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Overkill?

By Tim Shoemaker

How many bombs does it take to wipe an Afghan town off the map?

Apparently, 25 tons worth of bombs and rockets.  

Whether or not it was overkill, 49,200lbs of ordinance is what the Combined Joint Task Force 1-320th, under the command of Lt. Col. David Flynn, used to decimate a town allegedly overrun by Taliban forces.  (See before and after photos here.)

Paula Broadwell, a West Point graduate and Petraeus biographer, described the destruction of Tarok Kolache in a guest post for Tom Ricks’ Foreign Policy blog. Or, at least, she described its aftermath: Nothing remains of Tarok Kolache after Lt. Col. David Flynn, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 1-320th, made a fateful decision in October.

As Broadwell tells it, the villagers understood that the United States needed to destroy their homes – except when they don’t. One villager “in a fit of theatrics had accused Flynn of ruining his life after the demolition.”

Broadwell writes that the operation is ultimately a success, quoting Flynn as saying “As of today, more of the local population talks to us and the government than talk to the Taliban.” That appears to be good enough for higher command. Petraeus, having visited the village and allowing Flynn to personally approve reconstruction projects worth up to $1 million, told his commanders in the south to “take a similar approach to what 1-320th was doing on a grander scale as it applies to the districts north of Arghandab.”

Read the rest.

If the definition of success in Afghanistan consists of leveling villages and paying to rebuild them, the whole process would seem quite counterproductive.  What happens if the town is rebuilt with US money and a few weeks, months, or years later the “Taliban” reoccupies it?  Do we demolish it again and repeat the process?

Nation-building wars are a futile attempt at creating a centrally-planned puppet regime.  It will continue to cost more blood and treasure than the results are worth.  It’s time to create a strong national defense by bringing our overextended troops home from around the globe.

On Thursday, Congressman Paul took to the House floor to discuss the enormous cost of US foreign policy of perpetual war and in particular the more than 20 years America has spent with senseless interventions in the Middle East.

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