Whenever I read of politicians or generals spouting off about Afghanistan I'm reminded of that old saying about how everyone's entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. I think we're much too often fed opinions that are based on either outright lies or incomplete facts cherry picked and deployed in isolation.
For example consider Hamid Karzai. No one ever wants to address the total futility of "the mission" to Afghanistan in the context of the criminal enterprise that is the Karzai government. Let's face it. With the help of some of the most despicable, brutal warlords in a country full of despicable, brutal warlords, Karzai stole the last election. His very office is a proceed of crime and yet we're turning to Hamid, expecting him to purge corruption from the Afghan government which, of course, will necessitate purging the criminality and corruption rife in the Afghan economy at the same time. This guy is a glorified mayor of Kabul, governing only at the sufferance of thugs, murderers and rank criminals, and we expect him to get rid of them? C'mon.
Then there's this fantasy of a nascent Afghan National Army. This, most warlike nation has had eight years to field an army capable of defending the place. We've provided training, weaponry, money, the lot. After eight long years, the Afghan National Army ought at the very least to be able to train its own recruits. It ought to be able to field an effective, independent force to fight the Taliban.
Look at it this way. If you were footing the bill for your kid's university education and, after eight years, he/she told you they were making great progress toward that BA and wouldn't need your help at all in just another 15-years, what would you do?
Let's face facts. These guys are jerking our chain. They've grown dependent on our civilian and military support. We enable them to rake in fortunes from the drug trade while we hold the Taliban at bay for them. For an Afghan, this is the ultimate gravy train. And that, sadly, is how Hamid Karzai continues to cling to power.
Enough nonsense. These guys can build as a good an army as they want to build within two years, max. Watch how fast they do just that when we tell them we're gone in two years. The tribal elders won't be sending their village idiots down to the recruiting centres any longer. The locals won't be indifferent to the enormous desertion problem anymore either. Not when the only chain they'll have left to jerk is their own.