Afghan Affiche Agenda

December 8, 2014

map-afganistanRain showers this early Monday on California’s north coast — forecast for maybe some sun tomorrow, but reportedly a big-bang storm due in about mid-week — we’re scheduled perhaps for nearly 2.5 inches of rain on Wednesday, and by Friday morning, four to six inches, heavier amounts southward/landward.
So, boys and girls, gird thy loins, or at least cover with some type water-repellant material.

And speaking of girding up, without girders, however, is America’s withering-away into dangerous incompetence on the war scene — the US military appears to be losing grip on conflict reality. Or something.

(Illustration found here).

The latest debacle — of many of late — happened yesterday/late Saturday via a botched raid in Yemen, where US Navy Seals attempted to free American journalist Luke Somers, 33, being held with others by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The adventure appears fucked from the get-go, after one previous failed attempt in which AQAP threatened to kill the hostages before the weekend was over, this second strike really went south. Not only did Somers die, but also killed was another hostage, South African teacher Pierre Korkie, 56, set for release on Sunday — the al Qaeda boys had apparently worked out a deal for Korkie with relief group, Gift of the Givers.
A couple of noticeable, disturbing nuggets from NBC News this morning:

There was no coordination between the U.S. military and the South African humanitarian relief group, Gift of the Givers, that was in talks with the militants about Korkie because both groups were intent on “operational security” to prevent premature leaks.
Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers, has said Korkie was supposed to be released Sunday under a deal struck with al Qaeda.
But the U.S. ambassador in South Africa told the Associated Press that American officials, and possibly even the South African government, were “unaware of ongoing negotiations that had any resolution.”

And even more unnerving was this bit on how the raid failed: ‘Although senior administration officials said a barking dog may have alerted the militants to the commands’ arrival, the Pentagon officials said that was speculation.’

My underline for emphasis. You can also sense some form of animosity there, despite the low-key wording, though, the word, ‘speculation,’ does have arrogant DOD-bullshit written into it.
And maybe worse — add the notorious ‘collateral damage‘ motif to the incident. Via Reuters: ‘A woman, a 10-year-old boy and a local al Qaeda leader were among at least 11 people killed alongside two Western hostages when U.S.-led forces fought Islamist militants in a failed rescue mission in Yemen, residents said on Sunday.’
Now compensation issues have already been discussed.

As stated earlier, just the latest public display of an unraveling of US military competence, or compulsion. Perpetual war does take its toll, especially as cutbacks hit the war zone — unless it’s hitched to the ISIS experience. The horror of Iraq will most-likely be transfer intact to the horror of Afghanistan, where although the US is out-of-there, we’re actually staying longer, with a bigger wad of boots on the ground.
Last Saturday, on-his-way-out DOD honcho Chuck Hagel was in Kabul to pull a boner, again. Supposedly, 1,000 more US troops will remain in Afghanistan than was previously announced, but it’s just part of the program as we worm our way into another horrific disaster.
After 13 years, thousands of lives (1,200 US deaths) and billions and billions of dollars wasted — a country way-still fucked.
From Business Insider in 2013:

In recent months, SIGAR has been especially busy identifying waste, fraud and abuse.
Earlier this month, it found that a $53 million USAID project meant to supply power to Kandahar was unsustainable.
It also found that millions of contracting dollars have ultimately ended up in the hands of the Taliban.
As The Fiscal Times recently reported, the Pentagon did not have the required protocols in place to prevent 80 percent of all contracts from getting into the hands of the enemy.
A quarterly report issued by SIGAR in January said that the United States has spent more than half of the nearly $100 billion in Afghan reconstruction funds on developing the country’s police and security forces.
But numerous reports have found that the Afghan forces are not ready to take over security responsibilities.
Two recent SIGAR reports also found that police and Army buildings built by the United States for $26 million in two key strategic provinces were underutilized or sat empty.
One was even being used as a chicken coop.

And the life of the average Afghan — bad last year, worse in 2014.
From Gallup last week:

Already the worst in the world in 2013, Afghans’ ratings of their lives declined even further in 2014.
More than six in 10 Afghans evaluate their lives poorly enough to be considered “suffering” — the highest figure ever recorded for any country since Gallup started tracking life evaluations in 2005.
As in 2013, no Afghans rate their lives highly enough to be considered “thriving.”

Given that the 13-year NATO-led combat mission in Afghanistan ends this month, security concerns were top of mind for many delegates at Thursday’s conference in London.
However, the country’s dire economic situation, which has been further strained by recent terror attacks as well as the departure of foreign troops, is also a major concern.
Afghans’ suffering rate has surged as their economic situation has deteriorated.
Currently, 6 percent of Afghans say economic conditions in their city or area are getting better, while 67 percent say they are getting worse.
Frustration with the lack of progress toward poverty reduction has climbed dramatically; 86 percent of Afghans now say they are dissatisfied with efforts to deal with the poor, up from 32 percent in 2008.

It’s difficult to see how Afghans’ life evaluations could get much worse — but the current combination of violence, drug addiction and intractable poverty makes it equally difficult to envision any improvement, at least over the short term.
In the meantime, rampant hopelessness among the population makes concerns about the growth and influence of extremist groups in Afghan society as real as ever.

And maybe even worse, much worse: ‘But the ISIS bandwagon is growing even in remote Afghanistan, with students seeing the large territory ISIS has carved out in such a short time, and seeing the Taliban as comparatively feckless.’
If you thought the dumb-ass Taliban was bad, dude…

The US military itself is depressed — wars and wars, without the wars what’s left?
A recent survey of GIs by Military Times that…’active-duty troops reported a stunning drop in how they rated their overall quality of life: Just 56 percent call it good or excellent, down from 91 percent in 2009. The survey, conducted in July and August, found that 73 percent of troops would recommend a military career to others, down from 85 percent in 2009. And troops reported a significant decline in their desire to re-enlist, with 63 percent citing an intention to do so, compared with 72 percent a few years ago.’
In the scene — without war, everything’s a bummer.
And we’re on notice, too.

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