• Did You Know We Won in Afghanistan?

    April 14, 2014

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Embassy/State, Iraq, Military

    You’ll be forgiven if you somehow had come to the conclusion that the U.S. has not won the 13 year war in Afghanistan.

    You might have been mislead by the constant “Blue on Green” attacks, where people in “Afghan Army Uniforms” kill their American comrades. Or that the Taliban still controls whole provinces. Or that drug exports are up since the war started. Or that Kabul is regularly attacked. Or that Afghanistan’s leaders, led by Hamid “Da’ Fresh Prince” Karzai have funneled billions of U.S. dollars into their own accounts in Dubai while flipping off ol’ Uncle Sam. Or whatever is on in Pakistan. Or that after 13 years, trillions of dollars and uncountable loss of life Afghanistan is pretty much still a dangerous, awful place unlikely to host a Spring Break parteeeee anytime prior to the Sun imploding into a black hole (namecheck: Neil Freakin’ Degrassee Tyson!)

    Why We Fight

    Anyway, forget all that because the ever-reliable Fiscal Times says we won. OK, that’s sorted. Here are some highlights from their recent victory lap article (emphasis and laugh-track added).

    First, some Fiscal Times background on the war. Forget 9/11, or bin Laden, or bases. The real reason we have been at war in Afghanistan is revealed to be:

    We are fighting an insurgency based in the Pashtuns, a majority ethnic group that has always ruled modern Afghanistan. If the Taliban regained enough support among that base, their overthrow of the Kabul would be very possible.

    Not sure how much of that insurgency was there before we arrived, or how much was born because we arrived, but at least it is not 9/11 again.

    Afghanistan Doesn’t Really Need a Strong Government

    But don’t worry, because we have an ace in the hole:

    The saving grace for us is that Afghanistan doesn’t have to have a strong central government.

    Good. Despite another recent round of “purple fingers” photos that mean Democracy! the State Department has been right all along. Their total failure to build a strong central government has been part of the plan. Crazy yes, but like a fox.

    The Afghan Local Police will Save the Day

    It gets better. Fiscal Times:

    There are recent reasons for optimism, however. One is the growth of the Afghan Local Police (ALP), which began in 2010 as a program that recruited rural Afghans to protect their own villages. The ALP has been so strategically successful that their authorization has expanded from 10,000 to 30,000 fighters (My Note: That authorization takes the form of the U.S. Congress agreeing to pay for more.) The most recent Pentagon report on the war said that the ALP was “one of the most resilient institutions in the ANSF,” or Afghan National Security Forces, with the ANSF’s highest casualty rate.

    I got nothing. If anyone believes a high casualty rate means winning, I can’t top that. Also, here’s a neat argument that the police are just another brand of lawless militia plaguing Afghanistan. Another on when the U.S. suspended training for the ALP because of too many insider attacks. Here’s one about how the ALP engages in human rights abuses such as “rape, arbitrary detentions, forcible land grabs, and other criminal acts” and how the ALP favors warlordism. Anyway, that’s all in the past now.

    Key to Victory: Use U.S. Money to Pay Off Warlords. Or Kill Them

    Moving on:

    The second necessity for victory is a responsible-looking central government with which foreign countries can interact. To be a sustainable recipient of Western aid, Afghanistan simply must have a more sympathetic government than Hamid Karzai or somewhat thuggish local power brokers. Only with a regular supply of Western aid will the Kabul government be able to bribe the regional powerbrokers to tilt towards it, and stay within our commandments. And if they don’t – if they really don’t, and flaunt it – then eventually they may have to die. An American high-end special operations capability in Afghanistan is critical not for Al-Qaeda and other transnational terrorists, but also to drop the hammer if local warlords step too far out of line.

    Leaving aside the obvious contradiction that Afghanistan doesn’t need a strong central government and Afghanistan does need a strong central government only a few paragraphs apart, Fiscal Times does get a gold star for turning the use of U.S. money to bribe warlords into paid-for cooperation into a positive thing. In most instances paying protection money to thugs is sort a dead end street (they usually keep demanding more and more money.)

    The kill them all idea is just rich. Hasn’t that sort of been the failed policy for the past 13 years? What kind of unmedicated mind can even write that stuff? I’m sure our elite special forces community is also now proud of their role as Mafia enforcers.

    Time to Declare Victory and Leave

    It is time. Thirteen years of a war that no one can even agree anymore what it is about is enough. If it helps you sleep better, sure, we won. Is that enough? Can we just stick a U.S.-funded knife into this and slink away? Syria is calling.



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    Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

  • Recent Comments

    • pitchfork said...

      1

      Goddammit..where is Tom Lehrer when you need him.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0L_rD7CCe4

      04/14/14 1:48 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      “Thirteen years of a war that no one can even agree anymore what it is about is enough. If it helps you sleep better, sure, we won. Is that enough? Can we just stick a U.S.-funded knife into this and slink away?”

      You ain’t seen nothing yet:

      http://www.mediaite.com/online/condi-rice-revives-presidential-speculation-after-ripping-obamas-weary-foreign-policy/

      04/14/14 1:59 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      3

      Since you mentioned “Neil Freakin’ Degrassee Tyson”, here’s something that makes more sense than the other stuff about Afghanistan:

      Now, mind you, I’m no great fan of Tyson’s “Cosmos” series which is an un-historical hack-job full of stale old anti-Catholic myths like the one about Giordano Bruno being a “scientist” when in fact Bruno was a whacked out mystic astrologer, the 16th century equivalent of L Ron Hubbard…

      …HOWEVER, what I DO like about Tyson is how he sounds when he’s slowed down to sound like he’s stoned! I wanna party with THIS version of Tyson!:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSHNyppwS5w

      04/14/14 2:04 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      04/14/14 5:19 PM | Comment Link

    • Helen Marshall said...

      5

      So, if I got that right, we “won” because we spent 13+ years and an unknown number of trillions invading Afghanistan, and we have returned it to its condition of, say, the 1870s and the Great Game!

      Go for it! Next, we’ll return Iran to the days of the Persian Empire – just a few more trillions and we can reconstruct the entire Near East. Ugly, but we’ll feel great!

      04/14/14 5:55 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      6

      quote”Did You Know We Won in Afghanistan?”unquote

      I didn’t know they had a lottery. So..what did we win? I need a new pair of shoes.

      04/15/14 1:13 AM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...

      7

      We won that’s great news but something tells me it might be hard to leave with help from Russia and that relationship isn’t doing very well at this time.

      04/15/14 2:26 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      8

      Slightly off topic, can any of you State Department insiders tell me:

      Does the State Department have an EXPLICIT policy to hire and promote the dumbest fucking women on the planet? Samantha Power, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland…

      …are they recruited and promoted FOR being the dumbest fucking women on the planet? Or has it become a self-selecting process where stupid women of dubious sexual orientation naturally gravitate to each other?

      04/15/14 7:54 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      9

      melove said:…

      Does the State Department have an EXPLICIT policy to hire and promote the dumbest fucking women on the planet?

      Yes, it’s called “The DFWOTP(tm) Hiring Initiative.” Hillary explicitly chastised every nation on the entire planet for not doing same citing American exceptionalism in fostering equality in the State Department workplace. After all..she was living proof.

      04/15/14 11:42 AM | Comment Link

    • Jon Jon said...

      10

      “responsible-looking central government”

      FT must love the U.S. version.

      04/19/14 10:18 AM | Comment Link

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