Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why We're In Afghanistan

In what was a very revealing show, Charlie Rose had two NY Times reporters in Afghanistan on his show, one of whom was Alissa Rubin.   Halfway through their discussion, Rose asked this question: "What is Karzai's [President of Afghanistan] hold on the United States?"  This was their response (as best I could write it down).
"I think his hold on the United States is that we want to have our troops there and our bases there so that we're as close to Pakistan as possible, since we can't actually fight a war in Pakistan, and a surround standpoint and a drone standpoint and everything else, you have a lot of resources you can have in Afghanistan, not to mention that you have the ability to watch Iran...."
Okay, so we're really not there because Afghanistan is the's really Pakistan and Iran, and Afghanistan just happens to be conveniently located.  At least that helps explain why in the heck we're in Afghanistan.  Whether I agree with it or not, at least it makes some kind of sense.

A little later, they also made the following points.  Anti-American feeling in Pakistan is growing.  There are hundreds of Madrassas in Pakistan which are training radicals and terrorists.  There has been a recent dramatic increase in both 'black ops', including night raids.  Women's rights, including girls going to school, are threatened by the Taliban, although it is a traditional aspect of Afghani culture as well.  We always seem to have an inflated view of what we can do in these military campaigns. 

And finally, General Petraeus has been heard to say, "We'll be there well beyond 2014".  Which is almost certainly true.

Afghanistan reminds me of a 'free space' on a game board.  Nobody owns it, so you can just sit on it, at least for awhile.  Of course, it turns out to be not so free after all.

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