An Afghanistan Update

I reported earlier today about the death of another American soldier….at the time his name had not been released……that has changed and I would like to update my report……

A Special Forces soldier, SFC Jeremy Griffin, was killed on Monday, September 16, 2019 in Afghanistan. He died of wound from small arms fire while engaged in combat operations in Wardak province, Afghanistan. He was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 1st special Forces Group based at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington.

Jeremy Griffin was born in Cristobal, Panama in December 1978. He enlisted into the U.S. Army in 2004. He deployed to Iraq in 2006 and Afghanistan in 2009 with the 82nd Airborne Division. He had also served with the 7th Special Forces Group. After attending and graduating from the Special Forces Qualification Course in 2014 as a Special Forces Communication Sergeant he was assigned to 1st SFGA.

Our thoughts go out to the family.

May Sgt. Griffin Rest In Peace.

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Thoughts On Afghanistan

After 18 years of war in Afghanistan could there possibly be anything that has gone unsaid?

Probably not.

But I would like to keep my readers abreast of the stuff that this war is made of……profits and death.

Speaking of deaths…….sad news…..yet another American soldier killed in fighting in Afghanistan…..

Another U.S. service member has been killed in action in Afghanistan, officials announced Monday.

The death was announced by NATO’s Resolute Support mission to the country in a press release.

A defense official told Army Times on background that the fallen soldier was a Green Beret, but did not specify the operator’s unit. A separate defense official said that there are no indications the attack was a green-on-blue incident.

“In accordance with U.S. Department of Defense policy, the name of the service member is being withheld until 24 hours after family notification is complete,” the release reads.

(Army Times)

Now that the peace process is “dead” according to Trump what will it mean for the people?

“Our only hope was peace,” Hayat Khan, the family’s 54-year-old patriarch, said Tuesday, “and that doesn’t happen now.”

President Donald Trump says the U.S.-Taliban talks on ending the fighting in Afghanistan are “dead,” deeply unfortunate wording for the Afghan civilians who have been killed by the tens of thousands over almost 18 years. Many fear his cancellation of negotiations will bring more carnage as the U.S. and Taliban, as well as Afghan forces, step up their offensives and everyday people die in the crossfire.

https://apnews.com/d619f2a9fd3b47fa812d707fafd5f146

The Taleban leader said that there could be a ceasefire….it was up to Trump…….

Taliban chief negotiator Sher Abbas Stanekzai announced on Friday that the Taliban has agreed to a complete ceasefire that was contingent on the US accepting the existing Afghan peace deal.

President Trump scrapped the Afghan deal last weekend, citing his anger at the Taliban for continuing to fight. Other US officials had cited both the lack of a ceasefire and the Taliban not making a deal with the Afghan government.

On that front, Stanekzai also noted that the Taliban has already scheduled talks with the Afghan government on September 23. It’s not clear what’s going to happen with these talks if the US peace process is “dead.”

All indications are that the Taliban were both willing for the peace deal last week, and are still willing now. The big question, then, is if President Trump will come around to the idea, or will just keep dismissing peace and choosing to continue America’s longest war.

(antiwar.com)

What about the thing that we hear very little about…the Afghan drug trade?

It is hard to be optimistic about the ongoing U.S. led peace talks with the Taliban. After nearly 18 years of conflict, the Taliban and its terrorist affiliations have proved to be impressively resilient adversaries. 

Despite significant growth in the capacity of the Afghan Government and its security forces, the Taliban still controls more territory than at any point since 2001. If Afghanistan is to ever prevail against this threat, it is imperative to understand what has enabled the Taliban to not only survive, but flourish against formidable counterinsurgency efforts. One likely source of strength is the drug trade.

The source of nearly 90% of the world’s supply of heroin, Afghanistan’s drug trade is as unique as it is vast. There are few modern examples of narco-states where drugs have become so intertwined in the political, economic and social structures of the nation.

The True Power of the Afghan Drug Trade

Someone explain our toleration to the world.

There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.  The American people are losing interest in Afghan War……

On the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, a new survey said Wednesday Americans have a very divided view on the conflict in Afghanistan — which, after 18 years, is still being fought by U.S. armed forces.

