Sunday, October 25, 2009

Afghanistan war is doomed

I have been reading all the arguments that half measures arguments will only lead to a lost war and, frankly, I am convinced they apply just as well to General McChrystal's proposals. The war will be lost his way as well with Vice President Biden's except with greater casualties and expense. There is simply no reasonable way for an occupier so foreign culturally to the occupied to defeat a national resistance. The population will never be sufficiently behind the occupier's puppet government. It would take millions of troops and a permanent curfew just to maintain a semblance of order in the cities. The countryside would remain a hotbed of guerrilla warfare. It would be at best an indefinite stalemate -- until we went broke trying to buy "victory" and/or ran out of cannon fodder and/or faced rebellion at home.

If we were fighting another Western country it would be different. The natives would see a puppet regime as not so different from what they would have had anyhow. These poor, illiterate tribal Muslims, however, would never consent to any government that we, with our modern Western values, could allow. This war is doomed. The best course is to get out.

The theory that the war is necessary to deny Al Qaeda a base makes no sense. Al Qaeda has never needed the kind of base used for training troops. They are not an military organization. They are terrorists. Their kind of attacks can be planed and prepared almost anywhere, including European NATO countries and the United States. Why is this war being fought?

The only supporters of this war who have a clear and superficially achievable purpose are the neocons and their military industrial allies. Between them they envision a benevolent global US hegemony, a form of empire, maintained by overwhelming military superiority over any potential rival. One reason for the Afghanistan venture in particular is its proximity to China which, as it grows in economic power. may need to be intimidated into subservience. But this utopian neocon enterprise is beyond achievement. The cost in blood and treasure is unbearable and there will always be the Afghanistans and Vietnams of the world which will not surrender and will be nothing but permanent bloody killing fields for US and allied troops, (unless and until they leave).

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