Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Cronkite Moment

Will there come this moment for the Afghanistan War? There doesn’t seem to be a journalist with the gravitas of Uncle Walter. Certainly Katie Couric will not cut it. Maybe just for shock value we could have an O’Reilly or Hannity or Beck declare the conflict lost. That would just be for partisan advantage over a Democratic president, though. Hardly heartfelt.

The events there seem to be more ever-present lately. Maybe it is just a shift of our media collective toward presenting it for the clusterfuck it is and laying aside the support the troops (and the war) at all costs.

Seven U.S. troops have died in weekend attacks in Afghanistan's embattled southern and eastern regions, while officials found the bodies Sunday of five kidnapped campaign workers for a female candidate in the western province of Herat.

Two servicemen died in bombings Sunday in southern Afghanistan, while two others were killed in a bomb attack in the south on Saturday and three in fighting in the east the same day, NATO said. Their identities and other details were being withheld until relatives could be notified.

I recognize the geo-political reality that Afghanistan is right next door to a nuke wielding Pakistan. I realize that women are brutalized by religious zealots stuck in medieval times. I salute the bravery of these campaign workers who surely must have known they were placing their lives in danger to work for the election of a female candidate.

When I enter a search for “India Pakistan Peace” I don’t find much in the way of organizations working toward that goal. If we turned our time, efforts and resources away from Afghanistan and toward resolution between these two nations and eventual de-nuclearization of them it would likely solve a number of our problems.

Whatever Afghanistan is going to become, it is going to become with or without our troops there. Opium production has increased exponentially since our involvement. We have placed a former CIA asset and kleptocrat in charge of their country in the form of Hamid Karzai. Can things get worse? Probably for awhile. Are they going to get better with tens of thousands of US troops there? Probably not.

I’m just an average schmuck with a laptop and a broadband connection. My opinion could be wrong. I figure I have about a 50%  chance. Stay or leave. Those are the options.

UPDATE: FWIW, saw this piece at Newshoggers about the Chinese moving into Kashmir in a big way, ostensibly to improve their shipping times.

  Now, China isn't exactly a U.S. enemy and if they want a base in the Gulf then they're legally allowed one if the host nation (Pakistan) will co-operate - but many analysts have written about China's maritime expansion in worrying tones, seeing an eventual confrontation with the US as more possible because of it.

We are hardly in a position to get confrontational with the Chinese for any number of reasons. And since they are still willing to exchange dollars for treasuries it’s likely they don’t want to be either. Jon Huntsman seemed like a capable choice for ambassador to China when he was chosen. Hopefully, that is so and we will find a way to make lemonade out of this situation.

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