I dislike quoting other website’s posts in full, but this is too good and important to pass by. It nicely captures the casually delusional nature of advocacy for the Af-Pak war. Now that they’ve backed off (somewhat) from the “preventing another 9-11” nonsense, there is little left but gibberish.
From “Afghanistan Mission Creep Watch – The Future Version“, Michael Cohen, Democracy Arsenal, 27 March 2009:
Barack Obama on March 27th, 2009:
As President, my greatest responsibility is to protect the American people. We are not in Afghanistan to control that country or to dictate its future.
The newly released ISAF guidance for counterinsurgency in Afghanistan:
Essentially, we and the insurgents are presenting an argument for the future to the people of Afghanistan: they will decide which argument in most attractive, most convincing, and has the greatest chance of success. . . . We need to understand the people and see things through their eyes. It is their fears, frustrations and expectations that we must address.
Sigh. But this isn’t even my favorite part of this guide:
Earn the support of the people and the war is won, regardless of how many militants are killed or captured. We must undermine the insurgent argument while offering a more compelling alternative. Our argument must communicate – through word and deed – that we and GIRoA have the capability and commitment to protect and support the people. Together, we need to provide a convincing and sustainable sense of justice and well-being to a weary and skeptical populace. We must turn perceptions from fear and uncertainty to trust and confidence.
And I would like a pony for every man, woman and child in Afghanistan.
Surely it’s important to communicate that ISAF and GIRoA have the capability to protect and support them. But what if we don’t actually posses that capability — or commitment for that matter.
Honestly, I urge you to read this guide and it’s wonderful pie in the sky predictions about what a counter-insurgency can accomplish in Afghanistan. And then ask yourself: how are we going to achieve these goals if we
- don’t have enough American troops;
- lack the political will to remain in Afghanistan at current troops levels for 5-10 years. (I mean does anyone think we’re going to make a dent in Afghanistan’s problem in 12-18 months);
- have little support from the Afghan government, the Afghan military and the Afghan police.
How exactly are we going to “provide a convincing and sustainable sense of justice and well-being” to the people of Afghanistan without these resources?
Not to mention the fact, it’s very hard to see why this would be in our national interest. Hell, how about turning perceptions of fear and uncertainty to trust and confidence here in America! It might actually help pass health care.
Yesterday, I spoke about the growing gulf between our intentions and capabilities in Afghanistan. You want prima facie evidence – read this (guide and then this article from the Sunday New York Times about how the Marines in Helmand province don’t have the resources to carry out their mission: “Marines Fight Taliban With Little Aid From Afghans“.
And then maybe have a stiff drink.
A pony for everybody!
This is from “If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride — A Pony!“, John & Belle Have a Blog, 6 March 2004 — The post is one of the best eviscerations of Libertarian theory I have seen. And one of the greatest geopolicial webposts, ever!
President Obama’s political capital bleeds away day by day, as he appears unable to deliver on the Democratic Party’s key domestic policy goals — and unwilling to address the Party’s fading support for our wars.
We have a critical point when our voices can be heard. Speak out about the war! Do not let the doomsters and couch potatoes sap our strength with their pessimistic and fatalistic gloom.
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For more information about this topic
To see all posts about our new wars:
Some posts about the war in Afghanistan:
- Why are we are fighting in Afghanistan?, 9 April 2008 — A debate with Joshua Foust.
- Stratfor: “The Strategic Debate Over Afghanistan”, 13 May 2009
- Real experts review a presentation about the War (look here, if you’re looking for well-written analysis!), 21 June 2009
- The Big Lie at work in Afghanistan – an open discussion, 23 June 2009
- “War without end”, a great article by George Wilson, 27 June 2009
- “Strategic Calculus and the Afghan War” by George Friedman of Stratfor, 17 July 2009
- Powerful insights about our war in Afghanistan, part 1, 18 July 2009
- We are warned about Afghanistan, but choose not to listen (part 2), 19 July 2009
- Powerful insights about our war in Afghanistan, part 3, 20 July 2009
- You can end our war in Afghanistan, 20 August 2009