Sunday, December 13, 2009

The bleeding of America in Afghanistan

Once again (and always it appears), the all powerful Military Industrial Complex has prevailed. President Obama's announcement of his decision to escalate American military involvement in Afghanistan virtually assures that the "bleeding of America" will continue for many years to come.

Our President has buckled to the wishes of the MIC by somehow being maneuvered into believing that more troops to basically protect the troops already in country will result in a "win". It won't because we are battling an enemy that knows nothing else but conflict and chaos and death is expected. We are not fighting Al Queda there because that group is almost a ghost. They have no physical roots and will move and regroup no matter what we do in Afghanistan. Pakistan is more threatened by their influence than Afghanistan. This begs the main question. Why are we in Afghanistan and what are we trying to accomplish?

When our President and others say that our primary goal is to suppress and beat back those who oppose the established government of Afghanistan and to assist in creating a stable and functioning country it "sounds" good to many here who only know a nation (America) with an established government and a functioning nation (America). The problem with these goals are many. A primary one is that to many Afghan citizens WE are just another in a long line of foreign invaders and this fact gives the Taliban or other factions a powerful tool to convince and intimidate the average Afghan citizen. A second and also important "problem" is that the "established government" is an illusion that has little impact in most of Afghanistan. There has never been a truly established government and our "goal" of creating one has been crushed by the continual corruption (nothing new at all) by many "in power" who have stolen large sums of money meant to help the citizens. WE must keep in mind that the Afghan people are one of the most uneducated and poor groups on earth. It is essentially a destitute country ruled by local tribal leaders that have almost nothing to do with the so-called "established government" in their capital. Their cooperation with their government or America is very much dependent on how much money or goods they receive. The shifting alliances by these tribal leaders and the people themselves will continue no matter what WE try to do there. There is a reason why the American people (in general) do not get to see just how depressed Afghanistan actually is and that is because if we did we might begin to realize that WE will never be able to leave behind a stable functioning country.

When President Obama told us last week that he was authorizing an additional 30,000 troops to join the fight he may as well have said 50,000 or 100,000 or 200,000 because it will not matter. We will not bring the "enemy" to their knees (as so many have tried before). The best we can hope for is that our courageous military will achieve some minor push back victories (that will be hailed here at home) and the Taliban or others will retreat (temporarily) but in the end there will be no lasting "win". The "bleeding of America" will continue and the people of Afghanistan won't be much better off when we finally leave.

When President Obama told us that his "goal" is to begin bringing our troops home beginning in July of 2011 it was more a statement to pacify his base than it was an actual goal. The "leaks" by many in the military community in the weeks prior to the troop announcement should have created much more White House outrage for many reasons but mainly because they created much public pressure and put the President in a poor position. The MIC wanted this of course because it is always very difficult for a sitting President to give the appearance of failing to support the troops. President Obama should have taken control of the situation much earlier by being prepared with a "short term" strategy for Afghanistan BEFORE being put under the political pressure because of the leaks. If the General in charge of our forces in Afghanistan went public with his opinions and requests for troops without the full and complete approval of his commander in chief then he should be immediately removed from his position. Those above him in the chain of command all the way to the Secretary of Defense must be held accountable for these lapses as well. General McChrystal asked for more troops indicating that if he didn't get them the "war" would probably be "lost" and if he got them it would help but would not necessarily result in victory. Perfect. McChrystal knows as do all the generals above him that full and complete "victory" in a military sense is not going to happen. He noted in his supposed "confidential" report that it would take 500,000 troops and at least five years to obtain a full military victory. The "bleeding of America" will continue. It is a slow bleed (because that has become acceptable to American citizens) that will continue because the MIC is designed for the long term. American oil and pipeline interests have been involved for the long term as well. We must remember that way back in the late 1990's there were intense negotiations with the Taliban leadership to secure plans for an oil pipeline through Afghanistan. The Taliban would not "cooperate" and the last meeting of the parties took place in August of 2001 (yes, BEFORE the 9/11 attacks and incidental to Osama Bin Laden) and a U.S. State Department official, Christina Rocca, at this last meeting is quoted as telling the Taliban, "Accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs".

