No Country for Young Men as Old Men Play for Time: The End in Afghanistan is Totally Predictable

by on May 24, 2012 · 8 comments

in American Empire, Civil Disobedience, History, Military, Peace Movement, Veterans, War and Peace

John Kerry (l) testifying at the Senate in ’71 and Iraq/Afghan War vets lining up to return medals to NATO in Chicago a few days ago

Editor: Last Sunday at the Chicago anti-war demonstration outside the NATO conference, dozens of American Iraqi and Afghan veterans threw the medals that they had been awarded away in protest of the wars.  A very similar protest by veterans was held during the anti-Vietnam war days in 1971. Now-senator John Kerry was then a leader of the vets’ anti-war movement.

By Dave Lindorff / Nation of Change  and This Can’t Be Happening / May 22, 2012

Once again American troops are being asked to keep fighting for a mistake — this time the 2001 fantasy of the Bush/Cheney administration that it could make a client state out of Afghanistan.

John Kerry, back before he was a pompous windsurfing Senate apologist for American empire, back when he wore his hair long and was part of a movement of returned US military veterans speaking out against the continuation of the Vietnam War, famously asked the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing, “How do you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?”

That was 1971, and the Vietnam War continued to drag on for two more years, with more Americans dying, and with many more Vietnamese being killed, until finally the last US combat troops were gone. But even then the fighting continued, with the Army of South Vietnam armed and financed by the United States, until April 30, 1975, when the last resistance ended and Vietnam was liberated and reunified and finally at peace.

During those two terrible years between Kerry’s statement and the end of US combat operations, American soldiers stationed in Vietnam knew that the war was lost, and knew they were there for no reason other than keeping President Nixon from looking like he had lost a war, particularly as he faced re-election during the campaign year of 1972. There was, understandably, massive resort to drugs, including marijuana, opium, heroin, LSD and others, as well as alcohol. There was the fragging of commanding officers who were too aggressive about sending their troops into danger. There was insubordination and insurrection and there was desertion.Once again American troops are being asked to keep fighting for a mistake — this time the 2001 fantasy of the Bush/Cheney administration that it could make a client state out of Afghanistan, a mistake that President Obama doubled down on after taking over the White House, when he called Afghanistan the “good war” and committed another 30,000 troops there, plus ordering up an aggressive kill campaign of night raids, assassinations and the heavy use of pilotless armed drone aircraft.

The difference this time is that these troops are hearing their commander in chief tell the American public that he is going to end the whole thing at the end of 2014 (assuming of course that he is still commander in chief then). He is saying that the war, now opposed by almost three-fourths of the American people according to recent polls, will be ended in two and a half more years no matter what the situation is on the ground in Afghanistan.

The American forces in Afghanistan know they have already lost the war there. And they also know that as the drawdown of troops begins from that war-torn country, they will be hit harder and harder by the Taliban and other forces trying to take back the country from the US and from the compradore leaders who have been serving as the lackeys to the US. They know too that as soon as the last of them has boarded the last plane out, or perhaps even earlier, the current corrupt Afghan leadership will be hopping a commercial flight out too, to join their money in Switzerland or Abu Dhabi or some other safe haven, and the Taliban will come marching into Kabul to take over from them.

How much worse must those soldiers feel than the US soldiers in Vietnam, who at least didn’t have an end-point held out in front of them to taunt them. Today’s American soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan fight staring at a surrender date at which point all their fighting and killing and dying and being will be acknowledged as having been in vain. The American soldiers in Vietnam in 1971 or 1972 could at least pretend that after they left, the South Vietnamese government might at least try to fight on and establish itself.

In Afghanistan, the soldiers being ordered to fight on can have no such illusions. Soldiers in the Afghan army and police, whom US forcers are training, supposedly to be able to take over from them, are turning their guns on the Americans with alarming frequency. Just today, the Pentagon cited, as “good news”(!), word that Afghan security services had disrupted 160 planned attempts by their uniformed countrymen to kill US soldiers and marines.

