Sunday, July 25, 2010

Leave Afghanistan

It is past time to get out of Afghanistan. Here's why---

1. The Intelligence Service (ISI) of Pakistan (supposedly our ally) aids the Pashtun Taliban. This is the same ISI that reportedly sent $100,000 to M. Atta, one of the 9-11 hijackers. This reason alone is enough to bring our battle-weary, frustrated troops home. These are the same troops who are given highly restrictive Rules Of Engagement, rules that are more suited to police officers than to combat troops.

2. The central government of Hamid Karzai and his brother is corrupt to the core. The Afghanis know this, and they know that we support the same corrupt, central government.

3. We are trying to establish a central government in a country that has almost no history of such a thing.

4. The Pashtun Taliban are at war with Karzai's government. Once again, we are in the middle of a civil war.

5. The new U.S. target date for withdrawal is 2014. The chances are good that by 2014 things won't be much "better" than they are right now. For certain, they'll be worse for us---more dead and disabled troops, more billions of dollars spent fruitlessly.

6. The Soviets committed 500,000 troops to their war with Afghanistan years ago...and they lost. Afghanistan is known as the "Graveyard of Empires" for very good reasons.

7. Polls indicate that over half the population in Afghanistan do not want us in their country any longer.

8. There are many, many more Al Qaida insurgents in Pakistan and Yemen than in Afghanistan. Intelligence estimates put the number of Al Qaida in Afghanistan at about 25-50, out of a total of approximately 25,000 insurgents.

9. Logic suggests that there's a high probability that Osama bin Laden is no longer alive. For one thing, why would he stop releasing video tapes that spurred on his fanatics?

I'll say it again: although there are obvious differences, the war in Afghanistan reminds me greatly of our involvement in Vietnam---corrupt governments in both cases, civil wars, restrictive Rules of Engagement, "winning hearts and minds", horrible losses of life (including "collateral damage"), billions of dollars, and Secretaries of Defense from the corporate world.

Here's who is benefitting from us being in Afghanistan: SAIC (Robert Gates was once on their Board of Directors); Halliburton/KBR; private security companies; and numerous other corporations in the defense industry. We probably also should include the Powers-That-Be in our own Fed Government, as the war allows more expansion of government and more intrusions into our personal lives (because it's part of the so-called "War on Terror").

It is long past time to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq. There is much more terrorism in the world now, as compared to before we invaded those countries. Not only that, but our loss of life, limb, and treasure is obscene. And for what... to combat terrorism? I don't think so.

2 comments:

Shrinath said...

You make some very fine points. I am currently reading the analysis at The Guardian, UK after reading through NY Times take on the intel.

Contrary to what everyone wants, the governments will now make a case for increasing troops and renewed engagement. I fear that there is going to be a fair amount of spin on this. A world, particularly the west, that is yet to fully recover a recession will be unwilling to protest the escalation.

The war is not in Afghanistan now at all. It is in Pakistan and that country is surviving on American largesse. The money intended for development gets pocketed by corrupt military and civilian officials. But that is another campaign and a different ball game requiring a totally different plan.

Let us hope that cool minds prevail and get out of this mess.

Scott Haley said...

Thanks for your comments/insights.

I agree with your view, particularly regarding Pakistan. In my view, that country is now the most in danger and the most dangerous in the world.

I fear that once we are out of Afghanistan and Iraq, the rulers in the U.S. (both elected and nonelected) will invade either Iran or (if the current govt falls) Pakistan. The heads of the multinational Corporatocracy and the higher-ups in the U.S. Fed Govt are big believers in Machiavelli and perpetual war.

It's a genuine shame.