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Afghanistan: The Pentagon’s Lost War

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Posted on Jul 27, 2010
U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. Efren Lopez

By William Pfaff

While it is unquestionable that Barack Obama made the war in Afghanistan “his” war, it also is true that it was served to him on a platter and with a gun pressed against his back.

It was in fact the Pentagon’s chosen war. Had he refused to fight it, Pentagon insider stories, the opposition press and the Republican Party would have attacked him and his new administration for demonstrating incompetence in dealing with world affairs, naive and pacifist inclinations, and a willingness to “surrender” to terrorism.

Mr. Obama, a presidential candidate wholly without military experience, decided to forestall the inevitable attacks upon him as someone incapable of dealing with security issues, by accompanying his promise to end George W. Bush’s Iraq war and making peace in Iraq (yet to be accomplished—as was foreseeable at the time) by relaunching and winning “the right war,” the war in Afghanistan against al-Qaida and the Taliban.

This was a half-baked notion since al-Qaida’s survival as a serious terrorist organization, rather than an internationally notorious franchise for homegrown terrorism, was at the time doubted, and the Taliban was clearly a domestic Afghan political and social phenomenon possessing no international dimension other than in neighboring Pakistan. It had neither the design nor the capability to attack the United States or Europe—nor any interest in doing so.

The Taliban had done nothing directly to harm the United States, but those in the United States who, for various reasons, wanted the war in Afghanistan prosecuted by Washington, held that unless the U.S. defeated the Taliban and controlled Afghanistan, that country would be forever a “safe haven” for terrorism. Much the same thing could be said of most of the world’s unoccupied spaces (including Utah and Idaho).

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The ascendant force in the Pentagon when Obama took office was a group of younger officers associated with Gen. David Petraeus, author of a restatement of classical political as well as military anti-insurgent tactics in a forthcoming U.S. Army Field Manual. He had been named commandant of Central Command (covering the Middle East and Central Asia) by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and in turn placed a protege, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, in command in Afghanistan. Petraeus was credited with what actually was not (and still is not) “victory” in Iraq because he had recommended and commanded the “surge” of reinforcements sent into Iraq in 2007-08, and was associated with the program that had recruited and paid Sunni tribal forces to restore order in their own tribal areas by driving out al-Qaida’s supporters (tacitly in support of the dominant Shiite political forces in Baghdad, expected to win the forthcoming 2010 parliamentary elections and form an independent coalition government—which has yet to happen).

The new President Obama sent Gen. McChrystal to Kabul to assess the situation and recommend a program of action. To no one’s surprise, he recommended a “surge” of troops to Afghanistan, as in Iraq, to a total that today already is at nearly 100,000 American soldiers and contractors, plus a huge program of civilian “nation builders” in which Americans would go into villages to teach and promote democracy, school-building, women’s education and modern administration. This would follow an initial phase in which American forces would “clear” an area of Taliban and would then install newly trained Afghan soldiers and police to secure or “hold” the newly liberated area while NATO combat forces would move ahead to clear still more of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is a country of some 250,000 square miles (646,000 square kilometers). It is larger than France, most of it rugged and very difficult to access. Its population is estimated by the U.N. to be some 30 million, 80 percent of it rural and tribal, a society profoundly disrupted by virtually continuous war since 1979, and mostly illiterate.

President Obama asked Gens. McChrystal and Petraeus how long their program would take. They assured him that American troops could begin shipping home in a year, and so the president assured the American people.

It is difficult to imagine how Gens. McChrystal and Petraeus could in good faith have presented him with so fantastical a plan, or how Barack Obama, who is surely not a fool, could have accepted it. But the press, the Congress and the American people nodded collectively that this was a scheme of benevolent nation-building that could transform and pacify Afghanistan. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had written a few months before in Foreign Affairs magazine that the United States could and should “change the world, and in [America’s] image.” To do so, she wrote, was “a uniquely American realism.”

Such fantasy is bipartisan. It can by no means simply be blamed on Obama and the Democrats. It is as American as apple pie, and Gens. McChrystal and Petraeus’s strategy for pacifying Afghanistan came straight, freshly baked, out of the Pentagon.

Today the fantasy has collapsed. The accounts of journalists and of soldiers themselves, the small-unit combat histories newly disclosed in the WikiLeaks classified documents, have made plain what every informed grown-up American should have known from the beginning, that U.S. forces are being defeated in this preposterous effort, just as Soviet and British imperial forces were defeated before them.

Barack Obama might today call in Gen. Petraeus, and his predecessor Gen. McChrystal, together with the latter’s “Team America” of high school jocks, and tell them that as they are responsible for this fiasco of destruction and useless slaughter, they will now make a public apology to the American people, and take charge of executing a mass American retreat from Afghanistan, with as little loss as possible to American forces and the Afghan people.

There is nothing to be gained by staying.

But that is impossible. Failure is merely a steppingstone to success in the American military and political systems. No one accepts responsibility. The war will go on until it is extended to Pakistan, and possibly beyond. Casualties will steadily mount. No one can predict when the inevitable moment will come, but it will come, when the last Americans are lifted by helicopter off an embassy rooftop, and the Afghans, Pakistanis, Indians, Tajiks and others at last are left to reconstruct their own world.

Visit William Pfaff’s website for more on his latest book, “The Irony of Manifest Destiny: The Tragedy of America’s Foreign Policy” (Walker & Co., $25), at www.williampfaff.com.
© 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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By wildflower, August 2, 2010 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

Re gerard: “We the American people are just as responsible for permitting wars’ continuation as Petraeus and McChrystal are for promoting it.  Overall, we harbor the same “highschool jock” frame of mine and support it through ignorance and insolence.”

If this were true, why do we thank God for whistle blowers? We do so because Americans are being routinely lied to by our leadership, including “highschool Jock” types like Petraeus and McChrystal.  Now if you had said Americans are too trusting of their leadership and must do something about it, I would agree.

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By gerard, August 1, 2010 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Pfaff:  Parts of this are silly:  “Barack Obama might today call in Gen. Petraeus, and his predecessor Gen. McChrystal, together with the latter’s “Team America” of high school jocks, and tell them that as they are responsible for this fiasco of destruction and useless slaughter, they will now make a public apology to the American people, and take charge of executing a mass American retreat from Afghanistan, with as little loss as possible to American forces and the Afghan people.”
  We the American people are just as responsible for permitting wars’ continuation as Petraeus and McChrystal are for promoting it.  Overall, we harbor the same “highschool jock” frame of mine and support it through ignorance and insolence. Until the American people raise their voice en masse, Obama can do little, especially considering the inter-relationship of the economy and the MIC.
  As to a public apology, that, too, is on the shoulders of the American people.  I take no joy in saying this, but I believe it to be true—that is, if we want to call this country a democracy.

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By wildflower, July 31, 2010 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

Re MeHere: “There are dozens of fairy tales that are far more interesting than the one you’ve come up with here. Try harder, please.”

The only fairy tale that I see is the one suggesting the U.S. has something to gained by staying in Afghanistan – now that’s a big fairy tale.

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By FRTothus, July 30, 2010 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

I wonder when they take you into that room, have that
talk with you, show you the Zapruder film and ask if
you love your wife and your family and how much you
want to make sure nothing happens to them or yourself
and whether you can be counted on to look the other
way.  How long before the inauguration do you suppose
that occurs?  After the primaries?  When did
compromise become compromised for him?  In Chicago?

Is it after the inauguration when they explain how
governments must waste at least 10% of their GDP to
keep prices up, and keep at least 5% unemployed to
keep wages down?  Is that when they explain to him
that where the war is, he can decide from a list, but
that he has to pick at least one if he wants to
remain breathing?  Obama’s a smart guy.  I’m sure he
saw the light pretty quickly.  Having no backbone
must improve one’s eyesight, as well as ensuring
higher office and plenty of campaign contributions
(better known as bribes).

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By PatrickHenry, July 30, 2010 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

F’en script.

I’d like to see Obama summon the balls to cut the military budget by a third and invest it repairing American infrastructure.

200 billion dillars would go along way building here than bombing there and it would be revenue neutral.

