Going Out on a Limb Here: It is Past Time to Get Out of Afghanistan

afghanistan_rel_2003[1]While President Obama claimed that “Afghanistan is no Viet Nam”, I personally believe the similarities and the attendent boondoggles are close enough to make any differences moot.  I have borrowed the ideas for this thread from Hightower’s Hightower Lowdown, Vol. 11, No. 10, Oct. 2009.

First off, should our country be  going about our possible escalation of forces based on the judgement of a few generals?  Our president recently claimed that the mission in Afghanistan is “to disrupt, and defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies.”  Hightower asks “what this mean? Is this what America should be doing?  Is it worth doing?” – All are questions that should be publicly debated.

Secondly, we’re in Afghanistan to whip Al Qaeda!  Uh… Mr. President, U.S. Defense Dept.,  Al Qaeda left Afghanistan a long time ago.  Al Qaeda’s main base is in Pakison.  Does fighting the war in the wrong country remind anyone else of a former president?

Reason number three: We’ll save the people from the Taliban.  The Taliban is not monlithic unified group.  They include illiterate farmers, former anti-Soviet warriors, roving bandits, opportunistic drug trraffickers.  They are a nasty outfit when it comes to their treatment of girls and women.  The Taliban, however, is not a surrogate for Al Qaeda.

Reason four: We must support the Afghan President.  President Karzai’s influence stops at the city limits of the capital city, Kabul.  Afghanistan, politically and structurally, is a tribal area where different smaller tribal leaders are the sole government that has any real meaning to the citizens.  There is no national government to protect.  Also, Karzai’s blatant corruption and electoral fraud, doesn’t speak well to the locals about U.S. support.

Reason 5: We’re Training the Afghan Army.  Given the sorry shape of the national military force, it could take up untold years and treasure to bring the Army up to minimally effective readiness.  There is an absolute derth of reliable military commanders for the Afghan Army and resolving this problem will take years.

Is it time to reconsider the Afghan mission?  Alternate opinions appreciated.



Filed under Afghanistan

23 responses to “Going Out on a Limb Here: It is Past Time to Get Out of Afghanistan

  1. Zippy

    I think you’re probably right. As with Iraq, the stated goals have become increasingly irrelevant to what’s happening on the ground.

    There are in fact Taliban who will negotiate and even some who are not religious extremists–they just don’t like the idea of living in an occupied country under a Western-installed president.

    I don’t think we can walk away completely, but relying on the military to fix this situation is like putting out a fire with kerosene.

    If I hesitate it’s only because I remember well how we left Afghanistan to chaos after the Soviet pulled out, and I’m thinking about the effects on their nuclear-armed neighbor

    But you know what? Aside from providing all sides the civil war some choice weapons, we really didn’t have anything to do with it. So maybe we should the let the poor Afghans fix their own problems.

    Bin-laden, OOTH, was trained by the US and we obvious reasons to go after Al-Qaeda.

    And so–as before–Pakistan’s fate remains the real issue. What are we doing about it?

  2. lilacluvr

    How can we say we need to support the Afghan President when it has been alleged and it certainly looks suspicious that this guy is just another thug?

    We talk about democracy and human rights and then we go along with a corrupt leader?

    The only way alQueda and Taliban are going to be defeated is when we win the hearts of the local people – those people who are bearing the real burden of all this fighting.

    When will our generals and politicians going to get it through their heads that just because we go in with big tanks, guns and bombs – that does not win the war.

    I remember reading about the Candyman during World War II. This was an American pilot who would routinely drop packets of candy to the German children who knew him only as the Candyman. This display of compassion and friendship went a long way towards forging a relationship with the the future of Germany – those kids on the ground who were the real casualties of war because they were living the nightmare daily.

    Many of those kids from that time grew up with warm and good feelings towards the US.

    Maybe we need more of this type of warfare and less of the bombs being dropped?

  3. Just so you know, Iggy, I’m reading, and I’m not disinterested. I worry as much as anyone, but I am a pacifist so anything I say is so highly prejudiced it is worthless to any discussion.

    • wicked

      I’m a peacenik too. All during our Iraq boondoggle, I thought we should be in Afghanistan. Now? We need to get out.

