After the deadliest month ever for US troops in Afghanistan, panic over this failed war continues to spread to new areas. Panic had appeared to reach a peak when Stanley McChrystal was replaced as head of ISAF and head of US Forces in Afghanistan. However, the situation continues to spiral out of control under the new leadership of David Petraeus. Dominating today’s headlines are peaceful anti-American protests in Kabul following the riot precipitated by four civilian deaths in a traffic accident involving US contractors on Friday, the departure of the Netherlands from the shrinking NATO coalition and fears on the part of Senator Lindsey Graham that an "unholy alliance" between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans could undermine the remaining small amount of support that remains for the war.
The Washington Post describes the protest in Kabul this morning:
Carrying banners that described America as the "guardian and master of [the] ruling Mafia in Afghanistan," and displaying images of burned and bandaged children, the peaceful demonstration of a couple hundred people wove through the crowded downtown streets led by a police escort.
The protesters, organized by the National Solidarity Party, said they were angry not only about the civilian toll from the ongoing NATO military operations in Helmand province, but about a deadly traffic accident on Friday involving an SUV driven by DynCorp International contractors that killed four Afghans.
"We poor people are not just here to be killed," said an elderly woman named Rabia, who said she witnessed the reaction to the car crash on Friday and was in Sunday’s protest. "The people were so emotional. They were throwing stones at the Americans’ vehicles. If the police hadn’t taken the Americans away, the people would have torn them to pieces. If I had the chance to do that, I would do the same thing."
When we have lost the support of elderly women to the point that they openly express a desire to help tear Americans to pieces, there really is no point to our presence any more. And Rabia is not just any random citizen–the story goes on to note that over the years she has lost three nephews to the Taliban. It seems that someone losing so many family members to Taliban killings should be among the most likely to support the US presence in Afghanistan if there is any thought among the citizenry that the US can help in any way. When she can’t support US presence, it’s all over.
At least the Dutch see the futility of Afghanistan. BBC reports on the their withdrawal:
The Netherlands has ended its military mission in Afghanistan, after four years in which its 1,950 troops have won praise for their effectiveness.
But how the Dutch came to the withdrawal decision is telling:
Nato had wanted the Netherlands to extend its mission, but the request triggered a political row which brought down the country’s coalition government in February.
This sent shock waves through other European countries, particularly Germany, where public opposition to the war is growing.
Perhaps the fact that the unpopularity of the war in Afghanistan brought down the Dutch government is what has Lindsey Graham so concerned this morning:
Asked about the growing tide of sentiment against the Afghanistan war, particularly among Obama’s base of supporters and some Democrats on Capitol Hill, Graham said he is worried about conservative and liberal forces joining together to frustrate Obama’s efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.
"You know what I worry most about: an unholy alliance between the right and the left," Graham said. "That there are some Republicans who are not going to take a, you know, do-or-die attitude for Obama’s war. There are some Republicans that want to make this Obama’s war. . . There will be some Republicans saying you can’t win because of the July 2011 withdrawal date, he’s made it impossible for us to win, so why should we throw good money after bad?"
Graham added that liberals could also refuse to back the president’s plans in Afghanistan.
"You’ve got people on the left who are mad with the president because he is doing exactly what [former President George W.] Bush did and we’re in a war we can’t win," Graham said, adding: "My concern is that, for different reasons, they join forces and we lose the ability to hold this thing together."
Poor Lindsey. He’s in such a panic over how badly the war is going that he is among the very few people around who are willing to support Obama’s policy of continuing to escalate George W. Bush’s lost war.