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I tend not to be as cynical as many on this site are.  I've always believed that people of good intention can and often do find themselves on the wrong path.  Our present mission in Afghanistan is in my opinion a good example of this.

When Obama took office, Afghanistan was little more than a city surrounded by an insurgency.  Pakistan was slipping further towards instability.  The 'enemy' was gaining ground, while we had been focused on the sectarian strife created by our war of choice in Iraq.

At that point in 2008, one could definitely asked whether we had made Afghanistan better or worse for those living among the fighting.  While the Taliban were cruel leaders with little regard for their citizens, constant war and a corrupt government is not better.

I believe Obama wanted to fix that.  I believe he wanted to leave an Afghanistan, which at least had a chance at stability.

There is a time in the real world, where you have to accept that your sins are your sins.  You can't pay your penance, so there is no chance at absolution.  You just have to live with perdition.

It took us a decade to realize this during Vietnam, and there are still holdouts in political circles.  The French put the Vietnamese people through hell, and then we picked up where the French left off.  It wasn't our intention to make their lives hell.  We believed that they would end up with a shiny new country with a functioning government.

We don't seem to want to discuss Afghanistan in this election, but we really should.  Romney doesn't want to discuss foreign policy, and Obama doesn't want to remind people of an unpopular war.  But we are at war.  Our troops are dying.

There needs to be a clear answer from both candidates on this.  It isn't hard, as this is really now a light switch.  It either goes on or off.

We also don't need any of this 'generals on the ground' shit, as the presidency is the only office with this responsibility.  If Romney and Obama can't make the path forward crystal clear, then neither deserves the office.

Whether we leave now or in five years, these wars will stay with us.  They will and they should.  These aren't Bush's Wars or Obama's Wars.  They are the United States' approach to the world.  Democrats could have stopped the train before it left the station.  Republicans could have at any time.

We need to deal with this, and it is shameful that a war sits on the back burner during an election.

Originally posted to Dr Teeth on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:36 AM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Policy Zone.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Candidates remain silent, as a nation we remain (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, bluedust, PhilJD, Agathena

    mostly silent. Come fall, we start the 12th year of war.

    There is no good news coming out of Afghanistan.

    At least 41 international troops have been killed so far this month in Afghanistan.
    Over 50 billion spent in past 11 years training Afghans and they are still not ready.

    If we cannot leave Afghanistan until the Afghans stand up, based on the past 11 years, are we expecting a miracle in the next 2 1/1 years?

    How many more will die this month? this year? this decade?

    Bring them home!

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

    by allenjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:46:59 AM PDT

  •  I applaud you for the effort (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, allenjo, PhilJD

    Just look at my diaries or allenjo's, and others...within see  the comments, the apologists or the timid...

    Dkos doesn't want to think or talk about this or actually move this to action....

    Sad, but true.

    "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

    by EdMass on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:50:11 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the diary, Dr Teeth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, PhilJD

    If this is your first diary about this war, you will see what a lonely diary it can be.

    No one wants to talk about the endless war in Afghanistan, nor how mired down we are in this unwinnable war.

    Or that we can't have nice things in this country, like an economy that functions for all of us, as each week of war in Afghanistan costs about $2 billion.

    Or that we have military forays around the globe.

    US military's secret military

        Without the knowledge of much of the general American public, a secret force within the US military is undertaking operations in a majority of the world's countries. This Pentagon power elite is waging a global war whose size and scope has generally been ignored by the mainstream media, and deserves further attention.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/...

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

    by allenjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:54:01 AM PDT

  •  Afghanistan remains the graveyard of empires (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, EdMass, PhilJD

    Alexander the Great came as close to conquering the country as any foreign invader.  The irony now is that the VN War era military leaders are gone to dust or obscurity. Our current military leaders have had no experience with the lessons VN had to teach.
    Instead the oldest among the leaders were cutting their eye teeth on the easy victories that Reagan and Bush I offered by picking easy enemies.
    GWB broke that mold with Iraq.  While victory was eventually declared, the end result has been to make Iran into a regional power.

