Thursday, July 09, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"Time after time"


God made the Israelites wander in the desert until two generations had past and the stain of slavery was washed from their culture. Some things take time. They also take a focused effort. Anne Coulter was not attempting to pass the Foreign Service oral examination after 9-11 when she said "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" but she had the essentials down right. When the Japanese missionaries were kidnapped in Afghanistan we should have gone ballistic and wiped out villages. When they lynched our four contractors in Fallujah we should have leveled the place. In between those extremes we should do lots of civic improvement projects. Our clear and stated goal should always be to ensure that they understand the choices have to be between tolerance and death. Afghanistan and Iraq should be crawling with Jesuits and Baptists and Hasidim and Buddhists and Zoroastrians. A 16 year old girl should be able to walk unmolested from Kandahar to Kabul or Basrah to Kirkuk, in a string bikini.

It is not an airport security problem and we cannot isolate them in an aboriginal reserve.

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exhelodrvr,
(who extolls the value of improved roads for Afghanistan)
In the long run the roads help change the culture but in the short run they (roads, planes, cell phones) make it easier for the bad guys to get out and come after us. Isolation is not an answer but engagement does increase short term risk. Of course in the long term we are all dead anyway.

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exhelodrvr,
I agree with your position but we do need to understand that a complex security situation unfolds as we upgrade communications. It is like Schrodinger’s cat, once we show up and change things we must understand that things change. Now that sounds profound enough to be carved in stone. The second problem that we still face in Afghanistan is the logistical tether that we beat to death on many Belmont Club threads. Putin’s beneficence does not make me feel better about having 70,000 Americans out in the back of beyond with Obama watching their 6. Finbally we have the problem of how Afghan’s treat a road passing their village. They are like a thousand small town Ohio speed trap operators were in America when the Interstate pushed through. The first thing they want to do is set up a road block and impose a transit tax on anyone using the road. The second thing they do is threaten to blow it up unless they get protection money.

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