Ron Paul is Despicable, Chapter XXIX; and, What are we doing in Afghanistan?

Andrew McCarthy takes apart Ron Paul over his statements about the Taliban in Monday night’s debate, statements that are viciously false and off-base (“The Taliban used to be our allies when we were fighting the Russians … their main goal is to keep foreigners off their land”), yet serve the paleolibertarian, anti-American cause.

But McCarthy goes astray at the end, arguing for a continuing U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan that is fated to be endless and hopeless: “Of course we should avoid unnecessary wars. But when we find ourselves in necessary wars, we need to win them.” So he actually believes we can “win” in Afghanistan.

It would seem that, just as McCarthy has thus far failed to persuade his colleagues at NR about the reality of Islam and the fatuousness of trying to democratize it, I have thus far failed to persuade Mr. McCarthy on the fatal mistake of becoming politically and militarily involved in the internal affairs of any Muslim country. Yes, we have the ability to destroy a troublesome Muslim regime, as we did in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Yes, we have the ability to target terrorist groups and terrorist camps with our military forces, which we must continue to do. What we do not have is the ability to plant our forces more or less permanently within a Muslim country, operating as its government’s ally and facilitator against opposing Muslim factions, and enjoy success or victory. We did not succeed in Iraq; we helped quiet things down enough in Iraq, after several years of horror initiated by our occupation of Iraq, so that our forces were able to withdraw without an instant collapse of the government. Iraq is of course still a mess. And there is zero prospect of success in Afghanistan.

UPDATE, January 20, 7 a.m.:

The last point is underscored by the lead article in today’s New York Times, which finally admits the largely suppressed story that we’ve been hearing from Diana West for the last year or two: the ongoing murders of Coalition forces by their Afghan “allies.” Today, “four French service members were killed and a number were wounded … when a gunman wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon on them…” The Times, relativistic and anti-American as always, casts the problem as “mutual contempt” between Americans and Afghans. (That is like describing the Crown Heights riots in 1991 as a “fight between blacks and orthodox Jews,” which the Times also did.) Of course, no Americans and other Coalition forces have murdered their Afghan “allies,” the murders have all gone the other way.

Still, the truth that the Times lets out is devastating to our effort there:

… the most troubling fallout has been the mounting number of Westerners killed by their Afghan allies, events that have been routinely dismissed by American and NATO officials as isolated episodes that are the work of disturbed individual soldiers or Taliban infiltrators, and not indicative of a larger pattern. [LA replies: Hey, do you think maybe the Times itself will stop reporting jihadist attacks in America as the work of disturbed individuals and not part of a larger pattern?] The unusually blunt [classified Coalition] report, which was prepared for a subordinate American command in eastern Afghanistan, takes a decidedly different view.

“Lethal altercations are clearly not rare or isolated; they reflect a rapidly growing systemic homicide threat (a magnitude of which may be unprecedented between ‘allies’ in modern military history),” it said. Official NATO pronouncements to the contrary “seem disingenuous, if not profoundly intellectually dishonest,” said the report, and it played down the role of Taliban infiltrators in the killings.

Via Diana West, here is more on that suppression, from USA Today:

Military commanders in Afghanistan have stopped making public the number of allied troops killed by Afghan soldiers and police, a measure of the trustworthiness of a force that is to take over security from U.S.-led forces.

The change in policy comes after at least three allied troops have been killed by the Afghan troops they trained in the past month and follows what appears to be the deadliest year of the war for NATO trainers at the hands of their Afghan counterparts.

The International Security Assistance Force in Kabul had responded to previous requests for details on cases where Afghan troops—screened and trained by ISAF and Afghan officials—have turned their weapons on NATO troops.

Navy Lt. Cdr. Brian Badura (below) said ISAF has a new policy to release only limited information about casualties, leaving the responsibility for detail to the troops’ home countries. The policy went into effect in the latter half of 2011, he said.

Since 2005, more than 50 troops had been killed and 48 wounded by Afghan troops, according to data released before the policy changed and USA Today research. In 2011, Afghan troops killed at least 13 ISAF troops.

So I again ask Mr. McCarthy: given the realities on the ground, given that our enemy the Taliban are the co-religionists, co-ethnics, friends, and allies of the government forces, in what sense does he expect or hope for America to “win” in Afghanistan?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 19, 2012 10:40 PM | Send

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