Welp, it looks like more and more Dems are coming around to Senator Russ Feingold's point of view on Afghanistan. And none too soon, given the recent news of rowdy fratboy misbehaviour by U.S. citizens in this deeply conservative Islamic nation.
What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan, anyway? It's a pointless war. The idea was to go in, get bin Laden and whoever else is in charge in al-Qaeda, and get the fuck out. But now, General Stanley McChrystal, top American commander in Afghanistan, is asking for more U.S. troops. And NATO is purportedly planning to increase its commitment to Afghanistan, according to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary-general of NATO. "As long as it takes," says Rasmussen. As long as WHAT takes, sir? What are you hoping to accomplish?
Afghanistan is a pathetically poor nation, historically torn by fighting. Everyone seems to want a piece of that poverty-stricken land, beginning with Sikandar (Alexander the Great to you Greco-Romanists), and moving through Britain and Russia to the United States, and now an alliance of Western powers fronted by NATO. So far, no one's had much luck winning a war there. The British gave up after multiple defeats. The defeat of the Russians occurred within our own lifetimes. And now the US/NATO Coalition of Teh Stupid is getting ground to dust.
Clausewitz has this, among other things, to say about war:
War is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different means.Given that Clausewitz is somewhat of an authority on war, it would behoove both NATO and the US to remember that. And what are the politics of Afghanistan?
Historically, Afghanistan has been a land of warring tribes, fierce and intransigent, deeply committed to a harsh version of the Muslim faith it adopted circa 650 AD. United for a little over a century into a kingdom comprising multiple dynasties and tribal alliances, these tribes have long resisted any semblance of comity, being more likely to invest their energies in settling grievances with each other by whatever means and having long since grown adept at manipulating foreigners against each other for their own survival and vengeance.
Thus, the question restates itself: What are the political aims of the U.S. and NATO in Afghanistan? Uniting the country? That seems laughable. There is no "country of Afghanistan," only a series of tribes that have fought each other for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years and will continue to fight each other long after the latest in a series of invaders has been crushed into exhaustion by the hostile climate, terrain, and natives. (READ MORE)