Some of you may have heard of a country called Afghanistan. The US invaded in 2001 because the country was the home base of Al-Qaeda, the group responsible for the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The reason we believe AQ moved there is because Afghanistan was considered a failed state, which made it a haven for illegal activities, including planning terrorist attacks. To me the logical response to such a theory is that we should not let another state fail, least of all a state over which we have control.
According The Economist of April 3-9, 2004, pg. 41 we are spending about $164/Afghan in 2004, more than the $77/Afghan we spent last year. To put it in perspective East Timor was given $256/head and Iraq $336/head, and Bosnia got $240/head. To me this doesn’t seem like a recipe for success. Theoretically, if we hadn’t gone into Iraq, we could be giving $500/head in Afghanistan.
In The New Yorker, on pg. 47 of the April 12, 2004 issue, is the last paragraph of a great article on Afghanistan by Seymour M. Hersh. He writes:
The UN worker [to whom he had been talking] said that President Karzai was perceived as “a weak leader with very little street credibility.” He told me that again and again, when he met with village elders, as part of his work, “the old people say, ‘Hamid is a good man. He doesn’t kill people. He doesn’t steal things. He doesn’t sell drugs. How could you possibly think he could be a leader of Afghanistan?'”
I think we need to be doing a little bit more in Afghanistan.