I know I’ve made the point already, but to be so perfectly validated… well, I always have bandwidth for that:
Our troops have been the target of serial sneak attacks by the Afghans with whom they are forced to “partner.” Nevertheless, our Marines were ordered to disarm before being admitted into the presence of Obama’s defense secretary, Leon Panetta. Yes, you read that correctly: Our Marines were stripped of their arms.
Panetta was at Camp Leatherneck on a “surprise” visit, hoping to calm the disastrous situation in the combat theater. Turns out not to have been much of a surprise: One of our Afghan “partners” — a contract interpreter hired to help our armed forces in deadly Helmand province — seamlessly converted to Islamist suicide assassin. His contacts clued him in on the surprise, so much so that he managed to speed a stolen truck toward the runway, just as Panetta’s hush-hush flight was about to land. He just missed smashing the contingent of Marines waiting to receive the secretary — that is to say, to whisk the secretary away to safer quarters, if there is any longer such a thing in this hell-hole, where 90,000 American troops are now stationed, compared with the 5,200 who conclusively routed al-Qaeda a decade ago, which you may recall as the mission they were sent to accomplish.
Unlike the Soviets, we actually defeated Afghanistan militarily.
Politically and culturally, however, we have met our Waterloo:
Afghans went on a murderous rampage after some Korans were accidentally burned, Korans that jihadists had used to incite each other by adding handwritten messages reaffirming hatred of Americans. Among nearly three dozen killed when the mayhem began were two American soldiers, murdered by a treacherous Afghan “soldier” they were training.
Soon after, two more U.S. officers were shot in the back of the head by Afghan “security” personnel at the interior ministry in Kabul. A few days later, two more American soldiers were killed by Afghan “soldiers” at a base in Kandahar. In fact, our “partners” have turned their guns on scores of our troops in the last five years, killing 70, wounding many more. Those are just the U.S. casualty figures. British forces and other NATO personnel are also being assassinated with regularity.
Still, our forces are expected to trust these faithless partners. Trust them and, at the premeditated cost of American lives, protect Afghan civilians — tribal Islamists rife with Taliban and other terrorist sympathizers. There is a reason al-Qaeda was so comfortable in Afghanistan: It is nigh impossible to know who is a civilian.
Last weekend, an unidentified U.S. Army staff sergeant snapped. He is said to have massacred 16 civilians in a small village. In this decade-long war, the burden of which has been borne exclusively by a few hundred thousand military families while the rest of the nation yawns, the staff sergeant was in his fourth combat tour.
Hamid Karzai, who owes not just his presidency but his continued existence on this planet to the unwavering dedication of America’s armed forces, was barely finished demanding sharia justice for the Koran burners when he started screaming for the staff sergeant to be tried in Afghan court. (The Army has moved him out of the country, and he will eventually face a U.S. court-martial.)
This was the chaos into which Secretary Panetta descended. After dodging the assassination attempt, he was to address American forces and their Afghan trainees in a tent where the only security would be the United States Marines. Yet the Marines were ordered to disarm before entering. From on high came the directive: They were to check their automatic rifles and pistols outside the tent. Only then would Panetta appear.
While Panetta addressed our defrocked troops, the savages were up to their usual grisly business. Tim Lynch, a retired Marine now embedded in Afghanistan, summed it up well in an e-mail to journalist Michael Yon: “The Taliban killed 13 women and children today with an IED in Uruzgan and I think they got 8 yesterday — but that’s all cool here because they’re the Taliban and we’re the big, fat, retarded kid on the block who gets bullied everyday but still shows up to fork over even more lunch money while assuming at some point everyone will like us because we’re so [deleted] generous.”
It’s a long, complicated, even emotional piece. He lumps Iraq in with Afghanistan as a failed attempt at nation-building—with which I don’t entirely agree. (I think Iraq was already “won”, then abandoned by Obama; Afghanistan was never truly won—as in hearts and minds—and never truly could be.)
We can endure tragedies and atrocities if we are pursuing a goal, but when even the concept of a goal is long-forgotten, what point is there to the loss?