It seems that we cannot seem to learn from our own mistakes. The basic foreign policy of strategy of America has been “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This policy has led to the US support of incredibly brutal and corrupt regimes including, but not limited to, the Afghani Mujahideen, Pinochet, and Pol Pot. As long as they were opposing those who we believed to be our enemies, we funneled weapons, money, and training to these groups. This support for those of ill intent has bred a system where corruption is the norm and brutality is accepted as part of the way wars are fought.
This way of war has easily cemented itself in the current war in Afghanistan. Whether its support for the undemocratically-elected President Karzai or the CIA paying off his drug lord/parliament member of a brother, corruption seems to be the name of the game in Afghanistan. Our support of the Northern Alliance has allowed Afghanistan to produce 93% of the worlds heroin, and many Marines reasonably wonder why they are risking their lives to protect poppy field. In a recent report put out by a corruption watchdog, Afghanistan is ranked as the second worst nation when it comes to corruption (America is ranked 19th). The only nation to beat them out was Somalia, whose government consists, I believe, of one town and a US-subsidized McDonald’s.
Many know of the original Al-Qaeda for Cash program that the DoD instituted at the beginning of the war. This wonderful program led to the imprisonment of many goat farmers and nomads who were still expressing their hate for Alexander the Great’s take over of Afghanistan. It swelled the ranks of Guantanamo with new faces, supposedly the “worst of the worst.” Now, eight years since the invasion of Afghanistan, we now know that this wasn’t the best plan to fight a war in an area where grudges die hard. Many turned out to be there because of personal conflicts, financial gain, and attempts by local warlords to gain support from the US. As with torture, bribery tends to yeild less than statisfactory results.
Taking a note from the Americans, the British have decided, despite the wide spread failure of this idea, that they would give it a shot. According to their new Counter Insurgency Manual given to British troops in the field, the best way to destroy the Taliban is give them “bags of gold.” In classic fashion, there is no prohibition of known militants. If they were just firing at you, no problem, just give them gold then they will drop their weapons and come out hugging. Its not like the British have had as bad results with supporting questionable people before…oh wait, nevermind.Published in