Thursday, September 20, 2018

Is Afghanistan an Unwinnable, Unsustainable War?

by Dan Ehrlich (writer), London/L.A./Seattle, November 01, 2010

Growing casualties, skyrocketing costs with no end in sight

The NATO war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, one which former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev terms “unwinnable,” is sapping America in both spirit and finance. Many of our troops and much of our population have no clear idea of why we are there and what we hope to achieve.

Now, a new study claims the cost of the conflict will be 25 percent higher than previously stated. And with no end in sight, the costs will keep rising for our nation already trillions of dollars in debt from the Bush and now Obama years.

To date 2,174 NATO troops have died there or later from wounds received in the conflict. Of that number, 1,277 have been Americans. Yet, with the NATO backed Kabul government racked with corruption and only controlling a portion of the country, we see more and more of the Vietnam scenario being played.

Gorbachev, seen as a friend of America, who oversaw the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan says, "Victory is impossible in Afghanistan. Obama is right to pull the troops out, no matter how difficult it will be."

Speaking on the BBC, Gorbachev said that during the Soviet withdrawal the US had supported peace negotiations while helping to training militants at the same time. "The same [militants] who are today terrorising Afghanistan and more and more of Pakistan," he said.

"It will be more difficult for America to get out of this situation, but what is the alternative? Another Vietnam? Sending in half a million troops? That wouldn't work."

The can of worms we have opened with the war is revealed in alleged double-dealing by our ally next door, Pakistan. According to some of the documents released by WikiLeaks, US officials fear some units in Pakistan have been involved in everything from hiding Osama Bin Laden to a plot to assassinate Afghan President Mohamed Karzai.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan, which keeps much larger neighbor India on edge, has a large extreme Wahhabist Islamic population, which is sympathetic to the Taliban and Bin Laden. Yet, these are people we depend upon to help us defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Why we keep getting involved in such conflicts seems almost Orwellian in nature. And while there are striking similarities between this war and Vietnam, the main difference is Vietnam posed no real threat to America. Afghanistan is seen by our leaders as the fountainhead of international terrorism bent on attacking America.

But, while Al Qaeda, responsible for 9/11, may use Afghanistan as a base, its also is believed to hide-out in sympathetic areas of Pakistan, our ally. Yet, Al Qaedawas formed by Bin Laden, a Saudi, whose main goal is to eventually overthrow his relatives in Saudi Arabia, kick out the Western Infidels and establish a "purified" Islamic state. The Taliban could care less about this. They just want the Infidels to leave their tribal based nation so they can force women out of jobs and back into burkas. (Read the First and Last Feminist War on this blog site)

Now, it has been revealed NATO is seeking Russian help with the war in the form of helicopters and troops to help train the Afghan army. This possibility may not be popular with many Afghans who recall the brutal Soviet invasion and occupation of the country that cost a reported one-million Afghan lives. Yet, other than staying there indefinitely, which is not an option, our only other alternative will be to train the Afghans to defend themselves from the Taliban.

As for the cost of Afghanistan and Iraq, Nobel Prize recipient Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard budget expert Linda J. Bilmes are revising their original $3 trillion war cost estimate to between $4 and $6 trillion, a situation that is dragging America towards fiscal disaster. They claim we will be living with the debt legacy of these wars for decades to come.

About the Writer

Dan Ehrlich is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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