The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Monday, April 20, 2015

Update for Monday, April 20, 2015

Now this is interesting. Der Spiegel reports that IS is the product of a calculated strategy led by a former Baathist intelligence officer. The implication is that Islamist ideology is being used to manipulate people by a leadership that has purely secular objectives -- to regain power lost when the U.S. invaded Iraq. The mastermind was Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi, who used the pseudonym Haji Bakr. He was killed in a firefight in the Syrian town of Tal Rifaat in January, 2014. Documents in his possession were secretly kept their and have now been seen by Der Spiegel reporters. Money quotes:

What Bakr put on paper, page by page, with carefully outlined boxes for individual responsibilities, was nothing less than a blueprint for a takeover. It was not a manifesto of faith, but a technically precise plan for an "Islamic Intelligence State" -- a caliphate run by an organization that resembled East Germany's notorious Stasi domestic intelligence agency. . . .

Sharia, the courts, prescribed piety -- all of this served a single goal: surveillance and control. Even the word that Bakr used for the conversion of true Muslims, takwin, is not a religious but a technical term that translates as "implementation," a prosaic word otherwise used in geology or construction. .. .

There is a simple reason why there is no mention in Bakr's writings of prophecies relating to the establishment of an Islamic State allegedly ordained by God: He believed that fanatical religious convictions alone were not enough to achieve victory. But he did believe that the faith of others could be exploited. 
Not that these revelations will change anything, I suppose. Faith is impervious to facts. But it does clarify where the responsibility for this historic disaster truly lies.


Dancewater said...

I think all wars and acts of violence are to gain control - of a land, a people, a resource. It boils down to greed, and the Masters of War use religion to sway the masses to their "cause".

It is most assuredly not true that Bush or any other US government official wanted to bring people in foreign lands "freedom and democracy". That is compete horseshit. And it is most assuredly not true that people like Obama or Samantha Powers or Hillary Clinton feel a "responsibility to protect" anyone beyond their own families. This is also complete horseshit.

And while some Americans may volunteer for the military out of an ideal of "serving" others or "protecting" the homeland, the reality is their are just being used to force control and gain control of people, land and resources. If they are sincere when they join the military, then they are absolute gullible fools. The fact that they are given weapons and training to go after fellow humans who never harmed them is a very big clue.

Dancewater said...

I do think the suicide bombers are either sincere about their religion or sincere about extracting revenge.

The USA should stop giving them reasons to feel inspired to extract revenge on other people if they don't want another 9/ll.

Instead, we are consistently making things worse. There will be blow back, and it will not be pretty.

I should add that all wars are STARTED to gain control of people, land, resources - some people join in to defend what they have or regain what was taken from them.

And sometimes there are actors behind the scenes stirring the pot, playing a deadly game of "Let's you and him fight". That is primarily what the US government has done under Obama, but every other president from Reagan onward has done this.