Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 13, 2017

Big Bangs Can Not End The War On Afghanistan - Admitting Defeat Will

5667 days after the beginning of the war between the mightiest military of the world and local Afghan farmers, Pentagon reporters were excited to report:

Lara Seligman‏ @laraseligman

BREAKING: US drops largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan - GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast

4:28 PM - 13 Apr 2017

The U.S. generals demand, as they always do, more troops to "break the stalemate". But there is no stalemate. The Afghan farmers are winning. The Taliban control more areas now than they ever controlled since 2002.

Dropping 22,000 lbs of high explosives on some shack will not change that trend.

GBU-43 prototype via Wikipedia

(Though it will drown the news that the U.S. military just bombed and killed 18 of its Kurdish proxy forces in Syria.)

So what can the U.S. do in Afghanistan but blaming Russia and Iran on dubious grounds. Those countries -like China and other nearby countries- see the obviously coming U.S. retreat and talk with the Taliban to prepare for it.

The U.S. will have to and will leave and acknowledge that it joins the long lists of empires which tried to conquer Afghanistan and were defeated.

Posted by b on April 13, 2017 at 01:29 PM | Permalink

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harrylaw | Apr 13, 2017 4:55:42 PM | 35

That is a very memorable exchange between the American and Vietnamese colonels.However, it did not happen in Hanoi, but in Paris during the Paris "peace" talks in those negotiations between Kissinger and Le Duc Tho when the US finally cried uncle and surrendered.

Posted by: ToivoS | Apr 14, 2017 5:05:22 AM | 101

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 4:47:28 AM | 98

That is the point. Trump is a marketing, communication guy. He just managed to market the US war machine to the delight of US MSM "60 Tomahawks" "the mother of all bombs" without changing anything on the ground.

It is very hard to communicate a "no". People are deep wired to "yes". The only way to show a "no" is to go through the act and then not do it.

As I understand to get decisive boots on the ground he will need congress? Let's see if he does that.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 14, 2017 5:21:07 AM | 102

add to 100


Trump just said no to boots on the ground

Posted by: somebody | Apr 14, 2017 5:23:20 AM | 103

The Pashtuns allow us to clearly see the dividing line between a hierarchical, imperialist, collapse-bound society and that of a steady-state, entrenched, well-organized anarchy(Dmitry Orlov)

well, i suppose as long as the gravy train stays on the rails our valiant warriors will be hunkered down in their air conditioned bases, watching teevee, licking their baskin-robbins...

once again, Dmitry(about his book, The Five Stages of Collapse):

Also, this book is likely to test the limits of your mental comfort zone, because you will, in the course of reading it, discover that the people who stand the greatest chance of surviving collapse do not resemble you socially or culturally

Posted by: john | Apr 14, 2017 5:28:26 AM | 104

Russia no longer able to take part in Eurovision 2017..
A scandal that EBU allowed Ukraine to abuse their hosting of Eurovision 2017 by using it as a weapon in the conflict with Russia. The final should instead have been moved to another country who invites all countries to be represented by the song that won the national competitions. This capitulation by EBU goes against all that Eurovision stands for.

Posted by: Nick | Apr 14, 2017 6:06:24 AM | 105

Add Steve Bannons apocalyptic unravelling

It's a type of fascism.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 14, 2017 6:42:51 AM | 106

@smuks | 55

In some of the reports were claims that 'partners' had given the coordinates for the bombing - the only one who which wants to see the Kurds blown to pieces is Erdogan. :-)
that was my original thouhjt anyway.

But in truth the US operation has been a fiasco for months now and it is entirely possible that it was just plain incompetence.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Apr 14, 2017 6:43:18 AM | 107

add that EBU condemned Ukraine's stand. If they wish they can make Ukraine pay dearly for it - by reporting why Russia does not take part and playing Russia's song out of competition.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 14, 2017 6:46:54 AM | 108

Of course when the US carrier group station themselves off the coast of N Korea, and the proposed nuclear test scheduled for saturday does take place, and the US does nothing [willy waving] Trumps hands will look very small. If on the other hand [excuse the pun] no nuclear test happens, his hands will look as large as two MOAB's. What a conundrum.

