Robert Redford and George Segal starred in Hot Rock, a movie, where they try to pull off a scam and hypnotize a bank clerk to go into a trance at the words “Afghanistan banana stand”.
In a true case of life imitating art, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, a retired Army general and former commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, has warned the State Department against any further buildup of American forces in the country, because of the corruption and ineffectiveness of the Afghan government.
This comes right at the critical time before Obama has to render his decision on whether to send in more troop or not, and if so, how many?
This has to be having a hypnotic effect on everyone watching this spin around.
Here’s the deal. We didn’t go into Afghanistan with the idea of nation building, we went there to wipe out the Taliban. The Afghan people are literally about 2000 years behind the rest of human civilization and if we had 1000 years to turn them from a collection of rival stone-age tribes into a solid democracy, we might be able to, but even then it’s doubtful.
Karzai is ineffectual and corrupt. True. So will be the next Afghan president, and the next, forever and ever amen. General McChrystal wants 40,000 more troops to wipe out the Taliban and eliminate them as a major threat to us and the Middle East. This is a good idea because if they aren’t wiped out, Pakistan will fall to them and the Taliban will become a nuclear power.
Ambassador Eikenberry thinks our main goal is to make a democracy out of Afghanistan and sees the utter futility of it ever happening. Therefor he sees no reason to keep fighting there. He’s right that Afghanistan will never be a unified country, let alone a democratic one but he’s wrong in thinking the Taliban isn’t much of a threat.
Obama, and you watch, will agree with Ambassador Eikenberry and send only a token number of troops compared to what Gen. McChrystal is asking for, at most maybe 20,000. Or, he’ll send the 30,000 but quietly arrange for them to go in small groups dragged out over time instead of flooding them in, which will result in as many being furloughed back to the U.S. as fresh troops are embarked. One way or another, Afghanistan will not get the needed troops to win the war. That’s what I predict, because it’s obviously going to happen.
I’ve been wrong only partially, just once in the past four years of ranting about this stuff. Maybe this will make time number two out of hundreds of predictions, but I doubt it.
This is crucial stuff. Without the troops necessary to win, we will lose. What could be simpler or easier to understand than that? If we lose, the Taliban wins. If they win, they will topple the Pakistani government, which is weak and corrupt now as it is. If they take over Pakistan, they will have an estimated 100 atomic bombs and the means to deliver them.
Then what? Still sleepy?
Right in the middle of this genuine national security crisis, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed that he had seen evidence that Pakistan is rapidly increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal, very likely with the money we’ve been sending them for payrolls and equipment for the army they’ve supposedly been expanding but haven’t been.
What in Hell do the Pakis want with a whole bunch more nukes? Hmmm. They’re still VERY belligerant with India, next door, who also has lots of nukes, and of course Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia are all trying to get nukes and all of them are trying to be top Arab. Then there’s those nuclear armed Jews…
As unstable as Pakistan is, this is the worst possible time to be increasing an arsenal that already has everyone else worried about its safety and security. Remember it was the head Paki nuke scientist who was selling off A-bomb plans and parts to other Arab nations, and hardly got a smack on the wrist for it.
Whatever they have in mind, it can’t possibly be good, but here’s one scenario: Those in power see the end coming with the takeover by the Taliban, so they’re making deals to sell A-bombs to Saudi Arabia and possibly other majority Sunni Muslim nations. Iran is mostly Shiite. In other words, we may be about to see nuclear proliferation in the Middle East happen practically overnight and those selling the bombs will retire in splendor in Qatar. Or London.