Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trash Can Afghanistan

National Security Adviser James Jones says, "Reports that President Obama has made a decision about Afghanistan are absolutely false." That’s maybe good news. It maybe means Obama is coming to his senses and is ready to pull the plug on this Af-Pak madness.

Various reports indicated that Obama was ready to go along with a re-re-re-escalation of up to 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, but Jones says that’s bunk-ola. "[President Obama] has not received final options for his consideration, he has not reviewed those options with his national security team, and he has not made any decisions about resources," says Jones. "Any reports to the contrary are completely untrue and come from uninformed sources."

I guess that’s that. Jones isn’t a joke smith, one hears.

Some reports indicate that we’ve cut dope deals with the Pakistani military and its intelligence service to cut further dope deals with the Taliban for us and give us a face-saving way to skedaddle out of Afghanistan. I hope that there’s something to that.

Gen. Stan McChrystal’s scheme to mount a full-bull counterinsurgency in Afghanistan could only have come from someone as sleep deprived as he claims to be with the help of neocon maniacs like David Kilcullen and Fred Kagan. Based on the half-heinied strategy the Obama team came up with last March, we were going to disrupt al-Qaeda by occupying a country it wasn’t in any more, turn Afghanistan and Pakistan into real nations, and get the rest of the world to help us do it. It took mere months for team Obama to figure out that wasn’t going to work.

The much ballyhooed “deliberative process” the Obama administration is supposedly taking to coming up with a decision on Afghanistan is bull. Nobody needs to put a thousand staffers and the whole National Security Council, which is a bigger waste of government oxygen than the Joint Chiefs of Staff are, through a ringer and a rinse cycle to figure out the best course of action in Afghanistan. Winos in Uptown Chicago know our best course of action is to get the heck out of that tar pit.

Obama would have to be crazier than Caligula was to follow McChrystal’s megalomaniacal counterinsurgency scheme. Try to make the Afghans believe Hamid Karzai’s regime is legitimate? We’d be better served trying to turn lead into gold. Karzai’s a crooked jerk.

Reading tealeaves is an iffy business. Here’s what I’d like to think, though.

I’d like to think that Obama knows he poked the pup when he said Afghanistan was a “war of necessity.” I’d like to think he knows that he needs, at some point in the very near future, to have a sword fight with his out-of-control Pentagon.

The Pentagon, committed to make its Long War as long as it can make it, has spent $2.7 billion over the last three years on military construction in Afghanistan and plans to spend much more. It has granted a contract to a consulting firm for linguistics support in Afghanistan that has an estimated completion date of 2014.

The Jones decree aside, one continues to hear that Obama will settle on a “McChrystal Light” plan, one that gives Gen. Stanley McChrystal something short of the 40,000 troops he deems a minimum required to avoid mission failure. Unnamed senior administration officials say these reports are false, and are being leaked by Pentagon sources who are “trying to force a certain outcome."

We have a serious problem in this country, one that eclipses our economic and health care woes. Our military, and its supporters in Congress and industry, have virtually taken over our government. The open defiance of civilian rule, as illustrated by McChrystal’s blatant media campaign against the White House that has been endorsed by Gen. David Petraeus, Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. George Casey, is untenable. I am ashamed of these men. If they ever had moral compasses, they have lost them. They are turning the United States of America into a banana republic. We’re little different, at this point, than Pakistan, which is owned and operated by its military and its intelligence agency.

Our military has gotten so far out of hand, in fact, that a Pentagon purge is demanded. Everybody in a position of power in the Department of Defense these days is a David Petraeus disciple, or at least pretends to be, and Petraeus is the most dangerous general we’ve had since Douglas MacArthur, who took credit for Adm. Chester Nimitz’s victory in the Pacific during World War II then snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Korea by goading the Chinese into the war.

As I’ve recommended before, Obama needs to demand the retirement or resignation letter of everyone in the Department of Defense who is a bird colonel or higher or whose job title includes the word “secretary.” Damn the torpedoes, Barry. You probably won’t see a second term anyway, so do the right thing with the one you have now. Toss these tinhorns in the trash.

Save our country from our militarists. Obama. Biden. Jones. Somebody. Anybody. Please.

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. Claude Cockburn once said, "Never believe anything until it's been officially denied."

    Oh gawd.

    This whole thing is starting to sound like the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, with moral compasses ceasing to work when they've been lubricated by too much pork fat, and Petraeus playing the Mad Hatter, whose moves benefit only himself and leave everyone else sitting in front of a mess they didn't create.

