Remember Afghanistan?

Sure you do!  It is that stone age country that we invaded to get Osama for his part in then 9/11 attacks.  Well Osama is dead killed in Pakistan not Afghanistan and yet the war is till being fought for the hearts and minds of opium growers.

Afghanistan is a war much like all our wars since Vietnam….long drawn out no direction and no original strategy for a conclusion.

Afghanistan is a worthless war fought for an illusion…….but do not take my word for it….let’s look at the plans and schemes and strategies that goes into this war…..

Late this August, it was encouraging to hear that U.S. policy will not be to quit Afghanistan, not be to fire the commander, and not be to use mercenaries. In Afghanistan, defeat would indeed be worse than persevering with what will now be a modest increase in capacity and an ostensibly genuine regional strategy. Quitting the field would have meant giving up the potential for some form of victory and potentially seeing the Taliban overwhelm the Afghan security forces and the government in Kabul. And, if the Taliban were to revive an Islamist emirate in Afghanistan, there is reason to suggest a future with more attacks against the West, planned and prepared, with increasing scope and intensity, from Afghanistan and from Pakistan’s Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Source: America’s Afghanistan Strategy | RealClearDefense

New president….new plan….oddly the new plan sounds a lot like the old plan…..

The focus now should be on the implementation of the new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan and the region. Commentators debate the pros and cons of the approach, but it is now U.S. policy. It requires careful coordination and integration of the tools of American power—military, diplomatic, economic and development—to move toward its objective: a negotiated Afghan political settlement. The policy’s specifics must now be defined and executed.

The rationale for continued U.S. engagement—to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a base for terrorist attacks as it was in 2001—carries much weight given the threats from radical and terrorist groups emanating from Afghanistan, Pakistan and across the region. “Right now (the Taliban) calculates that it can win,” argues a senior U.S. official, and if the United States were to leave precipitously the outcome would be “a state of chaos.” Yet, the tools and actions needed go far beyond “kinetic” actions.

Source: Implementing the New Afghanistan Policy | RealClearDefense

There is so much about Afghanistan that needs to be discussed….but instead we decide to go with the same plan of Bush, Obama and now Trump…..worthless plans that have nothing to do with liberating then country from terrorists…..

On September 18th, 2001 Public Law 107-40[1] provided then-U.S. President George W. Bush the authority “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”  According to faculty research conducted at the Harvard Kennedy School, since the war in Afghanistan began, the United States has spent trillions of dollars[2] on efforts there.  These efforts entailed committing as few as 2,500 to as many as 98,000[3] U.S. armed forces members of whom 2,216 have died, and 20,049 have been wounded[4].  Despite these efforts, as of May 2017, the Afghan Taliban controls[5] 11 districts and influences 34 of Afghanistan’s 407 districts (approximately 11 percent).  While debates in Washington D.C. continue as to what U.S. policy towards Afghanistan should entail, two discussions have been neglected:

Source: Afghanistan: Two Neglected Discussions | RealClearDefense

I have been studying this conflict since 2002 and in all that time I have seen nothing but insanity and the avoidance of reality.

Nothing about the direction of this war will ever change…..just “keep on Keepin’ on”!

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Closing Thought–07Sep17

Most Americans give very little thought to America’s longest running war…..and when asked they are a wealth of opinion on what the war looks like…..and depending on what station one gets his/her news from the complexion of that war may be completely different.

How does it look to you…..how does it look to them?

CNN International, which is widely watched in the Muslim world, has not been fair to the American position in the current clash between Islam and the West and Israel. Western media have a strong presence in the Middle East but refuse to bring much needed enlightenment to the Muslim public, and explain that the West has a legitimate right to self-defense against Islamic jihadist terrorism. As a result, the majority of Muslims in the Middle East, and many in the West, have no clue why America is in Afghanistan and why Syria is a huge security threat to Western nations.

Source: Afghanistan: How We See It vs. How They See It

Time for me to treat my throbbing foot…..see you guys tomorrow…..with stuff aplenty…..chuq

The Afghanistan Report

I have neglected my primary focus of international relations and conflict management….there has been so much drama flying around the president and the country that I felt it needed analysis.

I will try to return to my strength……

Afghanistan is America’s longest ever war and may well be the longest of all time….there is so much happening there but the media has fresh blood to chase…Russia, Harvey, etc…..

Trump recently gave a speech outlining his “new” Afghanistan policy.(sadly it sounds a lot like the “old” Afghanistan policy)…..

But they say it will be a new approach……..

