Sunday, April 06, 2008

Pentagon & NATO Surrender Monkeys Give Up on Afghanistan

What a difference squandering the better part of a decade can make. Especially if the place you've been sitting with your thumb up your arse is Afghanistan.

If one thing emerged from the NATO summit in Bucharest it was the abandonment of the West's entire raison d'etre for going to war in Afghanistan. Remember we went there to (a) drive out the Taliban; (b) crush al-Qaeda and kill or capture bin Laden and Mullah Omar; (c) bring democracy to that troubled land; (d) liberate the women folk and (e) establish Afghanistan as an example to all the other nasty hellholes in that region to guide them to enlightenment.

Best you don't dwell on those things because, you see, they're not gonna happen. No, we've got a new and improved agenda now. We're going to train enough additional Afghan soldiers that (we hope) we'll be able to get the hell out of there without getting our asses hammered on our way out the door.

Sorry ladies, sorry child brides, sorry aspiring reformers - we gotta go, just as soon as we can throw together 80,000 of what passes for an Afghan army. From TorStar:

French analyst Etienne de Durand – who just returned from a research mission in Afghanistan, where he spoke to Canadian, American, British and French commanders – puts it this way: "We lower the needs and raise the means. We close that gap. That is what the Bucharest summit was all about."

"But the truth is, we are not going to create a model democracy in the Hindu Kush. That is a myth and absolutely let us dispel it.

"Instead, we lower our visions. We go for a reasonable functioning state, an army that works, police that are not too corrupt ...."

Oh great, we've been in Afghanistan since 2001 in order to perpetuate a myth. The combination of lying generals and lying politicians and a gullible, ill-informed public has allowed that to happen.

Of course we never went there to succeed. We didn't set out to win. Winning this would have taken at least ten if not fifteen times the pitiful force level we have deployed there. Another 1000 troops? Please, that's a political number, a greasy joke but don't blame me if you believed it actually meant something. You're not supposed to take jokes seriously.

This is the way Canada's top jester, Lardo, put it: "I think it depends what you mean by `success.' If you took the definition of success which could be Afghan forces able to ensure a Western equivalent security environment, maybe that's a 20-25-year task. If you're saying Afghan forces able to manage the day-to-day security in most of the country, we think that's an objective that, if we put our focus and determination towards, is achievable in a much shorter timeframe."

Did you get that? Not a mention of democracy, nor a hint of freedom or human rights and, of course, absolutely nothing about Afghanistan's women or children. All those specific and much vaunted goals we went there to achieve have gone down to DEFEAT. Don't sugar coat it, we've failed and we're going to spend the next three years desperately attempting to avoid totally failing.


WesternGrit said...

Yeah, I love that 1000 soldier "magic number". Most people don't know that after you take out the assorted support personnel, officers, maintenance, cooks, etc., you may be lucky to have 250 soldiers that can actually pick up a gun and hop a truck up to the front lines...

The Soviets focused a huge, well-trained, and well-equipped army on Afghanistan, and went home with their asses handed to them. The Soviet Red Army at the time may have been the best fighting force in the world. The war in Afghanistan crushed their spirit, and probably led to the fall of the Soviet Union - no matter how much the Reaganites want to take credit.

The Northern Indic, Pathan, and Afghan fighters are among the most tenacious in the world. Foreign armies do not just walk into that part of the world and walk back out in one piece. From Alexander the Great, to Genghis Khan, to the Persians, to the Brits, and finally the Soviets (all of whose descendants are mixed with these peoples), all saw their great armies smashed in the lands between the Russian Steppes, and the Indian Ocean - between the Hindu Kush, and the Plains of Punjab.

We Westerners are also - unfortunately - about to learn our lesson. Let's hope we can at least leave the Afghan government with the means to defend itself, long enough for the civil society to find itself new exile homes in our countries. Let's also hope that our governments are quick and forthcoming with refugee papers, to avoid even more bloodshed, when the exodus of the intellectual and cosmopolitan begins.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hey WG, isn't that the truth? We ARE about to learn our lesson. This might just be Canada's first war that ended in defeat but, then again, the outcome was pre-ordained. This has been a fratboy adventure from the start - under resourced, unfocused and quickly neglected when the chickenhawks chose to move the party just down the road to Iraq.

What infuriates me is that Hillier conned us into this when anyone familiar with the basics of guerrilla warfare could see the writing on the wall.

I'll bet we aren't long gone before the Afghan Army splits along ethnic lines into the sectarian militias that are the usual force structure in this place.