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folder icon   01-07-2010, 12:44 PM
The Latest on Pakistan & Afghanistan Post #1
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I'm sick of seeing a bot lead the threads here in Serious Discussion. So I'm posting this as a place for everyone to post a link any time you get an interesting story or update. The Pakistani military launched two offenses last year, one into the SWAT valley, and one into southern Waziristan, in what's really a civil war. So far, they haven't ventured into northern Waziristan, where the Taliban are launching operations in Afghanistan.

The key to our winning in Afghanistan and going home is to wipe out this threat, and leave a government the people can be happy with. Seems impossible. Post your thoughts, and any news articles you find of note.

Let's try not to flame, and please, no more spats over WWII! That's off topic!

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folder icon   01-07-2010, 12:59 PM
Post #2
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This in interesting: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/07/w....html?ref=world

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/20...front/?ref=asia

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folder icon   01-07-2010, 03:35 PM
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Intervention in the region created the threat in the first place, I personally find it unlikely that military intervention is giong to solve more problems than it will create. We already caused a civil war in Pakistan due to our meddling, what will be the next disaster that strikes?

We should probably pull out militarily or go fully defensive and focus solely on economic projects. Thirty years from now, they'll care if we built hospitals, schools and roads. We should showcase those works in the media. Nobody is going to be glad we killed a whole bunch of "bad guys" thirty years from now. Blood will only create the need for more vengeance.

Otherwise, Afghanistan's problems are their own. They were doing fine before we touched them (I also include Soviet intervention in this comment).

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folder icon   01-08-2010, 02:18 AM
Post #4
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Ultra, I don't think Afghanistan was doing fine before 9/11. They were in the middle of a civil war, and the Taliban were forcing a strict form of sharia law that turned the country into a training ground for terrorists. Did you see the film Osama? And Pakistan was under military dictatorship, against the wishes of the people there, while half the country was a lawless "tribal area". Both these lands were in state of civil war, they'd just drawn to a stalemate.

America helped the northern Afghanis beat the Taliban, who moved into Pakistan with compliance of the Pashtuns already there. This encouraged the new Pakistani Taliban to start attacks on cities there, but I think it's wrongheaded to blame the US for this. If it can lead to Pakistan finally enforcing control over these areas and bringing them in line, then I'd say it's a good thing. Seems like a big if, though.

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folder icon   01-08-2010, 05:50 PM
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And where did the Taliban come from?

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folder icon   01-09-2010, 01:58 AM
Post #6
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The Taliban originated as a protest movement led by a small time Mullah Omar, in response to a rape that was not prosecuted due to the corruption of a local warlord. He led a ragtag army to kill the warlord and started a movement that took over all of southern Afghanistan.

The movement found its support in its harsh Sharia law which was seen to be more fair than the bribary and corruption inherent in the system - corruption which is still pervasive throughout Afghanistan.

I'm more worried about the US's present course of action than Afghanistan's history, which however pertinent, we can't change.

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folder icon   01-09-2010, 10:19 AM
Post #7
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Sigh, I meant that the US supported the Taliban, with cooperation of the ISI from Pakistan. Hence, our intervention created the Taliban in our efforts to push the Soviets from the region.

Almost every problem region is due to our original intervention. We leave places well enough alone it wouldn't be such a problem.

Iraq + Saddam Hussein -> CIA
Before? Doing fine and was the most secular and progressive country in the area.

Afghanistan + Taliban -> CIA
Before? Women could go to school, no sharia law and zero support for islamists.

Iran and the Islamic revolution -> UK + US installed the oppressive shah that led to the revolution
Before? Democratically elected government that was overthrown in a coup d'etat led by the CIA. No islamists.

Saudi Arabia -> US is well known for supporting the Saudi family
Before? Actually still sucked but the saudi family would have been overthrown a long time ago and probably switched into a democracy with growing pains.

Now look at places you dont touch...

Egypt -> Doing fine
Turkey -> Doing fine
Morocco -> Doing fine

My conclusion?

US stops touching shit, stuff would get better eventually. Just look at South America, within a few years of no longer touching it? Every single country now has democratic elections with democratically elected leaders. Native rights are spreading like crazy and minority groups are getting all sorts of equality rights. Corporate abuse is on the downturn and corruption is quickly disappearing. Sure there's lots of crime and shit going on but it's 100x better than before.

But look, Colombia, the only place where the US still is? Still sucks, democracy is a sham and its in a state of perpetual civil war. It almost started a war with Ecuador recently. American intervention only has negative consequences.

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folder icon   01-09-2010, 12:23 PM
Post #8
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Ultra, that's not accurate. The Taliban political movement didn't start till the mid 90's. We funded the Afghani rebels (north and south) in the early 80's.

If you watch the film Hart's War, you'll see the problem wasn't that we funded the people of Afghanistan, it's that we neglected them after they won independence.

Of all the examples given, only Iran holds water. We royally screwed that country up. But Afghanistan wasn't fine before nor during the Soviets. It was always a disaster waiting to happen.

To the best of my knowledge, The CIA didn't install Saddam in Iraq, we simply supported him afterward in a war against Iran, secretly funding both sides to kill each other. Agreed, it's sick, and our subsequent wars were horrible mistake. But if I'm wrong about how Saddam got to power, please tell me.

As for supporting the Sauds, that's no more than we do in all those other countries you say are doing "just fine" even though they also limit freedom to such an extent that it creates extremist groups. Saying Turkey or Egypt is doing just fine is a stretch. Morocco I don't know enough about.

If you feel America is mired in an impossible struggle in Afghanistan, that I can understand. Let's stick to that topic and point out all the weakpoints.

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folder icon   01-09-2010, 02:15 PM
Post #9
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It's fairly accurate because the precursors to the Taliban were the people well funded by the CIA (and giving money and arms and killing dissidents is a bit more than what you do in the other countries). The organization itself hardly hides this fact. Causing something is not necessarily intentional. American CIA most certainly did not want to create an islamist anti-american regime in Afghanistn. I'm saying they caused it to happen. They gave the resources to the people who built the taliban and didn't really care what happened after the Soviets left. I'm willing to attribute this to stupidity rather than malice.


