A Down and Dirty History of Operation Enduring Freedom
BOHICA ~ Bend Over Here It Comes Again
Operation Enduring Freedom ~ War Without End
On 11 September 2001, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center came tumbling down in an immense cloud of smoke. Osama bin Laden hiding in his base camp in the mountains of Eastern Afghanistan had planned one of the most audacious attacks in American history. Two commercial aircraft flew into the World Trade Center buildings, one flew into the Pentagon and, finally, a final hi-jacked commercial airliner went down in a field in Pennsylvania after the passengers onboard regained control of their 747 from the Arab terrorists.
A few months later, American CIA and US Army Special Forces, on the orders of George W. Bush, invaded Afghanistan. The US CIA and Special Forces teams linked up with Rashid Doostum and other commanders of the Northern Alliance. They used US Military technology to bombard the Taliban and their mercenary Pushtoon allies back to Southern Afghanistan finally defeating the Taliban in Qandahar.
The invasion of Afghanistan was a “good war.” We were making the world safe for democracy. We were bringing humanity, women’s right and freedom to the people of Afghanistan. We were liberators. This was no war on Islam or the religious principles or culture of Afghanistan and it’s people. America was leading the world in the fight against a new darkness. The old propaganda was pulled out of the dust bins of history. Communism and fascism were replaced by Islamic extremism. This was a Global War on Terror. It was a war that Don Rumsfield and Dick Cheney said might last forever. It was an endless war that would bring light and democracy to the dark, unwashed masses of the Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
What most of the US Public weren’t told was that many of the Pushtoon commanders who fought with the Taliban up to 2001 were bribed into switching sides. Afghan Warlords have always been quick to abandon a losing cause. During the Mujahideen Wars that followed the 1988 Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Warlords such as Birhanuddin Rabbani, Rashid Doostum and Hektmetyar Gulbuddin switched sides so often that American Intelligence officials following the war could not keep up with who was on whose side. After being targeted by massive bombing runs by US Military Aircraft guided by US Special Forces soldiers, the North fell swiftly. These Warlords were not willing to fight against aircraft from which they had no defenses. With the writing on the wall, Warlords who had jumped to the Taliban cause a few years earlier accepted massive bribes to join the Coalition cause.
These were the same Warlords who believed in the message of the Taliban. The burqa, sharia, harsh punishments for petty crimes, honor killings, tribalism were the calling cards of these men. These men were no different than Mullah Omar who founded the Taliban movement. Later, Barack Obama would re-define these men as “moderate Taliban.” The only difference between these Warlords and the minions of Mullah Omar were a willingness to take million dollar bribes and to smile at Western cameras. These same men fought alongside the Taliban in the dark of night while treating with us in the light of day.
The plan that got us into bed with these Warlords was initially designated Operation Infinite Justice. The “Muslim street” was outraged again. Infinite justice could only be provided by Allah. The idea of the West providing infinite justice in the Muslim world was another manifestation of the crusader ethos that so offended the Muslim mind. Infinite justice was only possible with Allah. George Bush, whose crusader remarks earlier in the year had caused protests throughout the Muslim World, caved to Muslim sentiment. Ironically, the crusades were a reaction to Islamic Imperialism brought on by the original caliphates wars of conquest against the West. Now, Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda were fighting to bring about a New Caliphate resulting in a similar military backlash from the West. Revisionist history and political correctness resulted in the invasion of Afghanistan being re-designated Operation Enduring Freedom.
Enduring Freedom was an immediate tactical success. US and Coalition forces rolled up the taliban within a few months. However, it’s strategic success was short lived. President Bush, fearing American reaction to flag draped caskets on the evening news, tried to outsource the war to the Afghans and failed to provide covering forces to block the escape of al Qaeda and Taliban leadership. Bin Laden and Mullah Omar trotted out of Afghanistan and into mountains of Pakistan on horseback with the aid of the Musharraf’s Inter Services Intelligence. Rumors at the time had bin Laden slipping into the wild and unruly autonomous Northwest Frontier Province minutes ahead of US Special Forces. The border problem was compounded by the fact that many of the Taliban were Pakistani soldiers in mufti. The Pakistan Army refused to fire on fleeing taliban soldiers and leadership. The Paki Mullah Generals had beefed up Taliban forces in the years before 9-11 with it’s own soldiers. Pakistani soldiers feared firing on fleeing Taliban as they may well have been killing brothers or cousins. Apparently, the only person in the world who didn’t know this was George Bush.
By the time I arrived in Bagram in November of 2003, the Taliban had been defeated and were fighting a low level insurgency that would wax and wane over the next decade. American and World resolve to see through the mission of building democracy was lukewarm despite the glorious rhetoric of the Bush administration. Democracy, women’s rights and equality for ethnic and religious minorities would never get off the ground. By November of 2003, Islamic Law (aka Sharia) would be enshrined into Afghan constitutional law. The Women and Minorities of Afghanistan became victims of the great American military tradition of BOHICA — bend over here it comes again.
George and Laura Bush talked a good game concerning Human Rights. Barack and Michelle Obama gave equal lip service to these ideas. As soon as Sharia was voted into the Afghan Constitution, women and minority rights became a lost cause. In the end, we traded lofty goals and humanity for support from the same warlords who had only months earlier fought with the Taliban. Operation Enduring Freedom would ultimately become Operation Epic Failure.