Afghanistan is proving to be an unsalvageable mess. And the 93,000 U.S. troops are stuck in a no-win situation.
Several issues make the U.S. campaign untenable.
There’s the immense amount of corruption. President Hamid Karzai, the beneficiary of a rigged election, protects the worst sort of warlords and drug lords under his cape, the foremost being his own stepbrother, Ahmad Wali Karzai.
Afghan troops under Karzai’s command are in disarray, bringing into question if they’ll ever be able to be molded into an effective fighting force.
In addition, there are overtures being made to the Taliban, the very entity the United States is fighting.
Pakistan has also been furiously maneuvering to get the upper hand in its never-ending strategic game with India, with army chief Ashfaq Kayani and intelligence head honcho Ahmed Shuja Pasha making repeated trips to Afghanistan to ensure that a government friendly to Pakistan is lodged into place. (Pakistan continues to shelter and provide succor to the Taliban leadership.)
Then, there’s the huge cost of the Afghan operation—both human and financial.
Plus, there’s the whole danger of blowback from the campaign.
By exiting Afghanistan, Obama would be adhering to the wishes of the American people.
Political figures are also increasingly staking out a position in opposition to the war effort. Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Representative David Obey, Democrat of Wisconsin, are introducing an amendment to the $33 billion supplemental war funding request that would require a firm timetable and a “significant withdrawal” of U.S. troops by July 2011. Ninety-eight members of Congress have already signed on. (Senator Russell Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, has introduced a counterpart bill in the Senate.) In June 2009, a majority of House Democrats voted for a McGovern amendment that would have required the Pentagon to come up with an exit strategy.
But instead of listening to these voices, the U.S. government seems to be set on entrenchment in Afghanistan. The Obama Administration needs to reverse course and start planning a way to actually leave the country.
This is but a small excerpt from Amitabh Pal's Comment in the August issue of The Progressive magazine. To read the essay in its entirety, to get the rest of the August issue online, and to subscribe for the whole year for only $14.97, simply click here.