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Time for UK to Quit U.S. Afghan War?

Politics / Afghanistan Jul 18, 2010 - 09:11 AM GMT

By: Andrew_Butter


Diamond Rated - Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleThis Killing Season 100 Brits Will Die In USA’s Afghan War. It’s Time UK Walks Away.
Hamish from the farm up the road where my mum lives in Scotland did three tours in Helmand. Now he’s out of it for good and he won’t be going back. He talked about it once (when he had legs), that’s when he told me about the Killing Season.

I asked him, “Are we winning?”

He told me, “Winning what? There’s nothing to win…we are just targets”.

That makes sense, the more foreign troops there are in Afghanistan, the more targets there are and so, logically, the more casualties there are. And the “Target” goes up every year:

The killing season lasts from June through November.

It coincides with the harvest, processing, and transportation of the heroin crop, and you need to create certain “distractions” to let that run smoothly (an IED here a sniper there and you know where the focus of attention will be), and also then, there are leaves on the trees and the Predator Drones can’t see through leaves.

Historically, (since 2005), the coalition casualties “in season” was typically a little over double the number in the preceding six months; extrapolate  that forwards and multiply by 16% you come up with 100 British fatalities projected for this season (plus or minus).

You can also work that out from the number of troops; there is an 84% R-Squared on the seasonally adjusted monthly data (fatalities) plotted against troop numbers; run that out and it gives you pretty much the same answer. By-the-way, the number of wounded (like Hamish) typically works out at seven to eight times the number of fatalities.

I know that sounds a bit morbid. But the military works out those numbers all the time. Someone has to figure out how many body-bags (and wheelchairs) you need to pack, and just because they don’t publish those stats, doesn’t mean they don’t know; they can do the math.

Of course in the Grand Scheme of things 100 body-bags a year is not a big number; a decent sized skirmish in the Second World War could produce more casualties than that in one day. But then that’s not the sort of thing that Hamish’s mum likes to hear when she’s changing his urine bag.

There again, then there was a real enemy. This time it’s not at all clear who the enemy is (or was) or why young British soldiers were/are being asked put their lives on the line. And on top of that to put up with lousy and unsafe equipment because sleazebag politicians and other public “servants” (of the self-service variety), stole all the spare money fiddling their expense accounts.

Putting aside all the “brave talk”, there is a growing malaise amongst even the Rambo Hellfire Militia that things aren’t exactly going to plan. Forget about the $3 trillion that some say the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will have cost if you do the accounting properly, there is also the small matter of what looks like half a million civilians who died one-way or another as “regrettable” collateral damage.

Of course half a million rag-heads can’t compare with ten million or so Jews killed by Hitler. But there again, blood on your hands is hard to wash, wherever it comes from.
I read a book once about the ordinary Germans and French who cooperated in “exposing” Jews in Nazi Germany, so they could be rounded up to the cattle-trucks. They said…”but we didn’t know”. Isn’t it is so easy to just turn your head and like Bob Dylan said “pretend that you just didn’t see?”

Turning your head these days is when you know where your taxes got spent, with your blessing; and you “just” change the channel.

Here are SEVEN good reasons why UK should down-tools and walk away; like in…”it’s your dirty little war, buddy, you started it; you finish it”.
Here’s why:

1: The Americans don’t know why they are in Afghanistan

Nine years after the invasion, we hear this:

America's most senior intelligence officer in Afghanistan, Major General Michael Flynn, has criticised information gathering in the country, branding US spy agencies as "clueless" (Jan 2010).

The good news is that they have finally realized they are clueless. The bad new is that it took them nine years to figure out that the “intelligence” that laid out the urgent and pressing need to declare war on 30 million of the poorest and most impoverished people in the world, in such a hurry, was…”clueless”.

Granted since then the Creative Department (in the first instance), with the able assistance of the “Quaint” White House Chief Counsel Alberto Gonzales; came up with all sorts of reasons for why they are there:

  • Bomb all thirty million “known associates” back into the Stone Age, and don’t on any account do any “Nation-building” (That was Rumsfeld’s plan).
  • Do Nation-building (The latest plan).
  • Promote women’s liberation, burn bras and ban the wearing of veils (Cheryl Blair’s Plan, now picked up by the French).
  • Be “sensitive” to local customs.
  • Install a corrupt puppet government aligned to America’s interests.
  • Fight corruption.
  • Encourage heroin production because the “evil” Taliban banned it, and flood “evil” Russia and Iran with it.
  • Stamp out heroin production because the “evil” Taliban benefit from it.
  • Plant pomegranate trees (Richard Holbrooke’s pet idea).

The latest PLAN is that the Afghans (the tame ones) will come on board and do all the dirty work. That’s (perhaps) a good idea because regardless of what the great military strategist Donald Rumsfeld said, you can’t control 30 million people with 150,000 troops however many Hellfire missiles you got, even if only 25,000 are actually fighting you (less than 1%).

