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27 February 2012

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Charles I

You could have just stopped at "he could not understand. . . "

Basilisk

This is all giving me a severe attack of nostalgia. I am struck especially by FB Ali's astute identification of the quick response of USGS to the Afghan situation after 9/11 as indication of a "larger plan."

In fact what happened throughout the government and all its familiars was the precise phenomenon of hearing the chuck wagon bell being rung. Every sentient being turned toward the sound and said "FOOD," how can I get some of that sustenance? (Sustenance in this case being CA$H).

TTG is correct above when he mentions the supplemental appropriations attached to the DoD budget ever since the response began. When it dries up, as it surely will, we will be amazed to see what seemingly "permanent" institutions of government were funded purely by supplementals.

WP

Of course the surge failed.

The whole misadventure was doomed from the get-go by the simple logic of the fundamental facts of Afghanistan.

The starting and continuing given is that Afghanistan is a country with a population of between 27 and 30 million and a rugged and desertified terrain with an area of about 252,000 square miles.

That very poor country has a per capita income of between $500 and $900 per person depending on the measure used and a very low (western style) educational level, but probably a relatively high level of Islamic style education.

It is a country not suited to industrialization because of its culture and has no significant agriculture except production of the only crop that works for its farmers, opium. It is a country with a deeply ingrained Islamic tribal culture well suited to its basic georgraphy and history that operates in ways fundamentally different from the way the West operates and with values wholly alien to a westerner.

Insert 100,000 to 200,000 (martians) troops that are dressed as alien and as menacingly from the Afghan's point of view as the storm troopers in Star Trek for the preposterous purpose of "transforming" the fundamental culture of the country. That is, we have expected a ratio of one alien, who generally cannot speak or understand the local language and who has practically no understanding of the culture, per 275 inhabitants to transform the culture away from the manner in which it has operated for centuries. Station the aliens in heavily defended and secured space ports and not among the inhabitants.

Have the inhabitants generously armed asymetrically with weapons that can effectively and remotely kill the aliens so that the aliens cannot practically infiltrate the day to day life experiences of the inhabitants and so that the aliens, in protecting themselves, are increasingly alien. Have the inhabitants have a centuries long history of repelling aliens that is part of the fundamental definition of what it means to be Afghan. Have the inhabitants themselves deeply divided and in the midst of their own power struggles that already are pitting brother against brother. Have a long-established political system that inculcates corruption and bribery within its fundamental workings.

Have the aliens use remotely fired weapons so that every inhabitant is always at risk of anihilation without warning and constantly in fear random death. Task those aliens to kill the locals who are intent on preserving their cultural integrity while tolerating huge numbers of collateral casualties.

And then expect those aliens who are 1/275 th of those in the country to convert the Afghanis with whom they cannot even converse into westerners.

The whole project is as preposterous as to believe that if you dye a tiger green, he is not still a tiger because he has lost his stripes.

Of course it failed and it will continue to fail--unless you measure success by the amount of money your company or party can make ripping offf the American people without any regard for the Agghans.

turcopolier

Basilisk

Yes, but remember that the dinner bell rang before the chow as distributed. pl

WP

I am reminded of camping as a child in northeast Georgia mountains during the late summer when the yellow jacket bees were annoyingly active. Yellow jackets are very industrious and aggressive food gatherers and brave. So brave that they would forage on your plate while you ate. The sting is fearsom and puts a child out of commission for hours groggy on Benadryl.

My mother would pour canned grapefruit juice into waxed paper cups and place them around the perimeter of the camp site. The juice would detract the yellow jackets from annoying us and who, in drinking the sweetness, would drown by the hundreds.

Fred

FB Ali,

Didn't the issue of Afghanistan's mineral wealth get discussed here at length a year or so ago? All of that 'potential' is buried under mountains with no mine nor infrastructure in place to remove any of it nor a transportation network to move it. Not to mention a population hostile to foreigners.

zanzibar

"When it dries up, as it surely will..." You betcha. And it wont just be supplementals.

Per capita government debt in the US is larger than Greece! At the current rate of government debt growth, we will catch up to them sooner than most expect in the debt/GDP ratio too. It's only a matter of time until financial markets stop funding the federal government cheaply. Just as has happened in the EU periphery. And will soon enough in Japan. Bernanke will then have to print at warp overdrive.

Medicine Man

No arguments with your assessment, WP, but I am compelled by my nerd upbringing to point out that the stormtroopers are from Star Wars not Star Trek.

Babak Makkinejad

No, it served its purpose; removing the ability of Republicans from being able to characterize Democrats as weak on "defense".

Mr. Obama thus ensured that the future US Presidential candidates from Democractic Party can win the Presidency of the United States and are not suspetible to "weak on defense" attacks.

Babak Makkinejad

No.

Your Martains first had to convert to Islam before they had any chance of prevailing in Afghansitan.

ex-PFC Chuck

I tried to open it with my old MS Word 2000 but it came up as gibberish. However, you can find it by going to the csis.org site, or just click on this shortened URL: http://bit.ly/y2cYOu

different clue

That sounds like a very good idea or knowledge your mother had. I wish I or people I knew would have known about that.
Do you remember how many feet from one yellowjacket trap to the next one going around the perimeter?

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