Diana West, writing a column in the form of an open letter to General David Petraeus, suggests that he should be “testifying before the American people” about “national scandals” which, she accuses him, “you have so far successfully left in your dust”.
The scandals she means are:
Lying to the House Intelligence Committee about Benghazi twice; causing death and dismemberment of U.S. forces by directing them to walk the IED-packed roads of Afghanistan as part of a counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy to win Afghans’ trust; and your see-no-Islam COIN strategy itself.
And she asks him to –
Take that apparently bulletproof reputation of yours and use it to seek clemency for the so-called Leavenworth 10.
The Leavenworth 10? She explains:
This tag refers to a group of American soldiers now serving long prison terms mainly at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for crimes committed on your COIN battlefield in Iraq, and also Afghanistan. Across time and space, from desks in orderly offices peering into ghastly battlefields, obsessed military prosecutors have been able to see murder and even premeditated murder in the eyes of these soldiers who were blinded by the densest fog of war.
Since it was you who ordered these young men into the hostile urban combat zones in Iraq to win hearts and minds, since it was you who set them up, unable to tell friend from foe, to earn trust and confidence amid hostile outposts in Afghanistan, it should now be you who leads them out of their living hells. Long after the U.S. government has released tens of thousands of insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan — including Hezbollah mastermind Musa Daqduq, for example — it is time for you, the leading general in these wars, to declare that these young Americans, these American prisoners of COIN, have been punished enough.
She goes on to cite some of the Leavenworth 10 in particular – what they’re accused of, the draconian punishments they’ve been sentenced to endure:
I refer, for example, to 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, the elite Army Ranger whose last-ditch interrogation of an al-Qaida terrorist ended when, as forensic evidence indicates, he killed the detainee he was questioning in self-defense. Michael has served roughly four years behind bars, but that’s only a dent in his 15-year sentence.
There is Pvt. Corey Clagett, the most junior and the only imprisoned member of an Army squad implicated in following direct orders to shoot captured Iraqi insurgents in Operation Iron Triangle. Corey was sentenced to 18 years; cruelly and unusually, he has already spent nearly seven years in solitary confinement.
There is Sgt. Evan Vela, the first-tour Army sniper whose commander ordered him to kill a captured Iraqi struggling to blow the squad’s cover behind enemy lines. He was sentenced to 10 years.
There is also Sgt. Derrick Miller, an Army National Guard veteran of Afghanistan, who, during a harsh interrogation, killed in self-defense an Afghan who had penetrated his squad’s defensive perimeter. He received life in prison, with the possibility of parole in 10 years.
There are more such men whose names you should know — Marine Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins (sentenced to 11 years), Army Master Sgt. John Hatley (sentenced to 40 years) — whose tragic stories should in truth keep you awake at night …
All of these young Americans marched into the crosshairs of COIN, the place where your hearts and minds strategy blew up, the place where living among, loving, respecting and bribing Iraqis and Afghans according to COIN’s see-no-Islam tenets became life-or-death propositions. These men managed to stay alive. According to COIN, that’s their main offense.
She asks him to plea for clemency for them.
As he hopes for forgiveness for himself, he should – we agree – want it for these men who are – yes – the victims of his misguided, even absurd policy, best summed up as a redirection of the American military in chaotic Iraq and savage Afganistan to act as an army of social workers rather than as warriors.
The tide may be turning in Syria, because the rebels are newly equipped with what are called MANPADS – shoulder-carried anti-aircraft weapons. Until now Assad’s forces were stronger than the rebels because they could strike unimpeded from the skies. Now their planes and helicopters are under threat, and a plane and a helicopter have been brought down by a MANPAD. (See also here and here.)
Where did the MANPADS come from? From Turkey, certainly. But Turkey does not make them. (Nor does Qatar, the alleged source of some of them.)
They come from Libya. They were part of Gaddafi’s arsenal. They were shipped from Benghazi to Turkey, and on to Syria and the rebel fighters.
The transfer of arms was done secretly by a CIA operation in Benghazi, overseen by Ambassador Stevens. He was almost certainly discussing another shipment of arms from Libya to Turkey with the Turkish consul a few hours before an al-Qaida-associated gang attacked his mission station and murdered him.
As so often, they are lying. The US is arming the rebels, including al-Qaida contingents. This is the guilty secret (or one of the guilty secrets) the Obama administration is trying to hide by distracting attention away from the atrocious Benghazi fiasco itself and on to side issues like Susan Rice’s false narrative, and General Petraeus’s adultery.
Diana West asks the important questions about the disaster of Benghazi:
Who came up with the administration plan to discard early intelligence confirming the U.S. had sustained an al-Qaida-linked terrorist attack in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11, and to seize on a lie blaming a YouTube video for the attack? Who got everyone — White House, State, CIA (but not, it seems, Defense) — on board? After the president addressed the United Nations on Sept. 25 (citing the video six times), the false video narrative peters out. Who called the whole thing off?
Speaking of the president’s U.N. address — notorious for declaring, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” — who wrote it? Its underlying message that “slander” (read: free speech) of Islam causes violence dovetails neatly with the Istanbul Process, an Obama administration initiative to prohibit and even criminalize speech critical of Islam. The initiative is spearheaded by Hillary Clinton in conjunction with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an Islamic bloc of 56 nations, plus the Palestinian Authority.
President Obama stated to an outside-the-Washington-Beltway reporter that “the minute” he found out what was happening in Benghazi, he sprang into action. “Number one,” the president said, “make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to do.” Did Obama, in fact, issue such an order? If so, it appears to have been ignored. Shouldn’t someone be fired for insubordination? If no U.S. military assets were available — a big “if” for the sake of argument — why weren’t NATO allies such as Turkey or Britain called on to help? What exactly was the president doing during the eight-hour span of the terror attack?
On Sept. 9 and again on Sept. 10, a YouTube video featuring al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was posted online. In it, Zawahiri exhorted Libyans to attack Americans in revenge for the killing of al-Qaida senior leader Abu Yahya al-Libi. The CIA and other intelligence agencies appear to have ignored this video entirely. Why?
Why was the United States in Benghazi relying on Libyan jihadists for security? This is where we might pick up on the Arab Spring trail the Obama administration followed to this whole disaster. For example, the small CIA contingent that flew in to Benghazi in the wee hours of Sept. 12 was “aided” (delayed) on arrival by Libya Shield. Not only did this militia fight in the Libyan revolution under the black flag of al-Qaida, but U.S. government analysts believe its leader, Wissam bin Hamid, a jihadist veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, may be the leader of al-Qaida in Libya.
What was the Benghazi mission (it did not function as a consulate) doing there in the first place? Troubling reports indicate the U.S. presence in Benghazi may have been part of a secret CIA operation to run weapons to Syria’s anti-Assad rebel forces, which, as was the case with Libya’s anti-Gadhafi forces, include a heavy contingent of jihadist actors seeking to spread Shariah (Islamic law). Was the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens, previously point man to jihadists in Libya, party to this unauthorized operation?
Notice I haven’t even mentioned Petraeus’ affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. While not altogether unimportant, it is a distraction from weightier matters. For example: How can David Petraeus lie to Congress — a felony — and get away with it?
Ask President Obama.
Another question needing to be asked: why is Obama supporting the Syrian rebels? There is no reason to expect that, if they win, a more savory regime will supplant Assad. Assad is nasty. So were Mubarak and Gaddafi. But the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida are worse. And it will be the likes of the MB and al-Qaida that will, in all probability, come to power in Syria if Assad falls.
To this last question we have an answer. Obama likes the Muslim Brotherhood. He is helping them consolidate their power in Egypt and the Middle East generally – and also to advance their agenda within the United States.
Counting on a blindness, ignorance and gullibility he assumes (not groundlessly) in the American public, Obama is using his power stealthily to advance Islam’s mission of jihad.
Here are just some of the questions hanging in the air over the Obama administration, whose hands are soaked with the American blood shed in Benghazi, about the Generals in Disgrace Affair. They are by Victor Davis Hanson, and we take them from The Corner of the National Review:
How can some individual just call up an FBI friend (?) and thereby instigate an FBI investigation?
That is what Jill Kelley, now said to have been in an intimate relationship with General John Allen, did. Why did she do it?
It seems she is in serious debt, and may have hoped to launch a scandal in order to make money from the media.
How can a Florida socialite by any stretch of the imagination merit a vast e-mail correspondence with the nation’s highest ranking warriors entrusted to conduct our most critical struggles?
Because corruption has become normal.
What in the world is an “honorary consul general” and who extends such Alice Through the Looking Glass titles?
That’s what she called herself, and on the strength of the self-awarded title asked the FBI for diplomatic protection.
How can a Ph.D. candidate, without any journalistic or historical credentials, become the public face of a four-star general and be privy to information to the point of hitting the lecture circuit to pontificate about a CIA annex in Benghazi? How did an early-middle-aged married mother of two suddenly morph into a court biographer who lectured on everything from military practice to leadership to national-security challenges?
This refers of course to Paula Broadwell, who was not a writer but has her name on the biography (actually penned, we surmise, by her “co-author” Vernon Loeb) of General Petraeus. Our suggestion: She didn’t get close to the General because she was writing his biography; she thought up the idea of “writing” his biography as a pretext for staying close to him.
We are not outraged by adultery. As the schoolboy said, the lifelong marriage of one man with one woman is called monotony.
We are outraged by what Obama, Hillary Clinton, General Petraeus, Leon Panetta and Co allowed to happen, or caused to happen in Benghazi. The divers devious divas who play their parts in the spectacle of corruption merely decorate the stage.
We await the day of judgment on the Benghazi disaster – but not with high hopes that justice will be done.
It is certain* that General David Petraeus, as head of the CIA, lied to the nation about the armed attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans on 9/11/12. General Petraeus has now resigned, citing an adulterous love affair – not participation in a cover-up – as a moral lapse so grievous that it renders him unfit for high office.
In our judgment – and we are always and insistently judgmental – lying to the nation is a far worse moral offense than adultery. We would like to think that General Petraeus is of the same opinion.
The Obama administration has woven a tangled web of lies about the military defeat of the United States by Arab Muslims in Libya. Now they are desperately trying to cover up not only the truth but the lies as well. Ever more tangled the web becomes. So far, two Generals and an Admiral, all men of distinction and honor (see our posts Yet more about Benghazi – but still not enough, October 31, 2012, and Admiral fired in storm over Benghazigate?, October 31, 2012), have been entangled in it and brought down. Will the incredible luck that has sustained Obama throughout his political life keep him yet again from the disgrace he deserves?
We found that our suspicions about what might be the far more scandalous truth behind General Petraeus’s resignation are shared by Paul A. Rahe, who writes at his website Ricochet:
Here is what I wonder. Did David Petraeus allow himself to be blackmailed by the minions of Barack Obama?
The testimony Petraeus gave Congress on Benghazi shortly after the assassination of our ambassador to Libya was a restatement of the patently false narrative foisted on the country by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their underlings — to wit, that the assault on the American consulate was a spontaneous demonstration in reaction to [an anti-Islam] Youtube video.
Petraeus had to know better. The Benghazi bungle took place on the anniversary of 9/11. There was plenty of intelligence available to Petraeus prior to the event suggesting that Al Qaeda was becoming a real force in the region, and the e-mails that the CIA sent the White House at the time indicate that the folks in the agency knew within hours that the attack had been carefully planned and knew who in Benghazi was responsible.
So why did a man always known for his honor and integrity go before a Congressional committee and lie through his teeth? If Washington were Chicago, we would know the answer. Blackmail is, in Chicago, standard operating procedure. Is Washington now Chicago? Is Petraeus leaving office a disgraced and broken man because one act of dishonor and betrayal led him to commit another far more shameful?
I hope not. I greatly admire the man. … But I, nonetheless, have to ask, “Why did Petraeus lie?” And given the fact that the lie was part of a preposterous narrative being peddled by a President who knew that the truth might well be fatal to his reelection — and who depended on his lies being echoed by a pliable, servile press — I have to ask, “How did they get an honorable man to disgrace himself so utterly?”
If this line of questioning makes sense, then we have to entertain the possibility that David Petraeus is resigning because doing what he did in his testimony to Congress is distasteful in a fashion that a man of his mettle cannot long bear.
Congress should not let this pass. David Petraeus should be made to testify about Barack’s Benghazi Bungle. We have a right to know the truth. We had a right to know it well before the 6th of November. We now have a right to know why we were denied the truth.
Let’s conjecture that the Obama gang feared that the General would tell the truth when called to testify before Congressional inquiries next week. Obviously the head of the CIA is an indispensable witness when a CIA mission was one of the targets in Benghazi and two of its men were killed. “So,” think the stoats and weasels in the White House, “let’s quickly get rid of the man who might reveal all that we’re trying to cover up – our incompetence, our callousness, our weakness, our bad judgment, our illicit dealings, our treachery – and stick another man in who will lie for us. Now on what grounds can we demand General Petraeus’s resignation? Well, there’s that love affair we know of. We’ll get him to say he’s so overcome by remorse for that he feels he must ask to be let go.”
Why does the General agree to do it? It’s another lie, even though the fact of the affair (finished some time ago) is true. Let’s say he goes along with the new deception in order to be free to tell the truth. But will he tell the truth now as a private citizen? According to some media reports he will not be testifying before the closed-door Democrat-dominated Senate Intelligence Committee next week; the new conniving head of the CIA will be doing so in his stead.
But it is a different story with the Republican-dominated House whose inquiry into the Benghazi affair starts on Thursday. CNN reports:
Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King, who is also a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s handling of the September 11, 2012, attacks in Libya that killed four Americans including diplomat Chris Stevens. …
King said … that Petraeus is “an absolutely essential witness, maybe more than anybody else.”
“David Petraeus testifying has nothing to do with whether or not he’s still the CIA director, and I don’t see how the CIA can say he’s not going to testify,” King said. “I think his testimony is … certainly necessary … He was at the center of this and he has answers that only he has.”
If Petraeus does not testify as originally scheduled on Thursday, King said, “It should be very soon after that.”
When he does, if he tells the truth regardless of the consequences to the Obama administration or his own reputation, he will go a long way towards redeeming that reputation. If he shirks it, or endorses the administration’s lies yet again – great general though he is and deserving of all honor for his exceptional service to his country – his good name will be tarnished beyond redemption.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who glibly stated that she “accepted responsibility” for what happened in Benghazi, is reported to have “turned down an invitation to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee next Thursday on the Benghazi attack”.
Note added 11/13/12. Go here to see what she will be doing that she considers more important than attending the inquiry into Benghazigate.
*We were wrong. There is no certainty about this. See the comment below by Loretta Landrum Richey 11/13/12.
Needless to say, the poster above is addressed to Obama. Aptly.
To add to the information we have posted (see for instance immediately below) on the subject of the Benghazi betrayal, here are some new and interesting items from an article by Arnold Ahlert.
General Carter Ham, top commander in Africa, tries to defy an order not to respond to request for help from Benghazi, and is instantly fired:
The decision to stand down as the Benghazi terrorist attack was underway was met with extreme opposition from the inside. The Washington Times‘s James Robbins, citing a source inside the military, reveals that General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command, who got the same emails requesting help received by the White House, put a rapid response team together and notified the Pentagon it was ready to go. He was ordered to stay put. “His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow,” writes Robbins. “Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.”
Did General Petraeus have anything to do with refusing to send help?
A spokesperson, “presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus,” released the following statement: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.”
Ambassador Stevens was not only sending arms to jihadists already fighting in Syria, he was also actively recruiting jihadists to go there. He was riding the tiger!
“Egyptian security officials” revealed that Ambassador Christopher Stevens “played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.” Stevens was reportedly a key contact for Saudi Arabian officials, who wanted to recruit fighters from North Africa and Libya, and send them to Syria by way of Turkey. The recruits were ostensibly screened by U.S. security organizations, and anyone thought to have engaged in fighting against Americans, including those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, were not sent to engage Assad’s regime. Yet … reality is far different. The rebels the administration armed to fight Gaddafi, as well as those we may have armed to fight Assad, do include al-Qaeda members, and fighters from other jihadist groups as well.
Yes, Stevens worked with men who later killed him:
Business Insider reveals ”there’s growing evidence that U.S. agents – particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens – were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels”, and that, beginning in March 2011, Stevens was “working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens’ life.” In November 2011, the Daily Telegraph reported that “Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, ‘met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey,’ said a military official working with Mr Belhadj.”
Stevens’s death did not stop the flow of arms from Libya to Turkey destined for Syria which he had helped to organize. Most of the weapons had come originally from the erstwhile Soviet Empire in Eastern Europe:
Three days after the attack in Benghazi, it was revealed that ”a Libyan ship carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria…has docked in Turkey,” with a cargo that “weighed 400 tons and included SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.” Business Insider speculates the weapons came “most likely from Muammar Gaddafi’s stock of about 20,000 portable heat-seeking missiles – the bulk of them SA-7s – that the Libyan leader obtained from the former Eastern bloc.” The Insider then reaches a devastating conclusion. “And if the new Libyan government was sending seasoned Islamic fighters and 400 tons of heavy weapons to Syria through a port in southern Turkey – a deal brokered by Stevens’ primary Libyan contact (meaning Belhadj) during the Libyan revolution – then the governments of Turkey and the U.S. surely knew about it.”
What other conclusion is possible? A US ambassador doesn’t make a massive interference in the affairs of foreign countries without his government knowing what he’s doing. His mission is to implement his government’s policy by whatever means it instructs him to use. That was what the Banghazi mission was chiefly established for:
Far from just a diplomatic mission in Libya, the evidence suggests that one of the explicit functions of the U.S. “consulate” was to oversee the transfer of Libyan weapons from the Gaddafi regime’s stockpile … to the opposition in Syria.
Who would have given the direct order – presumably handed down in the first place from the Commander-in-Chief – for summarily replacing General Carter Ham with his second in command? Would it be the Defense Secretary?
It was Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who announced General Ham’s replacement – as quietly as he could, in the stealthy mode that characterizes all releases of information about the Benghazi disaster.
James S. Robbins at the Washington Times, quoted by Arnold Ahlert above, further reports:
On October 18, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appeared unexpectedly at an otherwise unrelated briefing on “Efforts to Enhance the Financial Health of the Force.” News organizations and CSPAN were told beforehand there was no news value to the event and gave it scant coverage. In his brief remarks Mr. Panetta said, “Today I am very pleased to announce that President Obama will nominate General David Rodriguez to succeed General Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command.” This came as a surprise to many, since General Ham had only been in the position for a year and a half. The General is a very well regarded officer who made AFRICOM into a true Combatant Command after the ineffective leadership of his predecessor, General William E. “Kip” Ward. Later, word circulated informally that General Ham was scheduled to rotate out in March 2013 anyway, but according to Joint doctrine, “the tour length for combatant commanders and Defense agency directors is three years.” Some assumed that he was leaving for unspecified personal reasons.
On October 25 Panetta had this to say:
The basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place. And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.
James Robbins comments:
The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.
General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command. …
This version of events contradicts Mr. Panetta’s October 25 statement that General Ham advised against intervention. …
He conjectures further:
Maybe Ham attempted to send a reaction force against orders, or maybe he simply said the wrong thing to the wrong people. Perhaps he gave whomever he was talking to up the chain a piece of his mind about leaving Americans to die when there was a chance of saving them. At the very least U.S. forces might have made those who killed our people pay while they were still on the scene. The Obama White House is famously vindictive against perceived disloyalty – the administration would not let Ham get away with scolding them for failing to show the leadership necessary to save American lives. The Army’s ethos is to leave no man behind, but that is not shared by a president accustomed to leading from that location.
Loyal Leon Panetta is walking the razor’s edge between the truth and the Obama version of it.
Guardedly, with hooded eyes, Panetta answered an unwelcome question by declaring – two weeks or so after the the Benghazi disaster – that “it was a terrorist attack because a group of terrorists obviously conducted that attack.”
So according to the Defense Secretary an attack must be identified as a terrorist attack if terrorists carry it out. Reason would make the case the other way about: if a terrorist attack takes place, you can then rightfully call the attackers “terrorists”. Panetta’s way, if the attack had been mounted by say the Libyan police force, it would not have been a terrorist attack even if they used the method of terrorism.
And let’s look again at the other statement that emerged from this verbal acrobat’s mouth, about why no help was sent to the Americans in peril – a statement that we know contained at least one lie:
The basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place. And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.
That’s a basic principle of armies, or just of the US army? That you don’t deploy “into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on”? Isn’t it enough to know that it’s harm’s way? How much does a fighting force need to know about an armed attack before it can act in defense? In other words, what is an army for? (Yes, yes, we know that in Afghanistan US armed forces were compelled to do social work, but that hasn’t become the official job description – yet.)
And there’s another lie Panetta told, about not having “some real-time information about what’s taking place”. Masses of information was pouring into Washington – as well as reaching General Ham somewhere in Africa – from the CIA center itself right from the very beginning of the onslaught, and also from a drone overhead starting soon after it began.
When will we learn the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Probably never. The investigating committee set up by Obama cannot be relied on to reveal it.
But lots of individuals know parts of the story. Will some of them speak?
General Ham has been removed from his command, but he is still alive and still has the power of speech. Our hope is that he will come forward and tell what he knows.
American soldiers are suffering horrific life-ruining injuries in Afghanistan because of a stupid directive issued by General Petraeus, who dreams ridiculously that their obedience to it will transform Afghanistan into Martha’s Vineyard (so to speak).
This is from Townhall by Diana West:
Only the U.S. military could build a defensive wall of words — “dismounted complex blast injury” (DCBI) — around the bare fact that single, double, triple, even quadruple amputations are up sharply among U.S. forces on foot patrol in Afghanistan. So are associated pelvic, abdominal and genital injuries according to a newly released report.
Even the antiseptic language of the report is excruciating, as when it calls for “further refinement” of “aggressive pain management at the POI (point of injury),” or highlights the need to train more military urologists in “phallic reconstruction surgery.” …
These grievous injuries have increased because more U.S. forces are on foot patrol in Afghanistan. More Americans are on foot patrol in Afghanistan because counterinsurgency strategy puts them there. … The Associated Press account is typical: “The counterinsurgency tactic that is sending U.S. soldiers out on foot patrols among the Afghan people, rather than riding in armored vehicles, has contributed to a dramatic increase in arm and leg amputations, genital injuries and the loss of multiple limbs following blast injuries.”
But what exactly this counterinsurgency (COIN) tactic is designed to accomplish remains off the radar. The fact is, Uncle Sam is asking young Americans to risk limbs, urinary function and testicles to win something not only intangible but also fantastical. They walk the bomb-packed byways of Afghanistan to win — to “earn” — “the trust of the Afghan people.” This is the mythological, see-no-Islam quest that drives U.S. COIN strategy. …
Once we stop trying to remake Afghanistan in something akin to our own image, once we start preventing Islam from remaking the West into a Shariah-compliant zone … these shattering body blasts to young Americans on the other side of the world will cease.
Meanwhile, “the trust of the Afghan people” is the holy grail of the Washington establishment, and, even after retiring from the military, Gen. David Petraeus, now director of the CIA, remains chief myth-maker. “Earn the people’s trust,” Petraeus wrote in a signal “Counterinsurgency Guidance” issued Aug. 1, 2010. From his list of how-tos — which range from dispense payola (“COIN-contracting”), to “help them develop checks and balances to prevent abuses” (good luck with that), to “drink lots of tea” — one order stands out, particularly in light of this week’s report on amputations resulting from foot patrols. Petraeus wrote: “Walk. Stop by, don’t drive by. Patrol on foot whenever possible and engage the population.”
One year later, the Army is reckoning with the carnage and after-care requirements that are consequences of this key tactic of COIN strategy. It is high time for the rest of us to reckon with them, too. Is COIN working? Is the burden of suffering that the nation is placing on the military worth the return? Frankly, when it comes to winning “the trust of the Afghan people,” is there any return?
And why should Americans care whether untrustworthy Afghans trust them or not? Leave the Afghans to their poor, nasty, brutish lives. Even if the Afghan nation could be saved from its chosen primitivism, perpetual inter-tribal strife, and traditional misery, its salvation would not be worth the loss of one joint of one finger or toe of a single American soldier.
The war in Afghanistan has long been pointless. Now it’s insane.
We agree with Daniel Greenfield who writes:
In the first years of Operation Enduring Freedom, the United States managed to oversee a campaign that broke the Taliban, drove them out of major cities and regions, including Kabul, and left them dispirited and broken. And did it while taking under 50 casualties a year. But in 2010, the United States suffered almost ten times as many casualties as it did in the toughest battles of the early days of the war.
The differences between the US involvement in Afghanistan in 2001-2003 and 2005-2011 are tremendous and profound. And they explain the ugly death toll and the nature of the unwinnable war as it’s being fought today.
In 2001-2002, we barreled into Afghanistan on a mission to break the Taliban and kill or capture as many Al Qaeda as possible. We employed maximum firepower so casually that the fleeing Taliban fighters were thoroughly demoralized. So much so that it took them years to even seriously think about confronting us again.
Let’s go back to the end of 2001 and the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi. Hundreds of Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners imprisoned in Qala-i-Jangi Fortress revolted, seized weapons from their guards and took over parts of the fortress. The United States and its allies responded with mass bombardment using gunships and guided missiles. A handful of surviving prisoners took refuge in the basement, which was flooded with water, forcing them to surrender.
Can anyone imagine something like this being done today, without everyone involved facing media smear campaigns and criminal trials? Only 3 years later, the mild mistreatment of some terrorists and insurgents imprisoned at Abu Ghraib resulted in a media feeding frenzy and criminal trials. …
We’ve never thought those prisoners were mistreated at Abu Ghraib. They were humiliated, and what more fitting punishment could there be for an enemy whose male-dominated culture values face-saving above all else, especially if it is done by women?
Two years later, the Haditha Marines were virtually lynched for acting in self-defense. … The difference between 2001 and 2011, is that today the idea of fighting a war is controversial. …
In the agonizing days and months after September 11, there was still a clear moral compass. We understood who the enemy was and we didn’t care how we treated him. But as the memory faded, the moral compass faded into guilt and sympathy for the enemy. We stopped thinking in terms of kill ratios and turned it all into a nation building exercise. We forgot that we were there to kill terrorists, and decided that we were there to turn them into model citizens instead.
In Afghanistan the Taliban regrouped and rebounded, while the Alliance strategy focused on winning the hearts and minds of the tribal. And it’s no wonder that our casualties have gone up tenfold. We have become occupation forces without teeth.
We went from prioritizing the lives of Americans over the lives of terrorists, to giving them equal weight, to prioritizing the lives of terrorists—to finally prioritizing the sentiments of Afghan tribal leaders over over the lives of US and Coalition soldiers. That’s not a figure of speech, it’s the attitude embodied in the Rules of Engagement, which forces us to take down watchtowers and denies air and artillery support to soldiers when they are attacked near an Afghan village. Today American soldiers are dying in order not to offend Al Qaeda’s hosts. That is how low we have fallen.
The enemy knows that all he has to do is hide behind civilians to neuter our air power and artillery … Al-Qaeda and the Taliban know that they can move in plain sight with weapons in hand and that our soldiers can’t fire until they do. …
Afghanistan is not going to be civilized any time soon. Most of it is stuck in the dark ages and will go on being stuck there for the foreseeable future. Democracy is a dead road even in far more advanced Muslim countries. … And as a Muslim region, it is never going to be a place where women have many rights. We could boostrap it until parts of it is up to the level of parts of Pakistan or even parts of Egypt. But those are still countries where 90 percent of women have little more rights than dogs, and that’s only because Mohammed … hated dogs more. There is only one hope for women’s rights in the Muslim world. And that is the abandonment of Islam.
There were three reasons why we went into Afghanistan. First, to kill those who had done this to us. Second, to send a message to anyone who would attack us that they would pay a terrible price for it. Third, to make it clear that our reach was worldwide. We had accomplished the first and second goals within a year of the onset of Operation Freedom. But … we stayed to open girls’ schools and provide electricity and stabilize Karzai’s coalition and do all the other little Nation Building things that our charitable little hearts told us needed to be done. And as we set to doing these things full time, we forgot why we were there and how to break the enemy … Worst of all, we had fallen into the deadly trap of thinking that our goal was to make the natives love us…
Our commitment to nation building once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Not because we were physically weak, but because we were morally weak. Too married to the myth of global stability, unable to prioritize our lives and welfare over those of enemy civilians …
Andrew C. McCarthy also deplores the social-work misnamed a war by which the US military aim to “help” that corruptocracy at the expense of valuable American lives and scarce American money. In his view this isn’t even nation-building; it’s what he calls “post-nation” building.
Last week in the northern province of Faryab, two more American soldiers were murdered by one of the police officers they are in Afghanistan to train. … That brings to 17 the number of U.S. troops killed in just the last four months by the Afghan security forces they are mentoring. The total climbs to 22 when the killings of other Western troops are factored in. …
We long ago stopped pursuing the American interests that brought us to that hellhole. We came to dismantle al-Qaeda and its Taliban hosts. We’ve stayed — and stayed, and stayed — to make life better for a population that despises us.