But, focusing more on the topic, my other points were to illustrate why America is never going to succeed in Afghanistan.

A) Even with Obama, the brightest shining star of American politicians, you still do not have the political will power to perform the social improvements necessary to create a fulfilling life for the average Afghan. All Obama did was dump 30 000 troops into the country and begin to shift troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. Whether you put in 100 000 or 1 000 000 troops in there, it doesn't matter.

The Soviet Union showed us exactly why that didn't work. If you want to bomb it all and burn it to the ground in frustration in the end, the Soviets did that too. They eventually began razing every single village and rural community that existed.

Fact of hte matter is, if you always view the Afghan people as an enemy (and I udnerstand that you personally do not but your government does) then you'll never succeed. THey'll just be a target, or a problem, rather than a people and a state.

B) American soldiers are ill equipped to provide aid. I'm sure lots of Americans will disagree with me but most American operations of "aid" inevitably become some sort of combat mission.

The problem is lack of schools and teachers. Few roads and little trade. Farmers who can't grow anything but poppies because the soil is bad and they have no money. Drinking water is an issue. Etc.

What do American soldiers do? Poppies a problem? Napalm the fields. There aren't enough schools? Use them as military bases and make even fewer schools. No drinking water? Empty your canteen in front of an Afghan as a joke.

The American soldier is a killing machine not a ration dispenser. We want results, we need 100 000 aid workers protected by American soldiers. Not 100 000 american soldiers with some aid workers.

C) Media focus.

There's a lot of complaints that the media doesn't focus on the successes of our military and while I beg to differ as to the bias that the media applies, I will say that it does focus solely on combat violence. A car bomb is more exciting than if someone dug a well. A firefight is more newsworthy than building a road. Starting up a school is like a special feature in the corner of a news website but taking out some Taliban stronghold is usually frontline.

If we want to get attention on the real problems of Afghanistan we need to focus both media attention and our political attention to it. We need to focus on building roads and showcasing them. We need to focus on digging wells and showcasing it.

Just look at opinion polls in Afghanistan. Number one concern for Afghans? NATO airstirkes. Next problem? NATO house to house raids that kill people. Next problem? Afghan national police protected by NATO that steals shit and rapes people. You know by the time you get to them complaining about the Taliban, it's quite far down the list.

I know it's a repeating theme but success is economic success. It's like that anywhere. You look at terrorist movements in other countries. Canada had the FLQ, where are they now? Gone now that Quebec is economically successful. You'll notice separatist feelings rise every time there's an economic downturn in the province.

D) Our White Man's Burden Mentality

At the end of the day, Afghanistan is a sovereign state. What this means is...

-They should make the choices ( 70% or something, it was pretty high, of government funds is directed by NATO, not the government itself)
-They should choose their own leaders (They ahve a US business man in power right now)
-THey make their own mistakes
-They fix their own mistakes

What it does not mean is

-We blow up their country and say its their problem
-Offload messes we create onto them

So we do have to balance the fact that we created all their problems in the first place with letting them solve everythign on their own. We should be on the sidelines not centre stage. It's their country.

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folder icon   01-09-2010, 03:00 PM
Post #10
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Blaming the CIA for what happened in Afghanistan is inaccurate. It was the inept government in Afghanistan that quickly fell to the radicals, and it was the US congress, as well as the entire western world, that refused to give the funding and incentives to improve that government. There was also a recession in the US around that time. The CIA does what it can with the money it's given. When that dries up, they can't do squat - not to say their performance is always flawless. Again, watch Hart's War.

Comparing the US's current struggle with that of the Soviet Unions is misguided, so far as I can tell, in that the objectives are different. America isn't engaged in a full scale war against the entire country. We have no interest in occupying the territory or incorporatig it into the US. We're supporting the current (puppet) regime in a police action to thwart a widespread rebellion, and trying to get the average citizens to support and believe in the current govt, as opposed to the Taliban. Still a damn hard thing to do... In such a police action, an increase in troops can be effective, as evidenced in Iraq and also in New York City (obviously a different situation all together). We have no interest in bombing or razing villages. What we want is damage control - to prevent as much terrorism and extremist influence as possible.

I see what you're saying with the rest, but I don't like the idea of throwing up my hands and saying, it's their country, their decisions. We tried that last time, and it turned into a terrorist training ground. I think they need some nudging toward modernization and rule of law, through a strong cetral government. It's the only way to end the bribary and raise enough cash for living wages of workers, so that government officials don't need bribes anymore.

One thing about those Afhan polls - it really depends on the province. In some of those Southern ones, local people can't do anything at all related to what the US military wants or the government, because you never know when the Taliban will come back, but they always do, and they always pick someone to kill and string up in the center of town, as a warning to the rest. They do this for things like digging a well, opening a school, sending kids to school, taking any kind of aid. assisting the US military, etc...

I think I read somewhere that the number of schools has increased, at least in Kabul, but I need to check to confirm that. I think the problem is there are tons of new elementary/primary schools, but hardly any spots available for higher education. A seperate problem is brain drain - all these students who graduate can't get jobs, because they're more qualified than the superiors in government they'd be working for, and those bosses are intimidated. It's not what you know, but who you know... that you can bribe. So graduating students try to leave the country to find work.

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folder icon   01-10-2010, 12:36 AM
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Concerning the Talibans, Alqaida and transnational islamic networks, they were created by the CIA through the ISI. It was the ISI that was in contact with them back in 1979.

When the CIA lost interest in the mujahedeens after the Soviet got out of Afghanistan, the ISI tightened its influence over them thereafter, to the point where the Talibans were/are understood as a national asset by the ISI.

The ISI's independance and autonomy and its control over the Talibans is the reason why both the US and Islamabad cant get at the Talibans; the ISI wont let them.

Here's a short and nice article about it.

