Category Archives: Foreign Policy
The unpleasant drag queen who used to run Libya
knew how to keep these groups under control.
Instead of working with the old buzzard, we listened to the Europeans, and participated in an insane war to have him removed. By the time we decided that Qaddafi was the devil, he was cooperating with us in the battle against the Islamists, had given up his involvement in international terrorism, and abandoned his WMD program. He was like an old repentant Mafia chieftain who sought to make points with the FBI.
From AD: http://americandigest.org/
“A Russian fighter repeatedly buzzed a US warship in the Black Sea.”
— would once have prevented the Russians from trying this stunt. But it’s gone. And going to battle stations each time plane shows up is ruinously expensive. When the IRS shuts down Republican companies or when Harry Reid uses his political position to drive a rancher off his land the damage goes beyond the individual aggrieved party. It goes to the legitimacy of the system. Of all the values the “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” cohort have squandered, nothing has been more ill-spent than trust.Belmont Club » The Book of Numbers
From AD: http://americandigest.org/
From TFI: http://theferalirishman.blogspot.com/
Russia’s aggression prompts other nations to change names
“And we asked ourselves, what if Obama’s reluctance was due to the fact that ‘Ukraine’ sounded too foreign
to the president who is almost exclusively interested in American domestic policy? So we thought we might get more interest from him if we had a familiar sounding American name. This was the easiest way.” Fearing that the name change alone may not be enough, the Kazakh parliament has begun debate on a second bill to rename the Kazakh ethnicity to ‘African Americans,’ with the hope that Americans will be more sympathetic to their plight if they are identified with a more familiar ethnic minority. – - People’s Cube
From AD: http://americandigest.org/
From WRSA : http://westernrifleshooters.wordpress.com/
The Ukraine — Monday Noon Update:
• The Kiev regime announces general mobilization; only 1% to 1.5% of conscripts bother to turn up
• A dozen major cities—pretty much everything southeast of the line that runs from Kharkov to Odessa—are flying the Russian tricolor
• Ukraine’s naval flagship is flying Russia’s naval flag
• The newly appointed head of Ukrainian navy has defected to the Russian side in Crimea within a few hours of being appointed
• Most of the Ukrainian military units in Crimea have gone over to the Russian side voluntarily, without a single shot fired
• Ukrainian troops from Kirov have been ordered to march on Crimea, but have refused to obey (illegal) orders from Kiev
• During the last two weeks of February 143,000 Ukrainian citizens have requested asylum in Russia. - – ol remus and the woodpile report
From AD: http://americandigest.org/
Ukraine isn’t a country:
it’s a Frankenstein monster composed of pieces of dead empires, stitched together by Stalin.
It has never had a government in the Western sense of the term after the collapse of the Soviet Union gave it independence, just the equivalent of the family offices for one predatory oligarch after another–including the “Gas Princess,” Yulia Tymoshenko. It has a per capital income of $3,300 per year, about the same as Egypt and Syria, and less than a tenth of the European average. The whole market capitalization of its stock exchange is worth less than the Disney Company. It’s a basket case that claims to need $35 billion to survive the next two years. Money talks and bullshit walks. Who wants to ask the American taxpayer for $35 billion for Ukraine, one of the most corrupt economies on earth? How about $5 billion? Secretary of State Kerry is talking about $1 billion in loan guarantees, and the Europeans are talking a similar amount. That’s not diplomacy. It’s a clown show. – - Spengler Ukraine Is Hopeless … but Not Serious
From AD: http://americandigest.org/
TIME TO MIND OUR OWN BUSINESS
In the era before we got our Pacific port in 1848
and in the 166-year interval since then, the security and safety of the American people have depended not one wit on the status of the Russian-speaking Crimea. Should the local population now choose fealty to the Grand Thief in Moscow over the ruffians and rabble who have seized Kiev, what’s to matter! Worse still, how long can America survive the screeching sanctimony and mindless meddling of Susan Rice and Samantha Power? Mr. President, send them back to geography class; don’t draw any new Red Lines. This one has been morphing for centuries among the quarreling tribes, peoples, potentates, Patriarchs and pretenders of a small region that is none of our damn business.Memo to Obama: This Was Their Red Line! | Zero Hedge
Found at AD: http://americandigest.org/
Why is Putin Doing This?
