Wednesday, September 09, 2009

US – Feeding the Dogs of War

Act III of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: Cry Havoc!, and let slip the dogs of war has now been taken to the bosom of the US Military/Industrial/Congressional complex. The recent events to let slip the restraints on more war are occurring as the Obama Administration looks on, apparently, helplessly.

The Iraq War appears frozen in time as about 130,000 US forces with an equal number of federally paid military contractors churn and burn over 12 billion a month there. (Still cannot account for a missing 9 billion.) If General Saveus Patraeus’ surge worked so well, we should be rapidly redeploying; ending the occupation. If it did not work, we should do the same, since there are no more tactical rabbits left in our hat. The war, like Vietnam, was a strategic disaster. President Obama was elected mainly to end it and get out; to date, he has failed.

The clarion call for more war in Afghanistan was sounded recently on MSNBC by General Barry McCaffrey USA Ret and Mr. Michael O'Hanlon who should have retired from Brookings for his previously foolish analysis on Iraq. A blase Barry McCaffrey and Michael O'Hanlon called for $10-$12 billion a month for the next 25 years for Afghanistan; and, 25,000 to 45,000 more troops to be sent in the short term.

McCaffrey and O'Hanlon are Flotsam and Jetsam cheerleaders of the Iraq War; McCaffrey, decorated for bravery in RVN, was a controversial general in the First Gulf War and later as Drug Czar; he should have quit when he was ahead. Instead he continued to be controversial and turned himself pitifully into an opportunistic Pentagon propaganda machine. O'Hanlon, a former peace corps member who never served in the military, is one of those typical neocon intellectuals who appear mostly to advocate war, but never to fight one.

Both are a piece of work. After the Iraq war blew up in their faces, they both are now flacking in concert for more extensive war in Afghanistan. They dutifully are following Republican SECDEF Gates' lead on the expansion of the war.

As the more war lobby was gathering its momentum, two unnerving events in Afghanistan occurred that sounded a creepy gong of future disaster. They happened at almost the same time. One had to do with the disgusting cavorting conduct with homosexual overtones of State Department Security guards in Kabul; the other had to do with a US air strike in the Northern Afghan near Kanduz where 70-90 Afghans were killed.

It is no secret that the US State department is perceived as a gay-friendly agency; some of the males working there appear to have sexual identification problems and there has been an openly gay ambassador; so, when this nest of male deviant security guards from the State Department in Kabul surfaced on film playing group grab ass, it was not surprising to me. However, except for limp-wristed and careless supervision, there is no link demonstrated between contractors' conduct and those Department officers serving in Kabul. The perception, on the other hand, is another story.

The current US ambassador in Kabul is retired US General Eikenberry, so another US Army general is found asleep at the switch. Let us see whom he blames.

The fallout is that the sick situation brings into focus the recent control and corruption of contractors in our wars. Also, as those sordid pictures make the rounds, it will complicate Obama's effort to alter DON'T ASK DON"T TELL. From my standpoint, this may be a redeeming factor from the tawdry incident. It may also slow down Obama's appointment of more gay ambassadors.

Our German NATO allies called in an air strike around 2:00 a.m. on two highjacked oil tankers stuck in a river or stream bed in Northern Afghanistan in the Kanduz area. The trucks were teeming with activity as the Afghans sought to syphon the gas. The US fired two satellite missiles that took out the tankers as well as 70-90 Afghans in explosive balls of fire. Both civilians and insurgents were killed. Insurgent casualties were based on fragments from Kalashnikovs found on the site. Seems a strained conclusion in that even Afghan goat herders carry the Russian weapon if they can get their hands on it.

The missiles were fired because the Germans believed the tankers might, I repeat, might be used in a suicide attack on NATO or Afghan installations. The fact that gas was being syphoned off the tankers makes this farfetched. According to new rules of engagement, air strikes were to be used in combat operations where NATO and insurgents were directly engaged – this was not the case here. New rules are apparently: SHOOT FIRST. ASK QUESTIONS LATER.

General McChrystal personally investigated the site and concluded that both civilian and insurgents were killed. But by this time one has to question McChrystal's ability to investigate anything, especially after he covered up the Pat Tillman friendly fire incident. The tanker incident certainly undermined the recent NATO strategy to protect Afghan civilians.

There is no question the Neocon rats are back in business, beating the drums for permanent war in Afghanistan. Former Senator Hegal and conservative columnist George Will with a few others in congress, oppose it; but the forces that prefer war to peace in the US seem to have an upper hand, especially as Obama foolishly twiddles his thumbs. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret


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