The Other I

October 20, 2009

Getting out of the war zones

Filed under: Political thoughts — theotheri @ 1:49 pm

It’s not that I don’t think, read, and worry about this all the time.  I do.  I lived through the Vietnam War and I know what it was like for America to be fighting an unwinnable war.  But I don’t know how we are going to get our troops out of Afghanistan.

The argument the government made for pursuing the Vietnam war was based on the Domino Effect:  if Vietnam falls to Communism, so will Cambodia and Laos and Thailand and India and the Middle East and Turkey and …  Well, Vietnam did “fall” to Communism but the dominoes didn’t all tumble.

The question in Afghanistan that worries me is Pakistan.  Under what conditions can we leave Afghanistan without further destabilizing Pakistan, a country which possesses the nuclear bomb?  Could we afford to leave Afghanistan with a strong possibility that a civil war will break out in Afghanistan and spread to Pakistan?

Let us forget about imposing democracy or equal rights as we understand them.  Let us forget about nation building and wiping out the opium crops.

Can we even prevent a full-blown civil war whether or not we leave?  Right now, the fighting in Afghanistan is called “an insurgency.”  There has been a highly dubious “democratic” election with a government still in place that is almost universally recognized as corrupt.  It looks to me like a fine line between the current situation and civil war.

What are we doing there?

More critically, how can we get out?  General McCrystal says we needs 40-60,000 more troops before there is even a chance of stabilizing the country so we can leave.

This sounds an awful lot like a Vietnam-type argument to me.

Meanwhile, the process of trying to bring about some kind of progress in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to have taken a significant step backwards, and Iran is blaming the US and Britain for the latest assassinations of members of the Revolutionary Guards.

The world needs more Out-of-the-Box thinking that I’ve been remotely capable of coming up with.

I sure hope Obama and his advisers are better at it than I am.

But it looks to me as if things could get a lot worse and a lot closer to home ground for a long time to come.

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