Thursday, January 27, 2011

Planning to Fail in Afghanistan, pt 12: Running to Stand Still

Destroying the Village to Save It

Considering their failure the first time, its sad to see that the ISAF has brought the age old practice of "zippo raids" - pumped up on 50,000 pounds of steroids - to Afghanistan.

Destroy the village to save it:

Translated from obnoxious mil-speak, she is describing the village being intimidated by the Taliban, who are chased away by soldiers, then “cleared” by special forces, and leveled by massive aerial bombardment, apparently with no casualties. Nowhere in this account is there a sense that the villagers felt any ill-will toward the Americans beforehand—rather, Broadwell explicitly describes the village as being victimized by the Taliban first, then being completely obliterated by the Americans. In other words, rather than actually clearing the village—not just chasing away the Taliban but cleaning up the bombs and munitions left over—the soldiers got lazy and decided to destroy the entire settlement… “to give the men confidence.”
Its little wonder that these sorts of activities have costs as much as $100 million dollars in damage in the last 6 months.

Tell Me How This Ends 

Back at the end of May, I had my own version of a 'Walter Cronkite Moment' as I realized that the war in Afghanistan possibly couldn't be won, and that even it could be, the U.S. was not fighting to win but instead was planning to fail.

Today we see that planning to fail has evolved into a strategy of tying to blast our way out. If Obama was planning to keep his 2011 draw down date this would be less odious, but the administration has now shifted to keeping American forces in Afghanistan until at least 2014.

Apparently, the developing U.S. strategy is just to wait out the remainder of Karzai's administration and then hope for a reboot, of sorts, in 2014. In retrospect, backing Karzai versus Abdullah was probably a bad move. At this rate, the U.S. will be just wasting time - and burning through $100 billion per year - and watching 500 troops dies, per year - while we run out the clock on Karzai's administration.

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