Because he can. That’s it, that’s all you need to know. The situation in Kiev
— in which people representing one half of the country (the Ukrainian-speaking west) took power to some extent at the expense of the Russian-speaking east — created the perfect opportunity for Moscow to divide and conquer. As soon as the revolution in Kiev happened, there was an unhappy rumbling in the Crimea, which has a large Russian population and is home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet. It was a small rumbling, but just big enough for Russia to exploit. And when such an opportunity presents itself, one would be foolish not to take it, especially if one’s name is Vladimir Putin. Putin Declares War on Ukraine. The Why and What Next | New Republic
From AD: http://americandigest.org/
UNREAL: Democrats Walk Out of House Hearing Before Parents of Benghazi Heroes Testify – Update: List of Dems Who Walked Out Added…
Darrell Issa tweeted this pic of Democrats excusing themselves as the parents of Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods prepared to testify.
Update: The list of shame.
Carolyn Maloney Danny Davis Eleanor Holmes Norton Gerald E. Connolly Jim Cooper John Tierney Mark Pocan Matt Cartwright Michelle Lujan Grisham Peter Welch Stephen Lynch Steven Horsford Tammy Duckworth Tony Cardenas William Lacy Clay
The only Democrats with the decency to stick around are Elijia Cummings and Jackie Speier.
From WZ: http://weaselzippers.us/
Via Weekly Standard:
At 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 was crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City by terrorists. Eleven years later on September 11, 2012, events unfolded in Benghazi, Libya, that would ultimately leave a U.S. diplomatic facility gutted and four Americans dead. As of 8:46 AM today, the U.S. State Department had not acknowledged either anniversary.
Up until yesterday, as noted by THE WEEKLY STANDARD, neither the White House or the State Department had mentioned the upcoming anniversary of the Benghazi attack. Then Tuesday night around 8 p.m., the White House issued a statement by the press secretary noting a preparedness meeting the president held on Tuesday in anticipation of the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. [...]
The silence from the State Department, however, continues. There is nothing on Wednesday’s public schedule of the State Department regarding any observance, memorial, or remembrance of either 9/11 or Benghazi. There are no mentions of 9/11, Benghazi, or Ambassador Christopher Stevens any time recently on the State Department website, the Facebook page, or the Twitter account.
Here’s what the State Department felt was more important than honoring the thousands of Americans killed on this date:
Obama: “To My Friends On The Right,” You Should Support Bombing Syria Because Of “Your Commitment To America’s Military Might”…
So dumb I don’t even know where to begin.
OBAMA: [M]y fellow Americans, for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security. This has meant doing more than forging international agreements; it has meant enforcing them. The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world’s a better place because we have borne them.
And so to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America’s military might with the failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.
To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.
From WZ: http://weaselzippers.us/
Posted on | September 10, 2013
You’re not supposed to say that The Syrian Crisis has been manufactured for domestic political purposes. The underlying situation is legitimately serious enough — a two-year civil war in which the dictatorship has allegedly used sarin nerve gas against civilians.
The problem is that this administration is so dishonest and cynical, so committed to campaigning and so inept at governing, that whatever they do, our natural suspicion is that they’re playing politics.
Serious People therefore cannot say what a lot of people suspect: When Congress returned from their August recess, they were due to have hearings on a series of Obama administration scandals — IRS, NSA and especially, Benghazi. By ginning up an international crisis over Syria, Obama was basically shouting: “Look! Squirrel!”
If Syria is the Big Story that all Serious People are supposed to be talking about, all the scandal investigations — IRS, NSA, Benghazi — became by definition Small Stories for Unserious People.
SYRIA SAYS IT ACCEPTED RUSSIAN WEAPONS PROPOSAL – Associated Press
Obama Backs Idea for Syria to Cede Control of Arms – New York Times
OK, there’s the requisite Syria News Headline Stack, and I can therefore say I’ve done my quota, so all you Serious People who have been running around on the Syrian Squirrel Hunt can stop mocking my unseriousness for ignoring the Big Story.
Tomorrow? Yeah, the one-year anniversary of the Benghazi attack, and all anyone will be talking about is the president’s Syria speech.
Tell me again how serious you are, Serious People.
You just got played.
From TOMC: http://theothermccain.com/
In a shocking turn in these hallucinogenic times that the Obama era has heralded, the Obama administration is throwing British military chiefs out of US meetings about Syria, and uber leftist Fisk has turned his knife on Obama.