    From the perspective of an armchair observer, it seems to me our current military leaders want to remember the glories of WWII and forget the inconvenient truths of Korea and VN.  Whenever I hear a discussion of the situation among Those Who Exercise Power, they still frame the problem in terms of winning and losing while ignoring the sad truth that in asymmetrical warfare, you are faced with either having perpetual war until you pack it in and go home or you exterminate the natives.
    The Russians realized this from their experiences in Afghanistan and used those lessons to bring Chechnya to heel    

  •  We are withdrawing in 2014. How'd you miss that? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, Mokurai, Farkletoo, FG
    Whether we leave now or in five years,
    Afghanistan is not a major campaign point for many rasons. The primary one being, it is not on the list of priorities as seen by the American voter. Afghanistan is seen as settled business. The USA has announced it is leaving mid-2014.
    •  Then why are we there now? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      EdMass, Simplify, allenjo, PhilJD

      People are still being deployed and still taking fire.  What is different in 2014?

      •  What is different has been in the news for years (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Farkletoo, GoGoGoEverton, Dr Teeth, FG

        That is, long-announced plans to get out of there.

        I understand you want things to wrap up sooner. But if you are interested in US Afghanistan policy it is startling to learn you are unaware of what that policy is: to withdraw by mid-2014.

        Once again, you are not seeing much political attention to this in the election, because, politically speaking, the question has already been settled. We are on a path to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014.

        Romney hasn't said anything differently. Perhaps one day Romney will try to make Afghanistan an election year issue. In order to do that he will have to disagree with President Obama. What form might that take, do you think?

        A: Mitt Romney would want to withdraw before 2014

        B: Mitt Romney would want to withdraw after 2014.

        C: Mitt Romney would say we are not leaving Afghanistan at all.

        A, B, or C. Which campaign fight would you prefer to see this year?

        •  D. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PhilJD, Dr Teeth, allenjo

          The President takes a bold stand and says  

          "We are outta there".  

          "The Afghans have proven to us that they want to settle whatever they need to settle by themselves."

          "As has been proven in history, time and again, the Afghans will not abide imperialism, outside nation building, nor foreign influences attempting to influence them against their will>"

          "As my Sec Def has said, "Afghanistan needs  to take further steps to vet security force recruits."  "We now longer have confidence that they can do that or actually have any interest in doing so."

          "Therefore, as President of the United States and Commander and Chief of the US Armed Forces, I am declaring our mission is completed and we are withdrawing all troops and support of the Afghanistan Administration, effective immediately."

          "May God have mercy on their souls and God Bless the USA".

          Our President would win in a fucking landslide...

          "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

          by EdMass on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:08:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Why does all this matter to American voters? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PhilJD, Dr Teeth
              How’s this for a conspiracy of silence? With less than three months to go until Election Day, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have successfully avoided saying almost anything about America’s war in Afghanistan. Remember that war? You will at some point, however little the two candidates talk about it.

              You can make your own guesses about why the candidates have said so little about Afghanistan—their positions are virtually identical, the economy is more important, etc. My own guess: neither of them knows what to do about the place. In a mere twenty-eight months, the United States is scheduled to stop fighting, and every day brings new evidence that the Afghan state that is supposed to take over is a failing, decrepit enterprise.

              …

          Why does all this matter to American voters? Look at this way: after eleven years, more than four-hundred billion dollars spent and two thousand Americans dead, this is what we’ve built: a deeply dysfunctional, predatory Afghan state that seems incapable of standing on its own—even when we’re there. What happens when we’re not? You can bet that, whoever the President is, he’ll be talking about it then.
          http://rethinkafghanistan.com/...

          "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

          by allenjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:21:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And yet the issue does not appear on polling data (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dr Teeth, Smoh

            Do you think that is because....

            A: Quicklund controls American public opinion and he is just stubborn?

            B: Some other reason(s)?

