Saturday, August 07, 2004


The 2-Front War

Mr. Bush's decision to invade Iraq before finishing the job in Afganistan was about as smart as Hitler's decision to invade the Soviet Union before finishing off Great Britain. First, it did the US a great deal of harm and little if any good:

The war in Iraq has intensified the hatred of America around the world and powerfully energized Al Qaeda-type insurgencies. At the same time, it has weakened our defenses by diverting the very resources we need - personnel, matériel and boatloads of cash - to meet the real terror threats.
Bob Herbert New York Times

Next, it gave the Taliban and Al Qaeda time to rebuild. Remember how the Taliban first came to power by fighting a guerilla war against the Soviets? Mr. Bush's strategy lets them do the same thing to us:

U.S. and NATO forces have a strong presence in Kabul, the Afghan capital, but their grip on the rest of the country is tenuous. Hamid Karzai, the U.S.-backed president, is derisively said to be little more than the mayor of Kabul.

Much of the rest of Afghanistan is controlled by powerful warlords who command large private militias. They are largely financed by a booming export trade in opium and heroin.

In southern and eastern Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar are believed to be hiding, the Taliban effectively controls large swaths of territory. U.S. military officials say foreign Islamist fighters and al-Qaeda financiers are aiding the Taliban.
San Diego Union-Tribune

...The Taliban have stepped up recruiting in the south and intensified strikes against newly trained Afghan soldiers and police officers, as well as foreign-aid workers.

The attacks appear to be having the most impact in rural areas of southern and eastern Afghanistan, where the Afghan government is still struggling to establish its authority nearly three years after the Taliban fell. That part of the country has been a traditional Taliban stronghold. Reconstruction in some areas has come to a near standstill, and local people remain hostile to the Americans and the Afghan government.

Meanwhile, we have our latest triumph in bringing the "rule of law" to Pakistan's "democracy" - the only Islamic state to successfully export atomic bomb technology to North Korea and Iran:

The leader of the Movement for Justice party (Imran Khan) said there was general concern about the failure of the authorities to bring those detained before a court of law.

"They do not believe that the way this war on terrorism is being fought is beneficial for Pakistan in any way," he added.

He also warned that President Pervez Musharraf administration's was too dependent on US support.

"Our government is no different to the Iraqi Governing Council," he said.

"The whole system depends on one man... If anything happens to him, there is chaos ahead."
BBC News

The $146 billion and counting we spent on the Iraq invasion sure could have come in handy for, say, rebuilding Afganistan, and strengthening security at our ports of entry. Too bad winning the war on terrorism would have given the weapons inspectors enough time to confirm there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.


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