In the history of mankind, many republics have risen, have flourished for a less or greater time, and then have fallen because their citizens lost the power of governing themselves and thereby of governing their state. TR


Is Salvadore Dali Running Our Afghan War Effort?

Please, someone remove me from this Absurdist Art Project.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney went on at length Monday about how our goal in Afghanistan was to defeat al Qaeda.


None to speak of anyway.

This strategy would come as above-the-fold news to our soldiers, who think they are fighting the Taliban. But the Taliban are apparently not the enemy. Carney said nothing about fighting them.

A few excerpts:

What the President did when he reviewed U.S. policy in Afghanistan was insist that we focus our attention on what our absolute goals in the country should be, and prioritize them.  And he made clear that the number-one priority, the reason why U.S. troops are in Afghanistan in the first place, is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al Qaeda.

We can’t forget what the mission is, though, and the fact that the need to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda remains.

We will be unrelenting in our pursuit of al Qaeda and unrelenting in our efforts to remove leaders of al Qaeda from the battlefield.

Then Jake Tapper, who asks some good questions, asked some good questions.

Q    When I interviewed then-CIA director Leon Panetta a couple years ago, he said there were fewer than 100 CIA — I mean, I’m sorry — he said there were fewer than 100 al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan.  How many do we think are there now?  About the same amount?

MR. CARNEY:  I don’t have a specific number for you.

Q    When is the last time U.S. troops in Afghanistan killed anybody associated with al Qaeda?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, I would refer you to ISAF and the Defense Department for that.  I don’t have that information.

This is certainly groundbreaking. We are actually fighting someone to defeat someone else. And the goal isn’t even to defeat the people we are fighting. And the people we really want to defeat aren’t even fighting.

This has to be demoralizing for U.S. troops who are being shot at by the people who are not our enemies. Maybe, they must think to themselves, we can shoot at the Taliban, and if we miss, we’ll hit an al Qaeda operative hiding in Pakistan.

The White House used to at least talk about “breaking the Taliban’s momentum,” an idea that was officially declared by the International Bureau of Silly Notions to be the oddest war fighting goal in history. Such nonsense was the result of Obama’s decision not to provide his generals with enough troops to win the war.

But now we’re not even trying to do break anyone’s momentum.

Hoping to compound the sense of absurdity, Obama is no longer willing to provide the funding the Kabul government will need to ward off the barbarians. From the Wall Street Journal:

An American proposal to cut the size of Afghan security forces by more than one-third after 2014 could lead to a catastrophe, Afghanistan’s defense minister told The Wall Street Journal, underlining his government’s growing fears of being abandoned after most foreign troops withdraw.

The minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, expressed his concerns after the U.S., which along with its allies funds Afghanistan’s military and police forces, circulated a new proposal to cut troops to 230,000 after 2014, from 352,000 this year.

So we’re proposing to slash Afghan forces that we worked for years to establish because, as the article eventually makes clear, we and the Europeans don’t want to pay for it.

Exactly what we did after leaving Vietnam.

I guess we should have enough money left over to build another wall on the National Mall in Washington to honor wasted lives.

20 thoughts on “Is Salvadore Dali Running Our Afghan War Effort?”

    1. I wish there was something that I could say that would be helpful, Car in. Perhaps we’ll be out of there entirely by then. A lot can change in a year.

    1. You can count on me, my family and friends to pull the lever for ABO, Car in. Can only imagine how our military serving in Afghanistan feel about their “leaders” bowing and scraping to the enemy…

  1. I don’t think it matters anymore who we are fighting in that wasteland. The Afghans don’t have our backs, they have a gun to shoot us in the back of the head. As sorry as it feels sometimes you just have to cut your losses and learn from the mistakes.

    1. Must agree.

      It’s a shame we can’t get out any more gracefully than we did from ‘Nam but the essential thing is that we get out. Our people are being killed, it’s costing us a fortune and we’re making no progress.

  2. Gutsy blog Keith.

    And, unfortunately, you will end up correct. We had Iraq won but now it’s fallen apart and will end up in a civil war. Afghanistan will be the same. Another two wars where we never lost a battle but lost the war. We never learn.

    I didn’t like the way Clinton fought wars from 40,000 feet and then got the UN to go in on the ground. I did like the way Bush first went into Afghanistan but he blew it with the cease fire at Tora Bora. Perhaps future presidents will learn from these incidents and send in the overwhelming forces Bush used, don’t accept cease fires, and then get everyone out after 1 year.

    We will see if we do any better with Iran.

  3. Excellent comparison to Vietnam. After Nixon negotiated the Peace Accords and left office, the 94th congress shamefully sold South Vietnam down the river, leaving the North to massacre millions and break the accords with impunity. Then they castrated the CIA. Then Carter [nee Obama] turned his back on Romero & Samoza in Central America, and helped usher in Ayatollah Khomeini. According to ‘American Amnesia’ [Herschensohn] our UN ambassador Andrew Young said “Khomeini will be somewhat of a Saint when we get over the panic.” I fear Obummer’s legacy will match Carter’s.

  4. When we won in WWII it was in the western world. The countries could take back control of their governing, and what we ended up with was something we could recognize and approve because we were all of the same family stock.

    The Middle East and Asia are different beings from us. The Middle East is oppressed by the conformity cult known as islam, in which everyone scrambles to get into a position to lord over others. Submission to allah means subjugation to the religious power structure, which even reaches into your life to dictate the arrangement of your bathroom and which way you may face when peeing outdoors. This is more than “foreign” to western thinking, it is like oil and water.

    We have been fed the hopeful idea for a long time that because all humans like babies and good food, we are fundamentally all the same in our worldview. Not true.

    With wars such as the ones we have fought in the Middle East all that can be done is to win and colonize. The local people are outraged at the violation of the parts of the culture that they enjoy and are scheming to put themselves in power so they can avoid the parts they dislike and enforce them on others. There is no winning the “hearts and minds” of people who simply don’t have experience with democracy and are used to finding a comfortable niche in a social system that allows them to win favor by conforming and mistreat others for failing to do so. Toss God into the mix and all this conforming and oppressing is then given a heavenly gloss.

    Our best bet is to stay out of such situations until we are prepared to fight them to the end and take and keep their land. Doesn’t sound very American, does it?

    1. Well said Anonna. All we’ve really accomplished in SW Asia is to make it easier for them to kill Westerners. I agree that we should sit back and watch them kill each other. It will sort out in the end…see how well Iran is doing?

  5. Exactly on point. Many think we lost the war in Vietnam. In reality, the congress reduced the funding to the South Vietnamese and thus it fell to the well (Chinese) funded North.

    There is no objective there except to reduce the number of troops to zero by next year. If that is the objective, pull out today. Do not waste another American life. If there is a goal that makes us a safer nation, then pursue that avenue without an attached time limit.

    Obama doesn’t have a clue when it comes to military tactics and understanding the enemies of our nation.

  6. Time to cut our losses–it does not honor the dead and injured to create more of them. What would “winning” even be? These people have never been conquered, convinced, modernized or influenced. We won’t be the first. Face it.

    1. I saw an interesting talk by Karl Marlantes, author of the Vietnam book MATTERHORN, on Book TV Sunday. He talked about asking young people to kill–how it created a wound on the soul that could seep open years later–PTSD–and that leaders must be very cautious in where and when and why they do this. This is not some “bleeding heart” crap–it’s raw, emotional, suicides by soldiers are very high, this is too open-ended, too undefined, too ignored. Yes, this is a volunteer military–but some of this is stuff you can’t volunteer for with any understanding of the long-term efffects.

  7. MT for re-redistribution

    Carney is obviously a friggin idiot. Taliban…Al Qaida… What’s the dif? Obama’s swooning voters won’t realize he has no clue.

    We should have gone in with overwhelming force, leveled the stinkin, $hit-hole country, disabled their ability to threaten for a decade, then got the hell out. Deal out some punishment to make jackasses like Adminjbadabadoo think seriously about provoking us. As it is, they are just encouraged (“I’m so sorry about your book, now excuse me, I have to go buy a training bra”).

    I know, there are innocent people. But seriously there never will be peace in the mideast, and it’s our choice whether we want to dangle our men out there as targets or not. I say ‘not’, so get them all the hell out of there, now.

    I like the principle that if some rogue country ‘motivates’ us, the world is going to end for their whole government.

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