To Increase Or Not To Increase?



While a host of argle-bargles brewing up in Pakistan including the security condition, economy problem and so forth — the House of Representatives of United States on the other side of the oceans is ambivalent whether to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan or not.


Anything and everything that happens in Afghanistan always has some connection with Pakistan. The impact of the troops increasing strategy is, besides, a pressure on the Pakistan Army fighting a hot war against the miscreants on the Western borders. Pakistani Army isn’t only fighting with the miscreants at such godforsaken places, besides they do have to be vigilant in regards with the NATO forces attacking across the border in Pakistan trigger-happily and in some cases NATO forces give a leeway to Talibans to cross the border and get inside Afghanistan without being caught. Double-games.


While the debate and disputation in the House of Representatives is going on, it made me think to study the possible alternatives over the strategy of increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan.


The last president of United States, George Bush, and the incumbent president of United States, Obama — both have had the similar stratgies concerning Afghanistan particularly. George Bush bankrolled the war and US led NATO to a considerable extent. It was the time when United States was consuming the 25% of the Earth’s resources alone — which is a phenomenal quantity. United States is still consuming near to 25% of the Earth’s resources, whereas many countries in the world are suffering from extreme indigence.


In 1959, when the Vietnam war started and John F. Kennedy became the President of United States in 1960, he faced the same situation of dealing a war in Vietnam which Obama is facing in Afghanistan contemporary. But Kennedy was a wise man — a statesman — who never considered the professional military advise as persuasive since the time he faced an acrimonious experience once. Kennedy had his reasons not to do so. While he faced a humiliating defeat at the Bay of Pigs, in a hope to dismantle the Castro’s government in Cuba on the advise of his military generals and CIA officials, Kennedy committed himself never to be overawed by professional military advice. Hence, Kennedy learnt a lesson.


In 1961, many of Kennedy’s Generals and advisors argued with Kennedy to increase the number of troops in South Vietnam and save the South Vietnamese government from collapsing. Kennedy, however, categorically refused the idea of increasing the number of troops. He already had the embarrassing experience during the “Bay of Pigs” episode when he paid heed to CIA and his Generals and faced international humiliation. The wise man favored a strategy of arming and reinforcing the South Vietnamese Army, and of teaching them new counterinsurgency tactics instead of increasing the number of troops. This strategy worked well. It couldn’t have been better than this. At the time of Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, the Pentagon had recorded only 108 American military personnel killed.


In Afghanistan, the deaths of US led NATO forces, to-date, has reached to 1500, out of which 900 is US servicemen. Whereas in Iraq, US has faced the number of 4351 fatalities to-date.


Today, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, has asked for 40,000 to 60,000 more troops in Afghanistan, while the number of NATO forces in Afghanistan, today, is near to 70,000 out of which US forces comprise of 23 Battalion while other NATO forces comprise of 20 Battalion — keeping in mind that a single Battalion contain 1000-1500 servicemen.


As I was discussing with an American friend on the relevant subjects, I agreed to her that every once in a while, United States has a leader like Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr. These leaders and everyday citizens keep this nation going more or less in a good direction internally. Further we discussed and agreed to it that it’s very hard to reel in the actions of those who make their living interfering in other countries business — talking about the CIA and similar organizations. These agencies have become self-perpetuating entities unto themselves. CIA isn’t answerable to the Constitution of United States of America. They do not answer to the people of the United States. Only the President can control them — and if the President goes up against them and tries to shut them down, I’m afraid, as she said, that they might turn on him (or her) and assassinate the President. That’s what happened to Kennedy.


The more we try to bomb our way to peace and prosperity, the more stupid and warlike we become. And when our military (or any military) “regrets the loss of innocent life” I ask, whose life is NOT innocent? We are all innocent.


We can just anticipate to see Obama playing his cards well. The Nobel Peace Prize he has been honored with, of late — at least on the name of it respect the humanity.

US Imperialism — A Direct Response From An American



I was discussing with a friend, Prudence Baird, about the US Imperialism. She lives in United States. This is a forthright and a direct response to my query by her. I hope it’ll make many of us learn about the general perception of Americans about the state’s imperialism. Before I paste the letter here, I’d take this opportunity to speak that her letter inspired me to a considerable extent. There you go:


Prudence Baird
13 October, 2009


Okay, I have some time to devote to you, my friend! I am going to be 100% honest because there is no point of robbing you of the truth. (I got this from your Kite Runner quote!)