The ISI and Terrorism: Behind the Accusations

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folder icon   01-10-2010, 12:53 AM
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I'm just saying this to nuance ultra's statement that "we created these terrorist networks because of our own interventions therefore all interventions are necessarily evil".

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folder icon   01-10-2010, 12:57 AM
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Basing an argument on a movie is shaky at best. What b~e says is more accurate. The point is that the CIA is the one that jump-started the Taliban and blaming the issues on the Afghans afterward is kinda shifting way too much blame away from the US. They threw in the fuel, ISI lit the fire.

And your description of the entire war in Afghanistan mirrors the Soviet objectives exactly. I'm not sure what description of the Soviet-Afghan war you read but that's basically what they watned to do. They're the ones that introduced universities, built a highway system and attempted to bring urban culture to the country. They wanted to set up a friendly government to the USSR. The rebellion happened in the rural areas, the mountainous regions and hard to get areas. They tried to fight it but it kept spreading. They poured more troops in and it didnt work. Other shit hit the fan and the USSR dissolved, leaving a lot of weapons behind in the country.

Also, I think you're rather biased as to what the Taliban do. Now, I'm not suggesting they're good leaders or that they don't publicly execute people for working for the west but they run a government in the south. THey collect taxes, they provide social services and they do a lot of things. They might suck but since NATO can't guarantee anything, not even their presence and the central government basically has no money to do anything for them, the taliban are the only alternative. It's much like the Hezbollah in Lebanon. Sure, they're pretty nasty people but your house gets blown up by israelis? You get a gym bag full of money.

I know you don't like my idea of leaving a country well enough alone but realize Americans have caused a lot of headaches and tens of millions of death because they couldn't do that. Deaths that aren't on your hands don't result in a 9/11 and you don't have to care as much. No one is going to go "KILL ALL THE AMERICANS!" becuase you sent a country aid. Notice where all the terrorists that attack america come from, ask yourself what the US is doing in those countires and you have clear answers of cause and effect.

Besides, of the 9/11 hijackers, how many were afghan? They were almost all saudi. I think you invaded the wrong country.

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folder icon   01-10-2010, 12:58 AM
Post #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black~Enthusiasm
I'm just saying this to nuance ultra's statement that "we created these terrorist networks because of our own interventions therefore all interventions are necessarily evil".

You seem to reinforce that sentiment.

I think soft intervention is useful. Hard intervnetion is the problem.

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folder icon   01-10-2010, 11:31 PM
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Look, whether the CIA funded the mujahadeen in Afghanistan through the ISI, or not, they weren't funding the Taliban. The Taliban movement began in 1996. Read it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban

It wasn't a blunder, the blunder was dropping the ball afterwards.

I got the film name wrong

It's Charlie Wilson's War, and it's historically accurate, according to Reagan Era appointees who watched it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Wilson%27s_War

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folder icon   01-11-2010, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by so and so
Look, whether the CIA funded the mujahadeen in Afghanistan through the ISI, or not, they weren't funding the Taliban. The Taliban movement began in 1996. Read it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban

It wasn't a blunder, the blunder was dropping the ball afterwards.

I got the film name wrong

It's Charlie Wilson's War, and it's historically accurate, according to Reagan Era appointees who watched it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Wilson%27s_War


Yeah i knew which film you were talking about, so that's fine. Besides, the key point here is side effect of intervention. CIA gave money to support mujahadeen and an islamist movement in Afghanistan, tore the country apart in a proxy war with the Soviets and eventually the Taliban came to power from this environment. I'm not saying that America wanted the taliban to come to power, or worked hard to have that happen, I'm saying it happened due to a side effect of hard intervention.

Just look at what's happening in afghanistan right now. The US and UK have been paying millions of dollars to support regional warlords to fight al-queda and other islamist groups like the taliban (the various groups that are broadly labelled as such anyway). You have a puppet government in power, with a US business man at the lead and his brother is one of the biggest drug lords in the country. Opium production is throught the roof and as much as we'd like to blame it on the taliban, half the people int he government are drug lords. Am i to believe the Taliban who eradicated the production are the same ones that are making it happen rather than the drug lords that are in power?

America has issues whenever it makes hard intervention.

A) Who do you want to put into power? USA doesn't want general elections with real candidates. Even if they genuinely wanted it, how could it even be possible? The entire region is set up either in a tribal fashion or as an oligarchy. There's no choice available. You either have american puppets, warlords, drug lords, criminal masterminds or terrorists. Wow wee what a democracy. This is something that take decades to repair after all the war that has devastated the country.

I might add that the CIA and Soviet union were directly responsible for this mess, causing the conflict which resulted in a 20 year long civil war. That is the reason why there is no democracy. You can't just go, hey in america we have freedom but in afghanistan there is not. You have to understand that for 20 years it was war, death and destruction in afghanistan. Having the taliban in power was an improvement. Moving up from the taliban would have happened, maybe 20-50 years later... but can't really estimate that.

Our war put the drug king pins and militant warlords in power. How great.

B) You have a vastly uneducated population who couldn't vote for anything beyond "that guy seems to have a lot of posters up". How many people even understand a tax system, basic economics or anything else for that matter? The brain drain is one thing, as well as the lack of universities but really these things take a very long time to take hold and it cannot be forced.

I don't believe we can be in the country for 30-40 years for the changes to happen, nor do I believe afghans want us there for that long...or even if they want us there right now. Some do, some don't, it's a game of favours right now.

C) Are you willing to take losses and not do anything about it? That's honestly what you have to do. Car bomb hits your soldiers, you do not go out and then start doing house to house raids and police searches, checkpoints and airstrikes. That's what we currently do.

Maybe you do want to take a softer approach, but so long as America has the military in charge, it's never going to happen. Parents of a dead soldiers wont like to hear "Sorry ma'am but we're not going to hit the taliban stronghold that the fighters came from because it could endanger civilian lives." They're going to be asking why we arent dropping nukes on them yet.

