assuming, as i do (being sane and rational) that the NY Times, when it reports on international affairs, is not a hotbed of liberalism but rather a very good newspaper--right, we can agree on that? good, so assuming that is the case, today's front pager about "Afghan attacks linked to Taliban points to Pakistan" would have to lead a sane person to say, "gee, we've pretty much screwed the pooch on Afghanistan. And pakistan, while we're up."
1. We invade Afghanistan, bombing a county in the stone age back into the iron age. fair enough, they did have it coming, sort of. or the taliban did, anyway, although our bombs tend to hit more civilians than anything else, and those civilians had, in the main, welcomed the taliban when they came to power mostly because the (often US backed) warlords were serial rapists (especially of young boys) making the taliban look good by comparison. but fine, we did what we had to do. other than destroying the taliban totally, or capturing that bin laden guy.
but other than that, what have the romans ever done for us?
2. We pledge large amounts of money to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. this is a good idea on several levels: a real Marshall plan for this part of the world would make an enormous difference in the lives of afghanis, who've seen the short end of the stick over and over from us, from their leaders, from the soviets. we could right a few wrongs here and look good in the court of world opinion. maybe even regionally, such as in...
3. pakistan, who are ostensibly our ally. why are they our ally? well, it's not because of AQ Khan, who sold the bomb to N Korea and Libya. it's not because of the ISI, who supported the taliban and OBL. it's not because of musharraf, who's a dictator. no, it's because they have the bomb, period. one thing we've learned these past 5 years is that countries WITH the bomb don't get attacked, pace N. Korea. Countries without it are fair game. so pakistan can support our mortal enemy OBL, can support our enemies the taliban, no problem.
4. we stop giving any money of any note to afghanistan about 6 months after we pledge to rebuild their society. hamid karzai is installed, and then elected, to be the "mayor of kabul" since the rest of the country is back in the hands of the rapist warlords, with whom we have been doing business since 1982 or so.
5. the taliban regroup. they get money from...our ally...pakistan! and guns! and the afghan warlords, many of whom HATE the taliban, suck it up and start helping them, because while they may hate the taliban, they hate outsiders more. although they are happy to take our guns and butter.
6. Musharraf continues to be unable to find OBL, although it seems clear he travels with impunity in the hinterlands of NW pakistan. still our ally though!
7. the ISI starts arming suicide bombers (something afghanistan has never had before) to go into afghanistan and blow themselves up the better to bring the taliban, you know, the guys who blew up buddhist statues and ruined women's lives, and harbored OBL? those guys? to bring those guys back into contention to run various parts of afghanistan.
8. meanwhile, a massive and devastating earthquake hits pakistan. another opportunity for the US, the richest country in the world, to show the muslim world of our munificence. squandered. even as we speak. but we are tied up somewhere else, known as...
10. worst. president. ever.
here: Afghan conundrum.