On the morning of 31 May 2017, a 1,500-kilogram truck bomb was detonated outside the German Embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul, only streets away from the US and Australian missions. Windows were smashed all the way from Great Massoud Square to the Haji Yaqub mosque in Shahr-e Naw, over 90 people were killed, and over 500 were injured. If ever there was an indicator that a fresh approach to dealing with the insurgency in Afghanistan was required, then this was it.

On 21 August, after a somewhat agonising series of discussions involving senior US military personnel plus a motley group of presidential associates, US President Donald Trump gave a speech at Fort Myer, Virginia, that sought to outline such an approach. President Trump’s speech was very well received in Afghanistan, met with some consternation in Pakistan, and was quietly welcomed by a satisfied Indian leadership.

Source: Washington’s New Approach to Afghanistan | RealClearDefense

The news reports lately have estimated the troop strength at 8400…..but that also was a lie (go figure)…….

Pentagon officials have finally acknowledged the actual number of American forces in Afghanistan after long camouflaging the total in misleading accounting measures and red tape. Senior Defense Department officials said Wednesday there are about 11,000 US forces currently deployed to Afghanistan—thousands more than the 8,400 that were allowed under the previous administration’s troop cap. Military officials have long quietly acknowledged there were far more forces in the country than the cap allowed, but commanders shuffled troops in and out, labeled many “temporary,” and used other personnel accounting tactics to artificially keep the public count low, the AP reports.

Pentagon officials refused to provide similar details for Iraq and Syria, where there also are thousands more US troops than the Pentagon publicly admits. The Afghanistan troop numbers announcement comes as the Pentagon is preparing to deploy several thousand more Americans to the country in order to expand the training and advising of Afghan forces and beef up counterterror operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked groups. Officials have said the US will send as many as 3,900 more troops to the war—which would bring the number of publicly recognized troops there to about 15,000.

With an increase of troops to Afghanistan Trump also gave Pakistan an ultimatum on their part in the fight in the country……

The Middle East was not mentioned in President Donald Trump’s major policy speech on August 20 — not even Iran, which has a common border with Afghanistan. The omission was curious given that the New York Times reported earlier this month that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was allying, perversely, given the Shia-Sunni divide, with Taliban fighters to keep the central government in Kabul destabilized. Instead, the focus of the new strategy, as laid out in the speech and the official talking points, was “South Asia,” with Pakistan, described as an “important partner,” being warned to change its behavior, while India is characterized as a “valued partner.” But though unmentioned, Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, longtime allies of Pakistan, are likely to have to choose where they stand. And Iran’s predilection for mischief will have to be thwarted.

Source: Trump’s Afghanistan Policy and the Gulf – The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

All this jockeying for position is NOTHING.  This war is the same song in every way.

More Thoughts On The New Afghan Plan

I see the generals have gotten to yet another president….generals always want more troops and usually the get what they want….and Afghanistan is NO different……

The American people don’t like long wars with uncertain outcomes—and never have. That was true in 1953, when the U.S. accepted a stalemate and armistice with the Chinese-backed North Koreans, and it was true again in 1975, when the U.S. suffered an ignominious defeat and 58,000 dead at the hands of pajama-clad guerrillas and the North Vietnamese army. “Never fight a land war in Asia,” General Douglas MacArthur famously said, and for good reason: in both Korea and Vietnam, the enemy could be endlessly supplied and reinforced.

The solution, in both cases, was to either widen the war or leave. In Korea, MacArthur proposed expanding the war by taking on Chinese military sanctuaries in China (which got him fired), while in Vietnam, Richard Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia and mined North Vietnam’s harbors, an expansion of the war that sparked a genocide and merely postponed the inevitable. America’s adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have been as unsatisfying. A troop surge retrieved America’s position in Iraq, though most military officers now view Baghdad as “a suburb of Tehran” (as a currently serving Army officer phrased it), while the U.S. has spent over $800 billion on a Kabul government whose writ extends to sixty percent of the country—or less.

Source: How the Brass Talked Another President Into a Losing Strategy | The American Conservative

Even the conservatives can see the fruitless attempt at some form of nation building…..even Red State (a site I seldom visit has seen just how dumb this war has become…..even these guys are seeing Afghanistan turning into yet another Vietnam…..a worthless waste of time and treasure……

In 1999, two years before America’s longest war would begin in Afghanistan, Lewis Sorley published a seminal work titled A Better War about America’s last longest war that raged in the 1960s and 70s. The subtitle of this great work serves as the thesis of the book and says it all: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam. Effectively beginning when the 88th Congress enacted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in August, 1964, which authorized Lyndon Johnson to use military force in Southeast Asia, and continuing to the end of direct military involvement in 1973 with the fall of Saigon, the Vietnam War cost over 55,000 American lives over the course of roughly 9 years.

