Afghanistan: a war lost before it even began

Nina Serbedzija is the actress daughter of Croatian Serb actor-musician Rade Serbedzija. She wrote and sings this poignant song. If any part of the world knows about cruel and pointless wars, it's the Balkans:

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There is no hope of change, here.

Gates engineered the insertion of the astonishingly incompetent, doofus fucking Stanley McChrystal into the position of Commanding General in Afghanistan (that was an utterly hopeless, useless war, right from the beginning). McChrystal is this generation's William Westmoreland. Any General who says that he does not live solely to fight a war is a fucking liar (that's not by way of attribution, it is simply remarking on the obvious). Give a certified jerk-off like McChrystal power...and you've got problems on your hands. When a fucking punk like this has the opportunity to cruise in a sea of naive, uninformed politicians, then you have just invited this asswipe to a huge buffet. Blood is being served, and this scumbag has a voracious appetite. What, exactly, would you expect him to do, under the circumstances? Say that "we ought to get out of this fucking place?" No fucking way! Every one of them, without exception, lusts -- in the deepest recesses of their desiccated little hearts -- for exactly one thing:


Why wouldn't they? That's what the fuck they get paid for. Every peace-time General has necessarily faded into a state of complete obscurity. didn't fight a war? Get lost, asshole! The bonehead, jargon-fucking-spouting, God loving, grotesque, intellectual Lilliputians in this place are all for this unspeakable fucking shit. Hell YES!!! Go get 'em!!! And hand me another Bud, while yer at it!!!

This motherfucker (McChrystal) will one day write his memoirs...about what "he" did in Afghanistan. I promise you. The blood-sucking prick lives for the day that it is published.

You've been claiming, in one way or another, that it was wrong to go into Afghanistan in the first place. Back in this post from September I responded in a fair amount of detail to your arguments, so I won't repeat all of that now. But post after post regarding Afghanistan has painted it as hopeless and tragic without providing an argument for what we should have done instead.


McChrystal is a General, but Obama is the Commander in Chief. McChrystal did his job and presented Obama with his assessment of the situation. He didn't say, "We should stay and continue fighting." He just told the President what he thought it would take to win if the President wants to stay and continue fighting. Obama then made a decision. As the elected and civilian leader of the U.S. armed forces, it is his job to make the decisions about what the goals should be. McChystal's job is just to get it done. So don't blame the generals for still being in Afghanistan.

JasonTD: I thought I'd made it pretty clear I think we should remove our military and then deal with whatever government is established and provide aid.


That is a position I can certainly respect, even though I disagree with it. I disagree because it is not clear that removing our military will allow a stable and democratic government to be established in any reasonable time frame. Nor is it clear what effect our withdrawal would have on the stability of Pakistan. Would the Taliban lose effectiveness in fighting with Karzai's forces or Pakistani government troops without the U.S. presence as a recruiting tool? Or would they be emboldened without the military pressure we can put on them? As corrupt and ineffective as the Karzai regime is, things could certainly be much worse.

Your position about the situation as it stands now may seem fairly clear to you, but the title of this post, the Sept. post I linked, and the general feeling I've gotten from reading many other of your posts on Afghanistan makes it seem to me that more of your argument stems from a belief that the war was wrong to begin with that what we should do moving forward.


McChrystal is a General, but Obama is the Commander in Chief. McChrystal did his job and presented Obama with his assessment of the situation. He didn't say, "We should stay and continue fighting." He just told the President what he thought it would take to win if the President wants to stay and continue fighting. Obama then made a decision. As the elected and civilian leader of the U.S. armed forces, it is his job to make the decisions about what the goals should be. McChystal's job is just to get it done. So don't blame the generals for still being in Afghanistan."

And you know this exactly how, Jason? You were there? You're one of McChrystal's relatives? Just out of personal curiosity, have you served in the military?

I don't "blame the Generals" for our being in Afghanistan, Jason, I blame them for conspiring to keep us there. Right now, the 15,000+ madrassas in Pakistan are busy pumping out
mujahadeen warriors to fight in Afghanistan, just as they did during the Soviet occupation; those people, during that era, became the "taliban." Now, we are repeating the mistakes of the Soviet's. And the madrassas are being supported, today, just as tirelessly as they were then, by the Wahabi's in Saudi Arabia. What renowned terrorist is a scion of the Royal Family in Saudi Arabia? This is the person whom "our" General McChrystal is actually dealing with, in Afghanistan. The doofus McChrystal is in way over his fucking head, here.

If you really believe that stuff, Jason, then I would suggest that you revisit Truman's firing of MacArthur in Korea. The fundamental difference between Obama and Truman is that Truman had experienced war first-hand. That counts for a lot. He would not put up with someone who tried to lead him around by the nose.

The current commander in Iraq is Ray Odierno, another colossal doofus fuck; Odierno is best known for famously observing, back in January, 2004, that "the insurgents have been brought to their knees." That is the asswipe running the show in Iraq.


You were the one that went off on a diatribe about McChrystal as if you personally knew that the man was a redneck yahoo anxious to get at the enemy with a rifle in one hand and a beer in the other.

Hell YES!!! Go get 'em!!! And hand me another Bud, while yer at it!!!

So I'm not going to bother rising to your bait to turn it around on me like that.

Since you're going to bring up Truman, remember who the buck stops with. If Obama isn't up to the job of keeping the generals in line (assuming your belief that they are 'conspiring to keep us there' is true, which you know exactly how? You were there?), then you know who not to vote for in 2012, don't you?

Jesus Revere- Provide aid to Al Qaeda, Pashtuns and the Taliban? Are you feeling Ok? Thats the same government that was sponsoring OBL. People just dont understand that it doesnt matter that they werent Iraqi's or even Afghanistani's. They are Muslim extremists... They are required to kill you if you will not convert. So you want to send them AID? Crap I would be sending them AIDS.

I dont go full bore on this as Jason did but many of Dylans points are valid too. I would invoke the Bush Doctrine and that would be full on wholesale war if we are attacked from there. Make it well know that there wont be any of this "excess death" stuff because we should just back off and take them off the map 1 and all. Nukes? Hardly needed.

Airburst GBU-43's over them and I do mean all of them. When they popped the thing in Pensacola on the testings we heard it in Memphis...400 miles away. But that would be a war. Make the statement... If you do this then we will consider everyone in the country to be combatants. Next, if they do then declare WAR for a change and not this resolution shit. Third then just stand off from 43,000 and let fly. About two minutes later the argument will become moot as to whether they were or werent. FAE's are well known for vaporizations...

And above all you go in and you finish them off completely else in a generation they will be back.

Hell, you wont even get a Lancet study in on this one.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 29 Dec 2009 #permalink

Oh and Revere, that would also be the same Taliban that attacked a UN food distribution center in Afghanistan and killed 5 non-American, non-UK workers on October 28th. Seems to not be working for that group either.

So respectfully, who you gonna work with?

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 29 Dec 2009 #permalink

Randy: You have no problem with sending aid to Pakistan or Saudi? Aren't there religious extremists there? In fact, isn't Saudi where the 9/11 highjackers came from? (your definition of extremist is a tautology, of course, and bears no relation to actual religious beliefs, but that's another subject). We just picked on the weakest gov't we could find and then forgot about it and went into Iraq. It was a total joke. If violence and extremism were a reason to invade and go to war we would be at war with everyone, including parts of the US. Think it through. Some things have to go to higher centers in the nervous system, not just the spinal cord or the brain stem.

Revere, I am not sending aid to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to extremists. I am sending aid to them so that they can deal with extremists. I believe that the thing about the hijackers is a true statement about their nationality. But you generalize here. The Iraqis were the fifth biggest dog in the alley and we decided to pick on them. Bullshit. Ask the damned Russians about armed Afghan fighters. It was more like a knife fight in a dark room.

Are all of these idiots extremists? No, but if induced by bullet, lack of food, or threats to family then they are ALL combatants. I wouldnt shoot a kid on a good day. The second he picks up a wep, then he is a target. You keep trying to shove them under the criteria as civilians with this stuff. Excess deaths...Well only if he was wearing a cloth that wasnt in the form of a uniform. That isnt the case. Maybe you should visit the hood a bit more in your town and pass out blankets and food and if you come back after two years in that particular fight you will be able to define combatants better. Thats if you come back. Those guys in the hood would be rank amateurs compared to the Afghan's. I know, I have been there and only as a contractor...Yet another problem. Our forces arent allowed to kill them, you have to contract it out to someone who isnt bound by Geneva, or any morality at all.

I wont even use the Cumbaya suggestion Revere as its overworked. You dont like whats happening on the medical side of the fence in Afghanistan either, then get on a plane Bubba and act locally rather than this masturbation session of globally. I been there and you are right it sucks. You lambasted Bush because some hospital that wasnt in US jurisdiction didnt have bedpans, medicines or clean water. Well excuse me they didnt have them before or after the Ruskies left either. GWB went to CONGRESS and got a resolution unlike Clinton... Those Democrats signed up for it too. Perhaps you forgot that Big Sis blew the latest airliner attack by a what?.... Jehovahs Witness? We are dealing with the sappers right now, later the main force is going to appear.

Listen, little musical ditty's aint gonna change it. Its good and it lasts for about 3-4 minutes... thats it. You applauded Obama's election, so where are you on that now? I told you he would blow this and big time. I told you we would be hit again and they are working it hard. I give it til July. I told you that we might have to increase the force size and kick ass. Then the annointed one sends them in and fetters them, thus making our guys targets. By simple numbers we get our asses kicked. So we pull out and then we have to drop a nuke to end the problem? They know we wont do it unless its a last resort. Well maybe its time to surprise them? The idea of war is to end an oppression or to deny resources or land to an enemy. Uk, what are we doing in Afghnistan? Cant see that one.

