Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Isn't It Time for an Intervention with the Pentagon?

Yippee! America has appointed a new uniform to run the Afghanistan war, General Stan the Man McChrystal, and his solution is, wait for it, let's start again - from scratch - with a lot more troops.

Forget about the past eight years. Pretend they never happened. New general, new army, new war.

McChrystal wants to replicate the Iraq Surge in Afghanistan, oblivious to the enormous differences between Afghanistan and Iraq. He assumes that Iraq surge actually accomplished something which is anything but apparent. Did extra troops on the ground stop the murderous carnage in Baghdad or did it simply coincide with the completion of the ethnic cleansing campaigns in Baghdad neighbourhoods? Did it resolve even one of the major issues Arab/Arab (Shia v. Sunni) or Arab/Kurd that can plunge Iraq into civil war? Of course not.

McChrystal wants to pretend that he's still fighting the Taliban insurgency instead of a far broader-based and steadily expanding resistance that has now transformed into a nascent civil war. He wants to pretend that there exists a viable central government in Kabul and pretend that it's capable of being defended.

McChrystal wants to ignore the impact of the past eight years that, implied in his logic, have been squandered. He doesn't want to acknowledge that counter-insurgent forces (that'd be us) have a very limited shelf-life before they morph from liberator-defender to occupier-oppressor.

It's hard not to feel sympathy for McChrystal for he really has no good choices. Either he plays the dysfunctional fantasy game or he has to run up the white flag and say it's time to di di mau right out of Afghanisnam.

The only person who can take McChrystal out of this hopeless situation is his Commander in Chief. Barack Obama needs to realize that Afghanistan is no longer a military challenge looking for a military response. It's now a mainly political challenge, one that no general, no army and no new war can resolve.

1 comment:

LeDaro said...

Afghanistan is a totally different world, socially and culturally, compared to US and West. The two shall never meet. It does not matter whether the solution is political or non-political. West can offer no solution after 8 years, botched invasion, and mistrust of the Western forces.