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82nd Airborne in Ghazni, Afghanistan
(Petty Officer First Class David M. Votroubek/
U.S. Navy Photo)
More evidence of how much progress has been made in Afghanistan after a decade of U.S. fighting there surfaced Wednesday:
U.S. and NATO soldiers have been ordered to take extraordinary precautions against being shot by Afghan troops, including designating “guardian angels” to keep watch at joint bases around the clock, according to a senior military official.

Any time a group of Western soldiers is gathered on a joint base to exercise, train or even sleep, one member of the unit is required to be armed and on alert for possible fratricide attacks, the official said, describing the new requirement.

In addition, soldiers working in headquarters buildings or as advisors in Afghan ministries have been told to move their desks so that their backs are no longer facing the door, said the official, who spoke anonymously because he was discussing sensitive security measures. [...]

[Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan] said the U.S. believes that the majority of the attacks are committed by Afghan troops who are “gradually self-radicalized,” not by Taliban infiltrators.

Osama is dead. Al Qaeda is a shell in that part of the world, with most of its top leadership wiped out. One third of the 46 American troops killed in Afghanistan this year so far—16 of 46—have been so-called "green on blue" attacks, with Afghan security forces turning their weapons against those who they are supposed to be allied with.

Trainers no longer have to wonder if the guy they are teaching how to shoot better and otherwise be a more capable soldier or policeman will maybe someday in the distant future switch sides. They have to wonder if the very bullets they're handing out on the target range in the morning will be fired against them in the afternoon.

The fifth iteration of U.S. strategy has failed. The right blames this on the Obama administration's unwillingness to provide enough troops, even though the president tripled the number who were deployed when he came into office. It's the same old, same old story: More money and more troops and longer stays will get the job done—trust us. The military guys who were supposed to understand Afghanistan so well—men like Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Gen. David Petraeus (now at the increasingly militarized CIA)—seem not to understand it at all.

When will this finally be recognized for one of those dumb wars that the president has famously said he is against? How much longer will it be before the troops are brought home from their impossible mission? When half U.S. fatalities come from attacks by the forces that Washington plans to make responsible for Afghanistan's security by the end of 2014? Three-fourths?

U.S. and NATO forces ought to be packing up their gear right now and preparing for as quick an exit as is logistically sound. Will there be repercussions? Of course. But those were always going to happen. And they would happen if all the troops were out by this Christmas or Christmas of 2014. Delaying the inevitable achieves what exactly? It doesn't save face or lives, Americans' or Afghans'. It doesn't increase U.S. security.

Out. Now.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (171+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, Horace Boothroyd III, YaNevaNo, Wayward Wind, WisePiper, Actbriniel, Egalitare, blueoasis, Carol in San Antonio, joanneleon, DuzT, LinSea, worldlotus, Texknight, emmasnacker, history first, coolbreeze, xxdr zombiexx, vacantlook, kestrel9000, Smoh, Caddis Fly, RunawayRose, George Hier, copymark, aufklaerer, The grouch, frandor55, Robynhood too, psnyder, triv33, marleycat, enhydra lutris, jadt65, Lady Libertine, PhilJD, sofia, ExStr8, No one gets out alive, PeterHug, theKgirls, Thousandwatts, Karl Rover, luckydog, CharlieHipHop, PBen, Floande, CA Nana, allenjo, Nebraskablue, real world chick, joe shikspack, zenox, crystal eyes, david mizner, dotsright, Chaddiwicker, jazzizbest, JTinDC, anodnhajo, One Pissed Off Liberal, Proud Mom and Grandma, jhop7, Shockwave, jfromga, elengul, Heart of the Rockies, Azubia, Oh Mary Oh, semiot, Marjmar, Marc in KS, MrJayTee, priceman, n8rboy, LucyMO, smokeymonkey, poligirl, bumbi, MBNYC, daveygodigaditch, bleeding heart, lotlizard, navajo, llbear, LamontCranston, ranger995, Tom Anderson, Pescadero Bill, NYFM, Karelin, tgrshark13, Lilith, Knucklehead, Ekaterin, Timothy J, hyperstation, rasbobbo, qofdisks, Dem Beans, Deward Hastings, Keone Michaels, SpecialKinFlag, mimi, roses, zerelda, Jeffersonian Democrat, hazey, Klaus, Russgirl, Azazello, Iron Spider, prettygirlxoxoxo, millwood, northsylvania, sostos, ogre, YucatanMan, Claudius Bombarnac, northerntier, trumpeter, side pocket, Catte Nappe, nailbender, ZhenRen, operculum, chipmo, weck, jnhobbs, science nerd, wsexson, mikeconwell, rogerdaddy, aliasalias, J M F, keschen, leftykook, cacamp, jeanette0605, 420 forever, legendmn, porchdog1961, Lefty Coaster, ColoTim, MJ via Chicago, radical simplicity, Zinman, cocinero, eeff, Sandy on Signal, annieli, Roadbed Guy, JekyllnHyde, splintersawry, KJG52, vigilant meerkat, ehrenfeucht games, captainlaser, MrJersey, SharonColeman, dRefractor, cany, perkinwarbek, truong son traveler, shaharazade, Larsstephens, antirove, Wes Lee, paytheline, jm214, Jacqueline

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:52:18 AM PDT

  •  Important diary (27+ / 0-)

    I hope people see this and rec this up. This article can be summarized by saying "It's bug-out time".

    Let the Chinese have the place, they can build out a few tens of miles of rail line and move as many troops as it takes to create civil order adequate for building mines and oil wells and the hundreds of billions in infrastructure needed to make all this work.

    They could probably put a million troops in and leave them in for a fraction of what we spend for a fraction of that number.

    Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

    by alizard on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:12:52 AM PDT

    •  It's bug out time... (8+ / 0-)

      Not until after the election.

      Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

      by Smoh on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:14:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  goofy comment #1 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, Larsstephens

      "let the Chinese have the place"? begins your decent into goofyness. I'll just mention to you that the Chinese (tadays boogyman for alarmists) have no intention of occupying Afghanistan, zero. They're much too smart to go there not to mention India blocking any such attempt and a few hundred other non-goofy reasons.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:18:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  if the Chinese want the resources (0+ / 0-)

        they can have the trouble that goes with them.

        You want to fight Taliban? Go right ahead. All by yourself. I'm sure the neocons and other flavors of wingnuts will cheer you on. From a safe distance, of course.

        Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 04:32:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Chinese already have copper mines and (3+ / 0-)

      were successful in the recent oil lease bidding. The Afghan government has agreed to supply 7,000 trained troops to protect the installations. (Guess who trained them.)

