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"They asked us who we were, and we told them we were civilians from Kijran district."
April 10, 2011 4:23 PM   Subscribe

A Tragedy of Errors. On Feb. 21, 2010, a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians headed down a mountain in central Afghanistan and American eyes in the sky were watching. "The Americans were using some of the most sophisticated tools in the history of war, technological marvels of surveillance and intelligence gathering that allowed them to see into once-inaccessible corners of the battlefield. But the high-tech wizardry would fail in its most elemental purpose: to tell the difference between friend and foe." FOIA-obtained transcripts of US cockpit and radio conversations and an interactive feature provide a more in-depth understanding of what happened.
posted by zarq (59 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
an interactive feature

It's like a children's book! But bloodier and not as funny.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:42 PM on April 10, 2011


From that last link:

"Looks kinda like blankets, they were praying."
"This is definitely it, this is their force. Praying? I mean, seriously, that's what they do."
"They're going to do something nefarious."

We're how many years and how many billions of dollars into this war, and our folks still don't understand that all Muslims, including everyday civilians living their lives, pray 5 times a day?
posted by yeloson at 4:43 PM on April 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


This happens in Afghanistan every single day.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:46 PM on April 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, this is a swell post on an interesting topic that isn't wildly inflammatory, well framed to not highlight anything controversial and I look forward to the deep, multi-faceted discussions it will no doubt invoke.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:48 PM on April 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


War is never going to change, that's why you don't do it unless you have to.

Q: How can you shoot women and children?
A: Easy! You just don't lead 'em so much. Ain't war hell?
posted by Justinian at 4:49 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is what happens when you make war a video game played by kids thousands of miles away in Las Vegas. These were just infrared images so they could see what they wanted to see. A warm spot on a seat becomes a rifle. They were just itching to shoot and looking for an excuse. It's Grand Theft Auto except with real human beings. This is pure evil.
posted by JackFlash at 4:54 PM on April 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


"But the high-tech wizardry would fail in its most elemental purpose: to tell the difference between friend and foe."

Only a poor craftsman blames his tools.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:55 PM on April 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


@Brandon - I would gladly participate in a deep, multi-faceted discussion, but I have literally no idea why we're in Afghanistan. And I'm not being facetious - I have no idea what "insurgents" we're killing, and how or why they're enemies of the U.S.. The explanations I've read for why we've had a huge force in Afghanistan for 10 years simply make no sense to me. Maybe there are some great reasons, but I've never heard anyone even make a case. And I'm not stupid, or kidding, or using a rhetorical strategy. Afghanistan seems to be generally considered, next to Iraq, a justified or justifiable war, but I just don't get it.
posted by facetious at 5:00 PM on April 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


A failed state in this region led to the mass murder of US civilians.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:08 PM on April 10, 2011


And I'm not stupid, or kidding, or using a rhetorical strategy. ...
posted by facetious ...


Eponysterical.

To say nothing of pretty incredible.
posted by Dasein at 5:08 PM on April 10, 2011


@ Dasein - let me repeat: I'm not stupid, or kidding, or using a rhetorical strategy.
posted by facetious at 5:09 PM on April 10, 2011


I thought the rationale for the US still being in Afghanistan was that the Taliban was still trying to take over again and the US were assisting in training the Afghan army.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:16 PM on April 10, 2011


facetious:

I think we're in Afghanistan because Al Qaeda was headquartered out of Afghanistan around the time of 9/11. Afghanistan's government, the Taliban, was actively supportive of Al Qaeda, and refused to do anything to prevent future Al Qaeda attacks, or to help bring the Al Qaeda members who perpetrated the attack to justice.

The U.N. imposed a series of sanctions on Afghanistan, agreeing in substance that Afghanistan under the Taliban was not a good thing. (Note that the U.N. never explicitly authorized the use of force in Afghanistan, though.) The U.S. determined (under former president Bush) that action against Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban was necessary in order to protect itself from future terrorist attacks.

We're still there for pretty much the same reason we're still in Iraq: we made a mess, and intend on trying to fix the mess we made. (By making more mess, it seems.)

