Questions on the Eve of the Afghan Election

How many Marines and soldiers will die in Afghanistan before the mainstream media dares to speak the truth and ask questions based thereon? Yes, it is the mainstream media that is keeping us locked in Afghanistan, and they are doing so for two reasons:

  1. They will do almost anything to avoid asking President Obama a hard question that would delineate the depth of his deceit.
  2. They now support the Afghan war because it is not the children of the elite who are dying and because it is now being fought for social policy reasons – women’s rights, educating children, etc. – and not for any reason that pertains to America’s defense or future security.

Let’s start with a basic contention: America has lost the war in Afghanistan, and any further U.S. casualties are useless. How to test this contention? The following questions put to the president or his chief advisers on terrorism and Afghanistan – John Brennan and Bruce Riedel – would help to clarify the situation for all Americans. If any of these three men answer honestly, we will be out of Afghanistan in 90 days.

  • Isn’t a clear sign of sheer military and political incompetence in your administration and that of former president Bush that we are approaching the ninth winter of the Afghan war and no one in the Pentagon or either party is sure how many troops are needed or what they are to do there – kill the enemy, rebuild the country, or secularize and democratize Muslims?
  • While you continually try to frighten the American people by saying Pakistan is in a state of near-collapse, isn’t the case that the most dire threat to Pakistan’s stability is the prolonged U.S. and NATO occupation of Afghanistan? Is it not true, moreover, that the Afghan war and the civil war Washington is urging Islamabad to wage in its border lands are destroying nuclear-armed Pakistan as a viable nation-state?
  • Why are you supporting President Karzai, his family, and his advisers, people who have purchased this week’s election with U.S. funds; who are unable to travel safely, let alone govern, outside of Kabul; who are raking in an untold fortune from the heroin industry; and who are hated by growing numbers of Afghans because they have seen no impact from the billions of dollars in the foreign aid given to Karzai’s regime for reconstruction?
  • Shouldn’t you tell Americans that you and the Bush administration have tried to pull the wool over their eyes by claiming that this week’s election – or any election in Afghanistan – will improve stability there, even though you know that national elections are meaningless in that deeply Islamic and tribal society? Isn’t it true that elections work only if the opposition puts away its guns after they lose the vote, and that the Taliban and their allies – funded and egged on by the Saudis and other Gulf regimes – will never do that?
  • Doesn’t the deployment of new U.S. troops to Helmand province in southern Afghanistan show three things: (1) that NATO is losing the war in that region and needs substantial assistance; (2) that the deployment means the one task of national-security importance to the United States – destroying al-Qaeda – is not being addressed because there are virtually no al-Qaeda forces in southern Afghanistan; and (3) that you are unconcerned about further alienating the Islamic world by demonstrating in Afghanistan that you are waging war against Muslims who want to live by Islamic law, not against al-Qaeda?
  • Doesn’t the decision made by the Bush administration, and recently reaffirmed by Secretary of State Clinton, to support the Karzai regime’s decision to facilitate the greatly expanded presence of India – Pakistan’s mortal, nuclear-armed enemy – in Afghanistan all but negate Pakistan’s willingness to help the U.S. in Afghanistan? Haven’t Karzai and Washington created a situation where, for the first time in its history, Pakistan faces an Indian threat on both its eastern and western borders? And doesn’t this reality make it essential, for the sake of Pakistan’s national security, that Pakistan’s army work to dislodge India’s presence in Afghanistan by making sure the Afghan Taliban eventually prevails?
  • Why don’t you tell American parents that the lives of their soldier-children are of secondary importance – if that – to your goal of building an Afghanistan in America’s image? Isn’t it right to tell those parents that your and the Pentagon’s decision to tighten the rules of engagement for our soldiers and Marines to avoid Afghan civilian casualties will yield more U.S. deaths and afford safer battlefield conditions for the Taliban and their allies?
  • Wouldn’t it be wise to tell Americans that decisions by your administration and its predecessor have knowingly created the potential for a military disaster for the U.S. and NATO in Afghanistan? Don’t the American people have the right to know that U.S. politicians and generals have deliberately marooned a U.S. field army in Afghanistan by allowing its support to depend on tenuous overland supply lines that run through hostile territory – the Russian Federation and Pakistan’s ungoverned tribal territory?

These are fairly direct questions and have the benefit of being framed on the basis of reality on the ground in Afghanistan, not on what Patrick Henry once called the phantom delusion of hope and others have called the audacity of hope. One cannot be sanguine that the mainstream media will ask any of these questions, or, if asked, that any of the gentlemen named above will answer honestly. Indeed, it is much more likely that the mainstream media and senior administration officials will identify this week’s Potemkin Afghan election as a success and rejoice at what they will call the advance of democracy in that beleaguered land. And thereafter? Well, my guess is that many more of America’s soldiers and Marines will die uselessly for the unobtainable and nonessential goal of making sure Ms. Muhammad can sit in the Afghan parliament.

Author: Michael Scheuer

Michael Scheuer is a 22-year veteran of the CIA and the author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror.