Fifteen years ago today, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four American planes, used them as guided missiles, brought down the World Trade Towers, severely damaged the Pentagon, and four terrorists were overpowered by Americans over a field in Pennsylvania. The suicide terrorist attacks killed 2,996, caused more than $100 billion in damages and stole America’s innocence.
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According to a new Pew Research Center poll, the 9/11 attacks continue to be a powerful memory for Americans: 91 percent of adults remember exactly where they were or what they were doing when they heard about the terrorist attacks.
So how has the 15–year “war on terror” changed America? Looking back and forward, can Americans really believe they are safer?
First a bit of history, the “war on terror” rightly started in the tribal nation of Afghanistan. Brand-new President George W. Bush summoned his top advisors to the Oval Office and chose Cofer Black, former CIA whiz, to implement a devastating retaliation for the nearly three thousand deaths. Black offered no mercy and told the rookie president that this effort required a few hundred specially trained military forces, 110 CIA officers, direct firepower, a bunch of money and his plan would end with what Black called – using an old Angola War expression – “when this is all over, the bad guys are going to have flies walking across their eyeballs.”
After 10 weeks, Black and his stealth-fighting machine proclaimed victory. All the Taliban cities, as well as their government, had been toppled.
In a 2013 Men’s Journal interview Black was asked if he briefed the Russians about the impending attack and how the Ruskies responded to his plan. They said, “You’re really going to get the hell kicked out of you.” Black replied, “We’re going to kill them – we’re going to put their heads on sticks… and you know what, the Russians loved it! After the meeting was over, two senior Russian officials, whom I will not name, said to me, ‘Mr. Black, finally America is acting like a superpower!’”
The follow through earned Black and the US the respect that had been sorely lacking.
The success should have ended there. But as we know, it didn’t. Bush ensnared the country into an ill-defined and ill-conceived “war on terror” that continues today.
Whether you agree with the “war on terror” or not, the consequences are very real and very alarming. With the advent of comprehensive counterinsurgency, COIN or nation-building, thanks General Petraeus, the taxpayers have spent trillions of dollars in a region made up of tribal nations.
Case in point, in a recent interview, Commander of Afghanistan US and NATO Forces, General John Nicholson told PBS the war’s progress is tedious. “We’re trying to build an airplane while in flight, OK? So they’re fighting a war while we’re trying to build an army. This is very hard,” he explained.
It must be said that the “war on terror” falls under the asymmetrical category. The sneaky “stateless” armies must be defeated with clear goals and end-state solutions. It’s here where the most powerful armed forces on the planet have stumbled.
In his book the Field of Fight, retired Army three-star General Mike Flynn describes the best way to defeat marauding radical Islamic terrorists. Flynn says to win the battle against radical Islam we must destroy the jihadi armies, kill or capture their leaders, discredit their ideology, create a 21st-century alliance and must hold countries, like Saudi Arabia, accountable for supporting terrorism.
“The best plan gives you the most options at the last possible minute. Right now we don’t have the best plan. A real strategic discussion about what it is that we are trying to achieve. Is it the defeat of radical Islam? It has to be beyond that and that’s where an alliance of nations has to get it together,” Flynn said.
It cost Osama bin-Laden roughly $500,000 to bring down the Twin Towers and Pentagon. In return, the US has suffered tens of thousands of casualties and flushed away trillions of dollars into the Middle East black hole. Plus, hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners have died and more than 12 million of refugees are now stateless. Newt Gingrich said this week the US has failed so badly in the Middle East that we are giving the number one state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, $1.7 billion in cash, just like a drug cartel.
“So 15 years after 9/11, we’re not winning. We’re not winning in Afghanistan. We’re not winning in Iraq. We’re not winning in Syria. We’re not winning in Libya. We’re not winning in Yemen,” Gingrich emphasized (mimicking Donald Trump). He’s right.
One reason for the protracted war may be the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. American arms and technology companies export, firearms, fighter jets, tanks, as well as Patriot Missile batteries.
The big winner in the Department of State’s 2017 budget includes $5.7 billion for Foreign Military Financing. The main recipients of the proposed budget will be Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.3 billion), Jordan ($350 million), Pakistan ($265 million), and Iraq ($150 million).
