McMaster And Mattis Have Twelve Months To Succeed In Afghanistan

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by James Durso via,

Recently we learned that Erik Prince, founder of the security firm Blackwater Worldwide, and Steve Feinberg, financier, and owner of DynCorp International, a leading military logistics, and training contractor, approached the Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, with their plan to use contractors instead of American troops to stabilize Afghanistan. The meeting was arranged at the behest of President Trump’s advisors who want to ensure their boss is apprised of the full range of options in Afghanistan.

The Secretary decided to stick with an in-house solution, that is to say, more of the same, for a war we are, in his words, “not winning.” Secretary Mattis is no enemy of contractors, but hopefully, he reflected on what Messrs. Prince and Feinberg said before he briefed President Trump last week on the way ahead in Afghanistan.

Let’s review our progress in Afghanistan:

  • Provinces under central government control: according to data from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, “the Afghan government controls or influences just 52 percent of the nation’s districts today [February 2017] compared to 72 percent in November 2015.”
  • Opium production increased 43% from 2015 to 2016 and has been on an upward trend since 2001.
  • U.S. casualties: 2385 dead and 20,290 wounded military; 1691 dead contractors.
  • Money spent: over $700 billion, though some analysts say the true cost is in the trillions. 

I previously said we should let the Afghans and the neighbors – Iran, Pakistan, and China – try to sort it out, and minimize our work with Afghanistan to counternarcotics and intelligence sharing while we work with the Central Asian states to secure their borders. During the campaign, candidate Trump described the war in Afghanistan as “a complete waste” and has focused his efforts since inauguration on everything else, leaving the policy review to the national security advisor, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, which brings us to the problem…

General McMaster spent several months trying to convince the President to commit more troops and agree to a four-year timeline in advance of May’s NATO summit meeting; he was blocked by the secretaries of Defense and State.  McMaster then made a second try at last week’s National Security Council Principals Committee, only to get pushback from Trump. Seen in that light, the suggestion that the White House would consider the Prince-Feinberg plan was a billboard-sized hint that the President does not want a more-of-the-same solution.

There is no Afghanistan “policy vacuum,” General McMaster has simply forgotten that it is his job to get in sync with the President, not the other way around.  His thinking is emblematic of the military’s approach to sunk costs – the dead and wounded soldiers – as opposed to a businessman’s.  The military may be reluctant to abandon a political objective if it feels doing so will dishonor the sacrifice of the soldiers who died and were wounded trying to achieve the objective.  It is an understandable sentiment, but illogical to someone with a business background asking for a solution to a $700 billion campaign almost two decades old and with no end in sight. 

President Trump understandably wants to see if his administration can stabilize Afghanistan, so using contractors may give him the option to try something new while reducing military casualties that grab the headlines. (He is no doubt aware that the parts of the country that provide most of the military’s troops are part of his electoral base.)  

If President Trump approves a McMaster plan that Mattis is comfortable with, as Defense will have to be on board, he should give them twelve months – not four years - to show real progress – not PowerPoint progress - defined as more provinces under central government control, and a sharp reduction in opium cultivation. Metrics such as the number of Afghan police and soldiers trained are merely inputs, not the only output that counts: the provision of public safety in Afghanistan’s ungoverned spaces.

The U.S. has been militarily and diplomatically engaged in Afghanistan for 16 years so cries for “more time” ring hollow. Messrs. McMaster and Mattis are not new to Afghanistan so they can start implementing their good ideas immediately.

Most importantly, a twelve-month deadline will give the President the option to fire McMaster or Mattis before the November 2018 elections if the “M&M” plan fails to show progress. The President needs to heed President Bush’s mistake of not firing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld before the 2006 election, which contributed to the Democrats gaining 31 seats in the House of Representative and 6 seats in the Senate, giving the Democrats control of both chambers, until the GOP took back the House in 2011 and the Senate in 2015.  

