As the eighth anniversary of the U. S. military action in Afghanistan approaches, echoes of a failed land (and air, and swift boat) war in Asia are surfacing. In U.S. Marines Try to Retake Afghan Valley From Taliban, the New York Times reports that:
Almost 4,000 United States Marines, backed by helicopter gunships, pushed into the volatile Helmand River valley in southwestern Afghanistan early Thursday morning to try to take back the region from Taliban fighters whose control of poppy harvests and opium smuggling in Helmand provides major financing for the Afghan insurgency. . .
“We do not want people of Helmand Province to see us as an enemy; we want to protect them from the enemy,” Captain Pelletier said, The A.P. reported.
The goal of the operation is to put pressure on the Taliban militants “and to show our commitment to the Afghan people that when we come in we are going to stay long enough to set up their own institutions,” he said.
Even more than in Viet Nam after the Tet offensive destroyed the Viet Cong as a fighting force and left North Viet Nam to carry on the war effort, what is going on in Afghanistan is a civil conflict.
The last thing the insular Afghans want is Christians protecting them from their brethren. And our main interest in opiates originating overseas should be to dry up domestic demand through a variety of peaceful domestic initiatives.
The U. S. has never had significant consumer price inflation in the absence of a major war. If this one heats up, Treasuries should be sold and gold bought. For now, the wind-down in Iraq and the limited nature of U. S. involvement in the Af-Pak region is not sufficient to overcome the huge slack in the domestic economy. I watch Pak-ghanistan regularly, including a good local Pakistani free online daily, www.dawn.com.
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