This isnt going to work and its going to get worse. Dylan and Jason are absolutely both right...and wrong. They are going at each other when the real problem lies over the hill. We are fighting amongst ourselves in the US like Vietnam which was to stop communist spread in the region. We never fought to win the war or to stop it. Those guys on the other side of the hill are the forces of pure evil on this planet and are the forces that WOULD kill women and children, blow up schools and bridges, and churches without the least bit of compunction about it. 72 virgins and all. I doubt there are that many virgins on this planet past the 3rd grade. We try to minimize civ casualties. It will get down to the fact that we are going to have to start to take out whole villages and towns. Hearts and minds..?

We are entering the same quagmire that the Ruskies did and its just a matter of time before we leave-No stomach for the losses. But you win it hard and fast and make them an offer they cant refuse, or once gone the region goes over to terrorists. Simple but fair statement. They are not terrorists in reality. They believe they are an Army of God and that means that our ju-ju had better be pretty good else they will nuke us after they bring two or more countries under their control. Those would be nuclear tipped countries.

Singing little songs and waxing poetic on this isnt going to change the facts. They are looking to kill us and thats about 5 minutes after they go for Israel. Send them aid? Send them a cruise missile a day would be far better and if you dont do that then you can expect a nuke to go off in under five years and thats not even my assessment, its a well known lefty advisor. I dont even like the guy and I agree with him.

Dylan for the record-Mac is an Obama pick. Hand picked and Merrill McPeak suggested him for the position. You have to carefully craft what you say. Odierno was right...the insurgents were few and far between at that time. But again, ROE and how we handled the Iraqification of the police action because it sure as fuck isnt a war anymore is why we are getting into trouble again.

Afghanistan and Mac, both will be Obama's undoing because its not a surge its just moving people from out of a firing zone into one. They'll fight a few battles, make some racket but they are on their way out as fast as they are going in. Politically correct war fighting with one hand tied behind US and coalition forces backs. This makes both you and JD right.

Obama is one and done. Bests boys. I hope they dont have to invoke that 16 to 65 shit ever again. Meanest force on the battlefield is a volunteer one every day of the week. Thats the reason the Afghans are so tough.... God.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 30 Dec 2009 #permalink

Randy: You don't stop wars with songs. Songs are an expression of something. You don't win wars with testosterone macho talk, either. In fact you rarely win wars. Both sides lose. As for Obama, I told you that I would go after him if warranted and it's warranted. So I am. I should go there? And why is that? On that logic you should go to Israel, Iran, Pakistan, etc. I don't think we should be there at all. You are the one, by this logic, who should go. Not just for a few weeks. For the duration. But I recognize that's a bogus argument in your case. You are no chicken hawk like Cheney. So I won't get down to that level with you.

As for excess mortality, the scientific question that was being asked is this: now many people died as a result of the US invasion that wouldn't have died without it. That's what the Lancet paper is all about, nothing else. It uses the best methods available to get at that question. Maybe those methods are good enough for such a tough problem. But they aren't bullshit and they are more defensible than any other methods that come up with other numbers.

As for your opinion about Obama's political future, neither of us know. I voted for him for a number of reasons that remain valid but I detest some of his policies and think he has been politically cowardly, just like the rest of them, including a sizable minority of the Democrats in Congress. But a majority of Democrats have done what I think is right. It's just there is no counterpart in your party, the party of "Fuck You" America (aka, Republicans).

Maybe we should be seeing how many "excess losses" we are incurring in Afghanistan under the ROE? Thanks Obama and the Democrats for doing the right thing in the progressives eyes. How many trillions ? How many more Americans ?

You should go there and see the situation on the ground Revere... You very likely would change your tunes if you did.

Pretty soon, as it does with most things it will come to a head.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 31 Dec 2009 #permalink

Randy: I guess you don't follow the news, much. Progressives have been bitterly critical of the Afghanistan debacle, as well we/they should be. Your automatic reflex to see everything in Republican/Democratic terms is one of the things that is wrong with US politics. There are plenty of Democrats as repulsive as the Republicans. It's just that they also have a lot of good and decent people, too, which as far as I can see is totally lacking on the Republican side. That's why I mention your party all the time. At least we have a goodly number of decent Democrats as well as a lot of rotten ones. Anyone who voted for Afghanistan should be ashamed of themselves. I blame them, whatever their party.

Of the votes that authorized force in Afghtanistan (H.J. Res 64 and S.J. Res 23 of the 107th Congress), only Rep. Barbara Lee of California voted against it. (There were also 2 senators and 10 representatives not voting.) So, there's certainly plenty of blame to go around from your point of view, then.