Monday, August 31, 2009

We Are All Generals Now

"I saw some fresh figures on 2009 civilian casualties in Afghanistan this week from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). They are, I'm betting, on the generous side both when it comes to counting casualties as 'civilian,' and counting 'civilian casualties' as American-caused. The underreported news is, air strikes in Afghanistan, widely depicted as indiscriminate American causes of Afghan outrage, account for only 20 percent of the total. Suicide attacks and roadside bombs, attributable to jihadists, killed 39 percent. ... Civilian casualties have been widely, if not exclusively, portrayed by US military leadership as the stumbling block to our winning 'hearts and minds'--aka trust--in Afghanistan. Winning 'hearts and minds,' in turn is widely portrayed by US military leadership as the key to victory. A question for our brass: If the Taliban is responsible for disproportionately more casualties that the [US]--and purposely so where ours are inadvertent--shouldn't, by our brass' own reckoning, all those Afghan hearts and minds already belong to us? Could there be something else--such as the Islamic religion--causing Afghans to reject our infidel 'hearts and minds' pathetically pressed on them, along with grotesque sums of money, like hopeless valentines? These are questions the brass can't answer, can't even think about, because the answers would upend America's entire Afghan strategy. ... 'The Afghan people are the reason we're here,' [Stanley] McChrystal explained, weirdly disconnecting the American war machine from national interests", my emphasis, Diana West (DW), 6 August 2009, link:

"'Taliban Now Winning: US Commander in Afghanistan Warns of Rising Casualties.' Thus ran the startling headline on the front-page of the Wall Street Journal. ... Nevertheless, in the eighth year of America's war, the newly arrived field commander conceded that US casualties, now at record levels, will continue to be high or go higher, and that our primary mission is no longer to run down and kill Taliban but to defend the Afghan population. ... The president is now approaching a decision that may prove as fateful for him and his country as was the one made by Lyndon Johnson to send Maries ashore at Da Nang in December 1965. ... And what is so vital to us in that wilderness land worth another eight years of fighting, bleeding and dying, other than averting the humiliation of another American defeat? ... Now, whatever Obama decides, we shall pay a hellish price for the hubris of the nation-builders", orginal italics, Pat Buchanan (PB), 13 August 2009, link:

Amazing. Joo DW has doubts about our Afghan war. No, Stanley can't even think about our Afghan "strategy". There is nothing weird about "disconnecting the American war machine from national interests". It's been that way since Korea. A "CFR-Kennedy School" general like Stanley doesn't care about national interests. DW, well said, "the brass ... can't even think". No, it only parrots others' "magic words".

Yes, PB. Wow. Joo DW and anti-Joo PB seem to be singing the same song. What's going on here? Afghanistan smells more like Vietnam every day. If Stanley had: guts, brains, integrity, concern for his troops and knew military history, he would resign his commission. Immediately. Then tell POTUS Obama he will not oversee killing "his boys" needlessly. Good luck. Hey Stanley, you have 20 years in. What have you to lose? A future Kennedy School professorship? Realize: "our primary mission is ... to defend the Afghan population". Imagine telling George Patton in 1944, "our primary mission is to defend the German people from the Nazis". "Imagine telling Curtis LeMay in 1945, "Our primary mission is to protect the Japanese people from Hirohito". "'A great power does not show strength by dominating or demonizing other countries,' Barack Obama", Newsweek, 20 July 2009. How then, POTUS Obama?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a disaster the Afghan war will be for President Obama's legacy.

He need only look at the fate of Russia there to see what will happen.

He would do best to cut our losses there now and withdraw.

If he continues this senseless war accusations of "establishment creature" will start to have resonance...

Dong... dong... for whom the bell tolls?