      China does not involve itself in the political affairs of countries it deals with so it may have considerable success with the Taliban that the US lost during the Clinton years.

      While the US fills coffins, China fills coffers.

      China-Afghanistan oil deal signed as tensions mount in Middle East

      China wrote history this week after gaining approval for oil exploration in the Amu Darya Basin in Afghanistan, making it the first international oil deal made by Afghanistan with a foreign country in several decades.
      ...
      China already signed a major deal with Afghanistan in 2008 when Metallurgical Corp of China started the development of huge Aynak copper mine south of Kabul, which will start production in 2014.

      Western countries have held back from investing in Afghanistan, which has been in war over the past ten years. China has taken the forefront in the exploration of what some say could amount to 3 trillion dollars' worth of natural resources, including untapped copper, iron and oil deposits.

  •  With friends like these (8+ / 0-)

    who needs hard-to-identify-or track-down-enemies?

    "If you defeat a thousand opponents, you still have a thousand opponents. If you change a thousand minds, you have a thousand allies"

    by Donkey Hotey on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:23:40 AM PDT

  •  With Bin Laden the pawn gone, who will the (27+ / 0-)

    war-mongers use for BLAME so they can keep playing the Corporate-Theocrat GAME??

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:26:17 AM PDT

  •  No back to the door (35+ / 0-)

    is something that they will instinctively do for the rest of their lives.  Been out more than 40 years, and I still do it; it is a standing joke at almost any gathering of veterans.

    We had a shot in Afghanistan, way back in the early days of 2002-2004, and we blew it.  Internecine warfare amongst the international donors over "turf", and the policy of ignoring blatant corruption and human rights violations by those on the "right" side virtually guaranteed that this day would come.

    We should have been out years ago.

    I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

    by Wayward Wind on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:29:37 AM PDT

    •  I carried a loaded weapon the whole time in VN (9+ / 0-)

      I bet I wasn't more than arms length away from one the whole year. You never outgrow your need for ammo!

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:11:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Only one? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exlrrp, SpecialKinFlag, ranger995

        I had three most of the time, and was never without the 45...heh...

        I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

        by Wayward Wind on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:15:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  At least one! (5+ / 0-)

          when I was on lrrp patrol I carried a rifle, usually an M16, a .45 and an M79 with the sights taken off and the stock cut off at the pistol grip (this was before Over and Unders)
          I used the  79 just for marking smoke.
          I had a .38 snubnose revolver I used for a Going To Town gun, with a grenade or two in my pocket just in case it became necessary to win hearts and minds.
          I sure didn't carry all 3 around when not on patrol tho, that shit is heavy plus ammo

          Happy just to be alive

          by exlrrp on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:29:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Mine (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            exlrrp, SpecialKinFlag, ranger995

            were an M60, a .45, and a sawed off pistol grip M1 Garand that I took out of an NVA bunker and had reworked by the machinist at the motor pool.

            And yes, the M60 would have been a problem on R&R in Vung Tau, but the Aussie MPs never bothered to check for handguns when you entered town...heh...

            I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

            by Wayward Wind on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:41:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You must have been a doorgunner (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Wayward Wind, ranger995

              that sawed off M1 sounds unique, it's hard to imagine the advantage of that. M1s had a kick to them and that wold have fucked the accuracy of it at distance.
              we had to carry our whole ammo supply on us, there would be no resupply. Consaquently it was all we carried, plus one lrrp ration per day. ( and a PRC 25)
              I took that Model 1911 home with me, I was sentimentally attached to it. It was stolen in a burglary but the  Model 1911 is still my favorite piece. I have 2 of them, including the one my dad carried in europe (I have his M1 carbine also)
              that  PRC 25 looks like the Model T Ford now, think what a break it is to just carry a cellphone

              Happy just to be alive

              by exlrrp on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:12:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nope, not a DG (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                exlrrp, ranger995

                line grunt...

                I was in VN last month...Hanoi and Da Nang...they have 3G throughout the country now...$8 per month for unlimited service..times have changed indeed...

                And weight?  My gear in aggregate weighed more than my first squad leader....up and down those goddamn mountains...heh...good to be young...couldn't do it now...

                I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

                by Wayward Wind on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:49:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Musta been hard to get ammo for that M1 (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Wayward Wind, ranger995

                  the M60 and .45 I could see but that M1 was pretty unusual. thats the  thing about exotic guns they were hard to get ammo for. we had a silenced 9mm Sten we took out on occasions but we could only get 2 magaziines for it so it wasn't anyone's primary piece, just for special occasions.
                  what unit? (self: 1st Bde/101st as a grunt, then MACV lrrps) (almost all in II Corps)
                  I spent 2 weeks+ in Vietnam in 2003, again mostly in what was II Corps, always wanted to go back but there's just SO many other places to go. I'm sitting in the Atlanta airport coming back from Chile as I write this

                  Happy just to be alive

                  by exlrrp on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:00:04 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  199th LIB (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    BOHICA, exlrrp, ranger995

                    69-70 - went with 1st Cav for the Cambodia field trip in May 70...

                    Never been to South America...will one day...Machu Pichu and Carnivale are both on my list....saw an article the other day that Ecuador is now the location of choice of US retirement expats...

                    Only had 2 mags for the M1 as well...ammo was with it when I picked it up in the base camp....it was my Hail Mary weapon...never had to use it or the 45 for real, only the 60...

                    Vietnam is changing so fast that I barely recognized it in places...even after living there as recently as 2008...traffic is even worse, something I wouldn't have though possible....

                    I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

                    by Wayward Wind on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:19:20 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You must mean an M1 carbine (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ranger995, Wayward Wind

                      That would make more sense. the Garand was the M1 long gun, every WWII Gi's favorite. It didn't have detachable magazines like the carbine did. I remember sseeing Vitenamese with the M1 long gun, it was as big as they were.
                      I got close to Cambodia---on the same map page-- but never in it. I was as far forward as you could be and still be in Viettnam.

                      Boy Vietnam had changed whenI went back. war makes a place really udly and they had gotten rid of almost all th traces of the "American War" when I was there. What surprised me is how beautuiful parts of it were, some parts I'd been to. You never see the beauty when youre in a war.
                      Wonder if the Iraq and Afghan vets will ever go back there.

                      I worked in Ecuador for almost 2 years in the 70s as a welder and welding foreman. but Chile is 10 times the place. Its got everything ecuador has and a whole lot more it doesn't. I diaried my latest stay here and
                      here
                      got family dowen there, my son owns 2 restaurants in Santiago and I have 2 granddaughters there.
                      thats why I've been down there.

                      Happy just to be alive

                      by exlrrp on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:42:07 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I hope so (3+ / 0-)
                        Wonder if the Iraq and Afghan vets will ever go back there.
                        I thought the Kunar, Pesh, and Karangal valleys were just beautiful, although I have never been in such tedious terrain in my life.

                        I can't imagine that Afghanistan will ever be safe enough for tourists though.

                        The Kunar Valley bottom in Asadabad was 2000 feet, the initial foothills were about 8000 feet, and the upper mountains were roughly 12000 - 15000 feet.

                        After my first couple of missions, I decided that the M4 was completely worthless there and decided to carry the 240 B (yes the vehicle mounted version with the long barrel--it's all I had access to) and the Barretta. I would have loved to get access to an M14, that would have been perfect.

                        The rules are all much tighter with that kind of thing than they were in VN. They really strictly control weapons there. People who tried to bring their own weapons were heavily reprimanded.

                        "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                        by ranger995 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:21:03 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Carbine, not Garand... (0+ / 0-)

                        Senior moment...sorry...

                        I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

                        by Wayward Wind on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:47:15 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  Sawed off (pistol grip) M1 carbines were (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                exlrrp, ranger995

                A favorite of chopper pilots. I had a M3 but never fired it.

                "White-collar conservatives flashing down the street. Pointing their plastic finger at me."

                by BOHICA on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:01:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Iron deficiency? eom (0+ / 0-)

        Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

        by Smoh on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:40:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  yup (0+ / 0-)

        9mm on me 24/7
        M4 whenever outside
        2 knives and my CRKT "Eat n Tool" which will rip out your throat or an eye quite nicely
        :)

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:43:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Same here. I switch tables in restaurants all the (4+ / 0-)

      time. I also avoid driving over anything in the street like a paper bag, plastic bag etc.

      I'm actually surprised they haven't been doing this stuff before. I would have.

  •  I've already seen this fucking movie, (24+ / 0-)

    and it sucked the first time.

    Dem leaders will continue to support the war (and make excuses for its extension beyond 2014) so as not to be branded as having "lost" it. And, sure as shit, the Republican candidate for POTUS 2016 will ride to the Oval Office on a campaign promise of Peace with Honor.

    •  "secret plan to end the war" (8+ / 0-)

      precedes "peace with honor."  the rethug will first have to extend the already overextended war for several more years to give more young people an opportunity to die for their country before "peace with honor" can be declared.  (at least that's my memory of the movie.)

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:34:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Peace with Honor" made more sense when the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jm214

        lives that were being lost were draftees.  With the "volunteer" professional military, the losses and the physic wounds mean less to the general public at large because only a small percentage of the populace is actually involved.  The rest of us are more concerned with "Dancing with the Stars" to give a shit what happens to anyone in Afghanistan.

        And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

        by MrJersey on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:53:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Link (3+ / 0-)

    The first link goes to this diary, not the news article.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:56:43 AM PDT

  •  Ending the war would be a big plus for Obama... (3+ / 0-)

    ...Before the election. I see it as a surefire win for Obama in the election because I don't know ANYBODY, D or R who wants it to go on. he'll need it if Obamacare goes down, which it looks like it will
    America really has no use for Afghans and the feeling is mutual.  there's no point in being there, if there ever was one.

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:08:45 AM PDT

  •  This is not going (19+ / 0-)

    to get better, I think that much is clear.  

    Our military leaders refuse to stop the night raids.  They insist that without that policy they cannot succeed in Afghanistan.  

    The people of Afghanistan abhor night raids.  Who wouldn't?  But we are determined to keep that policy in place.  I think this, right now, is symbolic of the whole war.  

    I don't even know what they consider to be success anymore.  The same was true in Iraq.  It seems that training a large number of Afghan troops is the goal right now, or at least the official goal.  But as the diary suggests, what will be the result of training even more Afghan troops?

    And from what I have read and learned, experts predict that these troops will not prop up a Karzai government like we do, and might not prop up any central government after NATO leaves Afghanistan.  So the whole damn thing will be for naught.

    The absolute best policy would be to get.out.now.

    But this is an election year and the president does not want to be painted as the president who lost the war in Afghanistan.  So the only thing we hear from the officials is that we will stay the course.  I don't think there is any chance that he will expedite the withdrawal any further.  


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:13:40 AM PDT

  •  Keep Your enemies close keep your friends closer? (0+ / 0-)

    so now is that take the gun and leave the Cannoli?

    Response: If you "got it" you wouldn't be a republican

    by JML9999 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:42:14 AM PDT

  •  Like the Hmong in Cambodia, those Afganis who (7+ / 0-)

    have helped our military should be offered asylum. Then pack up and go.

    “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

    by the fan man on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:49:11 AM PDT

  •  The time for worrying about the consequences (9+ / 0-)

    of withdrawal is over--whatever happens is destined to happen.

    No more blood, no more treasure.  Afghanistan needs to do be on their own, without our 'help.'

    This is worse than Iraq.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:01:38 AM PDT

  •  it's been a "dumb" war from the get go. how (5+ / 0-)

    can this question be even asked now?

    "Papoon for President - Not Insane".

    by darthburger on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:06:49 AM PDT

  •  Remember in the 80s (8+ / 0-)

    How Republicans and Democrats laughed at the folly of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan?

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:08:08 AM PDT

  •  Wars Aren't Dumb For The MIC (13+ / 0-)

    It's how they make obscene profits. Obama does not seem to question the MIC gravy train much.

    When will this finally be recognized for one of those dumb wars that the president has famously said he is against?

    Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.~~~ Susan Sontag

    by frandor55 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:38:30 AM PDT

    •  Delaying the inevitable achieves what exactly? (5+ / 0-)

      As congress next votes on funding this unwinnable war, that is exactly the question they need to answer first.

      How many more lives of our troops and the Afghans will be sacrified to continue this stupid, stupid war? How many more will be maimed? How many more billions of dollars?

      No real goals, no end in sight of success, whatever that means, and 2 to 3 more years of occupation and chaos.....

      What is successful is continued throwing away of billions into the money pit of the war contractors.

      Yesterday's contracts awarded, starting with DOD favorite again, Lockheed Martin.

      Millions upon millions awarded daily to keep the MIC's obscene profits and the gravy train going.......