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By gerard, July 30, 2010 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

The problem in blaming Obama is that, as Pogo would have said:  “He is Us.”  We, the millions of cowardly, confused, wilfully ignorant American citizens who dread nothing so much as actually participating in (local) politics, have walked away from our democratic responsibilities for years and years.  This is what has permitted consistent warring and the development of a military/industrial complex, an over-fed military bureaucracy, the feeling of powerlessness in the citizenry, and a wealthy oligarchy of stock and property manipulators with the conscience of a snake.
  Nader did his best for a long time, in his way, even recently publishing a huge tome to explain, line by line, how some of the less rapacious rich men could unite to form and support a social movement that would help to some extent at least.  But ... nothing followed.  None of those people, pointed to by name, has made any move, alone or together, to assert a moral influence on the current government beyond, perhaps, some contributions to a largely intractable Democratic Party funk.
  It is, apparently, up to the people who do not at all understand how and why they are entrapped, and how to break free, though there are probably several ways. A fruitful change for the better might not be all that hard, but efforts for change have to be made to move us beyond the “war psychology”, fear and desperation. Nader pretty much proved that we can’t expect leadership from wealthy “liberal” elites.
  But—in closing that door, he opened another ... “We the people, in order to form a better world, establish ..... and .......do solemnly swear….... for the world’s people and for posterity, irrespective of race, creed or color.”  Etc. etc. Rationallism can’t do everything (not by a long shot!) but it can do some things. ???

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By dihey, July 30, 2010 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

The one statement by defenders (“whitewashers”) of Mr. Obama that beats all others by its hypocrisy is that Mr. Obama “inherited the war in Afghanistan from Mr. Bush”. That is not true, or rather only half-true which is just as bad as false.
But for one very brief exception (brief because the next day he changed his vote to yes) Senator Obama voted yes on every one of Mr. Bush’s requests for funding of the war in Afghanistan. Ergo Mr. Obama “inherited” this war just as much from himself as he has from Mr. Bush.

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By dihey, July 29, 2010 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

Here is another example of why Mr. Pfaff is huffing and puffing (or should I say “Pfaffing”) into the wind.
There are currently 41 members of the Congressional Black Caucus who have a seat in the house (the 42-nd is the Honorable Roland Burris who is a senator). Of these five did not vote for one reason or another. Six members voted yes. Thirty (!!!!) members voted no!!!!
Another fascinating statistics is that the yes voters were from the following states: North Carolina (1), Georgia (2), Alabama (1), South Carolina (1), and Texas (1). Six “Southern Uncle Toms”.
These no voters told the president that the black community of our country does not support his imperialist adventures in Afghanistan!

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By A Khokar, July 28, 2010 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

Afghanistan; ‘the Eastern Round About of the world’

The ground breaking release of wikileaks may serve strengthening of an anti war lobby against Obama administration at home or not——but on the battle fields in Afghanistan, wikileaks material is well known and brings no surprise for any one.

Wikileaks is sure an attempt to pressurise Pakistan and the fixation of its ISI; indicting them——playing a double game. It will certainly help build a negative perception about Pakistan and its Army that they being an ally—- indeed are the ring leaders of terrorism and have adversely taken an odd posture against USA.

While other coalition forces are also looking for exits. USA is finding itself alone——- and with no victory in sight——- she is ready to eventually abandon its adventurism.

‘Afghanistan is the grave yards of the Empires’ it may be the current terminology but the ‘old world’ also knows——Afghanistan; as ‘the Eastern Round About’; where many old warrior came but Afghanistan always spun them out of its orbit—- badly bruised.

Now—- when US is turning its back dismayed and defeated—-she has got blood of millions at her hands.

If the American relatives of Lockerbie pan Am disaster can feel justified to force the Libyan government to award million of dollars as blood money; one wonders how many trillions of dollars Americans have to pay for all the killings and destruction brought in Middle east, Afghanistan, Pakistan and all other places where American have committed atrocities.

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By MeHere, July 28, 2010 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Pfaff,

There are dozens of fairy tales that are far more interesting than the one you’ve
come up with here. Try harder, please.

