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Afghanistan pushes the US out

Written By: - Date published: 7:26 am, March 4th, 2020 - 16 comments
Categories: afghanistan, Donald Trump, International, us politics, war - Tags:

I have really no idea who to cheer for about the Afghanistan peace
agreement. If the Taliban were the answer, it was a pretty fucking
stupid question.

Nor am I qualified to talk about its costs, neither human nor financial.

But the Afghanistan peace agreement is worth a note.

The U.S. and its allies have been at it there since 2001. Nigh on two decades.

In 2008 some people were hopeful of what had been achieved.

And there’s bitter lessons on aid and development to be learned,
bitter lessons aplenty.

After two decades of pretty much futile war led by the United States,
who knows maybe Donald Trump is the first president since Nixon to
really know how to end a war, and lose gracefully in doing so.

That was a weird sentence to write.

Deep in the bowels of the Pentagon, I’m hoping for some pure career
military people who don’t give a flying fig about a job with military
companies, who will take stock of why the United States keeps losing
or drawing, over the bodies of thousands of their own people, and over
decades of damage.

First, they don’t resource the right way.

The Pentagon directs its ample budget toward purchases of complex
high-tech weapons, which are designed to fight wars against Russia and
China, rather than on cheaper and simpler weapons and training for
troops in the tactics needed for the sorts of counter-insurgency wars
the U.S. in fact fights. The Vietnamese in the 1960s and the Afghans
and Iraqis in the twenty-first century figured out simple and
inexpensive methods to circumvent high-tech American weaponry by
utilizing old weapons (most notably mines) and developed cheap new
weapons (above all IEDs) that inflicted enough casualties on Americans
to get to the next one, namely ……

Second, opposition by the American public.

Televised American casualties with flag-draped coffins on the tarmac,
form an aversion that developed as part of the growing resistance
during Vietnam and after to US aggression abroad, forces the adoption
of war strategies that limit interactions between American soldiers
and warzone civilians, reducing the possibilities of accumulating the
intelligence and local goodwill necessary for winning
counterinsurgency wars. The sharp decline in the number of U.S. war
deaths the American public considers acceptable from Vietnam to the
current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has limited the number of troops
that can be sent into combat in the first place and quickened the pace
with which they must be withdrawn or confined to rear bases.

Third, local rage.

Populations are further alienated by the U.S. government’s turn in the
twenty-first century to a form of plunder neoliberalism in the
countries it invades. For example, the U.S.-directed Coalition
Provisional Authority in Iraq refused to allow government-owned
enterprises to reopen after the invasion unless they were privatized.
In both Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. demanded the governments open
natural resources to exploitation by American corporations.

Such measures reduce opportunities for local elites to enrich
themselves and therefore make it almost impossible for the U.S. to
enlist reliable local allies. It also impoverishes the mass of locals
when the U.S. forces the privatization of state firms and demands
brutal cuts in government budgets, creating enough anger and
desperation to power insurgencies.

Finally, the Middle East campaigns, begun wayyy back in the Bush
administration, have put a new emphasis on the goals of expropriation
and plunder of the local societies for the benefit of its own
occupying forces — instead of any commitment to national development
it may have had previously — thereby insuring that it cannot build
support among the local population.

They lose with the wrong weapons.
They lose with local alienation.
They lose with greed.

I have nothing at all against the people of the United States and wish
all of their military service men and women the best of luck and a
peaceful, quick, and safe retirement.

But in the middle of election year, and to commemorate the Afghanistan
peace agreement signed recently, I’d like to see the next President of
the United States continuing a policy of full-on global military
retreat.

Maybe after 70 years of losing or grinding out draws they could see
some sense in that.

16 comments on “Afghanistan pushes the US out ”

  1. Re – your penultimate paragraph:

    I'm sorry, Ad, but you have more faith in the military-industrial complex that has 'Murica' by the short and curlies than I have.

  2. mpledger 2

    The Taliban are never going to stick to any negotiated peace deal. They are just going to go back to the way they were before the invasion.

    • In Vino 2.1

      Of course – who would expect otherwise?

      I myself am still sneering at the American propagandists who claimed at the beginning that there was no parallel with Vietnam… It seems to me that this peace deal is just about dead parallel, as much of the war was all along.

  3. Wayne 3

    I don't think there are hardly any "western" business investments in Afghanistan. Mostly Chinese and Indian. However there was probably 100 billion (mostly western aid money) spent on schooling, health, roading and electric power for most of the country.

    In 2009 the Afghan Interior Minister told me the "west" had to keep paying the Afghan govt for at least 20 years or else they would lose the war to the Taliban. He had been in the Afghan govt prior to its defeat in 1995, which he said was because the Afghan government ran out of money to pay the army.

    Basically the Afghan government gets only a small fraction of its expenditure from tax and customs. The rest is aid money and international loans (really grants). That is how they pay the civil service and pay for the Army and police. The Americans and NATO are going to have to pay for at least the next two decades, around $10 billion per year. Even then the Afghan govt's writ will only extend to about 50% of the country.

    Nevertheless the Afgahn govt still pays the salaries of teachers, health workers and infrastructure workers in the Taliban controlled areas. If they didn't, all those things would stop, just as they did when the Taliban were the government from 1995 to 2001.

  4. The United States makes another face-saving peace deal so it can get the heck out of a war it has been losing for years, and leaves everyone who supported them to the mercy of the enemy

  5. Sabine 5

    they have been in Germany for nigh on 75 plus years. They don't leave.

    they have over 120 bases the world over, can you imagine the upset if they had to take these soldiers, their spouses, children and civilian contractors back home to what? Nothing. lol……

    As for Afghanistan, no invader ever won they all only left bones and bodies behind when they retreated. And the US has yet not enough bled on this country.

    Also minerals, mining etc etc etc Who would not want to be the one to exploit the riches of Afghanistan. 🙂

    • Wayne 5.1

      As for minerals in Afghanistan, they are mostly way too hard to extract, unless it is a particularly rich ore body (copper etc, not iron or coal). The only logical transport routes out of Afghanistan are to the north, so all ores have to go out by rail on huge long rail journeys (thousands of km). In contrast, in Australia most big mines are relatively close to the coast (around 200km inland on flat land) so the cost of shipping is very low. Ocean shipping is less than a tenth the cost of rail.

      So unless Afghanistan finds very valuable ores, most of its minerals will remain in the ground.

      Economically Afghanistan seems incredibly challenged. No oil and gas, hard to extract minerals, mostly desert or arid lands, no sea coast. There is better agricultural land in the north of the country so there is some potential there. It does have a rich artistic heritage which could provide more wealth in tourism and in exports. However, even without the war Afghanistan would likely still be one of the poorest countries in Asia.

  6. Blazer 6

    AD…the 'money' shot.

    '

    the U.S.-directed Coalition
    Provisional Authority in Iraq refused to allow government-owned
    enterprises to reopen after the invasion unless they were privatized.
    In both Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. demanded the governments open
    natural resources to exploitation by American corporations.

    Such measures reduce opportunities for local elites to enrich
    themselves and therefore make it almost impossible for the U.S. to
    enlist reliable local allies. It also impoverishes the mass of locals
    when the U.S. forces the privatization of state firms and demands
    brutal cuts in government budgets, creating enough anger and
    desperation to power insurgencies.'

  7. Byd0nz 7

    The reason they want to pull out of Afghanistan, (lets hope they dont) is because they want to relocate their troops down under to counter the so called China threat.

  8. Gosman 8

    What do you mean losing a war? If the agreement stands then the US achieved what it was hoping to achieve when it intervened in 2002. This was to deny Al Qaida a safe haven to organise and train for military operations against US and Western targets.

  9. Byd0nz 9

    Al Qaida was funded by the US in the first place, then they done the dirty on them(as per usual) then bin Laden allegedly took out the twin towers in revenge. When thieves fall out eh.

    • Gosman 9.1

      What conspiratorial nonsense. Al Qaida was NEVER funded directly by the US. Bin Laden may have received funding while he was fighting the Soviets however much of that was indirectly via Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 9.1.1

        "Al Qaida was NEVER funded directly by the US." Since Al-Qaeda was founded (in 1988) has it EVER been funded and otherwise supported indirectly by the CIA? Ah, I see you already know the answer.

  10. joe90 10

    Fake deal.

    The United States has carried out an air raid against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, a US forces spokesman said a day after President Donald Trump spoke to a senior Taliban leader by phone.

    "The US conducted an air strike on March 4 against Taliban fighters in Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand, who were actively attacking an ANDSF [Afghan National Defence and Security Forces] checkpoint," said Colonel Sonny Leggett in a tweet on Wednesday, adding that it was a "defensive strike".

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/conducts-air-strike-taliban-peace-deal-200304085937305.html

  11. Another important point that was missed here is the nature of Afghans. They are fond of fighting and resistance. They fought against British and Soviets in the past and largely remained successful. The better option for USA after 9/11 was to deal with Al Qaeda but they decided to punish Taliban for sheltering them. This only resulted in losing thousands of lives (American and Afghan) and millions of dollars.

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