Losing in Afghanistan

The US has fled Korengal, Afghanistan, which is now under the uncontested control of the Taliban.

The US created the Kabul government, in order to do good to Afghans, so that they would love us. It attempted to build a road for the people in Korengal valley, so that they would love us. The people of the valley, all of them, promised to kill anyone who worked on the road, and anyone who used the road, and proceeded to do so.

The US captain, Moretti, sent a letter to Nasurallah: “It is our belief that you are the rightful leader of the Korengalis,” the captain wrote. “You hold the power not only among the villagers but also among the fighters. If you want the valley to prosper all you have to do is talk with us and bring your fighters down from the mountains.”

The letter offered two choices: development or death. “It is not our wish to kill your fellow Korengalis,” Moretti continued. “But we are good at it and will continue to do it as long as you fight us.”

Moretti received a response two days later. “If you surrender to the law of God then our war against you will end,” Nasurallah wrote. “If you keep fighting for man’s law then we will fight you until Doomsday.”

And what is the difference between God’s law and man’s law that has these villagers pissed at us?

Man’s law forbids them from growing and exporting the only cash crop in this barren region: Cedar trees.

Photos show the villages in the midst of cedar groves, so obviously they are cultivating them and harvesting them sustainably.

In trying to impose the Kabul government on them, we are imposing injustice. Thus the only possible ways of winning are to rule them ourselves, colonial style, or slaughter enough of them that the Taliban decides not to tolerate anyone who goes looking for trouble with far away infidels.

2 Responses to “Losing in Afghanistan”

  1. Deep Lurker says:

    The chief problem is that we tried to impose a strong central government on Afghanistan. Because strong – nay, all powerful – central governments are a self-evident Good Thing that only ignorant barbarians like rural Afghanis and American Tea-Partiers disagree with.

    Obviously what we needed to do was punish Afghanistan by insisting on a weak, federated government for them. Like the US did with Germany, post-WWII, to hamstring and punish them. Only more so. If we’d been cruel and ruthless enough, we might even have allowed Afghanistan to turn into this land-locked, mountainous, heavily-armed, socially-conservative, culturally-splintered country, cursed with great wealth despite its lack of natural resources. Like Switzerland.

    If we’d been merciless enough to withhold “good (i.e. centralized) government” from Afghanistan, the harm caused by all our other good intentions would have been trifles.

    • jim says:

      A culturally fractured country like Afghanistan needs a highly decentralized government like that of Switzerland. Talibanic government was evil because highly centralized, therefore needed to make war upon Afghans – just as we are doing evil by making war upon Afghans to impose the current regime.

      However, it is not our job, and probably not our ability, to provide them with a government, even if we were not providing a government that is obviously wrong for them. Creating governments requires a level of ruthlessness and brutality we are uncomfortable with, and does not serve our interests even if we were comfortable with it.

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