The title for this article happens to be taken from Monday morning’s news (Tuesday’s American dead numbered 14) but, other than the dates, the headlines could have been written a week ago, a month ago or (take a deep breath) eight years ago. Yes, we’ve been in Afghanistan for eight years and for what?
President Bush asked this same question shortly before he left office and commissioned a “top-to-bottom strategic review” of Afghanistan. The results of this “strategic review” were never made public. Mr. Bush handed them over to Mr. Obama who also has chosen not to make them public.
It’s a safe bet the “strategic review” offered no cause for optimism; otherwise Messrs Bush and Obama would have held press conferences in which Obama might even have entertained a question or two from Fox News.
As a public service, we present below a synopsis of the “strategic review.” While we have no inside sources, we’ll bet the questions and conclusions make at least as much sense as the “strategic review” seen by two presidents.
What the Fuck Are We Doing Here?
Mr. President, as you can see from the title of this review, we attempted to capture its essence in a few succinct words. So that you will not look totally stupid in front of the press, we offer some talking points backed up with relevant data:
Revenge – After the 9/11 attacks, we all agreed that we had to get even with somebody. Never mind that all of the people directly responsible were dead; and, never mind that most of them held Saudi Arabian passports—we needed to go after someone who didn’t have a lot of friends, too much oil, or any California real estate. What we needed was a high body count and Afghanistan seemed to fit the bill. We lost about 3000 people on 9/11. We’ve lost nearly another 1000 soldiers (along with a few reporters and aid workers) in Afghanistan since then. So we’re out, say, 4000 total. We’ve managed to kill some al Qaeda and Taliban types and we’ve greased a shitload of civilians. Looks like we’ve knocked off maybe 30,000 towelheads, burqa babes, and kids This is a kill ratio of about 7 to 1. Not as good as Viet Nam, mind you, where 10 to 1 was the gold standard, but not bad all the same.
bin Laden – You’d think 6’6” guy with a beard would stick out just about anywhere but an NBA game but we haven’t been able to find him. Hell, we found the ONLY cow in the US with Mad Cow Disease and we can’t find this guy? And what if we do? With the new torture rules, we can’t even make him listen to Neil Diamond. Look, leave him alone. Yeah, he’s an asshole and deserves to have his neck stretched but most of the world’s scoundrels have avoided any real justice. Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, and Idi Amin all managed to die relatively peaceful deaths. Killing bin Laden just elevates him to martyrdom. If the rumors are true, he may be dead already of kidney disease. If he’s alive, there’s a $25 million price tag on his head. Do you suppose he sleeps comfortably in his mountain hideaway knowing that all it’s going to take is one guy who decides that $25 million guaranteed today is a better deal than the nebulous promise of 72 virgins at some time in the future. Given today’s markets, you can buy 72 virgins for a hell of a lot less than $25 million and still have plenty left over for the caviar, Cristal, and KY jelly.
al Qaeda Base of Operations – This is one of my favorites: ‘We’ve GOT to subjugate Afghanistan; after all, it’s al Qaeda’s base of operations.’ Forty years ago we spent years scouring South Viet Nam for a mythical hideaway called COSVN, the Central Office for South Viet Nam. This was supposed to be the Viet Cong’s equivalent of the Pentagon, the central nervous system of a vast military organism that stretched across southeast Asia. We were too stupid to imagine that any worthy enemy could stand up against us without centralized command and control, sophisticated intelligence gathering and analysis, and a staff of general officers duly graduated from some reputable military academy. We were wrong about COSVN and we’re wrong about al Qaeda. Sure, al Qaeda exists but, if it gets too hot for them in Afghanistan, they’ll just move somewhere else like, say, Pakistan! Hey, they’ve done that already! And Pakistan is falling apart just like Laos and Cambodia did.
What does a Base of Operations take these days? Not much. A good internet connection, a couple thousand acres of terrain for practice and training and a few well-concealed buildings. Don’t forget, most of the 9/11 terrorists did the bulk of their training in the United States while staying at the La Quinta.
Expansion to Pakistan – This morning, while Hillary geared up for a speech in Peshawar, a car bomb killed about 90 civilians and injured over 200. I’d say al Qaeda and the Taliban have already arrived. Contrary to the catty rumors going around in the States, Hillary is not putting on weight; that’s body armour under those pants suits.
Pakistan is a both a joke and a nightmare—a corrupt government, surrounded by Islamic fundamentalists, and at least 100 high-quality nuclear weapons. It’s just a matter of time until one of these human time bombs (an Islamic fundamentalist) gets his hands on one of these nuclear bombs (a plutonium implosion number laced with tritium) and sets it off. Are you ready to invade Pakistan (along with Iran and Israel) to prevent the detonation of a nuclear weapon in the Middle East? If not, then you’d better get the hell out because it’s just a matter of time.
And don’t forget, on September 16 Obama gave these assholes another $7.5 billion to stem the influence of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan. They took the $7.5 billion and then immediately complained that the money was an attempt to micro-manage Pakistan’s civilian and military affairs.
Sanctuary – Another great joke. ‘Afghanistan provides sanctuary to terrorists bent on doing us harm,’ is something we hear almost every week from some Sunday morning talking head. Christ, these al Qaeda and Taliban guys are hiding in Detroit and St. Louis; they don’t need Afghanistan as a sanctuary. We understand that a couple of these terrorists are pretty pissed. Someone back in Kandahar told them NFL season tickets were like “money in the bank.” Apparently, they invested heavily in Rams and Lions sky boxes.
Winning ‘Hearts and Minds’ – We tried this one in Viet Nam and it didn’t work. It won’t work in Afghanistan or Pakistan, either. Why? It’s not that they don’t like us; hell we’ve got money, cigarettes, good-quality porn, and we’re basically nice guys until you start shooting at us. What’s not to like about us Foreign Devils? For civilians in these countries, the question is not who’s won their ‘hearts and minds.’ The question is who’s in town this week with the guns? Who owns the night; who speaks your language; who knows where you work; who knows where your kids go to school (if they go); who knows the rest of your family; who knows where your sheep or your poppies are? If you piss them off, who’s going to chase you to the end of the earth, just for the pleasure of cutting off your dick? Some American? Hell, no. He’s headed home in 164 days (and counting) and he’s already decided that next time he comes back to this god-forsaken shithole it will be after the women and children.
Burqas – OK, OK. This was one of the really great things to come out of this whole Middle East festouche. Burqas. Remember back in the months following 9/11? Everyone was circulating Internet pictures of burqa-clad women. They were great. No one could believe that there were still places in the world where people (men) took this shit seriously. But there are. And the sooner we get out, the sooner the burqas will be back. They’re even doing burqa fashion shows now.
Opium – In 2007, 93% of all the world’s opiates came from Afghanistan. If we leave, there might be a heroin shortage for a while as the Taliban, who would retake Afghanistan, considers opium “un-Islamic.” But not to worry. If the Taliban really stops opium production in Afghanistan (they won’t, when they find out how much money there is in it), someone else will pick up the slack. According to the US Army War College, “[w]ith a farm gate price of approximately $125 per kilogram for dry opium, an Afghan farmer can make 17 times more profit growing opium poppy ($4,622 per hectare), than by growing wheat ($266 per hectare). Opium poppy is also drought resistant, easy to transport and store, and, unlike many crops, requires no refrigeration and does not spoil.” And, processing opium is very labor intensive, giving all those burqa-clad housewives and little kids something to do.
Birth Rates – Afghanistan has the 4th highest birth rate of any country in the world. I won’t bore you with the math except to make this point: If the Taliban manages to recruit 1% of the the male population each year, we’ll have to kill 10,000 Afghanis just to stay even. Got the stomach for this? And remember, at present kill ratios, that’s another 1500 American lives flushed down the cosmic toilet annually.
Oil – At last we get to the real reason we’re in the Afghanistan– oil. Everyone knows that Halliburton and all the rest of George Bush’s buddies wanted to get in to Afghanistan so they could get their hands on all that oil. That, of course, is the whole reason we’re in the Middle East, right? Well, sorry to disappoint you, but there’s not a drop of oil in Afghanistan. Not one. If anyone tries to sell you stock in AfghaniPetro, take a pass.