Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 23, 2021

Afghanistan - More Dead End Proposals Seek Time To Allow U.S. Face Saving Exit

The Doha agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban includes a promise by the Taliban to not attack U.S. troops or major cities. In exchange the U.S. promised to leave Afghanistan by May 1. The problem for the U.S. is that leaving Afghanistan will inevitable lead to a new Taliban regime, likely within a few months. It would make the U.S. look weak. That is something that Washington inherently dislikes.

In early March the Biden administration launched a new Afghanistan peace initiative. It proposed to create a new interim government with participation of the Taliban and under a new constitution. The idea is to uphold some picture of normalcy that can hold for a few months while the U.S. skips out. We said that the idea was unlikely to fly:

President Ghani is furious about Blinken's letter. Other interest groups in the Afghan government also reject it. They think it is a bluff. Unless the U.S. stops the money flow to Kabul and pulls out its troops there is no need for Ghani and other to proceed.

The Taliban will also reject the proposals. They want the U.S. to leave and they feel sure that, after that, they can win the civil war and reinstall their Islamic Emirate. Their backers in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are likewise convinced that there is no need to change course.

The new U.S. proposal is a dead end.

Today President Ashraf Ghani made a counterproposal which has a similar chance to be realized:

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will propose a new presidential election within six months, under a peace plan he will put forward as a counter-offer to a U.S. proposal that he rejects, two senior government officials told Reuters.

Ghani will unveil his proposal at an international gathering in Turkey next month, signalling his refusal to accept Washington's plan for his elected government to be replaced by an interim administration, the officials said.
...
"The counterproposal which we are going to present at the Istanbul meeting would be to call for early presidential elections if the Taliban agree on a ceasefire," one senior government official said on condition of anonymity.

Another Afghan government official said: "The president would never agree to step aside and any future government should be formed through democratic process, not a political deal."

A third senior official also said Ghani's proposal would include possible early elections, although he did not specify the exact time frame for the vote. The third official said Ghani had already shared his road map with Khalilzad.
...The Afghan officials said that as part of Ghani's counter-proposal, his government would ask the U.N. to closely observe the new election to ensure it is accepted by all sides.

There is no way that a credible election could happen in Afghanistan within the next few years. If the U.S. wants to get out of Afghanistan while leaving behind some functioning government its must move Ghani out of the way. As The U.S. holds the purse without which Ghani can't do anything that should not be too hard to do.

Meanwhile the Taliban have offered their own plan which would allow for the U.S. to have some time to save face:

The Taliban has confirmed that they have shared a 90-day reduction in violence (RIV) plan with the US, but said there has been no overall agreement on the plan so far.

Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem told TOLOnews that the reduction in violence will not mean a ceasefire, but it will result in a decrease in all operations by the group in Afghanistan.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his letter to President Ashraf Ghani referred to this plan and has reiterated that it will stop the Taliban from announcing its so-called spring offensive.

But Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said the plan was proposed by the Taliban in December and an agreement has not yet been reached.

“We proposed a draft in December, which involved all operations being reduced, but so far a final agreement has not been reached,” Naeem said on Monday.

When the Soviet Union had troops in Afghanistan it trained the Afghan army to a reasonable standard. It also provided weapons that were easy to use and needed little maintenance. After the Soviets left Afghanistan that army held out against the U.S. supported Mujahedins for another three years. It only faltered when the Soviet Union cut off its financial and material assistance.

The U.S. never managed to train the Afghan army and police to any reasonable standard. It also provided weapons and systems that can not be maintained without external assistance. Without U.S. backing on the ground and in the air that army will likely fold within days:

Over the past two decades, the United States has invested more than $88 billion to build, train and equip Afghan troops and police – and yet the Taliban is clearly a superior fighting force.
...
John Sopko, the brutally honest inspector general for reconstruction in Afghanistan, has been sounding the alarm for years about how corruption, waste, and fraud was effectively neutering the U.S. government’s effort to breathe life into the Afghan security forces.

“The Afghan military – and particularly the Afghan police – has been a hopeless nightmare and a disaster,” Sopko warned Congress in January 2020.
...
“Based on all the work we’ve done, it seems obvious that the biggest mistake we’ve made was to try to build an Afghan Army in our own image and likeness,” Sopko said. “In other words, an Army that uses the systems and the equipment and the weapons that our army does. And yet, this is a country where a huge portion of the population are illiterate, where there’s very little electricity, and very little internet.”
...
“Currently, the Afghan government has limited capability to move food, ammunition, medical supplies, and so on, to units in the field,” Sopko said. “As SIGAR [the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction] has highlighted recently, the Afghans also lack any capability to maintain their equipment. Without development of these core functions, the ANDSF will never be able to sustain itself.”
...
Despite two decades and billions of dollars of support, Afghan security forces cannot survive without outside assistance. The Taliban can. That advantage will be decisive whenever U.S. troops leave the country.

The money and time was wasted because the U.S. never had the strategic foresight to plan for leaving Afghanistan. But leave it must.

Just a few days ago there was a warning that a renewal of a U.S. fight against the Taliban would likely create high U.S. casualties with little chances of success.

Lotfullah Najafizada @LNajafizada - 8:13 UTC · Mar 20, 2021

Exclusive TOLOnews footage shows the downing of the army helicopter immediately after take off from Behsud where the helicopters were lifting police casualties. Sources tell us that an anti-aircraft missile was used in the attack by AliPoor’s militias. video

Alipoor is a warlord and leader of ethnic Hazaras, a mainly Shiite community. His militia are currently in conflict with the government but also mistrust the Taliban. But if Alipoor's militia have access to man portable air defense missiles (MANPADs) and know how to use them, the Taliban will also have those capabilities. The U.S. military is highly dependent on air transport and air support. A renewed fight would be too costly.

There is nothing left for the U.S. but to leave.

Posted by b on March 23, 2021 at 18:18 UTC | Permalink

Comments

More Dead End Proposals Seek Time To Allow U.S. Face Saving Exit

The pretense that US is seeking to exit seems like nothing more than a propaganda narrative. The Deep State Empire Managers don't want to appear to be an occupying power. Instead, they will blame the Taliban when the war starts again.

Renewed "great power competition" (aka Cold War) likely means USA/Empire will tough it out until they win or are losing so badly that they can't afford to stay.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 23 2021 18:39 utc | 1

I agree with jackrabbit @1.

From my recollection the only country the Empire ever vacated was Vietnam...at the point of a gun.

We invade and never leave. It's like hosting the murderer from helll. Such is the way of empires.

Posted by: Michael | Mar 23 2021 18:52 utc | 2

The $88 billion dollars is just a drop in the bucket of what has been wasted along with the human loss in the past 50 years by empire trying to stay on top.

The shit show continues until it doesn't...which I hope is soon

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 23 2021 18:57 utc | 3

I agree with B... I think U.S. collapse is imminent. We're divided. One third of the country is hard core right wing Trump supporting. another 10% leans toward him. The blue no matter who smarties are 30% along with the 15% or so young wannabes but none of them know how to fight. They can twitter, I'll concede that.The military grunts are a question mark for me: they will want to kick ass but they are not Bideneestas so my prediction is that when they start getting shot up they'll quit. Blues were gloating up until now, starting to turn to worry, they're trying to stick with Biden but their main fig leaf is the environment stuff and his foreign policy threats have the smarties shuddering. Bottom line, I think we're out of Afghanistan in less than a year.

Posted by: migueljose | Mar 23 2021 19:07 utc | 4

Posted by: migueljose | Mar 23 2021 19:07 utc | 4

The only hope that Biden has is to ram through some sort of new New Deal that actually puts people to work. It would help please the 'blues' if it was of the "green" variety, but just a huge infrastructure program would go a long way, to include roads, bridges, trains (including high speed rail), and hardening of the publicly owned/managed utility grids and water supply systems.

LOL, yeah right, I know. Who the hell am I kidding. Biden was never going to be a force for meaningful change, just a figurehead and empty suit. They're talking about increasing corporate taxes - but for what? Wouldn't it help sell the deal if some of those corporations were promised a role in the next New Deal infrastructure initiative? So far this administration seems bereft of any unifying/uniting ideas where at least Trump had the border wall and his (failed) trade renegotiations and "no new wars".

Posted by: _K_C_ | Mar 23 2021 19:22 utc | 5

I pretty much agree with migueljose. I'm 77 years old, US native-born citizen and life-long resident. The main problem in the US is the intense interracial animosity of all against all, and the deliberate race baiting by our ruling class. Race relations were better in the 50's despite segregation (worse in the North).

