Subsidizing Afghan Corruption

To have any chance of winning in Afghanistan, we must dump Hamid Karzai's corrupt administration, as it is no longer seen as legitimate.

Successful prosecution of a counterinsurgency war strategy requires gaining the trust of the indigenous people.  They must willingly align with your goals and identify the insurgents hiding amongst them.  To do this requires that the people believe that the system you are offering is preferable to the system you seek to replace, and the people must trust that you will remain there long enough to finish the job. When calculating their self-interest, the people will reason that they have to live with what you leave them, be it an unfinished conquest or a corrupt autocracy.

In an attempt to placate his antiwar liberal base, President Obama foolishly announced his intention to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2011, thus guaranteeing that the insurgents adopt a policy of waiting us out before launching their offensive against a weak, corrupt Afghan government unable to defend itself.  This strategy was reiterated in strong language by Vice President Biden, leaving no wiggle room to assuage the fears of the Afghan people that we will leave the job unfinished.  Taliban commanders are warning Afghans that they will still be here when Americans leave and that anyone collaborating with us will be dealt with harshly.

President Obama is continuing the Bush administration policy of supporting the corrupt Afghan government under President Karzai under the illusion that Karzai is the only pro-American option around.  U.S. officials have documented ties between Afghan government officials and the Taliban insurgency that show American funds flowing from the Afghan government directly to the Taliban.  Afghan government officials are calculating their self-interest and positioning themselves for a reckoning with the Taliban after America withdraws.

American politicians responsible for guiding U.S. policy towards Afghanistan have ignored the basic precepts laid out in the Army's Counterinsurgency Field Manual penned by General David Petraeus.  They are supporting a corrupt Afghan government whose officials are interested only in enriching themselves without a care for the problems of ordinary Afghans and who are actively undermining their own government by aiding the Taliban insurgency.  To make matters worse, U.S. politicians have announced a firm exit strategy from Afghanistan with no regard to the security situation in place at the time of withdrawal.

Ordinary Afghan citizens have little reason to trust American promises of democracy as they watch the U.S. prop up the corrupt administration of Hamid Karzai while Taliban insurgents roam around, reminding them that America intends to leave them in the lurch.  These Afghans have to live with the consequences of a U.S. mission that morphed from denial of a safe haven for Islamic terrorists to nation-building for regional stability and an enemy definition that has eroded into a murky, abstract concept.  So they smile at U.S. soldiers and pretend to know nothing of the Taliban while keeping an eye on the constantly shifting balance of power.

If America's goal is winning in Afghanistan, we must sever ties with Karzai's corrupt Afghan government, which funnels our money and its support to our Taliban enemy.  We must undertake the difficult work of convincing ordinary Afghans that their security is assured by supporting our cause, that their lives will be improved by a stable democratic government, and that we are there to stay for as long as it takes to accomplish our goals.

Anti-war liberals have attempted to portray the Afghanistan conflict as the next Vietnam with comparisons to foreign intervention without clear goals, but it is they who fail to learn the lessons of Vietnam.  They continue to support and subsidize a corrupt government hated by the people while announcing their intention to leave Afghans in the lurch through an exit strategy that appears to be more detailed than any other aspect of the war strategy.  What's more, they denounce support for the war at every opportunity on the home front.

History will be the final judge on the Afghan and Iraq wars, and it will be noted that historical lessons were ignored in their prosecution.  It's one thing to develop new tactics through flawed assumptions; we expect our military to adapt to changing conditions on the battlefield and improve tactics with feedback from the front lines, and they do an excellent job of both.  It's quite another to ignore basic doctrinal precepts of a clearly counterinsurgency war for political gain.  God forbid that American soldiers are dying for political expediency, and God help the politicians who might be allowing such a travesty to occur.

Another lesson antiwar liberals may want to brush up on is that weakness invites attack, especially since they usually seem to be the ones conveying the weakness that invites the attack.  No one abhors war more than soldiers since they experience its horrors firsthand.  It is for this reason that they train so hard in order to project such a degree of strength as to render them invincible in the eyes of a potential enemy.

If America is to be taken seriously by the Afghan people in its attempt to export democracy as a better way of life, then we must immediately stop subsidizing the corrupt autocracy our soldiers are fighting to replace.  This support undermines our efforts in the Afghanistan war.  We who experience periodic, orderly change of government seem to resist this in our overseas partners because we prefer to do business with a stable regime.  This reveals us as hypocritical in our efforts to export democracy.  Warlords and corruption are a way of life in Afghanistan, and Afghans who have no experience with freedom and honest democracy have no way of comparing these concepts to the way of life they know.

Tom Roberson is an independent conservative blogging at www.tomroberson.wordpress.com and doing his small part to save his country.  He'd love to hear from you.
To have any chance of winning in Afghanistan, we must dump Hamid Karzai's corrupt administration, as it is no longer seen as legitimate.

Successful prosecution of a counterinsurgency war strategy requires gaining the trust of the indigenous people.  They must willingly align with your goals and identify the insurgents hiding amongst them.  To do this requires that the people believe that the system you are offering is preferable to the system you seek to replace, and the people must trust that you will remain there long enough to finish the job. When calculating their self-interest, the people will reason that they have to live with what you leave them, be it an unfinished conquest or a corrupt autocracy.

In an attempt to placate his antiwar liberal base, President Obama foolishly announced his intention to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2011, thus guaranteeing that the insurgents adopt a policy of waiting us out before launching their offensive against a weak, corrupt Afghan government unable to defend itself.  This strategy was reiterated in strong language by Vice President Biden, leaving no wiggle room to assuage the fears of the Afghan people that we will leave the job unfinished.  Taliban commanders are warning Afghans that they will still be here when Americans leave and that anyone collaborating with us will be dealt with harshly.

President Obama is continuing the Bush administration policy of supporting the corrupt Afghan government under President Karzai under the illusion that Karzai is the only pro-American option around.  U.S. officials have documented ties between Afghan government officials and the Taliban insurgency that show American funds flowing from the Afghan government directly to the Taliban.  Afghan government officials are calculating their self-interest and positioning themselves for a reckoning with the Taliban after America withdraws.

American politicians responsible for guiding U.S. policy towards Afghanistan have ignored the basic precepts laid out in the Army's Counterinsurgency Field Manual penned by General David Petraeus.  They are supporting a corrupt Afghan government whose officials are interested only in enriching themselves without a care for the problems of ordinary Afghans and who are actively undermining their own government by aiding the Taliban insurgency.  To make matters worse, U.S. politicians have announced a firm exit strategy from Afghanistan with no regard to the security situation in place at the time of withdrawal.

Ordinary Afghan citizens have little reason to trust American promises of democracy as they watch the U.S. prop up the corrupt administration of Hamid Karzai while Taliban insurgents roam around, reminding them that America intends to leave them in the lurch.  These Afghans have to live with the consequences of a U.S. mission that morphed from denial of a safe haven for Islamic terrorists to nation-building for regional stability and an enemy definition that has eroded into a murky, abstract concept.  So they smile at U.S. soldiers and pretend to know nothing of the Taliban while keeping an eye on the constantly shifting balance of power.

If America's goal is winning in Afghanistan, we must sever ties with Karzai's corrupt Afghan government, which funnels our money and its support to our Taliban enemy.  We must undertake the difficult work of convincing ordinary Afghans that their security is assured by supporting our cause, that their lives will be improved by a stable democratic government, and that we are there to stay for as long as it takes to accomplish our goals.

Anti-war liberals have attempted to portray the Afghanistan conflict as the next Vietnam with comparisons to foreign intervention without clear goals, but it is they who fail to learn the lessons of Vietnam.  They continue to support and subsidize a corrupt government hated by the people while announcing their intention to leave Afghans in the lurch through an exit strategy that appears to be more detailed than any other aspect of the war strategy.  What's more, they denounce support for the war at every opportunity on the home front.

History will be the final judge on the Afghan and Iraq wars, and it will be noted that historical lessons were ignored in their prosecution.  It's one thing to develop new tactics through flawed assumptions; we expect our military to adapt to changing conditions on the battlefield and improve tactics with feedback from the front lines, and they do an excellent job of both.  It's quite another to ignore basic doctrinal precepts of a clearly counterinsurgency war for political gain.  God forbid that American soldiers are dying for political expediency, and God help the politicians who might be allowing such a travesty to occur.

Another lesson antiwar liberals may want to brush up on is that weakness invites attack, especially since they usually seem to be the ones conveying the weakness that invites the attack.  No one abhors war more than soldiers since they experience its horrors firsthand.  It is for this reason that they train so hard in order to project such a degree of strength as to render them invincible in the eyes of a potential enemy.

If America is to be taken seriously by the Afghan people in its attempt to export democracy as a better way of life, then we must immediately stop subsidizing the corrupt autocracy our soldiers are fighting to replace.  This support undermines our efforts in the Afghanistan war.  We who experience periodic, orderly change of government seem to resist this in our overseas partners because we prefer to do business with a stable regime.  This reveals us as hypocritical in our efforts to export democracy.  Warlords and corruption are a way of life in Afghanistan, and Afghans who have no experience with freedom and honest democracy have no way of comparing these concepts to the way of life they know.

Tom Roberson is an independent conservative blogging at www.tomroberson.wordpress.com and doing his small part to save his country.  He'd love to hear from you.