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By kloe, July 28, 2010 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

What horses*@t! I couldn’t even get past the first three paragraphs of this article.  If the President didn’t have the nads to stand up to the Pentagon, the Republicans and their right wing base (as he made clear he can’t do in last weeks charade with the Shirley Sherrod fiasco) then what is he doing in the job!  What a bunch of apoligist B.S. for a President and Democratic party that is barely a “softer” version of the Bush administration.

I can’t believe William Pfaff or any other journalist would even dare to suggest this tripe and think that any one on a site like Truthdig would take it seriously.

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By PatrickHenry, July 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Who didn’t know this would happen in Afghanistan? raise your hand.

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By glider, July 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Great Article.

Pfaff statements:
>>Had he refused to fight it,...the opposition press and the Republican Party would have attacked him..(so)...Mr. Obama,...decided to forestall the inevitable attacks ...by relaunching and winning “the right war”<<

Wow, without realizing it William Pfaff has launched one of the most devastating yet sound assessments of Obama’s presidency.  This portrayal is of an extraordinarily Weak President whose policies are dictated by Fear of Right Wing Disapproval while his Progressive Base is left Blowing in the Wind.  It is the antithesis of leadership, the key element needed to define a great POTUS versus a bumbling reactive puppet POTUS.

That pretty well sums up my frustrations.  Progressives need to fight for their beliefs.  We need a leader like Alan Grayson to oppose Obama in 2012.  We need some respect and integrity.

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By wildflower, July 28, 2010 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

Re Pfaff: “It was in fact the Pentagon’s chosen war.”

Your perspective on this rings true, Mr. Pfaff.  At this point, I believe President Obama must decide as they say to be or not to be something greater than the lesser of two evils.  If he opts to be the greater, he should as you say:

“Call in Gen. Petraeus, and his predecessor Gen. McChrystal, together with the latter’s “Team America” of high school jocks, and tell them that as they are responsible for this fiasco of destruction and useless slaughter, they will now make a public apology to the American people, and take charge of executing a
mass American retreat from Afghanistan, with as little loss as possible to American forces and the Afghan people.”

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By Hammond Eggs, July 28, 2010 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

The United States is a country of some 3,537,441 square miles. It is larger than France, most of it rugged and very difficult to access. Its population is estimated by the U.N. to be some 300 million, 80 percent of it rural and tribal, a society profoundly disrupted by virtually continuous war since 1776, and mostly illiterate.

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By taikan, July 28, 2010 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

Pfaff is correct in saying that the war in Afghanistan was served up on a platter to Obama, but he is not correct in saying that Obama had a gun at his back.  Obama made a calculated political decision to seize on the war in Afghanistan as a war that he could and would strongly support during the campaign in order to show that he was “qualified” to become the Commander-in-Chief. 

Pfaff also does his readers a disservice by saying that Obama should escape blame for escalating the military action in Afghanistan because the desire to make the world over in America’s image is a bipartisan desire.  Whether the desire is bipartisan or not, anyone foolish enough to take actions designed to force, rather than encourage, the world or any part of it to become more like the US should be excoriated for doing so.

As an aside, I note that BarbieQue says that “The US is, in slow-motion, invading and conquering the world.”  Judging by the results (or lack thereof) in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US may be invading the world, but it certainly isn’t conquering it.

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By JDmysticDJ, July 28, 2010 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

Just a frivolous correction here; “Blowin’ In the Wind”- Bob Dylan.

The song was one of his early compositions from a time when he was politically conscious. This song was popularized by Peter, Paul, and Mary, and recorded by umpteen kazillian people, including Joan Baez. Frank Sinatra probably did it at some time or another. This song went along with other Dylan compositions, like “Oxford Town,” “The lonesome death of Hattie Carol,” and “Masters of War” and others. Young folks, who think that Dylan is just a whiny voiced old geezer, are unaware of how much he influenced the youth of his generation.

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion’
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand over your grave
‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead.


Right on Bobby!

