Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, September 04, 2006

Operation Enduring F*ckup

The grim news from Afghanistan these days consists of two main stories: (1) the opium harvest grew by 50% this year to unprecedented levels now comprising 92% of the world's opium trade; and (2) the Taliban have been growing in strength in recent months. These two facts are often said in the same breath, and the public could be forgiven for assuming they are related simply.

They are related, of course, but not the way most newscasters imply. The Taliban are not drug lords. What is happening is this: under threat from a Taliban resurgence, the Karzai government has apparently decided to tacitly permit opium production as way to a survive (despite their obligatory noises to the contrary about the "war on drugs"). To nobody's surprise, promises of economic aid from Western powers have not been fulfilled, so Karzai has few cards to play... and opium is just about the only way that Afghani farmers can make ends meet.

The Karzai government has also accepted opium production because it is a coin they can offer that the Taliban will not: under their rule, the Taliban forbade it as a sin. Opium production in Afghanistan was close to zero in 2001, thanks to medieval anti-drug laws and harsh enforcement. In fact, an astounding article by Robert Scheer from May, 2001 lambasted Bush for a gift of $43 million Bush gave to the Taliban, to thank them for their efforts in that regard. Wrote Mr. Scheer presciently, "Never mind that Osama bin Laden still operates the leading anti-American terror operation from his base in Afghanistan..."

Nearly five years after we "won" in Afghanistan, the Taliban remains in control of more of the country than the "legitimate" government can claim. Furthermore, news reports indicate that hundreds of Taliban fighters are training in Iraq and learning from the insurgency there--some evidence of this is the introduction of kidnappings and suicide attacks in Afghanistan over the past year. It is hard to conceive of just how badly Bush has bungled his own war on terror. Few of the proud and lofty goals for the Karzai administration remain: their job now is just to try not to implode.

In December, 2002, Rumsfeld said, "The Taliban are gone."
In September, 2004, Bush said "The Taliban no longer is in existence."
In August, 2006, Bush declared, "The days of the Taliban are over."

In this Operation, it seems the only things that endure are the lies.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the hundreds of billions of dollars we've spent in Iraq might have been better spent on economic development in Afghanistan.

Another day in Bush's New World Order - S.N.A.F.U. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

What exactly is it about Americans that we believe ourselves to be exempt from the lessons of history?

We learned nothing from the French experience in Vietnam. We learned nothing from the Russian experience in Afghanistan. We learned nothing from the British experience in Iraq.

Is it ignorance, hubris, or denial? Maybe all three.

From where I stand and from what I can see, there is crisis of leadership in the country, from the White House on down to my job, even in businesses. Leadership has lost it morale compass. And that makes for slipshod decisions that are made without much thought of planning. I have come to the point where I don't think anyone really wants to solve problems. If that were the case, we would have done to Iraq and to Afghanistan what RBR suggests. You can sometimes do more with honey than vinegar. I think everyone is too busy protecting their own ass that they aren't willing to lead fairly and boldly. There is too much cowardice and fear.

Maybe this is what it is to live through a "war". I don't know. Everyone is reacting rather than acting. But you can't act when your moral compass has lost its calibration and your lode star is obscured by smog.

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

US West answers her own question nicely. Americans as a group don't neccessarily learn or fail to learn lessons form history. But what is for sure is that enough people are out there protecting their "own asses" or otherwise looking out for Number One that they repeatedly produce the same disasterous policies.

Where the rabbit goes in the hat is when someone like Bush or Cheney tells us that they're taking us to war for the good of the country as a whole. Bull! They're taking us to war because they're in charge and it will benefit them and their supportors (the ones that matter to them anyway). They really don't care about "the country." They care about Texas oil and energy interests and occaisionally about pharmaceuticals companies.

Vote Democrat in 2006! Disorganized parties are more democratic! They spread the wealth better! 

// posted by Raised By Republicans