Our so-called Afghanistan strategy

February 14, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More

Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone has spent more time than most with the decision-makers regarding our so-called “war” in Afghanistan. That access has included quality time with General Petraeus. The following excerpt from Hastings’ detailed article (“King David’s War“) seems to sum up the present situation, minus the intense spin we usually hear out of Washington.

Within weeks of assuming command, Petraeus pushed through an ambitious program to create hundreds of local militias — essentially a neighborhood watch armed with AK-47s. Under Petraeus, the faltering operation has been expanded from 18 districts to more than 60, with plans to ramp it up from 10,000 men to 30,000.

In Afghanistan, however, arming local militias means, by definition, placing guns in the hands of some of the country’s most ruthless thugs, who rule their territory with impunity. In the north, Petraeus is relying on Atta Mohammed Noor, a notorious warlord-turned-governor considered to be one of the most powerful men in Afghanistan, to prepare militias for a long fight with the Taliban. Smaller militias in the region — which have been likened to an L.A. “gang” by their own American advisers — are also getting U.S. training. In the east, where violence has significantly increased, efforts to back local strongmen have already resulted in intertribal violence. And in the south, Petraeus has given near-unconditional support to Ahmed Wali Karzai, the president’s brother and one of the country’s most unsavory gangsters.

“The Americans have backed so many warlords in so many ways, it’s very hard to see how you unscramble the egg now,” says John Matisonn, a former top U.N. official who left Kabul last June. “There has never been a strategy to get rid of the warlords, who are the key problem. The average Afghan hates them, whether they’re backed by the Taliban or the Americans. They see them as criminals.

There you have it: Our so-called strategy. Actually, that’s not fair. Our strategy is to arm ruthless gangs plus to avert our eyes, or to encourage, massive corruption among those who we portray to be our friends in Afghanistan.

You will rarely read such a sorry story that is true. And all it costs is $2 billion per week. And see here. And it’s being done in your name and mine.

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Category: Military, The Middle East, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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