Did we win or did we lose? That seems to be a main concern for many when it comes to the United States “intervention” in Afghanistan. Our goal was to overthrow the Taliban government and to institute some kind of order – the last month demonstrated that we may not be able to reach that goal.
We also have to look at the situation critically and see if what we’re doing will have a lasting impact – and that’s in question. While there’s no doubt that the Taliban is destructive and murderous, do we believe that once we pull out the current government will last? Or we continuously putting off an inevitable, while thousands of Afghans and Americans die?
With the recent videos of U.S. soldiers burning copies of the Quran, urinating on the bodies of Taliban soldiers and the recent massacre of Afghan civilians by a U.S. solider, our moral authority in the region is slipping and the Taliban is gaining fodder for its propaganda machine that paints the West as murderously meddlesome and corrupt.
No one wants to admit defeat and any president that decides to pull troops out will have to contend with accusations of giving up. President Obama’s hearing that now with the troop withdrawal from Iraq.
And while the situation is different in Iraq – let’s look at Iraq for a quick second. We purportedly went into Iraq because of mythical WMD. We amended our stand and decided that Saddam Hussein and his regime was too brutal (a fair and accurate charge). But now we’re hearing reports of Iraqi youth being killed for identifying or being perceived to be “emo” – wearing skinny jeans, wearing their hair long and spiky – the implication being that there’s something Satanic or gay about it. While the perpetrators of these crimes have been amateur militia, there is some reports that they are acting with the consent of the Ministry of Interior.
Obama feels he has to tread very carefully as he begins to unveil his reelection bid. He will be very strategic in how he responds to the situation in Afghanistan, which some may call disintegrating. Relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan are in a terrible bind – because both feel they need the other – we want a stable Middle East and see Afghanistan as an important factor; the Afghan government knows that it needs the U.S. because it’s not ready to rule on its own.
Whatever the decision our leaders will make – one thing is clear, a change is needed, as this month demonstrated.