What is ''the mission'' in Afghanistan?

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In summary: So our goal is untenable, and/or a farce.#2 is still relevant. The U.S. is still able to fight terrorism before it can attack here at home. #3 is also still relevant. We are still able to confront threats before they fully materialize. #4 is still relevant, though it may not be the main reason we're fighting in Afghanistan. We are fighting because it is the right thing to do, and because we believe in liberty and hope as an alternative to the enemy's ideology of repression and fear.In summary, supporters of the war in Afghanistan believe that 5 or 10 more years will result in the same mission being accomplished as in
  • #1
wasteofo2
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What is ''the mission'' in Afghanistan? What do supporters of the war imagine will be achieved by 5 or 10 more years of war?

Do we want to just keep fighting until the Afghans bend over and accept U.S. occupation without retaliation?
 
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  • #2
Uh, what? What makes you think we want 5 or 10 more years of occupation or that accepting the occupation is a relevant concern? The way you posed the questions makes little sense.

The mission is the same as it was in the last few years of Iraq: help establish/maintain stability and train the government and military to do their jobs so we can leave and so that the new Afghani government can stand on its own after we leave.
 
  • #3
russ_watters said:
The mission is the same as it was in the last few years of Iraq: help establish/maintain stability and train the government and military to do their jobs so we can leave and so that the new Afghani government can stand on its own after we leave.

The government, which blatantly rigged the last election, by all rights won't be able to stand without constant U.S. support.

Karzai has been in power for 8 years. He was the choice of Washington from the get-go, not the choice of Afghanistan. If he can't stand on his own two feet by now, what makes you think he will be able to in 5 or 10 more years?

What is the problem with the Afghan military? Why is it not strong enough to ''do its job''? Is it that there aren't any men in Afghanistan who know how to use weapons and fight?

No. Afghanistan has no shortage of men willing to lay down their lives to fight for what they believe in. For centuries, Afghans have fought foreigners invading their land, always successfully.

The fundamental problem is that these men are not willing to fight for the Karzai government. They are fighting against it, and against the U.S. troops that are allied with it.

The government we are trying to ''train'' to ''do its job'' is never going to have a military that is willing to fight for it, because the real fighters in Afghanistan are busy trying to kick the U.S. off their land, not fight for the U.S.

So our goal is untenable, and/or a farce.

Which is why I included the line about ''accepting U.S. occupation without retaliation.'' Because when Karzai is allied with the U.S. troops, you can't expect prideful Afghans to do anything but fight against this occupation.
 
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  • #4
wasteofo2 said:
If he can't stand on his own two feet by now, what makes you think he will be able to in 5 or 10 more years?

...

So our goal is untenable, and/or a farce.
I think another 5-10 years is too long and I think if we don't see real progress soon we should re-evaluate our goals and exit strategy. I was actually thinking of starting a discussion about that, but I'll hold for a bit.
 
  • #5
Initial mission:

George Bush said:
This military action is a part of our campaign against terrorism, another front in a war that has already been joined through diplomacy, intelligence, the freezing of financial assets and the arrests of known terrorists by law enforcement agents in 38 countries. Given the nature and reach of our enemies, we will win this conflict by the patient accumulation of successes, by meeting a series of challenges with determination and will and purpose.

Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader. Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocents, they have become outlaws and murderers, themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril.

Eventually, the Afghanistan mission could be defined by how it fit into the Bush Doctrine:

1."Make no distinction between terrorists and the nations that harbor them--and hold both to account."
2."Take the fight to the enemy overseas before they can attack us again here at home."
3."Confront threats before they fully materialize."
4."Advance liberty and hope as an alternative to the enemy's ideology of repression and fear."

#1 fits into Bush's original reason for invading Afganistan. As Bush's foreign policy evolved, building a democratic government in Afghanistan became part of the mission:

Bush 2003 State of Union address said:
Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity.



wasteofo2 said:
The fundamental problem is that these men are not willing to fight for the Karzai government. They are fighting against it, and against the U.S. troops that are allied with it.

This is definitely a problem. Afghanistan doesn't have a unified culture that can easily be governed. It's too fractured into both ethnic groups and subgroups within each ethnic group. It's almost certain that whoever is in power will favor members from his own group not only because of tribal loyalty, but because their distrust of rival groups borders on fear.

The Taliban is about the only unifying force in Afghanistan - in that not wanting them back in power is about the only thing all of the different 'tribes' can agree on. If the Taliban were defeated, Karzai would soon be gone as well, as his ouster would be the new unifying cause in Afghanistan, with the next ruler's ouster serving as the next unifying force, etc. It will be a very interesting government (if any) that can coexist with Afghani residents. (On the other hand, the Taliban did cross ethnic/family lines by using religion as the new unifying cause and they did have a large following, even if the majority of the country disliked them, so it is possible to find something that can bring at least enough unity to hold the majority at bay.)
 
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  • #6
The Afghanistan troops are the chasers in the hunting party. Their job is to spread out and flush all the game towards the Pakistan boarder where they have nowhere else to go. Spies take their pictures, learn as much as they can, and then use predator drones to kill off the worst predators among them. Just like shooting fish in barrel.

The US is also probably still hoping to retain a healthy presence in Afghanistan and struggling to get the natives under some measure of control. It has some worthwhile minerals and is about as third world as it gets meaning nobody will complain too much if we exploit them.

You have to think long term when it comes to resources like that. For example, the Japanese have been cutting down the rain forest for decades and sinking some of the better timber in the pacific. Right now the stuff is dirt cheap, but in another couple of decades the prices will start going through the roof and all that cold water protects their investment. If the US establishes a long term presence in Afghanistan on whatever pretense and the country conveniently never rises much above the stone age its perfect for exploiting later. The same principle applies to the US suddenly complaining about China limiting her export of rare Earth's. We want them to exploit their's in part so we can save our own for when the price goes up. That's just the way of the world. A poor man sells whatever he can when he can, and the rich man encourages him while stockpiling whatever will go up in value the most.
 
  • #7
russ_watters said:
I think another 5-10 years is too long and I think if we don't see real progress soon we should re-evaluate our goals and exit strategy. I was actually thinking of starting a discussion about that, but I'll hold for a bit.

What ''real progress'' do you imagine is possible that hasn't been achieved in 10 years?

The Neocon dream is that Afghanistan will be a non-islamist democracy friendly to the U.S.

But that's just a dream. If we left Afghanistan alone, it would probably revert to an Islamic government that is unfriendly to the U.S. Stay as long as want, but you can't force Afghanistan to be something its not in the long run.

However, you CAN definitely keep occupying Muslim lands and convincing the whole Muslim world that the U.S. is engaged in a war on Islam.
 
  • #8
wasteofo2 said:
What ''real progress'' do you imagine is possible that hasn't been achieved in 10 years?
The same progress that happened in Iraq after the troop surge there. The reality is that we always devoted more troops to Iraq while neglecting Afghanistan. Now we have more troops in Afghanistan, so we should give it some time (a short time, but still...).
The Neocon dream is that Afghanistan will be a non-islamist democracy friendly to the U.S.
"Neocon"? Uh, are you aware that we have a liberal democratic President running the war today, not a "Neocon"?
However, you CAN definitely keep occupying Muslim lands and convincing the whole Muslim world that the U.S. is engaged in a war on Islam.
If "the whole Muslim world" believed "the US is engaged in a war on Islam" then "the whole Muslim world" would have to have a serious comprehension problem due to "the whole Muslim world" being radicals. So you are displaying a serious anti-Islam prejudice with that statement, implying that "the whole Muslim world" are radicals. Radical Islamists think we are at war with the whole Muslim world, but that's part of what makes them radicals: they started a war with us and "the whole Muslim world" did not join it.

So I said above we should re-evaluate if we don't soon see a big improvement. It sounds like your new mission would be to simply pull out and let whatever happens happen. What do you hope would happen then and what do you consider the risk to be if the Taliban reassert control over the country?

A little hint of the new mission I'd be willing to accept: The same as the current status of our war in Pakistan. Low intensity warfare using drones and occasional SEAL raids to take down terrorists. I'd be willing to accept that for decades to keep the Taliban and al Qaeda at bay.
 
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  • #9
What is ''the mission'' in Afghanistan?

Brzeszinski's "Grand Chessboard" is interesting .

I'd say it's to 'westernize' the whole region. Maybe to bottle up China.

Not saying it's right or wrong, just that's what i think it is.
 
