If you have a much better memory than most of our media, you may remember the really big – in fact “decisive” – battle the US announced for the important Afghan city … oops, village … oh pardon me, collection of farms called Marja. Complete with a planned “government in a box,” Gen. McChrystal’s always energetic press office told us that this was a critical test in preparation for the battle for Kandahar. At the time, the media could not get enough of it – though no one seemed quite able to get the story straight. And then, as quickly as all the excitement flooded the press, it vanished.
But don’t worry, the next big victory is surely just around the corner as McChrystal starts to “shape” the battlefield of Kandahar with a major influx of Special Forces. Now these are the same Special Forces who have been consistently tied to civilian casualties from both air strikes and night raids, leading to ever growing animosity towards the occupying army, but surely this time, things will be different?
Afghans in the Kandahar region are well aware of what’s coming:
Already in Kandahar, many locals view Afghan and NATO checkpoints and convoys as great a danger on the roads as Taliban bombs and checkpoints.
“Instead of bringing people close to the government,” cautioned Haji Mukhtar, a Kandahar Provincial Council member, more combat “will cause people to stay further form the government and hate the foreigners more.”
Conveniently, this new “surge” will build while the Congress debates the latest $33 Billion War Supplemental and we can rest assured that all those members of congress who during the Bush years promised that each vote for more blank checks was the last – and then promised that the first such blank check under Obama was really the last – will find it simply impossible to oppose “money for our troops” while they are heading into the latest, this time really, we mean it, “decisive” battle.
Who can blame them when February’s battle for Marja was such a success?