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Our Afghanistan Repetition is a Form of National Madness: A Vet Who Served There On Trump's 'New' Strategy


#1

Our Afghanistan Repetition is a Form of National Madness: A Vet Who Served There On Trump's 'New' Strategy

Brandon Friedman

“I spent my 20th birthday in Afghanistan,” a former soldier of mine once joked. “And then I spent my 30th birthday there.”

He died in 2014 of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. He was on active duty at the time, still rotating back and forth, deployment after deployment.

He was a great soldier.

I was 23 years old when I first set foot in Afghanistan. Barely a year out of college. I’ll be 40 next year.

The other 23-year-olds I served with are now crusty lieutenant colonels. They are eyeing retirement.


#2

“Today, I don’t know what success would even look like in Afghanistan. And it’s clear the Trump administration doesn’t either.”

Besides engorging the MIC, success could be appropriating all of Afghanistan’s resources for Wall Street banks and corporations before another Empire gloms them.


#3

i respect the opinion of the author but “Operation Enduring Profit” isn’t madness; it is business. We can all discuss the CIA opium profit skim or whether the Afghan Lithium deposits are accessible, etc., etc. but this is what Empires do. A lot of the Military logistics have been privatized, inflated rates for everything procured and used and heck, eventually the U.S. taxpayers will build roads or rail to get the minerals. The cash is flowing and I imagine the Generals get their share of the pie even before they become board members or lobbyists for Raytheon or GE.
Ive said this before but I suspect this is the Final Loot of America and guess what, the looters don’t care just so it keeps going for a wee bit longer.

Peace
Po


#4

Apparently 911 was a trauma for the US, and like individuals who undergo traumatic events, the US keeps repeating certain actions over and over in order to gain a sense of mastery psychologically–The loss of the war in Viet Nam was a trauma for the military establishment, not the war itself, not the killing of millions of Vietnamese and devastation of their country, and fifty thousand American troops, but taking the hit for having lost the war, that’s the trauma for the current military today, who have nightmares about “losing” Afghanistan.


#5

For what? For the sake of our national image perhaps? The truth is that we really wanted to leave but for years now, we just don’t know how to leave without looking like we have lost! A case of a military too big to fail.

Even with the largest and most advanced military in the world (many times over), we just can’t accept the fact that we are unable to win. What is even worse is that by now that we are also trying not to face that we actually have lost many years ago. So we continue to stay at all costs because at the very least then we can say that we just haven’t won - we just haven’t lost !

16 years on we never won
16 years we never lost
Forever War is so familiar by now
Ending the war just doesn’t feel right.


#6

This is a decent article till he goes & parrots the BS about Al Quaeda being the author of 9/11 and the BS about OBL being whacked gangland-style & fed to the sharks as being some kind of triumph. But he was in the military so I guess a lot of that brainwashing is permanent.


#7

This is a powerful statement, devoid of all the official b.s., made by someone who knows firsthand what he is talking about! Generals don’t spend a lot of time exposing themselves to the dirty and dangerous. The commander-in-chief, of course, knows only the stuff he sees on t.v.!


#8

Then they need therapy that doesn’t involve killing innocent people!


#9

If we have to stay in Afghanistan forever- so be it. The terrorists that destroyed building 7 are going to pay one way or another.


#10

Wrong question. It has nothing to do with resources or terrorism, it’s geopolitics. The question is why are we there and it’s not because of any terrorism threat, it’s because it has been a geopolitical point of control for centuries. It’s a geopolitical link. Afghanistan is the perceived as the easiest and most expedient conquest route between the East and the Mideast simply because the culture and economic state seem the easiest to defeat and the route easiest to follow. Exactly the same reasons they are so difficult to defeat. The graveyard of empires wasn’t coined from nothing. The Afghans have been defending their country for centuries and they are experts at doing so. Why would Afghanistan be easier access to the East than say…Pakistan? Because of it’s geography…the Khyber Pass. Things haven’t changed all that much since Darius and Genghis Khan. The Silk Road is still the best access and the Khyber Pass is the key to controlling the Silk Road. Wonder why Trump changed his position on Afghanistan? Because someone clued him in to the importance of controlling the Khyber Pass.


