Afghanistan defines the Bush Administration

It’s tempting to say that Afghanistan represents the Bush Administration’s supreme failure. I’ve made that claim, in the past. But that presumes that the Bush Administration was, in the the smallest degree, interested in catching the people who attacked us on September 11, 2001, and in keeping this nation safe. Of course, some have done very well, from Bush’s wars. Meanwhile, the collective wisdom of the more than 100 bipartisan foreign-policy experts consulted by Foreign Policy and the Center for American Progress to form The Terrorism Index led to this summary:

The world these experts see today is one that continues to grow more threatening. Fully 91 percent say the world is becoming more dangerous for Americans and the United States, up 10 percentage points since February. Eighty-four percent do not believe the United States is winning the war on terror, an increase of 9 percentage points from six months ago. More than 80 percent expect a terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 within a decade, a result that is more or less unchanged from one year ago.

But, of course, if the Bush Administration actually gave a damn about national security, and catching the terrorists who attacked us, they’d have done something about it. Instead, their incompetence allowed Osama bin Laden to get away, when he could have been caught or killed, at the battle of Tora Bora. They disastrously shifted their focus from those who had attacked us to those who never had, and because of that, the Taliban are growing stronger both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while Al Qaeda has also regrouped and grown stronger in both countries. In fact, both countries are having to negotiate with the Taliban, and bin Laden, himself, is even now well-positioned to launch another attack.

If this war actually was about justice and security, rather than profits, it would be correctly seen as the signature failure of the singularly disastrous administration. Bush is destroying the Constitution and violating international law, not to mention the basic laws of humanity and morality, but he has not made America safer, and he has not caught the people who committed the worst ever act of terrorism on American soil. It would be surreal, were it not so damnable.  

In Afghanistan, the Bush Administration has been surging backward. Some say the war in Afghanistan is lost. In October, the Marine Corps asked to move its troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, but in December, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said no; but he has, of late, been blaming our NATO allies for the problems in Afghanistan! And it just keeps getting worse.

Today, Agence France-Presse reported:

Taliban militants and a suicide bomber stormed Kabul’s main hotel used by foreigners, killing at least six people and raising questions Tuesday about how they managed to breach tight security.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon suggested the attack may have been targeting Norway’s visiting foreign minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, who was inside the luxury Serena hotel at the time and took shelter with other guests in the basement.

A US citizen and a Norwegian journalist were among the dead.

The Serena hotel, opened in November 2005, is the main venue in the capital for high-level functions of the Western-backed government, as well as foreign embassies and businesses.

As such it is heavily barricaded and guarded against security threats amid an increasingly violent Taliban-led insurgency.

Essentially, they’re now able to penetrate inside the Afghan version of the Green Zone. And the Washington Post added:

The U.S. plan to send an additional 3,200 Marines to troubled southern Afghanistan this spring reflects the Pentagon’s belief that if it can’t bully its recalcitrant NATO allies into sending more troops to the Afghan front, perhaps it can shame them into doing so, U.S. officials said.

Shame them? For failing to fix Bush’s own failures?

But the immediate reaction to the proposed deployment from NATO partners fighting alongside U.S. forces was that it was about time the United States stepped up its own effort.

You think?

After more than six years of coalition warfare in Afghanistan, NATO is a bundle of frayed nerves and tension over nearly every aspect of the conflict, including troop levels and missions, reconstruction, anti-narcotics efforts, and even counterinsurgency strategy. Stress has grown along with casualties, domestic pressures and a sense that the war is not improving, according to a wide range of senior U.S. and NATO-member officials who agreed to discuss sensitive alliance issues on the condition of anonymity.

While Washington has long called for allies to send more forces, NATO countries involved in some of the fiercest fighting have complained that they are suffering the heaviest losses. The United States supplies about half of the 54,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, they say, but the British, Canadians and Dutch are engaged in regular combat in the volatile south.

Fighting the war that Bush failed to fight. Fighting the war from which Bush turned his attention away. Fighting the war on Bush’s behalf, with inadequate help from Bush, but now being blamed for Bush’s failures. That’s your Bush Administration, in a nutshell: disastrous at national security, disastrous at war, disastrous at diplomacy, but good for the war profiteers. Because impeachment is not going to happen, 2009 cannot come too soon.


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  1. History teaches us that if ever here was a war that needed a massive presence to just CONTROL the country, Afghanistan is it.

    Thanks Turk!

