The Mourning After

By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

 President’s speech struck a new milestone for Washingtonian denial

 The President’s speech is history now. Al Qaeda is still the objective and General Stanley McChrystal will get 30,000 more troops and 18 months to make his counterinsurgency plan work. In a country the size of Afghanistan, even ten times that number wouldn’t matter. What does matter is that little has changed in Washington and it appears that Washington cannot change.  It’s too bad that the interests of the United States and those of the Afghan and Pakistani people are apparently mutually exclusive. Before this all began in the 1970’s and the U.S. support for extremist Islam began, Afghanistan did have a government. It was decentralized, but it was a government and it did function alongside a secular tribal structure that had been moving toward modernization for a century.

The Afghans came to the U.S. in the late 40’s and early 50’s asking for help. They needed some basic infrastructure development. They needed a cement factory, paved roads. They needed a hospital and some city buses. The didn’t get them. They at least expected that their external security would be protected by the Americans the way it had been by the British Empire. It wasn’t. During the Eisenhower administration the U.S. made it clear to the Afghans, often in insulting and demeaning ways that Pakistan would be America’s ally and that Afghanistan would have to fend for itself. Washington liked Pakistan’s plucky military brass. They liked their style, their uniforms and their British accents. Read more  Posted at  boilingfrogspost

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