Home / Politics / Saturday open thread for night owls: Afghanistan—a war of ultimate repetitiousness

Saturday open thread for night owls: Afghanistan—a war of ultimate repetitiousness

Members of the U.S. Army Aviation Reaction Force, Task Force Brawler run out of a CH-47 Chinook on the flightline at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Feb. 22, 2018. The Soldiers worked with U.S. Air Force pararescuemen, assigned to the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, to conduct integration and medical training. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook)

Members of the U.S. Army Aviation Reaction Force, Task Force Brawler disembark from a CH-47 Chinook at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, this past February.

Tom Engelhardt at TomDispatch and The Nation writes about Afghanistan—The War Piece to End All War Pieces:

Fair warning. Stop reading right now if you want, because I’m going to repeat myself. What choice do I have, since my subject is the Afghan War (America’s second Afghan War, no less)? I began writing about that war in October 2001, almost 17 years ago, just after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. That was how I inadvertently launched the unnamed listserv that would, a year later, become TomDispatch. Given the website’s continuing focus on America’s forever wars (a phrase I first used in 2010), what choice have I had but to write about Afghanistan ever since?

So think of this as the war piece to end all war pieces. And let the repetition begin!

night owls

Here, for instance, is what I wrote about our Afghan War in 2008, almost seven years after it began, when the U.S. Air Force took out a bridal party, including the bride herself and at least 26 other women and children en route to an Afghan wedding. And that would be just one of eight U.S. wedding strikes I toted up by the end of 2013 in three countries, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen, that killed almost 300 potential revelers. “We have become a nation of wedding crashers,” I wrote, “the uninvited guests who arrived under false pretenses, tore up the place, offered nary an apology, and refused to go home.”

Here’s what I wrote about Afghanistan in 2009, while considering the metrics of “a war gone to hell”: “While Americans argue feverishly and angrily over what kind of money, if any, to put into health care, or decaying infrastructure, or other key places of need, until recently just about no one in the mainstream raised a peep about the fact that, for nearly eight years (not to say much of the last three decades), we’ve been pouring billions of dollars, American military know-how, and American lives into a black hole in Afghanistan that is, at least in significant part, of our own creation.” […]

And here’s what I wrote last year thinking about the nature of our never-ending war there: “Right now, Washington is whistling past the graveyard. In Afghanistan and Pakistan the question is no longer whether the U.S. is in command, but whether it can get out in time. If not, the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the Indians, who exactly will ride to our rescue? Perhaps it would be more prudent to stop hanging out in graveyards. They are, after all, meant for burials, not resurrections.” […]

And just in case you’re paying no attention at all to the news from Afghanistan these days, rest assured that you don’t have to. You already know it!

To offer just a few examples, the New York Times recently revealed a new Trump administration plan to get U.S.-backed Afghan troops to withdraw from parts of the countryside, ceding yet more territory to the Taliban, to better guard the nation’s cities. Here was the headline used: “Newest U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan Mirrors Past Plans for Retreat.” (“The withdrawal resembles strategies embraced by both the Bush and Obama administrations that have started and stuttered over the nearly 17-year war.”) And that generally is about as new as it gets when it comes to Afghan news in 2018.

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QUOTATION

“America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father’s congregation. For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine.

“Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.

”Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song.”
         
~~President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama

TWEET OF THE DAY

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2008Republican House Members Love DC:

It seems like Republican House members have decided that they’ll have a better chance at reelection if they don’t remind voters back home of their existence. We’ve seen it during this August recess while they flocked to the floor to play at being Congressmembers over drilling instead of hanging out in their districts having to deal with real constituents and real issues.

Now they’ve announced that they want to stay in DC all fall if that’s what it will take to get a drilling bill through. 

House Republicans said Monday they would refuse to consider any energy bill that came straight to the floor from the Democratic leadership’s offices, rather than working its way through committee markups — a process that can take weeks or months.

Granted, there’s safety in numbers, and they like each other better than anybody else–particularly their constituents — like them. But this would suggest they really are afraid of voters.

It also suggests that any need to find “compromise” with them on the part of House Democratic leadership is bullshit.


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