Endgame in Afghanistan?

    Forget election year politics and polls for a moment, will the apparent negligent disposal by burning of Korans at Bagram signal the final conclusion of not only our 'fragile and reversible gains' there, (Gen. Petraeus, 2011) - but our entire mission? Perhaps speed an end to the whole campaign and occupation, and hasten our exit?

    Should Obama have apologized for the Koran disposal? Should he have waited for the investigation to be concluded, as the Korans in question may have already been defaced with messages written by prisoners, and as such were a security risk. On the other hand, did Karzai apologize for the deaths of 4 Americans by Afghan personnel this week? Should we be apologizing or leaving?

    Should Obama be quietly or loudly telling the Pentagon to speed plans for departure, leaving Afghans on their own sooner rather than later, while also withdrawing the billions in financing they get from the presence of US and NATO troops? Does Obama have the moxie to exit faster, or will he stick to the ridiculous plan to stay until 2014 or beyond? Would the Republicans pounce on an Afghan exit and say 'Obama lost the war'? Would voters say 'we left too early', or just 'we should never have gone in to start'? Are there enough non-fanatical Afghans, and do they care enough, to stay and stop a Taliban return, or will they just try to get out while they can?

    Reports have said the US/Afghan supplied Korans were defaced by prisoners writing messages to each other when they were collected  and then thoughtlessly burned.  Remember that Florida preacher, Terry Jones and the 20 or so UN staff murdered in protest over that incident? Somebody in Bagram must have forgotten about Terry Jones. The burned Korans were reportedly noticed by a local Afghan employee who burned his hands pulling them from the incinerator fire.

    Now protesting Afghans have died, and westerners, including today's report of two US officers murdered inside the Afghan Interior Ministry building as part of what can only be termed a major uprising of the Afghan people. BBC reports NATO has just pulled all staff from Afghan ministries. NYT:

    The shooting of the two American officers took place in the Interior Ministry’s command and control center, a highly restricted area within the ministry from where officials monitor conditions around the country, according to an Afghan official in the ministry who was not authorized to comment publicly....The intensifying enmity toward the American presence in Afghanistan a decade into the war is casting into doubt a central plank of the Obama administration’s strategy to end the United States’ involvement in the war: a close working relationship between Afghan forces and advisers and trainers...


    Two other US troops were gunned down by a man in Afghan uniform a few days ago, after which Obama sent the apology to Hamid Karzai. Killings of US and NATO troops by the Afghans they work worth has been growing over the recent year.

    We know that the fanatical Muslims of the region pay little heed to other religions. In 2001 the Taliban blew up the two thousand year old Bamiyan Buddhas in northern Afghanistan. These were the largest sculptures of Buddha in the world. The UN complained, it had no effect.  In Afghanistan or Pakistan, having a Bible, or converting from Islam in can result in a death sentence. Of course, like religious fanatics and hypocrites anywhere, they believe all their actions are justified, whether they be blowing up Buddhas, throwing acid in the faces of women, training kids to be suicide bombers, assassinating leaders or planting IED's. Any percieved offense on them, whether real, accidental or even intended, results in hysterical fervor and violence. In my opinion, it is long past time to plan a more speedy and total departure from the region, and when we do inevitably get out, please, let's not get involved in the fighting and dying in Syria, or in some new war with Iran.


    A tweet from Kabul:


    His twitter feed to follow on topic

    Esmatullah Kohsar
    Staff Reporter, Media activist and Media Monitoring.

    Another good one:

    Abbas Daiyar
    Member of Editorial Board at Daily Outlook Afghanistan, op-ed contributor. Sharing Af-Pak links. Views are personal.
    Kabul, Afghanistan


    and his blog:


    Other good sources can be found by checking some of their retweets.

    Maybe more later, as in, addressing some points in your post. Got more reading to do first.

    Another tweet:



    Interesting tweets, thanks. Apparently the two US officers were summarily executed with shots to the back of their heads in the most secure ministry in Kabul.  And the killer has escaped, at least for the time being.

    Now that US colonels are being murdered in 'secure' headquarters in the 'most secure' capital, Kabul, maybe the Pentagon brass will derive a different outlook on 'staying the course'. I hope these Afghan twitter tweeters have a back up plan for when the Taliban come back, like President Karzai does, he and his family have a million dollar villa in the gulf, Dubai I believe, and guess who paid for it?

    Now this is interesting!Q

    Should Obama have apologized for the Koran disposal? Should he have waited for the investigation to be concluded, as the Korans in question may have already been defaced with messages written by prisoners, and as such were a security risk. On the other hand, did Karzai apologize for the deaths of 4 Americans by Afghan personnel this week? Should we be apologizing or leaving?

    That windbag Gingrich made this argument 25 times during his 20 minute interview with Piers the other night.

    Get out!

    Get out now!

    And yet I have not read the file and we are slated to be down to 60,000 soldiers this summer and out for good (whatever that means) in a year.

    I listened to the same propaganda for 12 goddamn years (it was actually longer than that I am just speaking of what I listened to) during the Vietnam engagement or almost war or whatever it is called historically today.


    The longer we stay, the more they hate us.

    But I have to admit I have not read the entire file.

    To think that these people hate us, well there must be people who like us too.

    Gingrich has a point and yet I have never heard him say--ever ever ever--that we must leave a war!

