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laststeamtrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 10:53 AM
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Escalation is futile in a war in which complexity defies might
Escalation is futile in a war in which complexity defies might
September 23, 2009

In fear of losing face, the US peddles the myth that it can win in Afghanistan.

THE US scarcely knew what a complex disaster it was confronting when it went to war in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. It will eventually - perhaps years from now - suffer the same fate as Alexander the Great, the British and the Soviet Union: defeat.

What is called ''Afghanistan'' is really a collection of tribes and ethnic groups - Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and more. There are seven major ethnic groups, each with its own language. There are 30 minor languages. Pashtuns are 42 per cent of the population and the Taliban come from them. Its borders are contested and highly porous, and al-Qaeda is most powerful in the Pashtun regions of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Worse yet, Pakistan possesses about 70 to 90 nuclear weapons and the US fears some may fall into the hands of Islamic extremists. At least three-quarters of the supplies essential for America's and its allies' war effort flow through Pakistan, and they are often assaulted. Moreover, a large and growing majority of Pakistanis distrust US motives. America's tilt to Delhi after 2007, which greatly augmented Indian nuclear power, made Pakistan far more reluctant to do Washington's bidding.


This is only part of the context in which the US has been mired for eight years, and US President Barack Obama's strategy of escalation will confront growing resistance both in Afghanistan and among the US Congress and public. There are now more than 100,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, mainly American, and more will not change the situation. Fifty-eight per cent of Americans were against the Afghan war in September this year, and in some NATO nations - particularly Germany, Britain and Italy - opposition is increasing. These countries will not send significantly more troops to fight there.


Meanwhile, Obama thinks he will win the war by escalation - an illusion that also marked the futile war in Vietnam. He also believes he can ''Afghanisise'' the war - as Nixon thought he could ''Vietnamise'' that conflict - even though recruits for Karzai's army have little motivation apart from collecting their salary, and are scarcely a match for the Taliban.

A growing majority of the Afghan population now oppose the US effort because it has led to frightful civilian casualties without attaining decisive military successes. ''The mission is on the verge of failing,'' a writer in the US Army's quarterly, Parameters, concluded last (US) spring. That, indeed, may be an understatement.

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ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 02:11 PM
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1. Come on Citizen?!? "Jump on the team and come on in for the big win?


Pogue Colonel: Don't you love your country?

Private Joker: Yes, sir.

Pogue Colonel: Then how about getting with the program? Why don't you jump on the team and come on in for the big win?

Private Joker: Yes, sir.

Pogue Colonel: Son, all I've ever asked of my marines is that they obey my orders as they would the word of God. We are here to help the Vietnamese, because inside every gook there is an American trying to get out. It's a hardball world, son. We've gotta keep our heads until this peace craze blows over.

Private Joker: Aye-aye, sir.
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