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View Diary: Get Afghanistan Right (108 comments)

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  •  depends on the goal (2+ / 0-)
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    brown american, cacamp

    That's what I find most interesting about the take 'em out, teach 'em a lesson, kill-the-bad-guys kind of attitude.

    Limited war makes the situation worse. It creates resistance faster than it can be destroyed. It doesn't capture bad guys; it creates them.

    In cases where you don't declare war against a specific government and then force that government to surrender to you, you either use non-military methods that affect change in how a population views you, like aid and diplomacy and trade, or you kill everybody who isn't willing to be subservient to you.

    The great skill of corporatists of the post-Eisenhower era is convincing enough politicians that there's a middle ground between peace and war. It's beautiful, really, as long as the taxpayer dime keeps flowing, the very efforts to control a population will create all the turmoil necessary to justify the taxpayer expense as the subjects of the occupation resist the occupiers. But because the 'enemy' doesn't actually threaten us militarily, there's no risk to the individuals involved in promoting ever more wasteful spending on the military and its contractors. No one is worried about the capability of our military to defend against an actual attack by an actual Afghan military, so no need to ensure that money goes to projects that actually make us safer.

    So, yeah, I'm of course being sarcastic about nuking Afghanistan, but to the extent that I oppose the entire military occupation of Afghanistan. If we're going to abandon any concept of abiding by the wishes of the Afghan people, we might as well just kill them and move on. It's an interesting thought exercise, what moral line would a nuclear bomb cross that our conventional bombs haven't crossed? There are arguments on both sides of course, but if you explore that question honestly, it can be really interesting.

    To 'pacify' Afghanistan would require hundreds of thousands of heavily armed troops controlling every facet of daily life in the country. Anything less than that kind of total commitment, and we're simply fooling ourselves about what we can accomplish 'on the ground'. To put it in perspective, our prisons are the most heavily guarded in the world. And yet, we can't even keep criminals from committing crimes from inside prison, let alone in the general population. Drugs and violence are more prevalent inside tightly controlled, authoritarian, heavily-armed facilities than in broader society.

    What is it, exactly, that we are trying to accomplish in Afghanistan? Are we there to forcibly extradite individuals who we have legitimate reasons to believe have engaged in heinous acts of terrorism against us? Are we there to bring 'democracy' to Afghanistan? Are we there to fight the drug war? Are we there to liberate women?  These goals are quite distinct from one another, and their contradictions are a lot of why people like me are quite suspicious of leaving troops there, not the least of which is that public officials don't say why our troops should be in harms' way. If you were trying to fan the flames of anti-Americanism, it would be hard to do it better than what our occupation of Afghanistan has done, and most importantly, continues to do.

    So in the kick-their-asses mentality lovely portrayed in Starship Troopers, nuke 'em!

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