800px-Afghanistan_17I mentioned in a comment earlier that I heard a sobering interview with Matthew Hoh on NPR that was very convincing about why we should leave Afghanistan. Matthew Hoh is the U.S. Diplomat who resigned in protest over our war in Afghanistan (did he think he was Joe Biden or what?).

He pointed out that he had been in different parts of the nation, his job was to meet with warlords and leaders and try to encourage them to join with the U.S. and oppose the Taliban. He said, very simply, they don’t want us there. Not to protect them, not to nation build, not at all. How do you nation build when the nation doesn’t want to cooperate? My response is, if they don’t want it and we’re doing it for ourselves, isn’t something terribly wrong? He also noted that we are pouring billions we don’t have (and are borrowing from China among others) and losing valuable American lives to “win” a war where “winning” has never been defined as to what that would be.

Peaceful occupation by the U.S. for the foreseeable future?

More fraudulent elections with corrupt leaders?

And coming on the heels of all of this is the news that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president, has been receiving CIA money while receiving money from his heavy involvement in the poppy and opium trade in Afghanistan…the profits of which finance the Taliban and their battle against our troops.

I can’t remember the specific quote but Hoh basically said that those higher up in intelligence and the military in Afghanistan deal with these corrupt people because “everyone’s corrupt over there”. And we believe we can turn Afghanistan into the U.S.? Okay, maybe Texas or Oklahoma but that’s it.

Hoh was asked about Hillary Clinton’s comments that if the Taliban took over the country, Al Qaeda would be back in force swiftly. He respectfully disagreed and said that Al Qaeda has evolved away from what they were in 2001, they are now a virtual movement on the internet and around the world in many places (including Pakistan). He explained that they have learned from the past and would not concentrate themselves in one area like that again…which to me makes perfect sense. If they mindlessly did so, we should leave Afghanistan anyway, wait for them all to gather there (I can just see them waving up at the satellites spying on them in their RV convoy) and attack them all. But they won’t.

In contrast to Al Qaeda, Hoh said the U.S. is has not evolved and is still fighting the Al Qaeda of the 1990’s. Anyone who has taken their shoes off at an airport can testify to this (we’re trying to prevent the past from attacking us again!).

Truly, there is no attainable “victory in Afghanistan and we can’t afford the 500,000 troops it would probably take to knock down the Taliban. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda and the Taliban are trying to take over Pakistan…which has nuclear weapons!

Pres. Obama often said in the campaign that Bush took his eye off the ball in Afghanistan when he went to war in Iraq and he was right. The thing is, during that time Afghanistan had no eye on it, Al Qaeda relocated to a more southern climate in Pakistan. Now Pres. Obama turns to Afghanistan and we are fighting the Taliban…who certainly gave aid and comfort to Al Qaeda but were not the actual ones who attacked us on 9/11.

The ball is in Pakistan now and it’s radioactive. I sincerely think Pres. Obama’s eye should be on it there and elsewhere in the world where Al Qaeda is strong  instead of primarily on Afghanistan.

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LITU
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LITU

One can only hope that the western negotiators appreciate the business savvy of the warlords when they sit down to spell out for them how it’s gonna be. I think this fundamental factor will ultimately undermine any effort to modernize or westernize these independent people. After all, they have all the time in the world. Profits must be up from this year’s bumper crop. The infidels are losing support. The West will give them money and things in exchange for faux-promises and will leave. Then life will go on for the warlords and the millions who follow them.

How else can it be? By and large, these people (Afghans) don’t want what the West has to offer. These leaders are businessmen, tried and true.

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KarateKid
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I’m going to be the contrarian here by saying there is nothing good that is going to come from our involvement in Afghanistan. We are sacrificing more lives for something that will not last, which is the Karzai government, if we leave.

What was the lesson we learned in Vietnam? That Vietnamization did not work because they weren’t as committed as Ho Chi Minh and his supporters, and nothing we did mattered in the end, except for the 58,000 and their families, who came back in bodybags or were never found.

We have to stop being the cops of the world, especially when there are so many problems here at home, with our own security issues, like the ports which allow for a deluge of drugs and other things to get through.

The USSR suffered 15,000 casualties and 35,000 wounded (that’s what they admit to) and over 1 million Afghans perished in ten years, and shortly thereafter came the end of the Soviet Union.

While I find it noble our concern for Afghan citizens, is it worth bankrupting our coffers and costing us thousands more in lives to help them? Where does it end. Who’s next, the oppressed people of ……?

