Monday, September 14, 2009

In the News – 9/14

On a personal note, I’ll be scarce again today.  I have a doctor appointment this morning.  No cause for alarm here.  It’s just my ten minute quarterly walk through required to keep my meds prescribed.  Unfortunately, my doctor moved and it takes me 1 3/4 hours to get there.  Yesterday, I thoroughly enjoyed watching football, and to my great surprise my Denver Geldings (my less than affectionate term for my Broncos, since they traded away Jay Cutler for Kyle Orton at QB) actually won a game they didn’t deserve against the poor Bengals on a fluke play with less than one minute left.  I was also pleased to see that Cutler threw four interceptions. Ptuiffffffffffftt! :-)

Today in this section, I want to focus on Afghanistan.  Zbigniew Brzezinski gave a dire warning about our presence there.

taliban Western powers now in Afghanistan run the risk of suffering the fate of the Soviet Union there if they cannot halt the growing insurgency and an Afghan perception that they are foreign invaders, according to Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former U.S. national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter.

In a speech opening a weekend gathering of military and foreign policy experts, Mr. Brzezinski, who was national security adviser when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in late 1979, endorsed a British and German call, backed by France, for a new international conference on the country. He also set the tone for a weekend of somber assessments of the situation.

He noted that it took about 300 U.S. Special Forces — fighting with Northern Alliance troops — to overthrow Taliban rule after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

Now, however, with about 100,000 U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan, those forces are increasingly perceived as foreign invaders, much as the Soviet troops were from the start, Mr. Brzezinski said.

For President Barack Obama, Afghanistan is the foreign policy issue that has “perhaps the greatest need for strategic review,” said Mr. Brzezinski, who met with Mr. Obama during the presidential campaign last year, and endorsed his candidacy but was not a formal adviser.

“We are running the risk of replicating — obviously unintentionally — the fate of the Soviets,” Mr. Brzezinski said in his speech Friday night.

The presence of so many foreign troops underpins an Afghan perception that the Americans and their allies are hostile invaders and “suggests transformation of the conflict is taking place,” he added…

Inserted from <NY Times>

Foreign powers have have tried to civilize that area throughout history, and to the best of my knowledge, the last person to be successful was Alexander the Great.  Our mission is further hobbled by the corruption of the Unocal employee Bush and the GOP installed at the outset.

Abdullah_Abdullah Afghanistan’s opposition leader has called for a criminal investigation into allegations of massive vote rigging in last month’s elections — and accused his rival, President Hamid Karzai, of treason in an exclusive interview with The Times.

Abdullah Abdullah, the country’s former foreign minister, charged Mr Karzai with “state-engineered fraud” in the August 20 polls. “It’s worse than a crime, it’s treason,” he said, adding that Mr Karzai “doesn’t think about the country, he thinks only of himself. He has been caught red-handed.”

Mr Abdullah is trailing Mr Karzai in partial results published by the Independent Elections Commission (IEC), an organisation that he claims is under the control of the President’s supporters. A UN-backed elections watchdog ordered the IEC to begin a massive recount of votes last week, saying that it had unearthed “clear and convincing evidence of fraud”.

Although Mr Karzai narrowly passed the 50 per cent threshold that would allow him to avoid a run-off, the recount could push his support back below that level, meaning that the country might have to vote for a second time…

Inserted from <Times Online>

I do not doubt that Abdullah’s charges are correct.  The longer I am back online, the more convinced I become, that, since Bush and the GOP squandered our initial opportunity to get bin Laden and more of the Al Qaeda leadership in order to set up a puppet government instead, This war could become Obama’s Vietnam.  While I’m still not completely comfortable with pulling out, the status quo appears even worse.


Annette said...

I agree.. I think you have hit the nail on the head there.. I too don't feel like we can just walk away.. but I fear we are getting in deeper all the time. If only.. 2 words that have huge meaning.

Pres. Obama is in a real tight spot on this one.. but maybe if we give him and his Generals just a little time to work things will turn around.. I keep hoping.. they have only had a short amount of time.

TomCat said...

Annette, you raise an excellent point, and I am certainly prepared to give Obama more time. However, long experience has taught me to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Frankly, I think Obama will be a better President in his second term, when he will no longer have his ears bent by "old hands" giving him bad advice about what he has to do to keep his job for eight years.

the walking man said...

You know my position Tom. We do not need to "civilize" anyone. We do need to destroy the Taliban utterly and then remove all troops from Afghanistan and let them find their own way internally. Taking Karzai out as we leave town would be one last favor to them.