Afghanistan – Graveyard of Dreams – Republished 28 Jan 2018, Re-republished 9 September 2019

Dead_cat_bounce

(In light of yesterday's bombing in Kabul …)

 

We have been in Afghanistan for how long?  16 years?  It is our longest war.  How much progress have we actually made?

1.  The government that we have tried so long to nurture controls a shrinking percentage of both territory and population.

2.  How much money have we poured into the pockets of crooks of all nationalities?  In spite of that the country is severely lacking in physical, social, legal, and business infrastructure.

3.  The country's armed forces have been expanded under NATO tutelage to such a size that the small GDP will never be able to pay for them on its own.  In spite of that they are unable even to defend their own installations.

4. The country is still racked by tribal, ethnic and jihadi wars.  It has always been thus with the exception of a golden age when the last Afghan king ruled in the 50s and 60s.  How did he do that?  He did it by careful inter-ethnic diplomacy and a minimum effort to "unify"  his realm.

5.  Attacks on NATO personnel by Afghan soldiers and police continue.

6. The capital, Kabul, is not secured and is regularly attacked.

7.  The much vaunted COIN doctrine has failed there as it has failed in so many places in the world.

In spite of this the generals and the COIN nuts persist in trying to reverse Obama's policy of withdrawal from the "country" (a geographical expression really).  President Trump, who knows nothing of things military or geo-political is about to begin the process of re-introducing US combat and training forces into this blank space on the map, a space filled with hostile tribesmen and religious fanatics.  This blank space was given the dubious status of a state in the international system of states because the Russians and the British wanted to establish a buffer entity between the Tsar's empire and the Raj.

President Trump should be told that there is nothing there of real importance to the US, nothing worth more vast quantities of our money and more rivers of our blood.  Let the Afghans, Chinese, Pakistanis, Iranians and Russians deal with the chaos.  pl

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174 Responses to Afghanistan – Graveyard of Dreams – Republished 28 Jan 2018, Re-republished 9 September 2019

  1. Avatar ann says:

    Years ago, there was a pipeline planned for Afghanistan. It was supposed to carry the oil out of the “stans” to the gulf for shipment. Do the oil companies ever reverse course? The map in the Balkans shows that Camp Bondsteel sits about 30 miles north of the only U.S. Corporate owned pipeline in the country.

  2. Avatar asx says:

    Thanks Col. Lang.
    IMO Afghanistan cannot be seen in isolation without some soul searching into who we are and what we want to be going forward.
    If we believe we are still the power above and beyond any other, and can project influence anywhere on the map, then we will not abandon Afghanistan. But numerous tea leaves indicate otherwise.
    I posted this essay on OBOR on the open thread.
    http://stories.cnas.org/the-return-of-marco-polos-world-and-the-u-s-military-response
    Yes, this is from the NeoCons who have rebranded from PNAC to CNAS. But notable is the acknowledgement from even the diehard supporters of Iraq War 2 regarding our limitations to impose our will in landlocked Eurasia.
    Also, our ingress into Afghanistan is very tenous and it will be the Chinese who will have access to that route predominantly as part of the OBOR. Then it will be up to them to provide for security in that neighborhood, and handle all associated burdens and costs. Good luck with that.
    Our exit from Afghanistan has to be managed so that it does not become our Suez moment. Do we double down and fail here, or just read the chessboard and call it a draw? I’d rather see us withdraw and cause a vacuum in Afghanistan which others will be too eager to over reach and fill.
    Our efforts in Eastern Syria/Kurdistan offer a parallel to Afghanistan. Another landlocked amorphous region with a dubious ally providing a base. Too many situations with low probabilities of favorable outcomes.

  3. Avatar Chris Chuba says:

    In all fairness Trump, is delegating this decision to his Generals. This did not look like his idea. This was true of BHO who got stampeded into a surge strategy. At the end of the day, the President is always responsible but it looks like there are members of the military who believe in COIN.
    Who knows, maybe Trump did call in McMaster and Mattis and said, ‘give me a plan to win Afghanistan’. In that case, it is on him.
    Afghanistan is a never ending sinkhole. One of the trends I don’t like is the pro-Pentagon spin that we constantly get from our MSM instead of journalism. This will set up overconfidence and failure.
    The press release:
    MOAB killed or scared off ISIS in Afghanistan and sent a message to all the other evildoers. The Pentagon refused to corroborate Kabul’s claim that 90+ ISIS fighters were killed because we don’t do body counts anymore (except when we do). I read an article on linked on Antiwar.com that the effectiveness was greatly overstated but the Stepford Wives on FOX/CNN will not bother following up on the story. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/05/us-military-afghanistan-bomb-moab
    Our Pentagon says that the Russians are ‘giving military aid to the Taliban’. No one in our MSM asks them what they mean, they just repeat the story incorrectly to make it sound even worse, just like the game of telephone. The Generals know and take advantage of this.
    My point is that the lack of MSM accountability for our Pentagon is going to help push us into a ravine in Afghanistan.

  4. Avatar Thomas says:

    “How much progress have we actually made?”
    Quite a bit for the US importer of Helmand’s provincial produce. I am sure he has his agents lobbying hard for more involvement to protect this personal golden goose. Last thing he needs is for those backwards bearded boys taking their Quran seriously and using those captured armored bulldozers on the current crops.

  5. Avatar turcopolier says:

    ann
    So Camp Bondsteel was placed where it is to protect some oil company’s pipeline and we have intervened in Afghnaistan for economic reasons? Where did you get this stuff? Economic determinism run rampant. You and I have so little in common that I don’t even want to correspond with you. pl

  6. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Thomas
    So this produce importer has US policy in re Afghanistan by the balls so he can make a profit? You are as crazy as Ann. pl

  7. Avatar turcopolier says:

    james
    So Afghanistan is the “center of the board?” Another nut heard from. pl

  8. Avatar Thomas says:

    “So this produce importer has US policy in re Afghanistan by the balls so he can make a profit.”
    No, I am speculating that who ever it is does have political influence and it helps reinforce those that want to be there for their ideological reasons.
    I agree with you, it is time to close this operation.

  9. Avatar chris says:

    Thank you for the succint and brief precis of the Afghanistan “experience”. I hope that it was not in vain, but I’m afraid that the current occupant of the White House is less than receptive of anything that is in conflict with his current (and fleeting?) emotional connection.

  10. Avatar Jony Kanuck says:

    Lets see if I remember Kipling:
    “When you are wounded & left on Afganistan’s plain
    And the women come out to cut up what remains
    Just roll on your rifle & blow out your brains
    And go your god like a soldier”.

  11. Avatar Peter AU says:

    I have read that Russia has contact with the Taliban and also on good terms with the government in Kabal. There is the possibility that Russian mediation could quickly wind down the war in Afghanistan, giving Russia more influence in the region. China also are looking at Afghanistan for its mineral deposits, and would help with mediation.
    The US can never win in Afghanistan, but its presence there seems to be more to prevent Russia China gaining influence in the country.

  12. Avatar TV says:

    Trump is so enthralled by the military – all those shiny stars – that if the brass said the Sun came up in the West, Trump would say “that’s FANTASTICALLY BEAUTIFUL.”
    This is not a good situation.

  13. Avatar Robert C says:

    Trump knows the American public. Once we pull out of Afghanistan, it doesn’t matter who is President. Any terrorist attack coming from Afghanistan will be blamed on Obama.
    Robert C.

  14. Avatar kooshy says:

    i bet we wouldn’t see a major pipeline or road going through Afghanistan in our lifetime, colonel Lang is absolutely correct, unless the ancient warlord tribal mafia system of Afghanistan ( for that matter Kurdistan) changes no one ( no matter how much you bomb them or kill them) can ever govern Afghanistan as a country or a nation. For last 16 years Iran is been trying to build a railroad from Iranian border to city of Herat which supposedly is an Iranian friendly city in a Iranian dominated area of Afghanistan. if such a road or pipeline that goes through Afghanistan is ever built every inch of it will belong to a different “Khan” by the time you get the oil off of the other side you end up broke or dead.

  15. Avatar Fredw says:

    This is not a good situation, but in fact it is normal. Except for Eisenhower, every president in my lifetime has had to learn painfully not to trust what the generals say they can do. Trump may be especially susceptible, but they all fall into that trap.

  16. Avatar Andy says:

    Afghanistan is really a domestic political problem, which is why the national security establishment doesn’t want to end it. They fear the political blowback for “losing” the war as well as the return of Jihadi safe-havens able to promote and conduct attacks against the west. It’s hot-potato from one administration to the next, an exercise in kicking the can down the road. So much for Trump’s transactional foreign policy – he seems poised to kick that can yet again.

  17. Avatar Lars says:

    There where plenty of warnings about the military action against Afghanistan when the last impulsive president was invading it. Then the effort was essentially abandoned, except for the troops that remained. Now we will see if excessive use of superlatives with change what will remain a wild goose chase. The geography and culture of the area (it is not really a country) has not changed much during modern history. In short, it was stupid going in and remains stupid to stay there. Even if Afghanistan collapses, it is a local problem. Russia failed there and the US probably already has too. If the Chinese want to try, let them.

  18. Avatar kooshy says:

    Colonel, IMO you penciled out what Afghanistan’ complexities are perfectly, except that you forgot to include India in this, they are in this too, they are as scared of Afghanistan as they are of Pakistan.

  19. Avatar ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Robert C: “Any terrorist attack coming from Afghanistan will be blamed on Obama.”
    And/or Bush 43

  20. Thanks, Colonel, for stating clearly and explicitly (most of)
    the relevant facts about the U.S. involvement with Afghanistan.
    FWIW, I agree fully with your last paragraph.
    But I think we need to recognize and explicitly rebut
    the counter-argument, for continued U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.
    The main argument for that, I believe, is stated in
    “What will Trump do about Afghanistan?
    There’s a good model to follow.”

    by Michael Gerson (WaPo Op-Ed columnist), 2017-05-04
    Gerson argues:

    [George W. Bush] ran against Clintonian nation-building
    in his 2000 campaign.
    Yet in his second inaugural address, in 2005,
    Bush located American success in the success and freedom of others.

    As a speechwriter I was along for the ride on this learning curve,
    which bent dramatically on Sept. 11, 2001.
    Because Afghanistan, of all places, had been forgotten.

    In the context of the full article, he seems to be arguing:
    “If we don’t stay in Afghanistan, another 9/11-type attack is inevitable.”
    I think a good start at countering that argument
    is to look realistically at what motivates such attacks.
    And I think the very best and most accurate explanation of
    the motivations for such attacks
    was given by Arnold J. Toynbee in the late 1930s,
    in paragraph 18.5.20 of his A Study of History.
    http://kwharbaugh.blogspot.com/2005/03/study-of-history.html#sh-18.5.20
    (See the earlier parts of his section 18.5 for an explicit discussion of
    none other than Afghanistan!)

  21. Avatar Peter AU says:

    The Soviet Union failed in Afghanistan. Putins Russia is a very different entity.

  22. Avatar Pundita says:

    Before we can talk them out of Afghanistan, first we have to talk them out of war with Russia and Iran. Have a nice day.

  23. Avatar steve says:

    I can’t tell if this is all driven by Trump or by his advisers. He did publicly say that he knows more about the military than anyone and he knows more than them on ISIS in particular. There was always the hope that this was just campaign hyperbole, but maybe he really believes what he says. (As a practical matter, whenever we leave, shortly thereafter Afghanistan falls apart even worse than it is now. Trump doesn’t want to get blamed like Obama did for Iraq.)
    “There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am.” — June 2015 Fox News interview
    “”I know more about ISIS [the Islamic State militant group] than the generals do. Believe me.” — November 2015″
    Steve

  24. Avatar mauisurfer says:

    You and Ron Paul agree:
    Near the tenth anniversary of the US war on Afghanistan – seven years ago – I went to the Floor of Congress to point out that the war makes no sense. The original authorization had little to do with eliminating the Taliban. It was a resolution to retaliate against those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. From what we know now, the government of Saudi Arabia had far more to do with the financing and planning of 9/11 than did the Taliban. But we’re still pumping money into that lost cause. We are still killing Afghanis and in so doing creating the next generation of terrorists.
    The war against ISIS will not end with its defeat in Mosul and Raqqa. We will not pack up and go home. Instead, the Pentagon and State Department have both said that US troops would remain in Iraq after ISIS is defeated. The continued presence of US troops in Iraq will provide all the recruiting needed for more ISIS or ISIS-like resistance groups to arise, which will in turn lead to a permanent US occupation of Iraq. The US “experts” have completely misdiagnosed the problem so it no surprise that their solutions will not work. They have claimed that al-Qaeda and ISIS arose in Iraq because we left, when actually they arose because we invaded in the first place.

