Back To AfghaniNam For A Moment
Earlier today, we suggested that it may take a real effort from American citizens to bring the war in Afghanistan to an end. There's no way this war can be won militarily and Obama doesn't seem able or willing to pull it off diplomatically. I was thinking that perhaps some serious internal dissent is long overdue.
But with Karzai practically going public with his cynical but correct assessment that we're not going to be able to defeat the Taliban-- and that he's lost faith in America-- Bob Herbert calls on Obama to muster the courage to end the occupation.
There is no good news coming out of the depressing and endless war in Afghanistan. There once was merit to our incursion there, but that was long ago. Now we’re just going through the tragic motions, flailing at this and that, with no real strategy or decent end in sight.
The U.S. doesn’t win wars anymore. We just funnel the stressed and underpaid troops in and out of the combat zones, while all the while showering taxpayer billions on the contractors and giant corporations that view the horrors of war as a heaven-sent bonanza. BP, as we’ve been told repeatedly recently, is one of the largest suppliers of fuel to the wartime U.S. military.
Seven American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Monday but hardly anyone noticed. Far more concern is being expressed for the wildlife threatened by the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico than for the G.I.’s being blown up in the wilds of Afghanistan.
...What’s happening in Afghanistan is not only tragic, it’s embarrassing. The American troops will fight, but the Afghan troops who are supposed to be their allies are a lost cause. The government of President Hamid Karzai is breathtakingly corrupt and incompetent — and widely unpopular to boot. And now, as The Times’s Dexter Filkins is reporting, the erratic Mr. Karzai seems to be giving up hope that the U.S. can prevail in the war and is making nice with the Taliban.
There is no overall game plan, no real strategy or coherent goals, to guide the fighting of U.S. forces. It’s just a mind-numbing, soul-chilling, body-destroying slog, month after month, year after pointless year. The 18-year-olds fighting (and, increasingly, dying) in Afghanistan now were just 9 or 10 when the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked in 2001.
Americans have zoned out on this war. They don’t even want to think about it. They don’t want their taxes raised to pay for it, even as they say in poll after poll that they are worried about budget deficits. The vast majority do not want their sons or daughters anywhere near Afghanistan.
This is the only policy of his that Republicans support Obama on. Should that tell him something? It's not like that "We want him to fail" and that search for a way to shove him into a Waterloo suddenly fades away when images of the Hindu Kush or the Helmand poppy fields come to mind.