George Dubya Bush rode into Kabul with both barrels blazing, as he led the US into an American Century of Error. Now, we're stuck trying to put down the Pashtun majority in their own country, Afghanistan, locked in a deadly embrace with a corrupt, criminal regime that has become nothing but an irritant to the population.
Bush's choice to lead Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, was the oil industry's man, and according to analyst Wayne Madsen:
Karzai, the interim Prime Minister of Afghanistan, was a top adviser to the El Segundo, California-based UNOCAL Corporation which was negotiating with the Taliban to construct a Central Asia Gas (CentGas) pipeline from Turkmenistan through western Afghanistan to Pakistan.
Karzai, the leader of the southern Afghan Pashtun Durrani tribe, was a member of the mujaheddin that fought the Soviets during the 1980s. He was a top contact for the CIA and maintained close relations with CIA Director William Casey, Vice President George Bush, and their Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) Service interlocutors. Later, Karzai and a number of his brothers moved to the United States under the auspices of the CIA. Karzai continued to serve the agency's interests, as well as those of the Bush Family and their oil friends in negotiating the CentGas deal, according to Middle East and South Asian sources.
When one peers beyond all of the rhetoric of the White House and Pentagon concerning the Taliban, a clear pattern emerges showing that construction of the trans-Afghan pipeline was a top priority of the Bush administration from the outset.
Today, Hillary Clinton slithered into Kabul on her latest tour of US sandbox nations. After making nice with the new, NATO-installed regime in Libya, she came bearing desperate imprecations to her Afghan client-puppet. Unfortunately, Karzai has found it less risky to play both sides in an intractable conflict that holds nothing but tears for the US leadership, as control of the ground proves to be unmanageable for a weary, financially strapped hegemon:
The Associated Press: Clinton in Kabul to push Afghan reconciliation: "KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is encouraging Afghanistan's wary leadership to keep up Taliban reconciliation efforts and boosting counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan as the Obama administration presses ahead with troop withdrawal plans.
Clinton arrived in Kabul late Wednesday on an unannounced visit and was scheduled to see President Hamid Karzai, other top Afghan officials and civic leaders on Thursday. Her trip came after Karzai expressed frustration with attempts to woo Taliban fighters away from the insurgency amid increasing attacks by the Taliban-allied, Pakistan-based Haqqani network.
Clinton was also to underscore the importance of linking Afghanistan to its neighbors, a consideration for a regional conference in Istanbul in early November, U.S. officials said.It seems to be a bad, bad case of imperial hubris at work, where Washington can't go all in or pull all out, either. The military has dug in, with its "enduring" bases, for the long haul, while the budget writers on Capitol Hill try to make 2+2=5, and somehow continue a ruinous level of funding that continues to escalate against all the negatory indicators.
The U.S. sees a political settlement with the Taliban as key to ending the war and is pushing Karzai to lead and expand a reconciliation drive, although the Taliban has indicated no public interest in such a deal. A secret U.S. effort to spark negotiations earlier this year angered Karzai."
This is the true extent of American exceptionalism: we are peerless in stupidity and fatally resistant to the lessons of history. Our leaders have talked themselves into a box, from which they cannot extricate themselves. US prestige is at stake, but so is an economy that depends on free-spending stimulus provided by the war machine. Pull the plug on war, and entire communities' economies collapse (we really have it made in Virginia!).
Not that anyone is especially looking forward to this hard landing, but since it's inevitable and no one seems empowered to stop it, perhaps the solution is to allow the collapse to happen, and hope that we're wiser when picking up the pieces. In that respect, we're on a similar track with the too-big-to-fail banks and the world economy, which is being run into the ground by the geniuses in the international banking cartel.
Too big to fail has failure written all over it. So does the US' Afghan adventure, like the Soviet Union's before it.