The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

God Rest The Souls Of The Dead Service Members In Afghanistan

Posted on | February 25, 2012 | 33 Comments

by Smitty

What a debacle:

The U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan pulled scores of advisers from Afghan ministries after two high-ranking American military officers were gunned down Saturday at the nation’s Interior Ministry headquarters.
U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen ordered the unprecedented move after an American colonel and major were both found shot in the head at the busy Interior Ministry compound that is the nerve center for the Afghan law enforcement, according to one Western official in Kabul.

Random notes:

  • General Allen was taking command as I was headed out the door at the end of my tour. The uniformed services, as usual, get stucked carrying out whatever policies the elected officials hand them. He gets the flag, and the weight of a lot of crap landing on his watch. It cannot be fun to be General Allen.
  • To the extent I can say something non-negative about BHO, the Asian imbroglio had to come to some end. Something akin to the Qu’ran burning was simply going to occur; whipping up xenophobia is a 100-level play for any government in that region. Especially at the inevitable end of U.S. involvement.
  • I do think the 2008 talk of Iraq as a distraction and Afghanistan as the correct focus was pure campaign hooey from BHO. When told to put the deployment orders where his rhetoric was, #OccupyResoluteDesk dithered in a way that made Hamlet seem decisive. BHO failed to win the hearts and minds of the military-industrial complex. Thus, the political calculation to bring the boys home in time for the election. Alas, the enemy gets a vote, and they are going to break BHO’s bowing and scraping right off where he sits.
  • If the U.S. can possibly learn a lesson from the last decade: nation-building DOES. NOT. WORK. Anybody putting forth a policy of recreational, open-ended involvement, with blank checks to fund it, is a Total. Flipping. Knob. and deserves to be laughed off the national stage. I’m not going Ron Paul here; think of it as a ninth bullet on the Powell Doctrine.
  • While not intending to make any statement about Islam as a religion, from a Western perspective, it seems to pose significant challenges when Islam informs a government in the Information Age. Outfits like the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIROA), or Egypt, or wherever can go ahead and succeed, and I will cheerfully admit I was wrong in my interpretation. But there seems little reason for optimism, as ethnic and religious minorities get thrashed, and international investment will, most likely, remain scant. In making the U.S. fadeout so ugly, the GIROA is setting an ugly tone for future relations.
  • If Obama’s voting block ever figures out where Afghanistan is, this news could actually hurt BHO’s re-election effort.


33 Responses to “God Rest The Souls Of The Dead Service Members In Afghanistan”

  1. Steve in TN
    February 25th, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

    How do you know nation building doesn’t work? When have we ever done that and followed through to completion?

  2. Edward
    February 25th, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

     Which is why Smitty wrote what he did.

    “Anybody putting forth a policy of recreational, open-ended involvement,
    with blank checks to fund it, is a Total. Flipping. Knob. and deserves
    to be laughed off the national stage.”

    Should have clued you in.

  3. smitty
    February 25th, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

    Well, we broke Germany and Japan thoroughly, both industrialized countries, and rebuilt them, but haven’t really completed the job and come home.

    As for your questions: I think your second one, empirically, kicks your first one in the groin.

  4. Edward
    February 25th, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

    What is it?  The last 7 wars America has fought has been on behalf of muslims?  Enough is enough.  Let them deal with their own.

    And if that’s a bit of a bad time for the Syrians in Hom.  Sucks to  be you.  Ask the French for help.

  5. Rose
    February 25th, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

    We went. We fought for them. Died for them. 

    They were given a chance – region-wide – to get away from dictatorial rule, and extremist butchery and domination.

    At some point – a people has the responsibility for their own rule and conditions. If – after all we have done to try to show them the way, they revert back, and fall into that madness, I will agree with those who off-the-cuff state that we should bomb them into the stone age. A dust bin.

    Though I cannot help but think of Neda, and those who stood with her, armed only with pebbles. There are many good ones. Yet we left her and hers to die in the streets, and then our wretched excuse for a President sides with the extremist mobs.

    It was and is the worst possible time in history to have a weakling/activist extremist himself  in office. The fate of the world depends on electing someone – anyone else.

  6. Jeff C
    February 25th, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    Karzi needs to get his 72 virgins …

  7. Liberty Jane
    February 25th, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

    Coalition casualties in Afghanistan by month.

    If this were under a Republican’s watch, we’d NEVER hear the end of it in the media.

