Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Afghanistan mantra

Moon of Alabama takes a look at a road in Nuristan, Afghanistan. The road hasn't been built, it never will be built because the plan is both senseless and impossible. It would have to go over 15,000 feet, there is no money for maintenance, but still plans go ahead, very slowly, and money is spent.

Nuristan is a non-Pashtun province in eastern Afghanistan. There have been high NATO casualties there, and there is no reason to expect the security situation to improve.

MoA links to a video of a lecture by an anthropologist that worked for the State Department there in Nuristan (about 40 minutes, very interesting). The guy, David Katz seems very bright and has a lot of insight into why things are so bad there. But before the ending, he repeats the holy mantra that keeps everyone in line and not thinking. I quote him:
We can't allow Afghanistan to revert to a stiuation where the bad guys can gather and do harm to us. And the bad guys could gather and do harm to us as we saw on 9/11.
This mantra, repeated ad nauseaum but never logically justified, in going to ensure that the US stays in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future. The ability of intelligent people to allow their minds to be hijacked by slogans or mantras, wittingly or unwittingly, makes policy changes impossible.

The war in Afghanistan is a failure that risks to spawn other, graver failures. Unless the incoming administration is able to see behind the slogans, and they've shown little evidence that they can, the fifth Afghan war's inevitible, bloody result will be either US/NATO defeat or unimaginable slaughter, probably both.


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