Afghanistan: USSR’s Vietnam

More international stuff for my readers……

Afghanistan makes the news and not because of it being our longest war…..but rather the babbling of an ignorant president that wants to sound intelligent…..and he fails….

– President Donald Trump seemed to misstate the former Soviet Union’s involvement in Afghanistan on Wednesday with a convoluted account that sparked ridicule on Twitter.

“Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. “The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there.”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/01/02/president-trump-former-soviet-union-right-invade-afghanistan/2466897002/

The last day of the year and NO has mentioned that December of 1979 was the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union….I realize that most people are fixated on their treasures from the Christmas thing and the wait for the big party that ends another year….most people’s minds are numb right now….a good time for me to try and jump start the mental process.

39 years ago the troops of the USSR entered the country of Afghanistan in support of a new leader of the socialist persuasion….

Afghanistan was the ground for one of the last Cold War battles between the United States and the Soviet Union, after the Red Army rolled into the country on December 24, 1979.

Observers give a number of reasons for the Soviet invasion. Until 1973 Afghanistan was a monarchy led by King Mohammad Zahir Shah before he was overthrown by his cousin Mohammad Daoud, whose party consisted of pro-Communist elements.

Daoud was overthrown by the Afghan communists. Internal struggles among the communists led to another coup in which Hafizullah Amin took the reins of power. According to experts, the Soviets perceived Amin as a potential Tito – he was in touch with both China and the United States and the Soviets saw Afghanistan slipping out of its orbit.

https://www.aljazeera.com/archive/2003/04/2008410113842420760.html

This invasion is a great course for anyone going into diplomatic studies…….

It was to last nearly a decade and would plant the seeds for the rise of the Taliban and Islamic terrorism and the subsequent invasion by the U.S. more than 20 years later.  On December 24, 1979, the Soviet Union sent thousands of troops into Afghanistan and immediately assumed complete military and political control of Kabul and large portions of the country. It was the only time the Soviet Union invaded a country outside the Eastern Bloc.(It also nearly fit the 12-year pattern of major Soviet invasions — Hungary 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968.)

https://adst.org/2014/12/the-soviet-invasion-of-afghanistan-december-1979/

But now that Trump has opened mouth and inserted that small foot….maybe we should look at the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR……

There are plenty of reasons to seriously examine Russia’s role in Afghanistan, but too many articles fail to ask questions fundamental to making sense of Moscow’s aims. By refusing to closely scrutinize the facts on the ground, the role of China, and the logic of U.S. policy, the authors of many pieces can claim expertise but never be held accountable for their analysis. Russia is certainly an adversarial power for Washington, but Afghanistan deserves more than talking points from an aerial view.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/08/making-sense-of-russias-involvement-in-afghanistan/

Russia had their hands full with the opposition to their invasion…..and what made anyone in DC think that the Afghans would be open to another invasion and occupation?

Good question, huh?

The sad part with all the information available there will be those mental deficient that support Trump and will buy his version of the affair.

If Trump graduated from Wharton then I am a Mexican gardener named Jesus…..

How sad is that?

**************

Side note:  A pet peeve……the people of Afghanistan are Afghans not Afghanis…that is the currency of the country.

Now you know!

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Afghanistan: A New Year’s Conspiracy

I would like to wish my readers a very and prosper New Years….I will try to make this year, 2019, as good if not better than last year….thanx for your visits and your support.

Down to business.

I begin my year with a conspiracy theory…..

As I was eating my New Years meal of corned beef, cabbage, peas and corn bread I was talking with my son-in-law and we were voicing our thoughts and opinions of the troop draw down…..as I was telling him why we should bring our troops home from these adventures I was struck by a blinding light of a conspiracy theory.

A little background……

I am opposed to mercenaries used by the US to fight our wars…..oh so I do not hurt their feelings….they like to be called private security firms…..if it smells like sh*t it usually is…..

Pres. Trump employs the sister of the chief mercenary, Erik Prince, as his SecEd…..so the chief mercenary has the president’s ear….to the point that he float a plan to use Blackwater to privatize the war in Afghanistan….

https://lobotero.com/2017/08/11/dont-privatize-the-afghan-war-just-end-it/

The plan was shelved and we heard no more after that…..

Afghanistan?

Wait!

Did not Trump announce a draw down of US troops for Afghanistan?

Do you see where my thinking is going?

…..(Pause here for some to catch up)……

Now that Trump has managed to remove most of the generals from his administration, people who would have opposed using mercenaries to fight the war, could the plan come off the shelf and dusted off?

After finishing the meal I decided to hit the reference button in my brain and see if there could be any validity to the fear that gripped me……

My research produced some evidence in favor of my fear…..

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is out.

Mattis’ resignation comes amid news that President Donald Trump has directed the drawdown of 2,000 U.S. forces in Syria, and 7,000 U.S. forces from Afghanistan, a U.S. official confirmed to Military Times, a story first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

This month, in the January/February print issue of the gun and hunting magazine “Recoil,” the former contractor security firm Blackwater USA published a full-page ad, in all black with a simple message: “We are coming.”

Is the war in Afghanistan — and possibly elsewhere ― about to be privatized?

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/12/21/mattis-is-out-and-blackwater-is-back-we-are-coming/

Trump and Prince have a relationship and he, Trump, can look like he is keeping a campaign promise about our troops while making billions for Prince and whatever he names his near enterprise.

Here is his “pitch” for Afghanistan…….

Prince’s plan…..

Prince’s plan would see troops replaced with private military contractors who work for a special envoy that reports directly to the president.

“Right now, there are 15,000 US troops and another 30,000 contractors. All I need is … my plan would say 2,000 special forces remain and about 6,000 contractors. That is by any stretch a severe reduction in manpower and spending,” Prince told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell Friday, adding later that his whole plan would only cost around $3.5 billion, much less than the tens of billions of dollars the US spent in Afghanistan last year

https://www.businessinsider.com/blackwater-founder-erik-prince-aims-to-privatize-us-war-in-afghanistan-2018-8

In depth plan……

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/09/05/heres-the-blueprint-for-erik-princes-5-billion-plan-to-privatize-the-afghanistan-war/

His, Prince, one selling point…it will be cheaper…..that is a LIE!  Let me repeat that…IT IS A LIE!

But don’t believe me……

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2017/08/08/Five-Things-You-Need-Know-About-Plans-Privatize-Afghan-War

It is NO secret that I am antiwar and I am a staunch opponent to the privatization of war and the corruption and profit that is brings.

Further Reading:

https://intpolicydigest.org/2018/11/21/the-privatization-of-war-in-afghanistan/

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-privatization-of-war-mercenaries-private-military-and-security-companies-pmsc/21826

https://www.icrc.org/en/document/privatization-war

War should never be privatized!

Sorry for the length….it turned out that my mind and my fear can be justified…..

US troops out of Afghanistan and Blackwater corruption will soon appear in country.

Is Trump leaving the back door unlock for Prince to sneak through?

(Remember this post for I think I will be re-visiting it soon)

Afghanistan–Late 2018

I read recently that the US may have a build-up of troops for Afghanistan……

Increasingly resigned to the reality that the US simply isn’t going to stumble into a military victory in Afghanistan, US military commanders are looking to redouble their efforts. The goal now to to not just kill people, but “shape the political environment” ahead of negotiations.

Officials now see their goal increasingly as bolstering America’s bargaining position in inevitable negotiations with the Taliban. Their tactics for this are, unfortunately, further escalation of the raids and airstrikes that failed to win the war in the first place.

“You turn the dial up,” Gen. Miller said of the US intentions now that they think the Taliban are willing to negotiate. The assumption is that the Taliban will want an end to the war and start making concessions to avoid further US escalations.

Yet this ignores the entire 17+ year history of the war, in which the Taliban has always been content to wait out US surges, particularly those that seem extremely temporary, and continue to amass gains where they can.

(antiwar.com)

After 17 years of constant fighting in Afghanistan can anyone really say why we continue to put the troops through this ordeal?

The quote below is from a letter from the White House to Congress that informs the House and Senate about deployments of the U.S. Armed Forces to combat areas. (White House, Dec 7, 2018).

“Consistent with the strategy I announced publicly on August 21, 2017, United States Armed Forces remain in Afghanistan for the purposes of stopping the reemergence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten the United States, supporting the Afghan government and the Afghan military as they confront the Taliban in the field, and creating conditions to support a political process to achieve lasting peace.  United States forces in Afghanistan are training, advising, and assisting Afghan forces; conducting and supporting counterterrorism operations against al-Qa’ida and against ISIS; and taking appropriate measures against those who provide direct support to al-Qa’ida, threaten United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan, or threaten the viability of the Afghan government or the ability of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to achieve campaign success.  Although reconciliation efforts are ongoing, the United States remains in an armed conflict, including in Afghanistan and against the Taliban, and active hostilities remain ongoing.”

Does that answer the question?

Does that sound like we actually know what we are doing?

Basically it is pride that will keep our troops fighting and dying….PRIDE!

In an interview with the Washington Post on November 27, President Trump reiterated his personal skepticism of the continuing American military presence in Afghanistan. He said the only reason for this status quo policy was because “virtually every expert” told him the United States needed to keep fighting there, otherwise they will be fighting here.

This deference to the Pentagon and military experts didn’t begin with Trump, as presidential candidates since 9/11 have always defended their foreign policy prescriptions by insisting they would listen to the counsel of the military brass. Trump alarmed many Washington insiders during his campaign for his seeming willingness to reject the advice of experts on most topics, but the foreign policy establishment has been successful thus far in containing his more unconventional instincts.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/americas-war-afghanistan-now-about-only-one-thing-pride-37997

More troops for Afghanistan?  Well we are taking troops out of Syria…that could free up some new deployments (that was sarcasm in case you missed it)

After reading about the possible build-up came word of a possible draw down…..

Fresh off the announcement of a US military withdrawal from Syria, officials are saying that the Trump Administration is actively considering a major drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan, potentially starting in the next few weeks.

(antiwar.com)

Head spinning yet?

This is the perfect illustration of the Trump foreign policy!

While I agree with the idea of bringing troops home…..this confusion is NO way to run a foreign policy.

Afghanistan? Seriously?

Note:  I know this is a lot to read….but Americans are dying is it not time to ask the hard questions and demand the hard answers?

For 17 years I have been writing about our war in Afghanistan…..my position is that we should have gone in and punished those that planned and carried out the attacks on 9/11 and then we should have left the country to its own devices for if there was a threat again we could always return to punish.

The longer we stay the louder the voices get for us to withdraw and return home…..I read a lot and some of the sites are not on the withdrawal page….

Recent events in Afghanistan have reenergized those in favor of a U.S. military withdrawal. “Let someone else take up the burden,” urged one opinion piece in Slate. Another in the UK-based Guardian newspaper bluntly noted: “It’s time for America to end its war in Afghanistan.” Some media reports have also suggested that U.S. negotiators in Doha, Qatar have agreed to discuss the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan as part of a negotiated settlement with the Taliban.

Yet without a political settlement, which is still a longshot, a U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan would have serious risks. Chief among them would be the resurgence of terrorism and the deterioration of human rights—including women’s rights—that come with a Taliban victory.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/us-strategy-afghanistan-perils-withdrawal

And then there are those that see what I see (I cannot believe that a conservative site and I would agree) the longer we stretch our occupation out the more chance are that we could lose……

There’s a prevailing maxim, both inside the armed forces and around the Beltway, that goes something like this: “The U.S. can never be militarily defeated in any war,” certainly not by some third world country. Heck, I used to believe that myself. That’s why, in regard to Afghanistan, we’ve been told that while America could lose the war due to political factors (such as the lack of grit among “soft” liberals or defeatists), the military could never and will never lose on the battlefield.

That entire maxim is about to be turned on its head. Get ready, because we’re about to lose this war militarily.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/america-is-headed-for-military-defeat-in-afghanistan/

Then another view of the situation……

These days it seems everything the U.S. military touches in Afghanistan turns to rubbish. It’s possible this war is already over, only Washington won’t concede it.

https://original.antiwar.com/Danny_Sjursen/2018/12/04/what-is-left-for-the-us-to-do-in-afghanistan-the-answer-lose/

The news continues to be anything but good coming out of Afghanistan…..our airstrikes are killing more civilians than terrorist, Taleban attacks and takes control of more and more territory, and our troops keep dying…..

And that last part has me asking…….what are American troops dying for?

What benefit has been accrued to our country as a result of these compounding sorrows, grief and pain borne by such a tiny minority of our fellow citizens?

How much more blood must be spilled in Afghanistan before Washington acknowledges reality and ends the war?

Three more American troops were killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb on Tuesday and three others wounded; their names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin. These deaths, along with Sgt. Leandro Jasso who was killed in a firefight last Saturday, bring the number of troops killed in Afghanistan this year to thirteen. Unless major changes are made in U.S. strategic policy, they will not be the last to die.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/what-are-us-soldiers-dying-afghanistan-37487

That is an interesting question that needs a definitive answer.

Something I have been pointing out for a couple of years now…….

Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz and the other neo-con wild boys who came to power with George W. Bush in 2001 all shared a vision. In their minds, they saw a cowed, conquered Iraq as the stepping stone to a wider conflict that would, in the righteous fullness of Republican time, lead to broad regional transformation and the enforced peace of empire, all of it lubricated by “liberated” Middle Eastern petroleum.

