US and Its Wars After Osama
Maybe I’m becoming a Mark Twain-Gore Vidal isolationist when it comes to America but, after seeing Four Corners tonight, it seems there are more doubts than ever about the wisdom of the Afghan war.
Peter Galbraith, former UN envoy to the country, said the US just does not have an Afghan partner. And you must have one to run a counter-insurgency strategy. The Kazai government is a myth, and the third most corrupt in the world, chronically cheating its own people.
And as Robert Fisk pointed out, speaking from Beirut, the Taliban are nationalist resistors to foreign occupation with no global reach or pretense. As someone remarked on West Wing once, resistors outlast occupiers every time.
The Four Corners report on an Al Quaeda presence in a remote part of the country simply confirmed it barely exists . If the pathetic band it showed, roaring round on their motorbikes, are the last of the Arab Afghans, then we can relax…and pull out.
Both wars can be seen as wasteful mistakes of American policy, of a rush to act decisively in the wake of September 11. A more cunning, long-term response would have been wiser. There would be no four million refugees in Iraq. Saddam would now be a victim – may have been the first – of the Arab Spring. American policy post-September 11 could have been crafted on cunning – and patience, certainly not swirling, crusader, neo-con fantasies of remaking the Middle East.
The cost to our American friends of these trillion dollar wars has been huge, not least in the burden of debt the country now struggles with.
The chairman of the joint chiefs says that debt is now their biggest national security threat.
To say nothing of their lost and crippled servicemen.
To have achieved what?