Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Davis: U.S. Policies Are A Guaranteed FAIL In Afghanistan

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images from USA Today coverage of NATO summit protests in Chicago May, 2012.
Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis just spent a year in Afghanistan, and now he just can't shake off the feeling that our government is lying to the troops, lying to the people, and lying to itself. Davis came home to the vast indifference of a Congress that won't even hold hearings on the USA's longest war, and he turned to press outlets like the Armed Forces Journal to carry some reality to those with ears to listen.

In "Truth, lies and Afghanistan: How military leaders have let us down" Davis has a different perspective than do peace activists who are concerned about harm to all the Earth's people. His job, which he seems to take seriously, is to advocate within the system for proper deployment of the troops we are always being urged to support. He writes:
When it comes to deciding what matters are worth plunging our nation into war and which are not, our senior leaders owe it to the nation and to the uniformed members to be candid — graphically, if necessary — in telling them what’s at stake and how expensive potential success is likely to be. U.S. citizens and their elected representatives can decide if the risk to blood and treasure is worth it.
Obviously he is reading but not buying the official NATO line on Afghanistan. From the statement signed by heads of state at the recently concluded NATO summit in Chicago.
“In the ten years of our partnership the lives of Afghan men, women and children, have improved significantly in terms of security, education, health care, economic opportunity and the assurance of rights and freedoms. There is more to be done, but we are resolved to work together to preserve the substantial progress we have made during the past decade.”
One of the most damaging effects of lying to yourself is how badly it hampers ones ability to make decisions based on evidence.
Source: BBC article on childhood mortality rate of Afghanistan (#3 in the world).
Davis quoted several experts to back up his analysis, among them Foreign Policy analyst Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who wrote in Afghanistan: The Uncertain Economics of Transition: “Credible transition planning cannot be based on systematic dishonesty and omission of key variables...”

Davis again in a longer piece he posted online:
If the vast and diverse body of work I have included here is right, our official policy will not only fail to accomplish our national objectives, it may perversely contribute to its failure. [empahsis mine] Of greater concern to me personally, however is this: the men and women of our Armed Forces will pay with their lives, their body parts, their flesh and blood, and suffer continued degradation to their emotional and psychological well-being in pursuit of a strategy that will not benefit our country.
As far as paying with their lives, the President has a solution: just use drones. The cross border  bombing of civilians while attempting to assassinate presumed militants is the hallmark of the second decade of NATO's war on Afghanistan.

The horror of bombing mourners at funerals in Pakistan was expressed by many commenters along the lines: What kind of vicious tyrant would use such tactics? (My answer from 5th grade civics class: a tyrant with no checks and balances in place.)

Medea Benjamin  had a piece in Truthout this week about what people on both sides of the world really want. She quoted drone expert, Shahzad Akbar, a Pakistani lawyer suing the CIA on behalf of drone victims:
[Akbar] thinks its time for the American people to speak out. "Can you trust a program that has existed for eight years, picks its targets in secret, faces zero accountability and has killed almost 3,000 people in Pakistan alone whose identities are not known to their killers?," he asks.
"When women and children in Waziristan are killed with Hellfire missiles, Pakistanis believe this is what the American people want.
I would like to ask Americans, 'Do you?'"

Source: American Free Press "CIA Drone Attacks Murder Civilians, Rescuers, Mourners"


chrisrushlau said...

I must protest at this headline. We have no policy in Afghanistan. How can it possibly fail?
Racism was good enough for our grandmothers. It'd damn well better be good enough for us unless we want Jesus to not come again as Oliver Cromwell believed he would if only we secured him landing rights in the New Israel, right there by the Third Temple.
I just the other day for the first time about heard that "Third Temple" element of the Second Coming theory that has energized English protestantism since at least the 1640's, when, according to Christopher Hill, Oliver Cromwell wanted to use his power as dictator (he of course had a more refined title: Lord Protector) to bring back the expelled Jews and send them to Palestine so as to trigger the Second Coming.
I'll bet they were using the exact same Scriptural authorities. They can send me to seminary but they can't make me think.

chrisrushlau said...

Speaking of Afghanistan, here's AP:
In India, Defense Secretary Panetta to urge leaders to take larger role in Afghan war
New Delhi | June 5

AP - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is urging leaders of India to play a more robust role in Afghanistan, as U. S tensions with Pakistan, India’s arch-rival, continue to churn. (end of excerpt)
The story there is that Pakistan's apparent reason for backing insurgencies in Afghanistan is its fear that India will exploit the instability in Afghanistan in order to pressure Pakistan, its military rival of long standing. What, you say? Why would India bother to dabble, if it could, in Afghan affairs? It sounded rather paranoid.