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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Feb 28th, 2003, 03:44 PM        If you break it, it's yours
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/...p?story=382372

Karzai pleads with US not to abandon Afghanistan

By Phil Reeves
28 February 2003

The United Nations has suspended aid operations in parts of Afghanistan because of fighting between warlords and generally dangerous conditions, highlighting the weakness of the American-backed transitional government.

The suspension came as the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, prepared to meet George Bush in Washington to urge America not to repeat the mistakes of history by abandoning Afghanistan.

Mr Karzai's appeal coincides with warnings from Russia * perennially worried by Islamic fundamentalism on its southern flank * that Taliban and al-Qa'ida leaders were "alive and well", continuing to plan attacks and receiving funding. Sergei Ivanov, the Russian Defence Minister, said on a trip to Azerbaijan that there had to be "unflagging efforts to bring order to the much-suffering land of Afghanistan".

There are deep fears in Mr Karzai's administration and among its supporters that an American invasion of Iraq will lead to a fall in international support for Afghanistan long before the task of establishing a strong central government, let alone securing peace and reconstructing the shattered country, is complete.

"Don't forget us if Iraq happens," Mr Karzai told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. "Whatever you do in Iraq should not reduce your attention on Afghanistan ... If you leave the whole thing to us, to fight again, it will be repeating the mistakes the US made during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan."

He was sitting at a table with US secret service agents posted at each end * a reflection of the scale of the security operation that attends the US-backed Afghan leader everywhere he goes.

He also spoke of Afghan-istan's progress and said the country would "stand on its own feet" in two to four years, a remark that will astonish some of the international agencies trying to achieve that objective. Fifteen months after the ousting of the Taliban, the Karzai government has no control over huge areas of the country. The American and German-led efforts to help to create, respectively, a national army and a national police force, are still in their infancy. So is the establishment of an effective national infrastructure. Roads and communications are poor. The country is awash with hundreds of thousands of firearms and mines.

In northern Afghanistan, at least six people have reportedly been killed in recent fighting between militias in the hire of Abdul Rashid Dostum and Ustad Atta Mohammed.

Manoel de Almeida e Silva, the UN chief spokesman in Kabul, said work had ceased in the Gosfandi district in the north. He also said that aid programmes in three districts in the southern province of Zabul had been halted because of security risks.
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Old Feb 28th, 2003, 04:55 PM       
Poor Afghanistan. It's like a molar that's been drilled clean, and now the dentist doesn't care enough anymore to fill it up.
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Old Feb 28th, 2003, 06:31 PM       
We'll leave it to rot until the next time it becomes a terrorist haven and then we'll blow the shiot out of it again. As long as factionalized war lords there kill each other, it keeps them occupied and reduces their numbers wwithout affecting our interests. Kind of like the Iran/Iraq war. That worked out pretty well, right?
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Old Feb 28th, 2003, 08:14 PM       
Because of this, the Canadian government is trying to figure out how we can afford to send 3000 peacekeepers to Afghanistan. That's quite a few more than we originally intended.
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Old Feb 28th, 2003, 08:24 PM       
We bombed the fuck out of them and made a token effort to help out afterward. Why do they learn to hate us?
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 12:44 AM       
oh man
nice title
and people wonder why some think we'll come to riots?

i just love getting yelled at by pro-war people, there's always one that keeps blasting questions like 'you think we had 9-11 coming to us dont you!! .. YES OR NO!!?' over and over.. and he wants me to say yes.. but i cant accept a yes or no so i wait too long and he badgers me even more.. i hate that question.. who ya gonna throw outta the boat? if you dont pick you will all die.. your either With us or you're Aggainst us! damn it and im trying to help these guys! bah *$&%#

