Saturday, May 7, 2011

And the End is When?

I was listening and reading some of the responses to the recent mission which targeted and killed Osama bin Laden. I don't know the statistics of how many people actually believe this, but I suspect it's more than people are saying or the polls are finding. And that is?

Well, one young soldier, when asked since bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is virtually gone (less than a few hundred and most in Pakistan) should we (US) decide the war in Afghanistan is over and it's time to leave, said, "I think we have an obligation to stay the course and fight for the people there."

Well, all I could think of then was to have asked that young soldier, "So then, when is the end?"

The truth is, as almost everyone with knowledge and experience in or with Afghanistan have said or written, that there is no end to the war in Afghanistan. The reason is that while Al Qaeda is nearly gone the Taliban, now based in Pakistan, is still relatively strong in many areas of Afghanistan.

And while we are winning the war against the Taliban, they have lasted nearly 10 years and will last another 10 years and longer. Let's not forget they've been around in Afghanistan since the war against the invasion and occupation by the Soviet Union. And now, after five years of controlling Afghanistan (1996-2001), they're fighting the invasion and occupation by the United States.

While they may be new as an organization, they're not new to war as they were formed by a number of war lords prior to the Soviets. Since the removal from power in 2001, they've tied themselves to many other war lords, militias and other groups to survive, even drug lords. And an estimated one-third or more are Pakistani, some from the Pakistan Army.

We also know we, the Americans, are supplying money and arms to the Taliban. Yes, folks, we're supplying our enemy. We paying Afghan contractors to truck supplies from Pakistan to all the places in Afghanistan. Those contractors are paying the Taliban for protection along their routes from attacks by other enemies and even the Taliban.

The arms are coming through the soldiers we're trainiing for the Afghan army and police, some of whom are secretly members or supporters of the Taliban, and through the supplies to the Afghan government to other forces into the black market. The truth is that we're arming and paying the Taliban, indirectly but the result is the same.

And we know the Karzai government has negotiated with the Taliban for inclusion in his government. The reality is clear, Afghanistan will not have a free and stable government with President Karzai. He's corrupt, his family and friends in the government are corrupt, and wealthy by way of our money, and everyone else in the government is corrupt.

His government, or our puppet government (ala Vietnam), couldn't survive are departure, but you can be sure President Karzai is working to ensure his survival as president after we're gone with our money and arms, which is the question at hand and what those who profess we stay the course to the end.

The government of Afghanistan needs the US and NATO to survive. The country needs us to survive. We're fighting for them to stand up and take over, but the reality and truth is they won't. They're addicted to our money and arms. They'll do enough as they've always done to survive for themselves but not against enemies, not without help, our help.

So to those who still profess we stay until the end, what and when is the end? And will you keep saying this year after year after year from now until when? And at the expense of all those lives, those soldiers, and all that money, taxpayers' money? And for what goal?

Answer that, when is the end?

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