Michael O’Hanlon, a war-hawk tank thinker with the Brookings Institution who encouraged us to invade Iraq, says we should “remain hopeful” about Afghanistan. Even though the news about Afghanistan has been “dispiriting,” O’Hanlon tells us, “Most foreign and Afghan officials and officers who I encountered on a recent weeklong visit sponsored by the U.S. military are guardedly optimistic about our prospects.”
That’s because the Afghan officials and officers O’Hanlon met to were guardedly selected to feed him a line of bull feathers. Our adventure in Afghanistan is as impossible to justify, or be optimistic about, and the follies conducted there by Alexander the Great and the British and the Soviets.
Harvard Crimson sass Anthony Bonilla whines “It has been almost three months since General McChrystal reported to Obama that U.S. efforts in Afghanistan would fail if 40,000 additional troops were not deployed there. McChrystal’s experience as the commander of the military’s clandestine service has given him expert insight into how insurgencies operate.” Bonilla is scheduled to graduate from Harvard in 2012. We’ve seen the amount of harm Harvard graduates can do. One of them got us into two wars that seem to have no end.
Stanley McChrystal’s experience doesn’t give him “expert insight” as to how insurgencies work. McChrystal was the head of an assassination ring that worked for Dick Cheney, who had no legal standing in the military chain of command.
McChrystal may have seen a PowerPoint brief on counterinsurgency at some point in his life. He probably hadn’t slept much the night before—one hears he doesn’t sleep much (one hears that from his public affairs people like Smith who want to make Stan the Man seem manlier than mere mortal men, like he’s Nick Fury of Shield.)
Senator Joe Lieberman, who doesn’t think we can afford health care reform, does think that we can afford to escalate the war in Afghanistan. Lieberman, if you haven’t noticed yet, is dumber than a quarry.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says we might “withhold money” from Hamid Karzai’s government if it doesn’t do something about that nasty old corruption stuff. But we’ll still send more troops Afghanistan, apparently, and, uh, something, something, something. Troops and money go together. If we pour more troops into Afghanistan, national treasure will end up in Karzai’s pals’ pockets. You’d think that Gates, whose old outfit the CIA is paying off Karzai’s drug-dealing brother, would understand about those sorts of things.
As Boston University Professor Andrew Bacevich, a retired Army officer, said in February 2009, Afghanistan is “not worth the cost in blood and treasure.” Bacevich notes that, our military supremacy didn’t “drain the swamp.” Hell no, it didn’t. It made the swamp bigger and created quagmires from which we can’t extract ourselves.
The terrain in Afghanistan and Pakistan is horrifying, and as best we can tell, al-Qaeda, (remember them?) the outfit we’re supposedly fighting, has vanished like a blind dowager’s tea service. There may be fewer than a dozen of the so-and-sos left.
President Obama had his ninth big honking meeting with his big honking national security team on Monday (Nov. 23). I’m not sure why he’s bothering with all these meetings, unless he’s trying to improve the employment rates by keeping PowerPoint geeks busy.
Richard Holbrooke, who has a kind of sort of job with the State Department as a kind of sort of special dude in kind of sort of honchoing relationships with Afghanistan and Pakistan says that we’ll know success in that region “when we see it.” Holbrooke has also confirmed that we’re cutting dope deals with the Taliban via the Saudis.
Foreign policy doesn’t get more half-baked than that. We’re the most powerful nation in human history, and we make more mistakes than any other nation in human history. It’s as if we’re a nation of compulsive molesters.
The Washington Post reports that both McChrystal and Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, a retired three-star who once had McChrystal’s job as military commander in Afghanistan, “have been told to prepare to testify before Congress as early as next week.” Some fun. McChrystal has asked for up to 80,000 additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan. Eikenberry says that corruption in Afghanistan is so rampant the country is not worth investing any more blood and treasure into. The funky part about this testimony stuff is that Stan the Man and the Berry will testify after Obama has made his decision on how many more troops to send to Afghanistan.
And oh yeah, it turns out we’re actually funding the Taliban, who we’re supposedly fighting. According to The Nation, “a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon's logistics contracts--hundreds of millions of dollars--consists of payments to insurgents.” Ain’t that a kick in the sack? We should can Karzai and give the country back to the Taliban.
Invading Iraq was dumb. Escalating the war in Afghanistan will be even dumber. It will cost a lot of money and won’t accomplish a doggone thing except get a lot of people killed; most of whom will be civilians who want nothing more than for us to leave them alone.
The latest sanctioned leak says we’ll send another 34,000 troops to Afghanistan.
God help America. We have no strategy. We have no realistic objectives. We have no idea what we’re doing.