September 30, 2021

"Strategically, the war was lost."

Milli Vanilli was a big act until success turned to infamy when it was discovered that they did not sing any of the vocals on their music. Another big lip sync’er storyline this week: the performance of Biden’s chief military handler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley, in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Milley’s prepared lip sync was pure propaganda defending the indefensible, as can be expected. A career soldier with an undistinguished record except climbing the bureaucratic ranks—whose principal contributions of note were changing uniform colors and delaying a critical study of the Iraq War—Milley was appointed by former president Trump. After making the mistake of walking with Trump across Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square in June 2020 for the former president’s photo-op with a Bible, saw which way the wind was blowing and turned against his boss in apparent contravention of the Constitution, which requires that civilians be in charge of the military, not the other way around.

In his statement, Milley laid out the course of the war in Afghanistan. He noted that in 20 years there, more than 800,000 U.S. military personnel served; 2,461 were killed in action, 20,698 were wounded, and countless others came home with internal scars. Milley asserted with no evidence in support that their service in Afghanistan prevented another attack on America from terrorists based there. He declined to testify about war crimes or murders of civilians.

Then Milley talked of our exit from the country, attempting to deflect blame from the disastrously rushed exit in August by reciting a history which had nothing to do with that exit. After the Obama administration capitulated to pressure and increased troop levels to their highest point in 2009, the military’s ‘surge’ strategy failed, and the US began to turn tail and run. On February 29, 2020, when the Trump administration signed an agreement with the Taliban, there were 12,600 U.S. troops, 8,000 NATO troops, and 10,500 contractors in Afghanistan. With that agreement, known as the Doha Agreement, the US agreed to withdraw if the Taliban met seven conditions that would lead to a deal between US puppet Afghan government and the Taliban.

In Milley’s twist, he wrote that the Taliban honored only one of its seven required conditions: it did not attack U.S. personnel. He didn’t mention the US’s own violations of the Doha agreement, which included removing its new interior minister Sirrajudin Haqqani from the US terror list. The US continues to maintain a $5m bounty for Haqqani.

On November 9, 2020, six days after the presidential election, Milley and then–Secretary of Defense Mark Esper made a last-ditch effort to stall the withdrawal in order to satisfy the warmonger constituency of the bourgeoisie. Two days later, on November 11, then-president Trump ordered the military to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan by January 15, 2021. Military officers, with their allies in the CIA concocting a ‘Russian bounty’ fairy tale, were able to pressure Trump out of that rushed timetable, but on November 17, Trump ordered Milley to reduce troop levels to 2,500 no later than January 15.

So, when President Biden took office, only about 3,500 U.S. troops, 5,400 NATO troops, and 6,300 contractors were still in Afghanistan, leaving Biden’s handlers with the problem that the US would have either to leave altogether or to put in more troops in anticipation of resumed hostilities with the Taliban. They chose the former, but extended the handover to September 11, anticipating a photo op handing off control to the puppet government, concluding ‘the war on terror.’

Milley went on to explain some of the issues that have preoccupied acamedia. In an incredible statement for the top US military handler, he pled complete ignorance of US intelligence reports that the Afghan Army would melt away in 11 days. “The speed, scale and scope of the collapse was a surprise.”

In short, Milley’s statement was a long propaganda apologia of the last year and a half of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, and as can be expected placed the blame for the messy withdrawal largely on his prior boss, rather than the US military or the new regime. After all, that’s what the political figureheads are for—to take the blame, as the front men and women of the co-dependent bourgeois-military industrial complex known as the US.

Altogether, his statement was completely detached from reality. “From an operational and tactical standpoint, [the evacuation] was successful. Strategically, the war was lost.” As to the former, the dead military personnel, not to mention the civilians slaughtered by drone, would beg to differ. As to the latter, there never was a ‘war’ declared by Congress.

Notes

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/9/taliban-accuses-the-us-of-violating-peace-deal

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/06/29/timeline-russia-bounties-us-troops-afghanistan-trump-response/