Saturday, June 23, 2007

This is Progress?

Hamid Karzai was visibly angry and in my opinion, took the only position he could take. He blasted NATO and the US for their tactic's.

"You don't fight a terrorist by firing a field gun 37km (24 miles) away into a target. That's definitely, surely bound to cause civilian casualties," he said.

In a piece I heard on the radio, he went on to say what I think needed to be said, "You cannot bring your Western standards to Afghanistan and expect them to work. This is a different society and a different culture."

Well, finally someone has said it and it's about time. I'm well aware that there are valid criticisms to be made of Karzai, but the man is in an untenable position, imo. How can he support the mission's in his country to his people, if they are being considered "collateral damage" by the West? How can he support their tactics, as it becomes clear, there has been little effort made to understand the people and culture?

That said, I have read some pretty impressive stories about how Canadian troops are making an effort to "get" the culture and I do think we go about in a different way than the Americans. However, I believe that we in the West delude ourselves by believing that everyone on the planet wants what we have.

Unintended arrogance? I'm not sure, but now that Karzai has spoken those words, it is time for us to reassess.

Here is more of the story.


Red Tory said...

He’s said these things before, but not in such a forceful and unequivocal way. While I do think that Canadians and other troops try to “get” the culture, the rifts are just so great I really wonder how possible that is. As well, I wrote a while back about how intelligence from Afghan fighters (on our side) was being ignored by the military who didn’t consider them reliable and this was leading to failed/botched attacks.

ottlib said...

The civilian casualties are a function of the NATO decision to do this war on the cheap.

That is, they have decided to go with the minimum of infantry/armour and to make up for the short-fall with the use of air power and artillery.

The result is greater civilian casualties.

To reduce civilian casualties NATO would have to double its troop commitment and change tactics so that NATO soldiers fight in closer combat with the Taliban.

Of course that would lead to many more NATO casualties.

So, NATO has the unenviable choice of pissing off the Afghan government or pissing off the citizens of their own countries. It is obvious which choice they will take which is why Mr. Karzai's complaints will fall on deaf ears.

Karen said...

ottlib: So, NATO has the unenviable choice

I hear you, but good gawd, their choices are more vast than that.

This is the great deception, isn't it?

RT, I know he has said it before, I know too that he has corrupt people in his government, but it would seem that we are ignoring reality and focusing on "father know's best".

We are doing this wrong. I believe ottlib, as it relates to how NATO would conduct this war. Who afterall were they listening to? Who did we back at the time...and I get it, we backed the US.

Who was supporting it all? Rumsfeld, the mastermind of doing it on the cheap, doing it by strategic measures, the mastermind of screwing up the planet.