Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 17, 2013

That Other "Mission Accomplished"

June 2010 - Sangin: Afghanistan's poppy town that became deathtrap for British army

Of the 300 British soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since 2001, 96 have been in Sangin, the most dangerous place in the country for Nato soldiers.
Four years after UK troops deployed there, the Taliban continue to aggressively contest control of the Helmand town, which has become infamous for the vast number of improvised explosive devices used by insurgents, which have been responsible for most British deaths.

Dec 16 2013 - David Cameron declares 'mission accomplished' in Afghanistan

British troops are coming home from Afghanistan because it is "mission accomplished" in the country, David Cameron has said.

The Prime Minister made the comments after flying into Afghanistan to visit British troops at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province.
A source said: "The summary of where we're at in Helmand is overwhelmingly positive. The campaign here is on track and the Afghans are in a good place in the short, medium and long term.

Dec 16 2013 - ANA, Taliban jointly patrol Sangin

LASHKARGAH (PAN): Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers and Taliban jointly patrol areas in the Sangin district of southern Helmand province, residents and elders say ...

Sangin Community Council Secretary Syed Wali told Pajhwok Afghan News on Monday he himself had seen ANA personnel and militants jointly patrolling the district in tanks and armoured vehicles.
The ANA had surrendered to the fighters three checkpoints in the Majeed Square area that were supposed to block Taliban’s entry into the city, he said.

On Sunday, Mohammad added, the Taliban hosted ANA personnel in the Chahar Deh village of Sangin.

Posted by b on December 17, 2013 at 04:16 AM | Permalink


that makes sense.

Posted by: annie | Dec 17, 2013 5:47:05 AM | 1

Hate to say "I told you so..."
LOL. SNAFU Accomplished!

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 17, 2013 7:21:03 AM | 2

The Mission was accomplished.

It had nothing to do with Afghanistan, it was all about the British ruling class prostrating themselves at the Pentagon's feet and throwing as much fresh young cannon fodder onto the altar of submission and obedience as it would bear.

Anyone in Britain, or Canada, or Germany, or Australia or..,or... who doesn't understand what these exercises in "blooding" are about probably ought to get up to speed by watching a few cheap gangster movies, this Christmas.

A more appropriate slogan might be, "Mission: Accomplices."

Posted by: bevin | Dec 17, 2013 9:33:07 AM | 3

@3 It was also about testing new equipment and giving the lads some on-the-job training.

Posted by: dh | Dec 17, 2013 9:49:07 AM | 4

"Anyone in Britain, or Canada, or Germany, or Australia or..,or... who doesn't understand what these exercises in "blooding" are about probably ought to get up to speed by watching a few cheap gangster movies, this Christmas."


But, imo anyone, anywhere, who doesn't understand that military adventurism is about domination, first and foremost, is probably a tad too confused to notice that the 'blooding' crapola is the predictable result of the abject failure of schemes based on wishful thinking and believing too much of one's own, and other people's, hokum.

The "blooding" excuse for failure always sounds heroic until one adds the (maimed) Walking Wounded and Living Dead to the death toll. Even with 60% of returnees apparently surviving unscathed, only a Madelaine Albright could say "the price was worth it" with a straight face.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 17, 2013 10:15:43 AM | 5


I don't believe it's so much that the ruling elite of Canada, Britain, or Australia seek to ingratiate themselves with the US ruling elite, but that all of those elites by their nature have common goals and interests.

Posted by: sleepy | Dec 17, 2013 11:46:40 AM | 6

a critical look at both the US/NATO mission and Canada's role within it:

useful for british comparisons and parallels.

Posted by: gurb | Dec 17, 2013 11:53:20 AM | 7

@6 As sleepy says the ruling elites have common goals and interests. So they do: the common goal of those referred to is to employ the US state to achieve hegemony, and to throw their provincial resources, military and otherwise, behind its leadership.
Some ruling elites, those in China and Russia for example, do not share this goal.

@5 You will have to speak louder. Maybe I'm getting deaf but I don't see where you disagree with my point. By "blooding" I mean involving these countries in a US dominated war, making sure that everyone is in the same boat, and equally guilty of the shocking crimes involved. One example was the insistence by the US that the Black Watch be involved in the Fallujah operation, so that the British could no longer pretend to be less criminal than their "cousins".

Of course it is about domination or getting all involved to do what the ruling class wishes.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 17, 2013 1:48:20 PM | 8

to judge, one should know how much heroin the British army traded in these years in "Afghanistan's poppy town"

Posted by: claudio | Dec 17, 2013 4:48:22 PM | 9

36;The ruling elite in the USA,Britain,France,Australia etc, are all made or broken at the whim of the MSM which controls the narrative as to their plus's and minus's(according to that Zionist MSM).Funny dat.