While the Middle East tops the list, funding for Africa in 2017 will double from last year. Due to ISIS’ expansion into Africa, countries like Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria will see an influx of American weaponry. But why do American leaders want to militarize the African continent? Of course, the prominent argument is; “if the US doesn’t do something then other countries will do it.” However, no other country on the planet finances military sales like the US.
The US and its band of misfit coalition partners have implemented a massive military build-up on the Arabian Peninsula and Israel. Let’s take a look at the military arsenal provided to a few coalition partners, most of which are also classified as human rights violators according to the State Department (link to other FMS article).
For the last three years, the US has provided tens of billions of dollars in military weaponry through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE); population 5.6 million, Qatar; population 2.1 million, Kuwait; population 2.7 million and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA); population 27.3 million.
The US has also provided both offensive and defensive weapon systems – some are designed to protect against airborne missile retaliation and air attacks. For example, the US supplied Qatar ($9.9B), Kuwait ($4.2 billion), and UAE ($1.1B) with Patriot anti-missile systems and UAE also acquired a $6.5B theater anti-air defense (THAAD) system. This type of weaponry typically protects against missile attacks from such weapons as SCUDs and the MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) like the 880 launchers the Islamic Republic of Iran operates. The MLRS has a range of approximately 300 kilometers, making it easily capable of reaching any of the Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and even KSA.
America also sold KSA $6.7 billion worth of KC-130 aerial refueling tankers, the UAE $4 billion and KSA $6.8 billion of munitions including “bunker buster bombs,” (typically used to attack harden targets like nuclear facilities); Qatar a $1.2 billion early warning radar suite; KSA $1.3 billion for 30 patrol boats for use in the Gulf of Hormuz; KSA $4 billion to upgrade its national guard; Qatar spent $3 billion on Apache Longbow attack helicopters used for special operations insertions. The list also includes the Globemaster long-range air transport planes, Javelin missiles, F-18’s and F-16’s, and Sidewinder anti-air missiles.
Also for last few years, the US has been quietly aiding the rebel insurgency in Syria trying to overthrow the Iranian-backed government of Bashir al-Assad. There have been multiple news reports, (including this report) that the US provided weapons collected from deposed Libyan Dictator Qaddafi and moved them through its CIA clearinghouse in Turkey to supply al-Qaeda-linked extremist groups opposing the Assad regime. It’s worth pointing out that both Qatar and KSA have been major supporters of the anti-Assad insurgency that evolved from a national rebellion and morphed into a major jihadi operation.
Details of this massive military build-up can be found on the Department of State (DoS) website. The DoS oversees Government-to-Government defense transfers through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program and is implemented through DoD’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
Interestingly, “(I)n addition to FMS, the Department of State also issues export licenses to US companies providing defense articles and services through our Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) efforts, usually after an intensive interagency review to ensure that exports further US foreign policy and national security interests,” a State Department official said. However, “Export license information is not disclosed by the Department due to restrictions under the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations, but general information is released from DCS.”
According to the State Department, in the case of either FMS or DCS, the United States takes into account political, military, economic, arms control, and human rights conditions in making decisions on the provision of military equipment and the licensing of direct commercial sales to any country, in accordance with the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, the Arms Export Control Act, and relevant international agreements
“Review and monitoring are an integral component of the process for US- origin defense articles delivered to any recipient nation. This is to make sure that those articles are being used in the manner intended and are consistent with our legal obligations, foreign policy goals, and values,” a Senior State Department official said.
And both State and Defense argue that Middle Eastern countries have agreed to work toward US security interests and abide by President Obama’s foreign policy doctrine.
However, looking at the current Middle East conflicts finds every country focused on sectarian protectionism, especially since the Obama administration has seemingly checked out. It is essential that this high-tech arsenal provided to foreign nations by US defense contractors be carefully monitored. The consequences of equipment falling into the wrong hands can be deadly, as it was for flight MH17 in Ukraine.
As the impact of ISIS’ offensive continues to sink in, US intelligence officials contend ISIS did not just randomly explode on the scene in 2014, they claim to have been reporting to high-level government officials the rise as well as the expansion of ISIS since 2012. This murderous organization is largely fueled by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk testified before a Committee claiming, “The ISIS’ operations are calculated, coordinated and part of a strategic campaign led by its Syria-based leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
“This was a very clear case in which the US knew what was going on but followed a policy of deliberate neglect,” said Vali Nasr, the Dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department adviser for the Middle East. During its assault in the region, ISIS received protection from KSA and Qatar. Both nations warned the US not to interfere with ISIS’s march to conquer northwestern Iraq and its turn west toward Syria and Jordan. America obeyed and ISIS gobbled up the region and spoils of war that included American tanks, helicopters, and artillery.
Many military experts said the opportunity to strike ISIS came and went when the 7,500-man Islamic Army crossed the wide-open Damascus-Baghdad Highway.
Military generals said the terror group was vulnerable to air attack with minimal collateral damage concerns. In the end, ISIS got its free passage from Mosul to eastern Syria with US inaction, which was tantamount to acquiescence.
“We oppose all foreign intervention and interference. There must be no meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs, not by us or by the US, the UK or by any other government. This is Iraq’s problem and they must sort it out themselves,” Saudi Prince Mohammed told the UK Telegraph. Just in case that bad intel was on the horizon, the Saudis immediately moved 30,000 combat troops to protect its border with Iraq.
Many Middle East policy experts say the Sunni’s view of ISIS as an Iraqi Sunni revolution against their Shiite oppressors is myopic and portends a broader Islamic war between Sunnis and Shiites.
From the US perspective, the ISIS campaign presents a myriad of conflicts. Qatar and KSA are major recipients of billions of dollars worth of US weapons through FMS, yet their direct support of ISIS, a terrorist group, means Qatar and KSA meet the definition of state sponsors of terrorism and should be banned from participation in the military program. Nevertheless, the end user certificates and export licenses are routinely approved by the State and Defense Departments, including an $11 billion sale to Qatar. (The Pentagon has refused multiple efforts to release the end-user agreements to this reporter as requested under FOIA.)
Furthermore, Qatar, KSA, and Kuwait are listed as Tier 2WL (Watch List) and Tier 3 under U.S. anti-trafficking in humans reports, which require a waiver by President Obama stating the sale is in national security interests. To the outside world, the US ostensibly appears to be violating its own anti-terrorism and anti-trafficking laws to provide sophisticated weapons systems to these human rights violators.
The infusion of military-grade weapons in the region only portends much more war. The war between the Sunnis and Shiites has grown more contentious due to the dysfunction of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 1916. Essentially the Agreement drew a twentieth-century map that granted control of Syria, Lebanon and Turkish Cilicia to the French and Palestine, Jordan and areas around the Persian Gulf, Baghdad to the British. That was followed by the 1919 Paris Peace Conference that outlined a “Kurdistan” as an entity by Şerif Pasha, who represented the Society for the Ascension of Kurdistan (Kürdistan Teali Cemiyeti). That promise was never kept and it’s doubtful the Kurds, who are Caucasian or Indo-European and not Arab, will wait another 100 years to establish their own country, one that will control its destiny through its own oil and revenues from oil pipelines from the Caspian Sea.
The complexity of the middle east today reflects Winston Churchill’s description of Russia in October 1939: “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” Perhaps Russia is the key to the Middle East today.
Neither agreement ever took into account the tribal nature of the region that will continue to dog the Middle East until new maps emerge, or complete Armageddon is achieved. Until that day, America will continue to find itself under the threat of attack from a region that really doesn’t offer the US much. So are we safer after 15 years of war? Stay tuned!
© Copyright 2016 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved
President Obama embarked on a hush-hush journey to his “right” war under the cover of darkness. The Middle East outing commemorated the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. It was just a year ago that Obama gave the once secret Navy SEAL Team Six the green light to complete a daring nighttime mission that ended with two bullets and the demise of America’s most wanted terrorist. Most Americans remember where they were on that fateful Sunday night. Fast-forward a year and Obama has overwhelmingly lost support for the “right” war, signed an executive agreement to remain in Afghanistan through 2024 and will face a skeptical electorate in November questioning the politicization of the war.
President Barack Obama and U.S. anointed Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) that is being described as a legally binding executive agreement. White House officials said, “the President’s goal in negotiating such an agreement has been to define with the Afghan government what’s on the other side of transition and the completed drawdown of U.S. forces.”
