Send In The Cavalry

Remember back in the days of the black and white Westerns when the homestead was being attacked and then the cavalry would ride in and save the day?

The USA has been fighting in Afghanistan for 16 years and things are not going well at all….so what do we do?  We send in the cavalry…….

The Pentagon will send almost 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, the largest deployment of US manpower under President Trump’s young presidency, reports the AP. The decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week, said a White House official. It follows Trump’s move to give Mattis the authority to set troop levels and seeks to address assertions by the top US commander in Afghanistan that he doesn’t have enough forces to help Afghanistan’s army against a resurgent Taliban insurgency. The bulk of the additional troops will train and advise Afghan forces, according to the administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A smaller number would be assigned to counterterror operations against the Taliban and the Islamic State, the official said. A spokesman for Afghanistan’s defense ministry was reluctant to comment on specifics Friday but said the Afghan government supports the US decision. “We want to finish this war in Afghanistan with the help of the NATO alliance.” Former President Obama set a cap a year ago of 8,400 troops in Afghanistan after slowing the pace of what he hoped would be a US withdrawal. Nevertheless, there are at least another 2,000 US troops in Afghanistan not included in the official count. These include forces that are technically considered temporary even if they’ve been in the war zone for months.

The sad part is that this will do nothing to change the direction of the war……

Usually when a president agrees to send more troops to a war zone, it’s part of a broader strategy. George W. Bush approved the surge of forces to Iraq as part of a population-centric counterinsurgency war plan. Barack Obama did the same in his first year when it came to Afghanistan, though he eventually regretted the decision, and spent most of his presidency trying to end that war.

For Donald Trump it’s different. On Tuesday, he agreed in principle to send more troops to Afghanistan, but he has yet to agree to the broader strategy for winning America’s longest war.

That strategy is still technically in development, but its broad outlines — an increase in special operations forces to train, advise and assist Afghan forces; a more robust plan to go after elements in Pakistan that aid the Taliban; the deployment of more air power and artillery; and a political commitment to the survival of the current government in Kabul — have been in place since April.

Source: Trump’s Afghan Push: More Troops, No Plan – Bloomberg

Of course people will ask if a mere 4,000 troops will make a difference…..not to worry…..

The US is definitely going to be sending more ground troops to Afghanistan soon, but the exact number is yet to be determined, with the Pentagon today backing away from media reports yesterday that they’d settled on a figure of 4,000 more troops, saying no final decisions have been made yet on numbers

That might suggest they’re leaning toward an even bigger number, with influential retired Gen. Jack Keane suggesting that the US needed to send up to 20,000 more ground troops if they wanted to win the war, saying he believed the 4,000 figure was not likely to change the direction of the war

More fodder for the fire……

Same game plan will have the same outcome.

I bet Einstein has something to say on this plan.

Will The Longest War Ever End?

Best answer is…….. No Time Soon!

I have been trying to keep my readers attention on America’s longest war and how nothing improves year after year…..

For the most part Americans try hard to ignore the war and its impact….even when we lose more troops as we did last week….we lost 3 more US troops in Afghanistan.

So some, mostly me it seems, keeps asking…how much longer must we endure the agony of the longest war in our history?

America’s Long War or Global War on Terror has taken some ugly turns as the West’s continued war-making in the Muslim world leads to new terrorism against Western targets, with no end in sight,

Source: Will the Neocons’ Long War Ever End? – Consortiumnews

Every year we prove that Afghanistan cannot be fixed….so why not admit it and get the Hell out?

Months have passed since we first heard the Trump administration is considering a new surge of United States forces in Afghanistan, and if the president is any closer to a decision than he was in February, mark that down as the one secret the White House has yet to leak to the press.

Trump’s unpredictability makes it impossible to define what this delay might mean, but perhaps the wait can offer opportunity for more prudent and realistic counsel to prevail. Sending more U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan cannot and will not produce anything resembling a win—it will only protract the failed status quo of the country’s longest war.

Source: The US can’t fix Afghanistan, and it should stop trying

Many see the futility of staying in Afghanistan….why cannot the slugs in DC see the big picture as well?

I realize that war equals more profit…but there should be a time when reality and sanity enters into the equation…..but not soon enough,,,

All indications are that Mattis, and the other former generals in Trump’s cabinet, are all in favor of the larger escalation proposals among the options presented to Trump, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was among the few skeptics.

