US taxpayers funding the killing of its own troops
[Note: The arguments of my previous eight Afutilestan diaries explaining why the continuing and escalating presence of US troops in Afghanistan is doomed to fail are incorporated herein.]
So what’s new since my last quagmire update?
Last night the House approved another $30 billion in military spending in Afghanistan, on top of the $250b already spent. The only slightly good news is that the nearly $4b earmarked to fund corruption in Afghan’s civilian sector was cut when the ongoing fleecing of the American taxpayer was reported in the M$M. Added to the $732b already spent in Iraq to date, we’ve now spent over a trillion dollars in borrowed money– to accomplish what, exactly? Are you feeling more secure from a terrorist attack?
Contractor bonanza fraud continues in Afganistan
America’s “Runaway General”, Stanley McChrystal was replaced as US and NATO commander by his boss, General David Petraeus, after a devastating interview with Rolling Stone by reporter Michael Hastings during which McChrystal and his staff dissed the US civilian leadership. Saint Petraeus, echoing his Commander in Chief’s remarks at the G20 Summit last weekend that there was “a lot of obsession” over the July 2011 withdrawal date, sailed through his Senate confirmation testimony and was approved unanimously by the full Senate.
Petraeus, the man whose brilliant “surge” strategy pacified Iraq (not), is the author of the very counterinsurgency doctrine (COIN) that McChrystal found impossible to implement. What was initially celebrated as proof that COIN was working, the displacement of the Taliban from the town of Marhja was described by one of McChrystal’s inner circle as “a bleeding ulcer.”
(McChrystal’s ascension to Deputy Dawg of Afghanistan was preceded by his prior roles as the head of Petraeus’ Operation Phoenix style assassin program which eliminated the Sunni leadership in Iraq. Before that he was the Rumsfeld Pentagon’s chief disinformation officer in its attempted coverup of the murder of Pat Tillman, which at the time probably looked like a good career move as it duplicated Colin Powell’s rise to power after his similar rile in the early attempt to whitewash the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.),
The New York Times did a front page article about Pakistan’s escalating efforts to drive a wedge between the US and Afghan’s hopelessly corrupt president, Hamid Karzai. Seems that the leadership of both Afghanistan and Pakistan have done the math and concluded that the US will fail in its goal of making Afghanistan its’ West Asia colonial outpost and want to strike their own deal. Prof Juan Cole agrees, handicapping Obama’ War as a ten to one shot.
Calling it Obama’s War is precisely how RNC Chairman Michael Steele referred to it Thursday at a Connecticut fundraiser, much to the dismay of Rethugs like neocon Wild Bill Kristol. Kristol, who never met a war he wasn’t willing to send someone else to die for, called on him to resign. What did Steele say to get Kristol’s panties in a bunch?
“This was a war of Obama’s choosing. This is not something the United States has actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”
Somebody hand me a paper bag here. Finding myself in complete agreement with Mr. Steele for the first time in my life has left me short of breath and hallucinating Rod Serling sticking his head through my screen and inviting me to join him in The Twilight Zone.
But perhaps the most distressing news was the casualty count for June, a reported by The LA Times:
At least 102 coalition troops were killed in June in Afghanistan, according to the independent website icasualties.org, far surpassing the previous highest monthly total of 76 military fatalities in August 2009.In a reflection of the increasingly American face of the war as the summer’s troop buildup presses ahead, at least 60 of those killed were U.S. service members, including a soldier killed by small-arms fire Wednesday in eastern Afghanistan. The previous highest monthly death toll for American forces was in October 2009, when 59 were killed.
Though President Obama garnered political points for leadership by firing the fiery McChrystal and replacing him with sainted Petraeus, nothing has changed in the direction of US policy towards Afghanistan.
As futile as ever.
UPDATE: July 3
When did Karrl Rove start working for the Democratic Party?
Here’s more of what Steele said that got him in trouble with the war mongers of his party:
It was the president who was trying to be cute by half by flipping a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan. Well, if he’s such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? All right, because everyone who has tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed. And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan.
And here’s the DNC’s response:
RNC CHAIRMAN MICHAEL STEELE BETS AGAINST OUR TROOPS, ROOTS FOR FAILURE
Here goes Michael Steele setting policy for the GOP again. The likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham will be interested to hear that the Republican Party position is that we should walk away from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban without finishing the job. They’d also be interested to hear that the Chairman of the Republican Party thinks we have no business in Afghanistan notwithstanding the fact that we are there because we were attacked by terrorists on 9-11.
And, the American people will be interested to hear that the leader of the Republican Party thinks recent events related to the war are ‘comical’ and that he is betting against our troops and rooting for failure in Afghanistan. It’s simply unconscionable that Michael Steele would undermine the morale of our troops when what they need is our support and encouragement. Michael Steele would do well to remember that we are not in Afghanistan by our own choosing, that we were attacked and that his words have consequences.
Like Guru Yogi said: It’s deja vu all over again.