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01 July 2010


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R Whitman

Do not underestimate Petraeus. If anyone can PR his way into making us look like winners its him and his precious reputation. Look for some "outside the box" actions on his part. I cannot believe that he took this on just to pursue the same losing strategy.


"They say you’ll leave in 2011 and the Taliban will chop their heads off. It’s so frustrating.”
A senior American intelligence official: …"“They’ve been burned and they’ve seen this movie before,” the official said, noting the American disengagement after the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1990s…."

So they'll be on 'our' side if we pay them, with appropriate groveling and graft. But of course after 7 years of payments, groveling and graft the Taliban are still around - seems all the more reason to leave.

But of course inside the beltway they 'know' we need to stop spending American money on schools for American children because if we don't bribe villagers in Afghanistan for the next 100 years they not only won't fight for us, they won't fight for themselves and the Taliban take over and ….

John Minnerath

All so true, but can any savant here explain how we might extricate ourselves from this mess?
Will this administration do another command change and institute policy changes after we've poured more blood and treasure into this bottomless pit?
Will what's going on cause a change in administrations in 2012 that will lead to further wild eyed policies to somehow have a "successful" end?


As per lead story in WAPO today about Karzai deal with Pakistan, the Afghans believe we will fail, and they are negotiating their own regional deal, to have Islamibad and ISI mediate political deal with Taliban. Karzai is furious that US is squeezing him on corruption (I am told at 66 percent of all non-military aid is stolen). The big unspoken issue, that Obama will not touch is the opium trade, that bankrolls the Taliban (along with Saudi money), and feeds the Karzai corruption. A Karzai-Taliban deal, under current conditions, would lock in Afghan as a narco state, destabilizing all of Eurasia, especially Russia (Russians are already screaming bloody murder that Caucasus terror is funded by Afghan opium and heroin).

McChrystal intent, in the Rolling Stone interview, was to force a new debate over the failed COIN policy. So if there is no change in policy, we are simply continuing a failed policy. What a mess!


John Minnerath, we could cut a deal with Taliban and leave.

Our political system is already so Byzantine, we should just buy our way out.

Sooner or later, our carefree spending will result in a "Yarmouk" moment.


"Afghanistan is a bottomless pit into which we are pouring money and people in a futile attempt to make something out of nothing."

Even after Bin Laden announced his strategy years ago(to have us bogged down bleeding blood and money) we have not learned. He must be wetting himself.

Nancy K

One of the reasons I voted for President Obama was I believed he would lead us out of the war in Iraq and Afganistan, wrong again. I'm a dyed in the wool Democrat and would vote for a Republican if I thought they would get us out of Iraq and Afganistan, but I know they won't, if anything they would add a war in Iran.
My country, the US, is falling apart, our infrastructure is ancient, our educational system is poor, many Americans have no medical coverage. We don't even have secure borders or an imigration policy that would let hard working immigrants gain citizenship. In short, we are a mess.
Yet we will pour billions of dollars make that trillions by the time it is over, down the rabbit hole, in wars we can not possible win.
I would become a teabagger if I did not believe they are just stupid, angry, middle age and older white people, who cannot stand that we have a black man as president. That would actually discribe me except for the accepting Obama part. I voted for him once and will vote for him again because the alternative is just too horrible.

clifford kiracofe

"None of it will benefit the citizens of the United States."

Precisely. These ware are intended to benefit "others."

1. War is a business. The military-industrial here and those abroad make plenty of money and profits. The idea is to keep the game going of course.

2. The citizens of the US have yet to realize the machinery of their government is in the hands of those who use the military and economic power of the United States
to their own personal ends. Some of the "those" are US citizens and some are their cosmopolitan friends around the world in what one might call an "overworld" elite.

3. Taking Harper's point on narcotics which has also been raised within the last week by several others:

"So, where does the money from all this trade go?" one can ask. The follow up question is "How many billions of the narco-money circulates in the Western and International banking systems?" Then one can ask, "Without these many billions what would happen to the Western and International banking systems?"