Mattis had told the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier today that a decision on Afghan troop levels was still weeks away, but it is unclear if that was based on the assumption that Trump was still going to have to decide. Now that he gets to decide himself, such a decision is likely to be faster.

Mattis promised to “correct” the lack of winning with the new strategy, but indications for months have been that the proposals center around slight increases in direct US involvement in fighting, and likely thousands of additional troops being sent to the country.

Senators, however, expressed increasing annoyance at not hearing any sort of coherent strategy from the administration, with Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) warning that if the Pentagon didn’t provide a strategy for the war, the  Senate would end up providing one for them.

The reality is that the Taliban have been seizing territory from the Afghan government for months, and hold more territory now than at any time during the 16-year US occupation. The US has dramatically increased its number of airstrikes in recent months, trying to slow the losses a bit, but so far that appears to be the best they can really do, slow the inevitable defeat in an unwinnable war.

(antiwar.com

There you go…new plan…throw more troops at the problem.

Damn that does not sound all that new to me.

More news……

Tora Bora, the mountain redoubt that was once Osama bin Laden’s fortress, fell to the Islamic State early Wednesday, handing the extremists a significant strategic and symbolic victory, according to Afghan officials and local elders and residents. – New York Times

A key Republican lawmaker criticized Pentagon and administration officials on Tuesday for failing to deliver a timely strategy for victory in Afghanistan. – Military.com

The World Bank has approved a $520 million package of funding for projects to boost Afghanistan’s economy, build critical infrastructure, and support Afghan refugees sent back from Pakistan. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

There is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan that is forcing record numbers of people from their homes, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday, during an unannounced visit to the war-torn country. – Reuters

Some in DC please ask…..why are we still in Afghanistan?

Why are we still there? We went into Afghanistan after 9/11 to get Osama bin Laden and to punish the Taliban for harboring al-Qaeda. Now bin Laden is dead; al-Qaeda is dispersed; the Taliban has been battered. Afghan civilians have been killed, wounded or displaced in increasing numbers. The United Nations reports that there were more than 11,000 war-related civilian casualties last year, and 660,000 Afghans were displaced, adding to the country’s massive refugee crisis.

The war has now cost us over $1 trillion, making it the second-costliest U.S. war, after World War II. In fiscal year 2017, the war will cost about $50 billion, nearly a billion every week. We’ve lost over 2,350 soldiers, with 20,000 more suffering injuries. And as Trevor Timm of the Guardian noted, in a couple of years, there will be soldiers fighting in Afghanistan that weren’t even born at the time of 9/1

Source: The US-led Coalition Will Never Win the War in Afghanistan

Enough is enough!  Bring the troops home!

Closing Thought–12Jun17

Death Comes To Afghanistan!  (Again)

Sad news to report……more US deaths in Afghanistan at the hands of a “friend”……

Three US soldiers were killed Saturday when an Afghan army solider opened fire on them in eastern Afghanistan, US officials tell CNN. One other US soldier was wounded in the attack, which took place in the Achin district. An Afghan official said the Afghan soldier was killed after the attack. The AP reports the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that a Taliban loyalist had infiltrated the Afghan army “just to attack foreign forces.”

A statement from the US military said merely that the military was “aware of an incident in eastern Afghanistan.” White House spokesperson Raj Shah told reporters traveling with President Trump in New Jersey that Trump was “following the emerging situation in Afghanistan.” Such insider attacks have happened before in Afghanistan. In March, another Afghan soldier was killed after he opened fire on foreign forces at a base in Helmand province, wounding three US soldiers.

My sympathies go out to their families…….

Time for the war hawks to step aside and let saner minds prevail….time to come home.

Day is done and I will go quietly into the night….’til the morrow my friends….chuq

Oh Blackwater

I could turn my readers onto a Doobie Brothers tune….but in this case I am talking about the private army of Eric Prince……

This organization by now has changed its name to out run bad press and the tax man many times……name changes but the boss remains……it is a private security firm, a private air force and a contracted intel gatherer…..I have been keeping my eye on the doings of this group……

Source: Blackwater Enters The World Of James Bond – In Saner Thought

Source: ‘Blackwater Air’ – In Saner Thought

The boss, Eric Prince has even been used by Trump and his cronies as a go between with Russia……

Days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Blackwater founder Erik Prince met with a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin in the Seychelles islands to create a communication back-channel between Trump and Russia, according to The Washington Post.

Officials with the United Arab Emirates brokered the January 11 meeting in the hopes of helping to encourage Russia to distance itself from Iran, a major Kremlin ally. The Trump administration has often expressed its skepticism of Iran, and Trump often derided the US nuclear deal with Iran on the campaign trail.

Source: Erik Prince set up secret meeting to create Trump/Russia backchannel – Business Insider

Now it seems the Prince has developed a plan for Afghanistan……

Lost in the cascade of stories of potential White House criminality and collusion with foreign governments is the Erik Prince affair. It is reported that Prince, the brother of controversial  Education Secretary Betsy Devos who established his power in Washington with his mercenary army Blackwater during the Iraq war, met with Russian intermediaries in an obscure Indian Ocean archipelago to establish back-channel communication with Moscow, possibly in coordination with the efforts of Jared Kushner, who last week was reported to have sought a White House back channel to the Kremlin.

Bloomberg reports that during the presidential transition late last year “Prince was very much a presence, providing advice to Trump’s inner circle, including his top national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.” While President-elect Trump, in reality show style, paraded administration applicants through the gilded front doors of of Trump Tower for the gauntlet of cameras, Prince “entered Trump Tower through the back,” reports Bloomberg.

Source: Erik Prince’s dark plan for Afghanistan: Military occupation for profit, not security – Salon.com

This slug is a danger to the US and the world and all in the name of profit.

I will continue to monitor the doings of this mercenary and his deadly game….

Re-Thinking Afghanistan

Afghanistan?  Yes, America’s longest ever war.  We invaded in 2001 and have been fighting ever since.  Our premise for the invasion was to get Osama that bastard that lead the 9/11 attacks on the US. (we never got him then…..it took a decade before he was killed in Pakistan)

In all the time the US has been fighting the same war with the same lame tactics….and the best we could do is a quagmire.

Reportedly, the Trump administration is considering adding several thousand U.S. troops—ideally accompanied by other NATO and foreign reinforcements too—to the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan. The current mission totals some 8,500 Americans, and roughly twelve thousand foreign troops in all, so the possible increase could amount to an augmentation of 30–50 percent in total personnel. In my judgment, this kind of increase would be sensible, for reasons discussed below.

Source: America’s Afghanistan Problem: It’s Not Just about Sending More Troops | The National Interest

But the answer everyone has these days is…..more troops……I do not agree.

I have been saying in all those years that we need a new plan if we are to ever walk away from Afghanistan…..so far it remains the same…the tactics that is…..

Below is a war hawks view of what the US should do……they say a “re-think” is needed…..

Afghanistan may be the most complex theatre of irregular warfare in the world .  The country is a black hole of physical, religious, social, ethnic, cultural, political, economic, military and historical cross-currents, rendering conventional strategy there awkward at best and impossible at worst.  In re-thinking Afghanistan—and assessing the Pentagon’s new Afghanistan strategy—we need first to  confront some hard strategic realities head-on.  Four, in particular, stand out.

First, there is just one war: the global holy war that the Salafists are waging against us and the rest of the world.  This is not one of our fathers’ 20th century wars.  This is Islamic religious war, fought using 7th and 21st century tactics in a dozen major theatres from Mali to Mindanao.  Afghanistan is an Islamic state surrounded by Islamic states, and an emerging epicenter in the global jihad.  Our Afghan strategy cannot be divorced from our strategy for the Salafist holy war, nor from our strategy for Pakistan—the other half of the Af-Pak theatre of the war.

Source: Strategic Realities: Re-Thinking Afghanistan | RealClearDefense

I agree that a “re-think” is needed but a change in strategy not just change the wording of the operation.

There are some thoughts from the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace…..do not let the name fool you….it is still a war hawk look at the situation and the solution……

Although considerable security, political, and economic progress has been made in Afghanistan, much remains to be done to attain long-term stability and extinguish the Taliban insurgency. In this respect, while the conflict in Afghanistan is no longer consistently in the public eye, it remains of great importance to the United States. Going forward, U.S. policy should aim to protect the integrity of the Afghan state and, toward that end, attempt to end the conflict in ways that mitigate the threats of terrorism, instability, and conflict in the region.