Posted by: harrylaw | Apr 14, 2017 6:54:02 AM | 109

Has anyone else noticed the flurry of diplomatic activity over the last week? Not just Trump and Abdullah or Tillerson and Lavrov, but Putin and Erdogan on the phone, Lavrov with Zarif and Mualiem, Isik was at the Pentagon, Merkel is heading to Moscow, Turkey wants secret talks with Iran ... something is going on!

And in the back of my mind is the claim made by Trump durimg Trump and Abdullahs press conference that the Syrian war would be over very soon.
Makes me wonder if there is any truth in it and whether Trumps overt dick swinging is just to give the illusion of strength and victory should any resolution be achieved. That of course would mean that any RF US diomatic spat is being exagerates for affect.
The mind boggles.

One thing is certain, things are not as they appear and when the current run of elections in europe, turkey and iran are over the picture will be far clearer.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Apr 14, 2017 6:59:53 AM | 110

apparently each Moab bomb costs $16 million dollars, this one reportedly killed 32 people ... (the development of the Moab cost $314 million).

Media hype Trump's bomb theatre. But the Pentagon dropped 26,172 bombs during 2016. More than a MOAB every day.
Even if all these bombs averaged 1000lbs that's 71,404lbs a day or almost three MOABs a day.

The battle against the entrenched ISIS fighters had been going on for 45 days (and the American killed in the last week was vaguely in the vicinity although officials say his death did now shape the decision)

The area became an "ISIS strong hold" in 2015 ...

Some of the tunnels and caves in the complex bombed on Thursday dated from the fight against the British Empire, said Mr. Ghalib, the Bati Kot district governor, who was Achin’s governor for years. More tunnels were added during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and still more by the Islamic State.

We really don't seem to be very good at this "war" thing. After 16 years, we should have most of populated Afghanistan really quite well mapped.
Domestically, we used to call this "Throwing money at a problem"

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 14, 2017 7:29:31 AM | 111

108 I think Saudis have ended up getting themselves into a mess in Yemen.

Same potentially applies to Israel re Hezbollah.

For some reason suddenly Syrian Christians are back in the media testifying for Assad and Russia. Haaretz ran an article too.

Nato is not going to intervene. US boots on the ground? You judge if that is likely.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 14, 2017 7:31:08 AM | 112

my bad, typo/misremembered, Guardian says "officials say" the bomb killed 36 people. The NYT coyly does't given a kill figure.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 14, 2017 7:31:13 AM | 113

“The U.S. will have to and will leave...”

Col. Wilkerson, in an interview with Abby Martin, offers a somewhat different assessment.

Bush Military Official: The Empire's Ship is Sinking

“The war in Afghanistan has morphed; it’s not about al-Qaeda anymore, and it’s not about the Taliban anymore. It’s about China; Russia – the soft underbelly which is mostly Muslim of Russia; about Pakistan; about Iran; about Syria; about Iraq; about whether a Kurdistan is stood up or not; and ultimately about oil, water and energy in general. And the US presence in Afghanistan, I’ll predict right now, will not go away for another half-century… And it will grow, it will not decrease.”

Posted by: pantaraxia | Apr 14, 2017 7:57:46 AM | 114

Makes me wonder if there is any truth in it and whether Trumps overt dick swinging is just to give the illusion of strength and victory should any resolution be achieved.
Posted by: AtaBrit | Apr 14, 2017 6:59:53 AM | 108

Your sentence here resonates with what is our shared reality - or at least our perceived reality - for 60+ years and especially the last 46 years: Faith based world fiat backed by the barrel of a gun.

The Syria strike was pretty edgy no doubt, the Afghan strike pretty safe and 'look at my big sausage'... Both strikes were for MSM consumption (local and world) and with the benefit of time, alongside the NK timeline, it reeks of a "Jaysus, there'll be no dollar collapse on my watch" response. As if fighting wars on one front is possible, let alone two. Pfft, come on. Russia and China know exactly what 'the moment' looks like, been studying it for years.

Meanwhile, take at look at which countries continue to hoard gold and make their own bilateral trade agreements.

This makes Trump's actions on items like the TPP look schizophrenic, because one-sided (corporate) trade agreement like the TPP and TTIP work hand in glove with a strong US military/NATO backed fiat...when bilateral trade relations between each individual nation state would lean more towards a multipolar, truer free market approach to world trade.

How Trump can reconcile a globalist 'Wild Bill Hickock' approach to international relations against the actions regarding the TPP that he has already taken...? Where are his diplomatic appointments in order to alay fears across the globe...? Is there room for diplomacy...?

