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.