i heard one guy say he'll feel safer in a police state, he thinks we'll get all the terrorists before they can get here GodDamn! which is your church again? :/
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 01:29 AM       
wait, what what what? what the fuck are you talking about? you just spout the most random shit when you rant.
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 12:27 PM        yea
Yea well, life is confusing isnt it..? i thought my reply was related to the idea that people don't friggen believe that we are responsible for anything terrible in the world.. ya yea i know you cant' argue with people who support bush with an iq of 70something for his supporters tend to reflect that when you find them with a sign in thier hand. oh well. I'm still not leaving even though Italians kin(in spirit) keep offering me thousands of dollars to either go to Canada or Iraq. haha
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Old Mar 3rd, 2003, 02:18 PM       
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Originally Posted by Carnivore
We bombed the fuck out of them and made a token effort to help out afterward. Why do they learn to hate us?
Isn't that kind of how we got ourselves into the current situation? Helped them fight against the Soviet Union in the '80s then left them high and dry then too. We create our own problems sometimes ... Noriega ... Hussein ... various Taliban leaders ... all were backed by the U.S. government at one time or another. :/
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Old Mar 3rd, 2003, 05:46 PM       
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Originally Posted by kellychaos
Isn't that kind of how we got ourselves into the current situation?
Geee... you think?

Was my initial statement not obviously sarcastic? I thought it was. It's what I was going for. Did I miss the mark? :/ [/quote]
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Old Mar 4th, 2003, 06:14 PM       
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Originally Posted by Malevolent
Geee... you think?
My point ... and I did have one ... is that we do this same thing over and over and over again. The CIA , other intellignece agencies, advisors, special forces, ect. go in and do these things and it's barely a blip in the newwpapers until it blows up in our faces 5, 10, 15 years later ... like what we're dealing with now. I remember in high school our government teacher telling us that "only Congress can declare war". So what are all these clandestine operations going on that the general public has little or no knowledge of or that are buried in the back of the newspapers? Is it the scale of the operation because it sure sounds like war to me? That reminds me of another thing that same instructor used to say "It's only a democracy a very brief moment in time ... when you vote." Apparently, once they're in power they have more control than I thought the Constitution had given them. :/
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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Mar 6th, 2003, 11:32 PM       
You can bet this won't be the last time we hear Ismail Khan's name....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp...nguage=printer

washingtonpost.com
Report: Afghan Women Still Face Violence


By TODD PITMAN
The Associated Press
Thursday, March 6, 2003; 6:47 PM


Intimidation and violence against women continue "unabated" in a post-Taliban Afghanistan, a new U.N. report says.

Although Afghan women returned to work after the fall of the Taliban, they continue to be forced into marriages and fall victim to domestic violence, kidnapping and harassment, according to a copy of the United Nations Economic and Social Council report obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday.

"Women are reported to restrict their participation in public life to avoid being targets of violence by armed factions and elements seeking to enforce the repressive edicts of the previous regime," it said.

The report cited incidents of self-immolations by women to escape domestic violence and forced marriages - sometimes at young ages.

"In impoverished rural areas, families have been reported to sell their daughters to escape desperate conditions or to settle bad blood between families," it said.

The 18-page U.N. report, titled "The Situation of Women and Girls in Afghanistan," said women have come a long way since the 2001 U.S.-led war overthrew the hardline Taliban regime, which banned girls from school and prevented most women from working.

Today women work, study and even hold some government posts, but "in rural areas, especially the more conservative tribal belt, the situation of women has not changed to any great extent since the removal of the Taliban."

Islamic scholars say little has changed because many of the restrictive practices are tribal in origin.

The report said the government also was partly to blame.

It said the Department of Islamic Teaching in the Ministry of Religious Affairs had "trained and deployed women to stop 'un-Islamic' behavior among Afghan women in public institutions and places, and to monitor women's appearance and views."

The report said the country's lack of security is also impeding women's advancement.

"Despite positive developments regarding women's rights, intimidation and violence by regional and local commanders against women continue unabated," the report said.

Most of rural Afghanistan is ruled by regional warlords with their own private militias. The central government's authority is largely limited to the capital, where an international peacekeeping force is maintaining security. The government is still building its army.

Human Rights Watch has complained bitterly about the treatment of women in Herat, a western region run by Ismail Khan, a powerful warlord who is part of President Hamid Karzai's government.

Last year, girls accounted for 30 percent of the three million children who attended school in Afghanistan, while 28 percent of the country's 70,000 teachers were women, the report said.

Girls' schools in at least five provinces were attacked with rockets or set on fire by unidentified assailants late last year.

The report also said health care for women remains inadequate in the country, which has the world's highest maternal mortality rate.


