Cod’s on the menu (finally)

Nine months ago, it resulted in a two-star getting fired.  After the media learned we’re spending nearly $100 million on an Afghan National Army Headquarters in Kabul, it’s a battle cry: 

“Cod’s on the menu.”

It was a good idea then and it is a good idea now–you just can’t keep a good idea down.

Perhaps it was just MGen Fuller’s politically incorrect way of saying “Afghan Good Enough” (we are indeed a more sensitive military now).  While still yet unable to employ the impactful brevity of a two-star, COL Andrew Backus, Director of Engineering for NTM-A, was able to construct the right combination of words to sell the concept to the Washingon Post:

“What we’re going to do is finish the project with strict change control and turn it over to the Afghans. And if they want to change it, then they can change it.”

While it may not change the “19 true things generals can’t say in public about the Afghan war,” it does provide hope that a good idea has a chance in Afghanistan–even if the Afghans don’t like it.

Breaking news: Afghan plan incoherent!

Our entire policy in Afghanistan has been inconsistent since the first troops were relieved.  Each replacement unit has attempted to recreate established plans and objectives to satisfy what they thought was the “right” way.  For starters, sample here, here, here, herehere, here, here, here, herehereherehere, and here.  

“The last guy’s great idea wasn’t as good as my new great idea.”  That’s been the only consistent policy every year for the past 11 years.  As other’s have said, “We haven’t been in Afghanistan for 11 years, we’ve just completed 11 one-year deployments.”

So, over the coming years, expect to see a plethora of news articles, like the Wall Street Journal’s “Parting Gift for Afghans: A Military McMansion,” exposing waste in the wasteland of Afghanistan (check-out Firewood grows on trees if you think the “Afghan-right” solution is a panacea).

Whenever the killing of terrorists in Afghanistan was abandoned as the primary (and only objective), the waste began.  Make no mistake, any so-called “investment” in Afghanistan is a waste.  Building any modern security force, government, or infrastructure is doomed to failure for all of the reasons stated in the WSJ article–and then some.

But the ignorance of those commenting on the article is disarming.  While the overall total spent on the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) is significantly higher, thinking the +/-$12 Billion spent on facilities would somehow alleviate our domestic spending problem is insane. 

REALITY  CHECK:  If we never spent a dime on infrastructure for the ANSF, it would pay-off 25.9 HOURS’ worth of the 2012 year-to-date U.S. budget deficit ($845 Billion as reported by The Hill)!

While we should leave Afghanistan lock, stock, and barrel (except for perhaps some special forces), leaving is hardly a panacea for our spending problem and it will hardly be a cure for the politically-driven agenda that has become the United States’ Afghanistan policy.

Well, at least we’ll get an “A” for effort.  That and another $16 Trillion will pay-off our spending problem.

Afghan Air Force growing financially independent

ISAF probably didn’t have this in mind when they established the goal to make the Afghan National Army, or Afghan Air Force, independent and self-sustaining: Afghan Air Force Probed in Drug RunningA complete story (if you don’t have a WSJ account) is at ABC News and elsewhere.

In addition to the donkey-borne IEDs, we now have flying drug mules–who said Afghans weren’t able to adapt and modernize?  It’s good to see that taxpayer dollars are finally going to something that will be endure in Afghanistan.

This puts Joint Ceremonies and operations in a whole new light.

Capitalism Akbar

One treatment for MAJ Hassan and completely different treatment for SSGT Bales.  Not sure if this is the original author or not, but worthy of reposting.  From Capitalism Akbar:

Islam and Liberal Relativism: A LOUSY LOPSIDED Double Standard!!

After reading the headlines about the US soldier who shot up Afghanistan civilians, I couldn’t help noticing an irony. There is all this clamor to quickly bring this guy to trial and execute him, never mind his having suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Yet this Major Hasan, who shot up Fort Hood while screaming Allah akbar, still hasn’t stood trial, and they are still debating whether he was insane, even with the clear evidence regarding his motive: slay as many infidels as possible.

So we have a guy in a war zone who cracks, and he must be executed immediately. But this Muslim psychiatrist who was stateside in a nice safe office all day murders 13, wounds 29 of our own guys, and they try to argue the poor lad suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome, from listening to real soldiers who had actual battle experience.

Two and a half years later, they still haven’t tried the murderous terrorist.

What a double standard.

Did the USSR win their war in Afghanistan?

As documented in Lester Grau’s paper, Breaking Contact Without Leaving Chaos:  The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Soviet Union exodus from Afghanistan was orderly, on their own terms, and left institutions that were expected to endure (which they did for several years with Soviet financial support).

A recent Pravda op-ed goes so far as to state that the USSR may have even won their war in the article Did the USSR win the war in Afghanistan?

When the funding dried-up with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, it didn’t take long for the stability to leave and the Afghanistan was soon engulfed in a civil war.  So much for the lasting institutions created by the USSR.

But the Pravda article uses the U.S. war in Vietnam as it’s benchmark.  But even that comparison may be premature–judging by the tourist trade in Vietnam, we clearly must have won that war. 

The Soviet war in Afghanistan by the same measure?  Not so much.

Questioning the reliability of Afghans

President Obama issued an apology and is amazed that the violence in Afghanistan against U.S. and the coalition didn’t suddenly stop (By the way, why are we apologizing for destroying something the enemy is using to pass inflammatory, if not coordinating, information against us?). 

The GIRoA Ministry of Interior is conducting an investigation into the most recent killings perpetrated by ANSF personnel against coalition forces.  No doubt that’ll shed light on the situation.

ISAF leadership repeatedly asserts that infiltration and/or impersonations of Afghan Security Forces is not a problem even while “Green on Blue” violence increases. 

Now Fox News has stumbled onto something “new:” New violence stokes questions about reliability of Afghan partners in war.  For NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A), it is no big stretch to say that ANSF forces are the number one cause of death yet only now we are beginning to wonder if the Afghans are reliable.

Last year, an Afghan airman opened up an killed nine–and the Afghan Air Force is supposed to be among the most affluent groups in the ANSF.  Recently, the French suffered several dead due to the Afghans security forces. Short of an exhaustive search, it is safe to say these are fairly regular events.  Unfortunately, they have been treated as isolated and unrelated events and regarded as irregular which, coincidently, helps to preserve the illusion of progress.

Can there be any conclusion other than to question the reliability of the forces we’ve poured billions into over the last decade?  Maybe the solution is just to spill more blood and treasure.

AAF re-writing the laws of physics

All those years studying weight, lift, drag, and thrust and only now do I learn that what is needed to fly I knew all along.  According to a recent NTM-A blog, English makes flying possible.  So the stick-and-rudder skills aren’t as important after all.

The Soviets just taught the Afghans to fly using their native language as opposed to the international language of flying.  Not only was it easier, faster, and more cost-effective, it undoubtedly cut down on the number of defectors.

Back in the world constrained by gravity, Afghan ground crews are being trained how to repair and maintain the aircraft before they become lawn-darts:  Kandahar Airfield begins teaching its first maintenance fundamentals course

Lesson Number One:  Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.