[We can ask the same questions about the Colombian narco-terrorist organizations. Where do all their billions go? I recall when working on this issue some years ago that considerable money went through the banks of a European country...a large continental one.]

And when I worked on the issue with respect to North American narco-profits, it was Noriega in Panama providing the Central Bank there to launder the money...aircraft full of palettes of physical US dollars landing at the airport and transferred to the Central Bank under guard.

4. Chechnya is notorious as a crossroad for Afghan heroin and has been for years. Afghanistan-Chechnya- Cyprus and Turkey into Europe is a quite well known route among others.


"(Russians are already screaming bloody murder that Caucasus terror is funded by Afghan opium and heroin)."

A suggestion was made to buy all the open on the market. The Russian's should propose the same thing to Obama, as long as they are willing to pay for it. Otherwise they'll pay allot more when we leave.

In the long run the heroin and opium demand side needs to be addressed.

As to Saudi money, no one has pressured them in 7 years? Perhaps we sent our army in the wrong direction in Gulf War 1.


afghan is divided into three parts. one, the pushtu speaking pathans partial to the taliban, KSA, and the paks. two, the hazaar shiites partial to iran. three, the uzbeks, tajik, et al, partial to india.

these last two groups (northern alliance) are the core of the afghan army and had lost the civil war prior to 9.11 to the talib. they oppose a negotiated settlement.


I'm afraid I see no solution to Americas ills, nor Afghanistan's.

I assume Petreaus will buy off the Taliban and negotiate some sort of entry into Government for some of them.

The best that could then be hoped for is a U.N. peacekeeping force for Twenty plus years, however, this is where Americas Karma deficit strikes. The international community would demand a very high price from America for this.

I also have to ask, how visible is the unemployment and homelessness problem in America? Is it at all possible that civil unrest in America may become an issue? That would dwarf afghan problems.

N M Salamon

If Congress [Senate] persists in denying extension to Employment funding, within a month there will be 1 million without income of any sort, and thereafter raiswing by 250 000 to 500 000 per kmonth.

Q is what will be the reaction of armed fathers [as USSC asseterted absolute right to personal guns] when their children are starving and winter is cold without housing?

it could get messy!


Nancy K,

"I voted for him once and will vote for him again because the alternative is just too horrible."

I would urge you to reconsider. You can either,

1) not vote at all. Why legitimize a Democrat who has no principled antiwar position?

2) "waste" your vote on a real antiwar candidate, even if s/he cannot win. There is nothing wrong with voting for a Ralph Nader or a Ron Paul or a Cynthia McKinney.

Do not fall into the 'lesser of two evils' trap. Obama is no more (or less) likely to go to war with Iran than a John McCain or a Sarah Palin.

Just some thoughts for your consideration.

Patrick Lang


Are you really claiming that the Democratic Party is a pacifist party? pl


I am beginning to think Osama won this one. His intent, remember, was to get the US into a quagmire like the Soviets, ultimately leading to their collapse.

Now Republicans are talking about gutting Social Security to pay for war.

Iraq and Afghanistan may not bring about the collapse of America just yet, but the American way of life is in imminent danger of collapse.


"Are you really claiming that the Democratic Party is a pacifist party? pl"

I don't know about "pacifist", but the Democrats damned sure aren't interested in a strong national defense.
Socialism costs money, lots of it; where are they going to get it?
Did you think the Democrats were on your side in Vietnam?


No, Colonel. I was claiming the exact opposite. That as far as foreign policy was concerned, the differences between the two parties were stylistic at most. That if Nancy K's desire was to support an antiwar candidate, no one amongst the mainstream democrats would suite her at all. That, in my view, she should vote for none of them. Instead she might consider withholding her vote, or voting for someone with a sincere antiwar position, even if it is a "wasted" vote.

Apologies for any confusion. I should have clarified that in my earlier post.


Gray Wolf--
I don't know about the Democratic party (D. Kucinich to B. Lincoln), but being a Dem from 1964, spending my grandchildrens money to fight wars in the "graveyard of empires" to the deserts of Mesopotamia, seems a monsterious waste of our (U.S.A.), and future generations treasure.
By the way, where is the socialism of the Democrats, unless you consider the G.I. BILL, the V.A., etc. socialism!

