No Country for Old People

October 3, 2014

map-afganistanThe Global AgeWatch Index, a study on the influence of old folks, reported the worse country in the whole world to grow old in is Afghanistan — a horrible tribute to a lost, terrified country, nearly forgotten.
Next Tuesday, by the way, the 13th glorious anniversary of “Operation Enduring Freedom”, and operations indeed have endured.
From the AgeWatch Index overview: Afghanistan ranks lowest on the Global AgeWatch Index, at 96 overall. It ranks low in all domains…It ranks lowest in the health domain (96), with below-average life expectancy at 60 and the lowest regional healthy life expectancy at 60.

(Illustration found here).

This week, too, an inauguration of a new Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, and some hope and change: In an rare emotional moment, Ghani choked up as he thanked his wife, Rula, who has been by his side at many campaign rallies. Acknowledgement of one’s wife, let alone promising the public that she will have influence, is almost unheard of in Afghan politics.
Yet, one understands the flowing-concept of hope and change.
Now at least, we don’t have to tolerate that peacock of an asshole, Hamid Karzai, any longer — but the US will remain in country for maybe forever, which is the only course of action, since the last 13 years have been seemingly useless, worthless and dumb, and horribly violent.
And the catch is staying there is also useless, worthless and dumb and deadly — the US signed a continuing war agreement last week with Afghanistan: Under the terms of the bill, about 12,500 NATO forces would remain in Afghanistan until at least 2024; some 10,000 of them would be American. They would continue to train Afghani forces, and would have access to Afghan military installations.
And put up with a worsening situation. And the cost is hard currency, or whatever (via USAToday)

In fiscal year 2013, the Pentagon’s budget for Operation Enduring Freedom — most all of it spent in Afghanistan — totaled $77.7 billion.
That’s a daily burn rate of more than $212 million per day.
Costs in the current fiscal year, through June 30, have been $40.9 billion.

And the horrible physical cost.

The Afghan army already is ‘…suffering death rates 30 percent higher in the 2014 fighting season…,’ which translates into 450 additional deaths per year, kicking the total up to about 1,800 deaths, and no nice end to it.
Civilians, too: The number killed or injured in the first six months of the year rose by a quarter from 2013 levels to nearly 5,000 people, the bloodiest total since the UN began keeping records in 2009. Women and children are particularly badly affected.
And over the 13-year bombast, reportedly between 18,000 and 20,000 Afghan civilians have been killed.

As of last Tuesday, reportedly 2,206 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan in that same time frame, with nearly 20,000 wounded in action.
Britain, too, has lost troops — about 400 over the 13 years. In that regard, UK honcho David Cameron visited Afghanistan today, blubbering delusional:

Speaking to British troops at Camp Bastion, the Prime Minister thanked soldiers and acknowledged that the armed forces had paid a “very high price” for bringing “stability” to the country over the past 13 years.

A lying asshole — and some UK citizens take offense.
From the Guardian:

Joan Humphreys, an outspoken campaigner against the war, lost her grandson in Afghanistan in 2009.
The 69-year-old from Dundee said that British forces had not achieved anything in the Middle Eastern country.

“In my opinion we should never have been there in the first place. I don’t think we’ve achieved anything, I don’t think there’s an improvement,” she said, and added that while there appears to be an improvement in Kabul, nothing has changed in other areas.
And although families would always be proud of their loved ones, she said many felt they had “died for nothing”.
“I was very proud of my grandson but never proud of him being a soldier, never proud of his involvement in the military. I supported him, of course I did, but I wasn’t happy with him being there.”
She added that the Taliban remain, and Al Qaida is likely to return to the embattled country.
“It’s been a total waste of British lives, Afghan lives, American lives,” she said, and went on to criticise politicians who initiated the war, claiming they have forgotten that Britain is not the power it once was.
“We should just stay back and if the Americans want to go in, let them go ahead, but don’t put our servicemen in there.”
“We should never have been there and when people say it’s a job well done, it’s just unbelievably crass. There’s no consideration for the families.”

Of course, in retrospect it seems the right thing going after Osama bin Laden in October 2001 — but we had him hardcased like a deep-caved rat within the Tora Bora mountains in eastern Afghanistan by December: So, perhaps the most surprising fact about the Bush Administration’s response to September 11, was that no one in the White House was paying attention when bin Laden was cornered at Tora Bora.
Details of that awful bullshit can be found at a most-excellent piece at the New York Times from September 2005.

Why did that shit happen? Via the Washington Post from 2004:

On Nov. 21, 2001, 72 days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Bush directed Rumsfeld to begin planning for war with Iraq.
“Let’s get started on this,” Bush recalled saying.
“And get Tommy Franks looking at what it would take to protect America by removing Saddam Hussein if we have to.”
He also asked: Could this be done on a basis that would not be terribly noticeable?
Bush received his first detailed briefing on Iraq war plans five weeks later, on Dec. 28, when Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the head of the U.S. Central Command, visited Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Tex.
Bush told reporters afterward that they had discussed Afghanistan.

And you wonder the coming-about of the total, cluster-fucked situation now in Iraq/Syria and ISIS?
George Jr. and Operation Enduring Freedom — what a lying asshole, and what a horrible, terrible mess he helped create, and from December 2001 onward, the war in Afghanistan was nearly abandoned, suppressed by the nightmare of Iraq.

And if you can make it to old age in Afghanistan, you’re doing good, then not so good.

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