January 4th, 2010
08:50 AM ET

What does winning look like in Afghanistan?

Editor’s Note: U.S. Army Cpt. Brandon Anderson is a Company Commander in 5/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, deployed to southern Afghanistan. A 2003 graduate of West Point, he is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are the author’s, and do not reflect the official view of the U.S. Department of Defense.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/04/story.anderson.jpg caption="U.S. Army Cpt. Brandon Anderson on patrol in Afghanistan"] In February of 2008, I found myself riding in the back of an ANA ambulance with a wounded Afghan teenager. Shrapnel from a suicide bomber outside of Kandahar City had lodged itself in his neck. He was bleeding while trying to scream. I was holding him and trying to keep him calm, while the driver kept looking backwards toward me, as if to ask, “Is he going to die”? I could not answer that, because I did not know myself. What I did know was that a young man had been maimed, and I could not understand why.

Presently, the American people and Army, along with their allies in Europe, Asia and the Mideast are grappling with a hybrid of insurgency and terrorism. The al-Qaeda terrorists who have struck America, Britain, Spain, and other nations have embedded themselves within the Taliban insurgent network that spans Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is not a war that can be decided in the outcome of a single battle, or through the body counts and hilltops that are so germane to a conventional fight. Rather, the present conflict is focused on the people - their security, unity and support. Western armies are incredibly good at fighting and winning the pitched battles that their fathers and grandfathers fought and won in the Gulf War and World War II. Presently, al-Qaeda and those who protect them have neither the capability nor resources to compete with the West in tank-on-tank conventional wars. As a result, their approach has evolved.

The guerilla fighter seeks victory by ambushing and exhausting his opponent, not by open combat. However, the element that allows the guerilla to hide effectively and conduct his attacks is ultimately decided by the people, by their level of support and the nature of that support. Support for insurgencies can be active or passive. Active support for insurgencies comes from a public that morally and ideologically supports the insurgent’s cause. Passive support comes from fear - fear of reprisal, punishment, torture or death.

During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan believed in what the mujahedeen were doing and supported them actively. Presently, in Shinkay District of Zabul, Afghanistan, people fear retribution for informing on Taliban activities. It is not hard to understand why. A year before the arrival of my Task Force, the Taliban came to a village in my area to intimidate and punish those who worked with the government. Teachers and base workers were rounded up in the town and publicly beaten. The men were beaten until they cried. One man would not cry. The Taliban viewed this as a threat, so they marched him to the school where he taught and cut off his ear. Throughout southern Afghanistan, the Taliban and those who support them continue to target the civilian population with beatings, intimidation, and suicide bombers to undermine the government and cement their passive support. It is this passive support base that allows them to hide. It is this layer of protection that must be stripped away for a successful counterinsurgency strategy to take root.

So what does winning look like? It begins with providing meaningful security and reasons to support the government. Counterinsurgents work simultaneously on the fronts of security and political reconciliation, with the goal of winning active support for the government. This is done by providing persistent security and extending government influence. Afghan and Coalition forces establish security through combined patrolling to isolate the insurgents from the population, both physically and morally. Through this crucial interaction between the people and government, information is passed on insurgent actions and a network is built. Frequently, this is as simple as a community tip line with signs in the bazaar, or getting to know the people in the villages to the point that they trust you. Government influence is extended through improved schools, wells and roads. As the Afghan people unite with their military and police to create an effective network, it denies the insurgency the freedom of movement necessary to ambush, bomb and intimidate the Afghan people.

Things are changing in Shinkay. The Taliban have overplayed their hand by murdering a village leader and member of the Shura. His body was found with a note that accused him of informing on insurgent forces. The local people have retaliated, and the Afghan Army, Police, and Coalition forces have seen a spike in local reporting. This information has led to the capture of two members of the Taliban cell responsible for the murder, with more on the run. This is the tipping point, when the insurgents cannot move unseen. This is where passive support turns into defiance.  This is what winning looks like on the ground in Afghanistan.

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soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. BW

    BC (#79),
    We US Service members are truly grateful for the service of Canadian and other allied troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Infantry/Armor/Artillery/Engineer training center at CFB Gagetown, NB and found the facilities and cadre to be exceptionally professional and eagerly willing to join in the fight against terror (this was just before Canadian troops deployed to Afghanistan). I was most impressed with the thoroughness of the Canadian Army Officer's education system, which appeared to better my personal military education experience in many ways. I am glad to have Canadian troops as an ally on the battlefield. That being said, CNN is a US-based news agency, and that is why I focused on US issues in my earlier post (#45).

    January 4, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mat

    Funny how last year this was an "unwinable" war. but now we are talking about victory. What changed??? Great to see the media is now onboard for a win now that Obama is in office. This is crazy. However thanks to the Capt fro your work.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BPH

    The Long Gray Line!

    January 4, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jo

    Winning is always possible, but if you know Afghanistans history then you would know that the one constant result of winning is just losing to the next group that invades either from internally or externally. There is a sad irony in the fact Pakistan created the Taliban as a buffer but are now suffering from attacks from the very group they created. In the land of my enemies enemy is my friend everyone has the potential to be the enemy. Very well spoken article, it reminds me of my favorite saying, " you can eat an entire mountain but you have to do it one spoonful at a time." Thank God for the Special Forces, if they cannot vanish the foe then nobody can.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Stefanie

    What an eloquent commentary. Well spoken. My best to the troops who put their lives on the line each and every day for the freedom of my nation. You're in my thoughts and in my prayers.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    Thank you, Cpt. Anderson. That was a well written article and I believe we're partly on the right track. The problem I have is that the COIN will not really do anything to eliminate the treat of terrorists. All it will do, if successful, is make operating more difficult for terrorist because they won't have the protection of the Taliban government. What were're really lacking, as klynch67 #25 said, is education. We must heavily promote education to the public in Afganistan and other un/under-educated areas of the middle east. Education and human rights. Promote Islam as a peaceful religion. Make people see peace as the best way. Allow them to keep their traditions. Allow them to keep the government that they've had for centuries.

