Time to Admit the Afghan War is ‘Nonsense’

Exclusive: Officially, the U.S. military objective in Afghanistan is to force the Taliban to the negotiating table, but just last month President Trump said that talks with the Taliban are off the table, indicating an incoherent policy, as Jonathan Marshall notes.

By Jonathan Marshall

Whatever happened to the Donald Trump who tweeted in 2013, “Let’s get out of Afghanistan … we waste billions there. Nonsense!”

Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilots fly near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, April 5, 2017. The pilots are assigned to the 7th Infantry Division’s Task Force, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade.The unit is preparing to support Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Resolute Support. (Army photo by Capt. Brian Harris)

And whatever happened to the reality TV star who used to tell under-performers, “you’re fired”?

Today, as commander in chief, President Trump is indefinitely extending the Afghan war’s record as the longest in U.S. history. He’s wasting $45 billion to wage it this year alone. And he’s not even thinking of firing his huckster generals who claim that sending a few thousand more troops and stepping up the bombing will be a “game changer.”

Much like the Vietnam War, every day’s news of war from Afghanistan puts the lie to optimistic claims of a military solution. A recent BBC study concluded that Taliban forces are now active in 70 percent of the country, more than at any time since the end of 2001. Unofficial U.S. estimates of their strength have soared from about 20,000 in 2014 to at least 60,000 today.

Afghan government forces number several times as many, but—like their counterparts in the Vietnam War—they “lack the one thing the U.S. cannot provide: the will to fight a protracted campaign against a committed enemy,” in the words of Bill Roggio, editor of the Long War Journal at the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The Taliban have proven that no place in Afghanistan is safe from their long arm. At the beginning of February, they infiltrated a bomb-laden ambulance into Kabul, just blocks from a meeting at the Afghan Ministry of Defense with the head of the U.S. Central Command. Its blast killed more than 100 people and injured 235. It followed only days after Taliban gunmen stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, killing at least 20 people, including four Americans.

Inspector General Finds No Progress

The latest Inspector General report on the status of “Operation Freedom’s Sentinel,” issued Feb. 18, declares that U.S. and Afghan government forces made no progress last year in expanding their control of the country or in forcing the Taliban to the peace table, one of the administration’s stated goals.

“In addition,” the report said, “there were growing concerns about whether Afghanistan will be able to hold parliamentary elections as planned in July 2018, and the country was struggling to provide assistance to nearly two-million internally displaced persons.”

The report also highlighted the lethality of Taliban operations against Afghan military and police forces, but it declined to offer numbers, noting that the U.S. military had classified them at the request of the Afghan government.

To justify its optimism, the Trump administration has touted its ostensibly new tactic of bombing drug labs to deny the Taliban revenue. The Inspector General notes that such operations were undertaken as far back as 2009, to no end:

“The United Nations reported that opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan set a new record in 2017. Cultivated land increased 63 percent over 2016 levels and potential opium production set a new record at 9,000 tons. The United Nations stated that the Afghan government’s strategic focus on protecting population centers in 2017 might have made rural populations more vulnerable to the influence of anti-government entities who pay local farmers to grow poppy and protect farmers from government eradication efforts.”

Similarly, U.S. military operations have failed to suppress Afghanistan’s version of ISIS, which recently conducted several spectacular terror attacks in Kabul. The U.S. command made “no discernible progress” on convincing Pakistan to close its borders to insurgents. Last but not least, the Afghan government remains a mess, riven by factional fights between President Ashraf Ghani and provincial warlords.

An Incoherent Policy

Meanwhile, unaddressed by the IG is the basic incoherence of a policy of bombing the Taliban into reconciliation. On paper, Washington aims to force the Taliban to the negotiating table, acknowledging that outright victory is impossible. But only this January, President Trump told members of the UN Security Council, “we don’t want to talk with the Taliban,” and a spokesman for President Ghani said recently, “We never negotiate with groups who resort to crime and the brutal killing of people and then claim responsibility for it.”

That sounds like a policy of stalemate if ever there was one.

“For years, we have been pursuing a strategy that will not win, but at the same time, we are doing just enough to ensure that we do not entirely lose,” concedes Kevin Hulbert, former CIA station chief in Kabul. “The way forward will be determined by clarifying our objectives, which to this point, have remained ambiguous at best.”

Clarifying our objectives would certainly help, but just as important are clarity about U.S. interests and capabilities.

Ever since 9/11, policy makers have largely taken American interests for granted. Yet aside from fantasies about developing Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, it’s hard to make a serious case that American lives and treasure will be more at risk from getting out of Afghanistan than continuing an endless war. The only significant interest at stake is political: no president wants to lose such a war.

And as to capabilities, the Obama-era surge proved that even with 100,000 troops, the United States cannot win a war against committed, indigenous insurgents who enjoy unlimited funding and protected foreign sanctuaries. Unlike the United States, the Taliban have nowhere to go. They will wait us out, even if that means fighting for another 16 years.

A decade ago, a top-level policy analysis requested by President George W. Bush admitted, “The United States is not losing in Afghanistan, but it is not winning either, and that is not good enough.” Those words are as true in 2018 as they were in 2008. The situation is still not good enough, and there’s no chance of it getting any better. It’s time for President Trump to wake up and say “you’re fired!” to anyone on his team who pretends otherwise.

Jonathan Marshall is the author or co-author of five books on U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. His articles on Afghanistan include “The Goal of ‘Not Losing’ in Afghanistan,”  “Blaming the Afghan War Failure on — Russia,” and “Afghanistan: President Obama’s Vietnam.”

130 comments for “Time to Admit the Afghan War is ‘Nonsense’

  1. Mel
    February 28, 2018 at 11:00

    “They will wait us out”. I recall that in an interview for the BBC a N. Vietnamese General said “We knew that we would win because the Americans, one day, will have to go home”. A pity that Washington policy makers didn’t take note. What will the endgame in Afghanistan be? Does the MI-complex want the gravy train to arrive anywhere soon?

  2. Anonymot
    February 26, 2018 at 17:21

    About 4/5 yearsago I started doing the research for a novel partly situated in Iraq and Afghanistan. The subject: money laundering, but not big banks/big bucks. It’s about where the capillaries bleed mere billions to a lot of people. In the process, it was inevitable that I got into researching the Taliban and our reasons for going in there, which implies why we’re not anxious to get out.

    There was a multiplicity of reasons for going in. None of them had anything to do with 9/11. On October 7, 2001 the US & Britain attacked the Taliban in 3 locations. A war is not organized in 4 weeks.

    It had nothing to do with the alleged mineral wealth of Afghanistan. Nobody thought that one up until a few years ago, about the same time that mining Mars or the moon came on.

    There is no oil.

    However, it is the back porch of Russia, as much as is the Ukraine! In 1986 we began supplying the mujahideen with missiles and in 1988 the Russians signed a peace treaty to which we were a party and the Russians left.

    By 1989 the last Russians leave. The government remained communist, but the civil war continues. By 1996 part of the mujahideen were called Taliban and by 1997 they controlled 2/3 of the country.

    They were Islamic extremists. Among their extremes, they said Islam was opposed to any kind of narcotics and they shut down the production of poppies for heroin completely. That created panic in the criminal, mafia world that counted on the annual hundreds of billions of dollars that fed their pipelines from the poppy fields to the streets of America and Europe. Heroin was a major business and it was tax free. The cost was only about 3 billion dollars that were paid to the farmers. The rest of that staggering amount went to the criminal world: labs, transportation, and sales. There was also the delicate task of the consiglieri to work out who got their cut, from the farmer’s gate to the border Customs, politicians along the route, etc. By 1999 the Taliban had simply put a major world enterprise out of business, because 80% of the heroin production came from the Afghans, the rest from America’s recent friends in Burma (Myanmar.) Big time.

    I searched online, offline, among friends who were journalists, etc. and no one seemed capable of putting names and faces with the put-out-of-business people. They were as anonymous as the MIC, but the MIC is a mindset whereas the purveyors of H were a real, tight-knit network. They were no longer dese, dem, and dose guys. They had gone to college, spoke the King’s English, ran seemingly legit companies in numerous fields from banking and Wall street, to arms and international trade. They laundered onshore, offshore, trading real estate, and being part of the conservative establishment.

    They held a lot of Political IOUs. Big Time. They possess that MIC/CIA/NSA/HSA mindset. They bought it and paid their dues.

    So we went in to Afghanistan. Within one growing season, the poppies were back. The pipeline was started up. The US military and politicians decried that the terrible Taliban were producing narcotics. They yelled that throughout the media and the public believed it. Except that in the 2011 UNODOC report on narcotics it was estimated that the reformed Taliban were responsible for about 10% of the heroin production that was back to beyond its pre-war full normal. And the other 90%? Since that 2011 report, the annual reports have become more generic and vague. Since we invaded the Afghans have also become one of the world’s top producers of marijuana. Why not? The whole networks from grower to street sales were in place. Any international corporate CEO would be proud of the efficiency – and profit. There are big people, little people, political people, military people. The little ones work and take risks. The big ones collect dividends and tell the obedient media that we are winning, but… Gotta stay in there.

    And they are not about to let it go.

    In my humble opinion, that’s why we went in to Afghanistan and the reason we are not about to leave it to some other criminal enterprises.

  3. godenich
    February 25, 2018 at 10:02

    Afghanistan[1], the Middle East[2] and “The Limits of Power” were good listens[3]. Thanks to Evelyn for bringing the author to my attention in a previous CN article. Politics, war, the press and the public are linked, but like others before, e.g. Kissinger & Brzezinski, there is little delving into the inter-locking financial dimension of the economy[4] that fills the war chest. Collateralized by future tax dollars extracted from the public by the IRS, profiteering on debt issuances for war and reconstruction, market speculation, along with greater financial pump, dump & churn, emboldens the expansion of empire and shackles the domestic population to an ever larger chain of debt bonds. The Euro, PetroYuan, crypto currency, goldmoney(bitgold) and Venezuelan Petro-Coin has complicated the currency war mission objective. Trump is continuing the practice of his predecessors by sparking potential trade wars with various tariffs and sanctions, albeit less repressive to us than Ryan’s proposed across-the-board Border Adjustment Tax(BAT) wielded on the public. Given hydrogen storage and other alternative energy strategies, the energy crisis is a long-term myth.

