Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 15, 2017

Afghanistan - U.S. Resolved To Repeat Failures

The U.S. military and political leadership is so devoid of learning capability that it does not fight multiyear long wars. Instead it fights one disconnected campaign after the other on the very same battlefield. Each of these campaigns will repeat the mistakes that previous ones made and will have the same outcome.

Thus we have seen several increases in troop numbers in Afghanistan. Each time such a surge happened under Bush, under Obama and now under Trump, the result was an increase in Taliban activity and success.

We have seen the use of local militia forces fail under Obama when these were called Afghan Local Police. The 20,000 men strong ALP was supposedly "trained" to hold land against the Taliban. But the local police groups turned out to be local gangs who, thanks to their "official" status, could rob, rap and kill people without fear of retaliation. The suppressed population then turned to the Taliban for relief.

The idea to create such a local force was so bad that it is time to repeat it:

The American military has turned to the [idea of a local militia] force as a potential model for how to maintain the Afghan government’s waning control — without too high a cost — in difficult parts of Afghanistan at a time when the Taliban are resurgent.
The size of the new force is yet to be finalized, but it could number more than 20,000, according to a senior Afghan official
While the senior Afghan official insisted that only the conceptual framework of the force has been agreed to, and that details were still being sorted out, several Western officials said that preparations were already underway to pilot the new force in southern districts of Nangarhar Province.

We can predict with confidence that a year from now those very same districts of Nangarhar province will again staunchly support the Taliban.

In 2001 the CIA and U.S. special forces kicking out the Taliban with the support of northern alliance war-criminals. Arial bombing based on partisan information continued for years. After their defeat the Taliban had given up on ruling the country. They offered to dissolve in exchange for amnesty and an end of the war. But the bombing, often on direction of some local wannabe strongman, continued. Many people not involved with the Taliban or any resistance were killed and maimed. Their communities called out for help. The Taliban revived and came back to fight the invaders.

For a while the indiscriminate, unaccountable bombing seemed to calm down. But the insurgency, once revived, continued. Time then to repeat and expand the scheme - if only under a different logo and in more countries:

The C.I.A. is pushing for expanded powers to carry out covert drone strikes in Afghanistan and other active war zones, a proposal that the White House appears to favor despite the misgivings of some at the Pentagon, according to current and former intelligence and military officials.

More indiscriminate bombing will obviously lead to more resistance and more war.

An argument can be made that the U.S. military and intelligence complex is willfully and systematically creating new enemies in Afghanistan and elsewhere to justify the continuation of its campaigns.

But that argument presume that there is sufficient intellectual capacity in the Pentagon and CIA to develop and follow such a design. Arrogance, bureaucratic inertia and lack of curiosity are the simpler and maybe more likely explanations.

Posted by b on September 15, 2017 at 14:33 UTC | Permalink

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Wait, I thought there are two reasons the US is in Afghanistan, one, for the CIA to control the opium trade as a source of cash to run off-book operations, and, two, to preserve the potential to disrupt or destroy China's BRI. I thought all this talk about "democracy" and "anti-terrorism" was just the usual BS.

Posted by: JC | Sep 15 2017 14:52 utc | 1

2.2 Trillion reported missing by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld on September 10, 2001.

Those funds were obviously "disbursed". Much more paper money has been printed and more posted on computer terminals.

Money must be spent exclusively for war. More money must be funneled to private "defense contractors" and much less must trickle down to the peons within the State military apparatus.

US leaders deem it so.

The more money created and spent, the better off it makes the owners of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 15 2017 15:24 utc | 2

As long as there continues to be $1 trillion worth of heroin coming out of there, the deep state considers it a "win-win" situation.

Posted by: Perimetr | Sep 15 2017 15:35 utc | 3

Have you ever played Medieval Total War? If you can't realistically hold on to a province, but you want to make a it ungovernable so that your neighbor can't take over, there's a simple ploy. You invade, loot anything you can get your hands on, and leave a token force under a corrupt and weak commander that is barely able to suppress dissent. You anger the natives as much as possible, and foment the conditions for rebellion. It works best when your invading forces are a different culture and religion, because that foments the rebellion faster. After a few years, you suddenly run like the wind and wait for the inevitable Mad Max style chaos to ensue as local warlords emerge.

And that's what the USA is doing in Afghanistan. Staying in minimal force so long as they can make pocket money from the heroin, but with an obvious total lack of interest in making a functioning state, and no control outside of the cities. Try getting your pipelines to run through Afghanistan now, China.

Posted by: I don't want to think of one | Sep 15 2017 15:36 utc | 4

b - good to see you back, hope you are well.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 15 2017 15:43 utc | 5

>>>> Perimetr | Sep 15, 2017 11:35:50 AM | 3

As long as there continues to be $1 trillion worth of heroin coming out of there, the deep state considers it a "win-win" situation.

The total value might be $1 trillion after it's been processed, smuggled, cut and sold on the streets mostly in Europe, but the value as it leaves Afghanistan is $4 billion. Yes, the CIA could buy up all the heroin in Afghanistan and still have more than two thirds of it's white budget left. Legalising heroin in Europe would reduce the value on the street to about $6 billion and reduce criminality throughout South West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe and cut the Taliban's budget by more than two thirds. What's not to like.

So I say it's time for the CIA to take over the drug trade in Afghanistan with the MI6, DGSE, BND, etc. as the "families" and US Army/NATO as their enforcers and buy out the Taliban.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 15 2017 16:03 utc | 6

What makes you think that the CIA and the banksters are not getting most of the additional $996 billion? They are certainly overseeing the entire process; they have developed it to the point where the heroin is produced in Afghanistan before being shipped out under their oversight. The banks take a 20% cut for laundering the money. Occasionally they get a small fine; cost of doing business.

Posted by: Perimetr | Sep 15 2017 16:39 utc | 7

The threat of Russia, China and Iran joining on through Afghanistan in a large geographical and economical region is what the USA want to prevent at all costs.
That is the main reason the USA is holding on Afghanistan

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 15 2017 17:09 utc | 8

The main play in Afghanistan is still the TAPI pipeline, intended to link the Central Asian 'stans, where the like of Exxon and Chevron have a large presence, to Pakistan and India (and the Indian Ocean). This effort dates back to the mid-1990s, when Unocal (now part of Chevron) was leading the effort to negotiate with the Taliban in order to open the pipeline. See Steve Coll, Ghost Wars:

The Clinton White House supported "multiple pipelines" from Central Asia along routes that did not benefit Russia or Iran. Clinton believed that these pipelines were crucial to an evolving American energy policy aimed at reducing dependence on Middle Eastern supplies. Blocking Iran from Central Asia's new oil riches was also a key goal of American policy, but there were only a few pipeline routes that could bypass Iran. Unocal's Afghan plan was a rare one that conformed exactly to Clinton's policy.

Condoleeza Rice, ex-Chevron board member, pushed hard for this policy during the GW Bush Administration, and that push was taken over by Hillary Clinton in the Obama administration. Around this time Iran tried to get IPI, the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, built and was blocked by first GW Bush and then Obama - both promoted TAPI as the alternative - Clinton called this the "New Silk Road" strategy and it was a major agenda of the Obama's 30,000 troop surge into Afghanistan (which brought U.S. troop levels up to 100,000 - now they're what, 12,000?)

There are two competing gas-pipeline projects: “TAPI”, running from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan to Pakistan and on to India; and another from Iran through Pakistan to India. Instability in Afghanistan is a big impediment to the first, but America opposes the second. . . - The Economist, March 2007

Recently, in summer 2016, Chevron and Exxon committed $37 billion to expanding operations in the Tengiz in Kazakhstan, indicating the scale of U.S. oil interests in the region. That oil is exported via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which runs through Russia. An Afghan export route would avoid Russia.
Incidentally, if you want an example of how the US media loved Putin back in 2002:

The main feature of post-Soviet transition was the immediate establishment of oligarchies and criminality. When Vladimir Putin assumed the presidency two years ago, he moved quickly to break up the oligarchies and political fiefdoms within Russia.

