Skip to comments.The War Won’t End in Afghanistan [Michael Totten dismantles Obama and the Left's wishful thinking]
Posted on 10/03/2008 6:40:38 AM PDT by Tolik
Please, forgive me for presenting this article with my highlights. (I could highlight everything actually). I knew I like Michael Totten, but in this article he exceeded my high expectations. Follow the link to the original to bypass my highlights.
If Afghanistan were miraculously transformed into the Switzerland of Central Asia, every last one of the Middle Easts rogues gallery of terrorist groups would still exist. The ideology that spawned them would endure. Their grievances, such as they are, would not be salved. The political culture that produced them, and continues to produce more just like them, would hardly be scathed. Al Qaedism is the most radical wing of an extreme movement which was born in the Middle East and exists now in many parts of the world. Afghanistan is not the root or the source.
Naturally the war against them began in Afghanistan. Plans for the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States were hatched in Afghanistan. But the temporary location of the plotters of that strike means little in the wide view of a long struggle. Osama bin Laden and his leadership just as easily could have planned the attacks from Saudi Arabia before they were exiled, or from their refuge in Sudan in the mid 1990s. Theoretically they could have even planned the attacks from an off-the-radar safe house in a place like France or even Nebraska had they managed to sneak themselves in. The physical location of the planning headquarters wasnt irrelevant, but in the long run the ideology that motivates them is what must be defeated. Perhaps the point would be more obvious if the attacks were in fact planned in a place like France instead of a failed state like Afghanistan.
Hardly anyone wants to think about the monumental size of this task or how long it will take. The illusion that the United States just needs to win in Afghanistan and everything will be fine is comforting, to be sure, but it is an illusion. Winning the war in Iraq wont be enough either, nor will permanently preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons or resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. The war may end somewhere with American troops on the ground, or, like the Cold War, it might not. No one can possibly foresee what event will actually put a stop to this war in the end. It is distant and unknowable. The world will change before we can even imagine what the final chapter might look like.
Most of the September 11 hijackers were Saudis. All were Arabs. None hailed from Afghanistan. This is not coincidental. Al Qaedas politics are a product of the Arab world, specifically of the radical and totalitarian Wahhabi sect of Islam founded in the 18th Century in Saudi Arabia by the fanatical Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. He thought the medieval interpretations of Islam even on the backward Arabian peninsula were too liberal and lenient. His most extreme followers cannot even peacefully coexist with mainstream Sunni Muslims, let alone Shia Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, secularists, feminists, gays, or anyone else. Their global jihad is a war against the entire human race in all its diversity and plurality.
Wahhabism has spread outward from Saudi Arabia by proselytizers funded by petrodollars who have set up mosques, madrassas, and indoctrination centers nearly everywhere from Indonesia to the United States. In the Balkans, for instance, Wahhabis are actually replacing traditional moderate Ottoman mosques destroyed by the Yugoslav Army and Serbian paramilitary units with their own extremist knockoffs. Theyre staking out new ground in the West where they deliberately gin up virulent hatred among immigrants from Muslim countries. They tried to car-bomb their way into power in parts of Iraq, and in the cities of Baqubah, Fallujah, and Ramadi they even succeeded for a while.
In some places the ideology flourishes more than in others. It was effectively transplanted to Afghanistan with the assistance of Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence agency. In thoroughly secular Muslim countries like Azerbaijan and Albania, bin Ladenism remains thinner on the ground than in Western Europe. Its adherents are unevenly distributed, but it began in the Middle East and has since metastasized.
Al Qaeda leaders did not spring up from the ground in Afghanistan, nor are they chained there. They move around. Any country where they are located becomes crucial whether American soldiers are present or not. Like the Cold War, this conflict is not exclusively military, but the theaters of armed conflict have already been widened well beyond Afghanistan. And the war isnt America-centric. It is not all about us. Fighting between violent Islamists and their enemies broke out in Arab countries like Algeria and Lebanon, and even in countries without a Muslim majority like Russia and the Philippines. Many of these conflicts started before the attacks on September 11, before anyone could even imagine that American troops would fight a hot war in Afghanistan.