    The original intent of the income tax, both in England and the United States, was to fund government directly by taxpayers to consolidate and remove the absurdities of the tax system, curtail tariffs, sanctions and excise taxes. This and free trade were goals, as well as performing double-duty in times of war and helping the poor left behind. Other reaons are chiefly left unsaid. A decentralized form of APT tax[5-8] with limited inheritance, e.g. [6], would accomplish the same goals plus have the added benefits of lessening the tax burden on the public, decreasing prices of goods & services traded, as well as curbing political and financial appetites for war and market manipulations since potentially greater long-term business losses may be incurred from higher taxes to pay for war and reconstruction costs.

    These decisions are made in the political sphere and influenced by the industrical and financial sectors. From a public perspective. the proposition of government was to allow more time to be spent on productive and prosperous activities with greater security, but government has failed the mission objective, “bigly”, compounded by many ill-conceived, ineffective and floutable regulations. However noble, glorious or necessary a standing army and domestic police force may be for some, it is, nonetheless, a burden on the public,… a cost center in blood and treasure of our citizens. War is the failure of diplomacy, the failure of government,… the efforts of “stupid, stupid” people in and around government circles.

    [1] BILL MOYERS JOURNAL | Andrew Bacevich on Afghanistan | PBS | Youtube
    [2] Andrew Bacevich ? America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History | Youtube
    [3] The Limits of Power | Bacevich | 2015 | Downpour
    [4] Petrodollar War Machine | Youtube
    [5] Alternative Proposals Reform, May 11 2005 | Video | C-SPAN (second 5-minute speaker)
    [6] Taxation for the 21ST Century: The Automated Payment Transaction (APT) Tax | SSRN
    [7] APT Tax | Youtube
    [8] 5 Secrets The Hilton Family Tried To Hide | Youtube

  4. Zhu Bajie
    February 25, 2018 at 04:03

    Is Grenada the only war the US has won since 1945?

    • Anonymot
      February 26, 2018 at 17:29

      Yes. Startling, isn’t it?

  5. February 25, 2018 at 00:34

    They’ve talked about how to keep our school safe bring our military home let our military walk the schools hallways that will keep our students safe we need to start taking our electronic devices away from our children and from ourselves and get back to talking to each other face-to-face being on websites that talk about Mass killing that’s not what our children’s needs to read or hear they need to be outside playing and enjoying each other families need to put their devices down and have dinner and talk like we used to do in the old days communication to our families families actually text each other to ask a question and they’re in the same house what happened to walking up to Mom or Dad and talking to them face-to-face I know that’s not on this subject but I brought it up anyways just bring our military out of Afghanistan we are spending billions of dollars that could be used here in America to feed the hunger to house the homeless take care of our veterans that are here now thank of America first please mr. President bring are men and women home to their families

  6. February 25, 2018 at 00:29

    My fiance has been in the Army for 38 years he has missed his two children growing up you still in Afghanistan and it’s time to bring our husbands our fathers the mothers of children’s home so that they can see their children this war is endless and we have not won we have enough problems back here in our own country that we need our military please mr. President please bring our military home from Afghanistan

  7. February 24, 2018 at 20:50

    The opiate harvests are 40x what they were before the US invasion..obviously somebody is pocketing huge profits(billions of $$$) but Joe Publix is picking up the tab for the Army and Soldiers our there.

  8. Guy St Hilaire
    February 23, 2018 at 21:07

    I don’t know what to make of Trump ,is he trying really hard to keep everyone off balance by saying one thing today only to refute it the next ? For a president of the USA ,he certainly is an oddball.
    The US is in countries all over the world and believes that it has the divine right to do so .Maybe someone should have a long hard look in the mirror and meditate on rights given unto the righteous and by whom .

  9. February 23, 2018 at 20:43

    The U.S. true purpose in calling anyone a terrorist is to justify their lust for power, to steal a countrys natural resourses, and.. To sell arms!!! Barbaric butchers!!!

    What the world needs so very badly, those who are brutalized, and shed their blood, trying to defend their country from illegal invaders. Is an old fashioned biblical Revelations style judgement day accountability and punishment!!!

  10. mike k
    February 23, 2018 at 20:24

    Underneath all the fascinating complexities, there is just one huge game going on. And this is the game I played endlessly with my friends as a kid: Monopoly. And there is but one object of this game; for one person to get all the money and property, and leave the losers with nothing. Knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or unwillingly we are all involved now in this game on a global scale. It is an insane game to play with human lives at stake, but we are playing it. Or maybe it is playing us……

    • mike k
      February 23, 2018 at 20:28

      The mathematics of capitalism is that infinite selfishness equals extinction.

  11. Superman
    February 23, 2018 at 19:27

    It is pretty amazing that Mr.Marshall and all of the comments did not mention the number one reason the west has consistently occupied Afghanistan for a century. That would be access to the Caspian sea and the vast oil deposits. The 2nd reason is heroin and the narcotics trade which then can be used for covert operations around the world. Most of the heroin goes to places other than the US and thankfully we do not have a heroin problem… oh wait we do have a heroin problem don’t we? Only a fool would not think that opium is being funneled into this county through intelligence networks. Let us not forget Obama used a drone to kill a terrorist AKA an Afghan drug lord according to the documents released by Snowden. It is a tangled web we weave and all kinds of rhetoric is thrown about but in the end this is not much different then WWII when Germany appeared to try and conquer Russia in an effort to access the Caspian oil reserves as well. Whenever I look at a conflict I always remember the 3 most prosperous forms of trade, #1. Oil #2. Arms #3. Narcotics. We can do #2 anywhere but number 1 & 3 are serve a purpose in Afghanistan. So basically the US is fighting for the rich and handing the bill to the poor. God Bless the United Corporations of America & Long Live Goldman Sachs!

  12. Hide BehindhBehindhere have been wake up calls but they were ignored.
    February 23, 2018 at 13:53

    To win or lose what?
    The illegal occupation of a foreign nation is an idea that is not on the table any longer.
    Our liberal progressive have joined with the war makers in the decision making process, as but advisors of tactics needed for success.
    The oxymoronic notion of “Loyal Opposition”.
    There is purpose to US and let’s not forget all their willing allies, no matter win or losing as long as populace lifestyles and personal safety is not engendered the feeling of Nationalism reigns.
    Emotions over rational thinking.
    Patriotism reduced to jingoism, dogma and hedonism.
    There yet remains within a very large % of populace the ancient retension of primative tribalism, and if one take notes, e ery nation allied with US ambitions those who make the arms and those soldiers that use the arms, are all volunteers.
    Millions of active volunteers, who are but part of hundreds of millions of family, friends and worshipping of uniforms and flag supporters.

  13. Bianca
    February 23, 2018 at 13:32

    Excellent analysis. Is it too much to ask — what exactly are we trying to accomplish there? It is HIGH time that we reject the naming conventions used to continue this endless war. The word to ditch is TALIBAN. There is no such thing as Taliban in Afghanistan any more. After Al-Qaeda outfit we funded and armed using Saudi core personnel suceeded in hastening Soviet withdrawal, their role hit a snag. Being foreign, with little following, they were unable to topple Afghan government that was still receiving help from Soviet Union. To remedy that — a plan was developed involving Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and US to create an Army of Pashtun militants, capable of getting alliaces with Afghan tribes. For that purpose, several hundred schools were opened for poor Pakistani youth, to teach them extreme Wahhabi Suni religion, or proby deter defined as cult. In these schools (madras) students (taliban) were given short classes in religion, and trained as soldiers. As soon as they had adequare numbers, and their command established, hey were sent to Afghanistan. Tribes were told in no uncertain terms that these students (Taliban) have full support of US Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and the objective was to topple pro-Soviet president and oust government in Kabul. The reason for extra-religious approach was simple. Under Soviet influence large cities like Kabul were getting modernized. Women were going to Universities, had jobs, studdied abroad. This progress had to be stopped, and the way to do it was through new laws barring women from education and forcing them to live under veil. These Taliban, once in charge in Kabul, worked with Saudi Al-Qaeda (military base) to strenghten the role of Islamic Sharia courts. Not all tribes were kn board, especially not the northern tribes, predominantly Tajik and Uzbek minorities. But Taliban government became
    Disobedient. In August 2001, White House had Taliban government for state dinner urging the pileline deal fir US based Unical. Silly Taliban gave the contract to Argentina instead. 9/11 happened, little and insignificant Al-Qaeda was blamed, Taliban tried to appease US that already decided to put Kabul finally under control, and the rest is history. Taliban government was no more, Taliban soldiers either returned home, or joined local tribes. Since then — we were not fighting Taliban, but an array of Afghan tribes. Afghan government was always a confederation of tribes. Ever sunce, we are trying to centralize the country by imposing meaningless constitution, and trying to expand central rule over the country. Let us lut it this way — Government in Kabul is not exactly thrilled by having to do mission impossible — hence, the name if the game is — money. Money from America and its European allies. Most of them are out, or only symbolically in. So, again — what are we doing. Taliban did nit exist since 2001. We are still there to prevent them from returning? We paid for their ckmming to Afghanistan, then remived them — so how exactly are they ckming back? Nowdays, we use name Taliban to describe the ongoing conflict with Afghans. Since there is no central government control over most of them — how do we propose centralizing the country, so it can be neatly controlled. It is not happening. So, what next?
    There are actually many good choices, but unthinkable to US military nit used to thinking, a d unthinkable to US civilian givernment used to military contractors doing all of their thinking. Thus, obvious solutions are impossible. One solution is to withdraw all military, stop pumping up Central Government, and give incentives to tribal leaders to seek new areangement with Kabul.
    Or just leave, let tribes duke it out. Let regional neighbors collaborate to insure nothing spills out. Now, one can hear neocon screaming. What, let Iran, China, Pakistan, India and other northern neighbors stabilize Afghanistan. Yes, and we should help them. Our sole interest is to insure that the new governance is focused in peace, development and good relations with everyone. But wkuld not then Chinese take it over or Russia? All we need to say is — good luck! But they are not that stupid to try or repeat past mistakes. But what if China makes them sucessfull? Even better. We will have more oportunity to compete in trade. Because if we think in terms of physical controls over territory— we will as a country become unproductive, while waisting money all over the globe. It is the economy that matters.

