Tag Archives: Afghanistan

What Is Left for the US To Do in Afghanistan? The Answer: Lose. By Maj. Danny Sjursen

In trading and gambling, there’s a phrase: cut your losses. The phrase has its uses in foreign and military policy as well. From Maj. Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

These days it seems everything the U.S. military touches in Afghanistan turns to rubbish. It’s possible this war is already over, only Washington won’t concede it.

I’ll admit it. I’m sick of writing about America’s longest war – the quagmire in Afghanistan. Still, in a time of near media blackout on this issue, someone has to keep banging the drum. Of late, it seems every single week that those of us who follow the war are inundated with more bad news. It all adds up to what this author has long been predicting in Afghanistan: the impending military defeat of the U.S.-trained Afghan Army and its American advisors. This is a fact that should rattle the public, shake up policymakers, and usher in a holistic review of the entirety of America’s interventions in the Greater Middle East. Only don’t count on it – Washington prefers, like a petulant child, to cover its proverbial eyes and ignore the fated failure of this hopeless war and several others like it.

This past month, four US service members were killed in Afghanistan, bringing the 2018 total to 13 American deaths. That may sound like a relatively modest casualty count, but given the contracted US troop totals in country and the transition to using those troopers only in an advisory capacity, this represents a serious spike in American deaths. Add to this the exponential rise in Afghan Security Force casualties over the last few years, and the recent rise in green-on-blue attacks – in which partnered Afghan “allies” turn their guns on their American advisors – and matters look even worse. Despite the ubiquitous assertions of senior US commander after commander that the mission has “turned a corner,” and that “victory” is near, there’s no meaningful evidence to that effect.

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Afghanistan takes center stage in the New Great Game, by Pepe Escobar

Can the turmoil in Afghanistan have an Asian solution, that is, one in which the US is not involved? From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:

Moscow hosted talks last week to promote peace in Afghanistan as neighbors and regional heavyweights eye the rewards of stability in the long-troubled land

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, listens during the second round of talks on an Afghan settlement, in Moscow, on November 9, 2018. Photo: AFP/ Vladimir Astapkovich / Sputnik

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, listens during the second round of talks on an Afghan settlement, in Moscow, on November 9, 2018. Photo: AFP/ Vladimir Astapkovich / Sputnik

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The Reclamation of George W. Bush Is an American Tragedy, by Maj. Danny Sjursen

A soldier who fought in George W. Bush’s insane wars refuses to either forgive or forget Bush. From Maj. Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

The whole charade plays best as farce. Absurdity incarnate. The sight of former President George W. Bush receiving a medal from Democrat Joe Biden – once an ardent opponent of Bush’s war policy – in Philadelphia for “his work with veterans,” on Veterans Day no less, induced nothing short of a gag from thisveteran of two Bush wars – Iraq and Afghanistan.

George W. Bush, after all, led the U.S. military – to which I’ve dedicated my adult life – into two ill-advised perpetual wars, one of which was objectively illegal and immoral. In that war, in Iraq, some 7,000 American troops – including three of mine – were killed fighting in an unwinnable quagmire. Furthermore, though it slipped the attention of an American citizenry best known for its provincial inwardness, at least 250,000 Iraqis – mostly civilians – were killed. In a just world this would be labeled what it is – a war crime – but in this era of American hegemony, the populace simply sighs with apathy.

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Opinion: The End Game In Afghanistan is Beginning, by Lawrence Sellin

Can we pull a fast one on China and Pakistan by getting out of Afghanistan? Why not, everybody who has gotten involved in Afghanistan has come to regret it. From Lawrence Sellin at thedailycaller.com:

China and Pakistan have plainly stated their plans for Afghanistan and South Asia.

According to a press release from the November 12 conference held at Islamabad’s Pakistan-China Institute, “Pakistan-Afghanistan-China Trilateral Dialogue supports the CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] as key to peace and regional cooperation.”

Pakistani news outlets emphasized the point, one stating, “Pakistan and China on Monday urged Afghanistan to join the Belt & Road Initiative as well as the CPEC.”

Is it a coincidence that such plain speaking occurs in parallel with an uptick in the frequency and intensity of Taliban attacks inside Afghanistan?

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One Veteran’s Plea – Get Informed or Ditch the Holiday, by Maj. Danny Sjursen

Most Americans will perform the patriotic rituals, especially those concerning the military and veterans, but have no idea what the government does in foreign lands. From Maj. Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

Today, every public institution will pause and go through the motions of “thanking” America’s veterans; but the whole pretense ignores that the populace hardly cares about foreign policy.

