Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Retreat in Afghanistan?

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan, July 13 -- Nine U.S. soldiers were killed in heavy fighting Sunday at a military base in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border, according to a Western official. The attack was the deadliest against U.S. forces in the country since 2005.

KABUL, Afghanistan: The Taliban insurgents who attacked a remote American-run outpost near the Pakistan border on Sunday numbered nearly 200 fighters, almost three times the size of the allied force, and some breached the NATO compound in a coordinated assault that took the defenders by surprise, Western officials said Monday.

The attackers were driven back in a pitched four-hour battle, and they appeared to suffer scores of dead and wounded of their own, but the toll they inflicted was sobering. The base and a nearby observation post were held by just 45 American troops and 25 Afghan soldiers, two senior allied officials said, asking for anonymity while an investigation was under way.

With nine Americans dead and at least 15 injured, that means that one in five of the American defenders was killed and nearly half the remainder were wounded. Four Afghan soldiers were also wounded.

KABUL, July 16 -- After suffering significant setbacks in the fight against insurgents in eastern Afghanistan, U.S. and Afghan troops have pulled out of a combat outpost where nine U.S. soldiers were killed in a pitched battle with Taliban fighters Sunday.

We are on the retreat against terrorism. Oh, to be sure it's only a 'tactical' retreat. Surfing through Google News this morning, I could see several shades of lipstick put on this defeat reversal. The outpost was
  • only temporary?
  • abandoned?
  • overrun?
  • vacated?
  • left?
  • surrendered?
  • removed?
  • dismantled?
  • disassembled?
  • disestablished?
The last euphemism is my favorite: 'disestablished'! (I didn't know that was a word.)

How did we get to this point?

It's awesome to note how far our erstwhile war-time president has led us from those first days of his declaring war in September 2001.

I'm talking about when Bush said on 13-Sep-01,
The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.
And when he said on 17-Sep-01 (UPI),
I want justice...There's an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.'
Or, at the White House on 14-Dec-01,
I don't care. Dead or alive, either way. I mean, I - it doesn't matter to me. Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.
Or two weeks later, when Bush discussed Osama bin Laden in a Press Availablity with the Press Travel Pool, in Crawford Texas, 28-Dec-01, as reported on the official White House site,
"...Secondly, he is not escaping us. This is a guy, who, three months ago, was in control of a county [sic]. Now he's maybe in control of a cave. He's on the run. Listen, a while ago I said to the American people, our objective is more than bin Laden. But one of the things for certain is we're going to get him running and keep him running, and bring him to justice. And that's what's happening. He's on the run, if he's running at all. So we don't know whether he's in cave with the door shut, or a cave with the door open -- we just don't know...."
And then again at the White House, on 8-Jul-02,
I don't know if he is dead or alive, for starters - so I'm going to answer your question with a hypothetical. Osama bin Laden, he may be alive. If he is, we'll get him. If he's not alive, we got him.
In Manilla, Philippines, on 18-Oct-03,
We're on the offensive against the terrorists...
In Nashua, New Hampshire, 25-Mar-04,
The best way to protect us is to stay on the offensive and to find terrorists before they try to harm us again.
And a Prime Time Press Conference (#3), White House, 13-Apr-04:
I can assure the American people that had we had any inkling that this was going to happen, we would have done everything in our power to stop the attack. Here's what I feel about that. The person responsible for the attacks was Osama bin Laden. That's who's responsible for killing Americans. And that's why we will stay on the offense until we bring people to justice.
Dead or alive?

After almost seven years since Osama bin Laden declared war on us with the attacks of 9/11, we are on the defensive. We have had no justice. (Only torture) We have no clue whether Osama bin Laden is alive or dead or where the hell he is. Afghanistan? Pakistan? Talibanistan?

Where does this jerk-off president and his militaristic entourage get off on their pretense of being tough on terrorism?

It was on their watch when we suffered the most devastating attack since 7-December 1941. And it is on Busheney's watch that
Adolph Hitler Osama bin Laden, Emperor Hirihito Mullah Omar, and Benito Mussolini Ayman al-Zawahri continue to bleed us dry of blood and treasure.

13 Moderated Comments:

Blogger HopeSpringsATurtle said...

Hey Vig...Dr. Turtle (my ex) left for Iraq today. Had a medic friend just get back from Afghanistan on his 3rd tour. He said it's the worst he's seen and he's in the bucket to go back in 6 months instead od the required 18. Thanks for posting.

7/17/2008 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Kentucky Rain said...

There is no shame in retreat. It often happens in war that intelligence either underestimates or overestimates the enemy strength and capabilities. In this case it was the former circumstance.

The fact that Afghanistan was put on the back burner in favor of Bush's Iraq war has put the United States and its NATO allies back at the beginning of a new war against the Taliban and it promises to be much worse that Iraq ever was. If Bush fails to act quickly and decisively, which he will [and has] this conflict promises to be bloody indeed and may end up like the Afghanistan-Soviet war.

