Tag Archive for Taliban

Obama’s pick to head CENTCOM testifies his strategy to fight ISIL will be to use the previous failed strategy to fight ISIL. Can it get any worse for the military?

President Obama picked General Joseph Votel, the current commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), to succeed General Lloyd Austin as the new head of US Central Command (CENTCOM) pending Senate approval. This was a genuine opportunity for Obama to change the strategic trajectory of US failures in the Middle East. However, after hearing Gen. Votel’s comments, I can say without any doubt the man is an incompetent commander that was politically chosen as a policy “yes man.” In short, Gen. Votel does not have a viable strategy to achieve victory and therefore should be fired as a commander, not promoted. Gen. Votel will not be the man to defeat ISIL unless he takes credit for the good work the Russians, Kurds, and Syrians are doing. Even then, I have full faith and confidence that the White House will manage to scuttle Russia’s successes too for the time being. What it means if Gen. Votel is confirmed by the Senate is that you can expect more of the same series of failures and continued perpetual indecisive wars across the globe. I urge every one of you to make it clear to your senators that Gen. Votel is NOT the man for the job or he will be confirmed and you will see another one of my predictions come to pass. Tell your senators we need a CENTCOM commander that will break from the failed strategies of the last 15 years. Congress must know Gen. Votel is incapable of charting a strategy for decisive victory, which our nation requires.

I am sure that some of my readers, which are well meaning, but loyal brainwashed company men of the military establishment, are cussing me for my blasphemy against such a vaunted general. However, I can say that anyone that places stock in military commanders that fail to achieve victory against a force as inept as the Taliban is a qualified idiot. Further, if they are currently serving in the military and support these professed students of what I refer to as a defeatist military strategy, they are suicidal. How weak minded must someone be to buy into the rhetoric that the Taliban are a super human force that would require a generation to defeat? Only by choosing to lose could that be a reality for the US military. This is strategic dereliction and I will not accept it even if the best Army post graduate students are too institutionalized to see the truth. At times, it is far more effective to be tactful in commentary; however, this is a case where blunt honesty is needed because lives will be lost because of this mockery of a commander. Incompetence left to its own devices is forgivable, but I will give no quarter to incompetence that seeks the power to sign the death certificate of a single life.

Gen. Votel was in charge of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) before taking over SOCOM and should know that our current strategy of training rebels isn’t working unless you are taking into account the number of ISIL and Taliban fighters we armed, trained, and equipped. Gen. Votel’s professional pedigree sounds superb until you consider “brilliant” losers like General McChrystal came from JSOC as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love the superbly professional organization JSOC has become and can say from working with their phenomenal operators around the globe that they are “tactically” the best in the business. However, the special operations cult worship has to end on Capitol Hill. Special operators regularly do take on missions of vital strategic importance, but they do not decisively operate at the strategic level. The distinction is crucial. Special operators are an extremely valuable warfighting tool, but have become the defacto tool for supporting the flawed notion that you can fight a war on the cheap and win decisively with a handful of special operators training foreign armies and rebels. Part of this comes from the fact many special operators trace their roots to traditional Army Special Forces units where their primary “special” mission is training and advising indigenous forces to support COIN and Foreign Internal Defense (FID) missions even if the historical data now overwhelmingly shows the COIN and FID tactics and techniques don’t work. The bottom line is unless said special operators are launching a strategic nuclear strike, the strategy simply isn’t working at a strategic level and over 15 years of failed war attest to this fact. Neither JSCOC nor SOCOM is designed or capable of giving us a decisive strategic victory against ISIL. Only, a through a true total war of attrition will you finally turn back and utterly defeat the Islamic Holy War against the West.