    We can't win by toting guns around their country and trying to make people think the way we think. It is not a western society, let's stop pretending like we can make it one.

    The best we can do is to stop future generations from joining radical groups. Yes, we kill terrorist. But seriously, where do their replacements come from? The best way to win a war is to cut off the enemies supply line. In this case we need to focus on finding their sources of guns and explosives while trying our hardest to stop more people from joining. We need to promote peace with education, not with guns.

    However, given the depth of our involvement, we can't pull out now. We have to continue down the same path but also run a massive human rights campaign and also spend some of these billions of dollars we're wasting on free education for everyone, of any age. That is the only way we can win. Terrorist believe in killing Americans as much as American believe Jesus was a good guy – that's why we'll never win if we continue down the same path.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Raoul

    You slather right over important questions by shouting the "we must win" battle cry. Ask yourself what we are really fighting for and who (back home) stands to profit the most. Pardon, I forgot you are in the military ( as was I). Good soldiers don't ask questions. They just do (or die) as they are told. Freedom starts at home. Lets clean our own house first. Then worry about the rest of the world.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jonathan barrow

    Thank you for this.

    Thank you for all you do. It's appreciated.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Max

    So far the Afghan government is leaning towards India as a strategic partner. This scares the hell out of Pakistan. It would be like Cuba forming a strategic alliance with Venezuela. Pakistan can move its pawns (the Taliban) very easily to thwart this. If I was the big General over there, I would advise the country against any alliance with India. It will mean total war after the USA and NATO evacuates. Total, meaning nuclear. It will be one big smoking hole. China will get the heavy radiation clouds, and we'll be able to measure it in Toledo...

    January 4, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Max

    Giap over-ran the south with conventional forces. He didn't think the war would take as long as it did, but as soon as the Americans left, the south had no capacity to fight an Army the size that invaded. COIN was successful for the most part, but was made irrelevant by the invasion. Pakistan could invade Afghanistan, and in that case America would run again. We don't have the stomach for that kind of fight. Better to let them fall, and deal with the aftermath. Vietnam is a stronger country being whole, then it was cut in half. We can deal with the aftermath just fine.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Todd

    I like this CPT Andersen guy. When he gets back we should elect him into public office or something like that. He seems more in tune with whats goin on compared to most of the folks who are currently running the show. I wouldn't be suprised if he makes general someday.

    Thank you for your service and you insight into a very complex situation !

    – Todd from Napa CA.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Russell Kaufman

    Cpt. Anderson-

    You are the smartest bravest man I know. You rock!! Stay strong my brotha.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. J. P. Meunier, California

    Captain Anderson,
    You are exeptional, and most Americans are speachless looking at your courage.
    You are trying to reverse a tide of hatred for the West in a moslem country,
    which is a hard and long road. Past history is against us.
    We need to divide and conquer, understand we are dealing with a corrupt government. The winning of the minds, the elimination of "passive support", the conquering of the fear, can only happen one small region at a time, one town at a time.

    We also need to deal with the heroin business and accept the fact it is centuries old. Afghans need it for economic survival and telling them "it's bad" does not
    do any good. They know heroin is bad for the USA, but not "bad for them.
    Fighting the drug business is not the answer and only turns the drug kingpins into Taliban supporters. If we need to cooperate with the heroin trade, so be it. Let's use the money to rebuild Afghanistan! That is better than the Taliban guys getting the money and building roadside bombs with it to kill Americans.
    Why don't we build more mosks and give free education to young Afghans instead of the Talibans doing it and using the opportunity for teaching hatred of the West? Why don't we start rounding up the nasty preachers who encourage
    young Afghans to join the Taliban? Freedom of speach is not applicable here
    and we need to understand that.
    We have an enormous cultural gap with most moslem countries and fail to understand their faith, their beliefs, and their fears. Bombarding our set of values
    on them does not work. Let's be humble and listen, and learn how to isolate
    the fanatics from the victims in Afghanistan. When we do, we will have won the war.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jim

    Three things:
    1) Thanks CPT for the analysis and for all you do

    2) Several posters have said we had no right to go into Afghanistan, nor is there any reason we should care about it. Those posters are apparently idiots who forget that we were attacked, with thousands dead, by terrorists trained and sponsored by the Taliban. Though it's hard and confusing in the world of terrorists, THAT attack was an act of war and we have every right to respond with force.

    3) A few posters have said we wouldn't have gone in had Obama been in power. Had he been, he likely would have seen the necessity of going in. If he had not, his presidency would have been doomed like Carter's for his perceived weakness.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JC

    Very Well said Capt. but the one thing that I don't like is that a lot of the people commenting on this are complaining about the war and the tactics and all of the other men dying. Well that is the price of war and if you don't like it do something about it. Take up arms or protest or something instead of just sitting around and complaining about it on a soldiers thoughts about how to win. And to those people who are saying that the invaded never like the invaders. Do you guys recall the world wars, both the French and Germans loved us when we invaded their countries. I hope to soon be serving my country in a few years as I am going to join the Air Force or the Marines (I have not decided yet).

    January 4, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  16. p weber USN ret

    thank you and all who serve in both theaters

    January 4, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  17. frederick lee

    All the good efforts on behalf of the people of Afghanisan by Captain Anderson will come to nothing as long as our news media which includes CNN, undercuts our efforts by drawing attention to alleged attacks on civilians by our armed forces. In doing so CNN embraces the Taliban ideology that they are freedom fighters.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Raza Holland

    Very well written article but i must suggest in addition to what author has mentioned it makes sense to catalyze the political process so that the fragile peace if achieved won't leave once western forces leave Afghanistan. To bring the matter on a table and workout its solution over there will be very tough but in my point of view it is the only long lasting solution.

    Raza
    TU Delft
    Holland

    January 4, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Mark Wilson

    A great read, Captain Anderson, you and the rest that put your lives in harms way are a inspiration of giving to thoes that can not or are unable to. We can no longer let these terrorist bullies terriorise the little people. Keek it up, As an ex New Zealand Army we have a Moto in the infantry Regiment "ONWARDS"......................

    January 4, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Joel

    We should have done this when we helped them beat the russians. I guess we are paying for it now. But my fellow american you are very much so right. We must stay and finish this even if it takes 10 more years.

    January 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  21. loser

    sore looser,,,...no chance of winning...think about it do you want foreigner in your backyard acting like they will protect you&property? The real war is economic war...people are loyal to their job and economic and not to any country.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  22. BC

    Once again Self Centred Americans fail to mention Canada who have also lost several soldiers. Keep Stroking your egos US. We really do love you in Canada. Your just so easy to hate.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  23. AK

    Some really good ideas!!! Thank You for Your and Everyone's service there! Being with the Afghans and doing all the good things (roads, schools, wells) that makes the difference! Thank You for what You do!!! (...I have some idea...spent year at KAF) Stay clear off the dust:)! May God Protect You and Everyone there!

    January 4, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  24. John Bryer

    For there to be a VICTOR there must be a VANQUISHED party. To vanquish means to “subdue completely”. After the Vietnam war concluded, the victorious General Giap said, in essence, that as long as they could fight another day they would never lose. For a definition of “victory” to have merit, it must be one that ends includes vanquishing the enemy, not merely forcing them underground.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Voice of Reason

    The inconvenient truth that should've been learned in Vietnam is that the most powerful force on earth cannot be successful defending cowards who are unwilling to stand up for themselves. There is no such thing as "winning" in the lands of primitive, tribal barbarians.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Nathan Prophet

    I applaud and admire you for your courage, idealism, patriotism, and dedication to duty, honor and country; however, what the U.S. did and is doing in Iraq and now in Afghanistan is a crime against humanity. Think of the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis that died and are still dying because of the U.S. (primarily) and its allies. The United States of America that claims it is "Under God" invaded a sovereign nation based on lies promulgated by our leaders. It was lies that got us into full-scale combat operations in Vietnam, thus the result was predictable.

    We were justified in initially going into Afghanistan; I wish we had done it quicker so to get Osama bin Laden and his henchmen. Can you believe that the most powerful armed forces in history could not get one man, the main perpetrator of "9/11"! Soon after the initial combat operations, we should have pulled out of Afghanistan except for a holding force of 30,000 or so to give the Afghan people a chance to exert their will to determine what they want for their country.

    I assume and hope you have studied the history of Afghanistan and that region. History, culture, religion, etc. put things in context. They are not like people in the West; their worldview and values are different, yet we assume they are like us and will respond like us. This is a grave error and I fear we will be there forever and ever and it will continue to consume the resources and lives of well-meaning war fighters and support personnel, not to mentioned thousands upon thousands of innocent Afghans.

    Sending in 30,000 more troops is like stepping deeper and deeper into quicksand.

    There is no actual picture of victory in Afghanistan, only an imaginary one that we hope for but will not be painted because it cannot be painted.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  27. angelika

    Capt Anderson, thank you for your faithful support to keep our freedom in tact. We appreciate so much what you and so many of our men and women in the military armed forces are doing on a daily basis. We can't phantom what work you all must endure day in and day out. To all of those, who are bashing against the USA to be in Afghanistan? I must tell you this, what not for us where else would you all be? Forgotten WW I , WWII, Vietnam, Korea and all those other wars, that USA soldiers have fallen for and died for and faught for? Where would you all be? So ask your self this. "" Am I am willing to die for my country and it's freedom? " IF you can answer :"Yes," to this question, than good for you. Take yourself to your military institutions and sign up for it. Serve your country, than our men and women do not need to fight other country's battles anylonger.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Roy

    Very well written article. So what happened to the teenage boy? Is he OK? Thank you for your service!

    January 4, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Frank Rizzo

    All goverments are corrupt to some degree.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Leigh

    Awesome write up. Maybe journalism is your next career? Thank you so much for your courage and service to our country. God bless you and your family.

    January 4, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Lacertosus Rex

    What Americans have trouble grasping is that for Middle Eastern peoples Islam is not just a religon but a form of government. This complicates our understanding of the social and governmental aspects of their culture. I have trouble understanding myself and find it hard to imagine a country where any broken law means an infraction to God Himself. Of course the Capitalist approach is evolving into a consumerist monster that forces Americans to super-size and upsell everything in society, even our own healthcare. Ask yourself whats is better or what is right?

    January 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Roberto Tineo

    Very Capturing article ; it gives me hope that the afghani people will soon have a change of heart for our soldiers and there mission in there country

    January 4, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Jerry20020

    Fire MacCrystal and Petraus:

    COIN will not work for us in Afghanistan. We don't have the time or the money or the will.

    It's said that COIN worked for the Brits in Malaysa and US in the Phillipines. Places where the Brits and US stayed afterwards. Not left. Before CNN and Fox. At relatively little cost in treasure or lives.

    MacCrystal and Petraus believe we can build a respected, legit government and a national Arny and police force which will defeat the Taliban and any other element who resists the will of a national, central government.

    Fire them and any other crackpot general who believes that COIN will work in the modern Middle East. We don't have the time; we don't the money; we don't have the will and we can't stand the cable coverage.

    Bring back the realists who know that Armies are good at only one thing: fighting other armies.

    January 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Nathanael [desert voice]

    Great article. The U.S. soldiers should provide all kinds of support, moral, logistic, military. But at the same time the U.S. should avoid unnecessary killing at every cost. This is Afghan war! They must regain their country. Or else they do not deserve one!

    January 4, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Bill - Dallas, TX

    Plamen Petkov is an idiot......your lack of perspective is second only to your naivete. It's guys like you who try to undermine everything good and noble that this country does. Read a few history books and you might acknowledge the incredible good this country has done historically for the world at large. We fight their wars, rebuild their infrastructures, prop up their economies, assist in disaster relief and just about everything else that other "noble, bleeding heart, spectator" countries shrink from. People like you disgust me.

    January 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Female NCO

    Thank you, Sir! I am proud to read a clear and moving tale of this situation. Keep it coming, please. Godspeed to you and yours, we will leave the light on.

    January 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  37. maureen

    Cpt. Anderson,
    Thank you for your insight, perspective and all you do for the Afghan and American people. Wishing you health and success in the New Year! from your bro's co workers at Wenner Media.

    January 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  38. John

    Captain Anderson,

    Thank you for your service.

    Plamen,

    After reading through your post strewn with misspellings I came up with one question for you.

    What oil? While Afghanistan could be used to transport oil from other countries it doesn't have any material oil reserves itself.

    I think you have rented too many Oliver Stone movies? The ROI on investing billions of dollars to secure land so we can build a pipeline from a country we can't control (i.e. Iran) doesn't exist.

    I don't think it is a coincidence that the Taliban and Al Qaeda assassinated Shah Masood days before 9-11. To deny a link between terrorism and Afghanistan is illogical.

    January 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Combat Vet Steve

    I much prefer the General Curtis LeMay method – bomb them all back to the Stone Age.

    LeMay did more physical and psychological damage with his bombers over Germany and Japan than any other military outfit. He brought Hell to our enemies, and that is what we need to start doing. You cannot defeat these fanatics any other way, because you cannot separate their religion from their fanaticism.

    These Taliban and others in Afghanistan, Iraq, and any other country that kills Americans need to learn this lesson in the strongest terms.

    And by the way, if you do the body count and add up all the casualties we supposedly have inflicted up to now, it won't even come near the number of innocent Americans and other nationalities killed on 9/11 and since. Hell, we even accept losing six fine CIA employees for one lousy tribal Chief. Bad odds, folks.

    January 4, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  40. J

    Interesting,

    No one should diminish the sacrifices of the men and women in the military and as one who served I do not. They serve a nation proudly and better in most instances than those who in civilian life command them in service. The issue is broader than and more complex however than the great pride we as Aericans feel for the people in the military.

    1. Democracy is a foreign concept in a land of tribal and religious allegiances. No national identity can be established in a wetern understood way, secular way, that overcomes tribal or religious loyalty before the state without first destroying those alligances.
    2. Corruption leads to mistrust, especially inter-tribe or between religions.
    3. If we stay until they have a functioning government and army of sufficiant size how long is that? 10 years, 20 years etc and then at what point do we become viewed as occupiers?
    4. If we leave at the soonest possible time after a government or army is established and viable who pays for it and for how long? Are we willing to support them for 10 years, 20 years etc. in monetary ways?
    5. Are we willing to accept the length of time in money and lives that the American People must sacrifice for this to become successful?

    I think we declare victory, leave it to the UN to resolve, as the global body, and play our part as a memeber state. If we are attacked again we respond in kind. We spend the money not used in nation building, hopelessly I might add, to address pressing national issues. And, if a war becomes necessary again and those in natiaonl authority support or draw that conclusion, President and congress, then we pay for it so all Amercians are contributing and not just the soldiers.

    January 4, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Lou Gomez

    Nice going Cpt Anderson,

    In a very small world what happens there affects us here too. I dont agree w/ one writer who wrote"the Russians tried it too..." We all know that the massacred and bombed their way thru their version of the war and alienated the people... We are doing a better job definitely...There will be isolated incidents of course -but we just have to stay the course and do our best to prevent the kind of crap that happened in Vietnam from ever happening again. To our guys over there... I wish I could be with you... Keep up the great work and know that a silent majority think greatly of you and wish you the best...

    January 4, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Gary Bechard

    Captain Anderson – Thank you for a very well written article. You are a credit to the United States, your unit and the Long Gray Line. I know this "Old Grad" is proud.

    January 4, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Bob from Hewitt

    Sounds like Nation Building to me. It also sounds like being in Afghanistan for decades to come seeing as these 26 million or so people are primarily tribal and living like it were still the thirteenth century. The captain who I thank for his service seems to be stationed in an area around one of the major cities (Kandahar) of which there are only about 6 in the whole country and the government he speaks of does not really apply to the vast majority of the population. Outside of Kabul there is no government, only fudelizim. We can ill afford to stay there with the cost in American lives and tresures predicted for any number of years. Victory is better left behind rather than having to construct a new country from the ground up taking it through 1000 years of progression.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  44. OttawaMensCentre_dot_com

    This forum is filled with so many positive comments that indicate an amazing amount of public support that something akin to an election where 99.999% of the voters vote the same candidate.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Andrew Criscione

    Those kids don't look liberated, they look petrified. That guys got a gun that's bigger than they are!

    January 4, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  46. A. Smith, Oregon

    The moment American and Aillied troops pull out of Afghanistan, the Afghan army troopers will pledge themselves to the Pashtun and Taliban fighters, leaving America with a larger force to fight against and occupy if we are pushed into that region at a later date.

    It will take decades before American tourists can safely travel the silken roads thru Afghanistan once again, there is so much hatred in Afghanistan against all American's that is of course missing in the spun story by the Army Captain.

    A month ago, the CIA using former Blackwater contractors performed a midnight raid. That raid resulted in a huge number of dead Afghani children and young civilians. President Karzi singled out the CIA as the one's that conducted that ill conceived raid and expressed his profound outrage against his CIA benefactor over what they had done. That midnight raid by the CIA fanned the flames of great outrage and hatred against American and Allied soldiers and many soldiers were recently killed by IED's planted by Afghani people that very likely were neutral before that raid took place.

    The strike by the Taliban against the CIA base which killed at least 7 CIA agents also blew up several former Blackwater employees, likely the same ones that conducted that raid which previously slaughtered those Afghani children.

