Americans are now focused on events in Libya. This
is certainly understandable since, once again; U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles
were flying through the air at targets in a sovereign country. Americans are
also riveted upon events in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen as it
would appear the Middle East is blowing up. A word of caution, experts on the
Middle East are warning these may not be true democratic uprisings, and one
ruthless tyrant may be replaced by another ruthless tyrant from a different
tribe. We must all standby on that issue. As to America's military commitment
to Libya, it appears that is being minimized as NATO replaces the Pentagon in
the command structure. Once again, standby, this is the Middle East and
anything can happen.
What is interesting is that America's military involvement in Libya that has so captivated the MSN is child's play in comparison two ongoing military adventures, or misadventures, whichever the reader prefers.
That said, this is a gentle reminder that our country is involved in two ferocious wars without a light at the end of the tunnel. One is Iraq. The other is Afghanistan. More to the point, it is extremely plausible that we could lose both wars in a very real sense. One reason for this depressing scenario is the resolve of Americans to continue these two wars in the light of the Great Recession and Draconian governments cuts is melting like a snowflake in hell. The ongoing war in Iraq is now in its ninth year. The war in Afghanistan is now in its 10th year.
In no particular order of importance let us begin with Iraq, a war that Americans perceive as all but over. This perception is conveyed by the MSN and is extremely misleading. One would suppose that excuses can be made in the light of the upheaval in the Middle East, the U.S. use of force upon Libya, and, of course, the ongoing tragedy in Japan with a record-setting earthquake followed by a horrendous tsunami and the resulting nuclear disaster. Of course, those are reasons why this article is being written, a gentle reminder that, amidst all this calamity, there are two other vital events -- wars, actually -- with which we Americans have to deal.
Robert Parry, a renown journalist who broke the Iran/Contra story, writes " The neocon editors of the Washington Post, who have pushed the Iraq War since the beginning, are bummed out over the looming reality of America's strategic defeat after eight years of fighting. However, rather than accept that their neocon crusade was a bloody folly wasting human lives and precious resources, the Post's editors have repackaged their case for an open-ended U.S. military stay in Iraq as a humanitarian mission with an overlay of geopolitics. After the thousands of American lives lost and billions spent, it would be tragic if Iraq collapsed again into war or fell prey to Iran or other neighbors because of a security vacuum created by the U.S. withdrawal, the Post wrote in an April 3 lead editorial, Iraq's Ticking Clock."
Consequently, the Post urged a new SOFA that would extend the stay of American combat troops beyond 2011 as is the case with Bush's SOFA with the Iraqi government. Why do I get the distinct impression the Post is not speaking for itself? It is speaking for the Pentagon that must justify its enormous budget that is breaking the back of American taxpayers and is an albatross on our economy.
On March 28th, Gunmen wearing police uniforms and suicide vests stormed the provincial council office in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's birthplace, and seized hostages in a brazen attack that left dozens of people dead. The assault turned into a hostage standoff that lasted for hours until Iraqi security forces retook the building in the early evening using grenades and small arms fire, with American warplanes overhead, according to a witness. All of the gunmen and all of their hostages, who numbered about 30, were dead. At least 56 people were killed, and 93 wounded. This is reminiscent of an attack last fall in another horrifying hostage crisis upon a Catholic church in Baghdad that resulted in 68 dead.
Contrary to what most Americans believe due to lack of information from the American press, Iraq is no Disneyland. AQI, or Al-Qa'ida of Iraq, still has the ability to strike whenever and wherever it wants. True, their attacks have not been as frequent as in the past, and clearly they are weakened. But their goal is relatively simple. Strike when it can, kill as many as they can, stoke the fires of a civil war, and, above all else, keep American troops in Iraq to fuel the fire of Islamic extremism.
Readers are to be warned, expect a new SOFA that will continue our military involvement in Iraq. This disastrous war is far from over.
Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq based entirely on false premises destroyed Iraq's infrastructure and economy. In light of Iraq's importance in the geopolitical world, I find it somewhat interesting that there appears to be no Marshall-like plan to rebuild Iraq. Very little, if anything, is being said about rebuilding Iraq's roads, bridges, schools, buildings, housing, its economy, and putting Iraqis to work. Serious problems remain on potable water and 24/7 electricity availability and the usual unbearable heat of summer in Baghdad is just around the corner. Does not matter much, though. Not many people in Iraq can afford an air conditioner and that is assuming they have a home to place it in.
Unfortunately for the people of Iraq there is a strong assumption that the lack of a rebuilding program may be America's intent. An extremely likely unintended consequence of Bush's invasion of Iraq, formerly a counter-balance to Iranian power, is that a truly independent Iraqi government may join Iran's sphere of influence. About the last thing American planners want is a strong Iraq doing such a thing, while a weakened Iraq would be palatable, proving conclusively that geopolitics and war is cruel and unfair.
We now come to a Shakespearian tragedy, otherwise known as the war in Afghanistan. However, unlike any Shakespearian tragedy, all of them deemed as somewhat plausible, the scenario or tragedy of the war in Afghanistan is deemed as most implausible and a script of this war would be immediately rejected by Hollywood as simply being too ludicrous. Unfortunately, this war, in reality, has been going on for 9 - years. The Pentagon bungled this war from the very start. Americans and the Afghan people have been paying for that mistake ever since.
Due largely to terrain Afghanistan has resisted all attempts to conquer her since the days of Alexander the Great. The most recent attempt, prior to our invasion, was the now defunct U.S.S.R. The Soviet Empire invested at any one time 100,000 troops, helicopter gunships, ground attack aircraft, tanks, armored personnel carriers, and the best war technology available to the Red Army to subdue the Afghani people. That war started on Dec. 24, 1979 and ended on Feb. 15, 1989. The Red Army retreated from Afghanistan in defeat, and two years later the Soviet Union collapsed. All this should have been lesson points for American commanders. They were not used.
Our turn came next with an extremely popular invasion of Afghanistan to exterminate Al-Qa'ida in the wake of 9/11. The U.S. "invaded" Afghanistan with less than 3500 ground troops, relying on air support and, believe it or not, Afghan support. The geniuses in the Pentagon came upon the incredulous idea that indigenous troops would complete the mission. In other words they decided that Afghans would fight Afghans for the purposes of still another foreign invader. Well, that didn't work. In essence what we have today is that a ragtag force, euphemistically called the Taliban army along with extremely small numbers of Al-Qa'ida foot soldiers, without an air force, without tanks, armed with mostly WWII-era small arms and light artillery are holding off the world's lone superpower. I told you this script wouldn't work in Hollywood. It is far too unbelievable.
What we have today is American soldiers and their NATO allies fighting and dying in one of the most impoverished nations on the planet and the goals of that fighting is not at all clear to anyone, from the clerk in a burger joint to the President of the United States. What exactly are we trying to achieve? Destroy Al-Qa'ida, they are long gone from Afghanistan. Create a democracy in Afghanistan by the gun, no one, from that clerk to the President, can possibly believe that totally unrealistic scenario for reasons far too numerous to mention here. Defeat the Taliban by winning the hearts and minds of the Afghani people, that reasoning is laughable, and no person on this planet with the possible exception of General Petraeus believes that is possible. So, why are we fighting there? Can anyone tell me that?
What we do have in Afghanistan is President Hamid Karzai, an American puppet with dubious allegiance to his American handlers. Karzai is corrupt. His relatives in the government are corrupt. He virtually is the mayor of Kabul, unable to govern any other parts of his "realm," and his entire government is corrupt. This actually is the way of doing business in Afghanistan and this has been going on for several millennia. Machiavelli would have had a field day in Afghanistan. Folks, honestly, I am not making this stuff up. Afghanistan could actually be on another planet where Americans are concerned.