OPERATION FOREVER: AFGHANISTAN
OBAMA CARRIES OUT BUSH/OILCO PLANS IN MIDEAST
WHY WE WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER LEAVE THE MIDDLE EAST
YOUTUBE: THE DOORS
"Intro Apocalypse Now"
It didn't end well...
Solar, Shmolar, It's Oil & Gas We Really Want
Dick Cheney's Assassin-In-Chief, General "Spook" McChrystal, hinted to the new Rupert Murdoch Wall Street rag that we are losing in Afghanistan. This was his preamble to a demand for dropping another 10,000 American troops into the Hole In Nowhere. McChystal's predecessor in the Hole was fired for suggesting we needed 10,000 more troops in Afghanistan.
But wait, there's more! McChrystal is offering a different strategerie in the Hole: Instead of actively going after the hostile Afghans, we will passively wait for them to come after us where we hide among the less-hostile Afghans. In Vietnam, that was called "The Strategic Hamlet Program." No relation to the melancholy Dane. But it still had a tragic ending.
The "SH" Program, as the Army abbreviated it, was based upon a recognition that we were losing the war in Southeast Asia, just as the French had before us, by losing the "hearts & minds" of the local people. Since we could not make the countryside safe, we would fortify certain villages and hole up in them until Charlie and the NVA came for us. And come they did. And go we did. It didn't work. (Poor locals! Let's hope Afghan peasants don't read U.S. history! Or have boats.)
So we thought we'd try it again, in Southwest Asia this time, where we are losing the war for hearts & minds just as the Russians had before us. Maybe it was the climate, or the terrain that defeated that brilliant strategerie in 'Nam. Maybe hiding from the enemy and holding the locals hostage will work in frozen mountains and high deserts better than it did in broiling jungles and steamy swamps. Or maybe it was the people, and Caucasoid Muslim goat-herders and opium farmers will be more amoenable to being targets than Mongoloid Buddhist fishermen and opium farmers. Either way, the troops will have plenny opium, hashish & heroin to while away the hours with, waiting for Charlie, er, Talie, to come over the wall. This is the end, my only friend, the end...
Meanwhile, back in Iraq, things are falling apart, again. Violence is up. Our strategerie of pulling our troops out of Iraq's cities and hiding them in the countryside is not going as planned. Unless the plan is to keep them there forever. Maybe that is the plan. Why else would we continue two unwinnable wars (make that three with Pakistan) just digging in and fortifying our hidey holes, while allowing chaos to reign all around us? Clearly, the plan, if there is one at all, is simply to keep US troops near the oil & gas reserves and pipelines until there is peace and stability in the region. But the mere presence of US troops guarantees that there will never be peace in the region. Is the idea that chaos is easier to deal with than independent governments who might squeeze --or squeeze out-- our big Oilco's? Easier for the Oilco's, who never shed any of their own blood, and for our war machine, which is only there to shed blood for the Oilco's? Vietnam was thought to have oil too, y'know.
And after all, there is not much point in being a general in peacetime. A real general needs a war to show his stuff. A real army needs actual combat experience to know whether it can do the job. The troopies may prefer to serve their time one weekend a month, one month each year filling sandbags for disaster relief back in Iowa, but this ain't no democracy. So there will be blood, for oil. Forever.
"At Least 50 Killed in Bombings in Iraq "
The war is over! YAAAAY!! We won!!! The Iraqi's lost. All of them.
' The entire village was gone. Local television broadcast scenes of homes reduced to heaps of rubble mixed with bed frames, mattresses, furniture and bloodstained pillows. A villager cried into the camera: “Look, Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. Interior Minister, where is the security that you speak about?” '
"Pakistan: Premature claims"
Game so NOT over!
' But that does not mean the Pakistani Taliban are a spent force. Even with Mehsud allegedly gone, the component parts of the Pakistani Taliban are still in place. Mehsud held sway over a cluster of about a dozen groups – more of a business franchise than a company – some of which have defied his orders. With Mehsud gone or going, the cohesion could be reduced further. But that could herald an increase in bombing and shooting, as each outlet of the franchise competes for exclusive rights. Besides, Mehsud's outfit was only one of a number of groups that comprise the Pakistani Taliban. '
"Support for Afghan war drops, CNN poll finds"
Gotta keep those Repukelickin's happy. They're violent and they have guns.
