STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
US Wavers on Afghan War?
By Staff News & Analysis - May 26, 2010

U.S. war strategy depends on operation in Kandahar … The name of the offensive — Hamkari Baraye Kandahar, or Cooperation for Kandahar — was carefully chosen to avoid the word "operation," which suggests violence. The administration official described it benignly as a "military presence" and Karzai has defined it as a "process." Last week, Gen. Stanley McChrystal (left), the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, called the offensive "a unique challenge." "I actually think the U.S. military would love to find an enemy that was dug in on a piece of terrain, that we could establish a D-Day and we could attack with no civilians around," McChrystal said, "because that would play to every strength that the coalition has." Instead, the Kandahar operation might highlight areas of traditional U.S. and Afghan government weakness. Avoiding the civilian casualties that have plagued U.S. operations elsewhere will be particularly difficult in and around Kandahar, an urban and farming area of 2 million people. – Washington Post

Dominant Social Theme: This offensive is a difficult but necessary operation.

Free-Market Analysis: This is an interesting article (excerpted above) appearing in the Washington Post. It would seem to contravene one of the power elite's most important dominant social themes at the moment – "The White Man's burden in Afghanistan and the necessity of 'finishing the job'." In this article we want to summarize the Post's approach to the situation, contrast it to the Bell's and speculate a little bit on why this high-profile item was presented as it was.

We will start by summarizing the article, and our own previous efforts – and we have presented a number of them in the past months because we believe the Afghanistan adventure is a most important dominant social theme for the Anglo-American elite; it is, perhaps, not going especially well. Plans for the upcoming Kandahar invasion have been pushed back and seemingly revised, even softened. Now, from what we can tell, Afghan forces are going to be the ones holding the territory after it has been secured – but there are not nearly enough of them yet.

Power elite dominant social themes are like a symphony with major and minor melodies. Three of the elite's most prominent tunes are the EU, regulatory democracy and serial wars in the Middle East. All three are seemingly hitting some sour notes. Now again, the response of those who study conspiratorial history is that nothing is accidental and that even if the elite's dominant social themes are seen to fail, they do not truly fail because they just create further chaos that the elite can then utilize to its advantage (order out of chaos, etc.)

Perhaps so, but we believe one of the reasons that elite themes are currently stumbling is because of the truth-telling of the Internet, which has revealed elite mechanisms and the way its promotions are organized and disseminated. We have even read of late that there is dissension among those who purvey elite promotions – even admissions that a "political awakening" is sweeping the world in a manner that has not taken place in the past. Here's what we wrote in a recent Daily Bell article:

At a recent Council on Foreign Relations speech in Montreal, co-founder with David Rockefeller of the Trilateral Commission and regular Bilderberg attendee Zbigniew Brzezinski warned that a "global political awakening," in combination with infighting amongst the elite, was threatening to derail the move towards a one world government. … Brzezinski then explained another significant factor in that, "For the first time in all of human history mankind is politically awakened – that's a total new reality – it has not been so for most of human history."

Click here to read full article: UN Swaps One Fear for Another.

But let us return to the meme at hand. We are attempting to analyze the current posture of the elite as it regards this war and the Post article is surprisingly negative in terms of the possibility of success and the way the war is being waged right now. Here's some more from the Post article:

The Obama administration's campaign to drive the Taliban out of Afghanistan's second-largest city is a go-for-broke move that even its authors are unsure will succeed. The bet is that the Kandahar operation, backed by thousands of U.S. troops and billions of dollars, will break the mystique and morale of the insurgents, turn the tide of the war and validate the administration's strategy. There is no Plan B.

The deadline for results is short: Administration officials anticipate that the operation will form the centerpiece of a major strategy assessment due in December and will justify the first withdrawals of U.S. troops from elsewhere in Afghanistan in July 2011. Although operations initiated last winter in southwestern Helmand province will continue, little else will matter if the news from Kandahar is not good.

That doesn't sound overwhelmingly positive does it? Of course, the power elite does not necessarily need to speak in a monolithic voice on issues – there can be dissenting voices even within the media, but we wonder what it means when one of America's most powerful newspapers launches an article that raises questions about America's most important current war, and the strategy to end it successfully.

Not that we disagree with this analysis, so far as it goes. The analysis jibes with our own, in fact. "There is no plan B and a stated timeline for withdrawals complicate battle plans." But there is one bigger problem as we have repeatedly pointed out. This is that the Anglo-American (and NATO) axis faces in Afghanistan an enemy that is not just the Taliban, but the people of Afghanistan themselves – 40 million Pashtuns. How do you both fight the enemy and pacify it at the same time?

It gets still worse, in our opinion. The allied troops have been in Afghanistan so long that they have even apparently begun to alienate ethnic groups traditionally aligned against the Pashtuns. Here are some other articles we have written on the Afghan war recently:

German Anger Rises Against Afghan War

Afghan Poppy Farmers Attacked by NATO

Military Madness Without End

NATO Generals' Metal Madness

In gathering information about this issue yesterday, we found other articles in the mainstream media that had a tone that was similarly negative. Why the negativity regarding upcoming Afghanistan operations? Three reasons we can think of. (Perhaps readers and feedbackers can think of more.)

One, the invasion of Kandahar simply may not work and it is better to get the news out now rather pretend all is going well. (This may also have to do with media's approach to the larger elite dialectic we have written about in the past, and the necessity to keep up with shifting sentiments of the electorate.) Second, it may be that a defeat in Afghanistan will only up the level of paranoia in the West and allow the powers-that-be to continue to parse individual liberties and further the establishment of nascent police states. Finally, chaos in Afghanistan may somehow feed into arguments for a larger war against Iran. (In danger of losing in Afghanistan, the powers-that-be will argue that Iran has become doubly dangerous – and that the way to victory in Afghanistan lies through Iran.)

After Thoughts

Perhaps all this is only random negativity or perhaps it something more. What is fairly obvious is that the dogs of war are baying more loudly in the Middle East – and in Asia as well where the Koreas are facing off – and that this sort of activity often occurs when economic times turn sour. The good news is that the Anglo-American elite is having trouble implementing and maintaining its fear-based memes. The bad news is that war, serial wars, and even global wars, seem to increase at such times. There is no surety in terms of a correct interpretation, but tracking these promotions and their effectiveness can sometimes provide valuable clues as to what is really being discussed and where the world may be headed.

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