The Forever War

An empire is a lot like a super tanker. It moves slowly, but it is so huge it is nearly impossible to stop or steer. The best a capable leader can do is nudge it slightly off its current path, a slight course correction. Otherwise, the sheer momentum of the thing makes piloting it impossible. Generations of bad ideas have been loaded into the super tanker that is the American Empire. The momentum can only be arrested with a giant rip in the hull from an unseen object.

That’s what we’re seeing with Trump. He was full of big talk about ratcheting back US commitments around the world, particularly in pointless sinkholes like Afghanistan, where we have been killing people for going on a generation. To be precise and date our involvement to when we first put advisers on the ground, we have been in Afghanistan for 37 years now. Operation Cyclone was started under Carter and became the program the Reagan administration used to unseat the Soviet Union.

Now Trump is promising to make sure we are there for a 40th anniversary.

President Trump unveiled his plan for Afghanistan after seven months of deliberation Monday evening, announcing tweaks around the edges of the current strategy instead of a different approach.
He announced five “core pillars” to the approach: getting rid of any timelines for how long U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan; using all elements of power, including diplomatic and economic; getting tougher on Pakistan; getting India to help more with economic development; and expanding authorities for U.S. forces to fight terrorists.

What the president did not announce was how many more U.S. troops would head to Afghanistan, which he decided earlier this year to leave up to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to determine.

He did, however, say the U.S. would no longer talk about troop levels or drawdown dates, making it unclear whether troop increases would be announced. There are currently about 8,400 U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and the president has reportedly approved of a plan to send about 4,000 more.

The pointlessness of this endeavor is finally admitted. Trump layered on a thick coating of his usual nonsense, but the truth is, no one knows why we are there anymore or what we are trying to accomplish. We are just going to remain there doing stuff because the generals now running American foreign policy like playing warlord. They got Trump to sign off on looser rules of engagement, so they can have some more fun shooting the locals, but otherwise it is more of the same.

That’s the thing we’re seeing that no one seems to be discussing. The civilian arm of the government is no longer in control of American military policy. In the Bush years, it was obvious that Cheney ran the show, with a bunch of generals and former generals, but at least Cheney was a civilian. Obama was just a figurehead in all aspects, but there were still a few civilians in the military policy loop. Trump has turned it all over to dazzling mediocrities like Mattis and Kelly.

The other aspect of this is the decision to hide from the public the details of what is going in Afghanistan. No more troop levels, no more timelines and no more answering questions about what we are doing there. In the managerial state, you are no longer a citizen with the right to ask questions of your government and they are no longer obligated to explain things to you. You are empowered and encouraged to fulfill your potential in an inclusive, welcoming environment!

Even the military has not escaped the corrosive effects of managerialism. This war is a managerial state war, where no one ever asks hard questions of their managers or even thinks much about it.  Decisions are made, meetings are held, action plans are drawn up and someone does a presentation to a committee. People get to put their participation on their resume. They get to put down that they were on a committee that conjured a program with a ridiculous name like “Operation Enduring Freedom.”

Some people console themselves with the belief that eventually the empire will be bled dry and our rulers will have no choice but to pull back. The trouble with that is our rulers can go on pillaging the middle class to finance this stuff for a long time. There’s nothing the people can do about it, short of open revolt. No matter which party they put in charge, the polices remain the same. Trump was supposed to be the warning shot, but instead he is turning into another kibble thrown into the maw of the managerial state.

America is now committed to being in Afghanistan for a few more years, bringing our engagement to at least four decades. The Brits hung around the place for roughly 90 years. The First Afghan War started in 1839 and the last British expats were evacuated in 1929 after a tribal uprising. Afghanistan had become independent in 1919, but the Brits hung around to “help.” Given that American rulers are much dumber than the old British colonials, it is safe to say that this is America’s forever war.

115 thoughts on “The Forever War

  1. Love your work but for the first time think you are wrong. War should not have rules, timelines, or troop numbers.

    • I guess I shouldn’t be surprised but I am because of the “brain” power that resides at this site at how shallow the thinking is about issues revolving around the need for military power. The fact that past leaders have screwed up royally in management of the military and our ventures in other lands, does not mean that our current President has sold out to Globalist interests.

      Does anyone here not think that evil exists around the world? Does anyone think that we can be isolationist and that the wolf will still find his way to our door, as if he already hasn’t? Can you truly look at what the President is prescribing on doing, in a new way, to put pressure on others around the world and not place the total burden on the US in contrast to past administrations and say that maybe we should give this a chance? Does anyone really think that regardless of how tired we are of this debacle (and I am one of them) that if you understand the geopolitical ramifications of leaving a vacuum in the ME, that it will be filled with Islamic terrorism and not just Islamic countries who want to live peacefully with their neighbors?

      This group, whom I highly admire for it’s breadth of historical reading and understanding, seems to be taking the easy, popular route to “just get us out” because we don’t like it any more! Well, kids, it isn’t that simple. Of course, I know you know that, deep down inside but you are vocalizing the popular sentiment while ignoring the hard truth. American exceptional-ism is not nor has not been simply about doing things on our own land but around the world.

      It is easy to bash the current President but you don’t seem to care that he is put upon by all sides in trying to turn our country around. Let’s face it. Obozo and his minions left him a real shitty mess. But he has been man enough to say, “I will fix it!” Not “I will try,” but “I will do it.” That is the spirit I like and not one of a guy who apologizes for everything, bows to others, can’t do anything for himself including throwing a baseball or ride a bicycle without looking like a damn sissy.

      Crooks, communists, and race baiters. And he did his worst for eight years of fundamental transformation. And you guys, rather than support him in his efforts to try to fix some shit, would rather sit at your keyboards and pile on. Shame on you!

  2. The warriors are long dead now. It’s just another bureaucratic arm now with speech codes, sensitivity training and so on. In the public service the money is spent before anyone cares what it’s spent on. Feed the beast, stoke the fire, keep the merry go round spinning.

    The eternal war stuff is easy to explain. They’ve spent untold billions, trillions on this stuff, they’re going to use it on something. Better a weak and impotent Afghanistan than someone who could do real damage. It’s purely the natural expansion of government departments into perpetuity. It’s as depressingly banal as that.

  3. This is not war. This is not peacekeeping, occupation, or regime change. This is ritual of sacrifice to Mars, made in this far-off Colosseum to distract the citizens from the rot going on in their government.

  4. The puppet masters hidden from view for so long are now becoming identifiable. Citizen child is now citizen adult, and although the drama is amusing, it is no longer credible. The deep state’s struggle to hold onto power is an indication it is losing it to empowered Americans.

  5. because the generals now running American foreign policy like being in Afghanistan playing warlord

    Not to mention testing new weapons and weapon systems. That’s not necessarily for the benefit of our soldiers and sailors–but it DOES benefit the “industrial” part of the military-industrial complex

  6. By the way. The famous british-american anthropologist, Robin Foxs father was in Afganistan to evacuate Amanullah Khan, King of Afghanistan (1919-29) He has his fathers regiment photos from India and Afganistan on his site. Fox is highly pessimistic about changing them (his might be a race-realist but is diplomatic in his was of saying it in his works.He is open to multi-level selection). He says about his fathers views on Afganistan;
    “But Russian intrigue, conservative opposition and above all the revolt of rival tribes, drove him out and the country collapsed back into its tribal, feuding condition. The thing my father remembered most was a survivor of the King’s entourage telling how the tribal rebels had crucified many royal supporters on each side of the road into Kabul. When I told him just before he died that the Russians were back in Afghanistan, he replied: “They were never out.” A few years later they invaded in earnest. He was dead then, but it was his opinion to the end that Western Civilization might founder in Afghanistan.”

  7. At least Trump presents real reason for his policies. It’s very refreshing to be told the truth that nation building is a load of shit, and the only reason we are there is to kill the most dangerous 1% of the men, and to allow the military to save face.

    The theory that a couple billion of drug profit to the CIA is enough reason for the feds to keep up this war is hilarious nonsense though. I’m sure the CIA is doing all its usual dark deeds, but after the Russia witch hunt, Trump doesn’t owe them shit.

  8. Please understand also that if America truly pulls out of the ME Israel sticks out like a sore thumb. Keep the Muzzies busy and their eyes off the chosen

  9. I think you boys are paranoid, maybe. Trump is not the only ball in play.

    Let us back track: all wars are about money and power. Sometimes, very rarely – ego. Could it be that this could be taken at face value? Consider the cost of terrorism – in the good ol’ days they could murder a the Jooish Olympic soccer team, or shoot up a bus full of kids, and commit occasional atrocities and the power brokers and politicos could stand up for the cameras, deplore, condemn and disavow the cretins responsible – and then otherwise ignore it.

    But – when the towers came down on 911 – JFC, that cost SERIOUS coin! And then those yodelling monkeys started threatening dirty nukes, anthrax and all kinds of other hell – right on our own turf. Any number of experts have come out saying those threats are credible. We know that if we don’t kill jihadis over there, they will kill us over here. That’s just the way it is.

    Trump is in an impossible situation. American people want terrorism to stop. In order to do that, Trump needs boots on the ground. Not only that, he needs to be able to actually wage a war on terror: he needs to be able to designate and destroy targets almost instantaneously without having to get the approval of the media and the monkeys in congress. He needs to inflict enough collateral damage so that the locals think twice about supporting terror groups. In effect, he needs to be able to kill their women and children the same way they kill ours – only on a far larger scale.

    The American people won’t stand for any of that either – so Trump has to split the difference and try and find a happy medium. I’m going to cut him some slack. We need to see what he is going to actually do, and what the bad guys are going to do. Interesting times.

  10. Well, there’s a mess of blackpills here. So far it seems Gorsuch is the most lasting legacy for Trump, provided Gorsuch doesn’t pull a Souter. All I can say is, hold on tight once it becomes clear to a majority of people that, apparently, elections change almost nothing.

  11. I never really bought into the Mattis mystique. The first thing I thought of when he was proposed as a presidential candidate is that I have no idea what his policies regarding domestic issues or war would actually be.

    He says cool menacing stuff sometimes, but I can’t really distinguish any particularly good war results from his record either. He seems just as cucked as any other general and seems likely to be gay to boot.

  12. It’s the opium. The reason we invaded was because the Taliban banned all opium/heroin and started destroying the poppy fields. We destroyed the Taliban and now opium production is at an all time high and NATO soldiers are guarding the entire operation.

  13. According to a article in the “Daily Mail” a general should have shown a picture to Trump of Kabel in 1979 with exposed females as the argument for sending more troops. The Pakistani anthropologist and diplomat, Akbar Ahmed has done some research into the roots of the terror and he says that all muslims are endogamous and tribal and see western cultures and law ,-that is based on a exogamous culture as something that will dissolve the tribal family and put shame on its honour. Bin Laden should have been very good to talk about these family values that islam resonates with.

  14. There are “startup” corporations in the DC area winning 9-figure contracts from the Pentagon to handle intel, logistics, etc., in our “theaters of war”. As we know from the Korean experience, none of this stuff ever ends. People I know well make excellent livings in these “entrepreneurial enterprises”. And we’re not talking about the old badies like Halliburton and Booz Allen anymore; we’re talking about firms set up by combat veterans who know the setup. There must be dozens of such firms in Alexandria and Arlington, and elsewhere…

    As to President Trump, well, we accepted the thesis of the “Flight 93” election propounded by someone or other. That thesis was: He’s not HRC.

    So we have that. Our rate of descent has slowed.

  15. Your analysis of the Afghanistan situation is faulty. A better one includes an understanding of Generational Dynamics, the theory that expands on ideas presented in the book: “The Fourth Turning”. As John Xenakis points out, there is no solution to the problem in Afghanistan, because no solution exists. By force of arms, we disrupted the natural order there as well as the tribal and factional conflict underway, which included the Taliban in charge. Without U.S intervention, the country will return to their control.
    Steve Bannon is a colleague of Xenakis, and both have a thorough understanding of the generational aspect in that country. There’s little doubt Bannon advised Trump. The only thing to do is “kick the can down the road” and let the next administration deal with it. Again, there is no solution other than to let the generational warfare, purge and genocide amongst the factions, play itself out.

    • Z blogger never claimed there was a solution; he’s just pissed off that a permanent “solutionless” program is being re-booted by our President. You offer no analysis yourself, only quotes from books, with an apocalyptic coda.

      And by the way, seriously? Steve Bannon has a “thorough understanding of the generational aspect in that country”? He must be one hell of a Renaissance man, to include such esoterica among his achievements.

    • Once one realizes that the hard problems have no good solutions (the ones with easy solutions get quickly solved), it is then a matter of choosing the least bad one, which just might be kicking the can down the road.

  16. Tocqueville–There are two things which it will always be difficult for a democratic nation to do: beginning and ending a war.

  17. You identified the primary problem, other than our Afghanistan, errr, campaign is a clusterfuck. The United States is a wicked empire run by an administrative state. There literally is nothing other than open revolt that could stop America’s involvement in Afghanistan.

    The sycophantic media will avoid public opinion polls, and the ostensibly opposition Democrats will make a few noises around the edges as they support this insanity. Sen. Paul’s proposed Senate resolution will not take place; if done in private it likely would fail 97-3.

    We tried with Trump, and the odds were against us. The odds usually are right.

  18. Government’s first allegiance is to it’s own survival. And in order to assure this, it needs a well-trained military that is effective at suppressing an indigenous insurgency. Afghanistan (and most other low-grade foreign conflicts) provide a convenient live-action training environment for military personnel and equipment at all levels. The value of the Taliban is that they serve as voluntary human target practice. The lack of morality and ethics in this exercise is staggering, but it points to how deadly serious our government is when protecting it’s underbelly.

  19. You will find foreign policy is becoming autonomous in roughly the same measure as domestic policy is becoming naturally bifurcated along racial lines.

    It takes a homogeneous population to have a sense of identity and responsibly for their military. As whites lose their identity with the state they will cease to care what the all volunteer multiracial social experiment does.

    It isn’t simply beyond their pay grade as proles. It’s beyond their concern as the states most successful war is against them at home. Since politics is a game of compromise, the political capital needed for domestic self-preservation can no longer be wasted in an attempt to correct foreign policy.

    Neocon infiltration of both parties was premised on this eventuality.

    • The Founding fathers knew this would happen and its why in theory a standing military was banned

      We probably should have listened but that window closed back in the 19th century or at the latest with Woodrow Wilson

      • I’m not sure a milita-only system would have held up even if America had kept its isolationist tack rather than seeking empire. Most states that have had to defend themselves went with a professional army eventually. Those that remained true to the militia system are almost entirely vassals of larger states.

        The great mistake was the expansion of the proposition nation from a generically European proposition (arguably too broad in the first place, but debatable at-least) to a universal one (utterly blasphemous to anyone with a cursory understanding of human bio and cultural diversity).

        Importing utterly foreign peoples in such large numbers was a tool to pacify the informal vassal states and it is now flowering into domestic problems that completely eclipse any semblance of rational politics. Multi-ethnic states are a difficult thing to manage. Multi-racial states that span the genetics of the entire planet are an act of political suicide.

        • I agree with you 100% on the immigration issue

          I think it would have worked if keep a strong standing Navy (note a standing Navy was allowed) and strictly limited immigration as policy, no non British immigrants basically

          Our lust for cheap labor kind of pooched that and in the end that same desire will kill the Union which from the POV of the rest of humanity, assuming things don’t go nuclear anyway will probably prove to be a boon

          On top of that the real economy is zero sum and its all ending up in the hands of a few Oligarchs most backed by American power

          As I’ve said American was a specularly successful long running long con more than a nation and it will end

          That said had we tried the non intervention approach the Marine Corps and stare reserves would have given us the tools we needed to build an army if someone say Europe decided to invade anyway but there was no chance of it happening

          My personal opinion is that nearly every nation is too large for effective governing and they either need to divest to people with the regional culture or just get smaller

          To use the UK as an example, think Northumbiria, Wessex etc as separate nations or at the least regionally independent with a few agreed upon customs and a monarchy

          In the end they will come about in some form or other when the new Dark Age catches up to us but as J.M Greer often said “Collapse now and avoid the rush”

          • The “Standing Navy” was the then equivalent of today’s air force, which is all that’s required for defence, rather than aggression.

  20. Read this while watching an old silent movie made with a separate sound track. Her Private Affair. A woman has an affair, gets blackmailed, kills him, and on and on. Don’t know the ending yet.

    Point is war is like an illicit arrangement. Easy to get in. Getting out not so. We still have based in Germany and Japan. No wonder they call it foreign “affairs”.

  21. Z Man;
    I share your dismay, but I fear that the situation is even worse: It isn’t that the military is in charge of our foreign policy, *Pakistan* is likely in charge of our SW Asia policy. My argument is based on geography & geopolitics:
    – Afghanistan is only accessible via Iran, a couple of Russian controlled Stan countries and Pakistan. Ports plus roads connected to Afghanistan are required for logistical support of any ground campaign there (rail connection is even better). Both features can only be found in Iran and Pakistan.
    – Even if a military campaign could be supported only by airlift (it can’t), we’d have to overfly one of these countries. So the only alternative to obtaining permission (usually involving $$$) is war and occupation. Iran is a really hostile, really big, really mountainous country.
    -So the original ‘logic’ made the choice Pakistan. So, the Paki’s make a good deal of money from providing logistical support for our efforts in Afghanistan. Call it blackmail. Call it transit fee’s. Whatever.
    – It’s long been obvious that the Paki’s have been playing a double game, as in hiding Osama bin Laden. Our not calling them on it show that they’re correct in assuming some serious impunity.
    – If the war stops, the Paki cashflow stops. Plus, the Taliban has partisans in Pakistan. These would be joined by their fellow tribesmen over the boarder, destabilizing Pakistan (none too hard as it is). Unless, that is, they’ve been previously crushed in Afghanistan.
    – Our forces can’t even withdraw without Paki permission. They’re effectively hostages. Dunkirk would be a walk in the park compared to having to make a fighting withdrawal over some of the most rugged mountains in the world.
    – Creating a corridor for evacuation via seaboard invasion might be possible through massive effort except for the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear power.

    So Pakistan has every reason to want to keep this war going and plenty of leverage to see that it does. And so on it goes. QED

    • Let’s not be overdramatic, the logistics of getting out are not particularly challenging. The Pakis aren’t going to shoot down C-17s full of US troops. It’s the politics, and paticularly the domestic politics, that makes it tough for Trump to get out.

      • All tasks are easy for those not having to do them. Simple /= Easy, etc, Cliche’s because true.

        Traceable Paki’s doing the shooting is not how things work in that part of the world. All they have to do is ‘lose’ a few Manpads in a Taliban ‘raid’ on one of their armories. Already happened, AFAIK. So, without complete control by ground forces of ingress and egress zones, no loaded large transports could fly safely. These zones are several miles long beyond the ends of the runways, in line with them and wide enough to keep a climbing or descending aircraft out of Manpad range. Basically, an 10 – 12 km dia. circle centered on the airstrip must be completely secured for high intensity arial logistics. More if the enemy has arty. Kinda like a replay of the battle of Dien Bien Phu otherwise.

        Maybe a three – four week max effort airlift could extract all but the ~2k – 3k troops needed to hold last base clear for operations. Then they’d have to fight their way out overland through mountains just to *get* to Pakistan.

        • Don’t be ridiculous. We’ve been launching and recovering aircraft in Afghanistan for 15 years despite all the little beardy guys running around with MANPADs and RPGs. That is a threat that our aircrews already deal with daily upon takeoff and landing, it is not any kind of obstacle to conducting operations.

          We’re staying for political/bureaucratic reasons, not because we’re incapable of flying out the troops that we flew in.

          • Your observation of current conditions is largely true but completely irrelevant. What part of a ‘fighting withdrawal scenario’ do you not get_?

    • Mullah Omar, bin Laden’s uncle by marraige, was a puppet governor picked by Pakistan; the ISI knew and controlled everything the Taliban did.

      People forget that the Pashto Taliban were the bestest friends of both Bill Clinton/Westley Clark (KLA Albanian heroin) and of Dick Cheney/Ken Lay (Enron “cost offshoring”).

      Hanging blame on our milk-and-bilk “allies”- who became a nuclear power when AQ Khan stole Danish blueprints, with el-Baradi of the U.N.’s blessing- sounds like a good check on another rapacious frenemy of the Bush-Clinton Cartel.

  22. I am going to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on this one, only because he ever more completely seems to be one guy, on his own. He needs to pick his fights carefully here, he can’t fight them all.

    North Korea seems to be a focus of his, beyond that it is hard to tell. There is just so much that needs doing, much of it against the entrenched factions of the State. As much as I am disappointed at DJT, I hate the two political parties and their people a million times more.

    • I prefer to remain optimistic. I know, a Fool’s errand, but the one policy aspect of the speech that was new (and highly Trumpian) was the shifting of the blame for most of this squarely into Pakistan’s lap, and his promise to drag economics into this, just like he did with NoKo and their eternal sponsors, China.

      These Pakis are the shitsticks, after all, who harbored Osama Bin Laden for a decade. And now I think it’s safe to say that they know that the American cash flow is going to stop, and they may even be watching their own skies in anticipation of some American MOABs bearing down on their asses.

    • Just about the only thing I’ve read in days that I can agree with. All last fall’s faint hope is now revealed as a chimera, leading me to engage in the useless exercise of voting merely to see the usual results with a vengeance. No wall, eternal amnesty, Somalis and Congolese and assorted Arabs pouring in, Jarvanka triumphant, and eternal war. All hail the new emperor, the same as the old emperor. My fault, of course, for forgetting precisely who is “king” of this world.

    • Not me. I gave up on voting my way out of the current mess long before Trump. The US won’t stop occupying the planet until it can no longer do so. Its no more thinkable than the USSR ending in 1970

      An real attempt to do anything would end up ruined. It won’t be allowed for reasons both venial (massive amounts of money) and somewhat sound (the US economy would collapse and the world system would go haywire)

      As far as the domestic problems, Trump has a slim chance of starting the ball rolling on fixing them.

      What he does do right now is buy a bit of time for the Right to get prepared.

      The Right is way behind the curve in term of preventing infiltration, getting intelligence and hell operating in groups. The Malheur ranch clown shoes are typical of the militia types and they need to be a lot better to deal with the real world, the intelligence and police and everything else.

      More important even than that, The Rights hearts aren’t hard enough for the job , terrified of even a whiff of collectivism and too fixated on moral warfare.

      No one is getting out of this with clean hands and the methods the Right will use if it goes bad won’t differ that much nor will the outcome, collective liability and boots on necks no matter who is charge . Its ugly

      No one wants this, me included but I see only a narrow window out and that window is not civic nationalism. Its as much a failed ideology as Nazism or Leninism

  23. One need only turn to one of the pre-WWII versions of the Marine Corps “Small Wars Manual” for some clues on how to handle Afghanistan in the first place. This should have been an essentially punitive expedition. Remove and punish the current rulers (Taliban), destroy the capability to train and equip terrorists plus anything else of offensive military interest and withdraw. The locals can settle there own political grudges and differences with each other, but under the clear warning that what happens within borders, stays within borders. Their “export” privileges have been revoked and any recidivism will invite painful retribution. The Taliban replacement (probably just some other faction) would have taken that bargain and we would have been done. Unfortunately that window was short–leaving has to be seen as at the invaders option. But the Bush neocons just could not restrain themselves. LeMay-esque total “kill enough of them and the stop fighting” war has its place and use, but not here.

    • That was exactly what happened in 2001-2. The initial take-down of the Taliban by Airborne forces was absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately Bush and Cheney didn’t read the manual.

      Right when they should have declared victory, packed up and come home, they started moving in heavy units and going full-retard on the nation-building. Obama was even more clueless and kept calling it “the good war”. Good for what he never specified.

    • Sami, you are talking out your ass. Your plan, unlike WW2 era geopolitics, did not include ROE’s which prevent chasing the bad guys across borders and fighting and killing them in other countries like Pakistan. Thanks to a feckless State Dept. and other NGO’s like the UN and EU, NATO, etc., we must play nice. In WW2, the entire world was at war and killing was recognized as the name of the game.

      You make it sound so simple, as you say, but you know not what you speak of. Stop trying to sound like a war expert by throwing around quotes from Curtis LeMay. Does not apply here. Irrelevant.

  24. Mr. Z Man, I have to disagree with you. I think Vox Day has the correct analysis. Trump has been in a fight with the generals and CIA the last few months. I believe he is giving them enough rope to hang themselves (this IS his management style after all). The generals and CIA complain that the previous two administrations have hamstrung them and prevented them from doing the job. Trump is say “fine, then get on with it. I will give you want you want”. If they can’t wrap it up in a reasonable period, say 2 years, then they will be out of excuses and he will pull them out.

    • I have to concur. Trump knows the reason our military can’t achieve decisive victories is because we as a country have been letting Ivy League politicians play war since Vietnam. With bad results in most cases. (They didn’t have time to muck up Grenada.) He stood up to Lil’ Un and didn’t play the blackmail game NK has played going back to the Clinton days. The left shit bricks when Trump tossed out his threats, but we aren’t hearing squat about NK these days are we? So I’ll give him some wiggle room there because IMHO that was the correct play with Lil’ Un.

      How this plays out we will have to see. However, what I find most refreshing is that Trump refuses to coddle the press and put out timelines and lay out our strategy for the enemy to read about in the NY Times and Washington Compost or watch on CNN. If this was June 5, 1944, I can just see the Times editors (by today’s substandards) with a headline “ALLIES TO LAND AT NORMANDY TOMORROW MORNING”. Though already that pinhead O’Donnell on MSLSD hoping that somebody leaks out the military strategy to the press so they can run with it. But I agree if the Generals strategy doesn’t pan out within a certain time frame, then we need to leave for good.

    • you are just putting a bright face on a bad decision. this is genuinely the start of the end of Trump.

      • And you are thinking with your rearend, instead of your brain; playing checkers while Trump plays the Asian game of “GO”! Lots of points of attack and defense, with multiple strategic aims, simple and complex.

        Got over the last simple war war yet?

    • No, Trump approved this a while ago, he just wanted the generals to show him their ‘strategy’. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. He’s going to share in the blame for this now – for the failures and the deaths yet to come. I also find it incredibly difficult to believe Trump would pull troops out in 2 years if things go south. It’s not his way. All McMaster and Co. would need to do is stroke that ego and present another argument for more time and a true ‘victory’ that will never materialize. Trump will go along to get along.

      Bannon called this over the weekend, the agenda we voted for is over. Trump will do some good things and dumb things. At worst he was a stop-gap option to block Hillary, so if he’s gone in 3.5 years it’s still a minor win anyway.

      • Def a win since Hillary did not get to tilt the Supreme Court left for the next 25 years. Also, if by some chance Afghanistan goes well, the media will say Trump benefited from the genius of Obummer,

    • In two years the country will be full swing in election mode, and Trump will probably be behind in the polls. He’ll be in no position to make sweeping changes in military leadership in the event of failure in Afghanistan.

      I’m not sure Trump can survive the purge of Bannon and the ascension of the globalists in his administration. He won the Presidency on the votes of working class whites in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, promising to address the initimately related issues of immigration and jobs. So far he’s done nothing on either issue.

      If Trump doesn’t build the wall and implement policies to kick start income growth in blue-collar jobs he’s going to be vulnerable. A moderate Democrat whose rhetoric focuses (however disingenously) on economic growth will destroy Trump.

    • “If they can’t wrap it up in a reasonable period, say 2 years, then they will be out of excuses and he will pull them out.”

      You should read your own sentence again, and then go think about your position some more and get back to us.

      I mean, who the hell are we even at war with over there? Even the ones “our side” regularly betray us and shoot our troops in the backs inside secure areas. I was watching an interview with a former Special Forces guy, and he had to regularly remind people that they would be shot and killed simply because they are Americans if they were to walk down any random street in Iraq…and they would be shot and killed by people who call themselves our allies out of the other side of their mouths.

      The Government Party is starting to wrest control from the Administration. Trump is going to start sounding even more like Bush 43 as time passes.

      “a reasonable period, say 2 years”

      lol, for heavens sake, from Normandy to full German surrender took 335 days.

    • I, too, join in dissent against Z Man here. Trump has set up Pakistan as most culpable in the region’s troubles amplifying them as a target for our newest, bestest friend and ally, India (the Paki’s historic enemy), thereby setting the stage for the old game of “Let’s you and him fight!”

      Bring in the Indian Gurkha troops and let the party begin, sans US troops, of course. Also helps keep the Chinese attention focused, as the Chi-coms are truly afraid of India, whose population (available as cannon fodder) is equal to their own and whom they have royally pissed off, by assisting the Pakis!

      • Sorry Old Guy but while I agree with you on most of your post, the last sentence is incorrect. Trump is not asking India to help/assist Pakistan at all. He is using them as a threat, a hammer, to apply pressure from a second border in the fight against terrorism. Everyone knows Pakistan has been duplicitous for a long time. And someone, Trump, finally called them out.

        You are right, however, about the economic and military rivalry between China and India. Our alliance being strengthened with India only makes the pressure on Beijing that much stronger as it also disrupts China’s plans for their One Belt-One Road Economic Strategy for EurAsia.

  25. “The obvious pointlessness of this endeavor is finally admitted. Trump layered on a thick coating of his usual bullshit when announcing this, but the truth is, no one knows why we’re there anymore or what we are trying to accomplish.”

    We are there for one reason. Afghanistan is the world’s largest supplier of opium now. Got to keep the drugs flowing for the massive income, to weaken society by providing an escape for those that seek escapes, and to declare wars on “drugs” to borrow money into existence to fight this “scourge”. And guess who is amping up the War On Drugs? The God Emperor himself. Trump is now a politician.

    • who buys heroin any more? all i hear about are opioids, which means pharmaceuticals (and yes i know heroin is an opioid too). heroin is for third world coolees…

      • Of the 20.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, 2 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers and 591,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin.

      • Prescription pills (percs/oxys) are the start of the path, either through legal prescriptions or thievery (mostly kids) from medicine cabinets. Very rarely do people start shooting black tar heroin. Once pills become too expensive to support a habit (think $1.00 a mg) the addict moves on over to heroin, which is more often than not cut with Fentanyl or Carfentanil and is drastically cheaper. Much of those chemicals are actually manufactured in China, imported to Mexico, and mixed with the heroin grown in Nayarit State. It’s then distributed through a very effective marketing and supply chain north.

        This poison is laying waste to the Midwest especially. Over 4,100 Ohioans OD’ed last year, up by a third from the year before, and there is no end in sight of that growth curve.

