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Poppyfields right next to US airforce base in Bagram (Vitchek); Trump

Has the Pentagon taken Trump hostage on Afghanistan?

The US president, Donald Trump, has a "slavish regard for the military and business elites now stocking his cabinet", The Economist noted in an interview with fired White House strategist Steve Bannon. That also means more troops in Afghanistan.

Published: August 25, 2017, 9:51 am

    But “what did the elites do?” Bannon responded. “These are the guys who gave us happy talk on Iraq.” Freewestmedia had already noticed the trend at the beginning of this month.

    The Washington Post is even more alarmed at Trump for stocking his administration with warmongers, suggesting a military junta is now ruling the United States.

    “Inside the White House, meanwhile, generals manage Trump’s hour-by-hour interactions and whisper in his ear — and those whispers, as with the decision this week to expand US military operations in Afghanistan, often become policy.

    “At the core of Trump’s circle is a seasoned trio of generals with experience as battlefield commanders: White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.”

    Sadly Trump’s plan to send more troops to Afghanistan has no chance for success, as it mainly relies on the use of force, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

    Kelly, Mattis and McMaster are not the only military figures serving at high levels in the Trump administration. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke each served in various branches of the military.

    Former Army general Mark S. Inch is being groomed to lead the Federal Bureau of Prisons, while the National Security Council counts two other generals on the senior staff.

    The Pentagon has now removed virtually all independent anti-war voices in the White House as was evident from Trump’s announcement promising that US troops “will fight to win”, despite saying earlier that he was in favor of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Ending the 16-year military engagement in the country with a “hasty withdrawal” would encourage “terrorists”, he said.

    The Washington Post pointed out that: “The new system, laid out in two memos co-authored by [General] Kelly and Porter and distributed to Cabinet members and White House staffers in recent days, is designed to ensure that the president won’t see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports, and even news articles that haven’t been vetted.”

    The new US strategy in Afghanistan, announced by Trump at the Army’s Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall on Monday, was a “flip-flop”, says Bannon. He had urged the president to withdraw from Afghanistan and suggested that Trump’s “new” direction was in fact just Barack Obama’s old unpopular policies.

    Bannon told The Economist that a struggle between Western ideas of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and self-governance, versus the “mercantilist, Confucian system” of an ascendant China, was inevitable. But there may be more than a clash of ideas at stake.

    Muhammad Maroof (Sarwan), Vice-President of the Duniya Construction Company in Afghanistan, who used to work for the US military, as an interpreter, told Russian journalist Andre Vitchek: “The biggest mafias here are directly linked to both UK and US. The West lies that they want to stop trade with drugs in Afghanistan; they never will allow it to stop.

    “My brother is a writer and he has images of the US army giving water pumps, studs and other basic stuff, for the growth of poppies. The biggest supporter of drugs production in Afghanistan, and the export, is the UK government. They are dealing directly with the locals, even giving them money… The UK is also the major market for the export.

    “Helmand, Kandahar, you name it, from there, directly, transport planes are taking off and going straight towards Europe, even the US. The Westerners are people who physically put drugs into the airplane at our airports. My relative was an interpreter for the British… He was killed by them, after he had been witnessing and interpreting at a meeting between the UK officials, and the local drug mafias.”

    The American war in Afghanistan is the longest and one of the costliest military operations in United States history, according to the New York Times. Trump declined to announce how many troops he intends to send to the country. This follows a trend of keeping the official number of US troops in Iraq and Syria secret.

    US defense officials, however, are admitting that the US already has thousands more troops in Afghanistan than the last official Pentagon figure shows.

    Officials estimated that it was somewhere closer to 11 000 or 12 000 troops. While the US often officially undercounts their deployment in countries where they have mutually agreed to “cap” troops, there is no such cap in Afghanistan, making it unclear why they were offering misleading figures, Jason Ditz from AntiWar.com noted.

    Trump blamed his 180 degree shift on his instincts. “My original instinct was to pull out – and, historically, I like following my instincts. But all my life I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office. In other words, when you’re President of the United States.”

    But Trump’s memory would have served him better: Former president Obama had even presented the head of Osama bin-Laden on a platter to American voters, which should have been the end of Washington’s pointless but incredibly destructive invasion and occupation. After all, there were no Afghans at all involved in 9/11. Bin Laden had only been hiding in a “humble cave” in Tora Bora in Afghanistan, a British journalist reported.

    Trump posted a number of tweets about the war in Afghanistan in 2011, 2012, and 2013, calling for the US to end its involvement in the country.

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