Will the Afghan War Ever End?

Will the Afghan War Ever End?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

From the mid-14th century until the middle of the 15th century, British and French forces fought what has always been termed the “Hundred Years War.” That struggle actually lasted 116 years. Which means that the U.S.-led coalition fighting in Afghanistan must continue fighting for one hundred more years to exceed the duration of the famous British-French encounter. It almost seems like the two sides are trying.

U.S. 10th Mountain Division soldiers in Afghanistan. Image from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Already the scene of over 2,400 American dead, the on-going war in Afghanistan began shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks carried out by four hijacked airplanes. Initially, the goal sought to take on Al Qaeda for its role in the enormous 9/11 murder and destruction. This meant breaking up the Taliban, the militant Islamic forces that had seized control of portions of the country and were suspected of sheltering Al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden. But the Taliban proved to be a tougher foe than expected and defeating it has been unachievable to date. Instead, this supposedly weaker brand of Islamic militancy has grown stronger. And finding bin Laden turned out to be impossible. (He was later discovered in Pakistan where daring American raiders killed him.)

Taliban forces have been using weapons given to them to oppose Russian invaders who stormed into their country in 1979. After ten years, the Russians gave up and went home. The guns and ammunition still in Taliban hands have then been employed to fight Americans.

Military leaders soon adopted a new and completely different strategy involving an effort to rebuild the war-torn country. Other nearby nations – Russia, Pakistan, India, even Iran – had their own designs which were not always similar to what the U.S. forces were told was their mission. When those conflicting goals were added to ethnic domestic combativeness, the turf-protecting warlords, and the ineffectiveness of the nation’s political leaders, the effort began to appear unsolvable. And that was only a few years after the first U.S. forces arrived in the land-locked nation.

U.S. forces then found themselves assigned to destroy the country’s lucrative opium production along with training local forces, all the while combating crooks and incompetents posing as Afghan leaders. Many of the trainees turned out to be enemies within their ranks. An American soldier would spend days, maybe weeks, teaching an Afghani how to be a good soldier only to have the newly trained individual turn his gun on the man who taught him how to use it.

Along the way, NATO assumed supreme command of the operation. Without doubt, many of the coalition forces have no idea that NATO, a UN subsidiary led by a European politician, is calling the shots. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has recently aired a new strategy that will take aim at Taliban sanctuaries. Doesn’t this mean that Taliban bases were previously untouchable? Is that any way to wage a war? A retired Marine Corps general, Mattis also seems to be violating a cardinal principle of warfare: Don’t let an enemy know your plans. Doing so destroys the element of surprise, always a key feature of warfare. But no more will the U.S. forces fight Taliban only after being attacked. And more forces will be added to those already in Afghanistan.

Will this new strategy lead to victory? Or will more years be added to the agonizingly victoryless campaign of the past 16 years? A hundred year war isn’t likely, but with the UN ultimately in charge and knowing that limited war serves the overall drive to create a world government, we should hardly be surprised if – new strategy or not – this war will continue for many more years.

Be a part of the driving force to Get US Out! of the United Nations! Learn more at The John Birch Society’s Get US Out! of the UN action project page.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


How Did “Withdraw All Troops” Become Adding Thousands?

How Did “Withdraw All Troops” Become Adding Thousands? 
by JBS President John F. McManus

Is it correct to state that after nearly eight years of war in Iraq and the loss of 4,500 American lives the United States has finally pulled all of its forces out of Iraq? The answer is an emphatic “No.” Reports in mid-December confirm that the “U.S.-led” coalition will be beefed up to 4,600 troops, most of whom will be Americans.

Has President Obama kept his oft-stated promise to pull all of America’s forces out of Afghanistan? Again, an emphatic “No.” A total of 5,500 will remain at least until the end of 2015.

Any honest examination of these two wars has to conclude that they were failures. And if anyone wants to use the adjective “colossal,” he’ll get no argument from this corner.

The Iraq War began in 2003 for two main reasons: 1) Saddam Hussein was building nuclear bombs and other “weapons of mass destruction,” and 2) Iraq was allied with Al Qaeda and was, therefore, partly responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. Both of these claims have been shown to be totally false.

In February 2009, President Obama said that all U.S. forces would be withdrawn from Iraq except for 50,000. In April 2009, the President announced the end of combat in Iraq. In August 2010, Mr. Obama said “the American mission in Iraq has ended.” And in October 2011, he promised that all American forces would be out of the country by the end of 2011. The effort has cost the U.S. 4,490 lives, and possibly ten times that number injured.

