This week we learned that we won’t like Karzai when he’s angry, Uncle Leo’s feelings got hurt a little bit, we’re still blaming things on the Haqqanis, Lara Logan’s a diva, the Brits wanna quit, and the Kagans are the herpes of bad analysis…they just won’t go away.
Also, most of my cultural references are dated.
Hooray for the YouTube.
There’s my jam for the President of Throwsafitistan. Ever since His Hamidness figured out that hey, “I’m elected! Suck on that, America!” the relationship’s gotten ever rockier.
“NATO and Afghanistan should fight this war where terrorism stems from,” Mr. Karzai said on Thursday, alluding to the havens in Pakistan where the Taliban take refuge. “But the United States is not ready to go and fight the terrorists there. This shows a double game. They say one thing and do something else.
“If this war is against insurgency, then it is an Afghan and internal issue, then why are you here? Let us take care of it.
“But if you are here to fight terrorism, then you should go to where their safe havens are and where terrorism is financed and manufactured,” he said.
Karzai blames Pakistan (and the US) whenever it appears it might be in his best interests to do so. Mentioning China at this juncture isn’t an accident…the Next Big Red Scare is still trying to buy its way into the hearts and minds of Afghans, or at least their natural resources. It’s nothing new for him (or anyone) to point out that the real problem’s across the border. Funny, he wasn’t this focused on foreign events back when the Triple Nickel and the Northern Alliance were working to put him on the throne. Or in office…same-y same.
Karzai is not the only Afghan who genuinely doesn’t understand why the US is waging war in Afghanistan, not Pakistan: nyti.ms/SAIhfp
— Andrew Exum (@abumuqawama) October 5, 2012
I don’t think he’s got a comprehension problem. This is Candidate Karzai jumping up on the stump and banging that “Blame the Pakis” drum a little louder. His statements that he’s going to go away because that’s the legal thing to do is playing to the home crowd (and an international community) that’s increasingly concerned (for good reason) that this election in 2014 isn’t going to go off without more hitches than in a revival of Oklahoma!
That…was a stilted reference, I admit.
Observers are fairly certain that Karzai’s going to find some way to keep people watching the throne while he either stands right behind it or in a brand new chair off to one side that he made all for himself. If it’s good enough for Vladimir, then it’s good enough for Hamid. There’s no way that the Karzai family fortune is going to take any kind of dip in 2014…he’s going to be involved with the next candidate somehow.
As for his plea to foreign movers and shakers to send lawyers, guns and money, or at least the guns and money, that’s a long-standing Karzai gripe: he wants the fighter planes, the tanks. However, a security force that can’t track of its gas receipts probably isn’t ready for the logistical nightmare that is that kind of advanced equipment. Doesn’t mean he can’t ask.
Where we err is in thinking that this is directed at us. Karzai is a political animal. I mean, if I’m Assad listening to Romney today, I’m pretty sure the guns are on their way. This is no different.
Karzai wants to make it clear to the people of Afghanistan that he’s got their best interests at heart. Which will make whatever he does next more palatable.
Regardless of motivations, a statement like Karzai’s must have a response, so Secretary Panetta makes all the usual (expected) noises going on about how Karzai should be grateful. Smacks a bit of the colonialist, but that, apparently, is statecraft.
“Those lives were lost fighting the right enemy, not the wrong enemy,” Panetta said. “And I think it would be helpful if the president every once and awhile expressed his thanks for the sacrifices that have been made by those who have fought and died for Afghanistan, rather than criticizing them.”
See? We’re fighting the right enemy. Absolutely. No question.
Uncle Leo’s got a bit of a point, but don’t take this is a policy or an indication of what’s going to happen in Afghanistan after the elections in November. CNAS and company are making it very clear that everything there is going just fine, and we’re going to stay on track. Regardless.
Again, it’s gotta be the Haqqanis. Not so long ago we were saying maybe 10% of the insider attacks were due to the Taliban, or some other Bad Guy Inc. organization. Now? It’s at 25%, rising, and we’re fairly certain that 25% is the Haqqanis. Again.
The U.S. officials said Friday that although there is no hard evidence tying the Haqqanis to specific insider attacks, the pattern of shootings and the movements and backgrounds of some of the shooters — including travel into Pakistan shortly before the shootings — point to a likely connection to the group Washington last month officially labeled a terrorist organization.
Well, I’m convinced.
Lara Logan loves nothing better than doing stories that feature…Lara Logan. Supposedly this is some Taliban fighter she ran into in 2006, kept her from blowing up, and now he’s a bigshot commander, meeting with her in the backseat of a car in Kabul.
To hear more about her harrowing 2006 experience and what it was like to interview someone who does not believe “that women should show their faces in public,” watch the video above.
Somehow I don’t think this guy was worth ISAF making dead.
So naturally she has to talk about how scary that experience was. This is pretty standard for her “reporting” in Afghanistan. She’s South Africa’s answer to Geraldo Rivera. I know, it’s TV. She’s hired to do “stories” like this, and frankly all this is teaching me is that the audience at large doesn’t know from reporting. Period.
Where this strays into “oh, now you’re just irritating” territory is the fact that now she’s speaking on the whole Taliban/Al Qaeda threat.
Logan even called for retribution for the recent terrorist killings of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other officials. The event is a harbinger of our vulnerability, she said. Logan hopes that America will “exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil. That its ambassadors will not be murdered, and that the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.”
Fox News consultancy in 3…2…
Quentin Sommerville, who, like most of the journos who live and work in this country (i.e. not at all like Lara Logan) knows how to do a news story, got what was possibly the quote of the year from a British diplomat. When asked what he thought the end state was here, he said this:
This is a war of diminished expectations and one where the West will never utter the word “victory”.
He said, “Do not ask me if it was worth it, because it was not.”
So what, I asked, was the best possible outcome?
He replied, “All we want is a country that we can forget about.”
And for those of you complaining I stick to references people under the age of 30 wouldn’t get, here’s your bonus round.
From the Kagans latest collection of meaningless words:
As a result, many villages across Afghanistan are now modeling the “Andar Uprising,” by which they mean forming anti-Taliban groups that seek the help of NATO and the Afghan military. This phenomenon is not as widespread or pivotal as Iraq’s “Anbar Awakening” in 2006-07, when Sunni tribesmen helped turn the tide against al Qaeda-backed insurgents. But it is extremely important as a harbinger. While the meme in the U.S. is the perceived hopelessness of victory, the meme in villages across Afghanistan is that Afghans can and should rise up against the Taliban and expel them. That’s progress.
And in case you think the Kagans come up with catchy phrases that no one ever repeats, I give you Exhibit A in “You Should Still Be Afraid of the Kagans”:
Foreign Policy: Thanks again for sitting down with us. I am particularly interested in these uprisings in the east and how you view them. They are in their nascency, but I am told they may be a significant trend down the line. Are we talking “Andar Awakening”?
Gen. John Allen: They’re actually calling it the Andar Awakening … to plagiarize our Anbar Awakening.
Outstanding. An anti-insurgency movement that’s gonna make everything all right. Been done before. Sounds plausible.
Except for this from the internets:
“We are not with the government, the Americans, or the Taliban,” the Ghander militia leader tells Newsweek. “We just want a decent future for our children.” Despite his recent conflicts with his former Taliban comrades, he remains convinced that the Americans are invaders on Afghan soil. “The U.S. must be defeated and driven away,” he says. “But the Taliban should change, because the people have changed. They’ve seen development, technology, and the benefits of knowledge.”
When it comes to summing up the Kagans, Carl Prine nails this one:
Leading the charge has been the dynamic duo of DC dipsh***tery, Fred and Kim Kagan, a double-shot of intellectual cancer designed apparently to make anyone who reads their historically-challenged agitprop dumber by the word.
In case you forgot anything.
Let’s roll it all back one more time.
Karzai’s not really pissed.
Panetta is a little bit.
It’s the Haqqanis’ fault.
Lara Logan’s a diva.
The Brits have given up.
The Kagans are still irrelevant.
Until next time, you stay classy, Kabul!
- Karzai: US War in Afghanistan ‘Will Not Succeed’ (news.antiwar.com)
- Panetta, Allen to reassure NATO on insider attacks (kansascity.com)
- Reporter Lara Logan: Obama Administration is Lying About Defeating Al Qaeda, Taliban (pjmedia.com)
- Panetta says Karzai should thank allied forces (kansascity.com)