Looks like Trump got the memo from all sides of the deep state. US industry is gutted. There will no coming back. He inherited a nation mired in the worst debt of all - private debt. Debt is the only driver of the economy. That debt has ro be paid....unless... reset.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Apr 14, 2017 7:59:50 AM | 115

Did Trump drop the MOAB to keep from the headlines the reported recent US-led airstrike which hit a chemical weapons dump and released gas which is said killed hundreds? This is the exact same claim Syria made last week but for which Trump illegally bombed them.

Posted by: Mick McNulty | Apr 14, 2017 8:41:19 AM | 116

somebody 112
Thank you. Among the many losers in the area thanks to the actions of Bush/Obama have been the Christians who've only had the Catholics speak out for them. The rest see them as expendable.
And Haaretz. It's amazing that one of the very few larger sources of information critical of Israeli/Zionist actions is in Israel. They can produce things our MSM will never touch. (The Israeli-Sunni alliance is odd enough.)

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 14, 2017 8:47:26 AM | 117

Posted by: harrylaw | Apr 14, 2017 6:54:02 AM | 109

Why should China or North Korea intend to make Trump's hand look small?

It is win win.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 14, 2017 8:51:14 AM | 118

Posted by: Mick McNulty | Apr 14, 2017 8:41:19 AM | 116

Russia does not support this story.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 14, 2017 8:52:04 AM | 119

Peter AU @94

The MOAB killed 36 and cost $16 million. That's about $444,444.00 per ISIS combatant KIA. It is not designed to destroy the tunnels/caves as you say so my guess is that ISIS will be back in business as fast as the SAA was plus minus 36 hours.

This was PR for home consumption; or maybe the MIC was bitching that Obama had only used 27000 bombs last year and they are under budget so this militarily useless bombing would bring their sales figures back in line.

They have released the MOAB bombing video:

Posted by: Dean | Apr 14, 2017 8:52:37 AM | 120


And Haaretz. It's amazing that one of the very few larger sources of information critical of Israeli/Zionist actions is in Israel. They can produce things our MSM will never touch.

And I'll find you dozens of articles that prove Haaretz is a Zionist mouthpiece. So what if they sometimes report what other press like Reuters and AP report. Haaretz is Zionist LIB whatever that means! More like NEOLIB.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 14, 2017 8:53:38 AM | 121

The military specialist in the CNN news report on this says anyone in the tunnels would be "turned to dust" so I don't know if each ISIS dust particle is considered a terrorist or not. If they are using the same logic as how "combatants" are defined for drone strikes this could change the tally considerably.

Posted by: Dean | Apr 14, 2017 9:01:08 AM | 122

Circe 121
As Josey Wales would say, "I reckon so." Maybe Haaretz is a Zio outfit. But we take "ammunition" where we can get it. And criticism of the agenda from within Israel itself may be small amid the Zio chatter but it is there nonetheless and we do not see this anywhere in the US MSM. Fact.
(Stop peeing in the pool and raining on the parade.)

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 14, 2017 9:06:14 AM | 123

I'm under no illusion that Tzipi and friends/mdeia of the Zio left are just the other head of a two-headed snake just like here in the US. But the criticism stands on its own.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 14, 2017 9:13:05 AM | 124

They say that Afghanistan is the "Graveyard of Empires."

The idea is that the place is so intractable that nobody can conquer it. I'm not sure that's the real reason. I think the real deal is that conquering Afghanistan is so pointless, that only deluded empires would try. I think it's possible to conquer Afghanistan, but that would require a thought and patience and discipline - and societies with these qualities would never try in the first place.

So Afghanistan is not the cause of the fall of empires, it is rather a symptom of an empire whose elites are in terminal decay.

Posted by: TG | Apr 14, 2017 9:17:57 AM | 125

@ Posted by: TG | Apr 14, 2017 9:17:57 AM | 125

Please consider reading up on the nature of the terrain, weather/climate patterns and extremely poor & limited road/track partial networks, and therefore the incredible difficulties logistically merely feeding/caring for masses of troops let alone actually conducting even minor military operations. And that does not even factor in the millennia old war/guerilla fighter skillset and intimate knowledge of every rock and shrub of the locale of the proud Afghanis themselves ... it is very accurately and deservedly aptly named indeed.

