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  #51  
Old Nov 24th 2009, 10:05 AM
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Default Re: The Aghanistan War

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Be proud of your citizenship. We Americans have no moral or legal control of our leadership. They make the determinations and all we can do is keep track of them for purposes of self-preservation.
Canadian public opinion was about 85% against the US invasion of Iraq. It was about 50/50 amongst our members of Parliament. I was quite surprised to see Chretien have the balls to represent actual Canadian opinion on the issue. We are quite used to our government going against the majority of the citizenry to support US foreign policy (as is the present case with the Harper Government). When conservatives are in office in Canada, US foreign policy gets 100% rubberstamp support from Ottawa without even asking.

As in the USA, our Parliament is far more rightwing than the Canadian electorate. Quite a bit of this has to do with our multiparty system that tends to split the vote on the left giving the Conservatives lots of seats with just 36% vote support. Split the rightwing vote and that means we end up with unassailable Liberal majorities (as during the 1990s).
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  #52  
Old Apr 9th 2010, 11:39 PM
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Default Re: The Aghanistan War

What's up with Karzai? Is he legitimately pushing back against western pressure? Is he just a corrupt and crazy president losing his grip and lashing out with strange rhetoric?

Looks to me like Afghanistan might be unraveling a little bit quicker these days.

Andrew
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  #53  
Old Apr 10th 2010, 09:44 AM
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What's up with Karzai? Is he legitimately pushing back against western pressure? Is he just a corrupt and crazy president losing his grip and lashing out with strange rhetoric?

Looks to me like Afghanistan might be unraveling a little bit quicker these days.

Andrew
I don't see anything unusual or unexpected here. Karzai is corrupt as all hell - we've known that all along. He was installed into office by the US because he was thought to be entirely corrupted by the Americans whom he has extensive contacts with (he's an old friend of GW Bush through oil contacts and the infamous pipeline deal). So having a corrupt Karzai as President of Afghanistan isn't a problem - that was US policy in the first place. The problem is that Karzai's corruption is conflicting with official US corruption and that's causing big problems in Afghanistan.

In other words, Karzai is lashing out against the US for the 'pot calling the kettle black'.

Fact is, US 'COIN' policy in Afghanistan involves massive amounts of official bribery (just like in Iraq). The result is that the Afghan economy is flush with LOTS of US money sloshing around and this has driven up the cost of corruption as a political policy. Karzai has had to increase his corruption just to keep up with the US military caused 'corruption inflation' there, just so Karzai can function.

So the US is acting all sanctimonious and bitching about Karzai's corruption when the problem is US military corruption.

One doesn't win wars by corrupting the opposition. Unfortunately, that's the only viable policy available to the US military in Afghanistan.

And this just underscores a point I've made earlier about how the US military and political establishment makes huge errors based on believing their own propaganda. I'm referring here to the Iraqi policy that involved bribing large numbers of Sunni insurgents to switch sides (Sons of Iraq, or Sunni Awakening). The US military-political establishment believe that their policy was 100% successful there and thus the same policy is being applied in Afghanistan.

However, my analysis suggests that it was Sadr's unilateral command of a ceasefire that was the primary factor that ended the insurgency in Iraq, not anything to do with US policy. Poor insurgents will take money from anyone willing to give it to them. It doesn't 'buy' their loyalty (though sometimes it can be rented for a short period of time).
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  #54  
Old Apr 10th 2010, 10:46 AM
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I don't see anything unusual or unexpected here. Karzai is corrupt as all hell - we've known that all along. He was installed into office by the US because he was thought to be entirely corrupted by the Americans whom he has extensive contacts with (he's an old friend of GW Bush through oil contacts and the infamous pipeline deal). So having a corrupt Karzai as President of Afghanistan isn't a problem - that was US policy in the first place. The problem is that Karzai's corruption is conflicting with official US corruption and that's causing big problems in Afghanistan.

In other words, Karzai is lashing out against the US for the 'pot calling the kettle black'.

Fact is, US 'COIN' policy in Afghanistan involves massive amounts of official bribery (just like in Iraq). The result is that the Afghan economy is flush with LOTS of US money sloshing around and this has driven up the cost of corruption as a political policy. Karzai has had to increase his corruption just to keep up with the US military caused 'corruption inflation' there, just so Karzai can function.

So the US is acting all sanctimonious and bitching about Karzai's corruption when the problem is US military corruption.

One doesn't win wars by corrupting the opposition. Unfortunately, that's the only viable policy available to the US military in Afghanistan.

And this just underscores a point I've made earlier about how the US military and political establishment makes huge errors based on believing their own propaganda. I'm referring here to the Iraqi policy that involved bribing large numbers of Sunni insurgents to switch sides (Sons of Iraq, or Sunni Awakening). The US military-political establishment believe that their policy was 100% successful there and thus the same policy is being applied in Afghanistan.

However, my analysis suggests that it was Sadr's unilateral command of a ceasefire that was the primary factor that ended the insurgency in Iraq, not anything to do with US policy. Poor insurgents will take money from anyone willing to give it to them. It doesn't 'buy' their loyalty (though sometimes it can be rented for a short period of time).
The US certainly rented Sunni loyalty in Iraq through cash payments. Without that factor and Sadr's ceasefire the infamous surge would have fallen flat on its face.

I must add that I feel a majority of Americans and others who haven't traveled outside the US in countries where bribes are as common as taking a breath of air have little to no comprehension of the extreme affect that tidal wave of USD has had on Afghanistan politics and day-to-day life.

How would an American react to securing a $25 driver license while slipping $200 or so extra in cash to the agent, who has to slip X amount to cover every step of the process including the bureaucrats who manage the agency to ensure the paperwork was accomplished before they actually received the license itself?
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  #55  
Old Apr 10th 2010, 11:18 AM
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I was just reading where private contractors in Afghanistan (more USD inflating Afghanistan's corrupt economy) now exceed military occupation forces. As the licensed to kill armed contractors, PSCs (private security contractors in DOD speak) leave Iraq they go directly to Afghanistan. Many analysts justifiably believe DOD would be unable to fulfill its mission without PSCs. It's almost funny how the word mercenary has been studiously avoided by the media since the US and UK began widespread use of PSCs to remain within legislated military personnel numbers.
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  #56  
Old Apr 11th 2010, 10:34 AM
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Gosh, large-scale hiring of mercenaries armies has never been a problem for any other imperialist nation in the past...

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  #57  
Old May 3rd 2014, 09:22 AM
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File this under 'news that will surprise no one'...

Quote:
Afghanistan Corruption Fostered by U.S., Pentagon Finds


The U.S. government “created an environment that fostered corruption” in Afghanistan by supporting warlords, relying on private trucking contracts and providing billions of dollars in aid, according to a previously undisclosed Pentagon report.

“Corruption directly threatens the viability and legitimacy of the Afghan state” after a “large-scale culture of impunity” took hold, analysts for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a 65-page assessment obtained by Bloomberg News. American forces dependent on Afghanistan-based trucking companies found themselves “trapped in a warlord protection racket,” according to the report dated Feb. 28.

...

“The necessary preconditions for combating corruption did not exist due to delayed understanding of Afghan corruption, decreasing levels of physical security, lack of political will on the part of both the international community” and the Afghan government and a lack of popular pressure, the Pentagon analysts found. The U.S.-led coalition “was slow to understand the integrated and pervasive threat corruption posed” to their mission.
Source

In other words, the American government and the Pentagon had no idea that annually flooding Afghanistan with more money than the entire Afghan GDP, and doing that for more than a decade, without any safeguards or coherent plan, would have any unintended consequences or increased corruption.

The stupidity, ignorance and incompetence of US ruling elites is sometimes staggering to observe.
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  #58  
Old May 4th 2014, 05:36 PM
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Default Re: The Aghanistan War

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
In other words, the American government and the Pentagon had no idea that annually flooding Afghanistan with more money than the entire Afghan GDP, and doing that for more than a decade, without any safeguards or coherent plan, would have any unintended consequences or increased corruption.

The stupidity, ignorance and incompetence of US ruling elites is sometimes staggering to observe.
Unless things are going exactly as planned. There are a lot of benefits to a destabilized occupied country. You can do and take what ever you want and any opposition can be labelled 'terrorist' and quelled without consequences. If there were an actual genuine democratic movement with bona fide leaders the first thing they would do is send the US Army and its private 'contractors' packing.
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  #59  
Old May 5th 2014, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: The Aghanistan War

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Unless things are going exactly as planned. There are a lot of benefits to a destabilized occupied country. You can do and take what ever you want and any opposition can be labelled 'terrorist' and quelled without consequences. If there were an actual genuine democratic movement with bona fide leaders the first thing they would do is send the US Army and its private 'contractors' packing.
The only flaw in this logic is that Afghanistan was completely fucked up and destablized even before the Americans arrived. If the goal was to maintain a fucked up and destablized Afghanistan to justify the 'war on terror', the Americans could have just stayed home and saved the money, because Afghanistan is inherently fucked and unstable (as it has been for several hundreds of years already).

That being said, the one thing we can be sure of is that we will never see any kind of 'genuine democratic movement' in Afghanistan in our lifetimes. That's even more absurd than the American military trying to "stablize" the place.
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  #60  
Old May 5th 2014, 12:14 PM
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Have any of you heard of Christopher Hitchens's brother Peter Hitchens. Like Christopher, Peter was a Marxist in his youth, but Peter has gone on to become a very conservative columnist for the very conservative Daily Mail newspaper. He is a staunch Christian, and occasionally takes part in BBC radio discussions.
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