MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Taliban’

US military stops releasing Afghanistan war information

Posted by M. C. on May 1, 2019

Overall, the U.S. has spent $737 billion on the war and lost more than 2,400 military lives, according to the Pentagon.

Code for the real numbers are higher.

https://www.apnews.com/253f6e2504ad4c72aed8a2d0499a673e

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid a battlefield stalemate in Afghanistan , the U.S. military has stopped releasing information often cited to measure progress in America’s longest war, calling it of little value in fighting the Taliban insurgency.

The move fits a trend of less information being released about the war in recent years, often at the insistence of the Afghan government, which had previously stopped the U.S. military from disclosing the number of Afghans killed in battle as well as overall attrition within the Afghan army.

The latest clampdown also aligns with President Donald Trump’s complaint that the U.S. gives away too much war information, although there is no evidence that this had any influence on the latest decision.

A government watchdog agency that monitors the U.S. war effort, now in its 18th year, said in a report to Congress on Wednesday that the U.S. military command in Kabul is no longer producing “district control data,” which shows the number of Afghan districts — and the percentage of their population — controlled by the government compared to the Taliban.

The last time the command released this information, in January, it showed that Afghan government control was stagnant or slipping. It said the share of the population under Afghan government control or influence — a figure that was largely unchanged from May 2017 to July 2018 at about 65 percent — had dropped in October 2018 to 63.5 percent. The government’s control or influence of districts fell nearly 2 percentage points, to 53.8 percent…

The war in Afghanistan is largely forgotten in much of America, as is the enormous, continuing financial cost. This year the Pentagon budget includes $4.9 billion to provide the Afghan army and police with everything from equipment and supplies to salaries and food. That is one piece of a wider array of “reconstruction” assistance the U.S. government has provided since the war began in 2001, totaling $132 billion.

Overall, the U.S. has spent $737 billion on the war and lost more than 2,400 military lives, according to the Pentagon.

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Bin Laden Won – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on April 16, 2019

https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/bin-laden-won/

by

Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan by Scott Horton (Chicago: The Libertarian Institute, 2017); 317 pages.

According to official U.S. government accounts, the body of Osama bin Laden slid off the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson into his watery grave in the Indian Ocean sometime on the morning of May 2, 2011. Nearly 10 years after 9/11, the terrorist leader of al-Qaeda responsible for nearly 3,000 murdered Americans was no more, and the rationale for the Afghan War gone with him.

Fast-forward another seven years. On September 2, 2018, Gen. Austin S. Miller assumed control of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the 17th commander to inherit the longest military quagmire in the nation’s history. Miller replaced Gen. John W. Nicholson, who led the coalition war effort for 17 months. Upon his departure, Nicholson said, “It is time for this war in Afghanistan to end.”

The opposite, however, is happening.

What’s clear from Miller’s promotion from commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, the military’s most elite killing machines, is that Washington cannot leave well enough alone in this graveyard of empires. Seventeen years of unnecessary bloodshed and atrocity and wasted treasure and corruption in Afghanistan isn’t enough. In June, General Miller told lawmakers that there was no timeline for the end to the war, while the situation on the ground only worsens as the Taliban continues to gain territory at the expense of the U.S.-supported puppet government in Kabul.

As journalist Scott Horton documents in his exhaustive history of the Afghan War, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was always a mistake. Upon close scrutiny, Horton shows, every rationale for the war — from destroying al-Qaeda or defeating the Taliban or denying a terrorist safe haven or, even more unbelievable, creating a stable and democratic nation ruled from the capital city of Kabul — falls apart…

In the end, it didn’t matter that the United States finally got its man in neighboring Pakistan. The chants of “USA, USA” outside the White House on May 1, 2011, represented a pyrrhic victory. Bin Laden laid a trap on 9/11, and the U.S. government fell into it. Almost two decades after the towers fell, American soldiers continue to kill and die in vain in Afghanistan while propping up a corrupt regime in Kabul, a toxic combination that only ensures the insurgency never quits. Yet the powers that be continue to fight on, telling the American people that they can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

But this is a lie. Bin Laden, as Scott Horton masterfully documents, has already won. And nothing will change that fact, no matter how hard Washington spins various counter-narratives or promotes another commander to finally win the unwinnable in Afghanistan’s graveyard of empires.

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An Officer’s Path to Dissent – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on March 7, 2019

On a day in Afghanistan in 2011, I realized everything I was doing, and the only thing I still cared about was damage control, protecting our troops from needless death. I basically was phoning it in and should have known it was time to quit, lest I lose more of my soul.