Specific to Gen. Votel’s demonstrated incompetence, in testimony Wednesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Votel told lawmakers that he supports moving forward with a revised effort to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels battling Islamic State militants. Gen. Votel described the “new” approach as a “thickening effort” as opposed to just raising a large force. What that exactly means is anyone’s guess, but this much is clear. This is the same “old” counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy the US has been peddling since Vietnam, which has never led to anything but total strategic failure. This is repeating a failed and completely discredited strategy and expecting a different result, which is insanity. Gen. Votel should know that there are no “moderate” rebels that will effectively challenge ISIL. He should also know that the only effective fighting force has been the Kurds and Washington is about to double cross them again on behalf of the Turks, which will blow back horribly on our anti-ISIL efforts. How, after billions of dollars were spent overtly and covertly on the failed strategy to arm, train, and equip rebels to fight ISIL in Iraq and Syria, can Gen. Votel honestly believe it will be different this time? Even Gen. Austin, the retiring CENTCOM commander, admitted in Congressional testimony the entire plan only trained four of five fighters! Not even Gen. Votel can be this naïve. Only someone that has sacrificed their integrity at the gates of politics would continuing such a ridiculous policy be possible.

Gen. Votel’s testimony did not improve. He went on to testify, “But I do think it is helpful to have people who have been trained by us, who have the techniques, who have the communications capability, and the resources to link back into our firepower.” The trained fighters, Votel explained, present the Islamic State with added “dilemmas.” This is a very disturbing conclusion by the general considering the historical record shows that US trained forces repeatedly failed when tested in battle and also defected in most cases without even a fight. Worse yet, these indigenous forces took all of our training, techniques, communications, and firepower to the enemy when they defected. In fact, based on the US track record, it would be more accurate to say that it is only helpful to our enemies.
Gen. Votel’s lack of integrity and or lack of good sense will rightfully earn him the blame for the failure of US strategy (or lack thereof) in the Middle East against ISIL. Mark my words, Obama has never accepted responsibility for his growing list of strategic failures and isn’t going to start now. Gen. Votel is signing on to a disastrous strategy that cannot work. Obama will hang this around Gen. Votel’s neck just like he has done with nearly every other commander. If Gen. Votel is even a bit savvy as a strategic thinker, he should clearly see that he is being set up as bad as the disgraced General Petraeus and run for the door or get a new strategy right now.

As with most articles I write, I try not to just criticize and point out flaws, but offer solutions. This article is no different. The links at the bottom of this article are a short list of key articles I have written that accurately predicted the progression to the state of affairs as it stands now in the Middle East with regards to ISIL. A key part of those predictions has been to repeatedly warn that President Obama’s strategy was never a “strategy” and would ultimately fail in a very predictable fashion, which has played out exactly as I predicted over two years ago. This should serve as my bona fides for correctly assessing and accurately predicting events years in advance. Second, I have also included an outline of what a real strategy for a decisive strategic victory would look like. I hope that these articles end up in the right hands of individuals that actually have power over policy, but it suffices for now that the public is being educated about the military’s lies. Whether or not Gen. Votel is confirmed, I will continue to extend the offer to step up and advise anyone actually serious about defeating ISIL going as far as staking my reputation to a winning strategy, which to date, no one has had the courage to do. It is time for our senior policy makers to show real courage and leadership by breaking away from the old caste of establishment beltway characters and seek some fresh, independent perspectives because to date, nothing the snake oil salesmen have provided has worked and it never will. Until then, in the least, call your senators and explain that we need a real military commander in charge of CENTCOM and that Gen. Votel should not be confirmed.

By Guiles Hendrik
March 10, 2016



Peace with Iran will lead to war: Part 2

Hardened Iranian Nuclear Facility at Fordo(w)

Hardened Iranian Nuclear Facility at Fordo(w)

Last week I discussed why peace with Iran was the preferred option.  I outlined a number of salient points uninformed talking heads in the media and well paid Israel lobbyists such as the former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, will never bring up.  In short, the costs of a war with Iran will far outweigh the costs of accepting a turbulent peace.  Even a successful war against Iran will be a Pyric victory and cause an economic collapse in the US.  Further, even if Iran did test a nuclear weapon, we would still have plenty of time to exercise the war option should it be necessary.  Unfortunately, even if the US does manage to broker a peace deal with Iran, war is now close to a certainty.  In the event of a war with Iran, there will be dire implications for the US.  Today I will discuss why war is now imminent, how it will likely be initiated, and the catastrophic effects on the US you must prepare to endure. Read more

NATO Declares War in Afghanistan Over!…But forgets to inform the Taliban

After over a decade of fighting, the Afghan War ends in strategic defeat for the US and NATO

After over a decade of fighting, the Afghan War ends in strategic defeat for the US and NATO

On December 28, 2014, the US and NATO declared an end to the mission and therefore the war in Afghanistan. A Taliban statement from Zabihullah Mujahidon, a Taliban spokesman, left no doubt to how it was interpreted according to Reuters.

