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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Update for Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We have met the enemy, and he is us. William Astore, in TomDispatch, lays out the truth about America's looking glass wars. Do read the whole thing, but to get you pulled in, I'll begin with an excerpt from Tom Inglehardt's introduction:

In the years since [9/11], in its global war on terror, the Pentagon has ensured that America’s enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere have regularly been able to arm themselves with... well, not to beat around the bush, a remarkable range of U.S. weaponry.  The latest such story: a report that in recent fighting around the city of Tal Afar, the Iraqi military recovered a U.S.-produced FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile and launcher from an Islamic State weapons cache. That’s a weapon capable of taking out an M1 Abrams tank . . . .

Of course, when the American-trained, funded, and armed Iraqi army collapsed in the summer of 2014 in the face of relatively small numbers of ISIS fighters, that group took vast stores of U.S. weaponry and vehicles that they’ve used ever since. But that was hardly the end of it.  The U.S. soon began retraining and rearming its Iraqi allies to the tune of $1.6 billion for “tens of thousands of assault rifles, hundreds of armored vehicles, hundreds of mortar rounds, nearly 200 sniper rifles, and other gear,” much of which, a government audit found, the Pentagon simply lost track of. . . .
Similar stories could be told about Afghanistan, another country where U.S. weaponry has disappeared in remarkable quantities. (The Taliban, for instance, recently released a video of their fighters sporting weaponry normally used only by U.S. Special Operations personnel.) In short, the Pentagon has been arming itself, its allies, and its enemies in a profligate fashion for years now in its never-ending conflicts across the Greater Middle East and Africa.
Astore writes:

Since the early 1990s, largely unconstrained by peer rivals, America’s leaders have acted as if there were nothing to stop them from doing as they pleased on the planet, which, as it turned out, meant there was nothing to stop them from their own folly.  We witness the results today.  Prolonged and disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Interventions throughout the Greater Middle East (Libya, Syria, Yemen, and beyond) that spread chaos and destruction.  Attacks against terrorism that have given new impetus to jihadists everywhere.  And recently calls to arm Ukraine against Russia.  All of this is consistent with a hubristic strategic vision that, in these years, has spoken in an all-encompassing fashion and without irony of global reach, global power, and full-spectrum dominance. . . .

Incessant warfare represents the end of democracy.  I didn’t say that, James Madison did.
I firmly believe, though, in words borrowed from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, that “only Americans can hurt America."  So how can we lessen the hurt?  By beginning to rein in the military.  A standing military exists -- or rather should exist -- to support and defend the Constitution and our country against immediate threats to our survival.  Endless attacks against inchoate foes in the backlands of the planet hardly promote that mission.  Indeed, the more such attacks wear on the military, the more they imperil national security.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, no big surprise, parliament has condemned the upcoming Kurdish independence referendum.

Israel seems to be the only regional power that supports Kurdish independence.

Iraqi forces prepare to retake IS-held town of Anah in Anbar.

In what is likely a symbolic gesture, but giving credit where it's due, Sen. Rand Paul wants to end the congress to sunset the Authorization to Use Military Force  which is the legal fig leaf underlying the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to vote on ending the U.S. military commitment in those countries.


traducteur said...

Lt. Col. Astore's article is full of good sense, but it suffers from a fatal flaw: it doesn't so much as mention the Zionist puppet masters at whose behest the USA is pursuing all these futile wars. Iraq and Syria are described as catastrophic failures, but from the Zionist standpoint they have been roaring successes. Think of it: hundreds and hundreds of thousands of goyim killed and maimed and their countries reduced to smoking ruins inhabited by desperate, starving people. The Zionists are delighted; they want more and more of this, and given their control of the levers of power in the US, they will get it. The key to a rational foreign policy is breaking the Zionist grip. Easier said than done, but the effort must be made.

Dancewater said...