Finally, a piece of good news from Afghanistan
While the news media is fixated on more turmoil in the White House, Defense Secretary Mad Dog Mattis was in Afghanistan.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday he believes victory in Afghanistan is still possible — not necessarily on the battlefield but in facilitating a Taliban reconciliation with the Afghan government.
Mattis spoke shortly before arriving in Kabul, where security concerns were so high that reporters traveling with him were not allowed to publish stories until his party had moved from the Kabul airport to the U.S.-led military coalition’s headquarters. That was the first such restriction on coverage of a Pentagon chief’s visit in memory. Mattis said he would be meeting with President Ashraf Ghani and top U.S. commanders.”We do look toward a victory in Afghanistan,” he said, adding, “Not a military victory — the victory will be a political reconciliation” with the Taliban, which has achieved a stalemate in recent years and shown little interest in conceding to the Kabul government.Mattis, a retired Marine general who commanded U.S. troops in southern Afghanistan in the opening weeks of the war in 2001, said getting the Taliban to reconcile en masse may be “a bridge too far.” So the emphasis is on drawing in Taliban elements piecemeal.He described this approach as an effort to “start peeling off those who are tired of fighting,” after more than 16 years of war.
“We know there is interest on the Taliban side,” he said.
This is huge!
Finally admitting the obvious - that the Taleban are going to fight us longer than we can - is the best possible thing that we can expect out of Washington.
The door is open to declare victory and go home.
I pointed out last week that we are losing in Afghanistan by every metric. Recent reports show that Afghanistan is already “a safe haven for terrorist plots against the U.S. homeland.”
Thus proving that a trillion dollars and thousands of American lives were wasted. What's more, their lives were wasted in silence.
Consider this: At a Senate hearing this past week on top U.S. security threats, the word “Afghanistan” was spoken exactly four times, each during introductory remarks. In the ensuing two hours of questions for intelligence agency witnesses, no senator asked about Afghanistan, suggesting little interest in a war with nearly 15,000 U.S. troops supporting combat against the Taliban.
Speaking of fighting wars in silence, do you remember Somalia?
Yeh, Somalia. You might be surprised what we have more troops in Somalia than in Iraq.
The United States’ war on terror is not slowing down. With more boots on the ground in Africa this past year, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the head of U.S. Africa Command, acknowledged the increase in troops and associated it with the escalating conflict in Somalia at a recent House Armed Services Committee meeting.
The total number of troops grew from 6,000 in 2017, according to AFRICOM, to nearly 7,500, including 1,000 contractors, as of today.
...While American forces have increased, so have the number of airstrikes. The U.S.’ airstrikes “rose from 14 to 35 in 2017,” Vice News reported according to data from the Bureau of Investigation Journalism.
At the House Armed Services Committee, Waldhauser was questioned whether the U.S. was at war in Somalia.
“Functionally, I would argue that we are at war in Somalia, is that an accurate reading of the situation there?,” Rep. Beto O’Rourke from Texas said.
But Waldhauser rebutted O’Rourke’s comment.
“Congressman, I would say it’s an accurate reading,” Waldhauser said. “I wouldn’t characterize that we’re at war. It’s specifically designed for us not to own that.”
Uh, do you think they might want to tell the American public if and where we are at war?
Or have we gone Full Empire?
Syria’s U.N. ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, said terrorists had conducted chemical attacks on civilians and staged them to make it look as if the Syrian military were to blame. He faulted foreign governments for supporting some rebels.
“Isn’t it enough what they’ve done in Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen, invoking very cheap lies?” he said.
Jaafari ended by quoting Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz: “They are liars. They know they are liars. And they know that we know they are liars. However, they still lie, and very loudly so.”
Russia and Iran want to secure the future of President Bashar al-Assad, which requires them to control the northern part of the country and push U.S. forces out. Therefore, Russia has given a green light to Turkey to attack the Kurds to weaken the U.S. position in the country, Ghavami wrote .
...“Putting pressure on the Kurds in Afrin may result in Kurdish decision makers accepting any proposals presented by Russia,” Ghavami said.
A Kurdish commander said: “Russia and Assad are willing to help the Kurds in Afrin on certain conditions. They want us to ask the U.S. to leave Syria, and hand over non-Kurdish territories held by the Syrian Democratic Forces in return for making Turkey leave Afrin.”
Yeh, that sounds like a good plan.
If the Turkish assault on the Kurds keeps up, eventually the Kurds will have to give in to Damascus and Moscow. That'll leave us out in the cold...with the exception of Al-Tanf.