UI – Part 690 – Afghanistan – The Error – And More
The real problem in Afghanistan, over the 20 years there, was failure to allow the rules of engagement to proceed to cull out all the terrorists. Politicians interfered with success. It was Eisenhower that always remarked, if we go to war, go to win, not fight wildfires. Even Bush imposed restraints that precluded victory. It was amazing, however, the level of stability in the region, although corruption was rampant, with so few, less than 4,000, American troops (and NATO forces too.)
Politicians may be too timid for war. If Afghanistan were a war, and we chose to fight, then we should have decided to win. We know Biden is a loser because no Commander-in-Chief would leave assets behind. He did. Americans and many Afghani’s that were supporters of Americans and NATO allies were left behind. Trump was told, by many of the same generals that Biden asked, to leave a presence, maybe 2,500-4,000 troops, to protect our assets and to prepare for a coordinated exit, insuring all our allies were safe. In addition there is the question of intelligence. Without a presence there is no intelligence on the ground that can provide valuable information about activities important to our safety.
From the August 18, 2021 Economist, “Around the world, jihadists were elated by the fall of Kabul. Through willpower, patience and cunning, a low-budget band of holy warriors has vanquished America and taken charge of a medium-size country. To Muslims who yearn to expel infidels and overthrow secular states, it was evidence that God approves. The ripple effects could be felt far and wide.” (Article: Where next for global jihad?)
America has created more problems in the middle east than solutions.
Zahir Shah was a great leader in Afghanistan, given the title Father of the Nation, the longest serving ruler (39) years. In the 50’s he reached out to many foreign nations to assist in modernization, physically and culturally. There was peace, a growing education base, and prosperity. But, he was deposed in 1973, while having medical care in Italy. His brother took over, Muhammad Daoud, ending a monarchy of 225 years. By 1978 communists had moved in, assassinating Doaud in the process. The reforms came under pressure and fell to the rise of the Taliban, created to resist the Russians and raise Islam to a higher standard, as oversight of the populace and the rule of law.
After much turmoil and 911, where Bush 43 ordered troops into the Country, an opportunity for reform arose. That required ridding this small nation of the terrorist, Taliban, factions. But, as noted, without a more forceful military approach, we neither succeeded in eliminating the demonic Islamist ruling class nor allowed for any restoration of the modern industrial and cultural reforms the Country did enjoy into the late 70’s.
And now Biden has made matters for the citizens of Afghanistan even worst. He has paved the way for a Nation to return to 7th century conditions ruled by Islamic zealots. Women will not be equals even under the new order.
As Afghanistan Iran was becoming more modern and ‘westernized’ after WWII. The discovery of oil offered resources to improve living conditions. A parliamentary government was formed, led by Prime Minister Mossadegh. The PM, upset with the British control of the oil, having been instrumental in its discovery and development, wanted better work and living conditions for the Iranian workers, as well as a significantly improved financial arrangement with the British. They selfishly refused. Mossadegh Nationalized the oil and created a red faced blustering British resistance. Eisenhower, new in office, allowed for a coup, to restore the Shah (Pahlavi family) and give the British back their oil largesse (with some concessions). But it was Jimmy Carter, upset with the Shah as well as the oil crisis in the 70’s in the US, that stupidly (my view) facilitated the Iranian revolution, the Shah ill with cancer, and the Ayatollah to take control of Iran.
With the Shities in control Iran was rapidly returned to an Islamic law dominant nation, not common law, and the trappings of modernity became more criminal than enjoyable.
America’s hand in the middle east has made the Islamist beheadings more common than what could have been. Can we excuse the world after WWII and the attention American President’s gave more to the possible spread of communism than other developments in the world, especially those of a positive nature for citizens. Were Presidents after FDR burdened by becoming a Superpower and having to deal with one crisis after another, and the want to continue social reforms instituted by FDR, to include welfare at the Federal level, and thus ignoring the middle east? Whatever excuse might be found, none are good enough for what has emerged in the whole of the middle east, and now to include Afghanistan. We could have done better. We could have had better decisions and thus better Presidents. With Biden it is more of the worse than the better.
Grace and Peace,
Author and Blogger.