‘Same Donkey…New Saddle’

July 25, 2009

An example of why this so-called ‘War on Terror’ is such a complete, abysmal failure.
Sen. James Webb, Democrat from Virginia, has called for an investigation into the details surrounding an attack on a US outpost in eastern Afghanistan last year, which left nine soldiers dead, and offers past Army lies as an incentive.

“The manner in which the Army mishandled the aftermath of Pat Tillman’s tragic death raised serious questions about the integrity of some who held high positions in its leadership structure,” Webb, who saw intense combat as a Marine platoon leader in Vietnam, said in an e-mailed statement.
“This incident raises similar questions. Its importance is not merely to provide lessons learned for future operations. It speaks directly about the Army’s ability to speak honestly to itself and to the American public.”

Webb is after details from the top down.
He sent a letter earlier this month to the Pentagon’s IG citing an unreleased draft report on the July 2008 attack in the village of Wanat near the Pakistan border — the draft report was sharply critical of Army brass prior to the assault — and the senator wrote: “I believe a more thorough consideration of senior command accountability is warranted.”

The historian’s draft report said soldiers at the remote base were short of basic necessities such as water and sandbags and repeatedly complained that they were in a precarious position.
A few days before the assault, the report continues, a U.S. helicopter attack mistakenly killed all of the Afghan doctors and nurses from a local clinic, infuriating villagers throughout the area.
Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom, the platoon leader who was killed at the Wanat base, sent word up to his senior commanders that he was worried that a retaliatory attack was imminent, the draft report states.
Rather than bolstering security, officers at Bagram air base ordered the withdrawal of all intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets from the area.
Brostrom’s father, retired Army Col. David. P. Brostrom, alerted Webb’s office to the Army historian’s report. “After I read the report, I was sick to my stomach,” Brostrom said.

The killing of Tillman, a former NFL player, is why the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable, and the US Army itself is the reason: The documents also show that officers made erroneous initial reports that Tillman was killed by enemy fire, destroyed critical evidence and initially concealed the truth from Tillman’s brother, also an Army Ranger, who was near the attack on April 22, 2004, but did not witness it.

And this from Malalai Joya, a former member of the Afghan parliament, in a commentary in the UK’s the Guardian:

You must understand that the government headed by Hamid Karzai is full of warlords and extremists who are brothers in creed of the Taliban.
Many of these men committed terrible crimes against the Afghan people during the civil war of the 1990s.
For expressing my views I have been expelled from my seat in parliament, and I have survived numerous assassination attempts.
The fact that I was kicked out of office while brutal warlords enjoyed immunity from prosecution for their crimes should tell you all you need to know about the “democracy” backed by Nato troops.
In the constitution it forbids those guilty of war crimes from running for high office.
Yet Karzai has named two notorious warlords, Fahim and Khalili, as his running mates for the upcoming presidential election.
Under the shadow of warlordism, corruption and occupation, this vote will have no legitimacy, and once again it seems the real choice will be made behind closed doors in the White House. As we say in Afghanistan, “the same donkey with a new saddle.”

And the beat goes on…

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