Taliban on the March in Afghanistan

Bad news via the AP:

Taliban militants overran a district in southern Afghanistan and are pushing for control of another key area, sparking fierce clashes with NATO and Afghan forces that have left more than 100 people dead over three days, officials said Tuesday.

Hundreds of Taliban fighters launched raids on police posts near the strategic town of Chora in Uruzgan province Saturday, forcing NATO, backed by fighter jets, to respond. Fighting was continuing Tuesday, and some officials reported there have been dozens of civilian casualties.

Also late Monday, Taliban occupied Miya Nishin district in neighboring Kandahar province, said provincial police chief Esmatullah Alizai. Authorities were planning an operation to retake the remote area, he said.

Something else that doesn't bode well:

Even though most civilian deaths are caused by attacks initiated by the Taliban, Afghan anger over civilian casualties is often directed toward U.S. and NATO-led troops.

More here.

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  • ||

    I guess Afghanistan's days as a libertarian small-government paradise are numbered.

  • ||

    Dan, sweetie, a warlord who can take whatever you have any time he wants is not an example of libertarian small government.

    Warlords are big government. It's called despotism.

    Nice try though.

  • ||

    Oh Dan, I love you.

  • ||

    Why are we still there? I never understood the logic of both toppling the government and then hanging ad infinitum around to troubleshoot. My preference would have been to topple the government, be on hand until the new government's security force was established, then leave. If, after leaving, the Taliban took over the government, then repeat.

  • ||

    Has any other US administration gone 0 for 2? That's gotta be a record.

  • ||

    Is "nuke'em till they glow" still off the table?

    cause i'm sure Bush is getting pretty frustrated with the lack of enthusiasm for secular democracy.

  • VM||

    L_i_T:

    true dat. But since the Prez doesn't seem to be a big fan of secularism hier at home, either.

  • ||

    Even though most civilian deaths are caused by attacks initiated by the Taliban, Afghan anger over civilian casualties is often directed toward U.S. and NATO-led troops

    I guess that's because the taliban's customer service number is unlisted.

  • ||

    Not flexable enough to lick my own crotch, so I come here to get spanked. Second best, but I take what I get.


    ~troll on

  • Russ 2000||

    Afghan anger over civilian casualties is often directed toward U.S. and NATO-led troops.

    Well that's not very multicultural of them.

  • ||

    Dan, sweetie, a warlord who can take whatever you have any time he wants is not an example of libertarian small government.

    Warlords are big government. It's called despotism.

    Nice try though.


    Right, and the situation in Afganistan shows that without a strong government that is considered legitmate by the people, warlords and mobs will take over.

    You see this kind of thinking a lot here - many of you are okay with "private" groups accumulating as much weath and power as they can while at the same time scaling back the government's ability to keep them in check.

    Well, eventually whoever is telling you what to do is going to be the "government".

  • thoreau||

    I guess that's because the taliban's customer service number is unlisted.

    Perhaps we could outsource our customer service call center to the locals?

  • ||

    MP,
    We're still waiting on that security force.

    Idealistically: Looks like that strategy of recruiting people who only want security and peace to fight against ravening hordes who want power didn't work out too well. One side wanted to fight, and ours didn't.

    Cynically: Looks like our enemies have more popular support than our friends. Next time pick better friends.

  • ||

    Well, eventually whoever is telling you what to do is going to be the "government".

    So what? Does it really matter whether the guy robbing me of a third of my earnings calls himself a enforcer for the Witner Hill Mob or a tax collector for the IRS? In the end, both gangs of thieves will kill me or hurt me if I don't pay them their protection money.

    The fact that one gang occasionally is recognized as being "legitimate" by other gangs and called a government does not magically transform their depredations into something accessable.

    You see this kind of thinking a lot here - many of you are okay with "private" groups accumulating as much weath and power as they can while at the same time scaling back the government's ability to keep them in check.

    If a guy accumulates wealth and power and does not use it to steal or murder, then there is no need to "check" them. On the other hand, if someone accumulates power to hurt me, then I will try toi limit their power over me.

    In fact, lets do that right now. Which organized gang poses the greatest danger to me and my family? Which gang robs us the most? Which gang makes the most credible threats of kidnapping and murder?

    Oh look, that would be the two gangs calling themselves the Federal Government the United States and the Massachusetts State Government!

    Well, I guess I should be glad to "donate" 50% of my earnings to them! I'm glad that they are wielding so little power over me.

  • TallDave||

    Just wait and see how much worse this gets if leave Iraq.

    Right now Afghanistan is a sideshow.

