Saturday, June 21, 2008

Interesting Read of the Week - Descent into Chaos

I know, I know, you think we've already made that descent. Well if we haven't yet Ahmed Rashid argues in his new book that we're about to. "Descent into Chaos: How the War Against Islamic Extremism is Being Lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia," is the Pakistani journalist's bit at waking us up to what is really going on beyond the skin-deep reports from news agencies or smiley-face reports from the Bush administration on progress.

Rashid pulls no punches, declaring that "the international community’s lukewarm commitment to Afghanistan after 9/11 has been matched only by its incompetence, incoherence and conflicting strategies — all led by the United States" and that Bush's support of Musharraf's military dictatorship over the interests of democracy and the Pakistani people "has created immense hatred for the US army and America, hatred that penetrates all classes of society”.

No surprise here for most of us. And nothing that will get past the blinders of personnel in the Bush White House or State Department I fear. Rashid revisits the administration's failure to deploy the ground troops needed in Afghanistan to keep Bin Laden & his Taliban buddies from escaping into Pakistan in 2001 and Bush's blind spot for Musharraf's war on democracy as long as he agreed to support the "war on terror." Meanwhile, Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, was actively supporting those Taliban refugees - to the point of flying aircraft over the border to evacuate Taliban buddies and ISI personnel before Kabul fell. The ISI, according to Rashid, continues to shelter and help Taliban fighters.

As Bush refined his Iraq invasion argument to one of supporting democracy and riding the world of tyrants, 90-percent of Washington's Pakistan aid was going to its military, not its people. And in Uzbekistan, President Islam Karimov (not exactly Mr. Happy Democracy) became one of our best friends in exchange for an American base and a CIA torture (oops, I mean rendition) building.

Bush & Co., not only turned a blind eye to Afghanistan's drug lords, but even subsidized some. And not to seem churlish in an election year, while fighting Kerry in 2004, Bush turned loose some money for reconstruction work. Money that dried up after the November election. And the money that flowed into Afghanistan was aid aimed at appeasing Bush donors, consultants and contractors, not the population of Afghanistan.

Another "triumph" for democracy at the hands of the Bush administration.


Blogger Mr.Natural said...

I am afraid you are right. But we Americans DO have lots of bright shiny things to play with! I have become so disgusted and sad that I may quit blogging altogether.

Of course I need to keep pointing people to my blog as we really need to sell this place so we can get GONE to New Zealand...stick a fork in me, I'm DONE.

11:04 AM  

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