Afghanistan and Crystal Balls – Does Rachel Maddow Have A Point?

by Bill Golden aka

Rachel Maddow recently wrote and aired her thoughts on Afghanistan in a piece called ‘Rachel Re: Life during wartime‘, aka ‘Nation building is not a military objective’.

The Maddow piece has many valid points.

Maddow clearly sees that staying has a limited chance of success, and that leaving also has its challenges … the primary challenge being:

“The consequences of there not being a real Afghan government are probably dire. Our desire for there to be a real Afghan government is strong and rational. But us just wanting it to be so does not mean that we are capable of making it so. To me, it seems likely that nothing we can do — nothing within our power as the United States of America — will result in there being a real Afghan government.”
— Rachel Maddow, July 15, 2010

My interpretation of what Maddow said: she would just walk away. That is what she is advocating.

While I believe that there is no definable sense of victory anytime soon in Afghanistan, I agree with Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan:

“We’re in Afghanistan because if we fail in Afghanistan, it will have a direct, immediate danger to us. It will increase al-Qaeda’s worldwide reach. They will come back with the Taliban in all likelihood, and they will gain a worldwide success which will be very dangerous for our national security interests. So we have to be clear. The American public needs to be clear on why we’re in Afghanistan. This is not Vietnam … This is not the Balkans. It’s not Iraq. This is quite different, and this one relates directly to our safety at home.”

The Taliban support and ally with Al-Qaeda even today. To leave Afghanistan in the forseeable future would be to see the Karzai government fall within 30-45 days at the maximum.

I don’t have an answer. But leaving Afghanistan now is not an option that I support.

We need a bit more analysis and thought and suggestions than ‘just walk away’.


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