Saturday, November 17, 2012

Afghanistan: A Fool's Errand and A Gross Betrayal of Our Troops - Part 2

NOTE: The opinions in this post are mine alone and should not be attributed to anyone else.

Earlier this week I wrote here about how, in my opinion, both America's senior military leadership and and too many politicians have betrayed our troops in Afghanistan by placing them in a situation that is impossible to win in the longer term and simply throwing away young lives needlessly.  Any half-witted student of history should have been able to see the handwriting on the wall as the USA ventured into an arid climate version of Vietnam under the leadership of a cretin, George W. Bush, and a megalomaniac, Dick "Emperor Palpatine" Cheney, both of whom approved torture in violation of the Geneva Conventions.  

As regular readers know, I have long been a strong critic of the fools errand missions put into motion by Bush/Cheney.  But what set me off this week was that now my family has been directly impacted.  My son-in-law has been seriously wounded under circumstances it would seem the U.S. Army hasn't fully disclosed.  But my son-in-law was luckier than some because while badly injured, he is still alive.  There's this in today's Seattle Times:

Staff Sgt. Rayvon Battle, a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier from Rocky Mount, N.C., died Nov. 13 in Afghanistan.

Battle, 25, served with the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division in Kandahar province. He arrived in Afghanistan earlier this month, and the cause of his death is under investigation, according to a base official.

Battle joined the Army in June, 2005, and came to Lewis-McChord in November of that year. He deployed twice to Iraq before serving in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 38th Engineer Company, and deployed to Afghanistan as a squad leader.

Battle was the first soldier from the 4th Stryker Brigade to die during the unit’s deployment to Afghanistan, according to a base official. Since the start of this year, 33 Lewis-McChord soldiers have died in Afghanistan.

I don't know if this needless death arose out of the same incident in which my son-in-law was wounded or not, but I suspect that it was.  The cynic in me believes the statement "under investigation" really means, determining how to best spin this horrible circumstance.   Like Battle, my son-in-law was on his third deployment, having arrived back in Afghanistan just last month.  My sincerest sympathy goes out to the family of Staff Sgt. Rayvon Battle and all other families who have lost loved ones because of the hubris of politicians and disingenuous generals who forget that they are playing with the lives of real people and real families.  

I've noted before that Afghanistan has been an uncontrollable hell hole for at least two thousand years - a fact that should have been obvious to anyone who isn't a cretin and recovering alcoholic like George W. Bush and which should have been obvious to a senior military leadership that, in my opinion, likes to play at making war regardless of the consequences to our troops.  Here are highlights from how one South Asian analyst (his website is here) describes the current situation:

The publication Defence News comments expertly on military topics and recently described the performance of the US Air Force in supplying troops in Afghanistan with vital stores. It noted that last year “43 forward operating bases were supplied solely by air, with 27,000 troops receiving all of their food, water, ammunition and fuel from the sky, dropped primarily by the US Air Force... The necessity to resupply troops by air comes from several factors, not the least of which is the skyrocketing number of roadside bombs US, Nato and Afghan troops face, making travel by road a risky bet.”

This is a factual, down to earth (literally) record of proficiency. It is admirable that the US Air Force is capable of such expertise. But it is also an admission of total strategic and tactical failure, because the very reliance on airdrop resupply shows that the vast hi-tech military machines of the west are incapable of controlling roads in a country where they have been fighting a futile war for ten wretched years, in which so many thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed or wounded.

Yet the Secretary General of Nato Anders Fogh Rasmussen, declared in October that “The enemy is being pushed further back from the population.” Heaven knows what briefings he was given during his visit to Afghanistan, but for anyone to claim that “We saw Afghan security forces that are growing more capable and more confident” is misleading to the point of downright dishonesty.

And the International Force spokesperson fluttered even further into cloud cuckoo land last week when he declared that “Clearly, the security situation is improving, the number of enemy initiated attacks is decreasing and the vast majority of the Afghan population lives in areas where peace and stability has already been established.” In the week following his absurd assertion there were five Nato soldiers killed, an appalling slaughter of Afghan civilians, and a rocket attack on Kabul.

With very few exceptions, units of the Afghan army and police are a shambles. Of course there are some capable Afghans in uniform – but they are few and far between and are consistently let down by their corrupt and bungling government. Their logistic supply system is a bizarre disgrace and they rely entirely on foreign forces for air support.

It is far beyond time that our military leadership stop lying and admit to elected officials in Washington and the American people that Afghanistan is an utter failure and that American forces needs to be withdrawn IMMEDIATELY.

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