Monday, June 28, 2010

Mission: Fail

The mission in Afghanistan is still as amorphous as the one in Iraq was in the days of George Bush. What we are doing and why we are doing it seems to depend on the day of the week, the person speaking on behalf of the government, and possibly the phase of the moon. One of the most popular, though, is the most absurd and least believable of all, but it is the one that most appeals to the fears of the American people, as stated by CIA Director Leon Panetta on ABC’s This Week,”

“Our purpose, our whole mission there, is to make sure that Al Qaeda never finds another safehaven from which to attack this country. That’s the fundamental goal of why the United States is there,” he said. “And the measure of success for us is: do you have an Afghanistan that is stable enough to make sure that never happens.”

That absolutely infuriates me. The attacks of 9/11/2001 were planned in Hamburg, Germany and in two cities in the United States. The actual perpetrators came mostly from Saudi Arabia; not one of them came from Afghanistan. They did not train for their mission in Afghanistan, they did that in Ft Lauderdale and San Diego.

The only role that Afghanistan played was that Osama bin Laden lived there at the time. His organization provided funding, using banks located in nations other than Afghanistan, and he authorized the final go-ahead for the attack. He could have done that from anywhere in the world. He could have done it from downtown Washington, DC.

Osama bin Laden is no longer in Afghanistan. We think he is in Pakistan, but we don’t really know where he is, and it apparently doesn’t matter. The original invasion of Afghanistan was for the purpose of destroying that man and his cadre, but after that mission failed we did not leave, we simply changed the mission to God only knows what and stayed.

Since none of the reasons we keep making up for conducting a military occupation of Afghanistan make any sense, we keep having to make up additional reasons, which also make no sense. We keep, therefor, returning to the reason which most appeals to American fears, the “safehaven from which to attack us” reason. This reason is usually accompanied on television by pictures of Arabs with rifles doing calisthenics or playing on some sort of jungle gym; presumably in their “safe haven” and in preparation for their attack on us.

The latest attack on us was the Times Square incident, which was planned in this country, by one of our own citizens, with training provided by the Taliban in Pakistan. And still we are “at war” in Afghanistan to “deny al Queda safehaven from which to attack us.”

Wrong country, wrong group, wrong goal, and still we trumpet this mindless fear mongering drivel in justification of endless war.

We have this insane goal of keeping al Queda out of Afghanistan, as if it could not harm us from any other location. If it gets back into Afghanistan we are doomed, but as long as it is hiding somewhere else it is harmless. Either it cannot plan attacks anywhere other than in Afghanistan, or the attacks it plans elsewhere will be feckless affairs doomed to failure and which we need not fear. We need only keep them out of Afghanistan and all will be well.

The Times Square attempt would seem to disprove this theory, but...

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