This is a repost of two items we posted here back in May and June. In light of recent events and Biden’s statement that he will “not repeat the past”, this makes for interesting context. THERE ARE MORE WAYS TO WAGE WAR THAN PUTTING TROOPS ON THE GROUND!
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Thursday said the US military has already begun so-called “over the horizon capabilities” for operations in Afghanistan, which is Pentagon jargon for spying on and bombing the country from outside its borders.
Dave Decamp – AntiWar.com June 10, 2021
Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee that combat and surveillance missions are being conducted in Afghanistan by aircraft that were either launched from aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf or from airbases that are located in Gulf nations. [Unclear against whom (vs the Taliban or vs ISIS) since there is supposed to be a US-Taliban ceasefire but which has been repeatedly broken by the US.]
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said the “vast majority” of MQ-9 Reaper drone missions inside Afghanistan are being flown from outside the country.
Austin declined to confirm a report from The New York Timesthat said the Pentagon was considering providing air support for the Afghan government in the event that a major city like Kabul appeared to be falling to the Taliban after US troops leave the country. Up until this point, US officials have only hinted at future airstrikes in Afghanistan after the withdrawal against groups like al-Qaeda or ISIS.
Authorizing limited strikes against the Taliban or any other groups inside Afghanistan after the withdrawal would just be a continuation of the war. The Taliban would also see it as a violation of the Doha agreement, which would make the group less likely to continue peace talks with the Afghan government.
Austin also told Congress that the Pentagon was still working on establishing a military base in a neighboring country to make bombing Afghanistan easier after the pullout. “What we are looking for is the ability to shorten the legs going forward by stationing some capability in neighboring countries. That is still a work in progress,” he said.
The US has reportedly tried to strike a basing deal with regional countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, or Uzbekistan. But so far, no agreements have been made. Pakistan has publicly denied that it would again host US troops, but the fact that US warplanes recently used Pakistani airspace to bomb Afghanistan raised questions about a possible secret deal between Islamabad and Washington.
On Tuesday, US Central Command said that the withdrawal process was over 50 percent complete, although the command is not disclosing troop numbers. When President Biden ordered the withdrawal, the US had somewhere between 2,500 and 3,500 troops in the country. Some are expected to stay behind to protect the US embassy in Kabul.
Martin comments: On a more esoteric note, “Over The Horizon” is a military term associated with Radar and HAARP, especially in conjunction with satellites and space-based platforms.
Troops on the ground aren’t the only measure of horrific warfare, writes Norman Solomon.
When I met a 7-year-old girl named Guljumma at a refugee camp in Kabul a dozen years ago, she told me that bombs fell early one morning while she slept at home in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Valley. With a soft, matter-of-fact voice, Guljumma described what happened. Some people in her family died. She lost an arm.
Troops on the ground didn’t kill Guljumma’s relatives and leave her to live with only one arm. The U.S. air war did.
There’s no good reason to assume the air war in Afghanistan will be over when — according to President Joe Biden’s announcement on Wednesday — all U.S. forces will be withdrawn from that country.
What Biden didn’t say was as significant as what he did say. He declared that “U.S. troops, as well as forces deployed by our NATO allies and operational partners, will be out of Afghanistan” before Sept. 11. And “we will not stay involved in Afghanistan militarily.”
But Biden did not say that the United States will stop bombing Afghanistan. What’s more, he pledged that “we will keep providing assistance to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” a declaration that actually indicates a tacit intention to “stay involved in Afghanistan militarily.”
And, while the big-type headlines and prominent themes of media coverage are filled with flat-out statements that the U.S. war in Afghanistan will end come September, the fine print of coverage says otherwise.
The banner headline across the top of The New York Times homepage during much of Wednesday proclaimed: “Withdrawal of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Will End Longest American War.”
Buried in Coverage
But, buried in the 32nd paragraph of a story headed “Biden to Withdraw All Combat Troops From Afghanistan by Sept. 11,” the Times reported: “Instead of declared troops in Afghanistan, the United States will most likely rely on a shadowy combination of clandestine Special Operations forces, Pentagon contractors and covert intelligence operatives to find and attack the most dangerous Qaeda or Islamic State threats, current and former American officials said.”
Matthew Hoh, a Marine combat veteran who in 2009 became the highest-ranking U.S. official to resign from the State Department in protest of the Afghanistan war, told my colleagues at the Institute for Public Accuracy on Wednesday:
“Regardless of whether the 3,500 acknowledged U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, the U.S. military will still be present in the form of thousands of special operations and CIA personnel in and around Afghanistan, through dozens of squadrons of manned attack aircraft and drones stationed on land bases and on aircraft carriers in the region, and by hundreds of cruise missiles on ships and submarines.”
Martin comments: Yes, as per usual, one has to read between the lines. Biden basks in the glory of peacenik Wokeness while the carnage in Afghanistan morphs from troops to drones and missiles. Smoke and mirrors.