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

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Update for Saturday, May 27, 2017

Linda Bilmes in Common Dreams discusses our forgotten wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only do we largely ignore them, Congress has put the whole thing on the tab.

Yet the nation’s longest and most expensive war is the one that is still going on. In addition to nearly 7,000 troops killed, the 16-year conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost an estimated US$6 trillion due to its prolonged length, rapidly increasing veterans health care and disability costs and interest on war borrowing. On this Memorial Day, we should begin to confront the staggering cost and the challenge of paying for this war. . . .
The high rates of injuries and increased survival rates in Iraq and Afghanistan mean that over half the 2.5 million who served there suffered some degree of disability. Their health care and disability benefits alone will easily cost $1 trillion in coming decades.
But instead of facing up to these huge costs, we have charged them to the national credit card. This means that our children will be forced to pay the bill for the wars started by our generation. Unless we set aside money today, it is likely that young people now fighting in Afghanistan will be shortchanged in the future just when they most need medical care and benefits.

Attack on militia backed by the CIA kills 13 in Khost, Afghanistan. "provincial police chief Faizullah Ghairat said the victims were civilians and members of the elite Khost Provincial Force (KPF) -- known to be paid and equipped by the American CIA. "The bombing took place early morning when KPF members were heading to work," Ghairat told AFP. The KPF, estimated to have around 4,000 fighters, are known to operate a shadow war against the Taliban in a province that borders Pakistan and are accused of torture and extrajudicial killings."

Taliban kill 15 soldiers in attack on army base in Kandahar.


Remember candidates Trump's "secret plan" to defeat IS? Obviously, there wasn't one.

For what I believe is the 17th time (I've lost count) Iraqi forces launch the final assault to complete the capture of Mosul. Will this time be for real? Iranian-backed militia also said to seize two villages.

Toronto Star documents horrific torture perpetrated by U.S.-backed Shiite militia in Iraq.

The images are merciless: Iraqi detainees slung from ceilings by their wrists like rag dolls; a blindfold to hide the next torturous blow, a gag to muffle the screams.
A glance jolts the sickening memory of Abu Ghraib prison, circa 2003, when the United States army and the CIA let their humanity slip away.

Yet here they are again, 14 years later — damning images from the ongoing battle of Mosul that incinerate the fog of war, revealing physical abuse, torture and the murder of Sunni Arab Iraqis perpetrated by a unit of American-trained, coalition-equipped Iraqi commandos on the front lines in the war against Daesh.
Among “trophy” images the soldiers gave to Arkady: a shocking 12-second clip of an execution in which a barefoot suspect tries to flee, arms bound behind him, as two Iraqi officers shoot him in the back, firing nine shots in all; a 20-second clip showing an Iraqi special forces interrogator looming over the lifeless bodies of two Sunni Muslim brothers after a night of torture, snarling, “We crushed them” in revenge for sins against Iraq’s Shiite community.

Oh by the way -- have you seen any reference to this in U.S. media? 
 


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