The second problem is the collapse of our educational system K-post doc, and the resulting incompetence of our Ruling Class. The attempt to actually destroy important Russian and Chinese companies and institutions, like Huawei, is an actual act of war. When that game was run against Japan in the late 30's, we got the Pacific War. Our current policies will give us a war with Russia-China. After the Biden interview and Alaska meeting fiascos, it is clear Russia and China are now coordinating their future actions. One fears the worst.

Posted by: bob sykes | Mar 23 2021 19:23 utc | 6

And THIS isn't the kind of New Deal I was talking about -

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/01/business/infrastructure-biden-stimulus.html

Again, if the Democrats could ram through, even if on party lines, an infrastructure bill that actually put people in the red states to work, they could probably get away with the free college and all of that stuff. The media is portraying the situation as a stalemate with Republicans in opposition, again probably because the corporations that support that party haven't been given assurances they will be recipients of some of the largess associated with the infrastructure program. It's almost, as was the case with Obamacare, it's designed to fail. Can't be a coincidence, can it?

Posted by: _K_C_ | Mar 23 2021 19:25 utc | 7

I'm sure the very last thing the US wants is a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan that starts making deals with Russia (to supply arms, military training, peacekeeping forces and missile defence systems) and China (for infrastructure development to be part of the Belt and Road Initiative). Therefore the US will always find some excuse to keep its own troops and its Five Eyes / NATO allies' troops in Afghanistan.

I foresee that ISIS or some other Saudi-funded jihadi extremist cult mysteriously materialises somewhere in a remote part of Afghanistan, conveniently close to the Iranian or Pakistani border. Turkey will be glad to have some other war front to ship its Uyghur jihadis to. They'll be the excuse the US needs to keep troops in the country.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 23 2021 19:27 utc | 8

There is nothing left for the U.S. but to leave.

I hope and wish this to be true. The arguments given in this article are good, but it requires a rational mind to take them into account, and the Biden regime is anything but rational.

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 23 2021 19:30 utc | 9

It's all about the heroin money: no way the CIA ever leaves that place.

Posted by: PG | Mar 23 2021 19:35 utc | 10

K_C @

Giving corporations some largesse in a New Deal infrastructure program may lead to a lot of grand private corporate proposals that might not ever get started, let alone fulfilled, even while government money is continually pouring into them. You surely do not need the infrastructure equivalent of the failed F-35 fighter jet project, do you?

Posted by: Jen | Mar 23 2021 19:37 utc | 11

@ Posted by: _K_C_ | Mar 23 2021 19:25 utc | 7

Sorry, read the fine print:

Bidenomics: boom or bust?

According to the Biden economic team, the administration plans to increase public sector spending to compensate for the capitalist sector ‘investment strike’. Biden proposes to spend $2trn on infrastructure spending (something Trump never got round to) including ‘clean energy’ projects; just under $2trn on education and child care; $1.6trn on health care; $700bn on research and development; and $500bn on social security and housing. That’s a total of $6.8trn., or just over 30% of current GDP.

Wow! That sounds great. But hold your train; this spend is over 10 years! And this is just a proposal. Nobody expects all of this extra 2% of GDP spending a year to be implemented by Congress. Most estimates reckon that Biden’s proposals would be cut by 60% to about $3tn. The infrastructure and education proposals would be reduced by half, the health proposals would be lowered by 60% and the proposals to invest in R&D and buy American goods would be cut by two-thirds.

This article, by the way, is from November 1st, 2020.

The NYT article is full of ideological fluff quoted from politicians and has no objective information. It's literally your average The Hill behind-the-scenes daily Capitol gossip.

Posted by: vk | Mar 23 2021 19:43 utc | 12

Based on all the work we’ve done, it seems obvious that the biggest mistake we’ve made was to try to build an Afghan Army in our own image and likeness.

This is exactly the same mistake that we made with ARVN, the South Vietnamese army. Remember ARVN?

Posted by: Offtrail | Mar 23 2021 20:22 utc | 13

Again, will the Outlaw US Empire leave Afghanistan? No! Why? It's excellent geographical location to disrupt Russian and Chinese plans for Eurasian unification, its ongoing attempts to contain Iran, and the narcodollar budgetary bonus that likely outweighs all the monies termed "wasted" since 2001. IMO, all the chatter about leaving is related to domestic politics and differs in no way from the same chatter that began about Vietnam when Nixon was made POTUS. The Empire will retreat from Syraq to Afghanistan along with its Terrorist Foreign Legion. And IMO the coming economic collapse won't be enough to oust the Empire either as it had no issues remaining during the last such crisis.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 23 2021 20:24 utc | 14

We, the British were forced out. The Russians were forced out. No reason why the US shouldn't be forced out.

If the US isn't careful it will be the British precedent that applies, not the Russian.

Posted by: JohninMK | Mar 23 2021 20:27 utc | 15

Thank you b. The US will only leave at the point of a gun and the demonstration of surface to air missiles. They must be thrown out as unceremoniously as possible. The USA ruling class need another rude message shoved in their face and the Afghanistan people are the right ones to do it. Hopefully the Iraq people can reaffirm the message.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 23 2021 20:35 utc | 16

Posted by: Jen | Mar 23 2021 19:37 utc | 11

Your comment made me think of an article I read just now at FAIR.org after posting here, and prior to reading your reply.

https://fair.org/home/austerity-addicted-media-scaremonger-over-infrastructure-spending-spree/

I may not have been clear, but I do think it would be wrong to execute these still-imaginary infrastructure projects by just handing money to corporate entities like the US defense department does. The difference here, and in the way the corporate, center-right U.S. media covers it is that when it comes to things like national infrastructure, the estimates for cost are generally far more accurate than the estimates trotted out for the next new fighter jet program or, just as frequently, war. But the media dutifully reports the exact (and easily debunkable, even at the time) $ figures trotted out by the Pentagon and those who seek more military or war money while they cast skepticism on any estimates for things like infrastructure. Don't get me wrong, the more massive infrastructure projects I recall from the Big Dig to the expansion of the Mopac expressway in Austin, TX, always seem to grow way beyond the original estimates due to things like "unforeseen conditions" and other scope/schedule creep. But they don't hold a candle to the military and at least at the end of the day the taxpayer mostly knows where the money went, on a line itemed basis.

So yes, I am against the government just showering money on certain infrastructure corporations in the same way as I am doing it with the military, and the better case to be made - if Biden is genuinely interested in passing an infrastructure improvement program - is that the corporations and politicians they control will benefit economically from said improvements in the relatively near term, depending on which projects we're talking about. But the corporate media will never let that become the dominant narrative. It's all about taxes and deficits and other scare tactics.

Of course, if - keeping to subject of today's article - the USA would just cease operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and simply re-allocate those funds to the infrastructure projects (thereby employing many Americans who might lose their jobs within or adjacent to the MIC), it would benefit everyone. But that's not how Uncle Scam operates.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Mar 23 2021 20:44 utc | 17

Posted by: vk | Mar 23 2021 19:43 utc | 12

I'm perfectly aware of the date on the article. November 2020 isn't that long ago. Also, I only linked to that article because it was linked in a more recent article with a much longer URL and I was too lazy to format the hyperlink such that the usual complainers wouldn't bitch about it ruining their viewing experience on whatever crummy tablet or smartphone they are using.

Here it is:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/biden-team-preparing-up-to-3-trillion-in-new-spending-for-the-economy/ar-BB1eQspQ

Prince Harry's new job and other working royals Not Ready to Reopen: Restaurant Chooses to Remain in Purple Tier

WASHINGTON — President Biden’s economic advisers are pulling together a sweeping $3 trillion package to boost the economy, reduce carbon emissions and narrow economic inequality, beginning with a giant infrastructure plan that may be financed in part through tax increases on corporations and the rich.

a windmill next to a body of water: A wind farm in Carbon County, Wyo. Clean energy is among the areas that would see investment under President Biden’s infrastructure plan.© Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times A wind farm in Carbon County, Wyo. Clean energy is among the areas that would see investment under President Biden’s infrastructure plan.
After months of internal debate, Mr. Biden’s advisers are expected to present the spending proposal to the president and congressional leaders this week, as well as begin outreach to industry and labor groups. On Monday, Mr. Biden’s national climate adviser, Gina McCarthy, discussed his infrastructure plans — and their role in combating climate change — in a meeting with oil and gas industry executives.

Administration officials caution that details remain in flux. But the enormous scope of the proposal highlights the aggressive approach the Biden administration wants to take as it tries to harness the power of the federal government to make the economy more equitable, address climate change, and improve American manufacturing and high-technology industries in an escalating battle with China.

