Listen to this man–the day of the Iraq Invasion he warned the US of what was to come and the man was dead on (no pun intended). An article in Examiner.com by Jay McDonough:
wrote a post a couple weeks ago outlining Juan Cole’s concern over the emerging U.S. strategy to send more troops to Afghanistan in light of the increasing level of violence and a resurgence of Taliban influence. From that post:
If the Afghanistan gambit is sincere, I don’t think it is good geostrategy. Afghanistan is far more unwinnable even than Iraq. If playing it up is politics, then it is dangerous politics. Presidents can become captive of their own record and end up having to commit to things because they made strong representations about them to the public.
Afghan tribes are fractious. They feud. Their territory is vast and rugged, and they know it like the back of their hands. Afghans are Jeffersonians in the sense that they want a light touch from the central government, and heavy handedness drives them into rebellion. Stand up Karzai’s army and air force and give him some billions to bribe the tribal chiefs, and let him apply carrot and stick himself. We need to get out of there. “Al-Qaeda” was always Bin Laden’s hype. He wanted to get us on the ground there so that the Mujahideen could bleed us the way they did the Soviets. It is a trap.
Former National Security Advisor, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, is expressing concerns as well:
“I think we’re literally running the risk of unintentionally doing what the Russians did. And that, if it happens, would be a tragedy,” Brzezinski told the Huffington Post on Friday. “When we first went into Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban, we were actually welcomed by an overwhelming majority of Afghans. They did not see us as invaders, as they saw the Soviets.”
However, Brzezinski noted that just as the Soviets were able to delude themselves that they had a loyal army of communist-sympathizers who would transform the country, the U.S.-led forces may now be making similar mistakes. He said that the conduct of military operations “with little regard for civilian casualties” may accelerate the negative trend in local public opinion regarding the West’s role. “It’s just beginning, but it’s significant,” Brzezinski said.
His own program for improving the state of affairs in Afghanistan — where U.S. casualties have surpassed those in Iraq for two months now — revolves around pragmatism. He believes Europe should bribe Afghan farmers not to produce poppies used for heroin since “it all ends up in Europe.” Moreover, he thinks the tribal warlords can be bought off with bribes, with the endgame being the isolation of Al-Qaeda from a Taliban that is “not a united force, not a world-oriented terrorist movement, but a real Afghan phenomenon.”
Many historians believe the 9 year long Soviet-Afghan War became one of the factors leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The resistance from the (U.S. backed) Afghani Mujahadeen forces took the Soviets completely by surprise and was a significant embarrassment to the mighty Soviet army. From a paper by Rafael Reuveny and Aseem Prakash (The Afghanistan war and the breakdown of the Soviet Union):
The war impacted Soviet politics in four reinforcing ways: (1) Perception effects: it changed the perceptions of leaders about the efficacy of using the military to hold the empire together and to intervene in foreign countries; (2) Military effects: it discredited the Red Army, created cleavage between the party and the military, and demonstrated that the Red Army was not invincible, which emboldened the non Russian republics to push for independence; (3) Legitimacy effects: it provided non-Russians with a common cause to demand independence since they viewed this war as a Russian war fought by non Russians against Afghans; and (4) Participation effects: it created new forms of political participation, started to transform the press/media before glasnost, initiated the first shots of glasnost, and created a significant mass of war veterans (Afghansti) who formed new civil organizations weakening the political hegemony of the communist party.
The Soviets had no idea what they were getting into when they invaded Afghanistan. Nine years later, they were forced to retreat with the tail between their legs.
I just wish I had more confidence the folks currently running the show are, at least, thinking about these issues.