  14. February 23, 2018 at 12:32


    Coherence is not this administration’s long suit, and I’m surprised you’d expect it. Actually the Russians tried to organize this “country” Afghanastan some years before we got involved (except to make life difficukt for the Russians), but we knew better after their failure to do so. I think we tried the same thing after the French vacated Viet Nam, thinking we only had the cahunes to solve that problem. Guess we all know how that movie ended. In the words of Peter, Paul, and Mary, “When Will They Ever Learn?”

    Howard Mettee

  15. February 23, 2018 at 05:42

    Please take our men out of there my Husband there i haven’t spoke to hi me since they not aloud cell communication with there family’s last time I did get to text him he says he don’t want to die there he despetly wants out he done saw couple of his buddy killed in a war that not really our war I stand to bring all American personal serving over there bring them all home my Husband and son in law there please just releases all them what this piece keeping thing they call when our men and woman are getting slaned killed that not keeping peace now is it I say NO BRING OUR PEOPLE HOME TO THERE FAMILYS I BEG YOU

  16. Carlo Cristofori
    February 23, 2018 at 05:13

    What happened is that the Pentagon media offices, who adroitly release the kind of news that are most effective in playing on public opinion polls (items like “such and such a province is in danger of falling to the Taliban” when there’s some talk of reducing US military forces, for example) successfully gamed the 2016 election (and, previously, the Obama White House) in not shutting off the Afghan war for good. Trump is completely dependent on the Generals, both at the Pentagon and inside the White House, for all the details of policy, and, as is well known, the devil is in the details, of which he has no command whatsoever.

    There’s been one strategic novelty, admittedly, in that the US, after 16 years, is finally getting rid of the evil warlords it installed in 2001. Problem is, Ashraf Ghani is just a US puppet, with no power of his own other that the power to dole out American patronage. Therefore, the most likely result is not the establishment of a strong central government, but a gaping power vacuum on the ground. Most Afghan Army soldiers enlist long enough to draw a few months’ pay, and then go AWOL.


  17. Linda
    February 23, 2018 at 02:51

    We can’t get out of Afghanistan. 1) The CIA and shadow government participants need the poppy production for our guns for drugs ratlines. 2) We need to be there to continue to encircle China and Russia with our military presence. 3) We need to be there to disrupt China’s BRI. USA Empire doesn’t go into countries and leave.

  18. Ahmad
    February 23, 2018 at 01:58

    Waste of money and time in Afghanistan?

    I would say, each cent spent worth it. You got osama, leaders of taliban and most of the terrorists are in caves or in Pakistani military establishment.

    Millions of girls going to schools and universities. Ppl of Afghanistan appericiate western countries contributions and sucrifise they made.

    Millions of ppl have jobs and security. Off course it is not the safest country on earth but ppl are way safer.

    So this article is did not get its figures and analysis right.

    • Zhu Bajie
      February 25, 2018 at 04:31

      Vast numbers killed or maimed.

  19. Joe L.
    February 23, 2018 at 00:47

    I still remember the Pentagon talking about the $1 Trillion worth of resources that they found in Afghanistan and, of course, they were offering to help the Afghan’s develop their industries to extract them.

  20. Walid sadiq
    February 23, 2018 at 00:00

    Hi everyone folks history has proven that no one has ever won in Afghanistan.the Soviet Union tried for 10 years with such brutality and ferocity but victory was not there.the United Sates has wested billions of dollars and many precious lives total failure no hope for long time.

  21. February 22, 2018 at 22:15

    Their sanctuaries are in Afghanistan and Iran and they get funds and weapons from Iran and Central Asia not Pakistan. You blame Pakistan just because Pakistan hosts Sunni Pashtuns Afghan refugees and they should go back now.

  22. Allan Hytowitz
    February 22, 2018 at 21:36

    There is an incredibly simple solution for ending our war in Afghanistan.
    Walk away and turn the county over to China.
    China is already profiting from the rare earth minerals in the Eastern fourth of the country supplying the engineering, the equipment, and the security. They could do a better job than we can in the Western fourth of the country since they have a lot less tolerance for drug use and a lower regard for civil liberties than we do. That authoritarian attitude would be highly effective and appropriate for Afghanistan.
    We have already lost enough lives and money there. It would give Afghanistan the government it deserves.

    • mike k
      February 22, 2018 at 22:00

      The US is unlikely to give China ANYTHING except trouble.

  23. Larspil
    February 22, 2018 at 19:20

    It’s not nonsense for the US to be in Afghanistan. As others in this thread has pointed out, US forces are at a strategic spot in Afghanistan, at the crossroads of Central Asia, close to Iran, Russia and China. That’s the real reason US is in no hurry winning the war against taleban.

    • mike k
      February 22, 2018 at 20:10

      It’s nonsense for the US military to be anywhere outside the United States. The US presence in hundreds of bases around the globe has nothing to do with “defense.” We are the most aggressive, warmaking nation in the world. (MLK)

      • Dave P.
        February 23, 2018 at 03:41

        mike k , it seems to me Larspil said in a sarcastic way that the real reason for US to be there permanently in Afghanistan is to go at Iran, and thru central Asia at Russia and China at some point in the future. US is not there to fight Taliban or some other phantoms they see in their minds. U.S. wants to keep this conflict going.

        • Zhu Bajie
          February 25, 2018 at 04:29

          There are easy places from which to attack Iran, China, Russia. There is no rational reason to be in Afghanistan. Possibly Bush had fantasies about being a great military hero.

  24. Zenobia van Dongen
    February 22, 2018 at 17:15

    The author implies that the only reason for the US to go on fighting in Afghanistan is “fantasies about developing Afghanistan’s mineral wealth”. That is inaccurate, to say the least.
    The principal US role in Afghanistan is to prevent worldwide Islamic terrorism, and unless some other friendly and reliable power takes over this role, the US should go on fighting.
    Afghanistan is where Osama bin Laden seems to have prepared the 9-11 attacks. If extremists like the Taliban or ISIS take over Afghanistan, the country will again become a hotbed of bases training terrorists for attacks in the west, just as it was before the US invasion of 2001-2002. When the US invaded Afghanistan, the terrorists moved their headquarters across the Pakistani border to places like North Waziristan, where their fellow ethnic Pashto harbored them. Countless attacks against N America and Europe were launched from Waziristan, so the US started using drones against them, which was very effective in preventing terrorist raids into the west.
    If the US withdraws from Afghanistan without continuing to harry the terrorists from the air, then China might step in to replace it. But China has no vested interest in preventing terrorist raids against Europe, North America or anywhere else outside of its current domain (which is scheduled to grow).
    As a matter of fact China — as part of its expansionist strategy — might decide to extort concessions from the west by occasionally relaxing the pressure on the Afghan Islamic terrorists, thus allowing them to carry out a couple of terror raids against the west. Even now China occasionally provides cover for Pakistani terrorist attacks against India.
    Perhaps it would be preferable for India to take over from the US instead of China. However that would cause a lot of domestic strife in India.

    • mike k
      February 22, 2018 at 17:30

      Zenobia, if you are scared of terrorists, then you should be very scared of the biggest terrorist nation on Earth – the United States of America.

    • Anon
      February 22, 2018 at 17:52

      Zenobia, you may benefit by studying the issue in more detail, ignoring the mass media propaganda entirely.
      1. The US has caused rather than prevented jihadism. The US gave OBL his start in AfPak to attack the USSR forces there protecting an elected government. We sent billions in weapons to AQ via Pakistan in the 1980s.
      2. The US causes jihadism by killing far more innocents than guilty in “surgical” strikes; this is well established.
      3. The US cannot gain security by killing people on mere suspicion of plotting attacks in the West: this is a prescription for causing such attacks, not stopping them. So if the goal is to stop “terrorism” then the US must stop invading and killing innocents in foreign countries. We cannot “police” such a disaster when we caused it.
      4. I suggest reading the comments of Kharzai above. Others may suggest some good sources.

    • Truth first
      February 22, 2018 at 18:37


    • February 22, 2018 at 22:22

      India shouldn’t have supported terrorists and shouldn’t have fought along with terrorists in East Pakistan. No country does that expect India & Iran. As for Afghanistan, Afghanistan is not a victim and has never been a victim of terrorism rather it is the sponsor and the biggest sponsor who hosts enemies of Pakistan, Uzbekistan, China & Russia

    • Bianca
      February 23, 2018 at 14:22

      We and our reliable friends created Al-Qaeda and Taliban. And now ISIS. So, these entities cannot come back, unless we want them. Lokk at Syria, while we fought ISIS nominally, ISIS was always allowed to withgmdraw — thatbis, their fighting units and weaponry were always allowed. The drags that stayed in bombed out ruins were the idiots that volunteered and came from everywhere to join ISIS. Look at Al-Qaeda in Syria, now under its third name. From Al-Qaeda, morphed into Nusra Front, and now HTS. Since we cannot get yoo close to them fir ibvious reasins, our reliable friends, Brits, are having the honors. They have been creating the dramatics around the fall of Aleppo, shed tears, over Al-Qaeda fate, made all kinds of melodrama over busding them and their families out to Idlib, and staged White Helmet propaganda. Brits are masters at theater, give fhem that. But theatrics get naked once the show is over, not a single mainstredm media went into the liberated East Aleppo, to find out exactly how was population treated all those years. No, we do not need to stay to prevent terrorists from coming back — we and our friends just need to stop arming them, providing them with food and transport, with telecom capabilities and computers. All the terrorist groups are Sunni Moslems, and all those that commit crimes around the world are belinging to the same Wahhabi/ Salafi Sunni cults. These are not produced by China, or Russia, or Iran. Or anybody else but us, and our friends with our knowledge. No need to feat them, just starve them of cash and weapons.

      But I agree with you that it is not the rare metals that keep us there. It is the outdated idea that holding ground is key to world domination. To that end, staying if need be forever — is a small price to pay for would be world rulers. There is no Taliban in Afghanistan, just decentralized tribes resisting tight central government control.

    • Zhu Bajie
      February 25, 2018 at 04:28

      Fantasy fiction.

  25. Jane Meyer
    February 22, 2018 at 17:02

    No war, we should learn how to loose a war!

    • mike k
      February 22, 2018 at 17:27

      The best way to lose a war, without losing it, is to never start it!

  26. rosemerry
    February 22, 2018 at 16:52

    The USA has already converted the Vietnam War into a victory and is pursuing lots of other conflicts, and has an ironclad policy never to allow any sort of peace process or negotiations or talks, because that would require consideration of points of view other than the corporate/billionaire/weapons élite that rules the “land of the free”.

  27. Mild - ly - Facetious
    February 22, 2018 at 16:20

    Washington/Military Industrial Complex constantly peddled bill-of-goods are sold to We-The-People,and, like the gullible “exceptionalist” citizens that most-of-us are, swallow the BS w/o a qualm of skepticism, wonder or doubt. We habitually drink their Kool-Aid of lies, say ahhh and fall into somnomulist (ignorant) sleep… but wait ! let’s go back to the beginning.


    The Motive

    For years, US oil interests have been trying to build a pipeline across Afghanistan to access the oil and gas around the Caspian Sea; efforts that have continued past the 9-11 attacks.

    Source: “Unocal Still Pushing Afghan Pipelines”, Indymedia, 1 Oct 2001

    Enron was a key player in this game. Way back in 1996, Enron had cut a deal with the president of Uzbekistan for joint development of the nation’s natural gas fields.

    Source: Houston Chronicle, Date: Tuesday June 25, 1996, Section: Business, Page: 4, Edition: 3 STAR
    Enron had also done the feasibility study for the pipeline.

    Source: “Afghanistan, the Taliban and the Bush Oil Team,” by Wayne Madsen, democrats.com, Jan 2002
    For a time, the Taliban appeared to be a potential partner. They had even visited Sugarland, Texas to talk things over.

    Source: “Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline,” BBC News, 4 Dec 1997

    The Crime

    Unfortunately, the talks broke down, and by late last summer, the US Government was threatening to commence war against Afghanistan (an attack which would have violated every precept of international law).


    “US `planned attack on Taleban’,” George Arney, BBC News, 18 Sep 2001

    BBC’s George Arney Audio of report on US intentions to invade Afghanistan before Sept 11th (above citation)
    At least twice, Bush conveyed the message to the Taliban that the United States would hold the regime responsible for an al Qaeda attack. But after concluding that bin Laden’s group had carried out the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, a conclusion stated without hedge in a Feb. 9 briefing for Vice President Cheney, the new administration did not choose to order armed forces into action.

    Source: “A Strategy’s Cautious Evolution, Before Sept. 11, the Bush Anti-Terror Effort Was Mostly Ambition”, by Barton Gellman, Washington Post, 20 January 2002
    PART I: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A8734-2002Jan19?language=printer
    PART II: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A8802-2002Jan19?language=printer
    Simultaneous with making, but not following through on these threats, Bush took a number of actions to make the US decidedly more vulnerable to a terrorist attack. He ordered the Naval strike force, which Clinton placed in the Indian Ocean on 24 hour alert so he could hit Osama as soon as he had solid intelligence, to stand down. Bush threatened to veto the Defense Appropriations Bill after Democrats tried to move $600 million out of Star Wars and into anti-terror defense. Bush opposed Clinton’s anti-money-laundering efforts, which were designed to stop al Qaeda’s money. Bush abandoned Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, or as the two-star general Donald Kerrick told the Washington Post, reflecting on his service to both President Clinton and President Bush: Clinton’s advisors met nearly weekly on how to stop bin Laden and al Qaeda. “I didn’t detect that kind of focus” from the Bush Administration. So Cheney has strong — but bad — reasons to oppose an inquiry into 9-11.

    Source: “Democrats.com Chat with Paul Begala”, 30 Jan 2002
    I don’t have to tell you what happened next.

    The Cover Up

    Dick Cheney is openly breaking the law by defying GAO requests to turn over his records of meetings with Enron.

    Source: “GAO V. CHENEY IS BIG-TIME STALLING: The Vice President Can Win Only If We Have Another Bush v. Gore -like Ruling,” by John W. Dean, 1 Feb 2002
    At the same time that Cheney has refused to turn over his records, Enron and its accountants have shredded millions of pages of documents.

    Source: “Enron Says Shredding of Records Was Not Stopped Until Recently,” by Barnaby Feder and Michael Brick, NYT, 30 Jan 2002
    The Bush’s themselves may have destroyed evidence. When the Justice Department instructed the Bush administration to preserve any documents related to Enron Corporation, a senior administration official said that until now, “the White House had not been making any formal effort to preserve or catalogue information about Enron contacts.”

    Source: “Justice: Preserve Enron Papers, White House Says It Will Comply,” by Susan Schmidt and Mike Allen, Washington Post, 2 Feb 2002
    While all of this law breaking, stalling, and destruction of evidence has gone on, Bush has asked Daschle to limit Congressional probes into Sept. 11.

    Source: “Bush asks Daschle to limit Sept. 11 probes,”, CNN, 29 Jan 2002
    Note that the supposedly “liberal press” has so far failed to put all of these pieces together. They are too busy giving Bernard Goldberg and Bill O’Reilly the airtime to sell a canard called “Bias.”


    • Mild - ly - Facetious
      February 22, 2018 at 16:51

      See Active Links:

      “US `planned attack on Taleban’,” George Arney, BBC News, 18 Sep 2001

      At least twice, Bush conveyed the message to the Taliban that the United States would hold the regime responsible for an al Qaeda attack. But after concluding that bin Laden’s group had carried out the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, a conclusion stated without hedge in a Feb. 9 briefing for Vice President Cheney, the new administration did not choose to order armed forces into action.

      Source: “A Strategy’s Cautious Evolution, Before Sept. 11, the Bush Anti-Terror Effort Was Mostly Ambition”, by Barton Gellman, Washington Post, 20 January 2002

      Simultaneous with making, but not following through on these threats, Bush took a number of actions to make the US decidedly more vulnerable to a terrorist attack. He ordered the Naval strike force, which Clinton placed in the Indian Ocean on 24 hour alert so he could hit Osama as soon as he had solid intelligence, to stand down. Bush threatened to veto the Defense Appropriations Bill after Democrats tried to move $600 million out of Star Wars and into anti-terror defense. Bush opposed Clinton’s anti-money-laundering efforts, which were designed to stop al Qaeda’s money. Bush abandoned Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, or as the two-star general Donald Kerrick told the Washington Post, reflecting on his service to both President Clinton and President Bush: Clinton’s advisors met nearly weekly on how to stop bin Laden and al Qaeda. “I didn’t detect that kind of focus” from the Bush Administration. So Cheney has strong — but bad — reasons to oppose an inquiry into 9-11.

      The Cover Up

      Dick Cheney is openly breaking the law by defying GAO requests to turn over his records of meetings with Enron.

      Source: “Enron Says Shredding of Records Was Not Stopped Until Recently,” by Barnaby Feder and Michael Brick, NYT, 30 Jan 2002
      The Bush’s themselves may have destroyed evidence. When the Justice Department instructed the Bush administration to preserve any

      Source: “Bush asks Daschle to limit Sept. 11 probes,”, CNN, 29 Jan 2002
      Note that the supposedly “liberal press” has so far failed to put all of these pieces together. They are too busy giving Bernard Goldberg and Bill O’Reilly the airtime to sell a canard called “Bias.”

  28. Andrew Dabrowski
    February 22, 2018 at 16:18

    So clarify for me: does this mean the Deep State has defeated Trump, or does this mean they were never at war in the first place?

    • Zhu Bajie
      February 25, 2018 at 04:25

      Trump and the security agencies are rival factions.

  29. cmp
    February 22, 2018 at 15:53

    Back in March of 2014, the citizens of Crimea voted to join the Federation. That crushed the ability of the IMF loans, and the Western vultures, to be repaid.

    Six weeks later, in June of 2014, oil as a commodity (I believe that oil commodities were de-regulated way back in the 60’s), it saw the price of a barrel start crashing. The financial war was on.

    Everybody knows, that Russia (..’ian people) own the largest oil and gas assets in the world. Did the falling oil prices hurt them? Yes. Did it bring them to their knees? No.

    But, in the last 4 years, it did increase the inflation rate in Venezuela by 700%. (..700%!!..) .. But, has it toppled Maduro? No.

    With warmer temps approaching, and after the election of Vladimir, I ‘am very nervous that Wall St will grow frustrated, and want to raise themselves some quick cash by raising the oil prices again. (this always hurts the poorest of people, the most) But, will it also mean, turning the thugs loose somewhere, and on some poor souls?

    The U.S., may want to sanction it’s own future. But, how long will the Western Europeans want to sanction their own? I now see supporting the Leftist Party’s of Europe, as critical, especially in Germany, France and the U.K..

    This June will mark the 5th anniversary of Edward Snowden reporting the truth. He paid the price, while everyone else lied. Will the citizens of the world remember in June to support Edward?

    And this August, it will begin Julian’s 6th year of bogus, and illegal incarceration. He also, reported the truth. Will the citizens of the world remember in August, to support Julian?

    Back in 2011, Dennis was Re-Districted off of the table. We remember Dennis, he read the Patriot Act. And, In 2008, he introduced articles of impeachment in the House against the Shrub, this for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Well, now Ohio is facing the prospect that Dennis could be sitting in the Governor’s chair. And, if elected, his term would also mean that he would be in the fight for the Re-Districting of Ohio in 2021. And, that will have impact out to the year 2031.

    Afghanistan, it starts at home, but it also takes us abroad too.

    • mike k
      February 22, 2018 at 17:24

      Excellent idea. We should makes these dates associated with these heroes, days of widespread celebration of truth, and resistance to falsehood and secrecy.

  30. mike k
    February 22, 2018 at 15:08

    The War Machine grinds on, regardless of who is in office. The War God demands more worship and obedience from the nitwit “patriots” of the American culture of violence and greed. This mindless Machine of War has only one overriding agenda: to destroy everything in it’s path. The American Military is the Fascist Death Machine that every good citizen is prodded to bow down to and be proud of.

    And the Super Wealthy are also Gods demanding our adulation and admiration. We cling to the fantasy of somehow being able to enjoy the fabulous wonders of their exalted lifestyle. Maybe we could win the lottery………….


  31. February 22, 2018 at 14:40

    Recall the purpose of our invasion was to get those responsible for the Twin Towers bombing. Osama has been dead for several years and was hiding in another country before that. Rooting out Al Qaeda next and they are not mentioned anymore and very quickly it became the Taliban. The general posture, officers get combat experience, new weapons and strategies are tested, a few Afghans get rich, and the people live in constant fear of one side or the other. It really is a joke, a very tragic joke one’ however. Everybody knows this but it is clear that no one with influence wants it to end. Finally, it turns out the most lethal weapon on either side is poppies and it is far worse now than we invaded

  32. j. D. D.
    February 22, 2018 at 12:58

    What happened to the original Bush rationale: “Give us Bin Laden or we will come and get him.” Thus having judged Bin Laden the mastermind of the 911 atrocity from the caves of that war-torn country before investigation began (as Obama would do later in the Ghouta chemical attack and with MH 17) Bush began the big lie upon which the others were based, While apparently there is no limit to the amount of money to be poured into the trashing of SW Asia, now totaling $7 trillion or enough to rebuild the entire infrastructure of the US on an advanced level, what if instead the 45 billion were put into atoning for some of the immense suffering and loss of life caused by our disgraceful role in the creation of the mujahadeen, the instigation of civil war from 1979 onward, and the carnage of the past 16 years,

  33. exiled off mainstreet
    February 22, 2018 at 12:54

    It looks like the deep state structure runs things for its own purposes. They have managed to neuter the Trump threat. The question is how to go forward.

  34. Bill Goldman
    February 22, 2018 at 12:46

    The war being waged in Afghanistan, as well as the ones in Iraq and Syria, are clearly regime change schemes in furtherance of US imperialist ambitions. They benefit mainly the arms makers and the predatory financial interests salivating over resources awaiting exploitation. They harm both native resident civilians and US military personnel plus its mercenaries participating in the wars. It is Korea. Vietnam, Yugoslavia, all over again. US wars are obviously a racket.

  35. February 22, 2018 at 11:58

    Off-topic for this article.

    In several of Robert Parry’s articles on what has come to be called “russia-gate,” Parry raised the appearance that Russia-gate was a pretext for executing a soft coup of the elected President. See e.g., The ‘Soft Coup’ of Russia-gate, h**ps://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/13/the-soft-coup-of-russia-gate/

    Stephen Cohen published an article in the February 7 edition of Foreign Policy that returns to Parry’s “soft coup” argument, this time armed with facts that have been established since Parry’s article. Cohen asks whether we should stop calling it “Russia-gate” and instead call it “Intelgate.” h**ps://www.thenation.com/article/russiagate-or-intelgate/ (“The publication of the Republican House Committee memo and reports of other documents increasingly suggest not only a “Russiagate” without Russia but also something darker: The “collusion” may not have been in the White House or the Kremlin.”)

    • Bob In Portland
      February 22, 2018 at 13:58

      And here’s what I wrote back in April 2017: https://caucus99percent.com/content/okeydoke-americans-were-supposed-get

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 22, 2018 at 17:31

        I really get a lot from what you write Bob. Could you write more on this comment board, and always leave a link to your site. Joe

        Hey also read what I wrote to Annie above. Joe

  36. WG
    February 22, 2018 at 11:57

    Another completely bias article to blame Trump for something Bush2 and obama did in spades. Just looking at Obama’s fiscal costs in the Afgan conflict:

    FY 2009 – $100 billion: President Obama took office. He sent 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan in April.

    He promised to send another 30,000 in December. He named Lt. General McChrystal as the new commander. Obama’s strategy focused on attacking resurgent Taliban and al-Qaida forces on the Pakistan border. That added $59.5 billion to Bush’s FY 2009 budget. He promised to withdraw all troops by 2011. Voters reelected Karzai amidst accusations of fraud.

    FY 2010 – $112.7 billion: NATO sent surge forces to fight the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. NATO agreed to turn over all defense to Afghan forces by 2014. Obama replaced McChrystal with General Petraeus. Afghanistan held parliamentary elections amidst charges of fraud.

    FY 2011 – $110.4 billion: Special Forces took out Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011. Obama announced he would withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and 23,000 by the end of 2012.

    The United States held preliminary peace talks with Taliban leaders. (Source: Amy Belasco, “The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11,” Table A1. Congressional Research Service, March 29, 2014.)

    FY 2012 – $105.1 billion: Obama announced the withdrawal of another 23,000 troops from Afghanistan in the summer, leaving 70,000 troops remaining. Both sides agreed to hasten U.S. troop withdrawal to 2013. Their presence had become unwelcome. The Taliban canceled U.S. peace talks.

    FY 2013 – $53.3 billion: U.S. forces shifted to a training and support role. The Taliban reignited peace negotiations with the United States, causing Karzai to suspend his U.S. negotiations.

    FY 2014 – $80.2 billion: Obama announced final U.S. troop withdrawal, with only 9,800 advisors remaining at the end of the year. (Source: “Afghanistan War,” Council on Foreign Relations. “Major Events in the Afghanistan War,” The New York Times.)

    FY 2015 – $60.9 billion: Troops trained Afghan forces. (Source: DoD 2015 OCO Amendment)

    FY 2016 – $30.8 billion: The DoD requested funds for training efforts in Afghanistan as well as training and equipment for Syrian opposition forces. It also included support for NATO and responses to terrorist threats. (Source: DoD 2016 OCO Amendment)

    FY 2017 – $5.7 billion: The DoD requested $58.8 billion for Operation Freedom Sentinel in Afghanistan, Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and the Levant, increased European support and counterterrorism. (Source: DoD 2017 OCO Amendment.)

    “Officially, the U.S. military objective in Afghanistan is to force the Taliban to the negotiating table”, false. Officially the objective in any war environment is to find and engage the enemy and kill them. Afghanistan is no different. The Taliban don’t want to talk. They have re-engaged with the AQ factions and re-opened training camps. And they are being systematically destroyed.

    I’m all for pulliing out and cutting off funds and and resources from the Afgan conflict and more importantly Pakistan. But let’s not pretend that the third executive branch President involved in this conflict is somehow wasting a ton of money. More people are being killed in Chicago in a month than over a few years as of late in the Afgan conflict.

    • Sam F
      February 22, 2018 at 13:27

      The article does not appear to blame Trump for the ongoing problem, but for its continuation.

    • Bob In Portland
      February 22, 2018 at 13:55

      WG, you seem to miss the bigger point. No matter who is sitting in the White House the war goes on. Whoever decided to wage an endless war in Afghanistan has a higher pay grade than the President.

    • mike k
      February 22, 2018 at 14:36

      The Afghan war is going just fine, “the Taliban is being destroyed.” Really?? Where are you getting your news? And please don’t criticize Trump, he isn’t doing anything wrong. Are we looking at the same twin disasters?

      And as to Chicago. why don’t we just send the military in there, so they can “pacify it”? They couldn’t make a much bigger mess than they are creating in Afghanistan, could they”? Don’t bet on it………..

    • February 22, 2018 at 22:24

      Better eliminate anti Pakistan terrorists from Afghanistan and take back Afghan refugees from Pakistan. That’s something good you can do in years

  37. mike k
    February 22, 2018 at 11:45

    Off topic but important; Has slimy Trump cut a deal with slimy Mueller to bury the hatchet in Putin’s back?


    • February 22, 2018 at 13:30

      Mike, I’ve got a lot of respect for Mike Whitney’s articles. I’ll note there that he’s raising a deal between Trump and Mueller as just one plausible interpretation of what’s between the lines of the indictment, not as something he’s saying has happened.

      I had a similar suspicion when I first read the indictment, but a little different. I sniffed a proposed peace offer, not a completed deal that the other side had agreed to. And I read it as a possible peace offer to House Republicans, not to Trump.

      In the weeks before the indictment, the pressure on Mueller had come from House Republicans, not from Trump. And it was pressure on the Trump campaign/administration collusion issue. Mueller was under incredible pressure to show that he had something on the collusion front, not on email hacking, Hillary’s private email server, or the other issues collateral to the collusion issue.

      So what did Mueller respond with? An indictment plus a DoJ press release and Rosenstein press conference, all of which emphasized that they had no collusion card to lay on the table. No American witting participant, according to all three. So there’s room to read the indictment as a surrender on the collusion issue during the remainder of Mueller’s investigation.

      And just before the indictment’s release, Rep. Nunes announced that the Intelligence Committee was ending its collusion investigation, that there was no collusion. Which coupled with the indictment and accompanying press statements suggests that there might have been some negotiation between Mueller and Nunes. Nunes said the Committee was switching to investigation of the State Department’s role, to be followed by NSA and the CIA. Which said to me that the House Republicans are aimed not at the collusion issue but at draining the Deep State swamp that produced the Russia-gate allegations.

      But that doesn’t necessarily mean there had to be a negotiation. The House Republicans have their own sources in the Deep State and FBI and DoJ people involved were being forced out of government or resigning to avoid coming into the Committee’s field of fire. The DoJ Inspector General’s report is due out around April 1. Here is his announcement from January of last year on what he is investigating. h**ps://oig.justice.gov/press/2017/2017-01-12.pdf (that first bullet item is the FBI’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s private email server issues). There have been plenty of clues that the IG’s report will be a burn burner and that a parallel criminal investigation is now under way by DoJ. See e.g., h**ps://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/02/17/byron-york-is-misinformed-ig-horowitz-has-very-wide-investigative-net/

      In other words, the House Republicans might have been simply reading the tea leaves in deciding to move on from the collusion issue rather than cutting a deal with Mueller. And of course, Mueller could be reading most of the same tea leaves.

      I am certain that any such negotiation would be fraught with political and legal peril because of the danger it might be made public. Prosecutors cutting deals with third parties is a big no-no, a potential disbarment offense.

      So I’m still inclined to regard the indictment as possible offered terms of surrender rather than the manifestation of a deal, although we may never know. But either way, I don’t see Mueller going any farther with the collusion issue. High-placed people are losing their jobs over it and I’m sure Mueller doesn’t want to be stained by that. But he gave the Democrats and the military/industrial complex a bunch of talking points, perhaps as somewhat of a consolation prize.

      • Nancy
        February 22, 2018 at 14:18

        That’s what it’s all about anyway. There’s no regard for truth in Washington, just a sideshow to distract the already confused masses.

      • mike k
        February 22, 2018 at 14:22

        Thanks for your thoughts Paul. So you don’t think there is any implied or shaken on deal for Trump to continue pressuring Russia, in return for Mueller going easy on the collusion issue.? Perhaps the indictment is just a saving face gesture from Mueller, in light of the emerging reality that he has not uncovered a scrap of real evidence of Trump colluding with Russia. He doesn’t have enough on Trump to make a deal, so this is just a lame cover-up of his failure to nail Trump. As you point out Mueller may be facing troubles of his own, like being investigated for improper political activities.

