It’s almost pointless to talk about Afghanistan and the American war there. It’s become apparent that the people in charge have lost their minds.
What began as a legitimate attempt to capture the people who set up the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington became an arrogant, ignorant, and destructive attempt to destroy all terrorists everywhere for all time.
The perpetrators of this insane American policy claim that it has kept the terrorists from attacking in the United States again.
That is not true.
Al Qaeda, or whoever, has performed an amazing jujitsu attack on the United States. They haven’t needed to attack us. The Republican administration under Bush and Cheney did the work for them by gutting the Constitution, breaking the laws of the United States and breaking international law, wasting hundreds of billions of dollars, wasting thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of innocent Afghani and Iraqi lives, and allowing the American economy to crash and burn. Al Qaeda has already won the war. The only question for the Americans is how much more damage will they allow to their country.
But behold, by a wave of the hand, a twist of the magic wand, by an act of illusion and delusion that would win the admiration of David Copperfield, the United States war on terror has morphed into a war on a medieval religious sect of arrogant, ignorant, murderous thugs going under the name of Taliban.
The new mission is to bring democracy and security to Afghanistan.
From today’s Globe, in a Washington Post story by Rajiv Chandrasekaran:
US military and diplomatic officials say that the vast majority of Afghans, even those in violence-wracked places such as Helmand province, do not want to be ruled by the Taliban and its extremist ideology. The officials contend that if Afghans are provided security and basic services, they will switch allegiances and support the local government.
They may not want to be ruled by them, but if that’s so why aren’t they fighting the Taliban. Why are American troops doing the killing and the dying?
The Americans are continuing the delusion that they can kill an ideology with guns and artillery.
As for the locals switching allegiances to the local government, has anyone asked how long that will last once the Americans are gone? Or how long the Americans will have to stay to maintain the fiction of switched allegiance?
The Afghans, like most people in the world, will go along to get along. They’ll do what they need to do to survive under whichever thugs have the most guns and the strongest will.
As for the local government to which the Americans want to direct the Afghans, the Afghans know better than the Americans that the local government is corrupt to its core. From the front page of the Globe:
But in April, Afghan president Hamid Karzai pardoned the five [drug traffickers] men. One was the nephew of a powerful politician managing Karzai’s reelection campaign, and the presidential decree ordering their release notes that they had ties to a well-respected family, according to a senior Afghan official.
Those pardons – and at least five others in recent weeks – have outraged US officials working to combat drug trafficking in Afghanistan, the world’s biggest supplier of heroin and opium, and raised fears that Karzai will set more traffickers free in a bid to curry favor with influential families before the presidential election on Aug. 20.
That’s what American soldiers, and NATO soldiers, are dying for in Afghanistan. That and the American Republican delusion that killing foreigners solves all problems. That particular delusion continues to be enabled by Democrats who are simply afraid of loud-mouthed, arrogant, ignorant Republicans despite controlling Congress and the White House.
The situation in Afghanistan is untenable, as it would be anywhere. Americans should not be fighting the Taliban. At best they should be teaching Afghanis to fight the Taliban. Give the villagers small arms, train them in basic maneuvers and tactics, and let them understand that if they want to be free of the Taliban and their ilk they will have to fight for freedom themselves.
As long as the United States continues to think that fighting wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan will bring an end to terror, then Al Qaeda, or the terror organization du jour, will win. They will have destroyed the United States from within without ever again crossing the American border.
As for Bin Laden and his associates, they’re still free despite the gutting of America by American politicians braying for Bin Laden’s head. Blunderbuss armies stomping about in the mountains of Afghanistan will get him only by luck. High tech flying robots dropping bombs on civilians will only provide Bin Laden more protection.
And while all of that goes on, America crumbles. Its economy is in shambles and the government claims it is fixing it by giving the power to fix it to the same people who crippled it. States are going bankrupt. Essential services are being shut down. School systems fail to educate, if not fail outright. Highways, transportation infrastructure, weaken and crumble. Businesses and families crash and burn under the weight of increasingly impossible health care costs, while the government flails in fear of the very corporations and politicians responsible for the crisis in health care, and proposes nothing more than inadequate band-aids to prop up the current system.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the hills of a South Asian country, a handful of thugs laugh at the insanity of an America that chooses to hurl its ship of state onto the ancient reefs of Afghan mountains rather than limp home under tattered sails to fix itself.