However, the vague 10-page “executive” document is light on details and lacks acknowledgement that Karzai’s regime bribed the U.S. government by demanding a $20-40 billion slush fund. Equally as ambiguous is the number of non-combat troops that will stay in the war torn tribal nation, what their role will be and what safety assurances will the Afghan government provide U.S. soldiers to remain until 2024.
It’s no surprise that Obama’s “10-year extension” has met with substantial skepticism from civilians and military alike. Military leaders are criticizing Obama’s lack of leadership, failure to lay out a plan for victory and the uptick of execution-style killings of U.S. troops by the Afghan Security Forces they are training. Today, the administration posed for campaign photos and confirmed its new role to solidify an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, strengthen its sovereignty, stability, prosperity, and contributes to defeating al Qaeda.
“Addressing the viewing public back home, and opening himself up to Republican criticisms of electioneering, Obama said that America’s war of destroying al Qaeda in Afghanistan were nearly achieved,” Army LTC Anthony Shaffer (ret) quipped. In typical Obama arrogance, the President took credit for dismantling al Qaeda’s network. “The goal that I set to defeat al-Qaeda and deny it a base to rebuild is now within reach,” he said at Bagram Air Base.
Military personnel on the ground in Afghanistan took exception to the President’s claims. “First the President’s comments regarding ‘breaking the momentum of the Taliban’ and having al Qaeda nearly defeated is NOT supported by the U.S. intelligence community and current National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan,” LTC Shaffer explained. “The NIE is classified but I have spoken to three people who have read it and while they cannot share the details they have told me the intelligence DOES NOT back up President Obama’s statements this evening.”
Shaffer said many members of Congress have asked that the NIE report be released in order to provide Americans with the “real” conditions in Afghanistan.
“The Director of National Intelligence – Lt. Gen (ret) James R. Clapper denied (Congress’) request and falsely claimed the report includes ‘sources and methods’ that are sensitive for NIE,” Shaffer said. “I’ve worked on NIEs in the past and sources and methods are NEVER included in any NIE because they are given to policy level folks – in other words Clapper lied to Capitol Hill.”
Unfortunately for U.S. forces much of the work they’ve completed will be unraveled upon departure and the Taliban will resume control of the war torn nation.
Shaffer, who penned the non-fiction New York Times bestseller “Operation Dark Heart” explained that al Qaeda is not in Afghanistan and the Obama Administration would be better served to focus on capturing Dr. Zawahiri in Pakistan.
Details included in the 10-page agreement will hamstring U.S. forces Shaffer said. While the Karzai government will take bribery money, they will not allow Americans to use Afghanistan as a base of operations to launch attacks against other nations. In other words, if the President was planning a mission to capture or kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan after 2014, U.S military could not have launched the successful Abbottabad operation, Shaffer concluded.
History in the making…
At the Presidential Palace signing ceremony both Karzai and Obama alluded to the “historic” nature of the SPA agreement. However, the “historic” agreement made by Mr. Obama isn’t without sacrifice and it could be argued that the President has redefined the “war powers’” act by bypassing Congressional approval.
An example of Obama’s interpretation of declaring war was spotlighted when he declared war on Libya, sent U.S. forces on behalf of the French, or more recently directed spec-warfare soldiers to Central Africa for his actor pal George Clooney and unilaterally based F-22 fighters in Yemen.
Obama’s continual snubbing of the required Congressional approval combined with the U.S. legislature’s lack of interest in the Constitution or governing the nation should concern all Americans. Unfortunately, both Congress and the citizenry seem unconcerned with Mr. Obama’s executive rule.
It doesn’t help matters when politicians in both political parties ignore America’s “historic” debt crisis. Last September Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told business executives the biggest threat to national security is the debt time bomb. “I’ve said many times that I believe the single, biggest threat to our national security is our debt, so I also believe we have every responsibility to help eliminate that threat. We must, and will, do our part.”
Those grave economic words have done little to slow the federal government’s drunken sailor spending spree.
Today, the President shirked his fiduciary responsibilities when he offered America’s hard-borrowed cash to the overtly corrupt Afghan Karzai regime (view story on Karzai corruption here). Maybe the taxpayer should ask the President to curtail Air Force One’s carbon footprint and electronically wire-transfer the bribery money directly to Karzai’s Abu Dhabi retirement account.
