The story in Afghanistan

Very nice story yesterday in the News & Observer about how the diversion of military resources from Afghanistan to Iraq has allowed for a dangerous resurgence of the Taliban.  It's not a pretty picture:

Afghanistan has become Iraq on a slow burn. Five years after they
were ousted, the Taliban are back in force, their ranks renewed by a
new generation of diehards. Violence, opium trafficking, ethnic
tensions, official corruption and political anarchy are all worse than
they've been at any time since the U.S.-led intervention in 2001.

By
failing to stop Taliban leaders and Osama bin Laden from escaping into
Pakistan, then diverting troops and resources to Iraq, the Bush
administration left the door open to a Taliban comeback. Compounding
the problem, reconstruction has been slow and limited, and the U.S. and
NATO didn't anticipate the extent and ferocity of the Taliban
resurgence or the alliances the insurgents have formed with other
Islamic extremists and with the world's leading opium traffickers.

There
are only 42,000 U.S. and NATO-led troops to secure a country that's
one-and-a-half times the size of Iraq, where 150,000 U.S.-led coalition
troops are deployed. Suicide bombings have soared from two in all of
2002 to about one every five days. Civilian casualties are mounting.
President Hamid Karzai and his U.S. backers have become hugely
unpopular.

Though I'm sure conservative readers would like to complain about the liberal bias of the article, I'd argue that is has a reality bias (as Stephen Colbert says, “reality has a well-known liberal bias).  It is refreshing to have a reporter just call things as they are, rather than rely on a facile “he said, she said” style of reporting in which objective reality has no place.  And as for the substance, it really speaks for itself.  There can be no doubt among sensible people (i.e., those outside this administration and their apologists) that the war in Afghanistan was far more important in preventing future terrorism than the war in Iraq.  Yet, by the use of our military resources, this administration has made the opposite (and wrong) judgment. 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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