would be the same NO.

  • Comment number 14.

    Win what? Is there a prize?

  • Comment number 15.



    In Ecclesiastes, we are told that there is nothing new under the sun. Therefore, we may be well served to consider the wisdom of that ancient warrior, Sun Tzu, who in his classic treatise, The Art of War, had this to say about Waging War:

    "When the army engages in protracted campaigns the resources of the state will not suffice.
    When your weapons are dulled and ardour damped, your strength exhausted and treasure spent, neighbouring rulers will take advantage of your distress to act. And even though you have wise counselors, none will be able to lay good plans for the future.
    Thus, while we have heard of blundering swiftness in war, we have never seen a clever operation that was prolonged. For there has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited."

  • Comment number 16.

    the simple answer is no and anyone who says they can win is getting soldiers killed for nothing.as nothing will change

  • Comment number 17.

    how can the general say he has won in iraq people are still being blown to pieces ...as i have said before and will say again let the countrys sought them selves out..... we have lost to many good soldiers for a campaign we should have not got involved in

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    In a word NO
    and if America ever gets to build that missile defence system in Poland the 3rd world war will start as soon as it is finished,

  • Comment number 20.

    Is it a success in Iraq? I suppose it may be; from a U.S. perspective? Both countries have been pinpointed for U.S. aggression tactics. The U.S. is more interested in the resources offered by each country and are obviously there for the long-term. When the Bush family is in bed with the Bin Laden family, my straight line points to complicity.

    As for "insurgency"? If the U.S. had been invaded? It would be called freedom fighting. If the U.S. system is so good? You would think that there would be peace?

    The only ones profiting from this? Are the arms dealers.

  • Comment number 21.

    REe #11 "Throw as much as "dirt" as you want on ISI, but your words are like a pack of lies that the entire newsprint publishes to defame ISI.

    Fact file

    Osama - Trained & sent into Afghanistan by CIA."






    And THAT is a patent lie.


    Osama was one of hundreds of anonymous Muslim volunteers who came to fight "godless evil empire" (USSR) during the Soviet Afghan-War.

    Nobody heard about him at the time as he was a non-entity.

    A multimillioner's sonny, Osama later created al-Qaida with a specific goal of toppling the House of Saudis after he fell out of favour at the court.

    Taliban has been created in 1994 in Pakistan's madrassas (long after Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan), "with a little help of our friends" from ISI, in order to subjugate Afghanistan and make it into a weak, chaotic entity easily controlled by Islamabad.


    No Stingers were ever given to any Muslim fanatics.

    A significant portion of mujahhedins (e.g. Northern Alliance) consisted of moderate Afghans.


    BTW. The leader of NA, Mahmud Shah Massoud (The Lion of Panjshir Valley) was later assassinated by al-Qaida, for the very reason that he objected to having Afghanistan turned by Wahhabi fanatics into another Sharia-based fundamentalist caliphate.

  • Comment number 22.

    Look, an army that has been set up to conquer, by destroying the industry and resources of an organized Government, cannot "win" when neither of those conditions are present. Taliban are basically peasants, not industrial workers, and there is nothing more re-unifying than land theft by incoming thieves.

    There is a lot of Guff about "counter-insurgency" - which is resistance to the occupying power, and a lot of countries where military might has NOT stopped counter-insurgency/resistance, just changed it's form. (Think of Palestine-Israel. China-Uighurs/Tibet, Russia etc.). The theft of resources in Peru, Amazon basin, etc.etc. by Government/military is a similar phenomena.

    So Petraeus is going to try to "win", but for whom - multinationals, Oil industries? They will rake off the profits (as will the military industrial complex), but who pays the bills?

    "Defeating the counter-insurgency", is just another way of stealing.

    What of the "Talibans" attitude towards life ? By throwing more arms into the war, the US and NATO have legitimized them. The moment that came when "soft-power" would have done some good is long gone, because there was no political will to help the local, unarmed people. (Bush era). Can Petraeus catch up ? Does he even want to ?


  • Comment number 23.

    Re #8 "Hillary even knows that Osama is in Pakistan, yet, the war is being fought in Afghanistan."





    Incorrect. U.S. conducts military and intelligence gathering operations in Pakistan (most of them in NWFP) with a specific objective to decapitate al-Qaida's and Taliban's leadership.

    This effort has been quite succesful judging by a number of those top terrorists killed in Predator-2/Reaper attacks.

    You're probably not aware of those operations, because, for obvious reasons, they are not heavily advertised. :)

  • Comment number 24.

    "British troops failed years ago, so did the Russians armys and tanks', The Americans say they will win? {NO WAY} The Afghans'' are born to fight {War -lord or and drug=dealers is the way of life for they rulers'and growing drugs is the main job of the poor .

  • Comment number 25.

    Thank you BluesBerry (4) for your very clear and accurate exposition - I would add that in past days the Brits and the Russians did not win so I see no reason, practically, why the Americans think they can - add to that the illegality etc and all that basically is occurring is so many young lives are being needlessly lost - utterly futile and tragic with as usual the UK blindly and meekly following USA.

  • Comment number 26.

    The question sounds as if an individual can make or break the situation in Afghanistan! The Invasion and intervention in Afghanistan has unified all the forces who hate the outsiders. May be the enhanced militarymight and tactics can reduce and weaken the Taleban for a short period of time, giving the oppertunity and reason for the outsiders to leave.The moment they are out, it will be all out war again. The same way it happened when the Soviets left. Through out the history a puppet regime had never survived and military means alone never changed everything!

