Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"You've Got to Stop this war in Afghanistan."

The real cost of the Afghan War
Those were the last words of Richard Holbrooke, a titan in American foreign policy for over forty years. He died quite suddenly a couple of days ago from a torn aorta. This piece on the Foreign Policy website decribes the 9-year war as originally a sideshow that has escalated into a nightmare. There is some question about the context of this remark, but nobody can possibly doubt that it's the truth, regardless of context. One thing is certain: Holbrooke had grave doubts about the war that grinds on and on over there. He's quoted as saying, "If there are 10 possible outcomes in Afghanistan, nine of them are bad."

 For anybody who has any knowledge of this insane war, it's flawed on any number of counts. The US cannot win it. What does winning it mean anyway? Defeat of the Taliban? Forget it. The US would have to occupy the whole country for decades just to seal such a victory. The Afghan government is hopelessly corrupt with a president as crooked as the proverbial snake. Plus the guy pretty much hates the US. And he and his family have made off with billions of our dollars. Neither the Afghan police or their army are worth a candle, and it will take years and more of our billions before that changes--if it ever does.

The fact of it is, we have been here before: we are hopelessly entangled in yet another land war in Asia that's just sucking the lifeblood out of us. Our troops are being killed steadily, for pretty much nothing to show for it. We continue to massacre Afghan civilians with our high tech weaponry. And we're chasing billions upon billions of bad money with yet more billions. Does this make any kind of sense at all? We cannot possibly affect that part of the world in any positive way by remaining. So why don't we get out? Because it would make too much sense. Unless it's nonsense, the leadership of this nation isn't interested.
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