Rethinking Rethinking Afghanistan, Pt. 1

In honor of Tuesday’s major donor’s conference in Afghanistan, Informed Comment is beginning a series of reposts of the classic six-part documentary, Rethink Afghanistan by Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films. As the war grinds on, the questions the series raised are crucial to informed public discussion, and it is worth watching it again, or for the first time. I will also append some links of articles and reports that bring the various issues up to date.

Tuesday’s donors conference is not producing a lot of confidence in the Afghan public. President Hamid Kazai address the representatives of some 70 nations giving aid to his country, pledging that the Afghanistan government would be able take over development projects and security by 2014. But many feel Karzai is a poor manager and is the problem

Rethink Afghanistan, pt. 1, examines the likely outcome of President Obama’s massive troop escalation.

Despite a vote in favor in the House of 162, a resolution asking for a timetable for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan recently failed. Then the House went on to appropriate the money for 30,000 more US soldiers in that country (the Senate had already voted $40 billion in May).

But in the conference on the funding legislation between the Senate and the House turned rancorous because of what some are calling ‘Afghanistan fatigue’.

See also [pdf] Gilles Dorronso, “Afghanistan Searching for Political Agreement, Carnegie Report, April 2010.

Facing the increasing disillusionment with the war and the lack of evidence that the extra troops can turn things around quickly, the Obama administration is now increasingly open to talks with the Taliban and other insurgents.

And Rachel Maddow’s recent report on the difficulty of recruiting Pashtuns in Qandahar to the police and armed forces. (only 2% of the Afghanistan National Army comes from Qandahar and Helmand provinces)”

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And here is part 1 of “Rethinking Afghanistan”:

5 Responses

  1. Perhaps you should mention that the ANA is 3% southern Pasthun and 39% non southern Pasthun. There are many anti Taliban Pashtun in the East and the North.

    It might be worth noting that the ANA and especially the ANP were severely under resourced and under funded until November, 2009.

    One factoid. In 2009, the ANP only trained one thousand police at a time. Iraq, even though geographically and population wise smaller than Afghanistan, trains 40 thousand police at a time.

    The current plan is to increase the number of ANP being trained at any given time to 24 thousand by March, 2012. This is the real “surge” or “escalation.”

    Robert Greenwald apparently opposes this because he is suspicious and skeptical about the the ANA and ANP.

  2. .
    I was surprised to see Rachel Maddow dressed so immodestly in Afghanistan. I thought she was smarter than that.
    .

  3. We must leave Afghanistan now and leave completely. We must stop our killings in Pakistan now and completely.

  4. Rethinking Afghanistan:

    “Mr. (Robert) Greenwald, who has produced documentaries about Wal-Mart and war profiteers, said the film represented a “less incendiary” approach influenced by liberal concerns that he not attack Mr. Obama directly.

    “We lost funding from liberals who didn’t want to criticize Obama,” he said. “It’s been lonely out there.”

    “http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/08/30-4

  5. Thanks for posting Greenwald’s movie. I wouldn’t have watched it without your imprimatur because his movies tell me what I already know. But it’s surprisingly involving and affirming. Good job using your rep to get something more play.

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