Posts Tagged ‘counterinsurgency’

Report Shows Obama Failed – And Failed From DAY ONE – In Afghanistan

April 19, 2014

Raise your hand if you EVER believed Obama’s incredibly stupid and naïve “strategy” in Afghanistan would work before he cut and ran on his “timetable for surrender.”

Please note: people like me were declaring Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan would fail from the first moment he declared, “If we declare exactly when we’re going to crawl out with our tails between our legs, and then leave Afghanistan to the terrorists, we’ll win.”  And people like me were right, and as usual people like Obama are a) evil because they wasted all of our blood and everything we invested and b) stupid beyond human belief.

Obama already HAS largely pissed Iraq away and wasted our victory there by refusing to stay.  Cutting and running equals LOSING.  I still remember the day that Obama demonized and slandered John McCain for declaring that we ought to remain in Iraq for a hundred years, if necessary, to peacefully secure what we won the same way we remained in Germany and the same way we remained in Japan and the same way we remained in South Korea to keep what we had won safe and free.  What McCain was very clearly saying – CORRECTLY – was that America needed to maintain a low key presence and a commitment to these countries in order to keep the terrorists who had taken over Afghanistan to attack us on 9/11 and to keep the terrorists who wanted to do the same thing with Iraq out and American influence in.

Obama said absolutely not, that his policy of declaring to the enemy exactly when we were going to withdraw and then leaving would succeed.  On Obama’s failed view, “cutting and running” would force Afghanistan and Iraq to get their acts together and fight the terrorists themselves.

But that was never going to work, and frankly the stakes were too high for America to ever stupidly believe that it had any chance of working.

And now here we are:

EXCLUSIVE: Confidential U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
State Department tries to hide risks of corruption
By Guy Taylor – The Washington Times
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Confidential U.S. assessments, which the State Department tried to hide from the public, show nearly all Afghan Cabinet ministries are woefully ill-prepared to govern after the U.S. withdraws its troops, often describing the gaps in knowledge, capability and safeguards as “critical” and describing an infrastructure in danger of collapsing if left to its own accord.

The State Department USAID reports, obtained by The Washington Times, paint a sobering portrait about the impact of the billions of dollars the U.S. has spent on nation-building over the past decade.


SEE ALSO: See the scathing documents detailing $600 billion squandered in Afghanistan


Treated as a whole, the reports suggest that the U.S. spending has yet to create a sustainable civilian government in Afghanistan and, in some cases, has been diverted to corrupt politicians or extremists looking to destabilize the country.

USAID officials told The Times on Tuesday that the risks of corruption and waste associated with trying to develop a government in Afghanistan have long been known and that U.S. taxpayers must be patient before they see further returns on their aid investments.

Americans need to appreciate that the Afghan government ministries hardly existed a dozen years ago, said the officials, who argued that the government has progressed dramatically over the years — giving all the more reason for Washington now to ensure that the gains are not lost and U.S. national security hurt during the years ahead.

Further, USAID spokesman Matt Herrick told The Times that “we strongly reject all claims that we have improperly withheld information.”

USAID takes very seriously its obligation to share information about its operations with Congress, auditors and the public,” Mr. Herrick said.

But questions remain about precisely why the secret assessments, which were conducted by USAID officials in 2012 and 2013 and are known in foreign aid circles as “Stage II Risk Assessment Reports,” are just coming to light.


SEE ALSO: U.S. fears Afghan services may be cut as corruption sharply reduces customs taxes


The documents focus specifically on seven Afghan government ministries overseeing the nation’s finance, mining, electric utilities, communications, education, health and agriculture.

USAID concluded outright that six of those ministries simply cannot be trusted to manage aid from U.S. taxpayers without a dangerous risk that the money will fall victim to fraud, waste, abuse or outright theft.

Only in one of the seven cases — the Afghan Ministry of Finance in March 2013 — did auditors conclude that the ministry’s systems were “adequate to properly manage and account for” money being channeled in from Washington.

But even with that conclusion, USAID auditors identified 26 risks for fraud and waste at the finance ministry. Three of the risks were deemed to be “high” and the rest were rated “critical,” including the overarching danger of the Finance Ministry simply “not being able to fulfill its mandate and carry out its operation.”

The reports, which also contain specific recommendations for each ministry to root out mismanagement, are being made public against a backdrop of mounting debate in Washington over America’s nation-building project in Afghanistan over the past 12 years.

The Times obtained the assessments under a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the chief U.S. watchdog over the State Department’s nation-building efforts.

The State Department provided the documents earlier to private groups and congressional lawmakers, but in redacted, edited and compressed formats, leading to complaints that the department hid essential information about the poor state of Afghanistan’s governing ability. The Times’ copies were mostly free of edits, laying bare the stark assessments USAID gave about each Afghan ministry.

‘Should not be released’

At the center of that debate sits serious questions about the impact — or lack thereof — of the more than $100 billion that Congress says has been channeled toward Afghanistan reconstruction.

Although the amount is far less than the $600 billion estimated to have been spent on U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, it represents the core of America’s attempt to build a government that would not crumble quickly should President Obama come through on his promise to pull all U.S. forces out of the nation by the end of this year.

USAID alone has channeled $20 billion toward the effort, according to SIGAR officials.

SIGAR and USAID have fought bitterly in public in recent weeks over whether the U.S. exerted enough safeguards over its spending and whether the State Department has tried to hide the blemishes inside each Afghan ministry.

The Stage II Risk Assessment Reports, along with a series of other Afghan ministry audits that USAID contracted out to the high-level Washington accounting firms KPMG and Ernst & Young, have sat at the center of the dispute.

SIGAR used the assessments as the basis for its scathing report in January highlighting rampant claims of fraud and abuse across the ministries. But what came next was even more eye-opening: The watchdog group wrote a letter to USAID accusing the agency of seeking at “virtually every turn” to block the information from becoming public.

“When SIGAR first requested copies of the ministry assessments at issue here, USAID stamped them ‘Sensitive But Unclassified’ (SBU), with a legend on the front covers stating that they should not be released ‘outside the Executive Branch,’ i.e., should not be released to Congress or the public,” SIGAR General Counsel John G. Arlington wrote in a March 26 letter to USAID’s legal branch.

The letter triggered speculation inside government circles in Washington that USAID might be guarding the material because of a reference that the ministry assessments had made to terrorism.

A version of the assessment, which was conducted by KPMG, appeared this month on the website of the Project on Government Oversight and highlighted how the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development had never developed a mechanism “for screening of beneficiaries for their possible links with terrorist organizations before signing contracts or providing funds to the suppliers.”

Lack of accountability

That particular assessment, along with others that USAID contracted KPMG and Ernst & Young to conduct, were not included in the FOIA response that SIGAR provided Tuesday to The Times.

In the response, SIGAR provided The Times with more than 100 pages of the assessments that USAID officials conducted to gauge the capabilities of Afghan ministries.

The documents paint a sobering picture. In one, USAID auditors assessed a shocking lack of management over the financial dealings at the ministry overseeing all mining activities in Afghanistan.

“There is no financial management and accounting system in place to record transactions for both operational and development budget,” states the September 2012 assessment of the Afghan Ministry of Mines.

“There is no evidence of reconciliation of monthly payroll records,” auditors wrote. “In fact, staff are receiving bonuses in cash which are not declared on their bank transfer.”

What’s worse, USAID concluded, is that the “same staff is recording and reconciling transactions.”

An examination of Afghanistan’s main power and electricity generating utility, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat — known as DABS — paints an equally bleak picture. The assessment, dated October 2012, found “significant weaknesses in DABS’ financial management and accounting system.”

“These weaknesses create opportunities for fraud, including off-balance sheet financing,” USAID auditors wrote. “Evidently DABS does not have sufficient financial management capacity to manage donors’ funds, without strong mitigation measures and/or substantial involvement from donors.”

Six of 12 risks that auditors identified for fraud and waste at DABS were assessed as “critical.” Six others, including the risk of DABS’ management “not being committed to sound organizational structure and competence,” were rated as “high.”

Documents prove oversight

Each of the assessments contains a section outlining the Obama administration’s 2010 policy to channel “at least 50 percent” of all U.S. government development aid to Afghanistan directly into the budget of the Afghan government.

Under the policy, USAID officials wrote, the agency is committed to evaluating the government capability of whatever nation is receiving aid — in this case Afghanistan. The point, the officials wrote, is to “understand the fiduciary risk environment in targeted countries” in order to decide whether a given nation’s agencies can be trusted with U.S. taxpayer money.

“If the assessment reveals clear evidence of vulnerabilities to corruption, and the partner country government fails to respond, the use of partner country systems must not be authorized,” USAID officials wrote.

Although the assessments go on to highlight such vulnerabilities across the Afghan ministries, USAID agreed as of August to channel roughly $695 million in “direct assistance” to those ministries.