The mounting military casualties do not account for at least seven humanitarian-aid workers also murdered in recent days by rampaging Afghan Muslims — if one may use that double redundancy. The throng of assailants stormed the victims’ U.N. compound in Mazar-e-Sharif after being whipped into the familiar frenzy at Friday prayers. The dead, just like the American soldiers, came to Afghanistan to make life better for Muslims. For their trouble, they were savagely slaughtered, with two treated to decapitation, a jihadist signature. …
General Petraeus is so terrified of what rampaging Afghan Muslims might do next that he could not bring himself to utter a word of criticism for their barbarity. …
The murderous riot did not occur until … the natives were whipped up not just by the fire-breathing Friday imams but by the inflammatory rhetoric of Afghan president Hamid Karzai. …
The exercise in Afghanistan is actually post-nation building, and it’s got little to do with democracy in the Western sense. To the contrary, the final product is meant to reflect the image of its midwife, the craven, morally vacant international community. For principled democracies to form a community with totalitarians and rogues, they have to check their principles at the door. Once that decision is made, how easy it becomes to betray those principles — freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, economic liberty, personal privacy, equality before the law — in a culturally neutral indulgence of Islamist depravity.
So, the architects build a post-nation … They frame the West, its bygone principles, and the pursuit of its interests as affronts to the international community. That community’s vanguard … has little use for the nation-state, aspiring to replace national sovereignty with international humanitarian law — an organic, increasingly sharia-friendly corpus that is said to override any mere nation’s constitution and democratically enacted laws. It is for [this] post-nation that American soldiers die while American taxpayers foot the bill. …
It is abundantly clear that our troops are in Afghanistan primarily “to help the Afghan people.”
And he asks the question the US government should answer if it can:
Why should we give a damn about the Afghan people?
America, Britain, NATO – anyway, our side – is trying to sue for peace with the Taliban.
They’re not calling it that – they’d say they’re “asking for talks” – but it amounts to the same thing. It’s the first step in the attempt they must make to get out of the war without too great humiliation. So far, they’re not succeeding even with that low aim.
The British army chief of staff, General David Richards, egged on by US commanders, shouted out loud that “it might be useful to talk to the Taliban”.
The Taliban couldn’t help hearing, and their answer through intermediaries is that they will not enter into any kind of negotiations with Nato forces.
That’s according to the BBC – not a source we usually trust, but the story rings true.
The Taliban statement is uncompromising, almost contemptuous.
They believe they are winning the war, and cannot see why they should help Nato by talking to them. …
June, they point out, has seen the highest number of Nato deaths in Afghanistan: 102, an average of more than three a day.
“Why should we talk if we have the upper hand, and the foreign troops are considering withdrawal, and there are differences in the ranks of our enemies?” said Zabiullah Mujahedd, [when] a trusted intermediary conveyed a series of questions to [him], the acknowledged spokesman for the Afghan Taliban leadership, and [he] gave us his answers.
“We do not want to talk to anyone – not to [President Hamid] Karzai, nor to any foreigners – till the foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan.” …
Doubts about the value of the operation are already growing in every Nato country.
The BBC (or “Auntie Beeb” as the old harridan is often unaffectionately called in Britain) thinks that General Petraeus’s task is now to change that perception. We don’t think so. His task, as we have said, is to find a way of getting out of the war with as little humiliation as possible.
But even that’s a bad idea. Best thing would be to get out now, because the most humiliating way will be to go on trying not to be humiliated without succeeding.
Actually there must be humiliation whatever is done.
Karzai in power corruptly and/or dealing with the Taliban ? Humiliation.
NATO/US talking to the Taliban to include them in power? Humiliation.
The Taliban refusing to talk to NATO and waiting for it to leave? Humiliation.
Continuing to pretend there is an Afghan army loyal to “the nation”? Humiliation.
Leaving next July with the same sort of mess there is now or worse? Humiliation.
Giving up on victory and preferring the word “success”? Humiliation.
Pretending Pakistan is an ally and doesn’t have its own designs on Afghanistan? Humiliation.
Trying not to be humiliated and pretending not to be? Humiliation.
Defeat on the battlefield in Marja, Kandahar, and soon all over? Utter humiliation.
Our side is thoroughly, deeply, irredeemably humiliated now. And not another American or NATO life should be lost in this hopeless and even absurd cause .