Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What is the point? and Plus ça again and again and again.

Randall Parker at Parapundit has what the Neutralist believes are two useful posts. The first is,

Afhganistan Is Still Afghanistan

Happy pledges lead to happy outcomes.

JALALABAD, Afghanistan — Six weeks ago, elders of the Shinwari tribe, which dominates a large area in southeastern Afghanistan, pledged that they would set aside internal differences to focus on fighting the Taliban.

This is Afghanistan which is part of the planet Earth and we are all in a Global Village and all really similar to each other. Anyone who dares to say differently will get called bad names. We are all really similar. We can all just get along, live in the present, imagine all the people, and so on.

But something went wrong? How could that be?

This week, that commitment seemed less important as two Shinwari subtribes took up arms to fight each other over an ancient land dispute, leaving at least 13 people dead, according to local officials.

The story includes accusations of police giving weapons to one of the factions. The disagreement degenerated into the use of rocket-propelled grenades and mortar launchers. Obviously Afghanistan needs gun control. Probably a government program to control gang violence too.

Official US policy has been damaged by this incident. Oh my.

The fighting was a setback for American military officials, some of whom had hoped it would be possible to replicate the pledge elsewhere. It raised questions about how effectively the American military could use tribes as part of its counterinsurgency strategy, given the patchwork of rivalries that make up Afghanistan.

The US government wouldn't make policy for a country based on unjustified asumptions about human nature, would it?


This is intra tribal rivalry. What is the point of the whole exercise if we have to keep everybody on board down to this level.

The comments are worth stealing as well,

Stephen said at March 12, 2010 3:54 AM:

Probably means we're about due for the US to announce that its killed a senior Al Qaeda commander.
mike said at March 12, 2010 4:44 AM:

Ancient land dispute? How primitive. After all, no advanced or intelligent society would support a land grab just because it was "promised" to a certain people in a thousand year old religious book.
Black Death said at March 12, 2010 5:47 AM:

"Probably a government program to control gang violence too."

How about midnight basketball?


Randall's newer post is below.

Little Government In Kandahar Afghanistan

Practice makes perfect. US forces are going to try to gain control of Kandahar again.

In theory, the Afghan government is in place in Kandahar, but its authority is nominal. Bombings and assassinations have left the government largely isolated behind concrete barricades and blast walls. In the latest burst of violence, a suicide squad struck across the city late Saturday, detonating bombs at a recently fortified prison, the police headquarters and two other sites, the Associated Press reported. At least 30 people were killed.

For the first time in years, however, the U.S. military again has Kandahar in its sights.

American troops are seeking to reclaim the city and surrounding province, where the Taliban has proved resurgent, more than eight years after the U.S.-led invasion forced the group from power. But a visit here last week made clear that American forces will face an insidious enemy that operates mainly in the shadows and exercises indirect control through intimidation and by instilling fear. The provincial governor remains mostly behind barricades. The provincial council has trouble convening because many members have fled to Kabul. The police are viewed as ill-trained, corrupt and possibly in league with criminal gangs.

Yet US Defense Secretary Robert Gates still expects US troops to begin withdrawing no later than July 2011.

"We will begin that transition no later than July 2011, but the pace will depend also on conditions on the ground," Gates said after watching training exercises at Camp Blackhorse, where U.S. and British forces train Afghan soldiers.


Michael O'Hanlon and Hassina Sherjan say Afghanistan is pretty mild stuff compared to Iraq.

Also, the violence in Afghanistan today is far less severe than it was in Iraq. Before the troop surge in 2007, more Iraqi civilians were killed every month than have been killed from war-related violence in Afghanistan each year. In other words, Afghanistan is less than a tenth as violent as the Iraq of 2004-07. Communities were displaced and sectarian tensions were inflamed far more in Iraq than they have been in Afghanistan.

But low level violence is more business as usual in Afghanistan than it is in Iraq.

The major US goal in Afghanistan appears to be to leave a government in power that won't be overthrown by the Taliban when the US leaves. I do not see how the US can accomplish that goal. The Taliban families make new babies in large numbers. Defeat them now and in a few years a new generation will be old enough to take up the fight.

Why should defeating them this time be more effective? The creation of the Afghan Army is supposed to be the crucial difference that will allow US and NATO forces to withdraw. But will that army become an effective and loyal fighting force?


Moi, I wish I could set up a pool for online betting on the date the third battle for Kandahar and the second battle for Marjah will start.

1 comment:

Burkeman1 said...

The US could, tomorrow, declare "the Taliban" an ally and leave. The US could and did deal with the Taliban if it wanted. Certainly the Taliban is slightly more odious than the Saudi Government when it comes to social issues- but only slightly more so- and that can be solved with how we deal with Saudi Arabia's human right's abuses- by ignoring them.

The war against the "Taliban" is a jobs work program. It is a low level war with tolerably low casualties (for Americans) but supremely profitable overhead. It costs a million dollars to keep one soldier in Afghanistan for one year. Contractors out number US soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This state of affairs will go on until literally the first fire bombs from hungry Americans hit the steps of Capital Hill.