And to any caviling about domestic concerns affecting our foreign policy, I say, “Darn right. Why shouldn’t they?” Foreign and defense policy should not be a consequence-free zone for the staff practitioners, who have to answer to elected officials who take seriously their obligation to keep their promises to the voters.

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khnum's picture

I think within 12 months these 2 individuals may have far greater worries

TeamDepends's picture

DynCorp?  DynCorp?  Ah yes, the child-diddler pimps....

khnum's picture

diversified into organ harvesting in Syria apparantly... Im refering to Russia and China in my post if Nicky Haley is the face of US diplomacy we are in big trouble

Bes's picture



moar war

over the cliff bitchez


dilligaff's picture

Good answer!  I wish someone could explain the definition of "success in Afganistan"...

Sanity Bear's picture

"who have to answer to elected officials who take seriously their obligation to keep their promises to the voters."

pull the other one

> I wish someone could explain the definition of "success in Afganistan"

continued record levels of heroin production

Mustafa Kemal's picture

Freddie Prince, of

The Phoenix program, modeled on that wonderfully successful one used in Vietnam to convert 

Hearts and Minds. 

He is also the sister to Billionaire Secretary of Education

The central planners's picture

48 billion dollars heroin market thats the true definition of succeed.

TeamDepends's picture

The spice must flow (not really).

Doom Porn Star's picture


Napalm will aerosolize whole fields and markets of it faster than you can say: "Victory."...

HoyeruNew's picture

more BS. They do NOT want to "succeed" in Afganistan, same as how VietNam wasn't about "winning" it was about feeding the Military-Industrial complex. They want to occupy Afganistan forever because

1. it's close to Russian border.

2. it's close to OBOR and all those countries in Mid Asia where USA wants to take over such as Kazahstan

ls3. Afganistan has allegedtly 1 trillion wealth in rare metals/minerals

4. Poppies. and controlling the drug trade


Burltron's picture

Yes. The whole article is written Under the premise that there was an  actual objective to obtain to begin with, other than guarding poppy fields. Anyone thinking North Korea will be a breeze should just reference how this played out and times it by two since NK has a disciplined military.

khnum's picture

Friend of the family was in the Korean war saw the entire US army 3 times,twice it was headed in the wrong direction and in the end a standstill and ceasefire was all that was achieved and thats with far better stock than whats currently available

uhland62's picture

The article also forgets that according to a bloomberg article US troops should remain there to secure the rare earths supply from Afghanistan. 

Dig this: US taxpayer pays for troops in Afghanistan - companies get free security guards. 

USER PAYS - the companies who use rare earths need to pay the full costs of their supply. 

gregga777's picture

NK will be Afghanistan by at least X20 if not even more. NK has nukes; Afghanistan didn't. NK has an 800 mile border with China; Afghanistan didn't.

sinbad2's picture

I think you will find Afghanistan like all recent US invasions, coups etc, are about oil and gas.

The US sponsored TAPI pipeline was supposed to supply India and Pakistan with gas from Turkmenistan. The Taliban wanted money to allow the pipeline to go through Afghanistan, the US invaded.

Even today the US is blocking an Iranian pipeline to India, because the US still thinks it can get its pipeline up.

A Man of Wealth and Taste's picture

Light metals for battery technology

HRClinton's picture

0.9  Afghanistan is part of OBOR South: China, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Europe 

The (((Banksters))) will do anything to prevent Silk Road South between Europe and Asia. Anything!

gregga777's picture

Why? It's a great way for the Chinese to waste 10's of trillions of yuan or renminbi. Hence, the banking gangsters should be all for OBOR.

ebworthen's picture

Yup.  They could succeed by pulling every last American wasting there time, minds, and lives over there and bring them home.

George Washington spinning in his grave with all these foreign interventions, and not just interventions, Imperial overreach.

Mustafa Kemal's picture

"Afganistan has allegedtly 1 trillion wealth in rare metals/minerals"

Lapis Lazuli

beijing expat's picture

A trillion in minerals? They spent a trillion on the war. Why not just print a trillion dollar bill and Be done with the fighting?

