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The "Afghan Follies" - Karsai's Fit of Pique at the U.S. and Obama

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Well the "tit for tat food fight" between President Obama and Afghan President Karsai continued yesterday with the latter accusing the U.S. (without naming Obama directly) and the Europeans of "massive interference"[1] in last Augusts' vote for president in Afghanistan.

After the admonition Karsai received from Obama (during his secret visit to the country last weekend), one guesses the Afghan "leader" was feeling a little testy after his "integrity" was impugned (whatever there is of it). He was probably trying to figure out the contradiction in Obama's stern warning on corruption (on the one hand) juxtaposed to his receiving an invitation by Obama to visit the White House next month (on the other hand). Hmm; a carrot and a stick or was it a stick and a carrot? Mixed messages have a tendency to do that. Obviously Obama's poke in the eye had more impact and thus Karsai's fit of pique toward all in the West.

It was all quite laughable at first reading but the war in Afghanistan is deadly serious when you consider American G.I.'s (as well as Afghan civilians) are dying over, there used as pawns in the latest round of colonialism foisted upon the Afghans--this one from the American empire.

After ridding the country of Osama bin Laden's fundamentalist jihadi's (according to U.S. intelligence only a 100 are left in the country) the American fight has morphed into "clearing and holding" campaigns in areas held by the rejuvenated Taliban (they who were routed (temporarily it turns out) in the October 2002 American invasion, but now reconstituted and even more formidable.

The Taliban however, can't be ridden from Afghanistan, not when they (mostly Pashtu) comprise a majority of the country's population and reside next to Pakistan where the Pashtu are in even greater numbers than their Afghan brothers and sisters on a border neither of the Pashtu (Afghan or Pakistani) recognize as a border (other than to seek refuge in Pakistan away from American fire power).

When the fight is against an indigenous part of the population and they are in the majority of that country there is no solution that war against them will accomplish. They will outlast us regardless of how long it takes and they will be a significant part of any eventual political decision. And Karsai (despite Obama's "corruption" concerns) is a figment of our doing and he will have no say in that ultimate political decision. He, as a quisling, will follow all other quislings throughout history who were always cast aside (murdered, whisked out of the country [if they're lucky], hung in a public square or executed before a firing squad) when the invaders and colonial occupiers eventually tire of their war (and subjugating the population) and eventually leave.

Afghanistan has become Obama's Viet Nam, the last American misadventure where after millions of Vietnamese were killed and well over 50,000 American G.I.'s were felled, we eventually realized our futility and left it to the Vietnamese to sort out their future. Thirty seven years after the last American was airlifted off a roof by helicopter in Saigon, the Vietnamese have conducted their own success story all by themselves (if only the Afghans can be so lucky).

So did our guys die unnecessarily and in vain in Viet Nam? No and yes. No because to the guys who fought there and made it out, they were (when all is said and done) fighting to survive and for each other (not for some political reason envisioned by the leaders who sent them there). Yes as they were the deadly dagger of our wrongheaded foreign policy to subdue the Vietnamese from becoming Communist in the American false assumption and belief in the "domino theory," (for those too young to remember the "domino theory" held that if a country went Communist their immediate neighbors would do the same in a "fall of dominos," an assumption proven to be totally unfounded).

So in Afghanistan as in Viet Nam the question of dying in vain or not is the same now as it was then.

Only the new "dominos" are called terrorists rather than Communists. They are the new bogeymen we must fight to the death bringing to mind the words of the philosopher George Santayana, "Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it."

[1] "Karsai points fingers on vote, U.S., Europeans behind massive fraud, he says," by Laura King, "The Baltimore Sun, Friday April 2, 2010.

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