December 13, 2010

Hamid Karzai: "If I had to choose sides today, I'd choose the Taliban."

A senior administration official: "Our relationship with him has become so tortured. We've gone from one crisis every three months to one crisis a month."

35 comments:

1jpb said...

I'm too afraid to look at the link to see if the quote is out of context.

I'll just hope.

Harry said...

I keep forgetting--what do we get when we win in Afghanistan?

garage mahal said...

We just need to build more infrastructure over there. Even if it takes a hundred years!

madAsHell said...

Well...ya...the taliban be paying mo' money!!

Rialby said...

As much as it pains to me to think the same, John Derbyshire may have been correct, "Rubble causes no trouble". After they hosted the planning of 9/11 and refused to turn him over to us, we should have bombed them from the 12th century back to the 6th.

WV: micack. Karzai can suck micack

edutcher said...

That smart diplomacy is turning out to be pretty stupid. Can we reset the reset button and go back to cowboy diplomacy?

PS Anybody holding out hopes Hillary's going to challenge The Zero on her stellar record as SOS can forget the hope and better look for a change.

Bender said...

Anyone who had ever bothered to consider the United States' history of abandoning people that we said we would help would know that they frequently end up playing both sides, including trying to appease the enemy, just in case the United States cuts and runs away.

Make no mistake, the Taliban are telling every Afghan man and woman that the United States isn't going to be there forever to protect them.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"I keep forgetting--what do we get when we win in Afghanistan?"

A trillion dollars in vast mineral riches, according to the NY Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/14/world/asia/14minerals.html

And if Obama makes it to four years, we'll need that trillion.

What, did you think Obama was trying to find bin Laden or something?

Hahahahahaha.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Make no mistake, the Taliban are telling every Afghan man and woman that the United States isn't going to be there forever to protect them."

Afghanistan belongs to the United States now.

We own it.

Anybody begs to differ is welcome to fucking show up and we'll chat about it.

David said...

Good.

Let's make him choose.

Plus he's full of shit.

He will choose Switzerland, where his cash is.

Cedarford said...

edutcher said...
That smart diplomacy is turning out to be pretty stupid. Can we reset the reset button and go back to cowboy diplomacy?


------------------

If you look back, it was Bush's Neocon nation-building diplomacy that was the stupid one.
You know, the one that said after we whupped Islamoid ass it was our moral responsibilty to stick around, take 42,000 casualties and spend a trillion to help "the noble Iraqi and Afghan Freedom Lovers".

Bush's "dear friend" Karzai, he of two state dinners honoring him, the two Bush SOTU Addresses with Freedom Lover and Leader ofDEmocracy Karzai as his special guest of honor?

Mutton-headed cowboy diplomacy at it's best. And Bush was not too far behind with his noble freedom-loving special Iraqi friends Chalabi and Malaki as well. Or, as they are now known in the region - as the Corrupt Tools of Iran.

Then again, what do you expect from a fool who popularized the "Religion of Peace" as a phrase and then became the noble peaceful people of Islam's most hated person and the one next to perhaps some Jews and cartoonists the one they most wanted to blow up.

Just because Obama is bad on foreign policy doesn't redeem Dubya and the Neocons as any less clueless

traditionalguy said...

So maybe that was Obama's goal to end the Afghan War while painting someone else as the culprit. Karsai was told he was going to be abandoned in 12 months, and then he is criticised regularly for not fighting harder,thus he is said to be making us lose.

ironrailsironweights said...

I've got good news and I've got bad news.

First for the bad news: astronomers have said that a large comet is about to collide with Earth, capable of destroying an entire country.

Now the good news: it's going to hit Afghanistan.

Is there any way we can order additional comets for Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia?

Peter

Saint Croix said...

maybe he didn't like being called a "paranoid and weak individual."

Or maybe he's pissed that Obama has announced exactly when we start abandoning his country (July 2011), which of course emboldens the terrorists who are killing his people. And Obama did that for purely political reasons here at home.

Bush never, ever, ever struck me as a diplomat. In fact he seemed to abhor diplomacy, and all the white lies that go along with the practice. And yet I don't recall any of this shit with the Bush administration.

I almost said Obama was all sizzle and no steak. But where's the sizzle? There's no sizzle. Obama is all tofu and no cream cheese.

craig said...

Rialby is right -- let's try the Curtis LeMay strategy next time.

Methadras said...

Change the rules of engagement to kill these primitive sub-humans and watch victory ensue, leftards shriek and gnash their teeth, and the UN keep the high rate of escort girls filing through their halls.

Revenant said...

We're giving the people of Afghanistan a chance. I wish they'd take better advantage of it.

Roger Fortier said...