  8. LD Jackson
    February 25th, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

    I would have to agree with the other comments who think it is past time for us to leave these people to their own devices. They have been given a chance, more than one or two or three, to remove themselves from the violence. They have simply refused to do so. Therefore, we should remove ourselves from their countries and explain to them what will happen, if they should choose to take their violence out of their borders. 

  9. CO
    February 25th, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

    Liberty Jane, if this were a Republican administrationthis wouldn’t be happening.

  10. ThePaganTemple
    February 25th, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

    After which it reaches its hands down inside its pants and rips its testicles clean off. There’s only one sure fire way to engage in nation building. 1, get the hell out of the nation in question. 2, wait for the people of said nation to all kill themselves. 3, go back in and build it.

  11. Pathfinder's wife
    February 25th, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

    All I know is, I’ve got a kid over there right now, and the headlines from there are something best to avoid right now.

    Nation building only works if you’re willing to be very unPC about it; thus, it isn’t working and likely won’t work in this day and age.  We care too much about being “nice” on the surface (which is a far bigger cruelty for all in the long run).

  12. ThePaganTemple
    February 25th, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

    If the shoe were on the other foot those same Muslims would have wiped out the Alawites fifty years ago, so they needn’t expect any sympathy from me either.

  13. Steve in TN
    February 25th, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

     Keep thinking, because it doesn’t. 

  14. Garym
    February 26th, 2012 @ 12:27 am

    We have a C & C that doesn’t take the mission seriously or support our brave men and women in uniform. Time to get the FUCK out!!

  15. ThomasD
    February 26th, 2012 @ 12:40 am

    It was something that had to be attempted.  We’ve had some successes over the centuries.  In hindsight it is easy to see that this one was doomed from the word go.  Pathfinder is correct that it is best to start with an enemy utterly defeated and in unconditional surrender.

    The saddest part of this fiasco is that many still refuse to recognize just how malign a force Islamism is.

    I don’t think we’ll be able to leave these people to their own devices, and suspect we’ll be launching various devices at them for quite some time to come.

    When we go our parting gift should be extermination of as much of the poppy crop as is feasible.

  16. Adjoran
    February 26th, 2012 @ 1:15 am

    This Administration never intended to try to win this conflict, either militarily, politically, or diplomatically.  The “surge” in Afghanistan was for show only; the policies were not given the same support, time, or chance to be implemented they were in Iraq.

    Second-hand reports from the field from multiple sources in multiple locations in theater relate a horror story of poorly trained and thoroughly unmotivated Afghan troops and police, of tribal leaders for sale to the latest bidder, of constant treachery and betrayal.

    If this is our policy, there is no need to wait.  Just leave.  Staying one more day only costs us more lives and money for no conceivable reason.

  17. Julie
    February 26th, 2012 @ 2:20 am

    I don’t know that we’ve learned that nation building doesn’t work.

    I think we can fairly conclusively say that *apologizing* doesn’t work.

  18. Cube
    February 26th, 2012 @ 7:56 am

     EXACTLY RIGHT!!  When we rebuilt Germany and Japan after WW2, we did so with the attitude that we were right and they were wrong.  We de-Nazified Germany and removed the Imperialist machinery from Japan.  Not PC at all.  That’s why they are peaceful today.

    You’re right about the headlines too.  They make my head explode and I don’t know anyone there.  Best wishes to your kid to come home safe.

  19. Pathfinder's wife
    February 26th, 2012 @ 9:29 am

    That’s because we have too many of our own people who think the U.S. military is the greatest boogeyman out there and only a small portion of our population fights anyway.

    It’s too easy to worry about your new Weber grill, your car, your new pair of shoes, your kids’ soccer game, your kids’ private school, your Viagra, and the latest enstallment of Internet porn.
    It’s too easy to watch conspiracy mockumentaries about how our military is in league with the Illuminati or has secret Nazi roots that helped assassinate JFK.

    We also did not understand our enemy or the people we were trying to help build a nation for (which means we did all the work).  In this I actually give more sympathy to the Afghanis — if you lived in utter chaos and anarchy as long as they did, you would probably have welcomed the filthy Taliban as well….they were at one time the only law and order in town.  That’s where people are making a big mistake with many of those countries…which means we’ll likely have many more Afghanistans to fight.

  20. Zilla of the Resistance
    February 26th, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

     (((hugs))) God bless you & your child and the rest of your family. You are all in my prayers.

  21. DaveO
    February 26th, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    Wonder when the POTUS is going to pull us out of Bosnia and Kosovo?

  22. CPAguy
    February 26th, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

    Actually, history shows that nation building does work.  Given enough time.