            OIOW, what is this cut&paste job intended to do? It is no revelation to anyone that Afghanistan is a mess. Knew just as much before the C&P job as after it. The phrases what is and what should be are not identical.

            •  B: Some other reason(s)? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Quicklund, Dr Teeth

              I do not know why.

              Polls show that around 2/3 of the country do not support this continuing war, but they do not make their voices heard. And until that happens, it will remain a non-issue.

              "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

              by allenjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:49:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Then we agree after all. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dr Teeth

                Cool.

                •  What we do not agree on is that the (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dr Teeth

                  President has announced withdrawal at the end of December 2012, and that the electorate is satisfied with that, when polls show that is not the case.

                  What we do agree on is that mostly the nation is silent about the war.

                  You are okay with that silence as you take it to mean acceptance of a withdrawal date announced.

                  I am questioning why those that so oppose this war remain mostly silent.

                  Polls should show quite the opposite if your premise was solid.

                  "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

                  by allenjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 12:27:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  My premise is entirely solid, as you state. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Smoh, Dr Teeth, FG
                    What we do agree on is that mostly the nation is silent about the war.
                    Here you agree my premise is in fact the truth.
                    I am questioning why those that so oppose this war remain mostly silent.
                    What is my premise? Americans put other issues at a higher priority than they do Afghanistan.

                    You explicitly agree with me, yet tell me my premise is false. That's not very persuasive.

    •  Wrong, just wrong (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Teeth, Simplify, allenjo

      Afghanistan: The War no one wants to talk about

      Major Non-NATO Ally Status for Afghanistan

      On May 2, 2012, President Obama and President Karzai signed the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. As part of this agreement, the United States pledged to designate Afghanistan a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA).

      MNNA designation provides a long-term framework for our security and defense cooperation. It reinforces the strong bilateral defense relationship between the United States and Afghanistan by helping support aligned defense planning, procurement, and training.

      MNNA status is a symbol of the strong relationship between Afghanistan and the United States based on mutual respect and shared interests. It is a significant example of the United States’ long-term commitment to Afghanistan and our close cooperation.

      "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

      by EdMass on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 10:08:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It isn't on the list of priorities (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Teeth

      Nor should it be.

      •  Question? Whose "priorities" are you referring to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allenjo, Dr Teeth

        The Admin?  The populace?  Those of the IGTNT diaries too gobsmacked by loss?  

        There are young American's dying there daily.  

        For no purpose.

        Priorities?

        "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

        by EdMass on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 10:44:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The electorate's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dr Teeth

          If there is polling data where "Afghanistan" ranks high on the list of election year topics, I've not seen it nor heard it mentioned anywhere.

          •  2014 is a long way off... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dr Teeth, allenjo, EdMass

            We could pull out now--declare victory if we must, although that hardly passes the laugh test--because our continued aggression against Afghanistan does absolutely nothing to advance our national interests, not to mention the interests of the Afghan people.

            We could pull out now because it's the right thing to do... because "no war" should be the default position...

            even if it doesn't poll well.

            When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

            by PhilJD on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 12:00:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Misses the point (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dr Teeth, Smoh

              Of course the USA could move up the withdrawal date. Not up to today in the literal sense. But the schedule could be moved up. It is within the realm of possibility

              But that is not the polling data I am talking about. The polling data I am talking about shows why Afghanistan is not an issue in this year's election campaign. The fact is, Americans care much more about other issues. Americans seem to consider the Afghanistan question answered. The plan says 2014 and so be it.

              I understand you want it to be sooner. Well, that political debate has been lost. President Obama's plan is to withdraw in 2014. He is certainly not going to campaign against himself.

              Mitt Romney, he likes campaigning against his own words. unless Mitt Romney makes Afghanistan a genuine election year issue, then it will not become an issue.

        •  The priorities as seen by the American voter (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quicklund, Dr Teeth, Smoh

          Changing the trajectory of American policy in Afghanistan shouldn't be on the top ten list for that.

      •  ? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Teeth

        Nor should it be.

        Why not?

        "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

        by allenjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:31:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Pete Seeger: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Teeth

      "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

      by allenjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 10:45:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And the Big Fools say push on (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allenjo, Dr Teeth

        When the Big Fools are on your side and you've decided not to criticize them for fear that the Other guys will take up said criticism it's hard to get positive traction.

        You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

        by Johnny Q on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 01:10:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Withdrawal of course based on conditions on ground (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Teeth
      Over 50 billion spent in past 11 years training Afghans and they are still not ready.

      If we cannot leave Afghanistan until the Afghans stand up, based on the past 11 years, are we expecting a miracle in the next 2 1/2 years?

      "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

      by allenjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:15:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If that changes the issue will be front-burner (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Teeth, Smoh

        And as well as it should be.

        But the point remains, today the question has considered answered by the electorate. The US has announced a 2014 withdrawal. If that changes you can well expect the Afghanistan debate to heat up immediately.

  •  And this...for the statisticians (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, Simplify
    I've done statistics on diaries about Afghanistan, (4+ / 0-)
    most recently about a year ago.

    I looked at proportion of diaries, rather than raw numbers of them. It was by category: rec list diaries tagged Afghanistan, as proportion of all rec list diaries, for example.

    Daily Kos has had a pretty stunning lack of interest in Afghanistan, from the very beginning. Or at least, since the beginning of tagging.

    The front page has been the worst, and the rescue list the best.

    by Garrett on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:05:54 PM EDT

    "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

    by EdMass on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 10:23:10 AM PDT

  •  You do know that we are getting out in 2014 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, Quicklund, Farkletoo, Smoh

    don't you?

    Obama announces Afghanistan troop withdrawal plan

    June 22, 2011|By the CNN Wire Staff

    Yes, it should have been long ago. Yes, as "President" W famously said, the US doesn't do nation-building. But we are getting out. If Henry Kissinger rated a Nobel Peace Prize for lying our way out of the Vietnam War, then President Obama has earned his at least twice over.

    Of course,

    I've said that political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Prize.
    Tom Lehrer

    Hey, Mitt! Thanks for ObamneyCare. http://www.healthcare.gov

    by Mokurai on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 10:28:25 AM PDT

    •  Just like Iraq? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Teeth, PhilJD
      US Troops/Personnel in Iraq (0+ / 0-)

      With the collapse of the discussions about extending the stay of any U.S. troops,[22][23] on 21 October 2011, President Obama announced the full withdrawal of troops from Iraq as scheduled before.[23] The U.S. will retain an embassy in Baghdad[23] with some 17,000 personnel,[24] consulates in Basra, Mosul and Kirkuk, which have been allocated more than 1,000 staff each[24] and between 4,000 to 5,000 defence contractors.[23]

      President Obama and al-Maliki outlined a broad agenda for post-war cooperation without American troops in Iraq during a joint press conference on 12 December 2011 at the White House.

      This agenda includes cooperation on energy, trade and education as well as cooperation in security, counter-terrorism, economic development and strengthening Iraq's institutions. Both leaders said their countries will maintain strong security, diplomatic and economic ties after the last U.S. combat forces withdraw at the end of 2011.[25][26]

      Yep, we've "left".  Iraq 25,000 personnel...
      Iraqis to adjust to the reality of our exit
      Guess one hasn't been paying attention to news out of Iraq either...oh, well..
      Move along, nothing to see here....

      by EdMass on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 03:35:25 PM EDT

      "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

      by EdMass on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 10:37:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •   We were sold endless war, lock stock and barrel. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, Dr Teeth

    That we have a presidential campaign going on and neither candidate mentions America's longest war, nor do the journalists question them, nor does the populace, pretty tells us what a sad shape our nation is in.

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

    by allenjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 10:40:41 AM PDT

  •  Read Michael Hastings' "The Operators" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth

    You'll find the Obama Administration's step by step actions interesting.  You'll also find the poll results of what U.S. troops think of Afghanis and what Afghanis think of U.S. troops interesting.  