        There is an interesting theory that I subscribe to, that NAFTA had a hand in creating this epidemic. The treaty destroyed the Mexican small farmer, who had to compete with US Agribusiness (no chance) and they looked around for a crop that they could grow to replace it. Opium poppies fit the bill in many locations. Many went north to look for jobs, and a few Mexicans became the pickets through which the cartels could get a beach head. The cross-border supply chains which support the Maquiladoras along the border also provide the same service to much of the illicit drug flow now. Industry in the Midwest took a massive hit over the past quarter century, resulting in cratered social bonds that weakened community resistance to social ills like drug addiction.

        When the people realize that the banksters in NYC and their lapdogs in DC declared war on them 25 years ago, I hope there are a enough left to launch a counter-attack.

        • “This poison is laying waste to the Midwest especially. Over 4,100 Ohioans OD’ed last year, up by a third from the year before, and there is no end in sight of that growth curve.”

          4,100 in a State of eleven million people is hardly laying waste.

    • See Zman’s comment above. Almost unlimited fentanyl MANUFACTURED (not just sold) in Mexico. Horse also made in Peru, Colombia. Afghan heroin mostly goes to Europe.

    • Kudos. Not that Trump is to blame; he’s just the latest rubber-stamper working for enterprises too powerful to refute or discuss. I cant imagine what an essentially honest and straightforward person like Trump has seen, of the full extent of the “dark structure” ruling the modern world; I can only assume that he’s seen the worst, and he’s scared.

      • Re: “I cant imagine what an essentially honest and straightforward person like Trump has seen, of the full extent of the “dark structure” ruling the modern world; I can only assume that he’s seen the worst, and he’s scared.”

        It is virtually certain that someone has delivered a message to Trump, whether subtle or not, that he and his family can be made examples of if he does not play ball. This fact must always be borne in mind when evaluating his decisions – that we are looking at a man who has been “marked for death” by certain elements within the deep state.

        The thing is, the deep-staters don’t even bother to hide their intentions anymore, which is why washed-up mediocrities like comedienne Kathy Griffin are telling jokes about Trump’s beheading.

        The kick-off for the Great War was a century ago plus change. That one was started by an assassination of a state leader. I hope Mr. Trump has good bodyguards, because if he meets an untimely end, we could be looking at another trip-wire type of event. I hope I am mistaken…

    • Actually, I’ve read there is over $1 trillion in rare earth metals. Since China is exploiting Africa for its minerals I suspect Trump’s move is more strategic. If correct then we should see mining activity not far off into the future in Afghanistan.

      • For the 7 trillion we spent there we could have built a MASSIVE fleet of spacecraft and mined the asteroids.

        • There are persistent rumors of a breakaway civilisation that has already planted colonies on Mars (and beyond) using trillions of dollars of black money. CIA trolls will be quick to trot out their “conspiracy theory” refutations.

  26. I have read a lot of antropological literature about the muslims world. A interesting person to hear on youtube is the israeli prof. i arabic literature and culture, Morderchai Kader because he can lots of anecdotes about the US policy in the muslim world. He told that he once came in contact with the envoy for Afganistan Richard Holbrooke. He said to him that Afganistan will always be a “failed state” as they are not “one people”. Holbrooke said “are they not one people” and Kedar replied “No, they are over 9.ethnic groups that are as different as Rumania and Japan and they are again divided into clans and tribes. There are no ethnic group called the afghans. It is a construction made by imperial Britain and Russia”. He didn´t know. Kedar also told the story about a highly skilled anthropologist in the muslim world that got employed by Pentagon. He should make woking papers so the army could understand the culture and the political game. He saw the army constantly make mistakes after 6.years he discovered that nobody read his papers. He then left his job.The American/western imperie is not based on insight but ethnocentrism in western style. You don´t have to understand other people because they are just like you at the bottom, -our values are “universel”. The evanelium of democracy and human right is inside every human. We don´t need to understand them because they are just like us

  27. The U.S. military’s perpetual motion machine scares the hell out of me. It has become decoupled from any sane national interest or defensive purpose. Its rationale seems to be corporate welfare for Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing et al. with a side order of social engineering.

    I’m very disappointed that Trump has bought into this, although for all I know, his latest Afghanistan gambit is meant to throw a few scraps to a military establishment that wants much more.

  28. Americans can tolerate their soldiers suffering for decades as long as they don’t have to hear about it every day. See, for instance, the P.O.W. scandal in Vietnam. A Chuck Norris movie from the 80s was a better expose than anything any credible journalist could come up with, aside from Sydney Schanberg, who outed that piece of shit John McCain and his father (who also soft-pedaled Israel’s role in the U.S.S. Liberty incident). The best Trump could do would be to at least use our presence in Afghanistan to go for the opioid problem at the root, attacking the poppy fields with eradication efforts. That probably won’t work either, though, since if the Afghanis hid and held back just a few hectares, their cash crop would be worth even more after coalition forces cut and burnt whatever poppies they found. Considering some kids there are on their third or fourth deployment, I won’t be surprised if some of them are picking up the habit there and taking it back stateside (it happened in Vietnam).

    Nice Joe Haldeman reference, at any rate.

    • I’ve thrown that Sydney Schanberg info on the POW scandal in the faces of a few people who openly stated how great they thought McCain was. Usually it shut them up pretty quick. But given a few weeks they were right back to spouting their usual bullshit – obviously having expended no effort into researching what happened – even when the information was dropped in their laps.

