Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 5:32 AM

Afghanistan: How Many More U.S. Soldiers Must Die for a Mistake…?

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Yet another Afghan police betrayed his U.S. trainers on Sunday by opening fire on them, killing four. This brought to 51 the number of NATO soldiers killed in these so-called “green-on-blue” attacks so far this year.

Ominously, this happened just days after Afghan authorities ejected some 700 members of the Afghan security forces for suspected ties to the Taliban and/or al-Qaeda. Which means it’s very likely that many more of these green-on-blue assassins remain active.

The generals have decided that the best way to limit these attacks is to increase the ratio of U.S. trainers to Afghan trainees.  Except that this only gives the would-be assassin more targets to shoot at … no?

More to the point, there seemed to be genuine national outrage when news broke about this latest attack. Unfortunately, all it took was another political gaffe less than 24 hours later for that outrage to vaporize. (FYI: This gaffe du jour was Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney getting caught on tape dismissing 47% of the electorate as lazy moochers who would never vote for him because they are slavishly dependent on Obama’s government handouts.)

Anyway, this fleeting sense of outrage about the continuing waste of American lives in Afghanistan explains why:

I have become a veritable Cassandra with my warnings about the folly of America’s involvement in Afghanistan. Instead of wondering why I keep beating this dead horse, however, my only wonder is why more people aren’t doing the same…

Nothing suggests that the war in Afghanistan is being waged in a parallel universe quite like more people protesting the killing of Trayvon Martin than those protesting the killing of thousands of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan … for no good cause.

Hell, even the recent spate of them being killed by the Afghans they’re supposedly training to kill Taliban fighters has done nothing to incite national outrage.

(“Another Sign of America’s Lost Cause in Afghanistan,” The iPINIONS Journal, March 29, 2012)

Juxtaposed to the war in Vietnam (where over 58,000 U.S. soldiers died), the one in Korea (where over 36,000 died) became “the forgotten war.” In a similar vein, juxtaposed to the war in Iraq (where almost 5,000 died), the one in Afghanistan (where almost 2,000 have died) is becoming another forgotten war. Nothing indicates this quite like Romney failing to even mention this war during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention a few weeks ago.

All the same, Obama is risking this doomed war becoming the defining event of his presidency the way the Vietnam War became the defining event of LBJ’s:

Just as it was in Vietnam, the presence of U.S. troops is only delaying the day of reckoning when local factions will fight it out among themselves for control of their own country. So the sooner the U.S. gets out of the way the better. Not to mention the lives and money an immediate withdrawal would save.

In any case, the war in Afghanistan today is more about Obama’s Faustian ambition (he doesn’t want to be the president who loses this unwinnable war) than about U.S. national security…

The blood of every troop who has died (and will die) because he decided to escalate this war instead of ending it in 2009 is on his hands.  No doubt this explains the lines now creasing his face and grey hairs now sprouting up all over his head.

(“Obama’s Withdrawal Plan … a Tragic Joke,” The iPINIONS Journal, June 22, 2011)


The United States’ legacy there will be distinguished either by a terminally wounded national pride as American forces beat a hasty retreat in defeat (following the Russian precedent in Afghanistan), or by thousands of American soldiers being lost in Afghanistan’s ‘graveyard of empires’ as they continue fighting this unwinnable war (following America’s own precedent in Vietnam). And more troops only mean more sitting ducks for Taliban fighters…

Obama would be well-advised to cut America’s losses and run ASAP; to let the Afghans govern themselves however they like; and to rely on Special Forces and aerial drones to ‘disrupt and dismantle’ Taliban and al-Qaeda operations there.

(“‘Without (or even with) more forces, failure in Afghanistan is likely,’” The iPINIONS Journal, September 23, 2009)

Frankly, one could be forgiven the impression that, just like LBJ, Obama is being misguided in his disregard for U.S. soldiers dying there by generals who regard the death of up 33% of their men in any war as “acceptable loss.”  This means that they won’t even begin to lose sleep, let alone call for America to “cut and run,” until U.S. casualties reach around 30,000 in Afghanistan. (It might also explain why war hawks like Senator John McCain and chicken hawks like Romney seem quite prepared to have U.S. soldiers deployed like sitting ducks there “for 100 years if necessary.”)

Meanwhile, in addition to the untenable spectre of their Afghan partners shooting them in the back (of the head), U.S. soldiers must now fear Afghan women dressed in traditional garb blowing them to smithereens. This, after a seemingly non-threatening woman became the country’s first suicide bomber yesterday by ramming a car rigged with explosives into a bus carrying foreign contractors, killing 12.

All of which warrants every American asking Obama this prophetic question, which Senator John Kennedy (D-MA) asked about the war in Vietnam when he was just a 27-year-old Navy veteran testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 23, 1971:

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

Related commentaries:
Lost cause in Afghanistan
Obama withdrawal plan

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