      Lockheed Martin-Information Systems & Global Services, Colorado Springs, Colo., is being awarded a $78,200,000.00 cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-plus-incentive-fee, firm-fixed-price, and cost-reimbursement contract...
      See your tax dollars at work each business day at the DOD
      contract site:
      http://www.defense.gov/...

      Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

      by allenjo on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:52:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, this Vietvet can't stand to visit that site (0+ / 0-)

        each business day. (string of really vivid profanity) mothertrucking pissbait greedhead careerist SOBs, and all the stupid $hits that nod with comfortable satisfaction at this evidence of the wonderful vitality of the American economy.

        Anyone else out there finding a correlation between peaks of Imperial violence (Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Notagainistan, **Iran**) and the nightmares and tears? Do we, and all the "volunteers" (and that includes ME, who was sucker enough to ENLIST in early 1966 to "go make the world safe for democracy") in the current Milominderbinderism ever get to COME HOME?

        And DO NOT "thank me for my service." What we, or at least I, did, was from the git-go in violation of that oath I took on Day 1 of 1065 (30-day early-out,) to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." Most people have no idea, no idea at all...

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:03:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Lockheed Martin at top of list again with...... (0+ / 0-)

        Lockheed Martin at top of list again with $664,400,703.00

        Millions upon millions awarded to Lockheed Martin.....

        Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $664,400,703.00 cost-plus-incentive-fee and cost-plus-fixed-fee modification contract for sustainment activities for the F-22 air vehicle for calendar year 2012.

        http://www.defense.gov/...

        Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

        by allenjo on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 06:35:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bring the Troops Home Yesterday- n/t (9+ / 0-)

    Occupy- Your Mind. - No better friend, no worse enemy. -8.75, -6.21<> Bring the Troops Home Yesterday

    by Thousandwatts on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:13:47 AM PDT

  •  Where is our ownership in the problem? (7+ / 0-)

    When our generals say that Afghan troops are being
    “gradually self-radicalized”.....

     that implies that all our drone strikes, Koran burnings and  mass murders have never happened.

    We are behaving exactly like an oppressive occupation enemy in the eyes of the Afghan people.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:40:18 AM PDT

  •  the report by ltc daniel davis... (6+ / 0-)

    link demonstrates that the failure of the afghans police and military to pick up and become a credible force to keep the taliban from taking over, is a long term problem and that the generals have been lying about it all along while the american media refuses for the most part to report about it.

    it's clear that the us government's priorities regarding the taliban are not those of the afghan people.  it's long past time for us to get out.  all the way out.

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:44:16 AM PDT

    •  says it all about the status of this war..... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, dclawyer06
      WASHINGTON - U.S. and NATO soldiers have been ordered to take extraordinary precautions against being shot by Afghan troops
      http://www.stripes.com/...

      Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

      by allenjo on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:10:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jm214

        the whole reason for our being there was to stand-up an army and police force.
        That not working out?

        Serious q: Why are we there? Is it to enable a few to make $ on their war profiteering? Or is it a prophylactic against accusations of inattentiveness should we face a domestic terrorist event(when we could expect the GOP to scream, "You left a terrorist breeding ground!")?

        Is it a launching pad for action in Pakistan?
        All of the above?

        Let The Wild Rumpus Begin!

        by dclawyer06 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:00:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  safeguard our country? (3+ / 0-)

          We are all left wondering, asking "why are we still there 11 years later?"

          The head of the War Department tells us.

          what the mission is.......

          Leon Panetta, "We have to operate based on what we believe is the best strategy to achieve the mission that we are embarked on.
          --
          And the mission here is to safeguard our country by insuring that the Taliban and al-Qaida never again find a safe haven in Afghanistan
          So there you have dc, to keep our country safe!!!!

          We not only have to stop the Afghan war but we have to end this stupid GWOT.

          Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

          by allenjo on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:44:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Are they going to take out (6+ / 0-)

    All the aces and eights?

    "White-collar conservatives flashing down the street. Pointing their plastic finger at me."

    by BOHICA on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:54:28 AM PDT

  •  The last two words of this diary/post (7+ / 0-)

    says it all:

    Out. Now.
    Thanks, MB.
  •  Why Afghanistan was Obama's biggest mistake (11+ / 0-)
    Because Barack Obama has run a generally hawkish foreign policy, his Republican opponents don't have a lot of daylight to exploit on that issue. But if they weren't so preoccupied with sounding tough, they could go after Obama's foolish decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan back in 2009, which remains his biggest foreign policy blunder to date.

    A brutal reality is that counterinsurgency campaigns almost always produce atrocities. Think My Lai, Abu Ghraib, the Haditha massacre, and now this. You simply can't place soldiers in the ambiguous environment of an indigenous insurgency, where the boundary between friend and foe is exceedingly hard to discern, and not expect some of them to crack and go rogue. Even if discipline holds and mental health is preserved, a few commanders will get overzealous and order troops to cross the line between legitimate warfare and barbarism. There isn't a "nice" way to wage a counterinsurgency -- no matter how often we talk about "hearts and minds" -- which is why leaders ought to think long and hard before they order the military to occupy another country and try to remake its society. Or before they decide to escalate a war that is already underway.

    And the sad truth is that this shameful episode would not have happened had Obama rejected the advice of his military advisors and stopped trying to remake Afghanistan from the start of his first term. Yes, I know he promised to get out of Iraq and focus on Central Asia, but no president fulfills all his campaign promises (remember how he was going to close Gitmo?) and Obama could have pulled the plug on this failed enterprise at the start. Maybe he didn't for political reasons, or because commanders like David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal convinced him they could turn things around. Or maybe he genuinely believed that U.S. national security required an open-ended effort to remake Afghanistan. Whatever the reason, he was wrong. The sad truth is that the extra effort isn't going to produce a significantly better outcome, and the lives and money that we've spent there since 2009 are mostly wasted.

    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/...

    Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

    by allenjo on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:10:52 AM PDT

    •  Obama could have pulled the plug (7+ / 0-)
      Obama could have pulled the plug on this failed enterprise at the start.
      The truest statement in the whole article. A little over 30,000 troops in Afghanistan back at the end of 2008.

      channeling Cheney? A gentler way of saying, "So?"

      Leon Panetta: "We cannot fight wars by polls. If we do that we're in deep trouble," "We have to operate based on what we believe is the best strategy to achieve the mission that we are embarked on. And the mission here is to safeguard our country by insuring that the Taliban and al-Qaida never again find a safe haven in Afghanistan."
      never again? So do we occupy Afghanistan forever?

      Dear Mr. Panetta,

      "We're in deep trouble" there already, sir!