  4. jammer5

    I’m kind of in a quandary here. If we bail, the taliban are sure to take over the country again. With a solid base there, their attacks on Pakistan will intensify, and Pakistan has the bomb. I have no doubt Al Quida will re-surge in Afghanistan, and could become a direct threat to this country again.

    Should that happen, and I hope it doesn’t, guess who would be the first to stand up and blame it on Obama’s leaving Afghanistan, even though they’re now freaking out because we haven’t left. Politically, we’re in a no-win situation here. Thank you, Bush, for totally screwing the whole thing up. Had you gone after Afghanistan the same way you did Iraq, we would be out of there today. Frikin worst president ever.

    • wicked

      So, jammer, is this why the Con’s are so eager for us to get out? Just so they’ll have a reason to blame Obama? Now that’s just downright pitiful.

      • jammer5

        Does anyone here think otherwise? The cons were war-mongering from day one. Now Obama’s in and they turn peace-nics? I don’t think so. Their motive is Obama’s failing the Presidency.

  5. I don’t think differently! The only strategy I’ve seen from them is to to do whatever it takes to help President Obama fail. If it takes America down too, they don’t seem to care.

    • wicked

      We didn’t have to hope for Bush’s failure. He managed to do that all by himself. Oh, okay, with Cheney’s help.

      And they still blame Obama for the current state of the economy. As if. Too bad there isn’t a time machine they could step into to see what might have happened if nothing had been done. More should have been done and in much different ways. Seems we’re almost back to the way things were where Wall Street and banking are concerned, ripping off the little guy.

      • In fact I read an article this morning that predicts another recession! Said indications looked like the one started in Dec of 2007 ended third quarter of this year (all the figures aren’t in yet), and we’re on the road to another. Now isn’t that a depressing thought!?

      • If we are on that road, why get off it for just long enough to shift any blame?

      • jammer5

        Many economists are worried about deflation. High unemployment driving wages down, the housing market, both sales and rentals, still down. Factory use is down to it’s second ever lowest level. That may mean lower prices for us, the consumers, but it doesn’t fare well for the economy as a whole.

        It could swing the other way as well, with runaway inflation. Really weird market out there. The feds really need to get a handle on it, and are not doing a very good job. It’s time for Obama to step up to the plate a start taking charge.

        Frontline is on tonight, with: Frontline
        The roots of the 2008 economic meltdown are examined. At 8:00 I would suggest it big time.

  6. I’m so depressed by politics and the way things are going I’m beginning to believe conspiracy theories!

  7. Bad Biker

    Politics is what it is, nothing suggests that it will ever change from the “no, you’re wrong, I’m right” back and forth.

    The political discourse these days is bad, but truly it has never really been good since the Burr v. Hamilton duel of 1804.

    Being a political junkie has taken years off my life, I believe. You must certainly have a hardened heart to deal with it on a daily basis.

  8. jammer5

    Sarah will be on Oprah Nov 17th.

  9. That should be interesting! Oprah doesn’t tolerate stupidity well. I don’t normally watch the show, but think I’ll need to tune in that day.

  10. wicked

    I don’t watch Oprah. She’s too full of herself. The only thing I liked her in was The Color of Purple. A good reason to not have to endure Sarah. 🙂

    • The story I saw said her appearance will be Nov 16th — the day before her book, “Going Rogue,” will be landing in the stores and flying through the mail, due to so many advance sales.

      Sarah is full of herself as well. Wonder if either will come out with an advantage? Wonder what, if any, effect the appearance will have on book sales?

      • wicked

        Let’s hope Going Rogue has the same pitiful endings most of the rest of Oprah’s picks have.

        I cannot understand why that woman picks the most sorrowful books to read.

  11. From today’s “Fresh Air” on NPR.

    Teri Gross, the best interviewer in the bidness talks with Andrew Sorkin.


    He says banks are back doing the exact thing that led to last year’s financial meltdown.

    I have a bond that’s come due. I’m seriously considering getting it cash and put it in the safe-deposit box. Pretty scary stuff.

    • wicked

      Why am I not surprised? Nothing–nothing–was done to reign in the b.s. being done by the banking industry. It only gave some the chance to buy and sell each other.

  12. wicked

    Don’t worry. In a couple of years, if not sooner, you’ll be seeing Going Rogue on the clearance shelf in the bookstores. That’s the way it always is with “celebrity tell-alls.” Do not get me started on how this affects the publishing industry.