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Iraq and Afghanistan: the US Grand Strategy and Grand Failures

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10/29/2014 04:47 AM
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Iraq and Afghanistan: the US Grand Strategy and Grand Failures
Iraq and Afghanistan: the US Grand Strategy and Grand Failures

The success of the ISIS or ISIL in Syria and Iraq against the Iraqi military forces and the success of the Taliban in Afghanistan against Afghan forces apparently look two different cases; however, they have something in common which glaringly shows grand failure of the US’ twenty-first century grand strategy. As a part of its grand strategy, the US aimed at first destroying the local forces (Saddam’s army in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan) and replacing that army with the one directly recruited, trained and equipped by the US army.

This was supposed to be the linchpin of the US’ policy of dominating the energy rich Middle East and the Central Asia. However, certain developments during the past few months or so have clearly established that not only have the US failed in establishing ‘capable’ armies but also have lost the credibility of its slogan of bringing ‘democracy’ and ‘peace’ by overthrowing ‘autocratic’ regimes. The fact that chaos has followed and is going to follow the US’ withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan respectively proves the hollowness of the US’ grand claims.

Not only this; the miserable failure of the both Iraq and Afghan army also shows the corruption within the US army as well. The forces’ inability to effectively counter the attacking forces poses a direct question to the huge amount of money spent on their training to make them into such forces as capable enough to replace the coalition forces in both countries. As a matter of fact, the US spent around $30 billion dollars on training the Iraqi army alone; however, this US trained army turned out to be nothing more than a fleeing prey when it had to confront the ISIS. When the ISIS entered Iraq a few months, they numbered only 1000. But this group of a thousand, largely out-numbered and out-equipped as compared to the Iraqi army, was able to force them to flee for their lives, leaving behind a whole lot of foreign provided equipments and other valuable hardware.

This being the case-scenario, one has to question not only the Western media’s credibility because of its gross failure in probing or even highlighting this issue, but also the often-repeated assumption that the US must never have pulled out its troops from Iraq. Similarly, the Western claim that the ISIS does not have so much following and that it also does not have air support ironically puts a question on the ability of the Iraqi forces to fight such a force as the ISIS, having no “air power” or huge following. The ability of the US army, in this behalf, to establish such armies is thus a matter of huge concern for countries who expect their help in their quest to modernize their own national armies.

Issues like corruption in the US army have further spoiled the success of the US’ grand strategy. Some investigative reports have come up with stories of massive corruption. For instance, according to one of such reports quoted by Al-Jazeera English, electric plugs valued at $900 each for the US troops there when their real price was something like $5 and short piping costing $1.5 went for almost $80. It has also been reported that the Pentagon channeled contracts for the Iraqi army through companies which did not leave any paper work behind regarding these contracts, thus left an open space for themselves and the Pentagon to fill in gaps as per their designs.

The most significant question that we must raise here now is: what would be the future of the Afghan national force which has been trained and equipped, like the Iraqi army, by the US army? Now that the US and NATO forces are going to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year, leaving Afghan national forces in charge of the “war on terror” against the Taliban, one must not be led to believe that “peace” is necessarily going to follow this withdrawal. The case and position of the Afghan national army is not qualitatively much different from the Iraqi army. Stories of desertion, corruption and killings of the US/NATO soldiers by the Afghan soldiers have already made headlines in the media. Not only this; stories of the failure of the Afghan national forces in containing the Taliban continue to make headlines, casting some serious doubts on their ability to handle the post-withdrawal scenario.

Continue to read: [link to journal-neo.org]