Seventeen years, thousands of Americans still there, and the Taliban control more of the country than at any time since Uncle Sam’s invasion. We may never leave.

https://original.antiwar.com/danny_sjursen/2019/03/06/an-officers-path-to-dissent/

For a while there, I was a real star. High up in my class at West Point, tough combat deployments in two wars, a slew of glowing evaluations, even a teaching assignment back at the military academy. I inhabited a universe most only dream of: praised, patted and highly respected by everyone in my life system and viewed as a brave American soldier. It’s a safe, sensible spot. For most, that’s enough. Too bad it was all bunk. Absurdity incarnate.

The truth is, I fought for next to nothing, for a country that, in recent conflicts, has made the world a deadlier, more chaotic place. Even back in 2011—or even 2006, for that matter—I was just smart and just sensitive enough to know that, to feel it viscerally.

Still, the decision to publicly dissent is a tough one. It’s by no means easy. Easy would be to go on playing hero and accepting adulation while staying between the lines. Play it safe, stick to your own, make everyone proud. That’s easy, intellectually immature—the new American way. Read the rest of this entry »

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Washington’s Backfiring Bombing

Posted by M. C. on January 11, 2019

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/01/08/washington-backfiring-bombing.html

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY

Wikipedia tells us that “The Times Square Ball is a… prominent part of a New Year’s Eve celebration commonly referred to as the ball drop, where the ball descends 43 metres in 60 seconds… to signal the start of the new year.” It’s one of these silly things that is quite appealing in the spirit of the Christmas-New Year season, and most of us have a chuckle and consider ourselves slightly foolish for enjoying it.

But there was another and less amusing ball-drop on New Year’s Day, involving a tweet from US Strategic Forces Command or Stratcom, which declares it “deters strategic attack and employs forces, as directed, to guarantee the security of our nation and our allies” In the gobbledegook language of the military it, amongst other things “deters catastrophic actions from adversaries and poses an immediate threat to any actor who questions US resolve by demonstrating our capabilities.”

According to Stars and Stripes, the Stratcom tweet read “Times Square tradition rings in the New Year by dropping the big ball… if ever needed, we are ready to drop something much, much bigger.” As greetings go, you couldn’t get much more crass, confrontational and puerile than that. Read the rest of this entry »

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Notorious CIA-Backed Units Will Remain in Afghanistan

Posted by M. C. on January 7, 2019

Mashal reports that the abuses by the CIA “are actively pushing people toward the Taliban” and when few US military troops remain, “the [CIA-led] strike forces are increasingly the way that a large number of rural Afghans experience the American presence.”

War crimes or not, I wouldn’t release anyone into the grimy claws of the ICC. They are drunk with UN sanctioned power and are anti-US. US citizens should not be subject to One World Government courts.

https://truthout.org/articles/as-trump-orders-us-out-of-afghanistan-notorious-cia-backed-units-will-remain/

BYMarjorie CohnTruthout

Politicians and pundits alike have roundly criticized Donald Trump for stating he will pull our troops out of Syria and cut US forces in Afghanistan by half. James Mattis immediately resigned as secretary of defense, writing in a letter to Trump, “you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours.”

As the US military kills civilians in Syria and CIA-led Afghan forces continue to commit war crimes, it appears Trump is doing the right thing in pulling out military troops. But the CIA will remain and grow stronger after the US troops leave. “[A]s American military forces are set to draw down, the role of the Central Intelligence Agency is only likely to grow in importance,” according to The New York Times.

On December 31, The Times described a CIA-sponsored Afghan strike force that operates “unconstrained by battlefield rules designed to protect civilians, conducting night raids, torture and killings with near impunity.” In the article, journalist Mujib Mashal cites an October 2018 United Nations report that raised concern about “consistent, credible accounts of intentional destruction of civilian property, illegal detention and other abuses.” Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Will never rejoin’: Record casualties take toll on Afghan forces | Afghanistan News | Al Jazeera

Posted by M. C. on November 26, 2018

Salman, 27, a police officer in the northwestern province of Faryab, said he had not been paid in three months and air support during attacks by the Taliban “were not effective”.

US foreign policy: When in a hole, dig some more.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/11/rejoin-record-casualties-toll-afghan-forces-181123115957675.html

As the Taliban maintain an upper hand in the 17-year Afghanistan conflict, casualties in the country’s beleaguered security forces are reaching what experts warn are unsustainable levels.

Since the beginning of 2015, nearly 30,000 Afghan soldiers and police have been killed, President Ashraf Ghani revealed this month – a figure far higher than anything previously acknowledged…

Afghanistan’s beleaguered security forces have long seen high rates of attrition.