Gallup said it found more than half of Americans, 52 percent, say going into Afghanistan after the 2001 attacks was the right thing to do — a decrease of 2 percent since the pollster last asked the question in 2015. Forty-three percent said it was a mistake, up 1 percent.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2019/09/11/Americans-support-for-initial-Afghan-war-declining-survey-shows/8821568217890/

In closing…..just a reminder……

Simply put, the reason American troops are dying in Afghanistan is because they are deployed to Afghanistan. Therefore, the best way to immunize soldiers from a violent death at the hands of the Taliban is to withdraw them from Afghanistan altogether. Reports suggest that his former national security adviser John Bolton tried to dissuade Trump by planting negative stories in the press over his opposition to signing a deal with the Taliban. Some commentators have expressed relief that the ultra-hawkish Bolton was ousted from the White House before be could start a war. But it appears as though, when it came to Afghanistan, he succeeded in keeping an existing war going.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/13/neverforget-war-afghanistan

Time for the insanity of Afghanistan to END!  And end NOW!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

More On Afghanistan

The news has centered on Afghanistan in the last week because of some secret meeting at Camp David with the Taleban ….cancelled to avoid the embarrassment for the president…….

President Trump surprised many over the weekend with the revelation that he had canceled secret peace talks that were about to take place at Camp David with Taliban and Afghan leaders. Trump said he called off the meeting following a Taliban attack in Kabul that killed an American soldier. Now the big question is what happens next in regard to US plans to scale down its presence in Afghanistan. A look at coverage:

  • The talks: The New York Times has an in-depth look at how the Camp David meeting nearly came to be, reporting that Trump himself suggested using the coveted locale. Some background: The US has been negotiating separately with the Taliban for some time, and a deal is close. Those talks have not included Afghanistan, however, and it was Trump’s idea to invite Afghan leader Ashraf Ghani to the US to sign off on an agreement.
  • Trump’s style: The Washington Post reports this via an official: “Comparing the initiative to Trump’s personal meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and his stated desire to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, this official said Trump thinks his personal style can persuade anyone, and that he has seen the possibility of a substantial Afghan withdrawal as a major plus for his reelection campaign.”
  • Critic’s view: Don’t buy the president’s explanation that he called off the meeting over the death of an American service member, writes Chas Danner at New York. “Last week’s deadly suicide bombing was not some final straw for Trump, as he and Pompeo have claimed, but rather a politically palatable excuse to save face after the administration’s plan for a peacemaking grand finale fell apart,” writes Danner. He has a lengthy analysis.
  • How it allegedly fell apart: The Times reports the Taliban did agree to come to Camp David, but only if the peace deal was announced prior to their arrival there. That was a “fundamental dividing point.” Trump “wanted to be the dealmaker who would put the final parts together himself, or at least be perceived to be,” per the story.
  • So now what? Not only is the Camp David meeting off, but those US-Taliban talks also have been suspended. The AP reports that it’s not clear when they might resume, and the Timesthinks it could be “several months.” Also up in the air is the timeline for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. About 14,000 are currently there, and Trump promised last month to bring that number down to about 8,600. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out two conditions for any drawdown on Sunday: reduced violence and the pledge that Afghanistan would not be used as the base for an attack on the US.
  • A rift: The Afghanistan strategy has exposed a rift between national security adviser John Bolton, a hawk who wants no part of a deal with the Taliban, and Pompeo, who backs the negotiations, reports the Post. Bolton maintains that Trump can keep a campaign pledge of reducing the US troop presence without a Taliban deal.
  • Taliban threat: A Taliban spokesman warned that the cancellation will result in American deaths, reports Reuters. “This will lead to more losses to the US,” he said. “Its credibility will be affected, its anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase.”

Trump wants to get out of Afghanistan because he promised to do so and because it will look good on his re-election rhetoric…..

Do we have a moral reason to stay in the country?

Since 9/11, U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan have fluctuated between a high of 100,000 in 2011 and about 14,000 today. Until 2014, they were part of a NATO mission that at its height had 130,000 troops from 50 countries; NATO transitioned it from a combat mission to a “train, equip and advise” mandate in 2014, aiming to shift responsibility to Afghan security forces. The U.S. contingent is now the major part of a force of 17,000 from 30 countries. Close to 3,500 coalition personnel have been killed since 2001, including 2,300 Americans.

No one would argue that this 18-year-long Western commitment has solved Afghanistan’s security problems, but some changes in Afghan life offer modest hope for the future. Despite endemic corruption, Afghans continue to stumble fitfully toward a functioning electoral system, with a presidential election set for Sept. 28. Perhaps most important, in a country of 36 million people, USAID says about 9 million children are now in school, one-third of them girls. Under the Taliban, few children had access to school, and no girls were permitted to attend.

https://www.ozy.com/opinion/afghanistan-in-a-precarious-position-as-us-prepares-to-leave/96643

Or do we stay….and stay….and stay……?

