Friday, May 8, 2009

You Forgot Afghanistan


Who among us didn't see this coming? Well, the Republican Party, for starters.

The Pentagon's war budget for next year shows that Afghanistan has been slated to receive $65 billion or four billion more than Iraq. The biggest reason, of course, for this uptick in war spending in Afghanistan is due to President Obama's own 21,000 troop surge in that country that will take place just before we wind things down in Iraq.

It comes off as looking like a shell game on the part of the current administration and that's the tack I'd expect the GOP to take when it becomes obvious even to them that that war had gone south. But let's not forget on whose watch we'd essentially forgotten about Afghanistan, keeping troop levels at more or less the original fighting strength of 15,000 for years and years and years on end.

Which only allowed the Taliban that we'd uprooted and dispersed to eventually retake key cities and provinces. All they had to do was hide in the hills and wait for us to start spinning our wheels. After nearly eight years of unending American occupation, Afghanistan is still one of the poorest countries on earth, in which corruption is rampant, the opium trade is still flourishing and Afghani policemen and security forces are hampered by lack of money and even weapons. In short, just like Iraq, never a serious sober thought was given to nation-building.

Afghanistan, as with Iraq, is, thanks to the Bush administration, something else with which Obama will have to deal and I haven't even mentioned the nuclear nightmare that is Pakistan. And Obama's political capital was somewhat eroded when it had come out that we'd reportedly helped to kill 147 Afghani civilians in a firefight with suspected Taliban militants, a figure that our military, of course, is hotly denying as if Bush was still in office. Back in 2007, a US-led strike contributed to the deaths of up to 133 civilians in one day.

Charlie Wilson, where are you when we need you?

1 Comments:

At May 8, 2009 at 5:37 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Always the "suspected" Taliban militants. Aren't we supposed to be looking for al-Qaeda, who committed the criminal act of terrorism way back when. . .

Why are we compelling the Afghan Army to fight Talibs? Why are we encroaching on Pakistan? Sure they're a powder keg, but how is our poking a stick into the hornet's nest making our lives safer?

And. . . where is al-Qaeda, and why are we getting bogged down in their muck?

 

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