Good thing the economy has turned around, jobs are plentiful and America no longer needs to borrow money from China! This is fantastic news for the taxpayers and they owe an un-congratulations to President Obama–Osama is dead, the war on terror is over and world peace has finally been achieved.
Obama addresses the soldiers
Marine Gen. John R. Allen commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) U.S. forces in Afghanistan introduced the president to the warriors at Bagram Air Base. The commander informed the troops that the upcoming NATO summit paints a positive picture and their role was critical. Ironically, Gen. Allen claimed the U.S. soldiers’ sacrifice was worth the war.
“When they are in Chicago they are going to celebrate your achievement and they’re going to plan the future of this great cause,” Allen said. Really? A different American commander talked about the reality he sees. “It’s no wonder the average citizen doesn’t have a clue. We can neither afford a 10-year stay or a one-year stay or even a six-month stay. We (the troop’s) moral are not going to make it.”
Even with all the classified intelligence at the Commander in Chief’s disposal, Obama seems unconcerned with war fatigued U.S. soldiers and missing endgame rule book.
Instead when the President addressed the soldiers he highlighted Afghanistan’s transition to leadership: “We’re not going to do it overnight. We’re not going to do it irresponsibly. We’re going to make sure that the gains, the hard fought gains that have been made are preserved but the reason we are able to do that is because of you.”
“We did not choose this war this war came to us on 9/11. We don’t go looking for a fight but when we see our homeland violated, when we see our fellow citizens killed then we understand what we have to do and because of the sacrifices now of a decade—a new greatest generation—not only were we able to blunt the Taliban’s momentum, not only were we able to drive Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, but slowly and systematically we have been able to decimate the ranks of al Qaeda and a year ago we were finally able to bring Osama bin Laden to Justice,” the President insisted.
Details of the Strategic Partnership Agreement
The U.S. claims to recognize progress during the past 10 years, and according to White House officials the Strategic Partnership Agreement includes mutual commitments for both countries. They include protecting and promoting shared democratic values, advancing long-term security, reinforcing regional security and cooperationsocial and economic development, strengthening Afghan institutions and governance.
The U.S. cost for the bi-lateral 10-year extension will cost taxpayers billions of dollars and offer no guarantees that Afghanistan will remain free from Taliban/extremist barbaric policies.
“Western officials argued for months that the first demand was not practical and the second could undermine the military effort, but eventually agreed compromises on both,” according to a story in the UK Guardian. “Washington and its allies wanted to have the US-Afghan strategic partnership agreed before a major NATO conference to be held later this month in Chicago where members of the alliance are expected to pledge long-term help to Kabul with finances and military training.”
Yes it’s true, President Barack Obama arrived in Afghanistan under cover of darkness… the unknown freshman Senator from Chicago arrived in America shrouded in secrecy and once he reached the Oval office his first official presidential act was signing an executive order sealing his history, and essentially lock boxing his official records. Why the secrecy? Why the war?
To read more about Afghanistan:
Afghanistan War lingers- military deception for political expediency
Afghan War ain’t about hearts and minds- ‘just win baby’ (http://www.examiner.com/article/afghan-war-ain-t-about-hearts-and-minds-…
Part five -http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/obama-begins-…
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak
© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
Afghan War ain’t about hearts and minds – ‘just win, baby’ Continue reading on Examiner.com Afghan War ain’t about hearts and minds – ‘just win, baby
Following the U.S. Army’s Counterinsurgency Manual, U.S. and NATO forces have sought to win the “hearts and minds” of the Afghani populace as the cornerstone to winning the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban. However, as Americans learned with prior counterinsurgencies in Vietnam and Iraq, the “hearts and minds” strategy is unwinnable when employed by a third party intervener (US and NATO). When the host populace distains its own government they turn their displeasure to the occupier and mar any chance at victory. Unfortunately for Americans, that is precisely what is unfolding in Afghanistan.
“Even when the U.S. and allied militaries are able, together with Afghan forces, to wrest control of an area away [sic] from the Taliban, violence continues as Afghans frustrated by the absence of accountable government and rule of law rebel against the civilian authorities,” (Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan: Explaining the Absence of Victory, Andrew M. Exum (2011) p.7).