And lets not forget the radical Shias. While Sunni Wahhabis export their fundamentalist creed from the Arabian Peninsula, the Khomeinists in the Islamic Republic of Iran are busy exporting their own revolutionary and totalitarian brand of Shia Islam to countries like Lebanon and Iraq. So far the Iranians and their proxies have been less violent and extreme than Al Qaeda, but Iran remains the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. While the leaders are Shias, that has not contrary to mistaken conventional wisdom stopped them from forming tactical alliances with radical Sunnis from Hamas in Gaza to Ansar Al Islam.
Before the U.S. demolished the regime of Saddam Hussein, Ansar Al Islam was based in and around the town of Biara in Northern Iraq. Al Qaeda in Iraq founder Abu Musab al Zarqawi was one of its members. American Special Forces and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters pushed Ansar into the Northern Iranian city of Mariwan where they remain today and receive support from the government of Iran. They have since changed their name to Al Qaeda in Kurdistan.
On some level even Senator Obama himself understands that Afghanistan is unlikely be the beginning and the end of this war. He correctly argues that more needs to be done to shut down the safe havens bin Laden and company have established in Pakistan. He likely doesnt believe some of his own rhetoric about Afghanistan even though its a standard staple of his campaign. His dovish liberal base seems sometimes desperate to believe that Afghanistan was the beginning and will be the end of a war they have little stomach to wage.
Wishing will not make it so. Afghanistan, indeed all of Central Asia, is on the periphery. The violent ideologies that animate the most dangerous terrorist movements in the world are Arabic and, to a lesser extent, Persian. The Middle East is central. It is not a distraction. It is where the war truly began because it is where most of the combatants, ideological leaders, and supporters were born and raised. While theres a chance it wont end there, most of it will be fought there
BUMP for later
I wonder how much the Democrats will like it when they are forced to accept Islam, or die.
Or, that all gays will have their throats cut.
Of course, that won’t be a problem for Obama. He will be the new Muslim taskmaster.
The American and European environmental left, as empowered by the tax-exempt "charitable" foundations belonging to a corporate aristocracy, threatens our existence with an alternative reality of violent submission to destructive and backward Islam or a ubiquitous and omnipresent electronic bureaucratic fascist tyranny.
In several posts, I made the statement, and I'll say it again, that the Obama-Biden "Osama, Al Qaeda, and Pakistan" issue is one, big, fat herring. No, I take that back. It's a huige stinking pile of garbage where the intention is not to support democracy in Pakistan, but to intentionally destabilize it.
Biden made mention of Pakistan "already having nukes," as if Pakistan is going to allow a terrorist "up in the hills and caves near Afghanistan" to get hold of them.
Nope. This is a calculated move by them to take the issue of a nuclear Iran off the table. Biden has been in bed with Iran for many years, and the very last thing he and the Messiah would do is to "upset" Iran.
This crap about, "Well Ahmadinejad is not the most powerful person in Iran," or "Ahmadinejad" is not the person who runs the country" is doggie doo. The mullahs from Khomeni on down have bought into his messianic and maniacal view that wiping out Israel will hasten the return of the 12th Imam.
If Islamic fundamentalists take control of Pakistan, not only will Obama-Biden NOT mess with Iran, they won't mess with Pakistan either, sayting, "Sorry folks, but we cannot go into Pakistan looking for Osama -- who's probably dead by now -- because Pakistan has nukes."
Biden is a lying bee-atch for claiming that "Iran is not working on building a nuke."
How many jumped out of their chairs when he said that -- along with his comment that Obama supports nuclear power?
Well, at least they won’t be subject to Christianity and all its “judgementalism”...
Over the years, I’ve determined that the left wants to
because they still see the WOT as a farce that should be treated like a criminal prosecution.
They want to “get Osama” so that they can say “game over” and ignore the threat and go back to spending on socialist programs, like their European models.
Europeans can spend on socialism because they can rely on the American military to protect them.
