Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Afghan war unwinnable quagmire, ex-CIA man says
THE war in Afghanistan is an unwinnable quagmire and poor US intelligence is leading to the deaths of Australian soldiers, a visiting former CIA officer says.
Robert Baer, a decorated CIA field officer of two decades experience who had spent years in the Middle East, said any chances the US and its allies had of defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan had already been squandered. The Coalition was fighting an unwinnable war, he said, and this was the case because victory required reliable intelligence.
''[US intelligence agencies] have the same problem they had before 9/11. It is a system that doesn't work.''
That system sees CIA operatives and allied intelligence officers unable to gather reliable information because security concerns do not allow them to travel widely. And most do not speak the local language. ''They're all stuck behind the wire; they don't get out … it's like the crusades where you're stuck on your castle imagining what the natives are doing,'' he said.
Describing Washington DC as a ''blank spot on the map'', he said that despite the massive growth of the intelligence agencies post September 11, 2001, there remained systemic failings.
''American intelligence after 9/11 has been unable to co-ordinate … the FBI will not share with the CIA. CIA has operational databases which they won't share with even others inside the CIA.''