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Friday, October 29, 2004

Lessons from Afghanistan already forgotten

One factor working against Pres. Bush's reelection is the American public's notoriously short attention span and lack of historical perspective.  But Charles Krauthammer hasn't forgotten Afghanistan:

Within days of Sept. 11, the clueless airhead president that inhabits Michael Moore's films and Tina Brown's dinner parties had done this: forced Pakistan into alliance with us, isolated the Taliban, secured military cooperation from Afghanistan's northern neighbors, and authorized a radical war plan involving just a handful of Americans on the ground, using high technology and local militias to utterly rout the Taliban.

President Bush put in place a military campaign that did in two months what everyone had said was impossible: defeat an entrenched, fanatical, ruthless regime in a territory that had forced the great British and Soviet empires into ignominious retreat. Bush followed that by creating in less than three years a fledgling pro-American democracy in a land that had no history of democratic culture and was just emerging from 25 years of civil war.

Bush could have rested on his laurels, left Saddam "in his box," and probably cruised to reelection — if he was motivated by polls and personal gain.  If he'd done so, Sen. Kerry doubtless would be carping now that the Bush administration was ignoring the grave and gathering threat in Iraq.  But what conclusions can we draw about their relative fitness to lead the Global War on Terrorism just from Afghanistan?  Concludes Mr. Krauthammer,

This election comes down to a choice between one man's evolution and the other man's resolution. With his endlessly repeated Tora Bora charges, Kerry has made Afghanistan a major campaign issue. So be it. Whom do you want as president? The man who conceived the Afghan campaign, carried it through without flinching when it was being called a "quagmire" during its second week and has seen it through to Afghanistan's transition to democracy? Or the retroactive genius, who always knows what needs to be done after it has already happened — who would have done "everything" differently in Iraq, yet in Afghanistan would have replicated Bush's every correct, courageous, radical and risky decision — except one. Which, of course, he would have done differently. He says. Now.

John Kerry, neatly summed up in three words, nine letters, two punctuation marks:  "He says.  Now."

Posted by Beldar at 08:44 AM in Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Lessons from Afghanistan already forgotten and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» "Kerry's Afghan Amnesia" from Lead and Gold

Tracked on Oct 29, 2004 11:12:52 AM

» Lessons already forgotten: Afghanistan edition from Commonwealth Conservative

Tracked on Oct 29, 2004 12:27:15 PM


(1) MaxedOutMama made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 10:27:59 AM | Permalink

So true. There are times when it seems to me that most of Kerry's campaign has been about obfuscating the issues rather than discussing them.

To me, Kerry's entire agenda, to the extent he truly has any, is about pursuing Bush's successful policies in a way that's less offensive to our allies in Western Europe. But there is no way to pursue those policies that does not offend our allies, and so his theory is based on nonsense.

(2) jackson white made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 11:27:18 AM | Permalink


Don't sell the American public short.

Kerry is still losing and is still behind in the polls, and most people seem to have very vivid memories about what Bush has done good for this country. Bush will win, and it will be a blow out election.

In a few minutes the military will expose another Kerry/Edwards lie regarding the explosives "controversy." I never thought Kerry could pull this off, but in the event I was ever wrong in that belief this will be the final nail in his campaign's coffin.

Of course everyone should go to vote, even if Bush is ahead, so that claims he is illegitimate cannot be made in the second term.

The American people often are underestimated. Unlike our European kin, we have tremendous common sense.

(3) SteveoBrien made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 2:25:36 AM | Permalink

He forgot to mention reestablishing relationships with members of the Northern Alliance and Afghans elsewhere.

Abandoned by Clinton's policies to pull the CIA completely out of Afghanistan and focus entirely on nuclear proliferation, Pakistan's development of nuclear and missle technologies, Kashmir, Pakison vs. India, all of which were indeed legitimate concerns, we poured millions into Afghanistan, the Russians left, and so did we. Several of our friends in the present war were a bit put off they'd been abandoned and left twisitng in the wind by Clinton. I'm still shaking my head at how Bush got Massoud and Karzai on board in such a remarkably short while.

And those "useless" Afghan irregulars that went into get OBL? Many of them had only been fighting the Russians and then the Taliban in civil war for the previous 20 years. "Outsourcing?"

That's an insult to the Afghans. Are they as well trained and armed as U.S. military? I doubt it. But they weren't a bunch of useless castoffs either. Ask the Russians who died in Afghan mountains.

(4) SteveoBrien made the following comment | Oct 31, 2004 2:27:11 AM | Permalink

OK, so he did include "local militias." That is an insufficient description of some allies who doubtless took many casualties themselves that Americans didn't have to take in fighting for THEIR country.

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