7/17/2008 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Stella by Starlight said...

Yes, madmike, sometimes when you quit, you win. We made the same mistake in 'Nam. Bush does act quickly and decisively—about everything that's wrong.

If we had to go to war, Afghanistan should have been first on our list. As you mentioned, Mike, the U.S. offered the Taliban $100 million, not to mention the $300 million we gave to bin Laden. You all might find The Debate a good site.

That the deaths of soldiers AND innocent civilians died for an unwarranted war both hurts me, but keeps me fighting the darkness that war brings. Thanks for the post, Vig. Sometimes, I wish I were one of those blissfully unaware people. Too late.

7/17/2008 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Mac Daddy Tribute Blog said...

To win over the Afghan people, I think we're going to need more than 10,000. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld wouldn't listen, but Gen. Colin Powell had it right: If you must go to war, go with superior forces and firepower. 10,000 soldiers won't do it.

We'll also need to help them build an infrastructure and an economy so the people won't have to rely on growing and selling heroin.

7/17/2008 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf said...

The Wall Street Journal has discovered the key to success in counter-insurgency:

“But like other guerrilla conflicts from Vietnam to Iraq, Afghanistan’s war is an armed popularity contest. To win, soldiers — especially commanders — need skills that go well beyond good tactics and good aim; they must also blend the street smarts of a beat cop with the sensitivity of a social worker, the cultural awareness of an anthropologist and the deal-making abilities of a big-city mayor.”

Very simple. You just have to have the key to the kingdom.

7/18/2008 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger GetaLife-ReadUrNews said...

In 2003, McCain's plan was for just muddling through Afghanistan.

7/18/2008 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger J.C. said...

Both wars were based on scam operations designed to make money for special interest groups.

It is a waste of our resource base.... but that is how they make money.

7/18/2008 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

Skip, you're right.

7/20/2008 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger J.C. said...

The Price System grew out of the days of scarcity, when trading crude materials or stealing them, was the only way in which humans could acquire articles desired. I am the Price System -essay.

The fall back position... in this system, for our type of economy..?. is war.

We have been in a war based economy since at least 1948, when the American system was taken over completely, by Corporate Fascism.

Military..Industrial..Congressional complex, is now the overriding enemy of the American citizen.

Alternatives to this current system are available.

7/20/2008 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger Soros' Proxy said...

Sens. Obama, Chuck Hagel, and Jack Reed issue a joint statement:

"Our message to the Afghan government is this: We want a strong partnership based on 'more for more' _ more resources from the United States and NATO, and more action from the Afghan government to improve the lives of the Afghan people. We need a sense of urgency and determination.

"We need urgency because the threat from the Taliban and al-Qaida is growing and we must act; we need determination because it will take time to prevail. But with the right strategy and the resources to back it up, we will get the job done."

7/20/2008 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Bush is clearly out of his depth -- he shouldn't have been president.

And to vote him to a second term was just gobsmacking. What on earth were the Americans thinking at the time? Alright, that's all water under the bridge now -- except that he's still hell bent on having his war by proxy.

Good thing is he's on his way out but again, what I fear today is that he would keep his promise and commit America and by extension, the world to another war that the West cannot win, i.e., Iran (he promised to do something about Iran before his term ends.)

The number of lives lost and the amount of money spent on Iraq and Osama Bin Laden still at large?

As a British historian said, Bush "is a fucking catastrophe!"

7/20/2008 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The war in Afghanistan cannot be won even with double the number of troops that Obama has promised. NATO member nations just don't have the number -- even if NATO member allies decide to engage full blast, they just can't keep up with what's required.

Right off the bat, here are some of the problems: the French armed forces are a fraction of America's and they're all over the world too just like American troops; Germany's Constitution is a problem, Norway very tiny army, Italy's armed forces are not even at par with their European counterparts; Poland is not up to it financially, Belgium (hah! they could barely get their act together), Britain is wildly overstretched and very undermanned -- problem of defence budget cuts severely dampens UK armed forces efficiency, etc, etc.

The only realistic way of getting anywhere at all in Afghanistan is for the blasted Afghan govt to work their ass off and do something -- for starters, curb corruption within their ranks... Obama, when he becomes president, must go down hard on the Afghan president and his govt.

Afghanistan is getting to be a real disaster and we in the West cannot afford to lose this war or it will be completely open terrorism season.

(Vig, Last post for sometime -- am off on a much needed summer break. Happy holidays to you, to your readers and hasta la vista!)

7/20/2008 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger J.C. said...

You do not seem to understand how the American system works... and has worked for some time. The American economy runs on war.
Special interest groups make money by having war... Bush was rewarded... not punished for killing all those innocent people... because he made money... and he kept the economy going.
Apparently you do not understand that an American president in this current system is only and merely, a stooge for Corporate Fascism.
Obama or McCain are controlled by the very groups that controlled Clinton and Bush, etc.

7/20/2008 07:26:00 PM  

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