Remember that troop surge announced in August 2017 to finally win the undefined Afghanistan tribal war after 16 years? Well, it must be succeeding so well that now the Defense Department has placed a complete gag on any reports of how many provinces the “Afghani military” controls, once touted as the key metric of success or failure. But at least 14,000 of our best soldiers remain entangled in this undefined and untenable mission, with young soldiers now serving in a dangerous nation-building operation that began before they were born! Meanwhile, our own border remains in control of narco-terrorists who are just as evil as the ones in Afghanistan, except they actually directly affect us.
From 2015 to October 2018, the number of districts in the hands of the Afghani military dropped from 72 percent to 54 percent. And the definition of “control” is quite tenuous, to say the least. Now, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the last beacon of truthful government reporting on this quagmire, the Afghanistan mission “formally notified SIGAR that it is no longer assessing district-level insurgent or government control or influence,” because the command no longer believes the data has decision-making value.
Don’t shout all the good news from the rooftop at once.
Indeed, just 17 months ago, General John Nicholson, former commander of our operation in Afghanistan, referred to this measure as “the most telling” metric of success.
Thus, after 17-plus years refereeing tribal warfare rather than exacting retribution, leaving, and then securing our borders and visa system, we have nothing to show for the war effort but $840 billion wasted, 2,400 dead soldiers, roughly 20,000 wounded or psychologically disabled from trauma, and nearly 100,000 Afghani immigrants to our shores!
We still spend $45 billion a year propping up the Islamist Afghani government and military when we could be using that money for Americans, or at the very least to build up allies in our own backyard in Latin America. We could have built an enormous military and diplomatic deterrent with potential allies in Latin America to block Russia, China, and Iran from invading our backyard and fueling the “Bolivarian” revolutionaries in countries like Venezuela. But we cast our lot halfway around the world to prop up a military in which there is nothing but incompetence, corruption, radical Islamism, and even pedophilia.
In SIGAR’s quarterly report released Wed., Inspector General John Sopko noted that we’ve spent $133 billion just on reconstructing Afghanistan and that despite our efforts, there has been a 33 percent increase in casualties among Afghani security forces. Our soldiers remain in mortal danger while our government continues to negotiate with the Taliban and knows there is nothing left to do in the country.
The report further found that 40 percent of Afghanis who were brought to Fort Worth to train in flying light combat aircraft went AWOL, so the program had to be discontinued. It was unclear whether our government has ever tracked down the missing Afghanis in our country. Wait … tell me again why we went overseas … to fight the enemy there so potential terrorists don’t … err … come here??
It would be tragic enough to continue this ill-fated operation if all was good on our home front and we had the luxury of callously expending our lives and money on refereeing a 1,300-year tribal war across the world. But the sad reality is that we have drug cartels, mass migration, and transnational gangs pouring over our border. That is precisely where we need our military. And no, not just to serve as bus drivers and cooks.
Look at the twisted priority of how hard we work to secure the sovereignty of an undefined and unworthy foreign government from enemies that are similar to the ones on our own border, which we ignore. According to a new Fox News report, the elite Task Force ODIN — Observe, Detect, Identify, Neutralize — has been deployed there with “a complex mix of interwoven variables — to include networked drones, fixed-wing intelligence aircraft and helicopters coordinating real-time video feeds with target analysis and aircraft-mounted electro-optical sensors.” Their job is to “find and destroy enemy targets and weapons in the austere, mountainous terrain of a war-weary country.” The operation is described as “extremely active and successful.”
As one listener of my podcast noted, “Seems like a shame they have to go all the way to Afghanistan to do that stuff. Hmm, where else might there be a mission just waiting for Task Force ODIN, any ideas? Rugged terrain, remote international borders, paramilitary militias, narco-terrorists… nope, I’m drawing a blank. Well, if you think of anywhere please let the Pentagon know.”
There are cartel members crossing our border with AK-47s to orchestrate a flow of migrants, drugs, gangs, and criminals (and likely terrorists) into our country, yet we will do nothing to eliminate or apprehend them or empower the military to do so. We all understand that the military-industrial complex is keeping this mission in Afghanistan alive because they get a lot of money for making cool war toys, but they can actually have their cake and eat it too, and benefit our country to boot, if our soldiers were to be deployed against the enemies that directly threaten our homeland and irrevocably bring crime and mayhem to our communities and our border.
Which raises the question: For whom does our military exist?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.