Sunday, November 08, 2009

Blazing Afghanistan

Afghanistan has become a Mel Brooks movie.

President Hamid Karzai handpicked an election commission that threw the election his way. UN overseers declared the election was crooked and decreed that a runoff was required. Karzai didn’t want to face a runoff, but John Kerry and other U.S. officials talked him into accepting it.

Karzai’s opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, demanded that the crooked Karzai change the crooked election officials before the runoff and Karzai refused. So Abdullah refused to participate in the runoff and Karzai’s handpicked election officials cancelled the runoff and declared Karzai the winner. The U.S. and other western powers swarmed to decree Karzai Afghanistan’s “legitimate” president.

U.S. President Barack Obama said that it is time for a “new chapter” in Afghanistan’s history, “based on improved governance, a much more serious effort to eradicate corruption,” and more joint training of Afghan forces “so the Afghan people can provide for their own security.”

Then the corrupt Karzai government Afghanistan government rejected UN criticism of its corruption. The Foreign Ministry says criticism from the international community violates "respect for Afghanistan's national sovereignty."

What a crock of bull feathers. Afghanistan is an occupied country. Nobody respects its national sovereignty.

Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad reports that a big league dope deal went down between Hillary Clinton and the Pakistani military and intelligence dudes in which the Pakistani military and intelligence dudes offered to broker a deal with the Taliban. In exchange, according to Shahzad, Hillary agreed to blow off Hamid Karzai opponent Abdullah Abdullah and somehow talked the Indians into removing troops from the Kashmir region so the Pakistanis could focus on pounding the Taliban in the SWAT Valley. This supposedly will give us a graceful way of bowing out of our AfPak troop commitment. That’s an incredible tale that has a gnat’s antler’s chance of being true.

We’ve been fed leaks that President Obama is maybe going to go along with Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s demand for more troops, but a hot-off-the-presses story from Germany’s Der Spiegel indicates maybe otherwise. US National Security Adviser James Jones expressed decided skepticism toward McChrystal’s agenda. “Generals always ask for more troops,” Jones said, “Take it from me.”

With regard to Afghanistan Jones said, “You can keep on putting troops in, and you could have 200,000 troops there and the country will swallow them up as it has done in the past.” This bodes well for the decision process that is taking place in the White House. It suggests that Obama may not let the Pentagon steamroll him the way it steamrolled Lyndon Johnson over Vietnam.

The Shazhad story sounds crazy, but it’s crazy enough to make sense.

If one assumes that the White House has changed its mind vis-à-vis Afghanistan—that Obama has come to his senses and realizes the Afghanistan conflict is not a “war of necessity”—then it would take a dollop of skullduggery to skulk out of it.

The Jones interview with Der Spiegel is unlikely to be a chance media encounter. Jones has kept his cards close to his chest throughout his tenure as National Security Adviser. What little he’s said about the AfPak situation has been anti-hysterical. In early October, he told CNN "I don't foresee the return of the Taliban, And I want to be very clear that Afghanistan is not in danger—imminent danger—of falling."

That was in clear contrast of the falling sky picture of Afghanistan that McChrystal and his supporters have been painting. (We need more troops now, now, now or all will be lost. Pish.)

Rumors abound. McClatchy reports that Obama is leaning toward sending 34,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. That’s a lot fewer troops that the 80,000 McChrystal supposedly has asked for as his “low risk” option, but it’s still 34,000 troops too many.

Any effort at conducting counterinsurgency in support of the Karzai regime will be a farce. No matter how much lipstick the Obama administration tries to smear on him, Karzai has been exposed as a tinhorn slob who has family ties to CIA payoffs and the Afghan drug trade. Putting one more G.I. in harm’s way to back Karzai would be a national disgrace, and pouring one more penny on national treasure into Afghanistan would be asinine.

Obama should forget about his second term. He needs to do the right thing now. There’s no “winning” in Afghanistan. Sending a half-million troops there won’t accomplish what McChrystal’s after, a nation birthing project that will bring Afghanistan from the middle ages to the 21st century sometime around the dawn of the 22nd century. Escalating the war in Afghanistan would be the worst possible course of action our nation has ever taken, even worse than our foolish entanglement in World War I.

Our best move, by far, would be to follow the course of action Shahzad suggests we may be taking: bribe Pakistan’s military and intelligence service into negotiating with the Taliban and hunting down what little is left of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda, and bringing our troops home. That’s not a pretty solution, but it’s the best one available, and sometimes you have to let reality have its way.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.


  1. It is like Blazing Saddles, minus the Gucci saddlebags and the accompanying orchestra.

    Karzai is a bit of a fashion maven himself, though. The hat he wears is produced in such a lovely way.

    "...[A]nd the traditional method of producing the fleece is barbaric.

    "The karakul wool is made by beating a pregnant ewe till it aborts," said Maneka Gandhi, Indian Minister for Social Justice, who also heads People for Animals.

    "As soon as it aborts, the lamb that comes out has very curly tight hair.

    "The lamb's skin remains curly and tight for the first 24 hours of its life. While still alive, the lamb's skin is stripped off and made into a cap.

    "The mother which is forced to abort also dies," she said.

    Now, this is a guy that's worth supporting.

    When Karzai gave an address to the Canadian parliament in September 2006, it was all I could do to not lose it completely.

    Although the speech was not written by himself but by one of Prime Minister Harper's toadies, the words are garbage, not matter whose mouth or pen produced them.

    This was when four dead soldiers were on their way back to Canada.

    "They have sacrificed so that we in Afghanistan may have security, and they have sacrificed to ensure the continued safety of their fellow Canadians from terrorism ...Afghanistan today is profoundly different from the terrified and exhausted country it was five years ago. Today, Afghanistan has the most progressive constitution in our region, which enables the Afghan people to choose their leadership for the first time in their history."


  2. A lovely man, that Karzai.

  3. Anonymous7:23 PM

    Off Topic:
    After reading a history of Otto von Bismarck, I find new meaning in the name Moltke. A fine name for a dog!!

  4. Afghanistan seems to be a war of necessity after all, at least if we believe Craig Murray:

  5. fzdybel12:36 AM

    I read your blog with great pleasure because you're a fair hand with the satire and I get a chuckle, but I also usually learn something too. Please post some more dog pictures on Pen and Sword, ok?

    I applaud you for shining a light on the Pentagon's propaganda mills (and shills). American culture has been steeped in pro-war propaganda for seventy years now. The last time there was any sign of a turning away was toward the end of the Vietnam war.

    Given this history, will anything less than a complete military and economic debacle do for ending the endless spawning of these military misadventures? What evidence do you see that any more incremental path away from militarism exists or is possible?

    These questions posed, I'm not sure how to feel about this latest notion of yours that a "dollop of skulduggery" might get us out of Afghanistan without our having to take our comeuppance. Maybe it could save Obama from having to commit more troops, but could it bring the troops home? A truce has Korea written all over it.

    In the meantime, I salute the elan with which you attack their ankles.

  6. If Obama would just show some backbone he might discover that he doesn't have to settle for a single term. Cut the puppet strings, Barack. Just this once. You'd be surprised at how little we the sheeple would settle for at this point.

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