    Of course, Afghanistan, already a few hundred years behind, would certainly take 50 plus years.

    The mission there should probably be just to stop extremist build up.

    However, the withdrawal from Iraq was unnecessary and has so far shown to have disastrous avoidable consequences.

    Iraq was a good candidate for nation building (and actually of crucial strategic importance), while Afghanistan was not.

  23. Pathfinder's wife
    February 26th, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

    Under the circumstances, with Maliki being a double dipper and demanding to put our people on trial, I’d say Iraq nation building slipped out of our hands as well.  Once again, we were too concerned about being “nice”, so better to get out than have our troops facing all manner of bs.

  24. Pathfinder's wife
    February 26th, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

    Thanks; pray they (I’ve got “kids” in; they get to pick up where my husband left off)  get a sane ROE and actually get to fight to win instead of what we have been doing (I’m not holding my breathe).
    Since GW part I…and the whole time with their hands tied behind their backs thanks to PC bs and the political wangling of our betters.
    Makes me just a tad irritable.

  25. Bob Belvedere
    February 26th, 2012 @ 5:35 pm


    Nation building only works if you deal a blow like we did in Germany and Japan.  Unless you crush the enemy and much of their country’s infrastucture and morale, you will never achive the conditions necessary to allow for nation building to work, and then you must be prepared to make a long commitment to protecting said nation [but not to the extent that we did Japan and Germany, where they were able to go off and build social welfare states because we were their defense forces].

  26. SDN
    February 26th, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

    Nation building works just fine, provided the site preparation is thorough. See Germany and Japan in WWII.


  27. Bob Belvedere
    February 26th, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

    Well said.

    The only thing I would add: as we head out the door, let the people of Afghanistan know that, if they let take any actions against us or any of our allies, like Israel, we will be back with bunker busters and tactical nukes.

  28. Quartermaster
    February 26th, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

    Actually, we did not build nations in either Germany or Japan. Both were functioning nations before the war. Germany got sidetracked by Hitler’s version of Marxism, and Japan continued down the Samurai trail to war in the 30s, then with us in the 40s. 

    True, we broke both States (different from nations), as well as their industrial base. However, all we had to do was get Germany back on their original track, and redirect Japan somewhat. We gave both the space to do that.

    Neither Iraq or the AFG were nations before we got there, and they will not be when we leave (have left in Iraq). Both are tribal and clan based societies that require a strong man over them to force them together under a functioning state. Saddam was there for a reason, and there is also a reason that Jerry Pournelle refers to the “ruler” of Afghanistan as the mayor of Kabul. Neither country ever had anything that was central to all of them, and Iraq had originally been 3 provinces under the Ottomans.

    Building nations is not something that can be forced from outside. It happens over a lot of time. Even the US does not have a nation, and the only reason it had functioned is because of the decentralizing of power through having a federal union.

  29. Quartermaster
    February 26th, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

    That’s creating a desert and calling it peace. There are times that such an idea has a lot of merit, however. The AFG may call for that if they cause any more trouble in the future.

    I’d also serve notice on the Paks that if there is any trouble in teh AFG, that we know we have to go through them first, and next time we will.

  30. Dave
    February 26th, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

     The other thing needed is a strong, common identity. Germans and Japanese folks thought of themselves that way-as part of a larger national identity. This certainly isn’t true in Afghanistan and only weakly true in Iraq. Ironically, the one country in the region where a WWII style destruction and reconstruction (or even a Gulf War 2 style one) would probably work is Iran. They’re Persians, with a Milena of proud history as a civilized country and western style governance just a generation in the past (when things were much better and the people remember it). If we had gone there instead of Iraq, we’d probably be looking back on a rousing success, not a thinly qualified one.

  31. ThePaganTemple
    February 26th, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

     I think Iran is actually only a little more than fifty percent Persian.

  32. Pathfinder's wife
    February 26th, 2012 @ 11:12 pm

    Nation building only works when you are prepared to be utterly ruthless (which we are not) and the opponent being ravaged has something left to lose (which the Afghani do not; they were destroyed as any semblance of society long before we got there — you know it’s bad when something like the Taliban looks preferable to what you’ve got).
    The Arab Spring movements are creating conditions similar — soon most of those countries will have little to lose themselves (and willing to put up with and support all manner of barbaric totalitarian state in order to keep what little they have); there will be very little by way of a “nation” as we consider it in many places by the time this has played itself out.

    At the rate this is going, we’re going to be in for a very long haul.

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