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Taliban: If You Can't Beat Them, Buy Them!

Posted by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 3:37 PM
  • 13 Replies

 The story the New York Times published this week on Hamid Karzai's drug-dealing brother Ahmed Wali and his ties to the CIA is very revealing, considering it comes just few days before Afghanistan's run-off election; however, it is not the real news. It has been rumored for years that Wali has been involved in opium trafficking and has been receiving payments from the CIA. The big story is the United States' government plan to buy out the Taliban -- officially, so to speak.

On Wednesday, President Obama signed a $680 billion defense appropriations bill, which is supposed to cover military operations in the 2010 fiscal year. The bill includes a Taliban reintegration provision under the Commander's Emergency Response Program. Don't you love the terminologies used by government bureaucrats? Call it buyout, bribes, protection money, but please don't call it integration.

The idea, according to Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is to separate local Taliban from their leaders, replicating a program used to neutralize the insurgency against Americans in Iraq. If you can't beat them, buy them!

Afghanistan though, is not Iraq. Unlike al-Sahwa in Iraq (the Sunni Awakening), when Iraqi tribe members took up arms against al-Qaeda and foreign insurgents, the Taliban are an integral part of Afghanistan, and they are not foreign fighters. They are the brothers, cousins and neighbors of ordinary Afghans. The US government might be able to temporarily buy out some Taliban members from attacking its troops but it will not be able to buy loyalties

There are already more than 100,000 international troops in Afghanistan working with 200,000 Afghan security forces and police. It adds up to a 12-to-1 numerical advantage over Taliban rebels, but it hasn't led to anything close to victory.

The Taliban rebels are estimated to number no more than 25,000 according to the same report. Yet, we have witnessed their devastating attacks in Kabul and other areas. The number of American deaths in Afghanistan has reached a record for the third time in four months. Some military experts say that an increase in US troops is no guarantee to reduce US fatalities and that it might only work in a negative way. The US army is not equipped to fight guerrilla warfare.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamal-dajani/taliban-if-you-cant-beat_b_338320.html

by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 3:37 PM
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EnigmaMuse
by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 3:41 PM

My husband and I were discussing this just yesterday.. Mainly discussing what a flawed way this is to deal with problems like the Taliban.. You can pay someone to stop doing something, but as soon as you quit paying, they are most likely to start doing whatever it was you were paying them not to do..

I also wonder, how many of the American people know that this was also part of the "surge" tactic that is accredited with helping to slow down part of the violence in Iraq..

We have been paying the Taliban for so long now..  They might as well have their own payroll department in the US government. We paid, started training and paying in Afghanistan in the 70's, we then were paying them to help them fight against Russia in the 80's, we were paying them in the 90's hoping it would help the Taliban set up a stable government. Now we are paying them to stop trying to violently take the country back over.

Am I the only one that see's how totally ridiculous this whole mess has become.

EnigmaMuse
by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Oh yeah.. Here's the article I was reading about this yesterday.

http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSN2796610._CH_.2400

U.S. defense bill would pay Taliban to switch sides

Bill includes provision to woo Taliban fighters

* Plan is to emulate Iraq program

* Obama plans to meet military commanders on Friday (Adds Obama's meeting with joint chiefs, quotes, details)

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The defense bill President Barack Obama will sign into law on Wednesday contains a new provision that would pay Taliban fighters who renounce the insurgency, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said on Tuesday.

The provision establishes a program in Afghanistan similar to one used in Iraq where former fighters were re-integrated into Iraqi society, Levin told Reuters.

Obama plans to sign the bill authorizing Pentagon operations for fiscal 2010 on Wednesday, the White House said.

Reaching out to moderate Taliban members is part of the Obama administration's plan to turn around the eight-year war in Afghanistan. Levin also has advocated trying to convince Taliban fighters to change sides by luring them with jobs and amnesty for past attacks.

Under the legislation, Afghan fighters who renounce the insurgency would be paid for "mainly protection of their towns and villages," Levin said.

It would be "just like the sons of Iraq," he said, referring to the program used in Iraq which military commanders say helped turn around a failing war.

"You got 90,000 Iraqis who switched sides, and are involved in protecting their hometowns against attack and violence." L

The bill authorizes using money from an existing Commanders Emergency Response Program, which U.S. commanders can use for a variety of purposes. It does not set a specific dollar amount for the fighters' re-integration program.

There is $1.3 billion authorized for the fund in fiscal 2010, which began Oct. 1. The money must still be allocated by defense appropriators, who are working to finish the legislation.

As part of his overall strategy review on Afghanistan, Obama is debating whether to send more U.S. troops to the region and is set to meet on Friday with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the heads of the military services, the White House said.

The meeting was "probably getting toward the end" of Obama's decision-making process, said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

The Joint Chiefs office recently completed an internal assessment of the two leading proposals for troop levels in Afghanistan.