      What is the mission to attain in Afghanistan? What are we doing there?

      Why are we training Afghans when now our soldiers have to be guarded and protected from  being killled by those same Afghan soldiers we have trained to kill?

      What are the conditions under which the US can leave?

      How many billions will we pay in the years ongoing after the occupation is over for the Afghan army and police?

      A New York Times/CBS News poll found that 69 percent of those questioned believe the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan, and roughly the same amount say the fighting is going either somewhat or very badly. The numbers are up sharply from four months ago, when a bit more than half said the U.S. should not be at war
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

      I am part of that 69%.
      The time to leave is now. This war is not worth fighting.

      A second decade of war there for what purpose?
      You say, keeping our country safe?
      How does this endless war keep our country safe?

      Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

      by allenjo on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:31:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Slight Disagreement (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac, jm214

      Obama's made so many mistakes, I really can't decide which is the biggest.  

      But certainly not pulling out of Afganistan on day one and placing the blame on Bush for screwing up the war so badly it couldn't be won is right up there.

           

      •  Totally Agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jm214
        But certainly not pulling out of Afganistan on day one and placing the blame on Bush for screwing up the war so badly it couldn't be won is right up there.
        If a president only got to serve one term of 6 years, to go in and do the job, no campaigning for re-election, I would like to think that this is what he would have been smart enough to do.

        Big mistake not to have done that, as it was a forgotten war,  with only a little over 30,000 troops at the time.

        And here we are as the result of a political decision, mired in the chaos, the disaster that is the second decade of the Afghanistan war, so many lives lost, so many lives destroyed, so many billions upon billions up in smoke as the result of this unwinnable war.

        There is no way out except to declare the war over, and bring our troops home.  NOW!

        Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

        by allenjo on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:41:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Cost of security in Afghanistan to rise sharply (4+ / 0-)

    Those "rogue Afghan soldiers" we have spent billions training......

    Words of warning: The acting Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), Steven J. Trent, sent a letter to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on March 9 detailing a number of concerns about the impending transition from private security companies to the state-run Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF) (Post). USAID has strongly rejected the letter's contentions, which include a potential increase of up to 46% in the cost of security, and the "significant risk of termination" for $899 million in USAID projects if the APPF is not "fully functioning" by the March 20 deadline.
    Two hundred French troops left Afghanistan on Wednesday as part of an accelerated withdrawal plan announced by President Nicolas Sarkozy after the shooting of four French troops by an Afghan soldier in January of this year (AP). Following a recent spate of so-called "green-on-blue" violence, U.S. troops now reportedly have "guardian angels," fellow troops who watch over them while they are sleeping to guard against potential attacks from rogue Afghan soldiers (AP).

    http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/...

    Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

    by allenjo on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:38:19 AM PDT

  •  This war will be ended by those who fought it. (6+ / 0-)

    They are angry. Osama is dead. We won.

    Then we decided that wasn't enough . . . or something. No one has said why we are still there.

    It is time for the President to stop being the professor and start being the leader.

    By the hot days of this summer when serious fighting ensues, I predict that our Afghanistan Vets are in the streets demanding withdrawal. What political gain is there from opposing them?

    Bring those still in Afghanistan home NOW. The Afghans do not want us there, either.

    by llbear on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:53:04 AM PDT

  •  Oh, that's reassuring. "Keep your backs to the (8+ / 0-)

    wall guys, and don't ever go to sleep"

    I bet that is the extent of their plan too. They will make no effort to address what is going on and how to prevent it, they'll just order people to keep their backs to the wall, and someone awake at all times. That way they won't have to take the blame for someone getting killed, "Hey we told them to stay awake"

    My ETT partner and I, after having been shot at by one of our ANA soldiers, had a really difficult time employing the someone awake at all times policy. We did it, but we were friggin' exhausted.

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:56:51 AM PDT

    •  There are obviously some deep rooted (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranger995

      resentments building on both sides the longer this goes on.

      That doesn't bode well for any kind of long-term planning. Unless it's withdrawal.

      Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

      by Pescadero Bill on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:01:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There was an ARVN compound outside the wire at (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranger995

      Phu Bai. I and others got to see how well we were winning the hearts and minds on many occasions when a flight took us over that area. I love the sight of red tracers whipping up and past.

      What the fuck is with us, to keep buying the bullshit from the Brass that so happily fight their little internecine wars over who gets to say what the Current Doctrine is, and march the little troops from one "this time we'll win, whatever that means, for sure!" Area of Operations to another. And authorize bribes to "insurgents" to drive the POL and ammo trucks to Where The Crux Point Is, and bribes to other "insurgents" not to shoot up the convoys. To get that $400-a-gallon fuel to the vehicles that then get blown up, with their crews, often by escaped US ordnance.

      Oh, who fucking cares? It's obviously the best we can collectively do...

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:14:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's an article by the ascerbic Pepe Escobar (12+ / 0-)
    http://www.atimes.com/....

    War porn: The new safe sex
    By Pepe Escobar
    Mar 30, 2012

    The early 21st century is addicted to war porn, a prime spectator sport consumed by global couch and digital potatoes. War porn took the limelight on the evening of September 11, 2001, when the George W Bush administration launched the "war on terror" - which was interpreted by many of its practitioners as a subtle legitimization of United States state terror against, predominantly, Muslims.

    This was also a war OF terror - as in a manifestation of state terror pitting urban high-tech might against basically rural, low-tech cunning....
    ...
    Like porn, war porn cannot exist without being based on a lie - a crude representation. But unlike porn, war porn is the real thing; unlike crude, cheap snuff movies, people in war porn actually die - in droves.
    ...
    The Pentagon spins and sells in Afghanistan what it sold in Iraq (and even way back in Vietnam for that matter); the idea that this is a "population-centric counter-insurgency" - or COIN, to "win hearts and minds", and part of a great nation building project.

    This is a monumental lie. The Obama surge in Afghanistan - based on COIN - was a total failure. What replaced it was hardcore, covert, dark war, led by "kill teams" of Special Forces. That implies an inflation of air strikes and night raids. No to mention drone strikes, both in Afghanistan and in Pakistan's tribal areas, whose favorite targets seem to be Pashtun wedding parties.
    ...
    Over a decade after the beginning of the war on terror, this is what the world is coming to; a lazy, virtually worldwide audience, jaded, dazed and distracted from distraction by distraction, helplessly hooked on the shabby atrocity exhibition of war porn.