This explanation was not intended to justify the U.S.'s continued presence in Afghanistan, or provide any sort of good reason for having done it, or to say that it was ever a good idea. I'm surprised you're not aware of these justifications, unless you were, in fact, trying to be facetious.
posted by jabberjaw at 5:25 PM on April 10, 2011


Rationale for Afghanistan the government is certainly not going to tell you, but it goes like this... Cant afford to have Al Qaida control Afghanistan, as their dominance would further destabilize the already precarious Pakistan. When/if Pakistan collapses, most likely nukes end up in the hands of people very eager to deploy them against western targets, (New York City likely being target number one) ... The government already has in place contingency plans for trying to neutralize this occurence, but the success would be sketchy indeed given how hard it is just to rescue a few hostages

You can debate as to whether this will occur, you can debate whether or not that justifies Afghanistan.... I am not advocating or defending either position, I am averring that is why the government is so engaged there. If you dont understand why that can not be openly communicated you may not have thought it all the way through to the end game.
posted by jcworth at 5:32 PM on April 10, 2011


facetious, let me repeat: I don't really believe you. I think you're deliberately conflating your belief that there's no good reason for the United States to be in Afghanistan with the proposition that you literally cannot understand why the United States has troops there. It's simply not possible for an intelligent person with access to the internet not to be able to discover why the United States has troops in Afghanistan.

When you say you have no idea who the insurgents are, well, I just don't think it's possible for you not to understand that the Taliban are the insurgents; not possible for you not to be able to discover the connection between the Taliban today and the Taliban who played host to Osama bin Laden; not possible that you can't discover that the Taliban's hosting of bin Laden gave him the opportunity to plan the September 11 attacks; not possible to see the obvious connection between those attacks and the continuing desire to deny al Qaeda safe haven in Afghanistan.

Well, it is possible, but only if you're either profoundly uninterested or kind of dumb, which I assume you are not. Rather, I assume you're being cute with your rhetoric. Hence, I don't believe you.
posted by Dasein at 5:34 PM on April 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


facetious:
The evil ones have roused a mighty nation, a mighty land. And for however long it takes, I am determined that we will prevail. And prevail we must, because we fight for one thing, and that is the freedom of our people, and the freedom of people everywhere.
--Bush, 11/11/01
The invasion of Afghanistan was just good, old fashioned bloodlust. Bush and the rest of his incompetent advisers managed to turn the tragedy of 3,000 lost souls into hundreds of thousands of lost souls and a bill that is now 300 million dollars per day. As a bonus, they further destabilized nuclear armed Pakistan and made the phrase "American justice" an oxymoron.

bin Laden is probably still alive. Al Qaeda is definitely still active. Terrorism still exists, as it always will. Just as happened in Iraq, we poured blood and money in, and received nothing in return. No one is better off after the war, except the for-profit war machines and a few politicians, and perhaps citizens in Kabul, until we abandon them again as we did in the 80s.
posted by notion at 5:35 PM on April 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Note that the U.N. never explicitly authorized the use of force in Afghanistan, though

UNSC Resolution 1386 authorizes the creation of the International Security Assistance Force and authorizes it to take "all necessary measures to fulfill its mandate" of protecting Kabul, later extended to the entire country.
posted by Adam_S at 5:47 PM on April 10, 2011


I'm sure we're only bombing bad guys in Libya, though.
posted by empath at 5:58 PM on April 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


there's no good reason for the United States to be in Afghanistan

It's getting beyond that point even, to where no matter what horrific act america does there is justified as 'war is hell', yet if you even attempt to call them on their shit, they freak out. I've lost count of how many army wives that blame all the bad on "bad liberal media", saying they know people who are there and they wouldn't do it. Stop blaming the media or leaks, and quit doing things that are making new enemies.

Should start by slashing the military budget by a huge amount until they get their shit together, but that will never happen.
posted by usagizero at 5:59 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's getting beyond that point even, to where no matter what horrific act america does there is justified as 'war is hell', yet if you even attempt to call them on their shit, they freak out.

