The opportunity to win the support of the Afghans was blown when Bush/Cheney diverted our troops and monies to Iraq — leaving the Afghans stranded. This has never been a nation. Karsai, his relatives, and government have been corrupt and it is foolish to think he will get things together by 1014 — his latest nonsense.

Obama should stick to his schedule and get our guys out of there ASAP and, perhaps seek a deal with some of the scattered heads of villages, etc. to help them financially. But Pakistan is our real worry and where we should put our attention. Just a glance at the mountains and numbers make it clear that there is no way we can defeat the Taliban — from Pakistan’s largest tribal grouping — a dozen or more tribes with the Pashtuns from which the Taliban stem being the largest:

This has never been a ‘nation’ nor can we make it one. The Afghans will have to work out their own destinies. We can’t do it for them.

All we are doing now is letting our guys get killed and wounded and doing the same for too many Afghans. This is not a war to be won. It is a slaughter of innocent people.

None of the rationales that I heard variously this a.m. for ‘winning’ a war there are plausible. Our problem now is how to get out with minimum harms — including loss of our credibility.

And so it goes as this country obsesses with military rather than global economic problems.

“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 [blind copies]

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