Thursday, March 15, 2007

Afghanistan for dummies

David Seaton's News Links
Michael Scheuer (Mr. Anonymous of "Hubris") has written an article detailing the "West's" ("West" is code for "white folks") failures in Afghanistan.

As Afghanistan hasn't much to do with oil and almost nothing to do with Israel, there was little interest or resources devoted in Washington to thinking about the problem, but although it is oil-less and does not jeopardize the Jewish state, the defeat in Afghanistan may be more far-reaching in its effects than the defeat in Iraq will ever be.

NATO as a symbol of the "West", (white folks) is being broken in Afghanistan and that may have much more historic significance than "losing" Iraq. There will always be access to oil for those with ready money, but after several hundred years of pale-skinned domination, finally breaking completely the mystic of the "White Man's Burden", will be the geopolitical equivalent of Global Warming. DS

Michael Scheuer: A catalogue of errors in Afghanistan - Asia Times
Abstract: Afghanistan is again being lost to the West, even as a coalition force of more than 5,000 troops launches a major spring offensive in the south of the country. The insurgency may drag on for many months or several years, but the tide has turned. Like Alexander's Greeks, the British and the Soviets before the US-led coalition, inferior Afghan insurgents have forced far superior Western military forces on to a path that leads toward evacuation. What has caused this scenario to occur repeatedly throughout history? In the most general sense, the defeat of Western forces in Afghanistan occurs repeatedly because the West has not developed an appreciation for the Afghans' toughness, patience, resourcefulness and pride in their history. Although foreign forces in Afghanistan are always more modern and better armed and trained, they are continuously ground down by the same kinds of small-scale but unrelenting hit-and-run attacks and ambushes, as well as by the country's impenetrable topography that allows the Afghans to retreat, hide, and attack another day. The new twist to this pattern faced by the Soviets and now by the US-led coalition is the safe haven the Afghans have found in Pakistan.(...) The latest episode in this historical tradition has several distinguishing characteristics. First, Western forces - while better armed and technologically superior - are far too few in number. Today's Western force totals about 40,000 troops. After subtracting support troops and North Atlantic Treaty Organization contingents that are restricted to non-combat, reconstruction roles - building schools, digging wells, repairing irrigation systems - the actual combat force that can be fielded on any given day is far smaller, and yet has the task of controlling a country the size of Texas that is home to some of the highest mountains on Earth.(...) Western leaders in Afghanistan are also finding that many Afghans are not unhappy to see the Taliban returning. Much of the reason lies in the fact that the US-led coalition put the cart before the horse. Before the 2001 invasion, the Taliban regime was far from loved, but it was appreciated for the law-and-order regime it harshly enforced across most of Afghanistan. Although women had to stay home, few girls could go to school and the odd limb was chopped off for petty offenses, most rural Afghans could count on having security for themselves, their families and their farms and/or businesses. The coalition's victory shattered the Taliban's law-and-order regime and, instead of immediately installing a replacement - for which there were not enough troops in any event - coalition leaders moved on to elections, implementing women's rights and creating a parliament, while the bulk of rural Afghanistan returned to the anarchy of banditry and warlordism that had prevailed before the first Taliban era. Making matters worse was the fact that many of the actions the coalition did successfully undertake - especially elections and women's rights - added to the misery of rural Afghans by appearing to be attacks on millennia-old social, tribal and religious mores. As Afghans were faced with the reality of being in the thrall of criminals, and perceived their culture to be under attack, it is not surprising that the Taliban are finding at least a tepid welcome home. The third problem for the coalition is the amount of time it has spent in Afghanistan. Now in the sixth year of occupation, Western leaders are confronted not only by a stronger-than-2001 enemy, but also by the resurgent insularity and anti-foreign inclinations of the Afghan people. READ IT ALL

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