Jumping Into the Afghan Quicksand Would Be a Terrible Decision for Trump

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Jumping Into the Afghan Quicksand Would Be a Terrible Decision for Trump

Taking to Twitter on Saturday, US President Donald Trump declared that a decision has been made on the Afghanistan War following Friday’s Camp David meeting. This was a single sentence, and not followed by further details.

Speculation on the war, however, has circled for months. Trump had initially delegated the decision to Defense Secretary James Mattis, but Mattis found a cap limiting his maximum deployment too restrictive. Now, Vice President Pence and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster are also taking up the cause of large-scale escalation, pushing Trump to accept the recommendations of the commanders.

According to Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, a formal announcement will be made “at the appropriate time.” Before the Tweet, reports out of Washington suggested nothing had been decided at all during the meeting.

With the Camp David meeting stacked with warmongers, it’s clear that sooner or later President Trump will be forced to sign off on a large scale escalation of the losing war. He is clearly under both mounting pressure to make a decision, and pressure from Republicans to make it a decision to double down on the war. Either way, it’s a terrible decision:

– It’s high time the world community talked about this forgotten war, and especially with the Trump administration considering a new policy that would escalate US military involvement. Escalation would be a mistake, and it would further prolong a deadly conflict that can’t be won.

– The proposed strategy would deploy more military force against the Taliban to pressure it to come to the negotiating table. The problem with the White House plan is that they have tried it before, during the troop surge in 2010 and 2011, and it didn’t work – even with the withering firepower of 100,000 soldiers unleashed on the Taliban.

– The Taliban has been justifying its armed insurgency under the pretext of foreign troops’ deployment in the country. The arrival of ISIL has enabled the Taliban to project itself as a softer, more palatable alternative to the savagery of ISIL. All of this might even increase the Taliban’s appeal and helps boost recruitment. The takeaway is that America’s longest war can’t be won. The option remains of not jumping into the Afghan quicksand, and rather pursuing a negotiated end to the war.

– A recent report by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in cooperation with the UN Human Rights Office on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict documents that the 11,002 civilian casualties might be a record high for Afghanistan since 2009, but the total is dwarfed by the 20,000 killed in the Syrian war. Then again, there is little bombing in Afghanistan, where air operations account for only 3 percent of all dead and wounded, meaning that nearly all civilian casualties are caused by up-close-and personal brute force.

– Afghanistan is in bad shape and it could get worse. Even if there is currently no Afghan mass exodus as there is from Syria, Afghans still rank second-highest among refugees in Europe. The unnecessary escalation for Afghanistan’s resources is in its fourth decade. Ignoring America’s longest war does not make them go away in Europe; not does simply escalating the conflict.

– What Syria tells us is that things could get worse. There are too many similarities to count, but they include an American peace process that is going nowhere; a frustrated and disenfranchised population; a rise in irregular militias; and an increasingly fragmented insurgency with new splinter groups starting to pledge allegiance to ISIL.

All in all, the new UN report is the wake-up call needed to end the longest war before the situation spins further out of control. Trump must know that there will be no winning in Afghanistan under his presidency. As the advice he is getting shows, there are many ways to lose.

It is contingent upon the international civil society and the UN to bring an end to the sixteen-year Afghan war – a war that can only be resolved through political settlement with the Taliban anchored by a regional diplomatic solution including Iran, Russia, China, and Pakistan. The Obama administration never fully embraced this diplomatic solution. No stakeholder in the Trump administration appears to be prioritizing it either.

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7 Responses to "Jumping Into the Afghan Quicksand Would Be a Terrible Decision for Trump"

  1. joetv  August 21, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    In L.A., over the radio today it was reported that we will send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan. A ridiculous number. Even if it were 100,000. But, if 4,000 is the number it stinks of being a bolstering of guards for mining intrests, and poppies of course. With combat pay.

