Apart from his protocol violation of publicly demanding more troops while Obama is considering what we should do in or with Afghanistan, the General’s proposals do not hang together. We just lost 8 men in one of the outer lying bases from which McChrystal recommends that we withdraw our troops, while demanding more troops to police the country. Pretty obviously we can’t do so while leaving such wide open spaces under control of the Taliban. By all reports the vast majority of the Afghans don’t like these killers, but also don’t like our killing Afghans either. As I have mentioned previously, there is no sure way for us to organize an Afghan army to run things over there. Whatever is to be done must be by the Afghans themselves. Our selected leader, Karzai, looks to be a crook. It is hard to see him as the Afghans’ chosen leader — another intimation that McCchrystal is winging it and doing what comes naturally to generals — asking for yet more troops to do an impossible job. This proposal does not hang together with reality either. What evidence is there that the Afghans see Karzai as anything more than our puppet, despite his recent efforts to disassociate himself from us. Such a ‘friend’ we do not need there.
The bottom line looks to be here that we have no way to win a ‘war’ in Afghanistan. The best we can do is to ease ourselves out of there as gracefully as we can. The big chance was blown with the diversion to Iraq. There at least we are detaching ourselves from more trouble.
The real problem areas now are Iran and Pakistan where the big threats lie to our security (nuclear smuggling past our virtually wide open system for importing whatever). We don’t need distraction yet again from a REAL problem area. Imagine the consequences of an Israeli attack on Iran! If we have economic problems now, they would be multiplied many times over with the closing down of oil supplies — check the map to see how it gets to us through the narrow passage past Iran. One way to unify the Iranians against us is to allow such an attack. And don’t think there are not a number of nations that would be ready to exploit our Iranian catastrophe! Let us not once again echo our Iraq error by letting ourselves be distracted from the realities that we face. Obama seems to be a leader (unlike Bush and most Republicans) who can keep in mind the full range of problems that we face. We sure have plenty without this general lobbying for his solely military game plan. I hope some of our Congressional leaders will have the guts to reprimand him.
What do you think?
“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)
Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]