Thursday, February 02, 2012

Afghanistan Down. Iran Next?

Some time in the next two years the United States will pack up its guns and leave Afghanistan.   Like Vietnam, and to some extent Iraq, it will be able to boast that its military was never defeated in battle.  Like Vietnam and even more like Iraq, the United States will leave Afghanistan having utterly failed to achieve any of the strategic objectives that led it to invade.  It was all for nothing - all the lives, military, insurgent and civilian; all the billions that not even America could afford to squander; all the lost opportunities.

Canada got roped into a bad deal, a prime minister horribly misled by his top military guy who, as events have proven beyond any doubt, had no idea of what he was doing - none at all.  Big Cod my arse.  But worse was to come in the form of an ideologically bent leader in whose twisted mind keeping this party going made sense.

Canada, of course, was not alone in this folly.  The Guardian's Simon Jenkins neatly summarizes Britain's failure:

Every warning was disregarded in a classic of "cognitive dissonance". The Afghan war has been sustained by years of mendacity and deceit from western governments. Elected representatives, the media and public opinion were induced to buy the line that success was "just around the corner". Embedded journalists would report that the army was "winning hearts and minds" and the Taliban were on the run. Sooner or later Nato would "retrain" the Afghan army, despite constant reports of the hatred and unreliability this army felt towards the occupation. Just last week, the British government bizarrely pledged to build "an Afghan Sandhurst", presumably as a palace for some future Taliban warlord.

All military and diplomatic experience, all the history and the scholarship in the world, did not stop this crude punitive venture being backed by conservatives and liberals alike in both the US and Britain. It was declared a good war. The drumbeats of battle stifled criticism. Any general got a cheer who could boast that the war would be over in weeks, and without a shot fired. Critics were met with the timeless, drear refrain, that their talk was defeatist, cowardly and lacked patriotism. Like Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, they were drowned by the lust for glory.

 ...this is not the endgame. Britain is even now rattling sabres and dicing with disaster alongside the US against Iran. Such a war would be as catastrophic as could be imagined, and against a country that poses no conceivable threat to western security. The sole reason for going to war against Iran is to go to war against Iran. That is how we went to war against Afghanistan and Iraq. Clearly, nothing has been learned.


LeDaro said...

According to the US secretary of Defence, Israel will be bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities in April or May. It looks the US and Israel have some God given right to have nuclear arsenals and bomb any country at will or kill anyone at will.

Iran is a big country and militarily much stronger than Iraq. Any bombing of Iran will be an extraordinary disaster for the world.

The Mound of Sound said...

This could plunge the world into a very deep recession. Harper would love it. A blocked Persian Gulf would send oil prices past $200 a barrel in an afternoon.

Panetta says April. Logic would suggest that date is linked to the Pentagon's decision to reinforce its Gulf presence with a third fleet carrier in March. They could even have four in the Gulf by then. That's usually a sure sign the Americans are ready to pull the trigger. Either that or Obama is pulling the bluff of a lifetime.

Beijing York said...

I really hope it's a bluff on the part of Obama.

Maybe he'll distract Israel by pushing for a NATO humanitarian strike on Syria.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi BY. I've been trying to puzzle out whether, or to what extent, election year politics bear on this. Are we seeing the Republican tail wag the Obama dog? Was killing Osama not enough for Red Meat America, does it need its black president to start bombing Muslims as well?

As you know I've come to believe that the U.S. has become ideologically warm to the idea of American power projection at the end of a 2,000 precision guided bomb or a drone missile strike. Iraq and Afghanistan has pretty much soured their appetite for ground wars.

Ground war is not an option in Asia, Washington's new focus of attention, so maybe it's back to the good old Reagan days of just bombing the hell out of upstarts.

Or it could all just be an elaborate bluff. Unfortunately in this region even a bluff can have unexpected consequences.

Anonymous said...

Obama said, he was cutting the U.S. military way back. Obama said, Harper must take up the slack.

There is also tension between the U.S. and China. The Philippine Islands are rich in resources, and China wants them. The Philippines have asked Obama to arm them, so they can defend their resources against China.

Iran is supported by China. Russia said, it would be a mistake to attack Iran.

Which master will Harper follow? He wants to sell China the dirty tar oil. Should Harper offend the U.S. or China?

WW111 coming up.

Anyong said...

If the Harper Government can get the pipe line through to the US, Canada will be selling oil to the US at much reduced rates.

Anyong said...

I have a friend who is married to an Israeli. They recently returned to Canada due to their concern about what is going to take place regarding Iran. When living in that kind of climate, one knows more about it.