Monday, October 26, 2009

Afghanistan - a replay?

Video via Newshoggers, with this bit of commentary:
Daniel "Pentagon Papers" Ellsberg talks to Real News Network about Afghanistan. He says that he wrote McChrystal's assessment thirty years ago, only with the names changed; that counter-insurgency cannot succeed for a foreign occupier and that there can be no success that will survive after U.S. troops leave Afghanistan.


Ellsberg should be followed by reading Paul McGeogh's blistering critique of McChrystal and Obama's Afghan plan, which I noted yesterday and Andrew Sullivan picked up on today.
While you're at it, you might as well check Chris Floyd's latest, as well as look at the question of whether Afghanistan is really a state to begin with.

Basically, the main point to take away from all of this is quite simple: you have a number of folks in the military establishment who - like their counterparts in empires past - desire to correct for a previous failure. In the case of the US, it's like these folks can't get past obsessing over Vietnam (which was also unwinnable as Ellsberg notes), much as it was a French military establishment obsessing over its failure in what was then Indochina by attempting to "do it right" in Algeria (which ended up the final nail in the French empire's coffin). There is some debate as to the extent to which the Pope of Hope is on board with what the military brass wants, but little doubt that he'll go along (the extent to which this is based on buying into the myth that Afghanistan can be "won" and the extent to which this will be driven by fear of a potential military coup I'll leave to others to figure out). There is also little doubt, however, as to the bloodshed we can expect in the near future. My guess is that the US government will not leave Afghanistan voluntarily - it'll probably take something like an economic meltdown that would make our recent recession (from which we're supposedly recovering) look like a minor slow-down.

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