  2. JohnZ  August 21, 2017 at 6:31 am

    The U.S. will never retreat from Afghanistan as long as there are poppies to harvest. Those inside Washington know all to well where much of their new wealth has come from and that includes those within the Pentagram.
    America’s war on drugs is not only a fraud but a failure. It is bound in hypocrisy and corruption of every sort within America’s police forces.
    Afghanistan will end up being the U.S. military’s grave yard. I will not weep for those Murcan soldiers killed or wounded over there as I do not support the military nor its murderous campaigns around the world. The people of Afghanistan deserve better than this, unfortunately their lives and their future is sealed; they are going to continue to suffer the fate of all nations who have succumbed to U.S. imperialism: A corrupt and impotent government, massive poverty among the general population while a select few are made wealthy by U.S. foreign aid that gets stolen immediately, an economy based on only one item, namely heroin; disease and malnutrition that will ravage their children.
    They have the United States of terrorism to thank for it.
    Let Afghanistan be the graveyard of America’s military.

  3. wjabbe  August 21, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Trump should make two announcements at the same press conference:
    1. He is immediately ordering all U.S. Personnel, military and civilian, to return home immediately and ending all interference with internal affairs of the sovereign country Afghanistan.

    2. He is immediately declaring the end of the failed “war on drugs” in the U.S. with new legislation pending in Congress to legalize and regulate drugs in our borders. This new order will quickly accomplish these goals: a. The black market prices of illegal drugs will immediately drop like a rock. b. Most drug related crime and corruption, in and out of police departments will come to a quick halt. c. This will also result in a reduction of prisoners incarcerated. d. Deaths from use of contaminated street drugs will be drastically reduced. e. He recommends every citizen read the article “Let Those Dopers Be” by former 34 year police veteran and chief of police, Seattle, Washington, Norm Stamper, published in the Los Angeles Times, 2005. f. Most of the horrible unspeakable drug crime below our border will also end.

    • JohnZ  August 21, 2017 at 6:40 am

      Yes, well, I’m not holding my breath waiting for Trumpy to make those announcements. If Dr. Ron Paul had gotten into the White House, there would have been some changes made. From now on expect the situation to worsen thanks to his attorney general Jeffy “the redneck” Sessions. The only U.S. attorney general who received his law degree from the back pages of a comic book along with the order of sea monkies and X-ray glasses.
      America is accelerating its downhill slide into oblivion or at least into third world country status. A failed state.
      The cops have been given the order to go completely out of control as they will no longer have to face any consequences for their behavior. Expect more civil asset forfeiture as the cops have been ordered to steal ever more of American’s wealth, what there is left of it.
      Just how much more will Americans continue to stand for it is anybody’s guess but sooner or later the SHTF.

  4. Dr. Abu-Bakr Susta  August 21, 2017 at 12:59 am

    If Trump thinks that he can ‘Win’ something (even by destroying it), then you should trust our CYA president to… CYA (or cover his own ass by a sleight-of-hand distraction).

    Some type of a change in the War in Afghanistan (something, anything) will distract some/many from Trump’s idiocy & incompetence. So, count on Trump to do Stupid Stuff (the hallmark of his presidency).

    No matter. Mueller & Co. and Congress will continue looking into Trump’s money-laundering collusion with the Russian Kosher Nostra & others. When they reveal definitive enough proof for prosecutions & convictions of Trump’s family & friends, then even currently camera-shy Republithug Congress critters will press Trump to resign (similar to Nixon/Agnew) — or face virtually-assured Impeachment & Removal.

    • JohnZ  August 21, 2017 at 6:49 am

      At this point in time I could care less what happens to Washington. Even if the big mushroom suddenly appears over it, I could care less. Washington is a cess pool. Worse, it is an open cess pool, filling the rest of the nation’s nostrils with the stench of it.. The rest of the nation is sickened from the filth and disease erupting from it. No nation can survive with such a government so corrupt and wicked as the one in Washington. Washington has become a cancer that threatens to metastasize and engulf the entire body politic.

  5. David Odell  August 20, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    So ripe for settlement with Taliban with poppies at the core of the fruit. This will be the “sign” of what direction things will go. Is Trump and the minions the flying monkeys, or the girl from Kansas that wants to be good and return home with the fake wizard ? The only smart direction is peace and withdrawal.
    Plenty of excuses will clean the trail behind and so many places to go need a clean start. Time to try something different.

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