In mid-December 2014, however, General James Terry announced that 1,500 more troops (mostly Americans) would be added to the 3,100 still in Iraq. They are needed, according to U.S. officials, because a huge chunk of Iraq has been conquered by the forces of ISIS.

The Afghanistan War began in 2001 shortly after 9/11 and it has become the longest war in U.S. history (more than 13 years). In May 2014, U.S. officials announced that all combat operations had ended. 2,200 Americans died and 19,600 suffered wounds in Afghanistan. But outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced in December that 1,000 extra troops would be added to the 9,800 still there.

In other words, the U.S. has not withdrawn from either of these nations.

Any honest observer of conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan would have to conclude that the wars fought in both have been failures. Withdrawing completely should be the plan, not leaving thousands in each country.

Consider: Immediately after the 1941 attack at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. declared war against Japan, Germany, and Italy. Victory was achieved in what were really two separate wars, one in the Pacific and one in Europe. But there has been no declaration of war by Congress since 1941. The wars fought after WWII (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan) brought stalemates or defeats. The truth is that each of these post-WWII conflicts was waged under the oversight of the UN or its NATO subsidiary.

All of which leads to two conclusions: 1) America should bring all of its troops home, and 2) the U.S should withdraw from the United Nations. Maintaining national independence cannot be done while our leaders continue to submit to the UN.


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


UN Power Grows Like a Thief in the Night

UN Power Grows Like a Thief in the Night
by JBS President John F. McManus

For many years, U.S. leaders have been transferring our nation’s independence to the United Nations. Their goal, and certainly the goal of the UN’s founders and current leaders, is a world government dominating the planet. If the process continues, nations will continue to exist but only on paper. All power will have been ceded to the “House that Hiss built” (Alger Hiss being the traitorous American correctly cited as the most important founder of the world body).

When President Obama decided to unleash American war planes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria (and create a new war for our country), he didn’t ask Congress for a formal declaration of war as called for by the U.S. Constitution. He completely bypassed Congress and pointed to the October 16, 2002 congressional authorization for war against Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Neither the fact that the Hussein government no longer exists nor the further fact that ISIS and Al Qaeda are not the same seem to matter.

Looking back to 2002 and the run up to the second war against Iraq, we see that one month prior to getting Congress to approve the action, President George W. Bush spoke at UN headquarters and formally requested Security Council authorization for the conflict he was planning.

One day after the 2003 war against Iraq began, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte informed the president of the UN Security Council via formal letter that the “actions being taken are authorized under existing Security Council Resolutions, including its resolutions 678 (1990) and 687 (1991).” Those resolutions were already more than two decades old.

Summing up: The war against ISIS, newly named “Operation Inherent Resolve” by the U.S. Defense Department, is actually authorized by United Nations Security Council resolutions issued 23 and 24 years ago. Those resolutions targeted Hussein’s Iraq which no longer exists, and the same can be said for Saddam Hussein himself. Evidently, the U.S. can go to war against anyone by referring to older UN resolutions.

There’s an important principle that all Americans should consider. It is that one seeks authorization from a superior, not an inferior. The superior in this instance is the United Nations; the inferior is the United States.

This outrageous transfer of U.S. independence to the UN didn’t begin yesterday. It started when President Harry Truman responded to a UN Security Council resolution in June 1950 and sent U.S. forces to Korea. Knowing that he lacked the required declaration of war, he termed the use of U.S. forces a “police action.” Only a few members of Congress complained that the Constitution was being ignored and our nation’s war power was being transferred to the UN.

Subsequent wars in which U.S. forces have fought and died have always included UN authorization: Vietnam War by the UN subsidiary SEATO, 1991 Iraq War by UN, 2003 Iraq War by UN, and Afghanistan War now directed by UN subsidiary NATO. There have been other lesser remembered conflicts such as those in Bosnia and Libya, each given the go-ahead by the UN’s NATO.

All of this amounts to incremental transfer of the power to make war, a fundamental mark of independence, to the world body. Like a silent but menacing thief in the night, UN power continues to grow. The only sensible solution to this enormously dangerous situation is for the U.S. to withdraw from the United Nations. The sooner , the better. Let Congress know.


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.