Thursday, January 11, 2007

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Another consequence of Bush's "surge" is the damage it will do to the war in Afghanistan. At a time that the Taliban is expected to make another big push in Afghanistan, American forces are about to be removed from "The Forgotten War" to Iraq. As the Boston Globe reports:

President Bush is expected to announce this week the dispatch of thousands of additional troops to Iraq as a stopgap measure. Such an order, Pentagon officials say, would strain the Army and Marine Corps as they man both wars.

A US Army battalion fighting in a critical area of eastern Afghanistan is due to be withdrawn within weeks to deploy to Iraq.

Army Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata and other US commanders say that will happen as the Taliban is expected to unleash a campaign to cut the vital road between Kabul and Kandahar.

The official said the Taliban intend to seize Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city, where the group was organized in the 1990s.

The news story makes one error, in the very first sentence:

"Taliban forces, shattered and ejected from Afghanistan by the US military five years ago..."

Not so. The Taliban are native Afghans, mostly Pushtun from the south of the country. As a government and army, they were certainly shattered, and some may even have fled the country temporarily, but the vast bulk of Taliban remained in their tribal areas where US and allied forces never went.

I'm with Mark Kleiman on this: "GWB seems to be determined to make history by becoming the first American President to lose two wars at once."

Of course, the war in both countries will drag on long beyond Bush's time as President, leaving some other shmuck to swallow the defeat. And given Bush's disinterest in reading or watching independent news, preferring to hear all his news from yes-men, it is likely that Dubyah will go to his grave believing that he was America's saviour, and the next guy messed it all up.

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