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Posts Tagged ‘graveyard of empires’

Graveyard of Empires – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 21, 2021

America’s war party is trying to find ways to keep the conflict going by raising phony alarms about girl’s schooling, translators and woman’s rights.  But we hear nothing at all from these pro-war hypocrites about the murder, rape and dowry killing of thousands of women in India each year.  How many misinformed Americans know that Taliban was a religious movement formed to stop the rape of Afghan women and brigandage during the bitter 1990’s civil war?  I was there and saw it.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/07/eric-margolis/graveyard-of-empires/

By Eric S. Margolis

The US-led war in Afghanistan looks to be ending, and not a day too soon.  America’s father, Benjamin Franklin, wisely wrote: ‘No good war; no bad peace.’

Yet for 20 years, the United States waged all-out war against this small, remote, impoverished state whose only weapons were old AK47 rifles and the boundless courage of its fierce people. 

In my first book about Afghanistan, ‘War at the Top of the World,’ written after being in the field with the anti-Soviet ‘mujahidin’ warriors, I called them ‘the bravest men on earth.’  Now, some 21 years later, I repeat this title.

For the past two decades, the Afghan nationalist mujahidin have faced the full might of the US empire: waves of B-1 and B-52 heavy bombers; fleets of killer drones, constant air strikes from US airbases in Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Gulf; 300,000 US-financed Afghan mercenary troops; up to 120,000 US and NATO troops and other US-paid mercenaries;  the brutal Communist-run Afghan secret police, regular government police, Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek militias, hit squads sent by the US and Britain, plus famine and disease.  Use of torture by western forces was rampant.

All this to defend the US-installed Afghan puppet governments whose main business was protecting the nation’s growing opium trade which made Afghanistan the world’s largest exporter of opium/morphine that was processed into heroin.  Another proud moment for Washington which, in the 1970’s had been up to its ears in Indochina’s opium trade, and later in Central America’s cocaine business. 

Afghanistan was a war of lies, sustained by the powerful US and British media.  President George W. Bush, a man of deep ignorance, launched this war to cover being caught sleeping by the 9/11 attacks.  Bush blamed Osama bin Laden, former US ally, and Afghanistan’s Taliban government for 9/11, though the Afghans were likely not involved with it. 

The only proof of bin Laden’s involvement was a number of fake videos that I believe were made by Afghanistan’s Communist-run intelligence service or its former KGB bosses.  When I pointed out these videos were fakes, CNN blacklisted me from further broadcasting.  So too did Canada’s CBC TV and the Sun chain after I warned Canadian troops were being sent to Afghanistan under false pretenses.

Officially, the US lost 31,376 dead and seriously wounded in Afghanistan; Canada lost 158 dead; Britain 456 dead; the Afghans god knows how many.  Estimates range from, 100,000 to one million.  Two million Afghans reportedly died during the decade-long Soviet occupation.  Almost anything that moved was bombed.

The known cost for this useless war was 2 trillion US dollars, plus hundreds of millions in secret payments to hire ‘volunteers’ from US allies to fight in Afghanistan.  This was almost all borrowed money hidden in the US federal debt.

What next?  The US is trying to find a way to stay engaged in Afghanistan via air attacks from its bases in the Gulf and possibly new ones in Central Asia.  The world’s premier military power simply cannot endure the humiliation of defeat in Afghanistan, particularly so by a bunch of Muslim mountain warriors.  All those US and British ‘experts’ who championed the Afghan war are now hiding their faces, as they did after the Iraq debacle.

America’s war party is trying to find ways to keep the conflict going by raising phony alarms about girl’s schooling, translators and woman’s rights.  But we hear nothing at all from these pro-war hypocrites about the murder, rape and dowry killing of thousands of women in India each year.  How many misinformed Americans know that Taliban was a religious movement formed to stop the rape of Afghan women and brigandage during the bitter 1990’s civil war?  I was there and saw it.

What next? As US power wanes, CIA will try to bolster separatist movements among Afghanistan’s Tajik and Uzbek minorities.  Iran will arm and finance the Shia Hazara minority.  Still Communist dominated Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will support their ethnic brethren in Afghanistan.  Most important, India will intensify intrigues in Afghanistan where its powerful intelligence agency, RAW, is increasingly active.

Meanwhile Pakistan quietly supports Taliban which, like a quarter of Pakistanis, is of Pashtun ethnicity.  China for once does not know what to do in Afghanistan: it wants to block expansion of Indian influence in the subcontinent but deeply fears militant Islam and its rising influence in Chinese-ruled Xinjiang, formerly Turkistan.  

So, Americans may have not seen the last of Afghanistan, one of the greatest follies of US foreign policy.  To paraphrase the great Talleyrand, the US war in Afghanistan ‘was worse than a crime, it was a mistake.’

Eric S. Margolis [send him mail] is the author of War at the Top of the World and the new book, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World. See his website.

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Washington’s Delusion of Endless World Dominion – TomDispatch.com

Posted by M. C. on March 24, 2021

Despite its name, the Global War on Terror after 2001 was actually fought, like the Cold War before it, at the edge of Eurasia. Apart from the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Air Force and CIA had, within a decade, ringed the southern rim of that landmass with a network of 60 bases for its growing arsenal of Reaper and Predator drones, stretching all the way from the Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily to Andersen Air Force Base on the island of Guam. And yet, in that series of failed, never-ending conflicts, the old military formula for “containing,” constraining, and dominating Eurasia was visibly failing. The Global War on Terror proved, in some sense, a long-drawn-out version of Britain’s imperial Suez disaster.

https://tomdispatch.com/washingtons-delusion-of-endless-world-dominion/

Washington’s Delusion of Endless World Dominion

China and the U.S. Struggle over Eurasia, the Epicenter of World Power

By Alfred McCoy

Empires live and die by their illusions. Visions of empowerment can inspire nations to scale the heights of global hegemony. Similarly, however, illusions of omnipotence can send fading empires crashing into oblivion. So it was with Great Britain in the 1950s and so it may be with the United States today.

By 1956, Britain had exploited its global empire shamelessly for a decade in an effort to lift its domestic economy out of the rubble of World War II. It was looking forward to doing so for many decades to come. Then an obscure Egyptian army colonel named Gamal Abdel Nasser seized the Suez Canal and Britain’s establishment erupted in a paroxysm of racist outrage. The prime minister of the day, Sir Antony Eden, forged an alliance with France and Israel to send six aircraft carriers to the Suez area, smash Egypt’s tank force in the Sinai desert, and sweep its air force from the skies.

But Nasser grasped the deeper geopolitics of empire in a way that British leaders had long forgotten. The Suez Canal was the strategic hinge that tied Britain to its Asian empire — to British Petroleum’s oil fields in the Persian Gulf and the sea lanes to Singapore and beyond. So, in a geopolitical masterstroke, he simply filled a few rusting freighters with rocks and sank them at the entrance to the canal, snapping that hinge in a single gesture. After Eden was forced to withdraw British forces in a humiliating defeat, the once-mighty British pound trembled at the precipice of collapse and, overnight, the sense of imperial power in England seemed to vanish like a desert mirage.

Two Decades of Delusions

In a similar manner, Washington’s hubris is finding its nemesis in China’s President Xi Jinping and his grand strategy for uniting Eurasia into the world’s largest economic bloc. For two decades, as China climbed, step by step, toward global eminence, Washington’s inside-the-Beltway power elite was blinded by its overarching dreams of eternal military omnipotence. In the process, from Bill Clinton’s administration to Joe Biden’s, Washington’s China policy has morphed from illusion directly into a state of bipartisan delusion.

Back in 2000, the Clinton administration believed that, if admitted to the World Trade Organization, Beijing would play the global game strictly by Washington’s rules. When China started playing imperial hardball instead — stealing patents, forcing companies to turn over trade secrets, and manipulating its currency to increase its exports — the elite journal Foreign Affairs tut-tutted that such charges had “little merit,” urging Washington to avoid “an all-out trade war” by learning to “respect difference and look for common ground.”

