The media only skimmed over the recent military slaughter and equipment destruction in Afghanistan. Maybe enough bloggers will try to see this report to make all Americans sick to their stomach. C Brewer
Written by Jack Kelly
The war in Afghanistan effectively ended last week. We lost.
The last of the surge troops President Barack Obama sent to Afghanistan were quietly withdrawn. They did not leave in triumph:
*Taliban guerrillas dressed in U.S. Army uniforms attacked Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan, Sept. 14, destroying 8 Marine Harrier jump jets. It was our greatest loss of aircraft since the Vietnam war. For VMA-211, it was the greatest loss since the siege of Wake Island in World War II. The Harrier has been out of production for a decade, so the losses can’t be replaced.
More Harriers likely would have been lost had not the squadron commander, LtCol Christopher Raible, armed with only a pistol, battled the heavily armed guerrillas. He and another Marine were killed during the raid, which was so sophisticated some defense analysts think it was plotted by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence Agency.
“The Taliban’s major vulnerability is our mastery of the air, but if they can negate it, we are approaching tactical equality because they have home turf advantage,” said former Special Forces soldier Michael Yon, who’s spent more time in Afghanistan than any other war correspondent.
*The attack on Camp Bastion happened on a Friday. Two British and four American soldiers were killed by Afghan policemen the following Saturday and Sunday. After these attacks, NATO suspended most joint operations with Afghan security forces.
“We’re to the point now where we can’t trust these people,” a senior military official told NBC’s Pentagon correspondent. So far this year, 59 NATO troops have been killed in “green on blue” attacks.
As of Monday (9/24), 1,493 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan, 70 percent of them since Barack Obama became president. About 15 percent of NATO troops killed this year have been killed by our purported Afghan allies. “Green on blue” attacks were virtually unheard of four years ago.
“The training mission is the foundation of the current strategy,” said Joshua Foust, a journalist who reports on Central Asia. “Without that mission, the strategy collapses. The war is adrift, and it’s hard to see how anyone can avoid a complete disaster at this point.”
Spencer Ackerman, who writes about national security for Wired magazine, said failure in Afghanistan has “implications for the other wars the U.S. is fighting.”
“Imagine yourself as a Yemeni insurgent,” he said. The lesson you might draw from Afghanistan is that instead of fighting the government and its American advisors, “a smarter strategy is to join them – to go through training, in preparation for the moment when, perhaps, you can get close enough to the Americans to open fire or detonate a bomb.”
Defeat comes as no surprise to me. Thanks to Afghanistan’s primitiveness; Pakistan’s enmity (the Taliban is largely a creation of the ISI), and the corruption, incompetence and duplicity of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, our “nation-building” effort there was doomed, I’ve written for years.
Or to Army LtCol. Daniel Davis, who traveled more than 9,000 miles in Afghanistan in 2011. “In all of the places I visited, the tactical situation was bad to abysmal,” he said.
But defeat may come as a shock to those who believed President Obama when he said Sept. 1: “We’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and begun the transition to an Afghan lead.”
Despite its import, the bleak war news attracted little attention from the news media. In the wake of the 9/11/2012 attacks in Libya and Egypt, this is perhaps understandable. But there has been little coverage of the Afghan war all year.
If George W. Bush were president, “there would be continuous coverage of the disarray in Afghanistan: the soldiers we’re training are shooting us, the corruption is intensifying, and the opium trade spreading,” said Prof. Walter Russell Mead, who teaches foreign policy at Bard College.
“These stories wouldn’t be on the back pages,” he said. “They’d be perceived as major news with profound implications for America’s global position and the Sunday shows and nightly TV news round ups would be full of talking heads endlessly analyzing each wrinkle of the failure.”
Defeat in Afghanistan is a big deal — especially since we still have 68,000 troops in harm’s way. It should have been reported — even though it is embarrassing to President Obama.
Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. He is national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
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I hope you don’t mind, but I felt so strongly about your article (having served in war time myself) that I cross-posted and made comments on my own blog. You can see my comments directly at http://wp.me/p2IcGl-aB …
Jack Kelly is one of my favorite writers when it comes to military matters. I have huge respect for him. So, thank you for pointing out his article.
Tim, it pleases me deeply when others desire to share anything I post. It is especially nice when it is something I write. I also read Jack Kelly who I admire. I subscribed to your blog and I intend to share you work from time to time. I was disappointed that my recent OPEC article did not generate much interest. I spent a lot of years gathering information while working in the petroleum industry.
I know what you mean when it comes to how far our own blogs reach (or not). About all we can do is continue the discussion until someone notices. One thing I did to help (and it turns out it hasn’t helped much) is to join Twitter and announce my blog entries there. Hopefully, some few more will see the announcement and click the link. On a few articles, it seems to have worked… I see my normal 20 – 30 hits per day jump up to between 50 – 60. But it is usually short lived.
I read your article on OPEC. I’ve been subscribed for a while and read every post that hits my inbox. I like your style as well as the research which is usually obvious in most of your posts.
Reading a few articles here and there on how to improve readership, another idea that hit me as something I don’t do much of is the addition of pictures. I guess on a lot of search engine results, along with an excerpt of the article, they often post the “featured image”. I don’t like using other people’s pics, but I can definitely understand the idea behind the suggestion. I’m not sure to how to implement it without using images from others, so I’ll probably have to get in the habit of noting where the images come from as well… Ah well.
Just keep poking the keyboard… If they don’t hear you in Washington, it won’t be for lack of trying. 🙂
Tim, for the past few months my hits have averaged about 45 per day. Something happened about ten days ago and now the average has jumped to 100 per day. I also Twitter my work and also post each article on Facebook. I have followers an both sites. I was 80 when I started and I will keep two finger typing until the fat lady sings my swan song.
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