Monday, June 12, 2017 at 3:43 PM

Three More Americans Die for “Mistake” in Afghanistan

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

The media stopped giving the deaths of American soldiers anything more than passing coverage years ago. More to the point, cable news stations seem obsessed these days with providing 24/7 coverage of Donald Trump’s snarky tweets and lunatic antics – complete with all of the international scandals and congressional investigations they spawn.

Unfortunately, their obsession is such that you’d be forgiven for having no clue that soldiers are still fighting and dying over in Afghanistan – 16 years after 9/11.

Three US Army soldiers were killed and another was wounded in an attack by an Afghan soldier for which the Taliban has claimed responsibility. …

Insider or so-called ‘green-on-blue’ attacks have been an ongoing threat to US military personnel in Afghanistan.

In March, three U.S. soldiers were injured in Helmand Province after being fired upon by an Afghan soldier.

(ABC News, June 10, 2017)

Unsurprisingly, the amount of coverage the media are dedicating to this breaking news pales in comparison to the coverage they are dedicating to the congressional testimony former FBI director James Comey delivered on Thursday. This, despite the fact that Comey testifying that Trump is a liar was about as newsworthy as another Kim Kardashian belfie. Not to mention that their continuing coverage of his testimony features nothing more than redundant punditry and idle speculation.

As it happens, though, even I have stopped giving these deaths more than passing comment. Except that I didn’t do so to chase better ratings (more likes or followers). I just got tired of beating the proverbial dead horse about the folly of America’s ongoing involvement in unwinnable wars in the Middle East.

In point of fact, I’ve been decrying and presaging such “green-on-blue” attacks for years. Here, for example, is how I cited this inherent, endemic risk in “Afghanistan: How Many More US Soldiers Must Die for a Mistake,” September 19, 2012:

Yet another Afghan police betrayed his US 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. …

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?’

I asked Bush this Kerry question time and again to no avail. I asked Obama time and again to no avail. Now I’m asking Trump. But I fear this too will be to no avail, especially given this:

President Trump’s most senior military and foreign policy advisers have proposed a major shift in strategy in Afghanistan that would effectively put the United States back on a war footing with the Taliban.

The new plan, which still needs the approval of the president, calls for expanding the U.S. military role as part of a broader effort to push an increasingly confident and resurgent Taliban back to the negotiating table, U.S. officials said.

The new strategy, which has the backing of top Cabinet officials, would authorize the Pentagon, not the White House, to set troop numbers in Afghanistan and give the military far broader authority to use airstrikes to target Taliban militants.

(Washington Post, May 8, 2017)

Frankly, this new strategy reflects a willful refusal to learn the lessons of history. Only this explains Pentagon officials refusing to see that executing it will only further the Vietnamization of this war. But nothing demonstrates this willfulness quite like Trump’s about face. After all, here is what he was tweeting just four years ago:


Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense!

6:55 PM – 11 Jan 2013

Granted, there’s nothing newsworthy about Trump’s congenital hypocrisy. But we must never fail to condemn it when his hypocrisy is getting US soldiers killed.

I’m on record preaching about America’s doomed determination to repeat this history in many commentaries, including “Without [and Even With] More Forces, Failure in Afghanistan Is Likely,” September 23, 2009, “Obama’s Ironic Mission to Afghanistan,” March 31, 2010, and “Obama Continues Vietnam-Style Mission Creep in Iraq (Afghanistan and Syria),” April 20, 2016, to name just a few.

In fact, just two months ago, I felt like John the Baptist as I denounced the masturbatory impact of America dropping the “mother of all bombs” (MOAB) on the Afghan Taliban. After all, everyone else was hailing it as if it had finally vanquished the Taliban.

Then came Saturday – with the reckless, pointless, and feckless deaths of three more American soldiers.

But perhaps I should stop this preaching in the wilderness – while I still have my head on my shoulders.

Related commentaries:
Obama’s ironic mission
Groundhog-day killing of terrorists
Afghanistan: a mistake
Masturbatory violence
From mission accomplished to mission creep
MOAB on Afghanistan

* This commentary was originally published yesterday, Sunday, at 8:19 a.m.

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