Newcastle — The Ukraine is not unusual in threatening to break in half over cultural/ethnic differences. It happens all the time. Think South Sudan (a real success story) or, currently, the Philippines island of Mindanao where the Muslim minority is attempting to establish an autonomous entity after 46 years of slaughter and 18 years of negotiation. This is to be called Bangsamoro (not to be confused with the similarly-named Free Love sect established in the late sixties in upstate New York—yes, I jest).
I think it would be a good thing if Afghanistan followed the same path. Perhaps they’d need to defect into several autonomous countries, given their differences, but at least there wouldn’t be any pretext of a central governing body. They could go on killing each other as usual, but in a better-ordered fashion.
As things stand, Hamid the Horrible heads my short list of utterly despicable humanoids. This puppet of puffery continues to antagonize the well-meaning, if naïve, United States, apparently suffering under the delusion that we take him seriously. My question: where are the Seals? If they could take out Obama Sin Laden, Karzai should be a walk in the park, or perhaps a swim in the pool. Would this bother me? Yes it would. Though I am reminded of the response of some thug to Matt Dillon’s query on Gunsmoke (in the good old half-hour black-and-white days of frontier justice, before the show became a full-hour Technicolor soap opera), blowing the smoke from the muzzle of his trusty hog’s leg: “The man needed killin’,” I am philosophically opposed to killing. Better, perhaps, to stake the rogue naked over a red ant hill with his privates smeared with honey.
As the reader certainly knows, the hallucination of bringing democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan has cost us an unconscionable sum. According to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the price of the two campaigns, as of 2012, is about $6 trillion “the equivalent of $75,000 for every American household.” According to the prestigious federal CRS and OMB: “This is an incredible amount of money to have spent with so few controls, so few plans, so little auditing, and almost no credible measures of effectiveness.” Well done, mates.
BUT, democracy prevails. In just a few short weeks Afghanistan voters will sneak out to elect a successor to the term-limited Hamid. Vying for this profitable position are no less than eleven candidate tickets of which a mere six include erstwhile (?) warlords with hands steeped in gore and character beset by conspiracy and corruption. The likely winner, according to the New York Times, offers a VP who still maintains his private militia to execute his bloody and vengeful violence.
Our American ambassador to Afghanistan, James B. Cunningham, an apparently rational man, is quoted in The Economist as portraying Mr. Karzai’s views as “deeply conspiratorial” and “divorced from reality”. This seems somewhat undiplomatic for an ambassador but refreshingly candid. Mr. Cunningham has had the misfortune of meeting with all 11 presidential candidates. He met secretly with one, Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf, who has been accused of war crimes and who “while in Parliament helped pass a law giving amnesty to war criminals and tried to repeal a law outlawing violence against women.” Oh well, I’m sure we’d support him if he will permit maintaining an American presence in the country until God-knows-when to restore order.
Personally I’m not too concerned with the aforementioned $6 trillion. We’d have found some other way to waste this magic money that is in reality only debt to some other imaginary economy or the effluent of Mr. Bernanke’s $80 billion/month printing press activity. Recall that Dubja’s National Economic Council Director, Lawrence Lindsey was forced to resign after the uproar over his “grossly overestimating” the cost of our War on Terror at $100 to $200 billion dollars? DC ended up borrowing some $2 trillion to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the bulk of it from foreign lenders.
I advise that we not engage in the current Ukrainian brouhaha. The more things change, the more they stay the same; and that is why I seldom blog politics. Politicians are a scurrilous lot. I recall that in late September, 2001, I wrote a piece pleading with then president Bush not to involve us in Afghanistan, citing the abject failure of Russia in a similar mission. Unfortunately my appeal did not reach or was not heeded by “Mission Accomplished”. What a surprise.
I don’t like to write about politics, and I don’t doubt that you don’t like to read my generally negative if realistic opinion. I apologize.