These blogs are fundamentally about the Middle East. My intention is to avoid taking political or religious positions with a bias. Each week I attempt to present an objective reading of the facts that have evolved out of my involvement and concern for the Middle East over a period of 46 years with constant trips to Israel, Egypt, Jordan and other parts of the region. Some can validly argue Afghanistan is too far to the east and out of the Middle East area. I have never been there so I cannot speak from first hand experience.
At the same time, I have concerns that tie Afghanistan to the more direct Middle East region. They center on the erratic behavior of President Hamid Karzai and the current proposal to extend a US presence in that country. I believe the facts suggest we are once more going down a dead end street that requires huge expenditures and the loss of American lives in a cause that can never be won. At the heart of the problem is Karzai.
Recently, Karzai was asked if he was betrayed by America. His answer was, (and I quote) “As a nation, yes, very much.” This response comes after the loss of around 2,000 American lives and $500 billion dollars in saving his country from the Taliban.
The November 24, 2013 edition of The New York Times reported that Karzai apparently does not trust the United States to keep its agreements. American officials including the American ambassador have found it almost impossible to believe what they hear Karzai say about refusing to sign a security agreement worked out by all concerned.
Such a switch in positions has become the hallmark of Karzai’s leadership. Even Karzi’s older brother retreats from speculating about the president’s motives. He noted that Karzai has ridiculous conspiracy theories in the midst of his cynical view of the West.
Karzai’s brother Ahmed Wali the head of Kandahar’s provincial council was known for his control of the Afghan heroin trade. This connection led many to speculate Hamid Karzai is a significant drug user. Certainly his behavior points in that direction.
The larger issue is why the United States will remain in a country that will not change. America goes on chasing the Taliban like hunting rats in a garbage dump to prove we have made some kind of point by endless fighting in that country. (No one is sure exactly what it is) The mission was to stop Osama bin Laden. Mission accomplished. Let’s go home.
Instead, the current administration continues to linger in an unstable country lead by an unstable leader. Does that make any sense?
Not when American lives are at stake.