Adam L Silverman

Graywolf: I'd be quite interested in learning how you define socialism? I'm serious and not looking to start a flame war or fight, just curious as to how you understand the term. Thanks in advance.

Bought and Sold

Colonel and any one else.OT,but when you mentioned Burger King,it made me want to get opinions on just what level of R&R, troops in Afghanistan should have.The Boardwalk sounded a little to much. There's a line there.There may have been more,but I know The Air Force had some Bowling Alleys in Vietnam which does kind of boggle your mind.I remember reading a General's book that said that when we shipped the first Air Codensesor to Vietnam that we had lost. PX's Yes.Bowling Alleys No.


Why no bowling alleys? When the infantry isn't getting shot at for a few days and on some nice safe base, i'd give them every comfort i could as long as it doesn't exacerbate problems with the locals (i.e. no whores, huge amounts of booze, etc...)

They suffer enough in the field. The costs of a few comforts are minor compared to the cost of the war.

Talked to a bunch of people who just came out of Helmand over the past few days. Infantry in the outposts in Marjah, Lashkar Gah, Musa Qala are getting shot at almost every day. If they make it back to a FOB alive, give 'em a big mac for christ's sake.


OK, problem solved.

You are quite right, none of this will benefit US citizens.

Can we possibly stick the cost on the would-be legal illegals?

There's been all this talk about having them pay fines to become legal. The cost of estimated future expenditures in Afghanistan (it wouldn't be fair to charge them for first nine years) should be pretty cheap divided up among 12-18 million illegal immigrants.

We could even be nice and let them pay in installments. They could be vested in the US according to how much they've paid: 25% payment is 25% legal, 50% payment is 50% legal, etc., just like with your 401(K) plan at the office.

We need new revenue sources, so I say we go for it.

clifford kiracofe

1. 2012? But the new Foreign Secretary of our ally, the UK, just mentioned 2014 and stirred some debate:

"There were also doubts about Mr Hague's assertion that the Afghan government would be able to take over its own country's security by 2014. Senior Nato officers in Kabul once again warned against putting forward timelines, and, in London, Major-General Gordon Messenger, the British military's spokesman on the Afghan war, highlighted the ferocity of the fighting. "

This article presents a useful overview of the new government's foreign policy/strategic outlook.

Unlike the grandiose geopolitical conceptions of the US, the UK seems to be adjusting to the emerging multipolar environment in a practical manner.

2. Walrus raises good points: UN and internal US. As I noted some time ago, the political cover for the Soviet's withdrawal was the UN.

I have also made the point that IMO it is apparently (so far) beyond the sophistication of US diplomacy (Democrat or Republican) to reach any regional solution which would include major powers with direct interests such as China, Russia, and India and regional powers with interests such as Iran. The regional solution would naturally involve and invoke the UN.

3. Economic issues may not be the only ones provoking increasing internal unrest, crime, and violence in the US. There is the demographic factor. "Tribalism" and ethnicity have been the subject of many discussions at SST with respect to FOREIGN situations. However, using the Pogo theory, we might want to examine our own internal situation before getting too wound out on the primitives of the Hindu Kush.

Perhaps we need to do a little better on "nation building" here at home...

For those interested in a baseline academic study consult: Bouvier and Davis, "The Future Racial Composition of the United States" (Washington, DC: 1982).

Another term which has been discussed here is "Exceptionalism." The SST consensus seems to have been that we are basically like everyone else with our faults and so on. So is exceptionalism going to save us from "tribalism"?


The most repulsive image my mind retains from the Senate coronation, er, confirmation of Petraeus as "the general" in charge of Afghanistan was John McCain's obsequious pandering: "You, Sir, are a hero."

Oh, pleeaze!

What I regret most of all about this is the waste of American lives for years to come. I can't believe we're going to be stupid enough to try and "nation build" something out of this backward, corrupt cesspool.


Exceptionalism IS an American-style tribal value system.

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