Afghan ‘Lord of the Flies’

September 2, 2009

How in the living shit of any-kind-of-daylight can the US ‘win‘ any kind of war in Afghanistan?
On Tuesday via Raw Story:

According to a watchdog group and a litany of whistleblowers, Armorgroup North America, a key U.S. security contractor in Afghanistan, has suffered a breakdown of its chain of command resulting in an atmosphere in which “sexual predators and “deviants” are being allowed to “run rampant” at the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

It said it had obtained many emails, photographs, and videos that “portray a Lord of the Flies environment,” referring to the title of the novel by William Golding about stranded school boys who turn into savages on a desert island.
Some of the activities mentioned include deviant hazing rituals in which guards were urinating on each other and drinking liquor from another’s buttocks.
A CBS News report published Tuesday carried video which showed a contractor being urinated on.

And the story continues that no one has been disciplined in this literal crap.
The little party in Kabul is more than just an extreme-strange scenario, but all those really, really weird people were American contractors, under contract with the US DOD, and on top of that, Secrecy News reports, also Tuesday, contractors now out number GIs in Iraq and Afghanistan — about 200,000 contractors, and about 194,000 military personnel.
The vast majority of contractors give mundane support — run laundries, mess halls and the like.
The big-ticket, highly-paid jack-boot boys, the security contractors like Blackwater Worldwide, comprise only 5 to 10 percent of the contractor workforce in both war zones , but this is where the rubber meets the IED — there’s a shitload of bad difference between not having enough chicken gravy and not enough security — ground zero in the horror of war.
In Afghanistan alone, contractors make up 57 percent of the entire DOD presence (68,000 contractors vs 52,000 soldiers): “This apparently represented the highest recorded percentage of contractors used by DOD in any conflict in the history of the United States…”
In a report entitled “DOD Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Background and Analysis,” and dated Aug. 13, 2009 (also via Secrecy News and is pdf), these contractors play a “critical role” in how actual front-line troops get needed support, and even worse, because of a long history of decline in number of regular military in certain jobs, “Many analysts now believe that DOD is unable to successfully execute large missions without contractor support.”
And could it get even worse? Yes.
According to the above report, Manual 3-24 from the US Army and Marine Corps, “Counterinsurgency (December 2006),” the holy-grail guidebook to handling people like the Taliban and co-authored by none-other than the more-than-famous Gen. David Petraeus, presents “…multinational corporations and contractors as key counterinsurgency participants…” The kind of folks generally referred to as ‘mercenaries.’
However, because of all the corruption, horror stories and dumb-shit stuff like those sickos in Kabul, the report concludes: “In accordance with the manual’s assertion that the local population will ultimately determine the winner of the conflict, abuses and crimes committed by armed private security contractors and interrogators against local nationals may have undermined US efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

There’s really no way to apparently stop the process: A Blackwater firm just received a contract renewal in Iraq despite all the problems with the company there, and according to ABC News, an aircraft-parts contractor in Kentucky is under investigation for putting US troops at bad risk because  equipment was shipped under “fraudulently repair.”

And as the conflict in Afghanistan goes from bad, to worse, to failure, the mess is even more complicated by a circle of deadly stupidity.
From the LA Times this morning:

U.S. officials are planning to add as many as 14,000 combat troops to the American force in Afghanistan by sending home support units and replacing them with “trigger-pullers,” Defense officials say.
The move would beef up the combat force in the country without increasing the overall number of U.S. troops, a contentious issue as public support for the war slips.
But many of the noncombat jobs are likely be filled by private contractors, who have proved to be a source of controversy in Iraq and a growing issue in Afghanistan.

Security is the issue: Just today, a honcho in the Afghan government’s own security apparatus was killed by a suicide bomber, which nailed 21 other people as well, and yesterday, the first day of September, an US GI also died from a bombing, starting off the month with a heartless bang.
In August, at least 49 US service people were killed, the worst month of the war yet, following July, which was up-to-then, the worst month of the war yet…

What can be said when the head of Blackwater is being sued for “war crimes” in a couple of wars where war crimes have become just part of the destroyed “conch shell” and death and destruction follows in its wake.

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