Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 41 to 60 of 63

Thread: The future with Karzai: a debate (merged thread with new title)

  1. #41
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    827

    Default

    Slap:

    I'll keep looking for it.

    Zakaria's April 9 interview is on the CNN site.

    In his opinion, the US is going the wrong way with Karzai.

    In his opinon, Karzai is the only way forward, and, therefore, we must continue to support and praise him.

    To me, that is just so much Washington Talking Head foolishness about national pols preening with other national pols (until the next national pol comes in- The King is Dead, Long Live the King).

    If, as he argues, the US has become so desperately strapped to Karzai (as is, and with full and glowing US support), we might as well abandon the mission today.It would be pointless if Afghanistan cannot change.

    Instead, he overlooks so many fundamental alternatives and strategies, the core of which are the Afghan people themselves. What if they want to do something different, either at the local, regional or national level, or apart from Karzai's way?

    One point he makes is that Afghanistan's leader must be Pashtun, and therefore, must be Karzai. Implicit in that statement is, I assume, that force of arms must be used to impose Karzai/Pashtun solutions on the non-Pashtuns.

    Taken to reasonable conclusions, there will come a point when the concept of Afghanistan as anation will inevitably be abandoned by non-Pashtuns simply to escape Karzai, and the likelihood of further Pashtun oppression and ineffectiveness. Many parts of Afghanistan are very different, and moving forward on separate trajectories.

    The reality is that, to the extent Afghanistan does function, it is by complex systems of competition and consensus at many different levels, and by many different groups, leaders and individuals. This is no different than many other places in the world that combine/recombine, aggregate/disaggregate, affiliate/unaffiliate

    If, as Zakaria suggests, it is Karzai or the highway, he negates the possibility of those actual successful processes developing (or muddling through) to an alternative future. This is substantially inconsistent with Afghanistan's political history.

    He greatly misunderstands the natural course of history and events.

    Sometimes, his comments are insightful. Sometimes, they are just bizarre.

  2. #42
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,345

    Default "Proof" for Karzai narrative: Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    This BBC report 'Italians held over Afghanistan 'assassination plot' alleging Italian NGO staff involvement in a plot to kill the Helmand governor is not good news and rather fits in with the Karzai narrative:

    Link:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/mid...st/8613801.stm
    An update:
    Emergency, the Milan-based charity, said on Sunday that the arrest of its workers on Saturday was an attempt by the Afghan government and Nato forces to silence a "troublesome witness" of the suffering of civilians in the country. "They want to get rid of a troublesome witness. Someone has organised this set-up because they want Emergency to leave Afghanistan," Gino Strada, the head of the charity, told reporters.
    Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-governor.html
    davidbfpo

  3. #43
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,345

    Default 'The Great Game' continues

    Hat tip to Leah Farrell for capturing this Indian article on Karzai:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/i...ow/5781643.cms

    Ends with:
    Standing by the elected Karzai — no matter how cozy he becomes with Pakistan and the Kandahari Taliban — is the only way for India to affirm its status as a secure and truly powerful regional hegemon. Moreover, it is the only course of action that is consistent with the Indian democratic narrative. Standing in Karzai's way because Indian hawks are worried about Pakistani influence in Afghanistan would immeasurably short-sighted, because Pakistan's influence in Afghanistan is inevitable and organic. Besides, Karzai's ventality, corruption and incompetence should not be so strange for South Asians. Our South Asian politics is like this only. Karzai was, is, and will remain, one of our own.
    Not a viewpoint I would endorse, but as others have noted before 'The Great Game' continues.
    davidbfpo

  4. #44
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    827

    Default

    Isn't it funny?

    In a dysfunctional system,if there is no positive solution or alternative, negative ones emerge.

    Are they do-gooders frustrated by the circumstance, marks set up because they wouldn't pay someone, or are these just bullets being dug out of the wounds?

    Sounds like this story will take a few weeks before anyone can actually know what it is about.