War IS hell. If you're just quibbling over who and how the us kills in other countries, I'd suggest that you're fighting the wrong battle.
posted by empath at 6:01 PM on April 10, 2011


I think facetious is getting more stick than deserved. I know all the stated reasons for how our soldiers came to be in Afghanistan, but to me there's a more specific question - what are the conditions that would enable us to run up the "mission accomplished" flag and bring the troops back home? What is the specific goal? Are we to hang out there until all Taliban supporters have been exterminated? To me, the "Why are we there?" question is more "what is the test for mission completion" than "what is the history of this invasion". And here in the UK, at least, I don;t think that's ever been publicly stated.
posted by nowonmai at 6:26 PM on April 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Supporters would tell you the current goal would be to attain a situation in which the Afghan government can protect itself from any remaining Taliban.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:30 PM on April 10, 2011


@Dasein: hm. I'm actually starting to think you're right, to an extent. I want to argue (because it's true, for me) that there's a point beyond which incredulity fades into incomprehension - but underneath it all, yeah, a lot of what's going on in my mind is the feeling (that I'm sure I share with many conspiracy theorists) that there's such a mind-blowing disconnect between the publicly-stated premises and goals of the Afghanistan project and the actions we've taken to achieve those goals that I am *sure* that those premises and goals can't be real. So perhaps I'm closer to "whoa, I just cannot believe that's what we're trying to achieve, and how" than to "I don't (literally) comprehend the meaning of the words you're using to describe what we're trying to achieve." I can believe that many people believe that cutting spending will increase prosperity, even though I simultaneously believe that cutting spending is consistent with class warfare & other cynical strategies. In that case, I think there's a lot of room for reasonable, if fundamental, disagreement. Our approach to Afghanistan, though, seems to me to be, on its face, so wildly irrational, that my disagreement honestly verges on disbelief and/or incomprehension.

So in the final analysis, you're helping me to see that my saying I don't understand this is a way to unpaint myself from out of a corner of absolute cognitive dissonance.
posted by facetious at 6:35 PM on April 10, 2011


Try this facetious: A lot of the Afghanistan policy makes no damned sense and never has, we all know it. The thing is, it was justifiable as self defense. As much blood and money as it costs, it feels justified. America fights a lot of wars, it's a warlike nation, here is one where there is actually some rational justification, and a lot of the sacrifice will be maintained for a long time even when people tire of the Iraq bullshit.

Think on Iraq though, it had nothing to do with 9/11 and people still supported the war because of 9/11. With Afghanistan at least it makes a little sense.

Add on all the humanitarian stuff, abused woman and Buddha statues and Bacha bazi and opium and all the rest and you have a situation where even people who aren't warlike will stand for it. The humanitarian justification is catnip to get easily fooled liberals on board with a war.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:42 PM on April 10, 2011


JackFlash: "This is what happens when you make war a video game played by kids thousands of miles away in Las Vegas. These were just infrared images so they could see what they wanted to see. A warm spot on a seat becomes a rifle. They were just itching to shoot and looking for an excuse. It's Grand Theft Auto except with real human beings. This is pure evil."

You're trying to characterize them as disengaged psychopaths. Having read the transcript, I'm not really convinced they are.

What surprised me more than anything else was that the transcript was 76 pages long, and consisted mostly of debate about who was in the convoy, whether they were a threat that needed to be dealt with (carrying weapons) and speculation as to their motives, including why they were travelling at such an early hour.

Hindsight is 20/20. I think the soldiers convinced themselves in part because they wanted to be convinced the people they were watching were up to no good, and perhaps also because they didn't have some basic understand of the local culture and the Muslim religion (as yeloson said above.) The distance probably didn't help.

Part of the nature of warfare and being a soldier is a need to identify accurately whether someone who superficially appears to be innocent may be a danger and then act accordingly. If the surveillance team made the wrong decision, the people they support could have been endangered. So after several hours of consideration, they made a decision. It was the wrong one and civilians died.

I absolutely do not think they should be absolved of what they've done. But I have difficulty thinking of them as kill-happy gamers, either.
posted by zarq at 7:05 PM on April 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Western forces go to incredible lengths to avoid friendly fire incidents, but such is the fog of war that such incidents are always going to happen no matter what technological means or rules of engagement you employ. There was a saying in World War Two that 'when the Germans bomb, the British duck, when the British bomb, the Germans duck and when the Americans bomb everyone ducks' but in reality since American air power is doing the bulk of the work today, then most of these incidents will befall them.

The equation that such terrible incidents are evil, rather than accidental in nature, is often implied but never substantiated. There is all the difference in the world between our various foes targeting civilians for murder through suicide bombing and other means and the occasional tragic accident of this kind. The only way to avoid such events is to never go to war at all, which would have seen vastly more people suffering and dying at the hands of Saddam, Milosovic, Gaddafi or the Taliban.

