Thursday, 8 September 2011

Mission Impossible in Afghanistan

The US attempts to rebuild a nation in Afghanistan by deploying thousands of troops and killing many civilians is sheer folly.  According to latest estimates billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars have been spent in Afghanistan on mission impossible. (One estimate puts the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan at four trillion dollars.  Such an amount would considerably reduce world poverty for years, but perhaps that does not allow for the corruption at work in poor countries.)  The death toll of US combatants is very sad.  The USA's reputation remains in tatters.  Torture, rendition, Guantanamo Bay, civilian casualties, aiding corruption, abuses of human rights, and other practices have lost the moral high ground.

Americans in Afghanistan have caused what some commentators call the hydra effect. Chop one head and others grow.  Killing one insurgent leads to others being recruited and trained to fight to end US occupation of Afghanistan.  There is no shortage of young men willing to make and plant roadside bombs (improvised explosive devices) to kill and maim US troops. This is a conflict against a very determined guerilla opposition that  cannot be won by conventional means. Yet mission impossible continues and dollars are wasted on this stupid war.  

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