Thursday, March 01, 2007

Afghanistan - losing the "won" war

Glenn Greenwald neatly sums up Cheney's contempt for the American people, touching on many of the points I've been making myself lately, but as usual does so more eloquently.
Cheney is an elected public servant of American citizens and this attempt to prohibit journalists from attributing his own words to him is just bizarrely megalomaniacal and contemptuous, particularly in light of how he virtually went out of his way in the very first sentence to make clear that it was him.
Glenn dissects the pure sophistry of Cheney's contention that we must stay in Iraq in order to ensure the security of Afghanistan and Pakistan and bolsters my argument that the most sensible course of action would be to begin redeployment to the Afghan-Pakistani border. As he points out:
Nothing has aided Al Qaeda more than our decision to all but forget about (or at least seriously neglect) Afghanistan in order to satisfy the personal Iraq project of the President and his neonconservative comrades. That decision has helped Al Qaeda in so many ways, primarily by abandoning that region and allowing them to re-establish their sanctuary. One of the benefits of an Iraqi withdrawal would be that our military resources could be freed up to fight against actual Terrorists.
But no better argument for this line of thinking can be made than can be found [via Tim F] in this Salon piece by Matthew Cole who embedded with our troops in the Afghan mountain regions at the border. This is a must read that lays out the neglect our troops are suffering at the hands of the military brass.

Soldiers tell of being sent to a fight without proper training in tactics appropriate for the region. They complain of being dropped off on mountain tops for an alleged few day mission and then being left for weeks without food, water or tents. The few lonely outposts we've established as permanent bases are so badly undermanned that the soldiers can't leave them for fear of having the encampments stripped by Afghanis and taken over by insurgents.

There's no air support because the Blackhawks are too vulnerable to attack in the mountainous regions so supply convoys must be sent overland on roads that are still in such disrepair, five years after we promised to rebuild, that a 25 mile trip takes up to 9 hours and are often ambushed. As in Iraq, the indigneous tribes complain of collateral damage taking innocent lives and won't cooperate with US troops.

Meanwhile, Iraq's civil war has become a terrorist training ground and while we provide target practice for urban warfare tactics, the newly trained al Qaeda remove to Pakistan and are teaching their lessons in bin Laden's latest network of training camps. These are the people who are the likeliest to try a new attack on our soil. Not the sects caught up in the civil war in Iraq.

Considering that the group that perpetrated 9/11 and the ones that allegedly harbored them were only disbursed but not vanquished before our ADHD president sent the troops off to the next military misadventure that has become the undeniable disaster of the Iraq occupation, one can read little but contempt for American's intellect in Cheney and the White House's continued insistence that Iraq is the central front in the battle on terrorism. It's all too painfully clear to all but the most uninformed citizens that those who actually attacked us are being given a free pass to operate in the region we never should have left before the job was completed.

So rather than compromising our national security through inattention and obfuscation and insulting our intelligence with tranparently false assertions, the White House needs to demonstrate it still possesses some intelligence of its own and start redeploying our forces in a manner that protects our country - instead of their loyal political partisans.
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Blogger MR said...

Dick Cheney summed up in one word (sort of) see video:

6:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice, solid piece of reporting, Libby. Fits right in with the posts I have been making on the terrible treatment our troops receive both here and overseas. But by the tepid response and the even more tepid protests in the states, I guess no one is listening or no one cares.

11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Ripper - that is hilarious. I'm so linking to you.

Brian - Glad to see you blogging politics again although I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't made it anybody on my blogroll again this week. I hope to rememdy that soon but thanks for the kind words.

6:05:00 PM  

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