Posted by: dahoit | Dec 17, 2013 4:57:31 PM | 10

Sorry,that was @ #6.

Posted by: dahoit | Dec 17, 2013 4:59:00 PM | 11

4) Which new equipment and whose lads? What type of warfare?

coalition fatalities by year

Afghan military fatalities

- a learning curve?

Kabulpress - Killing each Taliban soldier costs 50 million

1. Taliban Field Strength: 35,000 troops

2. Taliban Killed Per Year by Coalition forces: 2,000 (best available information)

3. Pentagon Direct Costs for Afghan War for 2010: $100 billion

4. Pentagon Indirect Costs for Afghan War for 2010: $100 billion

Using the fact that 2,000 Taliban are being killed each year and that the Pentagon spends $200 billion per year on the war in Afghanistan, one simply has to divide one number into the other. That calculation reveals that $100 million is being spent to kill each Taliban soldier. In order to be conservative, the author decided to double the number of Taliban being killed each year by U.S. and NATO forces (although the likelihood of such being true is unlikely). This reduces the cost to kill each Taliban to $50 million, which is the title of this article. The final number is outrageously high regardless of how one calculates it.

To put this information another way, using the conservative estimate of $50 million to kill each Taliban:

It costs the American taxpayers $1 billion to kill 20 Taliban


The hapless U.S. State Department is equally to blame. It:

1. Continues to sit on the sidelines of this war;

2. Refused for nine years to deploy an adequate number of civilian experts;

3. Continues to hire abusive and disreputable security contractors;
4. Failed to fight for the needs of Afghan civilians; and

5. Has made little effort to win their hearts and minds.

A crucial statistic that demonstrates this is to compare military and security expenditures by the United States in Afghanistan with expenditures for civilian aid, such as reconstruction. That statistic is as follows:

Money spent on Military/Security: $365 billion
Money spent on Afghan civilians: $8.5 billion

This latter number spells out “FAILURE.” U.S. diplomats and USAID officials have failed to improve the lives of ordinary Afghans and as a result they have accomplished the impossible. Their lack of resolve and interest has made an increasing number of disillusioned Afghans view Taliban rule as potentially an improvement.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 17, 2013 7:49:53 PM | 12

bevin | Dec 17, 2013 1:48:20 PM | 8

Had you said what you meant i.e. "getting a little dirt/blood on your hands" instead of misusing the (retreating, defeated, General's fallback) term "blooding" there would be no misunderstanding.

Afghanistan is a SNAFU because US/NATO went to Afghanistan to dominate and change it. They achieved NONE of their stated objectives and as b kindly points out, their "pride and joy" aka The Afghan National Army, is COOPERATING with the Taliban. Meanwhile Cameron and Oz's Favourite Fuckwit, Tony Abbot, are trying to paint a smileyface on the retreat-that's-not-a-retreat.
If that's not a SNAFU, I don't know what is.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 17, 2013 10:42:44 PM | 13

Re 12. Oops. I've mispelt Tony Abbot's name. The correct spelling is
Tony "It's someone else's/not my/fault" Abbott.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 17, 2013 10:58:19 PM | 14

The US, Britain and other Nato forces are in the process of being defeated in Afghanistan. Obama and the Brits are desperately trying to extend the war so they can argue that they have not lost. As long as the war continues they can make that argument. As soon as they leave it will be clear to all that Western Imperialism has suffered another defeat. Therefore, it is important for the US to maintain a few bases in Afghanistan to show the world we still occupy that territory. Keeping the war going allows us to save face and say that, yes, we are achieving our goals.

It is true that the Afghan freedom fighters cannot yet overrun a few heavily defended bases inside Afghanistan, and until they can then US propaganda can say we have not lost. But we have. As have the Brits (yet again). When will they learn?

I guess this craziness will continue until the American taxpayer realizes how much money it takes to supply those bases in Afghanistan. How much does it take to provide gasoline and fuel oil to those bases? Something like $100 per gallon? In addition each US soldier costs about one million dollars per year to keep them in theatre.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 18, 2013 12:19:14 AM | 15

The outcome of the Afghanistan war isn’t some known unknown. The Forever War will continue until the American people are broke.

There is a reason why the USA has not won a war in 68 years. Victory requires raising taxes on the wealthy, the draft, and realistic strategic goals. Fighting a colonial war with a small volunteer army and mercenaries is the neo-liberal means of transferring the public’s wealth into military contractors’ pockets; not winning. Sri Lanka victory against the Tamil Tigers is an example of what’s required to win; yet this was on an Island against opponents who had assassinated the ex-Prime Minister of India’s Tamils.

War’s cash bells are ringing in Syria. The killing won’t stop until the money stops flowing. Politically the old Colonial borders have to be shifted to separate the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. Strategically the Western goals are keeping transportation routes open, quarantining violence, and increasing education. Instead, the actual national policy is “Get it while you can. Let God sort out the dead. Damn the consequences”.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Dec 18, 2013 2:15:57 AM | 16

In fox hunting it is part of the ritual initiation of newcomers to the "sport" that the blood of a dead fox is smeared over their faces. That is what I meant by blooding.

As to your SNAFU theory, I disagree. I think that it was obvious that the US could not achieve its ostensible goals (school for girls, shopping malls, a two party system etc) before they set out. The real object, about which they did not wish to talk, was to bomb, kill, raid, rape and generally punish the locals for being dark skinned, muslims who didn't show the Boss proper respect.

The same was true in Iraq and Syria. They didn't care who "won." They killed at will, to show the world that they can and they will. It was a terrorist campaign, and it succeeded.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 18, 2013 10:04:48 AM | 17

Perhaps I should add, Hoarsewhisperer, that this "blooding" was, in my view, primarily aimed at newcomers to the Coalition of the Willing, the Poles, Georgians, the Germans, perhaps, and, after years of "peacekeeping", the Canadians.
It would have been fatuous to attempt to introduce the British or Australians (allies of the US in Vietnam) to US tastes in warfare.

As to SNAFU, it seems to me that, putting aside plans in distant office buildings, what happens in these campaigns is symptomatic of very short term tactical thinking. Nobody in Iraq seemed to care very much what happened next or that every day the US forces made it more inevitable that they would not be asked to stay. The same thing is going on in Afghanistan: it would take minimal tact and restraint to placate Karzai but nothing changes. Or Pakistan where the US seems unhappy whenever its popularity in polls reaches double figures.
The model they are following seems to be Israeli behaviour in Palestine-a determination to make themselves hated so that peace will never be a possibility.
Which is a contradiction: on the one hand the short term thinking characteristic of capitalism, on the other hand, a deeply ingrained plan, understood from C in C to corporal, to nourish hatred that will justify permanent war.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 18, 2013 12:08:52 PM | 18

Vietnam Vet

It is fitting then, that Clinton, the "anti-Vietnam War" hipster ushered in neo-liberalism, the financial deregulation, the free trade/outsourcing of jobs-the abandonment of traditional labor politics---I guess Hillary will convince enough women to be elected it's okay to drone bomb Afghan-Yemeni men (& women) if we continue the fight to "liberate" women worldwide.
Obama the hip black face of bloody imperialism, Hillary the sensitive caring face of same.

Posted by: amspirnational | Dec 18, 2013 4:35:01 PM | 19

bevin @ 17 & 18.
We can just agree to disagree, bevin.
I don't see it as my role to discourage people from saying what they think here. If I pick on something someone has said, I make damn sure that I'm very specific about what it is that I'm disagreeing with.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 18, 2013 10:05:09 PM | 20

Gustavson Associates had already done extensive evaluation of Soviet minerals resources delivered to Cheney's Energy Policy Committee in Houston in 1997 when the Taliban were invited to visit with Enron. That set the stage for the invasion even before Sep11.

Upon retrieving more Soviet data after Tora Bora, B'Cheney and World Bank Officials wrote the Afghan Hydrocarbon and Minerals Laws, in ENGLISH, before there even was a National Afghan Executive or Ministry of Mining! And it was only AFTER Karzai was pushed upon the Afghan people, 'elected' President, and ENACTED those Western Hydrocarbon and Minerals royalties acts, that USGS announced a DOUBLING of their estimates for Afghan resources.

Karzai got the last laugh, though. The Chinese bribed Karzai with $3B for the Aynak copper reserves, which sent B'Cheney into a almost-heart-stopping tizzy and launched his 'Surge' planning that O'Biden later executed, along with Hillary's overt $5B bribe to Karzai in 2009, stolen from US humanitarian aid funds, and paid directly into his Bank of Kabul, ... which he promptly lost on Dubai R/E deals, forcing Hillary to rush to Kabul with another $3.5B to prop up the bank and PREVENT AN AUDIT.

Their 'Hearts and Minds' Stick-and-Carrot had no effect on Karzai, awarding the fabulous Hajigak iron and coking coal lease wealth to India, and the billion-odd barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of gas to India as well.

America got NOTHING for their $100B in blood and treasure. NOTHING!! Good job, Dick!!
Now we hear that his PNAC co-founder Zalmay Khalilzad is in Kabul, running for 2014:

“Blood will have blood; that's certain.
But blood will not end it. For murder is fertile:
it breeds more death, like a spider laden with a thousand eggs.
And who now can break this cycle, which has been going on for generations?"

Posted by: Chip Nihk | Dec 22, 2013 4:28:30 AM | 21

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