Tuesday, May 18, 2010

1,000 American Deaths In Afghanistan: A Sad Milestone

The real question we should be asking is whether security and public service provisioning have improved since the surge began. The administration actually has the right idea - it's unfortunate that this type of occupation is necessary now, but given the number of times Afghanistan has been essentially dismantled over the past 100 years (British, USSR, and now USA), I think we owe it to the Afghani people to do it right this time. That means not cutting and running, but instead putting a real focus on social programs, education, and infrastructure geared towards developing local markets (as opposed to drug export and military import).

Bottom-up social development should be supported, and is necessary, but until there is a modicum of security and stability - along with some basic services - it's hard for local people to do much when under a system of competing warlords.

None of this should be interpreted to suggest I support Karzai, or our apparent lack of sustained efforts to combat the opium trade and provide viable livelihood alternatives, but those programs that have been implemented (by USAID and others) have been surprisingly effective in Afghanistan. We should try to rebuild some of the international coalition on the non-military aid front, to support a long-term solution to instability, so it doesn't come back to bite us yet again in 20 years.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost