Comrades in Arms: U.S. Troops Barred From Joint Operations With Afghan Soldiers To Avoid Being Shot In The Back

We have heard repeatedly how successful our Afghanistan campaign has been after thousands of dead Americans and hundreds of billions of dollars. That does not exactly fit with the announcement yesterday that the U.S. military will now longer allow U.S. forces to do joint field operations. This is not because of the threat of the Taliban but the Afghan soldiers themselves who have been regularly shooting their American allies at checkpoints and operations.

Afghan soldiers have shot NATO soldiers 36 times this year and killed 51. Most of the dead and wounded are Americans. The latest were four American and two British troops killed by their brothers in arms.

Notably, the U.S. admits that only 10 to 25 percent of the attacks are the result of enemy infiltrators. The rest are simply Afghan allies who view the U.S. as more dangerous than the Taliban. I wonder who gave them that idea . . .

Source: CBS

34 thoughts on “Comrades in Arms: U.S. Troops Barred From Joint Operations With Afghan Soldiers To Avoid Being Shot In The Back”

  1. The latest were four American and two British troops killed by their brothers in arms.
    Buy the oil from the Russians.

  2. Someone brought up our helicopter retreat from the embassy rooftop in Vietnam. Thanks for that.

    If I remember we wanted to leave about 100,000 troops in Iraq. Purpose? There are, I believe, ca 10,000 contracts personnel left there now.

    I must both thank those here who express righteous outrage against our hypocritical wars. I do not think, in spite of George II obvious proof of the contention, that all Harvard, etc, graduates are defective in reeasoning. They have reasoned very well in support of their cause, have they not? But our cause, is not their cause.

    And thanks to Jill for bringing this factual summary by Greenwald to our attention. The idea that Afghanistan will teach us due process of law is of course a good summary of this nightmare. The crimes that are committed in our name” And potentially on USA media personnel and who next?

    And lastly, am I incorrect in noting that the usual critics of the “medieval muslimes” are not here today, so far that is.

    Nor or any of the regulars. Are they clustered on some other thread? Perhaps, but I wonder what that would be? When we are stymied for the umpteenth time since Vietnam.

    Where is Messpo and his drone strategy? I do not blame him at all. But miss his viewpoints on this dilemma.

    Where is MikeS speaking against the “roll of drums”?
    Etc, etc.

  3. Series: Glenn Greenwald on security and liberty at the Guardian, today)

    “Unlike Afghan leaders, Obama fights for power of indefinite military


    Obama lawyers file a breathless, angry appeal against the court ruling that invalidated the NDAA’s chilling 2011 detention law

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    Glenn Greenwald
    Glenn Greenwald, Tuesday 18 September 2012 10.52 EDT
    Jump to comments (58)

    Bagram airbase
    Bagram airbase was used by the US to detain its ‘high-value’ targets during the ‘war on terror’ and is still Afghanistan’s main military prison. Photograph: Dar Yasin/AP

    In May, something extremely rare happened: a federal court applied the US constitution to impose some limits on the powers of the president. That happened when federal district court judge Katherine Forrest of the southern district of New York, an Obama appointee, preliminarily barred enforcement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the statute enacted by Congress in December 2011 with broad bipartisan support and signed into law by President Obama (after he had threatened to veto it).

    That 2011 law expressly grants the president the power to indefinitely detain in military custody not only accused terrorists, but also their supporters, all without charges or trial. It does so by empowering the president to indefinitely detain not only al-Qaida members, but also members of so-called “associated forces”, as well as anyone found to “substantially support” such forces – whatever those terms might mean. I wrote about that decision and the background to this case when it was issued.

    What made Judge Forrest’s ruling particularly remarkable is that the lawsuit was brought by eight journalists and activists, such as former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and Birgitta Jónsdóttir, who argued that their work, which involves interactions with accused terrorists, could subject them to indefinite detention under the law’s broad and vague authority, even for US citizens on US soil. The court agreed, noting that the plaintiffs presented “evidence of concrete – non-hypothetical – ways in which the presence of the legislation has already impacted those expressive and associational activities”. The court was particularly disturbed by the Obama DOJ’s adamant refusal to say, in response to being asked multiple times, that the law could not be used to indefinitely detain the plaintiffs due to their journalistic and political activities.