It’s easy to tell when you got enough troops, that’s when you add some more and casualties go down, not up, and so you stop being targets. But putting in a puppet government, killing a lot of civilians with bombs and “Hellfire”, and then running away, was more or less the plan the Americans had in South Vietnam (it didn’t work). So is that the “secret” plan for Afghanistan?

Of course there are risks with that strategy, like they might shoot you before you manage to get out of the door:

Here’s the latest policy put out by President Obama (and mind, he will NOT tolerate “dissent”):

"Provide the time and the space for the Afghan government to build up its security capacities, to clear and hold population centres that are critical, to drive back the Taliban, to break their momentum”.

Well ain’t that just dandy, a new President, a new year, and a new “PLAN”.

Of course the NEW plan is not (anymore) to kill every single Taliban plus every suspected Taliban plus all of their “known associates” and then string them up from trees the way the good-old-boys did it in the good-old days (that was Plan A, before anyone read the “quaint” Geneva Convention) or even to achieve “victory” over the “evildoers” (that was Plan B).

Plan C is to “break their momentum”, which is something else completely, and like The Man said “it’s not to hold the whole country”; it’s to “hold population centres”.

Well here’s some news for The Clueless:

The Taliban by and large don’t operate in the population centres. That’s where the remnants of the middle-class who were too poor to be able to get out when the Russians came, and even too poor to run away from the chaos that followed afterwards, still live.

The Taliban are simple orphan-country-boys who got religion (“got” in the sense of having it shoved down their throats in Saudi financed religious schools in the refugee camps in Pakistan), and they despise the middle class. Sure you can hold the population centres (more or less), but how does one get from one “centre” to another?

By…helicopter? Or do you just drive around in your MOD special bargain tin-can-death trap waiting for someone to slip an IED under it?

I just wonder which “government” the new “Commander in Chief” of the British forces was talking about. No that wasn’t a typo…under NATO rules the Brits answer to the US Commander who answers to THE Commander in Chief; talk about the Tony Blair bend-over…”and easy on the Vaseline…buddy”.

That’s because the “legitimacy” of the current “government” is hard to defend, even in “Washington-Speak”.

The “President” of that “government” was voted in with ONE candidate (him), after the only remaining one was bought-off or succumbed to death threats (how’s that for American Style Democracy in action?). He’s a middle-class puppet who spent half his life in America driving a taxi or something, he knows nothing about the countryside (or the country) and he was installed by US force. His brother is a big player in the heroin business…and also enjoys the full protection of the US military.

Or perhaps The Commander In Chief was talking about the government that was put in place by the Pakistan Secret Service with funding from Saudi Arabia and recognized by them and by the UAE?

That “government” had finally managed to stop the tyranny and anarchy after the Russians left (and the “grateful” Americans turned their backs), imposed on the country by bands of brigands who were kidnapping and torturing anyone who dared to travel from one place to another, and were ramping up the heroin production. And instead they imposed some semblance of law and order.

In early 2001 that “government” was de-facto recognised by George W. Bush because in May of that year in appreciation of how they had put a ban on opium which cut production from 4,500 tons in 1999 to zero in 2001, God’s-Clueless-Worker-George handed THAT government $43 Million.

 Which was more aid that Saudi Arabia was giving them (although that was a lot less than they could have collected by putting a 20% export tax on the heroin (about $600 million)).

So why did President Bush give $43 million to a government that was not formally recognized by USA and that was a mortal threat to “peace-loving” Americans?

Perhaps back then he didn’t have any “intelligence”?

But then the attack on 9/11 four months later magically made him “intelligent”? So that within less than a month he KNEW for sure that the Taliban (the guys he had just handed $43 million over to), were the prime enemy of “peace-loving” Americans, and so they (and their “known associates” (i.e. their women and children)), must be wiped from the face of the earth…at any cost…($300 billion so far and still counting).

(Well actually he says “God told him to do it”).

Some say there was more than “clueless” involved and that there was a “connection” (read pipelines, oil deals, and heroin), but the “intelligence” services have so far been unable to uncover any evidence of that. One thing you can say about clueless intelligence is that it’s clueless when you need to be…Phew!!

Regardless, Clueless-George was not the first US President to back the Taliban, here’s an account from that time:

“On Sept. 27, 1996, Glyn Davies, a State Department spokesman, expressed hope that the Taliban “will move quickly to restore order and security and to form a representative interim government that can begin the process of reconciliation nationwide.”

Davies called the Taliban’s execution of former Afghan President Najibullah merely “regrettable,” and said the United States would send diplomats to Afghanistan to meet with the Taliban, potentially to re-establishing full diplomatic ties.

But the Clinton’s administration’s flirtation with the Taliban did not last however, as Madeleine Albright, incensed by the Taliban’s treatment of women, among other regressive measures, halted it when she became secretary of state in January 1997”.

So it’s all about women’s liberation then?

Well that’s dandy! So far between 10,000 and 30,000 Afghani women and their children have been killed by US delivered ordinance in the war (no one knows exactly how many, because the “approved” government couldn’t be bothered to count).

