Pelosi and Specter Question U.S. Presence in Afghanistan
Speaking to NPR on Friday, United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, questioned the United States’ role in Afghanistan and continued the pattern of Western politicians critical of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. To Pelosi and other Democratic leaders, the United States cannot win in Afghanistan if Karzai’s corrupt regime maintains its status quo.
Unworthiness of Karzai:
“The president of Afghanistan has proven to be an unworthy partner. We cannot fund a mission where we don‘t have a reliable partner and where whatever civilian investments we want to make, which are so necessary, will be diverted for a corrupt purpose. How can we ask the American people to pay a big price in lives and limbs and also in dollars if we don‘t have a connection to a reliable partner?”
Both Senator Arlen Specter and Speaker Pelosi seem to think that there is little support among their Democratic base for a continued U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Specter goes so far as to state the United States is in need of an exit strategy in Afghanistan.
Questioning of U.S. Presence in Afghanistan:
“We ought not to add troops to Afghanistan, I even question staying there, unless it is indispensable to our fight against al-Qaeda,”
What‘s with the ridiculous headline? Of course Karzai is Afghan, what else would he be? Perhaps it would should have read “Pelosi Calls Afghanistan‘s Karzai…” or just “Pelosi Calls Karzai…”
A recent poll in London’s Daily Guardian, posed the question of whether British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was correct in his assertion that Britain’s efforts in Afghanistan were necessary to fight Al Qaeda plots originating from “that region” (whatever that means). Nearly 83% of those polled seem to disagree with the Prime Minister. Of course, this begs the question of what role the fact that no major terror attack in Britain (or the world for that matter) has been carried out by Afghans played in the thought processes of those polled?
From Kandahar to Kensington? [Guardian]
For her part, Pelosi says that Democratic leaders facing criticism from their constituents are not in strong support of a U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan.
“I, myself, believe that there‘s not strong support on the Democratic side in the Congress for any big ramp-up of troops going into Afghanistan, and I think that‘s a reflection of their constituents.”
Full audio of Nancy Pelosi on NPR’s Morning Edition here.
Of course, what each of these statements and questions leave out is what happens to Afghanistan if the United States pulls out? How can the Afghan people a corrupt government and the Taliban without any sort of help from international forces? Wouldn’t trying to reinvigorate some sort of new Mujhaideen movement only lead to yet another civil war and further intrusion by Pakistan and the Gulf states in Afghanistan’s affairs?
This question is the elephant in the room that none of these leaders are properly addressing in these statements and that is dangerous for international public opinion.