Saturday, January 31, 2009

Out of Afghanistan

Dear President Obama: Get out of Afghanistan before you repeat the disasters of history. There is no reason to be there and no benefit in escalating our presence there.  Read your history books.

Osama bin Laden is hiding somewhere in the caves on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.  He has been there for 8 years.  His capacity to direct operations for al-Qaeda are nil.  What difference does it make if he rots in that cave or we kill him?  His death isn't worth the blood of one more American soldier.  It is time to bring our troops home from both Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our 'missions' have been accomplished, whatever they were.  It is time for America to take care of America for a change.

President Obama already has blood on his hands after ordering a drone to fire a missile on one of those 'suspected' so-called terrorist homes in Waziristan, killing the 'suspect' as well as his family, including three children.  Is this the way to win the hearts and minds of the locals?  How many more young men joined the Taliban because of that missile strike?

The Pashtuis, who occupy the large majority of Afghanistan and into Pakistan, represent a culture and tradition totally at odds with American culture.  We cannot hope to 'deal' with the Pashtunwali ethical code that pervades these people.  It is an honor code, a set of moral codes and rules of behavior that do not fit well into the American military agenda.  Customs that include revenge, patronage, tribal elders, sanctuary, and blood feuds are much too complex for western cultures to fully understand.

Thus, when it was suggested that the Petraeus model that he developed for Iraq be moved into Afghanistan, the folly of it belies the ignorance of Americans.  We cannot possibly 'bring freedom' to the Pashtuns; they always have been 'free.'  If this is so, what does our foreign policy hope to gain in this 15th century land?

Will President Obama be caught up in the same net in which Lyndon Johnson was snagged in Vietnam in 1964?  More escalation, more bombing, more troops did nothing to improve the quagmire which sank our troops deeper and deeper into that mess.  I hope not, but, at his point in his presidency, I'm not convinced that he, too, could be snared.

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