Well there you go Madeleine. That’s one way to burn bras; set the “mothers” alight with Hellfire and burn the bras from the inside…if that doesn’t teach them some good feminist values well nothing will!!

Clueless multiplied by clueless is an explosive mix; but that’s America’s business.

The important point for UK is that unless America can spell out in plain English to their NATO allies; what exactly they are trying to achieve in Afghanistan…it’s not UK’s business either.

2: America suckered NATO (and the UK) into the war on false pretences.

Leading the hype to justify the decision to go to war in Afghanistan, Generalfeldmarschall Donald Von Rumsfeld explained to his adoring public on Prime Time Television, that Bin Laden had hundreds of huge and sophisticated bunkers, which had to be urgently destroyed if America was to be “safe”.

Actually there were none, ZERO.

That’s how “intelligent” the US “intelligence” was, it scored zero out of one hundred on its first test. That might be funny, but it wasn’t a joke, and finding that out the hard way is why Hamish doesn’t have any legs. Perhaps if the good Generalfeldmarschall had been a little more “transparent” and had announced:

  • There was no chance of catching Bin Laden with his strategy
  • Over 30,000 women and children would be killed
  • USA would de-facto renounce 1949 Geneva Convention.
  • Heroin production would go up from zero to 850 tons in 2008
  • The war would cost America more than $300 billion excluding the cost of salaries for the soldiers, plus excluding the cost of lifetime care for five thousand or so (new) American paraplegics.
  • Terrorism would increase worldwide
  • Pakistan would implode into civil war
  • In the end America would run away.

If Rumsfeld had explained all of that; then even The Clueless might have figured out that the idea of “smoking the evildoers out of their mystical bunkers, dead or alive” by carpet-bombing the whole country, probably wasn’t a particularly smart idea.

A better plan would have been to send in GI Jane plus a couple of hundred SAS, to take over the area that Bin Laden and about a hundred so-called Al Qaeda operatives were located, and take the bastard out.

Or even better, accept the Taliban’s offer to arrest the jerk, bring him to Kandahar or Kabul, and put him on trial (and if they didn’t like the result, then Hellfire him, (and the judge); at least they would have known where he was).

But America managed to sucker the British, the French, the Germans, and all the NATO members, plus some wannabe-posterior-lickers like the Australians, to commit troops to the defence of the noble Cause of the Completely Clueless (by the way that’s written CCC as opposed to KKK).

It was an easy sell; after all, in 2001 everyone said it was going to be a Turkey-Shoot. Just line up the rag-heads and fry the “mothers” with Hellfire and cluster-bombs, then “Mission Accomplished”.

The “justification” the snivelling little psychopath Tony Blair gave for joining in, or encouraging Clueless-George to embark on the “Turkey-Shoot”, was NATO.

NATO was set up so that all members of the alliance would come to the aid of another that was attacked, or in the words of Wikipedia; “its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party”.

Of course whether or not one NATO member comes to the aid of another depends on the circumstances. When UK was attacked by Argentina, the Americans did not rush to support their NATO ally (after all it was their puppet, the one who “disappeared” all those “terrorists” who spoke out against him, who launched that attack).

And France (also a NATO ally), kept a detachment of French military technicians in Argentina after the start of the war to help them tune up their EXOCETS. Some alliance!!

The reason that the Brits went into Afghanistan was that their (sometimes) ally USA told them that they had irrefutable “intelligence” that it was likely that another attack like 9/11 would follow if Afghanistan was not invaded.

That was what they call in polite circles “rather economical on the truth” (or in other words a bare-faced lie), but let’s give the Americans the benefit of the doubt. After all, their “intelligence” was so clueless that the CCC provided no warning of the attack, so it’s quite likely they were clueless enough to believe there was a real threat from the 30 million peasants in Afghanistan.

But now it’s obvious to everyone that neither the 30 million people of Afghanistan, nor the Taliban, ever threatened or posed a threat to USA; either before 9/11, or immediately after 9/11 or in the nine years that followed, and they are still not threatening USA, the question that has to be asked is, “What dastardly threat to its security or its very existence is USA worried about”?

Unless American can provide a simple and logical answer to that question that does not involve the words “God” , “evildoer”, “dead or alive” or “planting pomegranate trees”, then the sleazebag politicians of UK who voted for the war, should do the right thing for a change and say:

 “OK then, seeing as America is in no imminent danger from Afghanistan, we are off…Goodbye!!

“Oh, and by-the-way, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, if ever America actually is in danger, outside of the shoot yourself in the foot type of danger”.

3: The numbers just don’t add up: The Cost/Benefit is insane.

As the warm hot-flush of victory pumped through the veins of the Turkey-Shooters once Clueless-George had declared “mission-accomplished”, a commitment was made by the “generous” invaders to spend $45 billion (yes I know it’s been whittled down to $25 billion but that was the first number they magnanimously put on the table (equal to a about the value-added in Afghanistan of seven year’s crop of heroin).

