With all the talk and focus on the "war" in Iraq, you almost never hear stories or discussion about the military actions happening in Afghanistan. It reminds me of the Katrina aftermath - all the discussion was about New Orleans and Biloxi got short shrift despite the heavy destruction they endured.
Sure there have been "only" 734 miitary deaths so far
, compared to the 3000+ in Iraq. But this war is now in it's 6th year. What have we gotten for all of the time and money and blood, toil, tears, and sweat invested there?
Apparently, not enough. Sec. Def. Robert Gates is asking for more troops
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates Tuesday called on NATO allies to fill shortfalls of troops, equipment and resources in Afghanistan, warning of rising violence and the emergence of a classic insurgency...
Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said violence has increased, particularly in southern Afghanistan, since a NATO-led force assumed responsibility for security throughout the country in October 2006. Mullen said levels of violence nationwide were up 27 percent over last year, and that in the southern Helmand province the increase was 60 percent. The admiral described the developments as "a classic insurgency" that required "a well coordinated counter-insurgency strategy."
[Like the counter-insurgency strategy that's working so well in Iraq? ]
"And while I applaud NATO for stepping up to the plate, the ISAF is plagued by shortfalls in capability and capacity, and constrained by a host of caveats that limits its ability," he said. Mullen was referring to the 40,000-strong, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force...
Perhaps the problems in Afghanistan are related to the "mistakes
" made by the military, and their seemingly cavalier view of the Afghan people as less than human:
The Afghan town of Charikar, 60 kms north of Kabul, has been the recipient of many US bombs and missiles. On Saturday, November 17th, US bombs killed two entire families -- one of 16 members and the other of 14 -- perished, together in the same house.
On the same day, bomb strikes in Khanabad near Kunduz, killed 100 people. A refugee, Mohammed Rasul, recounts himself burying 11 people, pulled out of ruins there.
Multiply these scenes by a couple hundred and the reality on-the-ground in the Afghan October and November is approximated. This same reality is blithely dismissed by the Pentagon and the compliant U.S. corporate media with "the claims could not be independently verified," whereas the military press calls reports of high civilian casualties as being "inflated by air." Another comments on the "humanity of the air war." Yet another, wails about too much press coverage of civilian casualties by a media unable to understand that some civilian casualties must occur but that "what IS newsworthy is that so many bombs hit their targets".
Britain at least is taking a more reasonable tact. They are actually talking to the Afghans
As the deadliest year in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001 comes to a close, Gordon Brown is ready to talk to the Taliban in a major shift in strategy that is likely to cause consternation among hardliners in the White House.
Six years after British troops were first deployed to oust the Taliban regime, the Prime Minister believes the time has come to open a dialogue in the hope of moving from military action to consensus-building among the tribal leaders.
Wow - discussion instead of war. What a concept! In fact, they are going so far as to pay farmers NOT to grow opium
Here's hoping that the British can succeed where the U.S-led NATO effort has failed, and this long war dragging on forgotten by the news outlets can finally come to an end.