Monday, June 21, 2010

Afghanistan: What is our priority?


As much as I respect and agree with Trudy Rubin (republished in the Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington 21 June 2010), it still begs the question that after 9 years of our presence in Afghanistan, just exactly what are our priorities in that country? Remember when we first invaded Afghanistan? It was around a month after 9/11/2001. Our reasons were simple, getting the terrorists who attacked innocent people here in America. Go after the people who gave them safe harbor. Then our priorities shifted from going after terrorists to forcing a democratic society on a people who were not really ready for such a society. Then our priorities shifted again. Instead of dealing decisively with the Taliban and Al Qaeda; the GW administration decided that "terrorism" was a greater issue in Iraq and so went after Saddam Hussein. In the meantime, the Hamid Karzai gvt became increasingly corrupt, ceded greater control of the general countryside to the Warlords, the Taliban began re-emerging and gaining stronger footholds in Afghanistan and had positions of security in Pakistan itself. The GW administration did not choose to work with Pakistan to deal decisively with the Taliban. With the end result that the Taliban had free rein to begin destabilizing Pakistan as well.

Back in the day when all this was going on under a GOP president, and it was the Democrats who wanted a time line for withdrawal from Iraq; exactly what did Senator McCain have to say about any "re-emergence" of anti-Democratic forces? Or did he simply join with fellow GOP voices in Congress to utterly condemn the Democrats as failing to support our troops and spineless in the face of terrorists? Was there mention of negotiating with the U.S. installed Iraqi gvt to assure a stable country that the U.S. Military could eventually leave and the Iraqi people and gvt could handle their own security from then on? Or was there a failure on the part of the GOP led gvt to make the sort of decisive demands: now that we got rid of a brutal dictator for you and paved the way for you to achieve a democratic state, how about stepping up to the plate and working to make a better society and gvt for yourself? As long as GW and his administration weren't prepared to make such decisive demands, they also left themselves no room to negotiate with what ever actual society and gvt the Iraqi people would eventually create. That all we would do is simply prop up a dependent "state" rather than ceding back to a sovereign people the free will to decide their own future. As long as we are there, a "dependent people" don't have to make any decisions as to their own future. As long as we are there, there would be factions prepared to resent our presence and to go on the attack against their fellows just because other factions desire the presence of Americans. Apparently, it never occurred to anyone, inclusive of Senator McCain during the heyday of the GW administration to bring all sides together and have them negotiate a peace pact. If Shi'ite Muslims worked out a peace pact with Kurds and other minority peoples and beliefs living in Iraq; then it would have been possible for the U.S. presence in Iraq to have left years sooner. Instead of negotiating peace with actual warring parties after the fall of Hussein, GW decided instead that he could simply impose a western style (and Christian) type of gvt on that people. After he left office, President Obama as his successor proceeded to put forth a time line for withdrawal of troops from Iraq whether warring parties within that country were ready for it or not.

The time for negotiating the peace is after you have fought the initial fight and put the enemies on the run. You don't put off such negotiations for a later date or abandon them all together. GW had made it readily apparent that he wanted to go to war and use being a "war president" to personally boost his ego and keep a GOP lock on Congress. But he also made it readily apparent that he didn't know how to run a war or bring one to a successful conclusion. That is why, two years after he has left office, we are still dealing with the Iraqi situation that could have been concluded a long time ago and Afghanistan who's people we actually did abandon before invading Iraq. GW was ultimately not interested in negotiating the peace after the battle was won. Had we actually been prepared to do that, we could have strengthened the hand of the newly installed gvt in Afghanistan and that of the people to more thoroughly resist Taliban incursions. The fact that McCain couldn't be bothered discussing that fact back when GW was still in office, and was simply one more Republican voice opposing the Democrats in a polarized partisan contest of who should ultimately reign supreme in Washington, D.C.; makes it a little late for him to argue negotiation and prospective abandonment of the Afghani people today. Make that, 7 years to late. No war is truly over until you have left the enemy no room to maneuver and no further reason to fight you. GW loved the "glory of war," but not the work it would take to actually end one and leave behind a stable society. After all, given his treatment of this American society, how should he be bothered with giving greater consideration to countries he invaded and left destabilized as a consequence? It says a lot about the people he put into his administration. It says a lot about himself. And it says a lot about Senator McCain who lacks the necessary graciousness two years after his defeat at the polls to consider his own lack of willingness to truly challenge the last administration when it would have counted the most. Waiting 8 years and challenging this one really begs the question of why do it now?

Should the Obama administration begin negotiating the peace between the Afghani peoples and all factions that could prove detrimental to a stable society? Absolutely. That there can not just be a time line for troop withdrawal; there must also be a firm commitment between the peoples and their gvt to create a society that they can live with and resist any effort on the part of militant Taliban to recreate the sort of intolerable conditions where human rights are concerned, that was partially why they were ousted in the first place! The Afghani people should be informed about what sort of choices they should have. Negotiate the peace between them and deny a philosophical foothold that allows the Taliban room to maneuver and then go on to attack the rest of their society and gvt, or face a return to a nightmare situation pre the American invasion. Given this sort of decisive either/or demand; the Afghani peoples would indeed know where they would stand once the American forces did leave. As long as the American forces are there and propping up a corrupt gvt, no such decisions have to be made. Nor does the American gvt have room to negotiate. If the Afghani peoples wish to be a sovereign peoples in a post-Taliban world, they will have to make a decision as to their own future. Further, to negotiate with the American gvt as to what they want that future to look like.

Also in the news, Al Qaeda making a threat to the Obama administration that if you don't pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan there will be grave consequences. Shall we say, stand in line behind financial institutions allowed to run amok then collapsing? The BP oil spill? Business interests that use any excuse to continue to outsource jobs? Excuse me, but we have now seen more harm from our "friends" than our enemies.

Our original rationale for going to war in Afghanistan was about terrorism. Terrorism must continue to be the focus of this and all other succeeding administrations until that day comes when those who currently engage in violent extremism see no further cause to do so. Let a sovereign people build their own nation. If they truly desire to do so. It can not solely be up to us to take care of them as though they were "orphans." We can assist, yes; but ultimately, the decisions as to their futures is their own to make.

21 comments:

陳隆 said...

nice to know you, and glad to find such a good artical!......................................................................

江婷 said...

來給你加油打氣!!!保重!!!.................................................................                           

青卉青卉 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

登山登山 said...

向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

李威昌 said...

Poverty tries friends.............................................................

玉苓玉苓 said...

與其期盼別人疼你,不如自己疼自己。..................................................

婉婷 said...

要用心經營哦~~祝福你~~
............................................................

吳玉婷 said...

享受你自己的生活,不要與他人相比。............................................................

李宗蓮李宗蓮 said...

may the blessing be always with you!!..................................................................

紹函紹函 said...

一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼............................................................

錢靜怡錢靜怡錢靜怡 said...

Offence is the best defence.............................................................

RicoLisi0802志竹 said...

thank you so much~~ SUPPORT!!............................................................

徐禎緯 said...

良言一句三冬暖,惡語傷人六月寒。......................................................................

陳林美純易南 said...

Learning makes a good man better and ill man worse.............................................................

孟湖聿軒 said...

Lets cross the bridge when we come to it............................................................

張鴻黃淑娟水 said...

絕不要羞於承認自己不知道的事。..................................................

bokk said...

好的部落格就要和好朋友分享--感謝分享..................................................

姿法岳昌邦吟 said...

看了你的日誌 覺得今天好充實 晚安瞜.................................[/url]...............

怡靜怡靜怡靜怡雯 said...

知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。..................................................

steviec said...

Hasn't it been forgotten that fighting terrorism is really about using a police force and not the military?

http://www.sustainableideas.info/

孫邦柔 said...

很精彩的部落格 期待你的繼續加油..................................................