Wednesday, June 22, 2005

THE LAND TIME FORGOT

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Every full moon, Afghanistan hoves back into view. Dead bodies, raging battles, bombs going off. Today, it is all over the news. For example, a very expensive jet used originally to spy on the Soviets was supposedly spying on camel herders in Afghanistan. It crashed, the pilot killed. Of course, coming and going, it flies over Iran...but we are supposed to not pay attention to that.

From the Washington Post:
In the three months since the battalion set up camp in this isolated, mountainous region of southeastern Afghanistan, Conlon has not had time to watch a single movie. Instead, the battalion has found itself at the center of a heated though somewhat forgotten war that is still underway 3 1/2 years after the extremist Taliban militia was ousted from power.

Lt. Col. Mark Stammer gives stuffed animals and pencils to children in Badamtoy, in southeast Afghanistan, in an effort to win local support. (Nurith Aizenman -- The Washington Post)
The Taliban forces, estimated at anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 fighters, cannot hold territory against U.S. forces. But the battalion in Zabol has been attacked more than 10 times since March. During one bloody seven-hour clash in Zabol in May and in a series of pitched firefights across the south and east since then, the Taliban has revealed itself to be a hardy, resilient foe equipped with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

U.S. and Afghan military leaders contend that most of the battles are products of an aggressive campaign they launched this spring to force Taliban fighters from their hideouts. In Zabol, the fighters appear wary of taking on U.S. troops directly after suffering heavy casualties, but they continue to ambush U.S. patrols with gunfire and improvised explosives -- such as one that claimed the battalion's first fatality, Pfc. Steven C. Tucker, 19, of Grapevine, Tex., on May 21.
Geeze. The Afghani fighters are doing what they are justifiably famous for doing: rearguard fighting, doggedly and repeatedly, year after year.

They have been famous for this for how long? 3,000 years? 6,000 years? Since the last Ice Age? Even the Mongols didn't bother trying to control Afghanistan, they merely swept around it, destroying one trading city and then leaving it to do what it always has done: live and let live which is better than die and then die some more.

I remember seeing a film by a Brit done around 15 years ago. They were fighting the Russians. "If the Russians leave, what will you do?" asked the film maker. "Fight each other!" said the Afghani cheerfully. And so they did. Now it is back to the real fun stuff: fighting lumbering foreigners. They make up songs and other ditties about these ventures and now we are providing them with another 100 years of singing pleasure.

Oh, we are hunting bin Laden.

Like the Soviets, we hand out food and medicine and kill any Afghanis who are fighting us or suspicious or just whatever. Meanwhile, when our armed troops fly in (they never walk) via helicopter, the natives greet them in a friendly way, take the goodies, give no information and a day later, transmit all the data to the warriors lurking all over the place. Indeed, the warriors' tribal elders are the greeters of our troops, oh so friendly. Kind of reminde me of Nam.

Meanwhile, our newer, better, more vicious and deadlier Afghanistan is at full boil. From Reuters:

The CIA believes the Iraq insurgency poses an international threat and may produce better-trained Islamic terrorists than the 1980s Afghanistan war that gave rise to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, a U.S. counterterrorism official said on Wednesday.

A classified report from the U.S. spy agency says Iraqi and foreign fighters are developing a broad range of deadly skills, from car bombings and assassinations to tightly coordinated conventional attacks on police and military targets, the official said.

Once the insurgency ends, Islamic militants are likely to disperse as highly organized battle-hardened combatants capable of operating throughout the Arab-speaking world and in other regions including Europe.

Fighters leaving Iraq would primarily pose a challenge for their countries of origin including Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

But the May report, which has been widely circulated in the intelligence community, also cites a potential threat to the United States.

"You have people coming to the action with anti-U.S. sentiment ... And since they're Iraqi or foreign Arabs or to some degree Kurds, they have more communities they can blend into outside Iraq," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the report's classified status.
The Neocon "flypaper" is attracting flies alright but the thing stuck to the paper and struggling there and dying are our troops! This is a new "School of the Americas" with a vengence! Talk about "blowback," this is "Nuclear blowback" and if Americans think this is all a big joke, suicide bombers who want to nuke America are very scary indeed and whatever defences we raise up all can be easily evaded in the end if this comes to such an end.

When we had our anti war demonstrations, more than one demonstrator suggested the outcome of an invasion would lead to exactly what is happening now. More than one leftist blogger and commentator predicted this would transpire. Of course, we are all locked out of DC and the media so no one heard us. So here we are: stuck in the muck, running Terrorist University, rah, rah, rah. Remember that all insurgencies and revolutions evolve the same system: groups of three with only one person in contact with another group of three so captures don't disrupt the system. This is why, literally, every capture we make is "the number three aide" to whoever is the revolutionary de jour.

Meanwhile, Number One, bin Laden, passes us various videos, mocking us. We imagine this has zero effect on the world at large. Alas, it has a huge effect. Everyone is laughing at our manic, clueless leader.
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