The $1.9 trillion economic aid package that Mr. Biden signed into law this month includes money to help vulnerable people and businesses survive the pandemic downturn. But it does little to advance the longer-term economic agenda that Mr. Biden campaigned on, including transitioning to renewable energy and improving America’s ability to compete in emerging industries, like electric vehicles. Administration officials essentially see those goals — building out the nation’s infrastructure and shifting to a low-carbon future — as inseparable.

a car parked in a parking lot: An electric vehicle charging station in Baker, Calif. Documents suggest a Biden administration plan would include nearly $1 trillion in spending alone on the construction of roads, bridges, rail lines, and electric vehicle charging stations.© Philip Cheung for The New York Times An electric vehicle charging station in Baker, Calif. Documents suggest a Biden administration plan would include nearly $1 trillion in spending alone on the construction of roads, bridges, rail lines, and electric vehicle charging stations.
The package under consideration would begin that effort in earnest.

“President Biden’s plan represents a stunning shift in priorities, addressing many of the nation’s most pressing challenges,” said Seth Hanlon, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress think tank, contrasting the plan with the priorities of Mr. Biden’s predecessor President Donald J. Trump. “As reported, the plan is very wide-ranging, reflecting the fact that we’ve underinvested in so many areas.”

Just how to approach the legislative strategy is still under discussion given the size of the proposal and the thin majority that Democrats hold in the House and the Senate.

Mr. Biden’s advisers plan to recommend that the effort be broken into pieces, with Congress tackling infrastructure before turning to a second package that would include more people-focused proposals, like free community college, universal prekindergarten and a national paid leave program.

Some White House officials believe the focus of the first package may be more appealing to Republicans, business leaders and many moderate Senate Democrats, given the longstanding bipartisan push in Washington for an infrastructure bill.

That plan would spend heavily on clean energy deployment and the development of other “high-growth industries of the future” like 5G telecommunications. It includes money for rural broadband, advanced training for millions of workers, and one million affordable and energy-efficient housing units. Documents suggest it will include nearly $1 trillion in spending on the construction of roads, bridges, rail lines, ports, electric vehicle charging stations, and improvements to the electric grid and other parts of the power sector.

Whether it can muster Republican support will depend in large part on how the bill is paid for.

Officials have discussed offsetting some or all of the infrastructure spending by raising taxes on corporations, including increasing the 21 percent corporate income tax rate and a variety of measures to force multinational corporations to pay more tax in the United States on income they earn abroad. That strategy is unlikely to garner Republican votes.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any enthusiasm on our side for a tax increase,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, told reporters last week. He predicted the administration’s infrastructure plan would be a “Trojan horse” for tax increases.

The overall price tag of the package could approach $4 trillion since it includes several tax incentives, like credits to help families afford child care and to encourage energy efficiency in existing buildings. It could also extend temporary tax cuts meant to fight poverty, which could increase the size of the proposal by hundreds of billions of dollars, according to estimates prepared by administration officials.

Mr. Biden supports all of the individual spending and tax proposals under consideration, but it is unclear whether he will back splitting his agenda into pieces, or what legislative strategy he and Democratic leaders will pursue to maximize the chances of pushing the effort through Congress.

His advisers have debated the merits of aggressively pursuing compromise with Republicans and business leaders on an infrastructure package, which would most likely require dropping or scaling back plans to raise taxes on corporations. Another route would be to move the sweeping bill through a special parliamentary process that would require only Democratic votes, as Mr. Biden did with the stimulus package.

“President Biden and his team are considering a range of potential options for how to invest in working families and reform our tax code so it rewards work, not wealth,” said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary. “Those conversations are ongoing, so any speculation about future economic proposals is premature and not a reflection of the White House’s thinking.”

Mr. Biden said in January that his relief bill would be followed by a “Build Back Better Recovery Plan,” which would include investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy, skills training and other areas.

LOL, note that, at no point is a drawdown of the USA's foreverwars mentioned as a means of financing these plans. Also note the obligatory (but true when talking about infrastructure and the public good) China scare. China IS in fact investing heavily in everyday infrastructure, utilities (incl. broadband internet/cellular) and other things that benefit both their people and the businesses in that country.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Mar 23 2021 20:50 utc | 18

Haha...Posted by: _K_C_ | Mar 23 2021 20:50 utc | 18

Ignore the Prince Harry thing - I must have copied too much text.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Mar 23 2021 20:51 utc | 19

Also @ Posted by: vk | Mar 23 2021 19:43 utc | 12

Also note that the 'thenextrecession' wordpress analysis of Bidenomics you provided dares to mention military spending or ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. How predictable. The third rail that not even "objective" American economists will touch.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Mar 23 2021 20:56 utc | 20

There's no way to stay the course. What will happen is that the US will do what it is doing now create pockets of US power but manned by mercenaries who currently outnumber US troops. That's their end-game--that will give them the couple of years room to "save face" so to speak that the US needs. Meanwhile even if the Taliban take over, bribery will rule and the US can live with that. The Afghanistan effort is bullshit--a fake war to keep using armaments to keep the military industries humming and, as important, for American and Afghans to stay on the bribery gravy train in Afghanistan and Washington--it's more complicated than it appears. Money attracts hustlers from around the world and since the US public is a sucker for every war that comes down the pike--it's easy pickings.

Washington now wants a full-out "cold" war with China and Russia and that will keep the money flowing since Americans are, again, suckers for every war the oligarchs want to start cold or hot.

Posted by: Chris Cosmos | Mar 23 2021 20:57 utc | 21

Interesting- CFR pulled out the big guns getting Hillary Clinton to raise concerns about women if the Taliban prevails in a "special" conversation with Richard Haas- a webcast promoted to the diplomatic community and other foreign policy wonks. Also the usual anti-China rhetoric presented in a very soothing tone. But Afghanistan was the first subject discussed. Probably a preview of the next four years.

Posted by: bill baly | Mar 23 2021 22:00 utc | 22

The USA is the Charlton Heston of Empires and Afghanistan will be pried from its 'cold dead hands'...

Posted by: gottlieb | Mar 23 2021 22:16 utc | 23

No one ever "wins" in Afghanistan.
It was actually a pretty cool place to travel in the 1950's and 60's.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Mar 23 2021 22:38 utc | 24

K_C @ 17 and onwards:

Thanks for clarifying your position and pointing out the differences between the Pentagon's spending and other areas of US government spending.

Perhaps instead of referring to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, I should have used the example of the way the Macquarie Bank has been maintaining infrastructure assets (such as the Indiana Tollway, the Chicago Skyway and the South Bay Expressway near San Diego) it owns in the US.

This is an example familiar to us here in Australia (of course you'll note that Macquarie Bank is Australian) as many of our major city expressways have been built by private corporations and almost without exception the initial budget estimates blow out to astronomical proportions and the government ends up having to bail out the private investors. When the expressways are built, users still have to pay tolls.

I'm sure the Sussexes would only be too happy to give up some of the precious money they get from media corporations in extra taxes to help pay for the Wyoming windmill or the California parking lots to be fitted with chargers for electric vehicles - or for the high-speed rail connection between San Francisco and Los Angeles that's been talked about for over a decade.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 23 2021 23:07 utc | 25

I cannot see any way that amerika can remain in Afghanistan, the pissweak attempt to get al Qaeda to bomb markets etc and blame the Taliban has failed, the people know who has been killing them, that it wasn't Taliban but amerika/saudi funded arseholes, the ancient word of mouth communication systems have always been much better and more effective than amerikan internet social network style propaganda that has been full on promises but short on delivery.

The pentagon reports b linked to regard the people who make up the Afghan army & police as static, with no agency, things that have things done to them; eg left unpaid, given useless equipment etc, rather than humans with extensive familial and social connections with the rest of the Afghan population.

In the end it won't matter what the amerikans do, they can keep their puppet government by throwing money at it, or they can cut off funding to try and make it submit, the result will be the same for a population which regards it's foreign imposed leadership as inept & corrupt.
Regardless of what happens, come May 1 people are going to kick back.
If the amerikans do manage to force the government to acquiesce to amerika's continued occupation, despite amerika's promise to leave, Afghans will rise up or if the government holds out refusing to kowtow so amerika cuts the funding line, the population will decide they have nothing to lose, so they must rise up and drive out the foreigners, just as their fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers did. Propaganda cannot paper over this in Afghanistan and I doubt it will anywhere else.