      A few weeks pass by – and it’s back to the ingrained programming.

      So yes – I’ve come to see how things are extremely hard to change without that rip in the hull of state that Zman referred to.

    • Too late. One of the first tasks in Afghanistan was to rebuild the irrigation systems used by the poppy growers. They are not supposed to grow poppy, but no one bothers to stop them.

      • Poppies aren’t necessary for opioid production anyway. Even if we eradicated the opium poppy, dealers would just switch to synthetics, which are already a big part of the problem.

        • This is true. Fentanyl is manufactured illicitly in Mexico and shipped into the US. That’s a vastly more potent opioid than anything produced in the far east.

          • A couple of weeks ago, Daily Mail did a lengthy article, with many photos, about U.S. police forces reviving heroin/fentanyl overdose “victims” with naloxone. At least three-quarters of the comments were to the effect of “no one, including police, should revive these people. Who is paying for this, anyway?”

          • If in the right place this fiasco was visible a mile off. Worked almost twenty years in volunteer Fire/EMS in one of the wealthiest counties in the US. Mid 2000s, guys that worked extra shifts in the poorer up-county cities started running into more heroin ODs. Then only the medics carried Narcan, then the EMTs, then we put it in the regular medical bags on every rig, then the cops got it. Even in our uber-high income district it’s been used on kids that graduated from pills scavenged from parents medicine cabinets to buying smack down in the Bronx. The cut in Fentanyl turns it into Russian roulette with three chambers loaded.

          • Guys in the army have access to fentanyl even in garrison. If you go through CLS (combat lifesaver school) you learn about the “lolipops” and just like every unit has an armorer, every group has someone with access to super-strong dope. You could get a leg blown off, be screaming in agony, and five minutes later be laughing on cloud nine. Some idiots in my hometown were “cutting” heroin with fentanyl (like trying to chase beer with rubbing alcohol) and people were dying left and right. When the perps were caught and they turned out to be black, the story disappeared. Germany is where dope in the military moves from the Middle East to the States. The C-17s/C-130 cargo carriers at Rammstein Airbase probably move more dope than the cartels. I used to read about the busts all the time in “Stars and Stripes” and “Army Times.”

          • The drug trade does seem to be the only area in life where blacks display any agency. Odd that.

  29. This world has been described as a minor region of hell, I see no reason to disagree with that. Pockets of beauty, civility and good life are interspersed everywhere but only to messed with by our minor devils.

    Hey, at least Lyndsey Graham is on board, that’s good isn’t it?
    Lately, I keep seeing so called scientists conjecture about asteroids that will come out of nowhere and hit the earth. Now, I am not sure that’s a bad thing.

    A major outside correction will need to occur.

  30. All it takes is for people to have “their guy” in charge. The Alt Right calls this kind of thing “4D chess”. The Obama cult was simply silent for 8 years. The Managerial state is both unstoppable and flips to the different Amen Corners depending upon who is in the big chair. They can rely on different sectors of the Proles to put on the foam finger and chant ‘we’re number one!!”

    • Indeed, we’re even seeing some of that cheer-leading of the comments here. One of the biggest disappointments in the Trump saga is seeing a guy (presumably) walk into the WH owing no special interests any favors. People just don’t do that anymore.

      Of course we could see cracks in the armor when the GOP started infiltrating Trump’s inner circle after the primary, but the Republican Party did Trump no favors and even suggested he step aside a few weeks before election day. By all accounts, he had a clear path and threw it away getting cozy with the RINOs who roll in the pigsty. It wouldn’t be surprising if the phrase “Draining the Swamp” becomes a source of mirth and amusement for the cocktail class.

      • Its not as easy as that. Trump despite appearing as an outsider was long part of the establishment , you can see by his former friendship with the Clinton family

        Also assuming that its all “debts” owed is not really the case. Its also about leverage as well, you don’t get to be rich without breaking some law or other and even if you are clear there , well hey. Threats work fine.

        • While I can appreciate the basis of your comment, I disagree with the idea that you don’t get to be rich without breaking some law, unless you can agree that there are so many laws out there that it’s not whether but a matter of how many you’re breaking.

          • Which I do,

            There is a Scots proverb, Show me the man and I’ll show you the law or the modern version. attributed to Stalin I think, show me the man and I’ll show you the crime

            Also as Trump noted in the campaign he’s been audited on a regular basis for decades so someone is clearly fishing for wrongdoing

          • I’m familiar with Stalin’s prosecutor, Andrey Vyshinsky, and his famous quote, “Give me a man and I will find the crime.” However, not with the Scottish proverb. As disappointed as I am in our continuous Orwellian war, now perpetuated by Trump, I remain eternally hopeful (perhaps to my disappointment) that this is not what he wants us to be engaged in for another 10+ years, that instead he has a plan and a worthy rationale for his decision. I appreciate the dialogue pleasantries.

            thezman, thanks for another great, thought provoking piece!

          • I agree. I too have hope that Trump is looking at buying some time now that he’s seen the real picture. Afghanistan is a mineral goldmine.

  31. ive this play out in the work place. Companies just gliding on the inertia of decades of bad management. A voice of change couldn’t change it even if they wanted to, the culture is too deep.

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