View Full Version : Should America's top priority in Afghanistan be eliminating "safe havens"?

05-25-2009, 06:08 AM
I really don't know the answer to this, but I do think it's the right kind of question to be asking about what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan. The most troubling aspect of our activity over there to me remains the drone bombings that keep killing innocent civilians. Even if I try to take my bleeding heart out of the equation and look at the situation objectively simply in terms of meeting our military objectives over there, it's hard not to see those as something very counterproductive due to the backlash against America they're causing. I just have a hard time believing that what's being accomplished strategically with those bombings outweighs the damage they're doing by empowering the Taliban with a cause to rally around that will resonate with the more mainstream population and cause some (many?) of them to shift to a more radical anti-U.S. stance that could increase the ranks of Taliban troops and terrorists. And that's all without even taking into consideration the human toll.

This is kind of a conversation between Matt Yglesias and Josh Marshall via blog posts. I'd recommend reading all four posts just to see the nature of the questions they're raising. Yes, they're liberals, but in this case they're really more just casting a new light on an ongoing issue than really coming down strongly on any single conclusion, and I think it's a valuable read on our Afghanistan policy that I don't really think has been presented before (at least not to my knowledge).

How Important Are “Safe Havens”? (http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2009/03/how_important_are_safe_havens.php)

How Much Do Safe Havens Matter? (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2009/05/how_much_do_safe_havens_matter.php)

More on Safe Havens (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2009/05/weve_gotten_various_responses_to.php)

Things Worth Fighting For in Afghanistan (http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2009/05/things-worth-fighting-for-in-afghanistan.php)

05-25-2009, 02:14 PM
Great thinking kind of post.

It seems to me the question is actually more complex than how much, without what kind of attention.

I think it has to be a combination of military pressure to keep them on their heels in the short run, and social help to keep them from becoming popular in the long run.

If you look in the middle east, the terrorists gained ground with the populace by providing food, clothing, schooling, etc.