Jan 20, 2009

A Letter to President Obama:

To: President Barrack Obama
From: Andrew Lubin
Ref: Afghanistan
Dear Mr. President:

I’m one of the many hundreds of millions today who watched you take the Oath of Office to become the 44th President of the United States. (and who would want to miss a chance to see the United States Marine Corps Band – known since 1801 as “The President’s Own” – open the ceremonies) And your inaugural speech was even more impressive.

You’ve got an interesting four years ahead of you. Between the economy and two wars, your first day at work will be a long one…so having spent a fair amount of time in Iraq and Afghanistan, let me make a few suggestions that might make your first day a little easier:

1 – Pull the Marines out of Anbar. You have 23,000 Marines sitting in the desert doing nothing. General John Kelly, the Marine CG in Anbar, gave an interview last week where he said that he considers his year in Anbar a failure – because he couldn’t convince the Shia Government in Baghdad to fund normal reconstruction projects like schools, hospitals, or anything else that would improve the standard of living in this Sunni province. If Maleki and the GoI doesn’t care about Iraq, why should we ? And you can put your Marines to a far better use…

2 – Send 23,000 Marines to Afghanistan.

2A- Put the fight in Afghanistan under command of the Marine Corps.

Since you want to ‘win’ in Afghanistan, let’s do it right this time. Here’s how:

Afghanistan is a small wars fight against two enemies; 1 -the Taliban, who we can beat, and 2 – Corruption in Kabul, which we cannot. Right now we’re losing the support of the locals because they have no trust in the ANP’s or their own government. Until their central government can regularly provide the basic services that American and Coalition force currently provide, why would any local side with us or Karzai over the Taliban?

But with the Marines in charge, it’ll be run differently. As the Marines get out in the field with the ANA, (it’s called “Muscular Mentoring”, and the ANA loves it) we’ll be building an ANA that can control its own battle space. Their 201st Corps already handles its own logistics, planning, and fighting – have our Army get away from mentoring via powerpoint, and get out in the field and walk point with the ANA.

Stop the ‘big project’ nonsense. This is the third poorest country on earth, and we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars rebuilding power plants ? These folks live in mud-brick huts…they own nothing they can plug into the expensive power grid !! Instead, start a thousand micro-loan projects like Grameen Bank did in Bangladesh…even better, hire Mohammed Yunis (Grameen’s CEO, initiator of the microloan strategy and winner of the Nobel Prize) and let him run it. By the way, he’s a Muslim from Bangladesh; he understands poor Islamic societies better than we do.

Let the Marines fight in the villages. Do you know why the Marines ‘won’ Anbar ? Because the Sunni’s in Ramadi saw that the Marines would fight – and beat – AQI. And as the Sunni’s joined up with the Marines, their services improved- they got jobs - their economy improved- and then the other Sunni’s saw the improvements and wanted in…and all this was ‘pre-surge’. It’ll work here. And with 23,000 more Marines over there, you’ve now got enough for them to fight and live with the ANA in the villages. This kind of security will give the villagers the confidence in their own army and local –provincial governments that will let them build a decent local economy and marginalize the corrupt Karzai government.

Get the Army off their huge stupid bases where their bureaucracy flourishes. Put them in the field where they belong. Their “creature comforts” have gotten out of control -Burger King, Orange Julius, jewelry shops; do you know they now offer massage services at Bagram? In a war zone? Either bring in some hookers, or get rid of the ladies completely. Perhaps the Army has lost focus as to why they’re deployed.

Level with the American public about what we’re trying to do in Afghanistan. We’re not going to turn this place into a garden of democracy; we just want to build a relatively stable country that won’t launch another 9/11. (ask me about nuclear Pakistan and the NW Territories next week).

Catch- and kill - Osama Bin Laden. His still being alive should be an embarrassment to the Bush administration; it certainly casts America as ineffective. By killing him you can send a message to these dirty Islamic masses who hate the United States that if you f___k with us, it’ll cost you. After all, this was why we sent the Marines to Afghanistan back in October 2001.

You’ve got our support…good luck!