Make no mistake, withdrawal of US and NATO forces from
Recently, Benjamin Barber published an editorial entitled 15 REASONS WHY WE CAN’T WIN IN
Below in italics are his jingoistic “15 Reasons,” thoroughly refuted, point by point.
1. There is no “
First of all, Afghanistan was organized as a nation-state in 1747, more than 30 years before the American colonies won their independence from Great Britain; and 200 years prior to the establishment of Pakistan (by Great Britain).
There are several reasons why
Because there have been Pashtun and Baloch separatist movements in Pakistan since the creation of Pakistan, and since many of Pakistan’s Pashtun are inclined towards reunification with their brethren in Afghanistan, ISI believes that, in order to keep its territory from fracturing down the middle (the Indus River), it must keep Afghanistan either unstable or under Pakistani control.
Therefore, in classic red herring style, ISI promotes the notion that
2. To the extent there is an “
Much of the current leadership of
A simple rule of thumb for identifying who should not be governing
3. President Karzai, our “ally” and the official representative of the “state” on whose behalf we fight, would prefer that we leave – at least when it comes to what he says for internal consumption.
As noted above, President Karzai is unduly influenced by
4. Not that it matters what he thinks since the President of Afghanistan is for all practical purposes little more than the Mayor of Kabul – and that’s on good days.
This simple statement, which is patently untrue, describes a complex situation influenced by not only Pakistan and the corrupt Afghan warlords it controls, but also Karzai’s ability, to the extent he is interested, to effect change and nurture development in his country, a process which was hamstrung during the Bush years by the profound inadequacy of the security/military and development support being provided by the international community. What’s more, the
5. The only thing that unites this otherwise disintegral non-state is that the fractious tribes that despise one another hate foreigners even more.
This is simply Pakistani propaganda, similar to what was already refuted in Item No. 1. Its purpose is to convince the world that
The most deeply despised foreigners in
6. Foreign forces, whatever their intentions, will always be seen as occupiers and hence, the enemy.
In the autumn of 2009, a group of women traveled to
Make no mistake, a premature exit of US and NATO forces from
7. Ghengis Khan, the British and the Russians all tried to “win” in Afghanistan, and they all failed; it would be an exaggeration to say their futile attempts brought down three empires… or would it?
This sort of sloppy scholarship is simply inexcusable from someone with Mr. Barber’s credentials. It is utter nonsense that
Ghengis Khan conquered
Most importantly, the Durand Treaty of 1893 made official
The purpose of the oft repeated propaganda, that Afghanistan has never been conquered, is simply to inspire a defeatist attitude; i.e., nobody’s ever succeeded there, so we might as well give up and go home; thus leaving the path clear for Pakistan’s minions to resume their pattern of scorching Afghan earth.
8. You can’t win wars when you’re killing civilians, yet in
While there have been many tragic mistakes committed by the
Upon taking command in the summer of 2009, General Stanley McChrystal issued new rules of engagement, whereby US and NATO soldiers were ordered to hold fire if pursuit of the enemy put civilians at risk. This policy reduced by 28% the number of civilian deaths caused by western forces in 2009.
Moreover, Barber’s statement that “the boundary between combatants and civilians is blurred” promotes the impression that the Taliban is a native movement. It is not. The Taliban is a Pakistani paramilitary force. Every soldier serving in
The Taliban is not even a Pashtun movement. There are people spreading the notion that, because they are Pashtun, the separatists in
9. Occupying places where Muslims live (and where they die at your hand) will always been (sic) seen as a war against Islam rather than a war against terrorism.
Again, Afghans do not view us as conquerors, but rather, defenders.
10. You can’t make people free at the barrel of gun.
This is a cute slogan, but it’s absurd.
11. There is no better way to create terrorism than to make war on Muslims in the name of fighting wars against terrorism.
The US and NATO are not creating the terrorists.
12. America can’t save the world, and risks losing what is best in
This head-in-the-sand statement is not only heartless, it ignores the fact that, since the invention of the passenger jet, isolationism is simply not possible.
13. Military force and overwhelming firepower applied from the outside are more likely to undermine than sustain the development of democracy inside a developing country.
The military force being applied to undermine democracy in
14. Al Qaeda is not
Though this statement is true, it is demonstrative of the severe shortcomings of Mr. Barber’s memory. If
15. We can’t pay for questionable wars abroad and afford justice and economic recovery at home and trying to do so is likely to lead to losing the war and undermining justice.