These were sending roughly 40,000 additional troops, as his commander for Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has recommended, or a far smaller number, an option McChrystal and other defense officials see as having a higher risk of failure. (Additional reporting by Steve Holland, Adam Entous and Patricia Zengerle; editing by Chris Wilson)

tericared
by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 4:10 PM

 EnigmaMuse...thank you for the added info. I thought this was very interesting.....Funny how we as a Nation are falling apart and brokeyet we can pay these guys and send Millions to Israel...Just doesnt make sense to me....

eaglemama2
by Silver Member on Oct. 29, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Yes, thank you for posting.......you can add Israel to that list aswell, they seem to have their own payrol with the US too...

Quoting tericared:

 EnigmaMuse...thank you for the added info. I thought this was very interesting.....Funny how we as a Nation are falling apart and brokeyet we can pay these guys and send Millions to Israel...Just doesnt make sense to me....



tericared
by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 7:01 PM
rozepyle
by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 7:05 PM

we dont have money for health care because?????????????

EnigmaMuse
by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 7:25 PM

I had a couple of meetings today, so I ran out of time, but, I did look up some info on the  "Son's Of Iraq Program" that we started. That of course is in the same vain (and the same program really) that the government wants to use in Afghanistan.

 

http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=55656

 

Funding for Iraq groups phasing out

 

By James Warden, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Friday, June 20, 2007
 
Dozens of young "Sons of Iraq" volunteers wait in line for their paychecks at a police station Sunday in Sharqat, Iraq. Most of the men had no job until the program came along, and many military leaders worry that insurgents will be able to entice them into fighting the government when the Americans stop funding the program in northern Iraq. Purchase reprint

 

SHARQAT, Iraq - Military leaders in northern Iraq are pushing to draw down the "Sons of Iraq" program in their part of the country and plan to cut off funding for many of the groups just one month before the provincial elections scheduled for November.

 

The groups are paid neighborhood watches that began spontaneously when Sunnis turned against al-Qaida in Iraq and other Sunni insurgent groups. American leaders began supporting them financially, and many military leaders have since credited the groups with turning around Iraq's security situation.

 

The process in northern Iraq could be a harbinger for how it is done by American units in other parts of the country. The decision to cut off funding has some soldiers worried that Iraq could lose some of its hard-won security gains when the groups disappear.

 

"Them getting rid of the ‘Sons of Iraq' is going to be one of the biggest mistakes they've made," said 1st Sgt. Michael Livingston, a 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment soldier who has worked extensively with the security volunteers in the Ninevah and Salah ad Din provinces.

 

Col. Michael A. Bills, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment commander, made the decision to terminate the "Sons of Iraq" contracts in the areas under his control, which comprise all of Ninevah province and part of Salah ad Din province. Most of the 3rd ACR's "Sons of Iraq" groups are clustered around Qayyarah. The 3rd ACR does not have any of the groups in Mosul.

 

Bills' decision is part of a bigger push from Multi-National Division-North. Officials originally set a firm date for ending the program because the contract money came from funds that could only be used for "temporary critical infrastructure protection," said Capt. Matt Rodano, the officer in charge of reconciliation issues for MND-North. They read that phrase to mean one year after a program started.

 

"That kind of became the date where those contracts were going to turn into pumpkins," Rodano said.

 

The program's success made them remove the hard date and leave it up to the discretion of the commander overseeing the contracts. But they still pushed to "pursue an aggressive plan," he said.

 

Numbers have fallen from a peak of about 31,500 in MND-N to about 30,700. Rodano couldn't say exactly where he expects those numbers to be in October.

 

"Our intent is to get down pretty significantly by the end of the year," he said.

 

Lt. Col. Thomas Dorame, the 1-3 ACR commander, said he learned about the October funding deadline a few months ago. Dorame said Iraqi soldiers often tell him that they've heard the Iraqi government plans to pick up the tab, but he said he's never been able to confirm those rumors.

 

Dorame said part of the reasoning is financial. American money is paying for the groups at a time when coalition leaders are transferring responsibility and costs to the Iraqi government. U.S. officials also never asked the Iraqi government to approve the groups, although the Iraqi government doesn't officially oppose them.

 

Most importantly, no one envisioned the "Sons of Iraq" as a permanent part of the Iraqi security forces. Some Shiite government leaders have questioned the wisdom of supporting armed groups in a movement that originated among Sunnis.

 

"The ‘Sons of Iraq' were never a long-term solution, nor do we want them to be a long-term solution," Dorame said. "They were to fill legitimate security gaps and to buy us time."

 

But the groups have also provided jobs in a country where more than half of the young men in many cities are unemployed.

 

Ali Achmet, a Sharqat "Sons of Iraq" member, is typical of many. He had no job until he joined the organization four months ago and depended upon his brother for money. Now he makes $200 to $300 a month.

 

"We are making Iraq safe," he said.

 

Similarly, many insurgents only targeted American and Iraqi forces because of the money al-Qaida and other insurgent groups paid them, according to Dorame and Capt. Samuel Cook, the commander of 1-3's Crazyhorse Troop. The program effectively allowed the Americans to outbid the insurgents for Iraq's fighting-age males.

 

With the program gone, poor young men might return to being insurgents-- if not for ideology, then for necessity.