    Last week, Judge Forrest made her preliminary ruling permanent, issuing a 112-page decision explaining it. Noting that the plaintiffs “testified credibly to having an actual and reasonable fear that their activities will subject them to indefinite military detention”, she emphasized how dangerous this new law is given the extremely broad discretion it vests in the president to order people detained in military custody with no charges:
    forest ruling

    The court also brushed aside the Obama DOJ’s prime argument, echoing the theories of John Yoo: namely, that courts have no business “interfering” in the president’s conduct of war. After acknowledging that the president is entitled to deference in the national security realm, Judge Forrest dispensed with the Obama DOJ’s claim with this vital observation: one that should be unnecessary but, in the 9/11 era, is all too commonly ignored:
    forest ruling 2

    In other words: while the president is entitled to deference in his conduct of war, he’s not entitled to wield the power to order people, including American citizens, indefinitely imprisoned in military detention. Regardless of how he claims he intends to exercise this power, the mere act of vesting it in him so chills the exercise of first amendment and other protected rights that the constitution can have no meaning if courts permit it to stand.

    In response to this ruling, the Obama administration not only filed an immediate appeal, but they filed an emergency motion asking the appeals court to lift the injunction pending the appeal. Obama lawyers wrote a breathless attack on the court’s ruling, denouncing it as “vastly troubling” and claiming that it “threatens tangible and dangerous consequences in the conduct of an active military conflict” and “threatens irreparable harm to national security”.

    The Obama DOJ also objected that the decision “was entered against the president as commander-in-chief in his conduct of ongoing military operations, is unprecedented and exceeded the court’s authority”: how irreverent. And they argued that the broad detention power claimed by President Obama “has been endorsed by two presidents [meaning him and George W Bush], by the [rightwing] DC circuit in habeas litigation brought by Guantánamo detainees, and by the Congress in Section 1021(b)(2).”

    I’ve written at length before about why indefinite detention is so dangerous, and why a statute such as the NDAA – which purposely (as the court here found) leaves open the question of whether it applies to US citizens – is one of the most pernicious laws enacted in some time. I won’t rehash that here, but I do want to make two points about the Obama administration’s new fight in defense of this law.

    First, the Obama administration’s unhinged claim that Judge Forrest’s ruling imperils national security gives the lie to the central excuse for the NDAA: namely, that it does not expand the president’s detention powers beyond what is already vested by the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF). Judge Forrest’s ruling leaves the 2001 AUMF in place and did not purport to nullify any prior decisions applying it. Therefore, if the NDAA does nothing that the 2001 AUMF did not already do – as Obama defenders relentlessly claimed to justify his signing of this odious bill – then it cannot possibly be the case that Judge Forrest’s ruling harms national security, since Obama already has all the detention power he claims he needs under the 2001 AUMF.

    The reality is that the NDAA did indeed wildly expand the president’s detention powers beyond what the 2001 AUMF provided. In contrast to the 2001 AUMF – which empowered the president to act against a relatively narrow category: those “he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on 11 September 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons” – the NDAA empowers him to act against a much broader range of people: not only those who perpetrated 9/11, but also “associated forces”, and not only those who are members of such groups, but those who “substantially support” them.

    While the Bush and Obama DOJs have long absurdly interpreted the 2001 AUMF to apply to this broader range, and while some courts have accepted that interpretation, the law itself vested no such power. The NDAA did. That is why civil liberties groups such as the ACLU denounced Obama’s signing of it so vociferously, and it is why the Obama DOJ is so horrified, obviously, by the prospect that it will be invalidated: precisely because it so drastically expands their detention power. Both the court’s ruling and the Obama DOJ’s reaction to that ruling prove that the NDAA does indeed provide the president with significantly enhanced authority of indefinite detention.