  • #10
russ_watters said:
"Neocon"? Uh, are you aware that we have a liberal democratic President running the war today, not a "Neocon"?

Say what you want about Obama's domestic policies, in regards to Afghanistan there's little practical difference between him and Bush.

The Neocon foreign policy ideal is that we can go invade countries, topple their governments, the people will be happy about it and start voting for non-islamic governments that will be our allies.


russ_watters said:
If "the whole Muslim world" believed "the US is engaged in a war on Islam" then "the whole Muslim world" would have to have a serious comprehension problem due to "the whole Muslim world" being radicals. So you are displaying a serious anti-Islam prejudice with that statement, implying that "the whole Muslim world" are radicals. Radical Islamists think we are at war with the whole Muslim world, but that's part of what makes them radicals: they started a war with us and "the whole Muslim world" did not join it.

You fail to be able to see things from another perspective. Numerous global polls have found that majorities in Muslim countries believe the U.S. is the greatest threat to world peace. Why would they believe that?
- 10 years occupying Afghanistan
- 8 years occupying Iraq
- Decades of supporting Israel's abuse of the Palestinians
- Publicly calling for war with Iran
- Decades of supporting secular dictatorships in the Muslim world to keep popular will for Islamic government at bay

Our actions in the middle east are very easy to construe as ''war against Islam''. Perhaps that is not our intention, but to any Muslim who looks at the Muslim World, he sees countries at war with the United States, countries threatened by war with the United States, or dictatorships allied with the United States which permit the United States to set up military bases on its soil.


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russ_watters said:
So I said above we should re-evaluate if we don't soon see a big improvement. It sounds like your new mission would be to simply pull out and let whatever happens happen. What do you hope would happen then and what do you consider the risk to be if the Taliban reassert control over the country?

A little hint of the new mission I'd be willing to accept: The same as the current status of our war in Pakistan. Low intensity warfare using drones and occasional SEAL raids to take down terrorists. I'd be willing to accept that for decades to keep the Taliban and al Qaeda at bay.
Yes, my mission would be to simply leave Afghanistan alone. My mission would be to leave the whole region alone.

Your plan to constantly be bombing Afghanistan for decades, killing dozens of civilians to get a couple of terrorists, is just the thing that is needed to assure that Muslims and Afghans continue to try to attack the United States.

Think about if China periodically bombed the United States. In the long run, would that make us more or less hateful towards China?

It's just astounding how you can't see that bombing a country makes them hate us.
 
  • #11
We either continue until victory or we leave allow Afghanistan to relapse and become a breeding ground for terrorists. Anything in between, despite pleasing moderates, will result in the latter.
 
  • #12
jduster said:
We either continue until victory or we leave allow Afghanistan to relapse and become a breeding ground for terrorists. Anything in between, despite pleasing moderates, will result in the latter.

The problem as I see it with that philosophy is that you cannot achieve victory over an idea (that the US is the Great Satan, etc.). The best we canhope for is that the Afghanis as a people can take over control of their own country.
 
  • #13
daveb said:
The problem as I see it with that philosophy is that you cannot achieve victory over an idea (that the US is the Great Satan, etc.). The best we canhope for is that the Afghanis as a people can take over control of their own country.

The whole "fighting an idea" is a straw man.

We aren't fighting ideology. The people who are murdering innocent people and forcing their religion upon others are tangible and defeatable.
 
  • #14
wasteofo2 said:
Think about if China periodically bombed the United States. In the long run, would that make us more or less hateful towards China?

Except China's defacto government and primary political party isn't radical using religion for extreme, inhumane hate and suppression against their own people and the rest of the world.
 
  • #15
mege said:
Except China's defacto government and primary political party isn't radical using religion for extreme, inhumane hate and suppression against their own people and the rest of the world.

Wait... China in that analogy was the US. Are you saying the US is using religion for extreme, inhumane hate and suppression against their own people and the rest of the world?
 
  • #16
Office_Shredder said:
Wait... China in that analogy was the US. Are you saying the US is using religion for extreme, inhumane hate and suppression against their own people and the rest of the world?

No, I'm referring to the target of this thread: Afghanistan and the justification for being there. I can see how my post caused confusion though. I was trying to 'disarm' the China/US analogy because there is little to no justification for China to be bombing the US. The rhetoric may be increasing between the US and China, but I think that at worst we will enter another cold war (which, economically speaking - may be a good thing, we need a politically correct national focus/goal to keep us occupied IMO).