That’s gotta be a downer if you wear a US uniform over there.

I predict that the next two and a half years of pointless war in Afghanistan will be a terrible scene of drug abuse (there’s no shortage of opium and heroin in the country, perhaps the leading producer of the drug in the world), of terrible carnage of civilians as increasingly automated remote killing methods are employed to make up for the lack of motivation among the troops, and of US casualties, as the Taliban resistance grows increasingly confident of its power and its impending victory.

The “government” of Afghanistan, meanwhile, knowing its days are numbered, will be preparing its exit, with money spirited out of the country, while the police and army, knowing that they will ultimately pay a deadly price for serving the US master, and too poor to buy their way out of the country, will increasingly turn on American forces, or simply switch to what they know will be the ultimate winning side. This is all totally predictable.

The end, then, is not in question.

The only question is, why on earth would we here in America allow this disaster to drag on for another two and a half years, just to provide cover for our current failed crop of political and military leaders?

 

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Goastskull May 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm

“That’s gotta be a downer if you wear a US uniform over there.”

Interestingly, there are quite a few returned/wounded Soldiers and Marines (tho not all by any means) I come across who want to head back there and are upset that they can’t (due to their condition/injury). Since these guys (and gals) have long term care issues to deal with and will at some point need to enter into the civilian work force I just hope the general public does not judge them unfairly simply due to their rather gung ho attitude and smugness towards those of us who don’t feel the way they do. I am leaving for a meeting at Balboa Naval hospital in half an hour and will be coming across more of these individual. It will be interesting to say the least.

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avatar Old Hermit Dave May 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Actually the CIA could have picked up ever person remotely connected to the planning of 9/11/01. Heroin production was the real reason for the Afghan Crusade. Seems the evil Muslims using religion had just about shut down the Afghan Heroin business. Just as the Iraq Crusade was to get Western Big Oil back in Iraq, the Afghan Crusade was for Heroin. Just look at the yearly record production since the invasion. Of course if you understand this, you next question would be “How is this tied into 9/11/01?” Answer of course is massive control by security of what was once know as the Worlds Beacon of Freedom the U>S>A>. Thanks to Massive Controlled Media FEAR the FAKE WAR on TERROR continues to make money for the SUPER RICH.

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avatar Goatskull May 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm

One thing to keep in mind about John Kerry is he was also willing to turn in his fellow vets, so maybe pompousness was already in the making?

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avatar Frank Gormlie May 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Say what? Details or more?

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avatar Goatskull May 24, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Here’s one link. It’s a long article from 2004 (NY Times). Not specifically about what I just posted but goes into it a bit. By “turn them in”, I was referring to the fact that he willing to make criminal allegations for war crimes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/magazine/the-vet-wars.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Don’t get me wrong, I voted for him in 2004. That being said, I think back in 1971 his activism should have been purely focused on those who sent the troops out
there, not the troops themselves. A few Vietnam vets who I told that I voted for him sort of put me on their shit list.

Here his link from the Dick Cavett show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j4AP2GW7Ac

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avatar OB Joe May 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm

This was a great history flashback. I totally remember this veterans’ operation in DC – in was in all the leftwing media, and it’s where John Kerry made his first national public appearance. Thanks for inclluding this in our daiy diet.

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avatar Goatskull May 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Here’s one link. It’s a long article from 2004 (NY Times). Not specifically about what I just posted but goes into it a bit. By “turn them in”, I was referring to the fact that he willing to make criminal allegations for war crimes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/magazine/the-vet-wars.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Don’t get me wrong, I voted for him in 2004. That being said, I think back in 1971 his activism should have been purely focused on those who sent the troops out
there, not the troops themselves. A few Vietnam vets who I told that I voted for him sort of put me on their shit list.

Here his link from the Dick Cavett show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j4AP2GW7Ac

Reply

avatar Goatskull May 24, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Sorry for the double post. I meant this as a response to you Frank so if you want you can remove this and leave the one that I meant as a direct response por fa vor.

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