Monday, September 24, 2012

Afghanistan, Peace With Honor?

The situation developing in Afghanistan is beginning to remind me of the American exit from Vietnam, just a bit more mild and less rushed. With America scheduled to withdrawal troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 we must ask, is this really "peace with honor" all over again?  Many of us remember the vivid video of Americas exit from Vietnam so many years, planes lifting their wheels off the tarmac with bullets whizzing by, enemies hot on our tail. It was not our greatest moment, we stayed too long.

Recently Australia's former top commander in Afghanistan Retired Major General John Cantwell said of the war effort there "I think it's a very noble and brave and courageous experiment, but I think it's also not going to end well". Cantwell has also criticized how politicians are portraying Australia's role and success in Afghanistan, describing the comments as "misleading". His latest criticism of the war comes as Australia prepares to begin handing over control for local security in Uruzgan province to Afghan forces.

Afghanistan is a deeply divided country, it's riven by tribal enmities and hatreds, it's divided geographically, it's divided by economy, it's divided by politics, it is a mess and it's a mess which will be in the same terrible condition for decades to come. Cantwell went on to say "We are deluding ourselves if we think we're going to turn Afghanistan into some little democracy, some gleaming bastion of westernized ideas in that part of the world. It's just not going to happen." Mr Cantwell has described Australia's mission in Afghanistan as "elastic", given that troops are now involved in a "nation-building" program which is not what they were originally sent there for.

It is difficult to be optimistic that Afghanistan will be able to get its act together, this includes its government not only being able to function, but also being able to defend itself. It appears that this may be the a soft bottomed or murky road that America is destined to go down. It could be said that we will continue pouring money into the abyss in an effort to create the illusion that we have not "cut and run". The case could be made that we are fulfilling the minimum we promised, our heart is no longer behind the effort. This is being done so that it appears we kept, or made an effort to merely live up to the commitments we have made.

 Footnote; This post dovetails with many of my recent writings. Other related articles may be found in my blog archive, thanks for reading, your comments are encouraged. A more recent article on Afghanistan can be found below.

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