Sure the NYT will print lies about the perfidy of the Taliban etc but that shit really doesn't cut it any more. The lies are increasing while the % of 'true believers' decreases.
At least some of the dem dingbats who run the administration see they are on a lose lose. Staying on and suffering huge casualties combined with the inevitable reports of villages getting flattened by drone attack will be vietnam redux but with much less control of the media. They can keep Julian incarcerated but the model he crated lives on and has grown to a point where it cannot be silenced.

As much as I loathe the censorship of big tech, one plus from it has been that it has shown independent news gatherers & vectors that they must develop alternative platforms, the fact that this happened outside a war allows those who have created these platforms to do so free of the the degree of slander about treachery etc which such moves cop in war time.

We forget how wars have given governments permission to ignore amerika's first amendment, Gene Debs got thrown in the slammer for years just because he made a speech condemning war when the Woodrow Wilson sleaze decided amerika should join in WW1. The fact that big tech has imposed such heavy censorship outside of a war protects the alternatives now so by the time amerika is in an Afghan conflict if that should that happen, uncensored/able news vectors will already be in place. The rest of the world is over 911 and an increase in amerika's involvement in Afghanistan will find many countries unwilling to support amerika's censorship in the way they did immediately post 911.

It won't be easy, Afghans are going to suffer if amerika is stupid enough to crank up this conflict, but I have no doubt Afghans will prevail and I reckon at least some of the career hungry dim administration have also realised this. The amerikan empire was most effective when it controlled by controlling another nation state's finances, every time it has attempted colonial style control eg Vietnam, Iran and now Afghanistan it has lost out badly. Colonial administration isn't just ineffective, worst of all it is uneconomic, more money gets tipped into a colony than ever gets stolen out of it.

One last thing on the infrastructure debate which sounds just like the jaw jaw that went on in Aoteraroa late last year when the politicians were arguing over how to restimulate the economy, when I was driving into town one day at that time a bloke, an economist came on the radio to argue that spending on infrastructure was the worst way to stimulate the economy.

It was all short term he said, there is a growth in employment during the time infrastructure is built but not only does that end when the road, bridge whatever is finished, very little of the expenditure adds value to an economy long term. Sure roads bridges etc must be maintained but long term stimulus requires investment in people not things. Health & education should always be at the top of the list followed by the sort of regional development so that industries can provide employment to a population rather than forcing them into already over-crowded cities that will create an infinite requirement for further infrastructure investment, leaving houses and commercial structures unused in other areas.

Made sense to me but it didn't to the Ardern mob who decided that kicking the easier short term goals would give them more voters for the next election.
I expect most politicians about this planet will also go for the quick & easy wins ahead of what needs to be done for the long term future of their nation but what else is new?

Posted by: Debsisdead | Mar 23 2021 23:48 utc | 26

Thoughtful post, b.

The lack of a secondary contingency plan, or back up plan, is particularly telling. It always compounds the losses incurred by the failure of the original plan.

The Imperial Japanese Navy discovered this after the disastrous Battle of Midway. The original Japanese plan and their superior fleet looked invincible, on paper.

Empire hubris is the problem. Don't they teach this at West Point or the Kennedy School of Government?

Posted by: Paul | Mar 23 2021 23:51 utc | 27

@Duncan Idaho.

Absolutely right on Afghani travel. I hitched there, Pakistan and India very early 70s and had a blast.

Posted by: Paul Simon LeGree | Mar 23 2021 23:51 utc | 28

@ Posted by: _K_C_ | Mar 23 2021 20:50 utc | 18; 20

The problem is not the package, but that it is diluted in a 10-year time frame. USD 3 trn in 10 years is nothing to an economy the size of the USA's.

Posted by: vk | Mar 23 2021 23:54 utc | 29

It's remarkable how the Taliban were never supplied with MANPADS before, since they proved so effective against the USSR. On second thoughts though, why would they, when cheap cannon fodder with AK's did the job just fine. If the job was BLEEDING THE US purse for 20 years, it is mission accomplished with minimal expenditure.

Looking at this other quote:
"Last year, the Defense Department Inspector General’s Office determined that the U.S. military had awarded more than $14 million for an internet-based system to help Afghan keep track of their vehicles and weapons, which the Afghans were not using at 78 of 191 storage sites because they had no electricity or internet connection."
https://taskandpurpose.com/news/afghan-security-forces-no-match-taliban/

...it's clear incompetence and corruption were rife, while charging useless high tech contracts to US tax payers was always the real goal for those in the know and reaping the profits.

Quite ironic then, that the ultimate demise of the USA will have come by the inadvertent alignment of goals, both of the Pentagon and its enemies?

Posted by: Et Tu | Mar 24 2021 0:44 utc | 30

I foresee that ISIS or some other Saudi-funded jihadi extremist cult mysteriously materialises somewhere in a remote part of Afghanistan, conveniently close to the Iranian or Pakistani border. Turkey will be glad to have some other war front to ship its Uyghur jihadis to. They'll be the excuse the US needs to keep troops in the country.

Jen | Mar 23 2021 19:27 utc | 8:

ISIS is already in Afghanistan in small pockets near the Afghan-Pakistani border in the Nangarhar province. Years ago there were rumors of unmarked transport planes flying between Syria and Afghanistan. Next thing you know, ISIS makes headline news. LOL

Posted by: Ian2 | Mar 24 2021 0:46 utc | 31

I pretty much agree with migueljose. I'm 77 years old, US native-born citizen and life-long resident. The main problem at the USA is the intense interracial animosity of all against all, and the deliberate race baiting by our ruling class. Race relations were better in the 50's despite segregation (worse in the North).

The second problem is the collapse of our educational system K-post doc, and the resulting incompetence of our Ruling Class. The attempt to actually destroy important Russian and Chinese companies and institutions, like Huawei, is an actual act of war. When that game was run against Japan in the late 30's, we got the Pacific War. Our current policies will give us a war with Russia-China. After the Biden interview and Alaska meeting fiascos, it is clear Russia and China are now coordinating their future actions. One fears the worst. by: bob sykes @ 6

I think MR. Sykes, you have a <=wrong view of=> how the Oligarch used the USA to destroy America.. America used to be a competitive place.. the smallest person just out of prison, off the farm or an experienced Phd whatever could go to his or her back yard or garage and invent a market disruptive something or other (no license was needed). Presto the big men in the then existing market were out of business as the small guys back yard invention replaced the then-existing market providers and his products. Overnight everyone wanted the new thing, and the old was out.. What changed that: copyright and patent and license law destroyed it.

Now it is not possible for backyard inventors, to disrupt existing markets with new what-evers because the USA by its laws, has granted to the existing market providers anti-competitive monopolies. The patent grant or the copyright grant are nation state grants which enable private owners market and technology monopoly powers. Monopolies issued to private persons or entities protect existing technology and or market providers from backyard inventors. These same monopoly laws allow existing technology owners or market providers to sue for copyright or patent infringement; hence the backyard inventor is often forced to sell out to the existing market providers because the back yard invention cannot be produced or sold without a license to include in the new product what is a single part in the old product. .

Privately owned patents, copyrights, real estate, and license are operation of law guaranteed no competition grants designed to deny outsiders the right or ability to compete. If there were no nation state there would be no patent protection, no copyright protection, no private real estate ownership and no requirement of license to compete. Without the nation state there would be no lawmaker to make the law, no policeman to enforce anti competition laws, no office to register the claim of private ownership. Competition would establish the free market so trade agreements would not be needed. Also and even bigger than inhibiting disruptive inventions or protecting ancient technology that is enabled by copyright and patent monopoly power is the flexibility the patent and copyright gives to the producers to remove and relocate the productive facilities that generate the products or technologies protected by these competition-quashing copyright and patent and license monopolies.

Because the monopolies have been globalized and internationalized, it is now possible for a owner and producer located in say America to relocate the American factory to say cheap labor, environment negligent Taiwan or wherever. Why, because the owners and producers of monopoly protected products have nation state and international community guarantees that no one can produce a monopoly protected product or use a monopoly protected technology but the owner who has been granted a monopoly against competition by his nation state.

Value added is denied by copyright, patent and license monopolies. This is true even when a competitive product requires a small piece of the monopoly protected item. No one can incorporate that monopoly protected small part in a competitive product. So the private monopoly owner is free to relocate his facilities to the cheapest labor and most environment negligent place to be found. He can then hire the locals in that area as employees with government guarantee no one will be allowed to compete with the production or sale of privately owned monopoly protected products or technology. Hence the copyright and patent laws made everyone on wall street trillions[90% of the balance sheet is intangible property) but these same laws drained America and Americans of their wealth, prestige and economy.

Makers of washing machines for example, fired their American employees, moved the production of washing machines to Cheap labor China, and hired and trained Chinese to produce washing machines for the American Market, but the oligarchs who held the patents made all of the money. The copyright and patents are grants of monopoly powers given by the nation state to private persons. These grants are similar to the land grants the oligarch got from kings and queens during colonial days. The government of a foreign country gave [granted] ownership [title] to large vast land masses in their colonies to a few of its insider Aristocrats. The land grant empowered Aristocrats to move commercial operations to the colony (claimed by the foreign government) and the Aristocrat then brought slaves from yet another foreign country to be used as free slave labor to make or produce, in the colonies, the products that were sold back (for a massive profit) to the citizens of the foreign government and others. The claims made by the local (in the case of America were the native Indians) to the land was not recognized by the foreign home governments; hence the foreign government would pass laws that title to land in the colonies would stem from the original land grants made to Aristocrats by foreign colony owning governments).

Yes, Mr. Sykes @ 6, it was the private monopoly power enabled Oligarch who imposed top down control over the political system in America ( the USA (congress and its competition inhibiting bureaucracies) that did away with our once proud, always competitive, often better educated American citizens, and reduced prosperous America to struggling America. Look in your own backyard to find the answers.

The two things you list (inter-race migration) and (demise of the educational system) are both applications of divide the masses to keep them conquered principles. The MSM, also a private oligarch controlled affair, helps keep Americans divided and confused over who it is that is actually responsible for the wasting of America. In case there is doubt, the oligarch used the government to destroy America, laws allowed the wealth of American citizens to be taken and the livelihoods of Americans to be irradiated.

Posted by: snake | Mar 24 2021 0:57 utc | 32

Even IF the empire made a huge show of withdrawing regular army troops, there's still a plethora of contractors to ensure a presence long into the future. Our commerce driven nation depends on the cheap resources from around the globe. Same as any empire.

Only a truly multi-national global alliance can change that. Don't hold you breath...

Posted by: vetinLA | Mar 24 2021 1:45 utc | 33

Mr. Snake

And the Americans, were they devoid of any agency during all of this?

The Union members who would set fire to the housing tracts built by non-Union labour, the large population of dope-heads and other addicts, the contemporary land-whales with blue or purple hair, the Euro-trash racists, the Union members who would sabotage production to get overtime for rework, the corrupt city hall or state official who dole out contracts to the In-people and on and on and on....did Oligarchs cause all of that?

Truly, every country deserves the country it had.

Posted by: Fyi | Mar 24 2021 1:52 utc | 34

Mr. Debsisdead

America cannot stay in Islamic Lands, and not just in Afghanistan. She is considered the enemy of Islam.

Posted by: Fyi | Mar 24 2021 1:55 utc | 35

Mr. Duncan Idaho

Cool it was not, a backward largely rough and illiterate country. But it functioned and people could live their lives in tranquility and in safety.

Significantly, it was the progressives, inspired by the European ideas and ideals, that initiated the process of her disintegration; first the late Mr. Davoud Khan, and later the Communist formations of the upper classes.

Americans, in turn, recruited, just like they did in Mocambique, very very evil men to fight the Communist Government, together with Pakistan and Persian Gulf Arabs and Chinese.

It was a major strategic mistake for Iran to not have helped the late Dr. Najibullah, who led the best government that Afghanistan had ever had.

By the way, Judeo-Christians have made trips such as you undertook now impossible for Western people among Muslims.

Posted by: Fyi | Mar 24 2021 2:04 utc | 36

From Greyzone;

https://thegrayzone.com/2021/03/16/trump-us-military-peace-agreement-war-afghanistan/

Posted by: vetinLA | Mar 24 2021 2:30 utc | 37

And this is why the Taliban backed Trump.

Posted by: Smith | Mar 24 2021 2:37 utc | 38

Fyi @ 34; How about some links about your anti-union blather?

Posted by: vetinLA | Mar 24 2021 2:39 utc | 39

Fyi, why did Iran support the removal of the Gadaffi government in Libyia?

Posted by: tucenz | Mar 24 2021 3:10 utc | 41

Mr. Tucenz

Not to my knowledge.

Posted by: Fyi | Mar 24 2021 3:15 utc | 42

Strange that nobody mentions another of afghanistan neighbour iran that has hosted million of afghani refugees for decades.
Iran will have an important role to play to reinforce the hazard to prevent infiltration of talibans in İran. For saudi arabia it would be good send to have talibans harassing Iran.
The withdrawal of the US troops could be new headache for İran.

Posted by: Virgile | Mar 24 2021 4:14 utc | 44

vetinLA #39

Fyi @ 34; How about some links about your anti-union blather?

Be careful what you ask for. Fyi this poster is likely a sympathiser with these rsoles or maybe even one of this list of dogs:

Wikipedia: "Pages in category "Anti-communist organizations in the United States"
The following 89 pages are in this category, out of 89 total. This list may not reflect recent changes"
or should that be wikipropaganda?

See that: 89 pages of fully paid anti union - anti socialist organisations in the USA alone. The oligarchs and their apologists NEVER sleep.

Perhaps she is a member of the DAR?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 4:24 utc | 45

Paul #43

Thank you for the link and the irony of it being a vessel bound for China is too good. I also could not fail to note the name of the vessel-EVERGREEN- is immediately typo'd in the story as 'Ever Given'. How could any one in the chain of that story production have missed that?

But on the bright side, that shows how simple things can brutally screw up world navigation.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 4:32 utc | 46

My blooper on #46... I see the fleet name is EVERGREEN and the vessel Ever Given.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 4:37 utc | 47

ut @ 45; Thanks, big $ can buy plenty a' folks to "swear" water isn't wet.

Posted by: vetinLA | Mar 24 2021 4:51 utc | 49

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 4:32 utc | 46

Uncle tungsten, I always appreciate your posts. I notice Australia's ABC are reporting this in what passes for their 'news'. This follows reports of a big drop in the overnight price of oil. Not for long, I suspect.

I suggest ShipTraffic.net to see the ships lining up at both ends of this choke point. President Nasser scuttled some old rock filled freighters at the entrance after the Anglo/Zionist/French invasion in 1956. Then the zionists again closed the canal by attacking merchant shipping in 1967. A person I knew was first officer aboard the next ship. He was eventually evacuated but the canal remained blocked for years. That deprived Egypt of revenue, economic warfare. Usually these ships have a pilot.

Posted by: Paul | Mar 24 2021 5:25 utc | 50

snake #32

Because the monopolies have been globalized and internationalized, it is now possible for a owner and producer located in say America to relocate the American factory to say cheap labor, environment negligent Taiwan or wherever. Why, because the owners and producers of monopoly protected products have nation state and international community guarantees that no one can produce a monopoly protected product or use a monopoly protected technology but the owner who has been granted a monopoly against competition by his nation state.

Thank you for that post. Can I suggest that the globalisation of supply chains has taken complexity to the fringe of the realm of uncertainty. In the past, component supply/assembly was a regionalised matter and supply chain breakdowns more easily remedied even in a pandemic. The new global supply and assembly distribution exposes manufacturers tied to a just in time economic ritual to high risk circumstances. This is a costly environment to navigate when confronted with unforeseen disruption.

I expect stranded production lines will be a growing dilemma for the west just as they try to stifle supply to their economic adversaries.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 5:30 utc | 51

Alipoor has his MANPADS probably from Iran. I can`t believe anybody is so stupid to deliver MANPADS to the Taliban.

Posted by: m | Mar 24 2021 6:41 utc | 52

@Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 4:37 utc | 47:

Uncle T, the ship may be headed to China but the company Evergreen is a Taiwan company :). In Chinese, the name means ever prosperous. The company also operates a 5-star rated airline. Though headquartered in Taiwan, the lion's share of the company's revenues are developed by its China-related business.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Mar 24 2021 6:49 utc | 53

m #52

I can`t believe anybody is so stupid to deliver MANPADS to the Taliban.

If there is a strictly limited number for an agreed purpose then there might be a queue of vendors supplying manpads. Ayatolla Mike could have been an early victim of special purpose provisions. Regardless of that incident, there are arsenals throughout the world with stock and pilfering. Ukraine seems to have lost enormous numbers of items before it was time for accidents to happen prior to audits.

