Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Afghanistan the UNwinnable war

The Liberal Conservative Government of Canada will be holding a vote on continuing the Harper War in Afghanistan for another three years.
Vote on Afghanistan motion set for March 13

Or maybe four years or heck lets make it five.

A WHOLE post-Cold War European generation has grown up in peace, give or take "some Balkan horror on television," which makes it hard to explain that "it's a political and moral imperative to fight for our core values in the Hindu Kush."

The words are those of Jaap de Hoop Scheffer of the Netherlands, the NATO secretary general. As he utters them, he leans forward, insisting that he doesn't think "Europe is becoming pacifist." But Afghanistan is testing European military resolve. It's the long war. It's Europe's Iraq.

Just back from Afghanistan, where NATO now has some 50,000 troops deployed, de Hoop Scheffer says it will be four to five years before international forces can pull back, taking a limited role in support of the emergent Afghan national army.

"A window of four to five years from now is an interesting window to watch in terms of reaching a situation where our forces are in the background," he says.

That takes us to 2013 or thereabouts.

Despite knowing full well that it is an unwinnable war.

The international community's approach to aid in Afghanistan is centred around the Afghanistan Compact, a series of development benchmarks agreed upon in 2006 to be reached by 2011.

But Afghanistan remains trapped in a cycle created by the theory that security is required for development but development is what provides security.

Theoretically, the success of development programs at the local level like CDCs should foster greater security as citizens come to trust and depend on their governments and refuse to support or join the insurgency.

But a slew of statistics from private security firms, NATO and the UN all suggest that the security situation in Afghanistan, and in Kandahar, is the worst it has been in a long time.

Which even the American right admits.

It has long been an article of faith among Democrats that Afghanistan is the "good war," a righteous campaign that could be won with more money and manpower. But the facts say otherwise. The U.S. Air Force rained more than a million pounds of bombs upon Afghanistan in 2007, mostly on innocent civilians. It's twice as much as was dropped in Iraq--and equally ineffective.

Six years after the U.S. invasion of 2001, according to Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, the U.S./NATO occupation force has surged from 8,000 to 50,000. But the Americans are having no more luck against the Afghans than had the Brits or the Soviet Union. The U.S.-backed government of Hamid Karzai controls a mere 30 percent of Afghanistan, admits McConnell. (Regional analysts say in truth it is closer to 15 percent.) Most of the country belongs to the charming guys who gave us babes in burqas and exploding Buddhas: the Taliban and likeminded warlords. "Afghanistan remains a failing state," says a report by General James Jones, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander. "The United States and the international community have tried to win the struggle in Afghanistan with too few military forces and insufficient economic aid."


And They Won Both World Wars Too

Harpers War The Manley Solution

Afghanistan A Failed State

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