Unfashionable though it is to say this on Metafilter, I'm glad we still have the will and the means to step in and help people in extremis. We saw what happens when the west stands aside and does nothing - Saddam's slaughter of the uprising against him in 1991, a decade of brutal Balkan warfare, the genocide in Rawanda. Intervention has its costs and its tragedies, but these are dwarfed by the toll of doing nothing.

Those who would invariably stand aside and wring their hands may always claim the moral high ground but it's those who fight to protect others from tyranny and genocide who hold it.
posted by joannemullen at 7:44 PM on April 10, 2011



Those who would invariably stand aside and wring their hands may always claim the moral high ground but it's those who fight to protect others from tyranny and genocide who hold it.


Unless, ya know, you drunkenly stumble into Iraq and kill a million people.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:46 PM on April 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I absolutely do not think they should be absolved of what they've done. But I have difficulty thinking of them as kill-happy gamers, either.

I don't blame them so much as the military that created these useful monsters. I have to wonder what kind of person can sit in an air conditioned office in their aeron chair gazing at a video screen and push a button to snuff out the lives of dozens of people in an instant.

It's the disconnection from war, people who have no faces, who are just IR smears on the screen, who are thousands of miles away that makes it so much easier to push that button in the presence of doubt. They aren't human. They aren't even living things.

As for the fog of war excuse, that's what always happens in a guerrilla war. You gradually transform your carefully trained soldiers into killers who hate everyone in the country because they can't tell friend from foe. When in doubt, shoot first and ask questions later because your own soldiers are more precious then the people you are supposed to be protecting. It is always a waste of good people and good soldiers.
posted by JackFlash at 8:35 PM on April 10, 2011


When/if Pakistan collapses, most likely nukes end up in the hands of people very eager to deploy them against western targets, (New York City likely being target number one).


I don't think Pakistan has missiles with that kind of range. There are other US interests much closer to Pakistan.
posted by vidur at 9:21 PM on April 10, 2011


I'm someone else who doesn't understand why the US army is in Afghanistan. I lived through all this - I was actually in New York on September 11th, 2001 - and I'm old enough to remember when it was the Soviets in Afghanistan. I consider myself politically aware and by Australian standards I'm politically conservative. I like the USA and have lots of relatives there. And I still don't understand why the US army is in Afghanistan.

Here's my summary of events, as best as I can make it out. What am I missing? In 2001 the USA was attacked by members of a group called al-Qaeda, which was led by Osama bin Laden. The USA came to believe that he was in Afghanistan, which was then ruled by a sort of clerical socialist group called the Taliban. The Taliban wouldn't cooperate in surrendering members of al Qaeda, so the USA invaded and established a sort of puppet government. The Taliban still exists as an insurgent movement and would presumably replace the Afghani government if the USA left.

Osama bin Laden has never been located (and he may well be dead) but lots of other al-Qaeda members have been caught or killed. I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that al-Qaeda was very big or well organised or that it's very hard for any random terrorist to claim to be a member. The USA is not actually fighting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan except incidentally: it's suppressing the insurgency that hosted Osama bin Laden.

So why are you guys there? Let's leave the humanitarian side of things alone; I'm sure there are better humanitarian missions. Militarily and tactically, what do you hope to achieve? If there was an al-Qaeda to catch, you'd have caught it. You're not going to get rid of the Taliban. So ... why are you there, again?
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:12 PM on April 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


You're not going to get rid of the Taliban. So ... why are you there, again?

To get rid of the Taliban or weaken them to the point where an independent Afghan government can handle it, there is apparently some disagreement on the unable to get rid of them thing.

I also think "wouldn't cooperate in surrendering" is understating the level of support the Taliban was giving them a little bit.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:19 PM on April 10, 2011


So why are you guys there?

You know our guys are there too, right?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:40 PM on April 10, 2011


Our guys are there because their guys are there. The only real question is why their guys are there.
posted by GeckoDundee at 11:43 PM on April 10, 2011


They gave each survivor 140,000 afghanis, or about $2,900.
Families of the dead received $4,800.
Mistakes were made, but they were cheap.
posted by fredludd at 11:52 PM on April 10, 2011


clerical socialist group called the Taliban

Socialist?
posted by srboisvert at 2:13 AM on April 11, 2011


The conflation of gaming and piloting these drones is not helped by the use of what are effectively unbranded Xbox controllers to fly some of them (Video advert for UK army recruitment).
posted by multivalent at 3:01 AM on April 11, 2011


I'm glad we still have the will and the means to step in and help people in extremis. We saw what happens when the west stands aside and does nothing -[...] Intervention has its costs and its tragedies, but these are dwarfed by the toll of doing nothing.


How's that Karzai dude tunring out for you then?
posted by wilful at 4:14 AM on April 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know you can justify anything. That doesn't make it right or moral, and our adventure in Afghanistan is neither.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:17 AM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


What the fuck is the reason for the US to still be in Afghanistan.
Don't you know anything about the culture of the area. It's not Kansas.
The Taliban however unsavory they might be did not fly airplanes into buildings in New York. The people who did that were mainly Saudi Arabian. The Taliban gave shelter to the leader of the Saudi Arabian wahabist crazies. The US refused the Taliban offer to give up said leader.
Many of the Pakistan ISI (the deep state of Pakistan) are Taliban sympathizers. The Pakistan military is financed by the US government. The US then decided to ignore Afghanistan and invade Iraq instead.
So tell me please why are the US is Afghanistan. Could it be anything to do with money and the Imperial War Machine?
posted by adamvasco at 6:49 AM on April 11, 2011


What the fuck is the reason for the US to still be in Afghanistan.

Didn't you read all of the well reasoned and properly vetted justifications posted above? I think you need to calm down and just support the troops. Seriously, though, I would again go through all of the reasons why the above justifications are fucked and dreg for talking heads to spew on corporate media outlets, but it wouldn't accomplish anything besides pissing off a bunch of people and not changing any minds.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:42 AM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


They aren't my troops. Mind you neither I, nor my elected representative voted for them to be there either, so I guess we all have that in common.
How much are you paying in taxes for war this year?
posted by adamvasco at 8:28 AM on April 11, 2011


We are also still in Afghanistan because the Karzai government is wildly corrupt, and will be run out of Kabul (the only part of the country they actually control) on flaming rails the very second Afghans no longer have American guns trained on them. We toppled the Taliban, yes, but then we propped up a semi-compliant kleptocracy in its place. We'll be there, continuing to prop up our chosen thieves, until we run out of money and have to leave in defeat. The only real question is how much American wealth will be transferred to war profiteers before that defeat is declared.
posted by rusty at 8:49 AM on April 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Darpa’s Hologram Goggles Will Unleash Drone Hell
posted by homunculus at 8:59 AM on April 11, 2011


The US refused the Taliban offer to give up said leader.

The Taliban offered to give up Bin Laden several times with lots of unrealistic preconditions, reneged on promises to hand him over to Saudi Arabia and offered to try him in Afghanistan only after the US was preparing to invade, which leads me to believe that they weren't really that serious about giving him up.
posted by electroboy at 11:44 AM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have nothing to add to this conversation but I'm glad the military has started to take multiple pages, entire chapters even, from Greg Mortenson in dealing with Afghanistan.

I only wish they'd take a lot more. There's no reason this incident, or any like it, should happen.
posted by zizzle at 12:11 PM on April 11, 2011


The Taliban offered to give up Bin Laden several times with lots of unrealistic preconditions, reneged on promises to hand him over to Saudi Arabia and offered to try him in Afghanistan only after the US was preparing to invade, which leads me to believe that they weren't really that serious about giving him up.

Or he's dead, or the US was talking to some guy who had no idea where Osama bin Laden was, just like the last time this happened.

Also, when you say they "offered to try him in Afghanistan only after the US was preparing to invade" - what? You mean they had knuckled under, agreed to drag him out of whatever cave he was lurking in, and the USA was all "It's too late now! We've made all our plans! We're going to invade anyway!" Is your country a teenager or something? You've been occupying Afghanistan for nearly a decade at the costs of tens of thousands of lives and zillions of dollars because people would have been disappointed if you'd won without actually fighting?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:33 PM on April 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


The rejection came in a statement by Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan. Asked whether the Taliban would hand over bin Laden, Zaeef said, "No." But his translator said, "No, not without evidence."

It's unclear to me if there was ever any real offer before the war, does anyone have some good links on that I could look at?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:49 PM on April 11, 2011


Also, when you say they "offered to try him in Afghanistan only after the US was preparing to invade" - what?

Really? That sounds like a credible offer to you? They either couldn't or wouldn't deliver him and were just stalling.
posted by electroboy at 4:43 PM on April 11, 2011


Really? That sounds like a credible offer to you? They either couldn't or wouldn't deliver him and were just stalling.

Oh, I agree. But in the worst-case scenario you could have invaded anyway, six months later, and although you still wouldn't have captured Osama bin Laden and you wouldn't have dismantled al-Qaeda or stabilised Afghanistan you'd have saved yourselves six months' worth of casualties plus however many billions of dollars you spent during that time.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:22 PM on April 11, 2011


In what world does it make sense to give your opponent six months to either prepare for invasion or flee the country? Not to mention the billions of dollars it costs to maintain your invasion force while you continue to negotiate with someone who's clearly negotiating in bad faith.
posted by electroboy at 6:11 AM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


In what world does it make sense to give your opponent six months to either prepare for invasion or flee the country?

I'm sorry. Would this have made your invasion of Afghanistan less successful? Would it have prevented you accomplishing your goals there? Because looking at your position today, which really could not be worse, I rather think that those six months would at least have saved some lives.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:45 PM on April 12, 2011


Yes and yes. More Americans would've likely been killed and fewer Al Qaeda.

Because looking at your position today, which really could not be worse

By what metric?
posted by electroboy at 2:16 PM on April 12, 2011


Your army is tied up in a country on the ass-end of nowhere, firing $50,000 missiles at goatherds and blowing up wedding receptions. You have no concrete goals, no expectations, no reasonable criteria for determining that your time there is done. Your soldiers - some of them - are murdering civilians and collecting body parts. I think it's safe to presume that we didn't happen to find out about the only soldiers committing war crimes. Other soldiers are coming home as cripples, blown up by bombs laid by people who would never have had any desire or ability to attack a US citizen. It is highly probable that you are chasing a ghost, and in any event the cost of the exercise would have been enough to give every Afghani family $100,000.(*) Your country now employ assassins, mercenaries, and jailors who torture their prisoners. You have established prisons overseas for the sole purpose of denying constitutional rights to your captives.

Honestly, you guys are killing yourselves - you're pouring away your money and your international standing and even your self-respect. And as I say above, you don't even know why you're doing it.

(*) Yes, I did the maths.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:18 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joe, I think you're missing the point that the $50,000 missiles etc is not money that it being poured away; it is money that has been transferred from the taxpayer to Raytheon or some other defense contractor. I think this is probably seen by the architects of this war less as a waste of money and more as the whole point of the exercise.
I can only agree with the rest of your summary, and remain frustrated that I don't feel I've been told clearly what the goal is - because all of this is being done in my name (British citizen, US taxpayer) and I think the price we're paying is too high.
posted by nowonmai at 2:34 AM on April 13, 2011


And as I say above, you don't even know why you're doing it.

That's been pretty well covered in this thread, and I don't really need to repeat it. I can only assume you're being willfully obtuse about it.

As for the rest of your list, I assume you have an example of modern warfare that doesn't include these things?
posted by electroboy at 6:17 AM on April 13, 2011


Perhaps I am obtuse. Why don't you break it down for me by finishing these sentences for me:
  1. The US Army will leave Afghanistan when ...
  2. I expect this to happen within ...
N.B. "When Hell freezes over" is not an acceptable answer to the first question.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:50 AM on April 13, 2011


1. When security services can be transitioned to Afghani control.
2. 2014.

Did you come up with a model example of modern warfare that doesn't have civilian and military casualties, involve spending lots of money or doesn't take place "in the ass-end of nowhere"?
posted by electroboy at 7:14 AM on April 13, 2011


electroboy I don't hold with the reasoning by jcworth, jabberjaw and dasein, above who all tried to slough off the question by facetious. Afghanistan is in a civil war with or without US involvement. The present totally corrupt government is propped up by the USA.
Pakistan's bomb was partly financed by USA to counterbalance the rise of Chinese influence in India. 9/11 had a very long timeline going all the way back back to1976 with BCCI and the CIA. The present US involvement seems to be a way to keep the Military Industrial complex running out of site and out of mind of the majority of middle America. A few pictures of coffins on the tarmac and decent mass media reporting would work wonders.
posted by adamvasco at 7:18 AM on April 13, 2011


1: When the Afghani government is sufficiently stable and the threat to Pakistan (and the nuclear weapons that Pakistan has) has been nullified.
2: When hell freezes over ;)
posted by longbaugh at 9:55 AM on April 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


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