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10 September 2019

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Diana C

Thank you for thinking of the women and girls....and perhaps their little boys.

I've lived through the abandonment of Vietnam and the influx of refugees from that part of the world, the mess after the Iraq War that included bringing to our country many who had tied their fortunes to us. We can not this time decide to abandon any who have tied their hopes to us after we came in and caused so much turmoil in their country.

I always thought it was hubris on our part to think we could do what the Soviets failed to do.

If we bring these people here, my hope is that we examine how our bringing in Somalis has, in many places, not been a successful effort in regard to integrating them into our society. (Do not many of us, including Nancy Pelosi, regret the bringing in of at least one Somali woman?) We need to prepare for their entry into our country in some way that will not mean just dropping them somewhere and letting them fend for themselves.

I know the government has some sort of protocol for finding them places to live. Often, however, the people seem to be dropped in and left in some ways to depend on themselves "as strangers in a strange land." This should be our last time. Stop the "nation-building" efforts.

I feel that most Americans are welcoming and friendly people, but they often just do not understand how difficult it is for some to adapt to a very different way of life.

guidoamm

It seems to me that if one parsed reports from the Special Inspector General Afghanistan Reconstruction along with the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime's "Afghanistan Opium Survey", any illusions as to what the reasons for the West's intervention in that country were, should dissipate rather speedily.

History repeats.

confusedponderer

Mr. Lang,
"It is not a base. It is a sinkhole."

Maybe that's why Mr. Prince wanted Trump to make him the viceroy of Afghanistan.

What a career that would be - a former SEAL lieutenant, then mercenary, promoted to something like a field marshal, bringing fabulous quarter numbers, strategy or something like that, peace and freedom to the place by privatising the war and fighting it more cost effective for himself.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-19/trump-mulling-blackwater-founder-erik-princes-plan-privatize-war-afghanistan

turcopolier

guidoamm

so, your belief is that we invaded Afghanistan so that we could steal the foreign aid money that we would give them and could sponsor the opium trade. Funny! A joke right?

ISL

Dear Colonel,

I see no evidence that Trumps vision is actually clear. For that he (and the blob) would have to acknowledge that inside every Afghani is (not an American waiting to emerge) an Afghani (of their local tribe).

IMO, we should turn the mess over to Pakistan and allow Afghanistani's who (stupidly given our history and our current and former leaders) supported our efforts highest priority in immigration with no quota).

And pigs can fly to the Jupiter - given Trump's anti-immigrant re-election strategy.

Oh wait, we are busy antagonizing Pakistan (along with just about every other country in the world) - but who needs friends (or allies) when you are rich rich rich (just ignore the debt that cancels it all out), I mean have an awesome credit line on the visa card......

Afterall, its not as if states follow their interests and if you dis-align your interests with theirs you cant just make it work out nice.

Hmmm.

turcopolier

ISL

IMO Trump has no clarity of anyhthing in foreign policy. He is just trying to make a deal in accordance with his experience of deal making and is not doing well. It will be interesting to see if he and Trudeau can sell the USMCA to Pelosi. this is clearly a gooddeal. Let's see how hard he pushes for it. With regard to the ME, have reached the conclusion that his basic attitudes are formed in the culture of New York City Jewry. A Christian Brothre who had two PH.D.s in STEM and was a New York City guy once told me that I had to understand that everyone in NY City is to some extent Jewish, even the cardinal archbishop.

Antoinetta III

No, but the women and girls would be half the Afghan population, or around 19 million people. I expect most would be here in a jiffy if they get the chance.

But the real issue is, and I think most here agree, is that it is impossible for the US to deal with all the nastiness that goes on around the globe. Extend this logic globally, and we're looking at a couple billion people who would love to come.

The humanitarian angle was pushed to gin up our involvement in Iraq, Syria and Libya. All that led to was a level of death, destruction and displacement, of misery that was magnitudes larger than any of the brutality of Saddam, Khadafy or Assad.

The various regions and cultures of the world are going to have to sort out their own issues. There are no good options, but the least bad option is for the US to get out of the way and let them get on with it.

Antoinetta III

RenoDino

It is not a base. It is a sinkhole--A distinction without a difference.

Confusedponderer

Your reference to Mr. Prince was spot on. He understood what the long-term plans for Afghanistan were and still are. A viceroy is the designated ruling representative of a colonial power.

American's negotiating position in every instances with rival nations is to dictate the terms for surrender regardless of the circumstances on the ground. It's an untenable position and guarantees perpetual war and occupation which is precisely the point.

turcopolier

Renodino

"It is not a base. It is a sinkhole--A distinction without a difference" If you make stupid comment here you will be banned. A base is a secure place from which to operate. A sinkhole is a useless place that does nothing for you and just soaks up resources. The US had no long term plane for Afghanistan and you have no proof that we did. Please. Give me an excuse to ban you.

turcopolier

Antoinetta III

OK, heartless one, let's not try to distinguish among people who were victimized by our intervention in their country and half the world's poor.

JM Gavin

I spent several years in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2014. I was there, with a front row seat, when the shift to nation-building began. The best days of my life were in Afghanistan, spent amongst the finest men and women from many nations...including Afghanistan.

