Despite pledging on numerous occasions that the U.S. government’s occupation of Afghanistan would end in 2014 with the withdrawal of American forces, the Obama administration is now finalizing a controversial scheme to potentially keep tens of thousands of soldiers and an undisclosed number of mercenaries there for a decade or more. Critics, even among supporters of the president, are expressing outrage about the revelations.
Of course, the scandal-plagued, Western-backed regime in Kabul would have to give its “consent” to the “bilateral” plot, but analysts say it has little choice other than to agree — absent U.S. military support, President Hamid Karzai’s government would almost certainly implode. Some experts cited in media reports said that to keep the ruling Afghan regime in power and the increasingly powerful Taliban at bay would actually require possibly as many as 30,000 American troops.
"The negotiations we just started today will be about the quantity, quality and the condition of the presence of American forces in Afghanistan after 2014," the Afghan regime’s ambassador to the U.S. government, Eklil Hakimi, told reporters recently after a meeting with James Warlick, Obama’s deputy “czar” for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Warlick echoed those remarks, saying the agreement would provide purported “legal authorities” for the U.S. government’s operations in the troubled nation known to history buffs as the “graveyard of empires.”
Unnamed Afghan officials claimed in statements to reporters that Karzai would back the arrangement only if Obama forced U.S. soldiers to submit to the regime’s jurisdiction. Iraq’s embattled new rulers, installed by Western powers in the wake of the U.S. government-led invasion and occupation, made similar demands. Even though Obama was willing to break his campaign pledge to withdraw American forces, the Iraqi conditions reportedly played a role in advancing the eventual American withdrawal.
In Afghanistan, Nobel Peace Prize-winning Obama oversaw the so-called “surge” strategy, widely viewed by analysts and experts as a miserable failure. From over 100,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan after the president’s surge, the number is now at about 65,000. Earlier this month, press reports claimed Obama could seek to keep some 20,000 soldiers there after the official “withdrawal” date. More recently, though, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, citing anonymous senior officials, outlined plans that put the figure closer to 10,000.
However, the growing wave of deadly attacks against U.S. troops by Afghan “security” forces, which American taxpayers spent over $50 billion to arm and train, has led to increasingly vocal calls for an immediate and complete U.S. withdrawal. The lack of any real goals, progress, or constitutional legitimacy for the occupation have also been cited by critics as reasons to end the war now — not to mention the fact that the Obama administration seemingly cannot decide whether the Taliban or even al-Qaeda are friends or foes.
In recent years, for example, the U.S. government admittedly armed, financed, and trained self-styled al-Qaeda leaders to wage “revolution” in Libya and Syria. Of course the terror network itself was largely the product of U.S. government initiatives in Afghanistan decades ago. Separately, in a 2010 speech, Obama announced that the U.S. government had waged the Afghan war incorrectly from the start, and that the Taliban would eventually be welcomed into the fold.
Despite plummeting public support for the war — three-fourths of Americans want out, and the troops are sick of it too — as well as the increasing cost in terms of dollars and lives, the administration and the foreign policy establishment appear absolutely determined to keep as many American troops as possible in Afghanistan for as long a time frame as they can get away with. Consider that Gen. Joe Dunford, Obama’s nominee to replace top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen, has been among the most ardent supporters of continuing the war beyond 2014 as part of the overall terror war.
“To accomplish this objective, the primary missions of the U.S. military in Afghanistan should be to (1) train, advise, and assist the [Afghan National Security Forces]; (2) provide support to civilian agencies, and (3) conduct counter-terrorism operations,” Gen. Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee in mid-November. “This mission set will include force protection for our brave young men and women and, as available, the provision of in extremis support for our Afghan forces.”
In another example of the administration’s complete disregard for the U.S. Constitution, however, Congress, which never declared war, will apparently play no role in the “agreements” made between Obama and the regime in Kabul. "At the appropriate time, the president will make decisions about the future scope and size of our presence in Afghanistan based on what is in our national interest and in coordination with our Afghan and [NATO] partners," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little was quoted as saying.
Throughout the most recent presidential campaign, Obama and Biden both forcefully touted the supposed U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014. “We are leaving in 2014, period,” Vice President Joe Biden claimed falsely during the vice presidential debate. However, after securing victory in the election, the administration promptly backed away from the false hope it offered to millions of war-weary voters.
White House spokesman Jay Carney, in typical Orwellian fashion, admitted over the weekend that the president would be evaluating proposals from the Pentagon on “what we might negotiate with the Afghan government on a future presence in Afghanistan, after we fulfill our commitment and NATO’s commitment to end the war in Afghanistan in 2014.” He then proceeded to describe the supposed mission after 2014: wage the terror war and train Afghan forces, which sounds suspiciously like the vaguely outlined current “mission.”
Unsurprisingly, the shadowy but immensely powerful global government-promoting Council on Foreign Relations also hopes to keep U.S. forces in Afghanistan for as long as possible. “This is a very dangerous situation to leave behind, which could potentially … lead to the overthrow” of the Western-backed Karzai regime, CFR Senior Fellow Max Boot told the House Armed Services Committee this summer.
The advocate of more war in Afghanistan further claimed that establishing “security” there would be “difficult enough to do with even 68,000 troops;” about the number currently deployed. Substantially less than that, Boot claimed to “fear,” could make it “impossible,” so no troops whatsoever should be withdrawn next year despite the administration’s promise to pull out over the coming years leading up to 2014.
Aside from U.S. troops, recent reports also indicate that the Obama administration is plotting to keep legions of mercenaries in Afghanistan supposedly to wage a war on drugs, among other tasks. The Pentagon is already soliciting even more services from private military companies on contracts that extend well beyond the bogus 2014 U.S. “withdrawal” date. Unsurprisingly, contractors such as the firm formerly known as Blackwater are expected to keep raking in billions in taxpayer funds.
On Capitol Hill, not that the administration cares, opinion seems to be divided. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), widely viewed as a “RINO,” for example, suggested last year that the U.S. government should consider a permanent military presence in Afghanistan complete with American bases — a scheme advocated by some top Obama officials, too. But more recently, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), also a supporter of wide-scale, unconstitutional foreign interventionism, proposed the consideration of an accelerated withdrawal before 2014.
Of course, it is hard to even determine what is really going on in Afghanistan. “Our current military leadership is so distorting the information it releases that the deterioration of the situation and the failing nature of our efforts is shielded from the American public (and Congress), and replaced instead with explicit statements that all is going according to plan,” explained Lt. Col. Daniel Davis last year, adding that the reality he witnessed in Afghanistan “bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.”
While the administration may hope to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan until 2024 or even permanently — it is not the first time top officials have proposed such schemes — the government’s financial situation may actually force it to come home in the not-too-distant future. As lawmakers and analysts have pointed out, Washington, D.C., is essentially bankrupt already, and the communist dictatorship ruling mainland China is basically funding the war by continuing to buy U.S. Treasury bonds.
If the Obama administration will not be constrained by the limits in the Constitution, perhaps financial reality will finally put the brakes on America’s longest-running war once and for all. Critics of the lawless occupation say that, notwithstanding other potentially disastrous consequences stemming from U.S. national bankruptcy, Americans and Afghans will both be better off when the unconstitutional atrocities in central Asia and beyond finally end.
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at
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