Which kinda leads to the next point...

D) Afghanistan is a large country and we've limited resources. We don't have a bajillion troops, or a bajillion dollars, or anything for that matter. We have to pick and choose land to hold and stay there. We're constantly running around taking on everything thinking that we're the best country in the world and we can take on some measly terrorists.

This is hardly the case. The taliban were once the government power and they still have a significant military and support network. We choose what cities and villages we can hold and we take those positions. We secure them. We make sure afghans can go to school, go to the market places and everything without ever worrying. We make sure they can give names of soldiers they talk to regualrly, they can see friendly faces. When a NATO soldier walks by they can wave and say hello in whatever local language.

We don't strike out at strongholds, we leave those lands to burn. It's unfortunate but its a lot worse if we take out taliban in one town, move on and let it fall back into the hands of the taliban. Then whatever supporters we had are going to be publicly executed in the town. Then we come back and then who is going to support us then? They'll either tell us to get the hell out, help the taliban, or maybe there's still some support left. Repeat a few times, we won't have any support.

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folder icon   01-13-2010, 01:52 PM
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Here's an interesting read: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/...oryId=122486923

Ultra I read your statement, and started to respond when my computer restarted. I'll get to it, but you're making a lot of sense.

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folder icon   01-14-2010, 12:32 PM
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Man, that South America argument was pure brilliance. I mean, yeah, Venezuela is such a beacon of democracy in the region, it even has military patrolling the shops so that the owners can not raise prices after Chavez devalued the national currency. Thank god yanks didn't touch it, or I bet it would be totally undemocratic by now.

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folder icon   01-15-2010, 10:52 PM
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Ooookay if you want to discuss CIA in South America...

Argentina
Supported military juntas
Eventually they got back to free elections.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_ac...es_in_Argentina

Brazil
Assisted the rise of a military dictatorship in Brazil, which ruled 1964-1985
As the documents are still classified, its not clear how much CIA helped out
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1964_Brazilian_coup_d'%C3%A9tat
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_activities_in_Brazil

Chile
Pinochet. End of line.
They do have a democracy now.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_activities_in_Chile

Colombia
Ran drug operations (or their anti-drug policies had the effect of increasing drug activity) and also is currently accused of supporting terrorists and far right groups
Also might be supporting death squads
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_activities_in_Colombia

Peru
Well they sold arms to someone accused of corruption, human right violations and possibly ran death squads
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_activities_in_Peru

Venezuela
Trained secret police DISIP which apparently has a horrendous record of human right abuses
May or may not have supported a coup against Chavez, who was democratically elected
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_ac...es_in_Venezuela

And to mirror your post...

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folder icon   01-16-2010, 03:48 AM
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The topic is the taliban. Make a new thread.

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folder icon   01-16-2010, 06:12 AM
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So? You argued that whenever US supported regime changes in South America, the countries became "a mess." But ironically, the biggest mess of them all when it comes to human rights and freedom is Venezuela, with its "democratically elected" Hugo Chavez. Therefore, I would say that blaming everything that goes wrong in South America on CIA is utter bullshit.

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folder icon   01-16-2010, 10:39 PM
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Well my point isn't to be confrontational, the discussion is meant to be able to determine an enhancement to American foreign policy (ignoring the fact that our discussion will be ignored by the American government) to enable better results.

The interaction between the US and Venezuela was not beneficial. Through the aid of the CIA, the Venezuelan government created the DISIP, the secret police. They've been accused consistently of causing human right violations typically to support whatever government is in power. Currently, Hugo Chavez is using that same organization to cause his human right violations. I would classify this as a negative consequence of American interference.

I don't see what's ironic about Hugo Chavez. He is more ironic than Pinochet? He is more ironic than Fujimori? What is so ironic about a leader who leans on socialist policies versus military juntas and fascist dictators? I find it hard to argue he is the worst human rights violator in South American history when everyone preceding his generation outright slaughtered tens of thousands while driving tanks down streets.

The point is that America is too military centric when it comes to foreign policy. In Afghanistan, they focus on a military drive, with civilians in the aid doing some work. It should be the reverse. Schools, roads, irrigation etc is what empowers people to make democracy. I think people believe too much in the ability to vote and forget the point of voting, which is to select between a wide range of capable candidates who each are able to form sound policy and through such ability to select leaders, the populace chooses the best leader to move forward their country for the next few years. My repeating theme is that several decades later you always remember the civic improvements but military occupations will likely produce many negative consequences that far outweigh whatever good comes out of it.

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folder icon   01-17-2010, 01:29 AM
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Ultra_punk, I never said that Hugo Chavez is the worst dictator in history of South America. I did, however, say that his regime is the worst dictatorship in SA right now. I think its very hard to argue this point given Chavez's methods of dealing with opposition and free media.

Socialist policies? Putting military on the streets to control shop prices is now called "leaning on socialist policies?" Gimme a break.

I do somewhat agree with your point regarding the effectiveness of infrastructural policies vs. military invasions. But I don't think that Afghanistan is the right example to illustrate this point. When you see a terrorist network overtaking the whole country, you wont stop it by building roads and schools. Improving infrastructure and public education is very effective for long term development, but immediate dangers like Al Qaeda require immediate responses.

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folder icon   01-17-2010, 04:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McLeod
Improving infrastructure and public education is very effective for long term development, but immediate dangers like Al Qaeda require immediate responses.
I read a really nice article a little while back about 'Al Qaeda' in Yeomen. It was all about how it does not exist. Al Qeada, I am so sick of hearing about how there is a shadowy network of evil people all plotting to kill every westerner they can. More then likely there isn't, at least if you dig and read enough no one ever has real links to Al Qeada as is so often claimed. It has become more like a war cry for the disenfranchised... But any way that is not the point of my post.

I agree with Ultra to a point, but simply want to point out that with out a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence all the schools and roads in the world are not going to matter two hoots.