Invasions of Afghanistan throughout history

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
and the women come out to cut up what remains,
just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
and go to your gawd like a soldier.

- Rudyard Kipling

A more extensive and updated rewrite by a modern UK veteran of Afghanistan Campaign re the War on Terra. (Image/Jpg)

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 9:48:12 AM | 126

‘War’ in Afgh. is not being fought to win in the traditional sense of consequent territorial control.

Before the US invasion, there was all that talk about precious minerals in the mountains etc.? These reserves are ‘untapped’…the US does not care. (The few coop. deals for mining afaik have been signed with China and India.)

Recall UNOCAL (with the Saudis, Delta Co., in tow) sitting down with the Taliban to effect the Trans-Afgh-pipeline Project (end 90s.), route which avoids both Russia and Iran, that didn’t work out, iirc Gazprom had a small stake originally and withdrew.

It was widely assumed that the US ‘invasion’ was in part due to desire to construct this pipeline as vital to ‘strategic interests.’

Close on to 20 years later, this pipeline is still in limbo/construction (to be completed in 2019?) etc., imho the plans / negotiations for it were *set back* by the US ‘invasion’. Today the ‘outside’ parties active in it are Germany and Japan, others… and the Afgh. part is dodgy because of lack of unitary Gvmt.

—> Similar to oil projects in Iraq, where the big slices of cake are being appropriated by China, Malaysia, Russia, Turkey, etc.: the US has only two small projects there. (DT: “Take the oil!” - he reads wiki. Or did.)

illust. article on TAPI progress, top of goog:

While the Afgh. invasion may have had some geo-strategic aims (e.g. contra-Russia, instrumentalising the Mujahideen for other purposes..), controlling or ‘taking it over’ Afgh, or exploiting its natural resources or close proxies thereof, pipelines, land routes, etc. was never a real aim.

Rather, creating a chaotic, uncontrolled, distopian society where profiteering and violent mafia-like moves can flower, and money can sucked out of: a) the USA (war machine, contractors, re-construction, international funding, ‘aid’, endless deals..), b) ‘illegal’ on the ground, principally drug trafficking (heroin), human trafficking, c) opportunities for US/other cos to exploit quasi-slave labor while sucking off the profits sent in by others, e.g. soft drinks cos, telecoms, prison industry, building a garrison rich quarter in Kabul, etc.

Ex of go-to opportunists:

US ‘invaders’ will leave Afgh. not in ‘defeat’ vs. the Taliban, but when their profits sink too low. So, indeed Big Bang Arms are irrelevant.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 14, 2017 9:49:18 AM | 127

@ Posted by: Noirette | Apr 14, 2017 9:49:18 AM | 127

Indeed Noirette, always spot-on and to the point. :)

Yet, apart from the more obvious and discussed geopolitical aspects of the adjacent former Soviet Republics & Iran, there is also the forgotten, overlooked, & perpetually MSM censored strategic direct access to the Afghanistan-China border and the regions beyond for both national SIGINT surveillance directly into China and covert clandestine actions reminiscent of the sponsored KMT Islamic Terror campaign circa '50-'58, which arguably never actually ended ...

Wakhjir Pass is part the Silk Road. It is believed that the famous Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang traveled this pass on his return trip back to China around 649 AD.[8]

Traditionally, the pass is inaccessible for at least five months out of the year and is accessible irregularly for the remainder of the year.[9] The terrain is extremely difficult, although Aurel Stein reported that the immediate approaches to the pass were "remarkably easy"...

The next accounts are from the period of the Great Game in the late 19th century.[11] In 1868, a pundit or Indian surveyor known as the Mirza, working for the Great Trigonometric Survey of India, crossed the pass.[12] There were further crossings in 1874 by Captain T.E. Gordon of the British Army,[13] in 1891 by Francis Younghusband,[14] and in 1894 by Lord Curzon.[15] In May 1906 Sir Aurel Stein crossed, and reported that at that time the pass was used by only 100 pony loads of goods each way annually.[16] Since then the only westerner to have crossed the pass seems to have been H.W. Tilman in 1947.[17]

In 1895 the pass was established as the border between China and Afghanistan in an agreement between the British and the Russians, although the Chinese and Afghans did not finally agree on the border until 1963.[2][18]

It is believed that in more recent times, the pass is sometimes used as a low intensity drug smuggling route, and is used to transport opium made in Afghanistan, to China.[19] Afghanistan has asked China on several occasions to open the border in the Wakhan Corridor for economic reasons or as an alternative supply route for fighting the Taliban insurgency. However, China has resisted, largely due to unrest in its far western province of Xinjiang, which borders the corridor.[20][21] In December 2009, it was reported that the United States had asked China to open the corridor...

