Tag: Hamid Karzai

A Quick Thought on the Bergdahl Deal

Events are moving quickly on the Bergdahl deal. Congress is going to have hearings about whether Obama broke the law (when even noted liberal hack Jeffrey Toobin says that Obama “clearly broke the law”, I would say that Obama probably broke the law). The army is now going to investigate his disappearance. Homecoming parades have been cancelled. And the Obama people are, once again, bumfuzzled that not everyone is baking is their gloriousness.

But I wanted to peel off a question here. When discussing this case with my father-in-law today, he was puzzled that Obama would make this deal since he thought it would encourage more abductions. I said that the Obama people saw this as a straight-forward POW exchange. And then it hit me. This deal isn’t about Bergdahl. It isn’t about leaving no man behind. It isn’t about the Gitmo 5. And it’s not about distracting from the VA scandal (the lapdog media will take care of that).

This deal is about legitimizing the Taliban.

OK, that’s a bit harsh. It’s more accurate to say that this about setting the stage for post-war Afghanistan. Karzai is a lame duck and will soon be replaced. His successor may not last long after we leave. Either the Taliban will take over or they will be part of a power-sharing agreement. The United States has been negotiating directly with the Taliban for a while, trying to bring more moderate elements to the fore (the Taliban is not a monolithic organization, but is a coalition of powers ranging from somewhat moderate to absurdly extreme).

I think this is aimed directly at building a relationship with the Taliban. It is not a coincidence that this happened just after we announced the timetable for leaving Afghanistan. The Obama Administration has seen the writing on the wall — the Taliban will rule Afghanistan again. And they’re trying to establish a relationship with Afghanistan’s future government.

Whether that’s a good or a bad thing only history will tell. I don’t think we have much of a choice. We can’t stay and nation-build in Afghanistan forever. The only force that will rid Afghanistan of fundamentalism is the Afghan people deciding they don’t want it anymore. Our main priority has to be making sure that terrorist organizations are not allowed to flourish in postwar Afghanistan.

Will this prisoner swap with the Taliban help? I’m very dubious. But I think that’s what’s going on here.

The Return of the Taliban

So it’s come to this:

Afghanistan’s president on Tuesday endorsed a “code of conduct” issued by an influential council of clerics that activists say represents a giant step backward for women’s rights in the country.

President Hamid Karzai’s Tuesday remarks backing the Ulema Council’s document, which allows husbands to beat wives under certain circumstances and encourages segregation of the sexes, is seen as part of his outreach to insurgents like the Taliban.

Both the U.S. and Karzai hope that the Taliban can be brought into negotiations to end the country’s decade-long war. But activists say they’re worried that gains made by women since 2001 may be lost in the process.

The hope is to bring the less insane factions of the Taliban into the coalition. But I suspect this ends with either a slightly less horrifying version of pre-invasion Afghanistan law or, at best, a tolerance of full shariah wherever people want to practice it.

I slept on this before posting and my two-word reaction as not changed: fuck ‘em.

We tried to fix the country. God knows we tried. We sacrificed thousands of our best citizens, hundreds of billions of dollars and ten years. We gave them every chance of progressing to, if not the 21st century, at least maybe the 18th. It was not good enough. A substantial fraction of the Afghan people want this. A substantial fraction are fine with a system that kills and mutilates women if they step out of line and keeps them and their children condemned to barbarism.

It pains me to abandon 15 million Afghan women and untold future generations to this. But I don’t see that there is anything we can do to prevent the nation’s suicide. Maybe we open up immigration for people willing to put all of it behind them. And we should maintain enough of an over-the-horizon presence to prevent the rise of another Al-Quada (although, without bin Laden, it’s unlikely another one could rise). But we’re done. The only thing that will stop this horror is when the Afghan people decide they’ve had enough.

More US Deaths In Afghanistan

Here is a question for the group ,” Does anyone think that Afghan forces will ever be combat ready and able to defend their own country against the Taliban? Does anyone think that the Afghan people will gain the will and the desire instilled by nationalistic pride to fight for and protect their own nation? I ask these questions because if the answer is NO, to either, then what’s the point?

At least 13 U.S. troops were killed in Kabul on Saturday when a suicide bomber struck a vehicle in a NATO military convoy, a U.S. military official said.

Details are sketchy, could be more US deaths and certainly more NATO and civilian deaths.

We see this phenomenon all the time in the investing world, called the sunk cost fallacy, where good money is thrown after bad because any diminution would be a sign of failure or a mistake, so instead of admitting a bad hand and folding, we go all in hoping (praying) that some serendipitous event will save us. We see this all time with economic aid, backing the wrong regime, the wrong tin horned dictator because at the time it seemed like a wise move. But when conditions change and events turn against us, the aid continues because, well, we stop it would prove that we (the government) was wrong, and would erode the confidence of the folks. With Afghanistan , it is too late.

Afghanistan is doomed because on both sides of the equation, ours and theirs, there is no credible foundation of competence. On Our side, we have this:

Washington has indicated its willingness to negotiate with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and now regards his involvement as crucial to the prospects for peace in Afghanistan, Hillary Clinton has said.

And on their side, we have this:

Afghanistan would back rival Pakistan in a war with America, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday.

What’s the old saying, “With friends like these……………….”?

Playing from a position of weakness, America has never been able to trust Karzai for the simple fact that he is a weasel, he is untrustworthy. State has always assumed that democracy is hard, an acquired skill with a sharp learning curve, but under proper supervision, boat loads of cash, and the patience of Job, something could be cabled together to resemble a free democratic state.

A worthy endeavor, and deserving of our patience and money, initially. But more and more stuff has been revealed about Karzai. He has always played both sides against the middle, taking our money and aid while offering to do our bidding, but ditto that with Iran, who’s interests are a bit different then ours.

Factor in that the Taliban is supplied with substantial funding from the local drug trade, and who is the head honcho, the Tony Montana of the drug trade? Karzai’s little brother. This “intimacy” that Karzai has with the Taliban, is not a secret, yet, we play ball with him like he is on our side, how stupid. Drugs and billions in cash flow in and out of Kabul, right under our noses, but he let’s us play soldier in his back yard, so we don’t interfere. But he does interfere with us, hindering out capabilities by demanding that the NATO led coalition stop carrying out night raids and limit airstrikes.

As it stand now, the official hand off date is 2014, the full transfer of the security responsibilities to the Afghan government, with the proviso that if the situation warrants and they are not ready, we stay longer, how encouraging? 9 years of training their security forces already, training folks who’s allegiance is a total crap shoot, training Afghans who is just as likely to turn that gun around and shoot his trainer, or after learning everything he can about our training and methods, go join the Taliban.

I think it is time that American forces apply my Iraq Doctrine, that we will stay in your flea bitten sand chocking loyalty challenged country but here is the deal, American forces stay behind great big walls, secured from suicide bombers, and we advise, that is all we do, advise. The heavy lifting, the going out on missions, going into harm’s way and doing the actual fighting, that is all on you. It is your country, it’s time to fight for it.