Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How to know when you are losing a war?

How can you know when you are losing a war? You can't count on the tele to tell you about it. Civilian morale on the home front is always regarded as important, and the information you are given is first weighed against massive secrecy and claims that no one can know. Then when something is finally reported, you can count on the editors and the publishers having long conversations about how to report what must be reported in such a way that people are not 'alarmed'. Face it, if they won't tell you the nuclear reactor upwind of you is melting down, you can't count on them telling you that your nation is losing their grand patriotic war.

So, you learn to read beneath the lines. Like with this news story from the AP.

US ambassador urged restraint on Afghan visas

Taki is one of about 2,300 Afghans who have applied to a special program that awards U.S. visas to Afghans who have worked for the U.S. government for at least a year and are in danger because of this work.

But since the Afghan Allies program began in 2009, not a single visa has been handed out.

A document obtained by The Associated Press suggests the delays may not be a matter of bureaucracy, but reflect a worry among U.S. officials over holding on to hard-to-replace employees.

Thousands of Afghanis who have been valuable 'staff' to the American occupation want to get the heck out of Dodge because they feel their lives are in danger. But the US embassy is blocking their departure, even though they meet the criteria for a program that was set up precisely for them, because the US doesn't want to lose the very Afghanis that have been helping them.

So, what does this tell us?

The people who've been working for us feel unprotected and at risk. Does this sound like we are winning a war? Does this sound like we are mopping up the last pockets of resistence towards the end of our victorious, decade-long campaign? Hardly. If we can't protect the people on our side, then we are not doing well.

There's another, even less positive, way of reading this, which is that the smart Afghanis who have been working for us see that the end of this war is near and that they've picked the wrong side, and that its high time to move to America like the Americans promised them they would allow.

It also tells you that there are so few Afghanis who are both useful to the American administration and loyal, that they can't afford to let even a single one of them come to America even though we've promised them exactly that. Not a good sign either. Kinda seems to say that most of the smart Afghanis who value a future in their own country don't really want to be seen collaborating with the foreign invaders. And that they believe that the foreign invaders are not the future.

Its just one bit of inference from between the lines, but the feeling one gets from this official news story on the AP is that we are not winning this war. That in the end, we are not going to win this war. And if that's the case, why are we throwing more money and more lives down the sinkhole of a war we are going to lose anyways. We will leave Afghanistan someday. The Afghanis know it, and appear to believe that it will happen soon enough that they need to be making other plans.

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