Winning Fantasy — Again

September 22, 2008

In the wake of the bombing of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel — killing from 53 to 60 people, depending on the news outlet — the crisis in making war in Afghanistan comes under a deeper blanket of loss, a war that in the end will be un-winnable.
Today, US helicopters were fired on again — the second time in less than a week — at the Afghan/Pakistan border, making the stilted effort at fighting the Taliban/al-Qaeda even much more dense.

And the end is — Loser!

History repeats itself in the lovely wilds of Afghanistan.
UK’s Robert Fisk pens a good look at the status of the Afghan war and how the US-led coalition there is doomed to failure.
Fisk’s commentary ran Saturday in UK’s The Independent and brings together the loose strings in Afghanistan which will in the end cause a strangle hold on US intentions there.
History knows what is on the road ahead despite the looniness of more is less.
A couple of snippets:

  • We, of course, have been peddling this crackpot nonsense for years in south-west Asia.
    First of all, back in 2001, we won the war in Afghanistan by overthrowing the Taliban.
    Then we marched off to win the war in Iraq.
    Now – with at least one suicide bombing a day and the nation carved up into mutually antagonistic sectarian enclaves – we have won the war in Iraq and are heading back to re-win the war in Afghanistan where the Taliban, so thoroughly trounced by our chaps seven years ago, have proved their moral and political bankruptcy by recapturing half the country.
    It seems an age since Donald “Stuff Happens” Rumsfeld declared, “A government has been put in place (in Afghanistan), and the Islamists are no more the law in Kabul. Of course, from time to time a hand grenade, a mortar explodes – but in New York and in San Francisco, victims also fall. As for me, I’m full of hope.”
    Oddly, back in the Eighties, I heard exactly the same from a Soviet general at the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan – yes, the very same Bagram airbase where the CIA lads tortured to death a few of the Afghans who escaped the earlier Russian massacres.
    Only “terrorist remnants” remained in the Afghan mountains, the jolly Russian general assured us. Afghan troops, along with the limited Soviet “intervention” forces, were restoring peace to democratic Afghanistan.

    And Obama and McCain really think they’re going to win in Afghanistan – before, I suppose, rushing their soldiers back to Iraq when the Baghdad government collapses.
    What the British couldn’t do in the 19th century and what the Russians couldn’t do at the end of the 20th century, we’re going to achieve at the start of the 21 century, taking our terrible war into nuclear-armed Pakistan just for good measure.
    Fantasy again.
    Joseph Conrad, who understood the powerlessness of powerful nations, would surely have made something of this.
    Yes, we have lost after we won in Afghanistan and now we will lose as we try to win again.
    Stuff happens.

Read Fisk’s whole piece here.

What happens when fantasy meets facts?

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