The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPhilip Giraldi Archive
Afghanistan in the Rear View Mirror
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

The news media today are reporting how seven US servicemen who were training Afghan security forces were wounded in a grenade attack carried out at a base in Afghanistan, presumably by one of their students. That is on top of two US Army officers murdered while advising an Afghan government ministry two days ago and two other American soldiers killed by an Afghan army officer two days before that. All were killed and wounded as a result of the Quran burning incident, which has produced major violence and resulted in the deaths of many Afghan civilians.

There have been numerous other killings of ISAF advisers by their students, including an Albanian and several Italians last week. ISAF has withdrawn all its advisers from Afghan government ministries and the French and Germans have ceased all training while they re-evaluate the situation. France is considering leaving the country ahead of schedule.

If anything underscores the absolute futility of the US and NATO “mission” in Afghanistan it is the attacks being staged against so-called trainers and advisers by the very people that some in Washington believe we are helping. The Afghans recognize that they are being occupied by foreign and alien forces even if the Pentagon and White House haven’t quite figured it out.

I supported the initial US intervention in Afghanistan because it was a terrorist haven from which we were attacked and I was, in fact, one of the first CIA officers to arrive in the country after the Taliban fell. We should have then stabilized the situation insofar as possible, installed a puppet, and left. No one will be able to straighten out Afghanistan but the Afghans, if it can be done at all. And that is their problem because, after all, it is their country. The recent killings demonstrate that it is not a question of leaving Afghanistan in 2013, or 2014, or even 2020 as some generals would prefer. We should have left a long time ago and spared the thousands of killed in action US and Allied troops as well as the tens of thousands of Afghans who have died in a war that is not only the longest in US history but also completely pointless and unwinnable.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Afghanistan 
Hide 23 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Wow, I just saw a pig fly by my window. This is going to make your head explode but I agree.

  2. 152013

    Thanks Bill – actually we’ve agreed on a couple of things lately.

  3. tbraton says:

    “I supported the initial US intervention in Afghanistan because it was a terrorist haven from which we were attacked and I was, in fact, one of the first CIA officers to arrive in the country after the Taliban fell. We should have then stabilized the situation insofar as possible, installed a puppet, and left. No one will be able to straighten out Afghanistan but the Afghans, if it can be done at all.”

    You are absolutely right on the mark, PG, as usual. I have felt the same way since early 2003.

    BTW I was interested to read about your being in Afghanistan after the Taliban fell, but I wasn’t surprised. Until recently, I only knew you by your writings here on TAC and was aware of your CIA connection, but, when another poster referred to you as “Dr. Phil Giraldi” (in response to your Mitt Romney “diatribe” 😉 ), I decided to look you up on Wikipedia. Needless to say, I was very impressed by your resume, just as I had been impressed by your writings. Good work.

  4. Raashid says:

    Phil, can you expand on the efficacy of installing a pliant puppet, given that they are usually recognised as such and before long topped? Had the US left early, wouldn’t a regime such as the Taliban return to power anyway, making Afghanistan again a safe haven for Al-Qaeda? Personally I think even that danger is exaggerated since the US could diminish terrorist threats simply by blocking entry to citizens of all Arab and Muslim states, but of course that wouldn’t have been politically viable for any President given Americans penchant for wanting to see blood spilt.

  5. Sheldon says:

    Amen, amen, and again amen.

  6. A majority of rural Afghans don’t even know why they are being attacked. The ones that do know about the attacks think it was an inside job. Clearly there has been a failure to communicate. It makes me think that Washington is insulated and oblivious to the world around it. Will Al Qaeda re-emerge and try to draw the US back into Afghanistan if the war is ended?

  7. Philip, are you aware of a national resistance that has been more determined and successful in disrupting and making unsustainable a foreign military occupation than has the Afghan resistance to NATO’s invasion and occupation?

  8. SteveM says:

    Absolutely spot-on assessment by Philip.

    The irritating residue of all this is the unyielding collective illusion that the “Surge” worked and Political and Military Elites like David Petraeus have any special insights about anything.

    Unfortunately, those unfounded Myths are suffused through-out the Body Politic and reinforced by the massive National Security PR apparatus.

  9. Phil refers to the “thousands of killed in action US and Allied troops as well as the tens of thousands of Afghans who have died”.

    There are also the tens of thousands of non-fatal US and Allied casualties. The cost of these is staggering and growing. And we will be paying for it for decades.

    From a 2011 Harvard study:

    “As of December 2010, 1.25 million service men and women had returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have been wounded or injured in some way — over 90,000 seriously enough to require medical evacuation from the conflict. A much larger number suffer from other injuries, ranging from brain injuries to hearing loss. To date, 650,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been treated in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities for a wide range of medical conditions. Nearly 500,000 of these
    veterans are receiving compensation from the VA for injuries sustained or worsened during their military service. “

  10. @tbraton – yes, amid the general rot and mendacity it has been a saving grace that a “little platoon” stepped up that included honorable folk like our Mr. Giraldi. God knows he had already done his bit. We’re lucky to have him and need more like him.

