US Army and Afghan Army play volleyball in southwestern Kandahar in 2011. On Sunday, a similar match in Zabul province turned deadly when an Afghan Army member shot and killed one American, wounding three.
It would be most helpful for at least one of the GOP candidates to think long and hard about what is going wrong with the Bush-Obama Afghanistan War and share his thoughts with his fellow citizens. A good place to start would be with examining -- noticing -- the serial murders of ISAF soldiers by Afghan Army members, particularly given the fact that the Bush-Obama strategy is to train the Afghan security forces (at exhorbitant US taxpayer cost) as the supporting pillar of our so-called Exit Strategy. As George W. Bush used to say about Iraq, as they stand up, we stand down. And that worked out so well.
In the last three months the murder count in five separate attacks by uniformed Afghan security forces inside the wire includes:
Three Australian Diggers killed and ten wounded; four non-specified NATO troops wounded; two members of France's elite 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment killed; and, most recently, one US soldier killed and three wounded--while playing volleyball.
Excluding the Australian losses, the remaining attacks occurred in the past three weeks.
Adding to my informal record, this grim toll (which doesn't inlude non-fatal injuries) now comes to
43 48 ISAF troops and security contractors killed by their Afghan counterparts in the past 26 months.
In April 2011 alone, the body count came to 11 Americans killed by their Afghan counterparts including the mass murder of nine at Kabul Airport (column here) by a long-serving Afghan Air Force officer. Even this sensational story failed to draw much in the way of media interest, even -- no, particularly -- on Fox News. Do we know the fate of the Afghan shooter in this case? Was he charged? Is he in prison? Is he drawing a US-taxpayer salary? We have no answers. We have no interest.
If anyone is tracking my addition, I now believe the total ANA murders of ISAF troops for April 2011 was 11, and not, as I previously thought, 15. (NB, 1/19/12: I went back to the most solid numbers I have found and added on from that point forward to October 30, 2011. Since that date, two French and one American have been killed, totalling 48 Westerners killed by uniformed Afghans security forces.)
But clearly, an official Price-Waterhouse-style accounting of this scandal is required. If any Congressman sufficiently cared, for example, the Congressional Research Service or some Pentagon office would be tasked to track these casualties of hearts-and-minds COIN. But politicians don't care; neither do the media. ABC News, in fact, folds in the victims of the latest ANA murder of an American (at a volleyball game; I can't get over that) with all other NATO casualties for the month. It is as though such killings were the regular, non-extraordinary price of doing battle. Call it the normalization of madness. Or, better, call it dhimmitude. Late last year, an editorial in Marine Corps Times justified teaching Marines to observe Islamic religious practices as a matter of personal safety inside the wire. The message is: mustn't offend our Muslim alllies whom we are supporting in every way or they'll kill us -- classic submission.
But about the Western warriors who have been killed?