Robert N. Taylor

*(Journal & Times) Over the past 10 to 15 days, the folly and near-stupidity of America’s war in Afghanistan has been dramatically revealed.

First, we learn from a New York Times investigative report that Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has been accepting “bags of money” from Iran – America’s arch-enemy in that that troubled region of the world. Karzai is supposed to be America’s man in Afghanistan. But when confronted with the Times report he virtually bragged about accepting Iranian money.

It is clear to all clear-thinking people that despite President Obama’s military surge in Afghanistan, the U.S. will definitely leave Afghanistan within the next 24 months. Thus, it appears that Iran is now buying influence with Karzai and members of the country’s parliament “with bags of money” in a bid to guarantee that they do not allow the U.S. to leave a major military base in the country.

As a practical matter, the administration of former President Bush “made” Karzai the president of Afghanistan and made him the key figure in the battle against the widespread support among the Afghan people for the dreaded Taliban. To the great disappointment of many of us, President Obama has continued with Bush’s Afghan folly and the reliance on Karzai.

But Karzai is the epitome of corruption. He does not have the support of his own people. This fact was demonstrated last August when he was forced to steal, in the full view of international observers, the country’s presidential election with blatant ballot box stuffing.

When will the leaders of this country recognize that we are spending billions to keep a man in office who is more ideologically and religiously linked to Iran than he is to the United States? When we leave Afghanistan, we would have thrown away hundreds of American lives and billions of American dollars to provide a government more friendly to Iran than to the U.S. This is pure folly and stupidity.

Further, we learn from a host of other media reports that the Karzai government has been in not-so-secret negotiations with the Taliban which aim to end the war and possibly bring Taliban leaders into some type of coalition government. Wait a minute! I thought the reason we invaded Afghanistan was to destroy the Taliban because it gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda while they plotted the 911 attack.

Now, we appear to be encouraging negotiations which could conceivably bring the Taliban back into government with a promise that they will end their support for al Qaeda.

Personally, I think the so-called threat from Iran has been grossly exaggerated. But do not you find it a bit stupid to put forth Iran as a major enemy and threat while spending billions to keep in power a government in Afghanistan which is potentially more allied with Iran than it is to the U.S.

This stupidity began with former President Bush but current President Obama is continuing it. We seldom see when we are making a mistake but folly is pursuing a policy which can be seen as contradictory or even stupid at the very time we are doing it. There is no need for hindsight in Afghanistan. The stupidity is plain to see right now.

[Robert Taylor welcomes responses to his commentaries. Email your “Letter to the Editor” to [email protected] or write “Robert N. Taylor,” P.O. Box 58097, Washington, D.C. 20037-8097.]