Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sending more troops to Afghanistan unlikely to work.

Never mind that a British general back in October said that the Afghanistan war is not winnable (Brig. General Mark Careleton-Smith) and that the Taliban could be part of the country's long term solution (source here).   And never mind that the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper recently spoke to CNN and also stated that we aren't going to win the war simply by being there.  Never mind that the U.S alone currently has 142,000 soldiers in Iraq and is still not able to pacify that country.

History alone should be enough to tell us that Afghanistan just can't be turned into a democratic clone of a western state.  The Soviet Union tried for a decade, and as difficult as it was for them, it is even more difficult for the western countries now partly due to the experience that the Afghan fighters gathered (with U.S help) during the resistance to the Soviets.

As Samuel P. Huntington observed in his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World order, Afghanistan was seen by the West as a victory for the free world, but for the Islamic world, it was a victory for Islam.  

The Islamic world successfully stood up to the Atheist Soviet Union and drove their forces out of Afghanistan.  Now, they are experienced at this and aren't ready to allow western Christian nations to "liberate" Afghanistan.

I'm sorry if I sound disloyal.  I'm not.  I support the idea of what Canadian forces are trying to do in Afghanistan, and much of what we are doing is actually really good for the local people.  But, that is beside the point.   Many  of the local people are seeing what we are doing as a threat to their Independence.  

In my view, we should be getting all of the parties at the table and try to get a peace agreement in place.  At the same time, we should begin pulling out.  Hopefully the rivalling groups can unite under a single leadership, and that is a question of concern, but the war is not going to be won.  

No amount of U.S soldiers will ever be enough and the more soldiers on the ground will just turn more and more of the locals off of the NATO forces and create more bitterness.

Barack Obama wants to increase the U.S presence in Afghanistan, while removing U.S presence from Iraq.  I think it's the wrong thing to do in the long run, though to pull out of the country safely, we'd probably need to increase the numbers in order to allow that to happen.

Obama is, whether we like it or not, forced to make some concessions to the military industrial complex.  I'm sure he knows what's happening in Afghanistan, but he can only fight so many battles at one time.  

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