Using Iraq as a jump-off point, they would knock off regime after regime, running up the stars and stripes as they went, and then watch as peace and prosperity unfolded like a desert blossom. That cauldron of seemingly endless conflict would soon become a happy democratic paradise filled to bursting with McDonald’s customers tying the laces of their new Nike sneakers with fingers stained purple from voting. All the wild boys needed was a catalyst, a “new Pearl Harbor,” to get the ball rolling. When the Towers came down, they took their shot, and we were off to the races.

https://truthout.org/articles/after-17-years-of-war-afghanistan-is-all-but-forgotten/

If we have forgotten we are at war then maybe it is time to end the insanity……

You’d hardly know it from the news, but we’ve been continuously at war in Afghanistan since 2001. The war quietly turned 17 on October 7.

Unfortunately, America’s amnesia didn’t prevent Command Sergeant Major Tim Bolyard from being killed in Afghanistan in early September during his eighth combat tour and 13th deployment.

https://original.antiwar.com/Stacy_Bannerman/2018/10/11/if-you-forget-about-a-war-its-time-to-end-it/

Learn Stuff!

Sgt. Maiko–RIP

Closing Thought–06Dec18

Yet another US trooper was killed in Afghanistan…..this death is of a US Ranger…..

A recent clash in Afghanistan resulted in the death of a U.S. soldier and an Army Ranger dog.

Sgt. Leandro A.S. Jasso, whose death was previously reported, died in a raid against al Qaeda militants that in the southern Nimruz province in late November. The other casualty was that of Maiko, an Army Ranger dog.

Stars and Stripes on Tuesday reported that Maiko had been assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment’s 2nd Battalion.

“The actions of Maiko directly saved the life of his handler … and other Rangers,” according to a biography of the dog confirmed to Stars and Stripes by a spokesperson for the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning in Georgia.

Maiko was born in 2011 in the Netherlands and arrived in the U.S. a year-and-a-half later. The dog was on his sixth deployment to Afghanistan and was 7 years old when the clash occurred, according to Stars and Stripes.

Maiko reportedly participated in more than 50 Ranger-led raids involving combatant apprehension, building clearance and improvised explosive device detection.

(thehill.com)

IST wishes to thank this brave trooper for his service and that he may Rest In Peace…..his sacrifice will never be forgotten.

One More Death

Closing Thought–04Dec18

I have been reporting the deaths of our troops in this War on Terror…last month was the deadliest month in Afghanistan for American troops…..

https://lobotero.com/2018/11/29/the-deadliest-month-2/

But as always there is more sad news!

A soldier injured in the above attack has died from his wounds…..

A U.S. soldier has died from injuries suffered in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan, becoming the fourth American to have been killed by the explosion last week, the Pentagon says.

Sgt. Jason Mitchell McClary, 24, from Export, Pa., died Sunday at a military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, the Pentagon announced Monday. The blast occurred Tuesday near Ghazni city, Afghanistan, less than 100 miles from Kabul, the Defense Department said in a statement. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for it.

“The Rock battalion expresses its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends tragically affected by the loss of Sgt. Jason McClary. He epitomizes what it is to be a professional, a warrior and a soldier,” Lt. Col. Christopher Roberts, the commander of 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, said in a statement. “Sgt. McClary served honorably as an up-armored vehicle gunner for the Attack Company. His memory and contributions will never be forgotten.”

(FOX News)

I wish that these reports could cease but until they do IST will continue to remind the public about the plight of the troops serving this country…..if you would like to read the DoD release……https://dod.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/1703421/dod-identifies-army-casualty/

IST send out deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. McClary….may he Rest In Peace.

Afghanistan Is Collapsing!

I have been writing about Afghanistan since the early days of the invasion and then through the occupation……I have said continuously that it is time to declare success and bring our people home…….

I am not alone in my angst about Afghanistan……(this article was written before the rash of American deaths this month)…..

November has been quite a month, so far, in Afghanistan.  The level of violence has been appalling and the most serious recent atrocity was yet another suicide bombing in Kabul. It killed over fifty people and injured twice that many but didn’t merit a Trump tweet, which isn’t surprising because he doesn’t seem to be interested in the place.  Further, as reported by the Washington Post on November 19, he hasn’t visited a single country in which his troops are fighting.

The reason he hasn’t visited his troops in such areas is because he is a coward.  He is a physical yellow-belly who lacks the courage to go anywhere near a war zone.  He is below contempt, but he could gain a little bit of respect if he ordered the US and NATO to get out of Afghanistan.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/11/23/afghanistan-is-collapsing-get-out-now/

Does anyone disagree?