Watching the last two weeks or so in the White House, gives me the sense that the decision is going to be the wrong one. There are three possible choices that Obama has; one is to take his hand-picked general’s advice and send 40,000 more troops. It will stress our military and the logistical challenges are serious. Afghanistan is land-locked and the neighbors are not friendly. Russia will try to create problems, as they already have in Kyrgyzstan. They do not want us to succeed yet they may fear total failure. In the meantime, they are making serious trouble.
And then, this development.
it’s an open secret the Taliban are headquartered across the border in the city of Quetta, Pakistan, where they operate openly under the aegis of Pakistani intelligence — and the financial sponsorship of the Saudis.
Sending more troops to Afghanistan is a necessary, albeit unfortunate, rear-guard action against marauding Taliban fighters armed, trained, supplied and deployed from Quetta — and funded from Riyadh.
NATO and U.S. military command know this. They’ve complained about it over and over in military action reports. So have Treasury officials regarding Saudi funding of the Taliban.
“Saudi Arabia today remains the location where more money is going to terrorism — to Sunni terror groups and the Taliban — than any other place in the world,” testified Stuart Levey, Treasury undersecretary.
This is Viet Nam all over again. The enemy has a sanctuary and our allies are siding secretly with our enemies.
Well, today, there is another bit of information
He was stationed there and knows the country.
Throughout the “war on terror” the Pakistanis have played at best an ambivalent game, and usually a duplicitous one. Pakistan’s government is a badly splintered one; when I served there, one was never sure with whom one was speaking and making a deal–and it has gotten worse. So, yes, Pakistan is an “enemy” to the extent that their heart is not in the WOT, but it is an enemy with grave divisions and factions that want certain other factions killed or otherwise neutralized. The Pakistani military, for example, as a rule, still relatively jihadi free, does not, despite public statements to the contrary, really object to our drone attacks on militants in the tribal areas. There are wheels within wheels within Matryoska dolls within Matryoska dolls. So, again, for example, one can never be sure what side the powerful ISI (Pakistan’s intel service) is on any given day.
By invading Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11, we did the right thing. Taking out the Taliban and the AQ had a powerful impact upon jihadis around the world. They never expected that the US would dare launch an invasion of Afghanistan, that it would be mounted so quickly, and carried out so efficiently. It was a stunner.
The usually reliable Spengler (David Goldman) has some thoughts on where we are going.
To speak of an “exceptional culture” would be a pleonasm; national cultures are unique by construction. Nonetheless some cultures may be radically exceptional. Unlike all the other nations of the world, America’s Exceptionalism rests on a political culture informed by the biblical idea of covenant – not on common language, race, borders, or history. That is why the US emerged as the survivor out of the 20th century while the ethnocentric cultures of Europe plunged into mutual destruction.
Can we pull out of the decline we seem to be experiencing ? We must establish some priorities. First we must fix our economy.
Transfer payments as a percentage of national income.
Doing something about this would be a start.
I am reading Any Chua’s new book, The Triple Package, about why some children excel, especially the children of immigrants. They emphasize culture. We are in a downward spiral and the Islamic threat is not the only one. For one example, they point out that an outstanding immigrant group is Nigerians. Many years ago, when I was a resident on surgery, we had a medical student name Manny Mba. He was a member of the Ibo tribe of Nigeria and the Biafra civil war occurred around that time. Her book stirs some memories. But first we have to get out of Afghanistan.