I asked myself these questions many times over my few months here. Where is this going? What is the end goal here? What will constitute a victory for the United States in Afghanistan?
Thus far I have come up with absolutely shit! The first question is an interesting one to me anyways. You hear over and over again from the politicos that we have to stay the course and we have to achieve victory here and we have to defeat the insurgents and the Taliban and what not. But what the hell does that mean? I mean they are pretty nice sentiments because you would have to be an absolute imbecile or a dirty hippy not to believe that the insurgents and the Taliban are evil beings that have corrupted an otherwise honorable religion and turned it into an instrument of oppression. Not to mention these people need to be defeated.
However, the question remains. What the fuck does victory here mean? Is it a stable Afghanistan? I would hope not, due to the fact that for the most part in the areas they controlled, the Taliban brought a certain measure of stability to Afghanistan. Is a democratically elected government a victory in Afghanistan? Well I would have to say that this country might not quite be ready for something like that just yet. The majority of this country is still illiterate, not to mention for the most part regardless of what administration is in control in Kabul the local elders are the real power in the majority of this land.
In my humble opinion the illiterate part is a more pressing issue than anything else really. Don't worry I am not going to romanticize the education thing again but I am going to say that unless this country is pulled, pushed or beaten forcibly out of the dark ages then there will never be any chance of a real victory here. The fact is that so long as we are here we can prop up any government we choose and they can pass any laws or constitutions or whatever that they can come up with. But in the end they are not going to mean a thing when the illiterate and ignorant masses are co-opted by the next bunch of religious nut jobs who comes along to throw this country into another civil war. It's been the same thing throughout Afghanistan's history. A powerful nation comes along and invades. They tolerate the rule of that nation for a while until for whatever reason, whether it is economic, cultural or otherwise they decide to start fighting. They fight the invading nation until they wear down their resolve, and then they watch as said nation crawls back home to lick its wounds while they celebrate in the mountains. Then after the jubilation wears off, they proceed to start battling each other for control of the country. The British, Soviets, and others can all testify to this fact.
So hopefully that is a cycle we can break, but how? Like I said previously you have to pull, push, prod or outright beat these people from their current state in the dark ages and begin them along the road to civilization. Yeah, I would say that these people are uncivilized. Not through any fault of their own but because of the decades of oppression they have endured at the hands of internal and external forces. I mean nothing can grow with a cinder block on its head.
Next thing that needs to get done. Someone needs to bring the Pakistani's in line. This conflict between the Pakistani and the Indian's is something else. It brings fighters from all over the Islamic world who have no business being here. The influx of fighters such as these can't help but have a destabilizing effect on Afghanistan if for no other reason than the fact that they use the nation as a route into the fray, or the pricks just stay here and shoot at me. Afghanistan's further development will depend on the stability of this region as a whole. Everyone should know or hopefully remember that Afghanistan is not in the Middle East, it is in Asia. There can be no sustained development here when a continuing conflict is going on between the Pakistani's and the Indians. The problem being that Pakistan is a predominantly Muslim nation and India is a Hindu one. So once again the religious thing rears its head, but pragmatically speaking the fact is that Muslim's place loyalty to their religion above all else and so long as the India/Pakistan thing can be viewed as a holy war there will always be trouble.
Now this next one is going to be fun, and some of you will get pissed and some will cheer but it's got to be said and debated, and hopefully someday resolved. The Palestinian/Israeli conflict is what gave birth to all of this. The support given Israel by the U.S. is what brought about the hatred that spurred international terrorism and that led to 9/11 and that led us into Afghanistan. Israel, in my eyes, must withdraw to its United Nations sanctioned borders right now. The world as a whole, to including much of the Arab world could and would support Israel's right to exist but not to push ever further into what the United Nations has determined to be Palestinian lands. Not to mention if Israel did withdraw to its UN borders then all these Muslim terror mongers would lose the main source of antagonism within the Arab world. They would fade into obscurity and isolation as the civilized world figured out how to get along with one another. They would become the equivalent of the guy on the corner with the butcher board and the bible preaching about the end of the world.
Finally, this country is strategically placed in the middle of everything. With a little investment and help from the richer nations of this world Afghanistan would turn out like every other nation that has been brought into the fold of modern civilization. They would prosper and learn, and build infrastructure and move toward a culture commensurate with the rest of the modern world. Like all other nations this would take a while, and there would be hiccups along the way. But given Afghanistan's potential as such a strategically placed country the progress would probably be exponential, if we could stabilize this place long enough for that to happen.
I don't really know whether all that would happen or not. But it sounded possible, and it sure as shit hasn't been tried yet. Maybe somebody who makes more money than me will see this and bring it up somewhere where people make decisions that actually matter. But probably not.
Anyways, let me know what you think, I would really like to hear some constructive criticism of my opinions. Around here all I get is the usual, "Kill them all" responses.
I love you mom...
P.S. I just came in here today to the computer lab and read all the comments from my previous posts and I couldn't be happier with, A. that people are actually reading this. And B. that all of you are so supportive.
Well I have to admit that this was a therapeutic outlet for me to bitch and moan about the Army and its shit but now it has grown into something more. That is because of all of you reading and commenting. So now I actually have to think things through before I post them. (Thanks a lot)(Sarcasm intended)
Anyways, now I am done. Merry Christmas.
I still love you mom...