Anti war left's self licking ice cream cone

Ralph Peters:

IT'S fascinating to watch Anglo-American leftists (those champions of human rights and freedom) welcoming every Taliban attack and fantasizing of a Western defeat. But the rest of us deal with reality. And Afghanistan's reality is that things are going as well as any sane person could expect.

The get-Bush-and-Blair partisans who yearn for Afghanistan (and Iraq) to fail, no matter the human or strategic cost, impose impossible standards for success, then insist we're being defeated when their standards aren't met. It's a self-licking ice-cream cone straight from the talinist dairy.

The reality is that Afghanistan will always be . . . Afghanistan. The relevant question is straightforward: "Is it a better Afghanistan today than under the Taliban?" Of course, the answer is an emphatic "Yes!"

Afghanistan is never going to resemble the liberal-arts faculty at Columbia. It's a country of jealous clans patched together with uneasy compromises and lubricated with lies (OK, maybe it does resemble a liberal-arts faculty . . .). Kabul long was the refuge of the "enlightened" classes, while the countryside belonged to the mud and the mullahs.

That isn't going to change in our lifetimes. All Afghans, but, especially, the Pathan majority, will continue to cling to their folkways. Women's liberation isn't scheduled for an early arrival in the faith-choked valleys of eastern Afghanistan, nor will Herat, in the west, soon lead the world in scientific research.

...

Afghanistan's problems won't disappear in our lifetimes. But the positive changes we wrought or enabled represent an enormous win for decency, dignity and freedom - despite pestering Taliban attacks on society's edges. The real worry isn't Afghanistan, but Pakistan, where the Musharraf regime sees no alternative to a two-faced strategy that aims at placating the West (especially America) while continuing to hedge its longterm bets by clandestinely supporting the Taliban.

And this is where it gets interesting: Recently, Pakistani intelligence tipped off the British about the exploding-shampoo plot to bring down multiple trans-Atlantic flights. Why did Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) boys blow the whistle on the al Qaeda clones?

For multiple reasons. First, as Washington and London move closer to New Delhi, Islamabad needs to do all it can to prove itself as an indispensable ally in the War on Terror. Giving up alQaeda wannabes in the West is a cheap way to do it, since the Pakistani government has no great affection for al Qaeda, an interloper with roots on the other side of the Persian Gulf.

If President Pervez Musharraf could hand over Osama today, he'd do it. Al Qaeda is in the way of Pakistan's long-term policy - a competitor, not an ally. And it draws too much attention to the region.

...

He goes on to talk about Pakistan's double game witht he Taliban, which it views as giving the Paks strategic depth in any confrontation with India. That was the reasons for their intial support and the reason why it still has not been irradicated. However the infestation has cost lives in Pakistan too and the government looks weak because it has not been able to control the tribal areas where the infestation festers.

As a fighting force the Taliban has proved to be a good enemy to have. It is inept and is attriting its forces in unsuccessful attacks against the NATO forces operating in Afghanistan. The same thing would happen if Pakistan invited NATO intot he tribal areas to clean out the Taliban.

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