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Book Review
Waiting For The Taliban

I am constantly raising hell about our stupidity on Afghanistan. And,I just read a gem of a little book called “Waiting for the Taliban,” by author, Anna Badkhen. Her insight is simply amazing. What she tells us is what we already know. Afghanistan is a “fast train to nowhere.” I recently heard her also in an interview on NPR. Her take is basically that all the money we have poured into Afghanistan is like throwing it up a hog’s rear as we say in the South. Not only is money wasted, but the so-call gains are nonexistent unless we stay there forever.

Her view of where much of the Afghan people are is that they are caught in the middle. If the Americans protect them, it is war and chaos but, if they don’t, the Taliban comes. And then the Americans come back. They fight. Consequently, they are caught in the middle and in a vicious cycle.

Ten years and counting and a parallel universe exist for the Secretary of Defense and Petraeus. They say, we have made progress,but have the Taliban on their heels. Fantasy! The President listens to the generals. The generals are not dishonest, but do what they are trained to do:send more troops, make good spin—reality is not part of who they are. And, all the time, our soldiers are dying.

At the official government level, with Karzai, who only is President of a sliver of the country, There is rampant corruption-seventy percent of the universe’s opium-the base for heroin-is produced in Afghanistan. Training of the Afghans is near impossible because of language, loyalty issues,etc. Now, from reports, there is an HIV problem.

Do I advocate total withdrawal? I do. Will it happen? No. Then, let’s leave only the Special Operations soldiers who are older, who love this stuff. No more conventional soldiers. Use theor time as training, concede parts of the country to the Taliban. Issues are too big for us. We can’t outlast a 11th century mentality. Tribes, clans. Stoning of women—need I go on.

Here’s where I think we might have a bit of hope: With the fiscal push we now have in Congress, the absurdity of fighting two wars that’s costing us billions has to be a part of the equation of reducing our debt.

Book: Waiting for the Taliban by Anna Badkhen

Related Articles:

Once Hopeful, Northern Afghanistan Is Disillusioned

Anna Badkhen: The Lost Villages

Anna Badken: Afghanistan Dispatch: The Toll

Anna Badken: The Baguettes of War

more Anna Badkhen articles

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