    But maybe Newt gives us an opening politically.

    We have Bin Laden and scores of other 'big wigs' (whatever the hell that means) who once led the terrorists.

    Who cares.

    It is like mowing the lawn.

    You mow it today (say July 1) and you have to mow it next week.

    We cannot afford this war, the leader of 'our side' hates us and is corrupt as Madoff, and who cares anymore.

    Why spend billions more. Bring them all home this summer.

    If the corporate pigs wish to stay with their mercenaries--good luck to em as long as they are not getting paid with taxpayer money.

    Good post!


    Apparently six more US troops were wounded by Koran protestors throwing grenades near Kunduz, which is in the extreme north part of Afghanistan, where the Taliban is not supposed to operate. One thing unites Afghans, hating the US.

    The way things are going, it could be a very dicey getting our people out of Afghanistan, particularly if we can no longer trust or be in the room with their guys without having one hand on a pistol. Clearly we need to get out, the sooner the better. Karzai is saying today the Bagram US Koran disposers should be 'put on trial'.

    What frightens me the most about any of the GOP wannabes is that it seems that any of this group, with exception of Paul, are atypical Repub warmongers.  It appears to be a mandated qualification for most within the party ranks to claim war/attack is always the siren call to sound.

    I think Obama chose the correct option for a variety of reasons.  Number one is that (IMO) to do otherwise would only serve to place our troops at even greater risk of increased violence/retribution.

    I encourage all who are advocating that he should have further incensed those who our troops are locked in combat with to don their own military garb, immediately go over there and put themselves on the front lines, in front of any of our troops.  

    Romney on Fox News today:

    "It is an extraordinary admission of failure for us to establish the relationships that you'd have to have for a successful transition to the Afghan military and Afghan security leadership,"

    The UPI article is titled "Romney says Obama blew it in Afghanistan". What Romney means by the above quote is not clear, did he expect Obama to run the Bagram prison and also do cultural sensitivity training while there?
    Obama could be a kind of Mr. Rogers in Kabul "It's a Wonderful Day in Kabul Neighborhood..."? Rmoney can turn it all around? After 11 years?
    What we do know is Romney has 5 (five) military age sons, and neither they nor he has or ever will put on the uniform to go and 'establish relationships' with the Taliban, the Afghan military, or anyone who might shoot at them while they serve in the US military.

    I can't remember where I read this and cannot attest to the information's veracity, but it stated that the Romney's (Mormon?) believe the choice to enter into the two year Mormon missionary program replaces/as good as/betters service in military.

    But, isn't the missionary program mandatory for Mormons, especially if their goal is to be a 'prominent leader' within the church?

    It's so hypocritical and the zenith of hubris to endorse sending 'others' to war, knowing there is no chance they or theirs will be on the battlefield.  

    Let none forget to remember and loudly acknowledge that the 1%'s physical representation on these battlefields is (even figuring the percentiles for their numbers) is far less than the 99%'s.  

    Mormons believe a lot of wacky stuff, the 5 Romney sons can go do their missionary work when and if they come back alive from the Iran war their Dad wants to start, or the Afghan war he seems to want to extend forever. Big shot neocons and 'new breed' Republicans are renown war loving, bellicose blowhards, and draft dodgers to the core. They want you to go to war, but they won't join you in defending 'freedom'.

    Glenn Greenwald nails it:


    The Quran-burning is merely the spark; the invasion, war, ongoing occupation and collateral damage are the explosively combustible mix that even anti-Taliban Afghans hate the West for.

    What the U.S. government continually fails to grasp is that, yes, military might can effect regime change. What it cannot do is build (or rebuild) a nation. Only the people of the country involved can do that; occupying foreign troops simply don't know how. It is, by definition, not part of their training. All they can do by their presence is prevent the "locals" from beginning that long process.

    The curse of U.S. foreign policy is its bloated military (and the political power that military spending endows it with). When you're holding a multi-billion-dollar hammer, every problem looks like a nail -- despite botched handyman projects stretching over decades from Southeast Asia to the Persian Gulf.

    I'm starting to think the only way for America ever to become a normal country is for economic collapse to drain the abscess of its military power. The political structure itself will never acknowledge the underlying problem.

    Your summary is better than the Greenwald piece.

    Greenwald's 'Muslim army occupying America and burning US flags' is a bit of a sloppy metaphor too far. The people of that Af/Pak region cannot really be compared to any other people, army or area. They are unique. A graphic description of their behavior in the 1930's was given in a book by a British officer John Masters in his book, Bugles and a Tiger.

    He said after being defeated in a conflict, the tribal rebels would come in to the British bases for the campaign medals, because they thought they deserved them as much as the Brits and Indian allies they had fought against. War was and is a proud way of life. He also described the methods of torture and execution they used on captured British troops, turning it into a family enterprise, methods too gruesome to relate here.

    Well, why be squeamish?

    When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

    -- Rudyard Kipling's Young British Soldier (final stanza)

    Masters said one technique (from the Afghan frontier provinces 1930's) that combined torture and execution practiced by the local tribes was to take a captured British soldier, stake him out in the sun, after he got good and thirsty but still alive, prop his mouth open with a stick, and have your women join in by urinating into his mouth until he drowns to death in piss. Then, as related, they came in to forts after hostilities were over asking for campaign medals.

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