Monday, February 21, 2011

JMO - It's Time to Go

It's time to leave Afghanistan, immediately and completely. It's clear after over 9 years of this war it's unwinnable. We know that, even President Obama knows but doesn't want to admit it, at least publically because he'll be verbally pummelled by the Republicans. And he's willing to go with the military to think it's a winnable war.

But it's not. We didn't win in Iraq, we just partially left and will, hopefully, near-completely leave, and the sooner the better. Afghanistan is no different and even worse. We're spending hundreds of billions of dollars, much it for rebuilding the infrastructure in the country which was long brokend before we invaded and occupied.

We don't need to rebuild a nation for damage we didn't cause. The money is better spent at home with our deteriorating infracstructure. And we know much of the money doesn't go for the actual work but for bribes and corruption. And many projects have been abandoned by the builders because they didn't have the money (see previous note) or the Taliban or Al Qaeda has threatened to destroy it or attack the workers.

We don't need to continually support the corruption. We can't account for a significant amount of the aid money after it's given to President Karzai and his government. We know much of it is in banks in Dhubai and other middle east countries. The money isn't going to the people, the army or police, or the projects, but to the wealthy and powerful.

We don't need the Karzai government inviting the Taliban into negotiations and involvement in the government. We're fighting the Taliban and he undermining those efforts. Karzai has even asked for the return of some terrorists in Guatanamo because they're important to the Taliban.

We don't need President Karzai and his government taking money from the drug cartels with one hand and taking our money with the other. And we don't know where all the Taliban money is coming from, some of it from us via the Afghan government or contractors, or going to pay for people to fight us, often the same people we're also paying not to fight us.

We don't need to build an Afghan army and national police force. That's not what the war is about. We know it will take many more years, resouces (equipment, weapons, ammunition) and money, to make them soliders and police officers, good enough to secure the country and fight the Taliban. They have the people to do it themselves.

We don't need to build the Afghan economy. That's not what the war is about. We have made strides in many areas of the country. Al Qaeda is nearly destroyed, less than 100 in Afghistan and another 200 or so in Pakistan. The Taliban is alive and well in many areas of Pakistan, with support of their government with our money too.

While we have rebuilt the many of the rural economies away from poppy, we know, while it helps them become independent and have better lives, the pressure to produce drugs will return and it's far more profitable for the people. Are we prepared to stay decades to preven this?

And importantly we don't need the country from imposing Sharia law against women. We went there toi free the people, and we have failed to change the world for women very much and even have lost ground in advances for women and women's rights. And President Karzai is not only not making efforts to change it, he's making it worse.

We know the vast majority of the country is or nearly illerate and their traditions are based in Sharia law. And this is a fundamental problem we can't overcome. It's unwinnable. Their hearts and minds have already been fixed for generations. It's their history, their religion and their tradition. It's not going to change overnight or because we want it.

And women don't have standing beyond something just better than they had under the Taliban. Women have had better times and more rights, but not in the last 20 years under the Taliban and US-NATO forces. And we're seeing the situation is getting worse and the Afghan government assumes more power and control, and they're not keeping any changes for women we want. They talk about it but it's not changing reality on the ground for women, in their lives.

In the end, despite the slightest possibility of a short term victory, but it's coming at too high of a prices in lives lost or damaged and in money, taxpayer money. It's time to cut our losses and leave, and save our money for America and Americans.

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