How Obama helps the Taliban to win 3

American and Afghan officials in Afghanistan’s Farah province were holding an inauguration ceremony last Friday for new recruits to a village police force. As part of the ceremony, the new policemen were given weapons that they would use for training. As soon as one of the recruits, Mohammad Ismail, received his, he turned it on the American soldiers who were present, murdering two. This was the seventh such attack in two weeks — and each one is emblematic of just how foolish and wrongheaded our national adventure in Afghanistan has become.

These are extracts from an article by Robert Spencer at PJ Media:

These murders keep happening because there is no reliable way to distinguish an Afghan Muslim who supports American troops from one who wants to murder them, and political correctness prevents authorities from making any attempt to do so anyway, because it would suggest that Islam is not a Religion of Peace. And so ever more U.S. troops are sacrificed to this madness.

Does any Afghan Muslim support American troops? Why would he?

Meanwhile, Barack Obama is urging Afghan President Hamid Karzai to come to a settlement with the Taliban …

What is the difference between Karzai and the Taliban?

… has secretly dropped charges in the case of a Florida man accused of funding the Pakistani Taliban  

Why can the president of the US interfere in the process of law like that?

 … and is considering sending Taliban detainees back to Afghanistan as a gesture of goodwill.

America feels good will towards the Taliban?

This is manifest denial and self-delusion. …

A  Taliban jihadist who murdered an American soldier, Ghazi Mahmood (“Warrior Mahmood”), said … when asked, “Are there others who will carry out attacks similar to what you have?,” … replied: “Yes. There are some people who are looking for the opportunity to kill infidels. They will carry out their jihad and join us.”

Some? Or a lot? The whole male population of that ghastly country maybe?

Note also that Mahmood characterizes the Americans as enemies of his religion. Yet American authorities insist that this conflict has nothing to do with religion, and that even to study Islam in order to understand the motives and goals of people like Mahmood is unacceptable.

Thus have Muslim Brotherhood elements in the U.S. rendered us complacent and defenseless before the advancing jihad that we refuse to understand.

What are we fighting for at this point, anyway?

Yes, that is the question.

The Taliban are never going to surrender. …

American forces have supervised the implementation of an Afghan constitution that enshrined Islamic law as the highest law of the land. Yet Islamic law is nothing like the democratic principles that we went into Afghanistan to defend (over here) and establish (over there). Sharia institutionalizes the oppression of women and non-Muslims, extinguishes the freedom of speech, and denies the freedom of conscience.

Was that what we were fighting for?

Nonetheless, America continued to pour out her blood and treasure for this repressive state, with no clear objective or mission in view other than a never-defined “victory.” No one has defined what victory would look like in Afghanistan. What would victory have looked like? What could it possibly have looked like?

Has the Karzai regime ever allowed women to throw off their burqas and take their place in Afghan society as human beings equal in dignity to men? Does the Karzai government, or any Afghan government that would follow it, ever intend to guarantee basic human rights to the tiny and ever-dwindling number of non-Muslims unfortunate enough to live within its borders? Of course not.

And no matter how long American troops stay in Afghanistan, no Afghan regime is ever going to do such things.

In July, the U.S. designated Afghanistan a “major non-Nato ally” … [which]  gives the Afghans “preferential access to U.S. arms exports and defence co-operation.” Thus unless Afghanistan is stripped of this status, we could be funding the Taliban with billions annually for years to come … 

So the next time an Afghan soldier murders a group of American troops, remember: you paid for his weapon.

Could the story of the sacrifice of American soldiers to the cause of the Taliban be any more outrageous?

Yes. It could be and it is.

This is from Investor’s Business Daily:

It’s now clear why so many U.S. troops have fallen prey to Afghan insider attacks: The administration disarmed them while arming their Afghan trainees, making them sitting ducks.

It was a standing order “requiring troops to remove their magazines from their weapons while quartered inside bases with their trusted Afghan partners”!

The number of insider attacks this year already exceeds the total for last year. Since the start of 2012, there have been 32 attacks resulting in 40 deaths, many more than last year’s 21 total attacks.

