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Circumcised War
July 27, 2002
By Mike McArdle

Hamid Karzai, the oil company flunky who we placed in charge of Afghanistan is now being guarded by American troops since the Afghan Vice President was assassinated last month while his bodyguards stood by and watched. Karzai apparently has tribal warlords and the head of the much-feared secret service, Qasim Fahim, out to get him, not to mention a stray evildoer here and there. So when our guys aren't mistakenly bombing Afghan nuptials they're looking after the rather fragile welfare of Mr. Karzai, an absurd figurehead who has no power either outside of Kabul or out from behind the skirts of the remaining peacekeepers.

I suppose you can make the case that the American peacekeepers are at least engaged in something vaguely resembling a military action even if it is defending the physical safety of the pathetic puppet Karzai from an assortment of groups who wish to kill him because he is, well, a pathetic puppet. The troops of our Turkish allies lent their support to the grand effort to eradicate terror last week by arranging a mass circumcision for young Afghan boys in Kabul. The "war on terror" that began with such clarity of purpose appears to have had a similar procedure performed upon it.

So why are we still doing this? Is it because we know that if we face the inevitable and leave the Afghans to the chaos that seems to be their natural state of affairs, Al Qaida will move back in and reoccupy parts of the country? Well, yes, they probably will. But how different would that be from having them camped out in the friendly confines of neighboring Pakistan, ruled by another one of our loyal anti-terror allies, Pervez Musharraf , who doesn't control all of his country either. So if we left Afghanistan tomorrow the level of terror in the world would be completely unchanged.

But we'll stay because to do otherwise would be to admit that the "war on terror" has been a complete dismal failure. We didn't capture or kill the people responsible for the 9/11 attacks. We appear to have at most caused them to change addresses in a hurry. The terror networks are still around and the threats to Americans are as great as ever if you believe the endless terror alerts and the wild scurrying to reshuffle the agencies of the government to make them look more terror-unfriendly.

The international good will and support that followed in the wake of 9/11 has totally disappeared. There is next to no international support for the next scheduled episode in this grand drama, an invasion of a country, Iraq, that apparently had nothing to do with 9/11 and is, at most, a minor leaguer in the hierarchy of terror-sponsoring nations. The penis-cropping Turks have offered passive support in exchange for $5 billion in debt forgiveness, the British government has issued a kind of "well, maybe" and just about everybody else is fiercely opposed.

So why Iraq? For the same reason we're still in Afghanistan. Because we can't admit the war is a failure. And after all, the military knows how to fight Iraq—they ' ve done it before. They know that the Iraqi army, when pressed, will start to surrender to the reporters covering the war. It doesn't matter that Iraq is small potatoes in the terrorism scheme just as it didn't matter that the last Gulf War wasn't about Saddam Hussein at all. Once the oil was secure Hussein wasn't important so they just left him where he was and he has been contained and represented nothing but a minor problem for the past decade. The Bushies don't know how to fight the Al Qaidas of the world. They're tough and elusive and when you stamp out a few of them they just find new place to hide or others pop up to take their place.

So we're going to invade a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and we're going to get some of our people killed and we'll probably kill a whole lot their people simply because our leadership can't think of anything more constructive to do and because we failed at the war we were supposed to be fighting and it has to at least look like we're fighting terrorism because we said we were going to.

But, unfortunately, nobody, anywhere wants to talk about this. The administration and the Republicans want to say that America is winning and that Bush's inane speeches and ridiculous posturing are inspiring the world against terror when a glance at any foreign newspaper shows that he inspires only laughter and derision. The Democrats want to say they're supportive so they've looked the other way rather than point out that there's nothing there to support. A couple of prominent Senators have promised hearings on Iraq, but you're kidding yourself if you think they'll be uttering any discouraging words. The Democrats aren't about to have their patriotism questioned so they'll will wave the flag and go along with this travesty.

The war to cover-up the failure of the war. Makes me proud to be an American.

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