    Second, to see the sorry and wretched state of liberties in the US under President Obama, let us look to Afghanistan. The US is currently attempting to turn over to the Afghan government control of the lawless prison system the US has long maintained in Bagram and other parts of that country. But that effort is running into a serious problem: namely, the US wants the prisoners to remain there in cages without charges, but the Afghans are insisting that indefinite detention violates their belief in due process. From an Associated Press article Monday headlined “Afghans reject US-favored administrative detention”:

    “An Afghan judicial panel ruled Monday that administrative detention violates Afghan law, potentially thwarting a US plan to hand over Afghan detainees that American officials believe should continue to be held without a trial.

    “President Hamid Karzai’s office announced in a statement that a top-level judicial panel met earlier in the day and decided that the detention of Afghan citizens without a court trial ‘has not been foreseen in Afghan laws’ and therefore could not be used.

    “The US government has long held Afghans captured in operations inside the country without trial, arguing that they are enemy combatants and therefore can be detained for as long as their release might pose a danger to the international coalition …

    “A US official confirmed that the transfer of detainees had paused because of the dispute.”

    Is that not amazing? On the very same day that the Obama DOJ fights vigorously in US courts for the right to imprison people without charges, the Afghan government fights just as vigorously for basic due process.

    Remember: the US, we’re frequently told, is in Afghanistan to bring democracy to the Afghan people and to teach them about freedom. But the Afghan government is refusing the US demand to imprison people without charges on the ground that such lawless detention violates their conceptions of basic freedom. Maybe Afghanistan should invade the US in order to teach Americans about freedom.”

  4. nick:

    nixon was a moron too, he was so smart he thought he was incapable of making a mistake. Wage and price controls? come on, those are right out of the Harvard economics department.

    Poor Jimmy Carter, nixon screwed up the economy and Carter gets the blame. Then Reagan blames Carter and is very effective in doing so, he gets elected, the moral majority and the neocons take over and the rest is history. We now have a financial and foreign policy sh!t storm all because Reagan was elected and picked Bush as his VP because nixon had wage and price controls based on harvard economics.

    It all goes back to some Ivy League moron no matter how you look at it. Wilson WWI, Roosevelt WWII, Kennedy Vietnam, Bush I GWI, Bush II GW II.

    Come on, can it be any more obvious? Who was behind the Federal Reserve? Every bad thing done by this country or to this country is the result of an Ivy League education.

    Do you think an auto mechanic would care if Sadam had power in Iraq? Do you think a welder would have cared about communist incursion into Vietnam? Or if he did do you think he would not have used nukes or bombed the north to their knees and ended it in 6 months?

    Do you think a cook would have told Patton not to invade Russia and kick the sh!t out of Stalin?

  5. Bron, I agree w/ you about the Ivy League mafia, but do have a few trepidations since that was Richard Nixon’s rant also.

  6. So…you guys think…we should leave Afghanistan? I’m inferring a subtle soupcon of frustration, here.

  7. Bron 1, September 18, 2012 at 8:03 am


    Why do we keep electing people from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and other Ivy League schools? The elite are why we are where we are today. They have totally screwed up our country and their arrogance about it is breathtaking.

    I am tired of working so some Ivy League m@therf[]cker can make bank at my expense.

    F[]ck Obama, f[]ck Romney, I am voting for Gary Johnson. Enough of this crap.
    Your frustration seems to be quite reasonable in these premises.

  8. Bron,

    The Russians have already been defeated in their attempt to take Afghanistan. If tptb in China have paid attention to history they won’t bother.

    The US had no business going in there in the first place. It had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden. There were attempts to hand him over but, nooooo, he was an excuse. The US military was poised to go in before 911 because the oil companies have wanted the Caspian Sea pipeline for decades.

    Obama kept his campaign promise of stepping up the hostilities in Afghanistan and going into Pakistan. Now it’s time for him to make a new promise and keep it before the election: bring the troops home now.


    yes, it is. The people need to start running things, we have given the politicians way too much leeway. We have also believed their siren songs for too long.

