Afghanistan, Pentagon, Mullins discussed on Pod Save the World


The disconnect between what are often overly rosy are optimistic statements from senior pentagon leadership about say the training of afghan security forces. I the reality experienced by people on the ground or the reality in state. Department cables essence. I think there's an interesting discussion. Is the washington post. Did a big series on this. They called the afghanistan papers was clearly an effort to compare it to the pentagon papers. I think mullins point here gets added distinction. That's we're talking about in which there is. There is a difference between the pentagon papers disclosing secret bombing of laos never reported on or or whatever in. Us generals offering overly positive statements. Both are bad. Both are damaging both needed and fix. Yeah but the mullins point like sometimes those overly optimistic statements come from this military culture that views every job is achievable and their job is to salute and say yes and get it done and and be optimistic. But that can mean. I guess refusing to acknowledge the reality that there are limits to what they can achieve or the us military can achieve. I just thought it was an interesting I think it was the first of all like that's an astonishingly. Welcome statement by mike mullen. I mean i. It's so rare that you have a former four-star. Go out and say you know what that was wrong like that. Compare that the yeah. That's hugely to his credit And he always was an honorable guy but he was dead set backing up the surge. Forty thousand troops guy but even at that time he was backing up the trace and mcchrystal were originally mall and he saw his job as chairman. Backing them up so this leads to the second part where he said because i here's what i think i think he meant and i think he's exactly right. It's not that they're 'cause this is the problem outside with like jim. Shudo tweeted something though. Cnn there was like you know. I've seen the us military begin. New forced to do far too many missions that you know civilians inflicted on them and again the the awkward reality of the obama years on the afghanistan policies. We didn't you know the military came to obama into nine. Was like you have to give us. Forty thousand troops That was an obama Seeking an escalation in that way. But i understand the mindset and this leads me to like i think what mom was getting at first thing is if the military has any responsibility. They've responsibility if you're stan mcchrystal and your sent afganistan is the new commanding general to his nine. And you're like i've been given this mission to stabilize afghanistan and and defeat kaieda. Well shit. I want more resources. And who wouldn't like what what military i was on mehdi hassan's show recently. He kinda tossed me softball. Like isn't the military to blame for some this as well of course they want more resources yet. So it's hard to hold that against them. Because if i'm a general and i have an enemy i'm gonna say send more troops so i can do more to defeat that enemy and so i think that the mindset of the military is just like they they they want to believe they can achieve the mission in front of them and part of what. Mom's getting his mcchrystal. Could've come back and said you know. What actually i don't think we can defeat this enemy with a reasonable amount of resources Instead of the mindset kicking and of no i can get this done. Just give me enough to try to get it done right then. I think the second thing that happened in afghanistan ula to is that 'cause i've read afghan papers and and i i said this to you and i've gone back and forth on this i we we did relay rosy assessments of the afghan national security forces. I had no reason to not believe that those were true. You know that when when you get the dod you know guidance it suggests that there's three hundred thousand eight hundred thousand troops now. Why does the military of the they want to. They're deeply invested in in in what they're doing and i so i do remember the only way in which we might have known that wasn't true. Read deserves usually descent and often. The descent was by the way from the intelligence community right without getting into it. But like this is why. I don't think the intelligence failure arguments are true. Because the biggest skeptic of the war in afghanistan least. When i was there was always the intelligence community. Saying it's not as good as the military says it is and they have these kind of fights about how well things were going or how badly things were going. And i think that you know some of this is just human nature if you are if you're fighting and your friends are dying and and you're doing tour after tour of duty and places like afghanstan you want it to be succeeding you know and and and you want to believe the best version of what you're working on right that's of human nature right and and to me that suggests it. I don't think the problem here is with us. Military it's with tremors of giving our military or any military regime change nation building efforts right. What does that ever work. The military you ask them to go boost up you ask them to go into pakistan kill osama bin laden. They can do that because that's what military does but like you ask them to build a government in afghanistan. Why would they be able to. Great stan mcchrystal Admiral mollen brock. Obama could not solve the problem of the corruption that has created when the united states spends eighty billion dollars in a country or the problem of these safe haven in pakistan or release. The military could not be asked to solve the problem of a afghan government that was perceived as corrupt and the entire government was never able to solve the problem that everyone identified but could address of the taliban having a safe haven in pakistan. Yeah and and you know there was an interesting moment between portrays an obama on this where it was a height of the surge and portrays his explaining hide brought in these kind of anthropologists to think about canada har- and power dynamics there and tribal relations and is about as smart as a person could try to be in the challenge of governance kantar. But and i think portrays thought that obama would kind of connect with that cower them yet but obama kind of had the opposite reaction of like. Why what are we doing. You know like we can't sit in washington and diagnose the block by block politics of can hardly know like it's this is not what we're supposed to be doing this is not you know you could have the smartest generals in the world and in the idea of the united states being able to design a local government and cantu har- it would make any. We can't figure a block by block politics in miami. We can't we've got we've got. How can a country that has january six run afghanistan like we just we not like so so to me like that's where we have to get back to. This debate always has to return all the way back to like. Should we be engage in these kinds of military efforts in the first place or not pasi. The world's brought you by the new york times. The new york times is committed to seeking the truth.

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