Nick Turse
Kabul, Afghanistan — Compromise, conflict, or collapse: ask an Afghan what to expect in 2014 and you’re likely to get a scenario that falls under one of those three headings. 2014, of course, is the year of the double whammy in Afghanistan: the next presidential election coupled with the departure of most American and other foreign forces. Many Afghans fear a turn for the worse, while others are no less afraid that everything will stay the same. Some even think things will get better when the occupying forces leave. Most predict a more conservative climate, but everyone is quick to say that it’s anybody’s guess.
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Only one thing is certain in 2014: it will be a year of American military defeat.

I was on Democracy Now yesterday to discuss my new book Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam as well as the current Afghan War and Obama’s Vietnam veteran national security post nominees: Chuck Hagel and John Kerry.  Video above or here, if you’d like to take a look.

The consensus U.S. solution to [Afghanistan’s] security problem is… a large and competent army. However reasonable this may seem to us, such a vision is revolutionary and destructive in Afghanistan. There, for centuries, the real power has resided not in Kabul but among cultural and tribal forces that are highly geographic, not centralized.


….why [has] the Afghan resistance to the presence of U.S. and NATO forces… steadily increased over the past 10 years. Could it be that non-westernized Afghans see the foreign military effort not as a benign facilitator of peace but as an increasingly ominous threat to their traditional way of life?

Clark Rumrill, second secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul from 1966 to 1969 from U.S. solutions will not work in Afghanistan - The Washington Post

Imagine that the United States had experienced an occupation by a foreign military force. Imagine millions or even tens of millions of American civilians dead or wounded as a result of an invasion and resulting civil strife.

Imagine a country in which your door might be kicked down in the dead…

killanythingthatmoves:

For more than a decade, pundits, historians, generals, and the chattering classes have argued about how the “Vietnam analogy” applied to Iraq and Afghanistan — and yet for all the ink (and blood) spilled, they managed to miss the one unfailing parallel between America’s wars in all three places: civilian suffering. For all the dissimilarities, botched analogies, and tortured comparisons, there has been one connecting thread in Washington’s foreign wars of the last half century that Americans have seldom found of the slightest interest: misery for local nationals. Civilian suffering is, in fact, the defining characteristic of modern war in general, even if only rarely discussed in the halls of power or the mainstream media.
In my latest TomDispatch article, I offer a set of portraits of war victims along with some staggering statistics about the levels of wartime civilian suffering in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.  Read the full piece here.  

killanythingthatmoves:

For more than a decade, pundits, historians, generals, and the chattering classes have argued about how the “Vietnam analogy” applied to Iraq and Afghanistan — and yet for all the ink (and blood) spilled, they managed to miss the one unfailing parallel between America’s wars in all three places: civilian suffering. For all the dissimilarities, botched analogies, and tortured comparisons, there has been one connecting thread in Washington’s foreign wars of the last half century that Americans have seldom found of the slightest interest: misery for local nationals. Civilian suffering is, in fact, the defining characteristic of modern war in general, even if only rarely discussed in the halls of power or the mainstream media.

In my latest TomDispatch article, I offer a set of portraits of war victims along with some staggering statistics about the levels of wartime civilian suffering in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.  Read the full piece here.  

American Refugees in Mexico?

Imagine that the United States had experienced an occupation by a foreign military force.  Imagine millions or even tens of millions of American civilians dead or wounded as a result of an invasion and resulting civil strife.  

Imagine a country in which your door might be kicked down in the dead of night by heavily-armed, foreign young men, in strange uniforms, helmets and imposing body armor, yelling things in a language you don’t understand.  Imagine them rifling through your drawers, upending your furniture, holding you at gunpoint, roughing up your husband or son or brother, and marching him off in the middle of the night.  Imagine, as well, a country in which those foreigners kill American “insurgents” and then routinely strip them naked; in which those occupying troops sometimes urinate on American bodies (and shoot videos of it); or take trophy photos of their “kills”; or mutilate them; or pose with the body parts of dead Americans; or from time to time — for reasons again beyond your comprehension — rape or murder your friends and neighbors. 

Imagine, for a moment, violence so extreme that you and literally millions like you have to flee your hometowns for squalid refugee camps or expanding slums ringing the nearest cities.  Imagine trading your home for a new one without heat or electricity, possibly made of refuse with a corrugated metal roof that roars when it rains.  Then imagine living there for months, if not years. 

Imagine things getting so bad that you decide to trek across the Mexican border to live an uncertain life, forever wondering if your new violence- and poverty-wracked host nation will turn you out or if you’ll ever be able to return to your home in the U.S.  Imagine living with these realities day after day for up to decade.       

—- from Nick Turse, “A War Victim’s Question Only You Can Answer” at TomDispatch

 For more than a decade, pundits, historians, generals, and the chattering classes have argued about how the “Vietnam analogy” applied to Iraq and Afghanistan — and yet for all the ink (and blood) spilled, they managed to miss the one unfailing parallel between America’s wars in all three places: civilian suffering. For all the dissimilarities, botched analogies, and tortured comparisons, there has been one connecting thread in Washington’s foreign wars of the last half century that Americans have seldom found of the slightest interest: misery for local nationals. Civilian suffering is, in fact, the defining characteristic of modern war in general, even if only rarely discussed in the halls of power or the mainstream media. 
In my latest TomDispatch article, I offer a set of portraits of war victims along with some staggering statistics about the levels of wartime civilian suffering in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.  Read the full piece here.  

For more than a decade, pundits, historians, generals, and the chattering classes have argued about how the “Vietnam analogy” applied to Iraq and Afghanistan — and yet for all the ink (and blood) spilled, they managed to miss the one unfailing parallel between America’s wars in all three places: civilian suffering. For all the dissimilarities, botched analogies, and tortured comparisons, there has been one connecting thread in Washington’s foreign wars of the last half century that Americans have seldom found of the slightest interest: misery for local nationals. Civilian suffering is, in fact, the defining characteristic of modern war in general, even if only rarely discussed in the halls of power or the mainstream media.

In my latest TomDispatch article, I offer a set of portraits of war victims along with some staggering statistics about the levels of wartime civilian suffering in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.  Read the full piece here.  

Ideally, the 66,000 American troops would already be leaving, and all of them would be out as soon as safely possible; by our estimate, that would be the end of this year. The war that started after Sept. 11, 2001, would be over and securing the country would be up to Afghanistan’s 350,000-member security force, including the army and police, which the United States has spent $39 billion to train and equip over a decade.

But there is a conflict between the ideal and the political reality. Mr. Obama has yet to decide how fast he will withdraw the remaining troops, and the longer he delays, the more he enables military commanders who inevitably want to keep the maximum number of troops in Afghanistan for the maximum amount of time.

The worsening conflict trends over the last five years indicate that civilians will continue to suffer because of armed violence and that the humanitarian situation will deteriorate

The bleak, but hardly shocking forecast, for Afghanistan— after more than a decade-plus of Western military intervention and nation-building efforts — according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

IRIN Asia | AFGHANISTAN: Bleak humanitarian outlook for 2013 | Afghanistan | Conflict | Economy | Natural Disasters | Refugees/IDPs | Security

When America faced utter destruction in Vietnam, they came up with the formula ‘declare victory and run’ and want to utilize the formula of ‘transfer security and run’ here in Afghanistan
a Taliban statement employing the endlessly used Vietnam analogy.  For more, see "Taliban Likens US Afghan Role to Vietnam War" — ABC News