- Before dying, Richard Holbrooke admitted it, saying "You've
got to stop this war in Afghanistan." The Washington Post reinterpreted
- "Holbrooke's death is the latest complication in
an effort plagued by unreliable partners, reluctant allies and an increasingly
skeptical American public."
- They're not alone. Include noted analysts, administration
officials, the influential Center for Strategic and International Studies
(CSIS), and Pentagon top brass. An earlier article discussed it, accessed
through the following link:
- A recent article remembered Chalmers Johnson, best known
for calling America's global wars and imperialism a "suicide option"
unless reversed. Access it through the following link:
- Naming us our own enemy, he called our policies "arrogant
and misguided," America's condition dire, and it's "too late
for mere scattered reforms." We can choose democracy to survive or
perish under current policies. He said America is plagued by the same dynamic
that doomed past empires unwilling to change, what he called:
- "isolation, overstretch, the uniting of local and
global forces opposed to imperialism, and in the end bankruptcy,"
combined with authoritarian rule and loss of personal freedom.
- The other article titled Imperial America's End Time
included two grim assessments - from the Pentagon and CSIS. In discrete
understatement, a November Pentagon report said:
- "Progress across the country remains uneven, with
modest gains in security, governance and development in operational priority
areas." Progress overall has been "slow and incremental....key
- It also explained that violence and Afghan deaths rose
sharply as a result of a 300% increase in armed clashes since 2007, and
a 70% rise over 2009. Despite the force buildup, "The insurgency has
proven resilient with sustained logistics capacity and command and control."
- After over nine years of conflict (now America's longest
war and counting), security is worse than ever. Moreover, "insurgent
safe havens" in Pakistan and Iran threaten to widen the war further."
In fact, "(e)fforts to reduce insurgent capacity....have not produced
measurable results" despite heightened drone and other attacks.
- Yet war continues. Waging, not winning it, matters most.
America's military/industrial/private contractor complex demands it to
keep huge profits flowing freely - no matter the cost in lives, human misery,
destruction, and hundreds of billions more dollars diverted from essential
homeland needs. Imperial war is America's top priority and has been for
- An October CSIS report on Iraq and AfPak expressed alarm,
- "We have not yet achieved any meaningful form of
positive strategic result (from over seven and a half years of war in Iraq
and over nine in Afghanistan), and (both conflicts) may end in a major
grand strategic defeat."
- It cited Washington's futile pursuit of an "end
state fallacy," that officialdom "seems to be in a state of partial
denial," and in Afghanistan:
- -- there's "no credible end state to the fighting....that
can give the US a credible grand strategic victory or stable outcome."
- AfPak increasingly looks like an unwinnable quagmire,
draining America's resources. Staying the course, committing larger force
levels, applying more pressure, and escalating war aren't solutions. They've
made conditions worse, not better.
- "The US and its allies are pursuing a largely mythical
Afghan development plan which lacks core credibility in peacetime, much
less in war. There is no development plan for Pakistan. The US is effectively
paying an open ended mix of bribes to a country whose economy is now crippled
by a catastrophic flood, and whose main security interest is India, not
the war the US wants it to fight."
- Successful resolution is impossible. "The challenges
are simply too great, and the timelines for credible change are too long....The
US cannot afford to allow this situation to continue....After what soon
will be ten years of fighting, it is time we not only learned this, but
acted on the lesson."
- America's Iraq/AfPak wars are unwinnable, highlighted
in another article, accessed through the following link:
- New Intelligence Reports Give Grim Assessments
- On December 14, New York Times writer Elisabeth Bumiller
headlined, "Intelligence Reports Offer Dim Views of Afghan War,"
- Despite official Washington claiming progress, "two
new classified intelligence reports offer a more negative assessment and
say there is a limited chance of success unless Pakistan hunts down insurgents
operating from havens on its Afghan border."
- A more realistic analysis confirms a sustained, committed
insurgency - freedom fighters wanting liberation, nothing less. In early
December, House and Senate Intelligence Committee members got National
Intelligence Estimates (on AfPak). They represent consensus views of America's
16 intelligence agencies through October 1.
- Senior Pentagon officials called them out of date by
"desk-bound Washington analysts who have spent limited time, if any,
in Afghanistan and have no feel for the war."
- An anonymous official said they lacked "proximity
and perspective," no matter that the above cited Pentagon report tacitly
agreed. Perhaps it's been. H discretely buried to hide how commanders really
feel, especially those on the ground commenting publicly on the war's futility.
- According to Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official, now
a Brookings Institution senior fellow:
- Degrading Taliban fighters, winning the border war, building
an effective Afghan army, and relying on it for success "is not the
optimal solution, obviously....we have to deal with the world we have,
not the world we'd like." We can't change reality on the ground.
