« Fading Into Mist...Latin America: Energy Workers in Time of Crisis »

U.S. Silent on “LOST CAUSE”

July 19th, 2009

Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett

A lead question Americans should be asking but aren’t and two sets of responses worth considering¯On Afghanistan.

“This is a terrible situation we’ve got into. We lost three wars in the nineteenth century there. It’s very difficult to fight people without civilian casualties but if you are foreigners the civilian casualties are held very, very strongly against you. There’s very little changing. … I think we ought to be thinking about an exit strategy” [Lamont].

“An enormous international effort” will be needed to devise an exit strategy which leaves a legacy worth having” [Lambert].

“We ought to be thinking now¯ not about wasting lives in a pointless war — but how we can bring an end to this and get out” [Lamont].

These responses were given by author, European Parliament Member and lifelong Green Party member Jean Lambert and former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major’s Cabinets) Lord Norman Lamont in a July 10, 2009, segment of BBC Radio 4’s “Any Questions.”

The lead question was: “Is [the] Mission in Afghanistan a lost cause?”
Excerpted and edited by Carolyn Bennett

NORMAN LAMONT

“… I went to Afghanistan just over a year ago and went to Helmand Province … and I’ve tried not to say it ¯ that I actually came away very pessimistic from Afghanistan. … I think the mission is very ill-defined. … One very senior military officer said ‘We’re trying to create an Indian style democracy here’. Frankly I think that is cloud cuckoo land.

“This [Afghanistan] is a very fragmented country, a very tribal country. It is also a country where a lot of people, though we might not like to hear this, have deeply conservative views. And they’re not going to change because people are there with bayonets. … I think one has to recognise … that the Taliban, although very odious to us in many ways, are also a national movement of the Pashtuns, the Pashtun being the predominant ethnic group there.”

SIDE NOTE: Republic of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai (Pashtun) in the mid-1990s supported the Taliban. He supported American intervention in Afghanistan. When U.S. bombing began in 2001 he returned from exile “to organize Pashtun resistance to the Taliban.” Later in 2001 a United Nations-sponsored Afghan conference named Karzai (with strong U.S. support) interim head of the new government in Afghanistan. In 2002 the Republic of Afghanistan’s Grand Assembly (Loya Jirga) convened by the former king elected Karzai president. In a general election of 2004 Karzai became Afghanistan’s first “democratically” elected president “but his victory was marred by voting irregularities.” Karzai’s government is weak, has relatively little authority outside the capital, Kabul, and continues to be propped up by foreign forces.

LAMONT continues

“… I think the contrast between foreign invaders and [Afghans] doesn’t work to our advantage. This is a terrible situation we’ve got into. The Russians lost in Afghanistan. We lost three wars in the nineteenth century there. I don’t think America and Britain will be defeated there but I am afraid I am pessimistic about our chances of winning.… I think some of the tactics that have been deployed by the Americans in particular have been absolutely counter-productive because there have been so many civilian casualties. It’s very difficult to fight people without civilian casualties. But if you are foreigners the civilian casualties are held very, very strongly against you.

“I noticed when I was there the fighting was all around Lashkar Gah, Camp Bastion. It’s still round there. There’s very little changing. I think in the end we will have to try and broker a deal between the different political factions there, make sure there is no support for Al Qaeda. The Taliban are different from Al Qaeda. But I think we ought to be thinking about an exit strategy.”

JEAN LAMBERT

“… [It] was in the aftermath of 9/11.… the immediate sort of issue was about … the capture Al Qaeda… And … it’s then sort of stretched to this idea that somehow … it was really to liberate, particularly the women of Afghanistan. … [In] many ways if it had been about that and we’d really prepared for that, people might well feel differently … [But] … recent changes in the law which President Karzai [Republic of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai (Pashtun)] has seen through … have also — certainly for the women there ¯ made them [women] feel that they’re going backwards.

“… I think certainly President… Obama has begun to look at something very different, to try and construct something different there. But … in many respects you think, well, how are you now going to do that. You had so many years where people feel that what the Americans have brought for a number of them is death in their families. How do you turn that around? It will need an enormous international effort if you really want to do that and devise an exit strategy which leaves a legacy worth having.”

NORMAN LAMONT

“… I fear that President Obama, who I much admire, but I fear he made a terrible mistake. In the presidential campaign he was being accused of being soft on Iraq so he made a commitment: The real war, the real struggle is in Afghanistan.

“… He’s hoping that the surge, more troops there, will have the effect he thinks it’s had in Iraq. But I’m not sure that the surge succeeded in Iraq either. And I don’t believe myself that more troops just sheer numbers poured into Afghanistan is going to solve the problem. They’ll only occupy the ground they occupy. The Taliban will move around. The Taliban will reoccupy the places they were yesterday and I think in the end it will have to be a political deal that is brokered between the different factions in a very, very fragmented society.

“… We ought to be thinking now, not about wasting lives in a pointless war but how we can bring an end to this and get out.”

Notes
http://www.answers.com/topic/hamid-karzai
“Afghanistan” Encyclopedia Britannica, Standard Edition (2009)
“Karzai, Hamid,” Encyclopedia Britannica, Standard Edition (2009)

Republic of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai (Pashtun) in the mid-1990s supported the Taliban. He supported American intervention in Afghanistan. When U.S. bombing began in 2001 he returned from exile “to organize Pashtun resistance to the Taliban.” Later in 2001 a United Nations-sponsored Afghan conference named Karzai (with strong U.S. support) interim head of the new government in Afghanistan. In 2002 the Republic of Afghanistan’s Grand Assembly (Loya Jirga) convened by the former king elected Karzai president. In a general election of 2004 Karzai became Afghanistan’s first “democratically” elected president “but his victory was marred by voting irregularities.” Karzai’s government is weak, has relatively little authority outside the capital, Kabul, and continues to be propped up by foreign forces

“Any Questions,” BBC Radio 4 July 10, 2009: Mark Dormer (questioner);
full panel and chair at Consett, County Durham: Jonathan Dimbleby (chair); former Cabinet minister/current independent MP Clare Short; Minister for business, innovation and skills Pat McFadden; Green Party MEP Jean Lambert, former Chancellor Lord Norman Lamont (panellists), http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lj1nc#synopsis

Bio Briefs:

Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London (one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green Party representatives in the European Parliament), Jean Lambert is Vice President of cross-party Parliamentary intergroups on Ageing, Anti-poverty, and Anti-racism and Diversity; member of intergroups on Disability and Gay and Lesbian rights; and since 1977 an active member of UK’s Green Party. In 1992-93/1998-997, she was Principal Speaker for the Green Party of England and Wales from and in 1994 chair of the Green Party Executive. Lambert is author of No Change, No Chance [http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/meet_jean_biography.php].

Originally an investment banker with NM Rothschild, Lord Norman Lamont was also a Member of UK’s House of Commons (twenty-five years); and Chancellor of the Exchequer who served in the cabinets of Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major [http://www.jla.co.uk/after-dinner-speakers/norman-lamont].

Posted by Bennett's Column at 3:51 PM 0 comments
Labels: "lost cause", Afghanistan-outsiders' history, Britain and Afghanistan, foreign intervention in Southwest Central Asia, Hamid Karzai, Middle East conflict, Pashtuns, Taliban, U.S. and Afghanistan

-###-


Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett -author, independent journalist Blog: Today's Insight News Blog: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/
Carolyn Bennett's Latest book: BREAKDOWN: Violence in Search of U (you)-Turn
Nature and Consequences of U.S. International and Domestic Affairs
Book pages: www.xlibris.com/BREAKDOWN:ViolenceinSearchofU(you)-Turn.html
www.xlibris.com/CarolynLaDelleBennett.html
www.bennettsbreakdown.com
Order books at Xlibris 888-795-4274 ext. 7876; www.xlibris.com, www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, or through local bookstores

No feedback yet

Voices
Share this page submit to reddit

Voices
Your donation helps provide a place for people to speak out.
Not tax deductible. editor@thepeoplesvoice.org
Search the Site Search the Web
October 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 << <   > >>
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

  XML Feeds

blogging software
FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted articles and information about environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. This news and information is displayed without profit for educational purposes, in accordance with, Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Thepeoplesvoice.org is a non-advocacy internet web site, edited by non-affiliated U.S. citizens. editor
ozlu Sozler GereksizGercek Hava Durumu Firma Rehberi Hava Durumu Firma Rehberi E-okul Veli Firma Rehberi