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MurphTheSurf3 On October - 24 - 2011

On the eve of our final and formal departure from Iraq, the GOP is shouting that the U.S. should have engaged in tougher diplomatic negotiations and insisted we keep a sizable force in-country.

The Obama Administrations has made great strides in acting with one simple idea in mind: Other Nations are Not the U.S. and Will Not Be Better if They Try to Become US.

Afghanistan provides a valuable illustration.

The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001 as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the Afghan United Front (the Northern Alliance) launched Operation Enduring Freedom. The primary drivers of the invasion was the September 11 attacks on the United States, and growing concerns about spreading Al Qaeda operations with the stated goal of dismantling the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization and ending its use of Afghanistan as a base AND Taliban actions involving assassinations of tribal leaders in the North of Afghanistaan coupled with the imposition of a radical minority view of Sha’ria Law.

The goals of the action being taken were clear:

a) From the U.S. perspective, go after and eliminate Al-Qaeda as a threat,
b) From the Northern Alliance point of view, drive the Taliban from power an restore local governance.

But from the first Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et.al. added a goal:
The U.S. would remove the Taliban regime from power and create a viable democratic state.

Northern Alliance leaders while happy for the logistical, intelligence, transport, and intelligence support and for the action by specialized U.S. and British units, made it clear that that goal was not their goal.

By January 1, 2002 the war was over.

With less than 5000 U.S.troops, mostly Special Forces and Rangers, assisting, the much larger Northern Alliance forces, based out of villages and only massing when that would be most effective, the Taliban had been driven from most villages and removed from control in all of the cities. Al Qaeda had abandoned all its operational centers and had fled to the AfPak Border lands. THAT WAR WAS WON. BUT WE WERE ABOUT TO LOSE THE PEACE AND TRIGGER ANOTHER WAR.

Things went awry. Rather than pursuing AQ into Tora Bora and demanding Pakistani help with incursions into the AfPak no man’s land, the U.S. turned to nation building to create a permanent extension of U.S. power into Asia, just as it hoped to do in the upcoming Iraq War.

Following a Loya Jirga or Grand Council of all major Afghan factions, tribal leaders, and former exiles, an interim Afghan government was established in Kabul under Hamid Karzai an ethnic Pashtun of the Popalzai tribe.

The Problem: The Loya Jirga did not reflect the alliance that unseated the Taliban. The Council should have been dominated by the tribal groups of the Northern Alliance who were mostly rural, conservative Muslims and supportive of localized government. Instead the Council was packed with an urban alliance of wealthy individuals, mosly Pashtuns, aligned with the West and not by those who had won the war.

The Northern Alliance with its conservative, but not Taliban, Muslim clerical support wanted a symbolic head of state, favoring a restored monarch, and a small central government controlled by a parliament favoring village representation in Kabul.

In April 2002, while the country was under NATO occupation, Zahir Shah, the exiled king, returned to Afghanistan to open the Loya Jirga, which met in June. After the fall of the Taliban, there were now open calls for a return to the monarchy. Zahir Shah himself let it be known that he would accept whatever responsibility was placed on him by the Grand Council.

However the U.S. refused to consider this option and used its military presence and promised post-war economic relief to pressure him. He was obliged/compelled/forced to publicly step aside at the behest of the United States because of the many delegates prepared to vote for Zahir Shah and block the US-backed Hamid Karzai.

It was because of this U.S. pressure that Zahir Shah now claimed that while he was prepared to become head of state he did not necessarily believe that role to be as monarch: “I will accept the responsibility of head of state if that is what the Loya Jirga demands of me, but I have no intention to restore the monarchy. I do not care about the title of king. The people call me Baba (Father) and I prefer this title.”

He was given the ceremonial title “Father of the Nation” in the current Constitution of Afghanistan symbolizing his role in Afghanistan’s history as a nonpolitical symbol of national unity. He never was consulted or asked to act in any official capacity. The title of the ‘Father of the Nation’ dissolved with his death.

