The West is Tiptoeing to the Exit in Afghanistan … Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. Central Command, is used to coming under fire in the field. He led the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division in the 2003 Iraq war, overseeing its heroic charge to Baghdad through Karbala, Hilla and Najaf. Famously he is supposed to have remarked to embedded reporters after the fall of the Iraqi capital: "Tell me how this ends." That request was interpreted as an indication that Gen. Petraeus realized early on that keeping the peace after the fall of Saddam would prove a good deal more difficult than winning the war in the first place. He was right. Iraq had to endure years of bloodshed and chaos before the surge of troops he implemented in 2007-08 began to turn the tide. On Tuesday, Gen. Petraeus was under a different kind of pressure to that experienced on the front lines. Appearing on Capitol Hill he was asked by senators about the progress of another war, the one ongoing in Afghanistan. Gen. Petraeus proceeded to faint, albeit briefly. Following a short break for recuperation he blamed dehydration and not the intense questioning from Sen. John McCain. – Wall Street Journal
Dominant Social Theme: In it to win it!
Free-Market Analysis: We have been discussing the EU fairly regularly and also the Afghan war. These are two critical elite promotions and they are both failing. We discuss the EU in the other article in today's Bell. Here we once again ponder the war in light of recent events – and this Wall Street Journal article that seems to admit the real possibility of losing.
It cannot be a pleasant prospect for the Anglo-American elite. The probable reason to continually agitate and attack in the Middle East is to gradually transform Muslim states into an East-West amalgam that is conducive to Western-style regulatory democracy and central-banking "capitalism." We believe that the formation of the state of Israel was part of this strategy, and that the tensions constantly induced into the Middle East are part of this process as well.
It is for this reason that we think the West – America and Britain in particular – attacked Iraq and Afghanistan. Not for minerals, or for oil, or to "strategically surround Russia," or to "threaten China" but simply to further extend Anglo-American economic hegemony. This is the reason, in fact, that the rationales for these wars are ever-changing and that the timelines and goals seem to fungible. The whole point is to stay as long as possible and to inflict as much damage as possible on the native cultures in order to Westernize them.
We have noted that something like 80 percent of Afghan livestock has been destroyed during this latest endless war, and that Western forces may have introduced a biological sickness that attacks the poppy plant, which is one of Afghanistan's main (if dubious) harvests. The idea, ever-unstated, is perhaps to transform Afghanistan into a more dependent society, one that has transitioned from independent tribesmen into an urban-oriented environment, where individuals find Western-style office-oriented employment.
To read more, click here: Afghan Poppy Farmers Attacked by Nato
We would note as an aside, that the trillion-dollar so-called commodities find in Afghanistan (announced the other day with much fanfare by the New York Times) is further evidence of our perspective. One can see in this desperate and transparent announcement (reported in the mainstream press on several previous occasions) how the military-industrial complex attempts to conceal its real agenda with such resource-related justifications.
This is, in fact, analogous to the claim that the US was "fighting communism" in the 20th century. The point then was likely to weaken and confuse the indigenous militarism that had sprung up in the American populace after two successful world wars. The idea of the present-day Middle East incursions has been much different. It is in a sense what it appears to be, from our point of view. It has been aimed at bringing Iraq and Afghanistan into the Western fold, or close enough to it.
But just as with the EU, or global warming, we believe that the elite is having a difficult time promoting and reinforcing this particular dominant social theme. The idea that the West must spend endless amounts of blood and treasure to build Afghanistan into a Western-style regulatory democracy may have seemed at least somewhat convincing at one time, but not after a decade of intermittent failure and ever-shifting justifications. And while it is certainly a cheap shot to conclude that General David Petraeus's fainting spell provides a metaphor for the war's larger, impending collapse, one can surely (and fairly) wonder if General Petraeus at this point has any further answers. Here's some more from the Wall Street Journal article excerpted above:
Mr. McCain and Sen. Carl Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, had been getting somewhere interesting before the unfortunate interruption .President Barack Obama has committed to starting withdrawals of American troops by July 2011. Is that wise? Gen. Petraeus offered what he described as a "qualified yes." "There was a nuance to what the president said that was very important, that did not imply a race for the exits, a search for the light to turn off or anything like that," he said.
No race for the exits and no search for the light to turn off, then. Yet the focus is clearly very much on finding a dignified way out. Once the Afghan surge, the latest major Petraeus initiative, finishes next summer the policy looks set to be: Organize an orderly retreat and call it a victory. Enemies of the U.S. and NATO are, it has to be said, unlikely to draw the conclusion from this that they are deeply committed to a robust defense of Western values.
Until then, there is still a broad commitment to keeping out the Taliban in Afghanistan and supposedly reconstructing (or constructing) an approximation of a democracy and a functioning central government. But the mission unmistakably has a slow puncture. Public support has slipped away and much of the political will with it. The Dutch are withdrawing. The Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, said last week that he wants NATO to come up with a timetable for the end of its mission in Afghanistan.
And in Britain there is extreme weariness with the war. Soon 300 British personnel will have lost their lives in the conflict, with the death toll now standing at 298 following the deaths Tuesday of two soldiers from 1st Battalion, the Duke of Lancaster's regiment.
This article in Rupert Murdoch's often-truculent Wall Street Journal is yet further proof from our point of view that the war is not going well. The rush is on, apparently, to position what may be an inevitable military setback (at least a withdrawal) in Afghanistan as something necessary and unsurprising. The reasons should be fairly obvious, and we have written about them at length. Here are a few:
The war is really being waged against the world's last powerful tribal entity, the Pashtuns – a thin, turbaned line that stands between global regulatory democracy and something less homogenous. The Anglo-American west has tried numerous tactics to undermine this tribal entity and to break down its cohesion. But despite a grim determination to reduce the deaths and maiming of Afghan civilians, Anglo-American/NATO forces have not been successful in their overall strategy, not yet anyway. And the increased violence that is taking place – pending the invasion of Kandahar – is only further complicating the situation and causing more "collateral damage."
The trouble is that a standoff for Western powers is seemingly as good as a loss. Western powers may well continue to take casualties without making significant progress – not that "progress" has been properly defined to begin with. This is not a war for the faint-hearted.