Friday, November 27, 2009

Obama’s Big Speech

President Obama will announce his big decision about Afghanistan on Tuesday. The sanctioned leaks about what he’ll say are coming fast and furious.

According to various reports, he’ll commit somewhere between 30,000 and 34,000 extra U.S. troops to the region. When he announces that, NATO nations will maybe send 6,000 extra troops. That adds up to the 40,000 extra forces Gen. Stanley McChrystal wanted, and then we’ll train Afghan security forces up to an end-strength of about 400,000, and we’ll have as many counterinsurgency troops in place as our bogus counterinsurgency field manual calls for (between two and 2.5 percent of the host nation population, which in Afghanistan is a little over 28 million, so the total number of counterinsurgents will be in the ballpark of 600,000).

The bad news: this means Obama is signing on to a nation birthing strategy, one that in part is about maintaining a reason to exist for NATO and the U.S. Army, who would otherwise have trouble justifying their bloated budgets.

The politics of this goat rope are becoming as ridiculous as they are transparent. Obama’s “deliberative process,” that has taken months, will end up giving McChrystal more or less just what he asked for. Obama asked our NATO Shemps to kick in 10,000 extra troops, knowing they’d give him about half that number.

Candidate Obama put himself between a rock and a brick wall when he called Afghanistan a “war of necessity” and promised he would get “the job done” there. He said that gibberish to get critics off his back for his having voted against the Iraq surge, something he shouldn’t have apologized for. The Iraq surge was a shipwreck. Iraq’s government and security forces are incompetent and corrupt, political reconciliation is nowhere in sight, and we may never see their next set of elections. (I’m thinking we’ll never get completely out of Iraq. The whole point of invading the joint was establishing a permanent base of operations in the heart of the oil rich Gulf region.)

Obama supposedly insisted that his security team come up with an exit strategy. White House spokesmodel Robert Gibbs says, "We are in year nine of our efforts in Afghanistan. We are not going to be there another eight or nine years." That’s not an exit plan. It’s blabber from a White House spokes-character.

"The American people are going to want to know why we are here, they are going to want to know what our interests are," Gibbs says.

What exactly are our interests in Afghanistan? None of the 9/11 attackers came from there. Al Qaeda has all but disappeared; some reports say it’s down to a core membership of eight or ten, and few if any of them are in Afghanistan.

U.S. and NATO forces already in place in Afghanistan outnumber the Taliban by a ratio of 12 to one, and it’s questionable why we give a rat’s rump about the Taliban. They’re a more potent political force in Afghanistan than Hamid Karzai’s government, and a more honest one, and they control 80 percent of the country. Our political leaders are calling Karzai the “legitimate” leader of Afghanistan even though he just stole two elections and everybody on the planet knows it.

Top Democratic leaders aren’t peace, love and understanding about the vector Obama seems to be taking on Afghanistan. Chairman of the House Appropriations committee, David Obey (D-WI) doesn’t like the idea of escalating and says if Obama wants to do that we need to increase taxes. Chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee Carl Levin (D-MI) would also like to increase taxes but only on high-income earners. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says there’s not a shipload of support in the Democratic caucus for escalation in Afghanistan.

Candidate Obama stuck his wits in a wringer when he called the Afghanistan conflict a “war of necessity” and vowed to “get the job done” there. Now, it appears, he can’t back down from those statements without being reviled from the right as a “weak on security” Democrat, and a black one at that. He’s already suffered a media blitz from McChrystal that rivals anything Harry Truman had to put up with from Douglas MacArthur, and the hawks in Congress have been screeching at him non-stop for not giving McChrystal what he wanted the second he asked for it.

I’d like to see him go on TV Tuesday night and say, “My fellow Americans, I was wrong. Our war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with national security anymore and we can’t afford it, and I’m not sending one more kid into harm’s way to fight there. As of tonight, I’m ordering a complete withdrawal.” But the odds of that happening are slimmer than a licorice rope. Obama couldn’t take the heat.

Former four-star Barry McCaffrey, the military-industrial ghoul who was the worst of the retired military media analysts who helped sell the Iraq war to the American public, is, incredibly, back on the air with NBC. He’s pushing the “no exit strategy, no timeline in Afghanistan” line. McCaffrey has ties to DynCorp International, a company that has a five-year contract to support bases in Afghanistan.

