We Should Quit in Afghanistan

Yes and soon. Recall the lyrics of country Joe and the Fish from the 60’s?-

And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;

Well, the next stop was Afghanistan which also rhymes with damn.

Why don’t we ever learn?  – that’s another lyric from a war tune.

A guest on the Bill Moyer’s Journal last Friday evening was Andrew Bacevich.  He is an army veteran who served 23 years.  Today he’s a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. A week ago he was at a US Army War College symposium on the highly pertinent question, “How do we know when a war is over?” His book, “The Limits of Power,” was a best-seller and his latest, “Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War,” comes out this summer.

That intro from the interview with Moyers in itself is a diamond mine ready to be plucked. Topics like a “permanent war” and “when do we know a war is over?” ought to consume the discussion on this blog for the rest of this month.

Here’s a paragraph from President Obama:

Our broad mission is clear. We are going to disrupt and dismantle, defeat and destroy al Qaeda and its extremist allies. That is our mission. And to accomplish that goal, our objectives here in Afghanistan are also clear. We’re going to deny al Qaeda safe haven. We’re going to reverse the Taliban’s momentum. We’re going to strengthen the capacity of Afghan security forces and the Afghan government so that they can begin taking responsibility and gain confidence of the Afghan people.”

Change a few proper nouns and this could have been said by Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon.  And of course, George W. Bush and his phony war in Iraq.

The list of what is termed, ‘our friendly dictators’ grows longer with every new president. Diem in Vietnam, Batista in Cuba, Botha in South Africa, Suharo in Indonesia, Pinochet in Argentina, Marcos in the Philippines, Shah Pahlevi, Iran… And now Karzai, Afghanistan.

Stop the addiction!

Bacevich says, “We don’t learn from history. And there is this persistent, and I think almost inexplicable belief that the use of military force in some godforsaken country on the far side of the planet will not only yield some kind of purposeful result, but by extension, will produce significant benefits for the United States. I mean, one of the obvious things about the Afghanistan war that is so striking and yet so frequently overlooked is that we’re now in the ninth year of this war.

“It is the longest war in American history. And it is a war for which there is no end in sight. And to my mind, it is a war that is utterly devoid of strategic purpose. And the fact that that gets so little attention from our political leaders, from the press or from our fellow citizens, I think is simply appalling, especially when you consider the amount of money we’re spending over there and the lives that are being lost whether American or Afghan.”

What else is there to say?


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5 thoughts on “We Should Quit in Afghanistan

  1. Frankly, tha is the statement my wife makes every time she sees any reportage about Afghanistan. The US involvement was a knee jerk reaction by George Bush to 9/11. The history of Afghanistan before 9/11 is complex.
    The failed Soviet Occupation and the funding and support for the Taleban and Al Qaeda by America. The total abandonment of the Northern Alliance and thr assination of Masood, who was a non Taleban leader who fought against them and was so important in defeatng the Soviets.
    The involvement of the Taleban with George Bush Jr.s Arbusto Oil Company.
    The hardline negotiations with the Taleban in Germany regarding the pipeline that was dreamed of by the Western Oil Comapnies to pipe oil from the Black Sea away from Russia. The Taleban was told to play ball and everything would be nice, or else. They walked and only 3 months later 9/11 occurred.
    George Bush Jr’s tough talk at the 9/11 site and his total failure to actually accomplish anything in Afghanistan except create total chaos.
    Now we seem to mired in the Colin Powell “Pottery Barn” doctrine. You Broke, You Buy It….
    I agree that Obama should be pursuing other avenues than he appears to be now. I believe we have absolutely no business and can accomplish nothing positive in this drawn out guerilla war in an impossible terrain that has successfully defeated invasions and occupation throughout the centuries.
    Remember, Karzai’s chief supporter was Dick Cheney. Cheney was instrumental in putting him into power. Perhaps an entire post can be written on the criminal activity of the Karzai Clan.
    We now are enmeshed in the proverial Gordian Knot. Not only do we have to try to make sense out of the insane machinations of Cheney, Karzai, The Taleban and the invigorated Al Qaeda, because, where would Al Qaeda be with out the western agression it needs to exist?
    Not only all this, but an insane infantile empire driven conservative movement in America. Our totally dysfuntional system of government…
    Talk abouit Iraq and a hard place…haha, a pun…..

    This is a very big picture, but there is no simple solution. Nothing can be done over night, or in a year.
    Ron Paul made waves yesterday in New Orleans talking about our involvement in Afghanistan, but it is too easy for him, an outsider who plays the outsider to say simply, we have to get out. The airhead libertarians of course applaud this simple solution, but in reality, Ron Paul knows he will never have to make these decisions or will in be in a position to.

  2. Funny you should mention this since I had dinner with my Afghan friends last night.

    It is a continuation of the “Great Game” and has been going on for centuries. The only real difference is that now the west is unified against the Afghans, but it’s still the same power politics. In fact, it’s called the New Great Game:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Great_Game

    Of course, until the US weans itself from cheap energy, it will keep on having wars such as this and Iraq.

  3. Of course, until the US weans itself from cheap energy, it will keep on having wars such as this and Iraq.

    Cheap Energy? The moral, human real cost behind every drop of oil is not cheap. The link is great…a good way to understand the history of Afghanistan. Thanks…

    The real cheap eneergy is all around us, it’s just not profitable for the corporate infrastructure to innovate the technology we need to have it.
    They have to figure out how to sell us what is free.

    I saw a great new system put in place in Toulouse yesterday. There is a system already like it in Amsterdam and Shanghai…
    A sidewalk which can transform pedestrian foot traffic energy into electric power to light the city. Central Toulouse is a real pedestrian town, so is Amsterdam…inner Shanghai is now fairly auto free.

    I’m going to find out more and post on it…Too bad, Mudrake, hardly any one walks the streets of downtown Toledo.

  4. The “cheap energy” lingo rings well with the average American who is enamored by that concept. It gets votes, too. As usual, however, that ‘average American’ has the wisdom of a teenager.

    Solar and wind energy are there waiting for us to use it but apparently Americans can’t think that futuristic-ly. In fact, there is a new TV commercial that talks about the ‘energy’ [fossil fuels] under our feet and claims that there’s enough oil and gas ‘under our feet’ to supply 94% of our needs here in North America.

    Note the subtle switch to ‘North America’ rather than the United States. Surely that subtlety went way over the heads of the ‘average American’

    Drill baby drill!

    My 10-year-old grandson and his father worked on a solar energy project two weeks ago for a mini-science project. They spray painted soda cans black and framed them under plexiglas. My son bought a small solar panel and a motor and carved a fan blade. They assembled it, along with a set of thermometers. It demonstrated passive heating along with photo-voltaic energy as the fan directed the heated air out of the solar collector.

    Sadly, my grandson received only 18 points out of 25 for the project because the ‘worksheet’ from the textbook was not completed correctly. Yes, the Xeroxed worksheet trumped the skill, ingenuity and enthusiasm of creative science exploration. How’s that for 20th century teaching?

  5. Your grandson’s grade is indeed a sad comentary on the US educational system. I hope he will realise that intelligence should find its rewards outside the classroom.

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