Within just three years, a flood of exports produced by China’s low-wage workforce, drawn from 20% of the world’s population, began shutting down factories across America. The AFL-CIO labor confederation then started accusing Beijing of illegally “dumping” its goods in the U.S. at below-market prices. The administration of George W. Bush, however, dismissed the charges for lack of “conclusive evidence,” allowing Beijing’s export juggernaut to grind on unimpeded.

For the most part, the Bush-Cheney White House simply ignored China, instead invading Iraq in 2003, launching a strategy that was supposed to give the U.S. lasting dominion over the Middle East’s vast oil reserves. By the time Washington withdrew from Baghdad in 2011, having wasted up to $5.4 trillion on the misbegotten invasion and occupation of that country, fracking had left America on the edge of energy independence, while oil was joining cordwood and coal as a fuel whose days were numbered, potentially rendering the future Middle East geopolitically irrelevant.

While Washington had been pouring blood and treasure into desert sands, Beijing was making itself into the world’s workshop. It had amassed $4 trillion in foreign exchange, which it began investing in an ambitious scheme it called the Belt and Road Initiative to unify Eurasia via history’s largest set of infrastructure projects. Hoping to counter that move with a bold geopolitical gambit, President Barack Obama tried to check China with a new strategy that he called a “pivot to Asia.” It was to entail a global military shift of U.S. forces to the Pacific and a drawing of Eurasia’s commerce toward America through a new set of trade pacts. The scheme, brilliant in the abstract, soon crashed head-first into some harsh realities. As a start, extricating the U.S. military from the mess it had made in the Greater Middle East proved far harder than imagined. Meanwhile, getting big global trade treaties approved as anti-globalization populism surged across America — fueled by factory closures and stagnant wages — turned out, in the end, to be impossible.

Even President Obama underestimated the seriousness of China’s sustained challenge to this country’s global power. “Across the ideological spectrum, we in the U.S. foreign policy community,” two senior Obama officials would later write, “shared the underlying belief that U.S. power and hegemony could readily mold China to the United States’ liking… All sides of the policy debate erred.”

Breaking with the Beltway consensus about China, Donald Trump would spend two years of his presidency fighting a trade war, thinking he could use America’s economic power — in the end, just a few tariffs — to bring Beijing to its knees. Despite his administration’s incredibly erratic foreign policy, its recognition of China’s challenge would prove surprisingly consistent. Trump’s former national security adviser H.R. McMaster would, for instance, observe that Washington had empowered “a nation whose leaders were determined not only to displace the United States in Asia, but also to promote a rival economic and governance model globally.” Similarly, Trump’s State Department warned that Beijing harbored “hegemonic ambitions” aimed at “displacing the United States as the world’s foremost power.”

In the end, however, Trump would capitulate. By January 2020, his trade war would have devastated this country’s agricultural exports, while inflicting heavy losses on its commercial supply chain, forcing the White House to rescind some of those punitive tariffs in exchange for Beijing’s unenforceable promises to purchase more American goods. Despite a celebratory White House signing ceremony, that deal represented little more than a surrender.

Joe Biden’s Imperial Illusions

Even now, after these 20 years of bipartisan failure, Washington’s imperial illusions persist. The Biden administration and its inside-the-Beltway foreign-policy experts seem to think that China is a problem like Covid-19 that can be managed simply by being the un-Trump. Last December, a pair of professors writing in the establishment journal Foreign Affairs typically opined that “America may one day look back on China the way they now view the Soviet Union,” that is, “as a dangerous rival whose evident strengths concealed stagnation and vulnerability.”

Sure, China might be surpassing this country in multiple economic metrics and building up its military power, said Ryan Hass, the former China director in Obama’s National Security Council, but it is not 10 feet tall. China’s population, he pointed out, is aging, its debt ballooning, and its politics “increasingly sclerotic.” In the event of conflict, China is geopolitically “vulnerable when it comes to food and energy security,” since its navy is unable to prevent it “from being cut off from vital supplies.”

In the months before the 2020 presidential election, a former official in Obama’s State Department, Jake Sullivan, began auditioning for appointment as Biden’s national security adviser by staking out a similar position. In Foreign Affairs, he argued that China might be “more formidable economically… than the Soviet Union ever was,” but Washington could still achieve “a steady state of… coexistence on terms favorable to U.S. interests and values.” Although China was clearly trying “to establish itself as the world’s leading power,” he added, America “still has the ability to more than hold its own in that competition,” just as long as it avoids Trump’s “trajectory of self-sabotage.”

As expected from such a skilled courtier, Sullivan’s views coincided carefully with those of his future boss, Joe Biden. In his main foreign policy manifesto for the 2020 presidential campaign, candidate Biden argued that “to win the competition for the future against China,” the U.S. had to “sharpen its innovative edge and unite the economic might of democracies around the world.”

All these men are veteran foreign policy professionals with a wealth of international experience. Yet they seem oblivious to the geopolitical foundations for global power that Xi Jinping, like Nasser before him, seemed to grasp so intuitively. Like the British establishment of the 1950s, these American leaders have been on top of the world for so long that they’ve forgotten how they got there.

In the aftermath of World War II, America’s Cold War leaders had a clear understanding that their global power, like Britain’s before it, would depend on control over Eurasia. For the previous 400 years, every would-be global hegemon had struggled to dominate that vast land mass. In the sixteenth century, Portugal had dotted continental coastlines with 50 fortified ports (feitorias) stretching from Lisbon to the Straits of Malacca (which connect the Indian Ocean to the Pacific), just as, in the late nineteenth century, Great Britain would rule the waves through naval bastions that stretched from Scapa Flow, Scotland, to Singapore.

While Portugal’s strategy, as recorded in royal decrees, was focused on controlling maritime choke points, Britain benefitted from the systematic study of geopolitics by the geographer Sir Halford Mackinder, who argued that the key to global power was control over Eurasia and, more broadly, a tri-continental “world island” comprised of Asia, Europe, and Africa. As strong as those empires were in their day, no imperial power fully perfected its global reach by capturing both axial ends of Eurasia — until America came on the scene.

The Cold War Struggle for Control over Eurasia

During its first decade as the globe’s great hegemon at the close of World War II, Washington quite self-consciously set out to build an apparatus of awesome military power that would allow it to dominate the sprawling Eurasian land mass. With each passing decade, layer upon layer of weaponry and an ever-growing network of military bastions were combined to “contain” communism behind a 5,000-mile Iron Curtain that arched across Eurasia, from the Berlin Wall to the Demilitarized Zone near Seoul, South Korea.

Through its post-World War II occupation of the defeated Axis powers, Germany and Japan, Washington seized military bases, large and small, at both ends of Eurasia. In Japan, for example, its military would occupy approximately 100 installations from Misawa air base in the far north to Sasebo naval base in the south.

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The Air War In Afghanistan Expands On Both Sides – Moon of Alabama

Posted by M. C. on January 28, 2020

The graveyard of empires.

The longer we are there the better they get.

From cell phones and VCRs to effective anti-aircraft technology.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/

Moon of Alabama

The Air War In Afghanistan Expands On Both Sides

Under the Trump administration U.S. air attacks in Afghanistan have sharply increased. But it now seems that the Taliban have acquired some means to counter them.

Last year the U.S. dropped a record number of bombs on Afghanistan leading to ever increasing casualties among civilians:

According to the Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC) 2013-2019 Airpower Statistics released in late January, 7,423 missions flown in Afghanistan in 2019 resulted in weapons being released. There were more weapon releases in most months of the year than in any corresponding months since records were first released in 2009, with September recording the most for the year at 948.The previous annual record was 7,362 set in 2018, and the last two years together have seen more weapon releases over Afghanistan than the combined number for 2012 through to 2017.