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 10:47:48 AM | 128

Correction! re 128: ... both national SIGINT/ELINT ...

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 14, 2017 10:49:29 AM | 129

I may have implied that Trump is a stupid man, but I did not say that Trump is an idiot. I do not know his character or his IQ, etc. I think Outraged made a good sketch of Trump's observable traits.

My remarks point to his audience. It is a reflection of Trump as he related to his audience.

To be clear: the shit dispenser to which I refer is FOX News - not Trump although Trump is a pretty good shit dispenser too.

Geraldo, who referred to Trump as his friend, is a pig. He needs dental floss to clean the human carnage from his teeth.

Trump looks, acts, and sounds like an idiot. He appeals now only to the Neanderthal Knuckledraggers of his base which are base.

FOX News was on tv w/volume up - in a restaurant where I had lunch. It is amazing how stupid Americans are who believe this shit dispenser.

Geraldo gleefully showed off a helmet that once belonged to a dead Taliban.

Idiot America.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Apr 14, 2017 12:33:54 PM | 130

NYT SEPT. 11, 2005: Rising to more than 13,000 feet, 35 miles southwest of the provincial capital of Jalalabad, Tora Bora was a fortress of snow-capped peaks, steep valleys and fortified caves. Its miles of tunnels, bunkers and base camps, dug deeply into the steep rock walls, had been part of a C.I.A.-financed complex built for the mujahedeen. Bin Laden had flown in dozens of bulldozers and other pieces of heavy equipment from his father's construction empire, the Saudi Binladin Group, one of the most prosperous construction companies in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Persian Gulf. According to one frequently told story, bin Laden would drive one of the bulldozers himself across the precipitous mountain peaks, constructing defensive tunnels and storage depots.

Posted by: ronny | Apr 14, 2017 1:36:44 PM | 131

@Paveway 61, 56

Thanks - so you suppose the 'accident' was actually an accident. Quite possible, too - I was more wondering if they had some reason to warn the Arab militia, to piss it off or to try and delay things. But sometimes the official version of events is factual.

Re your post on North Korea - I don't see how any such intervention could be in the interest of the US. China is demonstrating that it is fully ready to move in and take over the country, install some occupation puppet regime or whatever. This would improve China's standing in the region, and lift that ominous 'threat' hanging over SK and Japan, thus eliminating their need for US protection. Not to mention the damage to Washington's global reputation. Strategically, this would be a huge win for Beijing.

Once again, it's all just posturing and reminding the world of the NK 'threat' imo. Or am I missing something?, and they want to provoke NK into doing 'stupid stuff'?

Posted by: smuks | Apr 14, 2017 4:54:10 PM | 132

@Noirette 127

Agreed. In general, war & occupation is a rather efficient way of *preventing* pipelines and other construction, not so much furthering it. Afghanistan would be the natural route for a pipeline from Iran to China, Syria is vital for Iran-Europe...

Plus, other than hindering Eurasian integration, Afghanistan is/ was a 'show of force' underlining NATO's aspiration for global dominance: If a military force is able to control this mountainous country, it is capable of anything in this world. Well, so much for proving that.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 14, 2017 5:03:55 PM | 133

Sputniknews citing WAPO, --- Trump delegated:

"MOAB Strike in Afghanistan Conducted Without Trump's Approval - US Commander "

Commander of the US forces in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson said on Friday he did not need President Donald Trump’s approval to conduct Thursday’s strike against Daesh-Khorasan terror group.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Thursday, the 22,000-pound GBU-43, or MOAB bomb, nicknamed the "Mother of All Bombs," which is the largest non-nuclear bomb in the US military arsenal, was dropped from a C-130 military airlift aircraft, targeting Daesh terrorists’ underground complex and tunnels in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.

"[The] chain of command allowed me the latitude to make assessments on the ground," Nicholson said in a briefing as quoted by the Washington Post.