  5. #45
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    827

    Default Next Hand Dealt

    According to an LA Times report, President Karzai is (again) our close ally. Handshakes and press conferences all around.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo...,1939741.story

    So all that other stuff? (Never mind)

  6. #46
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default

    Here is a little over a minute of the Peter Galbraith interview which is all I can find at this time, but there is a lot more to this interview somewhere in cyberspace.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-jhxOHov7g

  7. #47
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,297

    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post

    Frankly we know so far very little about this story, but let me put it into the (Italian) context:

    a) Emergency, headed by Gino Strada is NGO providing humanitarian assistance, in this case it runs the hospital in Laskhar Gah or in the least provides medical and technical support for it. It is left-leaning and seems to be proud to denounce the "military occupation" and crimes against humanity caused by the same military forces or of the "sort of government".
    È la solita storia: Emergency in Afghanistan, e soprattutto in quella regione, è un testimone scomodo di quanto fanno le forze di occupazione e una specie di governo ai danni della popolazione» denuncia Gino Strada, fondatore dell'associazione. Non c'è un motivo concreto, se non il ruolo critico dell'attività umanitaria della ong e delle denunce quotidiane a difesa delle vittime, secondo Strada, all'origine delle accuse agli operatori arrestati.
    b) They claim that they were picked on by the minions of the governor for this very reason.

    c) The immediate reaction of the right-winged Italian was surprisingly tame, which could be explained by the political climate and/or some truth behind the accusations. The reaction of undersecretary Alfredo Mantica seems to be almost gleeful - "(the arrests) should make Gino Strada and his organisation reflect that as a humanitarian he makes a little too much politics". He hopes that the truth supports Strada, but he is a bit "perplexed".

    Il governo italiano sembra tuttavia restio a sposare la tesi di Emergency. «Prego veramente da italiano che non ci sia nessun italiano che abbia direttamente o indirettamente compiuto atti di questo genere - ha detto il ministro degli Esteri, Franco Frattini, a Sky Tg24 -. Lo prego davvero di tutto cuore, perchè sarebbe una vergogna per Italia». E già prima il suo sottosegretario Alfredo Mantica non aveva avuto parole incoraggianti: gli arresti devono «far riflettere Gino Strada e la sua organizzazione, che forse da umanitario fa un po' troppa politica», ha affermato. «Il governo italiano deve accertare la verità - ha aggiunto - e mi auguro che la verità dia ragione a Strada, ma ho delle perplessità». Mantica ha sottolineato che «è la seconda volta che Emergency finisce nel mirino delle autorità afghane», dopo il rapimento del giornalista di Repubblica, Daniele Mastrogiacomo.
    d) The spokesman of the governor seems to paddle back concerning the accusations against the Italians and speaks of some misunderstanding.
    Times di Londra mi ha citato in modo sbagliato, soprattutto per il riferimento di un legame fra gli italiani e Al Qaeda e oggi ha chiesto scusa - ha precisato il portavoce del governo di Helmand, Daud Ahmadi -. Tutto quello che ho da dire è quello che ho dichiarato il primo giorno e non aggiungo altro perché le indagini sono ancora in corso».
    e) The Italian government still does not openly support the arrested Italians. The minister of defense la Russa says that Strada should "avoid accusing the Afghan government, suspecting a NATO plot and drawing in the Italian government". He considers (Taliban) infiltrators a possibility which can not be ruled out.

    Defending himself against accusation that the government fails to protect the Italians he asks how many "exponents of the left have we rescued in the conflicts?"

    Gino Strada a essere più prudente e «evitare di accusare il governo afghano, di gridare al complotto della Nato e di tirare dentro il governo italiano».
    Sarebbe più saggio se «prendesse le distanze dai suoi collaboratori, perché può sempre succedere di avere accanto, inconsapevolmente, degli infiltrati» afferma il ministro in un'intervista a La Stampa, nella quale paragona il caso che ha scosso Emergency a quello di altri «infiltrati», come le Br con il Pci o i Nar con l'Msi. Per il ministro, in ogni caso, «la storia del complotto non sta in piedi». «Se le autorità afghane - afferma - avessero fatto un imbroglio contro Emergency ci saremmo arrabbiati anche se il loro orientamento politico è noto a tutti. Quanti esponenti di sinistra abbiamo salvato negli scenari di guerra?». Se venisse accertata la colpevolezza degli operatori italiani, per La Russa, «il danno per l'Italia militarmente impegnata in Afghanistan sarebbe gravissimo».

    Opinion:

    I won't rule out that this hospital was chosen by the Taliban to blow up the governor, as it could be a good setting to do so. Infiltrators and smugglers might have been used to bring the needed material into the hospital before it gets watched and closed off by the bodyguards. Strada does not rule out this possibility, put he puts the guns down to foul play by the Afghan government. Anyway it was clear that there is not love lost between Emergency and the Afghan government and the Italian one.

