samedi 10 novembre 2007

For how long? (1)

It's been 6 years now that the UN has approved a military engagement of allied forces in Afghanistan. For which results so far?

The very first reason why the US decided to strike this country was because OBL was hiding there and the then "rulers" of the place refused to extradite him. The goal was to put a hand on Al Q's leader. Had OBL chosen to take refuge in the middle of Africa, this is where NATO forces would be by now.

He's still on the run and will never be captured. Didn't President Bush acknowledged once that getting OBL wasn't a priority? (March 13 2002) ("I don't know where Bin Laden is, I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority")

Out of solidarity with America after the 9/11 attacks, all its allies volunteered to participate in the war and the ongoing occupation.

Now, since catching OBL isn't a priority not even a goal of this war, many in the US -and even more in Europe- begin to wonder what's the point of all this.

Let's see:

1°) Winning hearts and minds of Muslim populations whose country is being occupied by "infidels" who want to impose their political system? Needless to say nobody believes one word of that stuff.

2°) To eradicate training camps for would be terrorists? Any derelict place in the world can be turned into a "training camp".

3°) To foster a prosperous, dynamic economy in a country that will soon embrace western values and life style? Actually, poppy crops are prosperous like they've never been before. The first market is the West.

4°) To assure the building of a reliable military ally of NATO forces? What's going on in Pakistan (the staunchest support of the Taliban regime up to 2002) shows how reliable this sort of ally can be.

5°) To sow the seeds of democracy and expect gratefulness of the locals?

There's no end in sight but nobody can admit the truth: there's no point in staying in this region of the world where the mentalities are about what they were back in the 13th century among people who hate the West and its inhabitants.

The casualties are minimal as a matter of fact but the Germans for example wonder why they've lost 24 men over there. And the Canadians may well think that 71 is too many. As for the US they've lost 476 soldiers. For what purpose? What has been achieved after 6 years of war and occupation? What can be expected for the 5 years to come?

The Russians -who weren't exactly sissies- failed to achieve anything in Afghanistan. It's very likely that the outcome will be the same with the current NATO engagement in this place stuck between Iran and Pakistan, where about every individual (there are more than 30 million of them) is a potential enemy of the West.

Unless, of course, the real goal of this occupation is to settle even more military bases around Iran...

Peace isn't around the corner then.

3 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

This is a very astute essay, and I cannot find disagreement with any of your propositions. Given the history of foreign entanglements in Afghanistan, one cannot help but wonder what so-called foreign policy experts were thinking with respect to the long term consequences of a coalition presence in that god-forsaken place. It would appear that Hamid Karzai is no more than president of a city, a fact that does not bode well for him once the coalition withdraws. Apparently, no one was listening when Colin Powell suggested if “we break it we have to pay for it.”

There is no question that Taliban behavior toward the Afghan people was unacceptable; even the mere suggestion that the Afghans were enslaved in the 8th Century would be a profound understatement. On the other hand, if we truly believe that people be allowed to choose their own destiny, then western nations are walking along a thin line of credibility when they “invade” and set up a government that is friendly to their interests.

Parochially, I have little interest what people do in their own country, so long as they refrain from forcing their radicalism on my country. If the coalition intends to ensure that al-Qaeda or the Taliban do not reassert them selves, then we must imagine we’ll be there for a long time. As for bin-Laden, here is a man who is rich beyond belief and living in a cave — which I should think is a form of hell for any normal person.

Flocon a dit…

Thanks for your interest Mustang.

"There is no question that Taliban behavior toward the Afghan people was unacceptable"
And sometimes you wonder which percentage of the population actually disagrees with the Taliban's rule and religious tenets...

As if to prove how meaningless this whole business is, 6 Americans have been killed in an ambush no later than today...

LASunsett a dit…

Hi Flocon,

Good essay. Like Mustang, I cannot find much to disagree with here.

//As if to prove how meaningless this whole business is, 6 Americans have been killed in an ambush no later than today...//

If we deem it necessary to engage in an armed conflict, it is not unreasonable to assume there will be some of our brave soldiers killed in action. I cannot say their deaths are meaningless, until the outcome is completely known.

As it stands right now, you may end up being right. If the Afghan people return themselves to the former medieval form of government that we extracted from it, then, your statement here will be true. However, if it turns out they determine their own fates, carve out a better society, and live peaceably with their neighbors, then, we can say that it had some meaning.

My point is, we just have no way of knowing this yet. And we may end up being there for a long time, to ensure this.