How the tune has changed! Regardless with Rex Tillerson, Exxon's CEO, now running the State Department, it's no surprise that the Afghanistan pipe dream continues as before. It doesn't seem any more substantial, than it did under Clinton, Bush, or Obama.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Sep 15 2017 17:59 utc | 9

P.S. Found this priceless gem - a letter to the troops in 2009 during the Obama surge:

When you lace up your boots and head for the plane that will carry you to Afghanistan, you will be joining Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson and Gurbangulu Berdimuhamedov [president of Turkmenistan] in what has been described in the US Congress as "the new great game".

It is a "game" in which the US is seeking to plant itself near the heart of the energy complex of Central Asia, a region to the north and east of the Middle East that possesses important oil, natural gas and hydroelectric resources. . .

We have this surface image of politics here in the U.S. that is almost completely divorced from the underlying agendas, the so-called "Deep State" games that actually determine U.S. foreign policy, and much domestic policy too. Smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Sep 15 2017 18:19 utc | 10

AmeriKKKa's cowardly, racist-supremacist Swamp can't resist the temptation to turn Soft Targets (anything which can't shoot back) into Shooting Galleries. That's why they're so pissed off about North Korea.
They've spent 70 years, using every provocative dirty trick in the book, to cultivate the myth of a North Korea so weird and dangerous that Captain AmeriKKKa will, one day, feel obliged to obliterate it and thereby save the world.

However, having been seduced by their own supremacist bullshit, and lacking the ability to RECOGNISE a coherent plan, let alone CREATE one, they've been caught napping so North Korea isn't soft any more. And everyone on the planet, except the AmeriKKKans, can see that they've outsmarted themselves. Again.

So it's back to Afghanistan to fine-tune their cowardly half-assed Base & Bunker strategy for as long as it takes to dream up some spin to make attacking 'backward' Afghanistan, and losing, feel like a good idea.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 15 2017 18:41 utc | 11

So much for Gen. Mattis's (or was it McMaster's line, might as well be McMattis),

"Mr. President, we haven't fought a 16-year war so much as we have fought a one-year war, 16 times."

17th times the charm, if it wasn't war, it would be funny.

Maybe the mercenary idea wasn't such a bad idea after all. I think it's time to leave but the mercenary guy made an interesting point. They would be augmenting an Afghan force, with Afghan equipment, not flying U.S. flags and having U.S. aircraft all over the place. At least it would be a different stupid approach rather than one that was predestined to fail.

Maybe this is the Pentagon's poor man's WMD, they are trying to make the Taliban laugh themselves to death.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 15 2017 19:39 utc | 12

The thing is, is winning a concern for the Pentagon, or is a long, protracted, chronic state of war their aim? If war is as much of a US business as I have gathered through many readings (as American as apple pie), the point would be to make it last as long as possible to keep the money flowing to Raytheon, General Dynamics and the rest of the bunch. Add the heroin money they are raking in, and there are all the reasons why the US would want this war to carry on till kingdom come.
Which seems to be the case. Minerals are just a handy narrative.

The will NOT to win wars but to make them last forever, in general, also would explain why the US troops are so crappy: they are not trained to win, nor for any sort of efficiency. It calls to mind the Aztec example. How could a 5 million-strong Aztec army be defeated by a handful of Spaniards heading something like 3 million Indians who were fed up with the Aztec rule and were only too happy to help Cortez and his henchmen against them?
Because the Aztecs were not trained to kill, that's why. They were trained to catch prisoners for their atrocious human sacrifice rites, which made them clumsy on the battlefield and easy to kill, while they lost time calculating their next move.

Bad training in both cases.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 15, 2017 12:03:50 PM | 6

The total value might be $1 trillion after it's been processed, smuggled, cut and sold on the streets mostly in Europe,

In Europe? You must mean in the US. That's where they have a mass heroin epidemic, not Europe, thankfully.

Legalising heroin in Europe would reduce the value on the street to about $6 billion and reduce criminality throughout South West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe and cut the Taliban's budget by more than two thirds. What's not to like.

I'm not sure I have understood correctly. I hope you are not advocating the legalization of heroin? Because it has already been done, with devastating consequences, in China and South East Asia, back when Western imperial powers ruled Asia and enforced their "legal" opium trade. Millions of people wasted away and died in opium dens, and the corruption skyrocketed. For these countries, it was a nightmarish period. So, if there is one thing that can never be legalized (unless we're talking suicide), it's opium and opioids.

But the US is quietly moving in that direction anyway, with opioids prescriptions delivered by doctors left, right and center. Once a person is hooked on prescription opioids (a process which sometimes takes as little as four to five days), but can't get any more pills from his doctor because he is cured, you sell him your CIA-issued street heroin.
Thank you for the wonderful Cincinnati Enquirer piece about that you posted last time, BTW, B.

Posted by: Lea | Sep 15 2017 19:42 utc | 13

"... An argument can be made that the U.S. military and intelligence complex is [wilfully] and systematically creating new enemies in Afghanistan and elsewhere to justify the continuation of its campaigns ..."

Yes that is more than likely, that the US is "creating" new enemies out of old - new enemies like ISIS out of the usual ragtag warlord-led gangs - with whom to terrify US and other Western audiences and steamroll them into supporting more failed wars and campaigns with their children and their tax dollars, so as to funnel more money towards DARPA projects, mercenary contractors, arms companies and the shareholders and boards of directors of these companies. At the end of the day, the objective is short-term profits that make the balance sheets look good.

Sufficient intellectual capacity is not needed where the pressure to conform and obey in organisations and environments (where people look out for No 1 and get what they can so they can get out) will suffice. As long as the mental paradigm exists - that war is a business like any other, and money and profit can be made out of it as long you throw as little money and resources of your own to sustain that business - the only intellectual capacity needed to keep that going is a low-level one that operates on autopilot.

BTW, good to see B back and hoping he's much better.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 15 2017 20:44 utc | 14


Yes, it seems the US drug problem is caused by pharma marketing and advertising which is restricted in Europe.

Obviously marketing Heroin like that would make it even worse.

You have to take an addict off the market by controlled prescription of the stuff he/she craves. A lot of industries are fuelled by addicts from prostitution to prisons.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2017 21:31 utc | 15

Perimetr | Sep 15, 2017 12:39:43 PM | 7

Do you really believe that the CIA are so competent that they could keep their involvement in the Afghan drug trade secret for fifteen, yes fifteen, years? They couldn't even keep secret the "secret" arming of Al Qaeda in Syria. Since 11 September, 2001, the CIA have had no reason because whenever they want to do something, however stupid that something may be, the morons in Congress just hand them the money. Or are you suggesting that only the CIA could organise the Afghan drug trade?

BTW, I think you grossly overstate the size of the heroin trade. The drug trade overall is worth $426 billion to $652 billion dollars. Heroin as a proportion of that overall trade is somewhere between 10% and 25%, so the overall value of the heroin trade is somewhere between $42 billion and $163 billion. Bad enough but not on the scale you suggest.

As for the links, the first two I read relied on nothing more than conjecture. No evidence beyond the CIA did in the past so they're doing it now. For example:

Experience in Indochina and Central America suggests that CIA, the principal paymaster for U.S.-backed Afghan warlords, may be more deeply involved in the drug trade than we yet know.

I don't doubt that the CIA was involved in the drug trade in the past but that was to raise money to fund operations in Indo-china and the Contras in Nicaragua but the world changed, as I have said previously, on 11 September, 2001 and the CIA no longer needs to secure alternate funding for any of its projects. Just as I don't doubt that the CIA like most of the other government agencies has turned a blind eye to opium production in Afghanistan at various times but that is not the same as controlling the drug trade or organising it.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 15 2017 21:39 utc | 16

Another thread, another post by Ghostship trying to deny CIA involvement in the Afghan opium supply while calling for the legalization of illicit heroin use.

Afghanistan, for over a decade, has been producing 10's of THOUSANDS of TONS more opium than the entire world illegal uses EVERY YEAR!

Where has it all gone?

The explosion of prescription opiates such as oxycodone (which uses the natural opiate codeine) provides proof that the Afghan opiates have already been made quasi-legal...

The MIC and CIA has been running interference for big oil and big pharma for a very long time.

Posted by: insanity | Sep 15 2017 21:42 utc | 17

Posted by: Lea | Sep 15, 2017 3:42:51 PM | 13

How certain are you that addiction to opioids ruins one's life?