Earlier this month, an Afghan security commander ambushed U.S. troops. The officer, who was helping U.S. special forces train the local police force, lured elite U.S. soldiers to a Ramadan meal at his outpost to talk security. He then opened fire on them at close range, killing three and wounding one. 

The Taliban took credit for the attack. The terror group released a video indicating it has heavily infiltrated the Afghan national army and police force. …

Now, after years of denying the attacks were anything but an “isolated” problem, U.S.-led command has finally let American soldiers carry loaded weapons at all times to protect them not just from terrorists but from the Afghan security forces they’re training.

The policy reversal exposes the suicidal nature of the prior order. Even as our disarmed soldiers were being systematically ambushed and gunned down by their Afghan counterparts, high command continued to co-locate entire Afghan military units inside U.S. bases.

As a gesture of trust toward these Muslim partners, commanders ordered U.S. soldiers to remove their magazines from their weapons while training and working alongside them. The Afghans, however, were allowed to remain armed. Further exposing them to “friendly fire,” American troops generally removed their heavy Kevlar body armor once they got inside the base.

Trust should not be, cannot be a matter of gesture. Trust has to be earned, and what Afghan has earned American trust? Lives should not be hazarded on the off-chance of trustworthiness. By doing just that, the politically correct high command of the US defense forces have been feckless with American lives.

Disarming the Afghans would have been the obvious solution. But of course that would expose this whole “training partnership” as the farce it really is.

Training and standing up a national security force in Afghanistan is the linchpin of President Obama’s withdrawal strategy.

His hand-victory-to the-Taliban strategy, more like.  The US should have got out of Afghanistan ten years ago, when they’d given the Taliban a thorough beating. But if US troops were going to stay there, it should have been to destroy the Taliban, not to help it back into power as Obama is doing now.

The Pentagon is reducing troop presence … Many of the remaining soldiers will switch from fighting to training and advising Afghan forces. This means even more of them will be exposed to insider attacks.

But we’re not just training Afghans to replace soldiers. We’re hiring them to protect our soldiers right now, and many of them have also turned on our soldiers.

Obama has insisted on using Afghan security guards for base security as a way to limit the size of the U.S. military footprint in Afghanistan. …

[His]  rush to withdraw has needlessly cost at least 100 soldiers’ lives and wounded countless others.

The only thing that should matter to Americans about Afghanistan is that it should not plot or carry out any attacks on the US or its interests. If it does that it should be hit again extremely hard. If it does not, let it return to its savage ways, to cruel Taliban rule, to the miseries of sharia. Not one drop of American blood should be spilt to save it from itself.

Poof, they’re gone 0

US counter-insurgency tactics in Afghanistan are being modeled on methods that worked – so they say – in Iraq.

The Washington Post reports:

Perhaps the most important reason population control worked to the extent it did in Baghdad was because each side believed the other posed an existential threat, and both turned to the United States for security. In many parts of southern and eastern Afghanistan, the population has yet to seek protection.

Their “hearts and minds must be won”, but –

Many Kandaharis regard the Taliban as wayward brothers and cousins — fellow Pashtuns with whom they can negotiate and one day reconcile. They also worry about siding with their government because they fear Taliban retribution, both now and when U.S. troop reductions begin next summer.

The U.S. counterinsurgency strategy depends on persuading Pashtuns to … cast their lot with their government.

Their incorrigibly corrupt government, it should be said. But push on.

The U.S. military and civilian agencies are trying to help the government win over the public by delivering services to the population that the Taliban does not offer, including education, health care, agricultural assistance and justice based on the rule of law.

That requires capable civil servants willing to work in an unstable environment — and that’s where the strategy is hitting its most significant roadblock.

“Unstable environment” being a nice way of saying “death trap”. Not many Afghans are attracted to it.

A recent effort by Karzai’s local-governance directorate to fill 300 civil service jobs in Kandahar and the surrounding district turned up four qualified applicants, even after the agency dropped its application standards to remove a high school diploma, according to several U.S. officials.

But the four could, maybe, read and write. Next problem, how to keep them alive?

U.S. officials are exploring ways to protect Afghans working for the government. One plan under consideration would involve transforming the Kandahar Hotel into a secure dormitory surrounded by concrete walls, for civil servants. Development contractors working for USAID are building compounds with secret entrances to minimize the chances that insurgents spot staff members.

Nervous men walled up together, sneaking through secret ways – as a recruiting ad, probably not great.

And even if a few more semi-educated civil servants were to sign up and be willing to huddle behind concrete barriers and slink about in fear, the outlook for law and order is not bright.

Getting government officials in place is no guarantee of success. Kandahar’s governor and mayor are regarded as ineffective administrators, but U.S. and Canadian advisers are trying to transform them into more competent leaders.

Trying and trying, however discouraging the signs:

In the Panjwai district to the west of Kandahar … the district governor and the police chief recently got into a fight. The chief hit the governor with a teakettle and the governor smashed a teacup on the chief’s head, the confrontation culminating in a shootout between their guards.

In Arghandab, U.S. military and civilian officials spent a year working closely with — and praising — the district governor, Abdul Jabar. When he was killed in a car bombing in Kandahar this summer, the officials blamed the Taliban.

But some of those same officials concluded that the governor was skimming U.S. funds for reconstruction projects in his district. His killing, they think, was the result of anger by fellow residents over his not distributing the spoils, not a Taliban assassination.

“It was a mob hit,” said one U.S. official familiar with the situation. “We saw him as a white knight, but we were getting played the whole time.”

Maybe if Afghans who can read and write are transported out of their “unstable environment” to the United States and trained in, say, Texas, they might do better?

It ‘s been tried, at least by the military. Afghans were willing, even positively eager to be flown to America. Once there, they weren’t slow to take advantage of the opportunities suddenly laid before them: wine, women, song, and freedom.

Fox News reports:

A loose network of Mexican-American women, some of whom may be illegal immigrants, have been responsible for helping numerous Afghan military deserters go AWOL from an Air Force Base in Texas

Many of the Afghans, with the women’s assistance, have made their way to Canada; the whereabouts of others remain unknown. Some of the men have been schooled by the women in how to move around the U.S. without any documentation.

The Afghan deserters refer to the women as “BMWs” —  Big Mexican Women — and they often are the first step in the Afghans’ journey from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, to Canada …

The Afghan military men usually meet the women at three nightclubs in San Antonio … The nightclubs include two military hangouts — Tiffany’s Cocktails and Mirage, located outside Lackland’s main gate — and Graham Central Station, a massive warehouse-like building in downtown San Antonio that houses “six nightclubs under one roof” that host a variety of theme nights. Photos on Graham Central’s website show scantily clad women rolling around in what appears to be Jell-O.

In the past eight years, no fewer than 46 members of the Afghan military have gone absent without leave … As most Afghans on the base do not have cars [what – they’re not given cars?! – JB], many of them depended on the women to pick them up at Lackland’s back gate in the middle of the night and help them vanish.

Many of the men decided to go AWOL just hours before they were scheduled to fly home to Afghanistan

In one instance, a student … who is now living in Toronto, spent hundreds of dollars on books and materials to take home to Afghanistan, where he was supposed to teach English. But he vanished less than a week after purchasing the textbooks — and just hours before his flight was due to depart.

Another student … described by friends as the most unlikely of the 46 to go AWOL, decided at the very last minute not to go home. A pilot with two wives and more than a dozen children, he failed his final exam and felt too humiliated to face his family, the sources said. He vanished in March, and the sources said he could not have gotten away from Lackland without help.

The women are believed to have been responsible for picking up numerous other Afghans …

The women who help the deserters are like groupies…  Many are single and older than the Afghans, who tend to be in their early 20s. If an Afghan needs a ride, they’ll pick him up. If they’re needed to run errands — or to take them away from the base in the middle of the night — they will be there at a moment’s notice …

But the women do more than drive the “getaway cars”; … they also provide the deserters with crucial advice and encouragement, apparently drawn from their own personal experiences. The women … have told some of the men that it’s possible to live in the U.S. illegally.

“These guys, they want a better life, but they’re scared to run away without their passports or identification, they’re scared they’ll get caught,” a source who has assisted in [a] multiagency investigation said.

“These BMWs say, ‘It’s OK.’ Then poof, they’re gone.

Blizzard of paper – little damage 3

So some 92,000 US military documents were leaked by an unknown agent to Wikileaks and handed on to three big news outlets for co-ordinated news releases today.

The question is, what do they reveal according to the New York Times, the Guardian (Britain), and Der Spiegel (Germany)?

Not much is the answer.

The NYT finds proof that Pakistan’s intelligence service has been actively helping the Taliban. But news reports of that have been appearing for some time now.

The Guardian, perhaps a jot more interestingly, finds no convincing evidence of it in the documents. What it does find is evidence that a secret  unit of special forces hunts down Taliban leaders which is already known or at least assumed  and that the US has covered up the fact that the Taliban got hold of, and is deploying, heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles. The Taliban’s possession of them must be a cause for concern, but is not a startling revelation. If the high command, or the Pentagon, or the administration, or all of them have been trying to conceal the fact, the wonder is why, and how they hoped to succeed.

Der Spiegel finds evidence that German troops are coming under increasing threat. But the German government has plainly said as much.

Any scandalous revelations? There are mentions, yet to be filled out, of civilian deaths that may have been suppressed. Bad, but not unusual in a war.

It’s possible that something surprising, illuminating, significant in some way will yet be caught in that blizzard of paper. Possible, but not very likely.

Wikileaks is an international organization “based” (whatever that means) in Sweden, that “publishes anonymous submissions and leaks of sensitive documents from governments and other organizations, while preserving the anonymity of their sources” (according to Wikipedia).  One of its founders is Julian Assange, an Australian who seems also to be its only or chief spokesman.

The Wikileaks list of past revelations is not very impressive.

They were one of several channels through which the Climategate documents were released. Good.

They saw fit to release Sarah Palin’s private emails when she was a vice-presidential candidate, given to them in September 2008 by the hacker himself. Not so good.

Far more useful would be documents revealing  the suppressed facts of Obama’s life, schooling, and career. And even better would be a list of the politicians who made the decision to admit millions of Muslim immigrants into Europe and the United States, and documents that would tell us why they made it. If Wikileaks could supply those, it would truly deserve the gratitude of this generation and future historians.

Pursuing a mirage 0

Afghanistan has never been a nation-state as the West understands such a thing.

This report shows plainly enough that any plan to meld the Afghan tribes into one democratically governed nation is doomed to failure; but it also shows how hard it is for those who imagined it could succeed to see its naivity.

Even an Afghan member of the so-called parliament, trying to fit into the Western illusion, speaks of Afghanistan being “split” as if it were a nation that might be divided into two sides, whereas in fact the region is inhabited by a plurality of feuding fiefdoms, and “splintered” would be a better word to describe the humanscape (to coin a term). An even better word might be “crazed”, in the sense of a network of cracks.

It describes how President Karzai’s attempt to bring the Taliban into a central government is the very thing that will shatter such West-compliant unity as has been tentatively achieved. And it calls this a “paradox” rather than what it is – the proof of the impossibility of a hopeless, foolish, Western fantasy, the pursuit of a mirage.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, it tells us, still think they can prevent Afghanistan being “torn apart” – as if it had even been whole, or as if they really can make their fantasy come true.

The drive by President Hamid Karzai to strike a deal with Taliban leaders and their Pakistani backers is causing deep unease in Afghanistan’s minority communities, who fought the Taliban the longest and suffered the most during their rule.

The leaders of the country’s Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara communities, which make up close to half of Afghanistan’s population, are vowing to resist — and if necessary, fight — any deal that involves bringing members of the Taliban insurgency into a power-sharing arrangement with the government.

Alienated by discussions between President Karzai and the Pakistani military and intelligence officials, minority leaders are taking their first steps toward organizing against what they fear is Mr. Karzai’s long-held desire to restore the dominance of ethnic Pashtuns, who ruled the country for generations. …

“Karzai is giving Afghanistan back to the Taliban, and he is opening up the old schisms,” said Rehman Oghly, an Uzbek member of Parliament and once a member of an anti-Taliban militia. “If he wants to bring in the Taliban, and they begin to use force, then we will go back to civil war and Afghanistan will be split.”

The deepening estrangement of Afghanistan’s non-Pashtun communities presents a paradox for the Americans and their NATO partners. American commanders have concluded that only a political settlement can end the war. But in helping Mr. Karzai to make a deal, they risk reigniting Afghanistan’s ethnic strife.

Talks between Mr. Karzai and the Pakistani leaders have been unfolding here and in Islamabad for several weeks, with some discussions involving bestowing legitimacy on Taliban insurgents.

The leaders of these minority communities say that President Karzai appears determined to hand Taliban leaders a share of power — and Pakistan a large degree of influence inside the country. The Americans, desperate to end their involvement here, are helping Mr. Karzai along and shunning the Afghan opposition, they say. …

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he was worried about “the Tajik-Pashtun divide that has been so strong.” American and NATO leaders, he said, are trying to stifle any return to ethnic violence.

“It has the potential to really tear this country apart,” Admiral Mullen said in an interview. “That’s not what we are going to permit.” …

There are growing indications of ethnic fissures inside the army. …

Prominent Afghans have begun to organize along mostly ethnic lines. ….

Recently [President Karzai] he has told senior Afghan officials that he no longer believes that the Americans and NATO can prevail in Afghanistan and that they will probably leave soon. That fact may make Mr. Karzai more inclined to make a deal with both Pakistan and the Taliban.

As for the Pakistanis, their motives are even more opaque. For years, Pakistani leaders have denied supporting the Taliban, but evidence suggests that they continue to do so. In recent talks, the Pakistanis have offered Mr. Karzai a sort of strategic partnership — and one that involves giving at least one [of the] the most brutal Taliban groups, the Haqqani network, a measure of legitimacy in Afghanistan.

“Karzai has begun the ethnic war,” said Mohammed Mohaqeq, a Hazara leader and a former ally of the president. “The future is very dark.”

McChrystal clear 1

Nobody imagined that victory over the Taliban was possible: not Obama, not McChrystal, not the soldiers in the field, not President Karzai, not the diplomats …

Search the Rolling Stone article (this is a link to the whole thing) on General Stanley McChrystal as carefully as you may, you’ll not find a trace or a hint of a belief in anyone that the war in Afghanistan could have been won by the US – aka the “coalition”  – forces. Or that victory could now be snatched from the jaws of defeat. It’s a disheartening and enfuriating story.

McChrystal is lucky to be out of it. He has egg on his face, but there’s a lot more egg to come.

Here’s how the article ends:

So far, counter-insurgency has succeeded only in creating a never-ending demand for the primary product supplied by the military: perpetual war. There is a reason President Obama studiously avoids using the word “victory” when he talks about Afghanistan. Winning, it would seem, is not really possible. Not even with Stanley McChrystal in charge.

Now we wait to see how General Petraeus will manage to make defeat look like “mission accomplished” – probably by retrospectively re-defining the mission – as full withdrawal is begun.

A Standing of Stans 1

American fighting men and women (heroes all, whatever their sexual proclivities) are being sacrificed to no purpose in the wretched region of feuding fiefdoms named Afghanistan. It may soon merge with Pakistan. Other stans may join them. There will be a whole Standing of Stans. And they will have Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to promote jihad.

Because “the coalition forces”, which is to say the United States forces under Obama’s command, have lost the war they’ve been fighting there for – how many decades is it now?

It is not the fault of the US army.

It is because it has been organized into a community of social workers and nation builders.

Its orders are to win hearts and minds. The hearts of Afghans! The minds of Afghans!

Medals are to be awarded to soldiers for not shooting.

The ideal army for an America under an Obama presidency would be manned – so to speak – entirely with women and gay men with pacifist opinions. But with ethnic diversity of course.

Its motto would be: ‘Ask, tell, and no fighting please.”

Its perfect field commander – or rather, “feel commander” – would be Michelle Obama. She would soon have the troops armed only with spades and teaching the Afghans – victims of US aggression, one and all – to grow veggies instead of opium, and watch their fat intake to avoid becoming obese.

Until, that is, the Taliban objects to her being female and doing a job at the same time.

Then Obama could apologize to the Taliban and bring Michelle and the caring sharing land-army home and declare the war over.

Waste 0

The pointless waste of life and resources that now characterizes the Afghanistan war continues, while the corrupt and impotent Afghan government considers “talking” – which is to say capitulating –  to the Taliban.

The Washington Post reports:

As the U.S. military sets out to secure cities including Kandahar, it is relying far more heavily on Afghan forces than at any time in the past nine years, when the American mission focused mainly on defeating the Taliban in the countryside, rather than securing the population. But the Afghan forces are proving poorly equipped and sometimes unmotivated, breeding the same frustration U.S. troops felt in Iraq when they began building up security forces beset by corruption, sectarianism, political meddling and militia infiltration. …

The United States and other Western allies still plan to inject hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands more troops into Kandahar and surrounding villages this year to try to wrest control of Taliban strongholds and allow breathing room for the expansion of government services in an area that has been effectively lawless for decades.

But the beginning of summer in southern Afghanistan has been ominous. In June alone, at least 53 NATO troops have been killed in the country, most in the south, where the Taliban has increasingly resorted to roadside bombings and ambushes to thwart the U.S.-led international force’s efforts.

The report includes anecdotes which luridly illustrate how the efforts of the American forces’ efforts to train Afghans to fight in their own interest are being constantly frustrated.

They strongly imply there is not the remotest chance that Afghans will put up any sustained resistance against the Taliban when American troops are withdrawn next year.

Posted under Afghanistan, Islam, jihad, Muslims, NATO, News, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, June 21, 2010

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Defeat, actually 0

There is no longer any question of whether an American victory in Afghanistan is possible. It is not.

It becomes plainer every day that what lies ahead is defeat.

The only uncertainty is whether America – aka “the coalition forces” – will manage withdrawal without the appearance of ignominy.

After an initial victory the war has dragged on for eight years. In that time the mightiest military power on earth has been unable to defeat a bunch of primitive, lightly-armed terrorists. Not because it couldn’t, but because it tied its own hands with unrealistic aims, political correctness, and, under Commander-in-Chief Obama, a preference for losing.

At Canada Free Press, Alan Caruba expresses a similar opinion. Here’s part of what he writes:

The war in Afghanistan has been going on for more than eight years as of this writing. Over that period of time I have been against it, for it, against it, for it, and now I return to what my instincts and experience told me all along. It’s over.

That war is lost. Once the Taliban acquired surface-to-air missiles, the primarily advantage our military had was removed. In the past month, the Taliban have shot down two of our helicopters. Any low-flying aircraft will be vulnerable along with all our front-line forces. …

You cannot win a counterinsurgency with local forces if:

you don’t have a significant portion of the population on your side and

those forces do not want to fight.

Afghans don’t like anyone who is not an Afghan and, in many cases, they do not like other Afghans from other tribes. …

The other factor that is a key to the situation is our “ally”, Pakistan. The U.S. has poured billions into Pakistan and they have been supporting the Taliban the whole time; more specifically, the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence Agency [has been doing so].

An article in the UK’s Times was picked up by the Washington Post on June 14. The Times article was headlined “Pakistan puppet masters guide the Taliban killers.” It reported that “Pakistan’s own intelligence agency, the ISI, is said to be represented on the Taliban’s war council, the Quetta shura. Up to seven of the 15-man shura are believed to be ISI agents.”