The U.S. had clearly backed those aligned with its own interests which was the urban and Western oriented Pashutuns. As a result the Northern Alliance disengaged from the Karzai-Kabul government declaring it inauthentic and unrepresentative

.

They have only cooperated with limited actions in support of their local priorities but not so-called “national” priorities. The Taliban has renewed its efforts and the U.S. has been pulled into a conflict that the former U.S.S.R. experienced in its own Afghan adventure in state building. I have every confidence that the Northern Alliance will be able to do what it did in 2002 when we leave. It is now well armed and well trained. What they lack is motivation. They will not fight for Karzai.

Despite his complete reliance on the U.S., Karzai is NOT a friend of the U.S. He is a loyal member of the Pashtun aristocracy who supports and is supported by the money that flows in from the West. Like similar regimes in the past, he says what is convenient¬, takes little risk, and always has a well financed escape in mind.

Not surprisingly, he is very disturbed that the U.S. is backing talks with the Northern Alliance AND the Taliban.

This is the Separate Peace he fears.

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

37 Responses so far.

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  1. SueInCa says:

    Murph

    While I would like to blame Bush entirely for the mess in Afghanistan, our need to establish “Democratic Empires” started long before Afghanistan. Bush should have learned from the Russians but that is water under the bridge. Here is a piece written by Howard Zinn that I think you will find interesting. Especially the part about Justifying Empire.

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174913

    • The neo-cons didn’t want to learn, by any historical example. They were so sure their philosophy was the right one, that they would not listen or look to history to guide them. This whole idea of pre-emptive war is nothing but imperialism. They don’t want mere security for our nation, they want to dominate the world. I hesitate to get into Godwin’s Law territory, but this is exactly what the the Third Reich was all about. At least the NAZIs didn’t pretend otherwise.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Kilgore

        In my reading of neocon tomes it is clear that they are history adverse.

        Their “historical references” are typically mythical or allegorical.

        • Absolutely Murph. Some actually praised the Third Reich’s military might and their efficiency in conquering other countries. And the neo-con’s use of propaganda was very similar to the type and style of Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda.

          • MurphTheSurf3 says:

            Those TP types put the Hitler Mustaches onto the wrong people on their posters.

            Hitler accused the Jews of being dictatorial, terrorists, conspirators, enemies of the people and war mongers.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Never said it was new. The U.S. has been into carving empire from Foreign Soil since the Indian, Mexican American, and Spanish American Wars.

      But, I do think that the decision to try to for a client state in Asia was uniquely Bushian neoconnery.

      The CIA and its associated U.S. special forces who assisted the Mujahedin against the U.S.S.R. disengaged once the Soviets ran for the hills. Most of our reaches for territory have involved that which is contiguous or in easy reach by water.

      As to Zinn….know his work well. Used to teach from his text in a college course which compared textual approaches.

      • SueInCa says:

        You can blame Reagan for the Mujahedin when he abandoned them in the 80’s. I did not mean to imply that you were not aware of American Emperialism, just to point out that it has been going on for years. The PNAC were the ones who decided on Iraq. I think 9/11 gave them the perfect storm to start with Afghanistan then move to Iraq. After all they said so themselves, “we need a pearl harbor like incident”. I don’t believe they ever had any intent on winning anything in Afghanistan as they almost completely left the military to languish after their invasion of the sovereign country of Iraq.

        With all his faults, Mubarak got it right about Bush. He said for Bush to attack Iraq would establish terrorists in a nation that was free of terrorists in 2001.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Reagan bailed on the Mujahedin in no small part because no one could lay out a path for beneficial engagement with them. The CIA re. them as useful tools for as long as the war in Afghanistan was a proxy war with the USSR.

          I suspect that the Bush neoconocracy was not happy with the Afghan connection to 9/11 but they had no choice but to take it on….but, they quickly moved to their target of choice, Iraq, for the reasons I laid out previously.

        • Khirad says:

          Bush’s own Intelligence community told him that too — well, not that he asked.