Yes here we are. Pigs are flying when Robert Fisk calls the Obamessiah the “silly man in the White House.”
British military chiefs are being ejected from US meetings about Syria in the first direct consequence of David Cameron’s refusal to join military action. The role of senior British officers based at US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, has been downgraded because they cannot be trusted with high-level intelligence about a conflict with which they are no longer involved, military sources say. Behind a paywall, but you can read most of it here.
Bonus, Robert Fisk: Watershed. It’s the only word for it. Once Lebanon and Syria and Egypt trembled when Washington spoke. Now they laugh. It’s not just a question of what happened to the statesmen of the past. No one believed that Cameron was Churchill or that the silly man in the White House was Roosevelt – although Putin might make a rather good Stalin. It’s more a question of credibility; no one in the Middle East takes America seriously anymore. And you only had to watch Obama on Saturday to see why.
For there he was, prattling on in the most racist way about “ancient sectarian differences” in the Middle East. Since when was the president of the United States an expert on these supposed “sectarian differences”? Constantly we are shown maps of the Arab world with Shiites and Sunnis and Christians colour-coded onto the nations which we generously bequeathed to the region after the First World War. But when is an American paper going to carry a colour-coded map of Washington or Chicago with black and white areas delineated by streets?
But what was amazing was the sheer audacity of our leaders in thinking that they could yet again bamboozle their electorates with their lies and trumperies and tomfooleries.
“They lie beautifully, of course. I saw debates in Congress. A congressman asks Mr Kerry: ‘Is al Qaeda there?’ He says: ‘No, I am telling you responsibly that it is not’,” [Vladimir] Putin said at a meeting of his human rights council in the Kremlin.
“Al Qaeda units are the main military echelon, and they know this,” he said, referring to the United States. “It was unpleasant and surprising for me – we talk to them, we proceed from the assumption that they are decent people. But he is lying and knows he is lying. It’s sad.”
Putin did not give any more details.
In an exchange with a senator, Kerry was asked whether it was “basically true” that the Syrian opposition had “become more infiltrated by al Qaeda over time. Kerry said: “No, that is actually basically not true. It’s basically incorrect”.
Things have come to a pretty pass when a Russian strongman is more likely to be telling the truth than the American Secretary of State and the POTUS he represents. But if the Obama Regime admitted that we were going to war at least partially on behalf of al Qaeda, people might actually wake up and resist.
From MB: http://moonbattery.com/
At this point, it is beyond obvious that America’s government is not on America’s side. The question is, just how consciously treasonous is the Executive Branch, including not only Obama’s ideologically grotesque administration but the massive bureaucracy behind it. For example:
An estimated one-fifth of a subset of all applicants for Central Intelligence Agency positions had significant ties to the terror groups Hamas, Hezbollah and al Qaeda, a newly released document from NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s collection revealed Monday.
Given the Affirmative Action mentality that saddled us with Obama, it is likely an advantage when seeking government work to have a Muslim background.
Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Center, Shadi Hamid, tweets out about the Egyptian media depicting
Obama as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Newspaper also claims that son of MB leader threatened Obama w- release of “papers” revealing his MB membership: pic.twitter.com/x4lV2JdS91
At least this would finally allow us to make sense of Obama’s foreign policy.
From MB: http://moonbattery.com/
The purpose here is less to come to their defense and more to thumb his nose at Putin. How far our relationship with Russia has fallen. Yes, the “reset” was a reset to complete animosity, and Russia not the only country with whom Obama has harmed relationships.
In a display of utter political incoherence, President Obama plans to meet with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates in Russia while visiting the Kremlin, even as he attempts to lobby Russian President Vladimir Putin for support on an international military action against Syria. Russian opposition to American intervention in Syria has been a major factor in Obama’s decision to seek approval from Congress for military action in Syria. On Saturday, Obama blasted the UN Security Council, a veiled reference to Russia, by calling it “completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold [Syrian President Bashar] Assad accountable.”
While in Moscow, Obama plans to meet with human rights activists Lev Ponomarev and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, legal aid non-governmental-organization director Pavel Chikov, and Coming Out.
