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Feb 7

Written by: Diana West
Thursday, February 07, 2008 7:15 AM 

Defense Secretary Gates has been spending much of his time cajoling NATO allies to please, please send soldiers who can actually shoot to Afghanistan, where 27,000 US troops (who shoot) and 28,000 others (who don't shoot much) from assorted NATO countries  make up the international forces still trying to stabilize the country six-plus years after the initial US invasion. The Washington Post describes the situation this way: "Although coalition forces have defeated the Taliban in many tactical engagements, analysts say NATO remains in a `strategic stalemate' because of lagging reconstruction and governance efforts."

So, if only the coaltion could reconstruct the country and teach Afghans to govern, everything would be ok, right? Sounds like a John McCain special --another 100-year occupation, which he has said may be necessary for to  stabilize Iraq.

I don't think "quagmire" is the word for this US-supported state in which sharia is supreme; "sinkhole" may be  more like it. Because what do we get for risking our men and spending our billions? A bastion of liberty and a stalwart friend in the "war on terror"--i.e., another Israel? Not on your life. But you don't have just go on my say-so. Afghanistan's actions speak louder than anyone's words.

Even now, Afghanistan limits our military actions, pressuring the U.S. to "curtail operations in some provinces, particularly after civilian casualties," NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen, Daniel McNeil told the Post. Then this:

Karzai's government has also opposed U.S. proposals for more aggressive eradication of opium crops. Afghanistan supplies 90 percent of the world's opium, and McNeil estimated that the crop finances up to 40 percent of Taliban operations. McNeil said he was pushing the NATO mandate as far as possible to allow his forces to target the "nexus" between opium and insurgents.

Something is wrong with this hideous picture. Any grown-ups out there (on the campaign trail, perchance) to point it out?





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