Canadian and American news media paused last night from speculating about Tiger Woods’ domestic distress as Barak Obama announced that an additional 30 000 US troops will be sent to Afghanistan soon. No surprise really, since that information had been leaked last week. The only surprise was that troop withdrawals would begin in the summer of 2011 just in time for Obama’s run at a second term. This time of course will be different, the US and NATO’s ISAF (including Canada) will expunge the Taliban, train the Afghan army, restore the Afghan government (after getting all the warlords to become democratic) and leave Afghanistan to take care of itself. That should keep us all safe.
The Globe and Mail editorial today called this new surge of troops “a welcome move by Obama”. The editorial said that this surge will take pressure off Canadian troops and Obama’s speech was “a necessary reminder that this remains a necessary war”.
Afghanistan has had a tortured past of war and conquest going back to pre-Islamic times. In the 2500 years for which there are records two things stand out; Afghans don’t like foreign occupation and the place is run by warlords. At no time in its history was there a grassroots democratic movement that sought to bring the rule of law to the entire country. Expecting the puppet government now in Kabul to have full control of that country is wishful thinking. Expecting the future Afghan army to keep order against the Taliban and Al-Qaida is ridiculous. Expecting American troops to leave Afghanistan once the mission is accomplished is equally insane. Afghanistan has been the place where previous empires have died; I fear the US will be no different.
Mr. Obama has disappointed us yet again but this month he will pick up his Nobel Peace Prize. What’s wrong with that picture?