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As public support for remaining in Afghanistan remains split (with 48 percent favoring more troops versus 45 percent favoring less according to the latest USA Today/Gallup poll) and the President weighs McChrystal's request for more troops, Bob Krause, US veteran and challenger of  Sen. Grassley's seat in Iowa, has offered a plan for training Afghan troops as well as removing/reducing the number of troops.  He suggests training Afghan troops on US soil.

I think this is an option that needs some public dialogue as pundits and politicians FAIL TO DISCUSS the over-extension of our military resources that will be exacerbated by more deployments (of troops and equipment) to Afghanistan.  Having watched my own marriage deteriorate after two deployments, it behooves me to remind people that our service members have been on deployment schedules ranging from 9 to 18 months in length (depending on the service) with no guaranteed dwell time in between those deployments.

Krause's idea has the additional merit of addressing concerns about the lack of discipline among Afghan trainees.  Perhaps having the trainees in a more controlled environment, and something to lose by not taking the training more seriously (e.g., failure to finish training, loss of family stipend), will reduce trainee violence against American troops as well as improve trainee comitment to the training.

See AP article on lack of discipline and internal violence:

Consequently, I found this press release (and Krause's idea) interesting:

Bob Krause, Democratic Candidate for the U.S. Senate in Iowa against Senator Charles Grassley, today called for measures to reduce the U.S. military footprint in Afghanistan by shifting the training program for the Afghan Army to the United States in a crash war program. Krause is believed to be the first public official or candidate to propose such a solution to the growing challenges in Afghanistan.
"Training of the Afghan Army to support a clean coalition government has been pointed to by all sides as the key to stabilizing Afghanistan. But, losses of American and NATO lives in Afghanistan are mounting daily. It is questionable if we can sustain both a combat force and an effective training force in Afghanistan in an environment where war support is eroding, and civilian resentment of the American and NATO presence is increasing within Afghanistan," said Krause. "In the mean time, the single U.S. training brigade on the ground is currently understaffed and thus is underperforming. There are plans for an additional brigade and more training units will be needed beyond that," Krause predicted.

"As a retired military officer, my view is that we need to reduce exposure of American soldiers who are now in harm’s way. At the same time, if we are to stabilize the rapidly deteriorating situation, we need to reduce the U.S. impact of the Afghan culture, and still provide safe and needed training to expand the Afghan Army," said Krause.

"Unfortunately, besides the risks to Americans that participate in training of the Afghan Army, there are a tremendous number of training barriers and distracters in Afghanistan that make the job of building an Afghan Army there nearly impossible," Krause pointed out. "A few of the problems faced are ninety percent illiteracy among new recruits, language barriers within the country, security for the trainees and U.S. trainers themselves, and incredible terrain issues that affect placement and support for new additions to the Afghan Army. Regardless of whether the U.S. gets out of Afghanistan or stays in, an expanded professional Afghan Army will be needed to stabilize the country" stated Krause.

"Therefore, I propose that the best place to train the Afghan Army during this war is here in the United States. It is cheaper and safer for both U.S. troops and Afghan recruits to do it at various old military facilities here in the U.S. Plus, there are a number of Reserve and Guard units that are established especially for basic training, advanced individual training, and related purposes. These could be mobilized state-side with much less heartburn politically, and will be able to do their job in a more resource-rich environment," Krause suggested.

"For the sake of our own soldiers and their safety, we need to implement a policy of shipping Afghan Army volunteers to the United States by air, put them through intensive training and indoctrination here, then send them home. Afghan recruits would receive a nice stipend for their families through U. S. delivery facilities while they are gone from home. A U.S. based solution eliminates problems with Afghan desertion, Taliban infiltration and attacks, outrageous contractor abuse and relative lack of overseas resources," said Krause.

"To reverse the language issue, Afghan recruits could be subject to intensive English language orientation at the beginning of their U.S. visit in order to expedite the rudimentary English language training sufficient for military needs. Not only would this smooth the training issue for the Afghan Army, it would also provide jobs in the United States," stated Krause.

