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29 August 2010


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Adam L Silverman

Sir: What's interesting here is that one of the socio-cultural studies done by one of the Afghan human terrain teams was of Afghan fairy tales and fables. In all of them the Afghans portrayed themselves as small, weak, frightened and needing to hide from the strong, powerful, invading "boogeyman" that was an outsider or an invader. Now I can't recall which ethnolinguistic group this was done among, but this information has been in the system for well over a year if not two. There is simply no way, what so ever, for an outside force to successfully integrate Afghan societal elements, let alone the elements with a government. There never was and its likely there never will be.

Cold War Zoomie

"We are talking about generations, not a decade."

Seems the best method is to leave the invading army in place long enough to intermarry with the locals, unless you're willing to do what the Norman's did during their conquest and decapitate the entire ruling class to insert your own.

We're not very inclined to do such a thing.



Obama cannot continue to be disingenuous regarding Afghanistan or the non-threat Iran civilian nuclear reactors.

Phil has a new piece regarding Iran's box:

Boxed into a Corner on Iran by Philip Giraldi


I can see Obama going down but Petraeus still seems to be the darling of the Republicans.A long conflict that enriches the 'defense' industry(the rest of the economy be damned)is just what they want.

Patrick Lang


Petraeus won't be so popular with the electorate in November of 2012. pl

Norbert N, Salamon

The sole question is with respect to any war in which the USA is involved, [or possibly imvolved] is whether the political class ends the war before collapsing USA is in danger of homeland disorder, or that the wars end after the disorder came to be.

The offical spin on the economy is misleading, the opposing spin by the GOP is route to immediate self-destruction, while the economy is getting worse. Pushing the defence related industries to "improve GDP" [as happened in 2nd Quarter] is just another misallocation of taxpayer funds. The so called SAVING RATE [by the Feds] is hidiong that lof of the decrease in debt is due to foreclosures and bankrupcies. That the Fed is pushing down Trasury interest is a chimera, for the buyers are bankrupt USA fiancial institutions using fed loans art .25% to INVEST in JUNK BONDS at 2+% while China and Japan are decreasing theoir exposure.

Mr. Giraldi's comments are REALITY, while the political class and MSM commentators are in LALALAND, cheering for a most unwelcome disaster for the UWSA economy.



It appears the American electorate is seeing Peteraeus more and more as a disingenuous individual. Like you said, 'P' won't be so popular when the 2012 elections role around, GOP or no GOP backing won't matter.

Norbert N, Salamon

Analysis of Defence Spending and the destruction of civilian employment due to this event:


Clearly shows that the USA must quit all wars, and pull back on war material production if there is to be a hope of decreasing unemployment.


It isn't just the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan that is wrong. It is the all over Middle East strategy or maybe the problem is even deeper. The whole U.S. foreign policy is creating instability whenever it touches something.

Former(?) CIA asset Allawi in a recent Spiegel interview:

Allawi: You see what is happening in Afghanistan: It is a total failure. The problem here is not about America leaving Iraq and continuing its fight in Afghanistan. America has to rethink its strategy for the whole region from Central Asia to the Middle East. NATO will have to rethink its strategy, and so will Europe. The West's policy is wrong. Just look around: Somalia is a totally failed state. Yemen faces the most serious of challenges. Palestine? One step forward, three steps back. And somewhere down the line, Lebanon will be on the agenda. God help us when the United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon issues its verdicts in the murder case of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.


Probably the reverse, sir. A man of uniform is well liked in the USA. and you have a black man as president.

For men of ambition, in the snake pit of political ambition, it's not too difficult to blame the black man for the misery, that is A'stan.

The odds are good that, Gen P can finesse it as a white man to the populace.

"See, I told the prez., he didn't listen...."

playing upon race stereotypes from uppity negro, to dumb negro.

Whether P is that ambitious for the Office, is another question. All I'm saying is, if one wants the Office that bad, it's that easy.

Really easy. The Republicans are anyway going to tag him a failure. Getting to the front of that bandwagon, how difficult is that? Even if you were the architect of the COIN mumbo jumbo?


America knows well how to conquer other peoples and form sympathetic governments; we have done so since the Mayflower landed; in recent history, the Philippines, Vichy France, Italy, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Central America.

But, as the Colonel stated very well, it costs treasure and lives. South Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are simply War Profiteers funding sources. Raising Taxes, the Draft and Intermarriage are required to do the Wars right. Since America isn’t doing what’s required, it’s all for nothing.

Patrick Lang


I believe I went through this before, but... The CIA is statutorily allowed to disburse US government funds in covert actions. The US would like Allawi to be PM in Iraq. I think that is undersandable and justifiable. They would want to provide Allawi with funds. The CIA is the appropriate channel under US law. This does not mean that he does the CIA's bidding. pl

Patrick Lang


Germany, Italy and Japan surrendered and there was no resistance. The Marshall Plan supported a non-communist change. We changed their governments and left.

We had a benevolent influence on South Korea. We should be ashamed of that?

Central America? United Fruit? Panama? That's funny.

"South Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are simply War Profiteers funding sources."

So, VN was about selling equipment to the US Government? We certainly never benefited economically from the war there. The French owned all the rubber. What else was there, nuoc mam?

I insist that the Ziocon influence is largely responsible for our present commitments. pl

FB Ali

Daudzai speaks nothing but the truth: It is for the Afghan government and ruling class to win hearts and minds, not the Americans. But he doesn’t speak the whole truth, namely, that this layer of corrupt carpetbaggers imported by the US isn’t going to be able to do it, either. That leaves poor, hapless Obama holding the bag of this war that he can neither win nor get out of.