I'm not advocating for opioids, or addiction. Nor am I saying you're wrong, but I've met people who were leading useful and above-average productive lives and supporting an easily affordable opioid habit. How certain are you that every single addict is doomed to an ugly and shameful death?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 15 2017 21:58 utc | 18

One more

The above reminds me of the days war in Nam there was a lot of pure China White Heroin around and it was cheap.
Sadly were back in those days.

Thanks b and welcome back

Posted by: jo6pac | Sep 15 2017 22:15 utc | 20

Lea | Sep 15, 2017 3:42:51 PM | 13

Only four percent of the opium products consumed in the United States in 2016 originated in Afghanistan. The overwhelming majority originated in Mexico and Columbia.

Portman, it turns out, has done his homework. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Drug Threat Assessment of 2015 says that Mexico is the primary supplier of heroin to the United States.

"Southeast Asia was once the dominant supplier of heroin in the United States, but Southeast Asian heroin is now rarely detected in U.S. markets," the report state. "Mexico and, to a lesser extent, Colombia dominate the U.S. heroin market, because of their proximity, established transportation and distribution infrastructure, and ability to satisfy U.S. heroin demand."


The National Drug Threat report notes that Colombian gangs were traditionally the suppliers of wholesale cocaine and heroin to Mexican and Dominican groups. But cartels in Mexico are ramping up their roles on the supply side -- opium production in Mexico increased by 50 percent in 2014.

Mexican labs also produce fentanyl, a synthetic painkiller that is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is sometimes mixed with heroin or substituted for heroin, and the DEA reports more than 700 overdoses attributed to fentanyl between late 2013 and early 2015.

Drugs get past the U.S. borders mostly "by land, not by sea," said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, in the same March 8 hearing with Portman. And a 2015 Washington Post series on the surge of heroin puts the border detection rate at a scant 1.5 percent.

You are aware that Portugal decriminalised the possession of small quantities of any drug in 2001. Both Spain and Italy have since done the same. The next step should be to crash the drug trade by switching to a state monopoly on drug sales so that the drug dealers can make no profits and no-one has any incentive to increase the number of users.

The current approach to stopping the drug trade has been around for more than fifty years and it seems to have had no impact, so it's time to try something new.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 15 2017 22:22 utc | 21

Globalization is about the control of the use of resources via control of governments, resources and trade routes. The book “A Century of War, Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order” by William Engdahl details this process.

Back in 2002 I attended a lecture at Oregon State University by a Reed College professor who had just becoming the new Minister of Education for Afghanistan. He detailed the reason for the Afghanistan war as pipeline geopolitics related to the TAPI pipeline from Turkmenistan. This article elaborates on the lecture on pipeline geopolitics in relation to the Afghanistan war and provides the background games played to stop the Russian and Chinese influence in Central Asia:

The failure to keep the Afghanistan “Indians” on the reservation has prevented the TAPI pipeline from being completed. Meanwhile the Western powers have prevented the completion of the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline resulting in energy shortages in Pakistan and India. India is currently facing an energy shortage and has idle gas fired electrical generation plants but no natural gas due to this geopolitical game:

For the best documentation on the political aspects of the games played to counter Russia in Afghanistan see the book “Fool’s Errand” by Scott Horton.

Sadly, the only effective organization I have seen for countering opium production in Afghanistan has been the Agha Khan Foundation for the Ismalite people of Central Asia. For an introduction on the CIA-DoD involvement drug trade for geopolitical goals see:

According to the UN report opium profits from production in Afghanistan is about 68 billion/year (2011). The report shows that Iran has been doing the most to combat this drug trade. In contrast, our friendly Albanian gangs (KLA) refine the brown sugar heroin under the watchful eyes of the NATO military in Kosovo and Albania.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 15 2017 22:29 utc | 22

>>>> insanity | Sep 15, 2017 5:42:14 PM | 17

Afghanistan, for over a decade, has been producing 10's of THOUSANDS of TONS more opium than the entire world illegal uses EVERY YEAR!

Where has it all gone?

Perhaps it was never there in the first place, moron.

Did you actually bother to read the quote in your comment on the previous thread?
>>>> insanity | Sep 13, 2017 7:54:57 PM | 48

"the fact that, since 2006, much more opium has been produced in Afghanistan than is consumed in the world at-large. The report confirms that there is now an unaccounted stockpile of 12,000 tons of Afghan opium - enough to satisfy more than two years of world heroin demand."

So that's 12,000 tons over 11 years which averages out at just over a thousand tons per year. Hardly the "10's of THOUSANDS of TONS...EVERY YEAR" you're shouting about. Perhaps you should stop shouting and STFU for a change.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 15 2017 22:41 utc | 23

It's all part of their game. The masters of the universe had a paper out of the Atlantic Council written in the late 80's . The devised a plan to eliminate sovereignty of nations in Africa , and the ME to have failed states they devised it to counter the Chinese ascendency . Then it was revised by the CFR . The ME and Africa plus Eurasia are important hubs to the OBOR. Afghanistan is smack dab in the middle. Hence it is not a failed program at all it is all going to plan. Since Bubba Clinton to today how many failed states are around in Northern Africa ,ME and South America.. Most journo's and analyst keep pointing to the failed military operations of the masters of the universe. If one reads these aforementioned papers one would conclude that they r achieving exactly what they wanted. It helps Israel it helps multinational corp[orations and it allows the Military industrial complex reason d'être . Evil breeds evil.

Posted by: falcemartello | Sep 16 2017 0:19 utc | 24


Poppy production -- up
Military industrial (congressional) complex -- shares up, inventory down.
Chinese -- blocked (sort of)
Iran -- encircled
Russia -- flanked
Pakistan -- corrupted
(ex) Generals -- running the DC Whitehouse
Grunts -- employment up
UN -- neuted

KPI's read like 'success' in many regards imo.

Posted by: x | Sep 16 2017 0:47 utc | 25

Posted by: falcemartello | Sep 15, 2017 8:19:13 PM | 24
I agree, the goal is failed states in Eurasia as far as the eye can see to rape and pillage literally and economically and foremost to prevent the growth of the Chinese and Russian world vision.
They are laying the groundwork for failed states in the EU as well with the waves of unregulated, undocumented, under educated immigrants.
The flood of heroin into the US is part of the same plan IMO. Create financial, legal, political chaos with 4 million and rising heroin addicts needing care and causing crime rates to soar, thereby bankrupt states, facilitating rigged elections and then when chaos reigns supreme, implement the UN 2050 plan. You must remember is a worldwide program and they are putting it in place legally and politically as we speak.
What will stop this plan, IMO China and Russia; they are the only ones that can. Frankly I think they will succeed, things will get a lot worse before they get better and it is a 50/50 chance the US will be in ruins when it is done. Could be wrong, but Edgar Casey shared my opinion:).

Posted by: frances | Sep 16 2017 1:01 utc | 26

Each of these campaigns will repeat the mistakes that previous ones made and will have the same outcome.
The leaders of the US "deep state" or "shadow government" are not insane, so these campaigns are not mistakes. They are repeated because they are successful in that weapons are sold and careers are advanced.

Posted by: William Rood | Sep 16 2017 1:03 utc | 27

Ghostship @ 16

Perhaps we need to cast a wider net. Yes, the CIA criminals may no longer need black ops funding from the drug trade. The CIA may still be involved for the purpose of creating chaos via cut-outs, especially in Iran, and the CIS states.

As I pointed out yesterday, the CIA is only a part of the alphabet soup of gangster operations funded by US taxpayer dollars. Here is a more inclusive accounting:

When General Smidley Butler stated "War is a racket" he could not imagine the current extent of the government racket.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 16 2017 1:39 utc | 28

@ nonsense factory #9
Yes, good history, but two minor corrections.
1. The new Silk Road was not a Hillary invention, it has its basis previously in the Senate. The Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999 amended the Foreign Assistance Act of 1960 and was enacted as part of the FY 2000 Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act. Hillary promoted the New Silk Road, and USAID under her tenure pumped taxpayer dollars into the -stans to train people to perform under US corporate contracts, with the Chamber of Commerce in on it. How could there be a US New Silk Road into Central Asia (-stans) when the only access was through enemy Iran and/or undependable ally Pakistan? The geniuses in Washington never bothered with that question.
2. Obama's troop surge wasn't 30,000 as he broadcast, it was 70,000, from about 30K in Jan 2009 to >100K in 2010.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2017 1:52 utc | 29

There is no failure in Afghanistan. Everything going according to plan. Please, we don't want to scare off the investors.

