Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More logistics ...

Over the past week, Gord and I have been trying to get across how difficult our fight in Afghanistan is. How throwing more troops at the problem might not be the most prudent of moves, being it's getting more difficult to resupply them. Our pal Montag put a post up yesterday noting yet another attack on our supply lines a maxim our war planners should abide if we want success (as opposed to a 'Bushian Victory').


The overland route is where all the "beans & bullets" come into Afghanistan. While airlift may work for VIP's and other assholes, it becomes prohibitively expensive to try and maintain an army that way. And there aren't any other friendly folks with border crossings we can use. Still, with Christmas and a Depression coming at the same time, KBR should be able to find a few folk who need the money.

The only way to get anywhere over there is with money. While KBR shouldn't get another dime of taxpayer money, if we want to get our stuff to where it's going, we're gonna have to bribe the locals. I'm not saying it's a strategy, but that's the way of allegiances in that part of the world. Allegiances change as the bid is raised and eventually it'll cost too much to maintain a 'loyal' population.

"But we need more troops there," you say, "to guard the convoys and pacify the area and then we'll win."

Remember General Shinseki? The guy who said we'd need several hundred thousand troops to 'win' (occupy) Iraq? Even at double his estimate, I doubt it would be enough to pacify Afghanistan. What we failed to do in Iraq (what allowed us to set up the 'Western Europe' we have today after WW2) was disarm the population thanks to our false assumption the Iraqis would act like Parisians in '44. We made the same false assumptions in Afghanistan.

We assumed they would be joyous over our defeating the Taliban (notice we bought the loyalty of the Northern Alliance to get the job done). We assumed they would have strong nationalistic ties to a 'free and democratic government' in Kabul. Like Iraq, we failed to look at the ethnic and tribal forces at work and what we assumed (they're all brown and Muslim) played against us. We could have never occupied the Axis nations if we would have left them with a well armed local population. The Afghanis will fight us from every nook and cranny of that horrible terrain with enough firepower to make us reconsider.

And that brings about talk of Pakistan, not only a safe haven for insurgent fighters (don't believe every swingin' dick with an AK is al-Qaeda over there, there are a lot of people in the fight for a lot of different reasons), but their supply line also. Through the tribal areas of Waziristan flow the RPGs, guns, and bullets along with the fighters. There is little doubt it will remain intact for it is protected on both sides of the border by people we cannot buy or intimidate. Vietnam vets will remember how the NV resupplied their people in the south, regardless of our efforts to disrupt their lines. Same shit here. They will get resupplied (by their allies in Pakistan, by people who have a contra-U.S. agenda, by nations looking to keep our forces tied down) until they make our lives miserable enough to leave. Like Afghanistan, we thought we could buy allegiances in Pakistan but blood is thicker than greenbacks.

We failed to understand the origins of the areas we call Afghanistan and Pakistan. We failed to consider the borders were arbitrary demarcations, laid down by the British (another group who failed to consider the consequences of war in the Hindu Kush), without regard for tribal or ethnic bloodlines. People in Waziristan show as much loyalty to Islamabad as they do to Kabul, and nothing we can do, no amount of money we can give them, will make them change. They've been living like this for too long to change, regardless of which army sets up camp in town, because they know the army will eventually leave when the costs become too high.

They know we will leave too. They know we can't win and they have all the time in the world. We will go as we did in Vietnam, as the British did, as the Russians did. It's just a matter of how many American lives we want to waste and how much money we want to flush down that toilet. If we're waiting for a 'shining beacon of democracy', we don't have enough of either. It's time to bring our troops home from both places and rebuild our military to what it was before the neocons got a hold of it. It's time to undo the mess George Bush and Dick Cheney made over the past 8 years, not add to it.

No comments: