Thursday, July 15, 2010

Afghanistan - Why are we There?

As I understand it, the strategy for what is known as AF-PAK is to keep Al Qaeda out, strengthen and support a corrupt government, teach the police and military to read and keep the Taliban under control.

In order to do that we are pumping an approximate 10 billion dollars a year into an annual economy that does not amount to much more than that, directing it mainly to the military, with much of it landing in the hands of the war lords and government officials who continue to legitimize corruption. What will happen to the Afghanistan government if we continue to do this year after year? With its newly acquired power and literacy, the military could very well take over and we may be looking at a military coup down the road. And if Al Qaeda is sponsoring terrorism all over Asia, Somalia and the rest of the world anyway, why do we continue to support Afghanistan to keep them out. It's the same flawed philosophy that took us to Vietnam in the sixties; ie, "the domino theory" which was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Of course, we don't want another attack on our homeland. But we are subjecting our citizenry to a far more dangerous situation than terrorism by spending billions of dollars to support foreign countries that should be doing it themselves, when we should be establishing WPA type projects and encouraging the private sector to hire. Private businesses have no confidence in the administration because of the current state of the economy, and the economy is currently in this state because of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When we first invaded the country in 2001, we were fighting a war -- counter terrorism. Now, we are not (exactly) fighting a war, we are trying to build a country that has never existed before. I say build, not re-build because Afghanistan has never had a centralized government and is generally made up of fiercely traditional tribes ruled or not ruled by Taliban. Why do we think that we can change what the Russians, the British and Alexander the Great could not? On top of that, our military is in greater danger because they are doing this with one hand tied behind their backs. If we continue along this course, we may well end up in that metaphoric mess known as a "quagmire." Or are we there already?

Change indeed!

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