  10. No doubt, Bron. These arrogant asses always think that they’re smarter than those in that history. And/or that the U.S. is so exceptional that those historical lessons don’t apply to us; because, you know, we’ve learned those lessons and we’ll do it right this time. It’s all very exasperating and maddening.

  11. Billie:

    yes, everyone of them. I hope your son is OK. I quit believing we did the right thing in 2005. I wish I would have figured it out sooner.

    We never learn from our own history and we never learn from history in general. I have a book on my kindle about the British and the Afghan wars back in the mid 1800’s. nothing has changed. I could write a book on the American experience by changing some names around using that book.

    All one of those idiots in the Bush Administration had to do was read that book and see what happened to the British. So much for an Ivy League education. I bet none of those “elites” has ever read the Qur’an either.

  12. Friendly fire results in being dead either way….. Now, why are we still there?

  13. The entire exit strategy has just collapsed overnight as one of the key dependencies of a well-trained Afghan military is now impossible. It is well past time to admit a grievous error and head for home before the helicopters have to land on the rooftops.

  14. Bring all our soldiers home….. all of them from every country… its getting old… lets take the money spent over in the mid-east and feed the children that are starving here in the United States… lets worry about our needs here in the United States… let them all worry about themselves….. they have been killing each other for thousand of years and will be for another thousand years…. the government here in the United States won’t be straightened out in my life time… how sad……. power….money…control… is what its all about…. my son was in Iraq for 14 months off and on… wish he would have never gone in the military or the United States Army… I learned a lot about our United States Army when my son went into the Army… wow changed my views on lot of things…. What have we learned in 40 years from the Vietnam war ??? nothing… we still can’t take care of our soldiers when they come home…. they spend all this money to train them to kill …but can’t take care of them when they come home…how sad … you see it on the news everyday… Of course the Feres Doctrine has been in effect since 1954 that protects the government so these soldiers don’t have any recourse and can’t get a lawyer to go after that one doctor that is pumping drugs into some soldiers or who has had his rights violated… sorry I don’t think the United States Army is above the law…. no matter what… I was shocked to hear some of the stories about the United States Army when the war broke out in 2003 going across the desert in Iraq… never thought the United States Army would run out of food and water for our soldiers… its all so sad….. the drugs they were pumping into our soldiers back in 2003 and 2004… who knows maybe its still going on…. the fights between our on soldiers over there… crazy… I would never encourage my son to go into the military again….. they just don’t take care of them… so many have been tossed away like a piece of trash when they come home… its in the news all the time…. just my thoughts… I’m sure everyone has a story or may disagree … we all have our opinions….just saying…..

  15. Dredd:

    my prediction: we leave Afghanistan and the Russians or Chinese get exclusive rights to those minerals and we pay the Afghans money to pay the Chinese and Russians to build the infrastructure necessary to exploit those natural resources.

    Then we pay top dollar on the world market for the minerals and oil that we paid the Afghans who paid the Russians or Chinese to build the pipelines, roads, bridges, mines and processing facilities necessary for production. The Chinese or Russians make bank and the US tax payer pays the Chinese for selling us titanium which we already paid for and we still owe them huge interest payments on our debt.

    Why do we keep electing people from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and other Ivy League schools? The elite are why we are where we are today. They have totally screwed up our country and their arrogance about it is breathtaking.

    I am tired of working so some Ivy League m@therf[]cker can make bank at my expense.

    F[]ck Obama, f[]ck Romney, I am voting for Gary Johnson. Enough of this crap.

  16. The U.S. forces are now there to do what they always do, support the operations of the 1% out on Highway 61, and we do what we always do, pay our taxes to pay for making the plutocrats more and more wealthy as they live off the government dole (our tax dollars):

    If there is a road to a happy ending in Afghanistan, much of the path may run underground: in the trillion-dollar reservoir of natural resources — oil, gold, iron ore, copper, lithium and other minerals — that has brought hopes of a more self-sufficient country, if only the wealth can be wrested from blood-soaked soil.

    (Secret Afghanistan Underground, quoting NY Times 9/8/12).

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