Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A fools errand

I'm watching the British House of Commons debate military operations in Afghanistan. They're debating sending upwards of 2000 more troops there. At present they have 500 committed. The conservative part of parliment is using the same arguments that U.S. hawks used during Vietnam. To go in and train an army and police force to gain a victory. There's a slight problem. None of them has seemed to have studied either the history or the ways of the people who live there. First no foreign country has ever taken control of Afghanistan in its' entire history. Second the corruption outside of the central government is rampant. Nothing gets done without a bribe to an official or police officer. Then there's the issue of the shaddow government, the Taliban. Much like the Mafia if a citizen has a problem he goes to the Taliban to get things done. The Taliban are doing what the U.S. and foreign troops can't, winning the hearts and minds of the locals. And why wouldn't the locals trust the Taliban? They're fellow countrymen and not some foreign occupier. They speak the same language and follow many of the same customs.
But then it gets more complicated than just that. The Taliban give support to Al Qaeda because at one time Al Qaeda was the Muhajadin that we trained to get the Russians out of the country. We must have trained them well. They are looked upon as heros by much of the southern and eastern parts of the country. But what I didn't know until I watched a Frontline program on it was that the Pakistan government used the Taliban to fight the Afghan army. So here we are trying to aid Pakistan so that they will fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban when they are using the Taliban against the Afghan army. We did a similar action in Iraq when we armed the Sunnis to fight the Shia militias in southern Iraq who were getting help from the Iranian Shia or so it was reported.
What does this all boil down to? Plain and simply making the rich richer. They use anything to accomplish this. First it was bringing democracy and liberty to the middle east. Then they used fear to move their agenda. "We must fight them over there or we'll have to fight them here." When that didn't work it's been "we can't pull out the job isn't finished." So those making a seven figure income tell those making a five figure income to go fight and die so that the military industrial complex can crank out more guns and planes to fatten their wallets. And with our leaders in their back pocket they continue their game plan. They'd delight in a never ending war with profits too obscene to talk about. They'll have our army train and arm a country until their coffers are fat and full. That is until the next war when those they had trained become the enemy and they can build the next generation of weapons. Then the process starts all over again. This is what Eisenhower warned us about, the military industrial complex.


Holte Ender said...

The British Military, currently has about 9500 men and women in Afghanistan, and being big on history, you think they look back at their military past in that graveyard. Loyalty to NATO and the US must be the only reason they are still there, but as you say The Military Industrial Complex is calling the shots. My question is; What would constitute a victory in Afghanistan? I'll be damned if I know the answer.

Tom Harper said...

The Art of War by Sun Tzu is supposedly part of the curriculum at all military colleges and academies. You wouldn't know it. "Know your enemy" is one phrase that keeps getting repeated throughout the book. And it's full of other common sense wisdom, like never underestimate another country (or tribe, region, whatever) because it's small, primitive or in the throes of civil chaos.

And yet every elective war we've gotten quagmired in was preceded with "look how small and primitive they are; we'll just swoop in and perform this quick operation and then get out."

I assume England's role in Afghanistan dates back to when Bush's Bitch (Tony Blair) was still in charge.

Holte Ender said...

Tom - You are right, British involvement goes back to Blair (Bush's Poodle as he was called in the UK), it wrecked his credibility with British voters, he never had the same respect ever again. Apparently the populace knew more history than the pair of them.

BBC said...

Our country is a war machine, the economy depends on it, never mind the cost of lives.

Even your trade depends on it.

We can't whip them over there unless we make the place a wasteland, wipe out everyone, men, women, and children.

Why even bother, they are doing a pretty good job of destroying themselves without our involvement anyway.

Oh, I forgot for a second, it's the money.

The Blog Fodder said...

Two books on Afghanistan I recommend are Afghanistan, A military history from Alexander the Great to the Fall of the Taliban by Stephen Tanner and Ghost Wars by Steve Coll. Tanner pretty much sticks to the official USA script for the last part but the rest is superb. Coll's book is much better on how the CIA created El Quaida.
Pakistan views Afghanistan as an Indian tool so they (unofficially, of course) support the Taliban in Afghanistan even as it is slowly creeping into their own country.

Randal Graves said...

You're all spineless cowards. Gimme a rifle, an American flag, a copy of the Bible - not sure which one though, aren't they burning the King James one these days? - and I'll conquer those goat herders. Semper Fudge!