03 December 2009

Afghanistan - Why The Surprise?

Some progressives and Democrats have their knickers all knotted up over President Obama's decision to deploy more troops to Afghanistan.

I find their shock and awe over that decision to be decidedly disingenuous.

Here's why.

Afghanistan (Taliban & Al Queda) was the issue from the beginning and its boundaries with Pakistan were always the haven for terrorists and their training grounds from which the 9/11 and other attacks on civilization were launched. The neo-cons of the Bush administration diverted our attention, energy and resources to Iraq and neglected to seal the deal in Afghanistan.

So, it should have been obvious, that at some point, we would have to go back and finish what we started or else be prepared to see that area regrow its ability to inflict misery on our people. It is a very ugly and dangerous world and the notion of holocaust and unraveling of civilization is the fundamental goal of some groups hell-bent on acquiring the means to do that in one nuclear, biological or chemical stroke. That danger is real and its nexus is in that region along the Afghan/Pakistan border.

Having said this, I find the stated approach to be very troubling and sounding way, way too much like "nation-building" for my comfort.

In the first place, Afghanistan is not a true nation in the sense one thinks of nations. It is a collection of tribes, war lords, and religious zealots largely peopled by illiterate peasants in sparsely scattered villages armed to the teeth with AKs and other cold-war weaponry supplied by the US when the Soviet Union was exercising its futile attempt to colonize the area. Its economic base is opium poppy production and its political/social/economic infrastructure is based on corruption and brute power.

This is not a "nation" waiting to become stabilized and democratized. It is a festering sore of a country--not even a failed state, as it is not actually a state.

So the notion that we're going to go in and stabilize the border, eliminate the Taliban, eradicate Al Queda and train Afghan security forces a la Iraq is supremely naive in its ambition and fore-shadows yet another quagmire followed by escalation followed by despair, disillusionment, outrage and failure.

Yet, we can't ignore the reality that is Afghan and parts of Pakistan. There is a lot of potential misery centered there and we can't afford to be passive and play the waiting and counter-punch game. But let us not pretend we're bound on some sort of mission to stabilize and bring democracy to Afghanistan.

Let's be honest and say we're going to go there in force and kill terrorists and terrorist enablers and sympathizers, and destroy their bases, training camps and dry up their resources so they do not have the capacity or opportunity to harm us ever again.

If we do not do those things, we will find that 9/11 was merely a dress rehearsal for the real thing.

1 comment:

Charlie Averill said...

Gosh, I sure do agree with your post. I tried to write my angle on this a couple days ago, but knowing there were so many who would disagree with me I found it very hard to find the right words.
Thanks so much.