Sorry, ask any vet who has been through combat, and you won’t find too many that will support warfare. Unless you’ve been where we’ve been, you have NO idea what that is like.

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LITU
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LITU

Mirrors my sentiments.

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KevenSeven
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Tuckered. Good night.

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AlphaBitch
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AlphaBitch

As I stated before, the dozens of Afghans I have met (and I keep in touch with probably a dozen or more on a regular-several-times-a-week basis) all want the same thing: security, good governance and education. Going in to supply humanitarian aid without first securing areas is a wasted effort, in my opinion. We can build all the schools we want, and they can easily destroy them. And even if they leave the structure, the Taliban can use the facility to store weapons with which to attack and kill ISAF soldiers (google Sally Goodrich/Peter Goodrich Foundation) or threaten and intimidate teachers. Many have been killed for the simple crime of teaching in a girl’s school. Not to mention what they do to the young girls seeking an education.

If you did not do so, PLEASE read George Crile’s book on Charlie Wilson’s War. Skip the movie; Charlie and Joanne saw that they were not painted in an unfavorable light. Joanne Herring loved Zia al-Haq, the Pakistani leader who funneled money into his own pockets first, and then to the mujahideen. 90% or so of the money the US gave went to Gulbuddin Hekmatyr, the warlord now living in Pakistan and who FIRST threw acid on mini-skirt wearing girls attending Kabul University in the 1970s. (NOTE: Also look at the book Bed of Red Flowers, to see for yourself how Afghanistan – at least in Kabul – was NOT always in the seventh century)

I hate bullies. I have taught my children that a society will be judged by how it treats the least powerful and disadvantaged among its citizens. I still believe this.

So giving it over to the warlords/Taliban to massacre the people as they did during their civil war (post Charlie Wilson’s war and pre-Taliban), and letting it thrive as a narco-state, just makes me sad.

True, we cannot police the world. Nor should we. But I feel some responsiblity to the people there. It is my understanding that around 90% supported the US when we arrived in 2001; they watched as nothing happened (in terms of nation rebuilding like water/electricity/hospitals/schools), and warlords were given positions of power, and all our attention was focused on Iraq. That percentage of approval has fallen dramatically to slightly under 50% today. I don’t know how or even if we can improve our image. But I think we owe it to the people whose lives are on the line for trusting us to figure out some way to help. All I can do is my part here, which I intend to continue, and try to save those left behind.

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KQµårk 死神
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Excellent post I learned allot from it.

I feel leaving Afghanistan the way it is, is worse than leaving Iraq because at one time Iraq did have a structured society. I know what we can do is limited but I just don’t want to leave female Afghans with the Taliban types again.

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Disuberence
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Disuberence

It’s interesting that so many people have fallen for the Taliban bogeyman. Only 10% of the insurgent fighters in Afghanistan are religiously motivated Taliban supporters.

The rest are nationalists looking to kick the invaders out. Well, them and the various tribes. In a country made up of 400+ tribes, tribal warfare is a permanent part of life.

Trying to force these tribes to fall in line with the idea of a central government is next to impossible.

A fool’s errand.

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KQµårk 死神
Member

That’s what America mistakenly thought after the Russian occupation. Why didn’t the Afghan nationalists take over that time?

The militants will try to reestablish the Taliban government if we summarily withdrawal. The fact that these tribes exists means that the Taliban who is the only cohesive group will take over again.

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Disuberence
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Disuberence

This isn’t after anything, though. This is based on current intelligence reports.

90% of the insurgents simply wants us out.

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KQµårk 死神
Member

I don’t disagree with that point at all. But those 90% will just go back to their warlord ways and what central government there is will be taken by the Taliban. That is the same thing that happened in 1990.

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Kalima
Admin

When something bad happens in this world, we shouldn’t turn our heads away like we did in Dafur, it becomes everyone’s business unless some of us genuinely don’t give a shit about the sufferings of other human beings.

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Kalima
Admin

Of course they do, then it will be back to business as usual terrorizing the ordinary Afghans, stopping girls from getting an education, killing people who they think are not religious enough and letting husbands brutally rape their wives, even killing them without fear of punishment if they don’t comply.

But it’s not our business of course.

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KevenSeven
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And the Tali appear to be willing to fight dirtier than anyone else.

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Kalima
Admin

Tell that to the thousands of women and girls who have suffered humiliation, beatings and death at the hands of the Taliban over the years.

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Disuberence
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Disuberence

Call me heartless, but I really don’t think that’s any of our business.

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nicole473
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But then, what is the solution? This has gone on in varying scenarios all over the globe. Are we to continue to be the world’s policeman?

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KevenSeven
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It is the deranged religious extremists that are cutting the noses off of girls how dare to go to school.

The Tali is indeed a threat to the US (though manageable) and to the people of Afghanistan.

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KarateKid
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They are also a threat to Al Qaeda.

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FlyingLotus
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Hi to all,

I’ve had little time for blogging this last month or so.

I caught a snippet of the Hoh interview.Thanks, AdLib for filling in the blanks.

I can’t pretend to have the answers to Afghanistan, I’m simply not that smart.It reminds me of those episodes on Animal Planet where they go into the home of a hoarder.A stinking mess that has been festering for years.However, there is a clear cut plan as to how to deal with that mess.Afghanistan is far more complicated.

I am truly angered when I think of all the piles of shite Bu$h Inc. left behind.To think what president Obama could have accomplished had he inherited the surplus that the Bu$h cabal squandered.

I don’t envy the weighty burdens and decisions Obama has to shoulder.I was encouraged to see him not be pushed into any decisions regarding that region.He’s not a trigger happy cowboy and for that I am grateful and yes, dare I say, hopeful.

I know, I know, call me Pollyanna.

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HITO
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HITO

There are unlimited dimensions to the Afghan conflict. All must be considered.

“One can only pray

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KevenSeven
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Is Afghanistan really a country? Can it be governed?

I agree with Quark, that the Tali is a threat. Recognizing a thing being a threat is not the same as advocating a massive military action.

I think only half a million could not even remotely get the job done. We had that many in the Nam and the Vietnames kicked our ass up one side and down another.

But I am uncomfortable with an idea of just running away. I want the potential to hit the deranged religious extremists to remain. But how are we to do that? I would not care if we respect their “sovereignty”, as long as we did not have a large foot print there.

If we could be based in another Stan, we could get a strike force in and out quickly. But we could not sustain a large force, and we need to realize that no matter where we maintain troops, they will attract attack.

I would like very much to see the Israelis come to the table with the Palis, and I could care less about the Palis shooting rockets at the Israelis. We Americans lynched Tories during the revolution. The Israeli state was produced in no small part by the Jews conducting the first modern campaign of terror against the Brits (letter bombs in Britain). Nobody gets to pretend to stink-free chit. The two state solution needs to move forward, in order to give the deranged religious extremists one less propaganda point to whip up hatred against us.

So many more thoughts. This is ugly beyond consideration. Ugly complex.

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Kalima
Admin

Afghanistan has become unmanageable due to years of neglect and underfunding by the Bush gang. Catching up would be almost impossible now as all of the necessary force was diverted to the illegal invasion of Iraq and their dreams of “grab it” oil fields.

Yes we should be pulling out but when there is some semblance of a decent, lawful government there. I think that there should be much more attention given to rebuilding the infrastructure, when people have what they need for their daily lives, there is less chance of them wanting to fight.

As with Iraq, we barged in on a gut reaction after the horrors of 9/11, although Iraq had nothing to do with it, and everyone forgot to study the people, their culture and of course the depth of their religious beliefs.

Yes we should think about pulling out but at the back of my mind, I don’t believe in totally devastating a country and leaving it without some sort of stability, it seems like hit and run to me.

The crazy Taliban still have enough power to pose a threat, especially to the people of Afghanistan.

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KQµårk 死神
Member

Especially to the women of Afghanistan as well.

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Kalima
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Yes K, of course, especially the women and girls. Sorry, I haven’t successfully woken up the other side of my brain yet. 🙂

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KevenSeven
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The thought of Afghanistan descending again into barbarism is deeply troubling.

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Kalima
Admin

Left solely to their own devices, it surely will, and it is scary enough just thinking about it.

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KQµårk 死神
Member

There probably are no good answers with Afghanistan and that’s the problem. I think it’s a region that has to be contained because no matter what we do the region will be a place where real threats exist. Anything we do there should be limited by understanding that no matter what we do the results will be limited as well. The real problem like you said is that we have no good partners over their in the Afghan government or people. Anything we do has to have a well defined exit strategy associated with it.

I would not let the Taliban of the hook like that. The more than just enabled Al Qaeda. They constructed a country that was Al Qaeda’s world view. To me they are our enemies as well because they are the realized vision of Al Qaeda.

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