Thinking Afghanistan: We Were Sidetracked with Iraq 12/18/07 [helicopters/celebrities]
“As Concerns Rise, U.S. Is Reviewing Afghan Mission”To the Editor:
What seems to be missing from this assessment is the obvious: We should have never abandoned Afghanistan, where we had full international support and the full support of the population, to go into Iraq.
Had we stayed in Afghanistan and really established the government and the infrastructure and helped make it a model of a Muslim democracy, the Taliban would not have re-emerged as they have, we wouldn’t have lost popular support, and invading Iraq would not have been necessary (if it ever was).
That was the most compelling reason not to divert our attention to Iraq. And why should other nations want to commit to helping us in Afghanistan when they’ve seen how we bungled our initial — and very short-lived — success in Iraq?
Can’t we be more forthright, even if it means admitting mistakes? We might not get immediate support, but it would go a long way to regaining some respect.
New York, Dec. 16, 2007
To the Editor:
I hope that when the Bush administration and NATO conclude their analyses of the Afghanistan mission they will reach one inescapable, common-sense conclusion: that Western-style democracy cannot be militarily imposed on a culture that is based on tribal loyalties.
Maybe at that point, our nation and the world will be able to finally use our economic and human resources in a more efficient manner.
Perhaps no more young lives will be lost in a futile, vainglorious effort to export our way of life.
Mountainside, N.J., Dec. 16, 2007