Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Seven Years in Afghanistan=Bin Laden Still at Large+Tougher Al Qaeda


A country in economic freefall with wars invasions on one too many fronts is doomed for failure.

I can think of no instance in history where a nation has triumphed given all these strikes against it. We only need look at the Roman and British Empires for starters.

The military presence in Iraq, apart from the millions of 'collaterally damaged' innocent Iraqi civilians murdered and displaced has resulted in an incomprehensible number of injured, depressed and suicidal U.S. military veterans, many of whom roam the U.S. streets on their return. it will only be a matter of time before some go on a murderous rampage in the absence of funds to deal with their PTSDs.

Bob Herbert, whom I've long admired, in today's New York Times, writes of the two disastrous campaigns on these two beleagured countries. He says, in part, about Afghanistan:

We invaded Afghanistan more than seven years ago. We have not broken the back of Al Qaeda or the Taliban. We have not captured or killed Osama bin Laden. We don’t even have an escalation strategy, much less an exit strategy. An honest assessment of the situation, taking into account the woefully corrupt and ineffective Afghan government led by the hapless Hamid Karzai, would lead inexorably to such terms as fiasco and quagmire. Instead of cutting our losses, we appear to be doubling down.


Isn't it time someone, anyone, in the policical scene in Washington studied history?For was there never a more pressing time than now when we appear to be doomed to repeat it endlessly?

And maybe they'd, eureka!, discover that no invading army has ever, ever won in Afghanistan.

10 comments:

  1. "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains". This verse comes to mind when I hear Afghanistan mentioned. A hard country and a hardy people.

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  2. There's been a lot of concern about returning British vets as well, many with acute mental problems such as PTSD, who aren't getting proper care and treatment from either the NHS or the Army. The government is happy to send them out to fight but not so ready to deal with the debilitating psychological traumas that result.

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  3. Well quoted, GFB, an undefeatable country, indeed.
    XO
    WWW

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  4. Nick:
    It is unconscionable to send these young people out and then not care for them upon their return, crippled and maimed, mentally and physically.
    XO
    WWW

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  5. Too right, Nick. The UK government has closed all the Armed Forces hospitals as a cost cutting exercise but what about the cost of putting our boys back together both physically and mentally. They need to be with their own alongside people who know what it means to be on a battlefield, not alongside civilians who have no idea of what it means to be on the front line.

    And it's not just the PTSD, the number of wounded is hidden from the population as they are worried about the headlines, so only the "brave" soldier stories get out. The compensation for their injuries is also woefully inadequate for those that will need a lifetime of care. They end up becoming third class citizens.

    At least from what I have read the Americans have better facilities and the American people support their boys to the hilt. Clearly they still have their problems with getting the right care and resources but at least they are not spit at in the street or turned out of bars for wearing their uniforms like some have had to put up with here.

    WWW, you are so right about a lack of understanding of history or is it just arrogance for the Armies/Politicos to believe they will win at any cost where no-one has done so before....and what about Pakistan, when will the US/UK decide to invade there...the Nukes are a good enough reason are they not?

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  6. The Dutch are in Afghanistan too. We weren't supposed to be fighting there, but helping to rebuild. Guess what? We're fighting. Dutch soldiers get killed, others get PTSD. There are wounded. The local governments are corrupt and don't cooperate with the helping hand they are being offered. The Dutch do projects for free and the local governments charge the people for them. There are sniper attacks and raiding missions and roadside bombs. We want to pull out, but the Americans don't want us to. The Dutch do a good job. It's a lost cause, as far as I'm concerned.

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  7. Rossa:
    The good thing is we are running out of funds for unprovoked invasions and who on earth appointed the US the world's policeman?
    XO
    WWW

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  8. Irene:
    So is Canada but the death toll has been appalling.
    The longer I live the more I believe in no interference in the the affairs of other countries. And what drives me mad is where we should have gone we never do: Rwanda and Darfur being cases in point.
    There is always always always another agenda, in Afghanistan it is the opium trade and the oil pipelines.
    XO
    WWW

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  9. If there's one thing I've learned during six years in America, it's that this country never, ever, looks elsewhere for advice, or guidance, or experience. The US attitude is: "Why would the Major-General look to a common soldier for knowledge of how to win a war."

    America sees itself as the Major-General of the world, and everyone else as mere foot soldiers.

    This is not true simply of wars, but every aspect of life, and is why the US health service, car industry, the infrastructure, and everything else, is in such a state of chaos.

    America firmly believes it knows best - even though other countries (particularly Europe) have been doing things better, for much longer. They've learned (in, at least, some matters) from bitter experience that the US refuses to acknowledge.

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  10. RJA:
    Yes, you've nailed it. That kindergarten type of arrogance one observes in 4 year olds - I know everything watch me strut. Infantile in the extreme.
    It has mortally wounded itself.
    XO
    WWW

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