  • ||

    Right, and the situation in Afganistan shows that without a strong government that is considered legitmate by the people, warlords and mobs will take over.

    Warlords and mobs and whatever will take over whenever there is a power vacuum. It has nothing to do with the legitimacy of the government. The reason warlords exist in Afghanistan, beyond the obvious historical basis, is that the legitimate government has insufficient capacity to project its authority.

  • ||

    So what? Does it really matter whether the guy robbing me of a third of my earnings calls himself a enforcer for the Witner Hill Mob or a tax collector for the IRS? In the end, both gangs of thieves will kill me or hurt me if I don't pay them their protection money.

    The fact that one gang occasionally is recognized as being "legitimate" by other gangs and called a government does not magically transform their depredations into something accessable.


    Okay, move to Afghanistan if you really believe that.

    In fact, lets do that right now. Which organized gang poses the greatest danger to me and my family? Which gang robs us the most? Which gang makes the most credible threats of kidnapping and murder?

    Oh look, that would be the two gangs calling themselves the Federal Government the United States and the Massachusetts State Government!

    Well, I guess I should be glad to "donate" 50% of my earnings to them! I'm glad that they are wielding so little power over me.


    See, this is why people think libertarians are loony. Do you really go through life thinking that the Federal government is going to murder or kidnap you? (And why do you still live here if you do?)

    I don't mean any offense, but man, that's crazy.

  • ||

    The reason warlords exist in Afghanistan, beyond the obvious historical basis, is that the legitimate government has insufficient capacity to project its authority.

    Exactly - hence my sarcasitc comment about how it's a "small government paradise".

  • ||

    I think if one of the generals/admirals whoever is running the NATO forces in Afghanistan said, 'You know we are not the DEA, so quite frankly we dont give a crap if you grow hash, pot, opium, or anything else for that matter. As long as you dont shoot at us, we wont shoot at you. And if you give us a little intel every now you will not hear a single peep from us about your crops.' The NATO forces will immediately gain more popular support and maybe turn this thing around.

  • ||

    Bush is getting pretty frustrated with the lack of enthusiasm for secular democracy.

    Bush doesn't have much enthusaism for secular democracy himself. His pandering to religious fanatics in the US should tell you that much.

  • Russ 2000||

    The reason warlords exist in Afghanistan, beyond the obvious historical basis, is that the legitimate government has insufficient capacity to project its authority.

    Nah. It's more like the central government wants nothing to do with a concept like "federalism".

  • ||

    Dan, I think you confuse libertarianism and anarchism. I can't speak for others, but I am more than willing to concede that some organization has to maintain a monopoly on the use of force. At the same time, any group that accumulates a large amount of power must be watched carefully. Libertarians merely suggest that the government's sphere of legitimate operation be tightly circumscribed. That's not the same thing as favoring warlord government. It's not even close.

  • ||

    Number 6, I don't disagree with that at all.

    And I'm not saying that libertarians would prefer a warlord government, only that if you do not support a strong legitimate government, rule by mob/dictator is what you end up with.

    There is going to be some authority that you answer to - give me a strong, democratically elected government any day.

  • ||

    only that if you do not support a strong legitimate government, rule by mob/dictator is what you end up with.

    Yes, but there's a difference between a strong central government and a collection of strong local governments. In Afghanistan, the only effort that has been made is to establish a central government. Like Russ says above, there's been no effort (from within or without) to move to a form of Federalism.

  • ||

    There is going to be some authority that you answer to - give me a strong, democratically elected government any day.

    Please answer this question. Who here has ever suggested that the government should be so small as to be unable to keep itself from maintaining its legal, elected government?

    Also, how can a democracy be "strong" if the citizens are unable to legitimately criticize that government's actions? In the thread below about a school's ridiculous and inconsistent "no touching" policy, you replied to a critic of this policy by saying

    Since of course you know better how to run the school than the people who actually do it.

    This is the opposite extreme of the "mob rules" strawman-philosophy you accuse people here of having. It represents a worship of the state which removes the possibility of improvement based on the will of the citizens. It's a statement that suggests that you, Dan, can never criticize the military or the police no matter what they do, because you don't actually run the military or police.

    I've seen you provide interesting "devil's advocate" positions that create constructive debates. But when you reflexively post that people here want a government too weak to maintain itself (a blatant falsehood) or that we shouldn't question the actions of government officials unless we work in that particular branch of the government (a purely authoritarian philosophy that Giuliani probably agrees with), then you stop being constructive.

  • ||

    I admit that my "Since of course you know better how to run the school than the people who actually do it" remark was pretty lame.

    Certainly I'm not saying that anybody is above criticism, although often times we tend to criticize without really knowing much about the situation.

  • lunchstealer||

    And I'm not saying that libertarians would prefer a warlord government, only that if you do not support a strong legitimate government, rule by mob/dictator is what you end up with.


    Where we disagree is on the concept of how strong that government should be and whether there should be ANY checks on their power. The libertarian position is that a government that is not curtailed in its action to relatively few roles will eventually become the warlord that it is meant to stamp out.

    Telling government that it can mandate what haircuts are OK for women is inviting that government to see its rules as legitimate for their own sake. They are legitimate specifically BECAUSE they are from the government. The libertarian position is that this is dangerous, and that the government is best kept from warlordism by telling it 'no' once in a while. Tell the government that it does not have unlimited power to do whatever it thinks is appropriate, so that when it comes to the really big things, it is already in the mindset of 'hey, maybe that's out of the scope of my governmental mandate'.

  • ||

    Telling government that it can mandate what haircuts are OK for women is inviting that government to see its rules as legitimate for their own sake. They are legitimate specifically BECAUSE they are from the government. The libertarian position is that this is dangerous, and that the government is best kept from warlordism by telling it 'no' once in a while. Tell the government that it does not have unlimited power to do whatever it thinks is appropriate, so that when it comes to the really big things, it is already in the mindset of 'hey, maybe that's out of the scope of my governmental mandate'.

    I agree totally, and I think this is the idea I had about libertarianism as a philosophy when I started reading Reason Online and visiting H&R.

    Unfortunately, my views have since been colored by the whole "taxes are theft, everything the government does is either ineffective or nefarius" crowd that resides here.

  • lunchstealer||

    Yeah, well there are some people who think that the police should be privatized. There's even a cute model for doing so, and it's a neat extension of the non-aggression principle, but you have to understand that this is really just spitballing, and relatively few here would call it a serious policy proposal.

    You may have missed these threads, but there have been several where we mock the income-tax protestors as sort of retarded cousins.

    Taxes are theft, but as long as we're not living in libertopia, they're a theft to be minimized, not eliminated.

  • ||

    you're doing well here, dan t.

    stay cogent and on-topic. make me proud.

  • ||

    Certainly I'm not saying that anybody is above criticism, although often times we tend to criticize without really knowing much about the situation.

    I completely agree with you. I think that's a reflex that most of us struggle with at one time or another (or, in my case, constantly). And I think that it's important that we be consistent in our criticism. Many people on the right (most of whom are Republicans) loathe social programs and government waste and corruption as long they are talking about people on the left, while ignoring the sins of their own party members. The same can be said for many people on the left (most of whom are Democrats).

    If we're going to criticize the military/industrial complex for ridiculous, self-serving policies and practices, then we have to be equally ready to criticize schools for the same reasons. Not because they're simply government agencies, but because there is an abundance of objective, documented evidence to suggest that both agencies are dysfunctional in many ways.

    Unfortunately, my views have since been colored by the whole "taxes are theft, everything the government does is either ineffective or nefarius" crowd that resides here.

    Don't let them faze you. Here's a pattern I've seen a few times on a post.

    1. Someone posts something you just can't get behind and so you say something sarcastic.

    2. You get called a troll.

    3. Someone else suggests you might have a point.

    4. Something like a conversation ensues.

    I say skip the middle steps!

    1. Someone posts something you just can't get behind and so you say you disagree and why and something like a conversation ensues.

    Think of the time saved! ;)

  • ||

    Taxes are theft, but as long as we're not living in libertopia, they're a theft to be minimized, not eliminated.

    I do disagree with you here - taxes are the price of living in a community and are no more theft than a resturant forcing me to pay for eating there.

  • ||

    Don't let them faze you. Here's a pattern I've seen a few times on a post.

    1. Someone posts something you just can't get behind and so you say something sarcastic.

    2. You get called a troll.

    3. Someone else suggests you might have a point.

    4. Something like a conversation ensues.

    I say skip the middle steps!

    1. Someone posts something you just can't get behind and so you say you disagree and why and something like a conversation ensues.

    Think of the time saved! ;)


    What? And miss out on the pleasures of trolling?

    :)

  • lunchstealer||

    I do disagree with you here - taxes are the price of living in a community and are no more theft than a resturant forcing me to pay for eating there.

    Well, I understand that there are going to be many people who don't feel that taxes are theft. However the restaurant analogy doesn't really work well.

    A - you can leave a restaurant. I can't leave America and go someplace else, because almost anywhere I'd go I'd need government permission to live there or to work there.

