Afghanistain

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Memo to the Endless Afghan Occupation: YOU ARE STILL DUMB.

I figure it's probably a good idea to mention the war in Afghanistan once or twice a year, mainly because it keeps going on and never, ever, seems to show signs of ending. The post-9/11 bloodlust fades, and we're still there. We elect a new president, and we're still there. We set a deadline for over three years down the road, and before you can even finish saying "Yeah, right" in a sarcastic tone of voice, David Petraeus is warning us that the deadline is flexible and based on "conditions on the ground".

What a lovely fucking phrase that has been, by the way. Conditions on the ground. Nobody ever specifies what those conditions on the ground are, or should be. It's just a bunch of syllables that translate to "because I say so", with an extra appeal to authority because the military is supposedly privy to conditions on the ground, and us proles aren't.

Of course, even the people on the ground aren't all that aware of conditions on the ground. Right before Thanksgiving - and yes, I know this isn't terribly topical, but I figured it was so mind-bogglingly stupid that it could keep, uncovered, on the stupid counter for a few weeks - but about a month ago, we learned that we can fuck up Afghanistan in entirely new ways.

You see, we're currently in the midst of a multi-prong strategy in Afghanistan, because apparently the prong where we leave the country, stop spending billions of dollars there, and if the terrorists move back in, well, at least they're leaving the country next door that has the nuclear fucking weapons, isn't good enough. So we've been sending in tanks, and we've been making sure plenty of Afghan civilians want to get revenge on us, and, of course, negotiating with the Taliban.

Now, I don't have a problem with negotiating with the Taliban per se. They're bastards, but we deal with bastards all the time. The problem is, we went into Afghanistan to get Al Qaeda and their harborers, the Taliban. There's barely any Al Qaeda in the country, so if we're talking with the Taliban, what's left to shoot and bomb? I mean other than accidentally, of course. There's still plenty to shoot and bomb accidentally. Well, good news on that front - turns out we weren't talking to the Taliban after all. ACTUAL LEDE TIME!

For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement. But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little." - The New York Times.

I like that the Paper of Record decided it was important to clarify that the talks with a complete fucking fraud have produced little in the way of results. I suppose that makes a certain amount of sense - given the long list of seemingly logical things that haven't worked in Afghanistan, maybe handing over wads of money and bringing in random dudes claiming to be the Taliban second-in-command to meet with Hamid Karzai might have been crazy enough to work. But it wasn't.

Lest you feel an excessive amount of dismay at the fact that our trillion dollar war is being run by morons, the New York Times assures us that "American officials say they were skeptical from the start about the identity of the man." See? We were right on top of it. It only took three meetings, although they're not telling us how. Or who the impostor actually was. Me, I'm rooting for "fake moustache fell off, revealing an embarrassed-looking Dirk Benedict", but I'm a sucker for the classics.

It's long past time we ended this elaborate jobs program for incompetent contractors, but I guess we can't do that, because there are still a few dozen people left that remember that we're over there, and they'll have a fit that Obama "lost the war" and probably blame Jane Fonda for it while they're at it. At least I'll have material for one or two columns a year through 2020.