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Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

2,000th US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 30, 2012

The following posting was submitted by guest writer James Mahoney.  Jim’s logic is clear and requires no further comment.  Thank you Jim for commenting on this important issue.

This past week we hit the dubious milestone of having the 2,000th US Soldier killed in Afghanistan since the war began 11 years ago.  Fully 71% of these deaths have occurred during the Obama Administration.  Increasingly our soldiers are being killed by the troops of our so-called allies, the Afghans.  However, you probably haven’t heard about it if you only follow the network news.  The same media that almost gleefully reported the daily death tolls in Iraq has been strangely silent since January 2009.  No causality counters in the corner of the TV screen.  No analysis of how the mounting dissatisfaction over the war might hurt the President’s reelection changes.  No speeches by John Kerry or Harry Reid from the Senate floor telling us the war is lost.  No Ted Koppel reading the names of the dead in faux solemnity.  Not even a Cindy Sheehan peace encampment outside of the golf course.  So what has changed other than the occupant of the White House?  What is our mission in Afghanistan?  Either untie our troops’ hands and let them do their job or bring them home.  Is it too much to ask that the administration get at least as worked up about this as they did over an anti Muslim movie that nobody saw?

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Afghan War Heading in Wrong Direction

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 17, 2012

The New York Times reported on the disintegrating military situation in Afghanistan in an article titled Afghan Assaults Signal Evolution of a Militant Foe.  This past weekend Taliban forces carried out a series of raids throughout Afghanistan that included its cities of Kabul, Jalalabad, Gardez, and Pul-e-Alam.  The breadth, scope and sophistication of these raids caught US military officials by surprise.

Shortly after the Taliban raids, Afghan President Hamid Karzai blamed his Western allies for not stopping the attacks stating that they were the result of “intelligence failure for us, and especially NATO.”  Making matters worse, the U.S. military believes the attacks were carried out by the Haqqani network who has been accused of close ties with the Pakistani intelligence service.  It doesn’t take a great deal of connecting the dots to conclude that the Pakistani spy agency is paying the United States back for its raid last year that assassinated Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil.

The Times also reported that some US military officials are beginning to now question Pres. Obama’s proposed 2014 timeframe for US troop withdrawal.  However, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as a bad case of denial saying of the raids: “We’re going to continue to see suicide attacks.  We’re going to continue to see efforts by them to try to undermine confidence in Afghanistan that we’re headed in the right direction. It hasn’t worked in the past.  I don’t think it’ll work in the present.”

Now in its eleventh year, the war in Afghanistan is going poorly.  Like Johnson and Nixon during the Vietnam war, President Obama mistakenly believes that incrementally increasing pressure on a nationalistic and insurgent enemy will break its will to fight.  Such policies are doomed to fail.  It is only a matter of time before the United States and NATO will leave Afghanistan.  The Taliban and, however, will remain and may likely defeat the corrupt government in Kabul.  Given this, President Obama’s unwillingness to exit Afghanistan merely waste American lives and money.  As this Blog has questioned previously, where is the mainstream media and Leftist antiwar movement that was so vocal when George W. Bush was president?

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Karzai Demands U.S. Troop Pullback

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 17, 2012

One result of last week’s murder of Afghan civilians by a rouge U.S solider has been the demand by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the United States withdraw all of its troops from Afghan cities and villages and confine them to their bases.  Karzai’s demands included:

  • “Not a single foreign soldier should enter Afghan homes, and the entire attention should switch to the country’s reconstruction and economic assistance“.
  • “Afghanistan is right now ready to completely take all security responsibilities, so we demand a speedy transition and the hand-over of responsibility to the Afghans.”

At the same time, the Taliban have indicated they are suspending their “peace” talks with the U.S.  This is further proof of the futility of continuing the war effort in Afghanistan.

Let us not only honor Mr. Karzai’s requests, but go a step further.  Let’s pull most, if not all, of our troops out of Afghanistan.  They serve no U.S. interest in staying and merely help to prop up the corrupt Karzai regime.

How long will it take President Obama to get it on Afghanistan?

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Afghan War Rapidly Deteriorating

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 14, 2012

This Blog has previously expressed the view that the United States should have exited the Afghan War years ago.  That war is not winnable nor does the United States have strategic interests in that country.

The often used excuse for continuing the Afghan War is to keep Afghanistan from again becoming a haven for terrorists.  However, history has proven that when such groups are out in the open, they are easier to take out.  It took only a few months with special forces and air power to rout the Taliban and their terrorist buddies.  Eleven years later and America’s new Viet Nam continues to deteriorate, as epitomized by recent news stories.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the American trained Afghan Air Force is running drugs and illicit weapons.  This sounds eerily similar to the corrupt South Vietnamese military.  This report came from an investigation by the US military and DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).  U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Training Mission-Afghanistan, was quoted: “The nature of the allegations is fairly dramatic and indicated that [AAF officials] were transporting drugs on aircraft and transported weapons not owned by the government of Afghanistan for the use of private groups“.  Training the Afghan forces to take over when NATO leaves is unworkable.

This past weekend things took a tragic turn.  An American soldier went rouge killing 16 innocent civilians in Kandahar province.  This was not only a tragedy for the victims and their families, but on top of the Koran burning makes a tenuous relationship between Afghan and US forces nearly untenable.

While President Obama did not start the Afghan War, he escalated America’s involvement and it is now his war, a second Viet Nam.  Unfortunately, this president has been no more willing to admit his errors in Afghanistan than Johnson or Nixon did in Viet Nam.  Where is the mainstream media?  Where are the anti-war protestors from the Left?

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US Government Admits Errors in Koran Burning

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 4, 2012

The New York Times reported that a US government’s investigation determined that errors were made by military and civilian employees that led to the Koran burning in Afghanistan.  These burnings then led to rioting and the death of six US soldiers recent days.

The destroyed Korans were owned by prisoners held at a US detention center in Parwan, Afghanistan.  Afghan civilian interpreters found notes written on the Korans that American officials feared were coded signals to the Taliban.  Approximately, 1,600 books of all types including a few Korans were segregated and subsequently sent to an incinerator for destruction.  An Afghan employee who saw the at stack included Korans stopped the destruction, however, four were badly damaged.

The Times reported that Afghan religious leaders demanded public identification and punishment of those involved with the Koran burning as the only acceptable remedy for the errors.  An Afghan religious leader said: “There are some crimes that cannot be forgiven, but that need to be punished.  This is not any book; this is the book of the whole Muslim nation, and if a few people are punished, America will not be destroyed.  But if that doesn’t happen, it will create animosity and enmity between America and the Muslim world.”

The unforgiving words of Afghan’s religious leader is too often the reaction within the Muslim community when it believes it has been wronged.  This call for revenge is a key cause of the violence and terrorism associated with some Muslim organizations.  It is also in conflict with any basic rule of governmental law.

The hard-line position expressed by the Afghan religious leader is also in conflict with the way the Muslim community often reacts to violence perpetrated by its community against non-Muslims.  For example, NBC has just reported that the graves in Libya of British soldiers killed in World War II have been desecrated, as well as Italian soldiers’ graves.  For this willful act of vandalism by Muslim extremists, the Libyan government offered an apology.  The West will appropriately except this apology as the Libyan people should not be held accountable for the acts of some renegades, even if those acts were willful.  Contrast this with how the Afghan religious leader responded to an error made by some American soldiers.  These opposing reactions show the disconnect between Western and Islam cultures.  This disconnect is too often ignored by Progressives like President Obama.

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Two More US Soldiers Killed by Afghan “Allies”

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 2, 2012

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that two more American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan by an Afghan soldier.  This increases to six the number of American soldiers killed by our supposed Afghan allies in the past two weeks alone.  Earlier this week, PBS reported that 20% of US deaths in Afghanistan this year were caused by our Afghan “allies”.

The Afghans excuse for killing the American soldiers and the associated rioting was a supposed burning of Korans by the US government.  However, given the violent Afghan history that has been ongoing long before America became a superpower, this is but a lame excuse for killing those they disagree with.

Showing weaknesses in his history knowledge and diplomatic skills, President Obama apologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the book burning incident.  However, apologies are not what radical Islamists want from the West.

When George W. Bush was president, the Left, its allies in the mainstream media, and yes Barack Obama himself, blasted Bush’s war efforts on nearly a daily basis.  Now, over three years into Pres. Obama’s Afghan War, there is hardly a peep from this group.  Where are the Cindy Sheehan’s?  Where are the Jane Fonda’s?  Where is the mainstream media?  Evidently this group is not as peace-loving as they proclaim.  Meanwhile, brave American soldiers continue to die in a war effort that has no chance of a positive outcome.

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Afghan’s Sunnis Target Shiites in Bombings

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 7, 2011

Suicide bombers were at it on Tuesday in Afghanistan in a growing sign of increasing violence between Afghan’s Sunni and Shiite Muslims.  Simultaneous bombings went off throughout the country with the target of these attacks being the Shiite minority that makes up about 20% of Afghanistan.  Some of Afghan’s Sunni majority, as well as those in other countries, consider Shiites to be heretics.

Reuters reported that in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, 60 Shiites were killed in a bombing at a religious ceremony commemorating the Ashura day of mourning, a Shiite holy day.  Other fatal blasts occurred in the southern city of Kandahar, again targeting Shiite worshipers.

The Afghan bombings are examples of what has become nearly daily occurrences in some countries worldwide with followers of the Islamic faith using violence and killings to achieve political and/or religious goals.  It demonstrates the intolerance of other religions that has become part of the Islamic culture.

Some in the West, particularly Progressives, have for chosen to ignore the reasons behind the growing violence and intolerance within the Muslim community, hiding behind the modern religion of political correctness.  The violence, intolerance and justifications for these acts are being taught to Muslim youths in madrasahs by religious teachers.  This powerful indoctrination that has made violence the chosen path for too many followers of Islam.  The West’s refusal to call the greater Islamic community on this reality has allowed that community to turn a blind eye and make excuses for the violence within their culture.

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Afghanistan War has Become Obama’s Viet Nam

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 17, 2011

The New York Times today posted an article about the ongoing problems with the Afghan War effort.  Since America took out Osama Bin Laden six weeks ago, there has been a significant increase in the cross-border attacks from Pakistan into Afghanistan.  These attacks are mainly in the form of rockets, some fired from within a mile of Pakistani military bases indicating Pakistani complicity in them.  This year there have been 55 such attacks compared to only two the year earlier.

The Times report is an indication why Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last month publically called Pakistan on its support of guerillas.  He then called the insurgents that attacked the American Embassy in the Kabul “a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s military intelligence service.

Pakistan’s duplicity and support of terrorism should not be a surprise.  They have used it as a tool of their foreign policy for decades, mainly in a dispute with India over Kashmir.  The world turned a blind-eye to Pakistan’s dirty efforts that have resulted in civilian deaths in India, as it has with other Islamic causes that use terrorism.  Allowing the genie of terrorism out of the bottle will be costly for the world for years into the future.

Pakistani duplicity is only part of the problem in Afghanistan.  The Afghan War has taken on too many similarities to America’s tragic efforts in Viet Nam.  1) In both cases the enemy had significant guerilla forces.  2) Both saw lengthy periods of battlefield stagnation.  3) South Viet Nam and Afghanistan had/have corrupt governments with limited popular support.  4) In Afghanistan, the guerillas have safe haven in Pakistan.  In Viet Nam there was Cambodia.  5) In both wars, America failed to follow the Powell Doctrine that calls for overwhelming force to win wars quickly and decisively.

The Afghan War is now 10 years running without significant progress being made since the Taliban were removed from power nearly ten years ago.  This will not change with additional months/years of American effort.  President Obama’s surge plan has failed.  No further expenditure of American dollars or blood will change the ultimate results of this struggle.  The Taliban will return to power unless the Afghan people have the desire and will to stop it.

President Obama, like other armchair warriors including President Lyndon Johnson, are ill-prepared to make strategic decisions relating to the use of military force.  Obama incredibly believes that troop withdrawal decisions can be planned even before a battle is fought.  Such decisions can only be made after battles are won (or lost).

