Afghanistan - The Links

The links and comments from the earlier post, Less Bad War Still Bad, have gotten too long, so I'll post them here:

Rory Stewart, New York Times, The 'Good War' Isn't Worth Fighting, November 22, 2008. This is not a new theory.

Rory Stewart, London Review of Books, The Irresistible Illusion, July 9, 2009. From this article, here's a quote from the British viceroy of India (which included Pakistan) in 1867, describing a potential Russian invasion of Afghanistan:
In that case let them undergo the long and tiresome marches which lie between the Oxus and the Indus; let them wend their way through poor and difficult countries, among a fanatic and courageous population, where, in many places, every mile can be converted into a defensible position; then they will come to the conflict on which the fate of India will depend, toil-worn, with an exhausted infantry, a broken-down cavalry, and a defective artillery.
Sounds like a great place to send an army, doesn't it?

Richard Sale, Sic Semper Tyrannis blog, Crippling Obama's Counterinsurgency Strategy, July 29, 2009. The Afghan National Police: trouble with a capital T. (get it?)

Walter Pincus, Washington Post, Analysts Expect Long-Term, Costly U.S. Campaign in Afghanistan, August 9, 2009. No commentary needed.

Lots more after the jump.

Elizabeth Rubin, New York Times Magazine, Karzai in His Labyrinth, August 9, 2009. A long article, so I'll give a few choice quotes. The first two are from a presidential candidate, Ashraf Ghani, who was finance minister from 2002 to 2004:
  • If the goal is to consolidate a group of drug dealers as the government of Afghanistan so that you have relative peace, then what is the vision?
  • We ranked 117 on Transparency International in 2005. Now we rank 176, the fifth-most-corrupt country on earth. It happened under his [Karzai's] watch.
And a meeting after the public riots, caused by an American truck barreling into a crowd, in Kabul in 2006:
The C.I.A.’s station chief in Kabul at the time was a friend of Karzai’s from their days together in the Uruzgan mountains fighting the Taliban. Karzai met with him and [U.S.] Ambassador Neumann. Karzai was livid and unnerved. If the riots were spontaneous, Karzai told them, he should resign. It means they don’t want you here and they don’t want me, and I don’t want to remain the president. I want to leave. The station chief was firm, according to a source who was present. No, Mr. President, you are not leaving.
Jordy Yager,, Holbrooke on Af-Pak: Know success 'when we see it,' August 12, 2009. Hopefully this will be retracted, but our special envoy to Af-Pak, Richard Holbrooke, said of progress in Afghanistan, "We'll know it when we see it." Not funny.

Matthew Yglesias, The Daily, Just Get Out of There, August 16, 2009. A+. But he still says that we have real interests in Afghanistan, just that limited resources prevent us from doing anything about them. I would be interested to hear what those interests are, as he rejects the notion that we need to keep al-Qaeda from coming back (they can go elsewhere more easily).

Sherly Gay Stolberg, New York Times, Obama Defends Strategy in Afghanistan, August 17, 2009. Obama shouldn't be allowed to get away with this whopper:
This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.
What a load of BS. There is more of that from the reporter:
As a commander in chief who has never served in the armed forces, Mr. Obama is still working to establish his bona fides with the military. His predecessor, George W. Bush, typically received wildly enthusiastic receptions from military audiences; Mr. Obama’s speech was interrupted only occasionally by polite applause.
George Bush's "military service" gave him instant credibility with the troops and veterans?

Stephen Walt,, The "safe haven" myth, August 18, 2009. Very effective refutation of Obama's quote.

Juan Cole,, What is Obama defending in Afghanistan? August 18, 2009. More good stuff that goes beyond rebutting Obama with current news in Afghanistan.