Posted by: Count de Monet | Sep 16 2017 1:56 utc | 30

After sixteen years of US "security" efforts, it's not safe to travel in Afghanistan. From the SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) report, July 2017:

Over the past year, however, as security incidents have multiplied, SIGAR has observed that Embassy Kabul has increasingly restricted chief-of-mission personnel travel to mostly inside the international zone in Kabul. Moreover, the Embassy has shown reluctance to authorize SIGAR personnel to travel anywhere that chief-of-mission personnel cannot normally travel. This reluctance has extended to cases where SIGAR has obtained U.S. military escorts to inspect locations where U.S. military personnel routinely operate and which the U.S. military has requested SIGAR to visit. . . here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2017 2:05 utc | 31

As b said, the local police forces (ALP) have not worked out (corruption), also the Afghan Army in the past (I don't have current info) has largely consisted of Tajiks from the north fighting against Pashtuns in the south. Not good. This goes back to the Northern Alliance days when they were supported by the US (and India) against the Taliban supported by Pakistan. That basic political difference has never been addressed, and it won't be solved by military means.
The new US strategy is publicized as sending a few thousand troops, who will mostly stay behind the wire to avoid danger, but under cover the main strategy appears to be to deliver more ordnance (bombs) on districts over-run by the Taliban as soon as their presence is detected in districts, army bases etc. That means more civilian deaths and less (not more) progress.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2017 2:20 utc | 32

Ghostship @ 16

Looks like china is getting even for all the earlier CIA et al. drug running by releasing synthetic drugs such as Fentanyl and its derivatives. The late Chambers Johnson called this blow-back in his trilogy that you have probable read.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 16 2017 5:58 utc | 33

Stupidity or profit-seeking malice? Is it too much to ask for both?

"Zen Master: What is 'Occam’s Razor?'

Engineer: His first razor is that, when trying to explain something, the simplest possible hypothesis should have precedence.

Zen Master: Occam has more than one razor?

Engineer: His second razor is to never assume deliberate intent when stupidity suffices as an explanation. His third razor is to never assume stupidity when apparently ‘stupid’ behavior will make the person who is acting ‘stupid’ a lot of money. Oh, I made the last two up.

Zen Master: Occam would have been proud.
(From the video series “Nymphomaniac Engineer in Zentopia,” mid-22nd century Earth)"

From "Neoliberal Economists Must Die!" Ballacourage Books, 2015.

Posted by: TG | Sep 16 2017 6:20 utc | 34


It depends how your brain is wired and how clean the stuff is you take. As with alcohol you find out when it is too late.

You have to take any addictive stuff from the free market if you don't want a large part of consumers have severe life and health problems.

Alcohol is too easy to produce and too embedded in Western culture for that,
Death by alcohol surpasses that by any illegal drug.

An estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women8) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The first is tobacco, and the second is poor diet and physical inactivity. In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities).

Numbers of death by drugs follow alcohol

Drugs Involved in U.S. Overdose Deaths - Among the more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with over 20,000 overdose deaths.

Alcohol use is cultural.

I guess the use of pain killers to get through life has a large cultural component, too.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2017 9:23 utc | 35

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 15, 2017 5:58:29 PM | 18

THow certain are you that addiction to opioids ruins one's life?
I'm not advocating for opioids, or addiction. Nor am I saying you're wrong, but I've met people who were leading useful and above-average productive lives and supporting an easily affordable opioid habit.

Yes, yes, barring happy raped children, there are examples of just about everything under the sun. But, if we're talking about the vast majority, which we should, we get situations like the one described in B's link, which he posted only some days ago.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 15, 2017 6:22:06 PM | 21

You are aware that Portugal decriminalised the possession of small quantities of any drug in 2001.

You are aware that in Portugal, drugs are not considered a criminal, but a psychatric disorder issue? When you get caught in Portugal, you are sent into a 5-year process of being harassed by well-meaning doctors who won't let go of you until you stop. Which seems like a most excellent deterrent.

Posted by: Lea | Sep 16 2017 9:55 utc | 36

Being a full on MIC; the U.S. economy depends on forever war.
Afghanistan is complex as are U.S. intentions there. Trillions of dollars worth of rare earths, precious metals, precious and semi-precious gemstones, copper (already being mined by China), and a geo-strategic location.
Russia's president Putin has warned Trump, that if he arms Ukraine, he'll arm the Taliban.
When U.S. body bags start coming home; I think there will be a major reconsideration of Afghanistan, IMO.
My other POV is that the U.S. is unconcerned with the body count of U.S. soldiers; as I think history shows...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 16 2017 10:20 utc | 37

37 thanks for that link - it is interesting

Tillerson's new speech isn't just another attempt to play the Russia card. The State Secretary has precisely pointed out where the US contingency strikes will take place — on the Taliban movement. If the Taliban get hit from the south, they will logically retreat up north, to the borders of our Central North Asian partners.

The experts also assume that the US will deliberately push the radicals out to Western China.

Actually what Putin said was that if the US arms Ukraine, Donetsk and Lugansk republics might send weapons to US enemies in conflict zones.

Above quote suggests that US strategy will force China and Russia to fight the Taliban.

The Pakistan part is interesting.
Afghan Taliban "will support Pakistan against foreign agression"

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2017 10:56 utc | 38

V. Arnold, there's no need for using link shorteners. The syntax for creating an html link is to the right of the name, email, URL section of the comment box. You can practice on this test page.

Link shorteners deprive the user of 1. his/her rights to decide to visit a site or not 2. his/her privacy 3. put the user at risk of malware. I'm sure you don't want to do that, so please post full URLs, ideally as in a href= syntax.

Posted by: Uncoy | Sep 16 2017 11:00 utc | 39

the view from India - with a very nice Trump cartoon

These words are stronger than any used in the past by US presidents. It remains to be seen what mix of options the Trump administration would use to force Pakistan to cooperate. These could range from a major reduction in bilateral-multilateral aid to conducting enhanced drone strikes in Pakistan, like the one on Taliban chief Mullah Mansur in May 2016, to declaring Pakistan a terrorist state. The expected backlash from Pakistan, like closing the Ground Lines of Communications (GLOCs), would be something the US would have to factor in and develop alternatives to supply its troops in Afghanistan.

President Trump's reference to further developing a strategic partnership with India and asking India to provide additional economic assistance and development to Afghanistan would raise Pakistan's hackles even more.

However, in a bizarre manner, Trump linked this to India making 'billions of dollars in trade with the United States'. Linking Afghanistan to US-India trade is a puzzle that will keep pundits preoccupied. Both Presidents Bush and Obama failed in getting Pakistan to cooperate: they depended on Pakistan's help to defeat the Taliban while Pakistan duplicitously continued to bankroll the Taliban with American funds. Trump will fail too unless he is able to cut or at least severely damage the umbilical cord between the Taliban and Pakistan. His speech highlights that the US realises the Pakistan dilemma. The question is whether he can translate the tough words into action.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2017 11:11 utc | 41

Uncoy | Sep 16, 2017 7:00:34 AM | 39

I'm sure you're well intentioned, however; I'm an old fart and your test page might as well have been in Hindi. Which is to say I have no idea; but I did know my link would have busted the page width.
Thanks any way...
Oh, and I've used Tiny URL for more than a decade with no problems...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 16 2017 11:12 utc | 42

I wonder if the build-up of US troops in Afghanistan is so they can push west into Iran?

Posted by: Michael McNulty | Sep 16 2017 11:22 utc | 43

Michael McNulty | Sep 16, 2017 7:22:50 AM | 43

That's an interesting possibility; but not in the present reality on the ground.
The U.S. would have nobody watching their back; at least nobody they could trust.
Effectively the U.S. is an isolated entity, operating in a hostile environment; very vulnerable. IMO.
Remember, Afghanistan is, historically, the graveyard of empires.
As true today as ever, IMO.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 16 2017 12:36 utc | 44

The latest Orwellian perpetual war started in 1914 and going strong. Afghanistan is just one battlefield.

Posted by: Kalen | Sep 16 2017 13:40 utc | 45

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 16, 2017 8:36:45 AM | 44

The US is officially supporting the groups Russia, India and Iran support against the groups Pakistan supports.

