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Recipe For Endless War

Over at The Skeptics, Malou Innocent details our recipe for endless war in Afghanistan. I extracted some highlights (or lowlights?) to ruin your mood, but you should really read the entire piece:

Yesterday, Adm. Mike Mullen, America’s top military officer, accused Pakistan of being behind last week’s attack on the American embassy in Afghanistan. This is a bit too convenient. As the United States prepares to withdraw most of its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, it seems that fighting Pakistan by proxy will become Washington’s new reason to stay.

In Washington-speak, if the U.S. Government claims to have interests on the other side of world, then countries adjacent to them should not have interests there as well. Thus, among the U.S. Government’s plethora of justifications, when pesky neighbors get in the way and are divorced from the intractable realities of history and geography, fighting them becomes a recipe for endless war.

With Pakistan, of course, nuclear weapons and American aid compound this equation. After all, those nukes are the reason the coalition must stay, and being duped into giving billions in aid to a country makes U.S. officials feel wronged. (Of course, if Washington stopped giving aid to Pakistan, so I am told tirelessly in Washington, then Pakistan might behave even worse. This argument defies reality, as billions in aid has not made Pakistan behave differently.)

For almost a decade, however, U.S. officials have refused to confront the most obvious truth: Pakistan is unwilling to abandon its support for militarized jihad. That’s because decades of assisting select militant groups have cemented ideological sympathies for radicalism among elements of that country’s armed forces. A stabilized Pakistan is not on the horizon, and so long as Western troops are fighting an all-out war in neighboring Afghanistan they will only continue to be fodder for radical aims.

Although U.S. officials and analysts claim incessantly that remaining in the region will help to prevent Afghanistan’s radicalism from engulfing Pakistan, the exact opposite has been the case.

As Pakistani analyst Khaled Ahmed wrote recently, “Al Qaeda may have lost the first phase of its war in America and Europe but it has won big in Pakistan. And that should worry the rest of the world.” Indeed, it should. And yet, waging a dangerous, ill-conceived, and interminable proxy war against such a country is considerably worse.

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