consulate

Marja Serves as Microcosm of Military Failure in Afghanistan, But Failure is Country-Wide

Deputy Defense Secretary Aston Carter strolls through Marja marketplace on February 24. How many security forces were present out of camera range?

Back in February of 2010, US President Barack Obama’s surge of troops in Afghanistan began its offensive by trying to take the Marja district of Helmand Province. Then US commander of forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal famously touted his counterinsurgency program for the area, saying “We’ve got a government in a box, ready to roll in”.

Eight months into the battle for Marja, we had this:

As U.S. involvement in the war enters its 10th year, the failure to pacify this town raises questions about the effectiveness of America’s overall strategy. Similarly crucial operations are now under way in neighboring Kandahar province, the Taliban’s birthplace.

There are signs the situation in Marjah is beginning to improve, but “it’s still a very tough fight,” said Capt. Chuck Anklam, whose Marine company has lost three men since arriving in July. “We’re in firefights all over, every day.”

“There’s no area that’s void of enemy. But there’s no area void of Marines and [Afghan forces] either,” said Anklam, 34, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “It’s a constant presence both sides are trying to exert.”

/snip/

The result, so far at least: Residents say the town is more insecure than ever.

“There was peace here before you came,” farmer Khari Badar told one Marine patrol that recently visited his home. “Today, there is only fighting.”

Of course, the Defense Department would have us believe everything is now fine in Marja. They staged a stroll through the marketplace back in February by a Deputy Defense Secretary, presumably to mark the two year anniversary of the offensive. I wonder if this stroll was as heavily protected as John McCain’s 2007 stroll through a Baghdad marketplace.

But even though we are supposed to believe the offensive worked in Marja and the Taliban were routed, there was this from DoD on actions from April 15 of this year: Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @KevinBankston Doesn't it have to get by Mikulski (D-NSA) in any case? @NadiaKayyali @astepanovich
1mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel I think @jamesrbuk has just invented the Super Injunction Canary. Or perhaps Stork.
2mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Huge loss, so sad: "Sierra Leone's top Ebola doctor dies from virus" http://t.co/hUh5TNISVt via @reuters
5mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @KevinBankston Lose Verizon willingness to go along with the bill. They're the make or break provider, it seems to me. @Krhawkins5
7mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @MikeScarcella: Judge permits DOJ to file secret declarations in FOIA suit over the govt's investigation of @wikileaks supporters: https…
10mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @JimWhiteGNV I actually thought his graduation speech there was pretty good.
10mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @robertcaruso Guess that explains why Commander McWherter had to go recently.
11mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @KevinBankston Seriously, they'd lose VZ and w/o VZ you don't have a dragnet. @Krhawkins5
12mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @onekade And so you ate a head-sized donut to prepare to see her again?
15mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @KevinBankston Or maybe the IC is happy accessing address books as a connection. ;p (And also knows they'd lose VZ) @Krhawkins5
16mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @onekade LOL. Now you're gonna pass out in 3...2... ZZZZzzzzzz
18mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @theurbansherpa NOOOOOOO!
18mreplyretweetfavorite
July 2014
S M T W T F S
« Jun    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031