Tag: War in Afghanistan

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.

The plan when they took over was to

Secure defeat when a possible victory was in the works, and if you doubt that’s what they are doing, check out how well informed these bozos are:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R., Calif.) had a simple question Wednesday for three of the Obama administration’s top Afghanistan specialists: How many American troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year?

None of the witnesses at the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Afghanistan had an answer.

How much is the U.S. spending in Afghanistan? Mr. Rohrabacher asked.

No one could say.

“We’re supposed to believe that you fellas have a plan that’s going to end up in a positive way in Afghanistan?” Mr. Rohrabacher asked. “Holy cow!”

Mr. Rohrabacher’s incredulous questioning came during a two-hour hearing on U.S. policy in Afghanistan that revealed increasing congressional frustration with U.S. policy as the administration tries to rescue its plan to keep thousands of troops in Afghanistan through the end of this decade, if not beyond.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D., Va.) called the witnesses’ inability to rattle off the facts “a stunning development.”

Even democrats are realizing how inept this administration is, and maybe even catching on that the plan is to pull defeat out of the jaws of vitory, it looks like…

Captain Swenson


The former Army captain who received the Medal of Honor on Tuesday has asked to return to active duty in the Army, a rare move by an officer who has lived to wear the military’s highest award.

Two U.S. officials tell The Associated Press that William D. Swenson has submitted a formal request to the Army and officials are working with him to allow his return.

Swenson was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama in the White House Tuesday afternoon for risking his life to recover bodies and save fellow troops during a lengthy battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border in 2009.

The U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the request until a decision was made.

Swenson, 34, left the military in February 2011 as a captain, but he could rise to the rank of major once he rejoins. In order to successfully re-up, Swenson will have to pass a physical, a drug test and other routine reviews. But officials Tuesday were optimistic it would all fall into place.

Here is a short video that includes raw footage of Swenson’s heroic retrieval of dead and wounded from an ambush. There’s nothing I can write that will make you admire this man more than seeing what he did and listening to his voice.

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.

Kabul Under Attack


Afghan and coalition forces battled Taliban militants who launched a brazen assault against high-profile coalition targets in central Kabul Tuesday.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told CNN that they targeted “the U.S. Embassy, governmental organizations and other foreign organizations.”

“Our insurgents attacked in Kabul city,” Mujahid said as reports surfaced of violence in other parts of the city as well.

The strike occurred amid intelligence that insurgents might launch a high-profile attack in the capital around the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States, a coalition officer and a senior ISAF official confirmed to CNN.

Forgive me, but, for the moment, I’ll resist the Tet Offensive narrative. This is a significant incident but, right now, it’s looking like a small number of insurgents — ten or so — half of whom were suicide bombers. This is far below the level the Taliban can usually muster. Let’s hope the damage — physical and political — isn’t as bad as CNN is making it out to be.

Gaffe or Freudian slip?

That’s what I ask when I see Defense Secretary Leon Panetta make this statement:

“The reason you guys are here is because of 9/11. The US got attacked and 3,000 human beings got killed because of Al-Qaeda,” Panetta told about 150 soldiers at the Camp Victory US base.

“We’ve been fighting as a result of that,” he said.

The fact of the matter is that no matter what you want reality to be, the decisions to go into Iraq allowed our military to draw Al Qaeda there, and our military then basically crushed them. Afghanistan is proving to be a huge problem because Pakistan is unreliable and outright hostile IMO.

That wasn’t his only “gaffe” – he also said this:

The new defence secretary also committed a faux pas in Afghanistan on Saturday, telling reporters the United States intends to keep 70,000 troops there until 2014.

President Barack Obama’s administration has said it plans a steady withdrawal of US forces until the Afghans can take over their own security. Panetta’s aides immediately retracted his remarks.

Maybe this too was a Freudian slip. Obama was just electioneering and Panetta just likely got reality and the narrative confused.

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

Bin Laden, Unplugged

The US has released five videos of bin Laden taken from his compound. Here is the most striking one:

I find this striking because it really shows bin Laden for what he was: not some nobel warrior fighting the giant, but a pathetic man reduced to reliving his past glories, his tentacles in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan defeated or reduced. For all the instructions he was sending out, his ability to hurt us has been substantially reduced and is now gone forever.

Still, this remains my favorite bin Laden vid.

In other news, Extreme Liberal speculates that Bradley Manning’s leaks may have forced Obama’s hand on bin Laden. It’s speculation at this point. But it will be interesting to find out. It’s clear that Manning did not filter anything he sent to wikileaks before doing so. Would all his defenders be jumping for joy if his leaks of secret info had resulted in bin Laden escaping?