Note: I was going to use the Moody's "Go Now" for this post, but then I found this video by Tigertown, and I fell in love with it. Just an unreconstructed hippie at heart, I guess. (Furthermore, "Tigertown" is the current appellation of the section of the coastal California city I lived in when I was just a wee tot... so the name of the band is evocative to me.)
This comes courtesy of the AP -- well, "courtesy of" since the AP tends to lack even human decency much of the time -- but I heard the framing yesterday on NPR:
Apparently Hamid Karzai gave a speech after the blowsy and stupid sounding Leon Panetta left Afghanistan in which he politely suggested that foreign troops should get out of the rural areas of Afghanistan forthwith and return to their bases. According to The Best Available Minds, however:
The demands from the Natives that NATO troops should pull out of villages and return to their bases "represent new setbacks to America's strategy for ending the 10-year-old war."
Besides which, he didn't really mean it.
Note how cleverly worded the assertion is. The demand from the Afghan goverment (such as it is) mirrors and parallels what happened in Iraq as the Imperial Forces were being removed: the troops were withdrawn from daily interaction with the IDs (Iraqi Devils) and confined to their enormous and growing bases, with only occasional joint operations conducted from time to time to ensure the Natives understood who was boss and who was still in charge. But in this case, the demand that the foreign troops get out of rural areas and leave policing them to the Afghan authorities (such as they are) -- which makes perfectly rational sense -- is met with the assertion that doing so will jeopardize the "strategy" for ending the war. Really? The implication being that Karzai is trying to prolong the war. Well, isn't that a turn about?
Furthermore, once again Karzai demanded an end to night raids -- which Panetta, at his blowsiest and stupidest, defended as necessary to "defeat al Qaida."
(Note on Panetta. He really does not seem to be up to this. Maybe he should think about returning to his think tank on the Pacific.)
Teri49 in comments links to an Afghan news source that says that after investigation and interviews with survivors and witnesses, an Afghan parliamentary probe has determined that the killing spree was conducted by two separate squads, totaling as many as twenty American soldiers. No matter how much the military lies about such things and tries to cover up the facts, it will not be possible to keep the true story from coming out eventually. As a rule, most of those who follow these matters know well enough that oppressed peoples (ie: the victims) tend to tell the truth as best they know it, whereas the perpetrators do not.
So. We'll see. But the notion that getting the foreign troops out of the rural areas and ending the night raids will somehow interfere with "ending the war" is laughable. It's as if the military is bound and determined to de-legitimize itself come hell or high water.
There's spin and then there is horseshit.