|August 11, 2008|
|Media Ignore McCaffrey's Warning of Doom in Afghanistan|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Public citizen Barry McCaffrey issued a scary report July 30, warning the U.S./NATO mission in Afghanistan is doomed unless serious military and economic assets are devoted to the place. The media, as usual, ignored the report. They preferred to focus on whether the “race card” is being played in the Presidential election. |
Barack Obama considers Afghanistan a “good war,” one to be won by transferring American troops from Iraq to chase down the Taliban. That does beat John McCain’s stance, which is more in line with endless war in Iraq. Both are out of touch concerning Afghanistan.
McCaffery, retired four-star general and former U.S. drug czar, has shocking news for Obama and McCain. His report follows a tour of Afghanistan, a place where the government is “largely dysfunctional and corrupt.”
The West Point adjunct professor for international affairs reports Afghanistan “is in misery” with violence and terror on the rise. There are 2.8M refugees, 40 percent unemployment, extreme poverty and a “giant heroin/opium criminal enterprise.”
McCaffery views Afghanistan as a “narco-state.” He wrote: “The Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Afghan criminal enterprises are principally funded by what some estimate at $800M a year derived from the huge $4B annual illegal production and export of opium/heroin and cannibis.” The U.S. and its allies have provided a paltry $655M since `02 to develop alternative economic development to drugs. McCaffrey believes unless the U.S. and its allies deal with the drug cancer, “we should have little expectation that our efforts in Afghanistan will not eventually come to ruin.”
McCaffrey does not believe shifting three combat units from Iraq to Afghanistan is going to do the trick. He sees a commitment of at least 25 years to “win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.” One of the biggest challenges of the next President will be to lobby the 26 NATO nations to dramatically step up military and economic commitments to Afghanistan.
McCaffrey warns the U.S. military is severely overextended. Many troops are on the fourth combat deployment since 9/11. He believes that the U.S. is not at war in Afghanistan. “The armed forces and CIA are at war. We are at the point of breaking faith with our troops.”
McCaffrey concludes: “This is a generational war to build an Afghan state and prevent the creation of a lawless, extremist region which will host and sustain enduring threats to the vital national security interests of the U.S. and our key allies.”
It’s going to take much more than shifting some troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. That's nothing more than a handy sound bite. Hats off to the handful of media outlets that covered McCaffery’s report. They are UPI, Salt Lake Tribune, and Military Watch (Baltimore Sun). You do readers a great service.
(Photo: Washington Post )
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