Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Molly Ivins' Good/Bad News on Iraq and Afganistan

Molly Ivins expresses my thoughts better than I do:
...The election in Iraq Sunday, like the one in Afghanistan last year, was moving, inspiring and hopeful. When there's a ray of light breaking through in a dark sky, I'd much rather concentrate on the ray than the black clouds.

But mitigating my optimism is the fact that I've been around for a long time. Not that longevity is any guarantee of wisdom, but it does provide perspective. I can remember when they had elections in Vietnam that looked hopeful in 1967. I can remember the elections in El Salvador in 1984. And I remember last year's election in Afghanistan, with the almost unbearably moving sight of Afghani women coming out to vote. Still, it didn't kill off a single raping warlord, did it?

We came (into Afganistan) like gangbusters and promised the earth -- we were going to nation-build, put in infrastructure, all that good stuff -- and it got siphoned away to Iraq, including $700 million that had been appropriated for Afghanistan, according to Bob Woodward.

The good news (can't help myself) is that we did Afghanistan right, if you will recall -- went in with pretty much global backing and the support of all our allies. And they're still there helping out, 8,300 NATO troops, including the French, the Germans and the rest of "old Europe."
Source: Working For Change

That about says it for me - I'm glad the elections happened, but I've seen this "turned the corner" hype so many times before that I don't believe it. Meanwhile, Afganistan's heroin trade is back in a big way, and the warlords seem to be in control with the Taliban waiting in the hills like they did after the Soviets left.


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