USAID officials defended their actions Tuesday by pointing out that the agency has disbursed only about $200 million, specifically because of concerns about widespread fraud and corruption.

Mr. Herrick said suggestions that USAID has tried to hide the risk of such problems only “distract from the larger story that is often overlooked here — that USAID is protecting U.S. taxpayer money while providing critical development assistance and putting in place strict safeguards and oversight measures.”

“These documents, the Stage II assessments, very clearly demonstrate those oversight measures,” he said.

Another USAID official told The Times that Congress and U.S. government auditors have access to USAID documents in unredacted form either in their offices or at USAID.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, asserted that it “is a common practice to redact information from the general public about vulnerabilities and other information that could be exploited by unscrupulous actors if exposed.”

Other officials said the USAID goes to lengths to work with Afghan officials in an attempt to help them develop the capability to effectively manage their ministries on their own, rather than simply throw money at the situation. As a result, one official said, the process takes significant time and care.

Ghost employees

Officials writing the documents pulled few punches. The one conducted on the Ministry of Mines, for instance, described a landscape ripe for corruption. Operational problems, USAID auditors wrote, have created a “critical” risk of “kickbacks and bribery.”

Similarly strong language was used in a “Conclusion & Results” section of an October 2012 assessment of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, commonly referred to as “MAIL.”

“MAIL’s financial management/accounting system is not adequate to properly manage and account for donors’ funds,” auditors wrote. “MAIL does not have the financial management capacity to manage proposed activities.”

USAID auditors also pointed to damaging personnel problems within the Ministry of Public Health, whose “payroll database is vulnerable to unauthorized access and modification.”

The ministry “runs the risk of paying ghost employees and making improper payments to employees,” the assessment states.

A “lack of transparency” within the ministry’s procurement and purchasing system “creates an opportune environment for fraud, waste and abuse,” USAID auditors wrote, adding that ministry was in violation of existing Afghan government procurement laws, operating with “no effective control over public expenditures.”

Thirteen of 14 risks USAID identified in the assessment were rated as “critical,” including the risks that the ministry’s officials are diverting “government resources for unintended purposes” and manipulating accounting information to “hide illegal actions.”

While a January 2013 assessment of the Ministry of Education painted a relatively optimistic view of the ministry’s future, auditors cited a “high” risk of government resources being diverted to “unintended purposes.”

USAID auditors also found a host of accountability issues associated with the manner in which not just money — but actual cash — flows through the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to the ministry’s employees.

“The Ministry permits salary advances in the form of cash to staff, however, there are no internal controls to monitor and track the cash advances and [a] separate ledger to record the cash advances is not maintained,” auditors wrote in a January 2013 assessment.

We have needed all along to stay small in Afghanistan, and to just keep using our elite forces and our air and artillery power to just keep finding out where the Taliban were and taking them out.  As Bush had successfully done.

Obama’s counterinsurgency strategy was NEVER going to work.  Because we were NEVER going to be able to win the hearts and minds of such a primitive tribal people who are so easily deceived (all too much like the American people, sadly).

What we needed to do was what Bush did: drive the Taliban out and just proceed to keep them on their heels by killing them with raids when they tried to gather and terrorize the people in their villages.

Bush lost 630 Americans in Afghanistan during his eight years.  Now, you can demonize Bush as having lost to many, as Barack Obama did.  But now you’ve got to answer for the fact that Barack Obama has lost 1,687 American lives so far in Afghanistan.  And he is about to lose the whole enchilada because his strategy was wildly wrong.  And he’s ALREADY lost the Iraq War that George Bush won by refusing to stay and keep what we fought for.

Obama has thrown away three times as many American lives as Bush AFTER DEMONIZING Bush.  Only to fail those men and fail America.

Liberals won’t answer for those facts, of course, because to be a Democrat is to be a rabidly dishonest hypocrite.

But every thinking person ought to hold Obama accountable for his bovine feces rhetoric and his bovine feces results.

Obama’s failure in Afghanistan has been predicted over and over and over again right from the very start by people like me.  Because we understood the true evil that is Barack Obama and his God Damn America policies:

Afghanistan and Iran: Weakling President Obama Confronted By ‘Strong’ Candidate Obama

September 28, 2009

Obama’s Afghanistan Mess Proves Why Making Iraq Central Front Good Idea

October 15, 2009

Biden Reveals Obama Administration Treating Afghanistan As Political Problem

October 19, 2009

Some ‘Change’: Closest Ally Britain Says Obama Undermining War In Afghanistan

November 24, 2009

Obama’s Message To Taliban Re: Afghanistan: ‘Just Keep Fighting And Wait Us Out And It’ll Be All Yours’

December 2, 2009

Speigel Regards Obama And His Afghanistan Policy With Naked Contempt

December 2, 2009

How’s Obama Doing In Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq? Not So Good

April 7, 2010

Obama Reducing Afghanistan Into ‘Echoes Of Vietnam’

April 7, 2010

Napalitano Travels To Afghanistan To Make Its Border As Secure As America’s

January 3, 2011

Great General Leaving Afghanistan So Fool President Can Be The Weakling His Leftist Base Demands

February 16, 2011

Obama – Who Demonized Iraq And Afghanistan During Bush Administration – Now Warns Against Sending ‘Mixed Messages’ In His ‘Kinetic Action’ In Libya

June 16, 2011

Obama REPEATEDLY IGNORED GENERALS As He Pursued His Political Policy Of First Surge Then Cut-And-Run In Afghanistan

June 29, 2011

Obama’s Utterly Failed Policy With Syria, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan And The Entire Middle East Is A Clear And Present Danger

February 9, 2012

I think those older articles establish my bona fides that I TOLD YOU SO.

And one of the things I pointed out in one of the earliest articles was why Obama was such a stupid and reckless fool to make the war on terror all about Afghanistan to begin with.  The bottom line is that Iraq was PERFECT for American policy.  It had an educated people who were capable of listening to reason; and it had flat terrain where our air and armor power could easily dominate and guarantee victory.  Obama was stupid to drag us deeply into Afghanistan – which Bush refused to do no matter how much John Kerry and then Barack Obama and other Democrats demonized him for it – because unlike those fools Bush listened to his generals and understood the folly.  That is why he kept the Afghanistan theater in low key and instead opened the theater in Iraq where we had a dictator’s ass to kick in the heart of the Arab World.

Obama’s campaign was based on demonization from the very outset.  He had made Iraq “the bad war” and – because it was deemed politically foolish to make Democrats completely anti-war – they offered Afghanistan as “the good war.”

Only Democrats are rabid liars and fools and Afghanistan was NEVER a good ANYTHING.

We have struggled massively to educate stone-age people who live in a country that is dominated by mountains and caves that defy all of our military advantages.

It was a death trap right from the start.

The rest of the world knew this: which is why Afghanistan had already been called “The Graveyard of Empires” LONG before another fool like Obama came along to experience the lessons of history anew.

Just keep voting for Democrats, America.  Because you’ve clearly demonstrated that you want to go the way of the Dodo bird.

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Obama Reducing Afghanistan Into ‘Echoes Of Vietnam’

April 7, 2010

History has an unsavory way of repeating itself.  And that is especially dangerous when Democrats are running things.

From the Wall Street Journal:

APRIL 7, 2010
The Karzai Fiasco
Echoes of Vietnam in a spat that only helps the Taliban.

President Obama isn’t faring too well at converting enemies to friends, but he does seem to have a talent for turning friends into enemies
. The latest spectacle is the all-too-public and counterproductive war of words between the White House and our putative ally, Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The only winner so far in this spat is the Taliban.

The Obama Administration seems to have had it out for Mr. Karzai from the day it took office, amid multiple reports based on obvious U.S. leaks that Vice President Joe Biden or some other official had told the Afghan leader to shape up. The tension escalated after Mr. Karzai’s tainted but ultimately recognized re-election victory last year, and it reached the name-calling stage late last month when President Obama met Mr. Karzai on a trip to Kabul and the White House let the world know that the American had lectured the Afghan about his governing obligations.

The public rebuke was a major loss of face for Mr. Karzai, who later returned fire at the U.S., reportedly even saying at a private meeting that if the Americans kept it up, he might join the Taliban. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs kept up the schoolyard taunts yesterday by suggesting that Mr. Obama might not meet with Mr. Karzai as scheduled in Washington on May 12.

“We certainly would evaluate whatever continued or further remarks President Karzai makes, as to whether it is constructive to have that meeting,” said Mr. Gibbs, in a show of disdain he typically reserves for House Republicans.

The kindest word for all of this is fiasco. American troops are risking their lives to implement a counterinsurgency strategy that requires winning popular support in Afghanistan, and the main message from America’s Commander in Chief to the Afghan people is that their government can’t be trusted. That ought to make it easier to win hearts and minds.

