Monday, June 6, 2011

If only we had time

That's what the Secretary of Defense Gates said over the weekend about Afghanistan, "If we had more time, we could...", and he went on to talk about the goals which could, stress could than can, be accomplished. But all those goals are contingent upon too many other factors we have no control over in addition to expanding the war into Pakistan creating a new enemy.

The DOD (under)estimates the cost of the war in Afghanistan at $2B per week. Under meaning that's only direct operational costs, but not all the indirect costs for replacing all the miltary hardware damaged or destroyed there, the cost of all the veterans especially those with injuries and disabilities from the war, the cost of the CIA's operations, and all the contractors working there.

In short, it's far more than that figure and like the cost they reported in Iraq all these years, far short of the total cost we'll pay in the future (remember it's on the government's, er. taxpayers', credit card, the national longterm debt. Yeah, our kids will pay for this war one way or another.

But the point here is all the drawdown of troops are talking about are the 30,000 surge troops which deployed last year. And that's Secretary Gate's point. If only we had time at full troop strength with the sugre troops to secure the nation. Secure? We've had 10 years to fight the Taliban who's numbers are measured in the few thousands against our tens of thousands of troops?

If only we had time, as he said. And yet the generals have said we can't win this war there with the military, it's a poltical war too. The experts say it's not a political war as the Afghan government has had all the time, and lots of our money, to succeed and they've only succeeded in being one of the most corrupt governments today. And we're paying their bils.

As someone noted we're expected to pay $8B per year to train the Afghan army and national police in a country with less than $2B in annual income for the whole country, minus the drug trade of course which is paying the government and the Taliban. And that doesn't include the logistics and supplies for the Aghan army and national police.

After nearly tens years of this war and the last five years of hearing, "If we had more time...", time is up. Ding. The American people don't see an end to this war. They only see an big hole where all the money went with nothing to show except dead and inuried soldiers and so much political rhetoric you need chest waders to get through.

All the time in the world won't fix Afghanistan, or at least we and NATO can't. The Soviets tried and failed, and we'll try and fail. Only they can say to themselves for themselves, "If we had more time...", something we can't and shouldn't give them. Time is up. The little dinger long ran out of sound being pounded by the American people.

Afghanistan is exactly like Vietnam where there is no end, none in sight and none on the far horizon. We know, however, President Obama will not withdraw the troops except a few thousand for show, during his terms, assuming he's re-elected to 2016. He's committed to winning a war we can't win. It's LBJ's Vietnam and Bush's Iraq when they promised victory and never delivered.

We saw it, they didn't. We saw the reality, they only say the political issues about selling fear of the enemy, communism then and terrorism now. It's never been about either, as it's never been about terrorism in Afghanistan. We long pummelled Al Qaeda and we've hurt the Taliban, not completely but enough they're far less effective. And we see the reality there is no victory in Afganistan

Something President Obama won't deliver either. It will be a stalemate for years to come, our and NATO's, provided they don't leave earlier than expected, huge presence there, the Afghanistan's corrupt government with drug lords and Taliban as members, and the Taliban in Pakistan. And all the hopes Pakistan doesn't change to the worse or their people really begin to hate us more than they already do.

The rhetoric about, "It's for all those who have fought there.", doesn't ring true. It didn't in Vietnam and the war ended with a truce leaving all the soldiers wondering why we were there in the first place. In Afghanistan we had a goal, a real one, which Bush and Cheney exploited into another war with no real goal or purpose, only political rhetoric.

And now to say it's about our comrades isn't what this is about. It's not about our pride or our patriotism. It's not about admonishing the sins of Vietnam. It's not about us. It's about them and reality. We have to see that and make decisions for that, not our imaginary goals and purposes which have no end, just our idea, "If we had time..."

It's time the President, the Secretary of Defense and other in the military see it's time for a reality check, not one hoping and saying, "If we had time...", but one being pragmatic and saying, "You know, it's time we...", and give the American people a real timetable to leave, completely leave to say no more troops, no more money, no more of anything, you're on your own to sink or swim.

It's their nation, only they can build it, and must they should without us. The sooner the better for us.

No comments:

Post a Comment