Meh...


edit: I have always wonder if it isn't Dr. Evil that is the head of the shadowy organization

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folder icon   01-17-2010, 06:35 AM
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Sammy, I see what you're saying, but I think you're missing the larger picture.

There is a such thing as Al Queda, but it's fractured/splintered in many, many different groups, with different goals, some of whom call themselves Al Queda, and some of whom have the name thrusted on them. America refers to most of the Taliban as Al Queda, while war critics reserve the name for the few international terrorist organizers still recruiting in the region. They say only 80 or so Al Queda are in the country, so why not leave and somehow use missiles or special ops to snipe those 80 people. It's an ignorant stance, considering the reality of the situation. Just to be clear, it's ignorant in that some think it'd work. If the large troop presence and surge don't work either, than that would also be ignorant, and at least leaving now would save resources...

Saying there's no Al Queda in Yemen implies that there's no threat in Yemen, which is false. Yemen actually has two separatist movements from the government, one to the north and one in the south. Neither one is strong, but neither is the government, and either rebel group could make an agreement with Al Queda operatives anywhere in the world, and at any time to carry out some other terrorist act. Call them whatever you want, but in the end, it's a national security issue.

That's what makes all this so difficult. Any two of these thousands of groups all over the world could get together at any time and plan something. That's why it's an international network, and completely haphazard, random, highly adaptable, hard to trace, and impossible to stop. It's also why America needs to shift its role to something more positive, pressing Israel for peace, leaving Iraq in a stable condition, placating Iran to some degree, and bringing great peace and prosperity to Afghanistan - without proseletyzing anywhere.

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folder icon   01-17-2010, 01:52 PM
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new article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/18/w...n.html?ref=asia

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folder icon   01-18-2010, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by so and so
Sammy, I see what you're saying, but I think you're missing the larger picture.

There is a such thing as Al Queda, but it's fractured/splintered in many, many different groups, with different goals, some of whom call themselves Al Queda, and some of whom have the name thrusted on them. America refers to most of the Taliban as Al Queda, while war critics reserve the name for the few international terrorist organizers still recruiting in the region. They say only 80 or so Al Queda are in the country, so why not leave and somehow use missiles or special ops to snipe those 80 people. It's an ignorant stance, considering the reality of the situation. Just to be clear, it's ignorant in that some think it'd work. If the large troop presence and surge don't work either, than that would also be ignorant, and at least leaving now would save resources...

Saying there's no Al Queda in Yemen implies that there's no threat in Yemen, which is false. Yemen actually has two separatist movements from the government, one to the north and one in the south. Neither one is strong, but neither is the government, and either rebel group could make an agreement with Al Queda operatives anywhere in the world, and at any time to carry out some other terrorist act. Call them whatever you want, but in the end, it's a national security issue.

That's what makes all this so difficult. Any two of these thousands of groups all over the world could get together at any time and plan something. That's why it's an international network, and completely haphazard, random, highly adaptable, hard to trace, and impossible to stop. It's also why America needs to shift its role to something more positive, pressing Israel for peace, leaving Iraq in a stable condition, placating Iran to some degree, and bringing great peace and prosperity to Afghanistan - without proseletyzing anywhere.

I am not missing the larger picture, if anything I am trying to look at it.

There is no Al Queda, there hasn't been since the group was all but destroyed in the Afghan war. Al Queda is now simply put a buzz word for the western media.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BBC International News - Somalia and Yemen
Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Raage portrayed al-Shabab as no more than the organised arm of Islamic resistance to Western oppression.
He denied formal links with groups like al-Qaeda.
"What is al-Qaeda?" the Sheikh asked. "It is Muslim people who are massacred in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and other Islamic countries like Yemen.
A Muslim is the brother of other Muslims, he said, "so we and al-Qaeda share the Muslim faith and are fighting for freedom. That's all we share.""

(Full Article)

The problem with buzz words is that they are self filling prophecies. They are used by a government in order to rally its populace, then the same buzz word is used by the 'enemy' in order to rally like minded people. Thus "It has become more like a war cry for the disenfranchised..." To say 'Al Qaeda' exists as an international and organized group is completely miss guided. When Obama talked in legal terms about the man responsible for the suppose Dec 25th 09 incident there was a out cry form the media and opposition that he had forgotten his duties, simply because his spoke of a criminal act as a criminal act. Then before we know it the man is an evil terrorist with links to the shadowy conspiracy that is Yemen Al Qaeda. Not that the organization existed before the 25 of Dec 09.

"One man's terrorist is another man's Freedom Fighter" (According to WikiAnswers this quote is attributed to Walter Laqueur. I don't claim to know its origin though, but would like to).

The reason for the quote is it is good to keep it in mind when thinking about so called terrorist and the reasons for the actions taking by the people whom you are labeling as terrorist.

I agree that the US has to shift its way of thinking and the role it tries to play. And I have never once said that there are not those that which to see the US to harm.

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folder icon   01-18-2010, 06:06 AM
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I think I would have to side with Sammy. I've never seen a single terrorist cell that was actually called Al Queda, it looks more like the US made it up to prosecute some terrorists and then people like Osama just picked it up as a rallying cry. Then it just took on a life on its own. Most of the people Canadian soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan are just joe schmoes. They get labelled Taliban because otherwise you don't want to hear Canadian soldiers just killing random ass Afghans who don't like foreign soldiers.

There was a case of JTF-2 going in to kill some warlord. He was a pretty bad guy, using roadside bombs and so on to kill our soldiers. So, we figured, we'd drop in at night, via helicopter, wipe him and his leadership out and we'd be done. Then we'll have liberated the locals.

About one hour into the mission, the warlord and most of his leadership are dead but the fighting is still going on. It's a massive gun battle that is starting to involve all the local villages. Pretty soon, it's quite obvious none of the people the JTF-2 team is fighting are even the warlord's troops. What's going on? Apparently all the local villages rose up in arms because all they saw was this NATO helicopter drop in, soldiers rushed into a village, killed a bunch of people and then they called up on their cell phones, asked what was going on, grabbed their ak-47s and joined in the battle. We called them Taliban afterwards. Not even the warlord was Taliban.

