– Afghanistan: Is Creating a “Narco-State” Considered “Nation-building?” (Veterans Today, Nov 12, 2012):
Operation Ignoratio Elenchi: from Afghanistan to Pakistan
If an occupation of a foreign land has patently failed to make ‘residual’ sense even for its cheerleaders, what would be a corrective action? To call it quits, and get the guys & gals back home?
Well, that conjecture may sound just about swell, but some folks at some places have a bigger fish to fry – call it first rate red herring!
From Afghanistan to Pakistan – that’s the message for the US forces, friends & foes from the latest information operation conducted from the premises of the New York Times.
The operation was launched – or provoked – by editorial 3-page confession http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/opinion/sunday/time-to-pack-up.html “Time to Pack Up”: upon rueful consideration, the Times troubadours of truth revoke its ‘powerful support’ for Obama’s ‘war of choice’ in Afghanistan and call for accelerated & secure “logistical withdrawal” of the US boots from the ground.
This change of heart could have been commendable as a long overdue spark to ignite a debate on a sharply defined initiative: to accelerate – or decelerate – the pullout of US occupation forces from Afghanistan before the shifty 2014 deadline.
Shortly after, the paper published provocative piece from president of the legendary ‘Afghanistan Foreign Press Association’, no less – and invited readers for a Sunday Dialogue, presumably, on the subject of its own Afghan proposition.
I couldn’t resist a call for action, and joined the fray right away:
When it comes to the root cause of US quagmire in Afghanistan, both – the editorial and Vanni Cappelli – are right that OEF was preordained to reach a stalemate, though for different reasons.
Operationally, as the editorial posited, US decision to invade Iraq was a tremendous shot in the foot to a burgeoning military campaign in Afghanistan.
Strategically, as the author poignantly outlined, the historical addiction of the White House to Pakistan has doomed its Afghan endeavor from the outset.
Actually, there’s no contradiction between those two particular hindsight observations which dovetail each other just fine.
However, the author’s accusations of the editorial in rallying for “precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan” which is, allegedly, is tantamount to “quite simply a forfeiting of the game to Pakistan.” are totally preposterous.
First off, it’s not intellectually honest to ascribe malicious intent where it didn’t exist: there’s a gap too wide to bridge between the editorial’s calls – “to leave Afghanistan on a schedule dictated only by the security of the troops” and “We need to exit as soon as we safely can” – on the one side, and the author’s claims of “precipitous withdrawal” on the other side.
Secondly, “forfeiting of the game to Pakistan” innuendo reeks of ‘zero sum game’ or ‘Grand Game’ connotations of colonial & imperial designs which doesn’t bode well for US foreign policy perception in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Vanni Cappelli seems oblivious to the fact that his “containing” Pakistan Policy recommendation with ‘Continued military and diplomatic engagement in South-Central Asia” is status quo apology and seems eerily similar to ‘appeasement’ strategy shared by the president and his contender, which he so rightfully criticized.
As much as I concur with the editorial analysis and somber recommendation – Time to Pack Up – the elephant in the discussion room that has been studiously ignored by both sides, is narco state of affairs in Afghanistan.
If there’s any raison d’être for US military presence in Afghanistan, it could and should have been strategic shift from COIN to Counter-Narcotics.
The awkward truth is, whoever sits in the White House, the USA is not going to commit more than a lip service to fight against narco-terrorism in Afghanistan.
And that’s why by default, it is the paramount reason for US friends to bail out America from Afghanistan, ASAP, no ifs & buts.
Here comes the dénouement, when the Sunday Dialogue popped up on the screen with the revealing loaded question in the subtitle: “Is Pakistan friend of foe?”
That’s right, on its own volition, or under duress from its sponsors at high places, the Times succumbed the moderation of the discourse to a biased outsider and let the initial noble agenda – to accelerate the pullback from Afghanistan – to be hijacked by jingoistic drumbeat against Pakistan.
As for the Sunday Dialogue contest, the undisputed winners are:
On Afghan narco nexus:
“Terrorism is financed by the unrestricted production and sale of illegal drugs.” Nadeem Hotiana, Press Attaché at Pakistan Embassy in the US.
On American Wilson’s War blowback legacy http://rt.com/news/blogs/friendly-fire/us-afghanistan-pakistan-policy/ :
“It was a strategic mistake for the United States and Pakistan to arm and train the anti-Soviet mujahedin in the 1980. They morphed into the Taliban and created conditions for the emergence of Al Qaeda.”
Munir Akram, Pakistan Ambassador to the UN from 2002 to 2008.