But the shocking mortality rate has sent the already shaky morale to new lows, with many soldiers questioning how much further they should push their luck.

In the third quarter of 2018, the number of soldiers and police deployed across Afghanistan fell to 312,328 – nearly 9,000 fewer than only a year ago, and the lowest level for any comparable period since 2012, a US watchdog said in October.

Reasons for attrition included fatalities, and soldiers going AWOL or declining to re-enlist, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said, citing the US defence department… Read the rest of this entry »

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After 17 years of war, top US commander in Afghanistan admits Taliban cannot be defeated — RT US News

Posted by M. C. on November 4, 2018

The problem is redistribution. Your money to Boeing and McDonnell Douglas.

https://www.rt.com/usa/442939-miller-afghanistan-war-lost-taliban/

The Afghanistan war cannot be won militarily and peace will only be achieved through a political resolution with the Taliban, the newly-appointed American general in charge of US and NATO operations has conceded.

In his first interview since taking command of NATO’s Resolute Support mission in September, Gen. Austin Scott Miller provided NBC News with a surprisingly candid assessment of the seemingly never-ending conflict, which began with the US invasion of Afghanistan in October, 2001.

“This is not going to be won militarily. This is going to a political solution,” Miller said.

He mused that the Taliban is also tired of fighting and may be interested in starting to “work through the political piece” of the 17-year-old war.

But it’s not clear if the Taliban is open to negotiations. Last month, a top Taliban commander told RT, in a rare interview, that the group’s leaders had no desire to negotiate with the Americans…

To make matters worse, casualties among Afghan government forces have skyrocketed in recent months. Afghan security forces suffered 1,000 fatalities in August and September, according to the Pentagon…

 

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Afghan Warplanes Attack Wedding Convoy, Kill Four Civilians – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on October 6, 2018

The forever war.

https://news.antiwar.com/2018/10/05/afghan-warplanes-attack-wedding-convoy-kill-four-civilians/

Jason Ditz

Afghan officials are promising an investigation after a Thursday airstrike in the Kandahar Province killed at least four civilians, including women and children, and wounded eight others. Indications are that this was an Afghan military airstrike.

The officials say they were targeting Taliban militants in the area, but ended up hitting a wedding procession at a nearby village. They claimed the Taliban were “mixed up with the villagers,” though this doesn’t make sense as the airstrike was called in during a Taliban offensive against Afghan troops.

Read the rest of this entry »

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US F-35 destroyed in apparent first-ever crash for the stealth jet | The Times of Israel

Posted by M. C. on September 30, 2018

Launched in the early 1990s, the F-35 program is considered the most expensive weapons system in US history,

And it still doesn’t work. The helmet cost $400K three years ago. That has likely gone up.

Multiple Marine Corps F-35s struck Taliban targets in Afghanistan. Defending US by attacking someone that never attacked US.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-f-35-destroyed-in-apparent-first-ever-crash-for-the-stealth-jet/

by AFP and TOI staff

Marine Corps pilot ejects unharmed in North Carolina training accident; cause of crash not clear; Israel operates 12 of the advanced planes

WASHINGTON — A US F-35 fighter was completely destroyed in a crash while training Friday, officials said. The pilot safely ejected.

The crash appears to be the first of its kind for the troubled F-35 program, marking an unfortunate moment for the most expensive plane in history. Read the rest of this entry »

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Balance Sheet of the Forever War – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on September 5, 2018

When one adds up the U.S. dead and wounded from the wars we have launched since 2001 with the Arab and Muslim wounded, killed, orphaned, widowed, uprooted and turned into refugees, as well as the trillions of dollars lost, what benefits are there on the other side of the ledger?

https://original.antiwar.com/buchanan/2018/09/04/balance-sheet-of-the-forever-war/

by 

“It is time for this war in Afghanistan to end,” said Gen. John Nicholson in Kabul on his retirement Sunday after a fourth tour of duty and 31 months as commander of U.S. and NATO forces.

Labor Day brought news that another U.S. serviceman had been killed in an insider attack by an Afghan soldier.

Why do we continue to fight in Afghanistan?

“We continue to fight simply because we are there,” said retired Gen. Karl Eikenberry who preceded Gen. Nicholson.

“Absent political guidance and a diplomatic strategy,” Eikenberry told The New York Times, “military commanders have filled the vacuum by waging a war all agree cannot be won militarily.”

This longest war in U.S. history has become another no-win war… Read the rest of this entry »

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