Thursday, October 22, 2009

Afghanistan: More Dollars and No Sense

When War was War and Not a Game!
More Dollars
The cost for each American soldier deployed to Afghanistan has now reached one million dollars per year. The cost of maintaining a Taliban soldier in the field for a similar period is somewhat difficult to estimate, but many find the figure to be under $3,000. This means the debt ratio is about 300 - 1, with the Taliban maintaining a overwhelming edge. The debt ratio is not however the only problem, but the ugly question of sanctuary is again hitting the American military in the face as it did in Korea, Vietnam, and to a certain extent in Iraq. The Taliban and their al Queda allies are more or less free to move between Pakistan and Afghanistan and we are powerless to attack them in their strongholds in the mountains of western Pakistan. Yes. we have the UAV's (unmanned aerial vehicles) with their hell-fire missiles that occasionally find an al Queda leader in a remote mud hut hidden in some mountain valley and dispatch that trusty Hell-fire against him at a cost of $100 to $200 thousand dollars each. The parts of this fallen leader are quickly gathered up and buried before sunset as is the custom in that part of the world. And a new leader is quickly named at a cost far less that the cost of sending the first on his trip to meet the many virgins. When I hear that we have killed another Taliban leader in the mountain of Pakistan, I almost laugh. Its like killing a single ant in the giant ant hill and calling that some kind of victory. This is not war, this is playing at war, this sadly has become a game with the young men of our country being the pawns in a protracted conflict we can never win with the current rules of engagement . We will lose this war without ever having lost a battle and the many young men who will never return to their families will have fallen in vain because of this great political game. The Taliban and al Queda will continue to be funded by the massive amounts of petro dollars coming from the Wahabis sects in the Gulf States and the enormous sums of money generated by the opium poppy in the mountains of Afghanistan.

No Sense
The way this war is being waged in the mountains of Afghanistan is absolute madness and insanity that is totally out of control and one that has its roots going back to the 1950's and the Korean War. In that conflict the U.S. government under the leadership of President Truman allowed a great American army to be stalemated in the mountains of Korea, and despite repeated request by the commander in the field General Douglas MacArthur for tactical nuclear weapons to be used they never were. Today we have a nuclear armed state in North Korea, a state that poses a serious threat to all of its neighbors in that region. A few years later in another part of the world French forces in Indochina faced a turning point in their struggle against a communist insurgency in what is now northern Vietnam. French forces were surrounded and outnumbered at the besieged fortress of Dien Bien Phu and after many request from the french government for tactical nukes to be used to break the siege Dien Bien Phu fell and we had the establishment of the communist state of North Vietnam and the stepping stone to the Vietnam war where tens of thousands of young American soldiers died. To this day the use tactical nuclear weapons remains off the table even though that decision has cost us tens of thousands of young Americans lives. At some point in the very near future the battle field situation will become so dire that an American President may be forced to revisit that decision and for once think about the troops in the field and not the journalist at the London Times. Even after seeing what happened in Korea and at Dien Bien Phu we entered another war where we were bound by old rules of engagement that had failed us in the past. Our enemy was allowed sanctuary---a place to regroup and rebuilt and a place from which to attack again and again. In Vietnam the American soldier never lost a major battle, but the government lost the war and Vietnam fell to the enemy. This is our current path in Afghanistan, a path we've traveled many times before and it will end in the same place--DEFEAT AND DISHONOR!

The defeat will not be of battles lost by our brave troops for none have been lost. And the dishonor will not fall on them for they are all, all honorable men. The defeat is the nations and the dishonor is ours. Ron Russell
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