Nation building is so last century. It pains me to admit it, but Biden was right when he recommended a downsized force that focused on killing terrorists.

Juba Doobai! said...

This is the result of genius, super-smart, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious foreign policy. Obama can make it even better by going full blown Chicago gangster thug on Karzai.

Robin said...

Amusing to see how quickly the Obama supporters forget that Obama campaigned on the idea that he would fight Afghanistan with more troops, more focus, more gosh-darned smarts than those silly Republicans.

And like every other Obama campaign theme, it can be found on the asphalt with bus tire tracks onit.

Methadras said...

Revenant said...

We're giving the people of Afghanistan a chance. I wish they'd take better advantage of it.


That's a nice thought isn't it? Until you realize that they've allowed a religion and culture of sub-human primitives to proliferate amongst them at the cost of their own lives and souls.

Methadras said...

Juba Doobai! said...

Obama can make it even better by going full blown Chicago gangster thug on Karzai.


That's an awesome feat if he could accomplish it with just a world tour and a 15 minute phone call.

Jones in CO said...

Forget Afghanistan. The real threat is fat kids.

tim maguire said...

We need to recognize that we won in Afghanistan years ago. What's going on now is a sort of Marshal Plan. Once we do that, we can also recognize that it's a Marshal plan that is not worth it. We owe them nothing and would do better to leave them in their squalor and simply return to destroy everything again if they let terrorists back in. We have no responsibility to bring them into the modern age, especially if it's against their wishes.

This approach would be cheaper, cost fewer American lives, and I think it's worth noting again that, unlike in Iraq, we owe them nothing.

damikesc said...

Let's pull out now and let them rot.

Not worth a single American life.

traditionalguy said...

Obama's carefully planned Peleliu needs at least another 2 years so he can get through re-election and also destroy the morale of that arrogant American Military led by his rival Petraeus. Barry just loves doing a long term plan that is also a twofer.

Tiny Bunch said...

So why don't we give him a ride and drop him off with the Taliban?

junyo said...

I keep forgetting--what do we get when we win in Afghanistan?

We get to not have a radical Islamic state next door to a shaky, nuclear armed nominal ally (who's intelligence infrastructure would likely make this potential radical Islamic state a nuclear power if they had the chance) AND an existing radical Islamic state that wants to be a nuclear power (and might already be).

Above and beyond our own naked self interest, there's also the minor issue of human rights and self governance from a few million brown people, but we're Americans so that's not actually worth anything.

Crimso said...

"let's try the Curtis LeMay strategy next time."

The recipients of it have caused very little trouble (relatively speaking) since then. Of course, they didn't start out as cultures living pre-1000 A.D. and so it was undoubtedly more of a shock than it would be for the Afghans.

Karzai can choose sides any time he wishes. In fact, I'd say he just did with that statement.

TW: "emeni" Weird.

Alex said...

"Above and beyond our own naked self interest, there's also the minor issue of human rights and self governance from a few million brown people, but we're Americans so that's not actually worth anything."

Ahh the old White Man's Burden, eh?

Mitch H. said...

If you bother to read the article, it makes it pretty clear that Karzai is trying to protect his own network of relatives, warlord-business partners, and centralized corruption & incompetence, and is lashing out at any development or feature of the occupation which looks likely to create power centres outside of his network.

International security firms? His power-network runs the thuggish Afghan replacement firms which will take over if his ban takes effect. Billions in development funds? His network doesn't control the disbursement, which means that wealth that his network *doesn't* own is sloshing around the country, doing the Hayekian bidding of all sorts of people who don't owe his network either patronage or baksheesh.

He opposes the local village defense militias because again, it creates decentralized power-centres which aren't tied into his network, and the effort and work required to incorporate those militias into his network would be harder than simply killing the child in the crib.

Finally, the necessity for counter-insurgency is an insult against his tribal ties - suggesting that the Taliban are a political fact with the local Pashtun clans in the south, and not simply a foreign, Pakistani-operated invasion force coming over the border.

I've seen nothing that suggests that Karzai is anything other than paranoid, dim, seethingly corrupt, and bone-lazy. It doesn't help that we didn't pick him - he was a Hobson's choice due to the shortage of living anti-Taliban Pashtun tribal leaders in 2001. We've been stuck with him ever since because of path-dependence and a lack of viable alternatives, as I understand it.

OSweet said...

Cross the U.S., you're probably safe, and maybe even selected for appeasement goodies. Cross the Taliban, you're dead. Do the math.

Casey said...

For an excellent overview of why Karzai regularly spouts over-the-top hyperbole, read this:
http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htwin/articles/20101209.aspx

It's very entertaining to read quotes in the Washington Times mentioning "[Karzai's]belief that the billions in foreign assistance flowing into Afghanistan was causing more harm than good." The only harm is that he isn't the one passing out the goodies.

An important thing to keep in mind is that -for most Afghans- anyone outside of their family, clan, and tribe (in that order) is fair game, and stealing from outsiders is not only acceptable, but lends prestige to the successful thief.

What I find truly amusing is that these are the same schmucks who fell for the "talks with a Taliban leader" scam a couple months ago. That fellow walked away with a big bag of cash. I just hope the diplomats got a deed to the bridge, or something.

I don't understand why certain commenters (lib or con) are trying so hard to fit actual events into a preconceived narrative; mistakes happened (as they have during every single war ever fought), decisions were made which in hindsight should not have been; alas hindsight is always 20-20. It's easy to play Monday-morning quarterback after you know the outcome. It is much more difficult to make those choices in the face of uncertainty.

What I find truly amazing is that so many liberal/Democrats who regularly complained we were wasting out time in Iraq, and that the real focus should be Afghanistan -to the extent of calling that theater the "good" war- yet when President Obama actually does what he said he was going to do, now (for liberals, anyway) he's in the wrong. That's not to mention the war hawks who take every opportunity to dog him on relatively minor points, such as the sarcastic comments about smart diplomacy in this thread. What's so hard about giving the man some credit for at least trying to accomplish something successful? No props for inserting Marines in theater, or uptempo UAV attacks, or greater pressure on Pakistan to hunt Taliban more aggressively?

It isn't the President's fault that Karzai is performing a form of street theater which is quite standard for the region, and quite different from how Westerners approach diplomacy & negotiations. One has to think like an Afghan to understand what he's up to, just like one had to think like an Iraqi to understand Saddam Hussein's apparent suicidal tendencies, especially during the Gulf War back in '91. To American eyes, he suffered a humiliating defeat. To many Arabs, he won, because he took on the United States and survived. More street theater.

Blaming different cultural habits on the President begs the question whether there's anything he can do, in public, about Karzai's melodramatic announcements, short of threatening to pull all aid if the discussed prohibition against security forces goes forward, which is what they are in fact doing.

Casey said...

For an excellent overview of why Karzai regularly spouts over-the-top hyperbole, read this:
http://www.strategypage.com

/htmw/htwin/articles/20101209.aspx
(had to break the URL up to keep Google happy)

It's very entertaining to read quotes in the Washington Times mentioning "[Karzai's]belief that the billions in foreign assistance flowing into Afghanistan was causing more harm than good." The only harm is that he isn't the one passing out the goodies.

An important thing to keep in mind is that -for most Afghans- anyone outside of their family, clan, and tribe (in that order) is fair game, and stealing from outsiders is not only acceptable, but lends prestige to the successful thief.

What I find truly amusing is that these are the same schmucks who fell for the "talks with a Taliban leader" scam a couple months ago. That fellow walked away with a big bag of cash. I just hope the diplomats got a deed to the bridge, or something.

I don't understand why certain commenters (lib or con) are trying so hard to fit actual events into a preconceived narrative; mistakes happened (as they have during every single war ever fought), decisions were made which in hindsight should not have been; alas hindsight is always 20-20. It's easy to play Monday-morning quarterback after you know the outcome. It is much more difficult to make those choices in the face of uncertainty.

What I find truly amazing is that so many liberal/Democrats who regularly complained we were wasting out time in Iraq, and that the real focus should be Afghanistan -to the extent of calling that theater the "good" war- yet when President Obama actually does what he said he was going to do, now (for liberals, anyway) he's in the wrong. That's not to mention the war hawks who take every opportunity to dog him on relatively minor points, such as the sarcastic comments about smart diplomacy in this thread. What's so hard about giving the man some credit for at least trying to accomplish something successful? No props for inserting Marines in theater, or uptempo UAV attacks, or greater pressure on Pakistan to hunt Taliban more aggressively?

It isn't the President's fault that Karzai is performing a form of street theater which is quite standard for the region, and quite different from how Westerners approach diplomacy & negotiations. One has to think like an Afghan to understand what he's up to, just like one had to think like an Iraqi to understand Saddam Hussein's apparent suicidal tendencies, especially during the Gulf War back in '91. To American eyes, he suffered a humiliating defeat. To many Arabs, he won, because he took on the United States and survived. More street theater.

Blaming different cultural habits on the President begs the question whether there's anything he can do, in public, about Karzai's melodramatic announcements, short of threatening to pull all aid if the discussed prohibition against security forces goes forward, which is what they are in fact doing.

Casey said...

Arrgh. Apologies for the double post.