  • Comment number 27.

    Every American soldier is taught to win, given the tools and training to win, the losses only happen because the civilians in Washington and the Armed forces in Afghanistan are facing two different situations. If General Patreaus is given full authority to win this war militarily at all costs, it would be a lot easy on the ground troops to establish firm goals to achieve their mission, there are going to be civilian deaths, when the enemy wears no uniform, mingles with the people in burqa, uses children as their mules to send ammunition, food and guns. The media needs to be out of Afghanistan immediately. Wars are won on firmness and not pliability!

  • Comment number 28.

    Play to our strengths. Don't waste soldiers' lives assaulting targets & walking throught hostile villages when an airstrike will end the fight from 10,000 feet. War is hell. World War II had catastrophic civilian casualties, but we won, & the world was a better place. If Afghanistan doesn't rise to that level of importance, then get out.

  • Comment number 29.

    27. At 3:52pm on 04 Jul 2010, Kaliyug wrote:

    Every American soldier is taught to win, given the tools and training to win, the losses only happen because the civilians in Washington and the Armed forces in Afghanistan are facing two different situations. If General Patreaus is given full authority to win this war militarily at all costs, it would be a lot easy on the ground troops to establish firm goals to achieve their mission, there are going to be civilian deaths, when the enemy wears no uniform, mingles with the people in burqa, uses children as their mules to send ammunition, food and guns. The media needs to be out of Afghanistan immediately. Wars are won on firmness and not pliability!

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    You do know that this is reality and not a film. Stating that Every American soldier is taught to win is not quite right. US soldiers as in every army are taught to fight. Having served with US soldiers I can tell you they are not taught that well, but have all the equipment to help them win. You also need to know that to win a war such as in Afghanistan, you need the support of the indigenous people and that is the mistake the US is making in Afghanistan and Iraq. It seems to think that it does not need that support and that military might will win. Well, yes military might can win, but only if that military might is nuclear weapons where you rid the country of the population (and I wouldn't take a bet against the US trying that).

  • Comment number 30.

    What an amazing circus of military ineptitude the American war in Afghanistan has turned out to be. This is not the generation of gifted competent generals they are more like corporate men angling for promotion and recognition from the company boss. Careerist technocrats. Had either McCrystal or Petraeus led the allied invasion of europe Hitler would have won the war easily. What is the Taliban the SS? Where are the Taliban's armored divisions, airforce, navy? The US has been fighting the Taliban for nine years and they still cannot hold the country in the face of a ragged opposition equipped with nothing more than AK-47s,a few grenade launchers, and homemade bombs. Even advanced technology using drones has not won the war but only succeeded in killing more civilians than enemy earning the Americans the undying hatred of the population and hatred of the US supported puppet Karzai government for permitting US cowboy actions. Then again perhaps it is the nature of the resistance itself a native guerrila war whose members blend into the local population as happened in Vietnam. In that case the war is endless and more a matter of personal prestige of Obama and US military hubris than any strategic aim. In desperation Obama has even toyed with the solution of bringing the Taliban into the government but how could that ever be since the Taliban would never share power with an idiot like Karzai and is ideologically opposed to the central regime based on religious doctrine. The British who never seem to know if they are leaving Afghanistan or not, once saying they are leaving soon and then saying they will stay as long as it takes, have also proposed a Taliban integration. The fact is no one appears to know what to do in that country other than carry on the war for the war's sake. There is a muddleheadedness in all that the allies do who have trapped themselves into the "we must win this war" syndrome which is the recourse of befuddled fools. The recently released private audio tapes of President Lyndon Johnson are starkly revealing in what goes on in time of war with Johnson telling a US senator that he "doesn't know how he got in the war (Vietnam), what to do about it, or how to get out, and that the entire war was worthless, a complete waste of American lives and money, that he was sad and unhopeful about it" even as he said publically that the war in Vietnam must be won! So there you have it we are in it again because a US president, Obama and Bush before him, has said that a war must be won. For what purpose? Any? The truth for once would be nice to hear other than the tired repeated propaganda for public consumption.

  • Comment number 31.

    That would be a first. For anyone, from anywhere - since before recorded history.
    You would have to be dumb enough to believe the god myth to be sucked in by that any of that "win in Afghanistan" propaganda nonsense.

  • Comment number 32.

    No, because they have to fight with both hands behind their backs. If they find a telly tubby stronghold, nuke it, they can't run to the hill's if they've been vaporized can they?

  • Comment number 33.

    We should start by defining the term "Win"

  • Comment number 34.

    Depends on what you mean.

    If winning includes destroying 50% to 90% of Afganistans heroin production before troops pull out, then I very much doubt it. I doubt if they will even reduce production by 30% as in over 9 years they might as well have just not bothered as the difference is SO MINIMAL.

    It is said that troops invaded Afganistan to stop terrorism. The FACT is, is that Afganistans heroin production (90% of world production, UN figures)is liable for 90% of yearly heroin attributal deaths worldwide, which is 90,000 lost lives (UN figures).

    It seems to me that Afganistans heroin production inflicts MUCH MUCH greater terrorism on the world than those with guns and bombs, the numbers speak for themselves, het forces in Afganistan stand guard over poppy fields so that employed Afgans can pull the plants up one by one.

    As well as being TOTALLY uneconomic, it puts western soldiers at HUGE HUGE risk for WHAT- NOTHING, because the NEGLIGENTLY SLOW rate that poppy plantations are destroyed means that they are just easily and quickly replaced.