They can try to play off India against Pakistan and China but not India against Iran or Pakistan against Iran.
The Taleban are de facto out of the terrorist category as viewed by most states including the US, presumably that is the reason there is suddenly ISIS in Afghanistan.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2017 13:43 utc | 46

The Army take (that appeared in a paper for the local military) is that the Afghan Army is showing some recent success because they switchd from defensive to offensive.

After 16 years, it makes you wonder why it took so long and how many have been involved in the mismanagement, waste, corruption, fraud, etc. The Racket, as Smedley Butler called it continues. Even as a child in the 60s, I wondered how the war in VietNam kept going if we were dropping thousands of tons of bombs on the enemy every day.

Posted by: Curtis | Sep 16 2017 13:47 utc | 47

somebody | Sep 16, 2017 9:43:57 AM | 46

WTF? Are you mad? I said nothing of the sort!
Just sayin has you nailed!
Go away!
b should ban you as an insane troll...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 16 2017 14:00 utc | 48

I said that the US cannot play India off against Iran. I did not say you were saying that.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2017 14:21 utc | 49

somebody | Sep 16, 2017 10:21:05 AM | 49

You're a blithering idiot!
Go away!
You obfuscate ad infinitum...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 16 2017 14:29 utc | 50

Is it madness or the plan? Who cares if it doesn't "work". It give the generals something to do and earn rank and fancy ribbons. It keeps the budgets expanding. It is a win for the pentagon. They just need to make sure not too many troops die and they are a lot better at perception management than in the Vietnam days.... and hey... look at that. They did learn something.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Sep 16 2017 14:46 utc | 51

Uncoy said #39 shorteners deprive the user of 1. his/her rights to decide to visit a site or not 2. his/her privacy 3. put the user at risk of malware. I'm sure you don't want to do that, so please post full URLs, ideally as in a href= syntax...

To which V. Arnold #42 retorted ...Oh, and I've used Tiny URL for more than a decade with no problems...

@ V. Arnold. It's not about you. It's about us. Why would you choose to compromise this website and its users, when it's not just more hygienic but also a lot simpler not to?

Posted by: Petra | Sep 16 2017 14:46 utc | 52

@ V. Arnold
You are dead wrong with your personal attacks.
somebody has been here for years making many contributions to moa.
You have not. So stop it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2017 14:53 utc | 53

ok. let me explain

Trump has recently shifted US partnership from Pakistan to India - telling India to do more in Afghanistan.

Trump has stamped his transactional approach to foreign policy by threatening to cut US aid to Pakistan. “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” Trump said. He has called on India to play a greater role in Afghanistan, ignoring Pakistani paranoia about New Delhi’s growing influence on its western border. This opens up opportunities for India to increase its footprint in Afghanistan. But Indians should not view this invitation as evidence that Trump loves them. On the contrary, India is expected to support US efforts out of gratitude: “India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan.”

Leaders in New Delhi may draw satisfaction from the hard line Trump has taken on Pakistan, but they cannot ignore the fact that despite years of trying to become America’s partner in its own right, India has again been dragged back into a triangular relationship with Pakistan. India’s importance to Washington would be judged by how effective or ineffective it is in serving US interest in Pakistan and Afghanistan. India cannot forget either the elephant in the room in American policy calculations – Pakistan’s possession of 120 or so nuclear warheads and the ever present threat from Islamic militants.

This "new" alliance might be used against Pakistan or China but not against Iran.

And whilst ISIS could be a tool in Afghanistan to fight the Taleban or Iran, it is a threat for India, China, Russia and Pakistan, too. And the US officially fight them.

Plus all of Afghanistan neighbors including Afghanistan are slowly but surely getting organized in the SCO.

As you said, the US is isolated in Afghanistan, but not so much militarily (supply lines go through Pakistan and Russia, the Kabul "puppet" government is supported by the US, Russia, Iran, India, China but considers itself in a proxy war with Pakistan, a war they are supported in by the US.

Politically the Shanghai Cooperation Council is slowly but surely uniting Afghanistan's neighbours on a solution.

Last link is from Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

Realpolitik though now dictates that any solution in the dramatic Afghan chessboard for what, on the US side, translates into a 16-year old war, will have to involve China, Russia, India, Iran and Pakistan.

So these are the high-level stakes in Afghanistan, with 9/11 a distant memory; a Pentagon solution, or an all-Asian solution.

So, no, Iran is not the issue for the US in Afghanistan. It is Pakistan and - backing Pakistan - China.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2017 15:18 utc | 54


Fault Lines - This is Taliban Country.
Al Jazeera English
Published on May 11, 2014

Posted by: @Madderhatter67 | Sep 16 2017 16:12 utc | 55

somebody@46 - "...The Taleban are de facto out of the terrorist category as viewed by most states including the US, presumably that is the reason there is suddenly ISIS in Afghanistan..."

The Taleban are Saudi Wahhabized Pashtun. The US self-serving 'terrorist' designation (or not, as the case today) is meaningless. Splitting hairs about what 'terrorist' means - or should mean - is pointless. Nobody wants these guys running their country. The only states that even recognized Taleban-ruled Afghanistan were Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. That alone tells me enough about where the Taleban came from and whose interests they serve. The Taleban is self-funding today - they obey their ideological masters but don't need state financial sponsors. That is, except for their prep schools...

The Saudi Wahhabi madrassas and mosques set up in Pakistan by the Saudis are still churning out religious zealots and psychopaths today like they did 20 years ago. Whether future Pashtun graduates choose a different name than Taliban, they are still going to be religious zealots and psychopaths. Non-Pashtun graduates are still going to be religious zealots and psychopaths whether they call themselves TTP, al Qaeda, ISIS or anything else.

The latest incarnation - ISIS-K or ISIS Khorasan Group - is a further expansion of the Saudi Wahhabi Death Cult. TTP defections to ISIS-K were easy because TTP are already Sauid Wahhabized psychopaths. Eliminate all al Qaeda, ISIS and Taleban in Afghanistan and Pakistan today, and several new groups will materialize tomorrow. The Saudis knew that would happen - that's why they built the madrassas and mosques to begin with. The scheme has always been to grow a Sunni army surrounding Iran 1) loyal to the edicts of Wahhabi leaders and al Saud royalty, and 2) with a fanatical desire to kill Shia, especially in Iran.

The US let this happen on purpose (and continues to let it happen) because of the long-time obsession with taking over Iran with a puppet government again. The US will continue its Forever War© playing Whack-a-mole with the Taleban and 'terrorists' in Afghanistan, but is apparently or intentionally blind to the source. The US is ever so careful to treat Wahhabism as a legitimate Sunni religious sect when it is - in fact - a Saudi-led psychopathic indoctrination cult and control tool for the Saudi Wahhabi-led Sunni armies that are being created to destroy Iran and the Shia. Saudi Wahhabism is religious fascism - it and it's clerics should be banned anywhere outside of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Wahhabism don't 'teach' terrorism, they just get their disenfranchised Sunni adherents 99% of the way there.

ISIS as a label for a militant group may have 'suddenly appeared' in Afghanistan, but the Saudi Wahhabi religious zealots that constitute that group were indoctrinated years ago.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Sep 16 2017 16:51 utc | 56

Posted by: Lea | Sep 16, 2017 5:55:35 AM | 36
(Opioids & ruined lives)

Thanks for the response to my #18. I am under the impression that harm from drug addiction is directly related to the poverty of the addict.
i.e. People with limited funds can't afford drugs PLUS the essentials of Life. And because drug expenditure is a No 1 priority, the essentials are often sacrificed.

The reason I posed the question is that the people I knew who had a drug habit...
1. Were in apparent good health.
2. Didn't have any obvious personality problems.
3. Weren't short of money.
4. Said they weren't addicted.(???)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 16 2017 17:13 utc | 57

SCO summit 2017

Putin said it was obvious that a military solution to the Afghan conflict was not feasible, adding that Russia and the other SCO members back a political solution based on agreements between the Afghan government and the Taliban insurgency.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2017 17:56 utc | 58

The Saker has written what I believe to be his best work to-date that tangentially touches upon Afghanistan. Yes, it's a long read, but not too long, and his argument is ironclad, IMO. I think b capable of writing something similar; and being German, I'm curious as to his interpretation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2017 18:32 utc | 59

PavewayIV @56--

I must agree completely with what seems to be an exasperated tirade you typed. I think you'd agree with The Saker's newest item and perhaps add something to it.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2017 18:37 utc | 60

@ V. Arnold
You are dead wrong with your personal attacks.
somebody has been here for years making many contributions to moa.
You have not. So stop it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16, 2017 10:53:59 AM | 53

"somebody has been here for years making many obfuscatory, dishonest and often incomprehensible contributions to moa.