“ISAF rolled up its flag in an atmosphere of failure and disappointment without having achieved anything substantial or tangible.”

Washington may not like the statement and downplay it, but it doesn’t change the reality that the statement is accurate.  Not so ironically, the US and NATO have been mute over the success of the war.  No celebrations, no parades, no victory speeches…the absence of all of this should signal that our leaders know it was a failure.  In fact, not only did the combined force of NATO and the US not achieve a decisive victory over the Taliban, they suffered a strategic defeat.  Read more

Damning Letter on State of Afghanistan War to Secretaries of Defense and State Leaked: Office of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Confirms US will lose control of most of Afghanistan by 2014 and US has no oversight of nearly $100 million in Afghan infrastructure development projects.

October 10, 2013: Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), John F. Sopko, wrote to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel about serious concerns about the impact of the drawdown on security and the related implications for ensuring adequate oversight of the U.S.-funded reconstruction effort in Afghanistan.  In brief, SIGAR is projecting that even in a “best case” scenario the US will have access to barely 21 percent of Afghanistan in 2014.  This represents almost a 50 percent loss of access from current estimates.  Making matters worse, SIGAR estimated that nearly $72 million in infrastructure projects were now inaccessible.  This means that nearly $100 million is “currently” being spent on projects in Afghanistan with NO oversight.

Specifically, earlier this year SIGAR was unable to visit infrastructure projects in northern Afghanistan valued at $72 million because they are located in areas that could not be reached by U.S. civilian employees.   SIGAR is referring to these inaccessible reconstruction sites as areas outside of the “oversight bubbles.”  The areas covered by these “oversight bubbles” are defined by the ability of the U.S. government to provide both adequate security and rapid emergency medical support to civilian employees traveling to the area.  In effect, these “oversight bubbles” represent areas controlled by Taliban forces and are growing daily.  As such, this document gives a rare glimpse behind the curtain of just how badly the US/NATO forces are being routed in Afghanistan.  Further, one can only assume that in a country that is ranked third from last in the world for corruption (only North Korea and Somalia ranked worse http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/05/map-the-most-and-least-corrupt-countries-in-the-world/) that hard earned US tax dollars are being squandered.  Not only are the tax dollars being wasted, but they are being spent in areas controlled by the Taliban and being paid out often directly to our enemies, which takes reckless spending to the ridiculously absurd.  Only in the minds of politicians and inept generals could one ever think the US could win a war by funding its enemies and building up their infrastructure!

The situation on the ground in Afghanistan has gotten so bad, “significant portions of Afghanistan are already inaccessible to SIGAR, other inspectors general, the Government Accountability Office, and other U.S. civilians conducting oversight, such as contracting officers.”  SIGAR believes this constraint on oversight will only “worsen” as more U.S. and coalition bases close.  The map illustrates just how little access the US is projected to have next year in Afghanistan as the US military completes its retreat.
















At this juncture it is worthwhile to quote an entire excerpt that illustrates exactly how bad the situation is even through the politicized lens of a high level letter written between senior agency leadership.  SIGAR writes in his letter:

“Although it is difficult to predict the future of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, it is likely that no more than 21 percent of Afghanistan will be accessible to U.S. civilian oversight personnel by the end of the transition, a 47 percent decrease since 2009. We have also been told by State Department officials that this projection may be optimistic, especially if the security situation does not improve.  The 21 percent figure may be too high. The oversight access shown on the attached maps presents a best-case scenario where weather, terrain, and security conditions pose no serious threat to helicopter medical evacuation missions.”

