Monday, November 25, 2013
Meanwhile, Back In Afghanistan..Here's The Latest
While our eyes are focused on the ObamaCare debacle and the horrendous capitulation in Iran, the war in AfPak goes on, winding down to President Obama's per-ordained end game.
Except now, he wants to change the rules.
Relationships between Afghan President Karzai and the Obama White House could best be described as shaky and not particularly pleasant. At this point, we're essentially reduced to parsing surrender terms for a more or less easy exit, thanks to President Obama's set in stone withdrawal date of 2014, which always meant that all the Taliban had to do was wait us out.
President Obama and his team are trying to achieve two things here. The first is to buy a little peace from the Taliban until we skedaddle, which President Obama recently did by giving Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif another $1.6 billion in 'aid'. Sharif (known in Pakistan as 'Mr. Ten Percent' because of his kleptocrat ways) will pocket some of the swag and give some of it to the Taliban as a sort of exit fee.
The second, goodness knows why, is a security agreement with the Karzai government that would allow a small contingent of 10-15,000 U.S. soldiers to stay in the country after 2014 as a security force, a commitment of around $2 billion per year or so not counting baksheesh to Pakistan for allowing us to resupply them overland via the Pakistani port of Karachi and the Torkhum pass, something which is presently running us about $7 billion or so. And not counting any aid we give to Afghanistan.
The deal as proposed by the U.S. mandates that American troops and personnel will not be subject to what passes for law in Afghanistan, or to any Afghan taxes. The same applies to any U.S. companies doing business there.
Karzai insisted on a letter of apology from the president to the Afghan people 'acknowledging mistakes'. Karzai isn't talking about what was actually in the letter but if you believe Secretary of State John Kerry and the version of the letter the Afghans posted online, there was no apology, merely the outline of the proposed deal and language along the lines of "Many of my countrymen and women have given their lives or been seriously wounded in the pursuit of protecting Afghans, and we honor the enormous sacrifices they have made, side by side with Afghans."
Of course, a number of those Americans who gave their lives were actually murdered, in some cases by the every Afghans they had trained, to the point where joint patrols have been suspended but the ever optimistic Secretary Kerry had this to say about the American role in Afghanistan after 2014:
"It is entirely train, equip and assist. There is no combat role for United States forces, and the bilateral security agreement is a way to try to clarify for Afghans and for United States military forces exactly what the rules are with respect to that ongoing relationship."
The proposed agreement satisfies Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s demand for an end to controversial raids by explicitly stating that U.S. forces will no longer be allowed to enter Afghan homes, no matter what.
Of course, there's also baksheesh at stake...an additional $8 billion for Afghanistan security forces and what are called 'development projects', AKA nation building. In case you're counting, we're up to a commitment of around $17 billion plus if you also count baksheesh to Pakistan ( $7 billion) and money to deploy 10-15,000 U.S. troops ( between $1.5 and $2 billion). Oh, and let's also add in another $7 billion in equipment the Pentagon says it's going to destroy or just abandon partly because of the terrain and partly because of the fast approaching deadline, because they say it would cost more to ship it out of AfPak than it's worth. In my family, our share of that $7 billion amounts to around $100.
Karzai originally stonewalled, insisting that the proposed agreement should be signed by his successor after elections, scheduled for April 5 of 2014. Then he insisted that the agreement had to be sent to the Loya Jirga, the Afghan council of tribal chiefs and elders, about 2,500 people.
Of course, when the Loya Jirga saw all that money at stake, they promptly ratified the agreement and urged Karzai to sign it.
Karzai is still on the fence about the matter. He refuses to sign unless his further demands are met; peace talks with the Taliban the release all 17 Afghan jihadis being held in Guantanamo Bay.
Let's remind ourselves, by the way, that Karzai was deliberately humiliated by President Obama back in 2009 because he was thought to be 'Bush's man'. So President Obama and accused him of voter fraud and stealing an election (the irony is murderous) and pushed for Abdullah Abdullah as president. Of course, being half-Tajik, Abdullah Abdullah knew the Pathans would never except him, so he bowed out in favor of Karzai during the process...and Karzai, who never forgot or forgave the insult has no reason to make things easier on President Obama now.
OK, now let's analyze what's going on here.
The rationale for our troops staying here is that they're going to train and build up yet another Muslim army financed by the American taxpayers. And our troops going to act as 'advisers' with a combat role in spite of Secretary Kerry's horse manure. We wouldn't need 10-15,000 soldiers there as 'trainers' otherwise and could cut that force by 75% if all they were doing is training a friendly ally.
But the point is that the Afghans aren't our allies, a lot of them don't mind being ruled by the Taliban and they don't care for foreigners at all...although they do like our money.
Someone else who likes our money - the taxpayer's money, that is - are the various well connected companies who are going to get the contracts from the Obama White House to build that Muslim army and for all those nation building 'development' projects.
That's what this is all about, and Hamid Karzhai, along with his brother is already a multimillionaire thanks to our intervention in Afghanistan. He's just holding out for some severance pay. He'll go along with the agreement once he gets it, and will likely be gone as soon as the elections are over.
The ones who will be stuck there are our troops, doomed to try to defend themselves under even more restrictive Rules of Engagement than before, surrounded by enemies open and covert.
But wait, I hear you say. Don't we have to maintain a presence there in order to make sure Afghanistan doesn't become a failed state and a haven of al-Qaeda and other terrorists? Don't we need to train the Afghans to fight the Taliban?
No, I don;t think so. For one thing,there are already plenty of failed states out there that are havens of terrorism. Taken a look at Pakistan lately? Aside from that, al-Qaeda, thanks to President Obama's assassination of Osama bin-Laden and the ascendency of his second and command,ex-Muslim Brotherhood leader Ayman Zawahiri have largely relocated to the Arab world, to places like Libya,Syria and Iraq, among other places. And as I mentioned,there are quite a few Afghans who like the Taliban and their 7th century worldview a lot more than they like ferenghis in their midst.
And of course,there's also this question that no one wants to answer. Why spend billions we don't have to train and equip Muslim armies who are just as likely as not to take those same weapons and use them against us given the chance? Especially when budget cuts are hurting and curtailing our own military?
I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious, but I'll let you draw your own conclusions.
And as for Afghanistan, it was a bad idea to go there in the first place. One genius of a president decided it was a great idea to send an army and billions in equipment into a landlocked country surrounded by hostile territory.And another genius of a president decided to double down to make up for shooting his mouth off during a presidential campaign about 'the good war'...after letting our enemies know exactly how long they had to wait before we retreated.
It's high time we left, and the sooner the better. And that's particularly true given whom our current commander-in-chief is.