In a brief ceremony in Kabul today (Dec 28), the US and NATO declared their 13 year-war in Afghanistan over even though their stated enemy – the Taliban – are more active than ever.
This year (2014) is set to be the deadliest of the war, according to the United Nations, which expects civilian casualties to hit 10,000 for the first time since the agency began keeping records in 2008. It says that most of the deaths and injuries are caused by Taliban attacks.
As for the US troops losses, the Afghan was has claimed 2,224 American lives so far, the London Guardian reported today. The total NATO troops losses have been around 3,500 (including the US killed in action).
The war has cost the American taxpayer about $1 trillion so far. And despite Obama’s declaration that his 2010 troops “surge” (to 140,000 soldiers) would be end the war, five years later, the US will be still deploying about 11,000 “security forces” in Afghanistan even after declaring the war to be over today.
Which brings to mind the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The New World Order’s edition of American foreign policy seems to be basing its diplomacy on the art of losing wars. Vietnam, Iraq, now Afghanistan – declare “victory” then run like hell?!
For more on that, check out this Financial Times column from Aug 2013 – Out of sight, out of mind – a rotten way to quit a war. Here’s an excerpt and an outlook for what will come next…
“An honest prognosis says that the presence of a few thousand western advisers and trainers will not stop the Taliban from retaking control of its Pashtun heartlands. The Afghan army, trained and equipped by Nato at vast expense, already loses more troops to desertion than it recruits. The present government might hold on to Kabul, but Afghanistan faces a slide into civil war.”
LIKE AUSTRIAN EMPIRE, LIKE AMERICAN EMPIRE: “DECLARE VICTORY, THEN RUN LIKE HELL”
Sadly, history is repeating itself here. And this writer predicted it over 21 years ago while walking in the heart of the toppled Austro-Hungarian empire – Vienna.
The Austro-Hungarian empire developed a habit of losing wars into an art form. “Declare victory, then run like hell,” was the mocking motto the world had coined. Until the Great War of 1914-1918, that is. That’s when the Great Empire disappeared into the dustbin of history.
Does the same fate await the United States? That’s exactly when this writer discerned one night in September 1993 while walking the streets of Vienna, the Austrian capital (see this writer’s Washington Times column “When Cultures Collide…“, Aug 1996).
This evening, I went for a walk around the old Vienna. As I looked again at those magnificent buildings where the Austrian royalty lived, I was reminded of the fact that even the greatest glory is but a fleeting moment in the history of mankind. Less than 100 years ago, this was one of the most powerful empires on the face of the Earth. Now, all these buildings don’t just look like museums; they are museums! I could not help but wonder if, in 100 years or so, Washington may also end up a “museum town,” as the new center of world power shifts elsewhere, perhaps to China or Russia? (Vienna, Sept 8, 1993)
“Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it,” goes an old saw. Count Washington in.
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An Epilogue or Prologue (you decide…)
This essay has had the longest “gestation period” of any piece which I’ve written on any subject. More than two years have passed since my idea about the impending U.S. disintegration was born on September 8, 1993 in Vienna. Here’s an excerpt from my diary notes:
This evening, I went for a walk around the old Vienna. As I looked again at those magnificent buildings where the Austrian royalty lived, I was reminded of the fact that even the greatest glory is but a fleeting moment in the history of mankind. Less than 100 years ago, this was one of the most powerful empires on the face of the Earth. Now, all these buildings don’t just look like museums; they are museums! I could not help but wonder if, in 100 years or so, Washington may also end up a “museum town,” as the new center of world power shifts elsewhere, perhaps to China or Russia?
After doing some research which backed up my Viennese intuition, I hesitated to share my conclusions with wider audiences partly because I was afraid that my forecast would be too shocking, disconcerting and gut-wrenching for many patriotic Americans.
In other words, I was a “chicken-shit” writer who was more concerned about being labeled a “kook” or a “weirdo” than about telling the whole truth.
Then I met an American overseas war veteran who earned more medals than my roses have petals. Upon reading a draft of this essay, which I wrote while stranded in Paris on by the fog and the transportation workers’ strike (Nov. 29, 1995), he said, “your piece is right on the money. Go for it!”
Which is why you’re now reading it, too…
Bob Djurdjevic, Phoenix, Arizona, Dec. 20, 1995