The Pentagon’s Achilles Heel by Sara Flounders
"By revealing the underbelly of the empire, Flounders sheds insight on how to stand up to the imperialist war machine and, in so doing, save ourselves and humanity.”
Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the U.N. General Assembly, 2008-2009,
Foreign Minister of Nicaragua’s Sandinista government 1979- 1990
Decline and Danger
The largest U.S. embassy in world, in Baghdad, Iraq, was just drastically downsized. Official troop withdrawal ended in December 2011. The plan even six months ago was for 14 permanent U.S. bases. Tens of thousands of U.S military forces, renamed “trainers,” were to remain in Iraq as a continuing presence for decades, as in other U.S. bases worldwide.
The Iraqi Parliament dashed those grand plans when, despite pressure, threat and bribes, it refused to sign a Status of Forces Agreement — SOFA — guaranteeing immunity to U.S. troops. Every effort of the U.S. to handpick a government of collaborators, every effort at positioning a loyal puppet regime, ended in failure. Even the most corrupt forces were more fearful of the anger from below than lured by the promises of a departing imperialist army.READ MORE
Now the 16,000 contractors and mercenaries left in Iraq to guard 2,000 U.S. personnel, labeled “diplomats” and housed at the giant embassy, find that they can’t securely leave the grounds, “train” Iraqi units or meet with Iraqi officials. Contractors can’t get their weapons or even vehicles registered and can’t enter and leave the country at will. Truckloads of equipment needed to feed these personnel are now routinely denied entry at the border. The “diplomats” are reduced to eating stockpiled Meals Ready to Eat.
The scale of U.S. defeat in Iraq can no longer be hidden, nor can the level of animosity towards the U.S. by the overwhelming
majority of the Iraqi population. After the U.S war and eight-year occupation of Iraq, the plans to dominate the region for the next generation are in complete retreat.
Imperialism’s position in Afghanistan is even worse. U.S.-NATO forces face more danger from the Afghan soldiers they
are training than from Taliban guerrillas. According to a classified coalition report, it is a “rapidly growing systemic homicide
threat, a magnitude of which may be unprecedented between ‘allies’ in modern history.” (New York Times, Jan. 20, 2012)
The animosity — from Afghan officials and warlords, once considered loyal collaborators, to Afghan soldiers in the field
and civilians in isolated villages or major cities like Kabul and Kandahar — runs so deep that it raises serious questions regarding any future U.S. role in the country.
According to the classified report, the U.S. and its NATO allies are dependent on an Afghan army that is permeated with anti-
Western sentiments and incapable of fighting the Taliban when NATO’s combat mission ends in 2014. The imperialist mission
might even end sooner. Britain, France and Germany are under intense domestic pressure to withdraw troops. France suspended its military training of Afghan forces after a series of attacks in which Afghan soldiers fired on French soldiers. German troops already avoid all ground fighting.