Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Job

A headline on NYTimes.com today said that Obama has vowed to "finish the job" in Afghanistan. Details next Tuesday.

It will be interesting to find out just what he thinks the "job" is so as to judge his "plan."

Are we going to track down and kill all the al Qaeda folks, the original job identified by Bush? Are we going make the Taliban play nice, convincing them of the benefits of a Western style democracy and getting them to renounce their centuries old views? Are we going to provide security for the Afghan people and rebuild their infrastructure to the tune of trillions of dollars to allow them to "grow into democracy," in the face of centuries of tribalism? Maybe we're going to settle for getting Karzai to not fix two elections in a row. Cut stealing by government officials by say 30%?

I got a buck that says Obama's version of the "job" makes little, or no, more sense than did Bush's.


The Curmudgeon said...

This one would make anyone's head hurt. I think the plan has to include an attempt to provide security for the population -- which will necessarily involve killing or co-opting Taliban. The surge idea of making it safe for the locals to run their own affairs and letting them do it is a sound one. But we can't get all of the Taliban and these actions will just send the die-hards back to Peshawar and, at least potentially, further destabilize Pakistan. Maybe -- just maybe -- this time Pakistan will take charge of cleaning its own house.

Our plan should involve putting pressure on the Karzai government to rein in the warlords and cut back on the corruption -- but there's the danger of looking like an occupier there.

Our plan should also involve weaning the Afghan farmer off of poppy-growing -- which will deprive the Taliban of some of their money and some of the warlords of ALL of theirs.

You don't think that 'makes sense'? Well, what is the alternative?

Just walking away will mean a death sentence for every woman who had the temerity to learn to read and/or be seen in public without a burka and every man who was seen without a beard. It will further reinforce the lesson that America is an undependable ally who will get on that ol' off ramp whenever the going gets tough.

Dave said...

Curmudgeon, I don't have a plan, much less a "better" plan. But, you and Obama I think, are describing the beginning of a hundred year war. We don't do those anymore, right or wrong. See Vietnam, Iraq.

Lifehiker said...

I heard on NPR yesterday that it will cost $100 billion per year to keep 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. That's $1 million per trooper, fully loaded.

China, India, and Brazil don't need to out-compete us. They just need to wait around as we self-destruct with insane external spending.

J said...

Well now!!

Being president is "hard". What a shocker? W was give hell for saying that. What is O's excuse?

Dave said...

I don't think Obama's said the overall job, or the job referred to in the post is hard, though both are.

W was dumb for eight years; but, I think that Obama is about to make a similar mistake about ten months into his hard overall job and define the "job" in Iraq in a way that will guarantee him a fate similar to that that W suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan.