The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

Concentrating on the REAL war on terrorism

Posted by progressivethink on March 26, 2009

Well here it is folks… Obama has decided to make the Afghanistan conflict, a sideshow during the Bush administration,  the focal point of his War on Terror.  Politico points this out here. This is the correct approach.  Contrary to some liberals (and libertarians) I believe that we need to pursue the fight in Afghanistan vigorously, which is what should have been done initially in 2001.  Over the past 6 years since we have invaded Iraq (unnecessarily I would argue), Afghanistan has been ignored.  We have not done enough to create economic opportunity for Afghans, nor to provide enough safe areas for the Karzai government to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.  The Karzai government itself is a mess, mired in corruption and failing to properly expand the government beyond the capital in Kabul.  For too long the past administration left Afghanistan behind to our NATO allies in the ISAF coalition, while concentrating on pacifying Iraq.  For some reason we forgot that the TERRORISTS CAME FROM AFGHANISTAN…. not IRAQ.  So if the main goal of our “War on Terror” was to get the people who carried out the attacks on 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden, why were we invading Iraq… and letting these same people get away by hiding out on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.

More attention needs to be given to the region.  Pakistan is in civil and political strife, and cannot effectively police the rural areas on the Afghan border (nor does it really want to do this).  Our NATO allies are stretched (if they even fight at all), and our supply routes for our military are weak.  We are forced to rely on the unstable Pakistan regime (where our convoys have been repeatedly attacked) or, take favors from Russia (someone we probably don’t want to be in hock to).  However, the only way to fix this situation in the long term is to invest in infrastructure and economic development in Afghanistan itself.

The Obama plan takes a step in the right direction.  By concentrating on sending additional troops, first these 17k that were sent recently, this will give more stability to the country, and enhance our ability to prevent the Taliban/Al Qaeda from resurging.  The new troop increase concentrates on trainers for the Afghan army, an essential component to ensure stability over the long term.  Furthermore, the administration has finally concentrated on sending civilian experts.  These experts will train the Afghans in the building of infrastructure, irrigation, and ways to fight the corruption endemic in the government.  This is an essential force in helping to create a sustainable Afghan government (hopefully one that has a change of candidates to someone not related to the Karzai’s).  This increased focus on Afghanistan should prove essential in order to allow the administration to change course and try other things if the current plans are not effective.

The money and dialogue with Pakistan is also an important component towards securing the Taliban sympathizers on the Pakistan side of the border.  This is a good step to provide funding for Pakistan to assist them in supporting our goals in Afghanistan from their side of the border.

All in All this looks like a good step towards refocusing our efforts on actually catching the people who carried out 9/11, which is what should have been done over six years ago.

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One Response to “Concentrating on the REAL war on terrorism”

  1. BALLIN' said

    First.

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