ADMIRAL Mullen the US chief of the general staff has stated that he is not convinced that the US is winning the war in Afghanistan, and believes that the US ‘is running out of time’ there. However he considers that it is a war that can be won.
His way to achieving victory is to spread the war to Pakistan. He intends to repeat the Vietnam experience where the military decided that the way to win the war against the National Liberation Front in South Vietnam was to bomb North Vietnam.
They created the situation for doing this by manufacturing a provocation – that their ships were under attack in the Gulf of Tonkin, and the rest is history – a history of defeat, of which the Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, at the least should be very well acquainted with.
The US is ignoring this lesson because of its greater need to grab the oil and gas resources of central Asia.
It is now building up the forces to engage in hot pursuit across the Pakistani border, or openly attack ‘Taleban targets’ in Pakistan, by shifting troops from Iraq to the Afghan theatre of operations.
In the words of US Defence Secretary Gates the United States is now in the ‘end game’ in Iraq. He however stresses that the US is gambling. He says that it must move cautiously in drawing down its forces in Iraq, despite the growing insurgency in Afghanistan.
Gates is aware that the lessening of the insurgency in Anbar and other provinces has been literally bought, by arming and paying many thousands of former insurgents, a large number of whom are Ba’athists and supporters of Saddam Hussein, to fight Al-Qaeda, while softening them up with talk that America intends to attack Iran, the main enemy for the Ba’athists.
A too rapid US withdrawal would lead to a situation where its Maliki regime would be overthrown by an alliance of the ‘Awakening Councils’ and sections of the Iraqi army.
The US, desperate to settle matters in central Asia is prepared to take a risk in Iraq, saying that such a risk is the lesser evil. This is after spending hundreds of billions of dollars removing the government that was the leadership of the ‘awakening’ forces’ that they propose allowing to govern al Anbar.
Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the decision to send 4,500 troops to Afghanistan ‘a good and important start’ even though it fell short of commanders’ requests for three more brigades or about 10,000 troops.
He added, to a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, about the risk of moving troops from Iraq – ‘Frankly, I judge the risk of not sending them too great a risk to ignore.’
Gates warned that risks of reversals remain in Iraq despite progress on the security front. ‘The planned reductions are an acceptable risk today that also provide for unforeseen circumstances in the future,’he said.
Both Gates and Mullen said that the insurgency must be deprived of safe havens in Pakistan.
‘We can hunt down and kill extremists as they cross over the border from Pakistan,’ Mullen said. ‘But until we work more closely with the Pakistani government to eliminate safe havens from which they operate, the enemy will only keep coming.’
The US is now pressuring the new Pakistani government to support politically and militarily US troops taking action inside the tribal border areas of Pakistan, actions which have already begun.
The end result of this tactic, will be to antagonise even more of the Pakistani people, split the Pakistani army, and bring down the government, as tens of thousands rally to the border areas to combat US forces.
The heavier the fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the more reinforcements will be needed from Iraq, and the more certain it will be that the Maliki regime will be overthrown and the US evicted from Iraq.
The expansion of the Afghan war is going to lead to a massive and historic defeat for US and UK imperialism, which will have a traumatic effect on capitalist rule at home in the UK and the US, preparing the way for socialist revolutions.