    «Se qualcuno di noi volesse introdurre una pistola in un qualsiasi ospedale italiano lo potrebbe fare in dieci minuti. C'è sempre la possibilità di corrompere qualcuno e che qualcuno la depositi al momento della perquisizione». Ma, ha aggiunto, in ogni ospedale di Emergency ci sono cartelli con scritto «Niente armi».
    There are IMHO two realistic possibilities:

    a) The security forces acted on the legitimate concern and used this opportunity to lash out at Emergency,

    b) The Afghan political forces made it up.

    An active involvement of this Italians would be very surprising and very grave, but it seems to be the least likely explanation.


    Firn
    Last edited by Firn; 04-12-2010 at 11:08 AM.

  8. #48
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    58

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    Slap:

    One point he makes is that Afghanistan's leader must be Pashtun, and therefore, must be Karzai. Implicit in that statement is, I assume, that force of arms must be used to impose Karzai/Pashtun solutions on the non-Pashtuns.

    .
    His logic is flawed.
    In order to win in Afghanistan, we must win the Pashtoon population. This is a fact.
    To win the pashtoon population, you don't need (IMHO) a Pashtoon president. You need a government that respects and protects Pashtoon culture and local leaders. A Dostum doesn't work, but a Massoud might. Karzai certainly doesn't do it. His gubenatorial (sp?) appointments have been heavy handed and counter productive. Regardless, Karzai is not a popular leader among the majority of Pashtoons and is especially disliked in Kandahar City. That we focus so much on Helmand and ignore Kandahar (we will see if we are serious about fixing that situation soon) is one of our many blunders.

    As noted earlier, we missed our opportunity to start fresh after the elections. Although I believe installing Abdullah ^2 would have worked against us in the South.

    However, the bottom line the longer Karzai remains in power the worse the situation is going to become in the South unless he quickly changes course in many areas.
    Foremost is reigning in his little brother.
    Allowing Governors to be if not popularly elected, at least popular vetted at a Shura or Jirga.
    Release control of Provincial Police to Provincial Governors. Maintain control of ANCOP only at MOI level.
    Replace Tajik dominated leadership in the ANA in 205 corps to Pashtoon leadership.
    Eating a bullet (OK, wishful thinking)

  9. #49
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,297

    Default

    Sorry, I forgot to provide the links. The quotes come all from the Corriere della Sera

    Not surprisingly exponents of the left say they are behind Emergency. Il monde é paese, the world is a village, as the Italian saying goes.


    Firn

  10. #50
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    827

    Default

    So, the Lords of Kabul, Jalalabad, and Kandahar may be Pashtun, but, by their actions, do not engender support of the Pashtun people under their watch (thumb).

    Thus, inside their sphere is oligarchy and fealty, and outside their immediate sphere are their opponents.

    We are somewhere in the middle of that mess, fueling the oligarchy while denouncing it, and opposing the opponents without addressing the cause of their opposition.

    A bit of a sticky wicket?

    I was reading a recent interview with Dr. Abdullah who indicated that he could have, by saying yes to a few phone calls, have brought down Karzai, but, in doing so would have (1) caused huge danger/destabilization, and (2) worked outside the parliamentary process that, in his belief, is the thing that Afghans take pride in having restored---he would not become what he opposed.

    That kind of hard-learned humility (maybe much from recent losses) demonstrates that he (and many others) could fairly lead all the people (no loss of face for Pashtuns). Question is how does a transition/trainsformation occur?

    Behind that interview, also, was Abdullah's concern about Karzai's continual efforts to dismantle civilian structure (Election Commission, etc.). So the question of timeliness is in play---Can a change take place before even further damage is done?

  11. #51
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    58

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    So, the Lords of Kabul, Jalalabad, and Kandahar may be Pashtun, but, by their actions, do not engender support of the Pashtun people under their watch (thumb).

    Thus, inside their sphere is oligarchy and fealty, and outside their immediate sphere are their opponents.

    We are somewhere in the middle of that mess, fueling the oligarchy while denouncing it, and opposing the opponents without addressing the cause of their opposition.

    A bit of a sticky wicket?

    I was reading a recent interview with Dr. Abdullah who indicated that he could have, by saying yes to a few phone calls, have brought down Karzai, but, in doing so would have (1) caused huge danger/destabilization, and (2) worked outside the parliamentary process that, in his belief, is the thing that Afghans take pride in having restored---he would not become what he opposed.

    That kind of hard-learned humility (maybe much from recent losses) demonstrates that he (and many others) could fairly lead all the people (no loss of face for Pashtuns). Question is how does a transition/trainsformation occur?