We lost the war a long time ago. By 2006, I could see we were losing. By 2008, I knew it was lost.

How many Afghans have hitched their horses to our wagon? More than enough. How many others chose to live as free men and women because we were there? A significant part of the population. They face a reckoning for living that hope out loud, in public.

The Afghan people are amazing, and a lot of them believed in us, and in a future where women could be more than a piece of property. I can see why some would say we should walk away, and, it's hard to argue against that.

I'll carry what we did in Afghanistan to my grave.

DOL,

JMG

Dave Schuler

Human affairs are not particle physics in which things happen because of impersonal forces. People do things for reasons. They may be right or wrong and they may be rational or irrational but they have reasons. If a different direction is taken it is either because circumstances have changed or the personalities have changed.

Don't be surprised if Trump leaves troops in Afghanistan for the same reasons Obama did.

HK Leo Strauss

This has been Trump’s true failing - not applying his vast business acumen to turn DoD into a profit center.

Jim Ticehurst

Colonel ...I agree with your Opinion on this matter of Withdrawl..I have read a Year by Year timeline of The Millions spent..for the Training Of Afghanistan Military and Security Forces..and Like in Viet Nam..they will..Fail to Defend Themselves..Thier Hearts wont be In It..and Like Viet Nam..It Just made The Communist North Vietnamese the Third Most Powerful Conventional Weapons stockpile in the World..withnAll nthe Equipment we Left behind...The..Billions Spent to keep Our Military presence there..The Millions Spent for VA Resources to care for Our Wounded..Many with Traumatic Head Injurys...The loss of Our People there..Overt and Covert...The loss of Seal Team 6 in the Aftermath of Finally Getting Osama Bin Laden...It will Never End...There will always be those willing to die for Ji -Had..Forever..Over a Trillion Dollars..Plus all The Money we sent to Pakistan..Which has been Most of Our Foreign Aid..Its been a Tragic Blunder..and .there Has Never Been such a Thing as "Mission Accomplished"..This hs been the second most Costly War since WW-Two...…..Bring Them Home.. ...9/11/2001,,,,9/11/2019.A War of the Politicians..By The Politicians For The Politicians.and the Military..Industrial Complex....and Their Egos..and Bank accounts..Period...Thomas Jefferson Knew This was coming.

Jack

Sir

I know nothing about Doug Macgregor but he sounds really sane in this interview with Tucker. If Trump does what he suggests it would be a welcome approach and drive the Borg insane.

Do you know him or have an opinion about him?

https://twitter.com/justinbaragona/status/1171583543832715264?s=21

turcopolier

jack

Yes, I know Doug. A fine soldier. AIPAC would rather see me have the job than Doug

Bill Hatch

I agreed with sending SOF in to kill AQ being harbored by the Taliban. I said at the time, "Go in, kill the people who need killing & get the hell out."

There is only one thing that can unify Afgan tribes, that's the presence of foreigners. A very long history has resulted in the reference to "the graveyard of empires." I don't believe that the Taliban is a threat to the US outside of Afghanistan. They are a threat to any American in Afghanistan. Nation building in Afghanistan is domed to failure. The only issue is what is to be the fate of the Afghani's who assisted us or bought into the idea of westernization. Our recent history is to abandon these people.

Eventually we will join the list of Afghan invaders from Cyrus, to Alexander, to the Brits. The only question is how we depart & how much more blood & treasure we spend.

JM Gavin

In my experience, nothing can unify Afghan tribes, or even the sub-tribes. There is a saying amongst the Pashtun: "Me against my brothers, my brothers and I against my cousins, my cousins and I against the world." The real Taliban (meaning the political entity, exiled to the east, also known as "The Quetta Shura," have never been able to get "Taliban" factions in Afghanistan to unite against anything. COL Lang is spot-on, there is no collective "Afghan" identity.

Afghanistan is still run by warlords. The vast majority of folks referred to as "Taliban" are really just warlords (and the warlords' minions) wrapping themselves in the Taliban flag, as it suits them now. If the Taliban were to come back to controlling power in Afghanistan, many of the warlords would switch to fighting the Taliban. True territorial gains in Afghanistan are generally made when warlords switch sides. Afghan warlords are the most loyal people money can buy...well, rent, anyway.

DOL,

JMG

Barbara Ann

Yes, I should have expanded on my thinking: The point I meant to make was that the war will likely end very much because of personal (emotional) forces. Circumstances and personalities change, but the cyclic nature of the human emotions felt by a public fighting long-term wars does not. Anger at the enemy and hope we could win were the dominant moods during Bush's terms. Weariness gradually became dominant during Obama's time, just as it did during Johnson's. But people seldom have the courage to publicly admit they were wrong, especially if they want to be re-elected. Like Nixon, Trump has a fresh mandate based on weariness and anger at the war's cost and can be seen as a winner by 'losing' Afghanistan.

Trump may try and leave a residual force, but I'd bet he will return to the table & try and make peace with the Taliban.

