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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 16-Dec-2019
16-Dec-19 World View -- Why we can never prevail in Afghanistan

Web Log - December, 2019

16-Dec-19 World View -- Why we can never prevail in Afghanistan

'Afghan Papers' reveal we sent 175,000 soldiers into Afghanistan without 'foggiest notion' what we were doing

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

'Afghan Papers' reveal we sent 175,000 soldiers into Afghanistan without 'foggiest notion' what we were doing

Arlington National Cemetary’s Section 60 is where most of the casualties from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are buried. (Getty)
Arlington National Cemetary’s Section 60 is where most of the casualties from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are buried. (Getty)

The Washington Post has published a trove of thousands of "Afghanistan papers" that it has obtained from the Dept. of Defense under the Freedom of Information Act. The paper is declaring these to be of historic importance, and is comparing them to the "Pentagon Papers" that roiled federal politics in the 1970s.

Starting in 2014, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) undertook a project to interview hundreds of people, including politicians, analysts, and soldiers, who are Americans, Europeans and Afghans, in a "Lessons Learned" project in order to figure out why nothing has worked in Afghanistan.

Presidents George Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump have all promised to bring the Afghan war to a satisfactory conclusion, defeating the Taliban, and making the country into a free market democracy. Even today, there are still truly idiotic "peace negotiations" going on in Doha, of all places, between US and Taliban negotiators, but not including Afghan government officials because the Taliban only want to negotiate with the US, but not with the Afghan government. Can you believe this?

The project found that Bush, Obama and Trump have all done the same things. They tried to win the war by not repeating earlier mistakes, or the mistakes of their predecessors, but all this meant was that they made new mistakes. And then, we're all shocked, shocked, shocked to learn from the Afghanistan Papers that the three presidents lied to the American people, always hiding the setbacks, always claiming that progress was being made, always saying that the end is in sight.

This is exasperating to me because I've written many times in the last ten years that the war in Afghanistan CANNOT be won, or even resolved in any meaningful way. And by that I didn't mean that the Nato forces just had to be a little more clever. I meant that it was literally impossible. Mathematically impossible.

I've given the reasoning many times, and I'll repeat it again below. The reasoning is not that difficult, but the problem is that the so-called experts in Washington really don't have a clue. Long-time readers are aware that I learned this in 2006, when Congressional Quarterly and the London Times conducted a survey of Mideast experts and found that they were idiots. (See "Guess what? British politicians and journalists are just as ignorant as Americans" from January 2007)

I was really shocked at that time to realize that I knew a lot more than the so-called Mideast experts in Washington new. In a sense it isn't surprising, since I'm a Boomer and went to college at a time when colleges actually taught something. Since then, SAT scores have been falling, and college professors are left-wing idiots who teach the equivalent of women's studies and sociology.

So it's not surprising that I know a lot more about analyzing Afghanistan than the Washington experts do. As I said, the reasoning in the analysis isn't that difficult, but it does contain some logical subleties that are beyond the mental capabilities of the so-called experts who graduated from Harvard or Princeton, where they leave with no clue about the real world.

This "shocking" discovery from the Afghanistan Papers of the total ignorance and stupidity of the so-called experts in Washington is really amazing, when you think that there might be one or two people in the State Dept. or DoD that can figure out what's really going on. But my guess is that such people would be too threatening to the élite "experts" from Harvard or Princeton, and so the people who really know what's going on are given offices in the basement in the boiler room, where they won't bother the élites.

Since 2001, more than 775,000 U.S. troops have deployed to Afghanistan, many repeatedly. Of those, 2,300 died there and 20,589 were wounded in action, according to Defense Department figures.

The Washington Post article quotes Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations. He says the following in 2015:

"We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing. What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.

If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction ... 2,400 lives lost. Who will say this was in vain?"

See, this is what I mean. What the hell is going on here??? We're in Afghanistan fighting a war with hundreds of thousands of troops, and the Afghanistan czar" for Bush and Obama says that "We didn't have the foggiest notion" of what we were doing?

