Alexander the Great that Afghanistan “is easy to march into but hard to march out of” BLAMING PAKISTAN FOR A LOST WAR
withdrew from the black hole not because they’d run short of guns and munitions, tanks and aircraft, men and material, but they had gone broke. If modern military wherewithal could win wars, you wouldn’t have had a chance to invade Afghanistan because Russia’s Red Army would have been still around.
It’s another story that yesterday’s mujahedeen are today’s terrorists. It’s not that the freedom fighters of yore have transformed into present-day terrorists and insurgents; it’s just that their enemy has changed places.
A University of California-educated engineer insisted on calling the forces resisting foreign occupation in Afghanistan “terrorists and insurgents.”
When it was argued that the people of a sovereign country had every right to resist foreign occupation of their land, he wouldn’t understand. But asked what would he do if a few bandits barged into his house to dispossess him of it, he replied, “I would pull out my gun…”
It’s precisely the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
Large Muslim populations furiously oppose foreign occupation of their lands but they are helpless because their governments are beholden to foreign interests.
Dear ally, isn’t it a pity that despite fighting your war on terror for a decade, sacrificing more than thirty thousand lives of innocent men, women, and children, and suffering financial losses worth billions, we now face the wrong end of your guns?
If you messed up in Afghanistan, why should you blame us for it?
If you refused to learn from history and marched into the Afghanistan trap, ignoring what Alexander the Great had cautioned against, we’re hardly to blame for it.
Wars of occupation have their own pitfalls that you should face yourself.
What will ultimately force you to withdraw to your own boundaries is your sinking economy. And it doesn’t make sense to launch wars on borrowed money.
How long is your policy of printing dollars to stave off economic collapse going to last?
Your economy is in a shambles; you don’t produce items of domestic consumption any more. How long will the defence industry alone provide job opportunities to unemployed citizens that now stand one in six Americans?
Surely, you’d continue to have plenty of aircraft and warships, but not many employment opportunities, nor much social security, insurance and health cover for your citizens.
When the Soviets faced economic meltdown at the end of their Afghan adventure in 1989, nobody had imagined it would cause the disintegration of a superpower.
Your plight, dear ally, is not much different from the Soviets at the end of their ten years’ adventure in Afghanistan.
The Soviets, nevertheless, had the integrity not to blame any other country for their follies.
BLAMING PAKISTAN FOR A LOST WAR
It’s awfully hard for the world’s greatest power to admit its high-tech military forces are being beaten in Afghanistan by a bunch of lightly-armed mountain tribesmen.
But that’s what’s happening. Washington is blaming everyone else for the bloody fiasco in Afghanistan, the “Graveyard of Empires.” Right now, the chief whipping boy for US fury is Pakistan, still officially called a “ strategic US ally.”
Last week, outgoing US chief of staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI, of being behind recent high profile attacks against US targets in Afghanistan staged by the Haqqani network, one of Taliban’s coalition fighting foreign occupation. The Pentagon accused the Haqqani network of being “a virtual arm” of ISI. Pakistan strongly denied US charges.
The US is reacting with blind rage rather than careful thought. The example of the Soviet 1989 defeat in Afghanistan increasingly haunts Washington.
Ironically, as I saw myself in the 1980’s, the US created the Haqqani network, arming and funding it these “freedom fighters.”
One of the US Senate’s dimmest members, influential Republican Lindsay Graham, threatens US attacks on Pakistan “to defend US troops” from “terrorism.”
That’s pretty rich. The US invades a country, brands any who resist as “terrorists,” then must invade Pakistan to “protect” its invading troops. Meanwhile, the US is paying bankrupt Pakistan $7.5 billion over five years to sustain the war in Afghanistan.
Ever since the days of George W. Bush, US policy in the Muslim world has been driven by a combination of imperial arrogance and profound ignorance.
When the US was preparing to invade Iraq in 2003, I had dinner with three of Bush’s most senior advisors. “Tell us about Iraq, Eric,” they asked. As I spoke of Kurds, Sunnis, assorted Shia, Yazdis, their eyes glazed over.
“Just give us the bottom line,” snapped one Alpha Republican. “The bottom line,” I replied, “is don’t get involved in a messy country you don’t understand at all.”
Well, here we go again with Pakistan. Hardly any senior members of the Obama administration understand complex Pakistan.
But these bulls in South Asia’s china shop are ready to charge in, heedless of the facts.
Threatening war against Pakistan, a nation of 180 million with a tough military is the height of folly. Pakistan controls most of the supply routes essential to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Most Pakistanis now consider the US a bigger enemy than old foe India.
Even crazier, Washington is making warlike threats against nuclear-armed Pakistan, a close ally of China, an important nuclear power. So far, Beijing has been cautious yet firm in its support of old ally, Pakistan.
But US attacks on Pakistan that go beyond the current raids by CIA drones could draw China into a confrontation with the US. China has quietly made clear it will not allow the US to tear apart Pakistan in order to grab Islamabad’s Chinese-aided nuclear arsenal.
More craziness. The US under both Bush and Barack Obama has been trying to get India militarily involved in Afghanistan. But the Indians were too clever to send combat troops into Afghanistan.
Washington then gave India a green light to pour intelligence agents and money into Afghanistan to support the anti-Taliban Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara minorities. The US has greatly aided the buildup of India’s nuclear arsenal – which has only two targets, Pakistan and China.
All this, of course, has set off alarm bells in Islamabad, which sees Afghanistan as its strategic back yard. Russia is also watching this drama with growing unease.
The strategic interests of Pakistan and the US are different, often in conflict. Yet the US “put a gun to our head,” in the words of a former ISI director (confirmed by former President Pervez Musharraf) and forced Pakistan to join the war against Taliban, a close Pakistani ally and strategic asset.
Why should Pakistan forsake its own strategic interests for those of the United States, whose confused, erratic foreign policy is largely run by domestic special interest groups?
A blow-up between Pakistan and its sometime American patron would be a calamity for all concerned. Expanding a war into the intersection of the interests of four nuclear-armed powers is the height of irresponsibility and manic behavior.