Every so often I think about Afghanistan and the lost dreams of that invasion. As you recall, the US invaded Afghanistan, not only to seek out Osama bin Laden, but to end the tyrannical rule of Muslim fanatics who had imposed Sharia law and made life miserable for women, mainly in the cities. Prior to the arrival of the Taliban, most urban Afghan women had rights to education and interesting careers. Well, the Taliban arrived, and that dream ended.
So, we Americans arrived, and George Bush had absolutely NO ideas concerning exactly what the US should or would do in the newly conquered areas. John Sopko, the Inspector General for Afghanistan pointed out that after FIFTEEN YEARS, the place was in chaos. 700 schools are now closed. Corruption is the norm for what passes for government. Soldiers discover their guns or ammunition has been sold by superiors to–THE TALIBAN. Opium production is as high as it was prior to the arrival of American and NATO forces. So, what to do?
1. The US should purchase the entire opium crop, including paying farmers top price. That would damage the Taliban source of great wealth. Heck, we can burn the stuff–much cheaper than fighting the Taliban.
2. Transfer power to local big shots and accept the reality the central government simply can not win any war.
3. Retain the army in few major cities and turn the rest of the country over to local clan leaders.
4. Of course, we could somehow uncover honest, efficient and clear thinking Afghan leaders. I doubt it.
Reality–we just failed in this example of nation building. It would have helped if President Bush had a plan. Then again, George is the older brother of Jeb, and we know how effective Jeb is as a thinker.