Afghanistan: Let the Finger-Pointing Begin
By Staff News & Analysis - June 14, 2011

Lackluster U.S. Leaders Doom Afghan Mission … In December 1941, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt assembled his top military advisors, he was surrounded by George Marshall, Hap Arnold, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mark Clark, Bill Donovan, Claire Chennault, Chester Nimitz, Bull Halsey, Frank Fletcher, Ray Spruance, Vinegar Joe Stillwell, George S. Patton and Douglas MacArthur. These people, along with the likes of Chesty Puller, Tex Hill, Bill Darby and Pappy Boyington were brilliant, daring, outspoken and personally courageous, and they won the war for the United States. –

Dominant Social Theme: US boots-on-the-ground didn't lose the war, they were stabbed in the back!

Free-Market Analysis: This is an interesting article appearing in the KabulPress (see excerpt above). KabulPress is a prominent Afghan website; while the motives of the author (a regular columnist apparently) may be controversial, we believe the article may represent a trend – a dominant social theme – in what appears to be the disintegrating US/NATO war effort in Afghanistan. When finger-pointing evidences itself, the war effort is usually over. Victory has many fathers; defeat has few. The article may be a snapshot of what the future holds.

The US is already reeling from economic dysfunction – and there is also, increasingly, finger pointing as regards Iraq, which is currently regarded by the mainstream media as a victory. Just recently, it emerged that some US$6 billion in Iraq re-development funds is unaccounted for. Iraq officials claim that the US failed to put proper procedures in place; the Pentagon claims the Iraq officials were in charge of the money.

There is likely much more to come – assuming there is no false-flag event that reignites and further expands the "war on terror." The total cost of these two wars is probably in the area of US$3 trillion, and the abuses to civilian pocketbook and to the Afghan and Iraqi people themselves will gather strength sooner or later no matter what happens. Victory might have ameliorated such insights, but victory in Afghanistan is not feasible. The US public will come face to face with the enormous expenditures and the roughly one to two million casualties in these countries as a result of these unjustifiable conflicts.

As the impact of the unwinding Afghanistan war becomes more apparent (as it must), the cultural conformity about the military's honorable invincibility that has been stitched together by the political class and the mainstream media may start to unwind. This will have an effect not just on the general psyche but also on the military-industrial complex as well. In other words, there will be economic as well as social ramifications.

The article is admittedly idiosyncratic for now. The author is Matthew Nasuti. A former United States Air Force Captain and former Deputy City Attorney for Los Angeles, he sued the State Dept., which hired him, sent him to Iraq, and then fired him after he claimed he "uncovered serious misconduct by officials within the Bureau of Diplomatic Security." (In Iraq, anyway, Nasuti seems to be in the process of being publicly vindicated.)

Despite Nasuti's obvious anger at the State Dept, he has published many articles that seem to reveal just how chaotic the Afghan war effort is currently. He writes that amount of US military casualties alone are approaching 500,000 and that some of the soldiers in the Afghan army are crossing over and joining the Taliban.

Nasuti's general perspective on the war (not necessarily the numbers) is much different than the standard mainstream presentation. He believes, bluntly, that the war is being lost. We find this to be a refreshingly realistic and candid assertion as well. In fact, we've long tried to explain that the war in Afghanistan was a war against the Pashtuns and that the Taliban – predominantly Pashtun – travel over into Pakistan to rest and rearm. We've written many times how the war could not be won unless the these safe-havens were wiped out. They have not been.

We've also pointed out that Pakistan will not attack these safe havens because the Taliban give the Pakistani elites enormous leverage and in a recent article, we suggested that the death of Osama bin Laden was perhaps a maneuver to put pressure on Pakistan. We also suggested that bin Laden may have died ten years ago and that entire episode was a false flag. You can see the article here: Bin Laden Episode End of Empire? – Top US Official Says 9/11 Was an Inside Job.

The death of bin Laden, real or not, signaled the end of the latest stage of the war and may even come to be seen as the high-water mark of American empire. The Anglo-American power elite has run through much of the cultural and monetary resources of both countries. The idea in our view was to secure Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to advance world government. But apparently, that is not going to happen. For at least the second time in 100-plus years, the Anglosphere elites have failed to subdue the Pashtuns.

Senior US officials continue to pressure Pakistan generals to invade the Pashtun/Taliban safe havens, but even were they to do so, it is too little too late. The US military in particular has been reduced to claiming victory while the violence in Afghanistan has surged and the Taliban leadership is being desperately approached to negotiate.

Could the finger pointing soon begin. Nasuti may have merely anticipated it. His perspective is that today's US military prefers mediocre consensus-bureaucrats instead of leaders. A world class U.S. military, he maintains, is being run by incompetent senior officers. Rather than seeking to claim victory, these officers are more comfortable in an advisory role.

This timidity has consequences. The officers do not demand better rifles for the troops, he suggests, and instead use M4s that do not have the range of Taliban weapons and may jam during a firefight. US soldiers' body armor does not incorporate the latest layered titanium and Kevlar composition. The helmet is inferior to that worn by professional football players.

Afghan reconstruction has been squandered by the billions, he continues, but USAID officials rarely leave Kabul to supervise fieldwork. Provincial Reconstruction Teams hand out contracts they cannot track. U.S. diplomats refuse to venture outside of Kabul as well and will not learn Dari or Pashto. Many leave after 10 months and decline to return. The troop "surge," which has not worked is not mentioned to the thin-skinned Secretary of State.

The political process in the US is just as useless as the State Dept. and the Pentagon bureaucracy, he writes. The Foreign Relations Committee "performs no functions under Senator Kerry other than being a platform for Senators to make dull and self-serving speeches." There is no chance of winning the war, he concludes, and thus US troops must be withdrawn immediately. "It is the only honorable thing to do." Why should US soldiers continue to fight and die when the political class will neither support their efforts, nor put their own children in harm's way.

Here at the DB, we tend to subscribe to the view that all "war is a racket." War is indeed the "power of the state" and little more. Wars do little in the long term to decide the fate of nations; nor can they long lift one nation at the expense of another. Rome invaded Carthage and razed the city to ground. Yet, those wars probably only hastened the end of the Roman republic and the rise of Empire – which led eventually to the ruin of Rome itself.

After Thoughts

This is only an article and surely does not represent a trend. But, nonetheless, there must eventually be an inquest and more of these post-mortems thus emerging as the urgency to assess blame becomes more acute. The tenor and viciousness of their positioning will determine the level of disarray experienced by the US military and political establishment in a post-war environment. It will likely only add to the federal government's current dysfunction.

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