    B - you don't get born into a restaurant. Sort of related to Point A, but you choose to go into a restaurant or not, less so with country-of-citizenship.

    C - there are places that aren't restaurants. If you don't want to pay for a restaurant, you can always grow and produce your own food. While there may be nations with failed governments where anarchy basically prevails, there's still technically a government that has jurisdiction, it just is currently ineffective. There isn't any place on the globe that's not some government's jurisdiction, except the middle of the ocean. So it's a very different proposition to opt out of a country than to opt out of a restaurant.

    I realize that this does nothing to prove that taxes are or aren't theft - mostly I'm just analyzing the restaurant metaphor.

  • ||

    "Dan, I think you confuse libertarianism and anarchism. I can't speak for others, but I am more than willing to concede that some organization has to maintain a monopoly on the use of force. At the same time, any group that accumulates a large amount of power must be watched carefully. Libertarians merely suggest that the government's sphere of legitimate operation be tightly circumscribed. That's not the same thing as favoring warlord government. It's not even close."

    Anarcho-capitalism is a variant of libertarianism. It is minarchy with the removal of the remaining compulsory monopoly services. Is it just crazy talk to say that instead of a majority voting for a government, and then using that government to oppress the minority, that we should have several competing governments that you can choose to join? That instead of having the federal government foisted upon everyone, you can choose the services and fees offered by the Republican government, or the Democratic government, or the Libertarian government -- and if you don't like the performance of the service you're currently using, you can switch to a competitor?

    And to those who say this hasn't been tried, when was the last time you shopped at a monopoly government food store, or a monopoly government car store?

  • Russ 2000||

    I do disagree with you here - taxes are the price of living in a community and are no more theft than a resturant forcing me to pay for eating there.

    Perhaps taxation isn't theft so much as price gouging. I'd love to read Dan T's rationalization/denial of that.

  • thoreau||

    What? And miss out on the pleasures of trolling?

    So, you're admitting that you're a troll?

  • libertreee||

    "Dan, I think you confuse libertarianism and anarchism. I can't speak for others, but I am more than willing to concede that some organization has to maintain a monopoly on the use of force. At the same time, any group that accumulates a large amount of power must be watched carefully. Libertarians merely suggest that the government's sphere of legitimate operation be tightly circumscribed. That's not the same thing as favoring warlord government. It's not even close."JH


    Gosh I wanted to get on this before now, but unfortunately I cannot send a comment off the computer I was on earlier.

    I disagree. And there is an excellent article by Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute that reflects that disagreement today. "If men were angels" see http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1982

    The basic argument is that no matter how bad a "warlord" system is, all things considered, it will likely improve over time. The central state that DanT troll and Jh argue for will deteriorate over time, rather than improve.

    Democide in the twentieth century accounted for
    over 260 million deaths, not to mention wounded, falsely imprisoned, and property damage. In fact, the Westphalian nation states, as well as their antecedents, have been organized killing machines.

    A state of warlord decentralized coercive force is hardly likely to match the nation states for sheer efficiency of murder and mayhem.

    In Afghanistan, it is hard to imagine what the country would be like without the interventions of nation states, and the drug war which fuels considerable violence among the war lords.

    The state in Kabul may be more enlightened than the Taliban in some ways, but it is so corrupt that many are turning to the Taliban out of frustration. the Taliban may be religious zeolots and cruel in that respect, but the state centered in Kabul is organized full scale
    extortion. (The last comments from a recent interview on Bill Moyers show)

  • ||

    Dan, that's why I tend to think governments should be small and limited, but strong. The government needs to establish monopoly of force (too lazy to get into an argument with the an-cap guys at the moment), and the monopoly needs to be clear enough that no one seriously tries to challenge it. I'm not saying the government shouldn't be strong and stable; just that the strong, stable government doesn't then need to go around inserting itself into every aspect of society.

    Now if you're claiming that governments that don't provide (otherwise unnecessary/bad idea) services x,y, and z won't be seen as legitimate, and therefore a libertarian government that doesn't do x,y, and z will fall and be replaced by something much worse, that's possible. But it depends very strongly on your particular values of x,y, and z; and in most cases this is because people have a flawed idea of what governments should do, not because of any inherent properties of x or y or z. So while we can't eliminate those policies immediately, we should try to convince people that they should be eliminated: once people believe they should be eliminated, then they're no longer necessary for governmental legitimacy and we can get rid of them with a clear conscience.

  • han||

    I don't see it the latter as that uncommon on your side of the isle.

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