One feels sorry for him. Studying law and learning local politics isn’t good training for dealing with an unending war in a distant country. Especially when your advisers are ‘2012’ Petraeus, ‘chief clerk’ Gates and ‘corporal’ Jones (and, in the wings, flakes such as Holbrooke, Riedel, etc).


The only decisions left for Karzai and his colleagues to make are choice of exile locations.

Bellagio? Connecticut? Virginia? Amalfi? Provence?

They know what the alternative will be if they stay.



You are correct; there are no economic benefits to Americans from the Wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq; except for government suppliers and contractors.

Yes, the Germans, Italians and Japanese and were defeated. The North Koreans lost 70,000 of 100,000 troops before the Chinese entered and the Korean War stalemated. In Japan, Germany and South Korea, there were no men left to fight and there were sufficient allied troops to police these countries after the wars ended. That was never the case in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. In the end, the Soviet Union’s blockade of Berlin and the Marshall plan assured that the continued garrison of foreign troops would not lead to an armed revolt in the next generation (though the Red Army Faction tried).

The question I keep wondering is why do these long wars continue on forever? The three reasons I come up with are; 1) No President wants to be labeled a Loser, 2) too many fat cat contractors and politicians are dependent of the keeping the flow of tax payer’s money going through the DOD, and 3) the fear of nuclear war (This worry kept LBJ from sending the 1st CAV in hot pursuit of NVA into Cambodia in 1965).

The difference in the Middle East is the 1000 year old conflict between the monotheistic religions. Crusades and Armageddon Fanaticism are back. The sooner the USA gets out of this witch’s caldron the better. A third Middle East war will crash America.

John Waring

The Karzai government is worthless and Pakistani interests are diametrically opposed to American interests.

I think we know how this ends.


You implicitly pose a most interesting question, Furrukh. To what degree is Obama the victim of circumstances and bad (or even tainted) advice, and to what degree is he the author of his own fate?

Based on some of his earlier statements (on Iraq and on race, for example) and the way he ran his campaign, I'd viewed him as a strategic thinker, perfectly capable of playing a very long game. That may still be true, but if so, these qualities seem to be gravely undermined by other aspects of his character.
My hopes for Obama slowly slipped away, decision by lousy decision. His economic appointments were for me the first obvious red flag, but potentially excusable given his relative lack of knowledge in this area. My heart sank at his failure to support Chas Freeman; standing up for this appointment might have shifted the whole character of the administration. True disillusionment, though, set in with his speech on Afghanistan in late 2009. His expressions were hackneyed, almost Orwellian and the underlying logic (such as it was) entirely mainstream. It was a speech that could have been given by almost anyone including, unfortunately, Bush the Younger.
Perhaps he felt he had no choice, that having made Afghanistan "the good war" during his campaign (at least in part to burnish his national security credentials) he had to push on. If so, it was, to my ears at least, a sad and pathetic effort. He lost me at that point, and I very much doubt I'm alone. He became, quite simply, just another politician, albeit an unusually gifted one. No doubt it was foolish to ever have believed otherwise, but he did talk a good game.
Phil Giraldi's article, linked to by J, nicely sums up how a succession of (perceived) politically expedient choices have boxed in the administration on Iran. It seems to me something similar has happened as regards Afghanistan. There's no doubt that he is, as you rightly say, left "holding the bag", nor is there any doubt he's getting a toxic stream of bad advice.
As to whether we ought to feel sorry for him, I'm not so sure. How much latitude to act did he allow to slip away through some combination of laziness, expedience, ambition and political cowardice? I can't know what's in his heart, of course, and there are no doubt many pressures on him of which I'm entirely unaware, but as I noted at the time: "Politicians disappoint, for sure, but Obama stands fair to set a new standard."


Shame we couldn't stay and marry the locals. Afghani girls are beautiful by and large.

I would have reupped, that's for sure.


I posted this in another post and I will post it again:

"The War in Afghanistan demonstrated a large rupture between theory and practice." - LTG Boris V. Gromov, Commanding General, Soviet 40th Army

Also, posted that FoolBama would used Afghanistan as cover for the mess that is Iraq, looks like he will be blamed for both failures.


an EPPB (endless power point briefing) claims another victim...

-especially for ALS-


Rob Waddell

William R. Cumming

Okay PL! Are these guys the US is paying through the CIA or otherwise worth what they are being paid?


I'm surprised no one else has pointed out the irony of Karzai pontificating on how the U.S. should leave "winning the hearts and minds of the Afghans" to his "sovereign state" and "the Afghans" at the same time we read reports that Karzai fires top graft-fighting prosecutor.

Why are we spending billions trying to prop up this kleptrocracy, and funneling direct CIA payments to some of its members? This is the Government to which we should cede "strategic" direction of the conflict?

The questions are, of course, rhetorical. Karzai has as much legitimacy in Afghanistan without US support as Babrak Karmal did without a Soviet military presence.

It took the Soviets just under 10 years to realize their involvement in Afghanistan was hopeless, and to leave. We are just shy of 9 years there ourselves. Will we prove stupider than the Soviets by staying longer than they did? I expect so: General Petraeus has a reputation to defend.


FB Ali: Re: Sorry

One has to take responsibility for the advisers one surrounds oneself with. In the Similar patterns exist in the approach to Wall St and the large Banks and also teh Gulf Oil Spill.

Hence persistence in performance seems the likeliest bet for this presidency.

FB Ali


I would strongly recommend Col Sellin's article that Robman referred to above. Apart from being hilarious, it provides a good reason for why things are going rather poorly in Afghanistan. He must have been really fed up to do this; nevertheless, one can only admire his courage in thus sacrificing his military career (even be it in the Reserve).

The article is at:


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