Saturday | June 08, 2002
WOT is a quagmire
I find it amusing that last fall, as the US was gearing up its campaign against the Taliban and Al Queda, the media establishment was tripping all over itself trying to claim the War on Terror had become a quagmire. It hadn't. Indeed, it's amazing what the Clinton military was able to accomplish in such a short period of time and against a foe so remote from any established US airbases.
However, now that the war has become a quagmire, no one is talking about it.
The US and its allies now face hundreds of Al Queda cells, disgruntled Taliban, petty warlords, and hostile terrain and weather. Despite boastful claims that the Taliban and Al Queda had been routed, it turns out they were just scattered all over Afghanistan and Pakistan. The US and Brits mount massive military offensives and net nothing more than a "weapons cache". God knows there are enough weapons in that country to arm every man, woman, and child ten times over. The Afghan operation is looking more and more like an occupation, which will only further inflame local passions against the Westerners on its soil.
Furthermore, the administration claims that the US is just as vulnerable as ever to another massive terrorist attack, betraying assertions that Al Queda was routed. And while the US couldn't shut up about Bin Laden post 9-11, that name is now verboten within the Bush Administration. Indeed, recent news reports show a determined effort to completely shift public attention away from Bin Laden. Smacks to me as an attempt to divert attention from the US's complete failure to apprehend him.
All the while, the US is committing troops to the Philipines, Georgia (former Soviet republic, not the peach state), and Colombia. And while US casualties have been light, lives aren't the only way to measure a quagmire. It can be measured by the expense of maintaining large number of forces deployed all over the globe, by the hit on morale of our forces in the field, by the emnity breeding overseas at our military adventurism, by the malaise hanging over our country as people grow weary of war talk, by the utter and complete lack of palpable military victories to rally the nation and lift spirits, and by the increasing body count of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire or killed as a result of "regrettable accidents".