  25. Avatar Matt says:

    This article by William R. Polk from 2009 was very informative about the wasteland of Afghanistan. President Obama chose to go with the “Surge” that the Generals were advocating.
    https://www.thenation.com/article/open-letter-president-obama/

  26. Avatar kooshy says:

    Colonel Lang
    Bob Bear the x CIA operative now TV commentator was just on CNN and was claiming that the IC/CIA/FBI analysts can decide if they should/want or can trust the president to share a piece of intelligence with president or not. May I ask what’s your opinion. Shouldn’t somebody put this guy on mute leash.

  27. Avatar Bill Herschel says:

    You leave out the fact that over 30,000 families a year are being torn apart by family members dying of opioid overdoses from opiates whose source is Afghanistan. Yet, the United States does absolutely nothing to prevent this trade. And please don’t talk to me about fentanyl etc. It’s all heroin based, and heroin comes from poppies.
    How can the President sleep at night?

  28. Avatar Bill Herschel says:

    I’m not sure I understand this, but I do understand that heroin comes from Afghanistan and we have the ability to eradicate the poppy fields. What I have read is that it would alienate poor Afghan farmers. Well, let’s kill them instead. How many civilians have the United States killed in Iraq, etc. At least this time we would be accomplishing something.

  29. Avatar turcopolier says:

    kooshy
    Baer is just sucking up to the media. He knows better than that. pl

  30. Avatar charly says:

    That was 16 years ago. China use so much more oil today than 16 years ago that the pipeline will never make economic sense. The oil for that pipeline has also partly been pumped up. That also happens in 2 decades.

  31. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Keith Harbaugh
    Well, Jayzuz Keith, sorry to hav missed the main point. pl

  32. Avatar charly says:

    Is that railroad not build? Because of Washington or local?

  33. Avatar turcopolier says:

    mauisurfer
    You are new here or you would know that Rand Paul and I have always agreed. BTW, I completely disagree with the notion that people sign up for the jihad in a frustration-aggression reaction. They go to jihad to be saved. Have you ever lived in an Islamic society? You sound very social-sciency. pl

  34. Avatar Lemur says:

    For the most powerful nation in the history of the world, the US is remarkably incompetent at actually implementing imperial strategy and governance. (Granted, no empire has controlled Afghanistan successfully, but you should at least be able to secure Kabul.) The British controlled about 1/5 of the world with a comparatively small army.
    I think the problem emerges because you can’t really exercise positive control in concert with America’s purported set of values. In other words, in the ‘liberal world order’, ‘order’ and ‘liberal’ contradict one another. America wants to have her cake and eat it too. She wants to be a world-historic power like Babylon, Greece, Rome, and Great Britain; but she wants to imbue her machinations with ideological content (e.g ‘hearts and minds’ cf interludes ruthless suppression like how China runs her restive regions). This imposes an extra tax on the application of power which ‘illiberal’ centres of power escape.
    Thus, America should either withdraw within her own borders while securing her actual interests oversees (rather than the interests of her ‘values’), or become serious about retaining ‘full spectrum dominance’.

  35. Avatar eakens says:

    Col, do you believe that Ahmad Shah Massoud would have “tamed” the various elements in Afghanistan, were he to not have been assassinated?

  36. Fred Fred says:

    Bill,
    A previous Taliban government succeeded in cutting opium production to something approaching zero.

  37. Avatar Fellow Traveler says:

    Trump is probably listening to the Kushner-Soros clique to not sack McMaster already. So why not give him a war to hang around his neck in 6 months?

  38. Avatar turcopolier says:

    eakens
    No. Massoud was just another ethnic leader. The Pushtuns in particular would never have followed this Tajik. pl

  39. Avatar elaine says:

    asx, I waded through the essay you posted, although admittedly almost
    closed out in the beginning with the Kissinger quote (if Henry likes it I won’t). I got a bit confused by all the predictions of the inevitable fall of the nation state corresponding to the rise of powerful city states all
    connected by the new/old silk road trade & the net. Where is this leading?
    Should the entire world be better off just surrendering to China to spare
    bloody outbursts of violence? 2 steps forward & one step back from one world government? Democratic governance is just old school?
    Massive in-flows of refugees from MENA into Europe is a good thing? Leads
    me to wonder if it was planned; some global take on the Cloward-Piven
    plan?
    I’m reminded of essays comparing the decline & fall of the Roman empire
    with conditions in western Europe & the US, although current pc usually
    omits the barbarians being incorporated into ancient Rome as partial
    causality & rarely do these essays venture into the dovetailing into
    the Dark Ages. Excuse me if I’m coming off as a linear thinker (something
    the essay poo-pooed as a western flaw in thought process).
    I may reread the essay later tonight. Perhaps I’m too harsh in my take away after a quick wade.BTW what’s the projected time table on this
    latest version of the NWO?

  40. Avatar YT says:

    Col. sir,
    Memory fails me…
    I can’t exactly recall why American troops are in the Afghan hills.
    Osama?
    Taliban (are ‘allied’ to al-qaeda)?
    Ivans – or at least columnists in their employ – accuse y’all of plenty.
    http://journal-neo.org/2017/04/02/afghanistan-small-western-propaganda-lies-huge-impact/
    http://journal-neo.org/2017/01/10/3-realities-you-arent-being-told-about-afghanistan/
    http://www.sott.net/article/271753-US-troops-are-needed-in-Afghanistan-to-protect-women-Really
    http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/03/06/editorial-u-s-drug-war-in-afghanistan-has-been-miserable-failure/
    I don’t know ’bout ’em pakis, but [their long-time enemy down south] the Ginks, the Iranians, the Ivans, and the Chinks all seem to want the place stabilized.
    Like you said: Yankee oughta leave?
    (Saving taxpayer moolah & young blood.)
    But whether the regional powers there will invest adequate “boots on the ground” after Uncle Shmoe leaves…

  41. Avatar kooshy says:

    I believe is more of security of line reason than political. I was told Afghanistan gets majority of her fuel oil from Iran, but Iranian tanker drivers refuse to go inside Afghanistan. The fuel is delivered close to border, from there Afghan trucks deliver the oil inside Afghanistan.

  42. Avatar elaine says:

    eakens, I totally agree with the Colonel. The last attempt I recall
    of someone trying to “unite the tribes” was when SecDef/General Colin Powell
    tried to get Mohammed Zahir Shah involved but the old king was too ill
    & died

  43. Avatar kooshy says:

    Not a good idea invading a land full of high mountains, regardless how good of gear you got.

  44. Avatar Old Microbiologist says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_production_in_Afghanistan
    According to this link 92% of the world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan and production under Taliban rule was cut to zero. Then add in (many various links but more or less follows this arguably questionable) https://www.infowars.com/war-on-drugs-is-a-hoax-us-admits-to-guarding-assisting-lucrative-afghan-opium-trade/ that the US military is being used to guard opium poppy fields and perhaps there is some grain of truth to this. Certainly the dramatic rise in heroin can be directly attributed to the US intervention into Afghanistan. In many ways the world would be a lot better off if the Taliban took control again. How many trillions have we poured into Afghanistan? The original goal was to get OBL but in fact he was hiding in Pakistan. In my opinion the entire Afghanistan gambit was FUBAR from the beginning and I blame Rumsfeld for that.
    As always it is follow the money and you can then see why things are the way they are there. Once OBL was eliminated the entire raison d’etre for being there was ended yet we are still there.

  45. Avatar 1664RM says:

    I chewed dirt in Helmand, a lot of dirt, twice.
    The ‘Stans’ to the north of Afghanistan are rich in gas rather than oil.
    As for the Russians & failure there before us I am not so sure. They did not invade as much as they were asked to help support the Govt of the time against external aggression from the PAK border from a certain Mr Bin Laden & friends financed by Mr Sam & Co Ltd.
    The ONLY permanent concrete structures in Afghanistan that I saw were built during the time of Russian assistance, this included the few metalled roadways & bridges.
    What did we build in Helmand?
    In six years of fighting we failed to get the generators at the Kajaki Dam online, but we did build a very nice playground next to the Helmand Canal north of Lash Khar Ghar, much to the puzzlement of the locals. We succeeded in clearing (levelling EVERY) building along the deadly Pharmacy Road out of Sangin & because we decided to deploy our fighting forces in a piecemeal spread far too thinly at the whim of the provincial governor in 2006 we pretty much destroyed EVERYTHING within a 1200m radius of our so called “safe houses” buy using air power just to simply assure our own survival or risk being overrun.
    Helmand & probably the whole show was a tactical disaster.
    Was it Kipling who said of the British Soldier in Afghanistan …’He only owns the ground he can shoot into’? The nature of the terrain made locating the enemy (always difficult) even harder, especially since he was adept at hiding amongst the locals & using very small holes in buildings, his field craft was actually quite good & he dressed as the locals did.
    It was a moot point but one I always made VERY clear to any visitor to my location. We were surrounded in every arc buy huge swathes of ‘dead ground’ ….. ground we could not see into. Thus once our opponent finally realised he could not beat us in a direct kinetic engagement (sometimes they were at ranges as close as 5-10m inside the green zone & also from three sides) he started to sow the dead ground with low metal content IEDs, caring not if this endangered the local populace.
    It was only in the final years tha we finally got elevated observation in the form of observation balloons with cameras mounted unde them, these came after my time & anecdotally I know that higher command HQs had access to them & more often used them to watch what our troops were up to rather than what they were intended for.
    We found ourselves in what effectively became a medium density minefield, movement became agonisingly slow, we became channelled & he gained the upper hand.
    Lay on top of that the ‘wisdom’ of ROE like ‘Corageous Restraint’ i.e. Not firing on the enemy until he has actually fired at you & then ONLY when positively identified using a weapon & you have all the ingredients for the absolute agonising mental defeat the experience was for us.
    The local populace, as scared as much of them as they were of us wanted us to go away, we provided neither any safety nor improvement to their lives because we failed COIN Doctrine 101 …. we failed to put ourselves physically between them & the Taliban, due to insufficient numbers on our part.
    That failure was entirely due to those that placed us there … the aspirations & aims for Afghanistan were ridiculous. Rory Stewart has described the UK FCO aim for Helmand in 2006 perfectly … they thought they could take Helmand & in 6 years turn it into Berkshire.
    Sadly it was not the politicians, Civil Servants or the perfumed princes who were the Generals or Senior Officers who have paid the price. The whole show was singularly unimaginatively ran & it would appear the ‘new’ plan is – just like it was for Iraq to invest a new generation of troops to train the ghost army of Afghanistan who have crumbled & thus got the country to where it is today.
    You could not make this s**t up.
    The innocent Afghanis who did not ask for this have paid the heaviest price. A generation of military warriors at Company Commander rank & below & Warrant Officer rank & below have been blighted by this experience, we have all lost many friends, you are free to disagree but unless you were there to see everything turn to dust you might not understand. Take a case like the Courts Martial of Sgt Blackman for murdering a wounded but armed insurgent as a case in point. The entire prosecution has been found to have been illegal & his sentence has been reduced to manslaughter on appeal, he has been released & his legal team are no pressing on full steam ahead with case to peruse a full pardon.
    Look at a place like Helmand now, for instance, where the ‘Taliban’ is stronger than ever. Most of us that chewed dirt there are still asking why? Just to say “because” these days is not good enough I am afraid.
    Per Mare Per Terram & Semper Fidelis, Fair Winds & Following Seas Brothers, sleep well the long sleep.

  46. Avatar raven says:

    We were winning then Tyler was there!

  47. Avatar Cee says:

    Col. Lang,
    The widow of Michael Hastings is on Morning Joe now talking about why we are there. Hastings wrote The Operators and now a movie titled The War Machine is out. I think Hastings was killed for his efforts.