Nicholson added that the weapon "achieved its intended purpose."
Trump declined to say whether he personally authorized the weapon’s use on Thursday, but noted that he had given US generals expanded authority to carry out attacks on Daesh as they see fit.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Someone, anyone please plead Trump does not hand over the N. Code.

Posted by: likklemore | Apr 14, 2017 6:30:28 PM | 134

WikiLeaks:  “Those tunnels the U.S is bombing in Afghanistan? They were built by the CIA,”

Posted by: MadMax2 | Apr 14, 2017 6:56:12 PM | 135

The MOAB was most likely a message to North Korea. They have some kind of national missile-testing day coming up. The carrier group will be in Busan. Aegis will to try and shoot them down. MOABs will be primed and ready.

Posted by: dh | Apr 13, 2017 5:23:09 PM | 38

I doubt that. The MOAB is dropped by a low and slow-flying C-130 that has to fly over or very near the target. It would be a sitting duck for the North Korean anti-aircraft defense.

On the subject use of the MOAB in Afghanistan, the U.S. has now put out a specific body count number, thus confirming that it was an air burst weapon rather than a ground-penetrating bomb. (They wouldn't have a body count if it had exploded underground tunnels.) The U.S. does have a big ground-penetrating bomb, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator that it could have used to go after tunnels. But it's delivered by the B2 bomber, not a C-130.

'Twas a publicity stunt, IMHO. And it got massive publicity.

Posted by: Paul E. Merrell | Apr 14, 2017 9:54:58 PM | 136

Have any given thought to the fact Afghanistan's geographic position replaces the loss of Iran to the intelligence gathering abilities to monitor the activities occurring in central Asia? Seems pipelines and minerals are diversionary slight of hand used to obscure the real utility of that geographic place. That the population will not support such adventurism puts a certain cost upon such enterprises. Lots of powerful invaders have discovered this to their dismay.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 15, 2017 7:10:41 AM | 137

Mr. Karzai called President Ashraf Ghani’s government an “accomplice” that allowed and welcomed the use of the bomb. Mr. Ghani’s government had said the attack, which was said to have killed dozens of militants and destroyed three large caves in Nangarhar Province, was coordinated with the United States.

First mention I've (personally) seen wrt Ghani's "permission" or "coordination" ... do wonder what it consisted of -- "incoming!" -- death toll around 100, although the NYT really can't get beyond "dozens" ... saw a report (RT maybe) that a teacher and child had died .. This is very much like a chemical weapon, victims don't need to be "blown up" to die of wounds, the bomb sets the air on fire and removes all the oxygen from the air ... does it kill and incinerate? A 21st century technological improvement over the showers and ovens ... maybe it "disinfects" the corpses as well.

As Karzai said, DAESH moved in 2 years ago ... why now and what's the "rush"? I suspect it was a Harrison Ford moment (when he pulls out a gun and shoots a man armed with a machete/sword). (Note that Karzai objected strenuously within hours (minutes) of the announcement of the bombing on the 13th)

Mr. Karzai said the people of eastern Afghanistan had expressed concern about Islamic State members coming from across the border with Pakistan when the threat emerged more than two years ago, but little action was taken before it became a problem.

“They allowed Daesh to come and come, and empty villages of their residents and entrench themselves,” Mr. Karzai said, using the Islamic State’s Arabic acronym. “Why did they wait for two years? Why didn’t they stop them then? All the entry points were known.”


Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 15, 2017 10:56:53 AM | 138

Seems pipelines and minerals are diversionary slight of hand used to obscure the real utility of that geographic place. That the population will not support such adventurism puts a certain cost upon such enterprises. Lots of powerful invaders have discovered this to their dismay.
Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 15, 2017 7:10:41 AM | 137

Well, we certainly know military strategy of The Exceptionals almost appears to seek stalemate in this region. The known, and rather self defeating approach, to be kind, lends credence to your train of thought.

Upon taking command in Afghanistan in 2009, General Stanley McChrystal made the rounds of his subordinate units and asked each of us, “What would you do differently if you had to stay until we won?” At the time I was in charge of operations for a brigade in the middle of tough fight in eastern Afghanistan. It was absolutely the right question, but in retrospect it was also a trick question. The answer was to get the right people into the fight, keep them there long enough to develop an understanding of the environment, and hold them accountable for progress, but that was not something the military was interested in doing. Instead, we stuck with a policy that rotated leaders through the country like tourists.

