In a recent CNN poll the amnesiac and FOX-demented American public near-equated the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama because of the false perception that Obama's policies are at root of poor economic conditions at home and the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.
Although economic woes seem more ascribable to Bush's trickle-up policies - that is something for economists to argue. What is not theoretical, however, is the clear correlation between the hellish conditions in Afghanistan and the ruinous decisions of the Bush administration that have now rendered the war unwinnable. The Afghans do not hate our freedom; they hate our policies - currently Obama's, but especially Bush's.
Obama's policies are certainly worthy of objurgation, especially his grievous misjudgment at the end of 2009 to cast an additional 30,000 troops into the Afghan abyss in support of a failing counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy. Obama may have pushed our trips into the hole, but let us not forget the culprit who excavated it.
Because why is said strategy designed to fail in the first place? COIN is largely based on winning the hearts and minds of the local populace, which became an impossible endeavor once Bush and his henchmen inserted Hamid Karzai as President of Afghanistan against the will of the Afghan people. Bush crony Zalmay Khalilizad and the CIA orchestrated one of the most tragic acts in U.S. foreign policy history when they overrode the voice of three quarters of the delegates at the 2002 loya jirga in Afghanistan by stiff-arming aside the people's choice - King Zahir Shah - to illegitimately install their Unocal pal as head of state.
Accompanying this historical gaffe was affording a level of centralization to be written into the Afghan constitution that practically guaranteed Afghanistan would become one of the most corrupted states on earth. "Our man in Kabul" has alienated the Afghan people through an unprecedented consolidation of power and money to be forever retained through impressive election-rigging operations.
The province of Kandahar is purportedly the most critical to winning the war, considering it's the birthplace and spiritual cradle of the Taliban. Yet, thanks to the Bush brain trust's brilliance, it is de facto controlled by President Karzai's corrupt brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, who runs the region like a kingpin. He has consolidated power in the area and has used CIA resources to knock off rival tribal elders and is infamous for making profit off the opium trade. Ahmed Wali is to this day single-handedly fueling the insurgency in the South. Then, the damage caused by the decision to invade Iraq cannot be understated as troops, funds, and resources were diverted from Afghanistan which enabled the rise of warlords, allowed the rearming and resurgence of the Taliban and the delay of critical reconstruction projects, as Rummy and the DOD took over "state-building". Instead of stabilizing Afghanistan the U.S. spent $1 billion funding mujahideen warlords and other maligned actors to "secure the peace", and America abandoned the country just like they did after the Soviets withdrew.
The U.S. mission in post-9/11 Afghanistan for years primarily consisted of hunting al Qaeda leaders, especially Osama bin Laden, at the expense of rebuilding Afghanistan. But even this job was made more difficult by Dick Cheney allowing Pakistan President Musharraf to airlift up to one thousand ISI, Taliban and al Qaeda personnel out of Afghanistan at the tail end of the war, according to Ahmed Rashid in Descent Into Chaos:
The request was made by Musharraf to Bush, but Cheney took charge -- a token of who was handling Musharraf at the time. The approval was not shared with anyone at State, including Colin Powell, until well after the event. Musharraf said Pakistan needed to save its dignity and its valued people.
Two planes were involved, which made several sorties a night over several nights. They took off from air bases in Chitral and Gilgit in Pakistan's northern areas, and landed in Kunduz, where the evacuees were waiting on the tarmac.
Certainly hundreds and perhaps as many as one thousand people escaped. Hundreds of ISI officers, Taliban commanders, and foot soldiers belonging to the IMU and al Qaeda personnel boarded the planes.
What was sold as a minor extraction turned into a major air bridge. The frustrated U.S. SOF who watched it from the surrounding high ground dubbed it "Operation Evil Airlift."
The Bush administration continued to support Musharraf in light of the fact Pakistan's military policy was to protect the Taliban while handing over al Qaeda members to the U.S. Instead of pressuring Musharraf, the U.S. increased resources to the ISI and Pakistani army and in 2002 granted Pakistan a non-NATO ally with $700 million in aid and $364 earmarked for military.
In 2005, NATO found that the U.S. had not monitored Pakistan support for Taliban activity in the southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgant, and Nimroz. From 2001-2006 not a single Taliban leader was handed over by Pakistan to the United States. As a result, the Taliban and its affiliates have enjoyed near-intractable sanctuary in Pakistan's Northwest frontiers.
Thus, Obama has been left to choose between pulling troops which would lead to the fall of the Karzai regime and would allow Afghanistan to spiral further into civil war, or continue to support a government that the Afghan people now despise more than the Taliban.
No wonder they hate us.
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