© 2003 The Associated Press

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp...nguage=printer

washingtonpost.com
U.S. Urges NATO to Expand Role in Afghanistan

By Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 21, 2003; Page A20


Just days after NATO ended a bitter, monthlong dispute over military aid to Turkey, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell proposed yesterday that the alliance play a much more "active role" in the operations of an international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.

Powell floated the idea at a meeting with NATO Secretary General George Robertson, who told reporters afterward that NATO would consider a greater role in Afghanistan "because we're interested in stability." He noted that two NATO members, Germany and the Netherlands, currently command the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan with logistical support from NATO.

Powell said he was "very pleased that NATO is willing to play this more forward-leaning role" and called it "a sign of the vitality of the alliance and the continuing relevance of the alliance."

NATO's relevance had been threatened for weeks when Germany, France and Belgium blocked a formal request by fellow member Turkey for military aid to protect it in the event of a U.S.-led war with Iraq. The three nations, which oppose U.S. plans for an invasion if Iraq fails to disarm, saw the defense of Turkey as endorsing "the logic of war" without an authorizing resolution by U.N. Security Council.

NATO finally broke the deadlock by moving the discussion to the alliance's 18-member Defense Planning Committee, which does not include France. By then, Germany and Belgium had given in to pressure from Roberston and others. The committee's decision Sunday allowed NATO to begin deploying AWACS radar surveillance planes, Patriot missile and chemical and biological defense units in Turkey.

During a speech yesterday at the European Institute, Robertson said NATO had been damaged by the deadlock over Turkey's defense.

"But this is damage above, not below, the waterline," he said, "because the alliance, now coming through a crisis which could have been profoundly damaging, is in much better shape than the pundits would allow."

Ivo H. Daalder, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said he found it "very odd" that Powell would float the NATO peacekeeping idea in the immediate aftermath of a crisis in the alliance triggered by the Bush administration's hawkish stance toward Iraq.

"To suggest that the U.S. feels there might be other missions for NATO at this time might not sit too well," Daalder said.

On the other hand, he added, NATO control over the Afghan mission is "not a bad idea," since NATO has already performed planning duties for Germany and the Netherlands before they assumed command of the peacekeeping force.

Last year, NATO ended a decade of wrangling over "out of area" operations and agreed that, with threats shifting away from Europe and the United States, it must deploy forces beyond its members' borders.

The current peacekeeping force has been confined to Kabul, the Afghan capital, from the outset, with U.S. forces now establishing civil action teams in regional cities while continuing combat operations. One senior administration official said an expanded role for NATO could mean anything from greater assistance than it now provides to the alliance actually taking over the peacekeeping mission.

Daalder said he hoped a greater NATO role would mean extending the peacekeeping mission beyond the Afghan capital and expanding the force. But he questioned whether NATO has the resources to mount a major peacekeeping effort in Afghanistan and contribute to similar operations in postwar Iraq.

Robertson, asked whether NATO peacekeeping operations could be a model for those to follow in Iraq, said, "It is premature to talk about post-conflict Iraq."



© 2003 The Washington Post Company
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Old Mar 7th, 2003, 12:50 AM       
THOSE UPPITY WOMEN SHOULD BE SHACKLED TO THE BED WITH A CHAIN JUST LONG ENOUGH TO REACH THE KITCHEN

SO THEY CAN BAKE ME PIES AND SHIT.
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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Mar 24th, 2003, 12:31 AM       
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/...p?story=389803

US general: 'West is failing Afghans'
Kabul: Pace of reconstruction 'frustrating' says military chief

From Phil Reeves in Lahore, Pakistan
23 March 2003


As American and British cruise missiles create havoc in Baghdad, a US general has accused the West of failing to do enough to rebuild the last country visited by President Bush's military – Afghanistan.

His remarks come amid widespread fury in the international community over the US-British invasion of Iraq, coupled with concern that the onslaught began before adequate preparations had been made for a possible humanitarian crisis.

The chief of the US forces in Afghanistan, Lt-Gen Dan McNeill, said he was "frustrated" that the West had "not made a more bold step" to rebuild Afghanistan, adding that this could be an important lesson for Iraq. The US search for al-Qa'ida and the Taliban would have been easier if the aid had flowed faster, he said.

His remarks echo the worries of many in Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul, ranging from international aid workers to officials in the unstable transitional government of President Hamid Karzai. Fears abound that the war in Iraq, and its aftermath, will mean that international support falls away.