  38. February 22, 2018 at 11:30

    Afghanistan’s former President Hamid Karzai:

    “Today, I am one of the greatest critics of the US policy in
    Afghanistan. Not because I am anti-Western, I am a very Western
    person. My education is Western, my ideas are Western. I am very
    democratic in my inner instincts. And I love their culture. But I am
    against the US policy because it is not succeeding. It is causing us
    immense trouble and the rise of extremism and radicalism and
    terrorism. I am against the US policy because on their watch, under
    their total control of the Afghan air space, the Afghan intelligence
    and the Afghan military, of all that they have, that super power,
    there is Daesh in Afghanistan. How come Daesh emerged in Afghanistan
    14–15 years after the US presence in Afghanistan with that mass of
    resources and money and expenditure? Why is the world not as
    cooperative with America in Afghanistan today as it was before? How
    come Russia now has doubts about the intentions of the US in
    Afghanistan or the result of its work in Afghanistan? How come China
    does not view it the same way? How come Iran has immense difficulty
    with the way things are conducted in Afghanistan?

    “Therefore, as an Afghan in the middle of this great game, I propose
    to our ally, the United States, the following: we will all succeed if
    you tell us that you have failed. We would understand. Russia would
    understand, China would understand. Iran, Pakistan, everybody would
    understand. India would understand. We have our Indian friends there.
    We see all signs of failure there, but if you do not tell us you
    failed, what is this, a game?”


    • mike k
      February 22, 2018 at 11:43

      Thanks Paul. Very illuminating.

    • Virginia
      February 22, 2018 at 12:58

      Wow, Paul. That Karzai comment/speech needs to be widely shared. And Karzai should know.

      Thank you.

  39. mike k
    February 22, 2018 at 11:26

    I hear you Joe. And I know that you care. And that’s what matters now more than anything. We follow different paths up this dark mountain we call reality. I wish the best for you on your journey.

  40. Christian Chuba
    February 22, 2018 at 09:23

    It’s worse. We are using Afghanistan as a bombing platform to shatter the country into dust.

    I’m appalled that commentary (referring to U.S. commentary in general) always focus’ on the cost to us and neglects the cost to the local population. Does the local population want us to continue the bombing while ISIS and the Haqqani network gets stronger? The govt in Kabul will just say whatever we tell them to say because we give them billions of $ a year.

    This reminds me of the stories about the burn pits, how it impacts our veterans as if the local population is immune from those toxins. How would we react if the IRGC or Hezbollah burned toxic dumps in the U.S.?

    • Virginia
      February 22, 2018 at 12:53

      Christian, yes, your are right. It’s heart wrenching.

      There are two songs juxtaposed against each other: one from CABERET, sung harshly in staccata, “Money makes the World go round.” the other sung lightly and liltingly, “Love makes the World go round.” Which one will win? I firmly believe the latter; and by the way, I have that tune on a music box beautifully played and as a beautiful reminder. Truth will out; and Truth and Love are one.

    • February 22, 2018 at 22:27

      Dude, your beloved Afghanistan must stop sheltering enemies of Pakistan, Uzbekistan, China & Russia. That’s all !

  41. mike k
    February 22, 2018 at 09:04

    Unfortunately it is futile to talk sanity to those deeply deluded and insane, like our “leaders” in Washington. We need new, wise leaders in DC. As Plato realized long ago, this is a major problem for society, with no clear solution.

    Think about it. How do we replace a totally corrupt system with a wise, honest, and compassionate one? The first question is who is going to do this? Can you count on the uneducated, selfish, violent, greedy population of the US to do the job? If not them, who?

    We are painted into a corner with no discernible way out. To realize this is at least a real beginning…………And please don’t tell me this ignorant mass is going to vote itself out of this mess that it has had a large part in creating.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 22, 2018 at 10:00

      We do need to find the way to change our America mike. What caught my attention lately was these young people, who all look like my grandchildren and their friends coming out all over America to protest, and petition, for sensible gun laws. Now, I know these youthful protesters are scared, and in shock, plus they look like little snowflakes, but mike I want to see the glass half full, and to see these young Americans succeed. It is this generation, and the next, and maybe yet another generation after those two that are going to somehow make America work again, so I’m hoping and praying these advocates for a better America are the change agents we have been looking for. And oh by the way mike, we older folks should help to get them started, it’s the least we can do. Joe

      • mike k
        February 22, 2018 at 10:19

        Joe, I respect your desire to be positive and optimistic, I have the same desire myself. But I also have been involved in a tempestuous love affair with the truth, which has brought me a lot of pain and difficulty, but also some precious rewards that I will not let go of to secure some kind of imaginary peace. The grim reality that most of those dreaming of a better world are studiously ignoring is that we may not have another generation to get our trip right. The multiple ecological disasters tipping into overdrive are not mindful of our need for “a little more time please.” The Doomsday Clock that we are all avoiding looking at, is very close now to………TIME’S UP!

        • mike k
          February 22, 2018 at 10:26

          You see, if your plans for a better world are based on an illusory time frame, then they are not going to work. We need something BIG, and we need it NOW! A little bit better, bye and bye is not going to cut it. The time for gradualism is OVER. Reality is not cutting us exceptional ones any slack on this one. Sorry, but that’s how it is.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 22, 2018 at 10:43

            I hear ya mike, but please don’t discount what a fantastic legacy you could leave behind for the next mike who is arriving to replace you, or for myself the next joe who is in line to replace me.

            I do agree mike, that the urgency of now is upon us, and that while we still can we must change the direction of this country, the world. It would be terrific if we older folks could find away to load up buses of us and get the attention these gun control teens are advocating for.

            I will still continue to be a pain in the Congressional butts of our legislators, but I still think encouraging, and even instructing our nation’s youth is a program worth starting while we still can. So mike can’t we do both? Can’t we old goats advocate, while training our youth to follow in our protester footsteps?

            We oldies but goodies may not have enough of time left to pay down a growing by the day 20 trillion dollar deficit, but we seniors could at least help to write the first few payments towards us drawing it down, and at the same time hand the kids the check book for them to make future drawdowns a on going thing. Joe

          • February 22, 2018 at 11:36

            As a retired professional environmental litigator who has read far too many scientific study reports, I share Mike’s deep pessimism as to the time remaining to make a difference; I am very convinced that it is too late to save the human race. But at the same time, what am I to do about that? Say to hell with it all and dive into a pit of hedonism with the little time I’ve got left?

            I’m not capable of that. I continue the good fight not because I expect to succeed but because I could not look at myself in the mirror if I did not. And there is still the faint flicker of a hope that I am wrong, that there is still time.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 22, 2018 at 12:19

            Paul you are doing all that needs done, and it is the unseen that you are contributing too. Your example is the best that can be seen by these young up and coming citizens of ours. I would be satisfied to just find you a well qualified replacement who could take over from you all the good you bring to the table. Joe

          • dave
            February 22, 2018 at 14:30

            Noam Chomsky puts it something like this: If we assume change is impossible and do nothing, we guarantee that nothing will change. If we assume change is possible and work to bring it about, there’s at least a chance of making things better.

            Call it “Chomsky’s wager”.

      • DAnna Sviridova
        February 22, 2018 at 12:13

        We The People need to be visiting our government offices. Local, State & Federal.

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 22, 2018 at 12:20

          Let’s go together and get it done. Joe

        • Annie
          February 22, 2018 at 13:42

          Not to be too pessimistic, but we the people don’t pay much attention to what’s going on in places like Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Yemen, or Syria, and the truth isn’t out there for people to make any actual assessment of what’s going on, even if they were interested. Trump wants to send in 15 thousand more troops and do what over a hundred thousand NATO troops, a trillion dollars, couldn’t do, over a period of many years. We bomb, to rid the country of an insurgency, well, that isn’t going to work. We really need to walk away from this, but Trump won’t because he doesn’t want to come out the loser. I’ve read repeatedly the Russians and Iran are assisting the Taliban, and no doubt it’s intended purpose is to explain our failure. It’s a no win situation, but we can’t let the world know, so much money spent, and thousands of American lives lost, for nothing.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 22, 2018 at 17:19

            Annie although you didn’t aim you comment at me, I can’t but help resist to pile on to what you said.

            Annie number one your pessimism is probably one of your best qualities, so no apology for this questioning trait of yours is necessary.

            Also Trump or any other president could send into Afghanistan 100,000 better yet make it 200,000 troops and 2 trillion dollars, on top of more $400.00 a gallon gasoline for our military vehicles, and we still would not find the exit door. Why, because this is what the MIC prefers, long drawn out conflict. Why, because long drawn out conflict is what makes the most money. Forget all the dead people, on either side. Their side died because they were terrorist, and our side died because we were great patriots, or so we are told. Goofy yes. Sad definitely. But Annie you know this all to well, that this is what our government does to keep the MIC solvent in cash. among the many other things like how they get these little bonuses (like reworking defects on newly released military equipment) that are filled with more profit on top of the profit the MIC made when first releasing their new kill toys. It is beyond sad that any departure from Afghanistan relies heavily on a corporate quarterly financial report, but it does.

            The Taliban is a direct result of our covert interference in Afghanistan from way back in the 70’s. This brainchild is still haunting our world to this day, and the world of the average Afghani, as we can thank Zbigniew Brzezinski for all that he did to make this a reality.

            I would love to see the U.S. partner with Russia and China, among a few others, and have them seek out a solution to this Afghanistan war. To me this is the only way out, but a hard one to wish for since Russia is now our grand enemy, and China is well in range of becoming one.

