Thursday, January 31, 2008

Grim Reports On Afghanistan

By Cernig

Is there anyone left who doubts that, by taking their eyes of the ball and instead pursuing an aggressive invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration has drastically undermined its own "war on terror" where it counts - the central front in Afghanistan. If so, some new reports should be sobering reading for the Bush cheerleading faction.
The three reports have appeared two years after a road map for international assistance was agreed in London.

Oxfam said a "major change of direction... to avert a humanitarian disaster" in Afghanistan was needed.

In an open letter, Oxfam predicts a "humanitarian disaster" in the country, pointing out that millions of dollars of development aid is being wasted.

The charity says that the international approach towards Afghanistan is lacking in direction and is "incoherent and uncoordinated".

"There are very many factors to explain the increasing insurgency, and of course criminality and the role of warlords and drugs traffickers is very important," said Matt Waldman, policy advisor on Afghanistan for Oxfam International.

"But we also have to understand that recruitment is much easier when people are living in desperate circumstances," he said.
Bushie kneejerk response: Oxfam? It's a British-based charity...probably just woolie Brit liberals trying o undermine the war.

OK, how about the Atlantic Council of the United States, headed by General James L. Jones (former Supreme Allied Commander Europe and former Commandant of the Marine Corps) and Frederick Kempe (former WSJ editor) - not to mention being the day-job for conservative blogger James Joyner? No hotbed of librul defeatists there, surely.
The US Atlantic Council began its report with the words: "Nato is not winning in Afghanistan" and talks of a stalemate.

"Without urgent changes Afghanistan could become a failed or failing state," it said.

"If Afghanistan fails, the possible strategic consequences will worsen regional instability, do great harm to the fight against Jihadist and religious extremism, and put in grave jeopardy Nato's future as a credible, cohesive and relevant military alliance."

The American Afghanistan Study Group [sponsored by the Atlantic Council and headed by Gen. Jones - C] reached a similarly grim conclusion in a report released on Wednesday.

It said that "resurgent violence, weakening international resolve, too few military forces and insufficient economic aid" were all contributing to the country's woes.
Canada's conservative government has said it will pull its troops from Afghanistan if help isn't forthcoming. American rightwingers can rail at Europe all they want - but at the end of the day NATO is in Afghanistan because America asked for assistance. All the other NATO nations combined don't spend a fraction of the almost $500 billion the US does on its military annually - even Russia only spends $40 billion a year. If assistance is to come, it should come from the U.S.

But the Bush administration has tapped out reserves of ground troops on the Iraqi misadventure. (Even if you think the Surge was a success - that cannot excuse the profligate waste of the previous four years?) The Bush administration's policy has been a massive and harmful failure, a blight on the national interest, but all the Republican candidates only back more of the same.

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