Thursday, December 03, 2009

Batchelor: Landlocked‏

A cross post from The Real Barack Obama,

John Batchelor writes on his blog:

No Roads

Frank Oliveri and Bill Roggio both elaborated on the particular challenges of moving 30 thousand combat troops into Afghanistan in the next six months. The critical fact is that this is a landlocked country -- and this increases the costs, the demands on transportation, the expectations of deployment.

Frank Oliveri called 10th Mountain and the Marines, and both said they were ready to go now, pending transportation.

Bill Roggio presented the case that getting that many combat troops into Kandahar province and environs in this six month period, including winter, is so daunting that it isn't how well, it is if at all.

Spoke to Ann Marlowe at Kabul, and she reported on dinner conversation with unnamed American colonels after POTUS speech at West Point. The general opinion is that getting those troops into Afghanistan is beyond the logistics that exist now. There wasn't laughter. Just head shaking.

Ann Marlowe also emphasized that once the troops reach Afghanistan, especially in the South and East, the logistics inside the country are spare. There is already a chronic shortage of aircraft. The roads except in select places are treacherous and nonexistent. The culverts built by the contractors are routine places for the Taliban to plant IEDs. Mostly, Ann Marlowe emphasized the forbidding nature of the countryside. It is moon like. It is the home court of the Taliban. She mentioned that it can take 12 hours to go 40 kilometers. Six months to deploy, eighteen months to start the handover. Not on a landlocked clock.

Middle of the No Roads

Also spoke to Peter Wallsten, WSJ, (above) re the politics the day after the POTUS speech. He reported that neither the Left nor the Right supports the decision. POTUS is in the middle of partisan noise now, and there is no center to stand with him -- no middle of the no roads.

Gallup reports that the POTUS approval on Afghanistan policy has declined from over 50% to 35%. Wallsten remarked that Democrats in primary races are running hard left, anti-war and anti-Obama policy on Afghanistan. The people who elected POTUS are now walking away, or, as Wallsten said for the elections in 2010, the base support of POTUS and the Democrats is ready to stay home. The testimony by the three chieftains, Clinton, Gates and Mullen, only reinforced the measure that only those who work for POTUS are following POTUS down that lonely middle.

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