  11. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Yes,. All roads lead back eventually to the 9-11 attacks, and one’s interpretation of what happened and why. Who says history is irrelevant?

  12. SDS says:

    AS it is assumed that not long after we leave; no mattter when that is;
    A) the Taliban will regain power there; and
    B) Karzai, et. al., will be hanging from a pole….
    All we can hope is that a small lesson was learned from the whole experience…
    Both by the Taliban and by us….
    I doubt either will learn the right lesson…

  13. 152048

    Raashid – Karzai would probably have been the puppet since he was annointed in the first place because he spoke good English and was Pashtun. Ultimately, the US will leave and the Afghans will pursue their own course, which will certainly include a Taliban role, so why prolong the pain? The Taliban were willing to surrender bin Laden in 2001 but the US refused to negotiate the issue, so the ties between Taliban and al-Qaeda were always less than they seemed. A new Taliban regime would be mindful of the fact that even a departed US military could return to devastating effect if Afghanistan were to again become a safehaven for any terrorist group.

  14. tbraton says:

    “A new Taliban regime would be mindful of the fact that even a departed US military could return to devastating effect if Afghanistan were to again become a safehaven for any terrorist group.”

    I would hope that next time (and I hope we have made it absolutely clear to the Taliban) we will return only with bombers and conduct a nonstop bombing campaign until all the rubble has been reduced to pepples. I would make some snide comment about “bombing them back to the Stone Age” if the Afghans weren’t already there. That country is not worth the loss of one more American soldier as far as I’m concerned. Or the expenditure of one more American dollar either.

  15. tbraton says:

    “Pepples,” of course, is Pashtu for “pebbles.”

  16. 152383

    Of course. And it is the same in Dari.

  17. TomB says:

    As badly as the word “Afghanistan” now rings in everyone’s ears even if we bugged out tomorrow I think there’s a good chance a much larger and worse and more difficult shoe is yet to drop from the whole thing due to the destabilization of Pakistan we’ve accomplished as part of this excellent little adventure.

    In line then with so much else we see with out Mideast follies, in some months or years that piece of real estate may well prove to be the locus of some huge trouble, and everyone will have forgotten what facilitated same, and then we’ll have all kinds of opportunities for more fun.

    Amazing to me the reaction here to Mushareff’s ouster: A true friend, a true moderate, laying out a path for moderation and modernity for Pakistan (*nuclear* Pakistan that is), keeping it from falling into official fundamentalism, keeping the military mostly professional … gone, leaving in his wake a structure and situation that makes a matchstick house seem a blockhouse by comparison … and no-body in the West seems to see much significance to it.

    Well we will, I suspect. Sooner or later we damn sure will. And the only thing is certain is the comfort we’ll get out of our always soothing amnesia about our contribution to the situation then will be our ever-present supreme righteousness.

  18. tbraton says:

    “Of course. And it is the same in Dari.”

    Thanks for the tip, PG. I’ll have to remember that on my next trip to the local Dari Queen, when I order my Rocky Roads ice cream.

  19. There is so much to agree with here that there is little point commenting except to hope that we and our Nato allies leave enough of a clandestine stay-behind apparatus to keep tabs on things. The Turks might be better than this than many.

    As several commenters mentioned, leaving Afghanistan does not rule out retribution for mischief in the future.

  20. Phil, I’m curious, lets agree to disagree about Israel But, let me ask you this. If /when Iran goes nuclear isn’t that going to touch off a nuclear arms race in the region. A region with more then a few terrorist groups. ( Please keep Canning off his usual shtick)

  21. 152455

    Very likely yes if Iran were to go that route. Saudi Arabia will want its own weapon and probably also Egypt. Both have the technical infrastructure and other resources necessary for what is referred to as “breakout” to create a nuclear device.

  22. A regional nuclear arms race is already under way (India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran). The question is, how many runners are we willing to shoot in the leg before they reach the finish line?

  23. Looks like we got some good foreign policy consensus here — must mean something. meanwhile, we need more soldiers like Lt. Col Danny Davis to come home with their stories, risking of course the ire of the brass and hacks like Tom Ricks. I think the military community, as evidenced by the polls and their conversations on the milblogs, are through with this war and turning on it will only speed up the process.

    Great post Phil, as usual!

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Philip Giraldi Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Shouldn't they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?
A Modern Guernica Enabled by Washington
Pressuring Candidates Even Before They Are Nominated
But is it even a friend?
The gagged whistleblower goes on the record.
Today’s CIA serves contractors and bureaucrats—not the nation.