Break out the bubbly….we have an anniversary to celebrate……17 years ago this month, October, we entered into a war with the Taleban and AQ in the central Asian country of Afghanistan.
17 years and some of the troops were in diapers when it began and they are now fighting it….how many movies have been made about this situation….the length of the war that is…….those were considered “fantasies”.
This worthless back and forth reminds me of the 100 Years War fought between France and England in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Anyway we continue to deploy our troops and they continue the fight…..and after 17 years what have we learned…..either valuable or not?
Seventeen years ago this month, in response to an attack on American soil many times greater than had ever occurred before, the United States under Acting President Dick Cheney — sorry, make that Vice President — launched what became the longest and most expensive war in American history.
A war that, strangely and stupidly, still goes on with no more signs of victory than it has ever had in all these years.
The war on Afghanistan, begun in retaliation against the Taliban government of that country that had apparently harbored the al-Qaida organization we held to be instigators of the 9/11 attack, has been responsible for at least 110,000 Afghanistan deaths, including 31,000 civilians, and 2,375 American soldiers killed and 20,320 wounded, according to official statistics. Statistics that, like most things in that country, are highly unreliable and, for Americans, do not include the full number of mental casualties and the number of soldiers who have committed suicide in the years after serving, estimated to be between 10 and 20 a day.
Let us be honest……we learned the same thing that we learned after a decade of the Vietnam War……NOTHING!
I see the head of Blackwater does not take NO for an answer…..the Afghan government has told the world that they would NOT accept foreign mercs fighting their wars and yet…they keep trying……
The Afghan government doesn’t agree on much, but they appear overwhelmingly aligned in their rejection of Blackwater founder Erik Prince’s proposal to “privatize” the US occupation of Afghanistan.
A lot of the specifics of this plan have not been made public, but the broad strokes are that, 17 years into the US occupation, the military would be replaced outright by US-hired military contractors. Prince argues this would make the war cheaper.
Prince’s plan clearly can’t happen if the Afghan government refuses, but in the quest to replace the US military, replacing the Afghan government with a more favorable one might not be such a tall order. Prince has been holding a flurry of meetings in recent weeks.
The meetings are with influential Afghans, including top politicians who are potential replacements for President Ghani in the upcoming election. Prince insists he isn’t trying to interfere in Afghan politics, though it’s not a real secret that a more favorable government would be very good for him.
Our so-called training mission is really trying to get more proxies ready to fight our wars for us……
Within a decade, Australia must anticipate greater economic, political and military competition in the Indo-Pacific and, as power balances shift, the ADF will struggle to sustain the technological advantage it maintained during the Cold War. In this increasingly multipolar security environment, the high-technology, high-lethality, high-cost conventional warfighting platforms we’re acquiring will be of decreasing use. These exquisite acquisitions will, paradoxically, increase the likelihood of low-cost proxy conflict, as we see in Syria. Indeed, this situation has led Daniel Byman to note that all of today’s major wars are in essence proxy wars.
Proxy wars are not a new phenomenon. During the Cold War, the threat of mutually assured destruction drove major nuclear powers to achieve political ends through indirect means—as when the U.S. fought Vietnamese forces that were heavily backed by China and Russia.
With a new year will we have learned anything or will we continue down this same well worn road?
As a child of the 60’s I am always finding music to explain the stories I write…..and I think I found the best song to describe our involvement in Afghanistan……ENJOY!
We can check out….but we can NEVER leave!