Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Afghanistan Part I

I went through and read the transcript of President Obama's Afghanistan/Pakistan speech.

And my thoughts on the matter are still unchanged. But I'm going to go through the speech and detail why, just to be objective and all that.

"Many people in the United States and many in partner country that have sacrifices so much have a simple question. What is our purpose in Afghanistan?"

Really? You're just now noticing that is a question? Hmm. What was your first clue? The upswell of public opinion on the polls?

The fact of the matter is that we have no purpose, despite his professed reasons- which sound eerily like something out of the Bush administration. Say hello, once again, to the Bushama Administration.

"Al Qaida and its allies, the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks are in Pakistan and Afghanistan."

Oh. I see now. And it makes so much sense to attack an entire country just to get at a few underground people who are hidden where you'll never find them. Ah, but he already knows that:

"They have used this mountainous terrain as a safe haven to hide, to train terrorists, and communicate with followers, to plot attacks, and to send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan."

Ah. So we're going to fight not one, not two, but three senseless wars on the basis of the fact that these men are...hidden? Uh-huh. I see how this makes sense. We're going to throw our entire army at an underground organization that we will probably never track down.

I say we will never track them down because we haven't yet. We've managed to get what, five of the men who actually knew a single thing beyond "Oh yeah, we were gonna' blow up a building." Yeah, our track record is impressively amazing.

Let's see- Osama bin Laden was first put on the FBI's Most Wanted List in 1998 or thereabouts. Al Qaeda was formed in 1988. That means we have had almost twenty years to catch he or his organization leaders. Twenty years. Twenty years in which we fought four years and wasted lots of time- oh, and we launched some cruise missiles at where we thought bin Laden might be.

Also, one bit of trivia that never ceases to amaze me- we helped the Afghanis get weapons. In fact, we gave them weapons. During the 80s', when the Soviets were locked in a war with the Afghanis for control of their country, we gave the Mujahideen weapons and money. Bin Laden benefited from this in a rather round-about way, by joining a man named Abdullah Azzam in Afghanistan- who was a Mujahideen.

Bin Laden and Azzam created the splinter group Maktab al-Khidamat- which, in the long run, only trained 100 mujahidin and only funneled $2 mil to the Afghan Mujahideen. Al Qaeda rose out of Maktab al-Khidamat. During the Afghan-Soviet war, the US and bin Laden were basically working together, in the common pursuit of getting rid of the Soviet threat.

The Taliban also rose out of the Mujahideen- they replaced the constant fighting of the Mujahideen, with some sort of stability and order. This gave them great popularity amongst ordinary Afghans. And the Taliban also took advantage of the weapons we channeled to Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan war. We created the monster we all hate now.

How ironic.

"But this is not simply an American problem, far from it."

I didn't know Afghanistan was an American problem. Or maybe it is- since we created it, we should fix it....despite the fact the Afghanis didn't want us to fix it. They're tired of us being there, tired of us destroying their way of life, and they just want us to leave.

Neither is Pakistan our problem. Bin Laden may or may not be our problem, but a full-scale invasion of a sovereign country is not the answer.

"For the Afghan people, the return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralyzed economy, and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people, especially, women and girls."

And that works for them. Just like having Saddam worked for the Iraqis. What, are we the International Meanness Police now too?

We have enough problems here at home. Like our economy. This constant warfare is killing us. It is killing our economy, it is killing our military, and it is slowly and surely killing our country. We cannot maintain this steady rate of warfare and conflict without serious consequences.

"A return in force of Al Qaida terrorists who would accompany the core Taliban leadership would cast Afghanistan under the shadow of perpetual violence."

Perhaps President Obama should study his history. Before the Taliban took control, there was constant in-fighting between the Mujahideen. After the Soviets left, the Mujahideen aimlessly turned on each other. The Taliban conquered them. Too bad for the Mujahideen.

And the Taliban brought stability to the region. They established a steady government that worked for them. True, they were a bit kooky and some weird rules (according to us) but it worked for them.

"We are not in Afghanistan to control that country or to dictate its future."