    In a related news release, former Blackwater employees are now being hunted down in Iraq by the Iraqi government for their part in the murder of 7 Iraqi civilians during the course of their CIA supported duty's. Americans were told a US Federal judge had refused and thrown-out the 7 murder charges against Blackwater employees, now you know why. Blackwater is working for the CIA in carrying out various nefarious tasks for them.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Rob2tall

    As I recall-
    After Bush Jr got us into Afghanistan-his administration allowed the Taliban to stay in power so as not to destabilize the region-I may of course be wrong on this but I think thats a fact.We had many oppertunities to bag Usama bin Laden but politics as usual we needed him alive to carry out more CIA missions,after all he had received CIA training and hundreds of millions in us tax dollars military aid to thwart the Soviets attempt to capture the region.
    The holy warriors were once our allies-its funny that we support militias as long as they do our dirty work-then abandon them and they come back and get even!
    Afghanistan is winnable-we just need to blast bin Laden out of his fortified caves in the tops of the Bora Tora mountains and crush the Taliban once and for all.WE know where most of the are-we are just extending the war for political reasons.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Bpin

    Gob bless our brave soldiers. There is no winning in Afgan. This religous war has been going on for thousands of years. We refuse to go directly after AQ. The only reason I can think of is that we are scared of them. Our politicans do not want to stir them up because they fear the underhanded consequences of doing so. AQ controls a good part of the US lifestyle, and we continue to let them do it. Go after them. Eliminate them. Innocent people will die just like with any war. I hate that, but enough US citizens have already died and too many live in fear.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Nosely

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service Capt
    This is just another example of imposing out beliefs on another country, but we are there now and I am not sure how we get out, I think it will be just like the Russians, we will leave with our tail between our legs, I still think we are a great country but some times get in no win situations.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Joe Smuckatelly

    CPT Anderson,

    Please seek out the CAAT in Afghanistan.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  51. neon

    If only we had started with this strategy immediately after overthrowing the Taliban years ago instead of Invading Iraq and taking our attention from the real battle against extremism. Instead we not only let the Taliban re-take much of Afghanistan but we radicalized thousands more Muslims to join them and as usual left the Afghan people feel abandoned again as they did after the war against the Soviets. We have sacrificed too many lives of our brave soldiers, spent too much money we no longer have thanks to the economic crunch and lost too many Afghanis support to make winning in Afghanistan a reality. Thanks to all our courageous men and women for their sacrifice, but it is too little too late to make their efforts pay off. Unfortunately the end result will be a political solution that leaves the Taliban in control of Afghanistan and the Afghan people feeling once again that we turned our backs on them.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Fernando Villegas

    Great stuff, soldier.. You are a smart guy and a brave one, but for the same reason it is poignant you must risk your life not only for US and the rest of occidental countries threatened by islamic extremism, but also for a weak, corrupt goverment that, chances are, will not make good use of your sacrifice.
    I hope you and your men will return inm good health.

    From a distant -Chile- but simpathetic country
    Fernando

    January 4, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Farmer

    what if we are not providing better schools, roads and wells. What if we have not kept our bargain. What if we have rigged elections. What if we are perceived as just a temporary fix.....and when we leave.....it will be worse.

    its time to cut our losses. We can never, logisticly compete.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  54. RJG

    I thank you Capt. Anderson for putting into words the complex circumstances that are involved with this war.
    Having actively protested against the war in Iraq, I had to take time to educate myself and come to terms with the meaning of the war in Afghanistan when my younger brother enlisted in the Army. My brother told us about the children of Afghanistan and how they would give them a ‘thumbs up’ as they passed if they supported the troops or ‘thumbs down’ if they did not. I supported the election of President Obama with the hope that there would soon be resolution of these wars, and our troops would come home. However, am now aware that the job of our troops is to defeat this cowardly enemy who preys upon those who are most defenseless as you describe, and instead of coming out and fighting face to face, hide roadside bombs and send suicide bombers to unsuspecting civilians.
    Thank you for your service, courage and for telling us why our presence there is vital to the safety, not only of our nation, but the world.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Tito

    It's amazes me how easily some of the appeasers, apologists, deniers and America haters who have posted negative comments have forgotten history. The only reason we are in Afghanistan is because we were attacked by fanatics trained and based out of there. Questioning what we are doing and how we're doing it is healthy. Questioning why we're doing it is pure blindness. If anyone believes we as a Country would be safer, more secure and better off withdrawing and allowing the fanatics a continued safe haven to plot more attacks, they are deluded. I wish I could afford to be that naive.

    And to the poster that stated "you can't stop violence with violence" you should pick up a history book. Violence has solved more problems than non-violence. Ask the Infantry and ask the dead.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  56. BW

    Terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden killed approximately 3000 Americans on September 11, 2001. Why is this fact left out of nearly all Afghanistan/Iraq war discussions? Have we forgotten? Do we no longer remember watching the World Trade Center towers fall?

    Why do we continue to wear blinders and focus almost exclusively on "winning" in Afghanistan and Iraq? Where is the guy who escalated our conflict with terrorism, Osama bin Laden? Most likey Pakistan, an "allied" nation. What happened to "you're either with us, or you're with the terrorists?" Did our current conflict not start out as a GLOBAL war on terror? Are terrorist acts/attempts not occurring globally, even on our own soil? This is a big world with a lot of places for terrorists to hide (and thrive). Who cares if we pacify Afghanistan? The terrorists have already gone somewhere else. Our concern should be making sure future terrorists have no question about our resolve to fight terrorism, that is, to wipe them off the face of the earth.

    Why do we continue to approach a conflict with Eastern enemies using Western strategy and tactics? Why not look to how our current enemies have policed their own? How did a minority leader, Saddam Hussein, retain power for nearly three decades? Brute force. How did the US, UK, and their allies approach a fanatical enemy to win WWII? Brute force, even to the extent of intenionally killing civilians by the tens of thousands. A suicide bomber does not fear for their own safety, but death brings them glory and treasures. The Western approach of making one fear for one's own safety will not work with terrorists. We must make them fear for the safety of what they love. Try to "win the hearts and minds" shows weakness to our enemies, it does NOT command their respect nor instill fear. It actually invites more hostility.

    Our terrorist enemies must die. Either we can kill them, or we can hold them at bay long enough for them to die of old age while we win over their children's "hearts and minds" with blue jeans, rock and roll, and sexuality.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Greg

    You can win the military battle, but if you destroy our econonmy and our way of life in doing so, then you have handed the enemy the victory that they wanted. Destroy our way of life.

    The enemy is fluid and can move easily from country to country, while our brave fighting forces slug it out with people that hate us and have access to weapons and use them on our troops, but otherwise they pose no direct threat to the US.

