Wednesday, November 25, 2009


from nothing
grew everything
everything brought
wide eyed we
scowled at the void
yet still
death came
as the twin charges
side by side
of drooling

“Now in a different world, at a different time, and with a different president, we face the prospect of enlarging a different war. But once again we're fighting in remote provinces against an enemy who can bleed us slowly and wait us out, because he will still be there when we are gone.

Once again, we are caught between warring factions in a country where other foreign powers fail before us. Once again, every setback brings a call for more troops, although no one can say how long they will be there or what it means to win. Once again, the government we are trying to help is hopelessly corrupt and incompetent. And once again, a President pushing for critical change at home is being pressured to stop dithering, be tough, show he's got the guts, by sending young people seven thousand miles from home to fight and die, while their own country is coming apart.

And once again, the loudest case for enlarging the war is being made by those who will not have to fight it, who will be safely in their beds while the war grinds on. And once again, a small circle of advisers debates the course of action, but one man will make the decision.” Bill Moyers, 20 November 2009
We are lost and confused, as we have become purveyors of armies in a permanent state of war, who, joined by our deformed mercenary armies, will never return home. Why are we compelled to wander so long and so far, becoming strangers everywhere? We have become an anguished nation, inconsistent, and blanketed in covert mockery of what many say we represent.

We hurtle down the road as Death and Destruction. Our actions announce as so, we are the fearsome crimson name that promises what we shall bring to those who dare defy us. The bleached human skull, the jaunty icon, proclaims our presence for all to dread.

The Taliban in Afghanistan can be destroyed piece by piece through careful targeting with a whole menu of overstuffed weaponry from Hell Fire missiles, Tomahawks, whatever the evolving robo-battlefield drones can now fire, and in rare instances, Special Operation Forces. The Taliban can be reduced to marauding gangs that the Afghanis can live with or not. Afghanistan is Pakistan’s geo-strategic playground. The ISI and Pakistani Army played the lead role in forming, supporting, and directing the operations of the Taliban. They still do. Now, however, infighting among various factions of the ISI and an increasingly fragmented Pakistani army, has created a new, equally fragmented Taliban. The imaginary border between Afghanistan and Pakistan has never been secure in any sense of the word. American forces by their very nature will be restricted to the south central and southeastern areas of Afghanistan. The Hindu Kush will continue to be the scene of more frequent and higher intensity air campaign.

All of this will serve to energize the Afghanis and Pakistanis against US troops, increasing casualties of both American troops and civilians as we increase combat missions. The ubiquitous friendly fire casualties and collateral civilian deaths will increase. Across the broad southern swath of Pakistan, the tribal area of Balochistan may seize the opportunity to expand their simmering struggle to break away from Pakistan, as East Pakistan (Bangaledesh) did in 1971. Balochistan shares a border with India in the east and Iran in the west. Both Iran and India would be interested in an ‘independent’ Balochistan. Its natural resources are the richest in Pakistan, and there has long been a plan for a gas pipeline running from India through Balochistan (Pakistan) to Iran. Recently, a number of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards were killed by an incursion of an unverified group of ‘terrorists’ from Pakistan.

Nothing good will come out of an increased presence of American troops in Afghanistan. The threats to our national security can and do emanate from anywhere in the world. Any increase of US troops, and mercenaries (who currently outnumber American troops in Afghanistan), will destabilize Pakistan further with unknowable consequences, none of which will calm the tensions in South Asia.

Regardless of how many time specific qualitative and quantitative benchmarks President Obama demands to be met, or how many ‘off ramp’ options there are in any plan he advances, they will all vanish in the whirlwind when casualties go up. The unexpected will happen and the generals will need more troops to get the region stabilized. What then, besides more dead and wounded?

We should work with China, Russia, and India to help the more moderate elements of Pakistan gain a position where economic and national security are paramount. That is the only path that can eventually heal the rift between at least India and Pakistan. Eventually, with a much diminished American troop presence, and an end to American intrusion into the internal affairs of Pakistan, a positive outcome remains possible. Right now, we are headed down a dead end.

General Petraeus’ asked, “Tell me how this ends?” The answer will be “more horribly than we ever could have imagined.” Sphere: Related Content

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