Afghan Sitrep: A Grunt from the Front Sounds Off

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(La Ciotat, France) — Inside Versailles on the Potomac, pressure is building on President Obama to reduce his promised withdrawal of combat troops in Afghanistan to a cosmetic level, and perhaps more to the point, to protect the defense budget from efforts to reduce the deficit. The two — i.e., perpetual war and the defense budget — are joined at the hip (as I explained here).  The Pentagon’s mouthpieces in thinktanks are therefore dutifully filling the op-ed pages with fact-free arguments to justify continuing the ten year war unabated.

Attached below is a more informed, less self-interested view.  It is from an email written by an active duty colonel who travels all over Afghanistan. For obvious reasons, he must remain anonymous, but it came to me from a trusted source.  This colonel, unlike many of his peers, actually goes on foot patrols with troops to see things for himself.  His message, which is only a few days old, is bad Ju Ju, I am afraid.

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[I vetted the colonel’s email thru a retired Army officer, and he responded: “I talk to Soldiers and Marines of most ranks on a weekly basis, many of whom have just returned from Afghanistan. Not one says we are winning. They think Afghanistan is a waste of our time. Why doesn’t anyone listen to the guys that know? Ivory-tower intellectuals in think tanks get listened to, but they are not walking the ground as a grunt or a combat arms dude.”]

I urge readers to also read the op-ed links embedded in in the colonel’s email and then compare their intellectual content the Patrick Seale’s essay, Washington Wrestles with Afghan Options.  Ask yourself who is better plugged into reality: The colonel and Seale or O’Hanlon and the Kagans?

Chuck Spinney

The Blaster


Email to Col XXX

The mendacity is getting so egregious that I am fast losing the ability to remain quiet; these yarns of “significant progress” are being covered up by the blood and limbs of hundreds – HUNDREDS – of American uniformed service members each and every month, and you know that the rest of this summer is going to see the peak of that bloodshed.

The article by Michael O’Hanlon last week (i.e. Success worth paying for in Afghanistan) and the one in today’s WSJ by Kagan and Kagan (i.e., We Have the Momentum in Afghanistan) made me sick to my stomach – especially the latter.  Have you seen it yet?  It is the most breathless piece of yellow journalism I’ve seen in the entire OIF-OEF generation.

According to the Kagans, “If Mr. Obama announces the withdrawal of all surge forces from Afghanistan in 2012, the war will likely be lost. Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and other global terrorist groups will almost certainly re-establish sanctuaries in Afghanistan. The Afghan state would likely collapse and the country would descend into ethnic civil war. The outcome of this withdrawal policy would be far worse than Nixon’s decision to accept defeat in Vietnam, for it would directly increase the threat to the American homeland.  Apparently they forgot, “there’s a commie behind every bush,” “the Russians are coming!” and “if Vietnam falls, all of Asia falls to the Communists!”  That logic was absurd in the 1960/70s, and its even more laughable today – or it would be laughable if it didn’t cost so damn many American lives to prop up the fantasy.

These people are actually arguing for increased involvement.  In fact, they are saying that we should expect high casualties this summer (after which – without explanation – we’ll have beaten the TB in the south), then we’ll move the troops up to RC-East where there’s still a lot of fighting – and as a result, we’ll have another spike in the ‘fighting season’ of 2013, after which (according to the neat schedule the Kagans map out) we’ll be ready to hand over control of the country to GoIRA and the ANSF on schedule in 2014.

It’s sheer madness, and so far as I can tell, in the mainstream media and reputable publications, it is going almost entirely without challenge.

Colonel YYY

PHOTOS: See images of the battle in Kandahar