' A new national poll indicates that support among Americans for the war in Afghanistan has hit a new low. Forty-one percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Thursday say they favor the war in Afghanistan -- down 9 points from May, when CNN polling suggested that half of the public supported the war. Fifty-four percent say they oppose the war in Afghanistan, up 6 points from May. "Afghanistan is almost certainly the Obama policy that Republicans like the most," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Nearly two-thirds of Republicans support the war in Afghanistan. Three-quarters of Democrats oppose the war." '
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
"More US troops for Afghanistan: Are they inevitable?"
"Left-leaning Democrats in Congress"? Who do THEY represent? 54% of the American people? Who CARES!
' The 21,000 US troops promised to Afghanistan have still not all arrived, yet speculation is rife that rising violence may force the senior commander there to ask for more. Last month was the deadliest ever for US forces in Afghanistan. In all, 76 coalition troops were killed. Seeking to reverse that trend, the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is preparing an assessment of the mission. News reports suggest that he could ask for an additional 10,000 to 45,000 troops. Previous commanders have all asked for more forces. In the past, "the handwriting was on the wall for more forces – and may still be," says Michael O'Hanlon, an analyst at Brookings, a think tank in Washington. If General McChrystal does ask for thousands more troops, it could cause a rift between the administration and left-leaning Democrats in Congress. '
WALL STREET JOURNAL
"Taliban Now Winning "
Strategic hamlets, anyone?
' The Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan, the top American commander there said, forcing the U.S. to change its strategy in the eight-year-old conflict by increasing the number of troops in heavily populated areas like the volatile southern city of Kandahar, the insurgency's spiritual home. Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned that means U.S. casualties, already running at record levels, will remain high for months to come. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the commander offered a preview of the strategic assessment he is to deliver to Washington later this month, saying the troop shifts are designed to better protect Afghan civilians from rising levels of Taliban violence and intimidation. The coming redeployments are the clearest manifestation to date of Gen. McChrystal's strategy for Afghanistan, which puts a premium on safeguarding the Afghan population rather than hunting down militants. '
"Pentagon Disputes Claim That Taliban Is Winning in Afghanistan"
Quag, meet Mire.
' "I wouldn't say we are winning or losing or stalemated," McChrystal told USA Today. The U.S. commander said in that interview that the insurgency has "momentum" which coalition forces are working to reverse. The dispute over the course of the war comes as McChrystal prepares to present a comprehensive assessment of operations in Afghanistan -- an assessment that could eventually include requests for additional U.S. troops. Top brass are insisting that despite the sharp rise in casualties in July and an expectation of more bloody months ahead the war is not taking a turn for the worse. National Security Adviser Jim Jones, who left the door open to more troops, told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the war is not at a "crisis level." '
MT HOLYOKE COLLEGE: DEPT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
"The Pentagon Papers"
Deja vu all over again: What the Pentagon knew, and when they knew it.
' A number of contributory reasons can be cited for the failure of the Strategic Hamlet Program. Over-expansion of construction and poor quality of defenses forms one category. This reason concentrates only on the initial phase of the program, however. While valid, it does little to explain why the entire program collapsed rather than only some hamlets within it. Rural antagonisms which identified the program with its sponsors in the central government are more suggestive of the basis for the complete collapse as Diem and Nhu departed the scene. The reasons why they departed are traceable in part to the different expectations which combined in the apparent consensus at the program's beginning: to Diem's insistence on material assistance and independence, to U.S. willingness to provide assistance only if its advice was heeded, and to the failure to resolve this question either by persuasion or leverage. Having said this, it does not automatically follow that the program would have succeeded even if Diem had met U.S. demands for change. To point to the causes of failure is one thing; to assume that changes of style would have led to success is quite another. It may well be that the program was doomed from the outset because of peasant resistance to measures which changed the pattern of rural life--whether aimed at security or control. It might have been possible, on the other hand, for a well-executed program eventually to have achieved some measure of success. The early demise of the program does not permit a conclusive evaluation. The weight of evidence suggests that the Strategic Hamlet Program was fatally flawed in its conception by the unintended consequence of alienating many of those whose loyalty it aimed to win. '
"McChrystal: Jobs could curb Taliban fighting "
"It may well be that the program was doomed from the outset because of peasant resistance to measures which changed the pattern of rural life--whether aimed at security or control." -The Pentagon Papers: The Strategic Hamlet Program.
' In an interview with USA TODAY, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said his No. 1 unmet need is to have functioning local governments in Afghanistan and officials who can provide basic services. "At the end of the day, what the Afghan people are really looking for is that very basic level of governance provided, obviously, with security," McChrystal said. "I wouldn't say we are winning or losing or stalemated," McChrystal said about the current fighting. "What I would say at this particular point is that the insurgency has a certain amount of initiative and momentum that we are working to stop and, in fact, reverse." Afghanistan is holding its presidential and provincial elections on Aug. 20. '
"New NATO chief warns of Afghan 'terror Grand Central' "
Hey, anybody wanna play dominoes? Not real dominoes, theoretical dominoes.
' NATO will stay in Afghanistan "for as long as it takes," the military alliance's new leader said in Brussels, Belgium, Monday. He said success in the country was NATO's top priority "to help prevent Afghanistan from becoming again the Grand Central Station of international terrorism." '
"It's easy for soldiers to score heroin in Afghanistan"
Another sad Vietnam parallel.
' Just outside the main gate to Bagram airfield, a U.S. military installation in Afghanistan, sits a series of small makeshift shops known by locals as the Bagram Bazaar. For Afghans, it is the place to buy American goods, but the stalls that make up the heart of the bazaar are also well known for what they provide American soldiers stationed at Bagram. Walking through the bazaar it takes less than 10 minutes for a vendor in his early 20s to step out and ask, "You want whiskey?" "No, heroin," I tell him. He ushers me into his store with a smile. The shop is small, 9 feet wide by 14 feet deep, and dark. The walls at the front are lined with dusty cans of soda, padlocks and miscellaneous beauty supplies. As we enter, a teenager is visible at the back, seated in a chair next to a collection of American military knives and flashlights. The shopkeeper speaks to him in Dari. The teen stands and heads for the door, where he stops and asks my Afghan driver a question. My driver translates, "He wants to know how much you want? Twenty, 30, 50 dollars' worth?" From past experience, for I have arranged this same transaction a dozen times in a dozen different Bagram Bazaar shops, I know that the $30 bag will contain enough pure to bring hundreds of dollars on the streets of any American city. Afghanistan, after all, is the source of 90 percent of the world's heroin. I say 30 and the teen jogs off. The true extent of the heroin problem among American soldiers now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan is unknown. At Bagram, according to a written statement provided by a spokesperson for the base, Army Maj. Chris Belcher, the "Military Police receive few reports of alcohol or drug issues." The military has statistics on how many troops failed drug tests, but the best information on long-term addiction comes from the U.S. Veterans Administration. The VA is the world's largest provider of substance abuse services, caring for more than 350,000 veterans per year, of whom about 30,000 are being treated for opiate addiction. Only preliminary information for Iraq and Afghanistan is available, however, and veterans of those conflicts are not yet showing up in the stats. According to the VA's annual "Yellowbook" report on substance abuse, during Fiscal Year 2006, fewer than 9,000 veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) sought treatment for substance abuse of all kinds at the VA; the report did not specify how many were treated for opiate abuse. The anecdotal information, however, suggests there may be a wave of new patients coming, and it will include many heroin users. I'm a filmmaker, and I have been to Afghanistan several times to research a film about a soldier who died there under murky circumstances. Before his death, the soldier, John Torres, had told friends and family of widespread heroin use at Bagram. Based on my own experience, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars the Bush administration has spent on opium poppy eradication, Torres was right. I asked to buy heroin a dozen times during two trips a year apart and never heard the word "no"; I also saw ample evidence that soldiers were trading sensitive military equipment, like computer drives and bulletproof vests, for drugs. Other soldiers who have served at Bagram agree: Heroin, they say "is everywhere." And although they haven't shown up in the statistics yet, reports from methadone clinics suggest the VA's future patients may already be back in the States in force. Much like the caskets that return to the Dover Air Force base in the dead of night, America's new addicts are returning undetected. '
MORE POSTS ON THE AFGHAN WAR & PRIVATIZATION OF THE MILITARY
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