When "we the people" are told that our attack on Afghanistan was in response to the 9/11 attacks on American soil IT IS NOT TRUE! Military plans had been in the works for a long time before 9/11 (which answers a nagging question about just how we were ready and able to launch our invasion less than one month after the 9/11 attacks while it now takes 3 to 6 months to fully deploy the new 30,000 troops) and those plans had nothing to do with 9/11 and almost everything to do with getting rid of a leadership (the Taliban) that would not yield to our wishes to build oil and gas pipelines! This is no different than our primary motive for invading Iraq. It is always about the oil interests and the MIC is more than happy to "help" because it keeps their agenda going as well.

The situation now is that we have occupied Afghanistan for 98 months now and with this new announcement we have pretty much committed ourselves to at least another 2 to 3 years and it could very well be 5, 6 or 10 or more years of American military troop commitment in the wasteland that is Afghanistan. Of course in keeping with the need and desire of the Military Industrial Complex even if President Obama were to announce in the second half of 2011 that there has been significant improvement in Afghanistan (which will be a vastly overstated report), the situation in Pakistan will have reached critical mass by then and Pakistan will be the next in line for U.S. military troops. This will be justified by the need to protect Pakistan's nuclear weapons (at all cost) and to keep Pakistan a viable U.S. partner in the region. Or, we will be told that "conditions on the ground" simply prevent the beginning of troop withdrawal in July of 2011. Also, Iran is waiting in the wings too. So sorry folks but the beat will continue. It is interesting to note that Syria has dropped off the radar as an imminent threat. Hmmm....

Our brave troops will of course continue to engage when ordered and will do so "forever" if necessary because that's what they do. American families will continue to be devastated as the "bleeding of America" continues with more and more having to deal with the death or injuries of their beloved soldiers. Families will continue to deal with the emotional toll as well. After all it's the patriotic thing to do, right? Supporting the troops is all important, even if it means giving them up to interests that are not in the best interests of the troops themselves. The sad reality is that whatever the stated result is in Afghanistan IT WILL NOT put an end to "threats" to America. There will ALWAYS be the next threat in the next geographic area of the world. The use of so many assets by our government during the past now more than 8 years is creating a huge long term problem and doesn't even consider any future threats by potential enemies (China and yes, again Russia) who would pose a much greater problem for American troops than the roaming bands of fighters we are currently chasing around the mountains of Afghanistan or the ethnic factions we "battled" in Iraq. Supporting and protecting American troops also means ONLY putting them in harms way when it is absolutely critical to their survival or the imminent survival of America herself. A "volunteer" military is struggling to keep necessary recruitment levels in large part because when it is pretty much assured that when one volunteers now they will be sent to combat as opposed to the many years after the draft was abolished when military service was viewed by many as a few years of "training" and assignments on a base with little combat expected in order to gain the GI benefits. The real world possibility that death or major injury has become the reality will no doubt change minds about enlisting.

America is at one of its cores a warring nation and has been for well over 100 years. There have been times when war was the only option but there have also been many conflicts (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to name a few) that have been initiated and waged and supported (for a time) by convincing a majority of the American people that it was imperative to stop things like communism (Korea and Vietnam) or Islamic extremists or despotic leaders (at least those with oil under their soil). The "protection" of America here at home has been a process mired in politics and has not resulted in actually protecting "we the people" by securing our borders and ports (to the extent possible) or changing our legal immigration process to close the loopholes that allow extremists to enter and breed on American soil. But we Americans always like to hear that the "threat" is somewhere else. We certainly wouldn't want to upset the economic engine any further by focusing too close to home.

Yes, the "Bleeding of America" will continue.