Twenty bombing strikes per day is a quite astonishing number. Many civilians get killed in this U.S. bombing campaign. The U.S. often seems not to know who it is hitting. This report from last week is typical:

A drone attack carried out by U.S. forces earlier this month in western Afghanistan that apparently targeted a splinter Taliban group also killed at least 10 civilians, including three women and three children, an Afghan rights official and a council member said Wednesday.

There was no immediate comment from the Afghan military or the U.S. forces. But Wakil Ahmad Karokhi, a provincial council member in Herat, said the Jan. 8 strike also killed the commander of a Taliban splinter group, known as Mullah Nangyalia, along with 15 other militants.

The commanders funeral the following day was held in the Herat provincial capital’s Guzargah neighborhood, and was attended by dozens of militants.Karokhi criticized the strike as “huge mistake” saying the commander had been a useful buffer against the Taliban in Shindand district, taking up arms with his fighters against the insurgents “when no one else would do it” and leaving the area’s civilians in peace.

The U.S. military and its allies and Afghan proxies are not the only ones fighting. The Taliban can hit back at helicopters and planes and, judging from the number of recent air incidents, they now have found effective means to do so. Two days ago they destroyed another helicopter:

Drexluddin Spiveyzai @RisboLensky – 9:44 UTC · Jan 25, 2020Helicopter hit by missile in Kajaki area of #Helmand 4 soldiers wounded via @TOLOnews #Afghanistan

Its #Moldova flag. Helicopter got hit pretty bad. True miracle there are no deaths

#Taliban took responsibility for shooting down of military helicopter in #Helmand #Afghanistan

This is the 4th helicopter that went down in January

Video from Kajaki

Four helicopter losses in one month is quite significant.

Earlier today there were reports that a civilian Afghan airliner had come down. Those turned out to be false. But a plane had indeed crashed in Ghazni province south of Kabul. It was a military one:

Harry Boone @towersight – 12:37 UTC · Jan 27, 2020Wreck of plane crashed today in Afghanistan looks like to be a USAF Bombardier Global 6000 / E-11A “BACN” (Battlefield Airborne Communications Node)

Four U.S. E-11As are assigned to the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron and operate usually from Kandahar AB.

There are video of the burning and burned out plane.


biggerAfghan sources say the Taliban claimed that they shot down the plane. Others deny that. What is sure though is that the plane crashed into Taliban held territory. At least two persons on board were killed.


biggerThe “BACN” flying radio relay stations have been in Afghanistan for a while. A military report from March 2017 said:

Called “as essential to mission success as bullets,” the E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node flew its 10,000th sortie Feb. 24, 2017 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, since arriving in Afghanistan eight years ago.The 430th Expeditionary Electronic Squadron operating out of Kandahar is the only unit in the U.S. Air Force that operates the E-11A with the BACN payload. It was created to fulfill what is called a joint urgent operational need, when it was identified that the terrain of Afghanistan posed serious communication challenges.

E-11A
biggerThere appear to exist only four of these planes which are heavily modified Bombardier Global 6000 ultra long-range business jets. They are only used in Afghanistan.

The loss is significant. The ground troops depend on radio communication when they direct bombers to their targets. Without the flying relay stations they have no chance to do so in Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain.

It is not known what new means the Taliban have to take down planes and helicopters. In 2018 a few Stinger anti-air missiles were found during a raid on some Taliban. But those seem to have been old and were probably no longer functioning. Helicopters can be brought down with machine guns or even with anti-tank missiles (RPGs).

But the E-11A usually fly at a significant altitude and the crashed plane was not near an airport. The usual man-portable air-defense missiles (MANPAD) like the U.S. made Stinger reach a maximum altitude of only some 3.500 meters.

That opens the possibility that the Taliban have acquired new supplies of larger missiles. One wonders where those would come from.

On January 5 Hizbullah leader Hassan Nazrallah announced how the ‘resistance axis’ would respond to the U.S. murder of the Iranian General Soleimani and the Iraqi PMU leader Al-Muhandis.