          • SueInCa says:

            Khirad
            Now remember Bush was the “decider”. I always have to laugh at that. Just because you are a pigheaded jerk does not mean you are a decider.

  2. Khirad says:

    I found this curious about who you didn’t mention in the article regarding the Northern Alliance. Namely, their biggest sponsor and strategic ally before our brief tango with them, and the one which still exerts the most influence (though you touched upon the hegemonic proxy war in your comment below).

    Don’t think that doesn’t play a factor in our broader regional policy.

    On a separate note, the King as a symbolic unifying leader might have been preferable, but we’d still be in the same mess now. I ‘m not aware if his son, Ahmad Shah Khan shares the same popularity or popular appeal as his father. I also don’t buy completely what his father said on face value, but maybe he was being sincere, I don’t know.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Your first paragraph….who are you pointing to? the biggest sponsor?

      The Monarchy need not be hereditary. In Saudi Arabia the Monarch is selected from the ruling family (and in several cases likely candidates have been adopted into the family). The selection process requires the cooperation of the royal family, the circle of sheiks and the legislative parliament.

      Ahmad Shah Khan is 77. He has been an academic for most of his life. He has two sons in their late 40’s. But there are four other living sons of the deceased king. The youngest in his 50’s.

      I am told by a friend who knows Afghanistan intimately that the family is popular and that his role as the person of the state would be welcome. Several hundred thousand attended the king’s funeral rites were supposedly not public.

      • Khirad says:

        The current jockeying for succession in KSA will be an interesting watch in that gerontocracy. Thanks for filling me in on the Afghan monarchy. I can’t see how a ceremonial monarchy might not have been a good idea for a uniting head of state.

        Iran (though you could argue Russia I guess). Millions of dollars, Intelligence sharing, sending IRGC officers and spies to help train and coordinate the Northern Alliance operationally. When we invaded, Iran gave us coordinates to bomb and help the NA advance. One, the NA -- as you will know -- included Hazaras, Tajiks, both Persian speaking, and the Hazaras are largely Shi‘a. Two, anybody who hated the Taliban and Saudi Arabia (and the testy relationship Iran has always had with Pakistan), was of great strategic use to Iran.

        What the Mujahideen were to us during Reagan, the Northern Alliance were to Iran before (and continuing) the invasion and toppling of the Taliban government. It’s one of the more interesting things looking back, that our treatment of the NA in the news as valiant freedom fighters always seemed to forget to mention their other friends. Of course, other countries like Russia also supported the NA, but Iran was intimate with them. They were Iran’s proxy to exert Iranian strategic objectives in Afghanistan -- not that the NA wasn’t also using the Iranians to their own ends (yeah, we’ll take your money, arms, intelligence and military advisers!).

        But it’s also Pashtuns. Karzai isn’t just our puppet. Given the bags of money Iran has given him doesn’t tell the whole story. Iran helped hand-pick him as amenable to them as President in the first place! Funny how that’s never mentioned, either.

        After all, for a year or so, we and the Iranians were actually united and communicating towards one objective (they were also thrilled and willing to help about the idea of toppling Saddam before the Axis of Evil SOTU speech).

        And I’ll add something, cause this is the closest thread I’ve seen to share this:

        Karzai said he would side with Pakistan. I failed to see the outrage in that statement. The myopia of Empire which sticks its head up its own ass.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          The ceremonial monarchy would only be of value if the rest of the traditional structure were in place.

          Your points about Iran are well taken. Hee is an interesting set of “clips” . Not well organized but perspective rarely seen.

          http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=northern_alliance

          While I have read a good bit on this, my friend who has very real connections to the life there says the NA is extraordinarily independent and uses everybody. He quotes one the NA tribal/militia leaders:”There are those who worry that we are easily purchased by the arms, money, intelligence from other powers….We know their names. We know their aims. And we will use them as we will.”

          The following article lays it out for me: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/57411/milton-bearden/afghanistan-graveyard-of-empires

          Unfortunately its a premium article from the Council on Foreign Relations, but you get the thrust in the first few paragraphs.