Veterans’ Day – maybe we ought to drop the whole charade. Don’t get me wrong, there will be celebrations a plenty: the NFL will roll out the ubiquitous stadium-sized flags and march uniformed service members in front of the cameras; cities across the nation will hold parades; and millions of Americans will take a moment to go through the motions and “thank” the nation’s soldiers. Sure, the gestures are sometimes genuine and certainly preferable to the alternative. Still, all this martial spectacle misses the salient point hidden just below the surface: the American people are absolutely not engaged with U.S. foreign policy. Most could hardly name the seven countries its military actively bombing, let alone find them on a map.

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On Veterans’ Day, Remember the Lies That Filled Military Cemeteries, by James Bovard

Watch what politicians do to veterans, not what they say to “honor” their service. From James Bovard at mises.org:

Politicians will be heartily applauded for saluting American’s soldiers today. But if citizens had better memories, elected officials would instead be fleeing tar and feathers. Politicians have a long record of betraying the veterans they valorize.

Veterans Day 2018 has been dominated by the confab of political leaders in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. American media coverage fixated on President Trump’s cancellation of one of his two visits to U.S. military cemeteries. In his speech yesterday at a U.S. military cemetery in France, Trump declared that it is “our duty … to protect the peace they so nobly gave their lives to secure one century ago.” But that peace was sabotaged long before the soldiers’ corpses had turned to dust. Though the American media exalted French President Emmanuel Macron’s denunciation of nationalism at the armistice anniversary, it was conniving by French leader George Clemenceau at the Versailles Peace Treaty that helped assure that U.S. sacrifices in 1917 and 1918 were for naught.

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9/11 Wars In Iraq, Afghanistan, And Pakistan Killed 500,000 People: Brown University Study, by Tyler Durden

America’s wars after 9/11 make for one of the more ignominous chapters in American history. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

A shocking new study produced by Brown University finds that between 480,000 and 507,000 people were killed during America’s Post-9/11 Wars. The study examined the three “war on terror” conflicts of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan the latter an extension of the Afghan war and focus of US drone attacks.

The half million figure accounts for both combatant and civilian deaths from direct fighting and war violence, however the number could be much higher as the study didn’t account for the perhaps far higher number of civilians killed through infrastructure damage, such as hospitals or water supplies becoming inoperable, or other indirect results of the wars.

Tragically, civilians make up over 50% of the roughly 500,000 killed, and the study estimates further that both US-backed foreign forces and opposition militants each sustained over 100,000 deaths.

In terms of American forces, the report finds that over 60,000 US troops were either killed or wounded within the three post 9/11 conflicts. This includes 6,951 US military personnel killed in Afghanistan and Iraq since US invasions of those countries in 2001 and 2003.

Concerning the now seventeen year long “forgotten war” in Afghanistan, the study concluded, according to VOA:

Fatalities in Afghanistan, as of October 2018, stood at about 147,000 people, including Afghan security forces, civilians and opposition fighters. The figure also included the deaths of 6,334 American soldiers and contractors, as well as more than 1,100 allied troops.

Notably the Brown study explicitly calls out the US government’s attempts to “paint a rosy picture” of the wars which has shielded the true scope of American and foreign civilian casualties from the American public.

From the newly published study, Human Cost of the Post-9/11 Wars: Lethality and the Need for Transparency:

Full accounting of an accurate total death toll has been “inhibited by governments determined to paint a rosy picture of perfect execution and progress,” according to the report.

Essentially this is the Brown report acknowledging Washington’s massive and consistent propaganda efforts throughout close to two decades of the so-called “war on terror”.

The report also notes the chaos of war and inaccessibility of dangerous locations prevents a narrower, true, and more accurate accounting:

Indeed, we may never know the total direct death toll in these wars. For example, tens of thousands of civilians may have died in retaking Mosul and other cities from ISIS but their bodies have likely not been recovered.

In addition, this tally does not include “indirect deaths.” Indirect harm occurs when wars’ destruction leads to long term, “indirect,” consequences for people’s health in war zones, for example because of loss of access to food, water, health facilities, electricity or other infrastructure.

Some estimates in the past compiled by independent watchdog groups and polling organizations have put the death toll in Iraq alone at over one million people.