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September 5, 2009

Afghanistan: Seeds Of Our Own Destruction

NATO Airstrike.jpg
In interviews shortly after he took command in June, General McChrystal specifically singled out the misuse of air power as a threat to the success of the international effort in Afghanistan, due to the tactic’s inability to discriminate between civilian and fighter. “Air power contains the seeds of our own destruction if we do not use it responsibly,” General McChrystal told a group of his senior officers during a video conference. “We can lose this fight.” – via NYT

The emotion of the German soldier speaks volumes.

After paying for the Granai screw-up in May, this latest NATO/U.S. airstrike to go bad was called in by German forces responsible for the mostly quiet Kunduz area in the Afghan north. Might this drive the German’s out?

from NYT slide show: NATO Airstrike Kills Dozens

(image: Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press. caption. Afghan officials said the strike had killed insurgents as well as civilians who had surrounded the trucks and were siphoning fuel when the bombs struck. There were differing accounts of how many civilians were killed. A German ISAF soldier talked on a field telephone after inspecting the site.)

  • DennisQ

    It’s not easy to defeat Al Qaeda. We’re investing heavily in an approach that hasn’t worked in the past and isn’t working now. Writing in The Nation, Robert Scheer describes the military campaign in Afghanistan as fighting shadows:
    To insist that the Taliban be vanquished militarily as a prerequisite for thwarting Al Qaeda is a denial of the international fluidity of that terrorist movement. Al Qaeda, according to US intelligence sources, has operated effectively in countries as disparate as Somalia, Indonesia, England and Pakistan, to name just a few. …[W]hat the effort in Afghanistan … is all about: marshaling massive firepower to fight shadows.

    The war is also testing the limits of the resilience of the Afghan people. See, for example, the New York Times slide show about the thousands of Afghan children who have simply fled the country, The Lost Boys of Afghanistan

  • lytom

    The emotion of German soldier. Things come to mind, will there be retributions? Will the hatred, grief and sense of powerlessness result in new suicide bombers? How about déjà vu? Feeling of doing wrong against humanity? Just like Nazi, just like any occupying force!

  • Tena

    Historically, Afghanistan is about the worst place any country can get bogged down in. Every imperial culture that has tried has failed; at least in the last couple hundred years.
    However, I’m still surprised at the people who are surprised at Obama – he campaigned on this. He campaigned on the same idea that was talked about endlessly on liberal boards from the invasion of Iraq forward. Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq; it was in Afghanistan and that is who claimed responsibility for 9-11. So our response to the attack got fractured when Bush invaded Iraq and there was a lot of liberal hue and cry about why weren’t we in Afghanistan; everyone thought we’d dropped the ball there. Then Obama puts more troops in Afghanistan and everybody freaked, as if it had never been discussed. It was – endlessly.
    I don’t think we should stick around – there is not any way to “win” in Afghanistan except possibly by redeveloping the country and trying to make it into a country that is friendly to the US, not an enemy.

  • Karen H.

    I think that photo is in clearer focus than my vision.

  • bernini

    Seeing all that crap hanging off these German soldiers makes me think of that captivating book on US grunts in ‘Nam: “The Things They Carried” by Tom O’Brien.

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