The ultimate loss of the Vietnam War after the expense of so much blood and treasure serves as a cautionary tale for what we are now witnessing in Afghanistan.

Source: America Cannot Afford to Have Afghanistan Become the New Vietnam

But to familiarize yourself more with this situation if you have not been paying attention…..always view a situation from both sides anything else is disingenuous….

Source: Trump Lays Out a Winning Strategy for Afghanistan

Source: Trump’s Bold New Afghanistan Strategy Isn’t Bold. Or New.

From Kabul to Baghdad

WE have been fighting and dying in the Middle East for almost 17 years….I try to keep my readers up to date on these wars but it is difficult at times….mainly most Americans do not care how long we have been fighting and dying.

This is a personal trip for the writer of this op-ed…it is a good read and informative if that is what you are looking for information….but if you prefer slogans then this will mean little to the reader.

 

 

 

Afghanistan–Ever Asked Why?

For almost 17 tears the US and its allies have been fighting and dying in Afghanistan.  In all that time has anyone actually asked the question……why?

In the beginning it was nothing but retaliation for the 9/11 attacks…..and then we slowly wound down into a “trench warfare” mindset….that is just do not lose this fight…..no matter how long it takes.

In 2010 a report about the mineral wealth of Afghanistan came out….

Untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan may be worth more than $1 trillion, a finding that could reshape the country’s economy and help U.S. efforts to bolster the war-battered government, Pentagon officials said on Monday.

Afghanistan has significant deposits of copper, iron ore, niobium, cobalt, gold, molybdenum, silver and aluminum as well as sources of fluorspar, beryllium and lithium, among others, a task force studying the country’s resources found

Source: Afghan mineral wealth could top $1 trillion: Pentagon

Some estimates have the figure at $3 trillion……

Once I read that report I then predicted here on IST that this war would never end until the last drop of wealth was pulled out of Afghanistan….

Source: Good News For Afghanistan? – In Saner Thought

A couple of days ago the prez made his now not so famous speech on what to do in Afghanistan and guess what came up in his deliberation?

Trump has his eye on valuable minerals under the Afghan soil, perhaps as much as $1 trillion worth of copper, iron, and other metals, reports Foreign Policy. He recently met personally with Michael Silver, CEO of American Elements, and heard the mining pitch. “Trump wants to be repaid,” says one source, referring to the billions that the US has spent in the nation. “He’s trying to see where the business deal is.”

And there is the real reason we remain….$$$$$$$$$

A New Day For Afghanistan

I waited all day for the president to come before the country and explain his “New deal” for Afghanistan.

So far I have not been impressed with any of our last couple of president’s plan for dealing with American’s longest war.  So far it looks like the only plan we have is “not losing” in Afghanistan…..

America’s adventures in Afghanistan – dating back to the 1980s – have led to one disaster after another with President Trump and other politicians afraid to finally admit failure.

“Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense!” – Donald Trump, January 11, 2013

Taking a break from his defense of the “very fine people” who marched with Nazis in Charlottesville, President Trump will reportedly meet with his national security team today (Friday, August 18) at Camp David to discuss a far deadlier but ironically less controversial issue: the war in Afghanistan.

Source: The Goal of ‘Not Losing’ in Afghanistan – Consortiumnews

But all the speculation is for naught…..the Prez has outlined his
new plan” for Afghanistan….

President Trump made a rare formal address to the nation Monday night to reaffirm the US commitment in Afghanistan, but he declined to talk about troop numbers or deadlines. Those factors will be based on “conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables,” he said, adding that he doesn’t think it makes sense to tip off the enemy to specific plans. The US currently has about 8,400 non-combat troops in the country, and the president had been expected to green-light another 4,000 or so for the 16-year-old war. “I’m a problem-solver,” said Trump after outlining the situation he inherited in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia and faulting the decisions of his predecessors. But “in the end, we will win.”

Trump, speaking at Fort Myer military base in Arlington, Va., acknowledged that his “original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts,” reports the New York Times. But he said he changed his mind after a long review and advice from his military advisers. He said the US cannot repeat what he views as the mistake of its “hasty” exit from Iraq in 2011, which he said allowed ISIS to gain a foothold, per USA Today. Trump also called out Pakistan and said the US will “no longer be silent” as that nation provides “safe haven” for terrorists. And he also warned that the Afghan government would be held accountable as a partner. “We are not nation-building again,” he said. “We are killing terrorists.”

There you have it….the US New Plan for Afghanistan…..

Same as it has always been.  And you thought we would get something different….foolish Americans!