    Behind that interview, also, was Abdullah's concern about Karzai's continual efforts to dismantle civilian structure (Election Commission, etc.). So the question of timeliness is in play---Can a change take place before even further damage is done?
    To answer your last question first, Yes. However it will be much more messy now than it could have been immediately following the election fiasco.
    Simply put; Karzai has to believe he is expendable to American needs. Doesn't mean he has to leave, but he must think that we will dump him in 30 seconds. Whether this should be done publically or privately is a good debate to have. I believe publically would better serve our purposes, but I doubt the more diplomatic types among us would agree.
    Karzai behaves like a spoiled child because he is. Since Daddy pays the bills, daddy should make the rules. Obama's perception as weak in the muslim world is being magnified in Afghanistan. The more he grovels, the more Karzai is going to publically humiliate our country and destablize his own.

    Dr. Abdullah failed in one regard in his analysis. The parlimentary process is destroyed in Afghanistan. It is merely a facade in front of a poorly built and neglected foundation.
    He should have fought, and we should have supported him. Another foreign policy failure of this adminstration.
    Karzai must be brought to heel for the sake of both the United States (and ISAF) and Afghanistan.
    We bought a flawed product for the best of reasons, stop throwing good money after bad.

  12. #52
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    827

    Default

    I suspect the answer is the regular subterfuge.

    Public pronouncements of our support, but continued efforts to divert things around him and others, and to those that are supportive (per West's article).

    The more noise in support, the less dollars in reality.

    I think Dr. Abdullah's comments have to be read in his, and not out context.

    His Dad was a Senator, he grew up with a great reverence for the parlimentary institutions, and a deep and long struggle to re-establish it. We get lots of dope and speculation on positions and interests in the South and East, but not much perspective on the other folks (the ones that are not threats).

    He is reported to be a US favorite, but I don't think he wants to go in as a US lackey under any circumstance, nor be one. In reality, he may be a lot harder, for example, on civilian deaths than Karzai, and much more directive of US/Int'l Aid, presently running everywhere but in a straight line.

    I find his genuine interest to be legit. He does not want to be put in office by the Americans, and especially not in violation of the Constitution. Down the road, his position may be much more important to him and Afghanistan, and that's where his head and heart is.

    Personally, I believe that the integrity of the Afghan institutions are supported better if we do not pick, choose and kick-out. But, as you say, we really do control most of the money, and that does give the right to direct how it is spent---even with Abdullah or anyone.

    Right now, it looks like a return to the Hall of Mirrors strategy. Lots of whispers and dodges---things said but not followed up with actions, and things done with saying.

    Business as usual.

  13. #53
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Smile Found It

    Link to full CNN Fareed Zarkaria interview of Peter Galbraith on A'stan problem and some options.


    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/pod...cast.04.11.cnn

  14. #54
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    58

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    I suspect the answer is the regular subterfuge.

    Public pronouncements of our support, but continued efforts to divert things around him and others, and to those that are supportive (per West's article).

    The more noise in support, the less dollars in reality.

    I think Dr. Abdullah's comments have to be read in his, and not out context.

    His Dad was a Senator, he grew up with a great reverence for the parlimentary institutions, and a deep and long struggle to re-establish it. We get lots of dope and speculation on positions and interests in the South and East, but not much perspective on the other folks (the ones that are not threats).

    He is reported to be a US favorite, but I don't think he wants to go in as a US lackey under any circumstance, nor be one. In reality, he may be a lot harder, for example, on civilian deaths than Karzai, and much more directive of US/Int'l Aid, presently running everywhere but in a straight line.

    I find his genuine interest to be legit. He does not want to be put in office by the Americans, and especially not in violation of the Constitution. Down the road, his position may be much more important to him and Afghanistan, and that's where his head and heart is.

    Personally, I believe that the integrity of the Afghan institutions are supported better if we do not pick, choose and kick-out. But, as you say, we really do control most of the money, and that does give the right to direct how it is spent---even with Abdullah or anyone.

    Right now, it looks like a return to the Hall of Mirrors strategy. Lots of whispers and dodges---things said but not followed up with actions, and things done with saying.

    Business as usual.
    Karzai himself doesn't respect the Afghan institutions, either formal or informal.
    If he was conducting himself in a manner that the Afghan people supported (but we did not) I would support him. However, his appointment of governors has not been for the benefit of the provisional populations, but rather his own internal power struggles. The last election turn out was dismal not because of security, but because the Afghan's themselves have no faith in the IGoA. Karzai is undermining everything the US has tried to do and is trying to do there and not for the long-term benefit of the country of Afghanistan.