The former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, Amrullah Salah, recently resigned. He concluded that Afghan forces of the government under Hamid Karzai, the US hand-picked president of Afghanistan, would not and could not prevail. Afghanistan has never been a nation by any standard definition. It has always been a nation of tribes.

The Afghanistan conflict has cost the West billions and hundreds of lives. …

When word leaked about Obama’s “rules of engagement” in Afghanistan that essentially put every one of our soldiers and marines at risk, the die was cast.

The combined US-UK force failed to loosen the Taliban’s grip on Marjah, the most recent military engagement. The Afghan forces refused to fight much of the time. The Taliban continue to control the whole of southern Afghanistan.

The Kandahar offensive has been postponed. It was to be waged by American, British, Canadian, and Afghan forces. If that doesn’t tell you that the war in Afghanistan is over, nothing will.

If there is no will to wage war vigorously to bring about victory, nothing can be done for now. This is not to say we will not have to return at some time, but as long as President Obama is in office, that is not an option.

If ever America needs to go back and hit the Taliban again, it should do so swiftly, briefly, and decisively. Under the command of the present feeble, pro-Muslim, anti-American president, that would not be done.

No victory or something like that 0

Just when a discovery of vast mineral wealth provides at last a good reason for America to win the war in Afghanistan – and not just win but conquer , and not just conquer but even better colonize the country, though that of course is a notion that will never even be considered – the lefty establishment so feebly in charge is despairing of winning even a few battles against the barefoot militia of  primitive Taliban terrorists. Of course the magnificent American military could win easily, but not if their commanders don’t give the right orders, and tie the hands of their soldiers with crazy rules of engagement, and force their fighters to act as social workers, and make them uncertain about the worth of the campaign by giving the enemy a date when they’ll be withdrawn.

That’s what Gates and (laugh out loud) Commander-in-Chief Obama are doing to them, and it’s enough to make a good commander, like General Petraeus, faint! (Which he did while declaring that he supported the announced date of withdrawal.)

The Washington Times reports on the subdued despair spreading through the Pentagon:

A series of political and military setbacks in Afghanistan has fed anxiety over the war effort in the past few weeks, shaking supporters of President Obama’s counterinsurgency strategy and confirming the pessimism of those who had doubts about it from the start.

The concerns, fed largely by unease over military operations in southern Afghanistan that are progressing slower than anticipated, spurred lawmakers to schedule last-minute hearings this week to assess progress on the battlefield and within the Afghan government. …

Strong Taliban resistance and lagging Afghan government participation have slowed progress in Marja, a district at the center of the Helmand campaign, creating the image that things have not been going as well as anticipated.

That image was compounded last week when Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said the military operations in Kandahar would not begin in force until September. …

In public statements last week, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates sought to tamp down expectations that results would be definitive by December.

“We are going to have to show by the end of the year that our strategy is on the right track and making some headway,” Gates said. “I don’t think anyone has any illusions that we’ll be done or that there will be big victories or something like that. ..

Others are [even] more doubtful. “It’s clear the Marja operation did not go as smoothly as expected,” said Frederick Jones, spokesman for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John F. Kerry (D-Mass.). Kerry, he added, “is concerned that the Taliban is reestablishing itself there.”

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who has traveled to Afghanistan, said he was “decidedly dubious” of the Obama administration’s war strategy from the start. “I’m trying to see how a year from now we’ll be in any better position than we are today. It’s difficult for me to see a way out here.” …

Even within the military, there are concerns, and “I sense the same division of opinion,” said Stephen Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations… “Some folks are very worried that the picture in December is going to look like it’s not worth the price,” said Biddle, a defense expert who was part of a planning group recruited by McChrystal last year to help formulate a new war strategy.

Note to some of our critics: When there is a blue line down the side of indented paragraphs, it means that we are quoting – whether to agree, criticize, or oppose, we state in our own comments.

The wrong war 0

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if somehow, between now and July 2011 when American forces are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan, the Afghans could be made over into enlightened, fair-minded, peaceable people, free of old tribal conflicts, filled with a thirst for righteousness, respectful of women, eager to become law-abiding free-marketeers, and enthusiasts for establishing the customs and institutions that embody and support true democracy?

It would be more than wonderful, it would be a miracle.

But if that miracle could be worked, wouldn’t the achievement be worth the cost in blood and treasure of the long war America has been waging against the Taliban?

Some think so.

But what is actually happening among these backward, feuding, misogynistic, deeply ignorant people is a continuation of what has always been happening: feuding, subjugation of women, and savage cruelty – of which this is a very recent example from Afghan sources:

Taliban fighters have hanged a seven-year-old boy, claiming he was passing information to foreign soldiers in the volatile southern province of Helmand.

(“Volatile” is good. We like “volatile”.)

And of what is about to happen we are being nervously forewarned by US military commanders, according to this report from the Washington Post:

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Thursday that the civilian-military offensive scheduled to begin in the southern city of Kandahar this spring would take months longer than planned. The Afghan government has not produced the civilian leadership and trained security forces it was to contribute to the effort, U.S. officials said, and the support from Kandaharis that the United States was counting on Karzai to deliver has not materialized.

When you go to protect people, the people have to want you to protect them,” Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said … in explaining why the Kandahar operation has been pushed back until at least September.

“It’s a deliberative process. It takes time to convince people,” he told reporters at a meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels.

But time is short. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said this week that the U.S.-led coalition has until the end of the year to prove to the United States and its allies that their forces have broken a stalemate with the Taliban. …

In Marja, in western Helmand province, where Marines launched a major operation this year, U.S. efforts have been hindered by the absence or incompetence of Afghan officials and security forces and by the Taliban’s enduring resistance. …

Many  officials are despairing behind the scenes.

“Washington is making nice with [the corrupt President of Afghanistan] Karzai, but what good has that done?” a U.S. official in Afghanistan said. … “We need him to step up and take a leadership role, to get his government to support what we’re doing. But he’s either unwilling or unable to do it. …

In Kandahar, U.S. military officials said a complex web of official and unofficial power brokers stands to lose if efficient government and rule of law are imposed. “There are generations of families that have lived off corruption,” said 1st Lt. James Rathmann … who leads a platoon in Kandahar city …

The operational plan drawn up for Kandahar last spring began with U.S. Special Operations forces raids against individual insurgent leaders within the city and in the Taliban-heavy “bands” in surrounding districts. At the same time, U.S. civilians were to help organize shuras, or meetings of local leaders and elders, to offer development aid and encourage them to take political control. By June, more than 10,000 newly deployed U.S. troops were to begin clearing the Taliban from the outlying districts, up to 80 percent of which the military estimates is controlled by insurgents. …

McChrystal  … acknowledged that winning support from local leaders was tougher than expected. Some see the Taliban fighters as their Muslim brothers rather than oppressors; others are afraid of assassination by Taliban hit squads that target government supporters or see no advantage in challenging the existing political power structure.

“There’s no point in clearing an area until you have the capacity to do the hold, to bring governance” that does not now exist, one military official in Afghanistan said. “Without the Afghan government civilian capacity — without a district government that can provide some basic services — you’ll end up with what we’re experiencing in Marja right now.” …

Asked whether the delay leaves time for a decisive outcome by the end of the year, McChrystal was noncommittal. “It will be very clear by the end of the calendar year that the Kandahar operation is progressing,” he said. “I don’t know whether we’ll know whether it’s decisive. Historians will tell us that.”

Decisive? Changing Afghanistan forever? We don’t think so. Even if the Taliban fighters are wiped out in the forthcoming Battle of Kandahar, there will be no lasting change.

The war in Afghanistan is being fought for nothing.

The Taliban were whacked with the first offensive. The US should have withdrawn then, with a warning that if terrorists from Afghanistan attacked American targets again, they’d be whacked harder. The continuing campaign has been tragically pointless.

What American – or “coalition” – forces ought to be fighting is the urgently necessary war against the Iranian regime before it launches its nuclear attack.

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