A swell fellow, that McCaffrey is, but he’s really just a symptom of a larger American disease. Our wars, even though they’re destroying our economy, are making a lot of people rich. The cash caisson, the gravy ship and the wild blue budget continue to grow. War is our only export, and counterinsurgency is the perfect tool of the Long War mafia because counterinsurgency wars are unwinnable.

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. Hat Tip ! ! You out did yourself with this post. EXCELLENT. The only thing i would like to add is that there approximately 25% of the afghan military going AWOL. It is the same stall tactic that they used in Iraq. We will build up their military, so our military can stand down. Obama took the baton from W and is plunging us into the abyss.

  2. I wear my tin foil hat proudly.Unfortunately I have not been wrong too many times. Take this for what you may.
    HERE IT IS------------------------PAGE 2

    One person who did remember Mr. Obama was Michael L. Baron, who taught a senior seminar on international politics and American policy. Mr. Baron, now president of an electronics company in Florida, said he was Mr. Obama’s adviser on the senior thesis for that course. Mr. Baron, who later wrote Mr. Obama a recommendation for Harvard Law School, gave him an A in the course.

    Columbia was a hotbed for discussion of foreign policy, Mr. Baron said. The faculty included Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser, and Zalmay Khalilzad, now the American ambassador to the United Nations. Half of the eight students in the seminar were outstanding, and Mr. Obama was among them, Mr. Baron said.

  3. Anonymous9:44 PM

    NATO's European Union members have a GDP slightly larger than the US', they have a military age emographic slightly larger than the US.

    Their tradition share of the contribution and the procurment is normally 60% to the US' 40%.

    How come when they US general in charge askes for 40,000, Euro_Nato don't come up with 24,000 of them?

    Answer, only US sees Afghanistan as an issue for NATO.

    If not an issue for NATO with bombs going off in Madrid, how come it is issue for US??????

    Aside from the militarists dominators in the US congress and their bag men.


  4. The computer ate my brilliant post.

    I'm tired. I've been running around since 6 a.m. I'll go and rest my brain.

    Now cracks a noble heart.
    Good night, sweet prince,
    And flights of angels sing thee to they rest.

  5. Anonymous said...
    If not an issue for NATO with bombs going off in Madrid, how come it is issue for US??????

    In Europe most of us (not always our politicians though) are convinced that terrorists are produced by bombing other people, and that the best way ov avoiding terrorist attacks is not to provoke people to commit them. That's why Spain took home their troops after the attack. The Spanish people did not want more of that. So, it voted for a party that promised to withdraw from Iraque, and also did so after having won the election, as far as I remember.

    That was, in my opinion a wise descision.

  6. Yes, Go-bomb-them will send more troops. Have to feed the beast. The defense(?) contractors, the whole bloody mess we call the military industrial complex.
    America has idiots for leaders. Our Congress critters are bought and paid for, they have no represented the people of the country for years and probably won't do so in my life time.
    Funny though, the war lovers never seem to have even worn a uniform, let alone ever actually been in a war.
    Take it from a Vietnam vet, me, war is not healthy for children or other living things. War is hell and a huge racket.
    America has no sense of history, not even American history. We have become one of the dumbest nations in the world.

  7. @ Charlie. Well said.
    The endless energy wars for the globalized corps. continues. Fascism is on its way. The Generals are the greatest assets for the Corpotocracy. Globocops R Us will be their war cry, while our young men, and now women spill their blood sweat and tears.

  8. It has nothing to do with justice, ethics, winning, or for that matter, bring Democracy to barbarians. It a business decision---its all about the money.

  9. Cost per year of each soldier in Afghanistan: $1,000,000
    Cost for military to transport one gallon of gas to Afghanistan: $400

    "insurrgents" are subsistenance farmers hired by the Taliban at $8 a week.

    Easy to see who will win this war.

  10. Jeff, I just listened to the interview you did with Scott Horton on Antiwar radio on the 26th.

    You sounded terrible - in a swine-flu sufferer kind of way. Take care of yourself. Chicken soup is pretty good for what ails you.

    I also read a letter in the Globe and Mail the other day from a man who offered his Irish grandmother's remedy for viral and bacterial disorders of all kinds. She stuffed a pint of Bushmill's full of raw garlic cloves, let the whole thing steep and administered a slug of the stuff to whomever was coming down with something.

    Sounds like the cure could be worse than the disease.

  11. Yes, Fil, I have the flu. Thank for your concern.

  12. I can feel myself pulling back from political blogging, and in fact, even current events.

    The cynic in me is thinking "I knew Obama was vetted, damnit!"