    "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

    by KateCrashes on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:07:44 AM PDT

  •  "We" are leaving? That's the best the wonks have (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdMass, PhilJD, Dr Teeth, allenjo

    to offer as to why this horrific shitstorm continues day after endless day? As pointed out by several here, that's not even close to true. And of course most of us don't give a shit either about the spread of US "bases" and drones and "we'll kill anyone we feel like killing anywhere on the planet." 'Cuz Obama is Our Guy.

    This Vietnam vet has to ask, which one of you policy mavens, who are just fine with the War on Terror being what it is, endless, futile by design, asymmetric and ruled by a cancerous idiocy, wants to be the last one to get killed in that barren place? Oh, that's right, you are safe here at home, and your kids too...

    Hey, buttheads, some of you even offer that it's an "all-volunteer force" now, so who's to care, since "they" signed up for whatever the Brass tells them to do, out of the latest and stupidest bit of "doctrine" and "strategy," kicking the can down the dusty, blast-pocked bloody road so the Brass of today won't have to be marked up as "losing Notagainistan."

    Don't you get that this is just one visible tumor in a body that is riddled and raddled with a virulent and metastatic cancer that is on the way to killing all of us? Do you follow what's happening in the realm of Drone Wars and the notion that Us Special Americans and our contractors can ignore with impunity silly little notions of "international law" and "national boundaries and sovereignty?" Or in the realm of Strange New Weapons, where your really smart kids are signing up with the End-of-the-World, "Terminator" partnership between State Security and post-national military-supplier corporations, to make strange shit that has the potential to kill us all but is "really cool technology?"

    I'm burned out on all this. I did my stint in Vietnam as a volunteer, partly in the belief that I was Stopping The Spread of Communism and Keeping the Dominoes from Falling. Bull fucking shit. All of it. While a few of our leaders may honestly have had some idea that "we were going to hand the VN a shiny new country," everyone at the cynical Kissinger-McNamara-Westmoreland-Johnson level had no such illusions. It was just about the Great Game, and about a huge wealth transfer to MICorporations from then present and now future generations, and about advancement and empire building for the fucking Brass. So while I was fixing and flying around in Hueys, the prototypes of the Special Ops people we lionize today were effectuating the Phoenix Program, not "winning hearts and minds" but "piercing hearts and minds with various calibers of weapons," killing often totally random "gooks" in villages across the country, and giving John Yoo precedents to work from. http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    And gee,, what a wonderful prototype for all the crap that "we" are doing to people all across the planet, without really any motive or excuse except "because we can," or
    "because we are entitled to their resources" or "because we have the exceptional right to determine all of world policy and history henceforth."

    Hey, kos,you've seen the recent face of all this -- what do you think about it? Fucking bullshit, all of it.

    What's the MIC eating, to fund that continuing action over there? A billion or two a week? You would think that something of actual worth could be done with all that wealth. Something, I don't know, maybe "progressive?"

    Glad that LGBT is rightly doing so well with our culture, finally. One might hope that the distress of those LGBT GIs, with residual discrimination in the "service" but more importantly with the stupidity and futility of moving from province to province, kicking in doors and acting as human IED detectors, knowing about or participating in "fun killings" of "towelheads," seeing their friends blasted or shot, might get turned into some part of the consciousness of this site and some bit of the "policy focus."

    Not going to hold my breath, of course -- "we" progressives have shriveled, dried up and largely blown away...

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:27:05 AM PDT

    •  You have a diary right there, jim214! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD, Dr Teeth, Smoh

      "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

      by allenjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:35:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was just about to say the same thing! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allenjo, Dr Teeth, Smoh

        When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

        by PhilJD on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 12:05:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is the question we should all be asking...... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PhilJD, Dr Teeth, jm214
          Why is it taking this long for the Afghan troops to be policing themselves?”
          11 long years of war, 50 billion spend to train the Afghans, and the road out of Afghanistan rests on the Afghan troops, who are not yet ready to "stand up so that we can stand down".