That was to help the survivors of the carpet-bombing to “reconstruct” some of the hospitals, bridges, irrigation networks, and electricity generating capability that had been destroyed….in order to…well I’m not quite sure what that was supposed to achieve in terms of protecting America against terrorism, but anyway it was a great show on Prime Time…BOOM… Rumsfeld does a Rambo!

So far, over nine years, less than $15 billion has been delivered (apparently at least $2 billion of that was stolen). That compares with $300 billion spent, blowing things (and “mothers”) up.

As we speak, in Kabul the Puppet-President is hosting a conference to try and squeeze another $10 billion in aid from the Turkey-Shooters. At the same time the EU is holding on to $6 billion dollars of aid it had promised, waiting for the corrupt puppet government installed by USA, to magically change it’s ways and “be good” (don’t hold your breath), and the US Congress is holding up another $4 billion for the same reason.

But there is a silver lining to all that.

The intervention of the “American-led” NATO forces; has facilitated a boom in heroin production. That’s a $20 billion a year business worldwide, and $3.5 billion of the value-added of that business, happens in Afghanistan ($500 million for the farmers plus $3 billion to turn the opium onto heroin and do the “export-packaging”).

So in the nine years since the war started Afghanistan has “earned” about $30 billion from that cottage industry.

But was that the point of the war? To “repair” the heroin business that had been destroyed by the Taliban? Tell me Tony, is that why Hamish has no legs, so that “objective” could be achieved?

The current estimate is that there are about 25,000 of “evildoers” in Afghanistan.

That is split between (a) “Taliban” looking to re-assert the previous government in Afghanistan, (b) “distractors” who are just going about their business for a slice of the heroin trade and creating diversions so that the foreign troops don’t interfere with their business and (c) committed “jihadists” who might be inclined to get in a plane and fly it into a building in America.

The proportions are not clear, but rough numbers:

Category (a) are “legitimate” freedom fighters, foreigners came into their country and started to blow them up and to blow up their women and children and they are fighting back; lets say there are 15,000 of them. The way to stop them shooting at the “targets” is to just stop bombing their women and children.

Category (b) is comprised of “businessmen”, or their employees, working only for their cut of the $3.5 billion “value added”. They don’t care how many “mothers” you blow away, but all you got to do to avoid them “targeting” you is to keep out of their way. The standard line is that the opium trade finances the Taliban resistance, but it’s more complicated than that; it’s more like a “protection” game, with the heroin business “paying their dues”.

And the thing is, the business outside Afghanistan generates $16.5 billion a year “value added”, there is plenty of incentive (and money) to bribe Russian, Kazak, Iranian, Pakistani generals to “misplace” ordinance; and if you can transport 500 tons of heroin out of Afghanistan a year, well you can easily transport 500 tons a year of ordinance in.

And you can deploy a “Taliban” fighter (or a “businessman fighter”) for less than $500 a month; that includes a weapon, as much ammo as he can carry; a couple of RPG, and an IED. Compare that to the $500,000 a year it costs to deploy one US soldier, that’s what’s called the Big Mac Index working against you.

The number in Category (c) is estimated to be somewhere between zero and one-hundred (100); although as far as the press reports are concerned, none of those have ever been captured alive. Could it be there weren’t any?

Yet as far as anyone can figure out (they change their minds a lot so it’s hard to be sure), the main reason that the US-led troops are in Afghanistan is to deal with (c) and thus “protect ordinary Americans” from “evildoers”.

With about 150,000 foreign troops in theatre (forget about the Afghans), and going with the number 100 for the real-bad-evildoers, that’s a ratio of about one thousand five hundred troops to one real-live “evildoer”.

I.e. the type who would happily jump on a plane and fly it into a building in New York (if he could get a visa, although I suppose having a ten-year old Afghanistan or Pakistan entry stamp on your passport, without an exit stamp might be a bit of a give-away).

So, rough numbers that’s an investment of about $500 million per year to protect Americans from one “evildoer”; and by the way, that’s a recurring expense. 

Of course if ordinary Americans want to borrow that amount of money from China so they can be “safe”, well that’s their decision, but one can’t help thinking that there has got to be a cheaper way to protect America from evil-doers, unless the whole point is to get your rocks off blowing arms and legs off women and children and calling the Geneva Convention “quaint”.

Put that another way, this year about ten coalition troops will die for every one “evildoer” who is “pinned down” in Afghanistan so they won’t go and “do their evil” in America.

Here’s some more news for The Clueless. There are a lot’s of “evildoers” outside of Afghanistan, who never ever went to Afghanistan, and the more women and children that get “Hell-fired” in Afghanistan, on Prime-Time, the more there are.

4: The Taliban never attacked America; they have no intention of doing that, and they provided no material support to Bin Laden.

Up to about six months ago the strategists in Washington were saying that the Taliban were the “enemy” and that killing as many as possible of them was “The Objective”,   (now we hear that the idea is to “break their momentum”).

But regardless of what specifically the plan is today (it’s hard to keep up), the 9/11 Commission (a US Government sponsored investigation), found no evidence that the Taliban provided any material or useful support for the activities of the perpetrators of 9/11, and no evidence of that has been unearthed in the nine years of frantic “intelligence” gathering since then.

There is no real dispute about the facts (although Wikipedia and many other accounts have many of the dates confused), a good balanced account can be found at:

Here also is timeline:

A few facts:

The Taliban did not invite Bin Laden to Afghanistan. They inherited him from Yunis Khalis when they took over Jalalabad in 1996; he was one of the warlords of the Northern Alliance (America’s current allies – ironic eh!!), and he was the one who invited him to come and stay after he was chased out of Sudan where he had been plotting and happily setting up networks for six years.

There are various accounts of what happened next.

One account says that once the Taliban took Jalalabad they didn’t know what to do with Bin Laden, so they encouraged him to move to Khandahar where they could keep an eye on him. But all the time there was a faction of the pathologically disorganized Taliban who were negotiating to hand him over to the Saudis; those negotiations stalled in September 1998; mainly because one of the Taliban negotiators insulted Prince Turki who was head of Saudi Intelligence at the time, and he stormed off in a huff (Source: eyewitness account).

Another account (the one in Frontline (referenced above)) suggests that he managed to “infiltrate” the Taliban and curried favour by assisting them in structuring negotiations for a pipeline and various privatization schemes. And since most of the Taliban were not at all commercially astute, he was able to help stop them being ripped off.

OK so he knew about commerce, they put him to use (and the Americans involved in negotiating on the other side were irritated as hell about that), in retrospect they would have done better if they had hired Goldman Sachs to advise them, but then Osama’s gave his advice for free which just goes to show that you can never be too careful when you seek advice from “God’s Workers”.

Although Bin Laden’s relationship with the Taliban was not always rosy

1999 (after Clinton’s cruise missile attack): The suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, his protectors in Afghanistan, have had a violent falling-out, raising the possibility that his days of refuge may be numbered, senior American officials said Wednesday.

Three American officials and two Taliban representatives said a fight broke out three weeks ago in Afghanistan between bin Laden's bodyguards and a group of Taliban officers assigned to watch over him.

After the fight, the officials said, bin Laden was expelled from Kandahar, where he had taken refuge with his family. He was isolated in the countryside and was stripped of his satellite telephones, which American officials said allowed him to plot with fellow radicals throughout the world.

"There is friction between him and the Taliban," one senior American official said. "They have tried to constrain him for the first time, and tried to limit his communications."

"It's a good sign," he said, indicating that bin Laden, the Saudi exile indicted on charges of masterminding the deadly bombings of two American Embassies in Africa in August, may have worn out his welcome with the Taliban, an armed religious movement that has sheltered him since 1996.

The Taliban has shown no sign that it is willing to deliver bin Laden to the United States. But one official said the Taliban had sent a clear signal that its desire to protect bin Laden is waning.

Abdul Hakeem Mujahid, a senior Taliban official, said the Saudi fugitive had become a problem. "His presence is not a benefit to the people of Afghanistan," he said, because it contributes to the nation's pariah status. But bin Laden poses "a puzzle for the Afghan leadership" to solve, he said, because the Islamic Taliban cannot be seen to betray a fellow Muslim.

The senior American officials said they were not certain where bin Laden is, only that he and his Taliban guards move from place to place in the stony wilds of Afghanistan. Officially, the Taliban also say they have no idea of bin Laden's whereabouts.

Doesn’t sound exactly as if the Taliban were “providing shelter” for a terrorist network; but either way, they let him stay.

Remember too, at the time the Taliban were fighting a war against the Northern Alliance so they weren’t much interested in foreign affairs, and so long as Bin Laden kept his nose more or less clean and supported them (paid his rent), they tolerated him. Plus he had built himself into something of a “hero” for his “role” in defeating the Russians (in fact it was limited to financing arms supplies, although he told a good story; and he had popular support in some sectors, so the Taliban were a little afraid to mess with him).

But apart from providing him with a base, the Taliban did little or nothing to assist him.

He didn’t care, by that time he had contacts and links all over the world forged over nearly twenty years.

For example in 1993 he was given a Bosnian passport by the Government in Sarajevo and according to Frontline in 2001 he had perhaps one hundred dedicated followers in Saudi and perhaps a couple of thousand more sympathisers over there, Afghanistan was simply where he lived, and made “promotional videos”.

How the fact that the highly disorganized Taliban let Bin Laden stay, and tapped him up for advice on commercial issues, makes them  “World Enemy #1” worthy of $300 billion of ordinance and American ingenuity directed (mainly) at their women and children, is very hard to figure out, even after nine years. They had no clue that he was planning 9/11; they even had less of a clue than the CIA.

Now that many of the facts are on the table, even the most clueless intelligence “genius” would conceded that even if the Taliban had managed to get rid of the poisonous Bin Laden, the 9/11 attack would have gone ahead. That’s because all of the planning and all of the logistics was done, outside of Afghanistan, or in the language of the clueless, “Afghanistan was not “mission critical” for Bin Laden”.

So why not “Hellfire” Saudi Arabia (where the money and most of the “soldiers” in the 9/11 attack came from (none came from the Taliban)), or the UAE (where two “soldiers” came from, and where Bin Laden got his kidney fixed), or Sarajevo (who gave him a passport (and were supported by NATO and US forces (was that ironic, or clueless, or what))?

Or Egypt (where the main terrorist group that Bin Laden financed was based (who had previously tried to attack the World Trade Centre (go figure)), or Germany (where three of the hijackers were based (they paid rent too, and they made “promotional videos”, and the CIA didn’t know what they were doing either), or Pakistan (which supplied Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who claimed (after being tortured), that he was the mastermind (a Pakistani born in Kuwait)).

The idea that the war is about “denying” terrorists sanctuary is just drivel peddled by politicians to justify their incompetence, and to make some attempt to wash away the blood that is on their hands. Here is what Australian Prime-Minister Mrs. Gillard wrote in the Herald the other day when she explained:

“Remaining in Afghanistan was in Australia's national interest because the country had harboured terrorists who had killed Australians in the US and on Indonesian soil.”

''My government will remain steadfast to the mission we have set ourselves in Afghanistan,'' she writes. ''We remain committed to denying terrorists a sanctuary.”…''In addition to reaching out to the civilian population.”

That’s a nice way to “reach-out”, with bombs and Hellfire missiles. I know Australians are not much better at geography than Americans, but why not bomb Indonesia, that’s where the terrorists who bombed Australians came from?

By the way, I thought Australians prided themselves on “plain-speaking”, so Mrs. Gillard why not just come out with it and explain to your adoring public, that there are “commercial” benefits for Australia to be seen to be supporting USA? And don’t forget to mention that you think the Geneva Convention is “quaint”.

In his recent speech on taking over from General McCrystal; General Patreaus provided some more “clueless”, about what the war is about right now:

In the meantime, all of us at ISAF pledge our full commitment to help you protect your nation from militants who allowed al-Qaeda sanctuary when they ruled the country.

The sanctuary that the Taliban unwittingly provided to Bin Laden was one small cog in an elaborate informal network over which the Taliban never; and still don’t have any control of. Is that’s what the war is about, destroying that one cog?

What about the other “cogs”?

Since the invasion of Afghanistan, when presumably Bin Laden’s “base” was destroyed (presumably liquefied since it has never been found), there have been terrorist attacks “linked” to Al Qaeda in Spain, UK, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uganda, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan, to name a few places.

Even the Clueless ought to be able to have figured out by now that terrorism survived pretty well without those “essential” Rumsfeld bases in Afghanistan.

That’s if they ever existed. The BBC (UK’s state-owned television network), has suggested that Al Qaeda never existed and that the whole idea of terrorism emanating from the “failed-state” of Afghanistan; was either the ramblings of a clueless spy network, or a hoax.

But the good news is that according to General Patreaus, it’s not the Americans driving this thing any more, the Afghans have to “pull their weight”. At least the puppets paid directly ($240 a month) by the Americans to be “targets” have to pull their weight (as opposed to the ones paid indirectly by the Americans via the heroin trade ($750 a month in that line of business), to shoot at the targets and slip the odd IED under their cars from time to time).

Well that’s good news for the Brits then.

America is no longer driving the war and the “Objective” is clearly not to defend America from an urgent real threat of attack by the 30 million impoverished people of Afghanistan (if ever they were a threat), so now UK can go home “with honour”…sort of.

Perhaps they will give us some pretty little flag decals to stick on our foreheads as we depart, in “recognition” of our “contribution”? But there again, there is a bit of a debate about whether those will get you into heaven….anymore.

5: UK is a signatory to Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Convention and is also a signatory to the International Criminal Court.  

Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Convention is about the obligations of invading forces to protect non-combatant civilians. It was an attempt for some countries to specifically outlaw the way that the German SS rounded up civilians and shot them as a collective punishment to take revenge on partisans in the war.
It was also designed  to specifically outlaw (under International Law), things like My Lai  in Vietnam which it would appear the majority of Americans don’t think was a War Crime since the chain of command for that was never investigated and Lieutenant William Calley got three years house arrest and a Presidential Pardon.

Of course there is a difference between putting the barrel of an automatic weapon up the skirt of a thirteen-year old peasant girl and pulling the trigger (and getting blood and body parts splattered all over your uniform – yuck!!), and sitting in the air-conditioned comfort of a control room in Nevada (complete with soothing piped music), and pressing a button that directs a Hellfire missile on the other side of the world at the same thirteen year old girl, because your clueless “intelligence” services have determined that she “might be” a “danger” to the American way of life.

That’s not a war crime, in America.

Funny how the “intelligence” always works out retrospectively that anyone who was killed by a remote missile was an “evildoer”. Like the twelve people who were killed in Majan, ten women and children plus two males aged between sixteen and sixty-five (hard to tell after they had the “Hellfire” laid on them), who were “definitely” Taliban with “links to Al Qaeda”. No question, the US Intelligence Agencies DO NOT MAKE MISTAKES!!!

General McCrystal was the first US Commander to seek to change the rules of engagement of US forces. Up to then, the rules allowed anyone to call in an air-strike on anything that moved if they felt slightly threatened by it.

So you get one bozo who climbs up a tree and lets off a magazine (on full automatic) at a US patrol three hundred yards away (the chances of hitting anything at that range when the weapon is on automatic are about a million to one), so the Lieutenant in charge calls in an air-strike and vaporizes a whole village.

That’s “brave”, but the fact of the matter is that even in a modern war, with modern weapons, in a fire-fight you need to be close enough to the people you are aiming to kill, that an air-strike is as likely to blow you up too.

General McChrystal realized, that strategy doesn’t work long-term (like for nine years); because in his words, “for every civilian you kill, you get ten more trying to kill you”.

That might be a bit of an exaggeration; it would imply that there are 100,000 to 300,000 “evildoers” in Afghanistan inclined to kill Americans, and that’s not counting the ones who were inclined to do that before the invasion.

The best estimate so far is that there are only about 25,000 people in Afghanistan actively trying to kill Americans, although it might be interesting to plot the fatality rate in the killing season  against the cumulative number of Afghan civilian casualties, although there again, that’s quite hard since the attitude of The Clueless is “well who’s counting”?

The “difference of opinion” between General McChrystal and his multiple civilian Commanders in Chief was about just that (he apparently had quite a few armchair warriors with visions of being Rambo that he was reporting to). Vice President Bite-Me-Biden was all for America running away, leaving complete chaos behind (remember USA didn’t sign Protocol I so what the heck), and then relying on “intelligence” to identify the “evildoers” and then blow them up with Hellfire Missiles.

And look who won that debate? Not McChrystal, a really brave and superbly competent soldier who was probably the first US General involved in this Charlie Foxtrot to actually read the Geneva Convention, he was fired, and his orders are being countermanded by the arm-chair wannabe Rambo’s.

The simple fact is that the civilian commanders of the US forces see the Geneva Convention as a hindrance to their military ambitions. That’s why they were so happy when that little psychopathic jerk declared that the Geneva Convention was “quaint” as in “we don’t have to worry about all this nonsense”.

OK the Nobel Peace Prize winner President Obama (what WERE they thinking?), sort of brushed that under the carpet. But the overall result is unchanged. One thing that he did NOT do was sign up USA to Protocol I of the Geneva Convention; or the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, so regardless of whether or not US troops comply with the Geneva Convention, there is no avenue for mass-murderers like William Calley to be prosecuted under International Law….so who cares?

There is an argument that the 300,000 or so civilian fatalities in Iraq and the 30,000 in Afghanistan; could be considered as the result of War Crimes under Protocol I, but no one is going to do anything about that, and that argument will never be tested in a Court of Law.

But that puts UK in a bit of a pickle, because they signed up to the Geneva Convention and they basically try to conform to it, they also signed up to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. But their allies USA do not and did not.

So perhaps there are grounds for the ICC to prosecute individuals in the British Government (a good place to start would be Tony Blair), for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity?

The best thing that UK can do right now, is to distance themselves from what are (most probably) considered war crimes under Protocol I, and LEAVE!!

And to make it very clear to its allies that it will not in the future, get involved in any military adventures, unless the letter of the law of the Geneva Convention is complied with by their allies, and by the allies of their allies. And that their allies and the allies of their allies sign up to the ICC.

Or alternatively if they don’t want to do that, renounce their signature on the ICC and the Geneva Convention. It’s one or the other you can’t have both, like they say “you can’t have your lemon drizzle and eat it”.

There are three prominent countries who have not signed up to either the 1977 Protocol I of the Geneva Convention or the ICC; they are USA, Israel, and Iran.

So let them go and murder each other’s civilians.

UK can’t do anything about that, and UK has no right to say what America, or Israel, or Iran should or should not do so long as that does not directly affect it. But right now, it has an obligation under International Law, not to aid and abet what are defined as crimes against humanity under the treaties they have signed.

6: The War is Un-winnable the way that America wants to wage it

Unless of course we all forget about the Geneva Convention, in which case we could simply withdraw and nuke the “mothers”, all 30 million of them; that would “solve” the problem.

The pointlessness of the Afghanistan campaign is not something new. Regardless of all the retroactive spin put on the war by Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and now the Con-Doms.

In 2008, British Intelligence Concluded that the Afghanistan War Is Unwinnable…no Matter How Many Troops Were Sent In.

Err…define “WIN”.