After 18 years of waging war in Afghanistan, the Trump administration is attempting to pull back. But critics have responded with outrage. What’s the point of trying to reach a deal with the execrable Taliban? How can we contemplate abandoning the Afghan government when the country could be plunged into civil war or worse?

The implication of these objections is clear: Eighteen years has been insufficient. The U.S. should be willing to guarantee Afghan security and stability — including playing Whack-a-Mole with Taliban insurgents — with no end in sight. Anything less than such an open-ended commitment is tantamount to a surrender — and surrendering to America’s enemies should be considered unacceptable, no matter the cost in blood and treasure.

https://theweek.com/articles/862985/does-america-have-moral-imperative-stay-afghanistan-forever

As usual there is a wealth of reason why the US cannot leave Afghanistan….sadly none hold up to the reality.

One last thought……

according to the US Department of Defense, the total military expenditure in Afghanistan (from October 2001 until March 2019) was $760bn.

But it doesn’t include spending in Pakistan, which the US uses as a base for Afghan-related operations.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-47391821

That is cash that could have been used in the US on education, health or infrastructure….instead fighting a war that we cannot win was the use for those dollars.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Back To Afghanistan

First, more sad news another American soldier was killed in Afghanistan……

A Green Beret sergeant from Idaho was killed in action Thursday in Afghanistan, becoming the 15th U.S. combat casualty there this year as the Pentagon prepares to draw down its forces in the country.

Although the Pentagon has not yet officially released the soldier’s name, he was identified Friday as Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Ard on the Facebook page of Idaho State Rep. Rod Furniss

Ard is survived by his pregnant wife and 3-year-old daughter, according to Idaho media.

Ard was killed at the outset of a raid alongside Afghan commandos in Afghanistan’s southern Zabul province, the New York Times reported Friday. A Pentagon spokesman could not confirm those details but said an investigation has been initiated.

(military.com)

I have been writing about the possibility of some sort of peace for Afghanistan…my most recent post from just days ago……https://lobotero.com/2019/09/03/afghanistan-deal-or-no-deal/

Word has leaked out the president has brought together the parties in a secret meeting and hawks are scrmabling to beat down this attempt…..

Nine former U.S. envoys to Afghanistan put their names on an article posted on the Atlantic Council’s blog on Tuesday. The article, titled “U.S.-Taliban Negotiations: How to Avoid Rushing to Failure,” makes the argument that if a major withdrawal of U.S. troops occurred in Afghanistan, the country would fall into a “total civil war.”

The article was posted just a day after U.S. negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad announced an agreement was made between the U.S. and Taliban for a withdrawal of 5,000 U.S. troops over the next five months. The deal is still pending approval from President Trump.

While the point these diplomats make about Afghanistan falling further into civil war after a U.S. withdrawal may be true, this article is full of the usual taking points that has kept the U.S. in this seemingly endless war. Afghanistan has been ravaged by civil war for decades, and while 14,000 U.S. troops maintain a presence in the country today, almost daily violence still occurs.

Former US Envoys to Afghanistan Want To Kill Peace Deal

Will these attempts be successful?

Well one could see it that way…..

Many months of tough negotiations between US and Taliban officials came to a draft agreement which some analysts believe was going to be formally finalized as a peace deal this weekend. That will not happen.

President Trump took to Twitter on Saturday announcing that he has “called off peace negotiations” with the Taliban, citing anger over one of the Taliban’s car bombings in Kabul last week.

(antiwar.com)

Lobbyists and war hawks have a great sway over our foreign policy….the only way to go now is more war, more destruction and more deaths.

I think we need a “peace race” (post to come)…….this country has had enough war and killing….time to “give peace a chance”.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

War–It Is Our Nature

I spend a lot of time researching war….I spend a lot of time writing about war….and a lot of time replying to comments by my visitors.  There seems to be a common thread to comments about war…..many think and/or believe that as humans war is in our DNA.

It would seem that it is truly in our DNA because we as a group cannot end a disagreement without violence……for at least a hundred years war is all to frequent.

Whenever I write that I am antiwar or that I am watching some conflict here or there and try to help readers understand war someone will try to comment by saying that war is ingrained into our DNA….that we have little control over the fight.

Is it in our nature to go to war? Should we just accept the fact that humans have this innate tendency and are hardwired to kill members of other groups?

No, says R. Brian Ferguson, professor of anthropology at Rutgers University-Newark. There is no scientific proof that we have an inherent propensity to take up arms and collectively kill.

In a study published in Scientific American, Ferguson argues that war may not be in our nature at all. People might fight and sometimes kill for personal reasons, but homicide, he argues, is not war.

“There is definitely controversy in the field when it comes to this question,” says Ferguson, who studies human nature, war and peace. “But it is the overall circumstances that we live in that creates the impulse to go or not go to war.”

https://phys.org/news/2018-12-scientific-proof-war-ingrained-human.html

War is all too constant these days.

But why?

Personally, I believe it is the M-IC that makes it constant…..for to them it is more about profit that it is the source…..the answer is always intervention and the use of deadly ordinances and weapons….for this needs to be replenished and in doing so the cash register rings.

There is seldom an attempt to find a peaceful resolution….there are faux “summits” to talk peace but they seldom end in success.

The “Complex” is that never ending snake that eats its tail……

What President Dwight D. Eisenhower dubbed the “military-industrial complex” has been constantly evolving over the decades, adjusting to shifts in the economic and political system as well as international events. The result today is a “permanent-war complex,” which is now engaged in conflicts in at least eight countries across the globe, none of which are intended to be temporary.

This new complex has justified its enhanced power and control over the country’s resources primarily by citing threats to U.S. security posed by Islamic terrorists. But like the old military-industrial complex, it is really rooted in the evolving relationship between the national security institutions themselves and the private arms contractors allied with them.

America’s Permanent-War Complex

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Not Weary, Apathetic

Just recently I wrote a post that got a good conversation started…..https://lobotero.com/2019/07/23/are-we-war-weary/

When I returned to civilian life after Vietnam I was amazed it just how little people knew of the country that were bombing into the stone age.  They knew there was a war that the country was fighting but had NO idea where it was or why were fighting other than some moronic slogan.

After I wrote my post I read another one that is accurate as well……

In May 2019, retired general and former national security advisor H.R. McMaster lamented that a narrative of war-weariness is hurting America. “A young student stood up and said ‘all I’ve known my whole life is war,’” said McMaster, referring to a recent town hall he watched. “Now, he’s never been to war, but he’s been subjected, I think, to this narrative of war-weariness.” Of course, one student is not necessarily representative of an entire population. And while McMaster isn’t wrong, the focus on war-weariness obscures the more general and arguably more pernicious fact that the American population is broadly disengaged from American foreign policy and the places it takes soldiers like myself. In fact, during CNN’s series of hour-long town hall events with five leading 2020 Democratic candidates in April, only three questions were asked about foreign policy. None of them were about America’s nearly two-decade-long post-9/11 wars.

When I told my family and close friends that I would be deploying to Syria, the common reaction was confusion. “Wait,” one civilian friend asked me, “we have troops in Syria?” Indeed, when President Donald Trump announced that he would be withdrawing American forces from the country last year, the few posts I saw from friends on Facebook conveyed surprise—not at the president’s sudden policy reversal, but at the fact America had invested blood and treasure there in the first place. These are neither uneducated nor politically disengaged citizens. On the contrary, many are college-educated, civically aware people who are as likely to share a think piece from the Atlantic as they are the latest Game of Thrones meme. Their attention was just focused elsewhere—immigration, healthcare, and the latest speculation about the Mueller investigation.

https://mwi.usma.edu/americans-arent-war-weary-theyre-war-apathetic/

It is a shame that a young soldier can go on a deployment into a war zone and the population could care less.

They care when they are told to care but on their own they could care less…..more people care what happens to those on “Naked and Afraid” than what happens to a soldier.

Makes me ashamed.

I may have left the military and laid my weapon aside in exchange for pen and paper and I fight on.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

That Short War

As a student of war or as we like to call it conflict we study the longest wars like the 100 years war between England and France……or the 7 years war once again between England and France ….then there was the US longest war until 2001 Vietnam and today we have the 18+ year war in Afghanistan……with all these so-called “long wars” can anyone tell me the shortest war in history?

I would imagine that there is a stampede to the Google machine…..

Let me help…..

Once again the UK is involved in the shortest war…..the Anglo-Zanzibar War….

The little known Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896 is generally considered to be the shortest war in history, lasting for a grand total of 38 minutes.

The story begins with the signing of the Heligoland-Zanzibar treaty between Britain and Germany in 1890. This treaty effectively drew up spheres of influence between the imperial powers in East Africa; Zanzibar was ceded to British influence, whilst Germany was given control over mainland Tanzania.

With this new found influence, Britain declared Zanzibar a protectorate of the British Empire and moved to install their own ‘puppet’ Sultan to look after the region. Hamad bin Thuwaini, who had been a supporter of the British in the area, was given the position in 1893.

https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/The-Shortest-War-in-History/

38 minutes? 

Seriously?

Why bother?

I love my job!

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”