The Afghanistan Quagmire
In November 2008, I wrote of
I still think the
It is in a very bad neighborhood that includes
When someone like Adm. Mike Mullen, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that the situation in Afghanistan has been “deteriorating” over the past few years and that the “Taliban insurgency has gotten more sophisticated”, as he did on August 23, you better pay attention.
More importantly, the White House had better pay attention. The Admiral is trying to send it a message. He said, for example, he was “extremely concerned” about the recent bombings in
We tried that in
Specifically, the last general charged with succeeding in
All during the long years of the war in
We have been in Afghanistan since 9/11, when we enjoyed an initial success chasing out the Taliban and al Qaeda. That was accomplished, not by a massive
The Taliban are back. The Afghans are tired of American troops in their midst, and you can largely dismiss the smaller numbers of troops from “coalition” nations, because they are window-dressing. This does not diminish the casualties they have sustained, but it does acknowledge their very reluctant participation.
Long ago, the British learned that
Virtually every military expert agrees that Afghanistan is the last place on Earth for a modern army to wage war, and that includes every NATO general. It no doubt includes the Russians, whose invasion ultimately brought down the former Soviet Union. That whole game was part of the larger Cold War.
Afghanistan never was much of a “nation,” though it was relatively calm when Afghan dynasties ruled from around the 1700s into the last century. In terms of foreign policy, the
The notion that democracy as practiced in the West can be transplanted there is farcical, though some previous Afghan regimes had made progress to free women from Islamic subjugation. Efforts toward modernization have always been painfully slow there.
Since the 1700s the primary export from Afghanistan has been heroin, and it remains so today. Other than growing poppies, there’s not much that passes for an economy there. It doesn’t matter who’s elected, because the business of Afghanistan is opium. American troops will not alter that.
Right now Americans are distracted by the battles over the hideous healthcare reform bill and Cap-and-Trade. Americans rightfully fear that those in control of our government are deliberately bankrupting the nation. In increasing numbers they have concluded that electing Obama to be President was a very bad idea.
It is unfortunate that we measure wars by the number of casualties, but they will continue in Afghanistan, and, when Americans at last turn their collective attention to them, the pressure to withdraw from Afghanistan will mount.
I confess that the strategic reasons for being there defy my understanding, other than its proximity to
The war on terror will go on until we kill as many of the leadership of al Qaeda as possible. When it becomes too lethal to join al Qaeda, its members will go back to herding goats. It is a war that can and should be fought covertly and as viciously as possible.
writes a daily post at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. A business and science writer, he is the founder of The National Anxiety Center.
Statement of Policy.
Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.