    Its like a dog chasing its tail, and I think it is outrageous and imoral that we use our troops in such a STUPID INEFFECTIVE way.

    If Gen Petraeus has ANY decency, he would seek to use other and better means of destroying Afganistans heroin production and STOP being worried about upsetting Tribes.

    In ANY WAR, to defeat an enemy you destroy their ability and capacity to fight, which in this instance means MONEY. If heroin production is stopped or greatly reduced then ultimately it means LESS BOMBS and BULLETS for Afganistans insurgents/terrorists.

    STOP PUSSYING AROUND WITH TRIBAL WARLORDS AND JUST GET ON AND DESTROY THE HEROIN PRODUCTION.

  • Comment number 35.

    Hardley all he has is the firer power...the strategy is with the English and culture is with the afgans....

  • Comment number 36.

    Will Gen Petraeus win the war? Who knows? The main issue is no longer the Taliban or al Qaeda, it is the growing threat from militant Islamists. They are the real threat to personal and total freedom. Unless this is curbed, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq are pointless.

  • Comment number 37.

    Since no-one can define what 'winning' really means, the answer in 'no'. Afghanistan will revert back to it's old ways eventually, be it in 2 years or 20 years. We are wasting a great deal of human life and money on this fruitless effort. As for Iraq - we actually won? Really? There are still more bombing and killing in Iraq than before we invaded, and many thousands of Iraqi's displaced. That is the definition of winning? All we did was get rid of Saddam and his government.
    Some people claim victory in Vietnam, but after losing 50,000 troops and many more wounded, and decimating the Vietnam and Cambodian populations, we left them to their own devices. Guess what? Now Vietnam is a great place to visit, and we trade with them.
    Itstead of wasting time and effort in Afghanistan and Iraq, we should be focusing on Pakistan - that's where the core of the problems lay.

  • Comment number 38.

    I don't see how anyone can say American action "legitimise" the Taliban. There are those who genuinely fight because of pride in their country and these people can be negotiated with. However, someone who has pride in their country does NOT drive suicide bombs into markets, mosques and other public places with the SOLE PURPOSE OF KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE!

    How can anyone condemn Americans for causing some civilian casualties by accident and then support a group that goes out of its way to kill innocent people? You know that 95%+ of the deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are NOT caused by westeners. They are caused by militants and radicals. How come some are so fast to support these murderers? If they truely wanted to remove the Americans, they would only attack Americans. They don't want to do this though. They want to spread terror in the whole country by attacking indiscriminately. Shame on those who support the Taliban.

  • Comment number 39.

    His will be another scalp on the Bedpost

  • Comment number 40.

    Can Gen Petraeus win in Afghanistan?

    The fact that this question is being asked NINE years after the US invaded Afghanistan says it all.

  • Comment number 41.

    Why are we in Afghanistan when we should be in Iran destroying their Nuclear bomb program and undermining the religious fanatic dictators of that country.
    The Taliban are no threat to us unlike Iran who continue to destabilize that region and the world,
    Bush said an axis of evil was threatening the world Iraq, Iran, and N Korea. Bush never intended a protracted war in Afghanisthan it is pointless. Bush was ready to move on Iran and stopped by Leftist idiots and leaked documents from within our State Dept.
    For all those wanting a better world, forget Afghanistan, Iran must be next.

  • Comment number 42.

    How can you win in a society such as Afghanistan?, where the enemy are backed and sheilded by the people, who are friends to your face, but become your enemy or supporters of your enemy when your back is turned. Where their ideiology means they will shake your hand, smile to your face and take your money and gifts, but will allow you to be killed, through allowing people in their midst plant bombs or take up arms without doing or saying anything to stop the terrorism, silently allowing these actions to occur, in a passive silent support of the terrorists, these "normal" people accept corruption asa way of life, and cannot ever be trusted, anyone who is a outsider that trusts them normally ends up being targeted, attacked or killed.

    our current policy does nothing but get our soldiers killed, as they are just being used as sitting ducks, totally toothless to defend themselves the way the rules of engagement are set, ensuring they are sitting targets.

  • Comment number 43.

    No-one can win in Afghanistan. It is an ungovernable land and history has (or should have) taught us that.

    Let no-one misunderstand me here. I have every faith that given the situation the armed forces will do everything possible to try to resolve the problem but they will be let down yet again by a political system that will not tolerate a protracted conflict.

    If the Russians had to get out because it was un-winnable there, why do we think that the latest war will be any more successful.

    In Iraq, despite some claiming the war was illegal (and I am not arguing that one over again) at least we had some chance of winning the hearts and minds of the population who were repressed under Sadam Hussein, there is no chance in the hostile Afghan environment.

    Waste of lives, money and most of all any scant respect we had around the world.

  • Comment number 44.

    There is no terrorism except of the US's.
    Gen Petraeus may go home or stay at the sevice of the Afghan government.
    The pipeline from the Caspians would be much cheaper without him...

  • Comment number 45.

    Can General Patraeus......? Nope. It's all down to the people on the ground to win the hearts and minds of the Afgahn people, IF it is at all possible. The trouble is the NATO forces are all seen as unwelcome invaders even by those who simultaneously see the Taliban as unwelcome.

  • Comment number 46.

    There is no winning in Afghanistan because the US & her allies are fighting a people, not an army. Who said we have won in Iraq? the Nation will descend into civil war once the US & her allies withdraw.

  • Comment number 47.

