The bodies of the six US troops — killed Monday by a newly recruited Afghan border guard who turned Taliban — arrived back in the United States late Wednesday. That 6 US soldiers were killed in one day was generally not news on the so-called news networks, though of course the major print media reported it.
The troubling question is what they died fighting for. My own hypothesis is that the US is still in Afghanistan at this late date mainly to shore up the central government of President Hamid Karzai.
But Karzai is himself extremely problematic. According to cables released by Wikileaks, and summarized by the Guardian, Karzai is prone to paranoid conspiracy theories, believes that the US is animated by sinister motives such as breaking up Pakistan and undermining Afghanistan, and is erratic and corrupt. He blithely just released 5 notorious drug runners captured by the US and turned over to him. He accused the US of funding the presidential campaign of his rival, Abdallah Abdallah, in the fall of 2009.
Gen. David Petraeus is quoted as admitting that Karzai is “weak” but saying it is better to leave him there.
But the problem with Karzai is not that he is weak. Rather it is that he is corrupt and believes in conspiracy theories, and the combination of the two causes him to act high-handedly and improperly.
And here is the moral question: Is it right to ask US warriors to fight and die to prop up the administration of Hamid Karzai?
And, how likely is it that Afghanistan National Army officers and troops are going to risk their lives for someone who is paranoid, erratic and corrupt?
In short, the whole strategy of the US, of rapidly training Afghan security forces who could establish order in the country, assumes that the Afghanistan National Army and the police will be loyal to Karzai. But how likely is that?
PS Wikileaks was down Thursday evening but went live with a new dns early Friday morning. The 600 or so State Department cables so far released
can be searched here.