Veni, vidi, weakie 1

We vehemently agree with every point Mark Steyn makes in his latest column, on how America’s longest war will have effected nothing in Afghanistan, but may have weakened America.

It really must be read in full. Perhaps more than once, both for what it says and also for how it is said. Dreadful as the truths are that it tells, the way they’re told is a pleasure.

Here are parts of it:

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Loftis, 44, and Army Maj. Robert Marchanti II, 48, lost their lives not on some mission out on the far horizon in wild tribal lands in the dead of night but in the offices of the Afghan Interior Ministry. In a “secure room” that required a numerical code to access. Gunned down by an Afghan “intelligence officer.” Who then departed the scene of the crime unimpeded by any of his colleagues.

Some news outlets reported the event as a “security breach.” But what exactly was breached? The murderer was by all accounts an employee of the Afghan government, with legitimate rights of access to the building and its secure room, and “liaising” with his U.S. advisers and “mentors” was part of the job. In Afghanistan, foreigners are dying at the hands of the locals who know them best. The Afghans trained by Westerners, paid by Westerners and befriended by Westerners are the ones who have the easiest opportunity to kill them. It is sufficiently non-unusual that the Pentagon, as is the wont with bureaucracies, already has a term for it: “green-on-blue incidents,” in which a uniformed Afghan turns his gun on his Western “allies.”

So we have a convenient label for what’s happening; what we don’t have is a strategy to stop it – other than more money, more “hearts and minds” for people who seem notably lacking in both, and more bulk orders of the bestselling book “Three Cups Of Tea,” an Oprahfied heap of drivel extensively exposed as an utter fraud but which a delusional Washington insists on sticking in the kit bag of its Afghan-bound officer class. …

In the past couple of months, two prominent politicians of different nations visiting their troops on the ground have used the same image to me for Western military bases: crusader forts. Behind the fortifications, a mini-West has been built in a cheerless land: There are Coke machines and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Safely back within the gates, a man can climb out of the full RoboCop and stop pretending he enjoys three cups of tea with the duplicitous warlords, drug barons and pederasts who pass for Afghanistan’s ruling class. …

The last crusader fort I visited was Kerak Castle in Jordan a few years ago. It was built in the 1140s, and still impresses today. I doubt there will be any remains of our latter-day fortresses a millennium hence. Six weeks after the last NATO soldier leaves Afghanistan, it will be as if we were never there. Before the election in 2010, the New York Post carried a picture of women registering to vote in Herat, all in identical top-to-toe bright blue burkas, just as they would have looked on Sept. 10, 2001. We came, we saw, we left no trace. America’s longest war will leave nothing behind.

They can breach our security, but we cannot breach theirs – the vast impregnable psychological fortress in which what passes for the Pushtun mind resides. Someone accidentally burned a Quran your pals had already defaced with covert messages? Die, die, foreigners! The president of the United States issues a groveling and characteristically cluelessapology for it? Die, die, foreigners! The American friend who has trained you and hired you and paid you has arrived for a meeting? Die, die, foreigners! And those are the Afghans who know us best. …

The Rumsfeld strategy that toppled the Taliban over a decade ago was brilliant and innovative: special forces on horseback using GPS to call in unmanned drones. They will analyze it in staff colleges around the world for decades.

Rumsfeld’s strategy worked, and that at least is a cause for American pride. It’s what came afterwards, the turning of the war into pointless social work, that is cause for American regret.

But what we ought to be analyzing instead is the sad, aimless, bloated, arthritic, transnationalized folly of what followed.

The United States is an historical anomaly: the nonimperial superpower. Colonialism is not in its DNA, and in some ways that speaks well for it, and in other ways, in a hostile and fast-changing world of predators and opportunists, it does not. …

The Hindu Kush is not worth the bones of a single Pennsylvanian grenadier, or “training officer.” [But] too much about the Afghan campaign is too emblematic. As much as any bailed-out corporation, the U.S. is “too big to fail”: In Afghanistan as in the stimulus, it was money no object. The combined Western military/aid presence accounts for 98 percent of that benighted land’s GDP.

We carpet-bomb with dollar bills; we have the most advanced technology known to man; we have everything except strategic purpose.

That “crusader fort” image has a broader symbolism. The post-American world is arising before our eyes. According to the IMF, China will become the dominant economic power by 2016. Putin is on course to return to the Kremlin corner office. In Tehran, the mullahs nuclearize with impunity. New spheres of influence are being established in North Africa, in Central Europe, in the once-reliably “American lake” of the Pacific.

Can America itself be a crusader fort? A fortress secure behind the interminable checkpoints of Code Orange TSA bureaucratic torpor while beyond the moat the mob jeers “Die, die, foreigners”? Or, in the end, will it prove as effortlessly penetrable as the “secure room” of the Afghan Interior Ministry?

  • George

    The war in Afghanistan has not only weakened America but so have the other Middle East conflicts. America is now truly in jeopardy , and our economy is in shambles and yet we are pouring zillions of dollars overseas into third world countries when Americans are struggling just to make ends meet. Why is it that we put other nations first ( even those that oppose us and hate us ) rather than putting Americans first ? Is not  self preservation the first law of nature ?   With Obama in office , there certainly isn’t going to be any improvement that’s for sure. In fact it can only get worse.  First Obama has to be voted out of office and a real pro-American leader has to be elected.     I’m willing to go with the lesser of the two evils just to save America and deal with the other issues later.    Just my personal 2-cents.