According to Krause, relatively isolated facilities would be used for the training so that Afghan trainees would be generally invisible to the general public.

"We have had 869 U.S. fatalities and 3,896 U.S. wounded in Afghanistan. This does not count PTSD injuries and emotional trauma. Unfortunately, there is a great likelihood that the casualty toll will continue to increase," said Krause. "We must remember that the initiative was wasted in this war during the Bush Administration, and that President Obama is working with a very bad hand that was dealt him. I believe this is the best solution for a part of that very bad hand that has been dealt," concluded Krause.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Contact: Keith Dinsmore

What do you guys think?  

You can learn more about Bob Krause at

Originally posted to mydragonflies on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:13 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead.

    by mydragonflies on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:13:24 PM PDT

  •  It could work (6+ / 0-)

    Put them through the marine boot camp.  That ought to give 'em some discipline.

    •  If the DIs can't make them stand and fight, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buddabelly, dougymi

      then they're simply never going to.

      At which point, we should tell them to fuck off.


      "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
      "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

      by Leftie Gunner on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:36:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You'd be getting them out of the area, too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buddabelly, mydragonflies

      Getting them away from the area and letting them see a professional military training facility. I'm sure the ones in-country are good, but getting them out of potentially poisonous tribal relationships might be just the way to go. It might be expensive, but more effective, too. It should be talked about at the very least.

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 04:28:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What's the difference where (3+ / 0-)

    we train them? Will they fight?

    •  The objection is to train them so they can (0+ / 0-)

      control their own country after we leave. When we leave, they will be fighting to control their own country. They would not be seen as a force fighting to help us occupy their country.

      Take them out in large numbers. Train them and send them back as a large fighting force without our presence.

  •  Rec'd (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, divineorder

    not because I like the idea a lot, but because I appreciate you bringing us the news

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

    by MinistryOfTruth on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:24:00 PM PDT

    •  Thank you! I just wanted to see what kind of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexDem, dougymi, divineorder

      reaction and/or thoughts those in the civilian community would have to this kind of proposal...  I think ALL ideas need to be considered and I have to say, at least Mr. Krause is THINKING about this and, obviously, "thinking outside the box."

      "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead.

      by mydragonflies on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:26:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Subject matter experts believe that a trained (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexDem, DeepLooker, DaNang65

    military will strengthen/stabilize the country and give them the best chance of fighting the Taliban and Al-Queda.  

    This is one thing we know how to do (train soldiers).  Our military was not meant for nation-building and it is unrealistic to expect our troops to be responsible for that kind of role.

    Will they train under us and then return to Afghanistan and support its government?  I don't know but there seems to be an expectation that they will.

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead.

    by mydragonflies on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:25:13 PM PDT

    •  If it's any precedent to your question (3+ / 0-)

      Will they train under us and then return to Afghanistan and support its government?  I don't know but there seems to be an expectation that they will.

      During the Viet Nam war we trained thousands of South Vietnamese in the U.S., but they often dropped their weapons and ran same as their fellows who hadn't left the country.

      EMK: In lieu of flowers, a health care bill that would make him smile is requested.

      by DaNang65 on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:32:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You spoke my thoughts exactly. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wonmug, divineorder, DaNang65

        Unless they see some advantage to fighting for their country, they will run (and who can blame them?)
        The corruption, the crooked and rigged elections, the observation that there's more money to be made as a member of some warlord's private army protecting the poppy business, are all reasons to not fight.
        I don't know the answer but I don't think this is it.

        •  If they are taken out in large groups (0+ / 0-)

          and return as a large force. They could change the country. If they stay, there would be too much influence to stop training. Including the kind of influences that are deadly. This is a very good idea.

      •  The reason some of them dropped their (0+ / 0-)

        weapons and wouldn't fight is because we were still there as an occupying force. We didn't show commitment. On top of that, the south Vietamese troops were a very small force to begin with.