Oh really. So we're just there to....ruin their infrastructure...and kill their people...and destroy their government....and stay there forever...and....dictate...what they can do.

Not the same thing at all.

"We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends, and our allies and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists."

President Obama has a mistaken idea of what terrorism- and terrorists- are. Terrorism is a tactic. Terrorists are the people that use the tactic. In this case, they are Muslim extremists. We cannot 'confront' the terrorists, for the simple reason that a) we have absolutely no idea where they are, b) they won't let us know where they are, and c) did I mention we don't know where they are?

Once again- the decision about their regime is the Afghani peoples'. Yes, the Taliban had quite a hold. But the Afghani people have proven time and time again that they can conquer despite a stronger enemy. If they truly wanted out from under the Taliban, I have no doubt they would do something about it.

They do not need our help for their freedom- especially not so we can impose our idea of what freedom is.

"So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan and to prevent their return to either country in the future."

Ah yes. And how do you plan to do this again, Mr. President?

I guess he shares the mistaken ideas of his predecessor- if we tear up enough roads, kill enough civilians, and dismantle enough regimes, bin Laden will hand himself to us on a silver platter.

Sorry, but I don't think it works that way. Bin Laden has proven that our meddling merely makes his resolve stronger. The more innocent civilians we kill, the more territory of theirs we take over, the more Muslims come around to his way of thinking and join him. We cannot fight a radical ideology with guns and troops.

And maybe, just maybe, the man has a point. Even Hitler had some sort of logic under his depraved, mentally unstable ravings. Bin Laden's point is simple- Americans are inhabiting their countries. We need to leave.

I do not agree with his way of trying to get us to see that. But I definitely agree with his point. We are meddling way too much in the politics and dynamics of that region. We need to stop while we're ahead. And by stop, I mean cease and desist completely. Not leave a few half-hearted squads of soldiers to guard their state secrets, not leave advisors there to continue telling their new regime what to do.

"And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same. We will defeat you."

Keep saying that. If you say it often enough, it might come true!

That we will defeat the terrorists has been the mantra for the past eight years. Guess what. The terrorists are still at large, and there is no indication that our inept intelligence services and our futiley struggling army will be able to catch them any time soon.

"To achieve our goals, we need a stronger, smarter, and comprehensive strategy."

I have one for you- leave the people alone! After all, the strongest way we can make these people see that we mean them no harm is by showing that we trust them to make their own decisions.

Ah but yes...they're just like the average American- too dumb to know what's best for them.

"To enhance the military, governance, and economic capacity of Afghanistan and Pakistan, we have to marshal international support."

That might be difficult to do. Especially in light of the fact that Britain isn't all that keen on the way they got into Iraq....I doubt they'll be feeling too eager to jump head-first into yet more conflicts.

"And to defeat an enemy that heeds no border or laws of war, we must recognize the fundamental connection between the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan..."

If they heed no borders, then we cannot fight them in the conventional sense of the word. They don't have borders. They don't recognize borders. They spread like a disease. There are terrorists everywhere- there are even terrorists here in the US!

The fact of the matter is that we cannot pinpoint where the terrorists are. They could be anywhere in the Middle East, in North Africa, East Africa...practically anywhere in the world. It is impossible to fight them with conventional means.

"Al Qaida and other violent extremists have killed several thousand Pakistanis since 9/11. They've killed many Pakistani soldiers and police. They assassinated Benazir Bhutto. They've blown up buildings, derailed foreign investment, and threatened the stability of the state."

And what are we going to do?

We're going to go in like we went into Afghanistan and Iraq, kill hundreds of thousands of their citizens, destroy their infrastructure, take over their government...and when we get down to it, the terrorists will be long gone.

Look out for Part II.


Teresa said...

1st question: Since the Nazis were spreading an ideology and were located in more than one country do you think that the U.S. should still have gotten involved to stop Hitler?

The reason I am for us stopping the terrorists in Afghanistan and other places is because if we don't then they will be able to spread their ideology even further and wider than it is today, or if we didn't engage our enemy.

2nd Question: Do you think if Reagan could have foreseen that Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban , and Al Qaeda were going to become our enemies that he would have given them weapons?