    Ground realities should be recognised , and ground reality is that nobody wants imposed solution

  • Comment number 48.

    The right people have not been killed yet. When that happens, we will leave. There is nothing to win. Just some people there that need to die. After that, it's done.

  • Comment number 49.

    Win what?we have no clear goals in Afghanistan.
    I know they say now we are there to help install a stable government.
    How can that be done when we are now using huge amounts of American taxpayers money to pay president karzais two cousins who are running an extortion racket on our troops.
    We pay them around $4,000,000 per week to ensure safe passage of our supply convoys through regions they control or they will have our convoys attacked.The money is then used to resupply our enemies with the guns that are killing our troops.
    I believe the reason our government really needs a single government in Afghanistan is to build and protect the oil pipeline Unicol started and stated before the U.S. house of reps they could not complete without a single stablized government in the region,the pipeline was to be a 43 inch 1000 mile long pipe carrying 1,000000 barrels a day to a port in Pakistan.








  • Comment number 50.

    First, what success in Iraq? What a fine mess that has turned into.

    Second, the Afghanistan conflict is in its ninth year. Absolutely no end in sight. When you consider it takes about 3 months of basic training to turn out a soldier, the Afghan army should be in a top position by now. No? Then must assume Afghanis do not have their heart set on ridding their country of Taliban and other groups. That being the case, why are we sending our young men and women to fight a losing battle? Let's get out.

  • Comment number 51.

    You need more oil and gas than it was allocated ever before.
    Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan aare just an intermezzo...

  • Comment number 52.

    Can Gen Petraeus win in Afghanistan?

    The thing this writer and it seems many others aren't sure about is: Should he win?

    The Taliban aren't the nicest people in the world. We're all clear about that. Then again, there are a lot of bad people in the world. Some of the things the US and UK did in Iraq certainly weren't very nice.

    Also, not all of those resisting the US-led occupation are Taliban. Many are legitimate freedom fighters. Sure, their concept of freedom differs from ours, however it's their homeland.

    Last but certainly not least, I usually play to win, but the goal posts in this conflict seem so far away, and the motives and strategy so questionable and uncertain, that it might be better to call it quits before more brave soldiers lose life and limb.

  • Comment number 53.

    The Afghanistan campaign will be lost unless Pakistan gets it's act together and eradicates the Taliban network there, which provides the weaponry and trained fighters across it's vast uncontrolled borders!

  • Comment number 54.

    Although majority of the population at both Iraq and Afghanistan were living under fear; the situation at both Countries earlier as well as now bearing a hell and heaven difference between each other. While army received utmost welcome at Iraq, the same is absent in Afghanistan being entire are a hunted lot including that of the current president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai. An offensive never mean a win in a war being the situation at Afghanistan is intensely complex being born out of madness infused to the General Public of Afghanistan amasses falling into hands of many vested interests to get hold of it once the collision forces vacates the area. With dead line of leaving the area already announced, all shall be reluctant now to offer any helping hand to the collision force and shall do the reverse to establish one’s position within the Country by becoming an informer to the Taliban.

    With an intense intention or desire in mind to exploit the area by Pakistan, Pakistan shall develop more and more closer relationship with hard-line Taliban than what they are having at present so that none can snatch away the takeover even by the General Public from within Afghanistan. Therefore it is very remote that the war shall ever see an end now following allowing the opportunity to pass- by off our hands when Taliban were under flee but they are revived now with much of vigor added by vested interest living within the area without knowing that the entire shall now fall to an outsider in view of their foolishness in handling the situation.

    It sad to notice that we are giving burden to Army who are otherwise considered expert in the line but their actions are govern by many limitations due to availability of many forces in the field to draw out a rightful Strategy to kill the situation by their own which is now became almost next to impossible. Our most admired Gen Stanley McChrystal, also intended to express the same opinion to us but chosen a different forum to express it being unable to bear the intense pain he was carrying together in the heart. While appreciating the noblest contribution made towards the entire humanity, we all pray Gen Stanley McChrystal not to leave the Army in a hurry considering the happening of the situation as abnormal one and that the desire is now duly heard. Further we all know that it was not insubordination but a Love towards the Country which forced the Gen to act that way. Gen David Petraeus is also equally qualified and most adored Gen to handle such situation on our behalf quickly but he too is constrained by various circumstances not to get an appropriate result out of his actions; the collision force intend to undertake being no factor is favoring him or the collision or us to take a straight path of action. Both the Gen are therefore equally capable of winning much more complex or greater wars so long continuous availability of invisible forces in the area is absent not to make alive the kill once done with; with much more power in hand.

    Unless those who are interfering in the Subject know of what wrong they are doing to themselves, we are afraid the collision force shall require returning home with a heavy heart for not finding an amicable solution to the problem, which was once very simple to kill it. The world is intensely sorry that we unable to give justice to the General Public of Afghanistan in-spite of our best efforts. That is why we always say justice delayed is justice denied. This is a telltale example of it where millions of lives are in stack of extinction. However, we are still expecting that some miracle might happen in the battle field to give us a satisfactory result out of the said common war between good and evil where interest of the entire world is involved.


    (Dr.M.M.HAZARIKA, PhD)



  • Comment number 55.

    "There's nothing to win or lose in Afghanistan. The real enemy is in Pakistan...."

    This is the most absurd accusation.
    Pakistan has sacrificed so much already - hundreds of civilians killed already.
    The War is on its doorstep ! and Pakistan has been plunged into it.
    Its universally known that the CIA trained the Taliban against the Russians.
    The war can never be won for so many reasons and therefore I see dialogue as the only way forward.

