Friday, February 25, 2011

Combat Outpost Michigan

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It’s time to say good-bye. The map you see here is a part of eastern Afghanistan, Kunar Province. The curving formation in the upper mid portion of the map, running down from the left corner, is the valley of the Pech river. The Kunar and Pech rivers meet at Asadabad. Combat Outpost Michigan is a spot on this map in the river valley almost exactly north of the e in the Google logo at the bottom, left. Up-river from it is Forward Operating Base Blessing. Down-river from it are Cop Able Main and Cop Honaker-Miracle, each being U.S. Military outposts. [I cannot annotate a Google map or I’d show the outposts.]

This is a very rough mountainous region where our forces have been unable to take genuine hold. A little less than a year ago in April I noted on this blog (here) that we were abandoning the Korangal Valley. That valley is the dark depression pointing right at Combat Outpost Michigan. Leaving Korangal Valley was evidently only a beginning. Now all American forces will be withdrawn from the Pech Valley, although Afghan forces will be left behind.

The New York Times this morning quotes one military official giving a rationale for this withdrawal. “What we figured out is that people in the Pech really aren’t anti-U.S. or anti-anything, they just want to be left alone. Our presence is what’s destabilizing this area.”

Brigitte and I noted, oh, a month ago approximately, an absolutely glowing report in the Media by a Congressional delegation to Afghanistan. Everything looked rosy, upbeat. There was talk of a change in momentum, etc. Today’s announcement of withdrawal, couched in positive terms as redeploying troops to protect more populated areas, was made by Major General Campbell—not by General Petraeus (of course). Never mind the explanations; never mind the casualties sustained first in the Korangal Valley and then in the Pech region. What interests me is that rationale put out by the military spokesman. That might me right on, a bull’s eye, actually. The statement probably applies to the entire Afghanistani population, except for its Quisling leadership—and not just to the inhabitants of the Pech Valley.


  1. A sad and predictably sad story it is. Between this post and the one you have on LaMarotte today, you summarize things beautifully, if I may use that word for such an inherently ugly subject.

  2. plus ca change, c'est plus la meme whatever.