When I say economic development is key to winning the battle, I didn't say we should pull out soldiers. I was saying they shouldn't be leading the command and they shouldn't be the focus. When we talk about missions it should be along the lines of, "We'll build a school in that village". What it should imply is that our soldiers will protect that school. What protection do girls get when they go to school? Nothing because our soldiers are busy doing something else. Then you have to ask, what is more important than protecting people walking to school? Apparently attacking a stronghold that can just be moved next week. Whereas a single attack on a school could render it unusable until we rebuild.

And lastly, as for Hugo Chavez being the worst leader in South American right now is sorta a pointless statement. Wouldn't there always be a leader that is always the worst in any continent? There's no more US-installed regimes anymore, so I'm not sure what the statement is supposed to mean. Are you trying to say that countries can pick bad leaders without US interference? Certainly they can. My point was merely that US involvement in South America led to worse leaders rather than better ones. Besides, the Colombian leaders are pretty god damn awful and far worse than military forcing price controls. It's military killing whole lot of people and seemingly don't care about starting wars with equador or venezuela.

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folder icon   01-18-2010, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultra_punk
When I say economic development is key to winning the battle, I didn't say we should pull out soldiers. I was saying they shouldn't be leading the command and they shouldn't be the focus. When we talk about missions it should be along the lines of, "We'll build a school in that village". What it should imply is that our soldiers will protect that school. What protection do girls get when they go to school? Nothing because our soldiers are busy doing something else. Then you have to ask, what is more important than protecting people walking to school? Apparently attacking a stronghold that can just be moved next week. Whereas a single attack on a school could render it unusable until we rebuild.

And lastly, as for Hugo Chavez being the worst leader in South American right now is sorta a pointless statement. Wouldn't there always be a leader that is always the worst in any continent? There's no more US-installed regimes anymore, so I'm not sure what the statement is supposed to mean. Are you trying to say that countries can pick bad leaders without US interference? Certainly they can. My point was merely that US involvement in South America led to worse leaders rather than better ones. Besides, the Colombian leaders are pretty god damn awful and far worse than military forcing price controls. It's military killing whole lot of people and seemingly don't care about starting wars with equador or venezuela.

While I do agree with you that the western forces should not be leading the command what real choice do they have? It is not like the Afghan's have a military that thus can lead the command. It is not like they have a police force that can control the streets. Now before you say it, yes that is a problem that should be rectified by the western forces in the way of more training, setting up those institutions, etc. But in the mean time some one have to defend the 'green zone'.

Western forces should be protecting school children?. Sorry but simply put Afghanistan is a really big place and the west simply does not have that many soldiers. If we were to do it that way we would neglect the vast majority of the country and start in a very small space in order to work out ward. This would only in courage the country populace to take up arms against the foreign antagonist who was trying to change their way of life. ie. the Taliban. One has to either work with the Taliban, or organize strikes against the 'enemy'. The west thus has no real choice but to continue down the path it has started which will end in defeat because we are too arrogant in what is best for the rest of the world then to admit and change. Lets face it, we want the world to be democratic but only if they have our chosen style of democracy electing our chosen candidates. They maybe country bumpkins but it would appear that these Afghani's and far less stupid then we think...

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folder icon   01-19-2010, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultra_punk

And lastly, as for Hugo Chavez being the worst leader in South American right now is sorta a pointless statement. Wouldn't there always be a leader that is always the worst in any continent? There's no more US-installed regimes anymore, so I'm not sure what the statement is supposed to mean. Are you trying to say that countries can pick bad leaders without US interference? Certainly they can. My point was merely that US involvement in South America led to worse leaders rather than better ones. Besides, the Colombian leaders are pretty god damn awful and far worse than military forcing price controls. It's military killing whole lot of people and seemingly don't care about starting wars with equador or venezuela.


Colombia is basically in a state of civil war, with a big chunk of its land under control of drug cartels and guerrilas. Comparing the situation there to Venezuela is like comparing Obama to George Washington and arguing that the latter was less democratic because he had the military marching all over the country killing people.

In any case, your point was that US installed regimes were somehow worse that than others. How about Castro? That's another beacon of democracy and freedom in the region, which was also not installed by CIA.

So maybe its not the CIA which installs bad leaders and is root of all evil in the world, but rather low standards of living and education that cause these countries to give birth to various dictatorships?

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folder icon   01-19-2010, 09:40 PM
Post #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McLeod
Colombia is basically in a state of civil war, with a big chunk of its land under control of drug cartels and guerrilas. Comparing the situation there to Venezuela is like comparing Obama to George Washington and arguing that the latter was less democratic because he had the military marching all over the country killing people.

In any case, your point was that US installed regimes were somehow worse that than others. How about Castro? That's another beacon of democracy and freedom in the region, which was also not installed by CIA.

So maybe its not the CIA which installs bad leaders and is root of all evil in the world, but rather low standards of living and education that cause these countries to give birth to various dictatorships?

I agree about the whole 'blame the CIA' thing. I how ever like Castro, at least he can proved health care.

How ever, it is inherent with in the capitalist system that the rich exploit the poor. So in essence it is our fault that these countries are the way they are. If they were educated and had higher living standards we would not be so wealthy... Blaming the west for its interference and exploitation of its people does have credence

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folder icon   01-26-2010, 12:02 AM
Post #32
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oh shit: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/26/w....html?ref=world

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folder icon   01-26-2010, 06:45 PM
Post #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McLeod
Colombia is basically in a state of civil war, with a big chunk of its land under control of drug cartels and guerrilas. Comparing the situation there to Venezuela is like comparing Obama to George Washington and arguing that the latter was less democratic because he had the military marching all over the country killing people.

In any case, your point was that US installed regimes were somehow worse that than others. How about Castro? That's another beacon of democracy and freedom in the region, which was also not installed by CIA.

