Wednesday, December 2, 2009

US Afghan escalation: Indifference to reality

America's undying faith in war
Paul Woodward, War in Context: In one of the well-known Sufi stories about Mullah Nasruddin, the mullah has just returned from the market with a basket of red hot chili peppers. He is sitting in a room eating one after another and his mouth swells and his lips bleed and a student finds him and asks in bewilderment why the mullah is punishing himself. Nasruddin replies, 'I keep on thinking that the next pepper will be sweet.' ... This is the pathological shadow of the American can-do optimistic spirit: faith in a future uncolored by the past.

Paul Woodward, War in Context: America's foreign misadventures now, as so often in the past, are spurred by a missionary zeal. However cynical a policymaker's motives might be, there are plenty of young Americans on the ground who sincerely believe that they are in Afghanistan to help... The Pottery Barn Rule was invoked to underline America's moral responsibility for the fate of Iraq... What we should instead keep in mind is what might be called the Rear End Rule: If you slam into the back of someone else's car, don't expect the owner of the other car to be grateful when you solemnly promise to repair the damage yourself.

Informed Comment: Afghanistan is our home and nobody negotiates with anyone about the ownership of their home and about how to share sovereignty and management responsibilities of their home. Nobody will give up their right to be the owner of their home and nobody will willfully lose their authority in their own home. The foreigners have taken over the home of the Afghans by force and cruelty. If they want a solution to the problem, they should first end their occupation of Afghanistan. Full text is here.

TNR: 'Karzai knows very well that the United States is not going to pull out its troops,' said Afghan political analyst Waheed Mojda. 'He does not have to comply with their demands; there is nothing they can do. They are in Afghanistan for their own strategic interests, not for him.' Those strategic interests are coming under increasing scrutiny, but the administration, and numerous commentators, are bending over backwards to make the case for the US military presence in Afghanistan. They conflate the Taliban with Al Qaeda and argue confidently that a loss in Afghanistan could trigger a regional collapse. Those who remember Vietnam and the Cold War experience a shudder of recognition.

Digby, Hullabaloo: The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the standoff with Iran and all the other obsessions with the mideast are at least informed, if not entirely motivated, by larger geopolitical efforts to maintain stability at a time of impending competition over resources and access to them... We don't talk about any of that because it might lead us to get serious about changing our way of life... And frankly, maintaining a military presence everywhere is necessary to preserve American global dominance. Period.

Indifference to Reality. All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts... Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.
Image source here.