Steve Collins
January 2, 2009
A previous blog at this site warned that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are serving the strategic interests of Russia, China and Iran because these wars are wearing out the US military personnel and its equipment. These wars are also serving to bankrupt the US treasury. While the war in Iraq appears to be winding down to some kind of “acceptable” end-game, President-Elect Obama has signaled his intention to soon send 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan. Obama, elected as a “peace president” by his adoring public who hated Bush’s war in Iraq, will apparently soon become a “war president” who escalates the conflict in Afghanistan. He may rue the day he makes such a decision.
While I agree that President Bush made some incredibly bad decisions on how to “pacify” Iraq after the war, the war in Iraq at least had several strategic advantages that the war in Afghanistan does not. If President Obama continues and escalates the war in Afghanistan, he will be fighting “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time,” and he will fall into a trap laid by America’s enemies.
Let’s do a brief comparison of the Iraq and Afghanistan war. While the Iraq war did have a vital American strategic interest at stake (access to oil), the Afghan war does not. Afghanistan has no natural resource the USA needs and there is no treaty obligation requiring us to be there. The US military destroyed the terrorist training camps there years ago, and should have left soon afterward. Afghanistan offers no strategic value or asset to the USA. For these reasons, the war in Afghanistan is “the wrong war.”
It is also a war “in the wrong place.” Any competent military commander should realize that when you send an army into battle, you must consider three vital tactical considerations: securing your flanks, insuring safe supply lines and making sure you have a secure link of retreat if things go badly. The Iraq War has secure flanks (friendly neighboring nations in Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait), a safe supply line (via the Persian Gulf and Kuwait) and a line of retreat either southward or northward (through Kuwait or NATO-ally, Turkey). Afghanistan offers nothing but a tactical quagmire. American forces in Afghanistan are very isolated. They have no friendly borders on any side, and American soldiers will have no secure lines of supply or retreat. The link below reports that the only overland supply line to American troops in Afghanistan through Pakistan is now so dangerous that it had to be closed to try to kill the opposing forces who prey on the supply convoys bringing provisions to US troops in Afghanistan. Other than an expensive, time-consuming and dangerous air evacuation, US troops can only retreat or withdraw overland via Pakistan. However, Pakistan’s western regions (through which the USA’s supplies must pass) are staunchly pro-Taliban. The American line-of-supply through Pakistan will remain in permanent jeopardy. Candidate Obama and his supporters proclaimed that “hubris” was the motivation which led President Bush to invade Iraq. Will “hubris” now lead Obama to widen a war in Afghanistan which serves no US vital or strategic interest? Is it worth wearing out the US military to find Osama bin Laden in some Afghan cave? No. Indeed, the chances are virtually non-existent that bin Laden is anywhere in Afghanistan to find. He has had years to go elsewhere. If bin Laden is even alive any longer, I would guess that he is being sheltered somewhere within the Islamic-dominated region of Western China, where US forces in Afghanistan will not dare to go.
The Afghan War is also a war “at the wrong time.” When President Bush launched the Iraq and Afghan wars, the USA’s finances and economy were in much better shape, and the US military was fresh and ready for combat. Wars are expensive, and other nations and empires in history have been devastated by expensive wars. The USA is now in the midst of a very deep recession which is still worsening. It cannot afford an expanded war in Afghanistan, but Obama’s administration is reported ready to do just that. Afghanistan is far more remote than Iraq so American logistical costs in Afghanistan will be far higher than in Iraq. Also, the US military is, by many accounts, “exhausted” with too many combat deployments and needs resting. For these reasons, an expanded war in Afghanistan is a war which is truly “at the wrong time.”
The war-planners in Russia, China and Iran will be delighted in Obama’s decision to further wear out the US military and burden the US Treasury with more unpayable debt to expand the Afghan War. The beneficiaries of America’s war in Afghanistan are Russia, China and Iran. America’s military grows more exhausted and overextended the longer the war lasts, and it drains what is left of the USA’s economic strength. Ezekiel 38 identify Russia, China and Iran as being part of the “Gog-Magog” alliance which will attack the USA and its western allies at the end of this age. It serves their interests very well to make sure the USA’s military continues to wear itself out and be positioned further and further away from the American homeland. Obama should read recent history and be warned. Afghanistan proved to be an unwinnable war for Russia (i.e. the USSR) a number of years ago, and the USSR had advantages the USA now does not have (the USSR bordered Afghanistan so it had secure lines of supply and a ready way of withdrawal). Putin saw how unwinnable an Afghan War can be. He is, no doubt, eager to have the USA expend itself in Afghanistan the same way the old USSR did.
One last word about the fact that the USA’s only overland supply route in or out of Afghanistan passes through Pakistan. Pakistan barely controls its own territory at present, and its government could fall into the hands of Islamic radicals in the future. The “Hindu Kush” mountains are located in Afghanistan and Pakistan, so the modern descendants of Cush live in those nations. This region already has harbored Al Queda and the Taliban. Ezekiel 38:5 prophesies “Cush” (some versions of the Bible translate “Cush” as “Ethiopia”) will be an ally of Russia, China and Iran at the end of this age.  It appears President Obama is about to fall into Putin’s trap in Afghanistan.