Intolerable

It is no secret around here that I gave up hope on any possible Afghanistan success story years ago. Sure, I understand the need to exterminate AQ and the argument that it is better to fight them over there then over here. But after 11 years and two thousand casualties, I can’t see the rational of spending billions rebuilding that country or the possibility that any other scenario will occur except the inevitable, which is that the corrupt Afghan government will sit down at the table with the Taliban. The government can not govern, the people have no love of country and will not fight for its protection, and the Taliban will fill the void that the security forces cannot secure.

Yes, a stable Afghanistan is in the interest of the whole international community but I don’t think there is enough money in the world to make that happen. And as of now there is no deadline for the full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. No end date for the support mission has been supplied, the expected duration of the war in Afghanistan is indefinite. Despite a deadline or termination point for the “combat” mission, once NATO troops go home there will exist a “support” team to remain in place. The size of this support team is yet not set in stone but if what happened in Iraq is any indication, that team could be huge. I’ve mentioned before that the only scenario I would agree to is for our troops and advisers to be secured inside high walls and not be placed in positions of peril, no combat missions. A security force of 45,000 troops were still in Iraq one year after the official pullout, and they were still doing combat missions. I suspect Afghanistan will be no different, more money and lives being wasted, stretched out to infinity.

As if risking your life going out on combat missions was not bad enough, now the chances of you getting shot by a friendly is getting just as precarious:

Ten soldiers, mostly Americans, have been killed by Afghan allies in the past two weeks, while the total toll of 40 this year makes up 13 per cent of all international coalition deaths.

Mistrust spawned by the so-called green-on-blue assaults has reached the stage where foreign troops have been ordered to be armed at all times, even within bases, a Nato spokesman told AFP.

The attacks — on a scale believed to be unprecedented in modern military history — are responsible for almost one in every four coalition deaths in the war so far this month.

No way can any effective fighting force operate under theses circumstances. Returning from missions, allowing troops to decompress to at least relax a bit and unwind, all that is out the window. Now standing in the chow line, taking your morning constitutional, relaxing with your buddies in your dorm, all areas are now combat zones. Want to go work out on the treadmill? bring your service rifle or at least your side arm, because fire fights can spring up at any time. Think those Afghan police officers over there are on your side? Think that delivery guy that always has a smile on his face is safe, think any Afghan personnel wearing any uniform at all will not blow you away if the opportunity presents itself? Every waking moment is now a life or death situation. So now everyone is nervous, everyone is on edge. Not being able to distinguish friend or foe, intolerable.

I get that we got bigger fish to fry, that crushing debt and financial insolvency worldwide is a greater threat then AQ, illegal immigration, a nuclear Iran, global warming, or the complete ignorance of a certain Missou congressman wrt the birds and the bees, but there is no honor in this war anymore. The troops always perform honorably, which makes their sacrifice even less palatable.

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  1. Thrill

    Nobody agrees with me yet, but I’ll say it again: Iraq mattered when it came time to stay and crush the insurgency/AQ counter-invasion. Afghanistan doesn’t matter and never did after the Taliban absconded. Time to leave.

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  2. CM

    Ten soldiers, mostly Americans, have been killed by Afghan allies in the past two weeks

    We (NZ) have had 5 killed in the last two weeks. I wonder if they are additional to that 10?

    My closest cousin, the most optimistic person I’ve ever met, has been working off and on (mostly on) in Kabul for the last 6 years (for Tear Fund). She says it’s pretty much hopeless. Any new infrstructure gets destoyed by the Taliban as soon as it gets built. The only real progress is at a very basic level (teaching people to wash their hands after they go to the toilet, that kind of unbelievably basic shit). Elections just involve one corrupt person against another equally corrupt person. It was depressing enough talking to her about it let alone imagining being there to witness it.

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  3. TxAg94

    I never would have expected to say this 10 years ago but I firmly believe that the ONLY reason we are still there is to keep the defense contractor gravy train going. I supported both Iraq and Afghanistan operations initially but it’s just gotten absurd. The at some point I wondered what it would do to the economy if we pulled out and suddenly had tens of thousands of ex-military in the work force. Now I don’t care, better that than have them dead for nothing. Now I feel like it’s just a money maker for a few major defense contratcors. They’re trading the lives of our troops for profits. Again, I have NEVER thought like that but I see no other explanation now.

    I think what sealed it for me was the story about the MRAPs and how they were pushed as saving thousands of lives. A few days ago they had to admit it’s actually more like a handful. But who cares now? The companies selling them have made millions on them. I have no proof of the veracity of the story but the fact that it didn’t surprise me one bit, when I would have been skeptical before, is telling to me.

    Just my two cents but I also haven’t had coffee yet.

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  4. HARLEY

    AFG, is a low trust society … and given the nature of the opposition, we just can not get ahead. some times there are people/nation that you just can not save. Unless you want to spend a few generations deliberately changing the culture, to one that is high trust.
    When we went into AFG i state this fact, if we really, want to “win” we will have to be there for several decades and actively change the culture, something that this nation doesn’t have the political will power to do.

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