The Afghanistan Quagmire

Posted on Sep 20 2011 - 1:00am by Harrison

Afghanistan's Ganjgal Valley.

The well known and unfortunately humorous oxymoron of “military intelligence” was what led Sgt. Dakota Meyer to take actions resulting in being awarded the Medal of Honor last week by President Obama.  Will Swenson, who also acted heroically with Meyer, had his Medal of Honor paperwork lost by the military and thus didn’t get the award… yet.

What a bunch of incompetent idiots!

The 6 hour battle in Ganjgal, Afghanistan lasted so long according to Marine Corps Times because:

Nearly two hours after the initial call for help, helicopter air support arrived — but not before the unit took heavy casualties. The delay occurred because Army officers back at the tactical operations center refused to send help and failed to notify higher commands that they had troops in trouble. In the end, three Marines, a Navy corpsman and a soldier were dead, along with eight Afghan troops and an interpreter.

Those are the findings of a new investigation into the Sept. 8 ambush involving a team of U.S. military trainers embedded with Afghan troops in Kunar province.

The actions of those in the tactical operations center were undoubtedly criminal and according to the report “were the result of ‘negligent’ leadership — ‘contributing directly to the loss of life'” but thus far only two Army officers have been “disciplined.”

Four U.S. soldiers were murdered along with 8 Afghan soldiers and an interpreter.

Meyer, who was the youngest and most junior soldier at the fire fight, disobeyed direct orders (along with Swenson) and saved the lives of as many as 40 people before help arrived.

During the battle he was told help would be there in 15 minutes.

The saying is victory has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan and even though the battle of Ganjgal Valley is but a single event that took place on a single day it does make one wonder just what are we still doing in Afghanistan?

The original mission for the United States in Afghanistan was to destroy the presence of the Taliban and al Qaeda thus making it impossible for another 9-11 to be planned.  Instead, the result is much like the movie Hamburger Hill where Americans fight, and die, for a patch of land which serves no useful purpose.

We have to look no further than to Bill Clinton’s nation building exercise in Haiti to find our answers for Afghanistan:

“Every time we spend a dollar in Haiti from now on we have to ask ourselves, ‘Does this have a long-term return? Are we helping them become more self-sufficient? … Are we serious about working ourselves out of a job?'” Clinton said.

In many ways The United States is still following Bush’s statement that it’s better to fight them “over there” rather than here.  At the time he said that, I agreed but now I do not.

Many who oppose the war in Afghanistan like to cite the financial costs of it.  Do this mean if it only cost us $19.95 per day they’re be for it?  Doing right has no relation to how much a thing costs.  An action is right because it is just, money be damned.

But Afghanistan is no longer about “going right” because making that country safe for Democracy isn’t going to happen.  Making it safe for a slow implosion isn’t even going to happen.  10 years of war there has shown little progress outside of a few urban areas.  The rest of the country, particularly along the border of Pakistan, is still as dangerous now as it was September 10, 2001.

A nation’s military is meant for one mission only: destroying the enemy.  Destroying the enemy requires a completely different mindset and set of tactics than does enforcing the peace.  Military troops can enforce the peace but they are not designed for this purpose and it only results in them being victims of political and social conflicts often resulting in their deaths.

The financial burdens of Afghanistan can be easily met by America.  Imagine how many days of fighting the $500+ million wasted by the Obama administration on Solyndra would have covered?  The death rate, though high by modern Western standards, is not historically significant.  The difference, however, is that our troops are dying for no real reason.  Whether we stay in Afghanistan for 10 weeks or 10 years more as soon as we leave the country will fall back into total barbarianism.

Are troops are being used as sacrificial protection.

In construction, when steel pipes are buried underground, they will rust.  To prevent this reaction, iron bars are attached so that it will rust before the steel will.  Once the iron has been used up it is simply replaced so the steel can continue undamaged.

Our troops are being used as an iron bar would and the “steel” in this little example is the idea that terrorist groups will not be able to use Afghanistan as a staging ground for further acts of carnage against the United States.

The trouble is, there are plenty of other “lawless” states such as Somalia and Sudan where terrorists do operate and where American soldiers are not present.

Call it Gulliver being overrun by the Lilliputians, the Great Satan leaving in defeat, or that term of our time, Mission Creep.  Whatever it’s called, the time for fighting them “over there” has passed and the majority of our troops need to come home because that is the right thing to do.

7 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Steve Dennis September 20, 2011 at 3:26 AM -

    I think that with Osama now gone we should begin to get out of there. How much longer are we going to fight to help a country gain democracy that doesn’t seem to want democracy? I will support the troops as long as they are there, but I too wonder if it is time to leave.
    Steve Dennis recently posted..Solyndra scandal: Crony capitalism at is worst

    • Harrison September 20, 2011 at 8:48 AM -

      What purpose does staying there serve? Time to leave, agreed.

  2. Jack Camwell September 20, 2011 at 5:26 AM -

    Everything has unintended consequences, even doing the right thing.

    Seeing as how we can’t see the whole picture, we have to assume that there’s some reason that we’re still there. I don’t think anyone actually wants us to be there. You can say that the Obama administration is filled with evil, vampiric douche bags and just want our boys to die for some reason, but I think that’s a bit far fetched.
    Jack Camwell recently posted..What "Justice" Has Come to Mean

    • Harrison September 20, 2011 at 8:48 AM -

      I think, for Afghanistan, it’s to “monitor” Pakistan, stay near Iran, and doubling down.

  3. Dean September 20, 2011 at 1:55 PM -

    I’m torn.

    I guess I still buy into the “better to fight them there…” logic but then I hear the story a few months back of this guy in Kabul who was going to be sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.

    Mind you, this wasn’t in some outlying province ruled by a hard core Islamic warlord, this was in the capitol and everyone, including ourselves, seemed quite alright with it. I relize nation-building is a bitch (’cause, let’s face it – that’s what we’re doing there) but is it too much to ask of our hosts that they respect the most basic of human rights?

    Cases like this make my blood boil and I begin thinking… screw these backwards SOBs, there’s no hope for them anyway so why are we wasting blood and treasure on them?
    Dean recently posted..Meh

  4. eots September 20, 2011 at 2:14 PM -

    I’m not going t pretend to be a military strategist, so if the generals say we can win, I’ll defer to them. In any event, our initial limited involvement seemed about right. I’m against giving Afghans too much money because it’s a corrupt country. We do have to make sure that whatever regime they have there is semi-decent and loyal to us.
    eots recently posted..Debunking the Palestine Lie

  5. William McCullough September 26, 2011 at 8:52 AM -

    Having survived two separate ambushes myself, I can tell you that whether they break in one minute or ten they seem to go on forever. I salute Sgt. Myers and his partner Will Swenson that they had the fortitude to fight off the attackers for six hours and save their fellow warriors.

    Unfortunately, in the end their PTSD will trump the Medals and the actual experience. They, not the command staff are the heroes. Semper Fi….WM
    William McCullough recently posted..EPA Penalizing Asthma Sufferers