  48. Avatar Barbara Ann says:

    Re the part Afghanistan plays in the Borg’s war on Iran, there was an interesting piece in the Asia Times on control of water resources. This part concerned the Helmand river:

    “Sistan-Baluchistan province, which is Shiite Iran’s only Sunni-majority province, has been wracked by an insurgency for several years now. Economic devastation caused by Afghanistan’s damming of the Helmand River would exacerbate the unrest there. This is a scenario that Iran would like to avoid at any cost. This underlies its courting of the Taliban to halt the Kamal Khan Dam’s completion. But the strategy is fraught with risk. Tehran’s support for the Taliban would enable the latter to establish sanctuaries in Sistan-Baluchistan province. The possibility of this fuelling violence in restive Sistan-Baluchistan province cannot be ruled out.”

    http://www.atimes.com/unquiet-flows-helmand/

  49. Avatar Lars says:

    Not different enough. That area has been the graveyard for imperial ambitions forever.

  50. Avatar Lars says:

    That is one reason why Switzerland has been kept safe for foreign armies for centuries.

  51. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    To some in Afghanistan, he has been a national hero, to others, correctly, a war criminal through indiscriminate bombing of Kabul.
    He was not alone in that, Gulabaldin (The Rose Water of Religion) Hekamtyar also carries the appellation of the Butcher of Kabul.
    There was a small chance to restore something of status quote ante by restoring the Monarchy there, just like what was successfully attempted in Cambodia; that was the road not taken and now it is too late.

  52. Avatar LeaNder says:

    Well, let’s kill them instead.
    Are you being cynical, Bill?
    But yes, quite possibly there may be some type of pecuniary ‘incentive’ involved to make them grow poppies instead of grain, vegetables and fruit.
    No idea, but why not start here: Would they have structures to sell their agricultural products?

  53. Avatar Peter AU says:

    1664RM’s post got me thinking about a couple of books written by AU conscripts to the Vietnam war. Both were very similar, written in the early nineties or late eighties, both had researched the history and then gone to Vietnam to speak to the people that were in the opposite side of firefights.
    I was a few years too young to be called up for Vietnam, but remember watching the old black and white telly each night to see if an uncle, a few years older than me that lived with us would be called up.
    One uncle was conscripted for Vietnam. Another was career military.
    The conscript signed up as a cook, but fought in the Tet offensive. Never talks about VN but has had a strong dislike of the US since that time. Career military uncle never had that problem.
    Father in law fought in the pacific in WWII. Part of airfield defence. Never spoke of the japs, but had a lot of joy in talking about the US aircraft they shot down before the US kicked them out.
    I personally become pissed off with the US as a state after MH17.

  54. Avatar Old Microbiologist says:

    Lemur, I agree with what you are saying but it goes far beyond that. IMHO, none of the wars we have been in during my lifetime have anything at all to do with National Security or defense of the homeland. The US hasn’t been attacked on its home soil since 1812. We simply do not understand what it means to defend the homeland from invading forces and for some ridiculous reason we seem to feel we have the right to impose ourselves onto other countries. Since at least 9/11 we invade or bomb at will anyone anywhere including American citizens and feel justified to kidnap (rendition) foreign citizens, torture with impunity, or have tortured and executed by foreign governments often with no reliable information and gain nothing in the process. We also create and support monstrous proxy forces (Al Qaeda and ISIS are US inventions), support governments that are diametrically opposed to our views (Saudi Arabia is one example) but support our interests in toppling other nations. In short we have become monsters yet as you say we simply cannot fight and win any wars. So we are now an extremely aggressive rogue nation with no regard for sovereign rights, international law or even the Geneva Convention. Often the reasons are obfuscated but generally it is to support business interests in countries that don’t particularly want to do business American style. Lately, it has been to topple any government that refuses to use the American Dollar as the reserve currency (Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Russia are some examples). Now we are faced with a prospect that our GDP is completely dependent on warfare and we have garnered a $20 trillion debt which we cannot pay and as it is a fiat currency is only good as long as people (in this regard I mean foreign governments) believe it has intrinsic value. The problem is this is very rapidly losing faith that the US will pay its debts and especially since Trump. We cannot blame Trump entirely though as all the recent Presidents and their administrations have shown poor faith on any and perhaps all agreements. A deal with America is only as good as the next election if it even lasts as long as that. The fact that we don’t win wars at all I believe is by design as it is highly profitable for the 0.1% to keep them going as long as possible. Americans seem to be completely ignorant or at best ambivalent about all these continuous wars. After all it is only a puny 1% of the population that fights in these wars at all and usually from the bottom layer of the socioeconomic strata. Very few from the plutocracy have ever served nor will their children or relatives. Yet, the jingoism continues unabated as we are “Fighting for American Freedom!!!”or some pablum like that. It seems insane and there is no impetus for any change whatsoever. Ron Paul was the last politician to call for ending all these wars and closing every one of the 1,700+ overseas bases. He was derailed early and his son Rand has fared even worse. I cannot fathom what it will take for the US to wake up and end this madness. But, I am certain we are on a dead end course to complete economic failure.
    The US has serious things to address at home which go unaddressed due to the focus on international affairs which always means war. The global warming is going to be a complete disaster and models appear to always fail to forecast the rate of changes correctly. It is accelerating and very soon, if we haven’t already gone past the point of no return, it is going to be something we will have to react to instead of being proactive. There are a lot of cities built on the shorelines including Washington DC itself, which will be flooded soon. How soon is anyone’s guess but it is this kind of thing that needs to be looked at. The US infrastructure is also terrible. It is embarrassing that the “most powerful country in the world” is in many ways a third world country. There are vast areas without cell phone coverage and many areas have internet speeds that are in the old dial up range. I know this as I just returned from a 2 week photo trip to the greater Southwest and was amazed how bad things are there. Even when support exists it is poor at best and Americans pay exorbitant prices for these crappified basic services. I am still amazed that wooden poles are in use everywhere for carrying power and communication cables. It isn’t the 19th century yet if you travel in the US you wouldn’t know it. Then we can talk about the roads, dams, bridges, etc. and it is all shameful. But, we can build $1 trillion fighters that won’t shoot correctly for another 3 years while we wait for the software to be developed.
    We can also discuss the education system which is a complete failure now. The list goes on and on yet we feel we have a divine right to impose this horrible system onto other countries. At some point they are all going to rebel and give us the third finger salute.

  55. Avatar Old Microbiologist says:

    Nicely put

  56. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Peter AU
    Your uncle was pleased to shoot down your ally’s aircraft? What a scumbag he was! pl

  57. Avatar LeaNder says:

    Forgot to add:
    Markets illegal versus legal?
    https://tinyurl.com/markets-legal-illegal

  58. Avatar Thomas says:

    “Well, let’s kill them instead. How many civilians have the United States killed in Iraq, etc”
    Damn man, what a solution! Kill all those deplorable peasants for having the nerve to survive by growing what the local khans want and compel them to do.
    How about we eradicate the importer(s)? Oh no can’t do that because their friends in the Chicago community would be upset. Though on the other hand, we could take them out too and all those supporters among the global exceptionals that would stand up for them. Before long we could really accomplish something, sanity and balance in the world.

  59. Avatar Thomas says:

    LeaNder,
    What are you trying to say?
    To be true and fair, allow the farmers of Helmand to form a cooperative with quotas for each member and provide their produce to legitimate medicinal companies. This would give the families a set income and provide capital to diversify crops on the fields not under cultivation due to quota limitation.

  60. Avatar Thomas says:

    “I personally become pissed off with the US as a state after MH17.”
    That’s funny because it was an Ukrainian-Israeli who murdered those people as the war was going bad for him, and had tribal members of the previous administration cover it up.
    By the way this story is far from over.

  61. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Hirmand dam was discussed here a few years ago.
    It was built by the United States decades ago and devastated the brad-basket of Iran around the Hamoon Lake. Many people from Sistan had to leave the province.
    A commentator who was directly involved in the construction of that dam stated that the American builders did not think of the consequences to Iran down river.
    He also added that the dam project was a failure in not delivering on what its builders had believed it would.
    Among Iranians, it was yet another example of the conspiracy to bring Iran down and retard her development; mind you, the dam was built during the Pahlavi Monarchy in Iran.
    I still find it astonishing that no one is USAID cared one whit about what happened to their ally in Iran; helping Afghanistan – which was a neutral country – at that time.

  62. Avatar 1664RM says:

    Peter AU,
    Please don’t compare me or my fellow comrades to ‘conscripts’.
    I was a professional career soldier, from a warrior creed, just like my comrades. It was my life, my vocation & despite the pain it still causes me I miss it EVERY second of every day of my life. I do not dislike my fellow warriors, be they American, Danish, Australian, Canadian, Dutch, Estonian, Latvian, New Zealander’s … we all chewed the same dirt & bled the same coloured blood & attempted to mend the same hurts.
    My problem & contempt lies with the political & military leadership & the blind indifference of a society that allows its political & military leadership to act with absolute impunity in the way it does in countries like Afghanistan.
    The buck it seems to stop with nobody, except with those who push their shoulder hardest to the wheel.
    Those of us who have ‘had skin in the game’ during this so called Global War On Terror are beginning to understand how we are all being played in the great game … all along the Asia Pivot as described by Halford McKinder several generations ago.

  63. Avatar Harper says:

    By my calculation, the US involvement in the Afghan War began in 1979, when Brzezinski got President Jimmy Carter to authorize covert operations, months before the Soviet forces arrived at Christmas time. We recruited the mujahideen army, along with allies, including the Saudis and so Afghanistan has been engulfed in war, the interwar brief period of the rise of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and then the next phase of war which began after 9/11. Bernard Lewis was one of the architects of the idea that the “Islamic Card” could be played against the Soviet Union, by inflaming the “crescent of crisis” that was Muslim majority territory stretching from the Caucasus across through Central Asia. I remember a TIME magazine cover story from early 1979, extolling Lewis’ idea of this Muslim uprising against the Soviets, with quotes from Brzezinski and Kissinger pushing this “new” geopolitical scheme. What followed didn’t work out so great for the West, as Col. Lang pointed out so aptly in this posting. If the US and NATO pull out, it will open the door for the neighbors, who are all part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (China, Russia, the Central Asian states, India, Pakistan, and soon Iran), to take a different approach to Afghanistan. The empire approach has just produced one of history’s biggest graveyards.

  64. Avatar VietnamVet says:

    Colonel,
    I agree with your disdain for COIN. Mainly it is an attempt to fight wars on the cheap. The only thing that works is to kill all the fighting age males. That generally works for lowlanders. If you are fighting mountaineers, kill them all. Place any who escape in reservations. On the other hand, mountain tribes can be used as proxy force by outsiders to fight lowlanders who pushed them up into the hills in the first place. The thing is, just like the Kurds will find out, the Imperial troopers always leave.
    Afghanistan was pointless once the Arabs slipped away; unless, you or your company are on the take. Corporate Globalism does not work. It improvises the people and opens national borders to infiltration by more selfish and aggressive cultures.
    The USA is too broke and too far away to stay in the Hindu Kush much longer. It has far greater problems keeping the Atlantic Alliance intact and defending its borders.

  65. Avatar FourthAndLong says:

    – – – Never spoke of the japs, but had a lot of joy in talking about the US aircraft they shot down before the US kicked them out. – – –
    Colonel, I thought the same thing before realizing that maybe I incorrectly parsed the sentence. They “they” in “they shot down before” rereads as the Japs. So enjoying watching Japs shoot down ally’s aircraft. Still not much to recommend it. My dad was an airman in WW II and nearly lost his life in the Pacific, so that really caught my eye.

  66. Avatar William P. Fitzgerald III says:

    That has my vote for being the most quoted bit of poetry on Sic Semper Tyrannis.
    WPFIII

  67. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    SCO is worthless politically; any organization that contains both China and India will not accomplish anything.
    In Afghanistan, Pakistan is acting, I speculate, in the same manner as Ali Abdullah Saleh has been in Yemen – support the terrorists to get the Americans engaged and milk them for all its worth.
    Unlike Saleh, Pakistan has a good accomplice in this, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

  68. Avatar Peter in Toronto says:

    Does anyone in the US bureaucracy even remember what the purpose of the Afghan garrison is, let alone be able to define even a vague objective for continued presence of US forces?
    All of a sudden, the esoteric conspiracy theories about a heroin trade being used to fund black budget activity seem entirely rational, ever since the German BND intel services picked up links between the Afghan opium and US-linked Kosovar mafias serving as a major vector for the European markets.