Hindsight is 20/20. But the future is hard to foretell.

I understand your points, but it is extremely futile to promote peace by ignoring evil(terrorism), or by simply trying to talk with them. That might work in combination with us fighting the global war on terror. But, when ignoring evil, it will eventually find a way to reach you regardless of you going after it. I want to prevent another 9/11 from happening.

Liberty said...

1rst Answer: The Nazis represented a government. The difference between the terrorists and the Nazis is simple: the Nazis actually had control of a country. They were a governmental entity. They declared war on us.

Osama bin Laden does not have control of a country. He can declare war on us- but he is not a country, and it is wrong to invade an entire sovereign country that he does not have control of merely to get him- one man, who has proven he is not easily swayed.

I don't think you read my entire blog post. Our 'wars' are causing mayhem in the Middle East. We are killing their people.

One of Osama's main points against us is the fact that we take way too much preemptive action, and kill Muslims for no reason.

Other Muslims, formerly moderate, will see that he has a point. And they will join him. By preemptively attacking these people, we are creating even more of a problem.

2nd Answer: No, I don't think he could have foreseen it.

But my point was that by our interventionist policies, both now and in the past, we have created more messes, more bloodshed, and caused more havoc than we can even comprehend.

Interventionist policies are wrong. And they are dumb, both long and short-term.

I do not want to ignore terrorism. But I think there is a better way to go about combatting it than a misguided 'war on terror'.

Also, I don't think you understand that...we are bankrupt. Mostly because of these wars. Our interventionist policies are killing us. We cannot go on like this.

Teresa said...

1) Part of the U.S. Military's mission in both Iraq and Afghanistan is building infrastructure.

2) Hitler didn't just rule one country. He ruled Germany and Eastern Europe. His main enemy were Jews, like the Islamic Jihadists main enemy are Westerners , or the West.

3) The CIA do a great job of gaining intelligence. That is why they are located all over the world. So, figuring out where the terrorists are located is not as hard as you think. I am not saying it is easy, but saying it can happen with hard work.

4) If the Taliban had given up Osama Bin Laden then we would not have gone into Afghanistan. After Afganistan established a government they requested the U.S. and its partners to stay to help capture Bin Laden and fight the terrorists.

Liberty said...

Okay, so we're building infrastructure as we tear it down? Sounds like we're defeating our own purpose...

Yes, Hitler invaded other countries. But the point is that he was a ruler. He set up a government. He was not a terrorist. He declared war- AS A COUNTRY. We fought him AS A COUNTRY. That is how it supposed to work.

Terrorists do not work that way. They are not a government; they have no formal army. They are merely a loose coalition of people that happen to think alike.

Really, the difference here is very easy to see.

The CIA don't know where bin Laden is. If they did, we'd have him already. We would have had him already. If they're so great at their job, then why don't we know where the terrorists are? There aren't that many of them.

"After Afganistan established a government..."

Oh, the Afghanis established that? Oh, and all this time I thought WE did. How terribly misguided of me.

You're still refusing to see my point. Did you even read my blog post (which answered 99% of your arguments), or did you just skim through it, then assume you knew what I said?

Son3 said...

The United States declared war on Japan and its ally Germany, not on Hitler or the National Socialist Party; the war went on after Hitler's alleged death.

When a state declares war on an individual(s), that's called a "warrant", not a "war".

Just thought I'd clarify that.

Smithie said...

IMO, the war in Afghanistan is about two things: the Caspian Basin oil; & the enormous opium trade (92% of the world's opium). The TAPI Pipeline is a natural gas pipeline being developed by the Asian Development Bank to transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India. Our troops are being used to guard the construction of that pipeline. Also, the Taliban was destroying the poppy crops & had thrown out the Rothschilds' drug lords. Our troops were used to oust the Taliban, & the opium cultivation has since exploded. As Major General Smedley D. Butler said, "War is a racket. It always has been."

JT Norlander said...

Here's the thing:

Men under Osama Bin Laden's direction KILLED 3000 AMERICANS!

I'm sorry if that INFURIATES ME!

A friend of mine was in Afghanistan, fighting for your freedom.
Respect the war he's fighting.

Respect the reason we are there. The Taliban were an oppressive regime. They WERE a government that by hiding Al Quaida operatives when we asked that they be handed over basically said, "screw you, we're not gonna help you."
That's enough of a declaration of war to me.

Warrior of the Light

Liberty said...

But does their killing of 3000 of our own justify our going there and killing hundreds of thousands of theirs?

I'm sorry if that makes me just a little leery of these conflicts.

I do not respect the professed reason we are there. We attacked a sovereign country because Osama bin Laden might have been in Afghanistan. Do you really think that justifies the cost in human lives, and in funds our country does not have?

JT Norlander said...

We're already using funds the country doesn't have, courtesy of the Obama Administration.

And yes, you are extremely mistaken if you think we've killed hundreds of thousands of their civilians.

Life is life to me. I don't value the life of an american above that of a afghani.

But when the Taliban sponsors Osama and helps to fund his effort against America, I call that a declaration of war, just like Japan declared war on us when they attacked Pearl Harbor.

And the military cost of lives: They know what they're getting into when they go in. Aside from the absolute dummy or three, men and women in the Armed Forces know there is always the chance for death while on duty. That is their choice. That's why our army is made up of volunteers.


Son3 said...

"A friend of mine was in Afghanistan, fighting for your freedom.
Respect the war he's fighting."

I would laugh, but it's truly sad. That war has nothing to do with American freedom, and it is pure idiocy to think it does.

And even if the purpose of the U.S. military's presence in the Afghan conflict was to keep us free, they've done a freakishly bad job of it!

Our allegiance and respect goes to the Constitution, buddy, not to a war.

JT Norlander said...

I'm not saying our allegiance should go to a war. Never did, don't put words in my mouth.

And he was over there fighting for your freedom. What do you think will happen if all our military stopped fighting the terrorists and the nations that sponsor them?

We would be attacked, and attacked, and attacked, until we no longer could stand, and would then fall to tyranny or foreign occupation. Maybe it wouldn't happen in your lifetime, but it would happen eventually if we did not go over there to fight.

So he IS fighting for your freedom, and the freedom of future generations.

People seem to think that the USA will always be around. We take it for granted that we are a world power.
The balance of that power hangs by a thread.


Son3 said...

Perhaps you could explain, then, how it is that the founding fathers, with the exception of the federalists, were very much against the idea of a standing army?

JT Norlander said...

I don't think the Founding Fathers were infallible, and therefore I think they were wrong in not-supporting a standing army.

I think the reasons they didn't is because in that day, militia would have defended them from threats just fine. The Indians could be contained and fought if they raided with militia, the French and British in Canada could be kept back, and with the speed of sailing ships to cross the Atlantic, the states would have had plenty of warning to assemble an army of militia to meet a threat.

But they are wrong because with today's advent of faster ships and airplanes. The times have changed, and a standing army is necessary to defend our country.

That's just my speculation and educated guess.
And I'm not sure how this goes against what I said above.
If we didn't have a standing army to defend us, we would be beat down into the dust and trod upon.


Liberty said...

Or, JT, we could just mind our own business and things would be better- much better. Because we went and messed in the Middle East, we created bin Laden and the Taliban. Our fault. We had a hand in creating Japan, and we were attacked by them.

If we just minded our own business and didn't go messing in other country's affairs, we'd be just fine. But we don't- or can't- mind our own business. We've got to go intervening in others' affairs.

If we didn't, a standing army would not be necessary- unless, of course, you feel the need to have it on hand to keep the people down.

Teresa said...

What kind of life do you think the Afghanis were living before the U.S. entered Afghanistan?

Minding our own business got the U.S. attacked on both 9/11 and on Pearl Harbor. Minding your own business as you refer to it as, is really incompetence that causes suffering to our citizens.

Liberty said...

Teresa- Are you an Afghan? Am I an Afghan? Um, no.

