The death of 8 US soldiers in the mountains of Eastern Afghanistan a few days ago has received saturation coverage in the US Media, mostly intended obviously to increase the grim resolve to continue the war in perpetuity, which is what the U.S. commander McChrystal is really, secretly proposing in his Plan to win the war against the rising tsunami of guerilla forces fighting the US. The Media people see this as a human interest story and the public responds to the stories that way, as a grim personal loss for the families, communities, the growing threat of the Taliban, and so on.
I watched the three big network tv-news programs last night to see if they ever mentioned the war-losing losses the US suffered in that battle. They never even mentioned the facts reported as best they know them in the international newspaper accounts about the capture of about 20 Afghan police and army soldiers by the local militia. The Afghans apparently were put in more vulnerable, separate positions from the Americans, probably in good part because several American soldiers were murdered and badly wounded several days earlier by a man in an Afghan government police or military uniform. In any event, they were not able to defend themselves and either were forced to surrender or did so willingly. Either of those reasons is a huge loss for the US, one they would want desperately to hide from the rest of the Afghan and NATO forces. It was apparently Afghan sources who gave the international media the details on the captures by local militia, which would mean they want to get this news out in opposition to the American accounts of Taliban forces. This would indicate resentment and probably anger at the Americans, for good reasons, since they left them hanging out there without the American big guns and planes to protect them.
All reports indicate the guerillas caught the Americans by complete surprise, built up gun positions on high points over a number of days, then used small arms — machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades — to capture the Afghans and annihilate the Americans. [There were also apparently about two dozen Americans in the small force of maybe a hundred who were wounded.]
The Afghans coordinated the move of the local guerilla units very effectively, surrounded the Americans secretly over several days, hit them by total surprise, and fought for a day or so against massive US fire power from the base and the skies. They obviously knew the base very well and could determine if they had surprise on their side — insider information presumably from an Afghan plant, which would further drive in the huge and growing wedge of distrust between the Americans and the local forces they’ve trained. It is entirely possible the whole Afghan unit of roughly 20 men defected.
Afghan officials also reported that some of the attackers were men who have fled Pakistan because of the Pakistani forces attacking them, showing how Afghanistan is endangered by the U.S.-engineered Pakistani civil war against the Pashtun.
This and similar trapped American forces are obviously like Little Dien Bien Phus [where the North Vietnamese guerillas trapped and annihilated the French forces]. Such stealth and traps are ancient Afghan specialties, as anyone who studies their history knows. The Americans set themselves up for this — or, rather, their officers set them up from the top, from McChrystal’s GHG. All of this must create great distrust and resentment among the Americans and Afghans. And delight among the guerillas.
The dead Americans do little to help the guerillas and may backfire on them. The captured Afghans are a gold mine of information and leverage over their families and possible plants in the future. Their capture is a great incentive for the Karzai forces to melt away or get ready to surrender on good terms. The US command knows this, so it is trying to hide it. The Media are either too ignorant to see the obvious or are going along with the Big Lies. The 40 to 50 million Pashtun who now loathe the US will be more willing to join and help the guerillas and everyone will be much less willing to risk joining the Karzai insecurity forces. The guerillas are targeting them in every way possible all over the country. This must be one of the most frightening ways they’ve done that.
McChrystal and all of his commanders who were sky high with Hubris when Obama and Gates sent them in with 21,000 new, heavily armed troops and air power several months ago are now begging for huge new forces to save their vanity and dragging asses and lives. My guess would be that they are now facing a pretty united, vast Pashtun nation with at least 10 million men able to bear arms effectively against the loathed Infidel Invaders. McChrystal is desperately planning to retreat to the cities to save his vanity — avoid losing. But all those millions of fighters live in the mountains and on the plains far away. He plans to enrage them further by sending Death Squads out from the cities — his specialty as former head of the Special Ops black ops. That would unite them fiercely against the US and the puppet, totally corrupt regime of Karzai.
The US will probably stay and pay an immense price over the years to save the vanity of the military commanders and Obama hiding in Washington. The US will owe much of these losses to the imbedded Media which do not report on how enraged the people have become in all of Afpak and the whole Muslim world over the day-after-day slaughters of women and children from the skies by US Hellfire missiles fired by Bush and Obama.
Jack D. Douglas [send him mail] is a retired professor of sociology from the University of California at San Diego. He has published widely on all major aspects of human beings, most notably The Myth of the Welfare State.