  69. Avatar anonymous says:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mining_in_Afghanistan
    Read it and weep.biggest copper mine near Kabul is chinee owned

  70. Avatar turcopolier says:

    anonymous
    No, let the Chinese weep after they try running something in Afghanistan. They will find that Sinkiang and Tibet are easy. pl

  71. Avatar Keith Harbaugh says:

    So you have lots of experience with the American campaign in the 2000s.
    Would you take a look at Michael Scheuer’s description of
    the British 19C and Soviet 20C experiences there
    and tell us what you think of it,
    and how much things have changed?
    Thank you.
    http://non-intervention.com/2598/president-trump-afghanistan-is-your-easiest-task-get-out/
    See the section titled
    Campaigning in Kandahar:
    The experiences of occupying armies in the 1880s and 1980s

  72. Avatar qy8 says:

    1664RM, I didn’t recognize SGT (Alexander) Blackman’s name from the
    United American Patriot’s site; I guess that’s because he’s a British citizen. There are several entries about him on-line, If you’re not familiar with the case of SGT Derrick Miller you may want to google it.
    The United American Patriot site is run by a retired Marine Maj.
    This organization really tries to do good work, the only down side: when you donate somehow you get inundated with appeals from more veteran’s assocs then you can imagine.
    Oh, last year the Maj. said some law students, from I think the University of Chicago, offered to work on an appeal for Staff Sgt Robert Bale, however he assured us none of the donations to the organization
    would go to that case.
    In any event & I hope this doesn’t sound too cliche or hollow,
    Welcome Home. I’m glad you made it.

  73. Avatar Lemur says:

    I disagree with the theory American wars are for direct profits or to protect the ‘dollar’. You mentioned Ron Paul, who was right about a lot of things, but not the Austrian school influenced economic explanations of so called ‘imperialism.’
    America goes to wars to protect or bolster its geopolitical position, and in the Middle East, that of Israel’s. Entangled within the array of justifications is America’s apparent duty to export ‘liberal democracy’ to everyone.
    Where the oligarchy is directly involved, covert action and ‘soft power’ are favoured.

  74. Avatar mauisurfer says:

    We are the same age. My degrees are in engineering (BS) and in law (LLD), not social science. But that was long ago. I have focused on applied ecology for the past 48 years, with time out to run a business for 20 years to survive.
    I never had any desire to be in the military, a couple years of required ROTC in high school showed me corruption on a scale I never imagined.
    Not saying all military are corrupt, that is not my meaning. I just know myself well enough to know that I would never fit in a military command structure. So I turned down an NROTC college scholarship, much to my father’s chagrin.
    As for Ron Paul, I know that you and he agree.
    As for jihad and “frustration-aggression”, my own view is that most resistance to USA in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria is based on revenge, personal revenge, for deaths/injuries/damages to family, tribe, and country.
    “Natives” including some who were glad to see USA arrive, now strongly desire that USA depart, and are willing to risk their lives to see it happen. USA is making enemies faster than it is fixing anything. This happens when the thing USA does best is bomb.
    There is another element to jihad, too. Remember how Saudis publicly celebrated 911? What was their motivation? Both Russia and Iran expressed sincere condolences, but then Bush branded Iran as the “axis of evil”. So what was Bush’s motivation? What do you think?

  75. Avatar mauisurfer says:

    forgot to answer one of your questions
    No, I have not lived in an Islamic society. I have studied with a teacher who was Muslim, but he was a product of the Bengali Renaissance, his family joyfully intermarried with Hindus, also with Christians, Jains, and atheists.

  76. Avatar confusedponderer says:

    Thomas,
    “How about we eradicate the importer(s)? Oh no can’t do that because their friends in the Chicago community would be upset. Though on the other hand, we could take them out too and all those supporters among the global exceptionals that would stand up for them. Before long we could really accomplish something, sanity and balance in the world.”
    Let me take that seriously: Graveyards are not known for riots. They are stable and calm places.
    If that what one wants calmness first of all, such crazy politics can become official policy. And just killing the importers?
    Exmple: The brilliant phillipino president Duterte, with his bloody killing spree in the country, is not happy about such compromises. He’ll have killed about everybody over accuse of owning or dealing with drugs, in some way – quite irrespective if it was just invented, if they were actually involved or just accused of that.
    Such things turn from ruthless and madness to a crazy perversity when the killers talk of themselves as ‘tasked and sent by god’ – ‘angels that God gave talent to (for killing)’ etc. pp.
    Well, leaving his killing spree against folks suspected or just accused of having, taking or trading drugs aside, Philipino president Duterte is a ‘great friend of Trump’. Perhaps: So sad?
    http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/12/08/1651479/now-friends-trump-invites-rody-coffee
    In any way, killing a lot of folks probably is one way ‘to solve problems’. It is also quite easy and not so complicated to explain.
    It’s also has side consequences, starting with it being a bad way, illegal and immoral and … err … likely unproductive (unless, of course, when you are an undertaker). Still, it is being tried again and again.
    Beyond being murder en masse, it creates a ‘climate of lawlessness and fear’, and it creates an ‘era of the death squad‘, made worse by offering bounty for kills i.e. it leads to an undesirable situation. The only thing it works certainly for is geting a lot of folks killed.
    It also won’t work for president Duterte. Rather it will sooner or later get him killed, rather deservedly, with a lot of bystanders.
    Duterte scored points in plain idiocy when he boasted of having killed ‘suspected’ folks himself when he was a mayor of Davao. Apparently he rode his ‘big bike’ though town ‘looking for trouble’, so he could kill someone, to ‘show the cops that he is up to it’. Well, when your dick and your mind are so short, you need such ‘proofs’.
    Rodrigo Duterte has announced he personally killed suspected criminals when he was mayor of his home city of Davao in the Philippines, cruising the streets on a motorcycle and “looking for trouble” so he could kill.
    The country’s president made the comments in a speech late on Monday night as he discussed his campaign to eradicate illegal drugs, which has seen police and unknown assailants kill around 5,000 people since he became president on 30 June.
    “In Davao I used to do it personally. Just to show to the guys [police officers] that if I can do it, why can’t you,” he was quoted as saying by AFP, talking of his two decades as mayor of the southern city of 1.5 million people.
    And I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also.
    “I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill.


    The former mayor was nicknamed “Duterte Harry”, after the fictional and ruthless police inspector played by Clint Eastwood, for his support for vigilante death squads that killed hundreds of suspected criminals.

    So he was really looking for a confrontation so he could kill? Good grief.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/14/philippines-president-rodrigo-duterte-personally-killed-criminals
    We are not that bad policemen or bad individuals. We are just a tool, we are just angels that God gave talent to, you know, to get these bad souls back to heaven and cleanse them.”
    The words flow unnervingly from the mouth of the policeman, a senior officer in the Philippines national police (PNP), as he explains his role in 87 killings in the past three months.
    It’s not about killing for pleasure, or being a “homicidal maniac”, he says. There is a higher purpose at play.
    We are here as angels. Like St Michael and St Gabriel, right,” he says.
    Well in excess of 3,600 people have been killed in the Philippines since 1 July this year, when Rodrigo Duterte was inaugurated as president and initiated his war on drugs and crime. More than half of those murders have been perpetrated by unknown vigilantes.
    The mass killings have sparked international concern; from the United Nations to Barack Obama and his US administration, as well as from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Amnesty has issued warnings about the “climate of lawlessness and fear that has gripped the country”.
    The fear is that the Philippines has slipped into an era of the death squad. The situation is unlikely to have been helped by the president’s own words and allegations made against him. Last week Duterte, after citing Hitler and the Holocaust, said he would happily “slaughter” three million drug addicts.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/04/philippines-secret-death-squads-police-officer-teams-behind-killings
    During his campaign, Rodrigo Duterte promised, in so many words, that he would launch a killing spree aimed at ridding the Philippines of drug-related crime as soon as he became president. He offered bounties to the police, the military, indeed anyone who wanted to help him with the job of assassinating 100,000 criminals during his first six months in office. He bragged there would be so many bodies in Manila Bay that “the fish will grow fat.”
    Alas, Mr. Duterte appears to be a man of his word: Since he took office just over a month ago, more than 420 people have been killed, 154 by vigilantes, the rest by the military and the police. Most appear to be low-level dealers, casual users or petty thieves whose greatest crime is poverty. All were murdered in cold blood.
    Tragically, Mr. Duterte’s solution to the crime and drug problems — extrajudicial assassinations — will not only add to the misery of the poor, it will do grievous harm to the country’s democracy.
    Mr. Duterte’s mockery of the rule of law is not limited to criminals. In June, he seemed to suggest that journalists who had been killed in the Philippines — one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the media — had it coming. Reporting critical of the authorities, he said, “can’t be just freedom of speech. The Constitution can no longer help you if you disrespect a person.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/05/opinion/the-presidents-killing-spree-in-the-philippines.html
    So he thinks that killing folks accused of being criminals isn’t sufficient … and wants to add journalists to his ‘to do list’, for daring scepticism,? Brilliance at work.
    I pray for saner minds to win in such issues.

  77. Avatar Wunduk says:

    The rise in troop levels is probably coming as an inevitable consequence of the Obama decision to pull out. But in general according to my experience, less investment means frequently more in Afghanistan. Geography disadvatages the larger force in any conflict as it has too many vulnerabilities which can never be mitigated against. The smaller force is winning if it is agile enough.
    I find the current troops size sufficient, and would even argue that a better result could be achieved after a further cut of at least 20% (a lot of force protection can still be outsourced further, and there are still a lot of people in HQ RS that make me wonder what they do there). I’d take the Schwarzkopf mission for building the Iranian gendarmerie as a model. Small numbers, get them to commit for five years, and secure them adequately. But I’d need to write probably longer for that. With the means in country right now, the loss of Kabul and the major population centers to the Taliban can be staved off indefinitely and victory can be denied to them.
    If there’s anything more to be accomplished, Afghanistan, the US and allies should ask for an international (not NATO) security and assistance force. Including Russian, Iranian and Chinese peacekeeping forces in ISAF from the start would have saved a lot of lives, and possibly turned out a more stable country.

  78. Avatar LeaNder says:

    Unlike Saleh, Pakistan has a good accomplice in this, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
    Yes our news too put it that way, maps, color and all. A larger Shia-Sunnia conflict.
    How comes? How would SST members respond to the poll question: Is Yemen mainly a Shia-Sunni conflict? Yes or no. Compared to whatever people that could be labelled as part of “the West”–no matter if inside or outside your theses lines–on more general polls?

  79. Avatar turcopolier says:

    mauisurfer
    IMO you will never understand religion, Islam or jihadism because you deny the reality of religious motivation for war against those believed to be enemies of the ‘ummah. You are not unusual. Americans generally do not believe in other than trivial motivations of emotional or economic self interest. They typically think that religion is an outmoded superstition treasured by the ignorant and unsophisticated and are surprised when someone is willing to kill them for it. To believe that the motivation for hostility to the US derives from a desire for revenge you would have to argue from a basis of a historical knowledge that would give you the ability to point to a set of events that started the cycle. Tell me what events were those and I will point you to events that preceded those. I have been in the ME business for s very long time and in my experience there was always an underlying theme of hostility to the West and especially to the US as the most powerful Western power post WW2. Some Muslims will indicate that the Naqba caused anti-US feeling but this is a self serving falsehood. they hated the West long before that. pl

  80. Avatar YT says:

    My dear Kraut,
    (Are you that same “confusedponderer” who once contributed plenty here or…)
    I wouldn’t see the filipinos (whom I mostly detest) thru your western-centric ‘moral’ lens.
    For one thing, the ones I’m acquainted with voted for Señor Duterte, because they tire of all the former sycophants (cronies of washington d.c.) that did scarce little for hoi polloi.
    Lawlessness reigns even in their capital city (rapes, murders, mugging – please do not wear your Rolex there lest desperate cretins remove your hand or arm with a machete).
    If brutal crackdowns by an effective leader shows results, so be it.
    Chinks say “kill one to show as example to a hundred.”
    If your neighbors were to be victims of rape or murder, I doubt you’d be so pleased… Oh wait! You Kraut are having Deustchland defiled by ‘rapefugees’ all thanks to eurofag bruxelles.
    So much for much-vaunted “human rights”.
    P.S.: May I suggest you read other sources instead of papers owned by globalist curs that live in gated communities safe from violent crime, but whose fellow countrymen may have to witness horrors myriad at close hand…

  81. Avatar YT says:

    http://www.truthbeknown.com/islam.htm
    (Apologies to Mr. Babak and Brig. FB Ali.)