    Remove the large scale troops. Everyone knows that whenever the US Army is going to move the local villagers know before the enlisted men do.

    Specialize in developing intelligence and do silent hit and run tactics with drones, special ops, etc.

    We have built and modified submarines to land/extract special forces troops in hot areas. We have drones.

    We fly a $65,000,000 F-15 air-superiority fighter at a cost of $20,000 / hour and drop a $20,000 smart bomb on 1 sniper in a house, then we pay the home owner to rebuild. It would be cheaper to offer the terrorist ocean front property condos in Florida with a pension if they just gave up.

    Just like in Vietnam we would carpet bomb using B-52s to take out people on bicycles.

    I totally support our troops and their valiant efforts. We should promote Capt Anderson to General and let the people who understand what is really going on run the war.

    Sorry if I got carried away.

    January 4, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  58. steve parks

    Thank God for our troops.It is really great to hear some encouraging news.It is also great to hear of a soldier over there who believes in what they are doing.If we could get all the politics aside,it wouldn't be so bad.Unfortunately politics are a part of it,but not for the soldier.For him it doesn't matter.He is following his orders,looking out for his buddies.Good luck to all of you fighting for us.I pray for you and hope you all come home safely.From,a stateside vet...

    January 4, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  59. ann

    This is unbelievable. I think the Afghan people do not understand the US and our intentions and goals in Afghanistan in assisting the Afghan people and our goals of containing and controlling the expansion of terrorism. No matter how the 'name' of terrorism has morphed and changed, it is still a threat to vulnerable people.

    Until the Afghan people understand our goal as common to theirs and in their best interest, they will not work with us. Our common goal is humanitarian, the message is confused with power and control and territory. The "enemy" is not clear to these people.

    We can learn to speak their language:Dari, and stop depending on the translators. It seems brute force is not communicating our message. I support the American troops.
    If the medium is the message, then how clear are we? Do we need to say it in Dari?
    Dari language structure s close to the language of Farsi, spoken in Iran. Why have we not supported our troops in learning the language of the country and community which they are immersed?
    In response to your posting: keep it up. Know that we are behind you 110%. We want you home safe and sound. and Keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  60. Robert

    I hope that the USA remembers their responsibility to finish this war properly. You are correct in your assessment of the need for security and support for the people caught up in this. The problem has been that in the past many local commanders have promised such things and than been forced to abandon them due to decisions made by politicians. Once you have abandoned people 2-3 times, it takes years and years to rebuild trust.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  61. Joy Long

    CPT BRANDON ANDERSON,

    Thank you for educating me. I keep up as best as I can, but mainstream media just isn't doing the greatest job of giving us the truth. It's bent.

    You opened up a window for me to see through. I pray for you all often, and certainly not a morning goes by where I don't think of you all.

    MY HEART IS WITH YOU GUYS AND GALS. THANK YOU. It means everything to all of us, whether we know it, acknowledge it or not. For those that criticize, just let me say THANK YOU on their behalf. Have compassion on them – They just don't understand.

    May Peace walk with you.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  62. mm

    And why are you( USA) there?
    do you think are you going to help by using your potencial guns and men?

    why don't leave them understand themselves or use your strong political strategies?

    we are all weak politicaly...

    January 4, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  63. Matt

    Hoah!

    January 4, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  64. Surendr R

    Crystal Clear Capt.......thanks for reminding us.....god speed to you and your men

    January 4, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  65. Jerry20020

    The extremists are unfortunately successful in convincing Moslems that an attack on any one of them anywhere and for whatever reason is an attack on all of them – which they must all fight against using all means possible.

    I don't think we're there for oil – as another poster argues – but to prevent the Taliban and other extremists from taking over Pakistan with its nuclear weapons.

    The odds are heavily against us producing any positive outcome from our huge investment
    in blood and capitol.

    One casualty will be NATO. Our allies do not have popular support for fighting in Afghanistan. As we will/can not accept that position we'll apply enough pressure to break it. How great a loss that'll be is unknown.

    Obama is locked in by his "war of necessity" rhetoric and cannot back down - only double down when things inevitably do not go our way.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  66. Mic

    Thank You Captain Anderson for your service!! You ARE an American Hero and you and our great military protect all of us fat, dumb and stupid American's that take our freedom for granted!! Our Country / World are a better place because of your professionalism and willingness to "risk it all- THANK YOU!

    Max, you’re an idiot! The length of a soldier’s tour has nothing to do with our unfortunate withdrawal in Nam. Fact; A PUPPET GOVERNMENT does not work without the support of all the people, all the time. FACT: Governments in Afghanistan are run by Tribes. Are we going to "change" this? After 2000 years of "tribal law", you do the math! Max, have somebody read you a book called Sole Survivor (hint: about Afghanistan) you might learn something about a country where life expectancy tops out at 44 years old. Fact: Americans don't like long projected wars. After 8 years I think this administration has about 6 months to turn things around in Afghanistan or the public will turn on them. Will they elect more candidates who will vote to send more solders over their or...?????

    I want the Captain and his men to succeeded in their mission, but if, as the Captain points out, we do not provide“ meaningful security “, and I say turn hearts and minds, influence tribes to help, have a stable government in Kabul the American public will not tolerate loss of more American life! The cost will be considered way to high, like Vietnam! In closing, our Military only has roughly 6 to 8 months to show major progress.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  67. Richard Brawn

    Winning must have objective, non-political aspects. When will this enemy say as Chief Joseph said :"I will fight no more, forever". Does winning mean the enemy surrenders. Does it mean the population capitulates to our values. We are there for some reason and that reason must dovetail with the definition of winning. This is not about winning, it is about something else.
    Richard

    January 4, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  68. Daniel Dolan

    I do not believe that there is anything that we can do or give to the people of Afghanistan that will win them to our side. The history of these people show that the only side they are on is their own. The only thing that Afghans enjoy more than killing each other is killing foreigners.
    IMO the only thing we can hope for is to tamp down the insurgency to a level where the ANA might be able to hold Kabul and maybe one or two other cities. Most of the past Afghan governments have really only ruled Kabul.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  69. nance

    God bless you Capt. Anderson and all our troops who are currently serving. Thank you for the insight. God bless our troops and their families. Stay strong and stay safe and remember the American people are behind you.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  70. Quang K. Tran

    I respect you Capt. That had exactly happen in Vietnam !!!

    January 4, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  71. MN-Mike

    Easier said than done. How can we unite the Afghan people who have no sense of national government? The tribal people of Afghanistan, such as the Pushtans, will not allow politicians in Kabul to tell them what to do. I agree that the evil men of the Taliban who support al-Queda must be brought to justice for the safety of the U.S. and our allies, but this will be a tough war to win.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  72. kofi nyarko

    we thank u for all the things that u have done for your country........ we will also do all our best to join the army ... so that we can happy to stop the war in Afghanistan so that the kids in afghanistan will be happy for every.....
    kofi nyarko
    from ghana

    January 4, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  73. Plamen Petkov

    more propaganda and lies served by the USA corproate owned media disguised as analytical article.
    To begin with, WHY are countries SO interested in this nowhere peace of land?
    First the Soviets, now the west want to contrroll it under the pretex of fighting the Taliban. One look at the map and the truth comes out. this has NOTHIGN to do with fighting the talibam or Alli QUeda it has to do with controlling the flow of oil and gas.
    It's NOT the Taliban USA should be worried about by the people themselves.The HATE USA's guts. USA and NATO have NO rights to be in Afghanistan nor they should be there. They are propping the government of karzai and the afgan people HATE him. The poor idiots who are serving in there dont see how they are being used for USA corporate interests. What a joke and propaganda anyone with 2 working brain cels should be able to see through.
    I bet this comment will NOT be posted

    January 4, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  74. VegasRage

    After nearly a decade of war, initially seriously under-planned, boy is this question getting old.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  75. Trockman

    We dont need to send troops over piece by piece America has never won war like that we need a full fledged offensive attack in afghanastan bring out all of the rebels and take them out no more back to base every night lets fight like we used to infiltrate and ambush raid the villages with minor civilian casulties.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  76. klynch67

    What is the end goal there?

    Is it to establish some fragile peace that ends when we leave....like in Iraq?
    Is it to kill every taliban on the planet?
    Is it to wipe out muslims extremism....even though there are extremists in at leat 40 other countries?

    We need to stop trying to end violence with more violence and address the root cause of extremism. The ideology. You dont fight an ideology with tanks and planes. You fight it with information and education. Discredit radical islam leaders....teach muslim youth the ways of peace and tolerance...teach muslims that their religion is a peaceful one.

    I am sure right wing nuts will call this a weak approach, but the current approach is only esculating violence, and making recruiting muslim youth much easier. The ideology is spreading like wildfire because their brothers are being killed.

    You cant stop violence with violence.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  77. RB

    I respect you Capt.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  78. truth to power

    Fighting terrorists with huge military ops is like using a stick of dynamite to rid your home of roaches.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  79. Jim

    Well put Capt. Stay safe.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  80. RYP

    This well spoken officer actually defines why we will "lose" in Afghanistan by boiling it down to determining that Afghans expect "meaningful security and reasons to support the government"

    The US will never allow pashtuns to determine their own security and governance (its called the taliban) and the Afghan government is an oft whipped and shamed mistress of US policy.

    Karzai is caught between the need to include the ethnic divide by integrating popular members of the Uzbek, Tajik and Hazara minorities into an Afghan friendly govt or toeing the US pashtun-centric, weak central govt concept that has failed to work but pays the bills. The recent decimation by elected Afghan reps of Karzai's "safe" picks shows just how bad a state his government is in.

    Why would Afghans support something that now means nothing and does even less? Thats why they focus on the more understandable , more reliable subsets (ethnicity, region, tribe, village, family etc).

    So as long as we keep chopping away at the main support pole of central government and pull out the local security pegs there is no big tent for the afghans to gather under.

    Just saying something does not make it so. Afghans are more impressed by deeds and results, not concepts and promises. The Russians, in their own self interested way, also came to build the country and advance social standards...seems like the British had a similar idea as well. 🙂 And now that every Afghan knows that we too, have played out our game and want to leave, what incentive is there to support short-term U.S. efforts?

    The key to winning is let the Afghans define what winning is and step aside. We can see from Iraq that once the game is called, the media splits and the story no longer matters. It is the same for Afghanistan.

    A homegrown solution in one of the world's poorest countries won't be perfect but after 10 years, 250 billion dollars and constant lack of performance (find bin laden, create stability, non corrupt governance etc) we would have been voted off the island a long time ago.. 🙂

    January 4, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  81. Michael J Slattery

    Ever heard of BLOWBACK? 'They' hate us cause we occupy their home.

    Did anyone here (cause obviously no one in charge has) take a history course?

    Winning? I win simply by scoring more points for me. Problem is dead bodies count against US and unfortunately the ref is paid off and fails to see how WE are bound to lose if we keep following this failed policy. Or is that the goal?

    It is amazing how the word failure and the ability to be accountable for OUR mistakes seem impossible for our heads of state, federal and local communities. Nature makes karma and it is a shame that it will take that when we still can say 'pardon me'.

    Get our troops home NOW so somehow the people HERE will be protected from those with with no accountability and who understand (and always remind us of) the terrorist they know more about than anyone.

    Oh and I look forward to the anti-Semite comments against me coming from the "never again" support group who understands human blood has different values of worth.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  82. kk

    All talks only. Which invading army does not know this theory. Russian did that and American did that – many times already. The fact is you cannot win the heart if your invasion is unjustified in the eyes of the victims. Has the people in Afghanistan or Iraq said these are good war? Answer honestly and you know in your heart if the war is winnable.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  83. Jerry20020

    Assuming that the Afghan security forces increase in number and capacity and willingness to take on the insurgents and that the Afghan government gains crediblity and does govern well and is seen by the population to be doing so and thus earning loyalty and assuming that we have the patience and money and especially the will to continue on for 5 or likely more years and assuming that our overstressed military does not break down, things should be fine in Afganistan.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  84. CPT Chavez

    Very well spoken CPT Anderson! Lucky for me you were my teacher!