When our country was founded in 1776, the idea was put forth in writing for the first time in western civilization that “all men are created equal.” This was a revolutionary thought as at the time many believed that kings and other rulers were gods or appointed by gods. (Silly ideas, huh?)


Despite these lofty words, many of our founders had slaves! Go figure!


So, the United States has always had what many might call a split personality–almost like someone who is mentally ill!


When our first president, George Washington, left office, he cautioned his successors–the presidents and leaders who were to follow him–to be friends with all nations and to never, ever start a war or interfere with another sovereign nation’s self-rule. (I guess we know how that went!)


This whole idea of leaving other countries alone began to erode with our President Monroe (1823) who issued something called “The Monroe Doctrine,” which asserted that the Western Hemisphere was not to be further colonized by European countries, and that the United States would not interfere with existing European colonies nor in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued at the time when many Latin American countries were on the verge of becoming independent from Spain, and the United States, reflecting concerns echoed by Great Britain, hoped to avoid having any European power take Spain’s colonies. (I got this from Wikipedia!)


This was cool for a while–it’s good to tell old, colonizing countries to back off and let younger countries do their own thing. BUT, the Monroe doctrine went off course when Teddy Roosevelt, who was NOT yet president, decided to interfere with Cuba’s affairs of state. Teddy was 95% great and 5% horrible. He had great ideas about the environment, he was pro-union and pro-labor, he established food safety laws, and worked tirelessly for the common man. However, he was bull-headed about thinking the United States was superior to every other country on earth and therefore knows best. He lived to regret this way of thinking. He changed his mind when his youngest son was killed in WWI, but by then the U.S. had its fingers in many pies, so to speak. In fact, it was one of Teddy’s sons who helped to install the Shah of Iran in 1925.


I think that the U.S. is:


1. following in the footsteps of Great Britain–almost like a little brother copies his older sibling, or a drunk chases a bottle of booze, and
2. is completely hooked on oil and therefore will do anything to get more–including starting fraudulent wars (Iraq) and supporting regimes that mistreat their citizens (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, China) and supporting countries who mistreat certain ethnic groups or genders (Israel, China, Kuwait, the Congo). Further, we turn our faces away when our allies do horrible things to their citizens (Saudi Arabia, Israel, Rwanda, China) and their neighboring countries.


I am disgusted by our inability to live up to the lofty words of our founders. I am horrified by our military actions that have caused so much pain, death and destruction to others–and I see that it is all for nothing. The more we try to bomb our way to peace and prosperity, the more stupid and warlike we become. And when our military (or any military) “regrets the loss of innocent life” I ask, whose life is NOT innocent? We are all innocent.


There are many, many people who agree with me, but the U.S. is divided as I stated earlier. The uneducated, mostly born-again Christain type of citizens blindly believe the myth that the United States is all-powerful and “number 1.” (How stupid is that?) And the educated citizens understand that the U.S. is out of control consuming 25% of the earth’s resources and with its military all over the world.


Our leaders are also divided. Many are greedy and receive money from the “military/industrial complex,” i.e.., corporations who profit from war. How can a leader serve the people when his pockets are stuffed with cash from Halliburton or makers of war machines? So, we have some dirty, greedy people running the country. Not all are like this, but I think too many are.


But the wonderful aspect of the United States is that every once in a while, we have a leader like Barrack Obama or John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr. These leaders and everyday citizens keep this nation going more or less in a good direction internally. But it is very hard to reel in the actions of those who make their living interfering in other countries business–I’m talking the CIA and similar organizations. These agencies have become self-perpetuating entities unto themselves. They do not answer to our Constitution. They do not answer to the people of the United States. Only the President can control them–and if the President goes up against them and tries to shut them down, I’m afraid that they might turn on him (or her) and assassinate the President. That is how much power they have. The fragility of our system frightens me. If we lose Obama, the U.S. could become like a monster in a Japanese horror movie. Or, people like me could be rounded up and “disappeared” like happened to progressives in Argentina in the 1970s.


Does this answer your question?


Your Friend Across The Seas,
Prudence