What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 12, 2012

On combat in Afghanistan: "You'd rather Americans be going in doing the job instead of the trainees?"

It was good to hear VP Joe Biden affirm that we will finally be out of Afghanistan in 2014:
Biden: “The fact is we went there for one reason: to get those people who killed Americans – Al Qaeda, we decimated Al Qaeda central, we have eliminated Osama bin Laden, that was our purpose. And in fact, in the meantime, what I said we would do, we would help train the Afghan military, it’s their responsibility to take over their own security. That’s why with 49 of our allies, in Afghanistan, we’ve agreed on a gradual drawdown so we’re out of there by the year 20 – in the year 2014.

“My friend and the governor say it’s based on conditions, which means it depends. It does not depend for us. It is the responsibility of the Afghans to take care of their own security. We have trained over 315,000 mostly without incident, there have been more than two dozen cases of green on blue where Americans have been killed. If we do not – if the measures the military has taken do not take hold, we will not go on joint patrols, we will not train them in the field, we’ll only train in the Army bases that exist there.

“But we are leaving, we are leaving in 14. Period. And in the – leaving in 2014 period and in the process we’re going to be saving over the next ten years another $800 billion, we’ve been in this war for over a decade. The primary objective is almost completed, now all we’re doing is putting the Kabul government in a position to be able to maintain their own security it’s their responsibility, not America’s.
But, the part that really blew my mind in this debate was the very end of the discussion on Afghanistan. Paul Ryan simply couldn't or wouldn't get that it was desirable to have Afghans fighting in the worst combat zones instead of Americans. He kept repeating that there were less American soldiers fighting as if this were a bad thing. Biden kept explaining that there were less Americans fighting because there were more actual Afghans fighting:
BIDEN: No one got pulled out that didn't get filled in by trained Afghan personnel.
It was simply devastating, in my opinion, that Ryan wanted more Americans in harms way than less. That somehow, that was better:
BIDEN: R.C. East is the most dangerous place in the world.

RYAN: That's right. That's why we don't want to send fewer people to the...

BIDEN: That's -- that's why we should send Americans in to do the job, instead of the -- you'd rather Americans be going in doing the job instead of the trainees?
You'll notice in the video below, that there were no smiles by Biden in that exchange -- just an incredulous look on his face that hopefully was shared by those who watched this.

Here's the transcript of those last couple of minutes on Afghanistan:
RYAN: We're sending fewer people out in all of these hotspots to do the same job that they were supposed to do a month ago.

BIDEN: Because we turned it over...

RYAN: But we took 22,000 people out...

BIDEN: ... we turned it over to the Afghan troops we trained. No one got pulled out that didn't get filled in by trained Afghan personnel. And he's -- he's conflating two issues. The fighting season that Petraeus was talking about and former -- and Admiral Mullen was the fighting season this spring. That's what he was talking about. We did not -- we did not pull them out.

RYAN: The calendar works the same every year.

BIDEN: It does work the same every year. But we're not staying there...

RYAN: Spring, summer, fall. It's warm, or it's not. They're still fighting us. They're still coming over the passes. They're still coming into Zabul, to Kunar, to all of these areas, but we are sending fewer people to the front to fight them. And that's...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: That's right, because that's the Afghan responsibility. We've trained them.

RYAN: Not in the east.

RADDATZ: Let's move -- let's move to another war.

BIDEN: Not in the east?

RYAN: R.C. East -- R.C. East...

BIDEN: R.C. East is the most dangerous place in the world.

RYAN: That's right. That's why we don't want to send fewer people to the...

BIDEN: That's -- that's why we should send Americans in to do the job, instead of the -- you'd rather Americans be going in doing the job instead of the trainees?

RYAN: No. We are already sending Americans to do the job, but fewer of them. That's the whole problem.

BIDEN: That's right. We're sending in more Afghans to do the job, Afghans to do the job.
Here's the video of the entire Afghanistan part of the debate:

No comments: