On a Road to Disaster

Roy Antoun
Feb 22, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Baloch Warriors from the 1800sThe New York Times recently reported that a “NATO airstrike on Sunday against what international troops believed to be a group of insurgents ended up killing 27 civilians in the worst episode involving noncombatant deaths in six months, Afghan officials said on Monday.

NATO, an international organization which is supposed to “safeguard the freedom and security of its member countries,” found it necessary to kill innocent civilians in the name of freedom and security. Understanding that civilian casualties are always and should always be expected, targeting 27 is hardly just a "mistake."

This not only represents the failure of international organizations to promote anything for the common good, but it also shows how the strategy in Afghanistan is inherently flawed and on a road to disaster.

It’s extremely difficult to fight a land war in Afghanistan, let alone win a war on an ideology.

The country’s history tells us how even the mightiest of empires cannot prove successful on the rugged terrain. Britain failed to seize control of Afghanistan twice in the same century (19th Century) and its second occupation resulted in the killing of 2500 British colonials in addition to the 1500 Afghans killed.

The Soviet Union, in its military greatness, could not control the territory either. Gorbachev was recorded stating in 1986 that “the goal which we raised was to expedite the withdrawal of our forces from Afghanistan and simultaneously ensure a friendly Afghanistan for us,” hence giving us the understanding that a friendly Afghanistan is a free Afghanistan, uninterrupted by the vortex powers of Western (or Eastern) elitism.

Given that history has shown us that fighting a land war in Afghanistan is fighting a land war in Asia (and we all know how difficult that is), one can only imagine the disasters yet to come from US intervention in the region.

Even more striking was the NY Times reporting that,

Mr. Bashary said there were no Afghan forces known to be operating in the area where the airstrike took place, but an investigation was under way to determine who was involved.

The carelessness in land battles has cost the United States more than just civilian lives. It has cost the United States soft power and diplomatic power internationally. What Mr. Bruce Fein, former associate deputy general under Reagan, suggested at CPAC 2010 was that the United States should be engaging in intelligence and covert operations engagements in Afghanistan as an alternative to amassing troops around mountains of tribesmen angered by an occupational force killing their family members and friends.  

Those guys in the picture look a lot like Rasputin.

Jihan Huq's picture