This should be read in conjunction with the post immediately below.
In Afghans frustrated in bid to remake Taliban-free towns;
Nawa's district governor, upset by the unresponsive provincial government, pleads with residents not to become disenchanted and ally with insurgents, the L. A. Times has just now put on-line a report from the real world in Afghanistan that eerily could apply to the U. S. The story begins:
Reporting from Nawa, Afghanistan — Haji Abdul Manaf, the district governor for this region of Helmand Province, was incensed. . .
But for months, Manaf has been unable to get the support he wants from the provincial government.
"I don't know what to do," Manaf complained to a gathering of U.S. and British civilian aid workers.
Please read the article, which is brief. Here's the conclusion. Substitute the U. S. in the appropriate places for my point:
In his final report to his superiors, Marine Capt. Frank "Gus" Biggio, the Washington lawyer and Marine reservist who headed a civil-affairs squad in Nawa until last December, warned that "one of the biggest threats to Afghanistan's future is not so much the drug trade, Taliban influence or corruption at the higher levels of government but rather the patience and persistence of her foreign partners."
In a reference to Nawa that might also apply to Marja, Biggio noted: "There are daunting challenges ahead in this country."
Yes, there are daunting challenges ahead in the United States, including relying on the forbearance of foreign creditors, the drug trade, Big Finance influence, etc.
Earlier, the article says:
The same strategy is being used in the Nad-e-Ali area, where British and Afghan forces are on an offensive similar to that in nearby Marja. Officials have announced that 2,000 people have already registered for a "work for cash" program, two schools have reopened, and nearly a thousand residents have received aid.
Yes, there are daunting challenges in remote parts of Afghanistan, where the U. S. is despised, 100% of the population is Muslim, and betrayal is standard fare. This is where 2000 people are getting cash for work.
Meanwhile vast numbers of Americans are receiving cash in lieu of work and large numbers are simply exhausting unemployment benefits, while young people who can't find a first job are not eligible for any assistance.
What's wrong with this picture?
There are actually numerous projects in the U. S. that would have a payoff as did numerous 1930s projects performed by the Civilian Conservation Corps and various public works projects. Instead, what we got from last year's "stimulus" was the preservation of the culture of dependency, repaving some roads, funding for a high-speed railroad to Sin City (Las Vegas) from Lala-land, a giveaway to old people for being old, Bush-style tax cuts and other unimaginative stuff.
And having not fixed the economy, Mr. Obama moved on to try to reshape energy usage in a giveaway to traders with cap and trade, and then to put physicians and patients under increased government control.
It would appear that more creative thinking is going into reshaping parts of central Asia than improving the United States.
Meanwhile, given the incompetence and venality of the Karzai administration, the U. S. may just be making martyrs of the Taliban "men in black" in Marja and surrounding areas. The madrassas will undoubtedly be teaching how bravely these men fought against overwhelming odds. The military battle is a layup victory for NATO. The political one is the only one that matters, however.
Can and will the U. S. and the U. K. (its only real ally in Afghanistan) persist long enough to avoid another costly failure a la Viet Nam, where we never lost a major battle?
In the 1960s, when the economy was strong, the war began losing popularity. When the economy weakened, it was curtains for the war effort. Our current economic situation is already poor. The Afghan War is thus by analogy not going to be won easily.
Copyright Long Lake LLC 2010