Abdullah Abdullah says he won’t participate in Afghanistan’s run-off election because it will be too crooked, so crook Hamid Karzai wins. Everything we do in AfPak from now on, counterinsurgency-wise, will be in support of what is likely the most corrupt government on earth. It will be a national sin if President Obama and Congress go along with Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s demand that we escalate our war there.
If we bow to McChrystal’s scheme, we’ll be fighting the Taliban and other organizations that have a more legitimate claim to power than Karzai has. We won’t be conducting counterinsurgency. We, in fact, are the insurgents in Afghanistan. We’re the ones who put the crook in power; we’re the ones keeping him there. How many more G.I.s need to die for that? How much more national debt is it worth?
Now there’s a question as to whether to hold the runoff election at all. State Secretary Hillary Clinton says it will be a legitimate election, whether it’s crooked, which it will be if it’s held, or if it’s not held at all. Hillary’s enough to make you pine for Condi Rice. The important thing, according to Hillary, is that Karzai agreed to have a crooked runoff election.
There is nothing whatsoever legitimate about Afghanistan’s electoral process or its government or its so-called security forces. Karzai’s mob makes Tony Soprano’s crew look like a pack of Campfire Girls.
The important thing is that we have a “legitimate” partner in Afghanistan so we can execute a full bore counterinsurgency campaign, one that will likely last five or ten years or more, and kill a lot of people, and cost a lot of money, and justify making the U.S. Army bigger. So we’ll just call Karzai “legitimate” and he will be. It’s all about image. This administration, apparently, is no more interested in reality than the last one was.
Robert Maginnis, who was part of Donald Rumsfeld’s Retired Military Analyst propaganda program, is one of the latest neocon hatchet men to demand that Obama roll over on his back and pant and give Gen. Stanley McChrystal whatever he wants. In a op-ed piece for Human Events (Ann Coulter’s “editorial home”), Maginnis shucks and jives about how the Soviets lost in Afghanistan because the politburo wouldn’t give their general all the troops he needed.
Maginnis doesn’t know his history from his elbow. The Soviets had about as many troops in Afghanistan as McChrystal is asking to get now (roughly 110,000 troops at one point). Maginnis and others also dance around a Vietnam statistic that we all need to consider: in 1969 we had a half-million troops in Vietnam. Did. Not. Win.
We can pour two million troops into Afghanistan and they’ll accomplish little more than get shot at. There is no such thing as “victory” in this kind of war. Victory in war is when Emperor Hirohito steps on the deck of a battleship and signs a paper that says “uncle-san.” We’re not going to get that in Afghanistan.
We can barely sort out the good guys from the bad in Afghanistan. There are several flavors of Taliban, and a variety assortment of Islamo-ganstas besides. Then you have the warlords who are mostly aligned with Karzai. What’s going on in Afghanistan makes our wild west look tame. We’ll never sort it out.
Scott Ritter, a former Marine officer and former chief UN weapons inspector, has a superb essay on the web titled “McChrystal Doesn’t Get It—Does Obama?”
“Obama may have won the Nobel Peace Prize,” Ritter says, “but if he allows himself to be bullied into supporting McChrystal’s foray into Afghanistan, he will reveal himself as the worst kind of warmonger.”
“If he decides to reinforce failure in Afghanistan by dispatching tens of thousands more American troops to that disaster,” Ritter adds, “America’s 44th president will cement himself as a grand fraud, a hawk hiding in dove feathers.”
Strong words, but apt ones. Obama was a grand fool to call Afghanistan a “war of necessity.” Well, people have to say things to get elected, and Candidate Obama had to say something to deflect criticism over Senator Obama’s vote against the Iraq surge. (Which was, in fact, the right way to vote. Iraq is a cluster bomb wrapped in a goat rope. We should have followed the advice of the Iraq Study Group—we’d be out of that desert swamp by now.)
Ritter’s right when he uses the term “bullied.” The Pentagon’s top brass are more out of control than they have been since Air Force Gen. Curtis Lemay, who advocated preemptive nuclear war against the Soviets.
Lemay was a four-star basket case. So, it seems, is Stanley McChrystal, the commando general who barely eats or sleeps and who wants us to turn medieval Afghanistan into a 21st century country, even if it takes till the 22nd century to do it.
Coin (counterinsurgency) has replaced airpower as the false-gold standard of America’s national security. Building Afghanistan into a real nation from the sub-basement up won’t make us any safer, but it will give our military, specifically our Army, a reason to justify its budget.
As to Karzai, lipstick neocon Joe Lieberman thinks the guy’s a peach. "I think it's time for us to stop beating up on President Karzai and start building up President Karzai and his government to be the government we need." If we’re going to take a pig to the prom, let’s at least put a pink dress on it, eh Joe?
We’ve been fighting a war with the puppet we have, Joe argues. It’s time to turn him into the puppet we need.
What a crock of bull feathers.