Sunday, April 8, 2012

8 April 2012 buy another stupid plastic ribbon sticker made in China.

Cassi Creek:
          So much for operational security.  In Afghanistan, we have just signed over any hope of operational security to the Afghans.  They have demanded that night raids designed to capture &/or kill Taliban and other insurgents be placed under the control of Afghan authorities and Afghan law. 
          In order to run a night raid in a suspect village, the U.S. must secure the approval of local Afghan army officers and local civilian officials.  A civil warrant must be obtained in order to carry out a capture/kill mission.  Afghan troops must carry out/lead the mission.  Only Afghan troops may enter the houses where suspects are believed to be. 
          It is easy to predict what will happen now.  The suspects will be warned of the plan to detain them.  U.S. troops will meet with many more ambushes.  Essentially, this agreement abandons any hope of operational security for U.S. and NATO troops.  The porosity of the Afghan army and government is comparable only to that of the former South Vietnamese army and government. 
          There is no longer any justification for maintaining any U.S. armed forces in the AFPaK Theater of operations.  Every bit of security has been compromised.  Either bring those troops home now or admit that we no longer value their lives or their service.  When we can’t trust our allies, we should not sacrifice our troops or expend our hardware.  There is no military force, no government we can trust in Afghanistan or Pakistan.  Write or call your legislators now.  Bring the troops home!

          Below, I have excerpted material from another Washington Post column by George Masters of South Carolina.  Mr. Masters has written concerning another matter that I find highly disturbing.  He lets his thoughts and memories be brought to the surface, taking him back to his time as a Marine in Vietnam.  The trigger mechanism is a display of the magnetized plastic “ribbons” sold at Wal-Mart and other retailers to purportedly “Support Our Troops.” 
          Mr. Masters lays out in exacting detail what it is like to be part of an infantry patrol.  He doesn’t’ have to carry those thoughts to the point of contact, as anyone who’s been on such a patrol knows the preparation, the moment when all hope for an unopposed excursion falls apart as the tree-line or the paddy dike, or some feature of the landscape bursts into small arms and explosion, and the fear that the best of training still can’t erase. 
          Masters knows that it doesn’t matter how many “ribbons” someone plasters on his or her car.  The retailers have no intention of “supporting the troops” at any level beyond the impulse racks at their cash registers.
          He delves into the lack of support for returning men and women.  He makes the point that the only way to “support the troops” is to stop becoming involved in foreign wars that lack an endpoint, a measure of success, and that load the burden for fighting the war on a very small percentage of our populace rather than on the corporations that stand to benefit in one manner or another from our involvement. 
          I have often said that there is no one who is more opposed to war than the men and women taking fire in the field.  Not all the “yellow ribbons” in the world will provide one iota of comfort or logistical support to a single trooper.  But a bumper sticker that reads, “Bring them home now!” reminds them that someone cares enough to express an opinion that may be outside the idiocy expressed on Fox News or by teavangelists who equate Afghanistan with another round of Crusades. 

Please read both the columns linked below.  Then call your legislators and the White House and ask them to abandon the folly that is Afghanistan and bring our troops home now.

U.S., Afghanistan reach 'night raids' deal
By Nick Paton Walsh, CNN
updated 7:41 AM EDT, Sun April 8, 2012

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The United States and Afghanistan say they have reached a landmark deal to be signed Sunday that affords Afghan authorities an effective veto over controversial special operations raids.

            “A bid to end visceral Afghan anger over raids on private residences, the deal prevents NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops from conducting such operations without the explicit permission of Afghan officials, said a senior NATO official.

            “An Afghan review group would have to authorize an operation before it goes ahead, the official said.
Special operations forces would operate under Afghan law, said a statement from the presidential palace.       
            “The agreement was to go into effect at a signing Sunday afternoon, said Afghan presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi. ISAF commander, Gen. John Allen, and Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak were scheduled to take part in the signing.

            “The key deal comes after months of angry recriminations against special operations raids, particularly at night, that deeply offend Afghans as they involve foreigners entering their homes. U.S. officials say the raids are vital to NATO's operation against insurgents.

            “The complex system would fully "Afghanize" the operations, putting Afghan commandos in the lead and giving American special forces a "training and support role," a senior Afghan official said.
The senior Afghan official said the deal would involve a joint committee of U.S. and Afghan officials reviewing U.S. intelligence on a target before a raid.

            “If that target were approved, a warrant would then be issued by Afghan authorities for the raid to occur, the official said.
It remained unclear how or when the warrant would be issued.
            “One western official confirmed the committee mechanism but would not comment on any warrant procedure.
Afghan officials have insisted the raids be conducted in compliance with Afghan law, meaning any warrant or legal authority for a raid would have to occur before the operation.”

Support our troops? Then bring them home.

By George Masters, Published: April 6

George Masters is a freelance writers and teacher in Charleston, S.C.
            “ The car in front of us wears two Support Our Troops ribbons. One is yellow; the other red, white and blue. Both are made in China. On the rear bumper is a faded black MIA sticker. That driver probably means well, but by now I’ve seen too many ribbons. While the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq kill and maim, I think of how they are also shaping the future of returning veterans. Many of these men and women will come home and go missing, and you won’t even know it. Returning from a war is more than getting off an airplane and putting on civvies. Combat changes a person. It changed me…”
            “ want to support our troops? Give the man some space when he gets home. Give the woman a job. Don’t say how you would have been there if you could have and reel off excuses why you weren’t. He may be quieter than you’re used to and kind of keep to himself. She might be missing an arm; he could be in a wheelchair, knowing he’ll never again chase his kids down a beach. Both may drink a bit. She may smoke pot, dress wild and date around. She might play music loud. He could go to the movies for hours, come home, and cry for no reason you can see. Don’t lecture them. Don’t tell them to forget about the war — they can’t. Don’t try to tell her how she’s escaping reality. She’s had all the reality she can stomach. He may carry what you call an attitude. She might have a low tolerance for shenanigans and a quirky sense of humor. If you touch her when she doesn’t want to be touched, she could very well turn around and bust you in your chops.
            “If you’ve never hunted humans, if you’ve never been hunted, if you haven’t been shot at on a regular basis, just try to appreciate what this person has been through. Then get down on your knees and thank your lucky stars it wasn’t you…”

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