Mission Accomplished?

I was sure that I had posted this over a month ago right after Bin Laden had been shot. But I guess I forgot to hit post, it’s as true now as it was then, so here it is.

Those are the words president George W. Bush said 7 years ago. Mission accomplished, we had fought and defeated terrorism in Afghanistan and had brought them democracy. Those words were laughable when he uttered them then and are beyond idiotic today. It took 10 years to find Osama Bin Laden, one of the most wanted men in the world. Even with Bush’s change of tune a few years into the invasion, that he really wasn’t that important, he was still actively being searched for.

The mission clearly wasn’t accomplished then, and it would seem even with OBLs death we are no nearer any sort of end. We went into Afghanistan to fight terrorism, to help the Afghanis build a democratic government. I say we because of Canada’s part in this invasion and since Canada chose not to go into Iraq I will try and make this only about Afghanistan. Troops have been there for 10 years, almost all of which have been with the Afghanis having their non Taliban government.

But what have we really accomplished? There is no denying that the Taliban were evil people and can in no way be defended. But is the Wests occupation really much better? Many women are still forced to wear the veil, and opium production is reaching unprecedented levels. Civilians and Afghan security force personal are killed daily, by Afghan militants and coalition troops.

Both the US and Canada are being investigated by the ICJ for the torture we commit in our prisons. It seems even some in allied countries like Pakistan hate us for being there. It is laughable to think that no one in their government knew that OBL was hiding in a house a few hundred maters from the Pakistan Military Acadamey. These people are not fighting against the coalition because they hate our way of life, we are occupying their country and killing their people. We see on the news any time a Canadian soldier dies, it is everywhere, but we never hear about the hundreds of thousands of Afghans who have died fighting, or who have just been in the way.

The Taliban forces we are fighting are not going to be dealt with quickly by any means. The US trained them in the type of warfare they use to fight against the Soviet invasion. The west laughed at the Soviet failure in Afghanistan which helped ruin their economy, yet we are in the same position. Billions are spent keeping troops there, fighting for some ill-defined cause. Most Afghans don’t want us there and most of us don’t want to be there.

It is possible that pulling out will cause the Taliban to return to power. But I doubt it, with people like Hamid Karzi and his drug lord brother having power and the security force mostly in their hands I can’t see a return to what once was. For better or worse we have created a new monster, this time not fundamentalist but seemingly equally despotic. Bush’s slogan of mission accomplished wasn’t true than and is equally untrue now. There is of course much more to say, and everything is far more nuanced and intricate, but an analysis like that is for another time.


~ by Chris Stevens on June 21, 2011.

One Response to “Mission Accomplished?”

  1. Not bad. With reagrd to Pakistan I read somewhere (Foreign Policy) that their game with the Taliban is a little different from what we (I shudder to put ‘Westerners’) think. Pakistan’s primary concern is, was and always will be India. Some in the Pakistani government (ISI) think that the US will hand oversight in Afghanistan to India once it withdraws. To counter this Pakistan is going to help the opposition in Afghanistan so that India will be unable to assume that role and encircle Pakistan. The problem is that NATO went into Afghanistan without taking into account the fact that Pakistan and India are full of mutual loathing and have nukes (to fire at each other, no-one else); Pakistan will view everything through the lens of India and so cannot be on the same side as NATO and thus NATO cannot win in Afghanistan. I think that analysis has something to commend it.

    And yeah, I agree that people getting killed tends to piss the living off quite a lot.
    (Great Soviet Union never fail in Afghanistan! Long live Geat Soviet Union! Long live Legacy of Lenin!)

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