  •  I have no problem with this idea (0+ / 0-)

    if the trainers think it would be helpful.

    "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by jrooth on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:29:05 PM PDT

  •  I think it's wrong-headed. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    realtime, divineorder, Dr Marcos

    Let's train engineers, doctors, teachers, midwives, etc.  Let's quit making war on Afghanistan and start healing that poor nation.  Enough war already!

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Iraq Moratorium

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:32:57 PM PDT

    •  The need security first (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the rest can follow.

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:41:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Moreover, it is not a matter of choosing one over (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the other.  I think it is a matter of accepting that we have taken on training their military, so how can we address the current obstacles we face in doing that?

      Social aid/assistance would continue or, hopefully, be increased since the cost of training their military would be decreased.

      "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead.

      by mydragonflies on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:42:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can't we do both? (0+ / 0-)

      I would love to bring a whole bunch of women over and teach them to be whatever they want to be, and show them that they can have power, too. (you know, put them in their place, so to speak ;-)  Help them go back and run for office and start businesses and schools and clinics.

      But I do think the Afghan soldiers/police need to be able to provide security to their cities and tribes, so that the country can be stable. I'm not opining on whether the country should be a straight-up democracy, or tribal-based or whatever. That's up to them. But I do think we might have an opportunity to teach them how to balance security and freedom (yeah, I know we're still working on that one, too) and maybe help them stay their own country.

      "You can fight ignorance, but you can't fight stupid." -- My mother, on CPAC

      by Sarbec on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 04:36:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And who will guard these engineers, doctors etc (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      when they try to apply their trades? Do you think we can just send these people in without first training soldiers to protect them?

  •  This makes sense on many levels (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Removing volunteers from external influence will increase focus and improve skill sets.
    By the time these volunteers complete their course they will be exposed to a broader view of American values and culture that will help undo prejudices that they most likely would keep if trained in Afghanistan.

    Plus it would be less expensive to bring the recruits here to train than increasing our staff levels there to administer an inferior form of training.

    This would be just like U.S. military boot camp, something anyone that has gone through will agree, is a life changing experience. My forcing individuals from different parts of the country into a unit, different tribes into a common goal, new friendships will develope and old barriers will erode.

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:39:27 PM PDT

  •  This is absurd ... and misses the point anyway (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, nottoosureanymore, Dr Marcos

    With the exception of the invasion itself, this is probably the worst idea that's come out of the Afghanistan dead-enders' scrambled brains, and not just for the obvious reasons. The Afghans accept our training for the food, shelter, and equipment they receive, not for any political ideals. Juan Cole wrote about it.

    Afghans enlist in the so-called Afghan Army in order to receive food, shelter, and valuable equipment they can sell. When they leave basic training and it comes time to actually fight, they disappear. After a while, they'll actually come back and go through basic training again, only to desert again with another load of equipment.

    What our military and foreign policy establishment seems incapable of understanding is that the Afghans aren't mindless savages - clay in the hand of imperial sculptors - and actually have an agenda of their own. They don't want the 'American Dream', nor do they want to play any role in America's global order. Whether we train them in Afghanistan or in the United States will make no difference at all. They're happy to take anything we want to give them, but they will not use it for our purposes.

    Progressive is not the opposite of aggressive.

    by Visceral on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 03:41:22 PM PDT

  •  Sounds like an incredibly bad idea (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, JohnB47, Bronx59, DeepLooker

    To tell you the truth.

    Firstly yesterdays Times (UK) quotes a US soldier currently in Afghanistan as saying.

    We’re lost — that’s how I feel. I’m not exactly sure why we’re here," said Specialist Raquime Mercer, 20, whose closest friend was shot dead by a renegade Afghan policeman last Friday.

    You want to bring thousands of Afghan's with various tribal loyalties to the United States and train them in combat? Just seems like a real risky proposal to me.

