The March of Folly

In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on the weekend, former State Department official Matthew Hoh provides a fairly compelling account of not only why the War in Afghanistan is doomed to fail, but how the American and NATO presence in the country is actually a destabilizing influence.

Somewhat related to this, Scott Taylor had an excellent piece in the Chronicle Herald yesterday, injecting a “dose of objective reality” into the notion that “nation building” in Kosovo has been a “success” — this of course is in the context of assertions made by some that the Balkan country was in many respects a better candidate for such an exercise than Afghanistan. Based on Taylor’s dismal assessment however, that certainly doesn’t bode well for the country that’s aptly been named the “graveyard of empires.”

And yet, I believe the AP has been reporting that all indications are that the Obama administration is still going to forge ahead with this insane folly, sending 20-40,000 more troops into the fray. I wonder though if they will be prepared to tell the American people that “victory” can probably never be achieved and a commitment to “nation building” would take at least ten years or more. At a cost of at least $1 billion per month that works out to an additional $120 billion.

Update: Another good discussion on Afghanistan featuring former Marine Corporal Jake Diliberto of Veterans for Rethinking Afghanistan on last night’s Larry King Live. Close attention should be paid to the remarks of Gen. Barry McCaffery about the long-term costs involved in prolonging the conflict.

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7 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan War

7 responses to “The March of Folly

  1. CWTF

    Problem is where were all these people years ago?

    The collective memory of voters is rather short, will they still care?

  2. MoS

    Shhh – best keep this to yourself. You’ll only upset Pamela Wallin.

  3. Most of the attention was concentrated on Iraq, with Afghanistan (aka “the Good War”) ignored for the most part. Besides, in 2002-2003 they figured they had the Taliban routed and Afghanistan was well on its way to becoming a beacon of democracy, freedom and all that rot.

    Perhaps if they hadn’t taken their eye off the ball and had really worked on consolidating the initial gains made in the country and worked harder at training up the Afghan army/police and holding Karzai accountable for ridding his government of rampant corruption they might actually have had a chance of marginalizing the Taliban. But noooo…. Had to get those “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq (*wink, wink*) and avoid the dreaded “mushroom cloud” etc.

  4. Ti-Guy

    At a cost of at least $1 billion per month that works out to an additional $120 billion.

    And that’s just direct costs. The costs the are incurred in the future, particularly when it comes to damaged veterans (which is ironically, an unintended consequence of modern ‘efficiencies’…in the past these veterans would be, y’know…dead) are even greater.

    But money should be no object when it comes to ensuring that some illiterate fatass in Iowa never feels that that some evil-doer can ever again wound America’s pride.

  5. No kidding. The future (hidden) costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are going to be just staggering in terms of long-term care over the next 40-50 years by the VA for the ongoing medical maintenance of damaged/maimed soldiers that would in previous conflicts simply have been killed in the field.

    And speaking of hidden costs, when do all of the “off the book” expenditures and appropriations made by the Bush administration over the last 8 years come to account?

  6. Ti-Guy

    And speaking of hidden costs, when do all of the “off the book” expenditures and appropriations made by the Bush administration over the last 8 years come to account?

    They did. Last September. And the World is scrambling to cover America’s gambling debts.

    I know, I know. It sounds simplistic and conspiratorial. But really…who’s ending up paying for all of this?

  7. No, I don’t think those appropriations have ever been properly accounted for as yet. At least not that I’m aware of. The financial clusterfuck of last September was another matter altogether. Unless of course those expenses were just stuffed into the most recent budgets.

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