  2. I think bin Ladin is dead. Goldstein is dead. I saw a video from the BBC an interview, David Frost, with Benazie Bhuttro and she spoke of this. I don’t think you can have a ‘war’ in this sense with ‘terrorists’. All you do is cause really pissed off nation states, and make life miserable for the unfornuate people who live there. Me I think we should start actually promoting democracy and quit thinking bombs and dictators will stop terrorism, not to mention Unical execatives.  

  3. but cannot find the rec button!

  4. couldn’t hold onto Afghanistan for their pipeline and perhaps neither will we.

    I do expect another 911 type event but only because it will take place under the command of covert US intelligence agencies.

    I believe Bin Laden is long dead but our presence in Iraq is making thousands more.  See the youtube about the army crushing a car for “looting wood”.

    Even Japan after a stellar presentation about the event that started it all, 911, decided to shove it’s head back in the sand.

    Could we shame NATO FOR their support in this war of terror.  Oh, we need the pipeline.

  5. they have “snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory” in Afghanistan, enabled bin laden & his organization to regroup in Pakistan.  I don’t know why the Democratic candidates and Congress don’t start holding bush/ cheney’s feet to the fire on this.  Meanwhile, bush has been running around the Middle East, attempting to trying to shore up support against Iran:

    and he told allies that he still considered Tehran a threat despite a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate that said Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

    “I have spent a fair amount of time on Iran in every stop,” Bush said.

    How can the man not have a clue as to how gigantic a failure he is–except for, of course, helping himself and his cronies make huge sums of money of the misery of others.

  6. I am not sure that bush and co. really want to stay in afghanistan…..

    nor am I inclined to believe that they really want to catch osama……

    they had him and let him go…..

    I think they just wanted to isolate pakistan and control the islamic bomb…….

    and to remove the taliban from power……

    then iraq to isolate iran…..

    then iran……

    but all of that has come to naught….

    the best laid plans are often led astray, or something like that….

    • jim p on January 16, 2008 at 6:16 am

    student of history could have–did!–predict the outcome we see here. The bleed-over into Pakistan has made the Afghanistan failure compounded, and in the long-term will not lead to nice things with India. Nor for us.

    Imagine if we had just done what we said we’d do right from the get-go. $30 billion over 2-3 years or so was needed to quickly lay down the basis for functioning communities in Afghanistan. What’s that 2-1/2 weeks of Iraq? And maybe up to 150,000 troops to keep the peace, at a time people were willing to give us a chance. Like that Buddhist tale of the victor who “destroyed” his enemy by making real friendship a priority.

    Remember the Women’s issues? We were going in as almost a chivalric deed, according to everything the tube told us. Anybody remember RAWA, the woman’s association that smuggled out the execution of women videos. You’d see them at least a few times every day. Don’t see them now, do you?

    Here’s what their website said most recently:

    The US and Her Fundamentalist Stooges are

    the Main Human Rights Violators in Afghanistan

    The US and her allies tried to legitimize their military occupation of Afghanistan under the banner of “bringing freedom and democracy for Afghan people”. But as we have experienced in the past three decades, in regard to the fate of our people, the US government first of all considers her own political and economic interests and has empowered and equipped the most traitorous, anti-democratic, misogynist and corrupt fundamentalist gangs in Afghanistan.

    Human rights violations are widespread across Afghanistan

    In the past few years, for a thousand times the lies of US claims in the so-called “War on terror” were uncovered. By relying on the criminal bands of the Northern Alliance, the US made a game of values like democracy, human rights, women’s rights etc. thus disgracing our mournful nation. The US created a government from those people responsible for massacres in Pul-e-Charkhi, Dasht-e-Chamtala, Kapisa, Karala, Dasht-e-Lieli, 65,000 Kabulis and tens of mass graves across the country. Now the US tries to include infamous killers like Mullah Omer and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar into the government, which will be another big hypocrisy in the “war against terror”.

    The reinstatement of the Northern Alliance to power crushed the hopes of our people for freedom and prosperity into desperation and proved that for the Bush administration, defeating terrorism so that our people can be happy, have no significance at all. The US administration plays a funny anti-Taliban game and pretends that a super power is unable to defeat a small, marginalized and medieval-minded gang which is actually her own product. But our people found by experience in the past few years that the US doesn’t want to defeat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, because then they will have no excuse to stay in Afghanistan and work towards the realization of its economical, political and strategic interests in the region….

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