There are telling differences between the Viet Nam and Afghan wars.  During the Viet Nam debacle the mainstream media and Left called Johnson (and later Nixon) on their failed strategies.  These groups today are quiet on Obama’s Afghanistan folly.  Instead, the Progressives gave Obama the Noble Peace Prize.  We certainly live in strange times!

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Afghan Leader Assassinated

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 21, 2011

Former Afghan president and current leader of its High Peace Council, Burhanuddin Rabbani, was assassinated this week in Afghanistan.  Rabbani received a known visitor who had explosives hidden in his turban.  After making the traditional greeting that involved embracing Rabbani, the assassin exploded the bomb killing both.

The Rabbani assassination came just a week after the Taliban attacked the American Embassy in Kabul.  These acts demonstrate that the Taliban can attack nearly any target in Afghanistan, an indication that even after ten years of war, progress has been spotty at best.

The United States once again has been sucked into mission creep.  The Afghan invasion justifiably sought retribution against the bad guys that perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.  That job was successfully completed within a few months, with most surviving terrorists moving to Pakistan.  The mission morphed sometime thereafter that in to nation building, something the United States does not do well.

Nation building cannot succeed in Afghanistan, especially due of its tribal makeup.  The Northern Alliance, who assisted the United States in the quick overthrow of the Taliban, are mostly ethnic Tajiks and Hazaras.  The Taliban are predominantly Pashtuns.  While George W. Bush did not end America’s military involvement in Afghanistan, he at least kept the effort at low level, indicating some understanding of the tribal makeup of the conflict.  After his election, Barak Obama significantly increased America’s efforts, significantly increasing the troop count that has led to increased American casualties.  Recent events indicate these efforts have not made much progress.

The New York Times’ headline on the Rabbani assassination was: Assassination Deals Blow to Peace Process in Afghanistan.  This typical Progressivism concludes that conflicts between nations can be negotiated away and that Rabbani was an important part in that process.  This flawed logic has been rejected by history that shows conflicts continue until it is in the interests of both parties to resolve them, or one side is beating into submission.  Neither of these are the case in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has turned into Obama’s Viet Nam and the results will be similar; after the United States leaves the bad guys will likely take over the country.  Obama’s decision to continue America’s fighting efforts can no longer be justified at any level.  Where is the anti-war movement now?

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Afghan Bad Guys get $360 million of US Taxpayer Funds

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 19, 2011

This Blog has previously proffered the view that America has long past the point in time when it should have ended its Afghan War effort (links provided below).  America’s military efforts in Afghanistan were justified and valid in the early days when it was in response to the 9/11 attacks that were planned from that country.  The effort has since morphed into nation building that has failed.

This week the Associate Press reported on a story they helps show the futility of America’s nation building efforts in Afghanistan.  The Pentagon established a study group called Task Force 2010 to determine the extent of US funds sent that were to Afghanistan that ended up in the bad guys’ hands.  It found that about $360 million in U.S. funds made their way to the Taliban, criminals and people with ties to either or both.  In other words the groups America is fighting in that country are using US taxpayer funds against American troops.

President Obama decided on the current US military strategy in Afghanistan that included increasing the number of troops in that country.  The number of American troops killed since has risen.  At the same time the high level of corruption in Afghanistan is further proof that the nation building effort is not succeeding.

How tragic.  Afghanistan has become Obama’s war.  Where is the Leftist press?

Afghanistan is Now Obama’s War, 7/29/11

America’s Failed Afghan Strategy, 6/27/11

Obama’s Forgotten Afghanistan War, 2/25/11

Afghanistan Looking Similar to the Viet Nam War, 12/20/2010

Afghanistan is Now Obama’s War, 10/26/10

Obama’s Afghanistan War Going Badly, 10/9/10

Afghanistan Continues to Deteriorate, 8/31/10

Afghan’s Corruption Dooms War Effort, 6/28/10

Afghan War reality Check, 2/25/10

Afghanistan – We need a Strategy, 10/5/09 

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