sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Is Afghanistan Lost?

The comment of anyone familiar with history will say that of course it's lost. If the British couldn't hold it in successive wars, and the Russians couldn't hold it, what makes us think that our investment in time, treasure and lives would have a different outcome? 

When President Obama came into office, he declared that the war in Afghanistan was a "good war" and put his stamp on it. I chuckled at the time because war is a racket and I knew that Obama would turn tail and pull out as soon as we'd spent enough money lives in a worthless endeavor. I am not discounting the lives of Americans and Afghan allies. I simply point to the loss of Ramadi, Iraq and the Obama Administration's assertion "at this point what difference does it make?" --- and suggest that the same thing is happening in Afghanistan.

The litmus test for the value of a war is when the sons and grandsons of members of the US Congress, and possibly Chelsea Clinton and her ilk, are sent to the front lines in that war to offer up their lives for flag and country. Until THAT happens, lives and treasure will be freely spilled to no lasting effect...much like Viet Nam.

There are some who say that the long war in Afghanistan was a pay-back for the 9/11 terror attack. The only problem with that is that the attack was generated by Saudis and Saudi Arabia was our "ally" and oil supplier. We couldn't very well go there and root out the Wahhabists, who fulminated the attack and America wanted blood. So, Afghanistan was an acceptable limited conflict that worked until Big Army decided that it needed to be there in a Big way -- forever.

But I digress. On with the news.
On 18 May, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), according to a statement released by Pakistan. The Director General, Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asim Bajwa, tweeted that the MoU includes intelligence sharing as well as complementary and coordinated operations and patrols on the respective sides of the border. 
The MoU and the coordinated border operations appear to update and amend the arrangements that existed between the US/NATO command in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are positive developments, but signify no breakthrough in relations. They cover developments on the periphery of Afghanistan, when the fight has moved increasingly to Kabul.

Open sources attest to the steady progress the Taliban and their allies have made in executing attacks in Kabul. 

Insurgency and insurrection usually are centripetal. That means attacks in the capital are a critical measure for evaluating insurgent progress against the government. If the center does not hold, the insurgents win. The Afghan center – Kabul -- is not holding; it is slowly collapsing. 

Pakistan created the Taliban and militarily supported their initial take-over of Afghanistan. Therefore this is consistent with their moves going back to the mid-1990's. Pakistan is investing so it cannot lose, no matter the outcome. It has never stopped supporting the Afghan Taliban by providing a safe haven for the Afghan Taliban leadership during the past 14 years. The new arrangements with the Ghani government in Afghanistan are attempts to manipulate the Afghan government in Pakistan’s favor. This is a win-win strategy for Pakistan.

Inner-City Zombies

I'm sure that the residents of Baltimore, MD feel much safer now that the police are simply arriving "later" to take reports on crimes as murder, robbery and rape skyrocket. After all, it's the police that the zombies fear. Take that out of the equation and who owns the city? Who needs that thin blue line?

The sad reality is that cities, counties, and states get precisely the police departments that they want. In much the same way that businesses hire better people to make themselves more successful, some communities make that commitment as well. We can all quibble about what makes a "better" police officer but higher standards in hiring generally results in higher standards of conduct by those hired. Who doesn't remember the movie, Beverly Hills Cop, and the stereotypical differences between the fat, poorly groomed, sloppy Detroit cops working out of a run down building and the fit, well uniformed, highly educated Beverly Hills cops working in corporate-looking offices, equipped with the best gear? Stereotypes are only funny because we know they're true.

Police departments directly reflect the nature and will of their constituent populations. And since we know that politicians aren't out there on graveyard shift, picking up the pieces of their failed policies, they naturally expect the police to do it. Inner-city sewers like Detroit, Michigan; Fergusson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland are monuments to the political policies that encouraged dependency and bought votes -- that built them. Expecting police to fix them is unrealistic. Expecting that police officers will accept persecution from their elected leaders and still do a stellar job is laughable.

Crime rates will soar and the cops will simply follow procedure to the letter, thus bogging the system down. But a bogged down system won't lead to their indictments.