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I keep telling myself to forswear any more posts about Afghanistan. It is beyond merely beating a dead horse. It is akin to saddling the horse up.
Still, this article in The Hill (hat tip to Instapundit), while dealing with the problem of enemy infiltration of the ANA, is really about the complete and utter cluelessness of the Department of Defense, its leadership and the lack of direction in U.S. policy in general.
Here is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff– the highest ranking member of the military, the one responsible for advising the President on military matters:
U.S. and coalition commanders are no closer to knowing how deep the Taliban has penetrated Afghanistan’s security forces despite increased efforts to flush out infiltrators who are carrying out attacks against Americans.
“As for what percentage of the insider threat is related to infiltration or radicalization, I mean, it’s really difficult to determine,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Thursday.
“I’m sure a certain percentage of it is. And we’re treating it … as a threat,” he told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon.
Taliban double agents, posing as members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), are responsible for executing some of the deadly “insider” attacks that have killed 51 coalition troops, mostly from the United States.
Really, General Dempsey? It is “really difficult to determine” what percentage of the ANA is infiltrated by the Taliban? But you are sure that “a certain percentage of it is.” That’s just swell. From purely a public relations perspective, you need to fire whomever is advising you, General. There is absolutely no need to have the JCS Chairman get up in front of a bunch of reporters and say idiotic things like this. Isn’t White House spokesman Jay Carney available for this kind of thing? At least he gets lots of practice.
I am not interested here in examining the problems and solutions to infiltration of government forces by an insurgency. There were certainly comparable problems with this in the Iraq Campaign. But notice that in Iraq the approach of U.S. forces to the problem was commonsense: don’t trust any of the Iraqis units being mentored. There was not the same air of desperation in Iraq to train up security forces by a date certain as there clearly is in Afghanistan. This is just one of the many evils unleashed by El Presidente’s foolish 2014 withdrawal date. My interest here, however, is in the depths of inanity to which otherwise sane and presumably rational men will sink in obedience to the political dictates of the Child President.
Continuing on in this same article, lest anyone think that General Dempsey has a monopoly on foolishness, here is Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense, no less:
But as Washington continues to eye the finish line in Afghanistan, the spate of insider attacks — no matter who is carrying them out — will likely continue all the way through the final withdrawal in 2014.
“I expect that there will be more of these high-profile attacks,” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told reporters Thursday. “The enemy will do whatever they can to try and break our will using this kind of tactic. That will not happen.”
Oh. I see, Leon. So you’re not scared of those big, bad Taliban. Let them keep infiltrating the ANA in order to kill more U.S. service members. No matter how high the toll, the United States is determined to stand by its commitment to the Afghan people and to fight the forces of evil to the bitter end. All the way up to, er….2014. That would be another 15 months or so. The Taliban can be forgiven if they are not as intimidated as Leon would like. The bad guys may not be taking window measurements at the presidential residence in Kabul just yet, but is there anyone who cannot see the utter chaos in the Pentagon that has left our most senior leaders grasping at rhetorical fig leaves like this?
Let there be no mistake about the source of this folly. The Pentagon has been given a completely untenable mission in Afghanistan– beat down a home-grown insurgency using less than half the necessary forces with half their collective arms tied in R.O.E. red tape behind their backs; training an Afghan national army heavily infiltrated by the enemy and on a timeline for surrender known to everyone. El Presidente Obama is squarely to blame for the bloody and expensive failure unfolding in Afghanistan. (There’s that dead horse).
Nonetheless, in more heroic and patriotic times, I would hope that there would be military officers who would rather resign than play the Fool.