Taking the lessons of unit cohesion from Vietnam, the military has followed a policy in Afghanistan where entire units rotate in and out of country every seven, nine, or 12 months. This model, more than the policy of individual rotation in Vietnam, ensures both tactical proficiency and unit cohesion at the soldier level. But it also is completely ill-suited for a counterinsurgency campaign. It makes sense to limit the time soldiers spend conducting tactical operations, but leaders attempting to establish the kind of relationships and understanding necessary to be effective in counterinsurgency must be kept in place much longer. By changing out entire units so frequently, our policy has guaranteed that military leaders rotating through Afghanistan have never had more than a superficial understanding of the political environment they are trying to shape.

The shortcomings of this rotation policy in counterinsurgency have been further reinforced by an institutional culture and personnel management system that places a low priority on the advisory mission. From the beginning of our efforts in Afghanistan the advisory mission was promoted publicly but given a low priority in execution.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Apr 15, 2017 11:20:07 AM | 139

@ MadMax2 | Apr 15, 2017 11:20:07 AM | 139

Having recently finished Peter Frankopan "The Silk Roads, A New History of the World", ISBN 978-1-4088-3997-3 (Bloomsbury Hardback), describing British endeavours of building and protecting their empire and interests in MENA, Southern Asia from first Czarist Russia, eventually Soviet Union encroachment into the empire's oil producing areas (Iraq, Iran) necessary for their projection of military and naval forces. As you are aware, the British, bankrupted, eviscerated at the loss of India, population under economic rationing lasting almost a decade after war's end, surrendered to the then all powerful U.S. their rôle as guardian of the region's resources. You can be sure they gave the Yanks all the cue cards needed for understanding what was necessary to be done and you can bank on it that the Yanks lost most of that information needed to conduct affairs. Ever since, the Yanks have not been playing with a full deck; relying on ad hoc and their sense of immaculate ability to impose democracy on all and sundry they encounter as their interests travel the globe. By now you must possibly realise the trajectory of military ability starts to look like that of Wiley C. Coyote après cliff edge, unlike their academic counterparts who have gone for knowing more and more about less and less, your top U.S. military have gone for knowing less and less about more and more, at least that is how the product of U.S. military education appears. YMMD.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 15, 2017 12:39:26 PM | 140

In Syria a convoy of buses holding Shiite evacuees leaving Rebel held territory for safety in Damascus was suicide bombed on Friday with 43 dead (so far) ... Gee, I wonder how they will blame this on Assad ....



Utterly bizarre -- the Guardian report describe 20 "rebel guards" casualties, while the Reuters report Shiia evacuees to Damascus with the rebel evacuee buses unharmed.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 15, 2017 2:10:20 PM | 141

my bad -- scratch the above -- the situation is very confused because there have (at least) two attacks one yesterday and one today which appears to explain the discrepancy. The convoys are moving again
update from the AP.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 15, 2017 2:15:54 PM | 142

Formerly T-Bear says:

By now you must possibly realise the trajectory of military ability starts to look like that of Wiley C. Coyote après cliff edge, unlike their academic counterparts who have gone for knowing more and more about less and less, your top U.S. military have gone for knowing less and less about more and more...

(that's, Wile E. Coyote, as in, wily coyote, get it?)

but anyhow, H.G.Wells, the visionary and 'father of miniature war gaming' once said,

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe

Posted by: john | Apr 15, 2017 2:22:20 PM | 143

In 2nd Gulf war US used such powerful bobs that shaking the ground make the holes where Tyrant Saddam’s troop dig tunnels/ holes underground surface to be collapsed on them “buried them life”. Which Iraqis lost their loved ones without returned home and knowing were their bodies gone!

I late 1970’s, mid 1980’s, there were another bomb Russian made use in some place that blast just close to earth surface, which also produce by creating blast overpressure rather than by direct explosive effect which damage the human Diaphragm in Respiratory System, and people who are hiding or caught in that blast will die due to unable of breathing.

So using such massive bomb like GBU-43/Bbomb “the most powerful bomb in America’s non-nuclear inventory, weighing about 22,000 pounds and carrying an explosive yield of about 11 tons of TNT. With its blast area of nearly a mile in all directions,” may be its have same and more lithely power to kill humans.

Posted by: uri | Apr 15, 2017 4:26:45 PM | 144

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