Marines begin patrolling Guatemala to stop drug trafficking

The Marines have landed and the situation is in hand.

Wait. Scratch that. I got all World War II-like there for a moment in my patriotic, Marine-like mind.

The truth is 200 hundred Marines have landed in Guatemala to partrol their coast to help slow down drug trafficking. And more than likely, they’ll barely make a dent in it.

Full story here.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.

P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novels a success. Little Man, and the Dixon County War  has gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here), and Sold Out has already gone as high as No. 81 on the Amazon Paid List for the category of War (see here and here). Learn more about both books here.

Is Afghanistan headed for civil war again?

The New Yorker published an outstanding article on Afghanistan in its most recent edition.

Titled, “Will civil war hit Afghanistan when the U.S. leaves?,” the article describes both the current situation and how things went down in Afghanistan after the Soviets left.

While the article is balanced and leaves open both the chance of stability or complete ruin, there are some shocking statements in it that should cause all Americans alarm.

Here are some examples (all direct excerpts):

  • A few weeks ago, Nasir returned to Deh Afghanan. The Taliban were back, practically ignored by U.S. forces in the area. “The Americans have a big base there, and they never go out,” he said. “And, only four kilometres from the front gate, the Taliban control everything. You can see them carrying their weapons.”
  • Largely prohibited from venturing outside their compounds, many American officials exhibit little knowledge of events beyond the barricades. They often appear to occupy themselves with irrelevant activities such as filling out paperwork and writing cables to their superiors in the United States.
  • In the early years of the war, diplomats were encouraged to leave their compounds and meet ordinary Afghans. In recent years, personal safety has come to overshadow all other concerns.

Numerous people quoted in the article stated the only hope to prevent civil war in the country is a strong Afghan Army.  I tend to agree that’s the country’s greatest hope.

But the Army is made up of Pashtuns, Tajiks, and Uzbeks, and none of these different ethnicities like or trust each other. In fact, they’ve all been fighting for years before the United States arrived.

Plus, there’s the problem of militias throughout the country. The article described the problems these militias are already creating.

Read the article. It’s the best single summary article of Afghanistan that I’ve read in at least two years. (Link again.)

{Reminder, my view on the situation is: Let’s get out of Afghanistan, like now. And you can see numerous news posts on Afghanistan here.}

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.

P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novel Little Man, and the Dixon County War a huge success! It’s gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here), landing smack dab between a Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey book. Learn more about it here.

Thanks, Pakistan. You guys are swell.

So our good friends in Pakistan continue to cost us a ton of money.

The latest is an additional $2.1 billion.

“Pakistan’s refusal to let NATO access its ports and roads into Afghanistan has cost the U.S. Defense Department more than $2.1 billion in extra transportation costs to move supplies and equipment in and out of the country.” (Article link.)

For those who forgot, Pakistan closed the ground route last November after a U.S. airstrike mistakenly killed 24 of its soldiers

Just as bad — maybe worse — this recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle said that now more Pakistanis see U.S. as its enemy, despite our enormous amount of aid.

“In the last couple of years, Washington has earmarked a bigger chunk of its aid to Pakistan for civilian projects, hoping to engender goodwill with the country’s intensely anti-American populace. The latest polling suggests that the strategy hasn’t worked.

“About 75 percent of Pakistanis surveyed regard the United States as an enemy, according to a poll released this week by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. That’s actually up more than 10 percent since three years ago, when 64 percent said they viewed America as an enemy.” (Article)

Two final points.

First, we’ll be giving nearly $3 billion in U.S. aid to Pakistan for fiscal year 2012.  Second, we’ve given more than $20 billion in military and non-military aid since 2001.  (Link.)

Good thing we don’t have any bridges to repair or any ongoing deficits to cut or — umm, this is a stretch — any debt to pay down.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.

P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novel Little Man, and the Dixon County War a huge success! It’s gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here), landing smack dab between a Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey book. Learn more about it here.