DelusionsCrowded's picture

Don't forget about blocking oil & railway lines from China to Iran and on to the ME. If that was ever to connect up it would be game-over for American control of World Gov .

As you say the intention was never to win the war as the Muzzies aren't going to submit to a Satanic/Masonic Gov . Just like in the rest of the ME all they are able to do is control the Management(and thats looking shakey in Iraq) but not the Imams .

I actually think the game is already lost. Its not only the ME people have had enough of America but the American people have also had enough of America .
I think the US military would unravel in a serious war with high causalities. Mercenaries make terrible soldiers for that reason.
As for Ukraine , I can't see them willing to die in the 1000's for the USA .

wisefool's picture

The only thing that chased the russians out of afganistan was chernobyl.

Forget drug tests. We need I.Q. tests for the deep state scooter squad, Including George Bush Sr.

gregga777's picture

Why give a bunch of fucking MORONS an IQ test? They'll still be fucking MORONS.

sinbad2's picture

It was the war in Afghanistan, and low oil prices that bankrupted the Soviet Union.

But that doesn't ring any bells at the Pentagram.

gregga777's picture

Alex, I'll take lost causes for $1000:

Answer: At least $20 trillion more, more than 100,000 US troops and at least a commitment of 50 years.

Question: What will it take to 'win' the war in Afghanistan.

MK13's picture

US can win the war in Afukistan. Wars are won when a) opposite side has no real military capability or b) other side lost will to fight.

Nuke top city that is out of government control and supports Taliban. A month later nuke the next city on that list. Rinse and repeat. By the time you get to year number two there will be no support for taliban in Afukistan or there will be no population left.

Wars are won only by those willing to be barbaric enough to win them. .

micksavage2010's picture

u must have forgotten sarc tag. no one could propose such outlandish actions otherwise.

chunga's picture

Wow, the US govt is a complete global disaster.

stant's picture

I guess a controlled collapse is off the table?

Herdee's picture

The winners will be the Chinese who will come in and get everything for nothing just like all the other countries where everybody hates the American government. Winning the hearts, souls and minds of the people these arab countries they've bombed and ruined? Get real, they've bankrupted America.

fulliautomatix's picture

Mission: 1. Get all the contractors together in one place.

2. Leave.

3. Eat popcorn.

gregga777's picture

My father was in Korea with the United States Air Force 21st Troop Carrier Squadron the day after the war began. He flew evacuation and supply missions as the US Army and the ROK Army retreated to the Pusan perimeter. US Army and ROK troops had no anti-tank weapons to use against NK T-34s. The NK tanks just ran them over.

After the US Marine landings at Inchon he flew evacuation and supply missions all the way to the Chosin Reservoir. It was one of the coldest winters on record. He flew frozen, dead Marines out of the US Marines hastily constructed airstrips. Dead Marines were stacked in his airplane like cordwood (his words). He also flew Marine and US Army casualties out of there and they were glad for the ride. His squadron flew thousands of Marine and Army wounded out of the Chosin Reservoir. Some of their airplanes crashed and the crews were killed. Then the Marines fought their way to the coast, over a single track mountain road, to Wonsan where they boarded US Navy transports and destroyed all of their supply dumps.

I wish that our Intellectual Yet Idiot classes ruling MORONS had ALL of their oh so precious children stationed along the 38th parallel. But, no. None of them has children serving in the US Armed Forces. That's why they are all so willing to incur thousands of deaths and 10's of thousands of wounded. It isn't like it means any hardship for them. Personally I'd arrest every Intellectual Yet Idiot classes ruling MORON and turn them over to the appropriate nations court systems to be tried as war criminals. I couldn't care less if every motherfucker was executed.

OverTheHedge's picture

The UK is currently "celebrating" the beginning of the Passchendaele lunacy - 250,000 dead British  and commonwealth troops. Three months of drowning in mud to gain nothing. The current uk military, across all service, including active and reserves, is 230,000 (I looked it up).

More worrying, according to is the idea that the total "fit for service manpower" available is 24 million. Some lunatic in an office in Whitehall will be looking at that number and chuckling to themselves, whilst working out plans to invade everywhere, with estimations of casualties numbering in the millions.

Why do the sheep put up with this shit?

East Indian's picture

No need to worry about manpower. Britain has to just announce a scheme for the MENA - enroll, fight, win the war, get citzenship, get pension, settle down with a British girl and breed. 




khnum's picture

I remember Rowan Atkinsons Black Adder set in world war one where the British lost 100,000 and the General got to move his desk 4 feet further towards Berlin.Dark humour but the truth

Squidward_Tentacles's picture

Because sheep, by nature and being, are dumb.

Anteater's picture

"The military may be reluctant to abandon a political objective if it feels

doing so will dishonor the sacrifice of the soldiers who died and were

wounded trying to achieve the objective." Is that your best psyop?

Pentagon didn't have any problem forgetting about Chosin Reservoir!?

Pentagon forgot about the Brave 19 we lost in the Battle of Grenada!?

What about Lieutenant Paz!? Have you forgotten about Panama too!?

Read Torbay's 'Diminution and Development', or Herold's 'Afghanistan

as an Empty (Resource) Space'. 'Afghanistan' has nothing to do with

'honor'. Our sons and daughters are guarding the strategic resource

extraction leases held by the Indians and the Chinese! 100% MIC!


"You're gonna need a lotta body bags from all the winning!" DJT/JCK

Isn't that weasel Jared military age? That why he bugged out to Israel?

deepfriedbrain's picture

I say shoot them ourselves.  The IYI will f with Trump. Then pandora's box will open..Then...hallelujah ...kill every DC politician, their families..Every member of the national press...wall st bankers, hollywood dimwits...alas, this is usually when I wake up...but one can hope

Taras Bulba's picture

McMaster and Petraus worked together closely in the past-I understand that petraus is still involved.

I do not believe petraus would back off on more and more troops, ie more of the same. 

That has certainly worked well.

This will warm everyone's heart-neo cons taking care of business, their own interests, money and power.

navy62802's picture

I don't know if you've been following Trump's latest actions at the executive level, but I think it's safe to say that McMaster and Mattis have less time than that.

Animal Mother's picture

I would suggest paying the goat humpers back by breeding them out, I mean, we've been there 16 years. Had we let a few Privates from Arkansas loose on the Afghan girls back in 01, we'd have our own buck-toothed freckled army in country today. 

East Indian's picture

Breeding them out? Like in Vietnam. Great idea.


All you will get is Afghan women immigrating into Arkansas, and sale of burkinis. And a buck-toothed freckled army saluting the muezzin in Arkansas mosques.

dogismycopilot's picture

President Trump should have teamed up with the Russians (again).

The US press is spreading the rumor the Russians are supporting the Taliban, which is patently false. President Putin and the Duma HATE the Radical Islamic Assholes more than we do. The Russians MUST defeat Radical Islam because of its own sizable Muslim population.

The Deep State still hopes it can continue to use Radical Islamic Assholes as a proxy army against Russia.

There is no happy ending in Afghan unless Russia and the US work together to kill the Radical Islamic Assholes.

US legislators are completely fucking stupid, greedy and insane.

Vote them out in 2018.

OverTheHedge's picture

Perhaps Russia should consider starting a colour revolution in the US. They would probably have to compete with the CIA colour revolution, but perhaps they could combine resources.

beijing expat's picture

The media showed proof. The Taliban are using AK47s. War on.

I should note this is better evidence than they showed for Muh Russian conspiracy.

MK13's picture

Haa haa, Russia supplying small arms to Taliban, idiocy. There are 10k of them hand made in tribal region of Pakistan, at tenth of the cost, why need Russia.

MSM choking on lies.

East Indian's picture

Sending private contractors to control opium cultivation? 

Private contractors team up with CIA; opium cultivation shoots through the roof; immense overproduction; prices plummet; Afghan farmers despair and abandon poppy cultivation.

Yes. That will work.