  82. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    The small group of revolutionary Muslims around Ayatollah Khomeini were emotionally, intellectually, and religiously vested in the ideal of Muslim Unity & Brotherhood. They considered themselves Muslims First, Shia Second, and only distantly and accidentally, Iranian.
    Furthermore, they also opposed Iranian Nationalism on the same grounds. They even went as far as suggesting altering the appellation “Persian Gulf” to “Islamic Gulf” in order to accommodate Gulfies antipathy to Iran (that was in 1979, if I recall correctly).
    That was not to be.
    Iraq attacked Iran in 1980, under the banner of Arab Nationalism, and Arabs from all over the Arab World joined in that war against Iran.
    Currently there are wars across the Middle East against the Party of Ali, as well terrorist attacks against Shia individuals and communities.
    Iranians have been thrown back at Iranian Nationalism and Shia Sectarianism. That was not were the leaders of Islamic Revolution wanted to be or desired to be, but that is now the reality of the situation.
    This situation only reinforces the historical process – from the inception of the Safavid State and the emergence of the new nation called Iran.
    That German Official who was in Iran a few years back, threatening Iranians with a repeat of the 30-year war, well, he has gotten his religious war. (And I wonder if Germany help setup ISIS too.)
    But that war will not end with crushing of Iran.

  83. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    I doubt anyone in Iran will endorse a Shia Iranian Peace-Keeping force in Afghanistan; they would likely consider it a trick to get Iran sucked into a quagmire by wily Americans.

  84. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think “hate” is too strong a word, perhaps “loathed”?

  85. Avatar Barbara Ann says:

    Thanks for the history BM – I have some back reading to do.
    Iran as a “brad-basket” conjures an image 😉

  86. Avatar Thomas says:

    How the hell does a man born Cologne only now discover a solar clock in an historical church?
    Get your lying crypt crawling corpse out of here zIOmbie.

  87. Avatar Barbara Ann says:

    1664RM’s post got me thinking that it would have been an appropriate place to end this thread.

  88. Avatar mauisurfer says:

    You say
    ” you deny the reality of religious motivation for war against those believed to be enemies of the ‘ummah.’
    I did NOT deny anything of the sort, please quote my denial. You are putting words in my mouth that I have never spoken.

  89. Avatar turcopolier says:

    mauisurfer
    Yes, you are a lawyer. Sorry, but you can’t escape the obvious meaning of your words. pl

  90. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    This is written by someone who is poorly schooled in comparative religion.
    As evidence for the Moon goddess are presented the verses:
    “Remember the name of our Lord morning and evening; in the night-time worship Him: praise Him all night long.” (Q 76:23)
    Catholics used to have three daily prayers: Matin, Angelus, Vespers; this is an ancient practice; ask our Hindu friends and not specific to Islam.
    The Cow Chapter of the Quran is the best short introduction to Islam; in my opinion.

  91. Avatar Poul says:

    The latest genius idea doomed to fail.
    In spite of not being able to maintain a fleet of Russian helicopters giving the Afghan Air Force twice the number of American helicopters must surely succeed.
    http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/blackhawks-airforce-afghanistan-stalemate

  92. Avatar mauisurfer says:

    noticing that you failed to quote anything I said that might support your statement
    your inferences are NOT my implications

  93. Avatar turcopolier says:

    mauisurfer
    I am not going to debate a pompous lawyer. Get lost. pl

  94. Avatar Philippe says:

    No. He was a good tactician, but the worst strategist. And not trusted by the majority of Afghans, the Pashtouns.

  95. Avatar Keith Harbaugh says:

    “Green on blue” attacks are a real problem in Afghanistan.
    To what extent, if any, was that a problem in Vietnam?
    (How do the occurrences compare? — Just wondering…
    Googling “green on blue attacks Vietnam” gave me no answer;
    maybe there was a different terminology for them then.)
    If they were less frequent in VN,
    that would seem to have something to say about
    how the level of our welcome in Afghanistan versus VN.

  96. Avatar Keith Harbaugh says:

    Sorry, let me make an addition to the question I just asked about “green on blue attacks in Vietnam”.
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/08/rise-green-blue-violent-attacks-afghanistan-tom-dispatch/ ,
    published on 2012-08-01, contains the following paragraph:

    If the significance of green-on-blue violence hasn’t quite sunk in yet here,
    consider this: such acts in such numbers are historically unprecedented.
    No example comes to mind of a colonial power, neocolonial power, or modern superpower fighting a war with “native” allies whose forces repeatedly find the weapons they have supplied turned on them.
    There is nothing in our historical record faintly comparable—
    not in the eighteenth and nineteenth century Indian wars,
    the Philippine Insurrection at the turn of the last century,
    Korea in the early 1950s,
    Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s, or
    Iraq in this century.
    (In Vietnam, the only somewhat analogous set of events involved US soldiers, not their South Vietnamese counterparts,
    repeatedly turning their weapons on their own officers in acts that, like “green-on-blue” violence,
    got a label all their own: “fragging.”)

    Any of the experts at SST have different information?

  97. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Keith Harbaugh
    Others who were there may say differently, but to my recollection attacks on US soldiers by native anti-communist troops were very rare in VN. They were so rare that I do not remember any. In fact the Kit Carson Scouts who were “turned’ enemy PWs fighting on our side as supplements in or units were remarkably loyal to us after they joined our side. US soldiers who attacked their officers were simply criminals who late in the war had been affected by successful enemy IO operations in the US. pl

  98. Avatar Keith Harbaugh says:

    A look at the problems the White House is having making a decision on Afghanistan:
    “The Trump White House’s War Within”
    His national security team wants a stepped-up fight in Afghanistan.
    There’s just one problem:
    A president who doesn’t want to be there.

    By Susan B. Glasser, 2017-07-24
    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/07/24/donald-trump-afghanistan-215412

    [O]n Tuesday [2017-07-18], the president made clear just how dissatisfied he was.
    In what were pretty much his first public comments on Afghanistan during his six months in office,
    he told reporters before a White House lunch,
    “I want to find out why we’ve been there for 17 years.”
    On Thursday, headed into a Pentagon meeting, he was similarly cagey.
    Asked about more troops for Afghanistan, he replied only, “We’ll see.”

  99. Avatar Haralambos says:

    This was up a couple of days ago. Can anyone else improve on his take? https://tinyurl.com/y95j7w78
    We Can’t Win in Afghanistan Because We Don’t Know Why We’re There

  100. Avatar Annem says:

    Two simple things:
    One thing that prevents us from extracting ourselves is an unwillingness to do so within the framework of multi-lateral cooperation to end the conflict, most specifically involving Afghanistan’s nearest neighbors. Instead, we insist on keeping these countries, including our nemesis, Iran and our competitors, Russia and China, out of the process of solution. Each of the several countries surrounding Afghanistan or in close proximity have equities there and an interest in anti-jihadism and drugs, if nothing else. I recall that when the Syrian conflict was gathering steam and we were racing around trying to form bodies to deal without involving Russia, one long term observe quipped that the conflict would end only when we agree that the peace agreement is signed in Moscow. We still don’t seem to be willing to do so.
    COIN is based on a logical fallacy: How can you help another government take the steps necessary to stabilize his country that he was unable or unwilling to do on his own. “What the people want” in most cases is pretty clear.

  101. Avatar Flavius says:

    Well done. Thanks.
    Jumping into that family squabble was the easy part; getting out, even under normal circumstances, would have been difficult. Invincible ignorance and a worsening habit of stupidity acquired over years appears to have made getting out impossible.
    I voted for Trump in the hope of doing something about that but he’s been going the wrong way. He’s not all-in irrecoverably dumb yet, but with time going by, he’s getting there.

  102. Avatar Larry Mitchell says:

    COL- We know Vietnam experiences varied with time and location, but my recollection of 67-68 agrees with yours on the blue/green thing.
    From Kelly’s comments, I think he believes nothing would honor his son’s sacrifice so much as eventual success in AF. Never been in his position but can certainly empathize. But when reality is not on your side, I would hope his son’s sacrifice could be honored by not sacrificing more good men to a cause that realistically is not going to happen. I doubt that Kelly’s mind is likely to change on this subject, and his opinion will affect Trumps decisions.

  103. Avatar Morongobill says:

    I thought this was a “collegial” community.

  104. Avatar Harry says:

    Seems like a good bet given the copious Manpads supplied to the Syrian combatants. If the idea was to make the Russians pay a price for their intervention it wouldnt be so shocking if they adopt the same approach. That said im surprised we dont hear of more downed helicopters.

  105. Avatar mathiasalexander says:

    Maybe it would alienate allied war lords.

  106. Avatar Harry says:

    Are you refering to Poppy by-products?

  107. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Morongobill
    Yes, and I am the dean. pl

  108. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    Allied War Lords?
    Yes, like that Dostum? He could not get IT up to sodomize his political opponent that he had kidnapped and had his henchmen do the deed for him – not too long ago.

  109. Avatar guidoamm says:

    I always suggest the same thing to anyone that is interested in understanding why our respective Western sovereigns are doing what they are doing.
    An understanding of our monetary system helps. That is: the “system” – i.e. the rules and regulations that govern the issuance of the medium of exchange and credit; the chronology of steps from request, to creation to injection in the economy; the mechanism of pledging of collateral at sovereign, corporate and individual level and finally, the rights and obligations of the issuer of the medium of exchange and credit.
    Once you get your head around the above, the inescapable and arithmetical conclusion is that money must be spent.
    In our monetary system, the diminishing marginal utility of debt guarantees that ever greater sums must be progressively spent. War and crisis are a manna for the central bank.
    In this regard, the sundry UN reports that come out yearly are edifying. As is the SIGAR report and as, indeed, are the reports of various NGOs that regularly point to waste, corruption, abuse or the more than 10 fold increase in opium fields under cultivation since 2001 in Afghanistan.
    Hence the reason too, that after 15 years we are still barricaded in the middle of Baghdad where a surreal form of Western life carries on in a stiflingly circumscribed and insulated geographic area, where bacchanalian quantities of lobster, shrimp and booze are served daily and liberally to mollify and dull an overpaid, often depressed and always arrogant staff of “humanitarians” and “democracy” peddlers that are not allowed to step outside their gilded cage and all this, at astronomical expense to the Western tax payer (mostly the US taxpayer I grant you).
    It all boils down to the necessity to churn credit markets so that assets that are pledged as collateral can be transferred into the hands of the purveyors of credit.
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354-500-revealed-the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world/
    Notice how the entities that are featured in the above article overlap with the list of Systemically Important Financial Institutions that was created ca. 2010 and that, shortly thereafter, AG Eric Holder went on to inform congress that certain systemically important entities cannot not be prosecuted.
    Indeed, follow the money

  110. Avatar Laura says:

    OM — Well stated. Eisenhower was correct about the military-industrial complex and now our “promote the general welfare” compact only gets the leftovers.

  111. Avatar FB Ali says:

    Col Lang,
    It seems to me that it’s “the generals and the COIN nuts” who are pushing to continue to keep fighting in Afghanistan rather than President Trump. He appears to be just going along.
    Obviously, neither cares too much about the lives (and limbs) of the American soldiers put at risk. And, of course, even less about the Afghans, most of them civilians.
    Incidentally, the media reports regarding the huge bomb detonated by the Taliban in Kabul the other day played up the numbers of “Afghans” killed and wounded, without clarifying that the explosion occurred in an area occupied by government buildings (including intelligence agencies, mostly staffed by ‘Northerners’ rather than Pashtuns, who form the Taliban).

  112. Avatar Sid_finster says:

    That theory has been trotted out for the better part of a generation.
    Worst place ever to park a pipeline. Mountainous and impossible to secure.

  113. Avatar ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Off topic: Robert Parry, the publisher and editor of Consortium News has died. I hope his son and the others involved in the publication can succeed in carrying forward the torch it held for truthful, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may reporting.
    https://consortiumnews.com/2018/01/28/robert-parrys-legacy-and-the-future-of-consortiumnews/

  114. Avatar Sid_finster says:

    It doesn’t matter whether Trump is on board because his generals are, or even why he is on board.
    He had a chance to disengage and he blew it. Afghanistan is his baby now.

  115. Ahem, you are aware that there is such a thing as birth, and that eventually new farmers would be born?
    Genocide of Afghan farmers…yes, that should go over real well…
    You seem to be a typical American – any foreign person is susceptible to termination with prejudice as long as it “accomplishes something.”

  116. Avatar Klaus Weiß says:

    So, this assessment was wrong?
    “With the Middle-East increasingly fragile, we will need bases and fly-over rights in the Balkans to protect Caspian Sea oil.” (Washington Post, Feb. 28, 1999)

  117. My impression of most of the incidents of which I was aware while in Vietnam where soldiers attacked officers or NCOs was because they bloody hated the officer or NCO involved, i.e., it was mostly personal.
    We had a colonel at Vung Ro Bay who was heartily disliked. One night a guard on the cargo pier took a shot at him. Another guy tried to run him over with a deuce-and-a-half.
    One reason might have been because one day the engineers were blowing up bangalore torpedoes on the hillside, clearing brush, and everyone looks around and sees this colonel low-crawling it for shelter…
    We also had a guy throw a grenade into the hooch of our First Sergeant.
    I had a big fat black sergeant at Vun Ro who carried a .25 automatic with him everywhere because everyone hated him and he was afraid someone would conk him with a 2×4.
    So I think propaganda about the war was a minimal cause. It was mostly just malcontents due to conscription. A lot of people simply didn’t want to be there.

  118. Avatar kooshy says:

    Colonel, to my understanding from what I have read and been told, tribes and villagers in montunoes Afghanistan are very territorial, I have been told that uninvited or unescorted foreigners ( پردی )or Afghanis from other tribes or sects are not welcomed without asking, and will be confronted in any way they can. Kidnaping and asking for ransom is very common there and in both Iran and Pakistan’ Baluchistan. IMO one of the most difficult people and train to do fighting anywhere in the world. But I think Afghans are much better and more dangerous fighters than the mountain dweller Kurds are.

  119. Avatar A.Pols says:

    Sometimes over history’s course things like wars happen more or less because they evolve from a concatenation of events that just seemed like “a good idea at the time”, but there really isn’t any real coherent forthought. Then as events proceed explanations are conjured up to explain them and justify them. So if memory serves the whole Afghan thing originated in 2001 in a quest for vengeance and not much else. Then it assumed a life of its own and the “goals” are pretty nebulous.
    When you look at WW1, it sorta started that way and ended up as: “We’re fighting them because they’re fighting us”. But of course it was dressed up as an existential struggle between good and evil, which didn’t really solve anything in the end.

  120. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Klauss Weiss
    Ah, another anti-American nut heard from. The US is about to become the largest producer of oils in the world. pl

  121. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    How could it be otherwise, Kurds are Seljuks, Pashtuns never were. And when they helped destroy the Safavids, they sealed their own destiny for generations to come.

  122. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    In such a case, I think it will be a good for US to join OPEC.

  123. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    Because then US and other oil producers would avoid brusing price wars.

  124. Avatar kao_hsien_chih says:

    I’m not sure if US would ever become a net exporter of petroleum products again, or at least, not in any near future. OPEC = organization of petroleum EXPORTING nations, after all. To the degree that any significant amount of US consumption is reliant on imports, the calculations will be different, although US isn’t as exposed as, say, Japan (China is still a fairly significant producer, although a gigantic importer, so they are a little bit like us). If anything, I’ve heard claims that Iran may not be a net petroleum exporter for too long because of the declining (easily accessible) reserves. I wonder (honest question) how that prospect is affecting Iranian policy, both foreign and domestic, for the long run.

  125. Avatar LeaNder says:

    TV, that’s a good short way to put it. I might have circled around the meandered above via the two campaigns, and what I recall as one of the central columns (four, not more then five, anyway) of Trump’s campaign strategy (& foreign policy speech?) versus Clinton’s supermarket of offers eager to not forget even the tiniest desires out there. 😉

  126. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    Only 30% of government budget in Iran is dependent on selling oil. And then there is vast mounts of natural gas; and the recent fracking advances have not been applied.
    I am not privy to the long-term direction of the Iranian policy but I would not be surprised if there is an effort to remove reliance on oil exports – to be able to turn-off the spigot at will.

  127. Avatar kooshy says:

    From what I have read in Iranian news Iran will be a net exporter of petroleum till 2050s and exporter of gas for any years more. True Iran is injecting gas in older wells but there are many large fields that not even developed yet due to sanctions and financing like the Azadegan field, and others. I have read part of saudi’ pressure on Qatar is because KSA needs qatar’ gas to inject in her old oil wells, kSA don’t have enough gas to pressurize her old oil wells. Iraq just started buying Iran’ gas.

  128. Avatar Frank says:

    The opium, you didn’t mention the opium. I’m still amazed that when listing the reasons for military intervention in Afghanistan, people still ignore the fact that Afghanistan produces over 90% of the world’s opium, almost all of which is extracted down to Heroin before it leaves the country. The same country where every single phone call is recorded and collected. The same country that’s been under a military occupation for 17 years, during which time production has increased.
    Isn’t it intellectually dishonest to completely ignore this fact, perhaps just as dishonest as saying that somehow the US controls ALL of it? The truth lies somewhere in the middle. I for one refuse to believe that the CIA, an organization that was caught flying cocaine into the US before, would just watch all of that money slip away…

  129. Avatar Thomas says:

    “I thought this was a “collegial” community.”
    Morongobill,
    Yes it is, especially for those of us here from the beginning.
    Did you notice the dates of those comments and the fact that this was a previously published article?
    Dean Lang told us to knock it off with this “gentleman” and so it happened. The real Confused Ponderer passed away and then this one showed up about a year later falsely claiming to be him. The problem with this info operator is he did not have his act together before starting his cyber infiltration mission.

  130. Avatar Thomas says:

    “Are you refering to Poppy by-products?”
    Harry,
    Yes, when you can get the raw material cheap and its protected at no cost to you it is a sweet deal. It is unfortunate for the deplorable peasants who get hooked on it and have their lives destroyed, but, hey, money is money.

  131. Avatar Huckleberry says:

    To date, More than 10X of our people have died in CONUS because of AfPak than all our KIA’s in GWOT combined.
    Napalm-drone the poppy fields on a seasonal basis and put our domestic opiod merchants and their shills up against the wall.

  132. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Frank
    ” … the CIA, an organization that was caught flying cocaine into the US before,” When and where was that? I want citations since you have stated this as fact, and not citations from some rag like the “village Voice,” or “Rolling Stone.” pl

  133. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    US and France are doing the same thing with phone conversations in Iran.
    So many conversations, so little time!

  134. Heard of Gary Webb?
    Gary Webb
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Webb
    Robert Parry, who just died, established the “Gary Webb Freedom of the Press” award in honor of Webb.
    Parry also published material on this:
    The Sordid Contra-Cocaine Saga
    https://consortiumnews.com/2014/10/09/the-sordid-contra-cocaine-saga/
    Of course, the CIA conducted an internal investigation and found itself innocent.

  135. Avatar different clue says:

    Thomas,
    Are we sure the real Confused Ponderer died? And that this is not the real Confused Ponderer back after long medical absence? I realize it doesn’t make me look good to admit that I am not smart enough to tell the difference . . . but I am not smart enough to tell the difference.
    How would I know the difference? What gives the come-lately “fake Confused Ponderer” away?

  136. Avatar turcopolier says:

    richardstevenhack
    I am not impressed. I am not a fan of CIA but if you had ever been involved in a covert poliitical action like Nicaragua you would know that when running such a thing it is impossible to screen everyone on the local side to make sure they are in a State of Grace. pl

  137. Avatar Ranger Ray says:

    If you want evidence that Afghanistan is ungovernable as a “country”, you need look no further than it’s national sport – – buzkashi. Nominally a team sport, this melee normally degenerates into a free for all with every man for himself. I would suggest that buzkashi typifies the cultural proclivity of the various factions that inhabit what we refer to as Afghanistan. If we don’t recognize and accept this fact we will continue to beat our national head against a wall – – all to no avail.

  138. Avatar r whitman says:

    Pat, I suspect that you will be republishing this document on 28 January 2019

  139. Avatar outthere says:

    Highly recommended:
    Douglas Valentine, several books, the latest is:
    The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America
    Valentine’s home page is here:
    http://www.douglasvalentine.com/

  140. Avatar outthere says:

    Buzkashi proves to me that Afghans are the toughest people on earth, also among the world’s best horsemen.
    Did you ever give it a go?

  141. Avatar steve says:

    I suspect that it is his domestic advisers. If we leave and the place falls apart, or we have an attack in the US based out of Afghanistan, then Trump could be blamed. This looks to me to be all about domestic politics.
    Steve

  142. Avatar jpb says:

    The War That Never Ends (for the U.S. Military High Command)
    And It’s Not the War on Terror By Danny Sjursen
    “The hearts and minders and Clausewitzians atop the military establishment since 9/11 are never likely to stop citing their versions of the Vietnam War as the key to victory today; that is, they will never stop focusing on a war that was always unwinnable and never worth fighting. None of today’s acclaimed military personalities seems willing to consider that Washington couldn’t have won in Vietnam because, as former Air Force Chief of Staff Merrill McPeak (who flew 269 combat missions over that country) noted in the recent Ken Burns documentary series, “we were fighting on the wrong side.””
    http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176378/tomgram%3A_danny_sjursen%2C_wrong_on_nam%2C_wrong_on_terror/
    “Generational war” is the general’s Vietnam nightmare come home to roost in Afghanistan. Just as the Chinese hordes were lurking in the jungles for the Clausewitzians, the US Military reads and writes lies to justify their generational defeats in war fighting, so they don’t have to see they fight for the wrong side.
    I re-remember an old interview with an Afghan Pashtun noting in response to a question about how long the war might last,answered, “We’re on God’s time and only God knows when Americans tire of this war.” How are you going to defeat God’s warriors on the other side of the world? We’re going to stay in Afghanistan until the fever dreams of defeating Iran are put to rest; always fighting for the wrong side.
    I am going to read https://www.amazon.com/Hanois-War-International-History-Vietnam/dp/080783551X.

  143. Colonel,
    Reading the many references on your site to the Vietnam War all the old preconceptions about that conflict fall away.
    Except one – that since then, that war is always in the background for Americans just as for so long, perhaps even now, Munich and its sequel shaped the thinking of Western and particularly English politicians and military thinkers after the Second World War.
    The Suez debacle, for example, was seen by many at the time in England in terms of “appeasement”, though in retrospect that was entirely the wrong context. Much Russian PR, and I think also the thinking of many ordinary Russians, sees the Ukrainian conflict and other confrontations between Russia and the West as a continuation of the Great Patriotic War. And you have written of how old Cold War attitudes can still flourish in Western military training establishments.
    Sometimes this recourse to the past is successful in military affairs – the fluid and catch-as-catch-can Russian military tactics at the end of the Second World War are surely mirrored in the tactics employed in the Ukraine and Syria, and lessons learned in Chechnya have born their fruit in the pacification programmes seen now. Sometimes it is not. Setting aside moral considerations, it does not seem that Western tactics influenced by past experience have been markedly successful recently. Such considerations are important if, as is reported, the American President works to advice received from military experts who (a personal view) seem to be living in a past that is no longer a useful guide to the present.
    The contents of the comments section following this recent article on the Vietnam War –
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-29/army-major-wrong-nam-wrong-terror
    – are a reminder that whatever the lessons of Vietnam are, that conflict does still shape the thinking of many Americans. It is a truism that in many cases the pull of the past is so strong that we do not see any current conflict as it is, but only through the distorting lens of a past and greater conflict. Is that truism applicable here?
    I cannot judge the merits or otherwise of the article itself but it does suggest that for the American military the various lessons they take from the Vietnam war still dominate their thinking.
    Is that so? And if so, are they taking the right lessons?