  • Comment number 56.

    Nope!...........
    Wrong President ,Wrong General ,Wrong army and lastly Wrong Country ...Apart from those issues ....Maybe

  • Comment number 57.

    Just imagine the unlikely scenario whereby Gen Petraues managed to remove every last member of the Taliban from Afghanistan. Firstly I think we can all agree this is so unlikely that we can dismiss it as an objective but just imagine that he was successful - what does US coalition then do? The only way to prevent their return from neighbouring lands would be to station hundreds of thousands of troops permanently in the country. The Taliban are a patient lot, they will be more than happy to wait for years before the inevitable withdrawal and they will be back in charge within a matter of weeks.
    The situation is doomed to ultimately return to how it was before the invasion, or maybe even worse whether we like it or not.

  • Comment number 58.

    "The Military are out of control."

    There is no Intellect outside the Military that control them. There is no governor, nor any way of turning them on or off. A Military is created for the protection of a nation. Alone on their own they terrorize, torture, destroy and kill, even their own people.

    The people are forced to think and live the way the military want them. Fascism is placed in front of the citizen for patriotism and in place of a republic there is a policed totalitarianism.

    There is no civilized society. There is only the savage with the greatest destructive force and all are crushed under it.

  • Comment number 59.

    Kaliyug (and others who think the same.)
    "it would be a lot easy on the ground troops to establish firm goals to achieve their mission, there are going to be civilian deaths, when the enemy wears no uniform, mingles with the people in burqa, uses children as their mules to send ammunition, food and guns."

    Never heard of wives and children? The Taliban not only "mix" with people in Burqas, they even have pleasurable sex with them (I presume! They might be supposed to have the same moral rectitude as the Victorians, but there were lots of "bits-on-the side in Victorian times...)

    Stop thinking that the Taliban are foreigners to their own country. Haven't the Americans learned anything about the reaction to Drone killings?.

    If you don't like or agree with the Taliban ethics, that is your idea against theirs. Nomads usually had an extremely hard code of conduct - dictated by conditions. A Saudi tribe would leave the woman alone in the desert -with a camel, if she came into labour during a march. Otherwise the whole tribe could be lost. Hard? yes. But there were no helicopters or maternity homes. The death rate of men was considerably higher than that of women - so polygamy etc.

    I, and I presume you don't like the Taliban attitude to women, BUT civilisation has been stopped by a permanent WAR situation. And who continues that? The education of women is the single most useful factor in changing "old-world" brutal practices. Now you want to kill them indiscriminately. Why? so the Afghan people won't breed?

    Ahh. Sad that the US and Pakistan decided to arm the Taliban to drive out the Russians. Imagine what a peaceful place Afghanistan might have become.

    Never mind. Send in Petraeus on his wonder horse, SuperMilitary man will win again. Just like in the last episode in Iraq. and the children and women in Burqas will shower him with flowers for killing their menfolk - just like it was supposed to be in Iraq. :€) (smily with a moustache)

  • Comment number 60.

    no one has ever ruled afganistan NO ONE EVER WILL. IRAQ is also a "multi"state,can only be ruled by FORCE.

  • Comment number 61.

    General Petreus was a great General in Iraq only because he worked for a great President, George W Bush.
    Bush was tough and smart, resolute and determined to win what he had started. He understood the neccesity of intelligence and a reasonable Rules of Engagement. Bush's determination encouraged our friends and allies and demoralized our enemies there.
    Obama and Democrats who undermined our Military and Intelligence services under Bush now pretend to be great patriotic military commanders, they once demonized Petreus and called him a liar and now pretend he will be their savior in Afghanistan, but he will not.
    Wars are won and lost by the President's and on all fronts President Obama is a Loser.

  • Comment number 62.

    Does general Petraus has a magic bullet on his side that can eliminate the Taliban all at once? The US can change generals every 6 months and in the end the Taliban will still win the war and the West can calculate and use any kind of approach to the Afghanistan people the Taliban use a better approach then the ISAF and that’s religion. Bombs will never bend a religious fight the outcome is written on the wall and the results are Taliban 1 ISAF and Karzai Company 0

  • Comment number 63.

    We will "win" the Afghan war when we accept the fact that the fate of the
    Afghan people is up to them, not us -- and we leave them to their own devices (for the first time in over half a century).

    I believe this means: no change in strategy. Measured withdrawal starting in 2011, foreign military out entirely by 2015 at the latest (if the west can afford the luxury of such a ponderous pace).

    We need to quit pretending that we are going to make Afghanistan safe from the Afghans. It's absurd.

  • Comment number 64.

    Yes, after neutralizing Pakistan's double game.

  • Comment number 65.

    powermeerkat wrote:

    Fact file

    Osama - Trained & sent into Afghanistan by CIA."


    And THAT is a patent lie.

    ________________________________________________________________

    Patent or not, you don't want to be reminded of your crimes, sorry, the world doesn't work that way any more.

  • Comment number 66.

    "Yes, after neutralizing Pakistan's double game."

    Ah ! someone to blame again.
    I think its high time to simply accept the war cannot be won and leave Afghanistan. Let the Afghanis decide the fate of the Taliban.
    I hope also that this and future american adminstrations realise that they should stop their follies.



  • Comment number 67.

    4. At 1:04pm on 04 Jul 2010, BluesBerry wrote:
    Can Gen Petraeus win in Afghanistan?
    No.

    +++++++++++


    Thanks for that Walter Cronkite

  • Comment number 68.

    Can Petraeus repeat his 'Iraq success'?

    Sorry. What Iraq success?

  • Comment number 69.

    The Afghan War cannot be won in the sense that we in the West understand winning a war. The best that can ever be achieved is to simply attain a point of relative peace through containment. This means, therefore, that we can never leave. Once we leave, things simply revert to the way they were. This is a hopelessly corrupt land, where money and opium rule.

  • Comment number 70.

    No...this will be another Vietnam for the US. Unfortunately this time the UK are also involved

  • Comment number 71.

    Petraeus is more likely to win a game of tiddlywinks than the war in Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 72.

    Will he win in Afghanistan? If he does what is his prize?

    It is utter nonsense to expect anyone, no matter how talented, to put right all that is wrong in that war torn country. He might well get what he wants but will it be justice for all?

    The people in GB and USA really want an end to this farce and I can only hope that Petraus is the man for the job. I personally feel more at threat since NuLabour took us into this so called war.

  • Comment number 73.

    Can Gen Petreus win in Afghanistan?
    ------- wrong question ----

    Obama is the top commander.
    Obama is the top strategist

    Gen Pereus implements his commander policy
    -----------------------
    Now ask the question:


    Can president Obama win in Afghanistan?

    My personal opinion–not a famous analyst

    -- NO----NO !!

    *****Obama has announce that soon he will be out of Afghanistan **********

    Lets play a little game:

    1:You are fighting the coalition in Afghanistan. You are a part of a theocratic political system- your leaders are for lifetime and not elected.
    What will you do?
    (I will wait the Americans to get out, for the mean time get stronger and after their departure strike by full force and destroy all my opponents)
    2: You are an Afghan sympathizing peaceful coexistence, dislike the theocratic policy and part of the Afghan American coalition supported government.
    What will you do?
    ( I will find ways either to flee Afghanistan- or play a double game that will be accepted by the theocrats after the American departure )

  • Comment number 74.

    No, I dont think he can. IMO the war is already lost and over the next couple of years or so we shall be conditioned accordingly. Extrication after say, a 11/12 year war will be painfully difficult for all concerned and no amount of face saving propaganda and money will compensate for the human tragedy on both sides and the arrogance and stupidity that started it. We never learn.

  • Comment number 75.

    What is winning? I don't even recall what the declared and real goals were nearly a decade ago. I believe the real goals were to show the world that with the Soviet Union gone, the Neocons would rule the world and anybody who disagrees would be annihilated. That goal has fallen by the wayside. since, to use an American advertising cliche, a "new-improved" Soviet Union has reemerged, with an immensely popular Putin.

    The resurgence of Russia has also put an end to a secondary goal of plundering the resources of Central Asia. A conduit called Af-Pak was needed to take the loot home. Now that there is a sentry guarding the treasure, it is worth pondering why the NATO is trying to secure a path?

    I believe that Neocons goal now is to just save face. The aura of invincibility is very important to a thug. Being routed by 20000 bare-feet illiterates bodes ill for the world's "sole-superpower".

    On the bright side, Taliban have lost considerable popularity even in their home base. On the Pakistani side, there strategy is showing desperateness. They bombed a Sufi shrine, then denied their involvement, quite a rarity.

    If democracy is the goal, let us start with a census in Afghanistan then a constitution approved by popular ballot, no more of that Jirga nonsense, and something similar to Mandela's truth and reconciliation, the problem of course is to find a Mandela.

    Afghanistan would need foreign troops to maintain order for 2-3 years, the key is that the Afghans don't see them as occupiers. This could mean troops from different countries in different parts of Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 76.

    General Patreas was not successful in Iraq. It was a combination of buying out the resistance (which was then rebranded the Awakening Council) and Bush finally agreeing a deadline for leaving Iraq that led to the fall in resistance to the occupation of Iraq. America is about to leave Iraq without securing it as an American base, the principal objective of that occupation, so how can that possibly be a success ?

    Trying to make out that the occupation of Afghanistan is somehow a mission to "save" Afghanistan from the Taliban is nonsense that will fool no one. At the end of the day the Taliban are Muslims and Afghans will never put the Americans above their fellow Muslims any more than America will put the Palestinians above Jews. America can keep the Afghans on its side only so long as the dollars keep pouring into Afghanistan. But for how long ? Obama recently announced a cut of $4 billion in reconstruction aid to Afghanistan. The dollars are running out so it's not going to be long before the occupation forces too begin to leave. Put simply, the US simply cannot afford to keep paying the Afghans to stay on its side.

  • Comment number 77.

    No 61 ONE-SICK-PUPPY wrote:
    General Petreus was a great General in Iraq only because he worked for a great President, George W Bush.
    Bush was tough and smart, resolute and determined to win what he had started. He understood the neccesity of intelligence and a reasonable Rules of Engagement. Bush's determination encouraged our friends and allies and demoralized our enemies there.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    What nonsense ! The Bush surge led by Gen Patreas made absolutely no difference to the Iraq war. It was the bribe paid to the resistance and Bush finally agreeing to leave Iraq that made all the difference. Not so clever afterall Bush, was he ?

  • Comment number 78.

