Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Will the Neocons’ Long War Ever End? by Nicolas J.S. Davies

The long war will not end if the neocons can help it; too much money and power are at stake. While it goes on, violence will continue to beget violence. From Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:

America’s Long War or Global War on Terror has taken some ugly turns as the West’s continued war-making in the Muslim world leads to new terrorism against Western targets, with no end in sight

The recent news from Kabul (in Afghanistan), from Manchester and London (in England), from Mosul (in Iraq), from Raqqa (in Syria), from Marib (in Yemen) and from too many devastated and traumatized communities to list makes it only too clear that the world is trapped in an unprecedented and intractable cycle of violence. And yet, incredibly, none of the main parties to all this violence are talking seriously about how to end it, let alone taking action to do so.

After 15 years of ever-spreading conflict has killed two to five million people, the main perpetrators are still getting away with framing their violence entirely as a response to the violence of their enemies. How much violence and chaos will the world accept before people start holding their own leaders morally and legally accountable for decisions and policies that predictably and repeatedly result in massive loss of life, cities reduced to rubble and shattered societies?
The neoconservative vision of a “Long War” or “generational conflict” to reshape the Middle East and other parts of the world has, in effect, created its own reality, as its proponents in the Bush II administration promised. The new crony-capitalist order they envisioned has taken root in places where entrenched ruling classes were already predisposed to it, like the Persian Gulf monarchies.
But wherever the would-be new rulers of the world – the U.S., NATO and the Arab royals – have made good on their threats to impose their new order by force, the results have only confirmed the soundness of the United Nations Charter’s prohibition against the threat or use of force and the urgency of actually enforcing it.
An intelligent, legitimate response to the 9/11 attacks would have limited the use of force to what was strictly necessary and proportional and prosecuted its perpetrators and planners as criminals. But Al Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden, the hijackers and their accomplices gambled correctly on unwitting but decisive help from US leaders who fell into the “war psychosis” that the scheme explicitly sought to provoke.
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Haven’t We Had Enough of Afghanistan? by Justin Raimondo

It’s way past time to get out of Afghanistan. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The forever war continues

Will there ever be an end to the war in Afghanistan? Apparently not if our generals have anything to say about it – and they do. President Trump has turned over the prosecution of our perpetual “war on terrorism” to the Pentagon, claiming that they’ve been held back by previous administrations. The new policy is to turn them loose.

We saw what this means when the so-called “Mother of All Bombs” was dropped in a remote location where ISIS was said to be hiding: 92 “militants”were said to have been killed. Contrary to the triumphalist reports in US media, the biggest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed in combat had a minimal effect. And the cost, at $16 million for a single MOAB, came to around $174,000 per “militant.”

With anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan, let’s take the median number of 2,000 and estimate that getting rid of all of them will cost around $348 million, give or take $10 million or so.

And you’ll note that we’re just talking about ISIS here. The Taliban is not only still in the mix, they’re actually in a better position than ever. In March, the Taliban claimed that 211 administrative districts of the country were either under their control or else contested: this isn’t far off the report of the Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, which put the number at 171. The Taliban control more of Afghanistan than at any time since the war started, and they continue to make major gains, such as in Helmlandprovince. The pace and severity of Taliban/ISIS attacks has recently escalated, with a suicide bombing in Kabul that killed 100 people, the culmination of 8 major attacks just in the month of May.

After 16 years of fighting, the US is no closer to defeating the radical Islamist insurgency than it was at the very beginning. The original rationale for the invasion – the presence of Osama bin Laden – is long since gone.

To continue reading: Haven’t We Had Enough of Afghanistan?

 

Is Afghanistan a Lost Cause? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Unfortunately, we know the answer to the title question. The only remaining question is will the US recognize the loss in 2017, 2018, 2025, 2050, or 2075? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“We are there and we are committed” was the regular retort of Secretary of State Dean Rusk during the war in Vietnam.

Whatever you may think of our decision to go in, Rusk was saying, if we walk away, the United States loses the first war in its history, with all that means for Southeast Asia and America’s position in the world.

We face a similar moment of decision.

Wednesday, a truck bomb exploded near the diplomatic quarter of Kabul, killing 90 and wounding 460. So terrible was the atrocity that the Taliban denied complicity. It is believed to have been the work of the Haqqani network.