Mr. Karzai has been disappointing as a nation-builder, has tolerated corrupt officials and family members, and can be arrogant and crudely nationalistic. Presumably, however, Mr. Obama was well aware of these defects last year when he recognized the Afghan election results and then committed 20,000 more U.S. troops to the theater.

You go to war with the allies you have, and it’s contrary to any diplomatic principle to believe that continuing public humiliation will make Mr. Karzai more likely to cooperate. On the evidence of the last week, such treatment has only given the Afghan leader more incentive to make a show of his political independence from the Americans.

All the more so given that Mr. Karzai has already heard Mr. Obama promise that U.S. troops will begin leaving Afghanistan as early as July 2011. This shouting spectacle will also embolden the Taliban, who after being run out of Marjah have every reason to tell the citizens of Kandahar that even the Americans don’t like the Afghan government and are short-timers in any case.

This treatment of an ally eerily echoes the way the Kennedy Administration treated Ngo Dinh Diem, the President of South Vietnam in the early 1960s. On JFK’s orders, U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge refused to meet with Diem, and when U.S. officials got word of a coup against Diem they let it be known they would not interfere. Diem was executed, and South Vietnam never again had a stable government.

By contrast, President George W. Bush decided to support and work closely with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during the 2007 U.S. military surge in Iraq. The Maliki government was sectarian and sometimes incompetent, and some of its officials were no doubt corrupt, but Mr. Bush understood that the larger goal was to defeat al Qaeda and to stabilize the country. From FDR to Reagan, Presidents of both parties have had to tolerate allied leaders of varying talents and unsavory qualities in the wartime pursuit of more important foreign-policy goals.

Coming on the heels of the U.S. public chastisement of Israel’s government, the larger concern over the Karzai episode is what it reveals about Mr. Obama’s diplomatic frame of mind. With adversaries, he is willing to show inordinate patience, to the point of muffling his objections when opposition blood ran in the streets of Tehran. With allies, on the other hand, the President is unforgiving and insists they follow his lead or face his public wrath. The result will be that our foes fear us less, and that we have fewer friends.

I wrote an article yesterday which came out today that recognized this same (quite obvious) point: Obama commits tens of thousands of troops and spends hundreds of billions of dollars in Afghanistan, and then refuses to call the Afghani government an ally?  How is that not insane?

We won’t lose the war in Afghanistan because of our troops.  Our troops are the greatest warriors in the history of the world, and they truly deserve the word “heroes.”  If we lose, we will lose because of our failure-in-chief.

Turning Afghanistan into the next Vietnam by poisoning the national government is inherently stupid.  It is tantamount to refusing to recognize that we are fighting a war against Islamic jihadism.   The Bush Doctrine of preventative war stated, “The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century.”  Obama is now fundamentally altering that strategy into one that incredibly refuses to recognize that Islamic jihadism has anything whatsoever to do with terrorism.  Obama first refused to use the phrase “war on terror” favoring the neutered (as in “having no testicles”) phrase, “Overseas contingency operation,” and now he is leaving that “overseas contingency operation” with its feet dangling in midair.

Just who or what in the hell are we supposed to be fighting???  Every single attack we have faced – be it on foreign battlefields or right here at home – was the result of a radical Islamic worldview.  And we’re supposed to pretend that we’re too morally stupid to realize that???

The recent past is a canvass full of examples.  Following a long list of Muslim terrorists attempts to create “man-caused disasters” in the US under Obama’s watch, we had a Muslim Army psychologist with “Soldier of Allah” business cards murder a dozen soldiers at a military base while screaming “Allahu Akbar!”.  Then we had a Muslim terrorist try to explode a passenger jet on Christmas day.

So, yesterday, we had another “incident” on a passenger jet plane.  A man from the Qatari embassy named Mohammed Al-Madadi was on his way to visit a convicted al-Qaeda terrorist minion named Ali Al-Marri imprisoned in Denver when he created an international incident by mocking American security authorities by “joking” that he was attempting to light his shoe bomb.

But we’re responding by increasingly assuming that Islam has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.  Your grandma is a bigger security risk than Osama bin Laden as far as Obama is concerned.

Obama once said he didn’t like to think in terms of “victory,” in very direct opposition to every president before him (including Ronald Reagan, who summed up his Cold War goals in four words: “We win, they lose.”).  I suppose it’s good that Obama doesn’t want victory, because he will never secure one given his America-despising policies.

Obama wanted to relabel terrorism as a “man-caused disaster“; but the only “man-caused disaster” is the Obama administration.