Although the US has repeatedly portrayed post-war Afghanistan as a success story, frustration has been steadily growing on the ground over the slow pace of reconstruction, which in many cases has scarcely begun.

General McNeill – who commands 10,500 troops in Afghanistan, of whom 8,500 are American – said that foreign aid had helped avert a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, but some countries had not fulfilled subsequent aid promises.

Speaking at Bagram air base outside Kabul, he said: "What is needed now is an overstep by the international community towards reconstruction.

"Clearly there is a lesson to be learnt for those who have responsibility for other conflicts and post-conflict situations."

The rebuilding of Afghanistan, after a quarter of a century of conflict, has been plagued by squabbles between the US military and international aid agencies, by continuing violence, and by the new government's lack of security control over most of the country.

In most of Afghanistan, fundamental components of the infrastructure – health services, power supplies, communications, education, security services and a road network – are either rudimentary or missing altogether.

Funds for reconstruction have been been a problem from the early stages. A year ago, the World Bank estimated that $10.2bn (£6.5bn) would be needed over the following five years, but international pledges were for about half that sum.

According to a recent report by Care International, the per capita spending of aid money in Afghanistan last year was well under half that of post-conflict Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda and East Timor.

Despite his criticisms, Lt-Gen McNeill said that the US military's mission was "going very well". In the run-up to the start of the Iraq invasion, there had been feverish media reports that the net was closing in on Osama bin Laden. But the general said he had "no compelling evidence" either way to suggest that Osama bin Laden was dead or alive.

He spoke as his forces were involved in their largest operation for more than a year, hunting through villages and mountains of south-eastern Afghanistan.

Their mission has grown beyond a man-hunt for Bin Laden, al-Qa'ida and Taliban elements to encompass other armed elements – such as those led by the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

It has been complicated by growing opposition to the US military presence, coupled with attacks aimed at destabilising the Karzai government and spoiling efforts to build an Afghan national army.

There was more evidence of this yesterday. Police officials yesterday said that three Afghan soldiers were killed and four kidnapped in pre-dawn attacks on security checkpoints near Spin Boldak in eastern Afghanistan.
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The_Rorschach The_Rorschach is offline
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Old Mar 24th, 2003, 12:40 AM       
Phil Reeves is as hardly known for his objective views Kev. Shit, about ninety percent of everything I've read by him is a critique on either Israel or the US, and often, he seems to be confused on where one ends and the other begins.

He doesn't even bother giving a full quote to Lt-Gen Dan McNeill, rather splicing up his words into brief soundbites that conveniently fit his topic.

If you're trying to draw the point that Bush is moving too fast, well, anyone will grant you that. He's doing for a few reasons, not the least of which is the fact he'll begin campaigning in a few months.

As for Afghanistan, if the United States went in there with a military presence, created a viable governmental infrastructure, how much support would she recieve from the rest of the world? We both realize Bush would be heavily criticized for imperialistically building a puppet kingdom, much as the British did when colonizing Africa. There isn't an easy answer, but the fact that many of the countries that promised support for rebuilding the post-war nation has yet to appear has not helped matters
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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Mar 24th, 2003, 11:45 AM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Rorschach
Phil Reeves is as hardly known for his objective views Kev. Shit, about ninety percent of everything I've read by him is a critique on either Israel or the US, and often, he seems to be confused on where one ends and the other begins.
Did he fabricate the General's concerns?? Were these things never said??


Quote:
If you're trying to draw the point that Bush is moving too fast, well, anyone will grant you that. He's doing for a few reasons, not the least of which is the fact he'll begin campaigning in a few months.
No, this point has 2 aspects:

1. We're at war with Iraq, and if we do the same with Iraq has we have in Afghanistan, then I'm concerned.

2. We're not moving "too fast," we're barely moving at all. Everyone assumes and says "yeah, we're doing great, no, not great, rather, the BESTEST stuff there! They love us! Everyone eats PIE!" This isn't the case, and yes, perish the thought, despite being liberated by the American military, there are STILL problems in Afghanistan.

Quote:
As for Afghanistan, if the United States went in there with a military presence, created a viable governmental infrastructure, how much support would she recieve from the rest of the world?
We already DID go in there with a military presence, and it was supported by most of the world (including the French and Germans that everyone hates so much now). Why were we there? What was our mission? Was it to "liberate" the people of Afghanistan???