Then when people get annoyed with his nonsense he periodically decides to behave for a while before reverting back to the obfuscatory, dishonest and often incomprehensible contributions which appear to be his preferred mode of commenting"

Fixed it for ya.

You have not.

Well, it is true that v.arnold has not made nearly as many obfuscatory, dishonest and often incomprehensible contributions as the dishonest Mr "Somebody", so at least you got one thing right

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Sep 16 2017 18:46 utc | 61

[Mr Somebody] . . . You're a blithering idiot!
Go away!
You obfuscate ad infinitum...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 16, 2017 10:29:42 AM | 50

Very hard not to agree with V.Arnold here.

Not only does the person in question "obfuscate ad infinitum" he actually outright lies about 40% of the time.

Whenever our Mr "Somebody" starts link dumping it is usually an attempt to disguise the fact that he's lying

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Sep 16 2017 18:50 utc | 62

I see that links to The Saker's site get shunted into the spam bin, which is a shame. Here's what I wrote without the link, making my comment to PavewayIV intelligible:

The Saker has written what I believe to be his best work to-date that tangentially touches upon Afghanistan. Yes, it's a long read, but not too long, and his argument is ironclad, IMO. I think b capable of writing something similar; and being German, I'm curious as to his interpretation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2017 18:56 utc | 63

Money for people in Florida and Texas? Tokens. Money to arm and train terrorists? Hell yes!!!

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Sep 16 2017 19:55 utc | 64

re: somebody: "Trump has recently shifted US partnership from Pakistan to India"
MK Bhadrakumar, the Indian pundit, a former diplomat, comments on the relationship between India and the US puppet government in Afghanistan. (quote)
India should not wade into Afghan war
Prudence demands that the security and foreign-policy establishment takes with the utmost seriousness the ‘warning’ issued by the Taliban against supplying Indian weaponry to the Afghan armed forces. The strongly-worded Taliban statement said,

Providing Kabul’s administration with deadly weapons cannot be interpreted as friendship with the people of our country but as support for a foreign-backed criminal group and clear hostility towards our people. The Islamic Emirate condemns this action with the strongest of terms. Such acts will create distrust between the people of both countries and become a reason for further deterioration of relationship.

Interestingly, the statement sought reciprocal goodwill, calling attention to the Taliban’s scrupulous policy not to interfere in India’s affairs. (Daily Times)
Besides, we need to factor in what the Taliban statement pointed out – namely, that they are not threatening India. To be sure, unless Taliban pose a threat to India’s internal security, there is no conceivable reason for us to take sides in the Afghan war.
On the other hand, if we start supplying weapons to the Afghan forces fighting the Taliban, there will be consequences. Make no mistake, Taliban will retaliate.
Again, India-Pakistan tensions will cascade if Afghanistan becomes a theatre of turf war. Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan are no less legitimate and non-negotiable than India’s in Nepal. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2017 20:08 utc | 65

It is not correct to say that the British got nothing from their Afghan wars in the 19th century. While the first attempt was a bit of a disaster the second attempt a few years later resulted in a total victory for the Brits, with the Afghan emir giving them all they wanted in the treaty of Gandamak in 1879.

Posted by: Bill | Sep 16 2017 20:57 utc | 66

The USA will suffer a catastrophic attack in Afghanistan. It will be so bad and horrible that it will cause a debacle.

Posted by: Fernando Arauxo | Sep 16 2017 21:48 utc | 67

@ Bill #65
Now, the rest of the story.
..quoted from International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, p. 15

The second British invasion in 1879 followed a similar scenario. Initially, the British army expedition encountered minimal local resistance, and by January 1879 the Afghan cities of Jalalabad and Qandahar were under military control. On February 20, 1879, Afghan emir Sher Ali Khan died. His son and heir Yakub capitulated by signing the Treaty of Gandamak with British colonial powers, marking the end of Afghan independence. The British mission was established in Kabul.

The military catastrophe during its first invasion of Afghanistan was not instructive to the British, who in the second invasion also ignored swelling popular resentment and animosity all through the country. In September 1879, an uprising in Kabul caught the colonial occupiers by surprise as protesters ravaged British residences, and Louis Cavagnari, the head of the British mission, was killed. The British recaptured Kabul in October 1879, but even brutal reprisals against opponents did not restraint what was then also referred to as a jihad, as growing numbers of Pushtun and Tajik guerillas attacked the colonial army. There was, however, no single leader to unite the insurgents. Abdurrahman Khan, the grandson of emir Dost Muhammad, appeared in the north of Afghanistan after 11 years of exile in Russian Turkestan, threatening to push the British out of Kabul. His challenger, Ayub Khan, an influential ruler of the western province of Herat, launched an offensive on Qandahar and inflicted a complete defeat on the British near the Afghan village of Maywand in July 1880. Though the British fared better in subsequent military engagements with the Afghan insurgents, the popular uprising was not quelled by the British. In effect, through mobilizing military opposition, both khans seized the popular wave of anti-British sentiment to win the Afghan crown after it became clear that the British were unable to fight the guerilla war in Afghanistan. In 1881, British Queen Victoria officially recognized Abdurrahman Khan as emir of Kabul and withdrew British forces to India, while Ayub Khan went into exile after a series of military defeats. Although the British installed a patron in 1881, both British military interventions in Afghanistan suffered a similar fate, defeated by grassroots guerilla resistance rather than regular armies. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2017 21:49 utc | 68

@ Paveway IV 56

"The Saudi Wahhabi madrassas and mosques set up in Pakistan by the Saudis are still churning out religious zealots and psychopaths today like they did 20 years ago."

This is inarguably true, and sadly several groups are eager to see them continue, because they are such fanatical, mindless followers of the orders they are given by whoever is using them at the moment, they can be used by nearly anybody against nearly anybody, so long as unpredictability and mindless chaos are acceptable. I mean, you have Wahabis fighting FOR the great satan (US) and Israel against Arab muslims, for crying out loud.

My question is what is the strategy or goal of Russia in deepening ties with Pakistan, knowing as mentioned above they have been a staunch supporter of the Taliban and Wahabiism in general? I realize some of this has been the Paki intelligence services waging their own proxy war with Indian influence in Afghanistan, trying to prevent precisely what Trump is now advocating. But is the Paki government, and intelligence services, pro Wahabi or just using the tools at hand? And obviously Russia and China know that Pakistan and Iran will be necessary corridors for BRI, and thus both are trying to maintain and strengthen ties. But is Russia in particular angling to try to get the Saudis out of Pakistan, much as they did in Chechnya? Sorry if stupid questions, but Russia and China both tend to play the long game, and Russia has also shown reluctance to try to arm and use Wahabi crazies of any sort, even when they are "the enemy of their enemy" from time to time, in contrast to the US. It makes me wonder....

Posted by: J Swift | Sep 16 2017 21:55 utc | 69

@ Fernando Arauxo #66
Catastrophic attacks on US troops do not negatively affect US leaders, they only use such events to proclaim their righteousness and the need to redouble their efforts against "terrorists" (US enemies). .. It's akin to the human sacrifices beloved by the Aztecs.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2017 21:57 utc | 70

Excellent analysis. It reminds me of Vietnam and the RF/PF ("Regional Forces" / "Provincial Forces") that the U.S. military trained to police -- i.e., intimidate and enrage -- their local peasant countrymen so that U.S. Army and Marine Corps grunts (along with Brown Water Navy river rats like me) didn't have to get shot, maimed, and/or killed doing the dirty job ourselves. With typical disdain for this pitiful product of our own "training" we called these RF/PF forces "Ruff Puffs." No doubt about it: "Same shit, different day." Then as now, the U.S. military did/does/will do "Counter Insurgency" the old-fashioned way: "Grab 'em by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow." I even wrote a poem about this sort of Groundhog Day thing ten years ago:

Let's Already Do It Again

As I like to say (based on my own experiences in Southeast Asia forty-plus years ago: You can always tell when the U.S. military has lost another war, the minute they start calling it "long," or the first time they start demanding "more" (which they usually start demanding before they even start. Parkinson's Law meets The Peter Principle -- on steroids.

Posted by: Michael Murry | Sep 16 2017 22:15 utc | 71

somebody @58 doubles down on his nonsense @54.

PavewayIV attempted to correct the misleading Taliban info but this bit is just as misleading:

Iran is not the issue for the US in Afghanistan. It is Pakistan and - backing Pakistan - China.

It should be clear by now that the FOREVER WAR (PavewayIV's apt term for GWOT+) is a ruse and that "the issue" for the US in Afghanistan is Zionist hegemonic NWO ambitions. That is why US:

>> is still in Afghanistan;

>> backed the Israeli-Saudi proxy war on Syria;

>> maintains 600+ bases around the world and spends nearly a trillion dollars on the military each year;

>> engages in regime-change / color revolutions;

>> employs massive propaganda;

>> and more

Just Sayin' is right to describe somebody's contributions as "obfuscatory, dishonest and often incomprehensible" and to view Somebody as a "snake" because somebody's dishonesty is both sly and consistent.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2017 22:19 utc | 72

@67 Don, thats only one interpretation of many, eg wikipedias take is quite different imv from the 'international encylcopedia of revolution and protest' which omits the ceding of lands to the Brits and the politcal success of keeping the Russian mission out amongst several other differences.

Posted by: Bill | Sep 16 2017 22:40 utc | 73


Could be that Pakistan is not what you suppose it is.

Many in Pakistan’s significant Shi’ite population (around 15 percent of the country) occupy high civil and military positions. Caught up in the tensions between Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite-majority neighbor Iran, they are likely to become far more vocal should Riyadh ever attempt to impose restrictions on Qatari/Iranian devotees’ internationally recognized “right to worship” at Islam’s two holiest places.

Pakistan is ironically considered a nation already embroiled in disputes with neighboring Afghanistan and India, both of which accuse Pakistan itself of offering support to hardline Salafist militant groups, including the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba. More importantly, Pakistan’s progressive intellectuals have always considered their nation-state as a South Asian Muslim country - even before its formal creation - thanks to its historical ties with Iran and Turkey. For this same reason, Pakistan has been unwilling to take sides with Saudi Arabia in Yemen due to the Riyadh-led military coalition has launched its campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

One of Pakistan’s closest allies, Turkey, faces a similar complicated dilemma because of its close ties with Doha and Riyadh. On June 7, 2017, Turkey’s parliament endorsed the deployment of Turkish troops in Qatar—not only as military support but also as a humanitarian gesture to supply essential goods and services. Ankara has remained steadfast in its defense of Doha throughout the three-month Qatar crisis.

Pakistan, too, has been striving to broaden its portfolio of alliances and economic opportunities. The foremost is the establishment of the China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC), and more recently, Qatar’s launch (as the Gulf blockade continues) of a new direct route between the country’s Hamad Port and Pakistan’s Port of Karachi.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2017 23:09 utc | 74

73 plus

Pentagon thinks China will set up military base in Pakistan

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2017 23:36 utc | 75

more on a Pakistan-Chinese defense partnership

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2017 23:39 utc | 76

Indeed, more Epic Winning ahead for the US in Afghanistan:

Text for link (not the URL)

Posted by: HD | Sep 17 2017 0:22 utc | 77

Could have sworn I hit Preview. Apologies. Here is the link to the Plan for Epic Winning:

Posted by: HD | Sep 17 2017 0:27 utc | 78

Just Sayin' | Sep 16, 2017 2:50:22 PM | 61

Thanks, very strange, that. So it's the time one's been here and not the quality/accuracy of the posts?
Very strange value system, no?

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 17 2017 0:32 utc | 79

Just Saying

Having just finished reading all of the posts; it seems you and I are far from the only ones unhappy with "somebody's" posting quality and accuracy.
Very strange here...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 17 2017 0:46 utc | 80

@ Michael Murry #70
Well saints preserve us, and holy moly, it's a blast from the past, Michael Murry, The Misfortune Teller -- "You Can't Do A Wrong Thing The Right Way" with a poem "Let's Already Do It Again" which I can add to my MM collection which includes "Soldier's Soldier."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 17 2017 0:50 utc | 81

@HD #77
If it's any consolation, my WTF moment with not hitting preview was worse than yours, the other day.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 17 2017 0:53 utc | 82

Pakistan is a natural China ally because they share a major enemy, India.
A bit of trivia: There are about as many Muslims in India as in Pakistan, and mostly Sunni.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 17 2017 0:59 utc | 83

@ Michael Murry
I'm interested in the "Aztec sacrifice" aspect of presidentship, whereby the sacrifices of soldiers sanctify the president's tenure. They make him seem greater. "Blood of the lambs" sort of thing. Visiting the cripples in hospital is a ceremonial part of it, being good public relations.
Have you ever written anything on this?
And it's so good to hear from you again. It gives me a greater sense of continuity to this marvelous existence.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 17 2017 1:31 utc | 84

Greetings to you, as well Don. I hope and trust that all goes well with you and yours. As always, I enjoy reading your comments.

FYI: With all the gargoyle sculpting that I do these days here in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, I pretty much restrict my own commentary to a couple of blogs: namely, The Contrary Perspective and Bracing Views, the first of these run by a 93-year-old WWII veteran living in the SF Bay Area, and the second run by retired USAF Lt. Colonel (and college professor) William J. Astore whom I believe lives on the East Coast somewhere near Cape Cod. Drop in some time and give us your opinion about ... whatever ...

Anyway, now that I know where you hang out, I'll try an drop you a poem whenever that might seem appropriate. I have so many to choose from, and the same shit keeps happening decade after decade, that I seldom feel the need to write anything else. Watching our fuck-up-and-move-up generals castrate another rookie President just seems so old and tired by now ...

As to the "Aztec sacrifice aspect of presidentship," I'll have to give that one some thought. Back in 2008, I wrote Escalating Sacrifice, but I don't know how this might fit in with your reference to the Aztecs.

At the moment, I have a request from the proprietor of the Contrary Perspectives website to write something about my metaphorical usage of Fernando Po and Plato's Allegory of the Cave in my poetry, but I'll keep your idea about Aztecs and sacrifice in mind as I proceed with that.

So good to hear from you, as well. The sense of continuity does make a person feel less isolated and alone.

Posted by: Michael Murry | Sep 17 2017 2:23 utc | 85

So saudis just go "lets take over the world where do we kick off" Next Saudi "Aghanistan!" "Aghanawho?" "Afghanistan bro you know that shitty little joint sandwiched between India Pakistan and China. We will throw a few bucks in there open a coupla schools n it will be ours"
"Cool but dude dontcha think it will be kinda hard to take over the world from even further up the asshole than we are now". "No man it'll be cool watch and learn guy, watch and learn"

It doesn't really play out does it because it depends on Pashtun being stupid bros who don't think for themselves. I couldn't help but notice someone in this thread called them mindless which is more a reflection of that person's willingness to lap up western race based bullshit than anything the about Afghanistan or the people who live there.

The taliban are successful in Afghanistan because they grew out of Afghan culture, not because of Saudi Arabia. Sure the petrodollars have helped but Pashtun have been squeezed on all sides for centuries and have held out with or without outside assistance.

Abdul Salam Zaeef former foreign minister in the Taliban government who was illegally detained by amerika and thrown into Guantanamo despite having diplomatic protection wrote a book later published in english as "My Life with the Taliban" which does a much better job of explaining why Pashtun's support the Taliban than I ever could.
He comes from a long line of clerics, whose poverty didn't distract them from their vocation and neither did any Saudi gold. The have a culture which while tolerant in many ways doesn't brook any interference from outside.
In 1947 they watched aghast as their relatives who lived an area deliniated as Pakistan by Indians, englanders, plus blow-ins from India (who claimed to share a religion yet whose actions indicated they didn't have a fucking clue) were marginalised by the millions of blow-ins. There is simply no way that most Afghans are prepared to let the same happen to them.
Amerika will stay as long as it can but Pashtun nationalism and culture will stay longer. Amerika, tied down by numerous global insurrections will do the same as every other empire - that is try and 'get by' with the least expensive occupation. The numbers of amerikan butchers will go up and down like whore's drawers but there will never be enough. In the end after everyone connected with the crazy decision to invade Afghanistan is no longer in a position of power, amerika will exit stage left.

