Time magazine recently gave David Miliband space to show us colonists how to proceed with Afghanistan, even as his own nation slashes its defense budget by over a third.
- “The Way Out of Afghanistan: Don’t Militarize Diplomacy“
- by David Miliband, Time, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011
Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary from 2007 to 2010, is just the type who has been providing such enlightened guidance to the dumb Americans from the European sidelines for the past decade. As bureaucratic policy wonks are wont to do, he now invokes the memory of recently deceased US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke to call for a “two-track” approach – one involving “regional political engagement” and one involving an overall “political settlement”.
Of course, that’s exactly what was supposed to have been pursued by bureaucratic “NATO” policy wonks since 2002 being paid all those lucrative bonuses for hunkering down in billion-dollar fortified Little America bunkers in Afghanistan. And, of course, it’s a “two-track” process that doesn’t come with a timeline, so while these brilliant sideline jerks dream up non-ending nonsense leading nowhere, American soldiers will continue to incur death and amputations ad infinitum. The Americans have already paid 6,100 dead soldiers to this incredibly stupid endeavor.
Like all pompous Europeans who view the America military as their dumb working dog on a leash, he lectures only Americans. No one in Washington or London will ever dare tell the Europeans to step up and carry their own weight in anything. Miliband: “The lives of more than 100,000 American troops … depend on the right lessons of Holbrooke’s service being applied now.” So “we” have to sacrifice more American soldiers in order to save other American soldiers – just like we did for years in Vietnam? Quick; make this genius a general in his own mind.
He also counsels against the stupidity of allowing military commanders to conduct diplomacy to end wars – the sacred purview of all self-inflated jerks like Miliband, and he uses very old military illustrations such as “squeezing the balloon” to show his unrivaled military expertise. (Our current “squeezing the balloon” is pushing bad guys into regions where European pansy “soldiers” have been safely located for the duration, and they don’t like the possibility that some of them might now actually get hurt by something other than their own stupid accidents.) The European Union has both a population and an economy larger than the United States; the EU, rather than the US, should be leading the effort in Afghanistan. A century of this tail wagging the dog nonsense is more than enough.
Of course, Holbrooke began his career, as did I, “learning the lessons” of such wars on the ground in Vietnam. When Obama was elected President, the enormously experienced Democrat Holbrooke should have become Secretary of State and, following on Obama’s campaign promise, then engineered our immediate withdrawal from that absurd death trap in Europe’s back yard. However, as so often has happened over the past quarter of a century, there were political favors to be paid to a woman complete novice, so “affirmative action” was invoked for the 27,000,550th time, and Holbrooke was sent instead to the war… where he eventually died, opening the stage for lesser twits like Miliband.
(This Baby Boomer was born in London in 1965, the first son of the late Marxist theorist Ralph Miliband. He studied at Oxford and MIT, then began a long succession of government policy posts. In 2001 he was easily elected to Parliament from the Labour stronghold of South Shields. In 2007, at the grand old age of 41, MP Miliband was appointed Foreign Secretary by Gordon Brown. Like Hillary Clinton and the other affirmative action American women appointed to high level foreign policy positions, he is long on old books and ivory tower theory, very short on actual real world experience. And like the American women, the well-connected Miliband has no military service and no foreign diplomatic service, but is nevertheless very prone to pontificating about both with the customary embarrassing naiveté buried behind soaring rhetoric, meaning nothing. It’s an extension of unearned “birthright entitlement” emanating from the totally absurd concept of a “nobility” class of “special” people existing solely to lord over all other “lesser” mortals. That you can actually top-load figurehead “leaders” is, of course, anathema to an “American way” meritocracy, perverts the whole concept of “Americanism”, and breeds little more than contempt among the “lesser” mortals. In Britain, it’s always been a part of the perverted “structure”; in America it’s becoming possible as emotion overwhelms logic in an “evolving sense of rights” for privileged feminine “me” – that is ultimately doomed to fail simply because it leaves “responsibility” for others out of the equation.)
I’m a professional American soldier whose career path closely traced Holbrooke’s from Vietnam to Berlin to Yugoslavia to Afghanistan, from Hong Kong and Beijing to Moscow and Helsinki and many of the smaller stops in between, including Lebanon and Panama, Kuwait and Baghdad, a path literally strewn with countless dead soldiers from America who always were necessary to back up unimaginative US and UK “diplomacy”. As a social scientist, I would urge David Miliband to study the background education and experiences of General Petraeus and any of dozens of other top generals in the US Regular Army and US Marine Corps. Any of these actual real world leaders are more qualified to engage in diplomacy to end stupid wars than any pompous ass I ever encountered at State or the Foreign Office. The problem with all these “diplomat” people is that they are suburb at quoting history and debating the present, but their “thinking” for the future never gets beyond variations on that strategy dreamed up by the brilliant Greatest Generation — to deal with an entirely different world, one that vanished twenty years ago. No super-spoiled Foggy Bottom or Whitehall Baby Boomer ever had an original idea in this realm.
