Sunday, October 11, 2009

Afghanistan: Whose Failure?

From Today's New York Times, another brilliant article from Frank Rich. It's still hard for me to believe that such sense makes it into the paper of Judith Miller:

"Perhaps the most surreal aspect of our great Afghanistan debate is the Beltway credence given to the ravings of the unrepentant blunderers who dug us into this hole in the first place.

Let’s be clear: Those who demanded that America divert its troops and treasure from Afghanistan to Iraq in 2002 and 2003 — when there was no Qaeda presence in Iraq — bear responsibility for the chaos in Afghanistan that ensued. Now they have the nerve to imperiously and tardily demand that America increase its 68,000-strong presence in Afghanistan to clean up their mess..."

This article is definitely worth a read, and I hope you will click on the link and see the rest, which includes (for me, always a plus) some well deserved lashing of The Man Who Won't Go Away, Senator John McCain.

These people, with their mindless belligerence, and their lunatic obsession with wasting a couple of trillion dollars in Iraq, saw to it long ago that we could never accomplish anything in Afghanistan that could remotely be confused with "winning," whatever that might mean.

The only game they are playing now is to prolong our departure long enough that they can blame their colossal failure on Obama, and in the process obscure what a miserable disaster they created by resorting to bullying and violence as their only foreign policy option, so that we can make the same mistake again, as soon as possible.

6 comments:

mastercynic said...

The Rich Op-Ed was very good, but I think sending more troops to Afghanistan is an excellent idea - if Afghanistan is used as a staging area for operations in Pakistan where our enemies now hide and work towards gaining control of a sympathetic nuclear power. As for Afghanistan itself, what needs to be done is the same thing that needed to be done decades ago after we helped the Afghan people repel the Soviet invaders: send engineers, builders, doctors and teachers. Establish a single "safe zone" and build infrastructure, schools and hospitals and actually demonstrate to the Afghan people that we will not abandon them AGAIN. Show them the freedom we offer in one small area and then let them decide if they prefer the Taliban throwing acid in schoolgirls' faces. It may be too late for this to work, it would have been much easier 20+ years ago before St Regan decided that after they beat back the Soviet Army for us they no longer mattered, but I think it's worth a try.

Green Eagle said...

"build infrastructure, schools and hospitals and actually demonstrate to the Afghan people that we will not abandon them AGAIN. Show them the freedom we offer in one small area and then let them decide if they prefer the Taliban throwing acid in schoolgirls' faces."

Absolutely right. Sad to say, Bush and Cheney just spent seven years doing the exact opposite. I can't believe I am more cynical than the master, but I believe this opportunity was thrown in the trash before Obama ever got close to the White House. As I said above, all they are trying to do now is keep this farce going long enough to blame it on Obama when we do have to turn tail and run home.

mastercynic said...

No, you're certainly right about what the Republicans are doing now, G.E. - and, perhaps they're also working to ensure that Pakistan becomes an insurmountable problem in the near future. MY plan is to send troops to Afghanistan as a feint so the Pakistani Taliban/Al Queda and American Republican Party thinks they've got us tied up there and then use those troops to make guerilla incursions into Pakistan to confront the actual threat to both America and the world. I'm not saying the Republicans are tied to Al Queda the way the German press did after 9/11 - on the other hand, I do believe they need to be treated as if they were. Then maybe we could sneak a few teachers and engineers into Afaghanistan while no one is looking.

Derek said...

No troops or resources were diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq so that renders Mr. Rich's argument worth jack. In fact, in 2006, 2007, and 2008, total troop levels increased, including more NATO and UK forces deployed.

Don't trust the Times.

Green Eagle said...

Effort that SHOULD have gone into Afghanistan went instead where we had no place being. Bush and Cheney took their eyes off the ball, and just like with the economy, left the Democrats a hell of a mess to clean up.

Derek said...

"Effort that SHOULD have gone into Afghanistan went instead where we had no place being. Bush and Cheney took their eyes off the ball, and just like with the economy, left the Democrats a hell of a mess to clean up."

So you would have supported a huge troop surge in Afghanistan? I highly doubt that. There was a constant increase in the number of troops in Afghanistan, but you say you wanted more?

And I will ask this question again, how did Bush hurt the economy? What did he do?