  144. Avatar turcopolier says:

    jpb
    None of today’s military leaders fought in VN. They were teenagers then. None of them has read Clausewitz. Well, maybe Mattis. Nor have you. Clausewitz would have disapproved of the post 9/11 wars because not enough was at stake to have been worth the costs. He might have been in favor of punitive action on a short term basis in Afghanistan but not of a log term presence. The decisions to wage these wars were political decisions, not military decisions. It was only after fighting for a number of years that a generation of military leaders became so emotionally invested in them that their minds are clouded. pl

  145. Avatar Wunduk says:

    Two souls fight in Pakistan’s chest.
    On one side the ideological pillar who provides much of the identity as at the Muslim Nation clamors for jihad in order to liberate Afghanistan and Kashmir.
    http://www.atimes.com/article/jihad-decree-triggers-demands-holy-war-kashmir/?utm_source=The+Daily+Report&utm_campaign=c3bba92059-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_30&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1f8bca137f-c3bba92059-31524773
    An analysis by former FM Pakistan, Najmuddin Sheikh, recognizes that this is quite impossible. While emphasizing the huge costs associated with the Afghan state building project to the United States, he is asking whether the Pakistani policy of subverting it still is in its national interest. Unspoken is the consequence of a US withdrawal, which would burden Pakistan and other regions with the privilege of having to administer the area and would be forced to similar expenses.
    I guess so far it has been assumed widely in Pakistan that, once the Westerners would be gone from Afghanistan, the Taliban and Haqqanis and others would provide low-cost but effective management of the territory and its population. Similar ideas might be harboured for a hypothetical withdrawal of Indians from Kashmir.
    Sheikh shows the fault in this logic, and also calls the idea of military need for “strategic depth” redundant in the face of Pakistani nuclear arsenal.
    https://dailytimes.com.pk/190219/pakistani-national-interest-served-presence-haqqani-network-soil/
    For us, we probably should define openly what remains of the revenge for 9/11 and get going about it, and then hand over the whole expense to the region. Just the threat of it might already be enough to discipline some players, who currently take advantage of the perceived need for the US to stay and spend. In this sense, Trump’s was already more effective than Obama’s approach.

  146. Avatar kooshy says:

    Strategically speaking, after the camp David accord, and before the Iranian revolution of 1979, was the most secure period for US’ hegemony in Middle East, and therefore the most secure time for her ME crown jewels, Israel and KSA. In that few years US had support and control of 3 key Muslim nations on 3 corners of Middle East meaning Iran, Turkey and Egypt, for securing the ‘Realms”. Obviously losing Iran was a big strategic setback for US policy planers and security establishment. Ever since they have not been able to make a successful replacement to replace Iran and in reality, there can’t be any replacement as strong and influential as Iran is in her region.
    IMO, after unsuccessful US and allies attempts in Syria and Iraq, Turkey is distancing herself from the US policies (do to her internal security), as of result, the current strategic pillars of US’ ME region security architecture has now become, the remaining 3 legitimately weak, regionally unaccepted and therefore unstable Middle Eastern regimes, meaning Israel, Saudi and Egypt. First one was formed outside of the region in an organization, and imported without the people of the region consent, second one, is the most brutal backward dictatorial monarchy on planet which was setup by Brits, and the third one is a brutal recent cope government, perhaps with the traditional Arab president for life. Relying on these three countries without a shred of legitimacy, cannot and will not provide US with a strategic stability she needs to remove and relive her troops from the region. Unless, US can eliminate the main regional threat from her ME hegemonic strategy , meaning removing/invalidating an independent self “interest” serving state, which is Iran.
    JCPOA not only did not make Iran weaker, and bring or force Iran in or under western umbrella, but correctly in view of ISE (Israel, Saudi, Egypt), it made Iran more stable and therefore stronger. IMO, without Iran, on US side, eventually US policy will not last in ME and US will end up leaving the region. And whiteout US’ direct political interest in ME, Israel cannot last or continue in the region.

  147. Avatar Sid Finster says:

    If you view owning gold as a the economic equivalent of a put option (that is, the right to sell at a given price) on the world financial system, the all-time purchasing power parity-adjusted high for gold prices was right after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and markets wondered whether the United States might lose the Cold War.

  148. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    These shenanigans in Pakistan demonstrates, in my opinion, the utility of the concept of the Office of Supreme Jurisconsul in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its relevance to the wider world of Islam.
    The Paksiatni State cannot confer on itself the Legitimacy of being Supreme Religious Authority of Islam in Pakisan by fiat. Who, in the Pakistani State, has the legitimate authority to proclaim himself the issuer of such Fatwas?
    In regards to Sharia’s enforcement by the Muslim state – the historical duty of an Islamic government – that horse died in Iran in 1980 when its impossibility was acknowledged by the famous Fatwa of Ayatollah Khomeini that conferred to the Iranian state, through the Office of the Supreme Jurisdiction, the power to suspend primary and secondary exegesis of Islam in the interest of the State.
    One has to listen to what the advocates of Sharia were saying at that time in Iran; that the Law must either be directly traceable to the Quran or to the Sayings and Acts of the Prophet. This meant that on the theoretical level, no stipulation could exist for Traffic Laws, Administrative Laws, Aviation & Maritime Laws, Copyright Laws and many many more such things. That such an approach would lead to the disintegration of the Iranian state eventually was accepted by the Revolutionary Muslims around Ayatollah Khomeini as well as by him.

  149. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    I wonder what the aims of the Western Fortress are?
    Are they trying to recapitulate the domination that their ancestors enjoyed during colonial times – before 1914; since it has a beef not just with Iran but with Russia, Azerbaijan, (now) Turkey, and China as well as Venezuela.

  150. Avatar Thomas says:

    “How would I know the difference? What gives the come-lately “fake Confused Ponderer” away?”
    different clue,
    The easiest tell was just the human factor. Confused Ponderer earned his place as a Committee Correspondent and as such would have communicated with Colonel Lang off line. If he had been in an accident or had a medical issue he would have contacted him to give a heads up (when Col Lang notified us of his departure he mentioned trying to contact him several times to no avail).
    Another was the Solar Clock in a Cologne Cathedral that Neo-Confused breathlessly stated he just discovered and would provide a picture of (you don’t have a cell phone with a Camera?) and still hasn’t posted it. Our friend grew up in Cologne so it is only natural it would not have taken him 50 years finally realize this, especially because he is a Christian.
    When this entity arrived there was a lot errors in the vocabulary and writing style that Babak and I called him out on, until this current cretin took over the assignment. It didn’t get the hint (or it did and took a step too far) and responded to me personally with the whining lecture about Duterte and that was why I responded as I did in post 86 on the 17 of May 2018 . It was on following thread Col Lang gave the implicit command to knock it off.
    By the way, the original One was very critical of Israel so it made sense for the Zionists to start a new fraudulent poster to discredit him. And now that solar clock reads “Out of Time” for the Zs.

  151. Avatar Kooshy says:

    Yes, IMO, nobody is willing to take responsibility for “who lost Middle East”

  152. Avatar NancyK says:

    So we should kill Afghanis because Americans like drugs? That makes no sense at all.

  153. Avatar TonyL says:

    Thomas @152,
    Very perceptive on your part to point out this Solar Clock hint. I, too, feel that this CP is an imposter (unless the claimed illness was something neurological related, the thought process and the writing style could not have changed that much).

  154. Avatar different clue says:

    Thomas,
    ( reply to comment 152)
    Thank you for explaining all that. Now that it is pointed out step by step, I can understand it and it all makes sense.
    My brain-mind system is strong in some ways and weak in others. I have trouble sometimes getting the human factors. I like to think I am sometimes good at pattern recognition of non-human factors, things that can be thought of in moving charts, diagrams and graphs, pictures, etc.
    For example, when the real CP offered a bunch of magazine-front-pictures of “international bad actors” and challenged us all to find the fake, the Life Magazine cover-picture of Colonel Qaddafi leaped right out at me. Because it was a painted illustration rather than a photograph, and Life’s whole deal was PHOTOjournalism. That departure-from-format reached right off the screen and grabbed me by the eye sockets.
    But when he said that another of the pictures was also fake, I had and still have no idea which one it is.
    So again . . . the real CP’s death was bad for all the basic reasons, but also for his disappearance from these threads.
    By the way, I notice that Old Microbiologist hasn’t been back since Colonel Lang raised on-thread doubts about elements of his story and background. I wonder if he was quietly told to disappear or be very challenged point by point in these threads. It makes me wonder how much of what he told us about science/microbiology/diseases/etc. was correct or not. Does anyone else here have a feeling about that part of it?

  155. Avatar Wunduk says:

    An attempt was made by the Pakistan Government with presumably Saudi financing to make the Islamabad International Islamic University a central hub for developing the sharia-ness of the State. The Paigham-i Pakistan launch this January lined up from the President downwards a lot of Sunni actors.
    http://www.iiu.edu.pk/?p=28435
    Some of the attendants carry the presumably Shia title ‘allâma but not many – I counted about 100 out of 1800. From the 36 actual signatories none seem to have been Shia.
    It is by the way a pain to find the text of the fatwa. Even the Wafâq al-Madâris does not have it on its website, had to find it on internet PDF deposits.
    Do you have a link to the specific Khomeini fatwa establishing the Office of the Supreme Jurisdiction? That office I get is different from the Ministry of Justice. Is it what some of us might call the High Council of the Judiciary, composed of five individuals? Or do you refer to the Guardian Council (shûrâ-yi nihâhbân)?

  156. I can see why you’re worried but it’s not a major concern. Wouldn’t bother me at all if I discovered that the Colonel and his Committee lived in the Kremlin and were diehard ultra-everything. Even ultra-prog. Sterling good sense is sterling good sense no matter where it comes from.
    Well, it would bother me a little bit. I take a keen interest in the Colonel’s roofing problems and wouldn’t like to think that was just a cover story. And if you want to get to grips on the essential difference between the English and the American then the occasional remarks on SST about hunting are as good a way in as any. It would be a little flat if all that turned out to be merely the product of assiduous research on Wikipaedia.
    DH (he’s real enough, if anyone is) asserts that as far as current politics goes we’re living in a mad house. It’s more noticeable over here, you see. The best way to cope with the bullshit is to assume things are genuine until it turns out they’re not. “Not” happens 99% of the time but there’s still that 1% left and this site is in it.
    Nevertheless an uneasy thought occurs to me. I’d be a little concerned for Tyler if it turned out he reported for duty at some troll factory rather than being safely tucked away in some mountain retreat. I just get the feeling that, virtual or otherwise, he’s not cut out for office work.

  157. Avatar turcopolier says:

    EO
    Do roofs not leak in England? This house was built in most of its parts in 1913 and it suffers from an old age that must be seen to as issues arise. 2500 Sq ft. It is a Craftsman front gabled bungalow solid brick on first floor framed on second floor with four dormers. the roof leak appears solved, perhaps. We had one of the dormers re-built to put an upstairs bath in and the builders left a tiny hole way back under tine eaves. A colony of grey squirrels got in through that and set up a residence between two rafters. They could be heard squabbling and walking around. We got them to move out by closing up their entrance and after a day of that they were glad to leave and have not been heard since. What else? Ah, my wife has a 2003 Ford Explorer with 15,000 miles on the clock. She drives it once a week to a farmer’s market. It is in great shape but has recurring problems caused by sitting motionless so much. But, she wants to keep it … now, that is rather good legend construction for this blog, would you not agree? pl

  158. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Fatwas of Ayatollah Khomeini did not establish the Office of the Supreme Jurisconsul; rather it endowed that office with the power to suspend Islamic Law in the interest of the Islamic Government.
    The Office of the Supreme Jurisconsul was created by the Shia Doctors who were drafting the new constitution in order to distinguish it from the Monarchical Constitutions.
    Pakistani experiment will fail, if not already still born, because the State – just like so many other Sunni Muslim States, is the Military. And then there is this little matter that neither Persian Gulf Arabs nor Pakistanis are Seljuk Muslims.
    In my opinion, the creation of the Office of the Supreme Jurisconsul as an organ of the state has had the added advantage of taking issues having to do with Sharia out of the emotion-laden public square and hiding their adjudication in obscure deliberations of this or that body of the state to settle.

