Wednesday :: Jan 16, 2008

Afghanistan defines the Bush Administration


by Turkana

It's tempting to say that Afghanistan represents the Bush Administration's supreme failure. I've made that claim, in the past. But that presumes that the Bush Administration was, in the the smallest degree, interested in catching the people who attacked us on September 11, 2001, and in keeping this nation safe. Of course, some have done very well, from Bush's wars. Meanwhile, the collective wisdom of the more than 100 bipartisan foreign-policy experts consulted by Foreign Policy and the Center for American Progress to form The Terrorism Index led to this summary:

The world these experts see today is one that continues to grow more threatening. Fully 91 percent say the world is becoming more dangerous for Americans and the United States, up 10 percentage points since February. Eighty-four percent do not believe the United States is winning the war on terror, an increase of 9 percentage points from six months ago. More than 80 percent expect a terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 within a decade, a result that is more or less unchanged from one year ago.

But, of course, if the Bush Administration actually gave a damn about national security, and catching the terrorists who attacked us, they'd have done something about it. Instead, their incompetence allowed Osama bin Laden to get away, when he could have been caught or killed, at the battle of Tora Bora. They disastrously shifted their focus from those who had attacked us to those who never had, and because of that, the Taliban are growing stronger both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while Al Qaeda has also regrouped and grown stronger in both countries. In fact, both countries are having to negotiate with the Taliban, and bin Laden, himself, is even now well-positioned to launch another attack. If this war actually was about justice and security, rather than profits, it would be correctly seen as the signature failure of the singularly disastrous administration. Bush is destroying the Constitution and violating international law, not to mention the basic laws of humanity and morality, but he has not made America safer, and he has not caught the people who committed the worst ever act of terrorism on American soil. It would be surreal, were it not so damnable.

In Afghanistan, the Bush Administration has been surging backward. The Taliban now control half the country. Some say the war in Afghanistan is lost. In October, the Marine Corps asked to move its troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, but in December, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said no; but he has, of late, been blaming our NATO allies for the problems in Afghanistan! And it just keeps getting worse.

Yesterday, Agence France-Presse reported:

Taliban militants and a suicide bomber stormed Kabul's main hotel used by foreigners, killing at least six people and raising questions Tuesday about how they managed to breach tight security.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon suggested the attack may have been targeting Norway's visiting foreign minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, who was inside the luxury Serena hotel at the time and took shelter with other guests in the basement.

A US citizen and a Norwegian journalist were among the dead.

The Serena hotel, opened in November 2005, is the main venue in the capital for high-level functions of the Western-backed government, as well as foreign embassies and businesses.

As such it is heavily barricaded and guarded against security threats amid an increasingly violent Taliban-led insurgency.

Essentially, they're now able to penetrate inside the Afghan version of the Green Zone. And the Washington Post added:

The U.S. plan to send an additional 3,200 Marines to troubled southern Afghanistan this spring reflects the Pentagon's belief that if it can't bully its recalcitrant NATO allies into sending more troops to the Afghan front, perhaps it can shame them into doing so, U.S. officials said.

Shame them? For failing to fix Bush's own failures?

But the immediate reaction to the proposed deployment from NATO partners fighting alongside U.S. forces was that it was about time the United States stepped up its own effort.

You think?

After more than six years of coalition warfare in Afghanistan, NATO is a bundle of frayed nerves and tension over nearly every aspect of the conflict, including troop levels and missions, reconstruction, anti-narcotics efforts, and even counterinsurgency strategy. Stress has grown along with casualties, domestic pressures and a sense that the war is not improving, according to a wide range of senior U.S. and NATO-member officials who agreed to discuss sensitive alliance issues on the condition of anonymity.

While Washington has long called for allies to send more forces, NATO countries involved in some of the fiercest fighting have complained that they are suffering the heaviest losses. The United States supplies about half of the 54,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, they say, but the British, Canadians and Dutch are engaged in regular combat in the volatile south.

Fighting the war that Bush failed to fight. Fighting the war from which Bush turned his attention away. Fighting the war on Bush's behalf, with inadequate help from Bush, but now being blamed for Bush's failures. That's your Bush Administration, in a nutshell: disastrous at national security, disastrous at war, disastrous at diplomacy, but good for the war profiteers. Because impeachment is not going to happen, 2009 cannot come too soon.

Turkana :: 12:43 PM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!