Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 10:06:53 PM EST
US DoD chief attacks NATO allies... Read and laugh!
Outrage as US accuses Britain of inexperience in Taleban conflict
Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary, risked an unprecedented rift with Britain and other close allies after accusing Nato countries fighting in southern Afghanistan of lacking experience in counter-insurgency warfare.
Mr Gates said failings in the south were contributing to the rising violence in the fight against the Taleban.
His outspoken criticism, voiced in an interview with an American newspaper, provoked instant reactions from Britain, Canada and the Netherlands, the three
most prominent members of the alliance, who have endured much of the fiercest
fighting in southern Afghanistan. Full story here.
Unbelievable! WTF got into US Defence Secretary Robert Gates' head that he should attack US' NATO allies over America's own incompetence in Afghanistan?
And may I ask, just what is US experience or competence in fighting the Talebans?
Does Gates accuse us Brits and US NATO allies of incompetence because we refuse to bomb Afghanistan to kingdom just like what the CIA proposed to do to Pakistan and what Bush wants to do to Iran?
What a bunch of crackpots these Pentagon people are, And speaking of US incompetence... The only American general worth his salt was General Jones, ex SACEUR, an extremely hard act to follow who was pulled out because some Pentagon kink didn't like the way he was doing things in Afghanistan...
Talk of incompetence -- that's the Pentagon under Bush for you!
(I've got to hit the sack but will update this post tomorrow.)
Comment updates (or my take after a "beauty sleep"):
If you really want to know, my first reaction was to laugh at the absurdity of Sec Gates' pronouncements.
The US makes a statement which is outrageous and draws flack from all over, then they try to retract. What does this tell us?
(1) The US meant it so they want to distance themselves from their allies and undermine NATO. Question is why?
(2) The US did not mean it and their Secretary of State looks like a total amateur or an inexperienced defence bureaucrat. If so, there really is nothing one can do about that -- if anthing, this would be the call of Pres Bush (and perhaps the US Congress.)
Either way the US covers itself in guano once again. Their ineptitude at international affairs is extraordinary.
Second reaction is to think that nevertheless, they are currently the most powerful nation on earth and they do make by far the largest commitment to defence and security. However, one wonders whether their government is truly committed to a peaceful world.
As for British inexperience in fighting insurgents, must we remind Sec Gates of the UK's record in Malaysia and more recently in Northern Ireland? In Malaysia (as one commenter here mentioned quite rightly), the British vanquished Communist insurgency without bombing Malaysia and its people to stone age while the US failed miserably in Vietnam despite superior US war technologies. In Northern Ireland, true we received a bit of help from Pres Clinton in that he was persuaded to help stop IRA terrorism funding coming from the US but all in all, Britain's record shows great experience in assymetric warfare, something that I believe the US is just learning to do today.
I also believe it is hugely unfair to criticise the Canadians, the Dutch and the rest of NATO allies involved in Afghanistan. They have been doing a magnificent job not only in fighting the Talebans but also in bringing security to the rest of the Afghan population, to the men, women, children who otherwise would become mere collateral damage statistics if we are to follow US war doctrine, i.e., bomb and awe, total destruction.
America has two contingents in Afghanistan: One that's directly under US DoD and another which is seconded to NATO. The one under direct, sole US command has about 8,000 (Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan) officers and troops while the US ISAF (NATO) part has about 12,000 troops.
In the absolute, NATO member nations' commanders have no authortity over US Operation Enduring Freedom forces operating in Afghanistan. These US forces are what one could term the "forces of vengeance", i.e., as if to wreak havoc on a nation without so much as an indiscriminate glance to factors that affect conditions for the Afghan people. A typical example was the indiscriminate killing of Afghan civilians and children by US troops not so long ago or as soon as General MacNeill took over command.
Gen Macneill undid in a few days the achievements that NATO British Gen Richards made in 9 months, i.e. winning of hearts and minds. (A good article by Michael Smith of The Times: Afghanistan - Where the Lunatics are Taking Over the Asylum.)
With that for a backdrop, the hidden damage to Gates' aim overall is that this is another straw on the camel's back. The camel is very strong, but the last straw will arrive at some time. These straws are building resistance to the US in many parts of the world - perhaps not much in the UK and NATO, but elsewhere, this is becoming a problem. More and more people (as more and more at the top level of nations) resent the US and are therefore prepared to support resistance.
This means an increase in funding for terrorism at the very least. The US does not seem to have realised this is why they have to pour more and more into defence, a vicious circle that starts with inept comments in English by US policy makers and politicians (and that includes their president) who do not seem able to weigh the consequences of their words.
My suggestion: The US taxpayer should take note.