It’s my fault that Trump is escalating the war in Afghanistan


Donald Trump is clearly going to make things worse in Afghanistan now that he has pledged an open-ended war there until the US ‘wins’. What winning means is never defined but it is not hard to imagine that as the inevitable stalemate drags on (as even his own secretary of state concedes is the best outcome the US can hope for), an increasingly frustrated Trump, wary of being branded a loser, will simply escalate the carnage, making life even more miserable for the already suffering Afghans. And the US media will praise him for ‘being presidential’ because there is nothing they like better than the killing of people of color overseas by massive military power..

So what made him change his mind and abandon his earlier view that the US should get out of that country? According to the Washington Post, Donald Trump’s aides used several methods to get him to commit to renew the commitment.

One of the ways McMaster tried to persuade Trump to recommit to the effort was by convincing him that Afghanistan was not a hopeless place. He presented Trump with a black-and-white snapshot from 1972 of Afghan women in miniskirts walking through Kabul, to show him that Western norms had existed there before and could return.

I posted that photo below back in March of this year.

Afghan women c.1972

The idea of having more women in miniskirts is clearly something that would appeal to someone like Trump.

Comments

  1. jrkrideau says

    Well, at least, you have the satisfaction of knowing your blog is read by senior administration people.

    Please do not post any photos of North Korea until Trump is out of office.

  2. says

    Please do not post any photos of North Korea until Trump is out of office.

    Especially don’t mention that there are potential “Miss North Korea” contestants there, waiting to be discovered.
    Although that might work two ways – he might be reluctant to bomb any of them.

    As a note, growing up spending time in London in the 60s, I can say categorically that those are not miniskirts. Miniskirts are mini-er than that.

  3. says

    I wonder if anyone explained to Trump how bombing and killing women was going to make them wear miniskirts.
    Since it was a military briefing, I’m sure they didn’t go into that part of the plan.

  4. jrkrideau says

    Especially don’t mention that there are potential “Miss North Korea” contestants there, waiting to be discovered.

    Show him this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4DZQhfrl5Y

    He’s not bright enough to realize the parade is in Beijing.

    I have yet to figure out who or what that unit is about. It certainly is unusual.

  5. says

    jrkrideau@#5:
    Show him this video.

    Damn!
    Hello kitty troops carrying Type 79s. I’m more than slightly smitten myself!

    I don’t want to think how long they drilled for that; I’ve done marching drill and it’s really hard. I can’t imagine goose-stepping on pavement in those hard soles. Those are some tough troops.

  6. Mano Singham says

    jkrideau @#5,

    I was struck by the fact that all the women seemed to be exactly the same height. I wonder how they achieved that. Did they select people based on height? Or did they use shoes that had different heel heights to get their heads to align so perfectly?

  7. chigau (違う) says

    I think that the women in Mano’s B&W photo have really large heads…
    it might be my iPad.

  8. hyphenman says

    @ Mano, No. 8

    Military units on parade are arranged by height (shortest to tallest from front left to rear right) for uniformity’s sake so that the formation doesn’t look “bumpy.”

    I think that that is most likely the case here.

    Jeff

  9. Dunc says

    Now, if only someone would explain to him what happened to turn that into the Afghanistan we see today, we might start getting somewhere…

    It’s a terrible indictment of the US foreign policy community that they’ve spent the last 16 years caught in the trap they (or their predecessors) laid for the Soviets back in the 70s and 80s. That’s not just failing to learn from history, it’s an institutional form of senile dementia.

  10. Mark Dowd says

    Military units on parade are arranged by height (shortest to tallest from front left to rear right) for uniformity’s sake so that the formation doesn’t look “bumpy.”

    So it’s not that the line is level, but that it is monotonic that makes it so appealing.

  11. hyphenman says

    @Mark Down, No. 13

    Pretty much. There’s also a practical consideration, you want the people with the shortest legs in front so that the formation doesn’t run away from itself.

    In my boot camp company, the company commander selected the shortest person to be the guidon, the person carrying the company flag, on whom the rest of the company formed.

  12. rjw1 says

    One would think, that after Vietnam, the US warlords would have understood the limits to power, apparently not. Or perhaps it’s because Afghanistan is strategically important in any future war with China. In a lecture, about 10 years ago, Prof Johan Galtung claimed that the invasion of Afghanistan was on the US strategic agenda long before 9/11.

    hyphenman,

    Yes indeed, miniskirts were about half the length of those in the photo. I’m not certain that the real mini ever reached the US.

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