  159. Avatar Thomas says:

    “Nevertheless an uneasy thought occurs to me. I’d be a little concerned for Tyler if it turned out he reported for duty at some troll factory rather than being safely tucked away in some mountain retreat. I just get the feeling that, virtual or otherwise, he’s not cut out for office work.”
    Tyler is who says he is and has proven it. What the “pearl clutchers” here do not understand about him is he respects the Afghani mountain men who tried to kill him since they have the moral and physical courage to stand and fight for what they believe in, unlike those who demand everyone else conform to their worldview but will run and hide on the day of reckoning.
    Speaking of trolls, I pay attention to your comments here and over at lil B’s place, like your comment that “we” can’t further investigate a certain shoot down because of state security. You are correct, “we” can’t have “us” peasants knowing that a dual citizen pilot placed a Python on that plane because a certain State would be in a world of hurt if the truth ever did emerge (unfortunately for them it is only a matter of time). So it was those Evil Russkie Rebels who won’t submit to Global Goodness that did the deed and anyone who disagrees with the narrative is a either Putin troll or a facist that Baal Brother and his brood must destroy by seizing their bank accounts. removing their employment or use all other means necessary.
    Patience and tolerance is not submission and their reservoir is down to the last few drops.
    By the way, you have been to Israel and have never met a Sephardi? Effin amazing you live such a cloistered life.

  160. Colonel,
    It’s a brilliant legend, idyllic in fact, but one would expect nothing less from a pro. As expected all details about the Explorer check out and the mileage to the farmer’s market fits.
    My IT skills have improved recently and they enabled me to look up your original description of the house. Difficult to tell from several thousand miles away but given the construction of the original building it might not have been possible to insert a cavity tray when the extension was built. Always a possibility of trouble there, I suppose, but no doubt your Mr Bob’s on top of all that.
    Life on the troll farms’s a little hectic at the moment but if I can get time off I could cast an eye over your extension. I’ve always wanted to see Red Square.

  161. Avatar turcopolier says:

    EO
    The problem was a piece of cracked flashing against a chimney. Mr. Bob is now re-finishing the chestnut double hung windows in the dining room. They are original to the house. pl

  162. Thomas – thank you for your reply. We might possibly be at cross-purposes. By the sound of it you’re a pitchfork man so essentially we’re shoulder to shoulder. Well, there’s the Atlantic between us of course but you get the picture.
    Like many here I’m still waiting to see if Trump’s going to make it. Possibly like you I’m fed up with the obstacles placed in his path. One of them is the nonsense about him being subservient to the Russians. I have a go at that and the associated paranoia from time to time and have done so on this thread. You’re reading it wrong if you’re taking that any other way. My fault perhaps and if so I’m glad to correct it.
    I read “b”‘s site when I can and admire the work he does. I do believe that sometimes he gets the picture wrong. I think he gets Trump wrong too and wrote in recently to say so. I don’t read the comments there often because I don’t think most add that much. I did read some comments there recently and saw that there was still a lot of nonsense about “the Jews” in them. I wrote in to say that was dumb. I doubt that carried much conviction for most of them. Doesn’t look as if it carried much conviction for you either.
    With respect I believe that any analysis that puts the current shambles the West is in down to this or that group is wrong. Don’t you see that inter-group squabbling creates exactly the right conditions for the perpetuation of the very dysfunction we wish to escape? The Iranian Leader pointed much the same out recently in his part of the world and it applies equally to ours.
    Incidentally I think I got it wrong with Tyler. I don’t think he’s in some mountain retreat. Sounds more like valleys to me. Try and coax him out of them and that’s three pitchforks and I’m pretty sure we’ve got LeaNder for a fourth. Just don’t mention the EU and I think we’re fit to go. Ready?

  163. Avatar different clue says:

    English Outsider,
    ( reply to comment 158)
    What numbered comment of mine is this comment of yours in reply to? I am having a little trouble remembering/ thinking about what I was worried about and what it is you seek to ease my uneasy mind over.
    Speaking of roofs and stuff, several years ago they put better more-insulating more-sound-dampening roofs on our co-op dwelling units.
    And that memory leads to thoughts of a longer-range disappointment here in the co-op. When I first got here, it was so well insulated it was almost like a live-in thermos for heat-retention. But every gang of workmen they sent through over the years to fix this or that compromised the insulation a little further, so now it is like living in a thermal collander. The heat pours right out as fast as I pour new heat in. I have to take the temperature down to 63 or so to achieve any home-heating energy conservation at all. ( But I’m generally happy otherwise).

  164. Avatar turcopolier says:

    EO
    I forgot to mention that the upper story is covered with stained cedar shingles in the fishscale design, or is that at the dacha … pl

  165. Avatar Thomas says:

    “By the sound of it you’re a pitchfork man so essentially we’re shoulder to shoulder.”
    No, I am a man of peace who wears a sheathed sword, and if it comes out it won’t go back in until peace is reestablished. It is not what I or others here would want but there comes a time (See Habakkuk 3:16).
    “I did read some comments there recently and saw that there was still a lot of nonsense about “the Jews” in them.”
    This is not about the “Jews”, the Sephardim have nothing to do with what is happening right now. A contingent from the Ashkenazim is another matter. A darkh humorous aside. when the original Jew was confronted with “Whose are these?” he replied “I am in the wrong” and the people laughed at him. When a Neo-Con was placed in the same trial he replied “I don’t know bitch” and the people laughed at him saying the fool thinks we don’t recognize his seal, cord and staff!”
    “Incidentally I think I got it wrong with Tyler. I don’t think he’s in some mountain retreat. Sounds more like valleys to me.”
    Tyler was an Army paratrooper and would be one of the baddest mother fuckers in the valley. I would stand and fight with him if the “we” force it to such a disaster (which it looks like their trying their best to do).
    “Try and coax him out of them and that’s three pitchforks and I’m pretty sure we’ve got LeaNder for a fourth.”
    Did you not read my reply to Mongrobill? Many of us have been here for years and have formed a community. LeaNder was an original and with all of her meanderings has exposed herself. An example, she says she lives in Cologne yet after the New Years Rampage she comes on here not believing it by looking at the train station on wikipedia. Again the human factor, if you lived in the city you would know what the train station looked like just by eventually passing by in days and years of life. Also, you would know of this local event by the discussions of friends. family, neighbors and co-workers. Personally I think she lives in a Brooklyn Brownstone and this is her hobby.
    My anger is directed towards you and other Hasbara who think this is some sort of game and us Goobers of Yokeldom have no mental faculties to see what is going on. An explicit warning, enough is enough.
    A Peace Offering, if I am wrong about you and you truly want the best outcome for all, then push for your government to declassify the radar and communication records over Ukraine for July 17, 2014.

  166. (165) Different Clue – Sorry. I was surprised too. I must have clicked “reply” in the wrong place.

  167. Thomas – thanks again for your reply. As I thought, shoulder to shoulder though I’m not as keen on pitchforks as I was. Lamp posts might be a better bet if we can find enough of them.
    1. MH17. The Soviet Army was notoriously bureaucratic. Judging by complaints from front-line fighters that one read at the time – that urgently needed weapons were available but were sometimes held up by the paperwork – the Novorossians kept up the tradition. We know the Ukrainian Regular Army did as well. So don’t let’s pretend that specialist crews with sophisticated equipment were wandering around unrecorded on either side or can’t be found for questioning now. And as has been pointed out on the Colonel’s site many times, both sides were watching the area like hawks. Both sides know what happened. We don’t.
    Same with Steele. Don’t let’s pretend there, either, that the Steele saga ran its course and no one in the UK and the US authorising it. They know what happened. We don’t.
    Khan Shaykhun – the same. The Maidan snipers – the same. They know what happened. We don’t.
    We might disagree about the importance of maintaining security. My simplistic views is that there’s not much point in having defence forces if our defence secrets are to be broadcast. But I thoroughly agree with you that security considerations are improperly used to keep politically sensitive information from the public. They’re bastards at doing that and they do it far too often.
    So what do you do? Spend your life chewing the carpet? Or live with it. A little carpet chewing’s in order but apart from that life’s too short.
    And we do know to a great extent what’s occurring. I recently came across an article in SST from early 2014. The Ukraine. Extraordinarily prescient and the main outlines set out clearly. Same with Syria. So the information’s there. Specific incidents like MH17 we’ll maybe never get to the bottom of but for all that we do know roughly what the bastards are up to. If we care to look.
    2. Trolls etc. Colonel Lang is a well known public figure so that in turn warrants his Committee. The rest of us, those who submit comments from out of the blue? Who knows. You might be writing from Tel Aviv and I from Vauxhall Cross. It’s pretty obvious neither of us is and pretty obvious is good enough for me. After all, sound argument is sound argument no matter who submits it.
    3. I also came across this recently. It was written by a minor English poet of decidedly ill repute who taught at Eton College. The Heraclitus man.
    Eton, as you’ll know, is a big comprehensive on the outskirts of the City of Lost Souls. By long tradition it supplies us with politicians. As a matter of fact I’m very much anti-Eton at present. They’ve had the supply contract for so long they think they can get away with sending us their seconds. Ethically challenged is the kindest one can say of the last batch they delivered to the Cabinet; and if we are to judge from the numeracy skills that batch exhibited the Eton Maths department could do with a shake-up. They do a sideline in Prelates and the quality control’s dreadful there too.
    But that’s just the dross. And the Provost of Eton could fairly argue that English politicians who aren’t from his shop are chancers too so what are we complaining about? His standard products, the ones we don’t get to buy at the discount store, are reckoned to be pretty good and the Queen Mother gave the place her imprimatur when they were discussing where to send the Green Prince. Can’t argue with that.
    This is what the man wrote. If it weren’t so long it would do for a motto if we substituted “life” for “school” :-
    “At school you are engaged not so much in acquiring knowledge as in making mental efforts under criticism. A certain amount of knowledge you can indeed with average faculties acquire so as to retain; nor need you regret the hours you spent on much that is forgotten, for the shadow of lost knowledge at least protects you from many illusions. But you go to a great school not so much for knowledge as for arts and habits; for the habit of attention, for the art of expression, for the art of assuming at a moment’s notice a new intellectual position, for the art of entering quickly into another person’s thoughts, for the habit of submitting to censure and refutation, for the art of indicating assent or dissent in graduated terms, for the habit of regarding minute points of accuracy, for the art of working out what is possible in a given time, for taste, for discrimination, for mental courage, and for mental soberness. Above all, you go to a great school for self-knowledge.”
    (William Johnson Cory 1823-1892)
    I like that, especially the shadow of lost knowledge. He missed out the bit about draining the swamp but perhaps it wasn’t so deep those days.

  168. Avatar Thomas says:

    “You might be writing from Tel Aviv.”
    No, Volgograd.
    “My simplistic views is that there’s not much point in having defence forces if our defence secrets are to be broadcast.”
    But the great hero of the State, Johnathan Pollard, revealed to those Evil Russkies were my submarine was operating in the 80s, but that is OK as long as it is in Israel’s interest. Though they are such good people as this link shows: https://tinyurl.com/ycyu56fz
    “Specific incidents like MH17 we’ll maybe never get to the bottom of but for all that we do know roughly what the bastards are up to.”
    “We” may never want to know, though the rest of “us” will find out eventually. It is the reason for today’s current panic as it is the first drop in the bucket of exposure. The only question left to be answered is did the previous administration merely cover it up or actually give the go ahead order. Seeing who was in charge of that file, I will bet on the latter.
    Thank you for proving that I am not wrong about you.
    Chewing on the carpet? Nah, it is Yirah Yhvh that has me standing up for those innocents murdered. As Qain learned the hard way, you are your brothers keeper and if the perpetrators would be allowed to get away with this what will they do next?

  169. Avatar Mathias Alexander says:

    I’m Mathias Alexander.

  170. With further reference to Baluchestan?

  171. Avatar Nick says:

    Whatever became of Tyler?

  172. Avatar turcopolier says:

    nick
    Tyler is busy contemplating his navel.

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