Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The End of Afghanistan

What have we learned from our involvement in Afghanistan: Absolutely nothing. Daniel Greenfield's brilliant analysis of our misguided and wasted efforts there are a blueprint for all our endeavors in the Islamic world.


The End of Afghanistan
Tuesday, 19 July 2011 04:52 Daniel Greenfield

It's no coincidence that some of the most explosive Taliban violence coincides with the first phase of withdrawal from Afghanistan. The successful attacks on top Afghan officials are about more than just Taliban boldness and their need to establish credit for driving us out, but also about changing loyalties.

Obama has made it clear that Karzai has no future, and that means that a growing realignment is happening in Afghanistan. With two sides to choose from, one that is on the way out, and one that is on the way in, a new tide of support is flowing away from the American backed government and to the Taliban.

Much the same thing happened in the early days when the Allied assault smashed the Taliban and made it clear that they had no future. As the war dragged on, warlords and tribal leaders changed sides, and collected money and weapons from both sides. Now that we are preparing to leave, they are going to be lining up on the winning side.

Afghanistan is the Muslim world at its most elementally tribal with fewer of the mock civilized interfaces between the Westerner and the ragged edge of the frontier than are found in Pakistan or the Middle East.

The Taliban took power there in the same way that Mohammed once did in the Arabian desert, by packing together ruthless brutality and a fanatical religious ideology. Their coalition was based on naked power and terror. Ours was based on foreign aid, elections and soldiers digging wells. It's not that we never had a shot, but that we were trying to impose order on what is really a permanent state of chaos.

Even before the choppers have begun taking off, the chaos is reclaiming the land. The Islamists will return, celebrate their victory, and fall into another civil war. Without foreign troops there to target, they will not be able to count on the same level of aid from the Muslim world. Which will move the clock back to before the American invasion.

Kabul will hold out for a while, but eventually it will fall, and all the NGO's, the girls we taught to read, the elections and the laws will all go back under the Burqa. A counter-Taliban force will remain and the fighting will continue. Though the new conflict will now extend into Pakistan.

Karzai is not a dead man yet. If he survives every betrayal that comes his way, he may still hold out for years. And American advisers and arms shipments may still keep flowing his way. More likely we will try to replace him, and even more likely we will fail. The story will play out the same way that it did in Vietnam and the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Not because it was foretold, but because we lost sight of what the mission was.

The same mission creep took hold in Afghanistan and Iraq, that has taken hold in most of our wars. We stopped fighting to destroy an enemy and began trying to win the hearts and minds of the population. No longer as a means, but as an end.

Article continues HERE.