Russia and the United States have been at odds over myriad issues over the past few months, including Russia’s grant of asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Russia’s law against “gay propaganda,” and Russia’s Middle Eastern policy in support of Iran and Syria.
From Weasel Zippers: http://weaselzippers.us/
Catastrophic for who? — Ayman al-Zawahiri?
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Monday that it would be “catastrophic” if a use-of-force resolution against Syria fails to pass Congress.
“A rejection of this resolution would be catastrophic, not just for him but for the institution of the presidency and the credibility of the United States,” McCain said after meeting with President Barack Obama.
Yet McCain said he has not yet been persuaded to support Obama’s Syria proposal because the president has yet to outline his plan of attack against the Assad regime.
“I’m already talking to a lot of my colleagues, but before I can persuade them to support this, I have to be persuaded,” McCain said. “I’m saying that I think the president made sense in a lot of things he had to say, but we are a long way from achieving what I think would be a most effective strategy.”
From Weasel Zippers: http://weaselzippers.us/
Slouching towards Armageddon
I see the Obama “reset” is going so swimmingly that the president is now threatening to go to war against a dictator who gassed his own people. Don’t worry, this isn’t anything like the dictator who gassed his own people that the discredited warmonger Bush spent 2002 and early 2003 staggering ever more punchily around the country inveighing against. The 2003 dictator who gassed his own people was the leader of the Baath Party of Iraq. The 2013 dictator who gassed his own people is the leader of the Baath Party of Syria. Whole other ball of wax. The administration’s ingenious plan is to lose this war in far less time than we usually take. In the unimprovable formulation of an unnamed official speaking to the Los Angeles Times, the White House is carefully calibrating a military action “just muscular enough not to get mocked.”
The problem with the American way of war is that, technologically, it can’t lose, but, in every other sense, it can’t win. No one in his right mind wants to get into a tank battle or a naval bombardment with the guys responsible for over 40 percent of the planet’s military expenditures. Which is why these days there aren’t a lot of tank battles. The consummate interventionist Robert Kagan wrote in his recent book that the American military “remains unmatched.” It’s unmatched in the sense that the only guy in town with a tennis racket isn’t going to be playing a lot of tennis matches. But the object of war, in Liddell Hart’s famous distillation, is not to destroy the enemy’s tanks (or Russian helicopters) but his will. And on that front America loses, always. The “unmatched” superpower cannot impose its will on Kabul kleptocrats, Pashtun goatherds, Egyptian generals, or Benghazi militia. There is no reason to believe Syria would be an exception to this rule. America’s inability to win ought to be a burning national question, but it’s not even being asked.
Making it even more complicated is that with Syria, we don’t even know what our “will” is. All we really know is that, as usual, pResident Gutsy Call no doubt feels it’s something that we need to be apologizing for.
It does mark another historic first for him, though: this will be the first time the country has been dragged into war merely to keep the Dimwit In Chief from looking bad because he couldn’t stop his big mouth from writing checks his dumb ass couldn’t cash.
What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaida. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.
Just one of many such quotes popping up all over from various double-dealing, opportunistic, fork-tongued liberals. And lest we forget:
Remember how Barack Obama was going to unite the world and build coalitions and finally respect the authority of the UN?
Remember how going it alone in matters of war used to be a bad thing, even when you went it alone in a coalition of 40 countries?
Well, hey, why should they? How does that help them do their job, which is propping up their stumbling, bumbling Dreamy Dreamy Dreamboat?
From Cold Fury: http://coldfury.com/2013/08/31/slouching-towards-armageddon/
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013
The death and destruction of the Syrian Civil War is beyond disturbing. There is a humanitarian crisis of Biblical proportions happening on all sides of the Syrian borders as combat drives hundreds of thousands of refugees into sprawling camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. International intervention – whether in the name of peacekeeping or peace enforcement – or even a simple no-fly zone such as we imposed in Libya during the toppling of Ghaddafi, is challenging due to the fact that there are no good guys here, and Assad’s anti-aircraft defenses are formidible.
On the one hand we have Assad, who despite Liberal endorsement has shown himself to be a ruthless thug dictator, a butcher.
Democrats never met a dictator they didn’t fall in love with.
As recently as February 2011, at the cusp of the Arab Spring, Vogue magazine published an article which was no less than a slobbering tongue-bath of admiration for the Assad family focusing on the wife of the Butcher of Damascus.