People are mercenary enough to deal in all manner of sophisticated weaponry just as you might find at the Port Washington Chabad. Felix Sater, managing partner of Bayrock Group and former senior advisor to Donald Trump, speaking for 15 minutes at the Chabad of Port Washington. Bayrock occupied the floor below Trump's in New York. Sometimes there could be occasional inventory 'issues' I guess.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 7:16 utc | 54

Paul #50

Thank you, I can just imagine the drivel spin from the ABC all story and no investigation as to why WE paid for the Texas freeze up either. This Ever Given story has sufficient elements for it to be spun as a malevolent snide attack on China so it gets a run. You will never see the ABC do a news spot on Felix Sater though ;)

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 7:21 utc | 55

re uncle tungsten @ #54

Not worth it cobber, a troll is a troll is a troll. This one has been hangin' round like a fly on dogshit for too many weeks.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Mar 24 2021 7:42 utc | 56

If the US withdraws from Afghanistan, then the system will look for new challenges. Most likely military action against Iran.

If the US does not withdraw from Afghanistan, then the number of US troops in Afghanistan will be increased to 10,000 to protect the US presence from renewed Taliban attacks. Military action against Iran will move down the list of ideas.

To allow girls in stay in school, the US should continue the occupation in Afghanistan and stop the rise of the Islamic Emirate.

Posted by: whatissowrong | Mar 24 2021 7:43 utc | 57

Debsisdead #56

Yes agreed, but I could never miss the opportunity to post a reminder of Felix for the new diggers here.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 8:40 utc | 58

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 8:40 utc | 58
 
Yeah, just listen to the fly above your message, so concerned about girls going to school, another twenty years of war and untold trillions spent and those school girls might go to university, just like back in the seventies, that is half a century ago. An inverted time machine of sorts.

https://avatars.mds.yandex.net/get-zen_doc/1675790/pub_5e4f220292b8200f2f571da9_5e4f2368a3e296673fdfc651/scale_1200

Posted by: Paco | Mar 24 2021 8:47 utc | 59

whatissowrong #57

The system is looking for new challenges beyond this? You must be joking, the last time they took on a real challenge they got their sphincter wrapped around their ears from being rudely kicked out. I can handle seeing that repeated.

I did notice this item of inventory: "The Dimona Radar Facility is an American-operated radar base in the Negev, staffed by 120 US military personnel". Now that is conveniently close to Iran and obliterating that would equate to a fingertip of Qasem Soleimani revenge.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 8:50 utc | 60

Paco #59

Great image, thank you, I could a;most imagine Melanie singing or Mick Jagger.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 8:58 utc | 61

Uncle Tungsten

Occasionally the ABC investigation unit stray from the strict confines of the reservation. Look at the current investigation report on the Sydney ghost train fire by the ABC. The late Abe Saffron's name looms large but remains unmentioned. Try searching. The NCA's number ONE investigation.: "James McCartney Anderson.and the National Crime Authority." No wonder Australia is the most corrupt province in the Anglo/ Zionist sphere. Also have a search for 'Juanita Nielsen.' If you have the right connections in Australia you can get away with murder. Get down and boogie Chicago.

Posted by: Paul | Mar 24 2021 9:09 utc | 62

Thank you for that post. Can I suggest that the globalisation of supply chains has taken complexity to the fringe of the realm of uncertainty. In the past, component supply/assembly was a regionalised matter and supply chain breakdowns more easily remedied even in a pandemic. The new global supply and assembly distribution exposes manufacturers tied to a just in time economic ritual to high risk circumstances. This is a costly environment to navigate when confronted with unforeseen disruption.

I expect stranded production lines will be a growing dilemma for the west just as they try to stifle supply to their economic adversaries.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 5:30 utc | 51

Yes, and thank you. This is the real problem, and why 15 months ago I thought the virus was going to be a disaster regardless. The "just in time" global economy is brittle and un-"resilient", in spades. If you want robust and resilient then you also want redundancy, excess capacity, and competent and timely maintenance. And in Uncle Sugar's juvenile to destroy what he cannot own and you wind up here. And as I said before, we are all damn lucky the Chinese did conquer it and keep their economy intact.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 24 2021 9:46 utc | 63

Their backers in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are likewise convinced that there is no need to change course.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are far more of a threat to Washington's "national interests" than Venezuela, Cuba or Iran and yet neither Saudi Arabia nor Pakistan are under sanctions. Suggests to me Washington is utterly brain dead, so I wish the American people would put us out of our misery by replacing it, shame on the "insurrection" and a particular use of for walls comes to mind . And, YES, I do know that the Republicans and Democrats are effectively two wings of the same party, the American Imperialist Party

It only faltered when the Soviet Union cut off its financial and material assistance.
As I've mentioned here before when the Soviet Union could no longer afford to fund Najibullah, the CIA should have stepped up and put him on its payroll. I believe the Soviet Union was spending about $3 billion a year supporting him and Washington might have been able to keep him in office and the Taliban out of office for not much more ($90 billion) that it has so far spent ($88 billion) on "training" alone. Who says Russia lost the Cold War. Instead of becoming a permanent quagmire for Russia as Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski hoped back in 1979 when they started Washington's involvement in Afghanistan, Washington is in a bigger, more damaging quagmire forty two years later.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Mar 24 2021 9:47 utc | 64

The US in Afghanistan is exposed in the event that they take action against Iran. It isn't defendable.

Posted by: Kaiama | Mar 24 2021 10:10 utc | 65

>>>>: Paul | Mar 24 2021 3:57 utc | 43

Try vesselfinder.com to see the AIS info.

>>>>: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 4:32 utc | 46

...the irony of it being a vessel bound for China...

According to its AIS info (see vesselfinder.com) the ship' next port of call is supposed to be Rotterdam (NLRTM) so it's not "bound for China".

BTW, it wouldn't surprise me if Mossad pretended this was one of their numerous, magnificent, non-existent ops. The objective to get more oil tankers to use the Trans-Israel pipeline, aka Tipline, Eilat–Ashkelon Pipeline, or Europe–Asia Pipeline.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Mar 24 2021 10:10 utc | 66

Paul #62

My long gone mate Tony Reeves wrote extensively on Juanita and her murder. He wrote of many things and did some mighty good works.
The developers were not happy with Tony and his relentless pursuit of Abe Safron and definitely not happy with the Wran/Ferguson Environmental Legislation. I remember a meeting with Tony Reeves, Alfred McCoy, Mark Aarons and I discussing the international circumstances and the connections threading across the planet. It is worth reading all of Tony Reeve's books.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 10:29 utc | 67

Ghost Ship #66

Thanks for that correction. I picked my details up from a linked press report. Maybe they tossed a coin as to destination given that the vessel is wedged across the canal.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 10:31 utc | 68

Kaiama #65

There are deep currents between Iran and Afghanistan and they transcend sunni / shia divides. Deep history and allegiances may not work well for the USA if it tries to stick around after May day. What a fitting date for the yankees to have agreed to.

I suspect mayhem will erupt after May 1st and surprises will manifest if the invader is still there. It will be last month of spring and good fighting weather for the Taliban. Afghanistan deserves a break from yankistan and its murderous leeches.

The 1842 debacle:

"The inhospitable terrain, the unforgiving and unpredictable weather, fractured tribal politics, turbulent relations with the local population and armed civilians: these are just some of the issues that led to Britain’s downfall in Afghanistan.

This refers not to the most recent war in Afghanistan (although you would be forgiven for thinking so), but Britain’s humiliation in Kabul almost 200 years ago. This epic defeat happened during the very first Afghan war and Anglo-invasion of Afghanistan in 1842.

It was a time when the British colonies, and indeed the East India Trading Company, were extremely wary of Russian power-expansion in the East. It was thought that a Russian invasion of Afghanistan would be an inevitable part of this. Such an invasion was of course finally realised more than a century later with the Soviet-Afghan war of 1979-1989.

This period in the 19th century is something historians refer to as the ‘Great Game’, a tug of war between East and West over who would control the region. Although the area remains in contention even to this day, the very first Afghan War was not so much a defeat for the British, as it was a complete humiliation: a military disaster of unprecedented proportions, perhaps only matched by the Fall of Singapore exactly 100 years later...

Fearful of increased Russian interest in the area, the British decided to invade Afghanistan and marched unchallenged into Kabul in early 1839 with a force of approximately 16,000 to 20,000 British and Indian troops collectively known as Indus. Yet a mere three years later there was only one known British survivor who staggered into Jalalabad in January 1842, after fleeing the carnage that befell his comrades in Gandamak.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 10:44 utc | 69

Meanwhile not far away...

A Russian airforce bombing targeted another illegal market run by Al Qaeda for stolen Syrian oil near the borders with Turkey, the regime of Erdogan called on the Russians to stop.

A Russian Su-34 bomber is said to target the make-shift oil market at Bab Al Hawa border crossing with a missile that destroyed dozens of oil tankers and shipment lorries at the site, members of Al Qaeda terrorists wearing the ‘White Helmets’ designated uniforms after taking off their suicide vests were seen rushing to the site to try to extinguish the fire, an effort that would take from them several hours.

Erdogan called on the Russians to stop !! LMAO

Looks like the frog is on the way to be boiled.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 10:51 utc | 70

@ uncle tungsten

About Manpads

Maybe they’re American or Israeli? I remember that well-supplied arms depots were discovered by the Syrian army...

Posted by: Bernard F. | Mar 24 2021 11:06 utc | 71

Afghanistan, Iran and India have developed an integrated trading position with the Chabahar port development as its cornerstone. Any pointless agro from yankeestan will be most unwelcome and you can be sure the Taliban government won't be tolerating any sanctions BS from them.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 11:08 utc | 72

uncle tungsten @60

The long list of military bases overseas is not a list of challenges. Those host countries have not only agreed not to challenge the US but also send troops to support the US in war because they are getting US military protection. A new challenge for the system means crushing a country that defies the US. Without the burden of occupying Afghanistan, the system will have an easier time moving onto the challenge of war against Iran.

Posted by: whatissowrong | Mar 24 2021 11:35 utc | 73

Posted by: Kaiama | Mar 24 2021 10:10 utc | 65


The US in Afghanistan is exposed in the event that they take action against Iran. It isn't defendable.

Well spotted. I can't help being reminded of the 18th century British retreat down the Khyber pass:


The Massacre of Elphinstone's Army was the destruction by Afghan forces, led by Akbar Khan, the son of Dost Mohammad Khan, of a combined British and Indian force of the British East India Company, led by Major General William Elphinstone, in January 1842.

After the British and Indian troops captured Kabul in 1839, an Afghan uprising forced the occupying garrison out of the city. The East India Company army of 4,500 troops, along with 12,000 working personnel or camp-followers, left Kabul on 6 January 1842. They attempted to reach the British garrison at Jalalabad, 90 miles (140 km) away, but were immediately harassed by Afghan forces. The last organised remnants were eventually annihilated near Gandamak on 13 January.[2]

Apart from about a dozen high-ranking prisoners, including Elphinstone and his second-in-Command Brigadier Shelton, only one British officer from the army, Assistant Surgeon William Brydon, survived the retreat and reached Jalalabad.

The US Army will go the same way.

An unavoidable part of attacking and occupying is exposing oneself to attack and occupation.

The eternal Yin and Yang and self-contradiction of violence ...

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Mar 24 2021 11:51 utc | 74

Desirable as majority rule in Afghanistan would be, even the victory of a domestic government would be an improvement. The removal of the US occupation would be a great improvement, given that the "occupation" in practice is more of an endless war, carried on increasingly by local mercenaries and assorted Sardinians. (In the Crimean War, Sardinia sent troops to fight alongside the English and French, to "earn" diplomatic support. "Sardinians are "allies" sending troops to stay in good with their superiors.)

But as to the rosy dreams of an open US defeat as in Vietnam? Skipping the differences between the Taliban and the Communists on the one hand, and between a conscript army and a volunteer army on the other, there are real obstacles to the happy ending.

1)The US doesn't need a victory in the sense of successfully occupying and pacifying Afghanistan. Paying for colonies is generally a pointlessly expensive proposition anyhow and the US merely needs a war to continue.

2)Therefore, there is a fundamental asymmetry that favors the US. The Taliban needs to occupy and pacify some number of cities to win its goals.

3)Cities are deathtraps for offensive fighters. The tactical superiority of the defensive means either overwhelming force must be applies, or sieges, substituting time for overwhelming force, or severe losses can be assured. It is unclear the Taliban can accept the kinds of losses a unified social movement based on the people, such as in Vietnam, could.

People's refusal to accept the lessons of the present (forget the past!) leads to grotesque miscalculations. The Democratic Party largely committed itself to attacking Trump from the right, as proven by the crazy red-baiting claims of Putin-loving treason. (Yes, Putin is an anti-Communist, not a red, but mainstream politics, Democratic and Republican, are all based on key Big Lies.) There was and is a huge overlap in substantive policies between Obama and Trump and now Biden. There were some real differences in tactics, as in, target Russia and China at the same time, and don't actively piss off the subordinates in Europe, etc. But in many areas, they are simply the same, servicing the ruling class. Afghanistan is an area where it is the same. Trump knew how to use presidential power over the military when they didn't jump through hoops over intervening in the election, er, restoring order in the blue cities last summer. If Trump had wanted to get out of Afghanistan, it would have been done, same as in Syria. So, it is unclear that the US is even seeking a face-saving arrangement. It is awfully early to pronounce judgments on the Biden administration. It is possible Dr. Jill will decide endless war in Afghanistan is a bad deal. But at this point, it's too early to even hope, as far as I can tell.

If someone says they see clouds, that is *not* raining on your parade.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Mar 24 2021 14:40 utc | 75

Posted by: steven t johnson | Mar 24 2021 14:40 utc | 75

>>Cities are deathtraps for offensive fighters. The tactical superiority of the defensive means either overwhelming force must be applies, or sieges, substituting time for overwhelming force, or severe losses can be assured. It is unclear the Taliban can accept the kinds of losses a unified social movement based on the people, such as in Vietnam, could.


The Taliban already have large support within many cities. They captured pretty fast Kunduz, Pol E Kumri, Farah, and Ghazni city, as a show of force, and then withdrew. Right now there is fighting going on within many provincial capitols, such as Lashkar Gah (capitol of strategic Helmand province) or Pol E Alam near Kabul, or the capitol of Takar province.

The Taliban do not need "a siege" to capture many cities. The Taliban are in the cities.

According to this report in the New York Times, security in Ghazni City – the capital of Ghazni province in Afghanistan – has deteriorated to the point where residents are unsure if the Taliban or the government control it.

To summarize the report:

-The Taliban is collecting taxes from businesses and individuals.
– Taliban members are living openly in one neighborhood, where they outnumber the police. The neighborhood is basically a no go zone for security forces.
– Police, soldiers, and government officials are routinely gunned down.
– Senior police officials are bribing the Taliban to prevent the targeting of their officers.
– Recently, the Taliban overran all police checkpoints in one area of the capital.
– The Taliban controls the road network leading into Ghazni City, and is also exerting its influence in the outskirts of the city.
– The Taliban is running a court system and dispensing its harsh brand of justice, “claiming jurisdiction over the city and its outskirts, and carries out floggings, and even, sometimes, stonings.”
– When moving from building to building within the governor’s compound, the provincial governor rides in an armored SUV, often with armored HUMVEEs to escort him.

https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2018/05/taliban-activity-in-ghazni-city-highlights-deteriorating-security-in-afghanistan.php

Posted by: Passer by | Mar 24 2021 16:10 utc | 76

craig murray was forced to shut down his blog, at least temporarily, today.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Mar 24 2021 16:16 utc | 77

Posted by: steven t johnson | Mar 24 2021 14:40 utc | 75


2)Therefore, there is a fundamental asymmetry that favors the US. The Taliban needs to occupy and pacify some number of cities to win its goals.

The fundamental assymmetry goes deeper than you think:

The US is not fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

It is fighting, in order:

- Iran
- Russia
- China
- Pakistan

The Taliban are a side-show.

Four very large economic and military powers are exerting silent pressure and influence in the negative space within Afghanistan.

Outside of this negative space the US is essentially trapped.

Embalmed within Afghanistan by the geopolitics of the situation.

Regardless of what the Taliban do, or don't do, the major Central/Asian powers control the levers of power that direct American actions within Afghanistan and therefore all of the world island. It can neither leave in peace, not remain in peace.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Mar 24 2021 16:31 utc | 78

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 10:29 utc | 67

I've spoken to Tony I didn't know he was dead. He was kidnapped by corrupt NSW police along with his mate who fled to the UK and wrote about golf. Alex M has featured a new book on Saffron recently. I think the late premier Wran was covering Juanita's murder up, not helping bring the murderers to justice. I have forgotten a lot of stuff and people from those days. I do know Saffron had a 'mate' in ASIO. Saffron was a prototype Epstein figure. That's why he was dubbed 'Mr Sin' by the media.

Another book on the subject is 'Killing Juanita' by Peter Rees. It's still wide of the mark.

