Afghan Again — Firefight Claims Five/Six US Soldiers

February 8, 2020

(Illustration found here).

Even as the US seems to be on the cusp of break-down, we’ve still got the war on terror going strong, especially in Afghanistan — from the Military Times this afternoon:

Numerous U.S troops were killed Saturday during a firefight in Afghanistan, according to the New York Times.
A military source, speaking to Military Times on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media, said at least two members of the 7th Special Forces Group — operating in eastern Afghanistan — were killed and several others wounded.
U.S. officials told Military Times they could not immediately confirm reports about casualties.
However, an official did say that the U.S. and Afghan forces conducting an operation in Nangarhar Province were engaged by direct fire on Saturday, according Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. Forces–Afghanistan.
“We are assessing the situation and will provide further updates as they become available,” he said in an emailed statement Saturday.

One official told the Agence France-Press that the attack happened in the Shirzad district military headquarters and that foreign forces had cordoned off the area.
“Several helicopters landed in and departed from the HQ compound taking out casualties. We don’t know how many killed or wounded,” the official told AFP.
For years Nangarhar Province has been a haven for the Islamic State group’s faction in Afghanistan. The Taliban also operates in the area.

An update from the BBC: ‘Meanwhile, two Afghan officials said five or six US soldiers and six Afghan soldiers were killed, the New York Times reports.’
And worse, still: ‘New statistics about the United States’ generational war in Afghanistan show that President Trump’s 2017 surge of more than 7,000 troops there failed. The latest figures represent an epitaph for a conflict now tied with the occupation of Haiti as America’s longest overseas misadventure.’

Eighteen-plus years later, here we are — the Afghan war launched Oct. 7, 2001, in direct-retaliation to the Sept. 11 New York attacks, and GW’s response was correct to go after Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, reportedly in Afghanistan. However, the main prize was Saddam Hussein, not Osama. Acute, precise military operations in Afghanistan ended in November/December 2001, and the war there was then forever lost.
A memory dredge via Mother Jones from September 2006 — a few blasts from the past

  • Jan. 30, 2001: Saddam’s removal is top item of Bush’s inaugural national security meeting. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill later recalls, “It was all about finding a way to do it. The president saying, ‘Go find me a way to do this.’”
  • August 6, 2001: On vacation in Crawford, Bush receives a Presidential Daily Briefing warning, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” FBI highlights Al Qaeda activities consistent with hijacking preparations, as well as surveillance of federal buildings. CIA officer flies to Crawford to call Bush’s attention to document. Bush replies, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now.”
  • Sept. 11, 2001: Al Qaeda attacks. Minutes taken by a Rumsfeld aide five hours later: “Best info fast. Judge whether good enough [to] hit SH [Saddam Hussein] @ same time. Not only UBL [Usama bin Laden].”
  • Sept. 12, 2001: According to counterterror czar Richard Clarke, “[Bush] told us, ‘I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this.’” Told evidence against Al Qaeda overwhelming, Bush asks for “any shred” Saddam was involved.
  • Sept. 21, 2001: Bush briefed by intel community that there is no evidence linking Saddam to 9/11.
  • Oct.7, 2001: Afghanistan invaded.
  • Nov. 21, 2001: Bush collars Rumsfeld physically and asks: “What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret.”
  • Late November, 2001: Osama bin Laden, pinned down at Tora Bora, slips away.
  • Dec. 28, 2001: Gen. Franks briefs Bush on Iraq war plans.
  • February 2002: “I was asked by one of the senior commanders of Central Command to go into his office. We did, the door was closed, and he turned to me, and he said, ‘Senator, we have stopped fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan. We are moving military and intelligence personnel and resources out of Afghanistan to get ready for a future war in Iraq.’” — Sen. Bob Graham.

Thus, the entire military task in Afghanistan was put on the proverbial back-burner, and in little pans. And of course, as the Iraqi horror sagged-down into ethnic warfare, the Taliban regrouped in 2006 and opened a can of whup-ass on the US-led coalition troops in country.
And it’s been catch-up and losing every since.
Obama’s deal of ‘looking forward‘ not back on the GW’s bullshit didn’t help matters either.

(Illustration: Salvador Dali’s ‘Hell Canto 2: Giants,’ found here).

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