    The facts are the longer karzai has been in power, the worse things have gotten in afghanistan. It is supremely arrogant to think the IGoA has no influence on the security situation in the country.
    We have built his Army, we have built his Police we have given him damn near everything he has ever asked for, yet our soldiers are dying in greater numbers while the ANA sit on their FOBs.
    Iraq is a convient excuse, but that is all it is. Afghanistan failed because we put the wrong government with the wrong leader in charge and let is fester and rot. And now instead of anti-biotics to fix it, we need to chop the damn leg off and no one is willing to do it. Better hurry up, before the whole damn organism dies.

  15. #55
    Council Member Greyhawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    117

    Default A few observations to add to the discussion...

    Not defending Karzai, and claiming no expertise here, just offering up for comment a few things that cross my mind when I see discussions like this one.

    One: It's frequently asserted (including this thread) that Afghans no longer view Karzai as legitimate - or some variation on that theme. I'm certain that's true of individuals (no doubt of Abdullah Abdullah, to name one) and results in regions will obviously vary, but while I've seen poll results (BBC/ABC/ARD) that indicate Karzai's support/popularity among Afghans is actually on the rise (post-2009 election, even), and has always been higher than that of NATO forces, I've never seen the opposite claim supported.

    Two: After Karzai and Abdullah's fraudulent votes were thrown out of the Afghan election results (only @200k for Abdullah, iirc), Karzai ended up with a hair under 50% of the vote, Abdullah a bit over 30. I believe the result of "round two" would have been a greater gap, with far fewer votes cast. Pure speculation on my part, as Abdullah's withdrawal assured we'll never know. (But see one above - re: Karzai's "popularity".)

    Three: No discussion of the wheels within wheels/great game aspects of the situation is complete without a read of Kai Eide's December, 2009 letter, this NY Times report on same, and Peter Galbraith's response to that report. Certainly there are many other "must reads" but I think these give the reader a good feel for some of the behind the scenes fun and games.

    From the Times:
    “He [Galbraith] told me he would first meet with Vice President Biden,” Mr. Eide wrote. “If the vice president agreed with Galbraith’s proposal they would approach President Obama with the following plan: President Karzai should be forced to resign as president.” Then a new government would be installed led by a former finance minister, Ashraf Ghani, or a former interior minister, Ali A. Jalali, both favorites of American officials.
    Galbraith characterizes that a bit differently: "I privately suggested to Kai Eide, the United Nations special representative to Afghanistan, that we consider recommending to the Afghans that they establish an interim government headed by a respected neutral figure..."

    I'm not certain in this case that Ghani (2.94% of the vote) or Jalali ("Afghan American and a Distinguished Professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies of the National Defense University, which is located in Washington, D.C.") would have been welcomed by the Afghan people as "neutral".

    In fact, whether he actually said it or not, I imagine I hear Ho Chi Minh repeating his comment on the coup that toppled Diệm: "I can scarcely believe the Americans would be so stupid." A harsh thing sometimes, my imagination.

    I do know Kipling said this:
    "They do not understand that nobody cares a straw for the internal administration of Native States so long as oppression and crime are kept within decent limits, and the ruler is not drugged, drunk, or diseased from one end of the year to the other."
    ...and I find it interesting that there's now a push on to portray Karzai as drugged, drunk, or diseased.
    Last edited by Greyhawk; 04-14-2010 at 05:54 PM. Reason: clarification

  16. #56
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    827

    Default

    Re: Kipling----or caught in bed with a dead women or live boy?

    Right. I invite anyone to actually explian "the inner workings," public preferences, or best course for somewhere we know very well, and is much more transparent, say California, or Texas.

    Answer is very complex, many competing opinions, no assurance of a clear and united path forward.

    Why should Afghanistan as a whole, of which we actually know very little and is alien to our background and framework, be any less so.

    If the option, especially based on our track record, is to change governments there, we would be crucified.

    The challenge is how you do or don't work with what's in front of us.

    The international community's economic role is huge, but even it can't decide amongst itself on a common way forward.

    Dodge, Dip, Dive, Duck, Dive, Dodge...

  17. #57
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    58

    Default

    I do not claim knowledge beyond my own little slice of heaven.
    However, if you think polling occurs anywhere beyond selected urban sights, you are wrong. Afghanistan is a rural country, and pollsters are not hanging out in khaki Afghan or Shamulzai.
    The election results don't suprise me, look at the voter %s. Karzai is many things, an inept politician is not one of them. He manuevered himself very well to ensure that he won the election. Too clever by half. He had no need to cheat, and very well may have had no hand in the voter fraud.

    That he was elected was not an endorsement of karzai, it was a resignation by the people of afghanistan that there was nothing they could do. When he shelved Sherzai (his only legitimate rival for power) his success was assured.

    Karzai knows how to rule Afghanistan in a tradition sense. Its the traditional sense of ruling afghanistan that brought us where we are today. The best traditions of Afghan society (decentralized limited government) are being discarded for the more standard kleptocracy of every other failed unstable state. And we are empowering it.
    Again, we can legitemately state "mission accomplished" and go home leaving Karzai to fend for himself. But as long as we are propping up his state with investments of blood and treasure, he should dance to our tune.

  18. #58
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default You think so? I'm not at all sure...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvan View Post
    Its the traditional sense of ruling afghanistan that brought us where we are today.
    I think that our needless interfering in Afghanistan put us where we are today. We got involved with the USSR invasion on a knee jerk basis and as much to prove the Democratic party could be 'tough on communism' as for any remotely valid reason. After doing that -- not nearly as successfully as some like to think -- we left. That was dumb. US Domestic politics have to be considered in international relations but they should not be the driving force that they are.

    Then we mishandled the Taliban and Bin Laden who should've been zapped NLT 1992. We had motive, means and opportunity...
    The best traditions of Afghan society (decentralized limited government) are being discarded for the more standard kleptocracy of every other failed unstable state. And we are empowering it.
    We can agree on that. My question is how much of that syndrome is due to Karzai et.al. and how much is due to our actions? We've become so bureaucratic that decentralized is anathema to many here and to most in the US Government. I'm inclined to fault us on that one, admitting that the locals are, as usual, manipulating us. We're egotistical, arrogant, rich -- and dumb -- really bad combination.
    Again, we can legitemately state "mission accomplished" and go home leaving Karzai to fend for himself. But as long as we are propping up his state with investments of blood and treasure, he should dance to our tune.
    I agree with the first part but not the second; I don't think he can afford to do that and I'm not sure we have any business wanting him to do so, even resources and cost being considered...

    I say that mostly long standing observation that "our tune" usually has been the wrong one at the wrong time and off key to boot...

    In this case, I'm not at all sure we -- the US Guvmint -- could even agree on any tune or tunes. All that is admittedly academic, we are where we are and it isn't likely to get much better -- nor much worse.

  19. #59
    Council Member Greyhawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    117

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    We got involved with the USSR invasion on a knee jerk basis and as much to prove the Democratic party could be 'tough on communism' as for any remotely valid reason...
    Have you seen Brzezinski's 1998 interview?

    Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

    Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

    Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

    B: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?

    B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.
    Doesn't get quite the attention "Charlie Wilson's War" does. The power of film, perhaps?

    I'm trying to remember if the Soviet invasion (while certainly newsworthy) was perceived as a major issue among "average Americans" at the time. I was a high school student with other interests... I do know Carter's withdrawal from the 1980 Olympics - with Afghanistan as the stated reason - was a big deal. Point being, all kinds of things can focus people's attention (or manipulate public opinion/perception, if you prefer) if it isn't "properly focused" otherwise.

    Afghanistan doesn't rate a mention here, but does merit a brief note in the 1980 round up.

  20. #60
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default I had retired from the Army and was working as a DAC at that time.

    The USSR invasion didn't garner much attention other than the comments that they'd have their own Viet Nam like episode. Most Americans had sense enough to realize that Afghanistan was not of major concern -- nor, at the time, was Pakistan. That came later.

    I don't recall the skipping of the '80 Olympics being a big deal other than some of the Athletes whining they'd worked for years to be able to go and that politics should not intrude. The only traction I recall is on that latter issue, IIRC, most thought it was not a particularly good move -- yet another nail for Carter -- but I don't recall much noise other than the Athletically inclined mumbling in the media. Restaurant, street, store, house and airplane passenger conversations didn't accord it much time.

    Yes, I saw the Brzezinski interview though I usually avoid most stuff with his name attached. He wasn't the worst NSA but he's in the top five. The debacle that was Iran in 1979 arguably is the reason we are in Afghanistan and Iraq today. It certainly was a major contributing factor. Totally unnecessary, too.

    Carter and Brzezinski didn't do as much damage as the British and French did drawing lines on maps but that wasn't for lack of trying...

    True on the manipulation of focus -- particularly easy today with the short attention spans and lack of historical knowledge.
    Last edited by Ken White; 04-18-2010 at 03:55 AM.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •