Friday, September 04, 2009

Afghanistan Failure

Afghanistan was Russia's Vietnam. Of all of the Bush Wars the Afghan conflict was the only one I felt was justified. Yet now, eight years in, we are stuck in the same hopeless quicksand that sunk the Soviet Union. It's time now to cut our loses and bug out.

Criminal Activity
The recent Afghan election is setting records for blatant fraud. America's man in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, isn't even trying to hide the ballot box stuffing. The American options are either to continue to back a petty criminal and drug dealer as Afghan president or organize a coup, knowing how badly that worked out in Vietnam.

The orgies being held in the US embassy in Kabul are just the tip of the iceberg. United States military drug use is rampant as well. The Afghans used drugs to destroy the Soviet occupation army thirty years ago just like the Vietnamese used drugs to hobble the US Army in the 1960's.

We Are Losing
The Afghan War started to punish the Taliban and al-Qaeda. It has devolved into a colonial struggle where we are trying to "win the hearts and minds" of a nation we occupy. It didn't work in Vietnam and it isn't working here.

There are many Afghans, perhaps even a majority, who want to like the United States. But we keep killing innocents, stupidly killing innocents, because our soldiers are too over-stressed, over-worked, and over-medicated to bother trying to tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys.

What To Do
We could stay in Afghanistan for decades and even, perhaps, over time compel a certain compliance but it would not the worth the cost in either men or money. Or, we could pack up, cut our loses, and get out.

On going we should leave behind a few blunt warnings - 1) Any al-Qaeda camps erected in Afghanistan will be obliterated as soon as we find it; 2) If the Afghan government supports al-Qaeda or other terrorists in any way then those government officials should expect short lives with messy deaths; 3) in short, stay out of our way and you will be left in peace.

I would prefer that the United States be liked but sometimes all you can hope for is to be feared.

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