Thursday, March 15, 2012

Coriolus Effect in the Porta-San

Things have been decidedly nosing south since Obama's Afghan 'Surge' petered-out. Not that it's gone away by any stretch - there are still more US boots on that ground than there were when it was only a glisten in Stan McChrystal's steely gaze. But for all the 'attriting' and 'clearing and holding' that's gone on, there are now more Taliban on the ground, too.

'Success',  now, is getting them to come in and surrender their weapons, pose for a photo-op before having a nice lunch and their biometrics recorded. After that, it's off to the nearest future 'overwatch' position for some mine-clearing. Or some are re-equipped with  an old gun and two rounds of ammo to go out and find the rest of the 'bad' guys. They are NOT allowed to go 'swimming in the ocean' they formerly swam in. From looking at some of them, that IS, primarily, THEIR idea, they don't want to be around other Afghans, for they're not 'proud and happy' survivors. And the rate of recidivism, among them, appears to be on the rise, too.

If you were to listen to NATO/ISAF you'd get the impression Afghanistan is all over but the cake and ice cream. The Taliban are 'on the run' and the government is stronger that ever. The Taliban are being 'forced' into peace negotiations by Pakistanis who are, now, on-side (even though the supply 'wagons' are atill coming across central Asia in an operation that will make 'Over the Hump' in great great-grampa's war look like a picnic))  This is what President Obama wants to hear, for he's planning to be 'all gone' for the most part, in 2014. But there's something else decidedly 'stinky' in the Pamirs.

It's little 'embarassments' that make you wonder if all's right with the campaign, and the campaigners. One thing that has always bothered the Afghans is 'night raids'. Yes, they're great for security, ISAF can see in the dark what others can't. The Taliban have to rest-up sometime and catching therm at night is probably better than trying to catch them during the daytime. But the insult to Afghan's homes, disrespect for their families and a marginal propensity to fill Afghan jails by not liking to come back 'empty-handed', has this "valuable" COIN 'tactic' being used at all-time high rates. Naturally this tactic is prone to errors. But a good ISAF/NATO/UN spin department keeps the score of dead Afghans listed on the Taliban/insurgent ledger, as much as humanly possible.

All that 'night raiding' must be having some effect,  for profound stupidity seems to have replaced basic ignorance as a S.O.P. In recent months, along with a stready flow of 'errors' - killing women and children-  troops have been 'outed' on their own 'memento videos'- pissing-on Afghans they killed, gathered around an SS banner.. They've been caught burning Korans in a waste depot and, for the first time, having some frontier scout go 'bug dirt, postal' on Afghan civilians. He's become the poster boy for Afghan 'baby-killers', like the gang of Marines became poster boys for PETA when they publicly, and on video, beat a sheep to death. These guys are actively working at losing.

Sure Afghans have been killed before, lots of them, and not all I'd bet 'by accident'. But the circumstances this time couldn't be 'massaged' into the Afghans' fault, so there's a real mass murderer on somebody's hands.

Oh, to be sure, he has his rights, so his name isn't being released while the investigation is being done. Like Brad Manning's wasn't released before somebody had decided 'he'd done it',  almost two years before the charges were read. Like Brad Manning, the excuse machine is working overtime,  but in the latter case he's no 'fag' with problems related to military life and discipline. He's a veteran of numerous deployments, a daddy, who hurt his head in Iraq. A soldier who could very well be suffering from PTSD! If it wasn't for the trauma of having to leave his family again, for the nth time, it was the trauma of being posted to Joint Base McCord the 'sickest base' in America. It's obvious to everybody, even the Afghans, the man had to be off his rocker, but that could have been due to his drinking problem, too.

The villages he shot up were among those the Canadians 'pacified' and set-up as 'models', at no little expense,  in a more positive day. But they were left to the 'Surge boots', and obviously somebody didn't hear that part, or couldn't give a shit. They certainly don't seem to have 'briefed' their replacements.For the 'models' have reverted to  examples of what Americans expect - a surly bunch of Afghan 'traitors' who've been 'spoiled' by being 'given' too much of everything -  except hot lead and explosives. Canadians, for all the faint praise, weren't the 'energetic' allies America wanted, or expected. Pretty soon the good guys 'had to guard' them, too.

Canadians started-off badly, complaining about getting bombed by a 'speeding' USAF warrior. In Panjwaii, US commanders complained that Canadians were 'shy' to 'get into it' with the Afghans.  When we did 'get into it', US A10's made a 'mistake' and  shot up a Canadian unit. That resulted in more complaining and the US 'left us alone' to do our own thing.  That didn't stop them from 'keeping an eye' on Canadians. It was US commanders who raised the issue of 'fitness' about our little Danny Menard. They accused him of 'fumbling' a suicide attack, and they knew he was boffing an underling. They gave the story to their pet 'embed', Mike Yon, and she blabbed it all over the place. I hope they like the middle management they got to replace him, fat Walter wasn't the kind of ascetic warrior monk they like these days, and as the CO goes, so go his minions.

It's a good thing Canadians are out of Panjwaii and Afghanistan, but I'd like to think one of our guys would have 'bagged' this toad when he left his first target, in defense of the Afghans of course. But we weren't there and America wears the turd all by herself.

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