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01 June 2011

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jonst

I am getting to the point (not that it matters, or should matter, one way or another to the world)where I am hard pressed to discuss our involvement in Afghan in rational terms.

Our involvement, seems to me, to be a result of some grotesque obsession. Yet our elite lack the personal insight or courage to acknowledge it as such. And so we just dress it up with words from geopolitical past.

It (the involvement) seems to me to be truly symptomatic of a more profound problem at home.

And it seems...given the latest dust up picking a JCOS....that going even slightly off the reservation re 'official' admin talking point range is professional suicide. So I don't expect to hear many voices of dissent.

blowback

At the moment, the number of "rogue elements" in the Afghan army and police must be a worry to the US and NATO. Just think how many more "rogue elements" there could be if the Afghans really put their minds to it. Don't the White House and Downing Street appreciate this?

Basilisk

It is prime fighting season in Afghanistan. Another errant air strike should not be unexpected. Meanwhile, NPR is reporting on a conversation with Najm Seti, Editor of the Friday Times of Lahore:
http://www.npr.org/2011/06/01/136845539/another-pakistani-journalist-is-killed-in-pakistan

It is alleged that there is grumbling in the lower ranks of the Pakistani military--said to be unprecedented, in that it is the army chief who sets the tone for all--one of the questions being discussed by Pakistani junior officers is said to be, "is this our war, or America's?"

Uncomfortable indeed. there seem to be questions in all directions. Such questions are not unheard from our own side.

I hope F.B. Ali can comment on the characterization of the Pakistani military.

Stanleyhenning@mac.com

I feel very sad that we don't seem to understand how very limited we really are in these peripheral regions. COIN? -get serious! Rudyard Kipling left us a relevant comment on Afghanistan in 1895: "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your gawd like a soldier."

Walrus

Don't worry, it will all be over soon.

The American economy is imploding and the cost of these adventures will not be born for much longer.

Basically, the smart money and their hedge funds have shorted the entire American economy.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43236764

From the recent measured tone of some of Rupert Murdochs media, I'm starting to think that even he can't stomach what is going on.

For example, the cruelty of Americans to other Americans seems to know no bounds:

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/06/01/florida.welfare.drug.testing/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

VietnamVet

Sunday's Opinion Piece "How do we memorialize endless war?”, quoted; “Had there been any honorable way of retreat open to us, we should have availed ourselves of it as soon as the facts of the situation became apparent. But as there was no such means of escape, we stayed there, and our tenure has been very costly in life and money.” This was written by the editors of The Washington Post, about the U.S. occupation of the Philippines more than a century ago.

A Memorial Day network news show had scenes from a FOB out in the boonies under constant Taliban attack. Helmet Cam videos are making their way on to Internet. Like the video from the tsunami striking Miyagi, these videos are real and not Hollywood dramas like “Fort Apache”; but, all the more frightening because they are real.

The only difference between Afghanistan and Vietnam is the loss of the color green. The difference between Afghanistan, Vietnam, and the Philippines and the American Indian Wars is the lack of Christian Settlers over there. Grunts at the FOB in Afghanistan know what it is like to be stationed at an Army Post in Indian Country.

Soon the costs in life and money of the wars will be too great to continue paying. The Republican cuts in Medicare, Social Security and Government Programs are needed to fund the endless wars and to cut the taxes of the rich.

dh

Whatever Karzai or the Taliban do or say will be taken as reasons to stay the course.

bt

Damned if we do, damned if we don't.

And of course, no one wants to be blamed for 'losing Afghanistan'. So on we go, because the USA is not ever allowed to 'lose'.

We really do need a change in the political dialog in America.

And we need to get out of the middle east, lock, stoc and barrel. Includes Israel...

bth

F.B. Ali is there any prospect of Afghanistan splitting along ethnic lines into two separate countries?

I mean to state the obvious the existing government has no viable tax base and if NATO left, the customs collected and border points would be kept by warlords.

Also ANP and ANA are cheap relative to NATO but they are in fact funded by the US at an unsustainable level without our cash.

Finally Pakistan wants a buffer in Afghanistan. But does that require all of Afghanistan or just the Pashtun areas?

William R. Cumming

Remind me again what UN approval does the US have for its S. ASIA interventions?

ISL

WRC: I think the quote from blazing saddles fits the situation:

Mexican Bandit: Badges? We don't need no stinking badges.

jdledell

We've been fighting in Afghanistan for 10 years. Does anyone seriously think that if we continue for another 10 years that Afghanistan will look materially different in 2021 than now?

Fred

VV,

The other big difference is our opponents in 'indian' country know that their way of life is worth fighting to keep and that if they fight long enough we'll leave.

Ael

Karzai has given up on the Americans. He is now positioning himself to survive in a post-NATO Afghanistan.

Patrick Lang

ISL

The "Treasure of the Sierra Madre?" pl

optimax

Yes, Blazing Saddles famous line is "It's twue..it's twue."

Michael Brenner

pl,

Do we and our NATO friends really think that we are that grand?

Yes. Sadly, as you know better that we do, everything that we've done and said for the past decade in the greater Middle East conveys that unequivocably. The tone has not changed at all between 9/11 and Obama's speech or the utterances of Clinton/Mullen in Islamabad. 'We' means not only two administrations but also a large majority of the 'foreign policy community.' Yet, in this unanimity among intelligent minds, one cannot get a straight answer to the question: what is our objective in Afghanistan and how do we define success (or failure)?

"Treasure of The Sierra Madre" Yes; I think it's just before Walter Huston's gold flakes get blown back to the mountains - and after they find Humphrey Bogart dead in an arroyo.

mbrenner

Spafford

"Badges, we need no....." Originally done in Treasure of the Sierra Madre then repeated (copied) in Blazin Saddles.

Mark Logan

ISL's quote was repeated in Blazing Saddles, but if I had to pick a quote from that movie, I would have picked "Now is a time of great decision..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v0OLW3Qhc8&feature=related

Fred

As long as we are quoting movies, as Elrond told Gandolf in the Lord of the Rings "Our list of allies grows thin."

bth

Keep in mind that the Canadians and Poles are pulling out and the Brits are trying, so from Karzia's perspective, he's got to figure out how to survive. So why not declare us occupiers? Next step, he will ask us to leave in an attempt to endear himself to his remaining voting constituents - real or fictional.

... the thing is, what if it isn't our bullets but our tax dollars that keeps Karzai in power, the Taliban tolls flowing and the Paki Army with enough cream to skim to build nuclear plants when they can't supply sufficient ammunition and helicopter parts to their soldiers? What happens if we tighten down the faucet?

graywolf

We need to get out of there and Pakistan.
Let Afghan fall into a Pakistan sphere-of-influence.
Make it VERY clear (impossible for weasel talking State dept. sellouts) to Pakistan that we will maintain active surveillance and any more terrorist camps will be wiped out (along with collateral civilians)
BUT, we're stuck, because Obozo and his left base declared Afghanistan the "good" war in their usually cynical and dishonest attempt at "policy."

hire web developer

Always be positive. Lets hope for the best. Every thing will be alright.

Redhand

"in this unanimity among intelligent minds, one cannot get a straight answer to the question: what is our objective in Afghanistan and how do we define success (or failure)?"

Don't expect our "elites" to even try to answer this question before the 2012. After all, there's an election to be won!

clifford kiracofe

Sun Tzu, Art of War, 2 Waging War,2-3:

"When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain..."


I take it that professors and students at the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences are familiar with these passages of Sun Tzu. No doubt so are members of the Chinese leadership with an interest in strategy. Others in Asian military and civilian officialdom may also be.

No doubt conclusions have been drawn as to the United States and its future.

One core issue here is NATO "out of area" operations. A couple of decades ago, the geographic mission was changed to include missions outside the "North Atlantic" area. Many objected to this at the time. We see the results and those of us who objected seem justified by events.

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