  2. Winter is on it way. Either Obama has already decided on the #, or he is looking for an out. Sort of like a REVERSE false flag. He is slowly, but surely losing support from the "willing". Canada, Japan, Australia, and some European countries. Our own military wants to escalate. Congress wants to escalate in order to feed the [MIC], and their own coffers. Our military is no longer a "volunteer" military. It is a job market.

  3. Dave of Maryland4:11 PM

    I don't know about you, but I can make some deductions.

    Obama's not an executive. He's a smart, articulate desk-jockey who's got himself, improbably, put in charge of troops in the field (i.e. the Executive Branch). Where he froze. I'm not military myself, but I did watch M*A*S*H last night. Or call him an academic. Makes no difference. His instincts are to push things down the road, see if they will resolve themselves. (The health care debate, anyone?)

    Like as not, what Hil negotiated with the Pakistanis (if reports are true) was on her own initiative. She will put it on Obama's desk as a fait accompli. Where it will be a counter to the Pentagon's long war escalation. Obama could choose one or the other, but, if past record is any indication (and just what did Senator Obama accomplish in his four years there?) Obama will talk big but do nothing.

    Whereupon I would guess we end up with a straightforward State vs: Defense slugfest. Such as we saw in Bush II between Powell & Rumsfeld. I've heard that Hil can be a mean fighter, regret I don't know anything about bird colonels.

  4. Obama was the [chosen one] by [TPTB]. My guess he will cave in and send the 40k. This will only be the beginning of the end. He will then assure himself as LBJ reincarnated.
    Shillary hinted around to the Paks that she wants the Pak nukes under civilian control. This will never happen. On the contrary. I will now go out on a limb, and make a mojo stretch possibility. ----Pakistan will be under a nationalistic military rule within the year. -----------.

  5. "so do the right thing"---Not gonna happen. Although, arguably, the most articulate orator since Daniel Webster, Obama will be a combination of Clinton and Buchanan to history's sorrowful tale.

  6. Thanks again to all for the great discussion.


  7. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c42d66b0-cdd0-11de-95e7-00144feabdc0,dwp_uuid=9c33700c-4c86-11da-89df-0000779e2340.html

  8. Interesting, RZ. Thanks.

  9. http://www.defence.pk/forums/india-defence/38500-india-deepens-defense-ties-israel.html

    then there is this. looks to me like they are picking teams. AGAIN ! !

  10. Anonymous11:49 AM

    Bush II was crazier than Caligula.

  11. Anonymous12:02 PM


    India going to Israel is same as India going to US stuff fronted by Israel.

    Pak going to China is like Nasser going to Russia. Chinese stuff is based on Russian co-production started before Mao went off on Moscow.

    In case of India, they are using excess US bucks derived from cheap labor advantage over US labor to buy from Israel up scaled US stuff.

    In case of Pak, they are using US aid to buy newer, Warsaw pact stuff.

    I will not comment on the insanity of buying stuff to fight wars that may never occur, and would be non events anyway.

    The US taxpayer is now in the same boat as Dec 191, instead of sending scrap iron for the Japanese to make torpedoes the US is spreading around $$$$.....

    For future wars to make war profiteers in the US and burgeoning China even richer.


  12. Anon; Of course this is endless. IMO; Israel has a lot of ties with India. Not just in military goods, but also in intelligence sharing, and security efforts. China is sitting back for a while to see how this AF/PAK unravels. The more chaos we bring to Pakistan, the more likely Pakistan will side more and more with the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Pakistan has to worry about the people on the streets, not the pak/taliban. Zardari is seen as a Western agent. Not as a Pak.

  13. Obama will likely lose this war for us- he clearly lacks the judgement, dedication, and principle to win such a labrilynthine conflict.

    He already was caught dozing while the Russians nabbed the Kyrgizstani air base SO vital to any plans for a US "surge" strategy in Afghanistan. -

    The clueless Obama (and foreign-policy "expert" Biden) were the most vocal opponents of the Petraeus Surge strategy in Iraq, with Slow Joe coming-up with a harebrained plan to surrender and split the country 3-ways. If America had followed their advice then, Iraq would be an Al Qaida Caliphate by now.

    Of course, the media is too preoccupied with articles on the Dear Leader's puppy-vetting process and how he likes to play basketball to call him on these serious strategic errors... reality starting to hit hard now, though-


  14. Neocons, and their fellow travelers have no credibility when it comes to Iraq, Af/Pak, or any foreign policy.

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