The Taliban have at least one advantage over the US and NATO troops--they're Afghanis.
Everybody seems to have forgotten what Afghanistan is all about. The alleged mastermind of 9/11 was a guest of the then-de facto government of Afghanistan. The USA demanded that the alleged mastermind of 9/11 be yielded up. The de facto government of Afghanistan refused. The US government attempted to arrest the alleged mastermind of 9/11, dead or alive, using B-52 bombers, US Special Forces and Afghani mercenaries called the Northern Alliance. The US government called its action "the war on terror." The US government failed to arrest the alleged mastermind of 9/11, dead or alive. (The US government still hasn't arrested the alleged mastermind of 9/11, dead or alive.)
Instead of doing something sensible, like going home and having a re-think, the US government stayed in Afghanistan and "the war on terror" morphed into "the war for a democratic Afghanistan" and "the war for the education of school girls" and "the war to enable women to display their hair and wear jeans" and, fatally, "the war on Saddam Hussein." It is still morphing--now it is "the war on Pakistan's tribal areas."
One US commentator when asked what the US should do with its foreign policy said "the US should stand down." In my opinion, this advice should be followed in Afghanistan. OK, the Taliban take over the country (again). Sharia law will be cruelly enforced (again). There will be mayhem and massacre and women will suffer (again). At least it will be Afghani mayhem and massacre; and the country will attain some level of equilibrium after fifty years have passed. Just like Vietnam did.
I'm surprised that Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle et al. learned exactly the wrong lesson from Vietnam; they thought foreign policy had to be tougher; in fact, it needed to be more benevolent.
Feb 10 2009 - 5:05am