I have two books by Alfred W McCoy.

'The Politics of Heroin in South East Asia.' A classic. No wonder the CIA tried to suppress it.

His new book 'In the Shadows of the American Century, the rise and Decline of US Global Power' is first class scholarship and worth a read.

Posted by: Paul | Mar 24 2021 16:39 utc | 79

Passer by@76 tells us the Taliban is contesting Ghazni by ensconcing itself in some neighborhoods and threatening bombings/attacks on government personnel. This is the political equivalent of a siege. The hope is that the pressure will wear down the government and it will leave. The politics are still that the residents of the whole city need to know that the Taliban are in control and the government is not, that its forces and administration have been ejected. Then, the Taliban's taxes will be acknowledged as true taxes devoted to the entire city (and some part to the nation of course.) The US goal of endless war is being carried out. It is embarrassing and harassing that the local mercenaries are not in total control...but again, the fundamental US goal of endless war is still being carried out.

Ghazni is apparently about one third the size of Kandahar, and about one twentieth the size of Kabul. If the US goal was to make peace through victory, then losing parts of Ghazni demonstrates the failure of that goal. But yet again, I say that is not the goal of the US occupation. The US maintains its financial supremacy through financial domination of the world. The dollar is founded on blood. The blood spilled in Afghanistan and elsewhere is a critical component of the wealth of the US ruling class.

Saying that a neighborhood in Ghazni means the US is defeated is something like saying that the existence of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was the defeat of the US. If it should turn out the Taliban could actually take enough cities to force withdrawal, that would be better than now. But I can't agree Ghazni today shows that it is happening.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Mar 24 2021 16:43 utc | 80

Addendum to 79 and Re uncle tungsten.

I know premier Wran's attorney general, Frank Walker, threatened to resign and go public if something wasn't done about Juanita's murder. So Wran ordered a few of the usual suspects be arrested. They were charged with conspiring to abduct her ONE WEEK before she actually disappeared. One was ordered to be acquitted by the presiding judge. Another, the late Eddie Trigg, boasted about his payments from Saffron while he was in prison.

Posted by: Paul | Mar 24 2021 16:57 utc | 81

#68 The ship's routing is publicly available from sites such as vesselfinder.

It started off in Ningbo (near Shanghai), called in Taipei Mar 5, then Yantian (near Shenzhen/Hong Kong) Mar 7, then Tanjung Pelepas (near Johore Bahru Malaysia) Mar 12 and now is in the Suez enroute to Rotterdam (a major distribution point for the EU), it was expected to arrive Mar 31.

The Evergreen conglomerate is Taiwan-based but much of their business is China-related. They run a pretty good airline, even by high Asian standards.

Posted by: bill baly | Mar 24 2021 17:12 utc | 82

Doesn't leaving Afghanistan depend on what the long range plan is for Iran? Given the Biden administration is Neocon Zionist does that mean war or not? At this point I think the Biden administration is run by clowns, so no clue what they think of other than there future avenues for graft. Saving face doesn't seem to be a factor given the commitment to the neoliberal agenda of attacking American dissenters.

Posted by: Old and Grumpy | Mar 24 2021 19:25 utc | 83

Mr. Old and Grumpy

The long range plan of US for Iran (and the Shia Crescent) is her destruction.

Anything and Everything to maintain control of Palestine - USD 8 trillion and counting...

Posted by: fyi | Mar 24 2021 20:20 utc | 84

Old and Grumpy #83

The USA invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was an opportunist move seized on by military industrial complex paid opportunists aka lobbyists. Someone just had to be blamed for something as is the culture in the USA and among the biggest financier of politicians and political party apparatus is the manufacturers of all the military kit. Secondarily there was a simultaneous opportunity to obstruct China trade infrastructure through Pakistan and Afghanistan to Iran. Had things gone according to plan there was also an opportunity to attack the northern 'stans' nations (and threaten Russia) by likely funding a similar 'insurrection' led by their attack dogs as they had done years ago in Afghanistan against the leftist government in power.

The USA detests Iran and every day of it being out of their control so they prevent easy land corridors being established. The USA cannot stand rogue pawns anywhere on the planet unless Israel and they are serving the purpose of genociding the Palestinians in a slow motion.

You are correct, saving face is not a a factor. Maintaining the slush fund of the military and its corporate partners is paramount. Plus there is a USA military base in every state of the USA whereby their congressional representatives dare not challenge - it is a stalemate of obligation and reciprocation and the political party machines in those states are entirely dependent on private finance to keep alive and contest the expensive elections. They are captives of the military industrial complex and must do what they are 'told' to do. Sometimes there is a squeak from a dissident but no sign of a roar.

The USA is so conflicted by contradictions and hypocrisy that it can't even see when it might lose face - such a concept is impossible and therefore cannot exist. Such is hubris.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 24 2021 21:26 utc | 85

fyi @Mar24 20:20 #84

USD 8 trillion and counting...

Biden in 1986: Israel ... it is the best $3 billion investment we make ...

I believe he meant $3 billion PER YEAR.

Biden (in the same clip): "There is no apology to be made! None." LOL. US Deep State dumbasses allowed Zionist ideologues/mobsters to hijack US policy ... what could go wrong?

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 24 2021 23:09 utc | 86

Mr. Jackrabbit

Even though born a Catholic and likely confirmedcas well, he is a Judeo-Christian in his orientation and opinions.

There is nothing here that requires the invocation of the idea of a Deep State, it is just religious passion; a fool's errand.

Posted by: Fyi | Mar 24 2021 23:50 utc | 87

If Americans leave Afghanistan, and if peace magically ensues, Chinese will come in to build roads, railways, power plants, factories, schools, 5G stations... and many more. How can this be a tolerable outcome to people in Washington DC?

So sorry for the people of Afghanistan, the "If" parts will not happen.

Posted by: d dan | Mar 25 2021 7:08 utc | 88

d dan #88

If Americans leave Afghanistan, and if peace magically ensues, Chinese will come in to build roads, railways, power plants, factories, schools, 5G stations... and many more.

So sorry for the people of Afghanistan, the "If" parts will not happen.

Don't bet your salary on that last line. I know in my gloomy hours I harbour that same pessimism and have expressed it here from time to time but there is a serious chance that the USA is about to do a 'USSR style inversion or deflation or whatever.

The USA has been using and abusing and short changing its allies for long time and before that the UK was up to the same caper. There is a psychosis at play here that can reverse on the merest catalyst and the frame of that catalyst is being carved by the words of China and Russia like never before. We live in hope and our words here leave their mark.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 25 2021 8:46 utc | 89

I suspect that the real point of delaying the withdrawal from Afghanistan is to goad the Taliban into attacking, thus giving the neocons an excuse to say that the Doha Plan failed and therefore the US military will stay indefinitely.

Posted by: Feral Finster | Mar 25 2021 15:52 utc | 90

Touching upon the Hazaras/Shias, another aspect of the Taliban that's been evolving and that the US blob seems ignorant/dismissive of, is the Taliban's attempts at bridging relations with ethnicities that they'd originally been adamantly opposed to. Today's Taliban isn't necessarily the same as the Taliban of the Islamic Emirate government. Of course that's no guarantee they won't fall back to those ideals when they take power, but towards the end of building power they've toned down their heavy Pashtun preference and even to some degree, their opposition to Shias, by appointing commanders from these groups to lead Taliban cells in their respective regions of Afghanistan.

Militarily, the Taliban are definitely weaker than they used to be but that hasn't affected their resilience nor their political evolution to make themselves a stronger candidate for governing compared to the US puppet in Kabul that barely manages to project power and is often represented outside of Kabul by corrupt officials and ANA commanders who loot, extort, and harass the villages they're stationed in.

And at the end of the day, the Taliban are likely of the mind that it's their home turf and they can continue their operations as they have because all they need to do is wait the US out. If America refuses to budge because of the fear that the liberal ideology they hold dear will be further tarnished, then it just means there'll come a time where America doesn't get to have any say in what will happen when it eventually packs up and runs like the US ran out of Saigon near the end of the Vietnam War.

Posted by: brainiac3397 | Mar 25 2021 18:37 utc | 91

Biden To Stay In Afghanistan Beyond May 1st Agreement Despite Pentagon Saying "We're Ready"https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/biden-stay-afghanistan-beyond-may-1st-agreement-despite-pentagon-saying-were-ready

Posted by: arby | Mar 26 2021 11:54 utc | 92

You should never start something that you cannot finish.

Posted by: Carver | Mar 28 2021 18:54 utc | 93

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