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Everyone has their own problems.   Everyone is being tried in these challenging times and being depressed by years of recession.   I know Granny Doc, many other Kossacks, many other Americans, and many other people outside of the AfPak region couldn't give two shits about Afghanistan.  I am fully aware of this.  In many ways, I understand.  For a very long time Iraq pulled attention away from Afghanistan, and then recession and other major issues pulled attention away from the war zones.  The proud indifference proclaimed by Granny Doc is of no surprise to me, or probably anyone else on this site who follows the news from the AfPak region.  It does not surprise me because I have long understood that President Barack Obama inherited so many major problems created by, and neglected by, the previous administration.

If Korea was the Forgotten War, Afghanistan is the Ignored War.  A war won so easily and then gradually allowed to fall apart in ways that were hard to imagine possible.   Just like in Iraq, the immediate "victory" in Afghanistan was followed by a failure just as spectacular- just as awing and shocking- as the quick and sudden defeat of the proclaimed enemy in the initial invasions.   Only there was nothing quick or sudden about the civil strife that nearly tore Iraq apart.  In Afghanistan, it has been a very gradual process accompanied by very extreme neglect.   I understand the temptation to ignore it, and feel indifferent to it; it's hard to swallow the full failure of George W. Bush's presidency.   Indeed, the full extent has not even revealed itself yet- we get a better and better idea of that failure with events such as an oil rig in the Gulf, in a coal mine in Appalachia, in a law in Arizona, or the countless of other problems who's importance we only learn of when it's too late.

Afghanistan:
U.S. and NATO commander General David Petraues has issued his first set of guidelines to the troops in Afghanistan.  Amongst them is engage the Taliban in combat, engage the population in diplomacy(tea, no sunglasses, et cetra), fight corruption,et cetra.   He also revised the rules restricting airstrikes, removing some limits.

Six children died in a suicide bombing that apparently went off prematurely in the southern province of Kandahar.

An IED wounded Afghan President Hamid Karzai's top aide on tribal affairs in the eastern province of Nangahar, specifically in Jalalabad.

Pakistan:
"Eastern Pashtunistan", also known as "Khyber Pakhtunkhwa" and formerly known as "North-West Frontier Province", remains forever changed by the massive flooding.  The death toll is above 1,500.

Clashes continue between the Pakistani military and militants in the Pakistani Taliban's "second home" of Orakzai tribal agency in central-FATA.   The militants have offered a stiff resistance, especially in the northern part of the tribal agency bordering Khyber agency's Tirah Valley.  A Pakistani military offensive into the Tirah Valley appears likely.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was seen as hinting that the U.S. could launch an operation against the Haqqani network in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well.   The Haqqani network is currently rear-based out of North Waziristan bordering Khost and Paktika provinces in east/south-eastern Afghanistan.  During Taliban rule, Jalaluddin Haqqani ruled over Paktika, Paktia, and Khost provinces in Afghanistan.

Maps:
When considering the situation in Pashtunistan, consider these maps of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  It is in the Pashtun areas where the U.S. and NATO have the most problems. It's important to note that while Pashtuns make up a much larger proportion of the population of Afghanistan than they do in Pakistan, there are still more Pashtuns in Pakistan than in Afghanistan.  Here is a good map and rundown of the areas that make up the main warzone.

Originally posted to Setrak on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 05:51 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm rec'cing this diary (11+ / 0-)

    but not to pile on Granny Doc, who is not only entitled to her feelings but is also just expressing what a lot of people feel, and what we ignore at our peril.

    I think this sentence contains more truth than I realized. For eight years I watched the damage done and hoped it was fixable.

    I think we are going to find out whether it is indeed possible to create problems so big they cannot be fixed.

    I care about Afghanistan; I care about the Gulf; I care about Darfur; I care about Native Americans; I care that I am running out of money for cancer treatment and don't qualify for help until 2014. I care so much I worry about my own well-being some days.

    Let's don't expand this war into Pakistan. for those of us over 50, it is just too reminiscent of Cambodia.

    To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate, that is strength undefeatable--Helen Keller

    by kareylou on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 06:26:36 PM PDT

    •  this is the sentence I meant: (8+ / 0-)

      it's hard to swallow the full failure of George W. Bush's presidency.   Indeed, the full extent has not even revealed itself yet- we get a better and better idea of that failure with events such as an oil rig in the Gulf, in a coal mine in Appalachia, in a law in Arizona, or the countless of other problems who's importance we only learn of when it's too late.

      To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate, that is strength undefeatable--Helen Keller

      by kareylou on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 07:09:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You are read. (7+ / 0-)

    Just want you to know that. I don't always comment, tip or rec, but I read.

    "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

    by brooklynbadboy on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 06:28:17 PM PDT

  •  A rec for a great diary for an earthship rec (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, revprez, louisprandtl

    cause we have some breaking news there tonight. Needs eyes. WOW

    when i'm not busy living, i tweet as boatsie

    by boatsie on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 06:33:50 PM PDT

  •  There's some 200 miles... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TarheelDem, Lujane, louisprandtl

    ...of 9000 ft elevations to the West and North of Khost, with five secondary routes from Parachinar West down to Miram Shah.  I assume Haqqani can't take to these with any regularity.  How well does the network range over those rocks?  How bad is this map (it's from 1982)?

  •  Every time I read how screwed up Iraq/Afghan are (5+ / 0-)

    I can't help but think of William Safire and all the bullshit articles he wrote to keep people from looking close at the nightmares that were building.

  •  It becomes hard to care about a no-win situation (11+ / 0-)

    There is no "winning".  Hell, there isn't even much of a chance of a controlled outcome.

    I have a pretty good idea of how the whole expedition into Afghanistan is going to turn out. Unfortunately, so do many others who are actually following the development of this quagmire.

    It's more exasperation than not caring - exasperation that, after all this time, the people that we trust to understand the cultural barriers to success in the region continue to appear to not have a clue.

    "When reality is your enemy, insanity is your refuge." -- blue aardvark

    by Richard Cranium on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 06:45:03 PM PDT

    •  Afghanistan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, DeepLooker, dle2GA

      is almost a mirror opposite of Mexico.

      In Mexico powerful warlords are fighting the weak central government to control chunks of the economy and geography.

      In Afghanistan weak warlords have controlled much of the economy and country and are now losing some of that control.

      In each case, it's all about the economy.  Whoever wields the most economic power wins.  Military power is merely secondary.  Weak national economies make countries vulnerable to those who can seize control of the most profitable businesses.  Drugs, human trafficking...it's much the same in both countries.  Not only do the home countries suffer, but they export the violence and misery to bordering countries.

      The key to Mexico's future is not legalizing drugs but creating an economy that can provide alternatives to smuggling drugs and people.  Ditto for Afghanistan.  No one wants to live in poverty in serfdom to warlords and crime bosses, but they will if there are no alternatives.

      Show me the POLICY!

      by Fabian on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 07:07:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian

        that's the BEST outcome we can envision now...with Taliban out of the picture the situation will STILL SUCK for them.

        Might as well get out while we are behind.

      •  Good idea. (0+ / 0-)

        Leave Afghanistan. Invade Mexico.

        - closer - Texans will approve - more oil - same general level of drug-fueled anarchy - NAFTA, so we can import stuff we grab easily.

        •  No. (0+ / 0-)

          Why would we want to take on Mexico's debts and other burdens?

          However, if Mexico continues down the path to lawlessness, violence and corruption - then we'll start treating them more like a rogue state.  We'll close the borders.  We'll start charging their citizens with crimes here instead of deporting them.  We'll start treating undocumented immigrants as potential terrorists.

          If they give us cause to do that, we will.  

          Despite what some here think, it's not about drugs.  It's about seizing and wielding power.  Economic power is what drives everything else.  Legalizing drugs...still means profits for whoever produces and delivers them.  Right now that's big Pharma, the government (ATF) and the drug cartels.  If we legalized drugs, would that change at all?  Because if it didn't, then nothing else will.

          Show me the POLICY!

          by Fabian on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 05:05:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Negelcting a war kind of sounds like we didn't (8+ / 0-)

    need it in the first place, which is true of course.  And to say that we won then let it fall apart, I don't get that one.  We never "won" anything, except in Bush's mind.  This isn't a war, it's an attempt at regime change and possible occupation.  There is no winning anything unless one is an imperialist and thinks winning is expanding the empire.

    "I will no longer be labeled, except as a human being."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 06:56:52 PM PDT

  •  I wouldn't describe Granny Doc's indifference (4+ / 0-)

    as "proud". Despairing maybe?  Angry?  Disappointed?

    I support the Afghan Child Education and Care Organization on a monthly basis. You can adopt a child or just make a contribution to schools and orphanages AFCECO has established. This is the kind of help folks there truly need.

    Troops and "contractors" - all that waste, suffering and death - need to be withdrawn.

    www.bushwatch.net - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

    by chuckvw on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 07:05:52 PM PDT

  •  I always read your diaries, and tip, and rec. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL

    I don't really want to read them, but I feel like I have to in order to not forget what is really happening.  I am very much philosophically against war, but I am realistic enough to know that we just can't stop it sometimes.

    I understand the points of Granny Doc's diary, but I get Time magazine, and the last cover, the one with the graphic picture of the Afghanistan woman who was mutilated by the Taliban, is more than enough reason for me to keep caring about what is happening there in addition to what is happening in our own back yard.  

    We can't always do everything, but that doesn't mean we should stop trying to at least do something.

  •  Has there been any news of the HIG or Hekmatyar? (0+ / 0-)

    I haven't seen anything on this in a while. I know back in 2004-2005 some members of the organization gave up their arms so that they could run for office, but haven't heard much since.

    Do you know anything?

    "We have a pool and a pond... the pond would be good for you."

    by ranger995 on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 09:30:32 PM PDT

    •  There are peace talks.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranger995
      ..that are, or at least were, taking place.  There was also a report that HIG members were supplying intelligence in northern Afghanistan, specifically in Baghlan province where HIG and the Taliban had some infighting take place between them earlier this year.
  •  a qualified rec? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeepLooker

    I'm going to rec this diary even though I disagree with most of it, but it contributes to the dialogue and is a valid point of view.  My problem with it is that the realities of Afpac are: Pakistan is a haven for our enemies whether they are tribal, Taliban, or Al Quida, and Pakistan can't or won't do anything about it except token gestures.  The corruption in Afghanistan is so rampant that we will not be able to win the hearts of the people to our side.  Any people that cannot or will not fight for its own sake will not be saved or protected by an outside force, not even over 100,000 soldiers. I believe Granny Doc, as depressed as it makes me to say it, is correct.

    "You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created." Einstein

    by Flyfish100 on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 09:49:51 PM PDT

  •  50,000 dead in Korean war (0+ / 0-)

    We might not care because it cost more money than lives. The death toll in these wars is not tremendous for a nation with 20,000 murders a year and a population of 300 million. Let's face it, we can afford to ignore it. My roommate was wounded in Afghanistan, and I had friends in Iraq. Still these wars don't have the horrific death toll of Vietnam or Korea. We are on the other hand spending 100's of billions which could probably save the lives of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people if used for a good cause. We are so consumed with our concern for American lives when the lives of other humans are readily let to wither because we don't think it is a worthy investment. We would prefer to save face to intimidate the latest third world adversary who insist on resisting our supposedly altruistic invasion.

  •  Please rec this up! (0+ / 0-)

    This topic is too important to be ignored. I rec'd Granny Doc's diary as well, because whether she cares or not, anything to get more people wrestling with this very tough problem is a GOOD thing for all of us.

    One of the commenters seemed to suggest that the diarist is in favor of the occupation, which I'm not getting, but even if he or she is, he/she is obviously well-informed and is supporting a well-informed debate, which we desperately need.

    Out of Afghanistan NOW!

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