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First In Iraq and Now Afghanistan, Bush's Arrogance Is Punished

The people at Pakistan's Frontier Post are convinced that President Bush's long list of misdeeds and mistakes are coming home to roost, as Iraq and now Afghanistan show every sign of getting worse.


July 5, 2005

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If President Bush’s adventurism in Iraq is bloodily coming apart, his already-faltering war on terror in Afghanistan is now also disintegrating. There has been no let-up in the bloodletting in Iraq. And while Iraq’s insurgency is only ebbing, in Afghanistan there has been of late a tremendous up-tick in violent Taliban attacks against government forces, pro-government elements and American occupation troops.

For this, the Americans have only themselves to curse. Their political masters and military strategists had only the invasion plans, but no plans at all to deal with the aftermath. They are now reaping the gory consequences of their blunder, but the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan must pick up the tab of death, injury and horrendous destruction. And the irony is, whatever the U.S. does, there is no end in sight to this dance of death in Iraq or Afghanistan. If anything, the future portends even bloodier times.

Even Washington’s invasion plans were inherently flawed, but these flaws were palpably due to its own timidity, verging on outright cowardice. For fear of accumulating the body bags of its soldiers, the United States took to massive high-altitude bombings and missile attacks to humble the enemy and pulverize its defenses. That won them the battle, but not the war.

To consolidate his triumph and turn it into victory, the victor must nab the enemy’s political and military leadership, disarm its fighting forces and secure its arsenals. In neither of these countries was this done. The facts are too well known to regurgitate here. What is of concern now is the patent failure of the American occupiers in both countries to evolve and vigorously pursue a pragmatic plan for the post-war era, and to win the hearts and minds of their peoples.

In Afghanistan, for instance, what was immediately needed was to disarm the warlords, demobilize their militias, improve security and embark on a massive reconstruction effort to help its ravaged people rebuild their ruined lives. This was not done, and the consequences are plain to see.

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Two Missing Special Forces Soldiers Found Dead in Afghanistan, July 5, 00:01:26

Most of the country is still beyond the Kabul regime’s control. The warlords still retain the bulk of their militias and weapons. For want of the country’s reconstruction and lack of alternative methods of earning a living, its farmers have returned to poppy cultivation, which has witnessed enormous growth and has raised fears that Afghanistan is turning into a narco state.

In Iraq, the situation is desperate. There, the Americans are simply grabbing at straws. Their hopes for a measure of tranquility after the so-called transfer of power to a civilian government of Iraqis never materialized. Nor have the general elections and the installation of an elected interim government helped. To Bush’s great dismay, his Iraqi adventure is losing public support at home, with Americans across the political spectrum now increasingly calling for their army’s withdrawal.

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Iraqi Insurgents Target Arab Diplomats, July 5, 00:02:06

By every account, with his arrogance and foolhardiness, Bush has pushed both Iraq and Afghanistan into a blind alley and he evidently has no recipe for how to pull them out. He must confess his failure and ask the global community to retrieve these two unfortunate nations from their unenviable predicament. Maybe in the long-term this will help, although at present, the outlook is very dim indeed.

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