Administration’s Afghan Insanity

When the temperatures were consistently over a hundred degrees this summer some friends and I traveled to Patagonia Lake. Upon arrival I plunged into the lake and raptured in the refreshing coolness of the water. Putting my feet down I realized the embankment dropped off sharply and very deeply only a foot or two into the water. Plunging recklessly into a mirage of relief turned into a very real necessity to swim strenuously in heavy, water soaked jeans to safety. If I was alone and didn’t know how to swim (and strongly at that) I would have certainly drowned.
I felt the same thing when the Trump Administration announced they were no longer going to “micromanage” the military. I voted for Trump – reluctantly. I have been pleasantly surprised that he is actually trying to keep his campaign promises. But there is a big difference between micromanaging military operations and establishing national security policy. Days later, Secretary of Defense “Mad Dog” Mattis announced he is sending thousands more troops back to Afghanistan. That decision to ramp up (again) a foreign war should have come from congress. Our commander-in-chief just drowned America further into the watery abyss of war by abdicating his responsibility to be the architect of our national security policy. Like all of us, President Trump does best what he knows. Neither he nor Secretary of State Tilleson knows anything about the military. What Trump, Tilleson and congress do know is the age old maxim “War is business. And “business” is good for America”. By the thundering silence of the American electorate, they have bought in to that bovine feces as well. Americans led by our lobby-fed politicians into illegitimate wars are like the slow steaming lobster who realizes too late the danger he is in.
State Department-imposed rules of engagement on our expeditionary escapades have been criminal in preventing total and decisive victory, The decades old congressionally mandated “military reflect society” policy has emasculated the military of its’ physical and moral strength. An equally lethal danger lies in the president giving unfettered license to a militarist Secretary of Defense “poet general” who tells his troops killing our enemies can be fun.
Both Mattis and Petraeus were touted as the writers of Field Manual 3-24 Counterinsurgency. On the inside front cover of the draft FM were two sources: Defeating Communist Insurgency by Sir Robert K. Thompson describing successful British counterinsurgency operations in Malaya and Insurgency by David Galula describing French counterinsurgency operations in Algeria. When the official manual was published those sources had disappeared from the manual. There wasn’t even a recommended bibliography of sources they had used to write the manual. This used to be called plagiarism – basically a short cut in lieu of learning. But when you marry the daughter of the commandant of West Point Military Academy you apparently get special pontifical dispensations from the general officer class.
If Mattis actually read those seminal works by real experts on low intensity conflict he is ignoring the most important factor in occupying a foreign, hostile environment: the support of the population. The basic paradigm of popular perceived legitimacy has been intentionally ignored by the military-industrial invested. The congressional capitulation of their constitutionally dictated war making powers began with the Johnson administration and has spiraled downward to today. Our wars now are justified under the guise of “exporting democracy” – a failed concept that was foreseen by anyone who spent any time in the Middle East or read the Rand Commission’s report on Vietnam. Does anyone in their right mind believe after billions of dollars in “stabilization operations” American troops have the support of the Afghan population?
The “better over there than here” swill by several administrations was true during WW II. Foreign military invasion is not possible by any threat America faces today. No nation will ever be totally immune from terror. That’s the nature of this kind of conflict. But America has a great track record of prevention when law enforcement and vigilant Americans are not impeded by political correctness.
The definition of “insanity” is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result. After seventeen years of doing the same thing our government – excuse me, our Secretary of Defense – is sending thousands more troops back into the Graveyard of Empires. Wanna bet on the outcome?
The other side of the COIN (pun intended) to Mad Dog Mattis’ “Killing the enemy is fun!” is that dying for a failed policy isn’t. I don’t call that fun. I call that insane.

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