    Anyway the last people on Earth that need combat training are Afghans. The country has been in various intensities of war since the beginning of the 80's.

    Bringing the troops home ASAP is the only way to end this war no more talk of vietnamisation of the war... oops I mean Afghanisation ofc.  

    "You show me a capitalist, and I'll show you a bloodsucker." - Malcolm X

    by Dr Marcos on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 04:00:08 PM PDT

    •  Sounds like College of the Americas on steroids (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wonmug, Dr Marcos

      But, maybe that's what we can do to combat outsourcing. Insource Middle Eastern warriors. What could go wrong with that?

      •  Good point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Last time we trained South American armies it led to decades of torture, dictators and death squads.

        Last time we trained Afghan fighters it led to Al Qaeda. Maybe people should take the hint.

        Plus what numbers are we talking about? Is this diary proposing sending 10,000 Afghan soldiers to the United States or 100,000. How much would that cost to fly them here and train them? What happens if a few of them decide to leave the base and shoot up a shopping mall.

        Would Al Qaeda or Taliban infiltrate the Afghan army knowing that US generals are planning to fly them to the US en masse for training?

        "You show me a capitalist, and I'll show you a bloodsucker." - Malcolm X

        by Dr Marcos on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 04:20:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We are training them now. The question is, (0+ / 0-)

          would it be safer to train them in a place other then their own country where they will be recognized and scrutinized or even killed. Why not train them where that training would not be interrupted.

      •  We are already training them (0+ / 0-)
    •  We are already training them. (0+ / 0-)

      It does not have to be the united States. But a place where their training would not be interrupted by their fellow citizens who may disapprove.

  •  If you got to U.S. after leaving Afghanistan... (0+ / 0-)

    would you ever go home?  

    Most will add themselves to the ranks of our day laborers.

    In the DKos debate of a center-left vs. center right country, my vote is for "profoundly conservative".

    by Bronx59 on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 05:13:42 PM PDT

  •  One of the worst ideas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One of the worst ideas I have heard in a long time.
    After they get a thorough background check to make sure we are not letting terrorists into the country, we are going to train them to kill?. We already trained many of them to fight the Russians and what good did it do?  What was the estimated number of troops?  400,000 – 500,000?  Train 400,000 troops in the U. S.?  The most powerful country in the world can not defeat the Taliban without some sort of genocide, but we can train the 3rd poorest country in the world to do what we can not?  The people in the country are worried about food, but they should forget about feeding themselves and their families and join an army that will not feed them and kill other Afghanis?  Many militaries will not kill fellow citizens or even think about it.  

    If Canada invaded the U. S. many would join an insurgency to fight them.  Some people have other obligations, but many would join.  After watching "Re-think Afghanistan" followed by a Q & A by Robert Greenwald and 2 soldiers I learned that the Taliban is the nationalistic response to the invader.  The more people we kill the more they hate us and join the Taliban.  The soldiers asked every Afghani they met if they knew any Taliban and everyone they talked to knew people that were members of the Taliban.  Neither of the soldiers talked to anyone that said they knew any Al-Quaida.  Although there are conflicting statements from the administration McChrystal has stated there are no Al-Quaida in Afghanistan.

  •  I suggested they do this for Iragi (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    troops. Train them in the U.S.. This would prevent the resentment and the killing of them while they are training in their perspective countries. Train them here or in a safe place and send them back as a strong force. I think its a very good idea.

  •  One thing very important is this (0+ / 0-)

    Their families have to leave also. The fear of retaliation against their families would be a big negative. Get them out including their families in large numbers and send them back as a large trained fighting force that would overwhelm.

  •  Given their track record, it seems to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a bit presumptious to 'train' an Afghan soldier:  those guys have been kicking ass for a 1000 years or more.

    •  Read the AP article I have in the diary. nt (0+ / 0-)

      "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead.

      by mydragonflies on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 09:54:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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