If I really cared, I could just go over to Brian’s stupid blog and get the pro-war spin on NATO plans to bribe “moderate Taliban” to stop fighting. Or, I could go to Terry Glavin’s stupid blog, and get the same thing with a load of self-satisfied self-praise and idiotic trashing of anti-war types as being members of the leftist-islamo-fascist conspiracy.
But those guys are delusional dunces. They’ll just say that this is more of the same sort of successful policy like bush II’s “surge” and the resultant “Anbar Awakening” that saw Sunni Iraq repudiate the Taliban and stop fighting the USA. Of course, anyone who says that the USA’s occupation of Iraq was a success is nobody we should be expected to take seriously. The Sunnis accepted the reality that they were out-gunned and out-numbered and it therefore made sense to stop fighting in return for money, money, lots of money, from the USA. But Iraq remains a hell-hole and the government is employing the same torture and oppression as did Saddam Hussein’s.
All the media reporting on these overtures to “moderate Taliban” mentioned that the Karzai government’s corruption and incompetence drove these Afghans into the insurgency. Well, bribes from NATO to angry Pashtun farmers isn’t going to make Karzai’s government any less corrupt, incompetent, brutal or unelected. The existence of these “moderate Taliban” also shows the non-Taliban nature of the much of the insurgency.
I mean, can we, at long last, connect the dots here? Okay: NATO is hoping to enter into talks with “moderate Taliban” to try to get them to stop fighting the Karzai government. This involves paying them money not to fight. The media reports that these “moderate Taliban” are mostly driven by the “incompetence and corruption” of the Afghan government. Toss in brutality and criminality and there’s your whole picture right there.
“Oh that’s the wingnut, leftist, anti-American Guardian newspaper you’re quoting from!” bleat the delusional, pro-war idiots. Okay, fine. NATO wants to go into talks with “moderate Taliban” who only want to throw diluted acid into school-girls’ faces, who only want punish really, really unchaste Afghan women by throwing smaller rocks at them than the original Taliban did, and who only sorta want to impose a kinda totalitarian religous semi-fanaticism on their people and the rest of the world.
Nah, let’s go back to reality and sanity. The puppet-Karzai heads an unpopular, unelected government that is incompetent, corrupt, and brutal and which has alienated scores of Afghans (mainly among the Pashtun, the country’s largest ethnic group). At the end of eight bloody years, it is just as incompetent, brutal and corrupt as it was at the start. Being so unpopular, bloody and criminal, it has produced a growing insurgency comprised of people we admit we have no other quarrel with. That’s why we’ve decided to call them “moderate Taliban” and enter into peace-talks with them.
If they agree and only a sliver of support remains with the genuine Taliban, that doesn’t detract from the fact that for eight long years, just as us critics on the left have been insisting, we have been fighting and killing and dying for an ignoble cause. Not only that, but blithely, stupidly, betrayed our supposed values and become complicit in war crimes! Our governments could have spent more money on creating a stable, honest government in Afghanistan. Our governments could have spent less on killing Afghans and more on providing them with jobs and incomes (just as I was prepared to accept that we might, but correctly doubted).
If, after eight long years, our fearful leaders decide that they’ll change tactics slightly, and provide money to people abused and robbed by our incompetent and corrupt puppet-government, that’s no real cause for celebration. It’s an admission of complete failure. It’s an admission that the country was a mess, is a mess, and will stay a mess, despite our latest policy of bribing people not to fight. If only a sliver of the insurgency is genuinely fanatical Taliban, then we’ve driven tens of thousands of people into their arms through OUR brutality, corruption, and arrogance.
That means that those Western governments who were quite happy to have their soldiers fight, kill and die to defend a corrupt, brutal puppet-government are directly responsible for the sufferings and deaths of their military personell, because they could have (at any time!) stopped with the expensive air-strikes and other military “solutions” and instead addressed the genuine grievances of the people we are fighting. But the reasons they didn’t do this FROM THE START are the reasons why, after eight goddamned years, they’re doing such a half-assed job of things now. And that’s the reason the reconciliation will be only a partial, tentative affair. Our leaders are psychopaths, completely detached from the most obvious connections between their actions and their consequences.
And the fact that there existed throughout and exists today, a genuinely sane, rational, alternative viewpoint to this campaign of waste and slaughter, and that it continues to be denigrated as “unserious” and unfit for power, is a testimony to the complete insanity of our present political culture.