Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Afghanistan: Downgraded From Quagmire To FUBAR

Things have now reached such a sorry state of affairs in Afghanistan, that if one would wish to cherry-pick failures over "successes" simply could not do so - however much one would try.

For before, failures "only" overwhelmingly outnumbered small, inconsequential "successes". Now, even such small, inconsequential "successes" have become a full fledged rarity.


Things have to be bad and out of control when the Taliban can waltz in and free some 1200 prisoners - including some 400 fellow Talibs - from Kandahar's Sarposa prison.

This, not counting the usual fare regularly occurring in Afghanistan (you know - business as usual and all that).

And as Canadian, American and other fellow N.A.T.O. soldiers provided "intelligence support" (say what?!?) for Afghan forces in hunting down the escaped prisoners, one "top general" (Gen. Denis Thompson, the Canadian commandeer in Afghanistan) could not help but state the painfully obvious on the consequences of the spectacular jailbreak:
"Eventually it may impact us in the field."
Eventually?

The commandeer was actually overly optimistic. Case in point: hundreds of Taliban fighters took over several villages in a district just north of Kandahar City - a mere two-three days after the Sarposa jailbreak.

In between, Afghan senior officials are beginning to be scared ... really scared:
Walid Karzai, brother of President Hamid Karzai, told The Canadian Press on Monday that he's also worried the Taliban could mount attacks within Kandahar.

"There are also strong rumours that they will attack Kandahar city at certain strategic points. My house, the governor's house (and) the police station," he said.

"Whenever they get close to Kandahar city, there could be problems. Every one in Kabul is very much concerned," said Karzai, who serves as president of the provincial council.
In fact, senior Afghan officials are so scared nowadays, that the Mayor of Kabul President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, went as far as issuing the threat of sending troops into Pakistan to battle the Taliban (you know - who keeps hiding there).

Shit hitting the fan, indeed.

The response from N.A.T.O. following the Sarposa jailbreak? Same old dissembling "all is well" and "we're ready!" bullshit:
NATO spokesperson Mark Laity said NATO and Afghan military officials are sending troops to the district to "meet any potential threats."

Laity seemed to link the jailbreak with the Taliban push into Arghandab.

"It's fair to say that the jailbreak has put a lot of people (rebels) into circulation who weren't there before, and so obviously you're going to respond to that potential threat," he said.
Obviously - that they did.

Now, how long will this last? Remember the last time N.A.T.O. had to "do it again"?

(Answer: it is always going on - N.A.T.O. pushes Talibs away from one place and they come back another place another day, and eventually return to the first place they were pushed from to begin with, and on and on and on and on. That is how things have been since the resurgence of the Taliban back in 2003)

And in between, those incompetent politicians who keep on cheering, supporting and defending this war could not help themselves in laying the blame for the Sarposa jailbreak squarely at the feet of the Afghan authorities - of course:
Defence Minister Peter MacKay tried to distance Canada from blame in the Kandahar jailbreak that freed hundreds of prisoners – including 400 pro-Taliban insurgents – saying the Afghan government must answer for failing to prevent it.

“Let's not forget this is an Afghan lead. It's not a Canadian-run prison,” Mr. MacKay told CTV's Question Period, adding later that the Afghans “have obviously a lot to account for as to what happened.”
Alternately, blame your N.A.T.O. allies for being inefficient - even if you were the ones responsible for this mess to begin with.

And never mind that the Afghan government is inept and corrupt, thanks in good part to your own incompetence (emphasis added):
(Sarah) Chayes’s input has become regarded as a vital source of intelligence for those stakeholders trying to get a full picture of the situation on the ground without many eyes and ears outside the wire. She supports a continued NATO presence in Kandahar but is highly critical of the political strategy and combat tactics of the coalition forces.

"I was very happy to see NATO come (to Kandahar) but disappointed that NATO hasn’t altered their policy of using corrupt Afghan officials," she said. "They have given a blank cheque to the local government authorities and you simply can’t do that. Fighting corruption is a daily process. You can’t just remove a few officials and consider the task complete."

According to Chayes, NATO’s killing of insurgents is negated by the unchecked corruption of the local government, which is causing an even greater number of volunteers to take up arms and join the resistance.

(...) "These corrupt Afghan officials will respond to foreign pressure because they know they are in power thanks to NATO," Chayes said. "If NATO wasn’t here, the Karzai regime wouldn’t last five days, or five minutes, because the people are so upset."
And never mind as well the fact that N.A.T.O. troops do not even have the proper means, let alone any comprehensive plan, to actually train competently Afghan police and soldiers.

Hell, they don't even have translators to interact properly with Afghanis.

No wonder this is a hopeless clusterfuck, a lost cause.

And if things weren't bad enough, Taliban insurgents use profits from the sales of opium as their prime source of revenue - Afghan opium traffic is now a $4 billion/year business, as Afghanistan has become the premier world supplier of illegal opium, while the never-ending Taliban insurgency is giving way to the idea of N.A.T.O. actually fighting the Taliban in Pakistan, an idea which seems to get increasing traction.

Wanna bet how this will make things even worse? I mean, much worse?

Oh wait - now we learn that U.S. abuse of detainees was routine at Afghanistan bases, and that Afghan soldiers apparently like to indulge in sexual assaults, while Canadian soldiers allegedly had to turn a blind eye and stay silent on such matters.

I have previously endeavored to make the case that the war in Afghanistan has turned out to be absolutely for nothing, namely because:
For indeed, each one of the prime justifications/objectives for the Afghanistan war have now been either completely disavowed ("defeat the taliban"), more or less abandoned ("defeat al-Qaeda"), or outrightly dismissed/ignored ("bring freedom and democracy"), by the very same people who have been pushing and supporting said justifications and this war.

In essence, the core-reasons for going into Afghanistan are being put aside in lieu of political salvage operations of appearances - with the price continuing to be exacted with the lives of N.A.T.O. soldiers and Afghan civilians in the meantime.

To put it in other words: people and soldiers have been dying over the last seven years for nothing more than what in the end has amounted to a needless and ludicrous political exercise on the part of incompetent "deciders" as their response to 9/11.

The idea of military intervention as the crux of the strategy behind the Global War on Terror(TM) was wrong-headed to begin with and has proven itself to be wrong-headed ever since - if only because one does not wage war on a method/technique of fighting. In this respect, it is now safe to say that the Global War on Terror(TM) has been a colossal failure so far, in addition to fostering more terrorism and extremism than prior to its implementation.

And Afghanistan will forever constitute grave testimony to that effect.
Indeed, Bush lied about the Taliban refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden, the "official" prime reason for waging war in Afghanistan.

And what about removing the Taliban for good? Why, we now want to negotiate with them!

Furthermore, there was also this seldom-mentioned matter of oil pipelines needing to go through Afghanistan at the time - which of course brought forth the suspicion that the war in Afghanistan may have been first and foremost about oil.

Well, guess what? Canadian troops would help (if asked) the Afghan army defend a proposed $7.6-billion U.S.-backed natural gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan, to Pakistan and India.

I guess it is now official: Afghanistan has now devolved from quagmire to genuine FUBAR.

Talk about "signposts of success".

So my question (again and again) is: what the Hell are we still doing there?

When will we wake up to the sheer inanity of this "mission"?

How can there be anyone out there of the mind to keep on justifying this utter, ludicrous waste of lives, resources and money?

"What war?" fucking indeed.


(Cross-posted at DKos, The Wild Wild Left, and The Peace Tree)

1 comment:

  1. Great summation. I've been wondering about it myself.

    ReplyDelete

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