It is not that I don't feel sorry for the Afghani people. BUT, it is not our government's place to go on a crusade for fair treatment for all. Goodness knows our own people don't get treated fairly by our own government. We have enough problems here, let alone the rest of the world's!

We haven't minded our own business since before WWI. Before that even, in fact. We were being imperialistic, arrogant idiots who couldn't even stay at home and deal with our own problems.

The Japanese caused Pearl Harbor. That, and FDR the Traitor, who conveniently dangled a prime target in front of the Japanese- who later regretted ever attacking us.

9/11 was caused by our actions. We were in the Middle East. Bin Laden made it clear he thought we were wrong, and stated his intentions- several times- to attack us. We did not listen. Middle Eastern countries also made it clear they sided, even only in part, with bin Laden. We brought 9/11 down upon ourselves because of our imperialism. It was not because we were minding our own business; it was exactly the opposite!!

Teresa said...

The fact that you would take a terrorist's word, who was the behind of 9/11 terrorists attacks, over our country's necessity to keep us safe is outrageous and borders awfully close to sedition. That is rooting for the defeat for your country and for the terrorists to win.

The United States did not cause the attacks on Pearl Harbor or 9/11 but they were in fact deliberate acts committed by Jihadists who have perverted their Muslim faith to include destroying the West. If we left Afghanistan today as you wish, the only "reward" we would receive for that is another set of terrorist attacks because that would give the terrorists a chance to reload and recruit even more terrorists.

Before U.S. troops entered Afghanistan they DID NOT have a legitimate government and it was not recognized by the rest of the world as legitimate. And, its really nice to know you don't care about freeing oppressed peoples. You want them to live in fear, women to have no rights and live oppressed forever instead of giving them a chance to prosper.

Liberty said...

So I'm not supposed to take the terrorist's word about why he's attacking us? Since I doubt anybody else can really know...well, he probably knows. And to be very, very blunt- I can see his point of view. I may not necessarily agree with all of it, and I definitely do not agree with his way of going about getting rid of the evil- diplomacy is oftentimes more effective than force- but he did warn us for years about his intentions. We brought it upon ourselves.

Pearl Harbor was not perpetrated by Muslims. That was the Japanese. And FDR was either a traitor or quite an idiot, because he put our entire Pacific fleet in the harbor- one harbor, conveniently close and very vulnerable to Japanese attack- and then left them there, despite repeated warnings that the Japs were planning/fixing to execute an attack.

In essence, Teresa, we did cause 9/11. Bin Laden warned us. We did not listen. We didn't even try to listen. Other countries also subtly hinted we should mind our own business, and we didn't listen to them, either. It was our arrogance and our imperialism that goaded the Muslims to attack us. We may not have committed the actual action, but by doing nothing about our policies (and our politicians), we let 9/11 happen to us.

It does not matter what bin Laden would do. It only matters what we do. If we left Afghanistan like the Afghans so desperately want us to do, we would be doing the right, Constitutional thing. We need to bring back our occupying soldiers from all over the world- Germany, Iceland, the UK, the African nations...our occupation of their countries merely adds to our unpopularity and the world's poor opinion of us.

I thought that we didn't need to worry about more terrorist attacks because we have the PATRIOT act and DHS. I thought that those things kept us safe. Or are they less comprehensive, and less able to keep us safe than the hype says? If they aren't, then why do we need to worry about more terrorist attacks?

It does not matter what bin Laden does. It only matters what we do, and whether our actions are right or not. We have no business in Afghanistan. Attacking an entire sovereign country when our justification for it is shaky at best, nonexistent at worse, is silly, a waste of money, and a detriment to our own position.

So since most of the world didn't recognize the Taliban as a government, we have a right to go kill them all. This is the same kind of attitude the British had during the Revolutionary War, and after- and that's why we got pulled into the War of 1812! But they weren't right, were they?

I love how things change the moment it's us getting the bad end of a deal.

I do care about oppressed peoples, which I made clear. I just do not think it is my GOVERNMENT'S job to free them!!!!

JT Norlander said...

Minding our own business is what gets us killed.
I'm not going to check this anymore, I'm sick of arguing via comments. It leaves something to be desired.