The implications of Mr. Sopko’s letter are profound.  Even an unlikely “best case” scenario projects the US to maintain only a very small foothold in some of Afghanistan’s major cities.  However, the security situation is currently very bad and projected to get worse.  Just as our analysts have predicted, since the failure in Tora Bora when the US lost the initiative during the early stages of the war, the true extent of US failure in Afghanistan is finally being revealed.  In fact, we project a rapid decrease in access to around 10% as Helmand and Kandahar Provinces rapidly fall back under complete Taliban control.  By 2015 we are predicting a near total loss of access and a likely collapse of the regime in Kabul.

See the actual letter at: http://www.sigar.mil/pdf/alerts/SIGAR_14-4-SP.pdf

By Guiles Hendrik

October 28, 2013

All rights reserved


The Forgotten War: Afghanistan 12 Years Later

America’s war against Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan began over 12 years ago last week.  This grim milestone came and went with no media coverage even as some of America’s best men and women were killed there in combat this week.  Now, in the lead up to a complete US military withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, it is blatantly clear our pessimistic analytical forecast for Afghanistan has proved accurate.  Today we will recap the state of affairs of the War in Afghanistan and what to expect in the coming months.

The Obama Administration is quick to broadcast anything it can spin as good news.  The opposite is true of bad news so it is telling that it has maintained a near total media blackout on Afghanistan.  Making President Obama’s whitewash of the dire state of the war even feasible has been a complicit media and their absolute dereliction of a social responsibility to be the watchdog of the government.  This is the same biased media that broadcast images from the Iraq War around the clock during the Bush Administration, but now suddenly has nothing to report respective of the on-going Afghanistan War.  The truth the Obama Administration and his media henchmen are hiding is that the war has gone horribly wrong and the US is rapidly retreating in defeat.

I for one hate the notion of defeat and am incredibly ashamed of even the notion that the US could allow itself to be defeated in a war.  One would think that our nation’s leaders learned something from the Vietnam catastrophe, but then again, most of our leaders on both sides of the aisle were draft dodgers, cowards, potheads, and never served a day in the military.   Considering this, one should not be surprised to find out the Taliban are alive and well.  Not only have the Taliban weathered the full onslaught of a combined US, NATO, and Afghan military force for over a decade, but they are now more numerous, control more territory, and are better armed, trained, and equipped than they were when the US entered the war in 2001.  The Taliban still have the will and capability to fight and still take to the battlefield.  By any measure of warfare, if an invading army is forced from the battlefield and ultimately from the land which it invaded while the opposing army still holds that ground, the army that retreated was defeated.  If the media and the Obama Administration were honest and upfront with the American people, they would report that they never so much as fully secured a single province in Afghanistan.  As quickly as the US has handed over these still contested provinces to the “Afghans,” they have been taken over by the “Afghan Taliban.”  The latest sign of this came on September 13, 2013 when Taliban insurgents nearly overran the US Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan.  Not only was this attack just 48 hours after the anniversary of the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, but it was in a far western area of Afghanistan that previously was thought to be immune from Taliban influence.  Soon there will be no more US military forces in Afghanistan to come to the aid of these diplomatic enclaves.  When that day comes in just a few months, the US will be forced to quickly withdraw its last remaining diplomats in defeat.

Afghanistan has been an unsustainable war from the very beginning due to the lack of genius in our senior military officers, our unwillingness to pursue the actual enemy into Pakistan, self-defeating strategies, and the ultimate failure to recognize the strategic importance of sealing the Afghan-Pakistan border.  Our failure to neutralize and or destroy the Taliban safe haven across the border in Pakistan, has allowed the Taliban to wait out the US just as they did the Soviets.  Inside Pakistan’s safe haven, the Taliban fighters receive arms, training, funding, and sanctuary from the Pakistani government…the same government we give over $5 billion in annual aid to (read self-defeating strategy).  While the Taliban organize, train, and equip in Pakistan, the US has spent over a trillion dollars vainly setting up forward operating bases all over the desolate wasteland where the sole mission has become clearing roadways of improvised explosive devices so that the troops can get supplies to their remote bases so they can clear the roads so they can get in supplies, etc. etc. etc.  At no point in this ridiculous slow bleed strategy did our troops ever come close to strategic and decisive gains against the Taliban.  Instead, we spent and bled our nation to defeat without the Taliban having to do more than push an occasional button on an explosive device produced in Pakistan or shoot one of our soldiers in the back while dining together.  This absolute disaster of a war is a testament to the massive amount of money the US taxpayer has been forced to waste on a military bureaucracy so large and unwieldy that defies description.  Until the Department of Defense (DOD) can show that it can actually win a war the budget should be slashed, slashed some more, and then cut in half again.  If the politics won’t allow for a war to be fought, then we shouldn’t fight wars and waste money on our massive and dysfunctional military.  We don’t need smart bombs, we need leaders with the will to fight and win.  That said, without any doubt, for probably under what the DOD spent in a week on the Afghanistan War, a small contingent of country boys sporting nothing but scoped deer rifles, good leadership, and freedom of action could have decisively defeated the Taliban and ended the war in Afghanistan in just a few months.

Not only is the war unsustainable for the US, but also the Afghan government.  Over a hundred Afghan soldiers a week are killed, many times more are wounded, and even more defect to the Taliban.  The situation is so bad that the Department of Defense made it official policy to no longer report the number of Afghan casualties out of fear of losing all moral in the Afghan National Army.  Remember too that the mauling the Afghan military is incurring is with the help of NATO/US forces in Afghanistan to include air support.  Once the US and NATO pull out, the Afghan National Army will face total defeat as it dissolves into a more formalized Taliban Army.

Collapse is now imminent in Afghanistan.  Perhaps six months to a year separate the current state of affairs from a Taliban takeover of most of the country.  As the US accelerates its withdrawal, the Taliban will begin to operate more overtly in Afghanistan seizing at first greater footholds in the regional villages and towns and then overwhelming major cities.  Kandahar may again be one of the first cities to fall to the Taliban as soon as the spring of 2014.  Once Kandahar and surrounding provinces fall fully back into the Taliban’s (Pakistan’s) hands, it will only be a matter of months before Kabul falls under heavy attack and is overrun.  President Karzai will most likely do what he did before and flee his country to save his own skin.  This time though Karzai will flee with over a billion dollars (compliments of the US taxpayer by way of the CIA) hidden away, rather overtly, in Swiss and Dubai bank accounts to live out his days in Europe as his countrymen suffer the aftermath of his corrupt regime.  One can only hope he is forced to stay and weather whatever consequences the war may bring as the captain should either save the ship or sink with it.  In the interim, Afghanistan will exist as the world’s premier narco-state with President Karzai the undisputed cartel leader.

Make no mistake that any notion the US will be able to maintain a footprint in Afghanistan once the pull out begins is an illusion.  I can’t say for sure whether our leadership in the US is just that dumb to believe we will be able to stay (they are building a billion dollar embassy in Kabul) or is simply lying to provide top cover while we retreat.  Nonetheless, the result will be the same.  Think Saigon circa 1975.  To say the least, we will be lucky to have an exit as orderly as the Soviets.  If we are so lucky, it is only because the Taliban correctly assessed that it was in their best interests to simply let us leave as soon as possible while saving up their strength for a full offensive.  Once NATO has gotten out of the way, the Taliban will move to finish the civil war they started before the US invasion.

As the last troops retreat out of Afghanistan in defeat the military-industrial-complex will be faced with a dire situation.  The situation will be one of reduced budgets and no pressing war to sell their wares.  This means the titans of defense will lose billions of dollars and tens of thousands of Americans will be put out of work.  As such, we predict the military-industrial-complex will work closely behind the scenes with Congress to engineer a new war before the complete end to operations in Afghanistan.  The most likely candidate for this will be a war with Iran via Syria.  This war, as we have repeatedly warned, will be a complete disaster on a scale unprecedented in American history.  In fact the consequences could be so dire that historians may very well point to the folly as the end of the Republic.

Please remember our troops on the ground fighting in Afghanistan…they are the real victims of bad leadership, yet bravely stand their posts.

By Guiles Hendrik

All rights reserved. 

Failure in Afghanistan Slowly Creeps into National Dialogue

With little fanfare, media hype, or public outcry the inevitable conclusion that the War in Afghanistan is a failure has begun to take root in the public as well as political psyche.  Slowly but surely the media has quietly, but definitely begun to write the closing chapters on one of the greatest American foreign policy disasters since Vietnam.  Perhaps this quiet acquiescence is the result of media bias and its gross protectionist agenda for President Obama or perhaps this is simply the last whimpers of a nation overcome and war weary.

On March 19th, Afghanistan’s presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi adequately described the state of the NATO-led military operation in the country as “aimless and unwise.”  He specifically said, “The people of Afghanistan ask NATO to define the purpose and aim of the so-called war on terror… (They) consider this war as aimless and unwise to continue.”  Both the American war fighters and the Afghans have known this fact for years.  It now appears that only our senior policy makers are left believing their own propaganda as they tenaciously try to divert criticism from their own failed strategies and policies just long enough to retire or blame someone else.  It is worth noting that pundits will still correlate the daily “defeat” of the Taliban on the battlefield with victory in Afghanistan.  These grossly false conclusions should serve to fully discredit whoever was dumb enough to make the statement.  Just as in Vietnam for the U.S. and in Afghanistan for the Soviets, simple defeat of the insurgent on the battlefield is not enough to win the war.  Over the years we have written profusely about this reality to include directly indicting the failure of then General Petraeus’ counterinsurgency strategy.  Specifically, we identified the failure of the strategy to remove sanctuary and or secure the border, which even a basic knowledge of insurgent warfare shows is the absolute key essential to winning a cross-border, state supported insurgency such as we are fighting in Afghanistan.

Only in hindsight will the true magnitude of the United States’ defeat in Afghanistan be realized.  What can be assured is that by the oldest historical metric of victory in warfare, the force that holds the ground at the end of the day has won, the U.S. has lost.  There is no doubt that the Taliban is in firm control of not just some, but more of Afghanistan than before the U.S. invasion.  In fact, the Taliban have even extended control throughout regions that the “Northern Alliance” formerly controlled and the pseudo-experts like David Kilcullen deemed “immune.”  This includes expanding across the border into Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.  Further, Pakistan has continued to allow sanctuary and provide covert support to the Taliban unabated by drone strikes and bolstered by U.S. foreign aid, which all but assures the imminent overthrow of Karzai’s puppet regime in Kabul.

As NATO shutters its operations and begins its long overdue pullout the costs are immense and are only now beginning to be counted.  Thousands of dead and wounded, incalculable numbers of broken families, trillions of dollars in un-repayable debt, economic devastation, obliteration of national prestige, and the massive growth and spread of radical Islamism are just the highlights.  Our performance in Afghanistan has been so dismal, one could make a legitimate argument that if the U.S. had done absolutely nothing after 9/11 as compared to over a decade of warfare, the U.S. would be in a better strategic position today.  The trillions of dollars dedicated to our high tech military supremacy simply was not enough to overcome even the lowest level of military threats and is due almost exclusively to the intellectual dereliction of our policy makers and poor leadership.

If this has taught us nothing else, it should serve as a stark warning against future intervention in places like Mali, Somalia, Libya, and Syria and most certainly, a full blown war with Iran or North Korea.  Further, it serves as a reminder of how futile spending money on equipment and weapons is if there isn’t the leadership capable of designing and implementing effective strategic policy.  If the U.S. fails to heed these warnings, the U.S. will find itself embroiled in another strategic disaster before the end of 2013.  Eerily similar to the lead-up to the Soviet defeat and withdrawal from Afghanistan, the U.S. finds itself bankrupt and dangerously strategically overextended on the eve of its retreat from Afghanistan in 2014.  If the U.S. falls victim in its weakened state to another war and policy disaster, it could spell at minimum, the economic collapse of the U.S.

See the below articles for further references to the U.S. failure in Afghanistan:








By Guiles Hendrik