Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 01, 2008

Mission Again Accomplished

There is a new round of "Mission Accomplished" cheers:

First came this 'defeat':

Al Qaeda is on the verge of a strategic defeat in Iraq,” [CIA Director Michael Hayden] told FOX News. “There are clear elements of clear defeat in Saudi Arabia. ... In about 2003 there were a series of terrorist activities, which the Saudi government responded to very vigorously.”

Today the WaPo editors headline:

The Iraqi Upturn - Don't look now, but the U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war.

In The Guardian a British general declares: British troops put Taliban 'on the run'

The Taliban have been tactically routed in southern Afghanistan, with enemy forces 'licking their wounds' after a series of emphatic defeats, say senior British military commanders.

Must be the season ...

Now there is no need to look anymore. We can now all sleep in peace and will not have to care about these 'finished' wars anymore.

Maybe I should close down this blog? What can I write about when these wars are over?

But are they? Of course not.

All wars have such phases:

At the end of November [1967], the ["Sucess Offensive"] campaign reached its climax when Johnson summoned Westmoreland and the new U.S. Ambassador, Ellsworth Bunker, to Washington, D.C., for what was billed as a "high level policy review". Upon their arrival, the two men bolstered the administration's claims of success. From Saigon, pacification chief Robert Komer asserted that the pacification program in the countryside was succeeding. Sixty-eight percent of the South Vietnamese population was under the control of Saigon while only seventeen percent was under the control of the NLF. General Bruce Palmer, one of Westmoreland's three Field Force commanders, claimed that "the Viet Cong has been defeated" and that "He can't get food and he can't recruit. He has been forced to change his strategy from trying to control the people on the coast to trying to survive in the mountains."

Wikipedia: Tet offensive

Posted by b on June 1, 2008 at 16:43 UTC | Permalink


i had a apocalyptic dream last night the united states was being controlled by paramilitaries under local strong men, after widespread arson was "solving"
the "credit.con" crisis for mortgage banks still holding the individual paper.
mostly the dream revolved around the hinterlands, exurban, where it was still
possible to hide from the work detention camps that were being set up, and the
socializing, if you want to call that bus-station motif socializing, revolved
around everyone pairing up in cars at former gas stations, packing ourselves
in eight, ten to a car, i myself rode right side shotgun on the rear bumper,
and once a car was considered "full", we were granted enough gasoline to get
back to our dryland horse-plow farms, out in the hinterlands, it was sort of
like afghanistan, if you've ever been there, but without the je ne sais qua.

Posted by: rio tinto | Jun 1 2008 17:01 utc | 1

Well, they have this Plan, you know. The Petraeus Plan. It will accomplish the mission... just give them enough time like, say, 60 years:

Afghanistan: colonialism or counterinsurgency?

Americans bring Afghans their new 60-year plan


Posted by: Alamet | Jun 1 2008 17:57 utc | 2

Not to mention the fact that there was no Al-Qaida Iraq until it slipped into the power vacuum we created through a botched "regime change".

And also don't forget, Kit Carson had the Navajo nation whittled down to fewer than 5,000 survivors, there are a quarter million of them today...

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 1 2008 19:01 utc | 3

@Alamet @2 good link:

In practice, I found, it looks and sounds a lot more like old-fashioned colonialism. In the tents of Naray, I had the distinct feeling that I had strolled into Uttar Pradesh at some point after 1858, in the early days of the British Raj.

Here ... officers were taking command of entire societies, in hopes of purifying the cultural oxygen that produced the Taliban.

"Our goal," one officer tells me, "is to rebuild the government and society from the ground up in our model."


"We do not believe in counterinsurgency," a senior French commander tells me. "If you find yourself needing to use counterinsurgency, it means the entire population has become the subject of your war, and you either will have to stay there forever or you have lost."

The Americans obviously see it differently.
I ask one officer how long it is going to take to make this new strategy bear fruit.

"Look," he says, "we're still in Germany and Japan 60 years after that war ended. That's how long it can take. I fully expect to have grandchildren who will be fighting out here."

Recommended, indeed.

Posted by: b | Jun 1 2008 19:06 utc | 4

Meanwhile, CSM, reports:

Violence in Afghanistan is increasing, according to recent announcements by senior US and NATO officials. Analysts estimate that this has been the bloodiest spring since the start of the insurgency and that the increasing instability is fueling the call to deploy more troops to the region.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jun 1 2008 19:38 utc | 5

@#1: Indeed. It's the 21st century — where the hell is my spaceship? This ol' place is alarmingly crowded and polluted/desertified.

Posted by: Cloud | Jun 1 2008 23:18 utc | 6

Cloud @6, where ya gonna fly to? I hear the other planets are even now much less hospitable, even with low populations.

According to one recent visitor from a couple hundred years in the future, here on earth, things aren't really all that bad. Worse than 2008 maybe, depending on your POV, but with a lot fewer people and more chances to you know, be a pioneer.

Posted by: rapt | Jun 2 2008 14:08 utc | 7

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