marketplace stroll

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 @B_D_Silver Huh. Like to think you were a good use of my taxpayer dollars. Beats funding Aramark's corruption.
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emptywheel @joshgerstein That's an EXCELLENT idea. So good, in fact, it qualifies you to lead the entire UT system.
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emptywheel @joshgerstein Why not Jordan? We'll pretend they're nice to prisoners some more. @cullystimson
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emptywheel Slacker @jricole only lists the top 5 contradictions of Obama's ISIL strategy. http://t.co/hTf9qa4rnR Not 10?
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emptywheel @chinahand A better name than "moderates" as many aren't.
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emptywheel @elk_l Contemptible in US history too--engaged in biogenocide. The mascot should be changed.
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emptywheel @normative On a very very related topic, Khan (OR CT case) challenging FISA emails bc metadata on them sucks. https://t.co/dwYzjLf1ff
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emptywheel RT @normative: Reading Jack Goldsmith’s STELLARWIND Memo (Part 2): Bulk e-mail metadata collection is a wiretap. http://t.co/fFb2axsITV
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emptywheel Say, if inclusive governments are part of our magic strategy to defeat ISIL, why aren't we demanding them from, say, the Kingdom?
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emptywheel <8 weeks to election. 2 months of selective fearmongering abt beheading. A tool chest full of hammers we know won't work. You do ... what?
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emptywheel @JPughMI Emeritus?!?! Congrats to @B_D_Silver I guess.
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emptywheel @attackerman Are they wearing a skirt w/no undies? If not they have no business playing it.
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