So maybe its not the CIA which installs bad leaders and is root of all evil in the world, but rather low standards of living and education that cause these countries to give birth to various dictatorships?


Why not both? You're making an assumption that only one can be true but this is not a proof by contradiction. They have major social problems due to lack of financial assets which result in low levels of education and poor standard of living. The CIA hasn't been helping. US interference typically has negative effects.

You say Castro is bad, what of the person before Castro? Was he not much worse? Or for Hugo Chavez, perhaps then, you prefer the military dictatorship, supported by the US, to have been much better? Maybe those elements were pre-existing in the South American countries but if the US added 10 years to their life time, expanded the nubmer of deaths by say 10 million, that's on their hands.

I'll avoid being offensive, since certain topics of regime change and foreign interference is more sensitive than others but I have to say that since I wouldn't expect/want any foreign power to install a regime over my head in my country, no matter how corrupt my own government is, I apply the same sentiment for others. I don't support regime toppling, I don't support taking over other people's countries, I don't support dropping troops into a land if the people don't want it (I'm willing to have peacekeepers though).

Also as an expansion on my idea, since I see some of you missed some of what I said and posed new questions on it...

The economic and aid work might need soldiers but many agencies that have been Afghanistan since long before the war and continue to operate there have not taken any losses nor have they been threatened. What we have done is militarized the economic work of the new slew of NGOs, turning them into targets. So you've two choices...

a) Make them not targets by removing the military element from their day to day operations.

b) Use all our troops only to protect aid workers, schools and projects. I stated in an earlier post, this would leave a lot of land to the various groups which we've labelled as taliban. This is perfectly acceptable and I already said as much. We don't have the manpower to both attack strongholds, take land, patrol on the ground and protect aid workers. We have to pick the most important things to do and make sure we do them all the way. Half-assing everything is just going to get people killed for nothing. Don't build a school unless its safe or we have troops to guard it if its not safe.

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folder icon   01-26-2010, 09:53 PM
Post #34
Sammy the Saint

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultra_punk
Why not both? You're making an assumption that only one can be true but this is not a proof by contradiction. They have major social problems due to lack of financial assets which result in low levels of education and poor standard of living. The CIA hasn't been helping. US interference typically has negative effects.

You say Castro is bad, what of the person before Castro? Was he not much worse? Or for Hugo Chavez, perhaps then, you prefer the military dictatorship, supported by the US, to have been much better? Maybe those elements were pre-existing in the South American countries but if the US added 10 years to their life time, expanded the nubmer of deaths by say 10 million, that's on their hands.

Or maybe US interference decreased deaths by 10 million, and their interference and support for dictatorships fostered a belief in democracy, which may never have happened if they had not interfered... Speculation of such things sucks balls and really does not win arguments, not even on the internet. Evidence or just stop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultra_punk
I'll avoid being offensive, since certain topics of regime change and foreign interference is more sensitive than others but I have to say that since I wouldn't expect/want any foreign power to install a regime over my head in my country, no matter how corrupt my own government is, I apply the same sentiment for others. I don't support regime toppling, I don't support taking over other people's countries, I don't support dropping troops into a land if the people don't want it (I'm willing to have peacekeepers though).
Where as if I was fighting against a corrupt government that was killing my people by the hundreds I would welcome my bothers from other counties that wished to help me fight against the oppressor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultra_punk
Also as an expansion on my idea, since I see some of you missed some of what I said and posed new questions on it...

The economic and aid work might need soldiers but many agencies that have been Afghanistan since long before the war and continue to operate there have not taken any losses nor have they been threatened. What we have done is militarized the economic work of the new slew of NGOs, turning them into targets. So you've two choices...

a) Make them not targets by removing the military element from their day to day operations.

b) Use all our troops only to protect aid workers, schools and projects. I stated in an earlier post, this would leave a lot of land to the various groups which we've labelled as taliban. This is perfectly acceptable and I already said as much. We don't have the manpower to both attack strongholds, take land, patrol on the ground and protect aid workers. We have to pick the most important things to do and make sure we do them all the way. Half-assing everything is just going to get people killed for nothing. Don't build a school unless its safe or we have troops to guard it if its not safe.

Since when did the Taliban allow foreign agencies in to their country?... Here...
Quote:
Originally Posted by WIKIPEDIA - Taliban -- Relations with the United Nations and aid agencies
A major issue during the Taliban's reign was its relations with the United Nations (UN) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Twenty years of continuous warfare, first with the Soviets and then between mujahideen, had devastated Afghanistan's infrastructure and economy. There was no running water, little electricity, few telephones, motorable roads or regular energy supplies. Basic necessities like water, food and housing and others were in desperately short supply. In addition, the clan and family structure that provided Afghans with a social/economic safety net was also badly damaged.[50][107] Afghanistan's infant mortality was the highest in the world. A full quarter of all children died before they reached their fifth birthday, a rate several times higher than most other developing countries.[108]
Consequently international charitable and/or development organisations (NGOs) were extremely important to the supply of food, employment, reconstruction, and other services in Afghanistan. With one million plus deaths during the years of war, the number of families headed by widows had reached 98,000 by 1998.[109] Thus Taliban restrictions on women were sometime a matter not only of human rights, but of life and death. In Kabul, where vast portions of the city had been devastated from rocket attacks, more than half of its 1.2 million people benefited in some way from NGO charity, even for water to drink.[110] The civil war and its refugee-creation processes continued during the entire time the Taliban were in power. During that time, more than three-quarters of a million civilians were displaced by new Taliban offensives in the north around Mazar, on the Herat front, and in the fertile Shomali valley around Kabul. The offensives used "scorched-earth" tactics to prevent civilians from supplying the enemy with aid.[111]
Despite the receipt of UN and NGO aid, the Taliban's attitude toward the UN and NGOs was often one of suspicion, not gratitude or even tolerance. The UN operates on the basis of international law, not Islamic Sharia, and the UN did not recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. Additionally, most of the foreign donors and aid workers, who had tried to persuade the Taliban to change its strict policies and allow women more freedom, were non-Muslims.
As the Taliban's Attorney General Maulvi Jalil-ullah Maulvizada put it:
Let us state what sort of education the UN wants. This is a big infidel policy which gives such obscene freedom to women which would lead to adultery and herald the destruction of Islam. In any Islamic country where adultery becomes common, that country is destroyed and enters the domination of the infidels because their men become like women and women cannot defend themselves. Anyone who talks to us should do so within Islam's framework. The Holy Koran cannot adjust itself to other people's requirements, people should adjust themselves to the requirements of the Holy Koran.[112]
Frustrations of aid agencies were numerous. Taliban decision-makers, particularly Mullah Omar, seldom if ever talked directly to non-Muslim foreigners, so aid providers had to deal with intermediaries whose approvals and agreements were often reversed by Taliban higher-ups.[47] Around September 1997 the heads of three UN agencies in Kandahar were expelled from the country after protesting over a female lawyer for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees being forced to talk to Taliban officials from behind a curtain so her face would not be visible.[113]
When the UN increased the number of Muslim women staff to satisfy Taliban demands for Muslim staff, the Taliban then insisted "all female Muslim UN staff traveling to Afghanistan to be chaperoned by a mahram or a blood relative."[114] In July 1998, the Taliban closed down "all NGO offices" by force after those organization refused to move to a bombed-out former Polytechnic College as ordered.[115] One month later the UN offices were also shut down.[116]
As food prices rose and conditions deteriorated, the Taliban Planning Minister Qari Din Mohammed explained the Taliban's indifference to the loss of humanitarian aid:
We Muslims believe God the Almighty will feed everybody one way or another. If the foreign NGOs leave then it is their decision. We have not expelled them.[117]
In 2009 a top U.N official calls for talks with taliban [118], later on in 2010 the 'U.N lift sanctions on Taliban to build peace in Afghanistan'[119].U.N say ' Reduce Taliban names on terror list' such as Taliban leaders [120]
In 2010 western aid donor 'Back Taliban plan'

Link.
Yeah you are right the Taliban loved NGO's and the UN. Hell they really tried to work with them, tolerated, and respected them even!.

NGO's and the UN have always been a target for the Taliban, they always will... That was a) by the by...

B) Not enough troops. And no, you cant leave most of the country to the Taliban and Warloads, if you do you will never get it back and most likely start a never ending civil war by allowing the 'enemy' to gain a foot hold... Try again

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folder icon   01-27-2010, 12:41 AM
Post #35
Ultra_punk

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Well this discussion on South America is rather circular so long as we're merely going to back ideological arguments.

My point is simply this.

A) Don't back military dictatorships. That's bad.

Backing Pinochet led to many deaths.
Backing Fujimori who used death squads.
Backing Papa Doc who regularly executed people due to his paranoia.

B) Don't interfere in domestic elections. People get to elect who they want, it's their choice.

Ousting Aristride from power in Haiti, resulting in lawlessness up to now because voter turn out rate has dropped in 11% as the government has no more legitimacy since a death squad staged a coup d'etat.

C) Don't train intelligence agencies in other countries. Intelligence agencies typically do bad things.

Creating DISIP in Venezuela, trained by CIA, an agency responsible for many human right crimes.

D) Don't interfere militarily in a country unless you have a UN backed mandate from the security council to deploy peacekeepers in the country.

Use of military in Colombia has been generally disruptive with no clear gains. I can however document the monetary cost and the lives lost in the campaigns. Without international backing and political impetus, dropping thousands of soldiers in a country is generally very bad. Take for instance, the UN-backing of the Korean War versus zero consensus on the Vietnam war. Even the more recent Iraq versus Afghanistan is the perfect example. Without international backing, you have virtually no chance at even looking like you're helping.

---

If you like having foreigners in power in your country then that's your opinion I suppose, I personally wouldn't want foreigners in power of my country. No invading country has ever considered itself the bad guys, the excuse is always that we're doing something good for them, or in our defence. Those are always the excuses to justify the invasion of another country. If I got foreign support to back a domestic uprising against a corrupt regime, personally I might take it (assuming no strings attached), however, that's very different from a foreign power coming into my country and telling me I'm liberated. Usually I'd only get liberated from my oil.

That said, I'm all for Greater Canada. Need more living space, we'll just take it from the dirty Americans. Or perhaps, Canada should restart the British Empire, except with us in the lead. That'll be nice. Crush anybody who opposes us.

---

The Taliban sucked ass, they broke human rights and they did a lot of bad things. But even the article states they didn't kill them and that was my whole point. It's a big difference between gunning down NGO personnel and not working with them. NGOs didn't need soldiers to survive in Afghanistan in the past until we bombed the country. There's plenty of horrible governments out there, the solution is not military action.

Okay, I'll write for like the fourth or fifth time my strategy. We leave out areas that we have insufficient troops to cover so that we have enough troops to patrol the remaining areas. We start at the urban centres and slowly branch out. What is this, a negative correlation between area covered and troops required?

This is the strategy taken by the EU troops in the more peaceful regions which have now basically eliminated all their Taliban elements (although the warlords that in power in the karzai regime will be a long term issue). It works. EU troops take almost no losses and can walk around on the streets. Heck, they even take naps, confident that they won't be attacked. Taliban have no ability to assail those positions and they enjoy zero public support.

We managed to make peace treaties with various Taliban leaders via negotiations. All of these peace treaties eventually failed because the Americans did not stop bombing them and committing assassination missions. We're the ones that aren't trustworthy at all. I can understand that if we negotiate peace, certain areas of the country will fall under Sharia law. However, my point is that democracy and human rights isn't something that is gained at the end of a gun barrel. That's called enlightened dictatorship. If that's the solution, then fuck it, leave the country. They're fully capable of resolving the issues themselves and I really don't give a shit if it takes them 50 years. We're not a target of terrorism if we don't screw with a country. Canada was never a target until we started bombing shit in Afghanistan.

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