Thursday, July 09, 2009

America is Only Partially the Blame

Below is a response to a Facebook buddy Scott Isaacs which I will also post below.


Scott I got to hand it to you. This article is indeed a great piece of writing. The information is extremely accurate.

However, I observe that your conclusions are slanted Left for placing the total blame on America for the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. I do like the Nazi/Taliban metaphor though.

I have some thoughts as to a possible reason America did not step up to be a rebuilder of Afghanistan after the Soviet Communist departure.

Going back to the Nazi-Germany/Imperial-Japan scenario: Note that after those two lost WWII that the Soviet Union was officially one of the allies. The rebuilding of Germany really was only applicable to the Western portion occupied by the American and British forces. The "East Germany" occupied by the Soviet army did not receive comparable reconstruction. Also not at the end of WWII the Americans and Brits basically gave Eastern Europe over to Soviet hegemony as the spoil of war. Eastern Europe did not receive the same reconstruction as Western Europe.

The Soviet Union never declared war on Japan until defeat was imminent.
America looked the other way as the Soviets took control of Sakhalin Island; otherwise the Soviets showed little interest in a defeated Japan. America was free to reconstruct Japan into a democratic society.

I don’t believe there is an exact comparison of the reconstruction of the fallen axis powers to that of Soviet devastated Afghanistan.

Here is another thought.

America’s involvement in aiding Afghani tribal leaders eject the Soviets from Afghanistan probably gave a pretty good idea of the combination of greed from the petty (basically feudal) tribes and the Hanafi influenced Islam in the area. America had relatively left the Vietnam debacle that was the result of supporting a corrupt South Vietnamese government that alienated it citizens rather than inspire them to fight Communism. I would a good analysis of Afghanistan would be a risky political enterprise investing democratic principles in an area committed to either tribal/familial authority or Islam or both.

I agree that one huge failure was not protecting an asset like Massoud. Allowing his assassination was a grave mistake; however there was also no guarantee that Massoud would have developed into an Afghanistan unifier either. The best that could be hoped from Massoud would have been was a tool to keep the Taliban/Al Qaeda at bay. Investing in a full military-political support of Massoud could just as easily have been like supporting the corrupt South Vietnamese government.

My belief is that America made the correct decision in not getting directly involved in a post-Soviet reconstruction of Afghanistan and made a fatal error in not throwing covert military support to Massoud. If Massoud proved himself to be an able leader to offset the popularity that Taliban justice was perceived to be accomplishing.

One other thought about your reference about the Taliban not being corruptible to drug money from opium interests: If that is true it is more so because of the Taliban’s own opium production and less so because of the justice demanded by Hanafi Islamic teachings.

JRH 7/9/09

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