Banging the War Bong

July 29, 2010

Even as thousands of documents reveal a beyond-quagmire US entanglement in Afghanistan, the core entity of any kind of peace or accord in the war — Afghan police and soldiers — is a nothing more than a deadly, brutal joke.
A joke, however, without a punchline.
Check this video from Aljazeera English as a couple of Afghan police hit a big, smoking bong before joining troops of the US 82nd Airborne for a patrol; first one guy tokes up, and then the other, choking and off to war, Soviet rifles straped across their shoulders — without the backstory and hardware, the scene could be of a couple of dudes getting ready to party.

Says Sgt. Ryan Gloyer on loaded local cops:

“In the past we’ve had some issues with some ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces), getting high on patrol.
I wouldn’t say I feel threatened, they just act silly.
Like anybody who smokes weed, they act ridiculous, hard to get them to focus, they won’t stay quiet, just got the giggles.
It’s pretty difficult.”

The video was filmed by members of the 82nd Airborne, and according to Aljazeera’s The Asia Blog: “I hope a million people see it,” said one, who understood the twisted hilarity of it all.
A wide audience did get a view: Jon Stewart on the Daily Show played a small portion of the video — the most meaningful portion– at the end of a routine Wednesday night. See it here.

A ‘twisted hilarity’ coated in extreme-black humor.
The documents from WikiLeaks made public last weekend reveals this little problem with the Afghan police and army is, in the parlayed words of Joe Biden, ‘one fuckin’ big deal.’
From a New York Times analysis of the documents:

The reports paint a disheartening picture of the Afghan police and soldiers at the center of the American exit strategy.
The Pentagon is spending billions to train the Afghan forces to secure the country.
But the police have proved to be an especially risky investment and are often described as distrusted, even loathed, by Afghan civilians.
The reports recount episodes of police brutality, corruption petty and large, extortion and kidnapping.
Some police officers defect to the Taliban.
Others are accused of collaborating with insurgents, arms smugglers and highway bandits.
Afghan police officers defect with trucks or weapons, items captured during successful ambushes or raids.

Drugs, too.
And it ain’t just tokin’ a bong, but some scary shit.
From CNN:

Illegal drugs appear in several other instances to have fueled much of the internal Afghan disputes.
In March 2009, a gunfight broke out after “a significant proportion” of Afghan Border Police at a patrol base were “high on opium and having a party.”
The shooting left at least one person dead. The stoned police officers apparently had an argument with an Afghan interpreter at his temporary quarters.
Shots were fired, leaving one policeman dead. British forces were “alerted and arrived on the scene to deal with the incident and treat the casualty.”
It was unclear who fired the fatal shot.

There is only one real option.
Exit stage right now.

The WikiLeaks documents were first furnished in the US to the New York Times, in the UK to The Guardian, and in Germany, Der Spiegel.
The Germans took it to heart.
From Spiegel Online:

The German government, NATO and the West shouldn’t wait that long.
Together they should realize — and admit — that the war in Afghanistan is not going to end in success.
We have failed. The war has been lost.
The country that we leave behind will not be pacified. It is possible that we could have been successful had we understood earlier how the country works.
But now, we are no longer a part of the solution — increasingly, we have become part of the problem. It is best just to leave now, before additional blood is spilled.
The secret war logs given by WikiLeaks to SPIEGEL confirm as much.

Sorry to say, however, that stoned dog won’t hunt.

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