AFGHANISTAN AND AMERICA: FIXING BOTH

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afghan_01THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN IS A SYMPTOM, NOT THE DISEASE

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

This week, General Stanley McChrystal, "allied" commander in Afghanistan, met with President Obama in Copenhagen, during the president’s ill fated Olympics effort, for 25 minutes. The subject we can only guess, but observers predict a Truman/MacArthur "meeting of minds" after McChrystal went "walk about" recently.

McChrystal has gone on a personal campaign to commit the US to a full scale war in Afghanistan that experts predict will require troop levels of 250,000 or more for 3 to 4 years, ending in an unstable coalition government. The potential cost? 10,000 more American dead, minimum, up to 50,000 wounded and 2 trillion more dollars added to the national debt.

     McChrystal has the credentials, West Point, Special Forces and was Cheney’s picked to head the controversial Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). One thing is lacking, however, McChrystal has no combat experience of any kind. His personal commitments won’t involve him losing his "personal" life, in whole or part.

Still tied at the apron strings to the Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and Rove comedy team, without one second of combat deployment to a busload, the idea of jumping on a podium and raving about biblical disasters comes naturally, too naturally.

McChrystal isn’t wrong, just unsound. The real disaster in Afghanistan was the rigged election which will make unifying the country behind any supportable government nearly impossible. UN diplomat, Peter Galbraith, fired by Secretary General Ban Kai Moon for wanting to get the truth out about the disastrous election in Afghanistan, has a different story to tell.

Galbraith said: "As many as 30 per cent of Karzai’s votes were fraudulent, and lesser fraud was committed on behalf of other candidates. The fraud has handed the Taliban its greatest strategic victory in eight years of fighting the United States and its Afghan partners." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/6259530/US-diplomat-claims-UN-tried-to-gag-him.html

The root of the disagreement between McChrystal and Vice President Joe Biden has been based on two distinct areas:

1. Perceived threat: McChrystal sees losing control of much of Afghanistan, something that happened 6 years ago, as a direct threat against the US. Biden fears that an enlarged US role on the ground will destablize Pakistan and create an environment leading to increased terrorist threats to the US and a unwinnable war of significant proportions.

2. Strategy: McChrystal believes the US can win over the Afghan people through a program of broader US combat while eventually handing the war over to local forces. Biden would withdraw exposed US units and use Special Operations and drone attacks to maintain pressure on the Taliban while building economic infrastructure.

Recent experiences in Afghanistan, Amerian troops being ambushed and suicide attacks on Americans by our Afghan allies are only a sign of something more sinister and pervasive. The more troops we move into Afghanistan, the more targets we create. The more security forces we recruit and train, the more terrorists we move into direct contact with our troops.

The steps to a rational and sound exit strategy and a clear abandonment of failed Bush policies are:

1. Reject the recent election in Afghanistan and support a new election, inviting candidates from all groups, including the Taliban and arranging real supervision of polling sites and an honest vote count.
2. Accept semi-autonomous divisions in Afghanistan while offering a credible program of economic assistance and modernization.
3. Set immediate benchmarks for the Afghan army requiring them to step up after 8 years and billions spent. Either they make an effort or funding is cut and we move to low intensity combat, allowing our technology to work as intended.
4. Accept that the United States is not responsible for the security of Afghanistan.

US policies are creating dependence in Afghanistan, as they did in Vietnam and are doing in Iraq. The Iraqi government has become dependent on a massive US military presence to stabilize their country while factions jockey for power. The US presence in Iraq is preventing them from stepping up to assume responsiblity for their own security and from developing plans to restore their own economy using their massive oil wealth.

That a bankrupt America has to pour money into the economy of one of the world’s largest oil exporting nations is insane.
If Iraq needs to keep a continuing American presence, then the existing agreements with Iraq need to be renegotiated:

1. The United States should have the option to conduct air operations against Iran or any other country from Iraq.
2. Iraq should agree to the use of facilities by US forces in much the same manner as in South Korea and Germany, not as a hedge against interal disorder.
3. Iraq should take an active role in supplying peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan as a method of gaining confidence in their own military and regaining national pride.

The key to undoing the disasters of the past is a break with the past, something President Obama has obviously not had the confidence to do. The obvious deterioration of leadership capabilities in our armed forces is not being dealt with. After years of disasters, torture scandals, botched operations, massive corruption, dependence on civilian contrators for "security" and support, our military leadership has no credibilty left.

Political correctness replaced judgement, ability and personal committment during the Bush years, with military operations being scheduled and intelligence being "created" to support a domestic political agenda in America. A system of patronage was created which rewarded dishonesty and incompetence with fat positions in the private sector for miltary leaders who played along.

The result has been  the creation of a civilian authority no longer capable of interacting with our military and a miltiary no longer capable of approaching a strategic problem with anything but political concerns.

No military leader says or does anything without thought of either running for public office or how the decision will effect their future as a lobbyist or defense contractor. In the process, we have seen a breakdown in nearly every aspect of our own processes of national security.

These must be addressed.
1. Congressional oversight of all intelligence and miltary organizations must be reestablished and the ability of the executive branch to rule by directive must be eliminated.
2. All political activities within the military and intelligence services must end immediately.
3. An abolute end to "revolving door" relationships between the Pentagon and defense contractors must be implemented immediately. All financial incentives and "perks" now enjoyed by Pentagon procurement officers must be banned.
4. The US must end the cycle established with the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. We have done nothing but create a breeding ground for potential "false flag" operations which have replaced US security and interest as a rationale for military action.
5. Control of the press in America by foreign nationals and defense or financial concerns must end. A free and independent press with the ability and will to investigate any activity has to be reestablished. Without this, we live in a dictatorship.

There are endless analogies we could use for the present situation. Listing them would be both burdensome and depressing. We could start by asking who is in control in America? Is it the people? Is the government "the people" or is it serving the endless special interest groups that fund fat lifestyles and an electoral process that fosters corruption? Unless we are willing to recognize what we have created, a transfer of power to the few and an unbridled willingness to subvert any law, sacrifice any number of lives and rationalize any act, addressing any genuine solution will be impossible.


Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and regular contributor on politial and social issues.gduff

 

 

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Gordon Duff posted articles on VT from 2008 to 2022. He is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. A disabled veteran, he worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world's largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues. Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world, and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than "several" countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist, and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.