          The Afghanis are quite willing to swallow up Iranian interests too.

  3. KQuark says:

    You bring up allot of good points about what was done wrong in Afghanistan.

    However, if you are suggesting returning to a monarchy could have stabilized the country by itself in 2002, I think you are flat wrong. If the coalition of tribes were so strong in Afghanistan they would have not let the Taliban get in power in the first place. I’m not saying Karzai is the long term answer but you’re making a huge presumption about the strength of the natural alliances in Afghanistan to hold up against the Taliban taking back the country again. If the US and the allies had left too early there was no way a stable Afghanistan would have magically appeared without a long presence of coalition troops no matter what government was put into power.

    Your right our mission in Afghanistan was not the same as other “empires” so why does everyone compare this conflict to others where single countries wanted to permanently rule Afghanistan. Like the Soviet’s mission was to occupy and rule Afghanistan. The US and our allies have no such objectives which you even pointed out in your article. Many mistakes were made in Afghanistan but I don’t buy all the lazy minded memes that the effort in Afghanistan are like any other conflicts there.

    The US’s (Obama’s) goals in Afghanistan are nothing like Bush’s. The US just wants a chance at a reasonably stable state there and not a perfect democracy anymore. Obama’s surge was about giving Afghanistan one more shot and then withdrawing which we are doing now. It will be up to the Afghans inevitably to establish their own country the way they see fit.

    Who knows too much damage may have been done already by the Bush administration but you can never say the US and it’s allies did not try under Obama like Bush did not try.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Your analysis is logical but it lacks the data necessary to draw the conclusions you offer. So here goes….

      After the fall of the communist Mohammad Najibullah-regime in 1992, several Afghan political parties agreed on a peace and power-sharing agreement (the Peshawar Accords). The Peshawar Accords created the Islamic State of Afghanistan and appointed an interim government for a transitional period.

      The Accords ignored both traditional government and social structure (the villages and Islam). Why? The desire of those negotiating the terms to create a secular, modern state.

      But Pakistank Saudi Arabia and Iran each back opposing parties/militias in the supposed unified national government.

      The result was civil war.

      In 1991, the Taliban (a movement originating from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-run religious schools for Afghan refugees in Pakistan) had also developed in Afghanistan as a politico-religious force, reportedly in opposition to the tyranny of local regional governors. Operating as religious vigilantes, its militia became known for rigting wrongs.

      By 1994, the Taliban was engaging in front assaults on centers of power that were regarded as impossibly corrupt. The Taliban took control of 12 of 34 provinces not under central government control, disarming the heavily armed population. Militias controlling the different areas often surrendered without a fight.

      The Taliban spread from the North to the South with Kabul being among the last of cities to fall.

      Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Defense Minister, consolidated the remnants of the Pashtun controlled Peshawar Accord government and attempted to negotiate with the Taliban. This failed. The Taliban, now backed by Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, founded the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

      Within months, the imposition of extraordinarily harsh religious law, corruption equal to that of the previous government, general mistreatment of those in areas who had not backed the Taliban from the start and the lessening of support from Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia led to the creation of the United Front, the Northern Alliance under Ahmad Shah Massoud and Abdul Rashid Dostum, two former enemies, centered on the provinces of Badakhshan, Kapisa, Takhar and parts of Parwan, Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman, Samangan, Kunduz, Ghōr and Bamyan holdig 30 percent of the population.

      The war between Taliban and Northern Alliance forces erupted in 1996 and continued to 2001. The Taliban became known for brutal treatment, including massacres of civilians, and as a front for Pakistani designs on Afghanistan. That reputation remains to this day.

      In all of this Ahmad Shah Massoud emerged as a heroic national leader who offered a vision of a return to traditional Afghan society: tribal/village orientation, conservative (not radical) religious practice, the monarchy as a symbolic center, cities as market/educational/modernist centers. That vision was widely accepted.

      Massoud’s assassination on September 9, 2001 (at the age of 48) was the result of a Taliban, Al Qaeda, Saudi, Pakistani effort and seems to have been connected to a planned series of destabilizing attacks, one of which was 9/11.