            Just had to add my two cents Annie, and could I borrow a dollar? Joe

          • Annie
            February 22, 2018 at 21:06

            Joe, It’s really not about feeding the maw of the MIC, it’s about losing face. Even mainstream media is saying this is an unwinnable war and we should get out. The Afghan government is corrupt, the people don’t trust them and are aligning themselves with the Taliban, or local militias. American servicemen and diplomats aren’t even safe in it’s capital. I attended a lecture given by a number of Afghan women about a year after the war started, and they were begging the audience to encourage our government officials to fight on so that the women of that country would gain more rights. Poor them, since life has become worse for the women of Afghanistan. If we leave it says America, the exceptional nation, that is presently intimidating China and Russia, can’t win a war against the Taliban who harbored Osama bin Laden who orchestrated a terrorist attack on the US on 9/11 and killed three thousand American citizens. Not to mention we would be walking away from a war that killed 2,500 of our military and injured over 20,000, and cost the citizens of this country a trillion dollars. I’m sure that the MIC would lose face as well, since all their weapons were useless in winning a war. They say that we are using more weapons now, rather then manpower to reduce casualties, because they don’t want backlash from the American people, who seem to find that an acceptable trade off, no matter how many civilian Muslims we kill as a result..

      • Virginia
        February 22, 2018 at 12:33

        I keep looking for the way to save America, Joe, and to awaken the people, Mike. Except for CN friends, wouldn’t we be all alone in the world! in our own separate universe? We are, really, and that is in itself something, …a sort of blessing. It’s been on my mind all morning that I’m the only one in my community who deeply cares about this. Though maybe a few others, very few, do agree with my take on things, they have no mission related to it. I do. And so, may I invite both of you to the marvelous set of talks I’m listening to at a site which does also share our united missions. I find I can listen while doing something else like cooking dinner, etc.:

        • February 22, 2018 at 12:39

          Thanks, Virginia. I’ll listen to a few.

          • Virginia
            February 22, 2018 at 13:03

            I’m so glad.

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 22, 2018 at 15:13

          Virginia I think of Brad who I really like when he post comments, because he more than once has directed me to LaRouche. I promise I’m going to listen to what you presented. Thanks Virginia. Joe

          • Virginia
            February 22, 2018 at 16:15

            Where is Brad? Tell him I’m looking for him, …want to thank him. Thanks, Joe.

        • Dave P.
          February 22, 2018 at 18:33

          Virginia –

          You are not alone in it. We are past mid seventies, retired and at home. My wife, who had her morning tea, read her L.A Times for about two hours, and after breakfast is gone to do some errand. I am in a haste to read the article and write some comments before she returns home, otherwise there will be some unpleasant exchange. Community around here is just about the same as you wrote.

          As usual L.A. Times this morning has front page article about how Russia is subverting our democracy by using Twitter, Facebook, and other social media by sowing discord in our society. In the afternoon and evenings, my wife will watch CNN, MSNBC, and PBS. All this information she gets from these sources is the complete Truth for her, and for the community around here as well. She thinks what I read on CN or other such sites is all Fake and False news, and she does not want me to read it any more – it is unpatriotic. Of course, she has never ever in her life looked at any of these sites.

          We are life long liberal democrats, and have volunteered in most of the presidential campaigns since George McGovern’s in 1972. After Obama turned out to be complete Fraud, disgusted I quit reading about politics, Domestic or Foreign. It was hard to do, since when I was about fourteen, I have been interested and reading OpEd articles, and books on literature and politics. During the Ukraine Coup when the events started getting hot, I got interested again in Politics, and started using alternate media sites again to find out what is really going on.

          Most of our social circle friends are liberal, just like my wife they believe in what they learn from TV. They hate Trump so much that they have all become victims of this Russia gate Hysteria. As many in their comments have said, we have to keep on trying to engage others. It is not the time to quit. Too much is at stake – the very survival of humanity on the planet.

          • Virginia
            February 22, 2018 at 19:12

            Dave P, Hang in there. This is one time I much prefer to be in the minority, don’t you? So many heros were also. Alone, following truth and their own conscience! No room for arguments; you have the right of conscience and all the support you need right here at CN.. Me, too; especially since my own husband is much like your wife, but I tell him to say what Roosevelt said about Eleanor: “I can’t do a thing with her! I can’t take her any where!” So we feel differently but laugh a lot.

            Excuse me for saying so if out of place, but I believe God is supporting the right.

        • Peter Loeb
          February 23, 2018 at 07:10


          I commend all the CN dreamers of changing the world.Being
          even more “pessimistic”, I don’t really think that the world will
          be changed. Not in my lifetime.

          Have you noticed that every time the US (and some it its western
          “allies”) are planning to invade Syria, the media is flooded with
          articles about how many thousands of Syrians have been murdered
          by the Syrian Government, or about probably fabricated reports
          of the Syrian use of chemical weapons. See “the Middle East
          Eye”. Never…neve.a story about how those pure
          and innocent “opposition” terrorists are murdering etc.
          They must really be great guys. They just fight for principles
          (=against Bashar Assad). (See Tom Anderson’s THE DIRTY
          WAR ON SYRIA”.) What wonderful darlings those opposition guys
          must be. Always fighting for “the good.”

          No one asks the question as to why the opposition should
          be fighting the Sovereign Government of Syria? Or why indeed
          the USA should be flying in weapons, “training”?

          Every time I see a reference to SOHR based in the UK, I turn off.

          Undoubtedly war kills. It destroys! But these obviously unbalanced
          PR reports (for more weapons and international support for the
          opposition) make me angry. Why do the media (eg Reuters, AFP and
          others) continuetheir obedience?

          Why don’t they ever ask the question: Why is the US invading
          Syria? Or Afghanistan? Or…?

          Excuse my obvious pique. I just get furious!

          —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

          • Gregory Herr
            February 23, 2018 at 17:08

            It is curious how that works Peter. You’d think there be a little diversity…seems the same narrow focal points coming from the same angles permeate the whole of broadcasting and newspapers. And even many of the “lighter stories” of each day are reported the same way word for word across the board.
            Journalists and reporters are supposed to ask questions, dig beneath the surface, and be careful to consider and reconsider even their own assumptions…as well as the assumptions they are fed. They are supposed to verify and reverify facts and at least attempt to gain awareness of the viewpoints of all parties to a situation or narrative. They should verse themselves in the relevant history and context of what they report on.
            But I guess reporters have editors and editors have owners and television producers have owners and they all have advertisers who own a lot. The rich bastards have got control of it all…our money and food supply, our livelihoods, our elections, our laws, and our opinions. Privatization has encroached upon the commons to the point there is hardly any notion of a commons anymore. Certainly there isn’t much left of what used to called journalism and the notion of accountability.

          • Virginia
            February 25, 2018 at 10:53

            Peter Loeb, You are so right, of course, and the commentators here know it and feel it, as you do. Really, when I became aware of all this, I could hardly do anything or go anywhere without enormous effort to hold back soft tears. But we must — at least I must — believe I am learning all this for a reason, and I must make every effort to be a reformer. Don’t give up. I hope you won’t.

      • Nancy
        February 22, 2018 at 13:18

        I agree that it’s encouraging to see these young people speaking up; I’m just afraid that they will be co-opted and used by the Democratic Party as the Black Lives Matter activists have. You know–Vote for me and I’ll set you free!
        One-issue protests never seem to last very long. I’m hoping some of these kids can see the big picture: that guns, like Trump, are just symptoms of the disease of capitalism.

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 22, 2018 at 15:19

          I hear you Nancy, and I’m right there with you. Because I’m afraid that these concerned youth may get kidnapped by the political monsters who will pounce upon them, it is for this reason I say we should all try our best to become good examples, and mentor these youth to where their efforts may prove most fruitful, and the quality of their issues will advance to where they want it to go. Joe

    • Brad Owen
      February 22, 2018 at 13:03

      Oh ye of little faith. The fix will not come from among the ranks of those who created the problem in the first place. This is where moderns get into trouble; if you can’t see, taste, hear, smell, touch “it”, then “it” does not exist. Direct Intervention is underway. The subtle approach was tried for over a hundred years, with the feeding of “inspiration” to such “geniuses” as Keely, Tesla, T. Townsend Brown, and a host of others, whose ideas and solutions were suppressed and shelved by the wicked, criminal, global Oligarchy, not wanting to part with their control and reign over people with their coal, oil, gas, nuclear assets worth hundreds of trillion$ (ALL of it is 19th century tech which could have been abandoned by the 1920s before it became the lethal problem it now is), and their control of finances. More direct intervention was tried with technology transfer of the finished product (electro-magneto-gravitic powerplants and the vehicles they power). The evil cabal claimed ownership of it and turned it over to their created IC to study and “weaponize” it, and of course deny any access to it from the subjugated people of the World. Gaia Herself cries out for relief, and “They” are responding now. Things will not go well for the wicked ones who control the World (2 Kings, Chapter 19, Verse 37…don’t forget what Angels CAN DO, when called upon). The CE-5 protocols are doing the work, and “They” are responding to the “SOS”.

    • February 22, 2018 at 14:03

      Mike, I don’t know the complete solution, but I am convinced that the first step is getting money out of the election process. I’ve looked very long and hard at the various proposals and there is only one that seems up to the job, the We the People Amendment. https://movetoamend.org/wethepeopleamendment

      It’s already endorsed by a dozen states and some 600 local governments. All of the other proposed amendments grant *discretion* to Congress and state legislatures to fix the problem as they see fit. We all know how well that discretion worked before the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Only the linked proposed amendment abolishes corporate constitutional rights and *requires* all branches of government to “ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.”

      The quoted language creates an enforceable right for any citizen to sue any federal, state, or local government for permitting money to talk in an election or ballot measure. Basically, either there will be no money in such races, or elections and ballot measures will have to be publicly funded.

      The linked proposed amendment has other advantages too that I won’t dwell on here. But in my best of all worlds, every citizen group in the U.S. that faces the barrier of vested interests’ control of government — regardless of their particular issue — would get behind this measure and actively push it. Getting it through Congress won’t be easy, but its adoption would be an enormous political game changer.

      BTW, the measure was adopted by the State of Washington via citizen initiative 735 last year, winning over 62 percent of the vote.

      • JanJ
        February 22, 2018 at 15:35

        Thanks for mentioning this amendment. See the parallel effort in Massachusetts by WeThePeopleMass.org, an all-volunteer, internally small-d democratic organization. We cooperate for this same goal with AmericanPromise.net and Wolf-pac.com.

      • Virginia
        February 25, 2018 at 10:57

        Paul E. — Thanks for the link. It needs to be posted with every article here.

    • Broompilot
      February 23, 2018 at 19:58

      There are no good men among the living Mike. Therein lies the problem.

