The Afghan war has gone really badly, of course, and better than what they had isn’t a tall order. In addition to the computer upgrades they’re getting, US Army forces are also being given pocket-sized drones to deploy for the first time. The drones are to allow the Pentagon to say these things have been tested in war conditions, for their funding going forward and use in America’s presumptive future wars.
Translation: The United States has decided to scrap their pullout plans once again, leaving thousands of occupying troops behind through the end of President Trump’s first term in office. The silly argument by those in favor of increasing the American troops in place – amid the dodgy peace talks – is largely the same throughout the war, that the Afghan government isn’t capable of beating the Taliban on their own, and that a US pullout would add pressure to that struggling military.
Conceivably, American troops may end up being there for many decades because this is where the action and the ‘proving ground, is. What’s more, newly minted US generals say they need more troops. In this fallacy, their call for a bigger deployment has forced Trump to consider different options while Republicans have lambasted him for letting political motivations – his campaign promises to end the war – override the needs of commanders.
The Pentagon insists Trump’s failure to promptly back their surge could dishonor America, while corporate media say no matter what the president wants, it will be very hard to stop the army generals. And that’s exactly what Trump, mired in proverbial perplexity, is not doing right now: In Washington, the Pentagon and the warmongers have the final say. Not that Trump doesn’t like it!
“Avoiding another Vietnam,” says this school of thought, “requires a figurehead government – one that delegates all military decision-making power to generals and effectively strips it from elected civilians who will supposedly be too politically motivated.” This authoritarian ideology explains not only the spiteful reaction to Trump’s Afghanistan deliberations but also some of the most anti-democratic statements ever uttered by American leaders.
It explains, for instance, assertions that “public opinion doesn’t matter when it comes to military policy.” Nevertheless, it is the US Constitution which gives political figures in Washington the final say: Article I empowers Congress “to declare and finance wars,” and Article II states that “while the White House may require the opinion of military officers, ultimately the President shall be Commander in Chief.”
In this new world order geopolitical business, Trump and congressional leaders have however decided to defy public will – and international law – by making the terrible choice to prolong the Afghanistan war. This is while the illegal occupation has reached its sell-by date.
A majority of Americans now tell presidential candidates the mission was a mistake and must end. Regrettably, the generals who run wars, and the defense contractors who profit from them, want more troops and more war in Afghanistan. And that includes many presidential candidates.
From experience, the prolonged war and the military upgrade will only ensure more violence, attract more armed opposition, and postpone the day of reckoning among political factions in Afghanistan. It will never have a ghost of a chance of success.
Right on cue, the American people should wisely turn against such a destructive wave that will once again cost America too many lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. The American people have the power to stop this madness and folly they know is irresponsible, inconclusive and unpopular. It falls to them to demand an exit strategy and not an escalation. They could start doing so by electing a pacifist president – if there’s any – this time around.