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

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Update for Thursday, November 3, 2016

In an as-yet unclear incident or series of incidents, 2 U.S. service members, perhaps 30 Afghan civilians, and many Taliban are killed in Kunduz. The linked AFP story says that the U.S. troops were killed in a firefight, apparently followed by an airstrike in which the civilians, including children, were killed. AP says that two additional U.S. troops were injured and gives death toll of Taliban as 65. TOLO says 3 Afghan commandos were also killed. As with previous incidents in which U.S. airstrikes have killed civilians, we can expect a long delay before we get more clarity on these events, but I will update when we know more.

An independent research group says the U.S. imprisoned 8 men at Guantanamo based on vague and unsubstantiated allegations. According to the report:

Reading through the United States military and court documents outlining the allegations and evidence against these eight men, one enters a Kafkaesque world of strange, vague accusations, rife with hearsay, secret evidence, bad translations, gross errors of fact and testimony obtained under duress and torture. . . .

AAN senior analyst, Kate Clark, investigated the Afghan experience in Guantanamo and found the Afghan case files full of mistakes, bad translations and fantastical allegations, and evidence made up of hearsay, double hearsay, unsubstantiated intelligence reports and testimony from those who were tortured.

In IraqIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi issues a rare audio recording urging a fight to the death in Mosul. He also calls for action against Saudi Arabia.

Iraqi troops advancing toward Mosul from the south find empty villages, the inhabitants abducted by IS.

Following Baghdadi's speech, heavy fighting is reported in the Intisar, Quds and Samah neighborhoods of east Mosul.

Five thousand civilians have been evacuated from eastern Mosul

Charlie Winter says that Donald Trump has become an IS asset, reinforcing their false claim that the assault on Mosul is going badly.

Notably, though, this is not the first time that Trump and ISIS have seen eye to eye. Indeed, over the last year in particular, his rhetoric has persistently reflected that of the ISIS propagandists, especially when it came to issues pertaining to Islam and the West. It's in this context that the similarities are most striking: when Trump says "I think Islam hates us," ISIS is there to back him up as evidence, declaring that "we [and the religion of Islam that ISIS falsely claims to represent] hate you." At times, it is almost uncanny how closely each affirms the other's worldview. However, this is not because their ideological positions actually resemble each other, and it is certainly not because an active relationship exists between the two. Not by any stretch of the imagination could that be the case.
Rather, this strange symbiosis is just indicative of the fact that opposing extremisms sometimes work in each other's favor: the fear that drives Trump's anti-Muslim populism, in a not-so-roundabout way, fuels the fires of ISIS' global jihadist project. While their goals are poles apart, each appeals to their supporters by stoking fears of the "other." So, when ISIS says the West hates Muslims and Trump says Muslims hate the West, they end up reinforcing and reaffirming the other's system of beliefs.


Greatest Genius said...

Of course Donald Trump hates ISIS, and obviously ISIS hates the West considering the fact that they enslave, rape and kill White Christian women! Unfortunately, as former House Representative Dr David Duke has repeatedly noted and as I have always felt, Hillary Clintin loves ISIS. According to Wikileaks, she told Goldman Sachs, a couple of years ago that she knew Saudi Arabia and Qatar were supporting ISIS, yet she never rebuked them for it, or even sent a note to them about it let alone not attempt to bring the matter to world public attention. Indeed , subsequently she even happily received 25,000,000 dollars from that State Supporter of ISIS, and even supported giving Saudi Arabia American tax payers democracy dollars as military aid! ISIS must love Hillary Clinton because of her indirect support for them vis a vis Saudi Arabia, her de facto and auxillary Bank for ISIS, who she supports because they fight Syria and Iran who are enemies of her master, the most racist State in the world towards Christianity, Isreal! Hillary should be charged with treason against the American people!

Greatest Genius said...

Edit - Hillary Clinton, instead of Hillary Clintin.

Cervantes said...

Greatest Genius, you are wrong. Saudi Arabia and Qatar do not support IS. The claim of the Caliphate undermines the Saudi claim as guardian of the holy places. The U.S. does not give military aid to Saudi Arabia, it sells them weapons, for which they pay good cash. That has been the policy of the U.S. throughout the post WWII period, including all Republican presidencies. Hillary most definitely does not "support" ISIS, that is paranoid delusion. Note that the U.S. right now is indeed, as your Fuhrer would say, "bombing the shit out of them," which has them well on the way to defeat.

But that's what's going on now -- Trump supporters are living in an alternate reality, bizzaro world. I'm not going to delete your comments because I want people to see what insanity is out there.