Saturday, September 16, 2006

Who dropped the ball in Afghanistan?

On the heels of John Kerry's accusation that the Bush administration has "cut and run" in Afghanistan, I find myself scratching my head in bewilderment that not one media pundit has pointed out the obvious... da US isn't the security king pin in Afghanistan,, NATO and the UN have command of keeping Afghanistan secure.

NATO took command and co-ordination of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in August 2003. ISAF is NATO's first mission outside the Euro-Atlantic area. ISAF operates in Afghanistan under a UN mandate and will continue to operate according to current and future UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. ISAF’s mission was initially limited to Kabul. Resolution 1510 passed by the UNSC on 13 October 2003 opened the way to a wider role for ISAF to support the Government of Afghanistan beyond Kabul.

What is the aim of the operation?

ISAF's role is to assist the Government of Afghanistan and the International Community in maintaining security within its area of operation. ISAF supports the Government of Afghanistan in expanding its authority to the rest of the country, and in providing a safe and secure environment conducive to free and fair elections, the spread of the rule of law, and the reconstruction of the country.

Just to make things a little more clear.... on July 31st of this year, months prior to the recent rise in violence, NATO proudly boasts they took command of the international military forces in southern Afghanistan from the US-led Coalition.

Does this leave any questions in your mind as to whom is in control in Afghanistan?

As usual, the UN and NATO take credit for the historic creation of a democratic government and it's elections, and various other successes. It is also usual that the UN and NATO do not take the blame for the current rebirth of a new Taliban revolt.

It follows, of course, that the US gets no credit for the new government, and US partisan politicians are quick to assign the blame to the Bush admin for NATO's failure to keep Afghanistan "secure". Ya just can't win with these folks. It's Kerry's beloved int'l community who has dropped the ball there, not the US.

But where is the press with the facts? MIA, for the most part, as usual. Same ol', same ol'....

But one Canadian reporter at the Toronto Sun almost gets it.

Tim Harper leads off with the accusatory headline, "U.S. 'handed off a mess' to NATO forces", followed by sundry Congressional types' soundbite critiques. The list of usual suspects with a few surprises that jump in, driven by the polls and election mindset.

What is buried at the bottom is is a couple of cries of foul by the Brookings and organizations. Those who are cautious to lay the blame at the feet of the US military without acknowledging UN failures.

Michael O'Hanlon, an analyst with the centrist Brookings Institution, said there was clearly a shortage of U.S. troops and properly trained Afghan soldiers, but not all the blame can be laid at the feet of Bush.

"As much as we appreciate the effort of the Canadians, the French, the Germans and others who did not support the Iraq war," O'Hanlon said, "it is only now that the NATO contribution is approaching the U.S. force size in Afghanistan. These are countries with a combined population and combined military larger than the U.S., and they are not preoccupied with Iraq.

"I think some of the blame has to rest with the allies."'

John Pike at — while acknowledging that Canada and its NATO allies have been handed a mess — does not lay the blame with U.S. military planners.

"This mess was really of the Taliban's making,'' Pike said.

"For someone to say it turned into a mess because of U.S. neglect, because Washington was too focused on Iraq, that's just a talking point.

"It's a sentence, but you can't complete the paragraph because you can't explain what the U.S. mistakes were."

Yes, Pike says, the U.S. reallocated some of its special operations forces from Afghanistan to Iraq, but he doesn't believe that made a huge difference. "Afghanistan may have been under the radar in Washington, but it wasn't under the radar for the U.S. military," he says.

It's not much... but it's all we've got. And from a Canuck, to boot.


Rastus said...

Good to see you back, Mata. What has me perplexed by all this is my impression that the Dem party and mainstream media attacks on Bush have been so clearly and finely orchestrated that it's virtually undeniable any more. In fact, it is SO heavily biased that I have to question what motivation there is beyond simple partisanship of the network reporters and editors. The conclusion is inescapable that this is being controlled at a much higher level. The end toward which it points is obvious, but the question is who benefits, and how. Answer that, and the nature of an effective conservative response should become obvious.

MataHarley said...

And a hello to yourself, Rastus. Yes... back in a form. Actually, I've had plenty to say about the doin's the past months, but precious little time to rant on the blog!

And I must agree with you. It has been mindblowing watching politicans and pundits alike revising history as it happens. I swear, it's like they assume most of us can't remember what happened yesterday. If it rained today, they can tell us tomorrow it didn't, and thereby it becomes unquestionably true.

What is particularly disturbing is that those engaging in such rewriting of history seem to care whit about what they stir up in the interim. It makes me ill to hear Hugo Chavez naming Dems as compadres in spirit INRE the current administration and US policies. Can liberal politicians and media not see that as exactly what so many of us say? That they are siding with the enemy with their rhetoric? What more proof do they need than hearing our enemies praise their verbal assaults? Duh wuh....

Personally I may part company with you on higher power level of control or unknown end goal. I think the complete loss of all branches of power has caused the DNC to become truly unhinged. Their concerted effort to continuously condemn the Bush admin is simply nothing more than their attempt at redistribution of power in the next elections.

I say this because I don't give them credit for a broader view. How can I? After watching Congress in action over the decades, ignoring increasing terror assaults while simultaneously gutting our intel and military capabilities, I'm quite sure they focus on recouping power with little cognizance of the repercussions of their methods. Sad, but true.