Tag: Afghanistan

Too Much Tolerance in Afghanistan

What the actual hell?

In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.

“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records.

You can read the whole thing if you have the stomach. It’s appalling. The Obama Administration, of course, is saying they just found out about it from the news.

Look, I’m all in favor of cultural tolerance. If our soldiers are guests in an Islamic country, I’m OK with not having booze or something. But this is WAY beyond that kind of cultural tolerance, especially when it’s happening on an American military base.

As Jazz Shaw pointed out over at Hot Air, this isn’t really a partisan issue, despite my snarking. For all we know, this policy has been in place for many years. But whatever the origin, this needs to stop. It’s not as if letting militia leaders rape boys is going to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan.

Mullah Omar Dead

Afghan Intelligence is reporting and the Taliban are confirming that Mullah Omar is dead, having perished two years ago in a Pakistani hospital.

I have no idea how this will affect the situation in Afghanistan. I suspect the impact will be small since Omar was largely a symbolic figure. Still … at least the man who crafted the vile Taliban state can’t do any more harm.

A Quick Thought on the Bergdahl Deal

Events are moving quickly on the Bergdahl deal. Congress is going to have hearings about whether Obama broke the law (when even noted liberal hack Jeffrey Toobin says that Obama “clearly broke the law”, I would say that Obama probably broke the law). The army is now going to investigate his disappearance. Homecoming parades have been cancelled. And the Obama people are, once again, bumfuzzled that not everyone is baking is their gloriousness.

But I wanted to peel off a question here. When discussing this case with my father-in-law today, he was puzzled that Obama would make this deal since he thought it would encourage more abductions. I said that the Obama people saw this as a straight-forward POW exchange. And then it hit me. This deal isn’t about Bergdahl. It isn’t about leaving no man behind. It isn’t about the Gitmo 5. And it’s not about distracting from the VA scandal (the lapdog media will take care of that).

This deal is about legitimizing the Taliban.

OK, that’s a bit harsh. It’s more accurate to say that this about setting the stage for post-war Afghanistan. Karzai is a lame duck and will soon be replaced. His successor may not last long after we leave. Either the Taliban will take over or they will be part of a power-sharing agreement. The United States has been negotiating directly with the Taliban for a while, trying to bring more moderate elements to the fore (the Taliban is not a monolithic organization, but is a coalition of powers ranging from somewhat moderate to absurdly extreme).

I think this is aimed directly at building a relationship with the Taliban. It is not a coincidence that this happened just after we announced the timetable for leaving Afghanistan. The Obama Administration has seen the writing on the wall — the Taliban will rule Afghanistan again. And they’re trying to establish a relationship with Afghanistan’s future government.

Whether that’s a good or a bad thing only history will tell. I don’t think we have much of a choice. We can’t stay and nation-build in Afghanistan forever. The only force that will rid Afghanistan of fundamentalism is the Afghan people deciding they don’t want it anymore. Our main priority has to be making sure that terrorist organizations are not allowed to flourish in postwar Afghanistan.

Will this prisoner swap with the Taliban help? I’m very dubious. But I think that’s what’s going on here.


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.

I Want My Money

Once again, we see that good will always triumph because evil is dumb:

Mohammad Ashan, a mid-level Taliban commander in Paktika province, strolled toward a police checkpoint in the district of Sar Howza with a wanted poster bearing his own face. He demanded the finder’s fee referenced on the poster: $100.

Afghan officials, perplexed by the man’s misguided motives, arrested him on the spot. Ashan is suspected of plotting at least two attacks on Afghan security forces. His misdeeds prompted officials to plaster the district with hundreds of so-called “Be on the Lookout” posters emblazoned with his name and likeness.

This is one of the advantages of fighting an enemy who think education and literacy are evil. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of terrorists being done in by extreme stupidity. There have been reports of Taliban suicide bombers accidentally detonating during group hugs.

Time to print up some more posters. Maybe we can get the guys who poisoned schoolgirls.

Kandahar Massacre


A US soldier in Afghanistan has shot dead 15 civilians and wounded others after entering their homes in Kandahar province, Afghan and Nato sources say.

He reportedly left his base early in the morning to attack village homes. Nine children are among the dead.

Hold on to your hats. Afghanistan is really going to explode now.