The US military today is the most powerful and expensive conventional force in the history of humanity, yet it has been held to a standstill for a decade by a bunch of unconventional Third World fighters without one single ship, plane, tank, missile or drone and who use nothing but hand weapons and home-made bombs. Most objective observers would conclude that some incredibly stupid Baby Boomer “Beltway Planning” went into that asinine “strategy” in land-locked Afghanistan. That decade cost the lives of 6,100 of America’s best and maimed another 45,000! For what??!! Just to bestow some fake vicarious machismo on all those European pretenders?
The US military was eviscerated of its “nation building” capabilities at the end of the “Cold” War because “brilliant” Eurocentric “foreign policy experts” like Miliband and President Clinton concluded that “history had ended” so we no longer needed to compete with an opposing ideology for “hearts and minds”, that any nations that needed to be built could be built by civilian government agencies and pin-striped European allies. As the US military was reduced by half, those agencies got beefed up with people and money to enable them to execute such future missions. Any moron can see how miserably they failed. So, naturally, as always happens in Washington where nothing succeeds better than failure, now the bureaucrats want more people and more money to do things they know they can’t do anyway.
I’d be willing to listen to bloviating Milibands and Hillary Clintons as soon as they join US soldiers on the ground and lead from the front, rather than spouting their boring blather from the very comfortable rear. The US military has lost more than twice as many women killed in war since 2002 than any continental European country has lost men – even though American women are barred from combat, and even though Afghanistan is in Old Europe’s own back yard! Young American women obviously make better and more reliable soldiers than almost any of our “allies” – which is the principle reason why we’re still fighting that stupid war in Afghanistan, with ever more American soldiers, a war that should have ended over five years ago had our European “partners” held up their end of the bargain. And, to add even more insult to injury, the pathetic Europeans are picking up their shiny marbles and going home in increasing numbers, leaving the mess to the dumb American suckers.
We’ve all heard the election campaign accusation that “we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan”, but there never was a ball worth keeping an eye on in Afghanistan once we routed al Qaeda and the Taliban. THAT, not “nation-building”, was the US mission in Afghanistan, and it never was expected to last longer than six months – until the policy wonks and politicians mucked everything up for cheap domestic gain. If Europe wanted to build a nation in Afghanistan, they were always free to do so, on their own, while the US military devoted its attention to far more strategically important challenges. But, as with everything that ignorant novices touch, we watched “mission creep” evolve once again.
Obviously the first thing the US should have done was walk away from that absurd anachronism still euphemistically called “NATO” when its 20th century mission was completed in 1990 and forged an actually relevant military alliance specifically designed for the 21st century – around a US-UK-Russia core. If self-anointed “experts” are too confined in their strategic thinking to get over that basic hump, then all the rest of their
argument is useless nonsense. The next thing we needed to do is tell the continental Europeans that if Afghanistan is perceived as a problem for them, then they can fix it any way they wish, on their own. If it gets to be a problem for us, however, we’ll just use cruise missiles to fix it like President Clinton did. America has spilled enough blood and wasted enough money chasing futile causes with shamefully slacker “allies”.
Besides, what eventually happens in Iraq is a hundred times more important to the world than whatever eventually transpires in Afghanistan.
The one thing self-inflated bloviators like Miliband do better than anything else is putting just the right emotional spin on things after-the-fact to make themselves look like geniuses; it’s almost all just pathetic self-serving nonsense trying to re-write history. Mr. Miliband should show some spine and go lecture the Europeans. After a whole century of this crap, we Americans have heard enough of such “elitist” nonsense designed solely to get “someone else” to pay the bills, take the blame and do the hard stuff. It’s long past time for the children of Europe to stand on their own … and DO something! They can finally get to work in Afghanistan, while cleaning up the messes they left in Tunisia and Libya and Haiti and dozens of other former colonies of the supremely arrogant Europeans around the world. Almost everywhere I’ve gone for the past half century as an American soldier, right along with Richard Holbrooke, I found myself trying to deal with messes left behind by Europeans.