Sir Richard Dearlove, who was head of the Secret Intelligence Service until 2004, also said the Government has not made the case for the campaign and has failed to explain why thousands of British troops are fighting there (November 2009).

Amidst the drama of the “insubordination” of General McChrystal who let his contempt for “Generalfeldmarchel-Bite-me-Biden” become public knowledge, someone has lost the plot.

There was a moment in late 2009 and early 2010 when the British initiative to try and “buy” the Taliban had gained some traction. That would have worked, that’s actually how the famous “Surge” was made to work in Iraq, carrot and stick, but you need that carrot.

It could still work; the main resistance against the American invasion is nothing to do with “jihadh” or “ideology”, it’s about controlling the heroin business, petty local rivalries and feuds, and revenge for the murder of civilians.

Plus of course there are the orphans, the jihadists get hold of them, brainwash them (you can do anything to child if you get hold of him aged six), and then when they are “trained” they strap the vests on them…and point!!

So set up decent orphanages!!

The idea of “Blood Money” to close out feuds is a well established principle under Islam. There is blood money to pay, a lot of it; but it will be much cheaper in the long-run to pay the blood money and move on.

And deal with the heroin business with money too. In Europe and USA they pay billions to farmers not to grow crops, so why not Afghanistan?

The heroin business does huge damage worldwide, pay the farmers not to grow and buy up the 1,200 tons or so of heroin that is currently stored in Afghanistan, and pay market prices, but on that score, here’s another tip for the Clueless…don’t go after that stuff with guns …that’s REALLY dangerous.

That would cost $7.5 billion in the first year and $500 million as an on-going expense; you could probably get the Russians, the Iranians, and the Chinese to chip in, they might even finance all of that – they don’t want the heroin. And the good part of doing it that way is that the money would not go into the pockets of the puppet and his bro, and their cronies.

And forget about setting up a centrally planned government, go with the Swiss model of democracy, grow good governance up from the village level, you can’t impose it from the top down; and if the Taliban or some other weirdos control some of the villages or some of the districts, so what?

But that’s not the way it’s going.

So right now America has two options, (a) run away or (b) Stay on and spend $50 billion a year, indefinitely. Either way, there is no reason for UK to be part of that.

7: The Israelis would be better partners for the Americans than the Brits.

No one talks about it, like it’s the last secret of The Clueless.

But everyone knows that the main reason that whoever, whether it was Bin Laden, or the Egyptians he financed, or some other bozos, the main reason for the 9/11 attack and for many of the other acts of terror since then, was America’s implicit, and explicit support for Israel.

Thus the Afghanistan campaign, and also the Iraq campaign; are arguably about defending the right of USA to support Israel, no matter what it is that Israel does.

Of course UK has no business getting involved with or commenting on America’s special relationship with Israel.

And it has no more business commenting on what Israel does than it has a right to comment about what Zimbabwe does. Equally, insofar as the US campaign in Afghanistan is about “protecting Israel”, that’s nothing to do with UK.

And bear in mind that thanks to the $3.5 billion a year of direct aid that goes to Israel from America, plus a myriad of indirect aid (participation in military contracts, trade deals etc), Israel has the 4th most powerful military in the world (after USA, Russia, and China).

Its army is much stronger and more capable than the British Army; and it is most probably much stronger than the whole of the non-US component of NATO.

So why isn’t Israel fighting the war that is being fought, in one way or another, to protect its interests, and its security? UK could just hand-over to the Israelis, I’m sure the Americans wouldn’t mind!

Another advantage for USA about inviting in Israel to take over from the Brits would be that Israel never signed Protocol I of the Geneva Convention either, and is not a signatory to the ICC, so no more talk about not killing civilians, they would sort out Afghanistan in a heartbeat!!

And another thing, they would be right next to Iran, talk about A New World Order!!

Just leave UK out of it.

By Andrew Butter

Twenty years doing market analysis and valuations for investors in the Middle East, USA, and Europe; currently writing a book about BubbleOmics. Andrew Butter is managing partner of ABMC, an investment advisory firm, based in Dubai ( ), that he setup in 1999, and is has been involved advising on large scale real estate investments, mainly in Dubai.

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19 Jul 10, 00:03

Israel screeches that everyone else has to go to war for its benefit, all the while moaning about its security while it antagonizes and threatens surrounding States. Let them stand alone for a while with their constant threats and invective and see how long they last.

19 Jul 10, 08:59

Are you kidding

"Let them stand alone for a while and see how long they last!"

So let me get this want to leave the 6th most powerful nuclear nutcases to their own devices? The second those Israelis felt conventional war was going pear shaped, there wouldn't be a Middle East left standing. If the Middle East gets vaporized then you may aswell kiss your pretty backside goodbye. Chaos theory has a nasty habit of starting a chain reaction of events and I'm sorry but I like my skin slowly cooked at no more than 30 degrees not 3 zillion!

23 Jul 10, 17:39

You have one hell of a point that I forgot completely about Daniel. The nukes.

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