Thursday, October 8, 2009



Change in US strategy a must.
Time to break out the hi tech and crush the low tech

(October 8, Reston, VA) In an amazing exercise of power and might comprised initially of small CIA paramilitary and Special Forces units covertly inserted, the United States began the campaign to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban who had served as protective hosts of the terrorist group,Al Qaeda., who had orchestrated the massive terror attacks of September 11, 2001. After the initial insertions of men and money who joined forces with the Northern Alliance, the remnants of ragtag militias still resisting the dominant Taliban, the United States brought out the heavy bombers and put troops on the ground. The fight was on and the Taliban was crushed within three weeks while their leaders and Al Qaeda fled into the rugged, mountainous, tribal, area near Tora Bora which borders Pakistan. Rather than finish the job then and there, decisively and definitively, the imbecilic, messianic President George W. Bush decided to start his personal grudge match against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The rest, of course, is well known history.

The fact that we remain in Afghanistan after eight years is as troubling as it is costly and, at times, seemingly futile. The Obama Administration who inherited this military morass is now struggling to redefine our mission, strategy and goals there. What was originally a righteous cause where the United States had support of virtually every other nation on the planet has devolved into a complex, confusing, pseudo-quagmire where our efforts appear to be disjointed, scatter shot and inadequate. Our NATA allies are dwindling by the day so the military presence in that vast, perpetually ungovernable country are solely American faces. Even the “democratic” government literally installed by the Bush crowd is rife with corruption of every sort and has virtually no governmental authority beyond the small seat of “power” in Kabul. The recent presidential “election” there has been roundly criticized and effectively neutered by rampant charges of electoral irregularities.

Afghanistan for centuries has been an impenetrable conglomeration of tribes of varying ethnic and religious composition. It is a “country” in name only; forever resistant to a central government of any kind. The history of outside forces in Afghanistan is the very definition of failure – stunning, demoralizing, grinding failure. Just ask the Russians (then, the USSR) about there bruising 10 year war and their ultimate humiliating, empire destroying defeat. Of course during that time period the United States was supplying the mujaheddin with money and arms so they could fight our proxy war with the Soviet Union. Now it is our turn.

There is no way for us to “win” in Afghanistan because there is no way presently agreed upon to define victory. Our righteous battle against those who attacked us here at home in 2001 and their extreme Islamic fundamentalist hosts has devolved into an ill defined brawl with various factions, militias and determined tribal warlords. The billions in aid we have given to the Karzai government has vanished in the vast, deep sinkholes of corruption and narco-trafficking, and fleeting alliances. Who are we “fighting” there today? Who is the “enemy”? Who, in that country aside from the self important, criminally corrupt Hamid Karzai, even wants us there? What are our abilities to conduct military operations on the Pakistani border region? Speaking of Pakistan, what exactly is their relationship with the Taliban and other like minded groups? These are not merely rhetorical questions; these are the core issues at the heart of the serious debate being engaged in today in the White House, State Department, Pentagon and the Intelligence community.

At the center of the debate now is the number of troops that should be kept in and additionally deployed to Afghanistan. This seems to be a question that needs to be asked after several other, far more important questions are asked and answered satisfactorily. We need a true answers of the questions asked above as ell as a complete redefinition of the mission, goal and end game. What will constitute “victory” and how can we accomplish that? What we are involved in right now in Afghanistan is the penultimate example of asymmetrical warfare and counter insurgency. In some ways, despite military successes since Viet Nam, our military appears to have learned little abut the most effective tactics for challenging, fighting and outthinking a hard core insurgency amid a hostile local population.


Air Force pilots operate Predator drones, unmanned aircraft
from an air base far from the battlefields.

To continue our current strategy in Afghanistan essentially dooms our military to a protracted, nasty, bloody conflict. The non combatant citizens of Afghanistan are already beginning to become increasingly hostile to our troops; our continued presence will only breed a stronger, more determined insurgency, gain support for Al Qaeda and, perhaps, create conditions conducive for a resurgent Taliban to exert control over more and more territory. The past eight years have clearly illustrated just how foolish and costly the continuance of the status quo or a mere tweaking of it would be.

The time has come for us to begin to reduce the troop numbers in Afghanistan and refocus on our true enemies - the people who are responsible for 9 11 01 and their hosts. We have the technology that will allow us to continue, if not escalate the fight while reducing the number of troops on the ground. The United States has spent untold trillions of dollars over the years developing new age methods and machinery for modern warfare. Now is the time to use every hi tech tool in our military arsenal to hunt and kill Al Qaeda. Our fight with the Taliban is more nuanced and we need to consider diplomatic efforts with factions of the Taliban who have no use for Al Qaeda and the destruction and devastation they have invited to Afghanistan. The much praised “surge” in Iraq was successful because our military was able to negotiate and ultimately partner with various warlords and tribal leaders to rid specific towns and villages of insurgents and “foreign fighters” - Islamic extremists attracted to Iraq simply to fight “the Americans.” We need a similar approach in Afghanistan.

In October 2001, had we dedicated the vast military resources to Afghanistan that we foolishly squandered going into Iraq in 2003, we would not be in the position we are in today. 160,000 troops, artillery and our stunning airpower, conventional methods, would have yielded quick results. The Taliban fell and fled within weeks of our first air strikes and Special forces skirmishes. That would have been the time to secure as much of the country as possible and allow for some stability which would have bread even greater stability. This would have at least created the basic conditions for the Afghans to decide how they wanted t be governed; no force on earth has ever or will ever be able to govern Afghanistan unless it is homegrown. History is replete with examples of those who tried and failed.

We should stop funding Hamid Karzai and his opium king brother. We are not there to “nation build”. How can you build a nation where one has never existed before? All the schools, bridges, irrigation and electricity projects in the world will not, cn not succeed in Afghanistan unless the Afghans, all the multitude of tribes and clans, want them to. We’ve got to stop wasting our troops lives, national treasure and time. Let all the drones, cruise and hellfire missiles t our disposal dispose of Al Qaeda where ever they may rear their heads. Let’s exert some of the authority at our command as a Super Power and tell tumultuous, nuclear weapon armed Pakistan to clean up their act or there will be no more US dollars flooding in. We could bomb the rugged area of the Afghan - Pakistan border where Al Qaeda is suspected to be until it is nothing but a glass plain. We don’t need top shed another drop of American blood in that god forsaken hellhole. We can fight them with our technology from the comfort of military bases and Naval vessels hundreds if not thousands of miles away. No more “whack-a-mole” tactics. Let’s hit them hard and relentlessly and send the unequivocable message that we’re tired of this shit and we’re not going to take it anymore.


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