Thanks for posting this; it is great to read an intelligent expose free of spin.
I believe our President and milliary leaders have a far better understanding than I can imagine. I sure hope so.
Afghanistan is a canard for the Dems. They have as little stomach for waging war there as they do in Iraq. I certainly don’t believe Obama when he says he will take on Pakistan (though the fiction that Pakistan is an ally needs to go).
Until the safe havens in Pakistan are shut down, all that can really be done is to hold Afganistan. The root cause of much of our troubles is the radical Islam ideology that originates in Saudi Arabia.
The GWOT is much like WWII in size and scope. To win, you really do need to fight on multiple fronts at once. So far, we’ve no had the will to do that. I don’t think either Obama or McCain will either (Palin might). IMHO, one of the great failures of the Bush administration is to continue the fiction that countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are our allies—they are not. Making accomodations with Hezbollah, Hammas, and Iran are big mistakes too. If they had taken seriously the GWOT and expanded our military after 9/11 (instead of shrinking it), we’d be much better able to deal with these situations today.
No, actually, I think not. A "herring" (by which I think you mean, red herring?) is a ploy to divert attention.
I honestly think Obama doesn't understand Totten's fundamental point. He sees the war in Iraq in isolation from the war in Afghanistan; and he clearly doesn't understand Iran's role in worldwide terrorism, nor the dangers Iran actually poses to the world (think oil, for one thing).
To put it in McCain's words, Obama doesn't understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy. I think it's worse than that: he doesn't even understand the real issues behind this war, nor the true stakes involved.
He's an ambitious, self-aggrandizing fool.
“He sees the war in Iraq in isolation from the war in Afghanistan; and he clearly doesn’t understand Iran’s role in worldwide terrorism, nor the dangers Iran actually poses to the world (think oil, for one thing).
To put it in McCain’s words, Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy. I think it’s worse than that: he doesn’t even understand the real issues behind this war, nor the true stakes involved. “
The war in Iraq become unpopular because Bush administration lost the communication war (actually they acted like they have no idea what the info-war is and that it was waged against us from outside and by own useful-idiots on the left). So, people conveniently forgot that Saddam’s regime presented a danger and after 9/11, when unimaginable became the reality, could not be tolerated anymore. There was low-level war with Iraq all these years after his surrender in 1991, and he defied sanctions every chance he got. If left unchecked, he would continue development of WMDs and already was proven willing to use them and displayed lack of constraint and judgment. All conveniently forget the fiery speeches by prominent Democrats against Saddam and that Clinton did see him dangerous enough to bomb on ocasion.
Iraq war is treated now like absolutely unnecessary choice. 2 things are missing. First: while there were definitely mistakes in the nation-building stage of this war, these mistakes are trivial comparing to mistakes in previous wars. That it took so long, is our impatient perspective - conditions should have ripened properly, things should have percolated like they did, bad guys needed to be killed, Sunnis should have experienced Al-Quada’s atrocities until they believed them to be enemies. Our enemies are much more patient. All that above took time. Now, the second point: if Saddam was left in power for all these years - would we still continue low-level war with him? If left unchecked, would the danger from him suddenly evaporated? Why?
Our wishful-thinking-useful-idiots friends on the Left forget that we don’t act in vacuum, that our enemies plan and act, and consequences of our inaction are as real as of our action.
Gosh, I’d love to be magically transported into the perfect world of our leftist lunatics and sing kumbaya peacefully somewhere....
But, He is no stranger to the use of taqiyya, as in "I am not a Muslim," or Brer Rabbit, "Please don't throw me that Briar Patch," or Heinrich Himmler, "Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes the truth."
The allusion to Himmler and Hitler is not really a stretch after seeing "Obama's Youth Movement"on YouTube.
"Yes we can?"
How about, "No, you don't!"
He's an ambitious, self-aggrandizing fool.
And about as dangerous as it gets.
Quite rightly! Robert Spencer notes the Al Qaeda myth that Biden-O-Bama have been reciting is totally bogus, and he chides McCain for not hammering them about it.