          Yes, Phil, jim214's comment would make a good diary!
          Hope he does.

          "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

          by allenjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 12:11:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Like you, I've done the diaries, they're in my (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EdMass, Dr Teeth

        waste pile under my site name. Not too many listen, some that do give the old (shrug: whatchagonnadothat'sthewayit is, there'smorecurrentstufftoyakabout), some tol me to shut up especially where I was stung to anger by some of the sop in an IGTNT entry. People aren't listening, or if they are, they are too mired in The Narrative or The Community Flow.

        "We" just don't get it. There is no "mission," as such, in Notagainistan. There's just "actions" and tactics and silly little doctrines and strategies, like "counterinsurgency" and Afghanistanization, that have failed, over and over. "We" don't get the history and sociology and anthropology of the various tribes and peoples of Notagainistan, and don't get that our leaders know goddamn well that "the Afghans" cannot and will not be forced into a national uniform and uniform behaviors and a national self-policing hierarchy like we seem happy to accept here at home.

        "We" don't get that there is this colossal foolish monstrosity out there, a military-industrial-political machine that disregards national boundaries and interests in favor of War Toys, more and more "joint exercises" even between nominal former enemies like the US and the Vietnamese Navy, manned (and "progressively," I guess, womaned too) by millions of Our Fellow Americans, in uniform and Under Contract, who are in a game of which the goals and play have no relationship to any of the "missions" or "goals" that are avowed, by the scum that has risen to the top of the bucket of sour Mother's Milk of Politics or any of the general officers who generate PowerPoints. Ooh wait, after some major fails like THIS , they aren't doing that any more, now it's huge and hugely expensive shit like THIS, fronted by "visions" like THIS. "Thar's GOLD in them thar shills!"

        What has any of that Grand Interoperable Networked Battlespace got to do with anything, other than a John Travolta wet dream of a Scientology Future War of the Worlds? That kind of shit "thinking" is what led to the Big Buildup in Vietnam, all the doctrinal-creep and creepy doctrine that got us so fucking sucked in. And of course the generals and their shills have gotten a lot smarter -- no draft, no reporting on what they're up to (except for those touching vignettes at a Combined Base near you, when a cortege is mounted to carry the corpse of one of our Battlefield Heroes, killed by an IED made of US artillery shells and 500-pound bombs, on his Last Solemn Voyage.) (My uncle did not drink, but died of cirrhosis at the end of WW II, probably because he was one of the GIs intentionally and without consent infected with hepatitis by "our government," just one of many "necessary" initiatives these Brass Asses come up with, again and again.)

        And for all the folks who think "our" military is so superior, you might recall that one retired Marine general figured out how to defeat a huge US/NATO (same thing) armada back in 2002, http://www.guardian.co.uk/... which of course led "our" Brass to demand a "cancel cancel do-over no fair" re-statement of the result. Fucking stupid asshats.

        How stupid is all of this? The Brass decrees that some part of Helmand Province (or I Corps, from my war, or Khe Sanh or Pork Chop Hill or Monte Salerno) the Key to the Whole War/Campaign/Battle. The GIs go do their thing, including the bad stuff that GIs and every other nation's soldiers do. Some Colonel tells the Troops that they will be able to tell their grandchildren that they won the most important battle of the war. So they go play "Call of Duty," maybe kill a few "wogs," and get a few of their own killed or wounded, and thus have all the reason they need to do what they do. Which has nothing to do with any of the nominal political goals that we at home are told are the Grand Reasons for All This. Trillions of dollars, an enormous, self-generating hammer with enormous momentum and huge and growing conduit of wealth, all to supposedly swat the annoying fly that is "al Quaeda?" And tell me again why "we" pay warlords up the supply trail from the Khyber Pass not to bomb "our" convoys, and pay their tribesmen to drive the trucks bringing $400-a-gallon fuel to The Current Front? Gee, follow the money and it sure looks like the game is actually Dying Empire Grasp at Hegemony.