Warring nations date back to the oldest civilizations and historians have written volumes of wisdom about the brutality of war. Regrettably, Afghanistan has been embroiled in war throughout most of its turbulent history.
Prussian militarist, von Clausewitz wrote that war is the final act of diplomacy in that its purpose is to break the will of the enemy to resist (aka destroy his means of resistance) and force your will upon him. And of course Sun Tzu says, war must not be entered lightly but requires deliberation and that “victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
With these resounding words of historic wisdom, modern day military thinkers claim a kinder- gentler- war is possible. The Geneva Conventions (1864-1949) have attempted to make war more civilized theorizing nations could reduce civilian casualties and property damage in the quest to fight a more humane war.
It hasn’t worked. War is still brutal. Soldiers and civilians are killed, and property is damaged. The bitter, enduring 10-year Middle East War has claimed nearly 8,000 U.S. military lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. Perhaps more importantly, it’s the war’s elusive and amorphous goals that have lost American “hearts and minds.”
Many Americans would rather follow the words of football great, Al Davis, and “just win, baby.”
A recent CNN poll reflects 75 percent of the American people do not support a sustained war effort in Afghanistan. “We cannot fight wars by polls,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta implored. “If we do that we’re in deep trouble. We have to operate based on what we believe is the best strategy to achieve the mission that we are embarked on. And the mission here is to safeguard our country by ensuring that the Taliban and al Qaeda never again find a safe haven in Afghanistan.”
This argument is markedly harder to defend with only 25 percent of Americans supporting the decade-long wars. However, the commitment to further military action takes more twisted turns since the recent Quran burnings and the alleged Afghan massacre by a U.S. soldier. Now, U.S. appointed Afghan President Hamid Karzai called American warriors murderers, demons, and demanded American soldiers return to their bases.
Another aspect of concern for war-weary Americans is the capital cost caused by worn equipment (the fine dust-like sand speeds up the deterioration of all equipment) coupled with fatigue on soldiers who serve multiple-tours spurring the beating of the “peace” drums.
Russia knows best?
Perhaps the American military should be wary of Russia’s Afghanistan recommendations. (Their protracted 10-year war in Afghanistan during the 70-80s, bankrupted their country, creating internal political turmoil that resulted in the dissolution of the Soviet Union.)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently said, “there are still security threats to be eliminated in Afghanistan, stressing that the U.S. troops must fulfill their UN mandate in the region before they pull out in 2014,” according to the Voice of Russia. “Moreover, the U.S. can’t just slip out of Afghanistan now, because otherwise Taliban would triumphantly return and topple the Karzai government, turning the country into another Vietnam for Washington. The only difference is that in 1975 Vietnam was taken over by a force, controlled by the USSR and operating under the agreed rules. The ‘Taliban Renaissance’ would mean the rise of a force, totally alien to all sides of the conflict, and an unpredictable outcome for the region.”
Considering all these facts, it’s no wonder the American population is questioning President Obama’s 2014 exit strategy from the “Right War.” Behind the scenes, some Pentagon insiders are quietly voicing their concerns regarding the Administration’s 2014 troop withdrawal and theorize that the extraction of military personnel will beat the 2014 timeline.
What is America’s end game strategy?
Any successful war effort requires substantial planning, strategizing and many contingency plans. The heartbeat for America’s national security takes place at the Pentagon. The “end-state” is always the first act of planning military operations. It is here the military leaders plan and set goals for generals and admirals to implement, and weigh any resource or territorial constraints.
When the Administration’s leadership is asked about the end-state for the Middle East Wars, a myriad of conflicting answers spring forth.
Before becoming the CIA’s top-spook, Gen. David Petraeus was commander of NATO in Afghanistan. Even Gen. Petraeus has trouble explaining to Congress what the end of the war would look like. Suggesting “we are after what is, in a sense, good enough for Afghanistan.” Gen. Patraeus’ testimonial to Washington double-speak is even more extraordinary since he wrote the U.S. Army manual on Counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare and spent most of his career in special operations. Surely he must know what the objectives are, how we seek to attain them, and when they will be attained.
Another problem with Gen. Patraeus’ COIN strategy of winning “hearts and minds” are the problems associated with a government trying to retain power or prevent an insurgent coup d’état. Once a host nation invites foreign troops (read: American forces) to suppress the insurgency, the new focus becomes the foreign occupiers.
So, any foreign military campaign that chooses the “hearts and minds” war model is doomed at the outset. As von Clausewitz observed, war is about killing the enemy and destroying his will to resist.
Furthermore, Andrew M. Exum of the Institute of France Relations International wrote specifically about Amerca’s “hearts and minds” strategy. “Abstract: The counterinsurgency campaign seeks to create a space for the development of political solutions leading to peace. The means granted to Afghanistan have been weakened by the priority given to Iraq. Pakistani support for Afghan insurgents continues. The weakness of the Afghan government prevents it from distributing and fully exploiting international aid effectively. All these problems largely explain the failure of creating circumstances conducive to ending the war.”
The “hearts and minds” strategy also carries a hefty price tag.
According to the State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan, the foreign aid dispensed last year to Afghanistan amounted to $320 million each month, and the monthly military tab is approximately $10 billion. Other money earmarked for the corrupt Karzai government is a $19 billion slush fund that is included in the U.S. aid package most of it coming under the Obama Administration for its counterinsurgency operations.
Last week Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC), asked the International Security Assistance Forces Commander in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General John Allen, at a House Armed Services hearing when Americans and the Congress can expect an end to the increasingly unpopular war.
“As we are spending $10 billion a month that we can’t even pay for, the Chinese, Uncle Chang is lending us the money to pay for (what) we’re spending in Afghanistan,” Jones asked. “What’s the metric? When does Congress have the testimony that someone will say, we have done all we can do? Bin Laden is dead. There are hundreds of tribes in Afghanistan and everyone has their own mission.”
Unfortunately, Lt. Gen. Allen did not have an answer for the Congressman.
“I wish I could tell you that this war was simple and that progress could easily be measured, but that’s not the way of counterinsurgencies,” Allen responded. “They are fraught with both successes and setbacks which can exist in the same space and in the same time. But each must be seen in the larger context of the overall campaign. And I believe the campaign is on track.”
However, 75 percent of Americans and many military theorists disagree and believe the Karzai government has provided the American military with a quicker exit strategy.
Even the Taliban seeks a NATO/U.S. exit strategy; “The Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend all talks with Americans taking place in Qatar onwards until the Americans clarify their stance on the issues concerned and until they show willingness in carrying out their promises instead of wasting time,” A Taliban statement read. The group also referred to the Karzai government as an American “stooge.” The Taliban further stated “it was due to their (Americans) alternating and ever changing position that the Islamic Emirate was compelled to suspend all dialogue with the Americans.”
Afghanistan is of no strategic or tactical importance to America. Its only export is poppies that are used to manufacture heroin and America already imports heroin from the Mexican drug cartels through the porous southern U.S. border.
Are Americans’ concerned about the “soft-underbelly” of Russia a cold war adversary and future hegemonic threat? Are Americans’ so concerned the Sunni/Wahhabi Muslim fundamentalists will expand into the Shia Crescent and threaten our dear friends in Iran? Or are we worried the stability of America’s great ally Pakistan may be threatened by Afghani incursions from the lawless areas of Waziristan?
Last year this reporter published a five part series highlighting the corruption of Afghanistan’s President “Karzai’s cronies,” American implementation of a Sharia Constitution for the tribes of Afghanistan and protection money that America pays its (Taliban/al Qaeda) enemies for the “safe passage” of U.S. convoys. The money these war-profiteers shakedown from the U.S. military is then used to arm and enrich the terrorists’ coffers and produce “bumper crops” of poppies to sell to drug cartels that destroy America’s youth through addiction. (Click on link Part one–Part two– Part three–Part four–Part five)
When will President Obama and members of Congress set aside the politicization of everything Washington for a moment and make the right MORAL judgment in an effort to end the loss of American lives? Ending the war is as easy as, stopping future deployments of troops to Afghanistan, ending the combat operations, bringing the soldiers home and giving them the parades, respect and honor their personal sacrifice deserves.
History often provides a suitable barometer for predictions of future events. With that in mind, President Ronald Reagan might have said these wise words regarding the Afghanistan War, “Mr. Obama, tear down this façade.”
Part five -http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/obama-begins-to-wind-down-the-costly-war-afghanistan-final-a-series
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