Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The United States in Afghanistan

Eight Years Later


"The United States scarcely knew what a complex disaster it was confronting when it went to war in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. It will eventually - perhaps years from now - suffer the same fate as Alexander the Great, the British, and the now-defunct Soviet Union: defeat.

What is called “Afghanistan” is really a collection of tribes and ethnic groups - Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, and more - there are seven major ethnic groups, each with their own language.....

Meanwhile, Obama thinks he will win the war by escalation - an illusion that also marked the futile war in Vietnam. He also believes he can “Afghanisize” the war - like Nixon thought he could “Vietnamize” that conflict - even though recruits for Karzai’s army have little motivation apart from collecting their salary, and are scarcely a match for the Taliban - a quite divided, complex organization which today dominates much of the country.

A growing majority of the Afghan population now oppose the U.S. effort because they have led to frightful civilian casualties without attaining decisive military successes. “The mission is on the verge of failing,” a writer in the U.S. Army’s quarterly, Parameters, concluded last spring.

That, indeed, may be an understatement."

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