Any suggestions? Anyone?....
At the Afghan conference, the current head of British army General Sir David Richards had made a statement saying:
“30-40 year commitment. Stop flapping around and be 100% committed. Become a proper supporter.”
Although he apologised for the “30-40 years” exaggeration, his point was clear:
America’s long term commitment, says the General, will destroy the Taliban.
On the other hand Ahmed Shah Ahmedzai, a former Afghan prime minister, told Al Jazeera that more troops would achieve little and that negotiations are required.
So what political power does Afghanistan have right now?
Well, it's had an election that no one believes was legitimate, an interim government that has failed to function properly and troops that are ineffective without the US.
Does Karzai really have the legitimacy and the political will to build an Afghanistan?
It seems unlikely
The stability of a country and its politicians reflect one another.
Karzai wants the top job, but he isn’t going to do it properly. No stability is coming from that.
Former NATO commander and head of the British Army General Sir Mike Jackson states that
“Militarily we cannot be defeated”
– Well that’s not true.
A continuous flow of dead US troops hasn't made anyone happy. Sure they aren’t being defeated, but they’re not winning either. This isn’t cricket – you can’t consider a draw a psychological victory in any circumstance.
Hearts and minds: The most overused and incomprehensible subtitle I can come up with.
According to the Economist, America has suffered about 850 dead (one-fifth of the losses in Iraq). America’s qualms will affect the dedication of its European allies as well. NATO allies have lost about 570 soldiers. The number of fatalities this year has been 230, which is the highest so far.
America is in a bit of trouble with hearts and minds – in Vietnam the Communist card was played strongly enough to force the people to believe in the necessity of the war.
But that didn’t last. Now, after 8 years, the US is still struggling to justify its presence and especially since failure in Iraq has evoked similar sentiments.
The people at home are losing heart because they’re tired of their troops fighting in foreign countries where they cannot see the immediate importance of their presence. The idea of establishing democracies and good government isn’t selling any more. A lot of that has to do with the small fact that America has yet to achieve these aims – anywhere.
Elections, our favourite representation of “democracy at work,” were a sham. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah was a strong candidate to lead Afghanistan and, speaking in an interview for the BBC, sounded rational and competent.
The true nature of the man may be difficult to determine since we’re so far away from it all, but someone who can speak freely about removing corruption, keeping the favour of the people and ensuring justice couldn’t have been all that bad to have around. But again, we descend back to the dirt of Middle-Eastern politics.
Honestly, it has been quite disheartening to watch US military activities ever since September 11. It is a great country, it is a global power, and it got hit hard.
So it started fighting back, not knowing who exactly to fight, and all under the ideology of making the world a better place. But like Vietnam things weren’t exactly the same as last time. Terrorism’s a bitch ain’t it?
If only they all just came together and formed one army, we could understand what to do.
So what should we do?
Let’s pull out a list
• Evacuate and leave the shit to the Taliban: Honestly, as if they’re going to stop fighting just because Americans aren’t around. Afghanistan has a tribal based culture. They’ll just start fighting each other more than they did before. What’s more, we could then start earning some money from them by arms provisions for their civil wars
• Bomb everything: it’s a whole lot of sand anyway. And snow at times. Besides, we’ve been destroying the livelihoods of civilians there for a lot longer than 8 years, so why not finish it.
• Stay, but just for destroying the drug trade: we keep destroying their crops due to the drugs they produce. Apparently it’s the Afghan’s fault that Westerners take drugs –honestly, I am yet to hear a better example of externalising one’s own issues.
• Stay, proper: well, like the Generals said, to establish a working state. If you’re going to stay, you’re going to stay. Say it once and for all, and be behind it. But this is certainly not recommended for politicians whose presidential campaign focus ultimately relies on “getting our troops back.” The truth is this.
We know even less about what happens in Afghanistan than we do in Iraq; like a disgruntled married couple who only acknowledge the existence of their relationship on key dates - an 8 year anniversary or, say, the 800th soldier to die. Afghanistan has been going on for so long we can’t remember the original reasons of why we went there – and when you can’t remember the original goals you have nothing to keep to, so you try to come up with new reasons that are less potent than the last.
Nobody’s going to say it, but the truth is we’ve got no fucking idea what we’re doing here. However Afghanistan, more than Iraq, will be a mess without the US creating some form of proper government. The motivation is slipping. The real problem with the country is uncertainty – we don't have someone like Saddam Hussein to displace. We don’t know have a face to hate. We cannot see the enemy.
All we see is desert, and a turbaned man with a gun who people say belong to tribe that apparently has the ability to take hold of a country with many tribes. Obama needs to do what he has to for damage control because, as has become the trend with America’s campaigns, Uncle Sam’s not going to win this one.
But he might be able to save a lot of money and lives in the process, both American and Afghan. If that means more troops then send in more troops – but forget that this brilliant dream of a stable and functioning Afghan government is about to come around.
Hey. Weren’t we looking for Osama too? I wonder how that’s going…..