Thursday, February 19, 2009

Afghanistan is a no-win situation

[New York Time photo]

For some background on US involvement in Afghanistan, click here.

I knew there would be times when I wouldn't agree with President Obama, and I knew there would be issues where we would have our differences.

I was hoping Afghanistan would not be one of them. I was hoping that Obama had read enough about Afghanistan's history and would enlist advisers who knew something about the fate of Europeans messing around in Afghanistan that he would find it wise to modify his proposed policy with regard to that country.

It appears that is not to be.

Obama announced a couple of days ago that he is approving the deployment of another 17,000 troops to Afghanistan, because of a "deteriorating situation."

Afghanistan and Pakistan demand, he said, "urgent attention and swift action."

He's right. But that's not the issue. The issue is the kind of attention and type of action.

Gen. David McKiernan is the US commander in Afghanistan and he's been crying for 30,000 more troops for a number of months! There is no doubt he needs at least that many and perhaps twice or three times that number to have a military impact and to do the job he has been given.

The problem is McKiernan is a soldier and thus his options are almost unequivocally of a military nature. He's about the business of war and killing. He wants to have the resources to make war and kill the enemy.

We can't win in Afghanistan. That's not being negative, but facing up to the historical and present realities. Afghanistan is not a country as we think of a country, but rather is comprised of a bunch of warring and hostile tribal units for whom war and bloodshed is a way of life. The government in Kabul is covered in corruption and has essentially no control over the rest of the land. The Taliban is resurgent as is Al Qaeda. Opium production is increasing by leaps and bounds.

As Raw Story reports, Kabul is under intense pressure by the Taliban-led insurgency and is impotent to respond effectively. "Last year was the deadliest year in the country in terms of Taliban violence, including suicide attacks, assassinations of government officials and ambushes on Afghan and international troops."

Now, we're sending more of our young men and women into harm's way. It is an exercise in futility.

More of our troops will die for absolutely no reason.

Afghanistan has become another Vietnam. We never learn. But we keep trying. Jim Hightower notes that the CIA has been trying to win the hearts and minds of tribal patriarchs. The CIA has been bribing them to stop protecting Taliban commanders and the Islamist terrorists in their regions with cash, cars and jewelry. That has not been successful.

Then a CIA officer ran into a tribal chief with four young wives who was having problems with his sexual performance. The CIA man gave him four little blue pills. Viagra worked! Within a few days, the satisfied chieftan, grinning from ear to ear began spilling the beans about Taliban movements in his area.

As Hightower said: "The CIA plans to lift us to victory -- one libido at a time.

And that's what it's come down to.

Military power cannot win in Afghanistan. Other countries have learned that very hard lesson, especially the Soviets, who got caught between a rock and a hard place, and barely survived their Afghan adventure. Neither can Viagra in the long run. There has to be a better way, before the casket count begins to mount even higher than it is now.

1 comment:

Bob Poris said...

Afghanistan has never been a united nation! It might be wise to review what would happen if we withdrew. The odd of it ever becoming a united land with a viable central government is almost zero. Perhaps we should allow them to do whatever Afghans want as long as they do not create a threat to us. We allow many nations the freedom to be poor, ignorant, cruel, undemocratic, etc. Many belong to the UN and vote against democracies 100% of the time. Why is Afghanistan so different? We attacked them in response to 9-11 but diverted our efforts to Iraq. Osama seems to be in Pakistan but we do not contemplate attacking Pakistan. We should review our goals and leave it that makes sense. 9-11 was a long time ago and our response was ineffective. If we still want to get Osama, and we should, we must find a better method. Two wars did not do it.

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