        Look, the momentum and inertia of the entire Milo Minderbinder Enterprise, http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/... is just Too Fucking Huge. Maybe that's why "progressives," in the current mold, are so loath to try to take it all on. Since we long ago lost the muscular energies that inspired the Molly Maguires and the Bonus Marchers and others who did not have tablets or smartphones and actually stood up to and tried to face down the bastards that are killing us and our planet for their own foolish pleasure and short-term gain.

        And of course that's just a disjointed rant to some or many who actually take the trouble to read it, to be discounted as the dysfunctional rambling of some old guy from another generation who Just Doesn't Get It and declines to flow along with the Community.

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 01:35:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow...But..but..the polls tell us... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dr Teeth

          You're burning up my screen, and I love it.

          Bless you

          Peace

          "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

          by EdMass on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 01:48:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Peace is a temporary, aberrant condition (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dr Teeth

            between eons of violent conflict." Or something.

            We CAN do better. Two fundamentals I keep railing about:

            First, we really are (stuck) all in this together, for good or ill.

            And

            There's enough of everything that matters to go all the way around the table, but only if we can keep the pigs in suits (and uniforms) from taking all but the last pork chop, all but the last spear of broccoli, all but the last chocolate chip cookie, and stop letting them trick us into thinking that's all there was and leaving us fighting over the scraps.

            "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

            by jm214 on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 02:04:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was trying to agree with you? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dr Teeth

              The polls thing was a jibe at other commenters here...

              "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

              by EdMass on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 02:18:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I knew that, of course -- I'm just a crotchety (0+ / 0-)

                older guy who too often gives needless offense. My apologies. Indeed, may we all learn how to achieve peace. Or at least find it in our own lives.

                "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

                by jm214 on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 05:51:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for the testimony... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD, Dr Teeth, allenjo, jm214

      "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

      by EdMass on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:35:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republished to Progressive Policy Zone. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth, allenjo

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:48:29 AM PDT

  •  I jjst started (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, Dr Teeth, allenjo, EdMass

    reading Frank Snepp's Decent Interval. We are reaching the stage in Afghanistan that Vietnam reached in the last couple of years of foreign involvement.

    Every empire eventually gets itself involved in a land war in Asia, specifically Afghanistan, every empire eventually gets to the moment when it believes that it can do what every previous empire has failed to do.

    Every empire is wrong and in the process it betrays yet another generation of its troops.

    I'm guessing that these absurd and fatally flawed adventures are also a symptom of the turning of empires into their last lap.

    Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

    by Deep Dark on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 12:18:59 PM PDT

    •  An even closer analogy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Teeth, FG

      We are at the point where the Soviets were drawing down from Afghanistan, just before they left.

      I'm not sure "History doesn't repeat itself. But sometimes it rhymes" even applies here. We've got a lot of the very same people, in the very same position. It's a continuation of the same old civil war.

  •  Our soldiers being killed by our Afghan allies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Teeth

    now to have guardian angels to protect them....

    In one of a series of recent steps, the military decreed that American and NATO service members should always carry a loaded magazine in their weapons, to save precious moments if attacked by Afghan forces. Another initiative, now a priority, is a program named “Guardian Angel” that calls for one or two soldiers to monitor the Afghans during every mission or meeting, officials say. The “angels,” whose identities are not disclosed to the Afghans, must be prepared to fire on anyone who tries to kill a coalition service member.

    The military has also analyzed the attacks. But the results have been worrisome. Only a handful of the 31 attacks this year have clearly been a result of Taliban activity like infiltration. That suggests a level of malaise or anger within the Afghan forces that could complicate NATO’s training program, which relies on trust and cooperation.

    The stepped-up efforts to stop the attacks are indications of how destabilizing the deaths of coalition troops at the hands of Afghan colleagues have become, and how much of a threat they pose to the transfer of control to the Afghans when NATO is set to leave in 2014.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

    by allenjo on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 01:17:15 PM PDT

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