This is what a soldier said about his time in Afghanistan:
I went to Afghanistan believing in “fighting terrorism” and “liberating Afghans.” During my first mission, we were protecting refugees escaping an area that was under attack… I was deeply affected by their misery, and by the poverty and suffering of the Afghan people in general. In my mind, our presence was “helping Afghans,” particularly with educating women and children. My combat unit participated in “humanitarian aid” – accompanying doctors and delivering food, fuel, clothing, school and other supplies to Afghan villages.
Sound Familiar? Many American military personel who are or have served in Afghanistan have described similar feelings about their mission in Afghanistan.
Except this was from a soldier in the Russian Army talking about the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980′s.
Glenn Greenwald reports that Matthew Hoh, a former Marine captain with combat experience in Iraq, resigned from his position from the Foreign Service. Hoh was the the senior U.S. civilian in the Taliban-dominated Southern Afghanistan province of Zabul. In his resignation letter, Hoh states that our war in Afghanistan will not only inevitably fail, but is fueling the very insurgency we are trying to defeat.
digby quotes Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, who was General Petraeus’ counter-insurgency advisor in Iraq. He says that US aerial attacks on the Afghan-Pakistan border have killed 14 al-Qa’ida leaders, at the expense of more than 700 civilian lives.
Let’s just say that every civilian we kill has, two surviving family members or friends who decide to join al queda to avenge the death of the innocent. That means when we killed those 14 al queda leaders, we created 1400 new al queda recruits. And some of the hawks want to send another 60,000 troops and keep America in Afghanistan for the next five years so we can do more of this.
It reminds me of a scene from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Mickey is the apprentice of a powerful sorcerer and Mickey creates a broom to do some manual labor for himself, carrying water from a well to a cistern in the sorcerer’s work room. When things go wrong, when the room is flooded with water, Mickey realizes that he can’t stop what he started.
So, Mickey takes an axe to the broom and chops it into a hundred little pieces. Mickey thinks he’s solved the problem, but every one of those slivers turns into another broom. And now Mickey is awash in brooms and over his head with water.
At least Mickey realizes that it wouldn’t be a good idea to take the axe to the brooms and create more. It seems that some of the war hawks want to do just that in Afghanistan. They’re over their heads and they’re flooding the counry with war. What should be remembered is these hawks are simpletons like Mickey. They’re mere apprentices who dream of how powerful they’ll become once they master the sorcery of war.
For every al queda leader we kill, we kill 50 innocent civilians and create a hundred potential new al queda recruits. The sorcerer’s apprentices are over their heads in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan will hold a new election between the incumbent president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah.
An investigation into election fraud threw out enough ballots that Karzai’s share of the votes dropped below 50%.
One of the reasons Afghan people don’t support the central government is because they view it as corrupt. If the new election occurs without the taint of fraud, that might help the central government expand its influence beyond the capital city.
One problem, though, is that winter is coming to Afghanistan and that won’t make it easy for people to vote.
Another problem is that the Taliban has been targeting voters and may target more voters. Given the first vote was tainted with fraud, many Afghan civilians may decide that the whole thing is crooked and decide it isn’t worth risking their lives to vote.
Put simply, the US needs to make sure this election is honest if America wants to see a stable central government in Afghanistan anytime soon.
Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) husband is multimillionaire, Richard Blum. Mr. Feinstein owns about 25% of a company called URS. URS does a lot of contracts with the US Military. Contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars a pop.
Charles Lewis, executive of the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity watchdog group in Washington, asked “Why hasn’t she expressed outrage about some of the potential conflicts with people in or close to the Bush administration?” Dick Cheney’s connections with Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton, was fodder for outrage over Cheney’s invasion of Iraq. Maybe Misses Feinstein didn’t object to Cheney’s conflict of interest because she had her own conflict of interest.
Glenn Greenwald highlights Feinstein’s voting record. She authorized the Iraq invasion, she funded the Iraq war without a timetable for withdrawal that her fellow Democrats wanted. She supported the Patriot Act. She helped General Hayden get confirmed as CIA director even though he presided over the illegal wiretapping program. The supported Michael Mukasey’s confirmation as Attorney General even after he refused to answer basic questions about torture. And in October of 2009, she used her position as Chair of the Intelligence Committee to gut most proposed reforms to the Patriot Act.
And now Misses Feinstein is leading the charge to put public pressure on Obama to escalate the war in Afghanistan. A war that could profit her husband with millions of dollars.
If you are a Democrat and you live in California, I suggest you write your Little Orphan Annie of a Senator and tell her that she should stop working to get her Daddy Warbucks of a husband military contracts and start working to end Bush’s wars and Bush’s Patriot Act and Bush’s wiretapping programs.
Why is it that Healthcare reform has to tie itself in knots to meet a 10-year budget when the Iraq invasion was approved based on being out in 6 weeks?
Why are we not doing a 10-year cost projection about Afghanistan to determine how much the war in Afghanistan will cost us and whether or not we should increase troops or pull out?
Why do conservatives get to lobby for pointless wars without contemplating their real long term costs but healthcare reform has to budget itself for the next 10 years before even thinking of getting approval?
If we’re going to do 10-year budgets for things, then I’m fine with that so long as it isn’t used selectively to obstruct some programs but not applied to others.
We could very well be in Afghanistan for at least another 5 or 10 years. If we’re going to consider sendign more troops, then it should be based on what that approach would cost over 10 years.
Representative Grayson is on a roll. Apparently, he’s been to Afghanistan and all the nations that surround Afghanistan and had some interesting things to say about America’s intention to “win” Afghanistan by sending more troops.
Afghanistan is simply the part of Asia that was never occupied by the Russians or the English in the Great Game. It’s not a country; it’s not even a place. It’s just an empty place on the map. It’s terra incognita. People who live there are a welter of different tribes, different language groups, different religious beliefs.
“Afghanistan” is an artificial creation, lines on a map. The people within those lines don’t speak the same language, don’t share the same culture, and don’t have anything in common other than being humans inside this artificial line on a map.
Good stuff. Watch the whole thing. A transcript (and more) is available here:
The main argument for continuing to keep troops in Afghanistan (or increase them) is that if we let the Taliban take over Afghanistan, then Al Queda will return and use Afghanistan as a safe haven to plan attacks against America.
Except, the Taliban already controls about 80% of Afghanistan. Al Queda has left and moved to Pakistan.
When Al Queda was operating in Afghanistan planning the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban controlled southern Afghanistan and the north was controlled by the “Northern Alliance”.
This should highlight two things: (1) since US troops have been in Afganistan, the Taliban have become more powerful and control more of the country. Part of that may be because the Central Government that we’re propping up is as crooked as they come. (2) the justification for being there fails to match reality. There is no hard and fast connection between the Taliban and Al Queda.
This justification that Al Queda follows the Taliban is about as realistic as the “Domino Theory” in Vietnam. We lost Vietnam and yet Southeast Asia didn’t fall like Dominos to the Communists.
A little while ago, Obama said that he wasn’t going to do a knee-jerk reaction to Afghanistan and simply send more troops without a good strategy to go with a surge. Within the next day, someone leaked a military report that said America will “fail” in Afghanistan if we don’t add more troops.
The gossip going around is that someone in the Pentagon leaked the report to put pressure on Obama to do the knee-jerk reaction and send more troops.
What has been leaked *since* is that the report says that Afghanistan will need a total of half a million American troops and will take at least 5 years
If true, I’m definitely in the “need a strategy” camp before sending more troops. Half a million troops and five years is just plain crazy.