As the US continues to commit more troops to the war, it takes more and more aggressive stances, like launching the Helmand River Valley offensive, the largest the nation has seen since the Soviet occupation. But it has little to show for its escalation, with attacks on the rise and deaths among both allies and bystanders reaching ever higher levels.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has conceded that the US most show some sign of improvement in the nation within a year, or it risks long international support. There is certainly no sign that is going to happen, but the bigger question is: how much worse is it going to get in the mean time?
Those who do not understand the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.
You cannot win a ground war from the air; there should have been a bitter but crucial lesson from the Viet Nam War for US civilian and military leadership on that, but it has, apparently gone unlearned.
In another article on Afghanistan from the GLOBE AND MAIL, it is reported that "Tens of thousands more U.S. soldiers may soon be needed in Afghanistan to quell the raging Taliban insurgency, top American generals are preparing to tell President Barack Obama."
However, just where these troops are supposed to come from appears to be a big unknown.
One has to wonder if a draft will be reinstituted in this country to even begin to come up with the numbers potentially necessary to do the job.
The old Soviet Union couldn't "pacify" this area with 500,000 pairs of boots on the ground.
And the reasons the old Soviet Union was in Afghanistan are, essentially, the same reasons the US and NATO are there right now: the installation of pipelines, to control Eurasia's oil, and protect the drug trade, from which so many profit so handsomely.
We are coming, at some point to a "Saigon moment" in Kabul; the only question is when, and how many more American, Afghan, and NATO lives will be lost to this military misadventure. And the most ghastly reality about this war was that the Bush/Cheney administration decided that this war would be "cheaper" than actually paying the Taliban the price they demanded for the pipelines in August of 2001.
I want Bush and Cheney to go on national television, and make that decision perfectly clear to the moms, dads, kids, relatives and friends of our Vets who have died, become permanently physically or psychologically maimed for life, committed horrendous acts of violence upon coming home, or committed suicide as a result of this war. For once in their wretched lives, they should tell the American people the truth.
And a small memo to SecDef Gates: I know of no thinking American who understands the geopolitical outcomes desired here, and supports the US presence in Afghanistan; not one, period, end of discussion.