Do you understand the magnitude of this, Dear Reader? We send hundreds of thousands of troops do a war where the don't have the foggiest notion of what we're doing. It's so hideously unbelievable that it's almost hysterically funny.

And if this is happening in Afghanistan, then it's also happening with American policy in the Mideast, in Africa, in Asia, and so forth.

I realize that the regular readers of my Generational Dynamics articles are a lot more intelligent than the so-called experts in Washington. But if you happen to know one of the "experts" on Afghanistan, then please send him a copy of this article. He'll either learn about what's really going on in Afghanistan, or else he'll change his spam filter so that all future e-mail messages from you go into his spam folder.

Why we can never prevail in Afghanistan

The Iraq war was a political disaster for Bush until he adopted the "surge" strategy in 2007. Obama and the Democrats ridiculed this strategy until it worked, and successfully ejected AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq) from Iraq.

In 2009, Obama was faced with a potential political disaster in Afghanistan. He looked at the success of the "surge" strategy in Iraq, and decided that his surge strategy would be better than Bush's. So he adopted a surge strategy in Afghanistan. He would be even more successful in getting rid of the Taliban in Afghanistan than Bush was in getting rid of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

As I wrote at the time, and have written many times since then, the "surge" strategy was 100% guaranteed to fail in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) was a foreign militia led by Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and al-Zarqawi had to import fighters from Jordan and Saudi Arabia because the Iraqis refused to fight. (See "Iraqi Sunnis are turning against al-Qaeda in Iraq" from April, 2007)

So the "surge" in Iraq worked because it had to eject a FOREIGN militia. But that's not true in Afghanistan. The Taliban are NOT foreign. They're radicalized Pashtuns, and Pashtuns are the dominant ethnic group IN AFGHANISTAN. So the "surge" can't eject the Taliban.

And so, Dear Reader, you understand that, don't you? As a reader of Generational Dynamics articles, you're more intelligent than the experts in Washington for whom this concept that AQI was foreign while the Taliban are domestic is much too subtle for the Washington experts to understand.

But that's only one of the reasons why the surge strategy would fail in Afghanistan with 100% certainty.

Iraq's last generational crisis war was the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s, where the major groups (Sunnis and Shias) were UNITED in fighting against Iran. So the Sunnis and Shias where also UNITED in ejecting al-Qaeda in Iraq. That's why the "surge" strategy worked in Iraq.

Afghanistan is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. The last generational crisis war was an extremely bloody, horrific civil war, in 1991-96. The war was a civil war, fought between the Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan versus the Northern Alliance of Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks in northern Afghanistan. The Taliban are radicalized Pashtuns, and when they need to import foreign fighters, then can import their cousins from the Pashtun tribes in Pakistan.

Indeed, it's much worse than that. The ethnic groups in Afghanistan are COMPLETELY NON-UNITED and loathe each other. Pashtuns still have scores to settle with the Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks that formed the Northern Alliance, especially the Shias. These opposing groups have fresh memories of the atrocities, torture, rape, beatings, dismemberments, and so forth that the other side performed on their friends, wives and other family members, and they have no desire to be friends or to work together. They'd rather kill each other.

In recent months, there's apparently been a new development. You still have the Pashtuns, who have been aligned with al-Qaeda, and other ethnic groups that loathe the Pashtuns are aligning with ISIS. This is the very early stages of a new civil war.

Now go back and review what General Douglas Lute said in the quote above: Taht we sent 175,000 troops into Afghanistan without having "the foggiest notion" of what we were doing.

It's this stuff about the Pashtun and the civil war that the so-called Afghanistan experts don't have "the foggiest notion" about. And it's really not that complicated. You don't even have to know anything about generational theory to understand it.

You understand it, don't you Dear Reader? That's because you're intelligent and well-informed. You can take satisfaction in the fact that you understand why there's been one failure after another in Afghanistan, but that the so-called experts in Washington are too stupid to understand. This is what Lute was talking about.

So now we just have to sit back and watch these farcical peace talks take place in Doha between the US and the Taliban -- because the Taliban refuse to negotiate with the Afghan government!!!!! Hahahahahahahahaha.


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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Generational Dynamics World View News thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Dec-2019) Permanent Link
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