Quote:
We both realize Bush would be heavily criticized for imperialistically building a puppet kingdom, much as the British did when colonizing Africa. There isn't an easy answer,
But he already IS getting this criticism with Karzai. If we were showing more support there, not necessarily military, but SOMETHING, he maybe wouldn't receive that at all, and I think the people of Afghanistan would be better off, too.


Quote:
but the fact that many of the countries that promised support for rebuilding the post-war nation has yet to appear has not helped matters
To my understanding, Britain and Canada have done their fair share.
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Old Mar 24th, 2003, 04:19 PM       
"Did he fabricate the General's concerns?? Were these things never said??"

Hard to say without an unedited quote, as I never knew the man.


"1. We're at war with Iraq, and if we do the same with Iraq has we have in Afghanistan, then I'm concerned. "

Hard to say. I was willing to bet dollars to doughnuts we wouldn't bomb Baghdad in order to keep it in something close to working order. That prediction was way off, so really, I couldn't say. Speculatively, I'd say we'd probably do less.

"2. We're not moving "too fast," we're barely moving at all. Everyone assumes and says "yeah, we're doing great, no, not great, rather, the BESTEST stuff there! They love us! Everyone eats PIE!" This isn't the case, and yes, perish the thought, despite being liberated by the American military, there are STILL problems in Afghanistan. "

Don't be facetious. If we haven't cleaned up one mess and move swiftly into making another, I see it as moving too fast. Which, if you stop for a moment, isn't a far cry from your point. The trouble with building those two countries is one of markets. America's strength is capitalism, it's our culture, our religion and our security. There was a profit to be made in aiding Britain, France, Japan and Germany after world war 2 for stock marketeers. There isn't one in Afghanistan or Iraq because things are too turbulent, too great of a risk. Unlike Japan who embraced us in 1943, there are mixed feelings abroad and that creates a dangerous atmosphere for buisness as usual, so of course, reconstruction or westernization, is going to proceed slowly. And if we leave matters in their own hands by their own means, it may not proceed at all.

"But he already IS getting this criticism with Karzai. If we were showing more support there, not necessarily military, but SOMETHING, he maybe wouldn't receive that at all, and I think the people of Afghanistan would be better off, too. "

We could do more, but doing so would have a political saaviness of zero. We'd be accused of making new territories like we did with the Phillipines, Hawaii and the Marshal Islands. And, historically, there is a basis for that view so it is of the utmost importance that to do the most good, and retain the most influence there, we do not enter into affairs with a heavy, guiding hand.

"To my understanding, Britain and Canada have done their fair share."

If Britain and Australia aren't enough to count as Multilateral action in a war against Iraq, Britain and Canada hardly count torwards Multilateral action in rebuilding Afghanistan. Can;t have your cake and eat it too. Actually, with the Japanese economy so desperate, and they making up a good portion of the post-war Iraq build up, I expect things should go well. For over a decade their local economy was almost solely driven by government funded construction. When it comes down to equipment, experience and the need for currency, they will be more than willing to contract themselves into Iraq to do what needs doing.

Politically, I have a feeling it won't be even as easy as Afghanistan to rebuild.
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Old Mar 24th, 2003, 04:59 PM       
I agree with you, and that's the problem.

See, if our real goal is to knock out speciffic governments and organizations, we're doing... okay. Taliban gone, Al quaeda quite functional but nonbetheless running and one assumes saddam and the Bath Party gone soon.

Of course, that's not at all what we say our goal is. We have floated the term "Martial Plan" in the cases of Afghanistand and Iraq, which was a bad thing to do, as the Martial Plan is a historical example one would have to live up to.

I've already pointed out that until a few eagle eyed Republicans pointed out the first budget draft out of the whitehouse had NO MONEY AT ALL for Afghan reconstrutcion, Kev points out Karzai has to publicly beg. If "Martial Plans" are hugely problematic, and I'm the first to admit they are, perhaps the administration shouldn't be quite oi glib about them.

