09 August 2017

Should Trump Privatize the Afghan War?

Attached below is an essay by Justin Raimondo dissecting an idiotic, depraved idea.  

In so doing, he echoes the conclusions of Lynn Montross's analysis of how perpetual war and moral decay led to the downfall of ancient Greece in his classic history, War Through the Ages:

" ... the extent of Greece's downfall is no more striking than its acceleration. Only 152 years separated the sturdy triumph of Marathon from the defeat of Chaeroneia. ... During this century and a half the Greek warrior declined from his high estate as citizen-soldier to that of a mercenary ...  Bribery and treachery became commonplace events. ... and the constant calls for recruits [i.e. resources, CS] drained the vitality of the leading city states."

Whether he knows it or not, Raimondo, a hard core Libertarian, is also making a moral case for trashing the all volunteer military and bringing back the draft.  One lesson of the Vietnam War was that shifting to an honest draft, based on a lottery, quickly ends a perpetual losing war by spreading its costs to all citizens, privileged as well as underprivileged. 

The game outlined below would perpetuate a losing war to reward those who profit by that war.

Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com, 8 August 2017

After sixteen years of fighting what is by now the longest war in our history, American policymakers are out of ideas when it comes to Afghanistan. The Bush administration was all about nation-building: if only we built schools so that Afghan women could be educated and “liberated,” a grateful people would abandon terrorism and the war would be won. The Obama administration – which came to power on the strength of candidate Obama’s contention that the Iraq war was “the wrong war,” and that we had neglected the Afghan front – instituted a “surge” of some 40,000 more US troops, and then declared victory in 2014. Now the Trump administration is confronted with the reality of the Taliban in charge of nearly half the country, and the dysfunctional Afghan government barely able to hold Kabul, the capital. 

What to do?

Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s top political advisor and the architect of his 2016 election victory, has been pushing for the “zero option” – the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Bannon and his fellow nationalists want out for political and ideological reasons: they want to concentrate on the President’s domestic agenda, and oppose on principle the whole nation-building scheme that has been in place since the Obama years. This is what the Trump base wants, as well, but it looks like the nationalists have lost that debate, with the President taking the “zero option” off the table.

The generals, led by National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, want to launch yet another “surge,” with at least 3,000 more US troops to be sent into the Afghan quagmire, and more taxpayer dollars pumped into the corrupt and incompetent Afghan governmental apparatus. Trump has reportedly rejected this option as well, and ordered his advisors to come up with a new plan. Meanwhile the Taliban continues to make gains on the battlefield, we continue to suffer casualties, and there is no new policy in place.

Into this policy vacuum comes Erik Prince, notorious founder of Blackwater, the world’s leading mercenary outfit: a company with a dubious history, and a CEO with a reputation to match. Reportedly the Bannon group, frustrated in their desire to get Trump to withdraw, is pushing a plan to “privatize” the Afghan war, and Prince is out there trying to drum up support for the idea. Here is Prince in an interview with Breitbart outlining his proposal. …[cont.]