In recent days the casualties of war and terrorism has gone up....C.I.A.operatives killed in their "safety zone", Canadian soldiers and a journalist killed by roadside bomb in a previously considered "safe road" , hundreds of civilians and a former government minister killed in terrorist attacks in Pakistan to attacks in Yemen from the north and the south to the clumsy attempt to bring down a plane in the U.S.A. to an axe and knife attack on the "Muhamad" cartoonist in Denmark and threats from al Qaeda to attack British and American embassies.
The response from the Americans has been to close embassies, to stage more drone attacks in both Yemen and Pakistan, to body searches on travellers to the United States and to expedite the sending of the promised additional troops to Afghanistan. More of the same. These tactics have been tried without much success, but what else must be done? For one, there has to be a more direct effort to separate the Taliban from al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As I have said before, talks and money are the key. Many fight for a wage because there are few jobs. War lords have shown in the past that they can be 'rented". The surge was successful in Iraq, when Sunni tribal leaders were bought off. Infrastructure building of roads, schools, hospitals, housing, waterworks, the electrical grids will create jobs. Incorporating village elders in the decision-making is crucial. The poppy production is a problem. It creates jobs, earns money for the villagers and enrich important war lords, and so it will not be easy to wean them away, without huge payments and job alternatives. This does not mean that nothing can be done. What it means is that whatever is done must be done carefully and with local support. The Taliban has been targeting those who are suspected of working with the N.A.T.O. forces. Their security must be dealt with eg. train local militia in each village and put them under the control of elders and with embedded N.A.T.O. soldiers is one thing that can be a start. The Karzai government is dysfunctional. Karzai cannot lead, but what to do? There are able and honest members of the government. Identify and support them militarily and financially, so their ministries can deliver services. Make Karzai irrelevant. I know, he was elected and he is N.A.T.O.'s and the American's choice, but it is time for hardball.
Si vis pacem, para bellum......to live in peace prepare for war. War is a failure of politics. This was a war that should not have been fought. However now that it has been going on for over eight years, it has to end. This is a war that cannot be won militarily. No amount of troops and no amount of bombing and no amount of drone attacks can by themselves win this war. This where economics and diplomcay come in. Billions have been spent and billions more are about to be spent, but not where it should have been spent or should be spent. The only ones who benefit from all this military expenditure are the arms merchant, be they private, corporate or governmental ( China is the largest small arms producer in the world and benefits as much as the Americans and the Soviets and their surrogates have benefited in the past). Turning swords into plow shares may sound idealistic, but this is what has to be emphasized. The Palestinian tragedy has given "jihadists" an excuse to wage war against the "crusaders". Solve the Palestinian issue or at least make concrete and visible efforts to do so. This means the strongest criticism of Israel's actions as far as the Gaza blockade, the stealing of more and more land, and the building of new settlements, especially in Jerusalem, and the expansion of old settlements. No more "guilt trips" and kid glove treatment. If Iran and others are condemned for not respecting U.N.resolutions, then Israel must be condemned too. No more coddling from the U.S.A. and Europe. The Palestinian must stop their attacks on Israel and must indicate their willingness to recognize Israel as a fact in their midst, and must commit to serious talks without pre-conditions. The time is now....carpe diem.
Plus ca la meme chose? Not if new initiatives are tried.