We went to Afghanistan because of 9/11. We uprooted al Queda and we deposed the Taliban. We did that in the first year. That was enough. At the time GWB made that speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 with the big “Mission Accomplished” banner behind him, our mission was accomplished.
Ten days ago, Diana West counted 17 Americans murdered by our dear Afghan allies since December. The DoD hasn’t make it easy to tell (“the incident is under investigation”) and she admits her count is possibly incomplete. I’ve seen a lot of these DoD announcements but never before one of such startling candor:
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of five soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
They died April 16, at Forward Operating Base Gamberi, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an Afghan National Army soldier attacked them with multiple grenades.
Capt. Charles E. Ridgley Jr., 40, of Baltimore, Md. He was assigned to the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska; also,
Sgt. 1st Class Charles L. Adkins, 36, of Sandusky, Ohio;
Staff Sgt. Cynthia R. Taylor, 39, of Columbus, Ga.;
Sgt. Linda L. Pierre, 28, Immokalee, Fla.; and
Spc. Joseph B. Cemper, 21, Warrensburg, Mo.
They were assigned to the 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.
“…when an Afghan National Army soldier attacked them with multiple grenades.”
How the war has evolved! Our military is reacting to these new threats. “So far, U.S. and French forces have trained 220 Afghan soldiers to spot possible Taliban infiltrators, disgruntled soldiers within the ranks and other conditions that could make the force vulnerable to attack, according to U.S. Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the commander of NATO's training mission in Afghanistan. The plan is to have 445 soldiers trained in counterintelligence by the end of the year.”
What else could Caldwell do? Surrender?
Shortly after we started bombing in Libya, our Commander-in-Chief warned that we would bomb the rebels too, if they misbehave. Fifteen days ago Mark Steyn jested, “If a coalition plane bombing Qaddafi’s forces runs into a coalition plane bombing the rebel forces, are they allowed to open fire on each other?”
So we have two Obama wars, both reduced to aimless violence.
Sunk costs are irrelevant to future decision-making. Every economist knows that. If you take ten steps toward your car before you realize that you forgot your keys, do you take a few more steps? Or do you turn around instantly? If we have decided to “win” then battlefield casualties are just the price we pay. But if we have decided not to win, what are we paying for?
In a few months we will begin a slow, 3-year drawdown of American forces in Afghanistan. Do we honor the sacrifice of Charles, Charles, Cynthia, Linda and Joseph by lingering?
back to ALL MISSIONS
PostScript: Regarding Libya, today (4 days after the 5 died) two things came to light.
Benghazi is the big city east of the Gulf of Sidra. (The capitol, Tunis, is west of the gulf.) Benghazi is the heart of the rebellion – anti-Tunis, anti-Gaddafi, anti-government. The British, French and Italians are sending advisors (military officers) to Benghazi to meet and organize the rebels.
Thing number One: In the main square of Benghazi, a government soldier was hanged by his ankles.
Then one of those freedom-loving rebels used a long knife to alternately hack and saw the suspended man’s neck in an extended decapitation as the gathered crowd chanted “Libya Hurra!” (free Libya) and “Allahu Akbar!”
Thing number Two: President Barack Hussein Obama II advised Congress that he is sending those same rebels $25 million of the United States taxpayers’ money.
His State Department assured Congress that the Benghazi rebel force has “publicly rejected terrorism, embraced the Geneva Conventions, and emphasized its dedication to building democratic institutions to provide for a secular future in which a broad range of Libyan citizens will be able to participate.”
post-PostScript, 5 days after the 5 died:
The President is sending armed Predators, drones for ground-attack. The phenomenon of mission creep suggests that the A-10 and the AC-130 (which are also used for ground-attack) will be next.
And, a couple of creeps later, infantry.