Meanwhile, in Afghanistan


Not to spoil the fun in Baghdad—bad man gone, check—but the fight is just starting. The Washington Post, which has solidly backed the Bush administration's foreign policy thus far, editorializes that Afghanistan is being ignored and the Taliban are making a comeback. The latter conclusion seems a little strong given the evidence, but there is no doubt that nation-building is a tough task.

The Post wants the U.S. to throttle back support for regional Afghan warlords and bring in more peacekeepers. Now if that sounds like fun, wait until the process starts to unfold in Iraq. U.S. client forces are just now hitting the ground with the expected confusion and infighting. It'll be several months before we know if their addition has been net good.

On another front, CNN reported that some in the Pentagon were miffed that Marines who toppled a statue of Saddam wrapped his head in an American flag. Sends the wrong message, evidently. Don't know about that.

If you're getting shot at, I think you get to choose your message—Jolly Roger, stars-and-bars, Grateful Dead, whatever—go for it.

NEXT: Sunrise, Sunset

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I think if you’re in the military, you should DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD.

    I think if you’re nominally trying to win “hearts and minds”, you should have SOME consideration for the hearts and minds you’re trying to win (hard concept, I know…)

  2. People in Iraq who know they wouldn’t be free of Saddam today if not for the US Military are probably not going to quibble too much about which flag covered the statue’s head first.

    It would have been nice if the Iraqi flag had been put up there first, but anyone in the Arab world who can’t see what the big story is here is probably already well-practiced in delusional thinking.

    If there are any generals in Washington who have their knickers in a knot about all this, they should retire and go work for the State Department.

  3. How many peacekeepers would have to be in Afghanistan to keep the peace? 20,000? 50,000? Has anyone done an estimate of what it would require?

  4. I believe we are erring in not being more actively involved in nation building in Afghanistan. Pragmatically treating these warlords, these little Saddams, as true representatives of their various tribes rather then disarming them and setting up a central civil administration backed by peacekeeping forces is repeating fatal errors we’ve made historically. Ahmed Karzai is a useful figurehead, and could be a better rallying point for Afghan peace and stability – if not unity – than he is. Perhaps this project could keep the UN constructively busy while we take care of business in Iraq.

    We picked up a stray kitten in Afghanistan. We can’t abandon it now that it’s not as much fun anymore.

  5. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/20/2004 12:25:37
    Truth is not determined by majority vote

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.