New Afghan War Strategy: ‘Finishing the Job’ or ‘Dwelling further’?


Maryam Shahid.

Senior Editor, PKKH

Eight years in Afghanistan after 9/11, massive failures, destruction of whatever little infrastructure there was, death of countless innocents, soaring high opium trade, terrorized public, a second place in the list of world’s most corrupt nations constitute just a bunch of unsought presents by America’s botched Afghan Policy for this poor nation.

But that’s not it. This war has also given a lot to the American people, in shape of a cataclysmic economy, towering unemployment rates, incalculable soldiers killed, women left widowed, children left orphaned, war cemeteries filled with youthful graves, etc. Exactly, just a bunch of unsought presents for this ‘once-rich’ nation.

For Pakistan, these much friendly gifts or their effects stay devastatingly huge, often inestimable due to their heterogeneous nature.

President Obama, after his tenth war council meeting last week which was finally his last on the subject, announced on Tuesday that the number of U.S. troops will have to be increased further in this landlocked country. Of course, war-mongering comes with such fancy demands.

The Afghan war bill had hit record $43 billion annually this summer with the addition of 21,000 forces Obama had already sent to the battlefield this year. Associated Press reported “The White House has given Congress this rough yardstick for future troop increases: Approximately $1 billion a year for each 1,000 troops atop the current record figure of 68,000”. That was just after Obama took office, the President who preached his intentions to shut down America’s wars as a main pitch for his campaign.

The infusion of approximately 30,000 U.S. troops to begin in early 2010 will be the largest expansion since the beginning of the war and one that could bring the cost above $75 billion annually. The expected increase as reported would include at least three Army brigades and a single, larger Marine Corps contingent. The United States is quietly pressing NATO and other allies to increase forces as well, with a goal of between 5,000 and 7,000 additional non-U.S. troops. Where, NATO and other allies collectively have about 45,000 troops in Afghanistan already.

Obama in his speech has also pledged to increase drone attacks in a fully-sovereign country, Pakistan. This move which will kill many innocent Pakistani civilians for sins undone, won’t be categorized as war crimes since America is not at war with Pakistan. But then what is it? A friendly gesture as an ally they say for eliminating “terrorists”. What is left unsaid is that in midst of all these sugar-coated words, America is now busy finding mere excuses to bomb Baluchistan or in other words to take this war explicitly to Pakistan.

So much for shutting down the wars!

President Obama has been making grounds for announcing these decisions for a few weeks now. In his recent speeches during the past few weeks, President Obama had pressed the matter further saying that it is still in America’s vital national interest to “disrupt, dismantle and destroy” Al-Qaida terrorists and its extremist allies [who amazingly bomb Afghanistan and its neighbor more, just like their troops do]. “I intend to finish the job,” he had boldly claimed.

Obama had earlier stressed to his nation, just as a good salesman would do for a bogus product, “I can tell you, as I’ve said before, that it is in our strategic interest, in our national security interest to make sure that al-Qaida and its extremist allies cannot operate effectively in the area” he said. “We are going to dismantle and degrade their capabilities and ultimately dismantle and destroy their networks.” He had explained his stance on the troops surge on several occasions. Nearing close, he in his usual spellbinding style of a debater had explained, “I feel very confident that when the American people hear a clear rationale for what we’re doing there and how we intend to achieve our goals, that they will be supportive,” while speaking at a White House news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his recent visit.

Clearly Mr. Manmohan being the highest authority of a major UST (United States of Terror) state, in his well-timed trip to the Capitol Hill, did a fine job at convincing America how important this war against Afghanistan and Pakistan was. Mr. Obama however forgot to mention distinctly that Pakistan still stands or [at least how they try to portray it], as an “ally” for America, Afghanistan as an “ally” for India. The international media later boasted that Mr. Manmohan walked out ‘assured’ by U.S. and India is ‘happy’ on the new AfPak Policy.

These policy decisions came after much aspersion by American public who somehow repeatedly complain and protest on the streets for the rising combat deaths of their loved ones in this imposed war. Some congressional democrats, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., have questioned the value of adding forces and clearly expressed concerns on the war’s rising cost. More than half of America is still not persuaded enough on the troops surge even though the U.S. media has been doing a good job, investing billions in selling the scheme.

As anticipated, neither Obama nor his group of bullies, have sketched a concrete exit plan. The new AfPak policy hasn’t consigned to improve anything but rather has vowed to deteriorate things in the South Asian Region further. Surprisingly, mistakes of the past eight years don’t seem to be doing much good to the U.S. government when it comes to learning. Major Nadal’s case for example gives one important aspect and bears testimony to what spurious wars could result in.

Major Nadal was a successful doctor in the U.S. Military, a generally jovial and good natured guy as confirmed by his video footages released and by the people who knew him. Yet he ended up viciously murdering tens of his fellow Army men at a U.S. Military base. It was later revealed he was to be sent to Iraq, another of U.S’s ventures into testing its defenses against defenseless populace. This could be one of the probable reasons of severe nervous tension which made him commit such a heinous crime.

As Reuters, in a report published on Nov 17 by Phil Stewart confirms, “U.S. Army suicides set to hit new high in 2009. In 2008, there were 268 active-duty suicides across the U.S. Armed forces, most in the Army”. The Army suicide rate nearly doubles the U.S. national suicide rates. Imagine the level of frustration mounting in the U.S. Military personnel themselves. Murders, suicides; the conscience sadly can’t be ‘programmed’.

These are just few of the many lessons, which are worth more than being taken as another clause from the chapter of findings on these wars. U.S. should understand that they are doing no good in eliminating terrorists. If not creating more, they are rather acting as a consigliere to these beasts. At the end of the day both are killing innocent civilians.

If really sincere, the U.S. needs to work constructively towards a peaceful Afghanistan. War as a means of delivering peace is a façade, and this cat is out of the sack already. The people of Afghanistan do not trust good-willed U.S. intentions, if any, for the region anymore and so does Pakistan. Increase in troop levels after all will bring harsh repercussions for Pakistan too.  Although U.S. bolsters about its so-called control in Afghanistan but somehow often strategically removes its posts near the eastern border when Pakistan attacks the insurgents. Nothing less than a combat movie, is it?

Learning by your own mistakes, Mr. Obama you should realize by now that the money being spent on additional troops or more appropriately on this ‘stage-drama’ should well be utilized to build infrastructure and facilities that the Afghans really need. The dreams of peaceful life that you propagate, with these thespian invasions and baseless wars modern humanity can only dream of peaceful death, peaceful life is just too far-fetched.

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