- The report also reveals that some Democrats are losing
patience, Rep. Adam Smith (D. WA) saying:
- "You're not going to get to the point where the
Taliban are gone and the border is perfectly controlled."
- He added that increased pressure on Obama will be applied
to end the war, predicting "Democrats in Congress would resist continuing
to spend $100 billion annually" on futility. "We're not going
to be hanging out over there fighting these guys like we're fighting them
now for 20 years."
- In an October 27 BBC interview, former Soviet Union leader,
Mikhail Gorbachev, agreed, saying victory in Afghanistan is "impossible."
Based on his own 1980s experience, he said America's only choice is withdrawal
"no matter how difficult it will be."
- After over nine years, AfPak is another Vietnam, a quagmire
with no conflict end in sight. Frustrated allies announced plans to reduce
forces or leave. Some are gone. On December 4, France's new Defense Minister,
Alain Juppe, called the Afghan war a "trap," saying his government
plans withdrawal. Moreover, polls confirm public opposition at all-time
- A September New America Foundation report said Obama's
counter-insurgency strategy failed. It can't succeed. It's a fool's errand
based on flawed analysis, believing Afghan nation-building can work. The
full report can be accessed through the following link:
- It called nine years of futility not worth "this
level of sacrifice." Staying the present course "threatens long-term
needs and priorities both at home and abroad." Prospects for success
are "dim." Even Henry Kissinger admitted that "Afghanistan
has never been pacified by foreign forces."
- The report added:
- "....the war in Afghanistan has reached a critical
crossroads. Our current path promises to have a limited impact on the civil
war while taking more American lives and contributing to skyrocketing taxpayer
debt. We conclude that a fundamentally new direction is needed (short)
of a military solution in a region where our interests lie in political
- The alternative is protracted unwinnable war. Tried earlier,
bribing Taliban fighters failed. A few hundred at most changed sides. At
the same time, NATO estimates their ranks swelled, reaching a 25,000 force
level last December. Currently it's likely much higher and growing.
- The longer America's genocide persists. The greater the
civilian casualty count. The deeper human misery becomes in a country already
with the world's gravest, the more determination for liberation will grow.
Above all, Pakistanis want cross-border drone attacks stopped and Afghans
want war and occupation ended, the Karzai regime ousted, and new governance
replacing it. Even Taliban rule improves what's now ongoing, a nightmarish
combination of war, occupation, and human suffering.
- A Final Comment
- General David Petraeus, Commander, International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A)
hopes to parlay an AfPak triumph into a successful 2012 presidential bid,
either by portraying defeat as victory or blaming bad Obama policy for
lack of it.
- The "Vietnamistan" reality, however, should
banish him to history's dustbin after prosecution by the International
Criminal Court (ICC). Other administration war criminals also as well as
Bush era ones who lied the nation into war, waged it in violation of US
and international law, and has America bogged down in protracted unwinnable
- Law Professor and international law expert Francis Boyle
- "Obama is most vulnerable on 3 articles of impeachment:
- 1. Escalation of war in Afghanistan;
- 2. Escalation of war into Pakistan; (and)
- 3. Establishing an assassination list for US citizens."
- He like other top past and present officials (including
Pentagon ones) committed grievous crimes of war and against humanity, including
genocide, mostly recently in Iraq, Afghanistan, and increasingly in Pakistan
- the latest confirmation of America's longstanding tradition, a nation
permanently at war. Studying US conflicts since the 1870s, historian Gabriel
Kolko called US power:
- "violen(t), racis(t), repressi(ve) at home and abroad
(as well as) cultural(ly) mendaci(ous)."
- It dates from exterminating Native Americans, enslaving
Black Africans, persecuting the nation's poor, disadvantaged, women and
people of color, as well as a tradition of waging direct and proxy genocidal
- Before his death, historian Howard Zinn accused past
and current leaders of committing "genocide...brutally and purposefully....in
the name of progress (buried) in a mass of other facts, as radioactive
wastes are buried in containers in the earth."
- Millions of lives were lost, an endless toll raging out-of-control
in AfPak. Ending that atrocity and holding culpable officials accountable
would be top priority in any just society. Only America's victims pay.
Its officials, like Richard Holbrooke, are eulogized for services rendered.
- A December 14 Wall Street Journal editorial called him
"a diplomat who never doubted America is a force for good in the world."
A same day New York Times one concurred, saying he was "an iconic
American diplomat (who) never lost his fierce belief in America's goodness
or in its responsibility to make the world a more just place," no
matter how much death and destruction it took to achieve it.
- An honest assessment would call him a destructive force
for imperial gain, responsible for genocidal wars, wanton destruction and
massive human misery. It continues unabated in AfPak, no matter its lawlessness
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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