Why Afghanistan?

This post caught my attention. The argument that Jeffrey Goldberg makes is that Afghanistan isn’t really a “central front” in any kind of war on terror. (An aside, once again, why are we fighting a tactic?Using current nomenclature we should call the Cold War the “War on Missiles, Tanks, and Submarines” or something.) Anyway, my quibbles with Goldberg’s wording aside, I think he raises a salient point: Afghanistan is a place where al Qaeda could train, but most of al Qaeda’s members come from elsewhere.

What this means is that NATO is caught in a place where there was little native impulse to attack NATO countries because the preceding regime had allowed al Qaeda to hide out there. NATO troops may be able to make some temporary improvements in the lives of women, but these seem not to withstand NATO’s withdrawal from any particular area. Reforms do not extend beyond the range of NATO arms.

It should now be readily apparent that all we are doing in Afghanistan is propping up a budding dictator in Hamid Karzai while creating native anger at the West by bombing weddings and destroying the poppy crop that provides a livelihood for many farmers.

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