We're in Afghanistan for multiple reasons: our own safety first and eliminating a radical sect of individuals second. I see no problem with that decision. Does it suck? Absolutely, but I think being 'hands off' (even from the start) would have escalated the situation even further. The terrorists are anti-US (and will act on it) weither we are in their backyard or not - at least now the terrorists have a well armed punching bag (for lack of a better term, no disrespect intended to our soldiers) at arms-length rather than an unsuspecting innocent one in our homeland.
 
  • #17
mege said:
The terrorists are anti-US (and will act on it) weither we are in their backyard or not -

This is the biggest misconception out there.

We have been in their backyard only since after WWII.

Were we to leave the entire Muslim world alone, there would be no reason for attacking the United States.

Of course, we have been going to war with the muslim world, occupying the muslim world, and funding dictators in the muslim world for decades, so it seems inconceivable now for us to merely leave them alone.

But it is the only just path forward. Simply stop messing with them, and you'd be surprised how they stop messing with us.

Consider this:
Has any South American nation ever been attacked by Muslims? They are Christians. South America has tons of indecent things that might offend Muslim sensibilities.

Yet Brazil and Argentina doesn't go around bombing or occupying Muslim lands. And they haven't been attacked by muslims.

Imagine that. If you don't attack Muslims, they won't attack you.
 
  • #18
jim hardy said:
Brzeszinski's "Grand Chessboard" is interesting .

I'd say it's to 'westernize' the whole region. Maybe to bottle up China.

Not saying it's right or wrong, just that's what i think it is.
This makes a certain sort of sense to me. In addition to dealing with the Taliban and getting Bin Laden. Plus, it's next to Pakistan (Not sure what that might have to do with it -- Pakistan is some sort of problem, isn't it?). But I thought the US was supposed to be leaving Afghanistan in 2014.
 
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  • #20
Oh yes look at that list of crusades in the 1400s. We must squash this threat immediately
 
  • #21
wasteofo2 said:
This is the biggest misconception out there.

We have been in their backyard only since after WWII.

Were we to leave the entire Muslim world alone, there would be no reason for attacking the United States.

Of course, we have been going to war with the muslim world, occupying the muslim world, and funding dictators in the muslim world for decades, so it seems inconceivable now for us to merely leave them alone.

But it is the only just path forward. Simply stop messing with them, and you'd be surprised how they stop messing with us.

Consider this:
Has any South American nation ever been attacked by Muslims? They are Christians. South America has tons of indecent things that might offend Muslim sensibilities.

Yet Brazil and Argentina doesn't go around bombing or occupying Muslim lands. And they haven't been attacked by muslims.

Imagine that. If you don't attack Muslims, they won't attack you.
Neither was South American attacked by the British in 1812, by the Confederate States of American in 1861, by Bismark's Germany in 1915, by Imperial Japan, or by Nazi Germany. Therefore if the US had just left them alone, all would have been well with the world?
 
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  • #22
Office_Shredder said:
Oh yes look at that list of crusades in the 1400s. We must squash this threat immediately
The OP said that if you don't attack Muslims they won't attack you. I just provided a counterexample. Apparently, Muslims (or anybody else for that matter) will, or at least might, attack preemptively. That's at least one reason why we don't want Iran to have nuclear weapons.
 
  • #23
wasteofo2 said:
Say what you want about Obama's domestic policies, in regards to Afghanistan there's little practical difference between him and Bush.
Well yes, that's exactly the point. Obama is a historically liberal Democrat, so it is highly misleading to imply that this is a "neocon" exclusive policy ideal. In historical fact, it has been pretty much standard operating procedure for Western war conduct since/starting with WWII, in wars where we conquer the opponent. It doesn't orginate from nor is it primarily a "neocon" idea.
You fail to be able to see things from another perspective. Numerous global polls have found that majorities in Muslim countries believe the U.S. is the greatest threat to world peace. Why would they believe that?
1. Please provide a source.
2. "Majorities" and "whole muslim world" are not the same thing.
3. "Threat to world peace" and "war against Islam" are not the same thing.
Our actions in the middle east are very easy to construe as ''war against Islam''.
If taken out of context, sure. But looking at whole facts instead of half facts, it would be hard to reconcile a "war against Islam" with the facts. To say that the war in Afghanistan, for example, is against Islam itself is to ignore 9/11! In addition, we defended Middle Eastern countries from Iraq in 1991, provided a vast amount of relief to the tsunami victims in Indonesia and are at peace with most Islamic nations.
Yes, my mission would be to simply leave Afghanistan alone. My mission would be to leave the whole region alone.