But imagine our foreign policy if we didn't gussy it up with Martial Plan Language. "Our intent is to create the kind of power vaccuum that gave birth to Al Quaeda in the first place, and when that happens, bomb tyhe crap out of it again."
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 01:33 AM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Rorschach
If Britain and Australia aren't enough to count as Multilateral action in a war against Iraq, Britain and Canada hardly count torwards Multilateral action in rebuilding Afghanistan. Can't have your cake and eat it too.
I think this is apples and oranges. You questioned whether the nations who intended to support Afghanistan were doing so, and I'm saying that Canada and Britain certainly seem to be, at least to the best of their ability. They have little to economically gain out of it, as you have already kind of alluded to. Unlike the other argument, where lame duck countries like Latvia certainly see a hopeful piece of the proverbial pie in supporting America.

I likewise think you're overstating the need yo set up a military police state in Afghanistan. While the war was going on, we argued that the Taliban was rotten, and that we were "liberating" Afghanistan. We see that this was not the case at all, which brings us to Iraq. I am against this war, but I think I am more so against this facade of an argument for doing it. Liberation wasn't the game in Afghanistan, and I don't feel it is in Iraq, either.
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 02:23 AM       
I likewise think you're overstating the need yo set up a military police state in Afghanistan.


Is that what I'm advocating? Shame on me, thats not what I think at all, but a reliable military is intrinsically necessary. How many assassination attempts have there been already. . .yeah.


We see that this was not the case at all, which brings us to Iraq.

You saying the Taliban was preferable?
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 03:45 AM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Rorschach
Is that what I'm advocating? Shame on me, thats not what I think at all, but a reliable military is intrinsically necessary. How many assassination attempts have there been already. . .yeah.
You said we would've received criticism for doing such a thing. I'm not addressing what YOU advocated, I'm addressing your assumption of the critics.

Quote:
You saying the Taliban was preferable?
Come on, I'd expect better. I was addressing our intentions in Afghanistan. Whether they were bad or not is irrelevant, since we had no problems dealing with these bastards, who oppressed their people before 9/11.
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 04:15 PM       
Pardon the sidetrack...
Is it just me, or does Karzai remind anyone else of Yul Brenner?
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 04:45 PM       
"You said we would've received criticism for doing such a thing. I'm not addressing what YOU advocated, I'm addressing your assumption of the critics."

Quite, thanks for the explanation I was a bit confused. I think Burbank is on to something with his belief that the world at large doesn't object to the US interference in SE Asia and the ME so much as they object to Bush doing it. I try to assume the guy is actually quite intellegent, there is evidence to support it, but lately its hard to credit him that. Regardless, I think anything the US does internationally with him as President is going to recieve criticism from the Multi-Lateral other half. In order to impose any kind of coherent structure over the civil chaos reigning now, we would need a large military force, but that could so easily be misunderstood by the world at large - And I think they are eagre to misunderstand it at this point.

"Come on, I'd expect better. I was addressing our intentions in Afghanistan. Whether they were bad or not is irrelevant, since we had no problems dealing with these bastards, who oppressed their people before 9/11."


Afghanistan was important politically. I think Bush's aim was Iraq all around, but attacking Afghanistan served too purposes:

Cat's Claw: Diversionary tactic. Made his claims to a war on terror look legitimate. Anyone with even a hint of political understanding realizes that the war on terror can only be fought by intellegence agencies, like ONI, NSGD, the FBI, CIA and NSA with civilian support. As much as I hate quoting movies, and especially Bruce Willis, he said it best: The military is a broadsword, not a scaple. Afghanistan was a show, something to awe and amaze. If we had played our cards right, we could have come away from there looking like a hero, and probably even had world support for a strike against Iraq.

Foundation: By enjoying a successful campaign in Afghanistan, he would win more support at home for military actions because there would not be as great a fear that we would lose, or even lose badly. People are always more willing to engage in battles when they are assured of victory. Everyone will throw down on a safe bet.

He's successfully manipulated a large number of civilians here in the US into supporting him, and if not him, at least the potential fruits of war and, to his credit, he's done it with their encouragement. He would make a good Mr Wednesday or Lyesmith. ANyway, the point of all this is, we don't have any interest there, for good or for ill. What we've done to rebuild is a token gift of little or no real value. Not to defend Bush, but I think he realizes that he'll only catch hell from the international security if he offers anything more than money - a commoditary which we can;t afford at the moment (not that that has stopped the maniacal deficit-spending bastard in the past).
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