Wanted: A Coherent Policy

Over the past week, the US’s top two spooks, Mike Mc Connell, Director of National Intelligence, and General Michael Hayden, Director of the CIA, visited Pakistan and met with President Pervez Musharaf.  The purpose of their meeting was to gain Pakistan’s permission to expand covert operation against al Qaeda and Taliban members currently living in the Pakistan regions boardering Afghanistan.  Musharaf’s answer was publicly “no”.  We do not know what was really said.

The point here does not depend upon Musharaf’s answer.  The mere fact that America’s two top “Intellignece” officials needed to ask sheds further light on the Bush/Cheney failed Presidencey.  When the Taliban were driven from power in late 2001, there was need for (1) ensuring the Taliban movement was ended, and (2) resolve for assisting in the establishment of a sound Afghan Government.  Instead the White House took out the Iraq drum, and while Pearl, Wolfowitz, and Feith fiddled, Cheney and Bush beat the Iraq War drum.  Iraq was totally unrelated to Afghanistan, yet our leaders pushed the Country into an unnecessary and expensive war.  The greater cost will likely turn out to be the lost opportunity cost associated with not having fixed Afghanistan before looking elsewhere for “bad people”.  Look at things today:

1. Pakistan is under great pressure from its own internal politics.  It is a poor country with a huge population and little hope for them to rise in living standards.  This is fresh meat for any religion but especially so for the more radical elements of Islam.

2. Pakistan has nuclear weapons and a past history of sharing their know how.  The Country is unmanageable by normal democratic means and has been for decades.  The last thing anyone needed was the Taliban setting up shop in the boarder regions.  Yet for 6 years the Bush Administration has, by neglect, allowed that to happen.

3. The Afghan Government is extremely fragile and largely controls only the capital Kabul.  The bureaucracy is based upon bribes (Government pay is so low that bribes continue to be the way of life).  The everyday person can hardly say they are better off in practice with “democracy” than with the Taliban.

4. The other “elephant in the room” is the long history of growing poppies and the drug trade it feeds.  This is the source of foreign exchange and to end it, presents a large political problem.  To not end it, dooms any Afghan Government.

5. Just as the US funded and supplied the Mujahideen in their fight against the Russians (Charlie Wilson’s War), there are today plenty of willing Countries who are and will continue to fund the Taliban insurgents as long as the US does not convince them to cease.

In short, Afghanistan is a mess.   Pakistan, especially the boarder region, is a mess.  The US is trapped in Iraq (which once we let up on the gas will be a mess).  The Middle East is a mess with the motives and behaviors of Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia unpredictable.  In a parlimentary form of government, there would be a vote of no confidence in the Bush regime and a new Administration would be asked to get to work.

The need for a coherent policy is based upon the lack of any now, or for the last 7 years.  The Taliban arose when the Russians were defeated and the US had a hand in that.  The Taliban was defeated following 9/11.  In both cases, it appears no one has seen the need to focus on building a stable Afghanistan that could provide its people with a better life.  You are left to wonder why Bush and Cheney thought the US could do it in Iraq when it had failed in Afghanistan.  Even scarier is the thought that Bush and Cheney thought we had succeeded in Afghanistan.    

Explore posts in the same categories: 2008 Election, Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Blogroll, CIA, Democratic Party, Dick Cheney, George Bush, Hillary Clinton, Iraq War, John McCain, Middle East, Mit Romney, Pakistan, Politics, Religion, Republican Party, Russia

One Comment on “Wanted: A Coherent Policy”

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