Told you so 9

Light breaks where no sun shines, as the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas wrote prophetically of the Obama administration’s collective mind when it finally notices the glaring futility of the Afghan campaign.

The Washington Post reports:

The hugely expensive U.S. attempt at nation-building in Afghanistan has had only limited success and may not survive an American withdrawal, according to the findings of a two-year congressional investigation … [It] calls on the administration to rethink urgently its assistance programs as President Obama prepares to begin drawing down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan this summer…

The report, prepared by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Democratic majority staff, comes as Congress and the American public have grown increasingly restive about the human and economic cost of the decade-long war and reflects growing concerns about Obama’s war strategy even among supporters within his party.

[It] describes the use of aid money to stabilize areas the military has cleared of Taliban fighters — a key component of the administration’s counterinsurgency strategy — as a short-term fix … But it says that the enormous cash flows can overwhelm and distort local culture and economies, and that there is little evidence the positive results are sustainable.

Why couldn’t they foresee it? Was there nobody in the White House or the Pentagon or the State Department who could take a long hard look at the Afghans and their “culture” and see how things were and will remain? No economist with six Ivy League degrees who could explain that when poor and primitive people are suddenly showered with money they won’t know what to do with it? –

One example cited in the report is the Performance-Based Governors Fund, which is authorized to distribute up to $100,000 a month in U.S. funds to individual provincial leaders for use on local expenses and development projects. In some provinces, it says, “this amount represents a tidal wave of funding” that local officials are incapable of “spending wisely.” … The fund encourages corruption.

The plan was that the Afghan government would “eventually take over this and other programs” – such as training and making proper use of an army and police force, and spreading literacy, and – Oh, who knows what else – setting up factories to improve and exploit nanotechnology and any number of other cockamamy schemes – but have now discovered to their dismay that the said government “has neither the management capacity nor the funds to do so”. Nor, let it be added, the will and power to change the time-honored custom of corruption.

The report also warns that the Afghan economy could slide into a depression with the inevitable decline of the foreign military and development spending that now provides 97 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

But as the natural state of such an economy is one of depression, that should be nothing for Americans to worry about. True, some Afghans will find to their wonder that they actually miss the Americans and all the military and “development” activity that provided the locals with employment and opportunity for rip-offs and other little treats and luxuries, but they’ll soon get over it as they return to the old ways.

The “single most important step” the Obama administration could take, the report says, is to stop paying Afghans “inflated salaries” — often 10 or more times as much as the going rate — to work for foreign governments and contractors. Such practices, it says, have “drawn otherwise qualified civil servants away from the Afghan government and created a culture of aid dependency.”

Which is something the socialist West has become very good at. And in Afghanistan in particular, the US has outdone itself in lavishing care on the populace regardless of expense, using the military as the care workers.

Even when U.S. development experts determine that a proposed project “lacks achievable goals and needs to be scaled back,” the U.S. military often takes it over and funds it anyway

The report … calls for “a simple rule: donors should not implement [aid] projects if Afghans cannot sustain them.”

If they were really to follow that rule, it would mean no aid money going there at all. So they won’t follow it.

Next come more surprises which should not be surprising from a Senate committee –

Last week, the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan said in a separate report that billions of dollars in U.S.-funded reconstruction projects in both countries could fall into disrepair over the next few years because of inadequate planning to pay for their ongoing operations and maintenance. That report warned that “the United States faces new waves of waste in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Foreign aid expenditures by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan, about $320 million a month, pale beside the overall $10 billion monthly price tag for U.S. military operations. But Afghanistan is the biggest recipient of U.S. aid, with nearly $19 billion spent from 2002 to 2010. Much of that money has been expended in the past two years, most of it in war zones in the south and east of the country as part of the counterinsurgency strategy adopted by Obama just months after he took office.

And all of it wasted in the long view, every penny spent and yet to be spent –

The strategy, devised by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, calls for pouring U.S. development aid into areas that the military has cleared of Taliban fighters to persuade the population to support the Afghan government.

So there are still corners of the collective mind in which the light is not breaking. Why does the good general think that the Taliban won’t come back to the areas it has been cleared away from when the US military care-workers are gone? Why does he or anyone believe that there is any significant difference between the Taliban and the Afghan government?

Anyway, the committee which is about to reveal its unsurprising-surprising report knows the score now, however reluctant it is to admit its findings:

Evidence of successful aid programs based on “counterinsurgency theories” is limited, the Senate committee report says. “Some research suggests the opposite, and development best practices question the efficacy of using aid as a stabilization tool over the long run. The administration is understandably anxious for immediate results to demonstrate to Afghans and Americans alike that we are making progress. … However, insecurity, abject poverty, weak indigenous capacity, and widespread corruption create challenges for spending money.”

In other words, there is no real progress to demonstrate. None that will last even for a season. Just temporary window-dressing here and there at vast expense.

The report is gently but unmistakably critical of the “whole of government” approach implemented by Richard C. Holbrooke, who served as Obama’s special representative for the region until his death in December.

So Holbrooke was the blind man leading the blind in the cerebral dark.

From the beginning the Afghan project was doomed to failure. A tin flashlight of common sense should have made the hopelessness of it plain enough.

Instead the blind men went on waging what is probably the most pointless war in US history. And no doubt more treasure yet will be poured into the black hole of the Afghan corruptocracy, because all US administrations are addicted to giving aid. It is an ineradicable national superstition that aid does material good to the recipient states and “spiritual” good to the American soul. In fact, it does neither. It is simply an added burden on an over-burdened American economy, and some added Os to the totals of the Swiss bank accounts of Third World rulers.

  • Scrims2

    “Light breaks where no sun shines” totally fits here, as Obama, Clinton, and all the rest of them have their heads completely up their asses.  

    • George

        Absolutely !    That also means that the American people have their heads up their a**  as well , considering the fact that they voted these a**holes into office.   What does that say for so many American voters who are so brainwashed ? Fools support fools !

  • TyS

    Did anyone actually think these mongrel animals were capable of developing into anything resembling ‘civilization?’

    As I like to say, “One cannot win the hearts and minds of those who have neither”

    You cannot dress a baboon in a tuxedo and expect it to recite Shakespeare.

    • George

      Your are totally correct TyS. You stole my thunder ( ha ha ) . I could not have said it better.  Why is it that you and I can see this but the general populace can’t ? Are people actually this brainwashed ? Are people actually this stupid ?  These people are not going to change or be reformed.  How can supposedly intelligent people be so gullible to think otherwise ?

      • George

          Hey TyS , a baboon reciting Shakespeare ?   Ha ha ha !!  I like that .  Maybe we can call a baboon reciting Shakespeare —   “Shakesboon” or  ” Baboospeare “.  Yeah–thatta work !

  • Scrims2

    Exactly right.  You can’t take primitive, undeveloped, superstitious people, give them money, and expect them to do anything rational or productive with it. It’s as stupid as jumping into the pool with the polar bear – he is going to eat you- Duh!!!  It’s not only a waste of money, it is aiding our enemies. 

  • Ralph

    Words of wisdom from my grandmother. “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

  • WLIL

    America should look after its own country first. Many of us individuals who have little or just some cash that we managed to earn but no properties had been pandering to people who are more fortunate  than us in the sense that they have  extremely filthy rich leaders, they have properties, they own their businesses, even  though they may be from third  world countries.
    Anyway, it is pointless to help any country who misused their arrogance, who misused their islamic influence or any other religion  or  tribal related ideology,
    or misused their political ideology or misused their overpopulation problems to threaten us individuals.

  • George

     First of all , why are we engaging in nation building in these  Middle Eastern Muslim countries to begin with ?   These people hate Americans , hate our way of life , hate our liberties and freedoms and yet we spend billions of USA dollars rebuilding their nation which we bombed in a war effort. If it’s a war that we are in over there , then they can rebuild their own freakin’ nation.  We Americans are so ingenious when it comes to technology but we are the dumbest , foolish and most stupid fools when it comes to using common sense in national affairs, foreign policy and even protecting our economy and our soverign security.
                         We ship our jobs oversees for cheap labor and then wonder why we have such a high unemployment rate .  We allow so many foreign companies to sell us their cheap products and then put American companies and jobs out of business.  We send money to foreign nations that are run by terrorists and then wonder why we are being attacked by these same individuals.   We vote for individuals who have no experience in running America , don’t stand up for America , capitulate to our open enemies and then wonder why things are in such chaos.  We fund third world  nations ( many who are terrorist run states ) to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars and the cost of three current wars takes us over a trillion dollars in debt and yet America’s economy is in shambles with our unemployment rate and inflation skyrocketing.   Put America first darnit !  I don’t give a rat’s rear end about the economy of these 7th century Islamic nations who overwhelmingly want to take over the world and promote their jihadists movement upon everyone.  Today’s politicians ( all of them ) are the most corrupt people anywhere.  They don’t give a  *&^%$#@!+_)*&^$#@!&^%#!*&#^%$ about America or the  American people but only about themselves , their power and control and their dubious agendas.