Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What are we doing in Afghanistan?

I am no fan of New York Times Op-Ed columnist Bob Herbert, but in his column entitled "Wars, Endless Wars" he does raise troubling questions concerning just what exactly the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan. As he puts it:

The U.S. economy is in free fall, the banking system is in a state of complete collapse and Americans all across the country are downsizing their standards of living. The nation as we've known it is fading before our very eyes, but we're still pouring billions of dollars into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with missions we are still unable to define.

Bob expresses his concerns, but does not really try to dig deeply to identify the root problems other than a sense that there is simply no clear strategy.

Is it really all about Iran, keeping them boxed in and under pressure to abandon their support for terrorism (Hamas and Hezbollah) and their "nuclear ambitions"? Maybe, but not quite since there are also troubles in Pakistan.

Is it really all about religious extremists? If so, major military operations are probably not likely to ever reach a point we could call success.

Is it maybe at heart a war on Islam? Could be, but nobody will admit that in public.

Is it driven by yet another crackpot worldview and policy initiative of the shadowy so-called Pro-Israel Lobby? Once again, it could be, but nobody will admit that in public.

Whatever it is, we do not appear to have a robust exit strategy identified and in place and underway.

Are we fighting "terrorists" or shadows or even illusions? Maybe all three.

-- Jack Krupansky

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