The response to the blood of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis must be expulsion of all U.S. forces from the region.

Using effective means to take down even high flying U.S. planes would be one possible way to achieve that aim.

But Iran is not the only possible source of such missiles. China and Russia also produce effective anti-air missiles and the military in Pakistan and in Tajikistan have bought those in significant numbers. All these countries usually hold back from providing anti-air missiles to militants as they could also endanger their own (civil) airplanes.

But the loss of five aircraft in one month in Afghanistan might well mean that this has changed.

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Afghanistan. Graveyard of Empires – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 19, 2018

The United States has inadvertently become one of the world’s leading drug dealers.  This is one of the most shameful legacies of the Afghan War.  But just one.  Watching the world’s greatest power bomb and ravage little Afghanistan, a nation so poor that some of its people can’t afford sandals, is a huge dishonor for Americans.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/08/eric-margolis/afghanistan-graveyard-of-empires/

By 

After 17 bloody years, the longest war in US history continues without relent or purpose in Afghanistan.

There, a valiant, fiercely-independent people, the Pashtun (Pathan) mountain tribes, have battled the full might of the US Empire to a stalemate that has so far cost American taxpayers $4 trillion, and 2,371 dead and 20,320 wounded soldiers.  No one knows how many Afghans have died. The number is kept secret…

The whole thing smells of the Vietnam War.  Lessons so painfully learned by America in that conflict have been completely forgotten and the same mistakes repeated.  The lies and happy talk from politicians, generals and media continue apace… Read the rest of this entry »

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Sen. Rand Paul: Bring home our troops and, yes, throw a parade

Posted by M. C. on February 8, 2018

Afghanistan-The graveyard of empires.

Then again there are good reasons for hanging around. Oil, pipelines, keeping the pentagram suppliers busy, keeping Saudi Arabia happy, keeping Israel happy (how many Israeli/SA troops in Afghanistan-hard to tell– probably none).

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/02/07/sen-rand-paul-trump-s-military-parade-is-good-idea-if-bring-troops-home-from-afghanistan-first.html

Sen. Rand Paul

If victory requires the disparate tribes and regional factions of Afghanistan to have more allegiance to a regime in Kabul than to their local tribal leaders, then victory will never come.

We spend about $50 billion a year in Afghanistan. When quizzed in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently, undersecretaries of Defense and State could not answer the most rudimentary of questions concerning the war. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Problem With CNN’s ‘Exclusive’ Report On Russia Arming The Taliban

Posted by M. C. on July 31, 2017

Have you ever seen movies where the bad guy makes the innocent dig their own grave before they are executed? The US is digging it’s own grave in the graveyard of empires and executing itself.

http://taskandpurpose.com/cnn-russia-taliban-weapons/

The report, authored by Nick Paton Walsh and Masoud Popalzai, states that two separate groups of Taliban fighters have received “improved weaponry … that appears to have been supplied by the Russian government,”…

There’s only one problem: CNN’s report falls apart after the headline. While many of the weapons flaunted by militants certainly appear Russian in origin, the videos provide little direct evidence of a recent arms transfer from the Russian government to Taliban forces, according to weapons experts from U.S. Special Operations Command and several non-governmental conflict arms organizations interviewed by Task & Purpose. Read the rest of this entry »

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Michael Scheuer Non-Intervention.com

Posted by M. C. on July 28, 2017

http://non-intervention.com/

The quote below comes from an article about the future of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan that was in the USA Today Network on 14 July 2017. The article discusses several U.S. options in Afghanistan, but the one that takes the cake is the brainchild of two champions of the war in Iraq, who — as Tucker Carlson correctly said about Max Boot — can be relied on to propose ideas that will start unnecessary and always losing wars for the republic. The article’s authors are Michael O’Hanlon, an analyst from the Brookings Institution, who was orgasmic over invading Iraq, and the former general/now-felon David Petraeus, who lost the war in Iraq and helped lose the one in Afghanistan The article refers to some recent work by these two brain-dead beauties. Read the rest of this entry »

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