Source: Adapting US Policy to Afghan Realities | World Affairs Journal

So far the only change is the number of troops deployed….and the number goes up seldom down…..that is NOT a re-think…that is business as usual.

Afghanistan And The World Of Tomorrow

New president and a new plan for Afghanistan?

The news coming out of the country, especially the intel reports, is not a good one…..

The security situation in Afghanistan will further deteriorate even if there is a modest increase in U.S. military support for the war-torn country, the top U.S. intelligence official said on Thursday, as President Donald Trump’s administration weighs sending more forces to Afghanistan.

Afghan army units are pulling back, and in some cases have been forced to abandon more scattered and rural bases, and the government can claim to control or influence only 57 percent of the country, according to U.S. military estimates from earlier this year.

“The intelligence community assesses that the political and security situation in Afghanistan will almost certainly deteriorate through 2018, even with a modest increase in (the)military assistance by the United States and its partners,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in a Senate hearing.

Source: Security situation in Afghanistan likely to get worse: U.S. intel chief | Reuters

So if the prediction is that things will get worse in the coming months…..what has the decision by the president done to stave off disaster?

Previous reports on the Pentagon’s Afghan War plans, then yet to be presented to President Trump, presented them as uniformly in favor of escalation, with the plans varying from a 3,000 troop buildup to one with upwards of 5,000 more US ground troops sent to the country.

Today, reports are suggesting that the actual plans presented are down to two basic options, one which is the escalatory plan that involves around 3,000 troops, and a “less kinetic” option that involves keeping troop levels in the country flat, and limiting direct US involvement to “high-value” targets.

Officials in favor of the second option say the US “don’t fight other people’s wars,” and want to focus on preparing the Afghan military to fight ISIS itself.  They also note this plan is considerably cheaper than launching yet another surge into Afghanistan.

(antiwar)

But like Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan seems to be an open ended war…meaning a war without end……will Trump keep on keeping on?

It remains to be seen whether President Donald Trump will approve the proposals that Mattis and McMaster have pushed in recent weeks.

Judging from his position during the campaign and his recent remarks, Trump may well baulk at the plans now being pushed by his advisers.

The plans for the three countries now being developed within the Trump administration encompass long-term stationing of troops, access to bases and the authority to wage war in these three countries.

These are the primordial interest of the Pentagon and the US military leadership, and they have pursued those interests more successfully in the Middle East than anywhere else on the globe.

US military officials aren’t talking about “permanent” stationing of troops and bases in these countries, referring instead to the “open-ended commitment” of troops. But they clearly want precisely that in all three.

Source: Will Trump Agree to the Pentagon’s Permanent War in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria? | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

My thought is the later…..don’t fight other people’s wars…..declare success and leave them to their fate.

And thoughts from the “Peanut Gallery”?

Update:  Since I wrote this draft more news about Afghanistan has come to light….

While publicly US strategy in the Afghan War has been based around the conceit that the conflict is in a “stalemate,” despite mounting losses by the Afghan government. Advisers have offered a classified assessment on the conflict recently, however, conceding that the Ghani government’s survival is at risk, and that the war is being “slowly” lost.

Their solution, as with everyone else, is even bigger escalation, with reports from those familiar with the plan saying that the US needs “more than 50,000” ground troops in Afghanistan to ensure Ghani’s survival, with an eye toward eventually defeating the Taliban.

That’s a big escalation, and a much bigger one than has been suggested in previous reports, which initially presented the proposed escalation as 3,000 to 5,000, and most recently made it a choice between 3,000 or keeping troop levels flat. The Pentagon is evasive about troop levels in recent months, but around 8,400 troops are believed to presently be in Afghanistan.

(antiwar.com)

Speechless?  All I can think of at this time is….”Here we go again!”

Beyond Afghanistan

There is good news and bad coming out of Afghanistan…..

The good news is that the “Big Guy” for ISIS in Afghanistan seems to have been killed….

A military raid last month killed the head of the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Sunday night. The death of Abdul Haseeb Logari had been suspected after the April 27 raid on a compound in Nangarhar, a province in eastern Afghanistan, but officials said then that they weren’t certain, the AP reports. Logari was among several high-ranking leaders of the Islamic State in Afghanistan who died in the raid carried out by Afghan Special Security Forces in partnership with US forces, the Pentagon said in a statement. Logari directed the March 8 attack against Kabul National Military Hospital, which killed or wounded more than 100 people, the Pentagon said.

Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said Logari was the second leader of ISIS in Afghanistan to be killed in the last nine months. Nicholson said the militants had “waged a barbaric campaign of death, torture, and violence against the Afghan people, especially those in southern Nangarhar.” “This fight strengthens our resolve to rid Afghanistan of these terrorists and bring peace and stability to this great country,” he added. “Any ISIS member that comes to Afghanistan will meet the same fate.” Two US Army Rangers died in the April 27 raid. US officials say they may have been killed as the result of friendly fire in the opening minutes of the three-hour battle.

The bad news is that the US, even with a new president, still does not have an end game plan for the conflict……but the Trump Pentagon has a plan to end the stalemate…..

The latest in a series of Pentagon proposals on changing US policy in its assorted wars, a series of options are expected to be delivered to President Trump next week on Afghanistan. The options being presented, according to the Pentagon, are meant to “break the stalemate” in Afghanistan

By “stalemate,” what the Pentagon really means is mounting losses, which have left the Taliban with more territory now than at any other point in the 16-year US occupation. The Pentagon has previously indicated the most ambitious escalation will involve some 5,000 more US troops and 13,000 NATO troops being deployed.

But either way, wars don’t get deescalated by the US these days, so all of the plans being offered are escalations, with the least of the deployments being 3,000 US troops and everything just going up from there. The details beyond that are not all public knowledge.

None of this is an exit plan just more escalation and doing the same crap over and over….Trump’s Gamble……

As the Trump administration reviews its Afghan policy, it is imperative to recognize that Afghanistan’s stability remains inescapably linked to two fundamental factors: peace with Pakistan and peace with the Taliban. Unfortunately, the solutions to both pieces are intertwined and revolve principally around Pakistan, a poster child for proxy and terrorist groups in the region.

Source: Trump’s Afghanistan Gamble | The National Interest

Let’s admit that there are NO easy choices for Afghanistan…….packing up declaring a win and coming home is the best idea…more so than sending in more troops to do everyone’s fighting for them….

There are some aspects that most people ignore about Afghanistan….

Some forbidding facts:

  • The Afghan war is in its 16th year, and no victory is in sight.
  • General John Nicholson, the current and 12th US Commander since the beginning of the Afghan war, gave his best assessment during a recent congressional hearing by using an Orwellian phrase, “The war in Afghanistan is at a ‘stalemate.’”
  • General Nicholson, reviving memories of General Stanley McChrystal’s 2009 request to then newly elected President Obama,  asked newly elected President Trump for more troops to conduct “hold-fight-disrupt operations.”
  • The growing presence of the so-called Afghan-Pakistani Daesh franchise – also known as the Islamic State Khorasan Province or ISKP – is a source of worry, using territory as a base to terrorize Afghanistan and conduct terrorist operations inside Pakistan.
  • Another source of apprehension are reports of “direct talks” between Russia and the Taliban. Russia is reported to regard the Taliban as a “strictly national movement that did not intend to spread beyond Afghanistan’s borders.” An assessment from the American side is that Russia, by directly negotiating with the Taliban of Afghanistan and also reportedly providing weapons, wants the United States to fail in Afghanistan.

Source: Lose Now or Later: America’s Uneasy Choices in Afghanistan | YaleGlobal Online

And yet there will be a presentation of plans to the Prez fro his approval……..

the Pentagon is expected to deliver a series of “options” for the US escalation of the 16-year-long war in Afghanistan. Each of these plans involves sending a minimum of 3,000 more US ground troops into the country, with some reportedly seeking as many as 5,000.

The other details, beyond raw numbers, are still coming out, but most recently, the signs are that the plans will follow the escalations in Iraq and Syria, in that they will see President Trump transferring the future decisions on US troop levels in Afghanistan to the Pentagon directly.

President Trump has been eager to delegate decision-making to the military brass wherever possible, though giving the Pentagon control over not just day-to-day operations but broader strategic decisions clearly poses significant risks to the level of civilian control over the US military.

(antiwar.com)

Someone needs to stand up and tell the truth to the country about Afghanistan and let us decide what to do….what part of this is “America First”?

I vote for bugging out!