This “horrific and shameful attack demonstrates these terrorists’ compete disregard for human life and their nihilistic opposition to the dream of a peaceful future for Afghanistan,” said Hugo Llordens, a U.S. diplomat in Kabul.

The message the truck bombers sent to the Afghan people? Not even in the heart of this capital can your government keep civilian workers and its own employees safe.

Message to America: After investing hundreds of billions and 2,000 U.S. lives in the 15 years since 9/11, we are further from victory than we have ever been.

President Obama, believing Afghanistan was the right war, and Iraq the wrong war, ramped up the U.S. presence in 2011 to 100,000 troops. His plan: Cripple the Taliban, train the Afghan army and security forces, stabilize the government, and withdraw American forces by the end of his second term.

Obama fell short, leaving President Trump with 8,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and Kabul’s control more tenuous than ever. The Taliban hold more territory and are active in more provinces than they have been since being driven from power in 2001. And Afghan forces are suffering casualties at the highest rate of the war.

Stated starkly, the war in Afghanistan is slowly being lost.

To continue reading: Is Afghanistan a Lost Cause?

Mad Dog Shows His Bite on Face the Nation, by Ray McGovern

Afghanistan has been a graveyard of empires and the careers of military leaders just as “tough” as “Mad Dog” Mattis, Secretary of Defense. From Ray McGovern at antiwar.com:

Musings on Mad-Dog Mattis and “Military Necessity”

When President-elect Donald Trump sent his talent scouts to the attack-dog kennel run by defense industry giant General Dynamics, in order to recruit former Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis to be secretary of defense, cries of apprehension were drowned out by smug one-percent reassurances.

Those who “know what’s best for the country” insisted: “NOT TO WORRY; actually Mattis is a Renaissance Man. Yes, he thinks, and says, it’s fun to shoot people. But after taking a hot shower in the evening, he reads Greek epic poetry.
Syria
Last Sunday, Mattis told CBS it’s gonna be more fun again. At a time when civilian casualties are extremely high in Syria, thus spake James Renaissance Man Mattis to CBS’s Face the Nation:
“We have already shifted from attrition tactics, where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria, to annihilation tactics where we surround them.”
Mattis was asked what about civilian casualties.
“Civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation,” he replied, adding that the U.S. military does “everything humanly possible consistent with military necessity.”
This brings to mind the Feb. 7, 2002 Executive Order signed by President George W. Bush authorizing another kind of war crime – torture. That Memorandum concluded with identical reassurance – in this case, that detainees would be “treated humanely, and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva.”
Afghanistan
Worse still (if there can be a “worse still”), Mattis reportedly is weighing how many thousands more troops from the US poverty draft to send to – hold your breath – AFGHANISTAN!

President Trump: Toss Your Generals’ War Escalation Plans In the Trash, by Ron Paul

The Trump generals’ war escalation plans will work no better than those of the Bush and Obama generals. Not only will they edge the US closer to bankruptcy, they’ll create more terrorists and get the US further stuck on Middle Eastern tar baby. From Ron Paul at the ronpaulinstitute.org:

By the end of this month, Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Advisor HR McMaster will deliver to President Trump their plans for military escalations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. President Trump would be wise to rip the plans up and send his national security team back to the drawing board – or replace them. There is no way another “surge” in Afghanistan and Iraq (plus a new one in Syria) puts America first. There is no way doing the same thing over again will succeed any better than it did the last time.

Near the tenth anniversary of the US war on Afghanistan – seven years ago – I went to the Floor of Congress to point out that the war makes no sense. The original authorization had little to do with eliminating the Taliban. It was a resolution to retaliate against those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. From what we know now, the government of Saudi Arabia had far more to do with the financing and planning of 9/11 than did the Taliban. But we’re still pumping money into that lost cause. We are still killing Afghanis and in so doing creating the next generation of terrorists.

The war against ISIS will not end with its defeat in Mosul and Raqqa. We will not pack up and go home. Instead, the Pentagon and State Department have both said that US troops would remain in Iraq after ISIS is defeated. The continued presence of US troops in Iraq will provide all the recruiting needed for more ISIS or ISIS-like resistance groups to arise, which will in turn lead to a permanent US occupation of Iraq. The US “experts” have completely misdiagnosed the problem so it no surprise that their solutions will not work. They have claimed that al-Qaeda and ISIS arose in Iraq because we left, when actually they arose because we invaded in the first place.