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By gerard, July 28, 2010 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

How terrible and sad this summary of our national sins—things we have all known for months and have yet not been able to change.
  What is the main reason for our ineffectiveness?  I see it as government deliberately denying the people the legitimate access crucial to democracy. 
  I feel this is largely the responsibility of our Senators and Represenatives who have undoubtedly received many, many letters, phone calls and pleas and protests they have ignored. Of course this also applies to the President and Cabinet as well.  But the State and Local officials are closer to the public pulse.
  Their lack of responsiveness is largely due to the problem of campaign contributions from corporate sources who are making money from war.  For this moral corruption they should be held responsible.
No doubt many of them know the evil of what they do.
  We, and the millions like us who oppose these wars, have an urgent responsibility to get in touch personally with these Senators and Representatives by visiting their local offices in each of our districts and talking to them face to face.  I wonder if we did this in large numbers, if it might make a difference?
  I can’t believe there is nothing we can do, but at the same time it seems unlikely that large numbers of people are going to go out in the streets and protest.  They would have done so sooner than this, if it were likely.  Are they scared?  I think so.  That fear has been encouraged by both government and media, and is also responsible for our lack of access.
  And who am I to ruminate on all this?  What am I to do?  I’m a useless old woman—and I do mean old—and though my heart walks across the desert toward the east, toward D.C., or my wheelchair chugs over the Rockies, I sit alone in front of my computer, tears literally falling on the table.

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By cheyennebode, July 28, 2010 at 9:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

EVERYTHING GOING ON SCREAMS THAT AMERICA IS WTHOUT
LEADERSHIP…A RARE LEADER WILL EMERGE OUTSIDE OF THE POLITICAL
SPECTRUM AND HE WILL BE RECOGNIZED BY HIS CLARITY…NO LIE

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By rudyspeaks1, July 28, 2010 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

I’m so sick of articles that talk about politicians’ perceptions and “mind-sets”, as
though that’s how anything happens. Obama is not naive or gullible, he’s a neo-
con, like Hillary and Bill. He’ll be in Afghanistan until we build the TAPI pipeline or
get another route from the Caspian basin that doesn’t go through Iran or Russia.
That’s the game: continued wealth through hydrocarbon monopoly. It’s also why
no world leaders have taken step 1 to thwart Global Warming… they don’t care,
their paymasters look only to the next quarter. This 6th grade Civics book
narrative that presumes a media separate from government, gov. separate from
business, etc. is childish. It’s 1984, the MSM is now “MiniTru”, gov’t. is an
extension of business. This is the sort of faulty analysis that drew off 100’s of
thousands of well-meaning people to waste their time and effort to get George
Bush’s 3rd term (Obama) elected.

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By balkas, July 28, 2010 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

Reading pieces of the MSM scribes about leaks, US is nowhere to be found. Did finally ahmadinejad wiped it off the map so that he cld wipe off the map all sunnis and ‘jews’.

Which, btw, would not be a bad idea if he could do it.

We only hear of reagan, carter, bush, obama and some what’s their names who labor totally outside constitution [a set of laws, directives, wishes, lotsof nonsense also, etc.], banking system, cia, congress, judiciary, media.

So, it’s only a dozen+ ali babas who run the show?
I would agree that a hobo or a houseperson doesn’t care enough about carter’s or reagan’s doings.

All those media people, judges, high army-cia-fbi echelons, banksters, not caring about their beloved and greatest nation, by not minding their business, seems a bit funni! tnx

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By BarbieQue, July 28, 2010 at 5:25 am Link to this comment

Iraq: CHECK
Afghanistan: CHECK
Iran: SOON

Pfaff: “...The war will go on until it is extended to Pakistan…”

We will hear “Can’t let the Taliban (or is it al-Qaeda) get ahold of them nukes”

Drones away, then a surge or 2 and then “We can’t think about leaving PAKISTAN!!! until the (our) Gov (puppet) can protect themselves”

How can anyone not see this now? The US is, in slow-motion, invading and conquering the world. Those of us old enough to remember “The Wall” were told this was an evil goal of the USSR.

Pfaff: “Pakistan, and possibly beyond. Casualties will steadily mount….”

They have the next few targets already picked and into the planning stages.

