Three cups of diddly-squat 2

Afghanistan is an American protectorate; its kleptocrat president is an American client, kept alive these last twelve years only by American arms. The Afghan campaign is this nation’s longest war — and our longest un-won war: That’s to say, nowadays we can’t even lose in under a decade. I used to say that, 24 hours after the last Western soldier leaves Afghanistan, it will be as if we were never there. But it’s already as if we were never there. The American imperium has lasted over twice as long as the Taliban’s rule — and yet, unlike them, we left no trace.

So Mark Steyn declares. “All we have built” he writes, “is another squalid sharia state” that practices the stoning to death of adulterers. And we can only nod in sad agreement.

In my book America Alone, I quoted a riposte to the natives by a British administrator. … The chap in question was Sir Charles Napier, out in India and faced with the practice of suttee — the Hindu tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Napier’s response was impeccably multicultural: “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

He praises Napier’s “cultural cool”. His confidence in the rightness of his own culture’s laws was “in the long run, more effective than a drone”.

India is better off without suttee, just as Afghanistan would be better off without child marriage, honor killing, death for apostasy, and stoning for adultery. …

The American way of war is to win the war in nothing flat, and then spend the next decade losing the peace. The American people have digested that to the point where they assume that … the next intervention [would be]  a fool’s errand. The rest of the world grasps it, too. If Hamid Karzai treats Washington with contempt and gets away with it, why expect the Iranians to behave any differently?

A nation responsible for almost half the planet’s military spending goes into battle with the sentimental multiculti fantasist twaddle of Greg Mortensen’s Three Cups of Tea as its strategy manual — and then wonders why it can’t beat goatherds with fertilizer.

All true. But even if America did manage to put a stop to child marriage, honor killing, death for apostasy, and stoning for adultery in Afghanistan, wouldn’t they resume as soon as the last American troops left? As far as we know, suttee was not resumed in India when the British Raj came to an end. So Napier and his fellow administrators won the argument while they had the power to enforce their law. But that was India, a civilization. Who believes in an Afghan civilization – even if it has had periods with less stoning and more Western pop music in it?

Americans [might] sigh wearily and shrug, “Afghanistan, the graveyard of empire,” or sneer, “If they want to live in a seventh-century s***hole, f*** ’em.” But neither assertion is true. Do five minutes’ googling, and you’ll find images from the Sixties and early Seventies of women in skirts above the knee listening to the latest Beatles releases in Kabul record stores.

Those are undeniable signs of our culture, but are they the best we have to give for the improvement of barbarous s***holes? They are far from matching Napier’s gift to India. But nor are they the worst. What would be most representative of American culture now? The deeply depressing answer may have been given by the Obama Administration and the Pentagon: that cloying lying little book Three Cups of Tea.

No end in sight 4

“Three months after 9/11, every major Taliban city in Afghanistan had fallen – first Mazar-i-Sharif, then Kabul, finally Kandahar. Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar were on the run. It looked as if the war was over, and the Americans and their Afghan allies had won,”  ABC news reminded America on May 31, 2010. The war was then in its 104th month, and had become America’s longest, if the Cold War isn’t counted. (Vietnam, the next longest, lasted 103 months.)

ABC did not add that that was when America should have got out; which it should have, with a warning that if any American or American interest were attacked again by terrorists based in Afghanistan, all hell would be loosed on it – a threat that should of course have been carried out if the warning had not been heeded.

The war is now in its 110th month. It’s been dragging on for more than 9 years.

Yesterday, December 14, 2010, the New York Times reported, under the headline Intelligence Reports Offer Dim Views of Afghan War:

The findings in the reports [one on Afghanistan and one on Pakistan], called National Intelligence Estimates, represent the consensus view of the United States’ 16 intelligence agencies, as opposed to the military, and were provided last week to some members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees.

They were described to the NYT “by a number of American officials who read the reports’ executive summaries”.

The military objects to the findings.

Pentagon and military officials …  say the reports were written by desk-bound Washington analysts who have spent limited time, if any, in Afghanistan and have no feel for the war. …

The dispute “reflects the longstanding cultural differences between intelligence analysts, whose job is to warn of potential bad news, and military commanders, who are trained to promote ‘can do’ optimism”, and it also “reflects how much the debate in Washington over the war is now centered on whether the United States can succeed in Afghanistan without the cooperation of Pakistan”.

After years and billions spent trying to win the support of the Pakistanis, [military commanders] are now proceeding on the assumption that there will be limited help from them. The American commanders and officials readily describe the havens for [Taliban] insurgents in Pakistan as a major impediment to military operations. … American officials say Pakistan supports the insurgents as a proxy force in Afghanistan, preparing for the day the Americans leave.

But the US continues to send Pakistan about $2 billion in military and civilian aid each year.

You’re not going to get to the point where the Taliban are gone and the border is perfectly controlled,” said Representative Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat who serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in an interview on Tuesday.

Mr. Smith … predicted that Democrats in Congress would resist continuing to spend $100 billion annually on Afghanistan.

“We’re not going to be hanging out over there fighting these guys like we’re fighting them now for 20 years,” Mr. Smith said.

Fifteen years? Ten? Five? One? Why even one more day?