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  •  I supported Biden's partition idea for Iraq (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bagman, rainmanjr

    but now have some hope they can pull it off.  Despite the lack of political consensus and some violence (though much, much less than a few years ago), I think they've got something that will work for them and hopefully will be pro-US in the end.  

    Afghanistan is another animal, given the mess it was before we got involved and W's policies.  I'm not very hopeful there...

    To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires. W.E.B. DuBois

    by dizzydean on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 03:13:14 PM PDT

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    •  Iraq is a mess still waiting to explode. Either (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, dizzydean

      the Shia's will sit on and exploit the Sunni's through a reign of terror, or else the Sunni's will try to do the same thing ala Sadaam once the Americans leave.  Everyone over there is just biding their time until that day and everything else is window dressing.  

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 03:16:08 PM PDT

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      •  I'm not hearing that from my b-in-l (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ivorybill, rainmanjr

        who's on the ground with the 1st ID.  He seems to indicate that things are calming down and that people just want to get back to a state of normalcy.  You're right in that the factions could blow up at some time and i always keep an eye on the Turks and their actions against the PKK, but i think there's a chance at some stability for a time.  It might turn eventually into Yugoslavia, but not yet.

        To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires. W.E.B. DuBois

        by dizzydean on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 03:19:33 PM PDT

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        •  Now don't be silly, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dizzydean

          obviously the guys on the ground in country know way less about what's going on than people sitting on the internet and reading pundits' thoughts (from EITHER side) about what THEY think is going on.

          /snark

          America's military went to war. America went to the mall.

          by talismanlangley on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 03:27:18 PM PDT

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          •  Just like the guys on the ground in Viet Nam had (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wamsutta, An Affirming Flame

            no idea of the extensive tunnel network that surrounded them in the South and only learned about after the war was over when they toured the tunnels.  Just being on the ground and staring at the little plot of land in front of you does not necessarily give you the grand perspective of what is happening "on the ground."

            And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

            by MrJersey on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 04:23:56 PM PDT

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        •  It's quiet because the Shiites won the civil war. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mmacdDE, Wamsutta, MrJersey, goinsouth

          I don't understand why people have such a hard time grasping this.

          Over a million people were killed in the war so far.  Millions more were wounded (physically and psychologically) and/or either run from the country or displaced within it.  The once completely mixed population of Baghdad has been almost completely ethnically cleansed of Sunnis, though some remain inside armed enclaves.  The government is currently a mix of secular Shiite elites and fundamentalist Shiite clerics that are quietly instituting a police state to maintain the power that they have won through the civil war.

          Iraq is already far worse than anything that happened in Yugoslavia.

          If we had pulled out our troops earlier, Iraqis would have been no better or worse off.  The Shiite elites currently in power would have had a harder time winning the war, but that's about it.  Oh, and we would have a couple thousand more American soldiers alive today and many more thousands not suffering from physical and psychological wounds had we gotten them out of there earlier.

          And we wouldn't have to see that insufferable piece of shit Gen. Petraeus strutting around like he was responsible for Iraq quieting down either, as the whole world would have seen it "quiet down" without American troops standing around getting blown up in the process.

          Now, Afghanistan is not Iraq, but they do have at least one very important thing in common (along with pretty much every country in history): foreign troops do more harm than good, if they do anything at all.

          Between excessive citizen activism and excessive trust or passivity, the former is far preferable to the latter. - Glenn Greenwald

          by An Affirming Flame on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 04:00:24 PM PDT

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          •  As I said before (0+ / 0-)

            my bro-in-law is on the ground currently and was there for 18 mos in 2006.  I was there for the First Gulf War and have my own opinions, though they may be outdated.  

            I can say that your statement does not match with my and his observations.

            To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires. W.E.B. DuBois

            by dizzydean on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 04:09:18 PM PDT

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            •  I've heard from several US military who have been (0+ / 0-)

              in Iraq recently and they said basically the same thing your brother in law said (at least according to what you wrote in the comment I replied to): the "feel" in Baghdad and elsewhere (excluding the Kurdish north, as I don't know anyone who has been there recently) is one of tense calm and a hope for return to normalcy, occasionally spiked by singular violent attacks.

              That jives with what I said above: the civil war has wound down.  It is basically over now and the Shiites have won.  Millions are dead or wounded or refugees or internally displaced.  The main catastrophe has come and gone.

              The US support for the Iraqi army was basically a subsidization of the Shiite factions in the civil war and was a main reason why they won.  Another big reason was the fragmentary nature of the Sunnis, with some of them fighting with al-Qaeda type groups against foreign troops and the Iraqi government, some of them fighting as pure insurgents against foreign troops and some of them fighting in various militias, some of which were just to defend their neighborhoods against Shiite militias and some that were fighting the entire Shiite state apparatus (necessary in their eyes as it was often Shiite police or military that terrorized and killed their families), while, at least in the first few years, some of them were even actual Baath party loyalists and hoping for a restoration once the US & co. left.

              In any case, it is a fact that the Shiites have almost completely ethnically cleansed Baghdad of Sunnis and that the Shia parties are in firm control of the government and are using their police, army and militias to do the dirty political work of keeping them in undisputed power.  They crack down on unions, on the vestiges of a free press and on political opponents, often using corruption as a pretext to send in the troops.  Undesirables sometimes just disappear for a while and their bodies are later discovered bearing marks of torture, just like what happened during the civil war with the aim of ethnic cleansing.  Other times they are openly tortured while in Iraqi government (police or military) custody and released, the authorities hoping that will be enough to intimidate them and others.

              Boots on the ground US military types rarely see that stuff.  I've read reports of high level US officers witnessing torture by Iraqi police/military on detainees, but that the US officers could only complain verbally, as the detainees were under Iraqi authority.  The Iraqi officers waived away their complaints, assuring them that the screams they were hearing and the bruises and lacerations they were seeing were nothing to be concerned about.

              My point is that all the horrors of the civil war and all the current horrors of its aftermath happened while over a hundred thousand US troops were still in the country.  All the nightmare bogeyman bullshit that people are peddling about what will happen if the US pulls the troops out of Afghanistan is very similar in this sense: if any of it actually does happen, it will happen whether US troops are in the country or not.

              Between excessive citizen activism and excessive trust or passivity, the former is far preferable to the latter. - Glenn Greenwald

              by An Affirming Flame on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 04:36:31 PM PDT

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      •  We've been drawing down. The rest... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NonnyO, dizzydean

        is Iraq's problem.  If they fall apart it won't be because of us.  Pres Obama tried to leave them a country they could manage.  If Muslim factions tear it down then that will be their fault and responsibility.  I actively protested Iraq, so understand the thought that we broke it, but at some point it's their lives.  If they want us out, and they do, then they must take responsibility for what happens after.

        "There's really nothing I want out of the past except history." - Autoegocrat

        by rainmanjr on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 03:27:29 PM PDT

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    •  Who made you Emperor... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook

      such that you could hope for a "pro-US" Iraqi government? And, under what authority would we have divided Iraq? The assumptions I see on this "liberal" site about the US's "right" to interfere in the sovereignty of other nations scares the bejesus out of me.

      As for our assault on Afghanistan being legitimate, I completely disagree.  There has never been a legitimate investigation into who was responsible for 9/11, but it was a criminal act, not an act of war.
      Even assuming someone in Afghanistan planned 9/11, international law does not sanction collective punishment of innocent citizens who were completely uninvolved in the crime.

      By my score, our brave boys have killed lots more wedding participants in Afghanistan than they have Osama bin Laden's.  We should leave...now.

      •  Noone, just stating the obvious (0+ / 0-)
        1.  The laws of war have long supported an invasion upon an unprovoked attack.  As much as I might want to agree with you that 9-11 was more of a criminal act than an act of war, it was the largest attack on the US since Pearl Harbor.  Note that NATO invoked Art. 5.
        1.  I consider the 9-11 Commission Report as a legitimate (if incomplete) investigation.  Do you?
        1.  The someone in Afghanistan who planned the attack was OBL.  He was not part of the Taliban, but was being sheltered by them despite intl efforts to have them peacefully hand him over to some appropriate authorities.  That's history.  Yes, none of the hijackers were Afghans, but he was there with their support.
        1.  As far as the last point, yes, I hate that so many civilians get killed and blame the Bushies for much of how the war was screwed up.  
        1.  As for leaving, maybe.  It all depends on what Obama thinks can be done and if it is worth the cost/effort.  I think, based on what he has been saying in public since he began running for president, that he wants to try to fix it first.  If the "surge" fails, then i think he'll withdraw regardless of political pressures.  but that's just what I think he might do...

        To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires. W.E.B. DuBois

        by dizzydean on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 04:17:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the reply. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dizzydean

          I rarely get to converse with someone who thinks like you. Do you get all your information from corporate media?

          First, so what that NATO invoked Article 5...it just refers to "armed attacks" on member states.  I'm not sure that airliners should be considered as "arms," but surely NATO was not acting logically anyway.

          Second, I find it amazing that anyone who has enough facility with a computer to log on to a website, would find that the 9/11 Commission was "legitimate."  Did you know that Chairs Hamilton and Kean wrote in their book "Without Precedent" that the Commission was "set up to fail?"

          Third, the government of Afghanistan tried on two occasions (in 1998 and in 2001) to deliver OBL to some independent third-party.  Of course, after 9/11, in response to a request for evidence that OBL was actually guilty, Bush responded "we don't need to give you proof."

          The real difference in our perspectives seems to be that you trust the US government when it comes to the proffered reasons for armed conflict, and I don't.  From the Mexican-American War, through the Spanish-American, through the Gulf of Tonkin, through Bush I's invasion of Panama, to Bush II's attack on Iraq, our government has lied us into war.

          And, of course, now that we're in these occupations (I'm quaint like that, "war" can only be declared by Congress), the government will lie to keep us there, because it will profit the same war pigs who filter our choice of politicians in the first place.

          •  Ok, but let's keep it civil (0+ / 0-)

            so, here goes as a response..

            1.  As far as my sources, no i don't just use the corporate media...I'm here, aren't I?  
            1.  Let's remember that 9/11 caused more casualties than Pearl Harbor.  Unless you are a "truther", what other response would you expect from us than going into Afghanistan where OBL and his organization was?  I accept most of the 9-11 Commission report, but even if you think it did not live ujp to expectations, can you come to any other conclusion than that the Taliban and OBL were in cahoots and that OBL was in Afghanistan when 9-11 took place?
            1.  To my knowledge, there were attempts by third parties to get Afghanistan to cough up OBL, but the Taliban refused.  Can you point to something that indicates that the motive force came from Afghanistan?
            1.  Yes, I trust our govt, for the most part.  I think it has to be part of the Democratic ideology that govt is a force for good in the world and can be a real agent of change for the better.  Of course, there is lots of stuff that happens to undermine this and don't get me started with the republicans' ideology...
            1.  As for war, we are not perfect and have blood on our hands for interventions that were imperialistic and unjustified.  However, I also understand that some of the conflicts were motivated for reasons beyond hidden theories.  Vietnam is one...as McNamara has repeatedly said, we were in the Cold War.  Unless you understand that mentality (and our misunderstandings of what the Vietnamese actually wanted), it is hard to gauge why we did what we did in Vietnam.  W's attack on Iraq was totally unjustified and I've said so in many forums.  

            To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires. W.E.B. DuBois

            by dizzydean on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 05:43:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And, btw, if you want to do this (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              monroematt

              over a day or so, that's cool...my wife is demanding my attention...

              To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires. W.E.B. DuBois

              by dizzydean on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 06:06:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  LOL...had the same demand from my wife! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dizzydean

                Sorry for not responding sooner.

                Honestly, and with genuine (vs. "all due") respect, I think our world-views are so different (and my typing skills are so poor) that I don't think that we could help each other anymore through an exchange on DKos.

                I'll leave it at this:  I hope your favorable view of our government is more accurate than my jaundiced view.

                Thank you again for your time and thoughtfulness.

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