Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rall: Is Dems’ “No to Iraq, yes to Afghanistan” any better than Bush?

Bhutto assassination seems to confirm his take

His succinct answer? No. First, Ted Rall makes the case this is the wrong war in the wrong place:
In fact, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan the whole time U.S. forces were “looking” for him in Afghanistan. So was Al Qaeda, and most of its training camps. The money for 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia. The hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Being fought by the wrong military:
I’m not convinced the military can fight terrorists. Blowing up schools and weddings is a lousy way to fight Islamic extremism. The history of counterinsurgency shows that it’s easier to kill your enemies with an open mind than with bombs. But if you’re determined to go the military route, you’d be better off taking on Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt — in that order.

Rall says he expects little different from both Democratic Congressional leadership and presidential candidates.

But, he notes that some educated voters are starting to see things differently.
Not everyone is falling for the Democrats’ “forget their war, let’s fight our war” spiel, though. A letter to the editor of the Times began: “I hope that when the Bush administration and NATO conclude their analyses of the Afghanistan mission they will reach one inescapable, common-sense conclusion: that Western-style democracy cannot be militarily imposed on a culture that is based on tribal loyalties. Maybe at that point, our nation and the world will be able to finally use our economic and human resources in a more efficient manner.”

Personally, I accepted the war in Afghanistan when it started, though I wasn’t gung-ho about it.

But, if you look at things today, short of pumping far, far more troops in their than the Soviets ever did (extra troops needed to offset the Soviets’ indiscriminate use of mines), we don’t have a chance in Afghanistan.

And, getting back to Rall’s initial point, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan shows that fighting in Afghanistan without doing anything about Pakistan is like Sisyphus vainly pushing the rock up the hill.

I would say that we should privately give Afghan President Hamid Karzai a Dec. 31, 2009 deadline (very generous) for us wrapping up our presence in Afghanistan. We then should get serious with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and threaten not just a cutoff of economic aid, but a push for international sanctions.