Last week the head of the RNC actually spoke some truth, along with some outrageous statements, about Afghanistan. We walk a fine line between supporting the troops and supporting a war that seems to be un-win-able by conventional standards. The danger of even speaking out is to be labeled “un-American” or “un-patriotic” so people tend to shy away from critique of the “war.” If one has any memory of the turmoil over Viet Nam they can see parallels. His statements bring up the whole historical accounts of foreign entities trying to gain control of a rather uncontrollable region. Great armies with great leaders over the centuries have tried to do just that. As Mr. Steele said last week about Obama and our adventure into Afghanistan:
“Well, if he’s such a student of history, has he not understood that that’s the one thing you don’t do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? … Because everyone has tried for a thousand years of history has failed.”
This is one of the few things he has said that rings true just ask Alexander, The great Kahn, The Persians, the Brits and of course the Russians.
What makes our approach in this Asian country different?
Some have suggested that we pour a million soldiers into the country to stabilize it (this argument was also used in Southeast Asia). This argument of “more is better” while it may make us back at home feel good, is very impractical. Our original mandate for the invasion was to hunt down and capture or kill Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida cult members who had planned and carried out the foul deed of 9/11. Hows that going after 9 years? We seem to want to establish a stable central government in a country that really doesn’t want it. Since al-Qaida has become more world-wide, will our incursions make us safer? Are our troops really preserving our freedoms in Afghanistan? In today’s climate you better say a resounding “yes” otherwise you risk sounding “socialist” or worse, ungrateful.
With all due respect to John McCain’s service in Viet Nam, I don’t believe he understands history nor what “victory” looks like in Afghanistan. Do you? It is politically advantageous to support the troops and swagger around as if we constantly wear the white hats. I do know that while we are there, the Afghan government has no incentive to take the reins of the country and establish a strong central federal government. And the ancient tribal aspect of the country does not lend itself to a “Western-style” of government. According to sources in Kabul one can feel a central government but in Kandahar there is no such feeling of a centralized government. Perhaps the July 2011 deadline will have some affect on the corrupt Karzai government (Afghans paid nearly $1bn (£658m) in bribes in 2009, with almost a third of those surveyed saying they had had to pay a bribe to obtain a public service) to step up to the plate. But victory? It will not happen like it did in the Pacific nor in Europe. There will be no surrender documents. Meanwhile, America’s blood is still being spilled and we are slowly becoming viewed as occupiers rather than saviors. That can’t be a good thing.
Of course we support our young men and women in combat, but we definitely need to take a good look at why we are there, how has it been going and do we really need to be there in such numbers? Oh, by the way, bin Laden is still at large…and even more importantly Lebron is going to announce what team he will play for tonite.
And so it goes…