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Afghanistan: What the Hell Are We Doing?

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Published : May 11th, 2017
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Category : Opinions and Analysis

The US invaded Afghanistan in October of 2001. US troops have been in the country ever since. That’s 16 years.  Have we made any progress?

President Obama promised to get US troop out of Afghanistan. He failed. Now, President Trump wants to send more troops to Afghanistan.

What the hell are we doing?

No Escape

Flashback July 6, 2016: Obama Finds He Can’t Escape Afghan War He Once Vowed to End.

President Barack Obama, who once promised to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan within 16 months of taking office, acknowledged on Wednesday that his successor will instead have to resolve America’s longest armed conflict.

Obama announced that he would again slow the U.S. withdrawal from the country, where Afghan government forces are struggling to take and keep territory from the Taliban. About 8,400 U.S. military personnel will remain in the country at the end of the year to help with what Obama called a “precarious” security situation.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense knew Obama’s decision to leave 8,400 troops in Afghanistan would lead to a request for more troops to support the troops already there.

How Many Promises Has Obama Kept?

In October of 2015, Newsweek asked How Many Promises Has Obama Kept?

Guantánamo Bay

I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantánamo, and I will follow through on that.

Afghanistan

We will end this war in Iraq. We will bring our troops home. We will finish the job—we will finish the job against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Energy Independence

I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.” [Mish note: That promise was made in 2008. Will we be there in a year?]

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

I can guarantee that we will have, in the first year, an immigration bill that I strongly support.

Gun Control Consensus

I think we can provide common-sense approaches to the issue of illegal guns that are ending up on the streets. We can make sure that criminals don’t have guns in their hands. We can make certain that those who are mentally deranged are not getting a hold of handguns. We can trace guns that have been used in crimes to unscrupulous gun dealers that may be selling to straw purchasers and dumping them on the streets.

Cracking Down on CEO Bonuses

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses.

You Can Keep Your Doctor

If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor“.

Trump Promises Not Kept

Obama is not alone. Trump backed down on repeated promises to label China a currency manipulator.

We have no wall.

And the alleged Obamacare repeal is hardly a done deal. By the time the Senate finishes hacking up legislation the House started, the resultant Trumpcare will likely please nobody.

Now that I have irritated both Republicans and Democrats, let’s return to Afghanistan to irritate the warmongers in both parties.

Taliban Broaden Their Reach in Villages Across Afghanistan

The Wall Street Journal reports Taliban Broaden Their Reach in Villages Across Afghanistan.

The Taliban have expanded their military fight against Afghanistan’s government into a drive to govern villages across the country, deepening the formidable challenge U.S.-backed forces face in trying to uproot the insurgency.

The insurgents, once focused on waging guerrilla war from strongholds in opium-rich provinces like Helmand, are now emerging in a swath of districts to fill a governance vacuum left as foreign troops depart. As a result, millions of Afghans are once again having to adapt to life under Taliban rule.

The Taliban wielded significant control over 8.4 million Afghans—almost a third of the population—at the end of 2016, up from 5 million a year earlier, according to a confidential United Nations report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The report showed that the territory over which the insurgents have significant influence or control increased from 30% to 40% of the country over the same period.

The Trump administration is expected to approve a U.S. military request for more troops for Afghanistan, coalition officials said, and Pentagon officials said they expected to make a recommendation to the White House as soon as this week. But with 8,400 troops on the ground now—down from a high of 100,000 in 2011—even a somewhat fortified coalition would likely struggle to reverse the Taliban’s territorial gains.

Vietnam History Lesson

  • On December 8, 1969, president Nixon declared  the “Vietnam War is Ending
  • On January 27, 1973, the US and Vietnam signed the Paris Peace Accords.
  • In August of 1973, the US withdrew all combat troops, leaving behind a pack of military advisors.
  • Fighting continued until the Capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese Army in April 1975, marking the real end of the war. North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.

Peace With Honor

“Peace with Honor” was a phrase U.S. President Richard M. Nixon used in a speech on January 23, 1973 to describe the Paris Peace Accord to end the Vietnam War. The phrase is a variation on a campaign promise Nixon made in 1968: “I pledge to you that we shall have an honorable end to the war in Vietnam.”

Price of Honor

Wikipedia reports the Vietnam War exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities (see Vietnam War casualties). Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from 966,000 to 3.8 million. Some 240,000–300,000 Cambodians, 20,000–62,000 Laotians, and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict, and a further 1,626 remain missing in action.

Warmonger’s Wet Dream

As with Vietnam, the war in Afghanistan can never be won.

Reader John accurately surmised  “Obama didn’t end the wars in Afganistan or Iraq but he started conflicts in Libya and Syria. He proved it’s much easier to start military adventures than end them.”

Judging from the current rate of progress, this war is likely to last for something like forever.

Afghanistan is the epitome of the warmonger’s wet dream: perpetual war.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Source : mishtalk.com
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IMG Auteur
Mish 13 abonnés
Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. He writes a global economics blog which has commentary 5-7 times a week. He also writes for the Daily Reckoning, Whiskey & Gunpowder, and has over 80 magazine and book cover credits. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com
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