How far does "leave the whole region alone" go? Would you cut-off trade with the region? Do you think that would make them happy? If we "left the whole region alone" in 1991, do you think that would have made Saudia Arabia and Kuwait happy?

Do you see a risk of another 9/11 and if so do you think we should do something about it? Should we not have done anything after 9/11? Would that have helped or hurt the risk of another 9/11?
Your plan to constantly be bombing Afghanistan for decades, killing dozens of civilians to get a couple of terrorists, is just the thing that is needed to assure that Muslims and Afghans continue to try to attack the United States.
I'm not trying to assure them of anything, so that really doesn't concern me.
Think about if China periodically bombed the United States. In the long run, would that make us more or less hateful towards China?
As per above, it is irrelevant if we would hate China more or less in that case. Whatever China's unspecified reason, I'm sure they wouldn't care if we hate them or not.
It's just astounding how you can't see that bombing a country makes them hate us.
You misread/invented that. I never said any such thing. I am completely aware that bombing a country makes some people in that country hate us.
This is the biggest misconception out there.

We have been in their backyard only since after WWII.

Were we to leave the entire Muslim world alone, there would be no reason for attacking the United States.
That's a very bad mischaracterization for several reasons:
1. You again are lumping all muslim nations together as if they are single-minded. That's a pretty harsh stereotype, to say the least.
2. We have had troops in many, many non-muslim countries since WWII including Germany and Japan and we don't have German and Japanese citizens suicide-bombing us. So being there is not enough.
3. The last war we fought in the ME before 9/11 was against Iraq, a secular dictatorship, and we were all-but begged to go by Kuwait and Saudia Arabia, two muslim countries. bin Laden used our presence in Saudia Arabia (we left like 15 years ago) as one of his excuses for attacking us. I guess we're screwed either way.
 
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  • #24
wasteofo2 said:
Were we to leave the entire Muslim world alone, there would be no reason for attacking the United States.
I understand your point. To a certain extent I agree, because the Muslim world has, for centuries, lacked the military capability to conduct successful preemptive Jihads in the name of Allah. But let's not be naive about this. If the Muslim world had the capabilities of, say, the US, then I think they would be actively enganged in spreading their sphere of influence. But what you don't seem to realize is that it will be one or the other. The Christian West and the Islamic Middle East are bent on promulgating their way of life, their culture, their religion. And they're significantly at odds with each other.

But here's the point, were we to leave the entire Muslim world alone they would still have a reason for attacking the US. It isn't just a matter of US agressions in the ME. It's the Muslim philosophy, the Muslim religion. Just as it is the Christian philosophy and religion to conquer and convert.

It's not Arab or Persian or whatever people that are the problem. It's the hold that these archaic religious beliefs, and socialization, have on people ... and this includes, I'm guessing, the majority of Americans.

wasteofo2 said:
Of course, we have been going to war with the muslim world, occupying the muslim world, and funding dictators in the muslim world for decades, so it seems inconceivable now for us to merely leave them alone.

But it is the only just path forward. Simply stop messing with them, and you'd be surprised how they stop messing with us.
But you're forgetting the fact that the Middle East, the Muslim World, has the majority of the known exploitable oil reserves. So, there's absolutely no chance that the US is going to "stop messing with them". They're either going to conform to the dictates of the Western powers or hundreds of thousands are going to die and tens of milliions will have their lives significantly altered for the worse.
 
  • #25
ThomasT said:
But you're forgetting the fact that the Middle East, the Muslim World, has the majority of the known exploitable oil reserves. So, there's absolutely no chance that the US is going to "stop messing with them". They're either going to conform to the dictates of the Western powers or hundreds of thousands are going to die and tens of milliions will have their lives significantly altered for the worse.

Does Afghanistan have any "exploitable resources" that we benefit from?
 
