Thursday, June 24, 2010

Afghanistan – What should be the End-Game for Troop Withdrawal

In the midst of the confrontational fiasco that is occurring between General McChrystal and the President of the United States, everyone is also attempting to reassess where the United States is with regard to the war in Afghanistan. How are we going to extract our Armed Forces from that arena and leave a stable government in place?

Entry into Afghanistan was as legitimate as one can ever ask for, given the proceeding actions attributed to Osama bin Laden and 9/11. We should have gone there and we should have done what we did prior to our government deciding that Iraq was a better place to bomb, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld. Bad mistake! We lost the big picture and the momentum when we took our eyes off of the prize in Afghanistan to enter into armed conflict in Iraq.

The Taliban had been routed. Schools and jobs were opening to those that had been shoved to the back of the line, namely its women. A relaxation of the strict Fundamentalism thought processes seemed to be giving the country a step up and back into the modern age. Less we forget, Afghanistan was a thriving country with a monarchy in place. Thrown into chaos by the dethroning of the King, Afghanistan has never been able to return to its previous austerity.

With that, I address the real issues, as I see them, as to how we can accomplish the end-game – removing ourselves from Afghanistan with a stable government in place. The method that the was agreed to as the best way to achieve the objective of defeating the Taliban was a Counter-Insurgency whereby we entered the strongholds of the Taliban and wrestle back from them the people being held captive under Taliban rule. Simple as it may seem, the threats to achieving this goal are hidden in the troubled assets that one would need to support a Country-Insurgency.

A stable government showing credibility is a must, local and national elections that are free of corruption, a significant standing army/police forces capable of maintaining order within the country with the added ability to repel hostile forces. Afghanistan does not, has never had, these basic elements to support its governmental structure. We were able to accomplish those basics within the Iraqi government on account of the cooperation that was garnered with the different sects/sheiks controlling Baghdad and the surrounding country.

Those objectives have not been reached in Afghanistan because the tribal and territorial leaders of Afghanistan are not ready to accept the concept of a central government. In Afghanistan, there is not the infrastructure presented in Iraq… Afghanistan is far-flung and isolated – a state of being that belies any hopes of making the governmental connections needed to corral the country’s local governments.

Genghis Khan was the last true ruler of Asian. Genghis Khan accomplished his amazing feat using fear and rewards – oppose him and receive his wrath; join him and enjoy the rewards of having done so. Vice-President Biden offered the best method of doing both by suggesting that we introduce the ‘drone’ to Afghanistan as a means of striking down those whom would offer resistance to a unified Afghanistan, but even that approach would require a standing army capable of keeping the peace when the United States’ Armed Forces are withdrawn.

An example of the leadership that is necessary for Afghanistan to succeed - the Republic of South Africa. President Mandela grasped the reins of his country, averted civil war, and lead his countrymen to a successful transition of power from the elitist class to the working class gentry of that country - that is what is needed by the people of Afghanistan and nothing less will do.

Without strong leadership, a significant standing army, and local police forces there will be no opportunity to withdraw honorably from Afghanistan. A significant standing army with local police forces should be an integral part of any end-game objective!

In a democracy, silence is not golden; it is condonance in the face of injustices; it is fear, where the thought of reprisal fosters control – Rodney A. Davis

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