English Outsider

The IQ2 debate was significant for me personally when I first saw it. The arguments for staying in Afghanistan were set out coherently and for perhaps the first time I caught a glimpse of the immense intellectual effort, in the think tanks and the academies, that goes into justifying the neocon position. That neocon  position working through almost by osmosis to the heavyweight newspapers and media outlets, and providing the narrative framework within which the Intelligence Initiatives of this world right down to the little propaganda sites work.  Such varied figures as Charles Lister or Peter Tatchell have backup, and how.  

It's an intellectual fortress, the whole, and for many of us in the general public
it confirms us comfortably in the neocon rationale.  It gives us the arguments, and the excuses, and as long as one declines to notice that those arguments and excuses do shift around, we pay our taxes for this or that crazy neocon venture without complaint and often gladly.  Gramsci and his like stand vindicated.  Capture the academies and the rest of us follow, often willingly.

And just a few, of those in the public eye, standing up true and declaring "This emperor has no clothes!"

Which happened, as I saw several years later when I got to view it, in that IQ2 debate.  Around that time I came across Major Stueber's documentary which had rather more than seven minutes to lay out how hopeless it was for Western armies to fight alongside local forces, when those local forces were so hopelessly factional, corrupt, and therefore ineffectual.

And a footnote just recently.  I head a Swedish aid worker relating just how impossible it was for him too to function in Afghanistan.  Money put through to local groups swallowed up in false invoicing, ghost workers whose salaries went to swell the pay packet of their superiors, slush funds because that was the only way to get things done.

It was never a doable venture, Afghanistan.  That was clear to a few in that debate ten years ago and it's clear to more now.  I hope it's possible to get out without leaving the urban Westernised Afghans too much at the mercy of the rest.

And perhaps, also reflecting that the Rovean narratives that the academies and think tanks conjure up for us, at such expense and at such effort, all crumble eventually when reality, as it must finally, breaks through.

Jane

How will our Afghan encounter end? I recommend the most recent article by retired military officer, author and now president of the newly founded Quincy Institute, Andrew Bacevich in the bipartisan “Anti-War” website in which he reflects on our departure from Vietnam as relevant to Afghanistan. Quincy [named after John Quincy Adams who advised against unnecessary foreign entanglements]. This new think tank is the ultimate bipartisan effort to combat the predominant “forever war” syndrome within the Democratic and Republican establishments. Seed money came from Charles Koch and George Soros! Conservative Bacevich and liberal former NIAC head, Iranian-American author and activist Trita Parsi are the pioneers in this venture.

Jane

It is said that in Afghanistan, he who governs lightly, governs the longest. This policy of regional decentralization allowed the country’s Pashtun rulers to govern the highly diverse population without regional fragmentation. Those who chose another path didn’t last long. Today, this remains the reality, with either warlords or local Taliban commanders in charge.

Another historical lesson underappreciated by the US is that social and cultural changes were introduced to the urban upper and middle classes and then gradually adopted by poorer urbanites and in rural areas when locals were attracted to these changes; the use of technology to improve their livelihoods, access to education and health services spread as paths to upward mobility or more comfortable living. This is why later government- imposed country-wide changes were seen as foreign and “un-Islamic” and met with resistance, first by the mujaheddin and then to the Taliban.

Urban and other educated Afghans learn both Pushtu and Dari in school, with one or the other as language of instruction and the other as a second language. Dari is the language of most official communications of the government and lingua franca for trade. The media are also a significant factor in the mutual intelligibility and use of the two languages, even where neither language is native to the region. Even In distant parts of the country, where many people may only speak the local language, media saturation following the fall of the Taliban have increased understanding of one or both of these two predominant tongues.

Many Afghans today have access to media from neighboring Iran and Pakistan. Not so sure that the offerings from Tajikistan and China are very entertaining. Uzbekistan likely broadcasts a lot of Turkish entertainment programming wildly popular from Latin America to Indonesia. Private Afghan networks do so as well. I don't know if there are any studies of all this.

elaine

Colonel, I think it would be righteous to show loyalty to those Afgans who
risked their lives working with us as translators & in other positions of
support however we can't bring all the woman & girls of that area stateside.

Today I watched Chrisann Amonpour's show on CNN; she featured a piece with Arwa Damon interviewing ISIS brides being held in Kurdish makeshift detention
centers along with the children of the widowed brides many of whom wanted to be repatriated to their home countries. Do you have an opinion of this matter?

turcopolier

elaine

What I meant was that we should identify those women and girls who are most at risk through feminist activism, female education and the like and offer them the chance to come to America if they want it. Women who have been used as "booty" by the jihadis cannot go home. they should know that. Amanpour, a Shia woman by birth and rearing, should know that.These women are soiled forever in the minds of their own people. The neocons and foolish people like Bush 43 should have understood the social consequences of meddling in the rather delicate societal balances of Iraq before acting. Ah! I forget that Cheney, Condoleeza Rice. Libby Judy Miller, and Michael Gordon and such as they were forced to act by the threat of Iraqi nuclear weapons (irony).

turcopolier

jane

John Quincy Adams was one of the leading instigators of the Northern nationalism that brought on the Civil War. I am not interested in what they have on their site.

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