  •  ISAF casualties were down 20% last year. (0+ / 0-)

    They're down again in the first three months of this year, even with all the tension from the Koran burning incident.

    Deaths amongst ISAF soldiers due to hostile action and IED's are down as well.

    Just because some Afghan soldiers lose it, it doesn't mean that the vast majority of Afghan security forces are at a far higher standard than you portray it.  Hell, American soldiers lose it, too.... as could recently be seen with the guy who went on a rampage in Panjwai District.

    You're painting a very incomplete picture of what is going on in Afghanistan, MB.

    A very incomplete picture.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:47:53 AM PDT

    •  P.S. - And there's no need to take my word for (0+ / 0-)

      this.  All you have to do is visit the isaf casualties site to see how dramatically the casualty count has been dropping there, with the casualty count due to hostile events dropping especially fast this year.

      http://icasualties.org/...

      Something must be going right, despite all the things that have gone wrong.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:00:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Couldn't this be just a product of troop drawdown? (0+ / 0-)

        Several ISAF countries announced last fall that there would be a troop drawdawn in late 2011, and then again in 2012.

        I googled the number of troops deployed to Afghanistan over the last couple of years, but it is a lot easier to get the number of casualties than the number of deployed.

        If there has been a draw down, than the lower number of casualties might reflect that. Looking at the numbers you posted, it really does seem to go along with troop amounts.

        "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

        by ranger995 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:49:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nope, it's not the troop drawdown. (0+ / 0-)

          There were more ISAF troops in Afghanistan in 2011 than in any other year, yet the casualties went down 20% from 2010.  The surge didn't fully come into effect until 2011 and the drawdown was not very big at the end of 2011.

          And if you look at hostile casualties for the first 3 months of this year, you can see that they're actually even lower than they were in the first three months of 2009, when there were far, far fewer ISAF troops in Afghanistan.

          I appreciate you actually giving it a deeper look, btw.  

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:13:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  P.S. (0+ / 0-)

          I came across a graph that shows troop levels throughout the entire ISAF mandate in Afghanistan.  It pretty clearly shows all troop levels in Afghanistan.

          http://www.brookings.edu/...

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 02:03:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Have you read this report? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler
        http://www.documentcloud.org/...
        State of the Taliban
        January 6, 2012

        [Classified secret, this report was only intended for distribution within the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. This is the first time the full text has been published, although excerpts have appeared previously. ]

        Description
        This report, compiled for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force by special operations interrogators, provides a negative view of the alliance’s prospects in the view of Taliban prisoners.

        •  That's a report based on interviews with (0+ / 0-)

          Taliban prisoners.

          With the Taliban's never-ending penchant for exaggeration and lies, forgive me if I don't pay all too much attention to the opinion of Taliban prisoners.

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 02:00:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Substitute Pentagon in place of Taliban in below (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Claudius Bombarnac
            With the Taliban's never-ending penchant for exaggeration and lies, forgive me if I don't pay all too much attention to the opinion of Taliban prisoners.
            and forgive me if I don't pay all too much attention to the opinion of Pentagon PR.

            Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

            by allenjo on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:03:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You didn't bother to read it did you? (0+ / 0-)

            Basically, you are calling into question the Special Ops Unit of the US military who "have a high degree of trust in the detainees. If you don't believe them, then you can't believe a single word coming from the military as to whether things are going well or not.

            Special Ops Unit
            Joint Task Force 3-10, a high level special operations unit headquartered at Bagram Air Base, where these prisoners are held in the nearby Parwan detention facility. The task force is responsible, as the report confirms, both for rounding up and interrogating insurgents. Its predecessor unit ran a so-called "black prison" in Bagram.

            Detainees of All Kinds
            They had to arrest them to talk to them? Most likely, these were people arrested in error or caught up in area sweeps in broader searches for insurgents.

            Information, Not Analysis
            And yet, in many places it is clearly analytical and in some sections certainly gives the interrogators' conclusions from their extensive debriefings. Overall, one comes away with the impression that the interrogators have a high degree of trust in the detainees they interviewed.

      •  If the Afghan troops would stop killing our troops (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler

        and other NATO's troops, that might mean something, Lawrence. But there is little good news coming out of Afghanistan. And sadly those blue on green killings are on the uptick over the past 2 years.

        These attacks – known in Pentagon parlance as “blue on green” – now stand at 45 since 2007.
         Analysts note that nearly three quarters of them have taken place in the past two years.
        http://www.csmonitor.com/....

        Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

        by allenjo on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:27:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is a troubling development, yet not as (0+ / 0-)

          troubling as some make it out to be.

          With the rapid growth of the Afghan National Security Forces over the last 3 years and the recent Koran burning incident, it was to be expected that we would see an uptick in "blue on green" killings.  So far, however, these have been isolated, lone-wolf incidents.  Now, if we see entire ANSF units doing this, then I'll be worried.  But that hasn't happened so far.

          The fact is that ISAF casualties are dropping, especially hostile fatalities:

          ISAF fatalities Operation Enduring Freedom (from all causes):

          • First three months of 2009:  78
          • First three months of 2010: 135
          • First three months of 2011: 109
          • First three months of 2012:   93

          ISAF fatalities Operation Enduring Freedom (hostile fatalities):

          • First three months of 2009:  70
          • First three months of 2010: 124
          • First three months of 2011:  90
          • First three months of 2012:   56

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 01:58:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The situation in Afghanistan is rapidly... (6+ / 0-)

      ...deteriorating. Journalists and other independent analysts across the political spectrum who know the area are all saying so, although they disagree about what they think might alter that outcome. Even with the Taliban in power, the war on Afghan women is continuing. And this kind of conquering of hearts and minds is also continuing:

      8 Young Afghans Killed in Strike, NATO Acknowledges

      ... Afghan relatives of those who died and Mohammed Tahir Safi, an adviser to President Hamid Karzai and the leader of the Afghan investigation team, said that those killed were young boys who had taken their sheep and goats to graze outside the village. They were cold and gathered under a rock and lighted a small fire to warm themselves. That was the place where they were struck by bombs. Photographs of the dead shown by Mr. Safi at a news conference this week included some of badly bloodied young boys and a couple of young men who might have been older. The father of one of the boys who was killed said that his son was 12 and that two nephews who were killed were younger. ...

      Brig. Gen. Lewis Boone, the NATO spokesman here, said ... [the boys] “appeared to be carrying weapons and heading for nearby mountains. They were moving in open terrain in a tactical fashion and clearly keeping a distance from each other.”

      Meanwhile, the opium trade flourishes. The warlords flourish. And the Taliban, who Leon Panetta says we must crush, are sought for negotiations again because everyone knows talks must be held if they are to be reintegrated into the country, something that must happen if Afghanistan is to move on. But the Taliban dances and Karzai dances. They never get to second base.

      As for fatalities so far (from all causes):

      • First three months of 2011: 109
      • First three months of 2012:   92

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:30:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's a single incident. (0+ / 0-)

        The fact is that the vast majority of civilian deaths in Afghanistan are caused by the Taliban(somewhere around 80%).  Civilian deaths caused by ISAF are, in contrast, dropping.

        I agree that the situation for the majority of women in Afghanistan still is highly problematic.  One can't, however, negate the fact that women have far more opportunities than they did under the Taliban.  For example, there is a female provincial governor, a female mayor, there are more women in Parliament than there are women in the U.S. Congress, there's a female general, there are women in the Afghan National Security Forces, there are women in business, and there are about 3 to 4 million more girls in school than there were in 2001, including girls in secondary education and girls in higher education.

        Sure, many independent journalists and analysts think that Afghanistan is deteriorating.  Many of them also thought that Libya would be an Iraq-like quagmire.  They were wrong about that and they may just be wrong about Afghanistan, as well, although Afghanistan is a far more complex situation.

        Saying that the warlords are flourishing is pretty much wrong.  Their power has been substantially clipped throughout most of Afghanistan.  If anything, the new danger is that Karzai has too much power thanks to the Bush/Cheney Regime insisting on Afghanistan having an overly strong presidency.  Karzai used to be a Taliban supporter in the early 1990s, btw.  

        Speaking of Karzai... he's a big part of the problem.  That's why all the issues that you mentioned, including the situation for women and the opium trade, likely won't see additional/substantial improvement until 2014, when Karzai comes to the end of his second term and is replaced due to the constitutional two-term limit in Afghanistan.

        Afghanistan needs a good President and constitutional reform.  Once that happens, it can likely mostly stand on its own as a country.  I'm willing to give the Afghans a chance to have that happen, and I'm pretty sure that it's a factor in ISAF setting the end of 2014 as the date for complete transition.

        Another, and more complete, way to look at ISAF fatalities in Afghanistan would be this:

        ISAF fatalities Operation Enduring Freedom (from all causes):

        • First three months of 2009:  78
        • First three months of 2010: 135
        • First three months of 2011: 109
        • First three months of 2012:   93

        ISAF fatalities Operation Enduring Freedom (hostile fatalities):

        • First three months of 2009:  70
        • First three months of 2010: 124
        • First three months of 2011:  90
        • First three months of 2012:   56

        See the pattern?

        As I said above, despite all the problems, something is going right.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 01:52:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Lawrence, maybe you should meet a guy named (0+ / 0-)

          McNamara. He was all about neat columns of statistics too.

          Dare I ask what YOU did in The War? That you can be so smug about "casualty statistics," so dismissive of those "Taliban prisoner interviews," when there's  more than ample evidence that the fucking Brass lie their self-interested asses off about the "metrics" of their Game?

          "Something is going right"? For WHO? And what, in your so very informed and wise opinion, is the "mission," and the "goal," and the endpoint? A statistical decline in reported "hostile fatalities?" Does that barren stat include Green-on-Blue?

          And I have to wonder whether, knowing that the endpoint is coming, the GIs there now aren't doing the same stuff that GIs did in Vietnam -- faking patrols, avoiding antagonizing the locals, standing down as much as possible while still in range of "the enemy..."

          "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

          by jm214 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:26:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Um, I took the time to write a pretty long (0+ / 0-)

            and detailed response to MB that included far more than statistics because I respect him and expect that he will at least try to listen to what I am saying, even if he doesn't agree with all or any of it.

            If you are interested in that kind of response from me, I suggest you lay off the veiled and overt insults.

            And yes, the blue on green incidents are a part of the statistics.  

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:54:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Got it! All in well in the war in Afghanistan. (0+ / 0-)

          Whew, I am glad I read that. Who knew?

          See the pattern?

          As I said above, despite all the problems, something is going right.

          Despite all the problems, hope springs eternal. We'll be out of there in no time!

          Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

          by allenjo on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 06:58:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Declare victory and get the hell out ASAP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, splintersawry

    It's the only real solution.

    If it's
    Not your body,
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    And it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:40:24 PM PDT

  •  WE CAN'T LEAVE UNTIL (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    Bin Laden is dead.

    That's an order.

    " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:46:45 PM PDT

  •  Pakistan should holding Aces & Eights /nt (0+ / 0-)

    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare."

    by annieli on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:47:37 PM PDT

  •  Not new (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lorell, MrJersey, Lawrence

    I was an advisor to the Afghan Army from August 2010 to August 2011.  None of this is new.

    We were armed 100% of the time.

    We never went anywhere alone.

    We always watched doors.

    Having said all that, those were the fail safe measures, not primary concerns.  I literally put my life in the hands of my counterpart on a daily basis and yet never worried.  Why?  Because from day one we worked on trust and professionalism.  My team operated on simple rules:

    Treat every Afghan soldier the way you would treat an American soldier.

    Render proper military courtesy to every Afghan officer the same as every US/Coalition officer.

    Assume that they are military professionals, just like you.

    Teach, dont preach.

    Instil military professional values, not cultural values.

    Its about process, not execution.

    Fact is there was NOTHING I could teach them about fighting.  They all knew how to fight, I just needed to teach them how to fight in large formations and to conduct logistics for those large formations.

    My counterpart had been in the pre-Soviet invasion Army.  He fought the Soviets and lost but was invited to join the post Soviet Army.  He fought in the civil war and against the Taliban...and lost....but was invited to join the Taliban Army.  He fought briefly against the US invasion...and lost...but was invited to join the new Afghan National Army (ANA).  He was a soldier and a good one but his judgement in picking sides was not the best :)  

    Another counterpart had been with the rebels fighting the Soviets and then the Northern Alliance.  He was deeply religious and we had many long discussions about the Koran, Hadiths and the Bible.

    On multiple occasions I was warned by my counterparts that some of the other advisors (not ones on my team) were going to get killed if they did not change the way they were treating their counterparts.  One of my roles was to evaluate the readiness of ANA units and the quality of mentorship they were receiving.  On two occasions I recommended the US advisors be replaced because of how badly they interacted with their counterparts.  In one case I flat out told the command that a marine CPT would be dead in a month if they did not replace him.  Had he worked for me, he would have been fired on the spot for how he treated Marines let alone Afghans.  On one occasion a Afghan LT threatened me because he felt embarrassed by something I said to him.  My counterpart took him aside and had some words with him followed by words with his commander.  I never saw the LT again and his commander passed an apology from the LTs father.  

