Thursday, June 10, 2010

Britain Reports on Its Afghan Failures; When Will U. S. Do the Same?

The London Times is out with Officers’ mess: military chiefs blamed for blundering into Helmand with ‘eyes shut and fingers crossed’ , which begins:

Military chiefs and civil servants ignored warnings that Britain was ill prepared to send troops to Helmand and signed off a deeply flawed plan, a succession of senior figures have told The Times.

Even those in charge of the deployment admit that the decision to go to southern Afghanistan in 2006, which has cost the lives of nearly 300 servicemen and women, was a gamble and that mistakes were made because of poor intelligence. They insist, however, that the operation was justified to revitalise the Nato mission, combat the Taleban and reassert Britain’s military prowess after setbacks in Iraq.

But a two-month investigation by The Times, which includes interviews with 32 senior military, political and Civil Service figures, reveals that there was deep disquiet over the handling of the mission from the start.

Top ranks within the Ministry of Defence and other Whitehall departments are accused of:

* grossly underestimating the threat from the Taleban;

* ignoring warnings that planned troop numbers were inadequate;

* offering only the military advice they thought ministers wanted to hear;

* signing off on a confused command- and-control structure.

When will the American press take the gloves off and demand the same sort of accountability from the administration on the U. S. failures in Afghanistan (both under the Bush and Obama presidencies)?

When will the death counts begin, as with the Iraq War?

Now that the healthcare bill is law, it is increasingly difficult to see much difference between the Bush and Obama administrations. The ability to print money is allowing the administration to kick the war can down the road and avoid the hard choices. Are Americans getting their money's worth from fighting Taliban (not al-Qaeda) on their home turf?

This questions leads one to reconsider the advantages of a metal-based currency. If the choice were an immediate tax hike, reduction in other Federal spending, or immediate rise in the price of goods and services (another version of a tax hike), what would the public favor?

I suspect it would favor a low-cost drone war on al-Qaeda in Pak-ghanistan but not almost 200,000 boots on the ground (and rising) in Afghanistan.

Copyright (C) Long Lake LLC 2010

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