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'It's Your Allies, Stupid' -- America's Greater Middle East Disasters (Pt 1)

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 8/10/2015 Barry Lando

The devastation of the Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan by an American AC-130 gunship is a microcosm of much that is wrong with U.S. policies across the entire region: in a couple of words -- America's allies. I'm making this point in two separate blog posts: First, Afghanistan.
What prompted the incredibly lethal hospital attack was a call for air support by Afghan troops battling to retake Kunduz from the Taliban. Incredibly, just a few hundred Taliban fighters had been able to capture the city a few days earlier. This despite the hundreds of billions of dollars, the U.S.-led coalition had spent to train and equip the Afghan army, local militias and police over the past few years.
In fact, the Taliban had been making steady advances in the region; they had already penetrated key targets in Kunduz itself before they launched an open military attack. In many instances, according to the New York Times, local residents had freely opened their doors to the Taliban infiltrators.
It turns out that the Taliban's success in taking and holding the strategic northern city for at least a few days, was not suicidal bravery nor tactical genius, but the fact that, though they may have had reservations about the Taliban, the local population was fed up with the rampant corruption and incredible incompetence of government officials, from local swaggering militia men, to the country's feuding rulers in distant Kabul.
In other words, much of the governing structure of Afghanistan that the U.S. is still devoting enormous sums -- as well as lives -- to defend, is rotten to the core, like an old waterlogged hulk. Kick it, and it crumbles to a pile of worm-eaten splinters.
What is surprising is that the powers that be in Washington should be surprised by this. For years now, for instance, the investigators of SIGAR -- the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction-have issued devastating reports to Congress detailing the mind-boggling waste and corruption that was part and parcel of the U.S.'s mammoth projects.
Surely, America's vast intelligence network in Afghanistan must have also relayed devastating reports of the increasingly grim situation to their bosses up the line.
Surely, even Washington's most fervid hawks must finally be asking why, if the Afghan soldiers themselves are not willing to fight to defend their government, why should Americans? Or, it after 14 years of supposed nation-building in Afghanistan, the Afghanis are still willing to open their doors to the Taliban, what are the U.S. and its 10,000 military "trainers" doing there anyway?
Yet, even after the debacle in Kunduz, there's this continued insane mantra about the U.S. still having to maintain thousands of troops in Afghanistan after the 2016 deadline Obama had originally promised. This despite everything they should now know about their Afghan ally.
There's still the call for America to complete the mission -- destroy the metastasizing terrorist groups that continue to threaten the United States and its allies.
To do otherwise would be to admit the terrifying truth -- that America's longest war ever has been one huge, gruesome mistake.
Part 2 will follow.

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