    Every week my team gave Afghan units honest, unvarnished feedback on their readiness.  We used standard US Army After Action Review procedures - something we were told the Afghans were incapable of understanding.  Only one time in a year did a commander complain about our assessment and his XO immediately apologized and said his commander was not mentally well.  We did not sugar coat anything but we delivered it in a professional way, one soldier to another.  For some reason, when you treat people well, they respond well.  

    There is nothing hard about training Afghan soldiers.  They are soldiers.  They want to be trained.  Treat them like soldiers, train them like soldiers and they will watch you back for you.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:23:02 PM PDT

    •  How many of your US counterparts had your (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splintersawry

      professionalism in training Afghan soldiers and how much did the actions of an insensitive US adviser taint the entire pool of the US effort?  I would imagine that both the US and the Afghan side had the occasional bad apple in the mix and that one had the ability to put the entire enterprise in jeopardy.

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 07:08:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  10% rule (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence, MrJersey

        I think we had the same 10% who didnt get it that you find in any large organization.  

        Best trainers by far - the Germans.  They operated like...well Germans.  Training started at 0730, dont be late.  When their units failed to conduct training correctly, they simply let them and left them with "when you are ready to train, call me."  Longest it took was 3 days.

        Worst trainers by far - US Marines both as individuals and as an organization.  They treated their counterparts baddly and tended to send advisors far too junior.  Having a Captain who has never commanded advise a Battalion Commander with 30 years of combat experience is a formula for disaster.  

        Thing is, most of the "bad" trainers probably trained US forces just a badly.  In the Army we call them "Toxic Leaders" now.

        The same things that make you a good OC/mentors at the National Training Center are going to lead to success in Afghanistan.  We weed out bad trainers in our own system.  The Afghans just have a more violent way of expressing displeasure.

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:30:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hey, thank you for your service. (0+ / 0-)

      Both to the U.S. and to the people of Afghanistan.

      And thanks for the more recent, valuable, personal insight.

      A friend of mine was in Afghanistan recently, making a doc. film about the German and Afghan armies there, and he recounted some things that are similar to what you have said.

      I'm curious about something here - was the role you played part of NTM-A?

      Since you experienced the way in which the Germans conducted their training, am I correct to assume that you were stationed in RC-North?

      I think it'd be great if you turned your comment into a diary, btw, as it would be really helpful for this reality-based community to get deeper insight into our current efforts in Afghanistan.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:20:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yikes, have we drawn aces and eights in OEF? nt (0+ / 0-)

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:44:07 PM PDT

  •  We're cut off from Karachi and have been for ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    perkinwarbek

    five months, if we tried to leave now it would have to be through the 'Stans, Russia then Turkey. Security and supply are already a nightmare in Afghanistan and in order for US to leave efficiently and quickly, secure logistical corridors will have to be negotiated with Pakistan. At the moment, we're not leaving because we can't logistically safely get out with our equipment and men. Withdrawal without some type of peace agreement with the Taliban is impossible unless we want to fight our way out through Pakistan, a very uncomfortable proposition.

    US must negotiate a new relationship with both Pakistan and the Taliban or we'll be there way past the 2014 withdrawal date. I wouldn't want to be in the last battalion leaving the AFPAK if this wasn't done. The situation in Afghanistan is very perilous for ISAF and the Afghani government as they are symbiotes, once ISAF leaves, Karzai is a done doggie unless a new political realignment is negotiated prior to our leaving. It is time to go, but the real reason we aren't going is that we don't have a way to go without considerable risk of disaster.  

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:54:14 PM PDT

    •  Karzai won't be President anymore when ISAF leaves (0+ / 0-)

      His second term is up in 2014 and the Afghan Constitution forbids a third term.

      And that's a good thing.

      ISAF probably wants to make sure that the elections are at least somewhat free and fair and then leave Afghanistan to a better Afghan govt.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:09:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The ISAF were not able to ensure the elections (0+ / 0-)

        in 2009 were "somewhat free and fair" - a quarter of the total votes were thrown out (1.3 million) and 21 winning candidates were disqualified for electoral fraud. Systemic fraud, intimidation and ballot stuffing were rampant. If it wasn't for the ISAF, Karzai would not now be in power.

  •  Time to get the f*ck out of Dodge. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allenjo

    The finest and highest attribute of wealth is the ability to accomplish significant directed good.

    by Boris49 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 08:02:24 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps someone who knows more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

    could expand on this, but is it not true that Afghanistan is some ways a proxy battlefield between India and Pakistan re Kashmir? Is not India in fact supporting Karzai to the tune of more than a billion in aid, and Pakistan, or elements in same, the Taliban? The journo Robert Fisk suggests that the Taliban would fade quickly if the US did something or other to resolve the Kashmir issue. I'm a beginner on this, but isn't it germane?

    •  It's more complex than that, but you're posing a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      perkinwarbek

      good question.

      It's about a lot more than Kashmir, but one of the reasons for elements of the Pakistani Govt. supporting the Taliban and continually interfering in Afghanistan is that they view Afghanistan as a natural area for retreat(or a possible ally) in a potential conflict with India.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:33:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Time for accelerated withdrawal of US troops also! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Claudius Bombarnac
    Two hundred French troops left Afghanistan on Wednesday as part of an accelerated withdrawal plan announced by President Nicolas Sarkozy after the shooting of four French troops by an Afghan soldier in January of this year

    Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

    by allenjo on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:38:51 AM PDT

  •  Exit Afghanistan - excellent documentary (0+ / 0-)
    Exit Afghanistan

    AVPRO, Tegenlicht documentary by Mariusz Pilis and Olaf Oudheusden in which warlords and diplomats question what the West actually wants in Afghanistan. How justified and necessary is the current foreign military presence in Afghanistan?

    The Western allied forces have been fighting in Afghanistan for more than eight years, and although they have established a legal government in Kabul, security, peace and development for the Afghan people are still far out of reach.

    Backlight examines the justification and necessity of a foreign military presence in Afghanistan and addresses the most important question; What does the West want to accomplish in this country with its tormented history?

    Exit Afghanistan features stories of ordinary Afghans, interviews with Taliban leaders and warlords and intertwines these with comments from Richard Holbrooke, Lakhdar Brahimi and Ahmed Rashid. Renowned Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk provides a historical perspective.

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