Afghanistan: where empires go to die

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Will Williams
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Afghanistan: where empires go to die

Post by Will Williams » Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:19 pm

The Afghanistan Papers Only Confirm What We Know

The Pentagon Papers cast a harsh light on the Vietnam conflict and forever altered the balance of power between the press and government. The Afghanistan Papers pale by comparison.
James A. Warren
Published Dec. 14, 2019

The lead story in The Washington Post on Monday, December 9, “At War with the Truth,” caught the eye of a wide array of American news editors and reporters, prompting a great many “stories about the story,” including this one. Here is a quick synopsis of the piece, which was written by reporter Craig Whitlock:

After a three-year legal battle, The Post obtained 2,000 pages of interview summaries and transcripts from participants in the Afghanistan War, ranging from Army and Marine officers manning remote outposts, all the way up to senior generals and officials on the National Security Council. The interviews, conducted between 2014 and 2018, were used as research for a series of “Lessons Learned” quarterly reports prepared by an obscure government watchdog agency created in 2008 by Congress called The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, SIGAR for short.

Taken together, Whitlock claims that the documents show “that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence that the war had become unwinnable.”

Here are a few representative quotations drawn from the documents that cast grave doubt on 18 years’ worth of “rosy pronouncements:”

Lt. General Douglas Lute, who played a key role in helping the White House oversee the war in both the Bush and Obama administrations, was blunt and damning in his assessment: “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan—we didn’t know what we were doing. What are we trying to do here?” he said in 2015. “We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

A U.S. Army colonel with several tours of duty in Afghanistan under his belt described the government in Kabul as a “self-organized kleptocracy.” Former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker seconded that observation, remarking in 2015 that “Our biggest single project, sadly and inadvertently, of course, may have been the development of mass corruption. Once it gets to the level I saw, when I was out there [in 2011-2012], it’s somewhere between unbelievably hard and outright impossible to fix it.”

A senior U.S. official remarked in 2015 that with the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy then in place, “there was a present under the Christmas tree for everyone. By the time you were finished you had so many priorities and aspirations it was like no strategy at all.”

The Washington Post, in a slightly awkward, self-congratulatory way, has drawn analogies between The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War and The Pentagon Papers, the secret narrative history of decision-making regarding the Vietnam War, commissioned in 1967 by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara after he had soured on a war he had done more than pretty much anyone else to start. The report was leaked to The New York Times, creating a major sensation when it was published in 1971...
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More here:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-penta ... at-we-knew

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Will Williams
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Re: Afganistan: where empires go to die

Post by Will Williams » Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:30 pm

It's a shitty war, yes, but good training for what is coming. The high tech aspect of this trail watcher Marine is instructive. Technology has come a long way since Vietnam.
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A MARINE’S VIEW OF THE REAL AFGANISTAN

It's freezing here. I'm sitting on hard cold dirt between rocks and shrubs at the base of the HinduKush Mountains, along the Dar'yoi Pamir River, watching a hole that leads to a tunnel that leads to a cave. Stake out, my friend, and no pizza delivery for thousands of miles. I also glance at the area around my ass every ten to fifteen seconds to avoid another scorpion sting. I've actually given up battling the chiggers and sand fleas, but the scorpions give a jolt like a cattle prod. Hurts like a bastard. The antidote tastes like transmission fluid, but God bless the Marine Corps for the five vials of it in my pack.

The one truth the Taliban cannot escape is that, believe it or not, they are human beings, which means they have to eat food and drink water. That requires couriers and that's where an old bounty hunter like me comes in handy. I track the couriers, locate the tunnel entrances and storage facilities, type the info into the hand held, and shoot the coordinates up to the satellite link that tells the air commanders where to drop the hardware. We bash some heads for a while, and then I track and record the new movement. It's all about intelligence. We haven't even brought in the snipers yet. These scurrying rats have no idea what they're in for. We are but days away from cutting off supply lines and allowing the eradication to begin.

But you know me; I'm a romantic. I've said it before and I'll say it again: This country blows, man. It's not even a country. There are no roads, there's no infrastructure, there's no government. This is an inhospitable, rock-pit shit-hole ruled by eleventh century warring tribes. There are no jobs here like we know jobs. Afghanistan offers only two ways for a man to support his family, join the opium trade or join the army. That's it. Those are your options. Oh, I forgot, you can also live in a refugee camp and eat plum-sweetened, crushed beetle paste and squirt mud like a goose with stomach flu, if that's your idea of a party. But the smell alone of those 'tent cities of the walking dead' is enough to hurl you into the poppy fields to cheerfully scrape bulbs for eighteen hours a day.

I've been living with these Tajiks and Uzbeks, and Turkmen and even a couple of Pashtu's, for over a month-and-a-half now, and this much I can say for sure: These guys, are Huns, actual, living Huns. They LIVE to fight. It's what they do. It's ALL they do. They have no respect for anything; not for themselves, their families, or for each other. They claw at one another as a way of life. They play polo with dead calves and force their five-year-old sons into human cockfights to defend the family honor. Just Huns, roaming packs of savage, heartless beasts who feed on each other's barbarism. Cavemen with AK-47's.

Then again, maybe I'm just a cranky young bastard. I'm freezing my ass off on this stupid hill because my lap warmer is running out of juice, and I can't recharge it until the sun comes up in a few hours. Oh yeah! You like to write letters, right? Do me a favor, Bizarre. Write a letter to CNN and tell Wolf and Anderson and that awful, sneering, pompous Aaron Brown to stop calling the Taliban "smart". They are not smart. I suggest CNN invest in a dictionary because the word they are looking for is "cunning". The Taliban are cunning, like jackals, hyenas, and wolverines. They are sneaky and ruthless, and when confronted, they are cowardly. They are hateful, malevolent parasites who create nothing and destroy everything else.

Smart? Bullshit! Yeah, they're real smart, Most can’t read, but they've spent their entire lives listening to Imams telling them about only one book (and not a very good one, as books go). They consider hygiene and indoor plumbing to be products of the devil. They're still trying to figuring out how to work a Bic lighter. Talking to a Taliban warrior about improving his quality of life is like trying to teach an ape how to hold a pen. Eventually he just gets frustrated and sticks you in the eye with it. OK, enough. Snuffle will be up soon, so I have to get back to my hole. Covering my tracks in the snow takes a lot of practice, but I'm good at it.

Please, I tell you and my fellow Americans to turn off the TV sets and move on with your lives. The story line you are getting from CNN and other news agencies is utter bullshit and designed not to deliver truth but rather to keep you glued to the screen so you will watch the next commercial. We've got this one under control. The worst thing you guys can do right now is sit around analyzing what we're doing over here. You have no idea what we're doing, and you really don't want to know. We are your military, and we are only doing what you sent us here to do.

God Bless America.

PS: Why would any civilized country want to bring these barbarians into their cities or states. To do so is total suicidal insanity!

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