Obama's wrong about Afghanistan

I was disappointed when Obama seemed to focus on Afghanistan and sent more troops there. In my admittedly uneducated view I see it as a drain on the armed forces and our treasury.

Yesterday on NPR they had an interesting show " Reality Check in Afghanistan" with a very informed guest

listen here

He made several statements that I’ve been thinking for a while.

Afghanistan is not really crucial to our security

We won’t accomplish anything their militarily without the basic support of the people. We don’t have it because it’s to fractured and tribal.

So, is Obama wrong? Any thoughts on why he is pursuing this policy and maintains that Afghanistan is crucial.

The war is against Al Queda, not the Taliban - there is no votes in the Taliban, no one cares about the Taliban.

But in order to fight the war against Al Queda, governments dress up the whole mess in Afghanistan to be a moral engagement, like anyone in DC cares about womens rights in Afghanistan. So this week we’re bringing . . . democracy! Hurrah!

The imperial mind set combined with military-industrial vested interests and a really clueless neo-con ideology to create this intervention in Afghanistan and - to utilise a great parody of US foreign policy - “Once you in it, you in it. If it’s a lie, then we fight on that lie. But we gotta fight.”

No you don’t.

You recognise the policy was formed by vested interests and ideological midgets and you don’t act like an imperial object.

I knew after 9/11 we had to kick someone’s ass, even if it wasn’t the right someone. Why we’re still there I don’t understand, although Rory suggested we keep a lot less troops there to keep an eye on any terrorist training camps. He claims there is no centralized government and we need to let them develop on their own with minimum interference from us.

It blows my freakin mind that men can continue a fight based on political expediency.

A-stan may be crucial for Pakistan to stay viable as some sort of country that can be salvaged, adding troops and shoring up the local govt there might be the lesser of two evils. The local warlords get it, win the peace and American money goes away.

If the surge works to a point he can declare mission accomplished and set an exit date and let the country return to anarchy or its previous feudal incarnation.


I’m beginning to think we just arm the Afghan women & get the hell out of that crap-hole, ditto with Iran, ditto with the strife-torn areas of Asia, Africa & all other countries which we’ve tried to stabilize/democratize/nation-build.

And get the hell out of our stable & secure allies in Europe & Asia who can take care of their own national security/military needs.

Given the events of the last eight years I think this is going to be a tough position to argue. I am not sure what can really be achieved in Afghanistan because of its history and its tribal divisions. But if the goal in 2001 was to set up a government and keep the Taliban out of power so they and Al Qaeda could not resume their relationship and pose more problems- has that been achieved? It sure doesn’t look that way.

Well, imagine how it goes down to a billion muslims who see lands occupied, fellow muslims killed and a political and social culture from several planets away forced upon them.

Can you believe the Taliban is getting stronger (not that the Taliban are the actual enemy in all of this)?

First of all, just because you don’t support the war doesn’t mean that it is a war based on political expediency. Does it blow your mind that others may support the war for reasons other than what you think it is about?

And secondly, what do you mean “wasn’t the right someone?” Who do you think planned and carried out the 9-11 attacks? And where are they located?

Cover story. Osama, where are you?

WAG. Proposed oil pipelines and control of the heroin trade.

Behind all “political expediency” you will find the profit motive. When has US intervention anywhere in the world been based on anything else?

Understandable feeling, but ultimately it’s this attitude that has greatly contributed to our our current troubles.

I often wish for an alternate universe in which, after 9/11, we thought very carefully about what to do, and then acted very deliberately.

Here we go with THAT again.

Wait, what? For who, and why? And are you saying it’s now under control?

Never before has the term WAG been used so appropriately.


It was under much better control when the Taliban was in charge. Our only problem with that was the question of who was benefiting.

And who is benefitting now, other than the opium farmers? That’s what I was asking you to explain in the first place.

well, I hear tell from Lyndon LaRouche that the Queen of England is a dope dealer, so perhaps it’s her.

If I tell you … well, you know what.

…I’d realize you were completely full of crap?

Don’t worry, I figured it out on my own.

Afghanistan IS important. If the U.S. just leaves, the Taliban will come back into power. The Taliban and Al-Qaida are closely related, to the point where at times it can be hard to tell them apart.

If the Taliban regain power, we will again be treated to such spectacles as soccer stadiums being converted into execution centers for uppity women and anyone who doesn’t follow the radical Islamic path. It would be a huge propaganda victory for militant Islam. It would embolden the militants in Pakistan and help to destabilize that country. And it would deprive the U.S. of a staging area from which to go after al-Qaida.

That said, I still don’t see a path to ‘victory’ in Afghanistan. I’m not sure what a ‘surge’ accomplishes there. The ‘surge’ in Iraq wasn’t just a blind increase in manpower in the hope that it woudl help - the increase was done in support of a very specific counter-insurgency strategy that had defined tactics and defined goals. I don’t see anything of the sort in Afghanistan as of yet.

It may be that the role of the U.S. in Afghanistan is basically to be a permanent police force, much like the UN was in Cyprus or in parts of Africa. Rather than trying to ‘win’ the war, it may be better to just make sure that bases are well defended, and take a longer-term strategy of winning over the hearts and minds of the average person while building communication networks among the people to help root out al-Qaida and the Taliban. With no end in sight.

As noted by RikWriterI flagged it WAG. I suppose that’s inexcusable in a debate but I was using it as shorthand for two long argued (and of course never settled) debates about our real designs in the Middle-East and CIA involvement in drug trafficking. That case is closed as far as I am concerned as I suppose it is for you.

So what’s your favorite WAG about why Afghanistan is deemed, by two administrations, to be crucial to our “security”.

Oh yes, *much *stronger.:rolleyes: From having pretty much control over entire nation, to being insurgents hiding out in the hills.:dubious:

The Taliban was the “right someone”. 9-11 was planned in Afghanistan, with Al Queda getting full support from the Taliban government. There were Al Queda recruitment and training camps there, operating under the protection of the Taliban.

Don’t confuse Afghanistan with Iraq. It’s Iraq where our reasons for going in were tenuous or bogus. In taking on the Taliban the USA also had the general support of the International community, even Saudi Arabia. The USA lost all this valuable International support when we went into Iraq.