It won’t matter in the long run, but I’ll note in anyway: in a decade of violent conflict, in which the distinction between friend and foe has been murky, this is the first time something like this has happened. Such incidents would have been routine for almost any other army in the world. And it is only Western nations that would and will hold a soldier accountable for this horrific act. Under the Taliban and under the rule likely to be in place after we leave, this kind of massacre is routine. The difference is that it will be their own countrymen committing murder, not foreigners. And it seems like the Afghans are OK with that.

The Return of the Taliban

So it’s come to this:

Afghanistan’s president on Tuesday endorsed a “code of conduct” issued by an influential council of clerics that activists say represents a giant step backward for women’s rights in the country.

President Hamid Karzai’s Tuesday remarks backing the Ulema Council’s document, which allows husbands to beat wives under certain circumstances and encourages segregation of the sexes, is seen as part of his outreach to insurgents like the Taliban.

Both the U.S. and Karzai hope that the Taliban can be brought into negotiations to end the country’s decade-long war. But activists say they’re worried that gains made by women since 2001 may be lost in the process.

The hope is to bring the less insane factions of the Taliban into the coalition. But I suspect this ends with either a slightly less horrifying version of pre-invasion Afghanistan law or, at best, a tolerance of full shariah wherever people want to practice it.

I slept on this before posting and my two-word reaction as not changed: fuck ‘em.

We tried to fix the country. God knows we tried. We sacrificed thousands of our best citizens, hundreds of billions of dollars and ten years. We gave them every chance of progressing to, if not the 21st century, at least maybe the 18th. It was not good enough. A substantial fraction of the Afghan people want this. A substantial fraction are fine with a system that kills and mutilates women if they step out of line and keeps them and their children condemned to barbarism.

It pains me to abandon 15 million Afghan women and untold future generations to this. But I don’t see that there is anything we can do to prevent the nation’s suicide. Maybe we open up immigration for people willing to put all of it behind them. And we should maintain enough of an over-the-horizon presence to prevent the rise of another Al-Quada (although, without bin Laden, it’s unlikely another one could rise). But we’re done. The only thing that will stop this horror is when the Afghan people decide they’ve had enough.

More US Deaths In Afghanistan

Here is a question for the group ,” Does anyone think that Afghan forces will ever be combat ready and able to defend their own country against the Taliban? Does anyone think that the Afghan people will gain the will and the desire instilled by nationalistic pride to fight for and protect their own nation? I ask these questions because if the answer is NO, to either, then what’s the point?

At least 13 U.S. troops were killed in Kabul on Saturday when a suicide bomber struck a vehicle in a NATO military convoy, a U.S. military official said.

Details are sketchy, could be more US deaths and certainly more NATO and civilian deaths.

We see this phenomenon all the time in the investing world, called the sunk cost fallacy, where good money is thrown after bad because any diminution would be a sign of failure or a mistake, so instead of admitting a bad hand and folding, we go all in hoping (praying) that some serendipitous event will save us. We see this all time with economic aid, backing the wrong regime, the wrong tin horned dictator because at the time it seemed like a wise move. But when conditions change and events turn against us, the aid continues because, well, we stop it would prove that we (the government) was wrong, and would erode the confidence of the folks. With Afghanistan , it is too late.

Afghanistan is doomed because on both sides of the equation, ours and theirs, there is no credible foundation of competence. On Our side, we have this:

Washington has indicated its willingness to negotiate with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and now regards his involvement as crucial to the prospects for peace in Afghanistan, Hillary Clinton has said.

And on their side, we have this:

Afghanistan would back rival Pakistan in a war with America, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday.

What’s the old saying, “With friends like these……………….”?

Playing from a position of weakness, America has never been able to trust Karzai for the simple fact that he is a weasel, he is untrustworthy. State has always assumed that democracy is hard, an acquired skill with a sharp learning curve, but under proper supervision, boat loads of cash, and the patience of Job, something could be cabled together to resemble a free democratic state.

A worthy endeavor, and deserving of our patience and money, initially. But more and more stuff has been revealed about Karzai. He has always played both sides against the middle, taking our money and aid while offering to do our bidding, but ditto that with Iran, who’s interests are a bit different then ours.

Factor in that the Taliban is supplied with substantial funding from the local drug trade, and who is the head honcho, the Tony Montana of the drug trade? Karzai’s little brother. This “intimacy” that Karzai has with the Taliban, is not a secret, yet, we play ball with him like he is on our side, how stupid. Drugs and billions in cash flow in and out of Kabul, right under our noses, but he let’s us play soldier in his back yard, so we don’t interfere. But he does interfere with us, hindering out capabilities by demanding that the NATO led coalition stop carrying out night raids and limit airstrikes.

As it stand now, the official hand off date is 2014, the full transfer of the security responsibilities to the Afghan government, with the proviso that if the situation warrants and they are not ready, we stay longer, how encouraging? 9 years of training their security forces already, training folks who’s allegiance is a total crap shoot, training Afghans who is just as likely to turn that gun around and shoot his trainer, or after learning everything he can about our training and methods, go join the Taliban.

I think it is time that American forces apply my Iraq Doctrine, that we will stay in your flea bitten sand chocking loyalty challenged country but here is the deal, American forces stay behind great big walls, secured from suicide bombers, and we advise, that is all we do, advise. The heavy lifting, the going out on missions, going into harm’s way and doing the actual fighting, that is all on you. It is your country, it’s time to fight for it.

Hotel Under Attack

There’s a fight on:

Gunmen and suicide bombers attacked Kabul’s Hotel Inter-Continental, where they fought Tuesday with Afghan security forces late into the night, Chief of Criminal Investigation Mohammed Zahir told CNN.

Three of about six armed would-be suicide attackers who attacked Kabul’s Inter-Continental Hotel at 10 p.m. Tuesday were shot dead by police; another detonated his explosives and two were still resisting from the top levels of the hotel, said Afghan Lt. Gen. Mohammad Ayoub Salangi, the city’s chief of police, early Wednesday.

The Afghan National Police and the Afghan army are in control of the area, he told CNN, adding that the casualty toll was not yet clear.

As seems often the case, they are attacking a civilian target, trying to take as many innocent lives as they can. Let’s hope it’s not as bad as some of the early reports hint.

I am with Obama on this…

What do you ask? Well, he is about to disregard his generals advice and pull troops out of Afghanistan so he can say he did so before the next election regardless of the consequences.

Barack Obama is set to reject the ad vice of the Pentagon by announcing on Wednesday night the withdrawal of up to 30,000 troops from Afghanistan by November next year, in time for the US presidential election. The move comes despite warnings from his military commanders that recent security gains are fragile. They have been urging him to keep troop numbers high until 2013.

The accelerated drawdown will dismay American and British commanders in Kabul, who have privately expressed concern that the White House is now being driven by political rather than military imperatives. “This is not something we feel entirely comfortable with,” a Whitehall official told the Guardian.

Obama’s nationally televised address, the sixth he has given since becoming president, is intended to mark the beginning of the end of American military deployment in Afghanistan, from a present high of almost 100,000 troops.

And that’s because the man is desperate and his concern that he has to overcome stuff like this so he is not doomed in 2012, is now his most paramount and only concern.

Americans are growing more dissatisfied with President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy and say it will be hard to vote to re-elect him without seeing significant progress over the next year and a half.

By a margin of 61 percent to 37 percent, a Bloomberg National Poll conducted June 17-20 shows Americans say they believe that Obama will have had his chance to make the economy “substantially better” by the end of 2012.

Only 30 percent of respondents said they are certain to vote for the president and 36 percent said they definitely won’t. Among likely independent voters, only 23 percent said they will back his re-election, while 36 percent said they definitely will look for another candidate.

Anyway, I am with the generals that this is a disastrous decision that will only guarantee us more pain in the future, but I now am convinced that these democrats do not give a rats ass about the sacrifices made by the troops, unless they can claim the victories made possible by their betters or score political points, and if their concern is always their own political viability over our security, at least I would then prefer they pull our troops out of harms way. I also doubt this move will help him that much with anyone, because they will see it for what it is: political maneuvering. The insane base will still hate the fact that he hasn’t just pulled everyone out, disbanded the military, begged the UN for forgiveness, and disbanded evil America. Most of the rest of us will know that he just did that to bolster his reelection campaign chances because while he did escalate the fighting originally, his heart has never been in it. And then there will be the few that might fall for this, but they are going to be of no consequence.

If we are not going to fight to win against an enemy that has declared war on us, at least pull the troops out so they don’t have to die in vain. Hopefully someone that understands the consequences of not fighting to win will come along in time to save us from the impending disaster those that think running away is an option. I leave you with a couple of quotes by Mr. Churchill that pretty much sum up the problem we face.

“England has been offered a choice between war and shame. She has chosen shame and will get war.” –Winston Churchill

“Nothing is more dangerous in wartime than to live in the temperamental atmosphere of a Gallup Poll, always feeling one’s pulse and taking one’s temperature.” –Winston Churchill