 

"This is the worst news that I've heard," said Khamis Salah Allawi Al Jameli, a "Sons of Iraq" leader in Sharqat. "Believe me, if they destroy the ‘Sons of Iraq,' the terrorists, they're going to come back."

 

The absence of security volunteers will also force more American soldiers into the labor-intensive job of guarding Iraq's roads. Cook estimates that "Sons of Iraq" checkpoints free up his workload by about a third to a half.

 

"You talk about drawing down the surge and then past the surge, and then you draw down the [Sons of Iraq] before the police are ready for them? You're just asking for trouble," he said.

 

Dorame, Cook and Livingston acknowledge the "Sons of Iraq" were always a temporary solution.

 

The goal has always been to phase out the program and transition its members into longer term jobs, such as with the Iraqi security forces. While many are eager to join the Iraqi police, many want to avoid the Iraqi army because they can be transferred away from their homes. The Americans are encouraging all the volunteers to apply, but Dorame is hoping 30 percent to 40 percent of his security volunteers actually transfer over.

 

Rodano said 568 of the volunteers have been moved into the Iraqi police and 153 into a work training program.

 

But instead of a hard end date, some would like to see the program phased out, perhaps with a 10 percent drawdown each month. This would give the men more time to find jobs and give the area more time to absorb all the extra workers

 

 

 

And this article I found as well.. Gives a sum

 

http://usgovinfo.about.com/b/2009/03/17/no-more-us-money-for-sons-of-iraq.htm

 

No More U.S. Money for 'Sons of Iraq'

Tuesday March 17, 2009

The U.S. military has made its last and final payment to members of the Iraqi civilian security militia known as the "Sons of Iraq," according to the Department of Defense (DoD). The Iraqi government will assume responsibility for all future payments on April 1.

 

"This is one of the many milestones that the [Iraqi government] is hitting day by day," said Army Capt. Justin Michel in a press release. "This transfer is a necessary step that the [Iraqi government] is taking to show its citizens that it is taking the lead on more programs."

Capt. Michel praised the "Sons of Iraq," with the help of the U.S. Army, for taking great strides in improving security in Iraq. "I think that will continue to build upon the foundation they have now, and the region will steadily become safer," he said.

 

According to the Washington Post, the "Sons of Iraq" claimed more than 95,000 citizen-members in April 2008, with about 91,000 under contract to be paid by the U.S. military. Under the now-ended contract, each paid member of the "Sons of Iraq" received the equivalent of US $300 a month. In early 2008, the U.S. was spending $16 million a month on payments to the "Sons of Iraq," reports the Post.

 

Gypsyuma
by Gold Member on Oct. 29, 2009 at 7:39 PM

Don't forget Egypt..... the country we PAY to be israel's "friend".

Quoting eaglemama2:

Yes, thank you for posting.......you can add Israel to that list aswell, they seem to have their own payrol with the US too...

Quoting tericared:

 EnigmaMuse...thank you for the added info. I thought this was very interesting.....Funny how we as a Nation are falling apart and brokeyet we can pay these guys and send Millions to Israel...Just doesnt make sense to me....



EnigmaMuse
by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 7:43 PM

I had some meetings today.. So in between I kept running searches on this "Sons of Iraq" program..  Didn't make me like this proposal for Afghanistan any more.

Most of the articles I found discuss that this program, the "successful" one in Iraq. Really isn't all that successful.. It's like any other sort of bribary.. Once the bribes stop, the behavior start right back up again..

One thing that got me, is that we had over 100 thousand people on the US payroll for this program.. The "Sons" were supposed to be transitioned into jobs with the Iraqi governmnet & military.. Only a few thousand actaully received those jobs from what I can find. And the others.. Were still just being funneled money by us until pretty recently.

The articles also discuss the possibility of failure, and relapses in violence because it's looking like the Iraqi government is not going to continue the program like our government had originally thought they would.........

So... In my mind.. With all of this.. How can the US government possible think that this strategy,,,, in the LONG TERM, is going to turn out any differently in Afghanistan.. How are we not just flushing money down the hole..

Our government is esentially paying people to behave themselves, and hoping that when we cut off the money, they will continue to "behave"...

This doesn't work with children.. How in the world is it going to work with grown adults, in foreign countries that are pissed off, no jobs, no money, feel that we are invaders and occupiers? I mean...Really.......how in the world does this strategy really make sense as far as LONG TERM achievement.........

tericared
by on Oct. 29, 2009 at 7:49 PM


Quoting EnigmaMuse:

Most of the articles I found discuss that this program, the "successful" one in Iraq. Really isn't all that successful.. It's like any other sort of bribary.. Once the bribes stop, the behavior start right back up again..

Our government is esentially paying people to behave themselves, and hoping that when we cut off the money, they will continue to "behave"...

This doesn't work with children.. How in the world is it going to work with grown adults, in foreign countries that are pissed off, no jobs, no money, feel that we are invaders and occupiers? I mean...Really.......how in the world does this strategy really make sense as far as LONG TERM achievement.........

yes...this....

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