Marja

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

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emptywheel Dudley returns to his "finding firms guilty" is the same as "jail."
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emptywheel Is anyone saving this hearing for posterity bc I just had the thought Sherrod did: Geithner would have said the same thing Dudley is.
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emptywheel RT @HanniFakhoury: Of the 500+ court orders Charlotte police obtained to use a Stingray since 2010, none actually mention Stingray: http://…
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emptywheel Don't think you're the only one. Big market opportunity RT @xeni: I fucking miss flip-phones
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emptywheel Really hoping someone turns this Warren/Dudley exchange into a fire marshall/cop on the beat animation.
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emptywheel Warren: Illegal behavior if you stumble. Dudley: I'd say see. Warren: But you're not looking.
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emptywheel LOLOL Warren: You don;t think you should do investigation, you just wait until it jumps in front of you?
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emptywheel Dudley: Not cop on a beat, more of a fire warden.
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emptywheel @Krhawkins5 That's why I said "battle."
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emptywheel In which @Krhawkins5 does a CIA email (battle) victory lap. http://t.co/nnDiDB6tkN
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emptywheel @alexisgoldstein Now you're just trolling. (Keep up the good work)
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