    Considering if you call destabilising a country and turning all the religous factions into waring factions, then I cannot see where anybody can call this success in Iraq.
    Can he do anything in Afghanistan, of course not. As I have explained before, the way wars were won in the past was to obliterate the opposition i.e. wipe them out until they submit. In the modern world with the media etc showing every push by the troops, every death, every civilian injury etc, a war cannot be won.
    The Taliban and others as long as they oppose the invaders will always win as they don't answer to anyone, especially the media.
    The only way to win this is through Afganistanies revolting against the Taliban and as long as the Taliban show no mercy to there own people I can't see them being over run.

  • Comment number 79.

    General Petraeus is savvy enough to work with his Commander - in - Chief. One job they share, in my opinion: define Victory clearly & understandably for civilians in the USA & elsewhere,& for NATO & US military. The definition of our Success in Afghanistan, improvised as we go along, will only guarantee another Viet Nam.
    The colossal error of President Bush was to hysterically "declare war" on "terrorism," the Taliban & Osama Bin Laden's posse et al.
    [1] War should remain limited to sovereign states; otherwise an evil of unknown extent may be let out of its lamp: what next might be the legitimate target of war? Anything and everything.
    [2] Declaring this "war" granted Bin Laden his heart's desire: he virtually gained instantly the international status of a sovereign state of his own & of his own definition, the constant attention of the West & the leadership of the Muslim world. The attacks of 9/11 ought to have been recognized as the actions of criminals & grandiose lunatics.

    One element of our victory IMHO: liquid fire & Agent Orange on the poppy fields; then pave them 6-feet-deep in concrete.

  • Comment number 80.

    This is a battle of stamina. Just like the Vietcongs, the Taliban will keep going because that's their homeland. The cost of trying to maintain a division between the Taliban and their fellow Afghans will be too much for the occupying powers. No matter how tyranical the Taliban are assumed to be, at the end of the day peace will only come to Afghanistan when they are reintegrated back into Afghan society. And that will only happen when foreign occupation forces leave.

  • Comment number 81.

    Afghanistan is different from Iraq. You can offer Iraq infrastructure, electricity, running water, sanitation, etc for modern living.

    Except for those living in cities like Kabul, what can you offer those living in the countryside? They don't need any of the above. They just don't want foreigners. Foreigners mean trouble as past history has shown them.

    Can anyone please remind me again what the mission is?

    I've heard the news from BBC World Service and visited many news websites. The funny think is, in all of the quotes attributed to Petraeus, I have not found one that mentions the word "Taliban". Has anyone else noticed? I hear him say about Al-Qaida supporters and destruction of Al-Qaida training camps. After 9 years, I would have thought the training camps in Afghanistan have all been destroyed, and they have been relocated to places like Yemen and Somalia.

    I think they will strike a deal with Taliban and declare victory. That's the only way out.

  • Comment number 82.

    If winning is defined as the defeat or an unconditional surrender of the Taliban, NO. Most likely the politicians will find some way to claim a victory of a sort and if that can not be done, then blame will be placed on..., let's see, oh yes Bush and/or the Republicans.

  • Comment number 83.

    There is one major difference between the opposing forces in Afghanistan.
    To the Afghans and Taliban it is their HOME COUNTRY.
    [Taliban tending toward a fanatical duty to combat foreign invaders].

    Afghanistan.
    To NATO Forces it is a FAR FLUNG PLACE where servicemen and women regularly suffer severe injury or death trying to be peace keepers.

    Taliban battle tactics is more a war of attrition than all out war.
    Men are less costly and easier to recruit due to religious factions and low technology.

    History repeats itself frequently... pity we do not heed previous mistakes...
    TACTICS:
    Antonine Wall Scotland, built AD142 as the Roman Northern Frontier.
    Battle tactics of the native people were as a resistance [hit and run].
    The Romans had no answer to guerrilla warfare.
    Re-enforcement of the Hadrian Wall Boundary would not mean "retreat" and Antonine Wall relinquished after only twenty years.


    POLITICS:
    Vietnam.
    A war based on politics and constricted USA Military Forces against an unfettered fanatically and obedient Communist Ideology.
    USA Forces withdrew from conflict due mainly to public opinion that the exuberant war costs [loss of men and materials] were too high.

    STATUS QUE:
    Afghanistan
    First and Second Anglo-Afghan wars.
    Although Major General Elphinstone's Army had been given free passage to leave Afghanistan; They were massacred while en route out of Afghanistan.
    During and after both wars; as soon British troops leave tribes return to War-Lording.

    The might of the Soviet Union could not subdue Afghanistan.

    PRESENT TIME:
    The Taliban will only be too aware that they have only to wait (gaining strength and number) before returning themselves to power by conquest or intimidation.

    THE BBC QUESTION ASKED:
    "Can Gen Petraeus win in Afghanistan?"
    In war there are no winners... only losers.

  • Comment number 84.

    No 61 ONE-SICK-PUPPY wrote:
    General Petreus was a great General in Iraq only because he worked for a great President, George W Bush.
    Bush was tough and smart, resolute and determined to win what he had started. He understood the neccesity of intelligence and a reasonable Rules of Engagement. Bush's determination encouraged our friends and allies and demoralized our enemies there.
    ======================================================================

    Hello? And where were the WMDs? He also mentioned that Iraqi oil money would pay for the war. Where's the money now?

  • Comment number 85.

    We and the US are invaders in Afghanistan. We can never win.

  • Comment number 86.

    I wonder what is meant by 'WIN'.

  • Comment number 87.

    My prayers go out to my son fighting in Afghanistan, his unit & all of the men & women in uniform, fighting this no-win war. Obama, may God have mercy on your soul!

  • Comment number 88.

    They say a new broom sweeps clean but this man really has a nerve - do you not hink he should be in the job a while before he starts making statements like this, does he believe all the nationalities of service personnel have died not doing their jobs. It was an insulting speech to all the people working there and he should apologise. He is new, have all the other countries decided that he should be in charge or is it taken for granted. It appears he assumes himself devine intervention.

  • Comment number 89.

    38. At 4:46pm on 04 Jul 2010, ragerancher wrote:

    I don't see how anyone can say American action "legitimise" the Taliban. There are those who genuinely fight because of pride in their country and these people can be negotiated with. However, someone who has pride in their country does NOT drive suicide bombs into markets, mosques and other public places with the SOLE PURPOSE OF KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE!

    How can anyone condemn Americans for causing some civilian casualties by accident and then support a group that goes out of its way to kill innocent people? You know that 95%+ of the deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are NOT caused by westeners. They are caused by militants and radicals. How come some are so fast to support these murderers? If they truely wanted to remove the Americans, they would only attack Americans. They don't want to do this though. They want to spread terror in the whole country by attacking indiscriminately. Shame on those who support the Taliban.

    You are 100% right. Brave too. Watch the loonies come out. They only see what they want. No one see what has been prevented. I know so many Veterans that say the average Afghan really appreciates what they have done. This will all fall on deaf ears.

  • Comment number 90.

    We need to get a generation of Afghan people using toilet paper. That would change everything. Once they become addicted to toilet paper, Heroine and Poppy plants will have no meaning. We could then move them up to quilted toilet paper and forget it. The war is won. What persons would go back to manual wiping after learning of toilet paper.

  • Comment number 91.

    41. At 5:12pm on 04 Jul 2010, ONE-SICK-PUPPY wrote:

    Why are we in Afghanistan when we should be in Iran destroying their Nuclear bomb program and undermining the religious fanatic dictators of that country.
    The Taliban are no threat to us unlike Iran who continue to destabilize that region and the world,
    Bush said an axis of evil was threatening the world Iraq, Iran, and N Korea. Bush never intended a protracted war in Afghanisthan it is pointless. Bush was ready to move on Iran and stopped by Leftist idiots and leaked documents from within our State Dept.
    For all those wanting a better world, forget Afghanistan, Iran must be next.


    Why wait? If we knew the U.K. and the E.U. would support it we (all of us) could easily save the Iranians from themselves (the are many Iranians that would like a change) I don't mean occupy Iran either.

  • Comment number 92.

    61. At 6:20pm on 04 Jul 2010, ONE-SICK-PUPPY wrote: A statement supporting Bush.

    Bush was a buffoon. So is Obama. Our country is run by buffoons. It is just a fact of life. The president's power isn't all people think it is cracked up to be. It is sad but, buffoons rule.

  • Comment number 93.

    11. At 2:29pm on 04 Jul 2010, Naumann wrote: some buffoonery.

    No, we didn't start it, and it won't end till the terrorism ends, which means it won't end. You will wish for the peaceful days of Vietnam, Korea, WWII. WWIII is right around the corner. Just a few more pieces to fall into place.

  • Comment number 94.

    65. At 6:43pm on 04 Jul 2010, Ali Haider Kazmi wrote:

    The usual run of the mill stuff. Not unexpected.

  • Comment number 95.

    With Petraeus assuming command another chapter is about to be written in the ongoing saga of the US/NATO attempt to conquer Afghanistan and secure control over the Karzai-claimed $1 trillion's value of the country's exploitable resources. Stay tuned for further developments as more of the invading forces as well as Afghans become casualties in the US/NATO's latest imperialistic venture.

  • Comment number 96.

    Define winning? If it is to change Afghan society into a liberal western democracy, then no. If it is to keep the status quo ie suppressed insurgency and an afghan president who has to employ foreign mercenaries for security then yes.
    NATO went to war with AlQaida NOT the Taliban, the CIA now says there are maybe 50 Alqaida in Afghanistan, 160000 NATO troops for 50!!!.

  • Comment number 97.

    I think that Afghanistan should be admired to the E.U.. It is on the same continent after all. You can walk there from Europe. Why not? It would cut down on the price of Heroine, and you could sell them a real lot of toilet paper. They could give the E.U. sand, to bury it's head into. Equal sum gain.

  • Comment number 98.

    Its unbelievable that the question of winning even arises. The British, Americans, Russians, have all had bloody noses from ignorant tribesmen, most of whom can neither read nor write.

    In the hills they MAKE their own guns, MANUFACTURE their own explosives, and believe that if they die, its not only Gods will, they are happy to meet him.

    The Taliban run their whole operations on thousands a week, and the combined cost to the western world is forcing us into global bankruptcy.

    Then we have a Question can he win? he and the western world have ALREADY lost.

  • Comment number 99.

    Actually, thinking about it, my memory does not recall an instance of the Americans EVER winning a war.

    Now on the other hand they seem to be awfully good at starting them!

  • Comment number 100.

    How do we define success? Is Iraq a success? Would we do it again? Isn't there any more intelligent, humane way of helping people and insuring our own safety than by spending hundreds of billions of dollars, fuelling corruption, causing hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties, killings hundreds of our young men, just to stop a few Al-qaeda terrorists?
    It seems horribly wrong obscene, cruel, counter-productive, stupid.
    General Petraeus is probably a very good and competent man but he is the prisonner of politicians who cannot admit they were wrong. It is time for ordinary western citizens to say to their goverments "Stop; do not do any more of that in our names"

 

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