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

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emptywheel @robertcaruso Tho I would bet Delta was the other airline OPM told to check for signatures carefully.
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emptywheel RT @EamonJavers: My latest: Source says Gov't report contains red flag for fraud in the Treasury market: http://t.co/vwoTfzsziw
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emptywheel @robertcaruso He's missing one other key detail: UA has more flights to more cities in China than anyone save maybe Delta, from all over US
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emptywheel @benjaminwittes Lots of people don't think it's that hard a Q. As Chertoff noted, after Clinton nixed Clipper IC got MORE @JakeLaperruque
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emptywheel @charles_gaba That'll keep China from learning tho, right? @matthewstoller
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emptywheel As @charles_gaba notes, to see video announcement of how FBI is doing on cyber investigations you gotta use Flash. https://t.co/evlOMIEvHL
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emptywheel @matthewstoller Ok okay. But don't you think you'd be a fun IG for Treasury some day?
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emptywheel Richard Burr & DiFi think they don't need real privacy controls on CISA. Private sector is concerned abt it tho. https://t.co/VPwE7HGWyX
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bmaz This is oh so true, and maddening. https://t.co/QoZGuvmXwS
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emptywheel Private entities also said they worried abt balancing individual privacy w/national security. CISA makes that worse. https://t.co/VPwE7HGWyX
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emptywheel Private entities said they didn't want to share w/FBI bc of FOIA. Would be addressed (problematically) under CISA. https://t.co/VPwE7HGWyX
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emptywheel DOJ's IG reports info-sharing remains a problem in FBI's cyber efforts. https://t.co/VPwE7HGWyX CISA may, in some ways, be counterproductive
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