Sunday, September 08, 2013

We can't forget about that war in Afghanistan

While we're all fixating on the prospect of a US attack on Syria, it might be worth paying attention to this Sept. 3 article from Stars and Stripes, the US military's very own newspaper.

KABUL, Afghanistan — The commander of NATO ground forces in Afghanistan says there has been no discussions that the coalition would completely withdraw after 2014, despite continued uncertainty in political negotiations over the future of the international military effort.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the No. 2 commander for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, calls the term “withdrawal” a misnomer.

“We have no indication whatsoever of a withdrawal completely from Afghanistan,” he told Stars and Stripes in a Monday interview at his headquarters in Kabul. “We are going to change our mission, and we are going to reduce in size and scope.”

… “The current NATO mandate ends on 31 December 2014, but there’s another mission that follows that called Resolute Support which is currently in planning,” he said. There have been no signals given that U.S. troop levels will drop to zero, Milley said. “We haven’t been told to plan for that.”

WTF? So does the Obama administration intend to extend that misbegotten war? Possibly.

I'm not as pessimistic as this article suggests I should be. The administration has not yet managed to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government. As is usually the case in SOFA talks, the US wants the right to blunder about the "host" country without our soldiers facing legal liability under the "host" country's legal system.

The US didn't get that in Iraq, where we had conquered the place, and we're not likely to get it from Karzai in a country we never subdued and where we are hated from many directions. And I don't believe Obama will keep troops in Afghanistan without the assent of the Afghan government. So the US military will eventually have to make those real withdrawal plans. But we won't admit we're slicing off with our tails between our legs for as long as possible.

Photo credit: USMC.

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

Given the blame they are still trying to heap on Obama for Iraq and the bloody violence still going on, it's not surprising that he is reluctant to pull out unless he has to-- as was the case with Iraq without that guarantee of protection from prosecution for our troops. Can you imagine the reaction if a soldier was arrested in Afghanistan and charged with war crimes, even executed? It's unthinkable and yet what is our real choice, as voters, in this country?

Okay we can vote in a Rand Paul *holding our nose all the time* and he might really bring back troops from around the world while he took away every civil liberty we have fought for over the years right in our own country. Anyone who talks about bringing back our soldiers from overseas often talks of bringing them all-- and then they talk about their christianist faith (most are not Christians as in followers of Jesus Christ) and want to shove that onto all the rest of us. So what is going to be our choice? Maybe Bernie Sanders but does anyone really think he could win in a general election and who would we then have on the right to take over? It's depressing.

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