The Fog Of War

Back in December Vice President Mike Pence went to Afghanistan and announced "real progress" is being made. A few months earlier Trump told everyone "great progress is being made.”
Standing next to Trump was Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Ghani praised U.S. efforts and said there has been “an immense change on the ground.”
“Victory — political and military-wise — is within our sight,” Ghani said.
“It's a difference of day and night,” he added. “The cloud of uncertainty has been lifted."

Right. About that fog of uncertainty...
In February the Department of Defense Inspector General released a report saying that “no significant progress” had been made in 2017.
However, it was hard to verify because the Department of Defense ordered the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) not to publish certain data. A few days ago they reversed that decision.

The basic thrust of the new data is that Afghan government control of the country is at its lowest reported level since December 2015, while insurgency control is at its highest.

So progress was indeed made. For the Taleban.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a very good question for the Pentagon yesterday that a lot of other people would appreciate hearing the answer.

“You have set up 20 bases in northern Syria? What are you there for? You are bringing in 5,000 truckloads of weapons, 2,000 cargo planes full of arms? Against whom?” Erdogan said of the US support for Kurds fighting the Islamic State (IS)—and now bracing a Turkish army attack—in Syria.
“Now that you have cleared [IS], why are those weapons still there? Are you bringing them [to be used against] us?”

I'd like to know the answers as well. Damascus has made it clear where they stand on the issue.
It's tricky because Turkey has been killing Syrian government troops and our Kurdish allies.
So who do we intend to fight in Syria?

If you listen to the news media, we are hardly in Syria at all.

In the Guardian (2/10/18), Simon Tisdall described the US and its Western partners as “hovering passively on the sidelines in Syria,” and “restricting themselves to counterterrorism operations and vain calls for peace.” ABC’s Conor Finnegan (2/26/18) expressed concern that “the US will remain on the sidelines” in the country.
However, America currently controls 28 percent of Syria (Foreign Policy, 1/25/18), precisely the opposite of being “on the sidelines,” and has recently declared its intent to continue occupying the country indefinitely (New York Times, 2/22/18). As Joshua Landis (Syria Comment, 1/15/18), director of the Center for Middle East Studies, notes, the US controls “half of Syria’s energy resources, the Euphrates dam at Tabqa, as well as much of Syria’s best agricultural land.”

Our news media leaves us with the impression that we are doing some sort of humanitarian mission in Syria, like a Pentagon version of the Peace Corps.
You would never know that we are both occupying, and laying waste to Syria.
airwars.PNG

More than seven times as many civilians have been killed by the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria than official numbers suggest, according to recent data from a leading monitor.
From the start of the intervention in August 2014 until mid-February this year, the coalition has killed between at least 6,137 and 9,444 civilians, according to Airwars, a UK-based monitoring group of experienced investigative journalists and researchers.
Hundreds of those were children, its figures show.

The numbers are in stark contrast to Operation Inherent Resolve’s own data, with its latest report, released on Friday, confirming at least 841 “unintentional” civilian deaths over the course of the campaign.

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Comments

Meteor Man's picture

Great essay that pinpoints the biggest problem with stopping or even slowing down America's bloodthirsty global rampage. How do you stop a war that nobody knows about?

Steve Coll wrote a book about Afghanistan called Ghost Wars. Here's a related article:

Other people fight, other people suffer, other people pay — it's a recipe for political ignorance and indifference. All the American people know is that there hasn't been another 9/11. And that one must always, no matter what, "support the troops." Together these sentiments translate into: "We dare not say anything critical about whatever the military is doing." That holds for members of Congress no less than for average Americans.

http://theweek.com/articles/745307/americas-endless-invisible-wars

Somehow we gotta get the word out to the broad general public.

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

@Meteor Man

$5 gets you in. they need our help.

http://worldbeyondwar.org/explained/

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Pricknick's picture

Ask most anybody you meet about Syria.
I've seen deer caught in the headlights have better comprehension than your everyday american.
You can't stop a war that most don't care about until the body bags come home.
Exceptionalism sucks and it doesn't pay the bills.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Wink's picture

some M.E. country mentioned my eyes roll to the back of my head.
@Pricknick
One, it's over there somewhere and, two, it's over there somewhere. Virtually the Only place I hear about M.E. countries is here. So at least somebody gives a flying flip! The rest of us Americans? Not so much. And, I know I should be among those that give a flyin' flip. But O'Bummer had 8 years to get the fuck out of the M.E. and chose rather to continue to march. I wish I gave a flyin' flip, but I don't. All is lost there and it was a gigantic waste of time and lives but, truly, America doesn't give a fuck. If it doesn't happen here in the U.S. of A. it doesn't.

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

Bollox Ref's picture

Our twoops are twemendous.

Carry on!

(Edited)

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Pricknick's picture

@Bollox Ref

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Bollox Ref's picture

@Pricknick
Wushing awound making dinner

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

lotlizard's picture

@Bollox Ref  
Can’t fool me cuz I wisten to Wachel Maddow.

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lotlizard's picture

@Bollox Ref

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Pricknick's picture

wesist. And dinnew is no excuse.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@Pricknick so twue.

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Bollox Ref's picture

@Pricknick

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Pricknick's picture

We surely didn't mean to hijack your thread. Sometimes laughter is the best medicine.
Just observed more than a couple of sites lamenting about our president and that of north korea possibly having a meeting.
My opinion is: Regardless if two megalomaniacs in charge of weapons of mass destruction meet, it's better than throwing said weapons around. That's not what people are saying though. Many would prefer a war.
My faith in humanity dives for the deep end.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Bollox Ref's picture

@Pricknick

just begs for the voice of 'Upper Class Twit of the Year'.

The Charge of the Light Brigade as narrated by Monty Python.

Thanks for the thread gjohnsit.

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Sun Tzu: Art of War
"There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare."

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Mike Taylor

TheOtherMaven's picture

@Mike Taylor

"To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war."

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.