Imagining this issue was created by Saudi is as short sighted and racist as claiming that Myanmar's rohinga division was created by the Saudis. Neither are true, they are just typical imperial divide and rule games and in the case of Afghanistan in particular, they are doomed to failure.
The smartest thing anyone could do is gtfo and leave Afghanistan alone.
Of course that is the one thing which won't happen since doing so would create the perception that amerika, it's empire and all the stupid fuckers who support it are deluded, when for the empire, perceptions are reality.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 17 2017 2:45 utc | 86

Debsisdead | Sep 16, 2017 10:45:39 PM | 85

Nice, very nice; and well concluded.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 17 2017 2:56 utc | 87

An interesting aspect of the Afghanistan war, which Obama expanded to include Pakistan, and now Trump has branded Pakistan as an enemy, is this: No Afghan government, including the present one headed by President Ashraf Ghani, has ever recognized the legitimacy of the Durand Line, the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
From Middle East Institute:

In 1893, to secure control of the strategic Khyber Pass, the British had to send diplomat Sir Mortimer Durand to negotiate an agreement to delineate the border between Afghanistan and British India. The new border, dubbed the Durand Line, divided the Pashtun tribal lands in two. Half of the Pashtun tribal region became part of British India, and the other half remained as part of Afghanistan. The boundary has since been viewed with utter contempt and resentment by Pashtuns on both sides of the line, which also cause Afghanistan to lose the province of Baluchistan, depriving the country of its historic access to the Arabian Sea. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 17 2017 3:19 utc | 88

@ Michael Murry
This from Escalating Sacrifice gets at the sacrifice angle--

Who is master? Who is slave?
Whose cold grave contains the price?
Wooden-headed stumblebum
Wants more human sacrifice

The stumblebum president wants more human sacrifice, which has a price.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 17 2017 3:43 utc | 89

Don Bacon

And just as many in Bangladesh (old E.Pakistan)


Pakistan 195,343,000
Bangladesh 146.6 million
India 172 million

India 79.8 Hindu 14.2% Islam

What if the Muslims had stayed within India. Instead of partition/Pakistan. What would the new % be?
Would they (Muslims) have been better off remaining within the new India?


Posted by: @Madderhatter67 | Sep 17 2017 4:16 utc | 90

OK since I did suggest that people should read Abdul Zaeef's book and since there are so many heavily westernised perspectives easily available I have decided to put up links to the EPUB edition of My Life with the Taliban
and to the PDF version of the same.

I have no idea if there is an aversion to Kim Dotcom's Mega service or not. Dotcom is a turkey, but nothing I am aware of suggests that he is a worse turkey than the rest of us. I'm saying this to throw oil in the slightest possibility of troubled waters, since being the weekend and all some of us prefer to bitch and backbite than to consider; when there are insufficient distractions. If you question mega or Zaeef the remedy is in your paws - don't download the fucker.

ps I have tested both links but I have not re read either edition AFAIK they are both complete & unabridged. If anyone does download yet finds the book incomplete lemme know 'n I'll attempt a remedy.

pps why is it that the more you spend on a vaper, the more it leaks sticky oil onto yer paws?

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 17 2017 4:56 utc | 91

Debsisdead | Sep 17, 2017 12:56:40 AM | 90

Thanks for the link; I dl'd the PDF and it looks good to go.
From the little I've read so far, I can tell it's going to be a tough read; especially because I'm an American, albeit, a self exciled American.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 17 2017 6:00 utc | 92

@V Arnold #91 who said snip . . . it's going to be a tough read; especially because I'm an American, albeit, a self exciled American.

I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised Zaeef regards people as individuals seeing good, bad or both in most of us, so he doesn't write with any overt animosity towards amerikans and seems to have won the respect of some Gitmo guards who were also able to look past the "mad mullah terrorist" (remember when all islamic clerics were called mullahs and not in a respectful way by western media) and see a decent human in Zaeef.
That was got him sprung ultimately - even though the entire islamic world were ropeable that such a highly respected & literate man who had become famous for his honourable way of dealing with other humans, amerika in the noughties with shrub at the helm paid no heed to that cos all 'muslims' were potential terrorists. However when guards from the lowest shitkicker up to the warden (or whatever the concentration camp boss's title was) also began campaigning for Zaeef's release even the creepoid John Woo and his rotten ilk had to listen.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 17 2017 6:43 utc | 93

Rabbit 71,
Please leave snakes alone.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 17 2017 7:09 utc | 94

First step in a true post-colonial govt is an end to the all-consuming, economy-debilitating corruption. But for the colonizer, corruption is the only way to maintain loyalty.

Posted by: fairleft | Sep 17 2017 7:51 utc | 95

Debsisdead | Sep 17, 2017 2:43:20 AM | 92

What I meant by a rough read is knowing what the monsters in charge will do to decent humans.
Even if Zaeef is dispassionate in his writing; what was done to him and literally, countless others, still brings me to rage.
It's been a long waking process for me to fully understand Walt Kelly's Pogo homily; We have met the enemy, and he is us.
I don't think I'll ever be able to forgive what was allowed...unto this very day...
Anyhoo, thanks again for that link.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 17 2017 8:30 utc | 96

@ Don Bacon,

Motivated by your comments, I did some research on Aztec rituals in Sir James George Frazer's monumental treatise: The Golden Bough - A Study of Magic and Religion, Chapter LIX: "Killing the God in Mexico." Apparently, the Aztec priests would often dress up the intended victim and treat him or her like a god or goddess for a few months before getting down to the unpleasant (for the victim) part of the business. Frazer wrote:

"By no people does the custom of sacrificing the human representative of a god appear to have been observed so commonly and with so much solemnity as by the Aztecs of ancient Mexico. With the ritual of these remarkable sacrifices we are well acquainted, for it has been fully described by the Spaniards who conquered Mexico in the sixteenth century, and whose curiosity was naturally excited by the discovery in this distant region of a barbarous and cruel religion which presented many curious points of analogy to the doctrine and ritual of their own church. ... The feast being come, and he grown fat, they killed him, opened him, and ate him, making a solemn sacrifice of him."

It seems to me that I read about a Jihadi "warrior" in Syria not long ago who executed a captured Syrian soldier, sliced him open, then took out and ate his liver. Then again, I recall reading about U.S. Army and Marines cutting off Muslim ears, fingers, and other appendages in Iraq and Afghanistan for souvenir necklaces, bracelets, etc. We Americans did that sort of thing in Vietnam, too. Barbarism and savagery seem pretty well established in "humans," regardless of time, place, race, religion, or culture. They don't call the current U.S. Secretary of Defense "Mad Dog" for nothing. He did, after all, level the city of Falluja, Iraq -- twice -- with tons of white phosphorus ["Willie Peter"] and depleted uranium just to avenge the deaths of four (4) dogs-of-war mercenaries from Blackwater Corporation. In the Marine Corps they call that a "V&R Op," meaning "Vengeance and Retribution Operation."

Anyway, thanks for calling my attention to the stanza that you quoted. I never felt satisfied with the last two lines since the final syllable of the third line has to rhyme with the third syllable of the fourth line and "bum" doesn't quite rhyme with "hum" [of "human"] although the spelling might make it seem otherwise. So, keeping the Aztec priests and U.S. presidents in mind, I rewrote the stanza so that it reads as follows:

Who is master? Who is slave?
Which cold grave contains the price?
Scapegoat? Hostage? Martyr? Whom
Shall we groom and sacrifice?

Thanks again for the help.

Posted by: Michael Murry | Sep 17 2017 10:07 utc | 97

There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare. - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Posted by: michaelj72 | Sep 17 2017 10:27 utc | 98

soldier poets?

my favorite, Giuseppe Ungaretti, his poem Soldati, written in the trenches in France in 1918:


Si sta come
sugli alberi
le foglie

and my unofficial translation:


It's like
the leaves
on the trees

Posted by: john | Sep 17 2017 11:32 utc | 99


Guess what - Trump knows that.

The US are stuck in a strategy where they try to occupy space not because they profit from it but to prevent others from profiting.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2017 13:01 utc | 100

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