Afghanistan Wind-Down
It's like Vietnam in Reverse
But with Possible Same Ending
by Dan Ehrlich

Vietnam in reverse is how President Obama’s seems to be directing the Afghan War, with his new emphasis, before the election,  on nation building back home. Yet, backward or forward, this conflict has little to do with America’s national security, as more and more people now realize.

Vietnam began to heat up when America sent in so-called military advisers to “train” the South Vietnamese. This ran from about 1956 to 1964, that’s when President Johnson’s draft call-up transformed it into an official war, one we waged for nine years, then left it to our proxies in the south who were quickly defeated by the Vietcong.

Afghanistan is a different story. After 9/11 Afghanistan, along with Iraq, were deemed by GW Bush to be threats to America, with Afghanistan the center of Islamic terrorism. This is where our war of terror began and has continued through the present day.

The grand error of this conflict has been who we have actually been fighting. The Taliban weren’t the guys who were responsible for 9/11…an Arab group Al Qaeda was. It was just that then Al Qaeda was hiding in Afghanistan. But now, since they have moved house to Pakistan and a few other Muslim nations, there is really no reason for us to be there.

Now President Obama, with reelection and a never ending recession on his mind, has put in play operation wind-down until 2014 when the only NATO troops remaining in Afghanistan will be those so called military advisers again there to train Afghan troops on how to keep the Taliban out and America’s proxy Afghan President Karzai in...hopefully with more success than we had in Vietnam.
First, Last Feminist War
As I said the past, the only concrete reason why we, and other NATO nations, are there is to keep the extreme male chauvinist Muslim Taliban from power. The idea of a synonymous linkage between the Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda group has never been proven.

Yes, I’m sure they cooperated. While they’re different people they had different goals. Bin Laden was a Saudi. He didn’t care about Afghanistan. He just hid there and in Pakistan. His main goal, other than converting the world to Islam, was to overthrow the Saudi royal family and kick the US out of his country. The Taliban want to overthrow the Karzai Government and kick the US out of their country.

Remember, we were the ones who originally helped arm the Taliban in its fight against the Soviets. As far as anyone can tell the reason for our conflict with them, as with Iraq, was regime change. Yet, unlike Iraq, which had a strong central autocratic government, the Taliban is a theocracy made up of hill tribesmen who simply abandoned Kabul when we arrived and took the mountains and friendly villages for a protracted war against us.

In a sense, our almost nine year involvement there can give us some idea of what the Israelis have been enduring for 65 years…an endless conflict against nations, whose main strength is their stagnant state, going nowhere they feel the can out wait the Israelis and America. .

Of course it doesn’t have to be that way. If we had the money and popular support we could stay there as long as we wanted. We have maintained forces in South Korea since the end of WW2, most of that time under a cease-fire agreement with North Korea.

But, this is the main weakness with progressive democracies when pitted against stagnant theocracies. Like sharks, we have to keep moving or we eventually will perish. Many Islamic states simply exist as shellfish, going where the tide takes them, in a non- evolutionary permanent state shielded by their faith.
Big Bucks at Stake in Afghanistan
For us, as usual there’s more at stake in Afghanistan than our war on terror, women being forced to wear burkas and our international reputation. There are big, big bucks in the form of natural gas and minerals. And there’s one more thing…narcotics.

President Obama’s original contention during the GW Bush years that we should be concentrating on Afghanistan rather than invading Iraq was good politics in the aftermath of 9/11.

So, it was left to the media to ramp the US population up for our Afghan adventure. Photos and videos of women being tortured and executed for trying to have jobs or enjoy some western music, inflamed many of us against the brutal Taliban religious fanaticism.

Develop a war on terrorism and couple this with the Taliban and more than eight years later we are still there with more NATO troops dying every week.

But wait! There’s one more weakness progressive democracies have: We won’t do what some of our enemies would do to win. We are limited by our civility, rules of warfare, the Geneva Convention, etc.
Show No Mercy to Your Enemy
The Palestinians, for example, know the Israelis normally won’t do what Arabs would do to win…. kill or destroy your enemy and all his family and friends.

The Israelis came close with its Gaza onslaught, but that was a stupid miscalculation aimed mainly at saving Israeli troops in house to house searches and terrorizing the Gazans.

Meanwhile the Taliban are cheering Obama’s decision. “This clearly is a defeat for the U.S. in Afghanistan, and the start of the return of the Taliban and an Islamic sharia state,” a senior member of the Taliban’s military council said “We can’t believe that in the short time of ten years the Taliban are forcing the superpower of the century to pull out its troops.”

Whether their glee will be justified, only time will tell. Yet, for America, once again we have been shown the hard way that we have no right to expect other people who have been around for millennia to adhere or aspire to our liberal and PC standards of life. Yet, if we demand those standards, then we can’t put a time or cost limit in such military adventures.

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