    January 4, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  85. GUILLERMO MENESES

    THANKS NOT ONLY FOR WHAT YOUR ARE DOING FOR YOUR COUNTRY BUT FOR THE WORLD AND DONT EVER FORGET THAT

    January 4, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  86. G SIMMS

    WHAT IF WE ( USA ) WAS NOT THERE, THEN NO ONE WOULD SHOOT OUR TROOPS... WHO MADE US GOD.. WHY DO WE HAVE TO RUIN OUR COUNTRYS ECONOMY.. TO PROTECT SOME COUNTRY THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY,, AND MAIM OUR PEOPLE.. EITHER FIGHT TO WIN OR COME HOME

    January 4, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  87. Lavanya India

    your views seem to be your own shortsighted wrong perception of things. the people of afghanistan will never support their invaders. this is clear by the way taliban is expanding day by day and the mounting death toll of american and coalition forces. if america is true in saying everymonth that it is killing hundereds of taliban then were are the next rebels coming from.i hope not from america.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  88. Max

    The lesson we learned in Vietnam, was that you couldn't do what needed to be done with one year tours. The real soldiers did multiple tours, because COIN only works if the people you are propping-up know you are committed. They don't trust you if you do 9 months and then head to a resort in Taiwan. In that regard, the forces we commit to COIN (the core) need to embed themselves for three to five years, and live with them. 10 year old boys will be 15, and will be fierce warriors for your cause. You will be redundant after five years. You are nothing but a gnat after one year.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  89. Buddy Williams

    Cpt Anderson,
    Thank You for your words of facts & encouragement. As an 'MP Dad',,I concern myself with events of of Terrorism and the battle(s) against it.
    I also place myself, daily, with a constant concern of terrorist actions and plans. There's only one process to obtain victory over such an enemy,,,,Simply stated...mentally, to place ourselves in the minds of the 'bad guys.'
    It's January 4th, 2010 now....and the world(especially the US) is buzzing with new knowledge of the world of terrorism. My greatest concerns this day, are due to one thought,,,'Are we staying ahead of the enemy as best we can?'
    The attempt of causing disaster of Flight 253, the killing of agents in the CIA camp, and the updated information regarding Yeamon....
    'ARE THESE ALL A PART OF EVENTS, CARRIED OUT BY AN ENEMY, THAT INTENDS FOR US TO BE DISTRACTED,,?...So their evil intentions have a better chance of success inside out own land(s)?'
    International Terrorists are already submitting to the fact that they may be doomed in their past conventional ways of fighting the west,,,in the lands of Iraq, Afghanistan, & Pakistan..(in other words,,their own turf),,.therefore,,,
    I'm a firm believer in the fact, that, internal cells within our country shall be like a 'cancer'....they shall form & infect from the inside',,,,and if not foiled,,,shall cause destruction to our cause,,,,sitting right under our noses.'

    Simply stated..
    Thank you, be safe,, and remain strong to Our cause.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  90. Deryk Houston

    This is a clear and precise description of the mindset of the military. But it doesn't answer the question of why there is a hatred for the west in the first place. It doesn't answer the question of why America ignored international law and invaded Afghanistan without the UN's blessing in the first place. I don't want "one" country deciding whether it should invade another country and drop five hundred pound thermobaric bombs all over the place .....killing everything in sight including women and children. (Keep in mind that if someone like Obama had been in power at the time of 911, it is likely that he would have respected international law and the UN and not gone into Afghanistan in the first place).
    It was only afterwards that the UN agreed to form a united force under Nato.
    If we don't adhere to the principles of international law then civilization as we know it starts to slide down the toilet. I hope that point is clear and precise also.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  91. Max

    The problem with this theory, is that Congress will lose interest, and they will abandon the soldiers in the field. Just like they abandoned them in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, El Salvador, etc, etc. We abandoned Afghans when we did the Pearl Harbor on Iraq. Islam will always remember their Pearl Harbor.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  92. KC

    Thanks for your thoughts and your service Captain Anderson.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  93. Sandra Barrett

    Most unfortunately, the post by Ted is correct – but I still have to say to CPT Anderson "thank you for being a hero to many because of your leadership, character, and dedication to the mission and to this country. Keep up the good work!"

    January 4, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  94. Earl Deetz

    What this young soldier is describing is a special forces war. Such a war is not popular with the American public, as most of the action is small in scale and without victory parades. The USSR tried the "scorched earth" battle plan in Afghanistan and lost...with our help. Now our people are trying to "free the oppressed" via an evolving counterinsurgency approach. If a special ops guy like Gen. Stan supports it, then I support it. Just don't expect things to be pretty, telegenic or convenient.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  95. R GRimaldi

    I am unable to say it more completely or state it more eloquently. I agree with my friend, JS baird.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  96. NY-David

    Well spoken and dead on.
    Thank you for your service to your country.
    NY-David

    January 4, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  97. Harry

    I agree completely, hearts and minds, not as an after thought though. I think back to the old days where every city was walled. This may need to come back to Afghanistan to protect each city, monitor the people but wall them in for safety, its such a mess but without some sort of win there will be another 9/11; on our soil or somewhere else.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  98. Ted Weidman

    The problem: We are spending billions of dollars trying in security and trying to prop up a shaky government. With the corruption going on there are factions which want the war to continue so we will keep sending money to Afganistan. This may be to the degree that the corrup government may covertly subvert our success! You need to clear up the corruption and somehow have a government and people that really want freedom over economic greed.

    January 4, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  99. Sapper 6

    CPT Anderson thank you for who you are, what you stand for, what you've done, and most importantly, for what you'll do for our country and our soldiers in the future.

    January 4, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  100. js baird

    Well spoken, clear and concise. Win the countrymen over to the country and protect them in the interim until local forces and resources are adequate to maintain the momentum.

    January 4, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
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