Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Afghanistan – Revisited – Obama’s Political Troop Deployment

President Barack Obama has ordered the deployment of 17,000 troops to Afghanistan , the LA Times notes that the increase is part of a campaign promise made by Obama to refocus efforts in that arena. Afghanistan, however, has a long history of giving the boot to outsiders, the various tribal factions which cause constant friction aside; one has to add to the mix, the religious zealots of the Taliban and the long-standing relationships between the tribes and the “camps” that house the “so called terrorists” (One has to wonder what Helen Thomas is smoking).

Afghanistan has a long history of repelling “invaders” , a condensed, easy to read, treatment on the subject by Frank W. Thackery and John E. Findling can be found online at , Google Books. The Soviet Union, the last country to make a military excursion into Afghanistan, spent ten long years battling the terrain and a people entrenched in Islamic Fundamentalism. In an attempt to prop up a communist regime, the Soviets found that simply giving more freedom to women, for example, resulted in a backlash that resulted in a pounding defeat. The incursion is often referred to as the Soviet’s “Viet Nam”.

The question remains, therefore, have times changed so dramatically in the course of 20 years, that an increase in U.S. Military on the ground in Afghanistan will fare better? The government is, for all intents and purposes, a Democracy (thank you President Bush), and is working towards improvements in a country that’s terrain makes for safe havens for those pesky Islamic Fascists. The fact that the culture is deep rooted in tribal relationships, and many of those tribal leaders have responsibilities to either members of Al Qaeda or the Taliban adds to the problem. From the perspective of History, even the great Genghis Khan found Afghanistan to be problematic, therefore one would reason, that, given the fact little has changed, the addition of 17,000 troops will do little to put a dent in the continuing carnage.

The U.S. Military in Afghanistan, under General David McKiernan, requested an entire brigade (60,000 troops) - the President is “thinking about it”. It might be wise to recall that Lyndon Johnson, and his struggle with the Viet Nam war. Johnson avoided the initial call for major troop deployments. The difference between the two Presidents, Johnson inherited the mess from Kennedy, however, Obama campaigned against Bush and his involvement in Iraq, and focused his rhetoric on the “missed opportunity” of capturing Bin Ladin in Afghanistan. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

1 comment:

Eat Your Okra said...

A very potential war with Iran may just be over the horizon and we are sending more troops to Afghanistan. How about trying more covert ops that don't require as much manpower for finding Bin Laden?

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