News & Analysis
Afghanistan, a Promotion in Tatters
It's a fantasy to think we are winning the war in Afghanistan ... Ten years after the West intervened to overthrow the Taliban regime, our strategy is still fatally flawed, argues a former ambassador to Kabul. 'Without a credible political product to offer people caught in the crossfire, no settlement will hold. – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: If we hang in there we will win. Besides, there are trillions in raw earth minerals in Afghanistan yet to be harvested ...
Free-Market Analysis: Give the UK Telegraph credit once again for going where few mainstream publications will dare to tread. This article states fairly bluntly that the West has lost the war in Afghanistan ... again. (For at least a second time in 100 years and according to some commentators for a third or even a fourth time.)
The West – particularly the Anglo-American power elite – has a fixation on Afghanistan and, to a lesser extent, on Pakistan. It is important, from the standpoint of world governance, that individual tribes be eradicated, and the Pashtuns and to a lesser extent the Punjabis are the last warlike tribes standing in the way, from what we can see, of the longed-for creation of a Western one-world order.
The great central banking families have thrown everything they've got at Afghanistan and as much in terms of raw materials and men and machines as can possibly be justified. Dozens of countries have sent fighting men to Afghanistan and the war has continued now for a full decade. But in this article, Sherard Cowper-Coles admits that it likely has all been for naught. Here's some more:
As ambassador in Kabul, I wrote to each of our dead soldiers' next of kin. Too many of the young women to whom I wrote had either just had, or were about to have, the dead soldier's child. Naturally, I accentuated the positive. The family could and should be proud of what he had been doing, and of the cause for which he had died. But I could not help asking myself: 10 or 20 years from now, what would we tell the dead man's as yet unborn son or daughter about the war in which his or her never-known father had fallen? It's a fantasy to think we are winning the war ...
The real test is not what happens when and where Western forces are present, but what happens where and when they are not. And here the record of lasting achievement is more mixed, and the prospects darker. If the insurgency infecting much of Afghanistan is compared to a cancer, the International Security Assistance Force's operations are little more than anaesthetic ... General Petraeus's own Counter-Insurgency Field Manual makes the point that COIN – counter-insurgency – is mostly politics. Without a credible political product to offer populations caught in the crossfire, no settlement will hold. That is the fatal flaw in the whole intervention.
But by far the worst omission has been our failure to devise, let alone implement, anything approaching a credible political strategy. Anybody who knows anything serious about Afghanistan knows that our present "strategy" is fantasy: building forts and filling them with Western soldiers whose place will gradually be taken by mainly Tajik forces almost as alien to the Pashtun tribes of the south as the young Britons or Americans, or Danes or Dutchmen or brave Australians, now populating the forward operating bases and combat outposts scattered across the land; and then supposing that, in the secure bubbles thus created, Afghan "governance" will somehow take root, and grow, and survive when those bubbles burst.
Cowper-Coles writes that at this point NATO and the US cannot "shoot" their way to the negotiating table. But if one reads other articles written about this wretched anniversary, the idea that the war is "winnable" still seems in force.
Of course, all sorts of reasons have been invented for why the West is fighting in Afghanistan. The alternative press has advanced the idea of a "long war" designed to further militarize Western countries while dissipating morale and resources and enriching the larger military-industrial complex. This has some merit.
The political and military establishment has advanced other rationales. It is the duty of the civilized world to bring Afghanistan into the 21st century. Women ought to be liberated and men relieved of the necessity to grow opium on their farms. Of course, nation-building is not a very easy task and has rarely if ever proven successful in the long term.
Most recently, the Pentagon announced it had found "rare earth" minerals in Afghanistan, a find estimated at around US$1 trillion. This mirrors the announcement of last year that old USSR maps had been discovered showing oil, natural gas and other resources were available in abundance in Afghanistan, up to (you guessed it) US$1 trillion!
In fact, the war effort is foundering. It is a terrific setback for the one-world crowd that needs to clear out powerful tribes before implementing one-world governance. This is in our view the real reason for the attacks on Afghanistan and the ongoing destabilization of Pakistan as well.
The Pashtuns and Punjabis are among the oldest and most warlike tribes on earth. They number about 200 million entrenched for perhaps 2,000 years in geologically inhospitable terrain. They're likely not going anywhere unless they are rooted out, soldier by soldier. Drones won't do it and the West simply does not have the will after yet another decade of weary war, to take over two countries via what basically would amount to hand-to-hand combat.
We've written that the failure of the West in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a body blow to plans for one-world government. That doesn't mean, of course, that the Anglosphere power elite will give up this great dream. Not at all. We can see in the Occupy Wall Street protests (see other articles this issue) that the movement toward world government continues apace.
The failure to subdue two countries and two ancient tribes at the "navel of the world" is a tremendous setback, nonetheless. The Anglosphere will continue to pursue objectives by building forts, staffing them and trying to create a non-Pashtun army to carry the fight via proxy. All of this has been tried in the past and none of it has ever worked.
Conclusion: The Pashtuns and the Punjabis are ancient enemies – but they have faced off with the Anglo-Saxon tribes for centuries. This is an ancient war, and one the Anglosphere has never been able to win. There is no reason to believe that it will be won now. Cowper-Coles is telling the truth about Afghanistan. He's an important and well-respected man within elite circles. Let's hope he's taken seriously.
Posted by Summer on 10/08/11 05:27 AM
DB: Now the MM is reporting that the 2014 date for departure may be premature because of the obvious "setbacks." When does it end? ...
I know the whole thing is just obscene. They've been losing since the beginning.
How much more destruction will they inflict before they leave them alone? Unfortunately, I suspect when they themselves face destruction - that will be the end. Pitiable.
Posted by Summer on 10/08/11 05:15 AM
DB: "The Pashtuns are stronger. The Punjabis are slyer."
Nice n concise! :)
Posted by Summer on 10/07/11 06:59 PM
Thanks DB for this article. The contrast between a MSM view on TV today and your work is stark (thank goodness for you guys!). I was disgusted that the main question of the discussion was: "Do you feel safer as a result of the war in Afghanistan?"!!! The answers were generally, "Yes". Needless to say, it seemed a tad rigged - I know many British people are fed up of the awful wars. FRUSTRATION!
Reply from The Daily Bell
Now the MM is reporting that the 2014 date for departure may be premature because of the obvious "setbacks." When does it end? ...
Posted by Summer on 10/07/11 06:53 PM
I agree with your sentiments. Pakhtuns/Pashtuns do not admire Western-style living. They see their values as superior: ones where honour, family and trying to live a good life are priorities not chasing after the world. They are a war-like people and see it not only as a right to defend themselves but a must to defend their honour and they often truly believe in 'eye for an eye' - if a soldier kills one of them they will kill a soldier.
Punjabis are different. They are not a war-like people. Rather they are clever strategists and also have strong family values. However some level of inferiority complex has penetrated some of them - looking up to Western materialism etc. However they still usually keep to their own cultural norms.
Reply from The Daily Bell
The Pashtuns are stronger. The Punjabis are slyer.
Posted by Summer on 10/07/11 06:43 PM
Thank you, I totally agree.
Posted by Siegfried on 10/07/11 04:04 PM
"the Pashtuns and to a lesser extent the Punjabis are the last warlike tribes standing in the way, from what we can see, of the longed-for creation of a Western one-world order."
Maybe more than warlike tribes the problem is that they simply couldn't care less about the western style of living, the empty materialistic baits that worked so well with us might be perceived from miles away exactly as they are in reality, and there's nothing less sexy. Without the context, the indoctrinating state education, the pervasive media saturation deifying technology, owning an iPhone 6 is so uncool, is actually so ridiculous...
The only way to overcome these radical cultural differences is actually to exterminate the locals. As SaintGeorge no less says, unluckily for American Indians internet was not there to expose the brutal carnage invaders from all over Europe carried out there. Now it's very difficult to hide atrocities of such caliber while cynically claiming moral superiority, no matter how hard you try. The territory is too big, there are too many people that warlike or not, don't buy that kind of western crap.
Western population general mindlessness towards their governments is also not infinite (although quite close to it sometimes), much less when so many events indicate more and more that there is a hopelessly rotten core. The pyrotechnics of elections and the noisy clowns of the political circus will not pass forever as serious problem solvers. The sooner the better.
Posted by saintgeorge5 on 10/07/11 11:16 AM
Brits have not learned from history. They failed to subjugate these warriors.
Pathans specially. What is the aim of West? Is it to ethnically cleanse Afghanistan? I suppose, Americans think that as they sucessfully cleansed America of Native Americans. Will they suceed in Afghanistan, I doubt. Meanwhile thousands of civilians are suffering or dead. The greed of corporatins, know no bounds. For heavens sake stop this carnage.