#11

Good. Why don’t you enlist?


#12

That is not the reason. We are not leaving because we recognize the strategic importance of the Khyber Pass and overestimate our ability to secure the “graveyard of empires”.


#13

Between Iraq and Afghanistan lies Iran. We remain in Iraq and we remain in Afghanistan.


#14

And for all the writers sacrifice for his country, he now has a job at HUD under Ben “Where’s My Luggage” Carson. Mr. Friedman deserves better.


#15

I would never comment on an opinion about military operations by a soldier but please don’t comment on the Obvious charade of sep 11 — Al Kaline had nothing to do with planting explosives in those 3 buildings and then the other canard of killing obama bin laden…the seal team who executed the :kill" are not surprisingly not around to comment and finally, in conversation with a recent vet who questioned why our troops are guarding poppy fields and our heroin problem is no coincidence.


#16

Your kidding right ? Have you been in a coma these last 16 years? It was Saudis that hijacked the planes.


#17

Very much agreed. A terrific piece by Brandon Friedman, but it is so disappointing to see another principled individual who 15 years later, still does not realize how he was deceived on 11 September 2001. So sad to see another conscientious former soldier who still does not realize the country was taken to war under fraud.


#18

If anybody is in a coma these last 16 years, it is the person who really believes that any airliners were actually hijacked that day, by Saudis or anybody else. The official story has been intellectually bankrupt for a very long time.


#19

not kidding – check out pilots for 911 truth - former military pilots speaking truuf


#20

Our country is a military empire, consisting of approximately 1000 facilities (not all are large enough to be considered bases), and spanning 150 countries; it costs us nearly a trillion dollars a year to maintain it in addition to the $600 billion Pentagon budget. Some are bases the equivalent of small towns, replete with fast food outlets, movie theaters, bowling alleys, laundromats and a shopping mall called the Post Exchange or PX.
To start with, every state hosts varying numbers of military facilities. In Ohio we have Wright-Patterson airbase near Dayton and a Coast Guard station in Lake Erie at Cleveland. Southern states have more.
In Germany there are 21 bases that have been there since World War II. Most noteworthy is Landstuhl Military Hospital. It is where our casualties evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan are prepared for flight to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington for definitive care. There have been 32,000 casualties, including multiple limb amputees and severe traumatic encephalopathy. Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stieglitz calculated that by the time the last of the veterans from our occupation of Iraq alone dies, many of whom are wards of the United States government, our occupation of Iraq alone will have cost us $3 trillion! I would have thought that the Germans would like to be rid of the occupying Americans. They are apparently more enamored of the business activity, ultimately from American tax payers, generated by these bases.
In Africa, in a broad band across sub-Saharan Africa is the African Command, consisting of two forward operating bases, Camp Lemonniere in Djibouti and another on U.K.’s Ascension Island off the west coast of Africa; these serve a network of smaller facilities and “lily pads”. Many of these are service facilities for the drones that are spying on and rocketing small countries in the middle east, such as Yemen, where with the help; of a cholera epidemic, many are starving.
In Okinawa there are 25,000 troops, comprising 75 per cent of our troops still stationed in Japan since World War II. Our Seventh Fleet and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Force are based there. The Okinawans regularly protest their presence to no avail. Japan nearly destroyed our automobile industry, courtesy of Toyota, Honda and Nissan. Who are we protecting them from?
In South Korea there are still 12 bases that are protested regularly, especially by older people. In an idyllic tropical island, called Jeju island, we are appending a new naval base, again despite the protests of many inhabitants.
In Thailand there are seven U.S. air bases. During our occupation of Vietnam, Thailand was a land-locked aircraft carrier.We are building five bases in the Philippines, despite the rhetoric from its president.
Maintenance of the empire, has bipartisan support; it may be unsustainable, however. We need to ask ourselves why we need to continue to base troops in these locations so long after World War II and the Korean wars? Do we intend to keep them there in perpetuity? At what cost?