The New York Times pegs the original sin of the U.S. policy in Afghanistan:

In hindsight, several current and former administration officials say they have come to believe the decision to turn a blind eye to the warlords and drug traffickers who took advantage of the power vacuum in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was one of the fundamental strategic mistakes of the Afghan war.

Someone will have to explain to me how we’re not compounding the error by pursuing a continued counterinsurgency campaign aimed at protecting from the Taliban a government comprised of the above-mentioned warlords and drug traffickers. NYT’s Helene Cooper and Carlotta Gall, emphasis mine:

Administration officials have routinely complained of Karzai’s failure to crack down on corruption and the drug trafficking fueling the insurgency.

Should Karzai win, either outright or in a second round, Obama administration officials could find a president in Afghanistan who has engaged in so much deal-making that he may be even more beholden to warlords than before.

Warlords and drug lords like Mohammed Qasim Fahim, Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq and Abdul Rashid Dostum dominate the U.S.-backed government in Kabul. They’re one of several reasons why the government on whose behalf we’re fighting a counterinsurgency in Afghanistan is not worth another American dime or drop of blood. (Stay tuned for a continuation of my series, “Meet Your Afghan Warlords,” to learn more about the thugs dominating Karzai’s regime.)

President Obama’s election was hailed by progressives as a bright, shining opportunity for the U.S. to regain its moral standing in the world. That’s not going to happen without a radical reordering of U.S. objectives and strategies in Afghanistan. As long as we continue to hold to the Bush-era assumption that terrorism requires a military response, we’ll remain in bed with thugs like these.

Get our troops out of Afghanistan.

  1. sporkmaster says:

    This is going to be a short one since you are most likely busy with work and such.

    The biggest problem with these Warlords is how to deal with them. I had a few in the last few posts, also my fears about what would happen their if these Warlords where left unchecked.

    Lastly I have grave doubts about using non-violence without having weapons and the will to use them if things get really bad. Honestly the group meeting in Afghanistan on September 25 is a bad idea. I hope it goes well, but I have a feeling that things will go for the worse.

  2. dcrowe says:

    Hi sporkmaster:

    Which do you fear most: Lex Luthor as an outlaw supervillian, or Lex Luthor as president of the United States?

    Lex Luthor on his own is a bad guy with a group of thugs to carry out his orders. Lex Luthor as president of the United States is a bad guy with a group of thugs to carry out his orders, plus an army, a navy, a secret service and a police force.

    I know it’s a goofy reference, but it’s relevant because unless we renounce our support for the government in Afghanistan in its current form, we’re financing and training a national security apparatus and putting it into the hands of the bad guys.

    I understand your concerns about non-violence if things get really bad. I’ll just make a couple of points:

    1) Using the history of the 20th century as a guide, you have a better chance of success struggling against repression if you use nonviolent methods.
    2) I worry about what happens when it goes bad and everyone has weapons.

  3. […] Compounding the Error posted on August 31st, 2009 at Return Good for Evil […]

  4. sporkmaster says:

    I think I am understanding that corruption is the same regardless they attack you (Taliban) or work with you(Warlords). I agree that both are bad, but it is going to be hard to tackle both at the same time when manpower being stretched thin. But if we leave both sides will go after each other unchecked leaving the population stick in the middle.

    Reply 1. But the Taliban is not a working government and is not centralized to focus efforts on. Also because of the Terrain I would imagine that it is a lot easier getting separated and isolated from everyone else. making a coordinated effort against the Taliban much harder.

    Reply. 2. Well when things go bad and violence it usually not good. But each depends on the situation where action or inaction ether saves or costs lives.

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