And on the other hand there are the Syrian rebels, co-opted by the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda. They have proven willing to conduct ruthless war crimes to further their agenda.
In order to understand the conflict in Syria, it is necessary to understand the nature of tribal war. As the traditional center of Arab culture, Syria is of course a tribal society, led by the Assad family of the Alawite tribe. When a tribal society devolves into civil war, the ruling tribe will fight tooth and nail to remain in place, because the alternative is genocide.
This explains the savagery we are seeing in Syria. Assad and his side are fighting for more than to just remain in power; they are fighting for their families lives, the lives of their extended families, their towns, villages, farms and land holdings, and for the very existence of the Alawite way of life.
The humanitarian crisis alone is reason for some kind of international role. On top of that, the stability of the region is at risk. If Syria falls to al Qaeda, Jordan is next. And yet the dilemma remains; whose side to take? In other words, there simply are no good guys in this mess.
Out of some kind of desperate sentiment to impose constraint on Assad, President Obama pronounced his famous “red line”: the use of chemical weapons would be the trigger for US military intervention against the Assad regime. The rebels heard him say it, of course. In the wake of the Damascus chemical attacks of 21 August, there remains uncertainty regarding who actually conducted the attacks.
In other words, are the rebels capable of releasing chemical weapons on their own people, in order to bring international military force against the dictator Assad’s forces?
Secretary of State John Kerry referenced the above photograph when making his speech yesterday, trying to drive home how awful the Syrian chemical attack was as he tried to convince us why we should go to war. One problem. The picture isn’t even from Syria. It’s from Iraq in 2003. The photographer, Marco di Lauro, said he nearly “fell off his chair” when he saw it was being used to promote a war in Syria.
The rules of carrying a firearm include: you NEVER draw the weapon unless you fully intend to use deadly force. Obama displayed his weaponry when he tossed his “red line” out there. Somebody called him on it, and now it looks like the President of the United States has been called on a bluff.
Planning 101 demands that for any endeavor, there should be a quantifiable objective. So far I haven’t heard discussion of any possible objectives in Syria. Apparently there are NO objectives to an internationalist military intervention in Syria – or that any desirable outcome would be extremely costly – our usual allies the British and the French are in no hurry to wade into this briar patch.
The foundation of US foreign policy is Teddy Roosevelt’s doctrine: “Walk softly and carry a big stick,” not “Shoot your mouth off and then back down when the bad guys call you out.” That’s three big mistakes by Mr. Barack Hussein Obama.
Amateur hour, if you ask me.
- STORMBRINGER SENDS at: http://seanlinnane.blogspot.com/
Posted on | August 29, 2013
Could be the most unintentionally funny headline of the year: “Bomb Syria, Even if It Is Illegal”
There are moral reasons for disregarding the law, and I believe the Obama administration should intervene in Syria. But it should not pretend that there is a legal justification in existing law. Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to do just that on Monday, when he said of the use of chemical weapons, “This international norm cannot be violated without consequences.” His use of the word “norm,” instead of “law,” is telling. Syria is a party to neither the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 nor the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, and even if it were, the treaties rely on the United Nations Security Council to enforce them — a major flaw. Syria is a party to the Geneva Protocol, a 1925 treaty that bans the use of toxic gases in wars. But this treaty was designed after World War I with international war in mind, not internal conflicts.
‘Rodeo clown’ is the new cowboy, no? After around 6 years of anti-Bush Adventurism arguments (and the bulk of a year spent in Afghanistan helping carry out one of Obama’s rare promises kept) the skepticism has kind of settled in. Also, one cannot possibly fathom what strategic interest the U.S. even has in the Levant. Maybe standing by our ally, Israel. It is a cheery thing to see the occasional greeting on YouTube from Bibi Netanyahu. But is the refreshment of hearing from an actual leader of the non-rodeo-clown variety of sufficient value to justify throwing blood and treasure at Damascus?
Of course ethics, not only laws, should guide policy decisions. Since the Rwandan genocide and the Balkan mass killings of the 1990s, a movement has emerged in support of adding humanitarian intervention as a third category of lawful war, under the concept of the “responsibility to protect.” It is widely accepted by the United Nations and most governments. It is not, however, in the charter, and it lacks the force of law.
Morality, or ethics? I’d argue, against the dictionary, that the two are not synonymous. There really isn’t any moral case in favor of disregarding law. Law is a human product, and therefore may be incomplete, or out of sync with the times. There could be ethical reasons for disregarding a law. I wish the author, Hurd, had provided a link to this famous movement, though. Maybe the “humanitarian intervention” community could help us track down the elusive anti-war movement that flourishes during Republican administrations, whenever those corporatists are out to drive up profits. Perhaps the anti-war movement is cryogenically suspended in Jane Fonda’s basement. I’ve got to emphasize this closing bit:
Since Russia and China won’t help, Mr. Obama and allied leaders should declare that international law has evolved and that they don’t need Security Council approval to intervene in Syria.
This would be popular in many quarters, and I believe it’s the right thing to do. But if the American government accepts that the rule of law is the foundation of civilized society, it must be clear that this represents a new legal path.
Anybody who thinks that Russia isn’t fomenting unrest to drive up oil prices is clueless. President Rodeo Clown should know that peace, prosperity, and a Keystone XL pipeline are the best ways to stick it to the Russian bear. At least in DC, no one uses the phrase “it’s the right thing to do” without a disdainful eye roll. In DC it means: sure, we’re jacked up to high heaven, but isn’t everything else, too?
From The Other McCain: http://theothermccain.com/
Leaving Afghanistan Just Like the Soviets – With our Ass Handed to Us. (Don’t blame our Fine Troops)
Tail: between legs
This is what defeat looks like:
As the months march toward the end of the major U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, the stresses on units will grow. Life becomes increasingly austere at the end: creature comforts vanish, food quality worsens, mail stops. Tactically, the focus alters. Yesterday’s top priorities — defeating the enemy, building up the indigenous forces — become less important than leaving with each soldier safe. It becomes clearer by the day that, barring some deus ex machina, the U.S. endeavor will make no strategically significant gains, though the potential for significant losses increases by the week.
As troop densities diminish, soldiers take on new tasks, each of which constitutes a distraction from combat missions. Accounting for the detritus accumulated through a decade of war is not simple, nor is packing up and preparing for departure. As a result of these tasks, gradually decreasing combat power and the desire to avoid rankling local civilians, soldiers will confine their patrols to areas close to the base and directly linked to U.S. force protection. Challenges will increase toward the end, as surveillance equipment, interpreters and weapons systems disappear. U.S. units will need to transfer security responsibilities to Afghans as we did to Iraqis and they will need to pray those forces hold their ground.
If the situation in Afghanistan mirrors ours in 2011 Iraq, U.S. troops will find themselves in a quickly changing relationship with their host nation. For years, the Iraqi security forces were the recipients of U.S. largesse, which both outfitted them with needed equipment and supplies and obligated them to support the U.S. mission. The situation changes as the flow of materiel slows. At some point, U.S. forces in Afghanistan will have no more to give their counterparts, and it will be time for the Afghan national security forces to work through their own systems for repair parts, construction materials and medicine. The Afghans, like the Iraqis, will do without some vital provisions. And they will no longer be compelled by their reliance on us to cooperate.
Goodwill and trust became the keys to our survival in Iraq, and they will be central again in the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Oh. So our guys are screwed, then. Again, I mean.
As we left Iraq in 2011, we worried about the Iraqis’ dependability. Were they proficient enough to prevent attacks? Were they committed enough to want to? The recent spate of green-on-blue violence in Afghanistan complicates an already complex relationship between Afghan national security forces and Americans. The challenge for U.S. forces will be to navigate between trust and distrust of Afghans so their transition, like ours more than a year ago, will be uneventful.
The best outcome for the U.S. departure from Afghanistan? A safe exodus and a slow news day.
How very sad that that is our sole “achievement” after ten futile years managing that sour, brackish backwater, although of course my fingers will be crossed for them. But it was inevitable, I guess.
We probably ought to consider not fighting any more wars for any reason, unless and until we decide that “victory” will no longer mean “overextending our stay so as to be able to present barbarian savages a pre-cooked democracy that they are neither capable nor inclined to appreciate on a silver platter, and hoping to civilize a country that isn’t remotely civilized and only barely qualifies as a country.”
Get home safe, boys, each and every one of you. The fault for the debacle was in no way yours, and not one more of you should have to die for such hopeless folly.
From COld Fury: http://coldfury.com/