America’s Endless Afghan War, by William J. Astore

The US has been in Afghanistan for sixteen years, and the Taliban still control 40 percent of the country. From William J. Astore at antiwar.com:

News this week that 300 Marines have returned to Helmand Province in Afghanistan recalls the failed surge of 2009-10, when roughly 20,000 Marines beat back the Taliban in the region, only to see those “fragile” gains quickly turn to “reversible” ones (to cite the infamous terms of General David Petraeus, architect of that surge).

While fragility and reversibility characterize American progress, the Taliban continues to make real progress. According to today’s report at FP: Foreign Policy, “the Taliban controls or contests about 40 percent of the districts in the country, 16 years after the U.S. war there began.” Meanwhile, in January and February more than 800 Afghan troops were killed fighting the Taliban, notes Foreign Policy, citing a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction. That’s a high figure given that fighting abates during the winter.

Besides committing fresh US Marines to more Afghan security forces “training,” the US military has responded with PR spin. For example, when friendly Afghan forces abandoned a district and police headquarters, a US spokesman claimed it had been “repositioned.” According to FP: Foreign Policy, “US forces helped in ferrying [Afghan] government troops and workers out, and American jets came back to destroy the rest of the buildings and vehicles left behind.” Literally, the old district center and its resources had to be destroyed, and a new one created, for the Afghan position to be “saved.”

Destroying things to “save” them: Where have we heard that before? The Vietnam War, of course, a lesson not lost on Aaron O’Connell, a US Marine who edited the book Our Latest Longest War: Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan. O’Connell’s recent interview with NPR cites the Vietnam example as he explains the one step forward, two steps back, nature of America’s Afghan War. In his words:

So we’ve spent billions building roads in Afghanistan, but we then turned the roads over to the Afghans in 2013. We trained up a maintenance unit so that it could provide for road maintenance, and nothing has happened since then. Now, today, more than half of the roads are deemed unfit for heavy traffic. And as one taxi driver put it in 2014 – things have gotten so much worse, now if we drive too fast, everyone in the car dies.

So it’s – really, we have to think about the things that are sustainable.

To continue reading: America’s Endless Afghan War

Is Our Political Class Mentally Ill? by Justin Raimondo

SLL thinks the title question answers itself, but Justin Raimondo gives a more detailed explanation. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Sadistic commentators hail death and destruction

I write this on Easter Sunday, the day of resurrection and hope in the Christian calendar, but such a bright promise looks a bit thin given what is going on in our world, our country: what looks like a mass outbreak of mental illness among our political class.

I say this because here is a group of people – journalists, politicians, and other Very Serious Persons – who have hated our new President from the get-go. He’s Hitler, he’s Mussolini, he’s Pepe the frog! He’s this, he’s that, he’s Our National Nightmare! And yet the minute he starts bombing foreigners he’s suddenly not so bad after all. Over at the Washington Post, David Ignatius, the CIA’s journalistic front man, says he’s “becoming a credible foreign policy leader.” Ruth Marcus opines that we’re witnessing “the normalization of Donald Trump.” Finally, she enthuses, “rationality is dawning” on the forty-fifth President! Among the liberal elite, the hosannas were well nigh universal. As Ann Coulter noted:

“Cable news hosts gushed, ‘Trump became president of the United States tonight!’ On MSNBC, Brian Williams called the bombing ‘beautiful’ three times in less than a minute. Sen. Lindsey Graham (one of the ‘women of the Senate,’ according to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) compared Trump to Reagan. The New York Times headlined an article, ‘On Syria Attack, Trump’s Heart Came First.’”

Fareed Zakaria’s joy over the bombing seemed to indicate that, for him, it was practically an erotic experience. And this weird bloodlust wasn’t limited to the liberal precincts of the commentariat – far from it. When we dropped the MOAB on Afghanistan, Kimberly Guilfoyle practically had an orgasm over at Fox News. Sitting there in her low cut red dress, her breasts heaving with passion, her lips parted, and an ecstatic smile plastered on her heavily made-up face, she hailed the bombing as if it were the climax – so to speak – of a pornographic movie: “America is back!” Oh, yeeeesssss!!!!

To continue reading: Is Our Political Class Mentally Ill?