Afghan war forever?

This video list from the USA is called Rethink Afghanistan.

While campaigning to become president of the USA, then Senator Barack Obama promised to close down the Guantanamo Bay torture camp really soon. It is still open.

Obama promised to end the Iraq war. Is it really finished? That is very very doubtful.

He promised to continue George W. Bush’s war in Afghanistan; however, with a deadline.

However, what is that deadline really worth?

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

US to spend $1.3 billion on Afghanistan bases

24 August 2010

The Pentagon is embarking on a major base construction effort in Afghanistan even as Obama administration and military officials are making it clear that the US “surge” will last well past the July 11 deadline for beginning a drawdown of US troops.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the US Congress is preparing to pass legislation providing “$1.3 billion in additional fiscal 2011 funds for multiyear construction of military facilities in Afghanistan”. These funds would cover, in part, $100 million expansions for each of three major US air bases in different parts of the country.

These projects, the Post stated, are indicative of plans “to support increased US military operations well into the future.”

A notice seeking contractor bids placed on a US government web site last week maps out plans for the expansion of one of these US bases in Shindand, an airfield in western Afghanistan that had been used by the Soviet Army during its occupation of Afghanistan more than two decades ago.

Wikipedia used to write about Shindand:

Once the largest Afghan Air Force base, it is now used by the ISAF [NATO] for humanitarian and medical flights.

That really sounds a bit too good to be true. UPDATE March 2015: that ‘humanitarian and medical’ propaganda sentence has by now been deleted from that Wikipedia entry.

Bill Van Auken continues:

The project is to include new runways, hangars, barracks, storage areas, a “weapons arming area” and other facilities. They are being built to accommodate the Special Operations troops used by Washington to carry out “targeted killings,” i.e., assassinations, which have become a key component of the US war. They will also house a unit operating pilotless drone aircraft for purposes of “Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance” as well as missile attacks.

The request for bids states that the contract will not be issued until January of next year and that the job itself will not be completed until at least a full year after that, i.e., January 2012, six months after the deadline set by President Barack Obama for the beginning of the drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan.

The House of Representatives and the Senate Appropriations Committee have already approved the $1.3 billion base construction package, which is awaiting only a vote by the full Senate.

The principle of civilian control forms the foundation of the American system of civil-military relations, offering assurance that the nation’s very powerful armed forces and its very influential officer corps pose no danger to our democracy. That’s the theory at least, the one that gets printed in civics books and peddled to the plain folk out in Peoria. Reality turns out to be considerably more complicated. In practice, civilian control – expectations that the brass, having rendered advice, will then loyally execute whatever decision the commander-in-chief makes – is at best a useful fiction: here.

Total foreign military deaths in Afghanistan have passed 2,000 since the war began in late 2001, unofficial tallies showed on Sunday, in the approach to U.S. and Afghan elections and a U.S. strategy review: here.

President Barack Obama will keep 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017, according to senior administration officials, casting aside his promise to end the war on his watch and instead ensuring he hands the conflict off to his successor: here.

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  9. Friday 5th February 2016

    posted by Morning Star in World

    by Our Foreign Desk

    The US commander in Afghanistan has hinted that the Nato occupation of the country will last another eight years.

    General John Campbell told the Senate armed services committee on Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s proposal to cut troop levels would leave too few personnel to train Afghan security forces.

    When pressed, he stated that those forces could not operate independently until 2024.

    Mr Obama originally wanted to reduce the US contingent from 9,800 to 5,500 by the end of last year, then down to 1,000 by the end of this year with the aim of ending the occupation before he leaves office in 2017.

    But he backtracked on that pledge last October, pushing back the reduction to 5,500 to some time towards the end of 2016.

    Republican senators backed Gen Campbell’s assessment on Wednesday.

    “Fifty-five hundred militarily will not allow you to do what you need to do,” said committee member Lindsey Graham, a senator for South Carolina. “It puts the whole mission at risk.”

    North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis said a reduction would do more than undercut the training mission.

    “We’re missing an enormous opportunity to continue to stabilise the region, but also to … gain intelligence against people who are planning attacks,” he said. “I think we’re at the low-water mark where we are today.”

    A recent analysis in US magazine Foreign Policy found that the Taliban now controls more territory than at any time since the 2001 US-led invasion.

    During a House of Representatives hearing on Tuesday, California Congresswoman Jackie Speier asked whether US citizens should accept that their country’s forces would be in Afghanistan permanently, as they are in South Korea.

    Gen Campbell countered that the US presence in Afghanistan was far smaller than that in South Korea.

    But he envisaged Afghanistan’s army fighting a proxy war against US enemies for “the rest of our lives.

    “We have to do everything we can to build up capability for countries, like Afghanistan, to help us in that fight,” he said. “And they want to do that.”,-says-general#.VrSwiVLa44A


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