  42. Anon
    February 22, 2018 at 06:44

    Afghanistan has been a wonderful test of the corruption of the former democracy of the US. The US is there solely because it profits the MIC. This is the ancient scam of the “huckster generals” with goals “ambiguous at best” in the “graveyard of empires” where no empire has won or had any interests whatsoever, that we are never “able” to hold elections or negotiate with “insurgents” who resort to “crime” and so we must kill forever.

    Britain invaded Afghanistan three times in the nineteenth century, each invasion larger and longer than the last, their oligarchy claiming a “threat” to “their” India, of an invasion by Russia that never happened. All of the invasions were unsuccessful. They were never harmed by Russia, and two centuries later their oligarchy still claims that Russia is about to attack. Imperialism provides opportunities to coverup oligarchy tyranny at home.

    The poor in the US dream of release from their imprisonment, from the failure of their perverse oligarchy-supplied dream of masculinity as killing, of success by injuring others, from the failure of its people to know life beyond being victims and victimizers. No one will miss the US when it has collapsed into permanent disgrace, the world’s largest example of the destruction of democracy by unregulated economic power. Be proud, America!

    Wake up, America! We are slaves until oligarchy is destroyed. Perhaps we need the Taliban here.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 22, 2018 at 09:52

      Your appeal is a strong one, and I agree that we need to turn this ship around. Good comment Anon. Joe

    • DAnna Sviridova
      February 22, 2018 at 12:08

      Well said!!

    • Virginia
      February 22, 2018 at 12:21

      Anon, I’ve been learning a lot along these same lines by listening to a series of talks/papers by LaRouche: http://www.ice-age-ahead-iaa.ca/h264_lr/index.html

    • February 23, 2018 at 18:28

      Actually the Pashtuns lost the third War and signed a treaty with the British creating the Durand Line ( Afghan/ Pakistan border). The Afghan Parliament rescinded the treaty a few years ago because the Parliament said it was signed under duress. The Durand line purposely split the Pashtun tribe in half.

    • Virginia
      February 25, 2018 at 10:47

      Anon, You’ve just spelled out why I recommend people take a look at what Lyndon LaRouche has to say. Reading and/or listening to his ideas has given me a whole new perspective on economics. I don’t see the slavery under oligarchy going away till we get a new perspective, and LaRouche’s seems to me to be the right one where no one is taken advantage of — a new view of money, speculation, real value, and so on. (Easy to find on the Internet so I won’t try to post a URL here.)

  43. Realist
    February 22, 2018 at 06:29

    The Afghan war is worse than nonsense, it is absolute antisense. It is not merely irrelevant to a set of goals, it is antithetical to them. Of course, I am assuming that the interventionists advocate peace and prosperity in the target country rather than designed death, destruction and chaos. If the latter be true, the war would actually make sense.

    • Zachary Smith
      February 22, 2018 at 11:43

      In my opinion the author misses an important reason for the continuation of the Afghan intervention. He “sees” it, but he also “doesn’t see” it.

      “For years, we have been pursuing a strategy that will not win, but at the same time, we are doing just enough to ensure that we do not entirely lose,” concedes Kevin Hulbert, former CIA station chief in Kabul. “The way forward will be determined by clarifying our objectives, which to this point, have remained ambiguous at best.”

      Doing “just enough” to keep things stirred up but not enough to win is an immensely profitable affair for certain groups.

      The fully burdened cost of fuel accounts for the cost of transporting it to where it is needed, said Kevin Geiss, program director for energy security in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations and Environment.

      And moving fuel by convoy or even airlift is expensive, according to the Army news release from July 16, which quoted Geiss. In some places, Geiss said, analysts have estimated the fully burdened cost of fuel might even be as high as $1,000 per gallon.

      This 2009 article says the average transport cost of a gallon of gasoline was $400/gallon. This is a very nice way of ensuring the war continues, for the locals make a hell of a lot of money in bribes to lay off attacking convoys. I’m going to assume shipping costs of MREs and bullets and everything else run at around $50/pound as well.

      Other benefits? Look at a world globe. Afghanistan represents a permanent presence on the border of Iran. A continuing source of unrest to South Russia and West China. And a chance to cause endless trouble to Pakistan, an ally of China and a nation surely on Israel’s “hit” list.

      What’s not to like? IMO the endless war is something the neocons and MIC folks brag about among themselves – they’ve got it “just right”.


      • Virginia
        February 22, 2018 at 12:14

        Yes, Zachary, you said it. What’s not to like! Plus the opium trade for the big Illiminati bankers is “too big to fail.”– that is, too big to want to end! And now exploitation of minerals…

      • Realist
        February 22, 2018 at 15:27

        It’s almost funny, isn’t it? Would be if not so tragic. The reasons our government gives for any of its actions are usually never the truth. They would be lynched if they ever actually told the truth. Yet intelligent people continue to give them the benefit of the doubt.

        The squandering of limited resources such as fossil fuels by the U.S. military on a worldwide basis is an even bigger problem than the cost of shipping gasoline or grenades to Kabul. This Wiki excerpt might put things in perspective:

        “The United States Department of Defense is one of the largest single consumers of energy in the world, responsible for 93% of all US government fuel consumption in 2007 (Air Force: 52%; Navy: 33%; Army: 7%. Other DoD: 1%).[1] In FY 2006, the DoD used almost 30,000 gigawatt hours (GWH) of electricity, at a cost of almost $2.2 billion. The DoD’s electricity use would supply enough electricity to power more than 2.6 million average American homes. In electricity consumption, if it were a country, the DoD would rank 58th in the world, using slightly less than Denmark and slightly more than Syria (CIA World Factbook, 2006).[1] The Department of Defense uses 4,600,000,000 US gallons (1.7×1010 L) of fuel annually, an average of 12,600,000 US gallons (48,000,000 L) of fuel per day. A large Army division may use about 6,000 US gallons (23,000 L) per day. According to the 2005 CIA World Factbook, if it were a country, the DoD would rank 34th in the world in average daily oil use, coming in just behind Iraq and just ahead of Sweden.[1]” That was over ten years ago, with new wars regularly coming on line, I’m sure the waste is even more immense today.

        I’d be curious to know the ratio between the sunk costs the taxpayers have put into the entire fiasco called the US military compared to the value of all extant American public infrastructure. If not approaching parity, it must certainly represent a very high percentage of what we’ve spent on domestic needs. The whole scheme seems to be an engine to degrade the finite resources of this planet as fast as absolutely possible. If it’s all part of an alien plan to take over the planet after we’ve self-destructed, it is working wondrously.

        • February 23, 2018 at 18:21

          Don’t believe anything until it is officially denied.

        • Virginia
          February 25, 2018 at 10:38

          Realist, Thanks for outlining all that. It is incomprehensible! Who could ever have imagined human beings could be this destructive! How do you know all this? Is it your profession?

      • Paranam Kid
        February 23, 2018 at 06:41

        Zachary, very good comment, as usual from you. But ….. you miss an important reason for the continuation of the Afghan intervention. You “see” it, but you also “don’t see” it.

        You “see” it by stating Doing “just enough” to keep things stirred up but not enough to win is an immensely profitable affair for certain groups.

        But you “don’t see” it by giving the fuel example. The real issue is the military-industrial-complex, which earns billions by continuing any war ad nauseam. 16 years of Afghanistan has certainly people a few bob.

        And then you “see” it again when you mention the world globe & what it means ;-)

      • Zhu Bajie
        February 25, 2018 at 04:10

        Sorry, blaming Israel and “Zionists” won’t remove responsibility from Americans. It’s our war, we make the decisions, the blame belongs to us, too.

    • jose
      February 22, 2018 at 20:04

      Realist: I think the latter point is the correct one. I have seen so many photos of American soldiers guarding thousands of poppy fields that the conclusion is obvious: US has turned Afghanistan into a narco-state and wants to keep it that way. Realist, just follow the money. In addition, the military industrial complex is making a “kill” with US arms export going through the roof to Afghanistan.

  44. Mukadi
    February 22, 2018 at 03:44
    • Pete
      February 22, 2018 at 17:20

      Excellent article. Shows why the US ruling class will never leave. Profits from opium, natural gas and rare minerals trumps the welfare of people, foreign or domestic. Kill, rob, main, destroy, steal, cheat, swagger with the greatest arrogance to “rule the world”. In essence, flipping off the One who warned them “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” They are hell-bent on massacring anyone who gets in their way. They are above the law, which is only for serfs and peons. But, some One is taking notes for the :Book of Life”.

    • Gregory Herr
      February 22, 2018 at 20:02

      Thank you Mukadi and thanks to PCR for posting the letter of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to the American people. Every American should read this remarkably well-structured and comprehensive letter.

      “No matter what title or justification is presented by your undiscerning authorities for the war in Afghanistan, the reality is that tens of thousands of helpless Afghans including women and children were martyred by your forces, hundreds of thousands were injured and thousands more were incarcerated in Guantanamo, Bagram and various other secret jails and treated in such a humiliating way that has not only brought shame upon humanity but is also a violation of all claims of American culture and civilization.”

    • Zhu Bajie
      February 25, 2018 at 04:06

      Vanity. That’s behind most of our wars since 1950 or so.

  45. Joe Tedesky
    February 22, 2018 at 02:33

    Is this the same Taliban that back in 2001 offered up Osama bin Laden, and Dick Cheney turned then down?

    • George
      February 22, 2018 at 09:11

      The same Taliban that eradicated opium crop in 2001 before the US invasion.

    • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
      February 22, 2018 at 14:15

      YES, it is the same but the problem was that they wanted the US to provide a PROOF that he was behind 9/11. Unfortunately the US did NOT have such proof and 9/11 was done by we all know who…………….

    • Zhu Bajie
      February 25, 2018 at 04:05

      Yes, it is! But they asked for a fig leaf of evidence and Bush the Conqueror declined to provide any!

    • Richard Behan
      March 2, 2018 at 14:20

      Yes. The Taliban offered to surrender bin Laden into US custody or have him assassinated, at a meeting with US officials in Berlin in late 2000. The Bush Administration refused the offer five times, in February, March, June, and September 2, 2001–and then again AFTER 9/11, on September 15. WTF??? Furthermore, after Afghanistan was invaded, the Taliban offered unconditional surrender in Kandahar, December 5, 2001, including total disarmament. The Taliban would have ceased altogether to be a fighting force. Bush refused that offer, too.

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