  • #26
ThomasT said:
They're either going to conform to the dictates of the Western powers or hundreds of thousands are going to die and tens of milliions will have their lives significantly altered for the worse.
That's a little harsh. It isn't like most of these countries are great places to live as it is. Spreading democracy - if it takes hold - will improve things significantly in most of these countries. And being in a temporary war as opposed to the permanent risk of being lowered slowly into a plastic shredder (as Saddam used to do) isn't significant altering for the worse.
 
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  • #27
russ_watters said:
That's a little harsh. It isn't like most of these countries are great places to live as it is. Spreading democracy - if it takes hold - will improve things significantly in most of these countries. And being in a temporary war as opposed to the permanent risk of being lowered slowly into a plastic shredder (as Saddam used to do) isn't significant altering for the worse.
Ok, it was a bit harsh. I agree that, eventually, underdeveloped countries like Afghanistan would be better off with the help of developed Western states, even if the transition process can be a bit rough on the populace in the short term.
 
  • #28
mege said:
Does Afghanistan have any "exploitable resources" that we benefit from?
Lithium, oil ... opium, come to mind.
 
  • #29
According to the US survey Afghanistan has a trillion dollars worth of minerals including lithium, rare Earth's, and other things critical to modern technology.
 
  • #30
The reason for talking about Muslim countries together is that Muslims, by and large, are quite devout and view religion as very important in their lives, to a degree unimaginable by most Westerners. Of course there are exceptions, but our continued military presence on Muslim soil is seen as an affront to Islam, something which a righteous Muslim must defend against.

I'd suggest you read the book Imperial Hubris for a more detailed accounting of it.

russ_watters said:
How far does "leave the whole region alone" go? Would you cut-off trade with the region?

Trade is fine. Military occupation isn't.
russ_watters said:
Do you think that would make them happy? If we "left the whole region alone" in 1991, do you think that would have made Saudia Arabia and Kuwait happy?

''Leaving the whole region alone'' would've meant we never sold Saddam Hussein the weapons he used against Iran, nor toppled the democratic Iranian government and installed the Shah, which led to the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
russ_watters said:
Do you see a risk of another 9/11 and if so do you think we should do something about it? Should we not have done anything after 9/11? Would that have helped or hurt the risk of another 9/11? I'm not trying to assure them of anything, so that really doesn't concern me.

Of course there is a risk of another 9/11, and it grows greater as we spend more and more time occupying muslim lands. Before 9/11, we had been meddling in the affairs of muslim countries for decades, supporting dictatorships, toppling governments etc. Our meddling is the cause of it.
russ_watters said:
3. The last war we fought in the ME before 9/11 was against Iraq, a secular dictatorship, and we were all-but begged to go by Kuwait and Saudia Arabia, two muslim countries. bin Laden used our presence in Saudia Arabia (we left like 15 years ago) as one of his excuses for attacking us. I guess we're screwed either way.

We fought a war against Saddam, who we had ourselves bolstered in the past. We had to clean up our own blowback.
 
  • #31
wasteofo2 said:
The reason for talking about Muslim countries together is that Muslims, by and large, are quite devout and view religion as very important in their lives, to a degree unimaginable by most Westerners. Of course there are exceptions, but our continued military presence on Muslim soil is seen as an affront to Islam, something which a righteous Muslim must defend against.

I'd suggest you read the book Imperial Hubris for a more detailed accounting of it.

I wonder how the author backed up those conclusions. I think there is some support for the idea that Muslims in the Middle East take their religion more seriously than Christians in the Western world - especially if the Western world encompasses Europe. But the last statement seems pretty extreme and seems to suggest that every good Muslim is a terrorist.

In reality: Muslim and Western attitudes towards each other

In Middle Eastern countries, the only group more likely to identify more with their nationality than their religion is Palestinians, which don't have their own country, but want one. And, by Middle East countries, I include Israel which is physically located in the Middle East and its residents are more likely to identify themselves by their religion than their nationality.

The only Western group where as many people identify themselves by their religion as identify themselves by their nationality is the US (which goes a long way to explain the appeal of someone like Santorum).

When it comes to Islamic extremism, residents of Muslim countries seem as concerned as residents of Western countries.

And when it comes to views about other religions, aside from Pakistan and Turkey, most Muslim countries' view of Christians is about the same as Israel's view of Christians and about the same as Americans' views about Muslims. (Muslim countries' views on Jews, however, is really, really bad.)

On the other hand, less than 30% of people in Muslim countries believe that Arabs conducted the attacks on 9/11 and Muslims do feel that Americans and Europeans are hostile towards Muslims (this, in spite of the fact that, except for Germany and Spain, more than 50% of people in Western countries had a favorable view of Muslims). Perceptions aren't always reality.
 
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  • #32
mheslep said:
The US is in Afghanistan for heroin and minerals? Unfortunately, you have been misled by those sources. It is well known that the US in Afghanistan for the women. Settling on a price is taking quite some time.
Sarcasm noted. Point taken. My guess is that the US mission in Afghanistan in somewhat multi-layered.

To think that the main purpose is the promulgation of democracy is, imho, absurdly naive. Not that I think you think that.

EDIT: I should note that I think that our involvement in Afghanistan, given enough time and resources, could result in a better way of life, and a freedom that the Afghan people haven't historically enjoyed. But, it seems, the US will be, mostly, pulling out of there in a couple of years. So, what will 12 years of occupation and conflict have achieved? I don't know.
 
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  • #33
1985-afghan-girl-national-geographic1.jpg

credit to http://thepowerofthefrontcover.file...85-afghan-girl-national-geographic1.jpg?w=600

more seriously though,
as standards of living increase worldwide so does our consumption of basic materials.
The whole region is rich in resources - fuel(uranium & oil), fertilizer(phosphates), minerals, it's a sort of cornucopia.

China, India and west will compete for them.
Hopefully in a businesslike fashion.
I assume that's the end goal.
 
  • #34
wasteofo2 said:
What is ''the mission'' in Afghanistan? What do supporters of the war imagine will be achieved by 5 or 10 more years of war?

Do we want to just keep fighting until the Afghans bend over and accept U.S. occupation without retaliation?

The ostensible purpose of the war in Afghanistan is to prevent it from becoming a base from which terrorist attacks can be mounted against the United States.

That purpose has been fulfilled, but will require maintenance, i.e., ongoing occupation in the form of a chain of forts and airbases from which to suppress any detectable hostile activity. These can be garrisoned with a fraction of the current occupying force down in and near the villages. The strategy of winning hearts and minds and converting Afghans to democracy, consumerism et al has been vitiated by a variety of factors (to put it mildly).

shashankac655 said:
Well 12 years of occupation might result in the afghan government being more 'western friendly' and allow western corporations(mining companies) to extract the natural resources in the country.

If acquiring minerals and other resources were really our mission, then wouldn't it make far more sense to invade and occupy nearby and weakly defended Canada? There we would find abundant gold, oil and gas, uranium, rare-Earth's and other minerals, vast stands of timber, copious fresh water, viable fisheries, huge herds of cattle, arable land, and the polar access not available in Afghanistan.

Respectfully submitted,
Steve
 
  • #35
Dotini said:
The ostensible purpose of the war in Afghanistan is to prevent it from becoming a base from which terrorist attacks can be mounted against the United States.

That purpose has been fulfilled, but will require maintenance, i.e., ongoing occupation in the form of a chain of forts and airbases from which to suppress any detectable hostile activity. These can be garrisoned with a fraction of the current occupying force down in and near the villages. The strategy of winning hearts and minds and converting Afghans to democracy, consumerism et al has been vitiated by a variety of factors (to put it mildly).
Ok, this makes sense. I wonder how many US troops and contractors will remain in Afghanistan. Without the relatively large US presence that's there now it seems likely that the Taliban will regain a certain control. Will the US be able to "buy" them to a certain extent? I wonder.

Dotini said:
If acquiring minerals and other resources were really our mission, then wouldn't it make far more sense to invade and occupy nearby and weakly defended Canada?
I think the US had several reasons to be in Afghanistan. Maybe the least of which was natural resources. But a reason nonetheless.

And of course the US isn't going to invade and occupy Canada. Each, including Mexico, has at least a geographical vested interest in working together to solve common problems. Hopefully some severe measures will be taken to beat down the Mexican drug cartels.

Anyway, I wonder what the legacy of this period of US involvement with Afghanistan will be. So, fapp, I guess I'm asking the same question as the thread title. I really don't have any firm opinion on it. But my guess is that it couldn't just be Bin Laden and the terrorist thing.
 

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