On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

The Problem With Afghanistan

The short version is that we didn’t learn a thing from the rather disastrous blow-back from the CIA financed insurgency against the Soviet occupation, assuming that you agree that 9/11 was a disaster.

Steve Coll’s book, Ghost Wars, is an open source for the story behind what we did and didn’t do that resulted in al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Pakistan security forces ties to both, the rise of fundamentalism in Pakistan, and the madrassas that use US financed and printed books to teach children to hate the US.

I’m sure everyone is thrilled that our tax dollars built the training sites that were used to attack us, which is why we were able to strike them so accurately, but not quite soon enough.

I know I was happy that the Stinger missiles that we supplied to the insurgents in Afghanistan did in fact prove to be too old to use against our aircraft.

After we were attacked, I felt in my bones it was bin Laden again and that this time, damn it, we had to go after and kill the SOB. He was bent on becoming a martyr and I really wanted to accommodate him on that score, but we had to be absolutely, positively, 100% certain that we did not repeat the mistakes we had made and leave too early without restoring Afghanistan to a viable state.

Afghanistan and the Northwest Territories of what is now Pakistan were the scene of the Great Game, the 19th century conflict between the British and Russian empires for control of central Asia. This was a nasty piece of work that was always on the edge of becoming a full-blown war between the two powers. The local tribes were more than happy to take money from either side, even both sides, while they continued their own private wars with other tribes.

Unless we actually gave them a stake in a possible better future, they would continue to be a breeding ground and training area for terrorism. They are in too strategic a location for that to be a good idea.

Unfortunately, as Barnett R. Rubin points out on Informed Comment Global Affairs, a stable Afghanistan is almost out of reach because of US actions.

I know, I know, Republican administrations have screwed this up every time they have gotten involved, the same way they have screwed over the Kurds, every time the Kurds have helped. I should have known. I should have realized that they would never understand the importance. I read Rice’s book and should have realized that she wouldn’t get it. She didn’t really understand the Eastern Bloc, so Central Asia would be a total mystery to her.

It’s a failing. You are always hoping that just once the people in charge would actually get advice from people who know what is going on and what has gone in the past. You keep telling yourself that one day the United States will actually pursue a rational foreign policy based on the interests of the nation and its people, but deep in your heart you know, they sell out for politics and short term expediency every time.