Dying and Killing in Vain

John Glaser, February 20, 2014

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A recently commissioned Pentagon review corresponds with earlier intelligence assessments in predicting that once the U.S. draws down in Afghanistan, the Taliban will surge.

The Guardian:

Afghanistan will require tens of thousands more troops costing billions more dollars than Nato envisioned at a fateful 2012 summit, according to a new Pentagon-sponsored review.

The review, released Thursday and conducted by the nonpartisan think tank CNA at the behest of the Pentagon’s policy directorate, found that the Taliban insurgency is likely to swell in the years following the upcoming US and Nato military withdrawal, sharply challenging expectations set at Nato’s May 2012 summit in Chicago. The review also saw widespread deficiencies in Nato’s planning for Afghanistan manpower, logistics, air support and ministerial strength.

The review comes as the US has all but given up on President Hamid Karzai assenting to a residual US military force, complete with basing rights, and passing off agreement on a post-2014 foreign presence to the winner of Afghanistan’s imminent elections.

The CNA review panel, which included a former Marine Corps commandant and US Army chief of staff, found that the persistent Taliban insurgency will mount an increased threat to the Afghan government for years after the envisaged Nato withdrawal, and require a force substantially larger and more expensive than Nato has planned.

It simply cannot be any clearer that tens of thousands of U.S. troops were sent to fight and die for a war that, by every observable metric, has been lost. The client state Washington tried to establish is barely even a state, lacking control of most of the country and unable to maintain even the merest security forces on its own. What is there is based on corruption and backwardness. Washington has been happy enough to support weak and corrupt regimes in the past, but there is deep distrust and even outright animosity between the U.S. and the Kabul government, making any effective working relationship beyond 2014 a joke.

As this study shows, the one objective that was perhaps the most obvious in Afghanistan from the beginning – to oust the Taliban and eliminate their presence in the country – is also a complete failure. The insurgency is alive and well and may even get stronger as the U.S. draws down. The U.S. was not able to defeat the Taliban.

The only thing worse than failing miserably on every count is the fact that all of this was predictable. A little history lesson about Afghanistan’s past as a place where foreign occupying powers are bled dry – along with some modesty in terms of our ability to reshape societies through our violent foreign policy – would have led reasonable people to conclude that a long-term occupation and nation building project in Afghanistan was not going to produce results acceptable to Washington. The decision could have been made early on to not waste trillions of dollars and countless lives and limbs on a war destined to fail even by the crude standards of policymakers.

It’s hard to look at Afghanistan and not conclude that the U.S. troops sent to fight and die there did so in vain. Neither they nor the untold Afghans who have suffered under a decade of foreign occupation endured this hell for any greater ends or larger purpose. It was all just the short-sightedness of politicians and the deluded military officials who proved all too willing to dive head first into this lost cause.

Last month, former U.S. Marine Jim Gourley put it succinctly enough, arguing that U.S. troops absolutely “died in vain.”

It’s the disgrace of a country that abandoned its civic duty to execute due diligence in weighing the decisions of whether and how to go to war, and then later to hold accountable those that spent precious blood and vast treasure for meager gains. All the while, we convinced ourselves that we were supporting our fighting forces simply by saying that we were. We even made bumper stickers to prove it, never considering what it said about us to wear our hearts next to our exhaust pipes.

Read the rest of it here.




16 Responses to “Dying and Killing in Vain”

  1. The Guardian article doesn't say what CNA stands for. There is a Center for Naval Analyses in Alexandria, VA which provides "nonpartisan" analyses for the Navy and Marines. I'm guessing that is it, but last time I checked – although US Marines and probably Navy medics are there – Afghanistan is a landlocked nation. Can any think tank that wants more than one government contract really be called "nonpartisan?"

    Heroin and opium dealers, the banks that launder drug profits, war corporations that "support our troops" for vast profits, CIA drone warriors, and of course promotion minded military officers are all very anxious to continue the killing as long as it's not them doing the dying.

  2. FYI: http://www.cna.org/research/2014/independent-asse

  3. Well, it looks like Bushie was right when he said in 2005 that freedumb is on the march.

  4. Guess the USA shouldn't have ushered in, funded, installed, and supported the Taliban, and tried to get them to expand to cover all of Afghanistan.

    The US was trying for years to get the Taliban to agree on pipeline conditions, but the Taliban was being less cooperative than the US wanted. The US threatened to attack the Taliban over the issue, then 9/11 happened and the US had a pretext to just invade.

    People who had heard the US threaten the Taliban before 9/11 predicted that the US would invade regardless of whether the Taliban offered to extradite bin Laden. Well, that turned out to be correct. The Taliban offered to hand bin Laden to a third country, even though the US refused to obey the law and present evidence of his guilt. The US simply rejected the offer and invaded.

    The US then tried to overthrow the Taliban, and immediately restarted the pipeline project with the second US-installed client government, the Karzai regime. Karzai was one of the people the US had been using previously to try to push through the pipeline project with the Taliban.

    See here: http://empireslayer.blogspot.com/2014/01/us-imper

    And here: http://tribune.com.pk/story/630547/energy-dialogu

  5. "Karzai was one of the people the US had been using previously to try to push through the pipeline project with the Taliban."

    Was skeptical of this and looked into it more – it is disputed. However, what's not disputed is: "One of Karzai’s first acts as President of Afghanistan, in fact, was the signing of a new agreement with Turkmenistan and Pakistan on the building of a pipeline in 2002." http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/10/14/fighting-t

  6. The echoes of the "bumper sticker crowd" is still haunting the people who have lost loved ones in this unnecessary war.

  7. Yep, that's the one. A look at the study's authors reveals a makeup rather like that of PNAC. Thanks for providing the link.

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  9. History records Afghanistan as “the graveyard of soldiers and of empires” – it always has been and always will be.

  10. History records Afghanistan as "the graveyard of soldiers and of empires" – as with the Vietnam War, just another LIE by American leadership and a waste of men and material in an unnecessary and illegal war.

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  12. I'm also a Vet from that era, although I was lucky and wasn't sent to 'Nam. I couldn't agree more with your assessment. The problem is that there are forces within the MICC that want and need wars to keep all the taxpayer money flowing in. Hence, why would any intelligent leadership have allowed this Afghan obscenity (as well as Vietnam before it) to go on for so long.

  13. Thats really our bad experience having such situations in this corporate world.When they will understand that wars just a name of spreading hate.

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