Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh, So THAT'S Where It Was Hiding

I found that post I thought I had published several days ago...

The last time a foreign military staged a 'surge,' i.e. the Soviets in the early 1980s, it produced so much violence that 3 million Afghans were forced to flee to northern Pakistan. Islamabad is wary lest that pattern be repeated.

The split between India and Pakistan here is potentially damaging for the future. Afghanistan is an arena of contention between Islamabad and New Delhi. In the 1980s and 190s, various armed groups were backed by one country or the other. The Taliban were supported by Pakistan, the Northern Alliance by India. If we go back to that kind of proxy war inside Afghanistan, it will be ruinous.


As expected, the Taliban rejected the [Obama] plan as a form of imperialism. They dismissed Hamid Karzai as a Western puppet. But they also pledged that their organization has no international dimensions and they do not seek to commit terrorism in the West. The Taliban are pulling away from the wounded al-Qaeda.

  Juan Cole

I heard the most reasonable voice yet on the issue of Afghanistan (well, Cole is also very reasonable) from a retired military officer named Andrew Bacevich who pointed out that al-Qaeda is not an army or militia located in Afghanistan or Pakistan, but is instead an international jihad. He said warring on them in that area can be likened to the absurdity of (and here I left off and haven't the slightest idea now what that absurdity was - we'll just have to call it hugely absurd, and go on).

He also said that al-Qaeda members are international criminals who should be addressed by a force of international police.

Andrew Bacevich: Devising a new course requires accurately identifying the problem, which is not "terrorism" and, despite Washington's current obsession with the place, is certainly not Afghanistan. The essential problem is a dispute about God's relationship to politics. The proposition that the two occupy separate spheres finds particular favor among the democracies of the liberal, developed West. The proposition that God permeates politics finds particular favor in the Islamic world.


Colorado and Alaska.

Power, no matter how imaginatively or ruthlessly wielded, cannot provide a solution. The opposing positions are irreconcilable.

....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.

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