And during the time you read this little net posting, the US borrowed, in its Citizens names, about $1000 per second to do it. At least most of those that will scream the loudest haven’t been born yet.(apologies to Jake Johannsen)

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By bogi666, July 28, 2010 at 5:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

President O’BushBombya was a fool for assuming this war the way he did. He could have kept it Bush’s war but he was a fool and as General McChrystal exclaimed he was imtimidated by military brass, they knew it,even I knew it. This war was for profit, graft and corruption. AS for the troops there, they are whining about having to do what soldiers and Marines do, fight a war and take casualties, that’s what happens in war troops get hurt and killed. The troops are whining wanting to kill anyone at long distance or have drones do the fighting from Nevada. I’ve talked to some of these troops and they are just plain ignorant, praising the military for building schools that the Pentagon destroyed. This is obviously for graft and corruption. I have to agree with beerdoctor having had some similiar experiences.

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By SoTexGuy, July 28, 2010 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

I see that this piece does carefully (and truthfully) lay major blame for the situation in Afghanistan on the Pentagon..

Yet the picture the author paints of first candidate Obama and then President Obama bowing to political pressures when deciding to send our people to war leaves me queasy..

Adios.

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By dihey, July 28, 2010 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

This piece of Mr. Pfaff is made up of a string of totally unproven assumptions: that Mr. Obama really did not want to expand the number of troops in Afghanistan, that he feared to run afoul of the Pentagon, that he was afraid of Republican outrage, a. s. o., a. s. o.
I am therefore allowed to make my own assumptions namely that Mr. Obama was dead set to do what he has done on the day that he was inaugurated and that Mr. Pfaff’s writing is a not-so-veiled attempt to whitewash Mr. Obama.
My other assumption is that the number of additional troops sent to Afghanistan, 30,000, was nothing more than a Kabuki play organized in concert by the Whitewash House and the Pentagon to make it appear that Mr. Obama was really reluctant to increase the troop level and that the result was a compromise between his (false) zero and McChristal’s 60,000.

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By ardee, July 28, 2010 at 3:08 am Link to this comment

Certainly history will show plainly that this war for profit was Bush/Cheney’s little endeavor. But the fact remains that Obama is President and Commander-in-Chief. By escalating the war, by continuing the policies of the previous administration, by refusing to stand up for the people of this nation he supposedly leads he dooms himself to a large share of the blame, and probably a one term Presidency as well.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 28, 2010 at 2:31 am Link to this comment

The question for Mr. Pfaff: who in the world is reading this? Most certainly not Congress, who just approved a $59 billion “emergency” war funding for Afghanistan (308 for, 114 against). And most certainly not the television news, who in the face of the Wikileaks Afghan War Diary revelations, now grovel concern that those reports might put at risk U.S. paid informants.
It is not all that surprising that even Pfaff, slips Obama that soap about how President Obama did not want to appear to have “naive and pacifist inclinations”, as if those who advocate for peace rather than conflict, are simplistic fools.
Personally, as someone who has been jailed, beaten by police, and robbed with knife point at my throat, there is nothing naive about my advocacy for the abolishment of war. All wars. As Robert Fisk pointed out: “it is not primarily about victory or defeat, it is about death and the infliction of death and suffering on as large a scale as you can make it.”
It is inevitable that the U.S. government denounce the Wikileaks Afghanistan revelations, it rips away their propaganda mask.
How intelligent are these people who doggedly hold on to the belief that more violence will solve all their problems? The people of this world ultimately pay the price for their leadership’s insanity.

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By zaphodity, July 28, 2010 at 12:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Afghanistan ? just the U.S. taking care of balance of payments in regards to their U.S. Treasury bonds, nothing to see here.

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By Old Man Turtle, July 27, 2010 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Pfaff perhaps writes here in-hopes of at-least bringing a few among the American public up-to-speed on the bloody futility of the latest U.S. military adventure they’re sponsoring collectively “over there.”  It looks more and more likely, as well, to be the last such vicious sortie, by successors to the Seventh Cavalry, into that frightening “foreign” territory they still call “Indian country,” wherever in the world it might be.

Maybe, though, it is the makers and prosecutors of “policy” that he means to reach.  In that case, he might as well save his “breath.”  “Those people” (as they themselves so often refer to the lesser breeds) are deaf to everything but the whining drone of their own voices in the echo-chamber that is “the media), ‘dumb’ (though unfortunately not mute), and blind to everything but the reflection of their own graven images in each others spectacles.

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