      The result was a widespread breaking out of massive resistance which welcomed the NATO sanctioned U.S. invasion.

      Massoud was dead, but his vision for the country drove the Northern Alliance, who were then cut out of the deal in the Loya Jirga.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Khirad

        You wrote the following, but it is not appearing where I can post to it…so I do it here.”

        “I found this a trip to read, not because I didn’t know any of this, but the tone of how quickly perspectives and “friends” change. http://www.cacianalyst.org/?q=node/348

        My response:

        IRAN IN AFGHANISTAN: THE MISSION TO UNDERMINE PAKISTAN

        Really great article and a fine website. Thanks.

        Your assessment that the shifting alliances are what define the events there is spot on. It is something very few commentators here seem to understand. We think in terms of well defined nation states. They do not.

      • Khirad says:

        I found this a trip to read, not because I didn’t know any of this, but the tone of how quickly perspectives and “friends” change.

        http://www.cacianalyst.org/?q=node/348

  4. jjgravitas says:

    FWIW, I support the idea of taking our troops our of Afganistan ASAP. I know there is still conflict, but I don’t know why it is still our fight. They have their new government, they should be able to stand up for themselves by now. We are not the world’s police.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      The unfortunate thing is that we have backed the wrong horse in the race and when we pull out Karzai’s government will be attacked unless a shared power arrangement with the Northern Alliance in the lead can be brokered.

  5. AdLib says:

    The sad but true reality of all of this is that Rumsfeld, who made one disastrous decision after another as SoD, is the one who ordered troops NOT to pursue AQ and Bin Laden in Tora Bora.

    What you present makes perfect sense if one’s goal was to successfully execute and complete a military operation. However, if one’s intent was to create an unending stream of money flowing to the military industry and having an ongoing military presence in the ME to control the region, then it wouldn’t make much sense.

    And the latter was the controlling mindset of the Bush Admin. Not military success, enriching their crony corporations (including inserting themselves into the Iraqi oil business…which happened) and trying to project US power to shape the ME into the pawn of the US they wanted it to be.

    So tragic, the horrific loss of life and injuries sustained, much of it due to the greed of selfish, soulless little men.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      My point is that Afghanistan was NOT the war they wanted for the very reasons you point to.

      No easily exploited natural resources, not in the middle east, very difficult terrain, hostile neighbors who also happen to be our “allies” and a “nation” that had long resisted even the most bacic of nationalist organizing principles.

      BUT, when the Taliban fell apart so easily and AQ was on the run….I suggest that the power and money mongers in the BushAD said “why not!”.

      We did the U.S.S.R. one better, we getter a Asian client state, there is rich earth/heavy metals there, and we get to claim a “democratic victory.”

      Thus, the Western-Like, Western-Oriented government….which the key play, the Northern Alliance, walked away from and lacking the unifying principles of the monarchy and a moderate, but traditional Islamic leadership. The Sultanate and Caliphate, if you will.

      With the job done, the BushAD turned to Iraq because it did meet its criteria for a desired client state. Daddy Bush may have dropped the ball in Kuwait and Iraq, but sonny would not.

      But, not only was Iraq much more difficult than they ever imagined, but Afghanistan proved to be just as troublesome.

      Failure for George, Dick, and Donald on both fronts.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        Hi Murph! Sorry I didn’t see your comment earlier. I was involved in the OWS Oakland thing.

        One comment about Daddy Bush “dropping the ball in Kuwait and Iraq”…he really didn’t drop the ball. The UN mandate at that time was for us to go in and remove Sadaams’s troops from Kuwait, pushing them back into Iraq. He would have faced some stiff opposition to removing Sadaam from power at that point in time.

        My son fought with the 82nd Airborne and went into Iraq during the Gulf War. When he arrived back in the states nearly a year later, the first thing he said was “We didn’t finish the job.” That was true, but we would have lost our coalition and would have been going in on our own with few allies. Too bad that Baby Bush had to do just that some years later!

        • Khirad says:

          I have references somewhere, but there was high-level discussions about removing Saddam. It was someone in the Department of State or Defense that convinced the Bush I cabinet not to depose Saddam for fears of a sectarian morass and empowering Iran.

          No, I’m not kidding. I’m dead serious about that.

          Of course, the UN Mandate may have been the overriding point of the debate, but a debate in his cabinet there was over the implications of removing Saddam. Under Bush II there was no such debate or expert opinion sought even though anybody who knew anything knew exactly what was going to occur.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          When you get a chance, tell us all some more about Oakland.

          I regard the matter as a police riot and nothing I have seen is arguing against that. There were certainly provocateurs at work in the Occupy crowd but there are ways for law enforcement to neutralize them (including developing alliances with the core organization of the demonstration) which are both more effective, humane and recognize the right of assembly and speech.

          ===================

          Back to your point.

          I am not suggesting that George HW Bush DID drop the ball. What I intended to convey was that the neocon club to which his dumb kid belonged (and was led by Cheney and Halliburton) claimed that HW had not finished the job. Of course this would have meant taking on NATO, the UN, the Saudi’s AND Hussein’s forces which while degraded were still formidable and his hold on power still strong.

          I regard the Kid Bush argument that we were finishing the job as just another one of the empty reasons provided to justify a grab for geopolitical power and oil…..A Iraqi client student harking back to the days of British and French imperialism was the goal. A failed goal.

      • KQuark says:

        Under Bush and Cheney Al Qaeda was “on the run”.

        Under Obama and Biden Al Qaeda has been killed or captured.

        You can argue about the means but not the results.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          AQ and the Taliban had left the cities and the towns/villages closest to them under the initial assaults in 2001, but they remained firmly embedded elsewhere with strongholds in the AfPak borderlands.

          The Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld group has changed its focus to Iraq and had our effort in Afghanistan on maintenance.

          It has been the Obama administration’s renewed effort that has put us where we are now, for good or ill.

  6. Caru says:

    Nice article, Murph. I hadn’t known much about the NA before reading, so thanks for informing me. I guess I’ll have to do some research of my own a little later.

    Anyway, I agree completely with your basic premise that the US attempt at “nation building” in Afghanistan, initiated by Bush and his cronies, has utterly failed. As you’ve made clear, this is because the nation they had in mind wou;d be more like a US base than anything else. Since this was the overriding concern, corruption and other problems have become endemic in Afghanstan.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Caru….you got it…..read my longer response to AdLib above to see some additional comments on this theme with a direct comparison between Iraq and Afghanistan.

  7. Emerald1943 says:

    Murph, good article!

    Afghanistan has long been known for being the “graveyard of empires”, going back a few thousand years. It has been reported that no more than 20% of the population is literate. The country is essentially living in the Bronze age at best.

    The United States is woefully lacking in taking the lessons of history into its consideration when policies are planned. This is just another case of that blindness and refusal to really look at the situation.

    IMO, the Afghan people have not demonstrated a great desire for our form of democracy. They are a tribal people, accustomed to their own ways of dealing with their issues…sharia law, if you will. Of course, the Village Idiot and his ilk could never “get it” and insisted on pushing our idea of democracy on a people who are not in the least bit ready or able to participate in one. Perhaps that was just a part of Bush’s justification for the war…you remember, spreading democracy? Bush had to come up with a good excuse, especially after he let bin Laden escape from Tora Bora. But I digress…

    There have been a number of talking heads from the right wing interested in establishing of a functioning democracy in Libya since the downfall of Ghaddfi. Libya, while certainly not extremely “modern”, is head and shoulders above Afghanistan. If we have our doubts about the rise of a true democracy in Libya, why on earth would we think that the same can be brought about in Afghanistan? This is ludicrous at best! As Lindsey Graham said, “there is lots of money to be made” in Libya…this is no doubt the most important part of the issue, not the establishment of democracy. I think they could really care less about it. Is there a great deal of money to be made in Afghanistan? That remains to be seen. I guess the MIC can sell weapons to Karzai. Now that would certainly strengthen democracy, don’t you think!

    Of course, if Sec. Clinton is able to find a way to get us out of Afghanistan, President Obama will be dragged over the coals again and accused of “losing the war” as he has been over the withdrawal from Iraq. But this is the only logical thing for the US to do. We cannot afford to nation-build anywhere else but right here at home. Let the Afghan people take care of themselves. They’ve been doing so for thousands of years…without our help! Is it a perfect scenario with everyone voting for a centralized government? No, but let’s let the Afghans decide for themselves.

    I don’t mean to be hard-hearted or cold about the plight of the poor in Afghanistan. Women’s issues are particularly alarming, with females treated like animals and little education, if any, available to them. But the Afghans themselves will have to come around to understanding that their economy will not improve as long as they disenfranchise 50% of their population. And that can be said for many Middle Eastern countries. We can lead this horse to water, but we cannot make those changes for them until they are ready to embrace them. IMO, they’ve got a long way to go!

    Sorry for my rambling thoughts. Again, thanks for your article! Very interesting! :-)

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Emerald1943

      Hi Em…..

      Rambling but well considered.

      I think we can agree that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld really meant U.S. Client State when they spoke of creating a functioning democracy in Afghanistan. Afghanistan as a forward base for Asian operations and as a source of rich earth, heavy metals was a great prize.

      Of course, Iraq, being in the center of the Middle East, having huge oil resources and being unfinished business from Daddy Bush’s years, was the more tempting and ultimately distracting goal.

      I see the State Department working on multiple fronts seeking to restore the authority of the Northern Alliance and supporting its vision for the nation which is why Karzai keeps trying to destabilize his own relationship with the Alliance (in hopes that the tremors will affect ours).

      What kind of society do the leaders of the Northern Alliance want? Rurally focused, tribal, traditional Muslim, xenophobic. They do not want to be part of the international community. They do not want to be in the 21st, or 20th century. Thus, women would not have much of a role in their society. BUT, the Alliance’s leaders believe there is a place for forward looking and forward thinking persons….the cities. Remember the Northern Alliance overthrew Taliban government in the cities and installed secular government. They recognized the top four cities of Kabu, Kandahar, Herat and Marar-i Sharif as essential, non tribal and “modern” as necessary.

      Women had an emerging role there until the rise of the Taliban in 1995. That will continue I suspect under Northern Alliance hegemony.

      I thank you for your comments.

    • javaz says:

      Emerald, do you think that Hillary will try to end the Afghanistan War as a legacy, since she has stated that she is leaving the Obama Admin after one term and supposedly, she’s ‘retiring’ from politics, but will remain active politically?

      BTW, great reply!

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Clinton is working on multiple fronts: Karzai’s government, the Northern Alliance, the Pakistani Civilian Government, the Pakistani Military, the Haqqani Network (the AQ successor) and tribal leadership along the Af-Pak border.

        I think she would love to bring the entire thing to a peaceful end before she leaves office.

        While she has said she wants out….I have doubts that this is an absolute decision. If she is on the verge of the kind of accomplishment that cements one’s legacy in the history books, she will extend her service.

  8. javaz says:

    Very interesting article, MTS3, and informative.

    I am sad to say that I don’t understand much about Afghanistan, except for knowing that a similar war, with the help of the USA, helped break Russia and empowered the Taliban and created OBL and al-qaeda.
    Or at least that’s my conclusion.

    It’s obvious that Karzai has always been a puppet and has never been a friend to the US.

    I’m so keeping my fingers crossed that Hillary Clinton can negotiate an end to the war and soon.

    http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/afp/clinton-in-afghanistan-seeking-political-end-to-war/472792

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Your first paragraph summary is spot on.

      Karzai has been a puppet but not our puppet. He is the servant of the monied interest in Afghanistan, in the U.S., and elsewhere. He is ready to flee the country at the drop of a hat.

      I love the foreign press. Glad you brought them into the discussion.


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