Saturday, September 05, 2009

Counter-Will: Why Afghanistan?

Senor and Wehner disgree with George Will.

The weakening public support for continuing the counterinsurgency campaign is not surprising. In the midst of an economic crisis people are tempted to draw inward. Add to that a general war weariness in the U.S. and the fact that the Afghanistan war is not going well right now—violence in Afghanistan is already far worse this year than last—and you have the makings of an unpopular conflict.


...conservative opposition to the war in symptomatic of something larger: the long history of political parties out of power advancing a neo-isolationist outlook. For example, Democrats were vocal opponents of President Reagan's support for the Nicaraguan contras and the democratic government in El Salvador, the U.S. invasion of Grenada, the deployment of cruise and Pershing missiles in Europe, and the forceful stand against the Soviet Union generally

Weak argumentation, boys. Nicaragua, Grenada, and El Salvador are in THIS hemisphere--almost at the doorstep of the US. "Deploying missiles" is not quite the same as deploying troops. And Reagan's forceful stand against the Soviet Union didn't require any shots-fired, either.

They finally get around to more compelling reasons here:

The war in Afghanistan is a crucial part of America's broader struggle against militant Islam. If we were to fail in Afghanistan, it would have calamitous consequences for both Pakistan and American credibility. It would consign the people of Afghanistan to misery and hopelessness. And Afghanistan would once again become home to a lethal mix of terrorists and insurgents and a launching point for attacks against Western and U.S. interests. Neighboring governments—especially Pakistan's with its nuclear weapons—could quickly be destabilized and collapse.

Let's cut to the chase: Pakistan's nukes are really, really, really important. Seems to me, then, that the objective is to make certain those nukes are controlled by good guys.

In the meantime, the militant Islam-ites will be with us forever. Do Wehner/Senor acutally expect that they will disappear from the Earth if the US chases them out of Afghanistan? Where next? Uighur-land? Kazakhstan?

And do Wehner/Senor really expect that a long war in Afghanistan will remedy the indigenous population's "misery and hopelessness"? How, exactly?

It might be helpful if Wehner/Senor provided a clue about what they regard as "success" over there--but the fact that they don't address that is telling, indeed.


Grim said...

"Deploying missiles" is not quite the same as deploying troops.

Also, we had troops in Europe already. The missiles were meant to deter aggression that the troops would have to answer. The Democrats of the day chose to consider this an escalation; but really, it was intended not to provoke a fight but to make one less likely.

Pushing the militants into Uighur-land, however, is a thought that has some real potential. If it could be done, it would force China to take a hand, and start paying some of the costs of being the 'global power' they'd like to be.

Dad29 said...

Another objection to the Wehner/Senor argument is this: they prefer to characterize opposition to Afghan as 'political.'

Not entirely true. Some of us simply don't see this fight as the best and highest use of US troops.